Wednesday 24 May, 2017.
At 10am this morning, a warm welcome awaited me at the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland when Aaron Binchy, a relative of my favourite author Maeve Binchy, greeted me at the door of the Society.
Conor Lucey, the President took me on a personally escorted tour around the building and historical garden. The house has been kept in its original state and the garden has been planted in keeping with herbs and flowers of the original garden.
I was fascinated to learn that one John Prendergast, developer and noteworthy builder in the Dublin area, collaborated with a famous plasterer named Stapelton on many of the famous buildings still in use in the Dublin area. When I asked Conor what happened to John Prendergast, he replied that John Prendergast seems to have disappeared at the end of the late 1700s early 1800s.
When we returned inside to the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland Library, nothing was too much trouble for Aaron who pulled out numerous primary documents and original Grave stone rubbings on linen. Some of the rubbings were as long as the table and one dated from a grave of 1637.
I was fascinated to read the “Memorials of the Dead” by Lord William Fitzgerald of a grave of Father Edward Prendergast of Monasteravin whose brother John Prendergast erected the headstone. There has always been the question was this our John Prendergast who had the headstone erected?
Aaron Binchy showed me the ”Corporation of Weavers Dublin” dated from 1792 until 1800 which Aaron and I meticulously trawled through and, guess what? John Prendergast is not mentioned! The plot thickens.
After my picnic lunch enjoyed in St. Stephens Green where the sun shone warm and lovely I took a taxi over the Liffy River to the Registry of Deeds in Henrietta Street and having been there in 2015, knew the check in procedure. I signed in, left my possessions in the Locker on the ground floor. And, taking only my Pen and notepad walked up two flights of stairs to the research room holding the books (Tomb Stones). I had written down the reference of the two memoralised deeds that I wanted to view when I was escorted by my expert John Nangle to the Registry of Deeds in July 2015.This visit was part of a brilliant bespoke Archival visit co-ordinated by Lorna Moloney.
Barry had scanned the information about the Deeds from my notes and emailed it to me. I had the record in front of me in my diary and just had to turn to the right page and pull down off the shelf the correct numbered (Tomb Stone) Book. Once I had lowered the book onto the desk, I then had to turn the pages to the correct one and read the correct entry which is usually 6 digits. Seeing the beautiful Copper plate writing and knowing that my ancestor touched this soft, smooth vallum left me feeling very emotional.
The hardest part of retrieving the book was climbing up the ladder and lugging the ”heavy as lead” book down off the shelf. They are not nicknamed Tomb Stones for nothing! Fortunately one of the Archivists arrived in time to help me with the heavy books. The second hardest part is putting it back up!
I decided to order a registered copy of the two deeds that I am looking forward to having transcribed by my very clever cousin Mark who is brilliant at transcription, once I return to Australia.
In the meantime, I can tell you that I was correct about the Stables at the back of the Prendergast property in Dawson Street. I can tell you that the deed in connection with this property is dated 13/11/1804.
The description of the situate is as I discovered yesterday. In the deed it is described as “being on the West side of Dawson Street near St. Stephens Green in the County in the city of Dublin. It is the residence where Sir Robert Maude formerly dwelt, bounded on the South by a house now occupied by Arthur Stanley Esq and on the North by a house in the possession of the Cana O Commpt. to g. (I do not know what this last record means but perhaps someone reading this could enlighten me). Also with a back side garden, out houses and stables”.
I am delighted to be able to share my genealogy adventures with you and hope you are enjoying the journey.