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Fennagh House in the County Carlow Parish of Lorum.was originally the
home of the
Old newspaper in
Source: Michael Purcell
Nationalist and Leinster Times. July 1937.
Miss E. H. Pack-Beresford.
We regret to announce the death of Miss
Elizabeth Harriet Pack-Bersford, which occurred on
Wednesday of last week at her residence "Brambletye"
Headley, England. She was 72 years of age. Daughter
of the late Captain Denis William Pack-Beresford,
deceased lived at Kellistown, Carlow for many years.
She and her sister went to reside in England after
their house had been burned down during "the
troubles". The late Miss Pack-Beresford was
widely-known and respected in Carlow and people of
all sections of the community will learn of her
passing with sincere regret. Elizabeth
The house in
question was known as Kellistown Cottage or The
Glebe house. During the War of Independence the
house was set on fire by volunteers of the Irish
Republican Army after it was discovered that
Elizabeth had acted as informer to the Crown forces
regarding I.R.A. activity in the area. Elizabeth and
her sister Annette were ordered out of the house and
warned to leave Ireland or both of them would be
shot, indeed Elizabeth was lucky to escape with her
An effort was made to burn Fenagh House but it
was unsuccessful, the days of "Hanging Gale
Beresford" were not forgotten!. de Valera was
against the burning of "The Big Houses" stating in
1922 - "Terroristic methods may silence those of our
opponents who are cowards, but many of them are very
far from being cowards, and attempts at terrorism
will only stiffen the bold men amongst them. I am
against such methods on principle, and believe we
will never win this war unless we attach the people
to our Government by contrast with theirs.
recent burnings were, in my opinion, puerile and
futile from a military or any other point of view.
We must on no account allow our contest to be
sullied by stupid and foolish action on the part of
individuals who may never look to the consequences,
not to speak of the morality or justice of what they
It is believed that Erskine Childers
was a major influence on de Valera regarding his
policy on the "burnings" and in his dealings with
"The Gentry", this was confirmed to me some years
ago by Robert Browne-Clayton when he relayed a story
concerning Browne's Hill estate in Carlow.
Note from Michael
The sources for the Eamon de Valera
statement on "house burnings" were recorded in a
letter, dated Dec 1922, from de Valera to
P.J.Ruttledge, Minister for Home Affairs in the
Republican Government and another letter, the same
month, from de Valera to Liam Lynch, Chief of Staff
of the Republican Army. [de Valera Archives
Univeristy College Dublin].
From: Friend of Carlow <email@example.com>
A statement in the PPP signed by Elizabeth Pack-Beresford in
which she states that at least a dozen men burst in the door
of Kellistown House in the early hours of March 23rd 1923,
they demanded food, at first she refused to speak to them
but on threatening to burn down the house her and her sister
prepared a meal for them, some of the men lay down on the
beds a fell asleep, they stayed in the house most of the
day, some of them played cards, there was a few bottles of
wine in a press and they drank the wine, as darkness fell
Elizabeth asked them to leave as her and her sister had had
no rest for 24 hours, one of the men said "you know why we
are here, you informed on us and we intend to burn you out"
Elizabeth replied "what brave men you are, Ireland is well
served by such bravery and courage, it takes courage to
threaten two ladies and then to burn the roof from over
their heads" her sister told her not to engage the men in
The men gave the sisters one hour to save whatever they
wanted to save from the house and some of the men helped
them to lift some furniture.
The men then set the house ablaze. Before so doing one of
the men told Elizabeth that if he ever saw her again he
would put a bullet through her.
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