Caroline Palmer (b. 1940)
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Caroline Palmer (b. 1940)


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Track 1: Caroline Palmer (née Delmege) grew up in Fethard, Co. Tipperary. Her father was a member of the Delmege family from Castlepark in Limerick and Caroline recalls her frequent visits to her aunt Lily and uncle Jack at Castlepark. During WWI Jack Delmege served in the Munster Fusiliers. He was badly wounded at Gallipoli and was taken prisoner by the German forces. Caroline’s husband, Brian Palmer, speaks about the few members of the Munster Fusiliers who survived the battle. Caroline believes that her paternal grandfather, James O’Grady Delmege, was in charge of recruiting in Limerick and his second son, James O’Grady Delmege of the 4th Royal Irish Dragoon Guards, died in a gas attack at age 22 in 1915. Her father, Hugh, had attended Trinity College, Dublin for just one month when he enlisted in the Royal Army Service Corps, stationed at the Curragh. Track 2: Caroline remembers her father speaking about his brothers and the effect of the death of his son, James, on her grandfather. She believes that there was a strong sense of duty and a sense of excitement about war at the time. Caroline’s mother was Sybil Elfrida Keane from Cappoquin, Co. Waterford. Alice Keane, her English grandmother, with her sister-in-law and niece were killed by enemy action in London in 1944, while attending Morning Service at The Guards Chapel. Caroline’s maternal grandfather, Harry Keane, also served in WWI and received a CBE for organising supplies for the troops. Track 3: She recalls how her father worked at Woodrooff, outside Clonmel, training horses for the Perry family. He inherited Castlepark from his older sister Lily, but he did not move there and it was put on the market. Caroline explains how the Delmeges arrived in Ireland in 1709 as refugees and she outlines their history as landowners in County Limerick. She recalls her happy childhood memories of Castlepark, when the house was run by her aunt Lily. Her schooling in London is recalled and she explains how fortunate she was to have maternal relatives there. Her mother’s disapproval of Irish being taught compulsorily in Irish schools, though she liked the language and attempted to learn to speak it, and her feeling that life in Ireland might become more difficult in the future for the Protestant Irish, are discussed. Track 4: Caroline explains that both her grandmothers, who were heiresses, brought wealth into their families on their marriages, and she feels that although her father felt very Irish, he heeded the call of duty to serve in wartime to defend Britain. She remarks that he was very happy in Ireland, and when he was in England he was anxious to return home. As far as she can recall, he was attending a race meeting at Fairyhouse at the outbreak of the 1916 Rising. After WWI, he went to England and stayed with Sir John Gray in Enfield training horses. His daughter explains that he worked very hard during his lifetime and that at times his income was very low, and by way of explanation she recounts a story about his purchase of a Volkswagen car after the war because it was inexpensive to run, and the Delmege family disapproval of his ownership of this German car.

Additional information


Disk, MP3

Audio series:

The Irish Country House and the Great War


128 kbps

Download time limit:

48 hours

File size(s):

8.82 MB, 10.58 MB, 12.81 MB, 11 MB

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The Delmege family of Fethard, Co. Tipperary and Castlepark, Limerick.

Recorded by:

Maurice O'Keeffe – Irish Life and Lore