Abbey Lea (Marino) and it’s Harry Clarke connections
Killiney featured as part of this year’s Dublin Festival of History with a talk by Pippa McIntosh on the history of the house which is now the Australian Ambassador’s Residence
With this year’s Dublin Festival of History recently drawing to a close, we’re pleased to provide you with access to a recording of a presentation relating to Killiney that was part of the 2023 Festival.
On Tuesday 26 September 2023, Pippa McIntosh presented to a full house at the Merrion Hotel on research she’s been undertaking into Abbey Lea, the residence of the Australian Ambassador to Ireland. This research forms the basis of a book she will be releasing about the history of the house which was previously called Marino (launch date TBC but likely in 2024). The Hon Gary Gray AO, Australian Ambassador to Ireland made the introductions to both lectures, highlighting just how much work has gone into Pippa’s research and the fascinating stories that she has uncovered. The presentation was so popular, Pippa delivered a repeat lecture on the same afternoon to another full room, with attendees asking many interesting questions about Pippa’s research as well as the property’s heritage.
Pippa’s presentation covered details relating to two previous owners of the house and their connection to famed Irish stained glass artist Harry Clarke. She also highlighted the political careers of these owners whose constituencies formed part of the City of Dublin. Laurence Ambrose Waldron was an MP for the Irish Parliamentary Party in the House of Commons representing the electorate of St Stephen’s Green in the Nationalist interest from 1904-1910. Mr Waldron had remodelled the house following a fire in 1909 and had been the first and a significant patron of Harry Clarke’s until his death in 1923. Sir Robert Woods was an independent Unionist representing Dublin University from 1918-1922, and also a supporter and enthusiast of Harry Clarke’s work, both in illustration and stained glass. Both men were friends, and during Mr Waldron’s ownership of the home, Sir Robert and Lady Margaret Woods had enjoyed many lunches, dinners and events at the house. No doubt their happy experiences in the home was a key factor in them purchasing the property in 1924 following Mr Waldron’s death.
Many thanks to the Australian Embassy in Ireland, the Merrion Hotel and the City of Dublin for hosting the festival and to Pippa McIntosh for taking the time to prepare and deliver her presentation. With tickets selling out so fast to both lectures, it is our pleasure to be able to host a video of the presentation if you were unable to attend. Those interested in Pippa’s book should keep a look out for it featured as part of 2024’s Dalkey Book Festival.