The Vandeleur Bequest to the Royal Irish Academy of Music

The Vandeleur bequest of 1879, presented by John Ormsby Vandeleur was to be invested and applied to the provision of scholarships at the academy and the purchase of musical instruments.

According to Senan Scanlan:

A set of pipes was specially made for Col. Vandeleur, who was noted for his musical evenings in Kilrush: and Ormsby Vandeleur bequeathed a Stradivarius violin, a Margine violin and £4,000 to the Royal Irish Academy of Music (RIAM). The RIAM had an annual piano, organ and violin competition for the Vandeleur Scholarship.

Commissioners of Charitable Donations and Bequests for Ireland: thirty-seventh annual report (1882)

van report

Commissioners of Charitable Donations and Bequests for Ireland: thirty-seventh annual report (1882)

van reuest

The bequest was mentioned in various newspapers in the 1880s:



1889 (1)

Aiken, (Mary) Maud

Aiken, (Mary) Maud (1898–1978), musician, was born 13 August 1898 in Dublin, younger of two daughters of John J. Davin, grocer and alderman, and Mary Davin (née O’Gara). In 1914 she entered the Royal Irish Academy of Music and was awarded the Coulson scholarship (1914), the Coulson academy scholarship (1915), and the Vandeleur academy scholarship for violin (1916). A distinguished musician, she won many prizes, and the Order of Merit was conferred on her by the Federal Republic of Germany in 1971. She died 10 July 1978 in a car crash and is buried in Glasnevin cemetery, Dublin.

(Above excerpt from Mary Aiken’s entry in the Dictionary of Irish Biography by Helen Andrews).


Photograph of Sinead de Valera and Maud Aiken, following Maud Aiken’s award ceremony as fellow of the Royal Irish Academy of Music.

Aiken image

(Photo Credit: UCD Digital Library:

Move over Liscannor Stone and make some room for Kilrush Flags

We have all heard of the famous stone flags from Liscannor, County Clare, however, I have uncovered the long forgotten “Kilrush Flags” which have been used since the early nineteenth century to pave streets from the UK to America.

As far I can ascertain, the stone was quarried from Money Point, located in the townland of Carrowdotia, west of Kilrush, County Clare:

Flag stone quarry.jpg

The Advocate: or, Irish Industrial Journal, 6 February 1850:

Kilrush quarry.jpg

The above article severely criticized, Vandeleur, on whose extensive estate the quarry was located. In particular, the article drew attention to Vandeleur for missing out on an opportunity to establish a profitable quarry in Kilrush. The article stated that such an investment could have provided much needed employment for the local population.

Ten days later, the Limerick and Clare Examiner, of 16 February 1850 also complimented Mr Franklin on his enterprising spirit while commenting that ‘the proprietor of the town withdrew on one occasion a subscription that was established to aid the starving inhabitants of the town.’

Franklin blog entry

Kilrush Flagging 1.jpg

The Census of Ireland for 1901 recorded a number of individuals employed in quarries throughout County Clare. Associated occupations included: Quarry Labourer, Quarry-Boy, Quarry Man and Quarry Master. The majority of these sixty-four men lived in and around Liscannor in the north of the county.

In Knockerry West in the DED of Killimer, James Boyd Maclachlann from Scotland was recorded as ‘Quarrymaster’. Money Point quarry was located in Knockerry West.

Maclachlann’s Household Form (A) is below:

census quarry

By the time that the next census was recorded (1911), the numbers working in the quarrying industry had dropped to fifty-one. Maclachlann does not appear on the census. However, Patt [sic] Cleary from the townland of Carrowdotia is recorded as ‘Quarry miner, retired’. His son, Pat, was listed as a ‘Quarry miner’. The Cleary family’s Household Form (A) is below:

quarry 2.jpg

More to follow…