Deirdre de Burgh (b. 1923)
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Deirdre de Burgh (b. 1923)


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Track 1: Deirdre de Burgh’s grandfather, father and uncles were on active duty during WWI and WWII. Her father, Hubert Henry de Burgh, trained at the Royal Naval College at Dartmouth and served as a naval officer on destroyers. Her uncle, General Sir Eric de Burgh, was Chief of the General Staff in India during WWII and retired to Naas, later moving with his daughter Maeve and family to live at Bargy Castle, Co. Wexford. Deirdre’s grandfather was Colonel Thomas J. de Burgh who died when she was young, and she has fond memories of him at Oldtown House in Naas before its destruction by fire in 1955 due to an electrical fault. Her brother John and his wife Clare continued to live in the Garden House on the demesne for a short period. After the war, Deirdre’s father served in Malta where he lived at Admiralty House. Her father’s maternal uncle, Admiral Jack de Robeck, had been Commander-in-Chief during WWI. She explains that her uncle Tommy was killed during that war, but his body was never found. Her uncle Charles was a submariner who served in both world wars. After the Great War, her father Hubert de Burgh retired to live at Oldtown, and he re-enlisted at the outbreak of World War II. Track 2: Deirdre explains that the family grave is in the churchyard at St. David’s in Naas. She recalls that when Oldtown House was consumed by fire, most of the contents were saved, owing to the assistance of the people of Naas. She says that the family were very popular in Naas and that there had never been a problem with local insurgents. The family had a great interest in horses, and she explains that while there was never much money, what there was was spent on horses. In those days, money was not spent on girls’ education and she and her sister had a governess, Miss Marguerite Connolly, who later married horse trainer Charles Weld. Deirdre enjoys her visits to her sister-in-law, Clare, at the Garden House at Oldtown. Track 3: In 1942 during WWII, Deirdre went to England and trained as a nurse at the Nightingale Training School on Westminster Bridge, which was badly damaged during the bombing. She then worked in St Thomas’ Hospital, London, and remembers the evacuation to Chertsey and manning the Casualty Clearing Station for D-Day there. She recalls dealing with prisoners of war and explains the difficulties involved in returning to civilian nursing after the war. She remained at St Thomas’s for twenty years, and was always very proud to be Irish. When her mother was widowed, she applied for and was appointed to the position of matron at the Adelaide Hospital in Dublin in the early 1960s. She appointed the first Roman Catholic Theatre Sister at the hospital. She mentions her brother, Major John H. de Burgh, who served in the British Army in North Africa and Italy during WWII and who was awarded the Military Cross. He died in 2010 at Oldtown. Track 4: Deirdre briefly mentions her famous relative Chris de Burgh and how he began his career by singing in pubs in Dublin and later got his break in London. She explains that she is very close to his mother, Maeve Davison, who lives at Bargy Castle, Co. Wexford.

Additional information


Disk, MP3

Audio series:

The Irish Country House and the Great War


128 kbps

Download time limit:

48 hours

File size(s):

11.88 MB, 8.13 MB, 10.38 MB, 2.44 MB

Number of files:


Product ID:



The de Burgh family of Oldtown, Naas, Co. Kildare and its service in time of war.

Recorded by:

Maurice O'Keeffe – Irish Life and Lore