To mark the 50th anniversary of the death of Lieutenant Colonel Richard Butler Charteris, the last of the Cahir Castle Butlers, a series of events was held in Cahir on the 3rd and 4th of September 2011. Organised by local academic Dr David J. Butler of UCC and UL, the two-day event was graced with the presence of the senior surviving relatives of Colonel Charteris, namely, his sole surviving grand-niece, 87-year old Mrs Olwyn Wake (nee Wynne-Finch), the widow of his last surviving grand-nephew, Mrs Rosie Wynne-Finch, and Mr William Wake, a great-grand nephew of The Colonel.
The weekend began in The Great Hall of Cahir Castle with the opening of an exhibition of photographs showing The Colonel’s ancestry; his immediate family; his estate: its landscape and staff; his home: Cahir Park House and its grounds; hunting excursions; patronage of sporting clubs and societies; final years; obituaries; the auction of the estate; and the rise and fall of the ill-fated Park Hotel, Cahir.
Dr Butler opened the proceedings, to a packed house, by introducing the Butler-Charteris Memorial Lecturer, The Very Reverend Dr Robert B. MacCarthy, Dean of The National Cathedral of Saint Patrick, Dublin. Dr MacCarthy’s paper, ‘The Cahir Estate since the Reformation, with particular emphasis on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries’, has just been published in the Tipperary Historical Journal (2011). Following a brief question and answer session, some of the audience were given a guided tour of Cahir Castle while others took a closer look at the photographs and exhibits of Butler-Charteris memorabilia, which included the Charteris Cups for Angling (1930s) and for the Best Shorthorn Bull at Cahir Bull Sales (1920s), as well at The Colonel’s Bowler Hat and Hat Box.
In the afternoon The Colonel’s relatives and former estate employees were given a guided tour of The Swiss Cottage before a visit to Cahir Park A.F.C. Clubhouse and grounds. Here The Colonel’s relatives were formally received by Jim Halpin, Chairman of Cahir Park A.F.C., before being introduced to The Management Committee and embarking on a tour of the grounds, The Cricket Pavillion (the old changing rooms) and the new clubhouse. Club trophies—including The Charteris Cup (1921)—were on display, as were Cahir Park football and cricket team photos with the Colonel—he was patron of both clubs from 1921-61. The principal room of the clubhouse was then officially named The Colonel Charteris Room, and his portrait (taken in December 1929 with The Irish Free State Cup; now The F.A.I. Intermediate Cup) was unveiled by his grand-niece, Mrs Olwyn Wake.
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Above Left: Eleanor Morrissey, supervisor of Cahir Castle & Swiss Cottage, in conversation with Michael Dalton, son of Paddy Dalton, late butler-chauffeur of Colonel Charteris.
Above Right: Commemorative weekend organisers Joe Walsh and David Butler chat with Joan Walsh, while Frank O'Brien contemplates the scene before him.
Below Left: Lily Carew (Clonmel), nurse to Colonel Charteris (1956-60) chats to Mrs Brenda Baker of Lismacue, Bansha (first wife of the late Mr Alec Smith of Duneske, Cahir, Colonel Charteris' executor)
Below Right: Penelope Carew talks with Mrs Brenda Baker, while Lily Carew exchanges memories with Michael Dalton.
Above Left: A framed portrait of Lt. Col. Richard Butler Charteris, dated December 1936, in The Great Hall, Cahir Castle.
Above Right: A section of the commemorative photographic exhibition mounted in The Great Hall.
Below Left: The relatives of Colonel Charteris examine some of the exhibition panels.
Below Right: The Colonel's bowler hat on display in the centre of The Great Hall, flanked by two of his perpetual silver cups—The Best Shorthorn Bull at Cahir Bull Sales (to left) and The Best Angler in Cahir & District Angler's Club (to right).
Above Left and Right: Mrs Olwyn Wake and Jim Halpin, Chairman of Cahir Park A.F.C. perform the portrait unveiling together.
Below Left: Mrs Olwyn Wake addresses the gathering at Cahir Park A.F.C. Clubhouse
Below Right: The Colonel's relatives examine their presentation of centenary histories of Cahir Park A.F.C., authored by Paul Buckley and presented by Jim Halpin, Chairman of Cahir Park A.F.C.
Above Left: The Colonel's relatives continue to examine their books of the centenary histories of Cahir Park A.F.C.
Above Right: The Colonel's Relatives stand in front of three silver perpetual cups presented by The Colonel, namely, that for best angler in Cahir and District Angler's Club (presented in 1937), that for football (presented in 1921) and for best shorthorn bull in Cahir Bull Sales (presented in 1916).
Left: Mr Murray Dalton (son of The Colonel's chauffeur) in conversation with Mrs Olwyn Wake.
The second day of events began with a visit to the Butler-Charteris plot at Kilcommon Burial Ground for a wreath-laying ceremony on the newly refurbished grave of The Colonel and his wife. This was followed by a private visit for The Charteris Family and former Estate employees to Cahir Park and grounds, courtesy of Mrs Helen Wheeler, and her son, Allan. Although there were intermittent showers of rain, the terraces and grounds were explored, following which wonderful refreshments were served.
The final part of the commemorative weekend began in the afternoon, with a walking tour of Cahir town centre, emphasising Butler and Charteris links, conducted by Dr David Butler and Joe Walsh, with particular emphasis on The War Memorial (The Colonel’s nephew, Henry Richard Inigo-Jones, is commemorated thereon); The Butler-Charteris Memorial Fountain in The Square (erected to the memory of The Colonel’s father), The Old Churchyard and St Paul’s Church, where the walk ended with a ‘behind the scenes’ tour of the family plaques and gallery. The weekend closed with Evensong at St Pauls, where the service was taken by The Revd Canon Barbara Fryday, vicar of Cahir, assisted by The Very Revd Pat Butler, PP Clogheen-Burncourt (whose mother had worked in Cahir Park and who took The Gospel reading), the first reading being taken by Mr William Wake (representing The Colonel’s relatives). The church was filled with the wafting aroma of white lilies, roses and chrysanthemums, most expertly arranged by churchwarden, Ms Yvonne McClintock. Some wonderful congregational singing of the hymns and canticles followed, with visiting organist Mr Ian Sexton from Cork ably accompanying Ms Jennifer Davis on Handel’s ‘For He Shall Feed His Flock’ and Mendelssohn’s ‘O Rest In The Lord’, culminating with Mozart’s anthem, ‘Laudate Dominium’. On this fitting note, the Butler-Charteris weekend drew to a close.