Geraldine Wyndham-Quin, Countess of Dunraven and Mount-Earl (b. 1942)
7.0015.00 Select options

Geraldine Wyndham-Quin, Countess of Dunraven and Mount-Earl (b. 1942)


Want unlimited access to the Irish Life and Lore Oral History Archive? Subscribe by purchasing Gold Subscription, Silver Subscription or Bronze Subscription!

Track 1: Geraldine Wyndham-Quin (née McAleer) was born in Dublin, the daughter of Sheila Byrne and Gerard Ward McAleer, a medical doctor from Dungannon, Co. Tyrone. She considers that her father may have been a pacifist by nature. When he qualified, he left Ireland to become a general practitioner in England and Geraldine feels that he left owing, in part, to his experiences at Croke Park on Bloody Sunday. She explains that her early childhood home was situated in Donnybrook village in Dublin. She lived there with her grandparents, her father Gerard having joined the Royal Air Force as a medical doctor after 1926. On his return from his posting in the Middle East, the family lived in England for a period until her parents went to Singapore. Geraldine studied fabric design and printing and she met her future husband, Thady Wyndham-Quin 7th Earl of Dunraven, at a party in Straffan where she worked as a childminder. She relates the story of their first date. Track 2: Geraldine discusses Adare Manor at the time of her marriage. She remembers Robert Leech, Thady’s grandfather’s butler, who acted as carer to Thady since his days at agricultural college in England. Thady contracted poliomyelitis in 1956 and his medical treatment is detailed. Geraldine recounts the anecdote about the local brigade of the IRA and its visit to Adare Manor in the early 1920s, when they met with the 4th Lord Dunraven who was later invited to become a member of the first Senate. She details the history of the Wyndhams of Bridgend in Wales and the connection with the Quins of Adare. The records which exist from the mid-19th century are considered and some details are provided of various properties in Adare Village. Geraldine recalls the difficulty surrounding the location of their marriage ceremony in 1969. The opening of the Manor to the public from 1968 onwards is recalled and the influence of the international flights on the Village is discussed. The evacuation of the Wyndham-Quin children from Adare during WWII, owing to the fear of a German invasion, is recalled. As their mother was American, the children went to live with their grandmother in America. The flying boats which left from Foynes in the 1940s are also recalled. Track 3: Geraldine explains that Windham Thomas Wyndham-Quin, 4th Earl of Dunraven, served in the Abyssinian Expedition and the Boer War and he raised the Glamorganshire Yeomanry. Track 4: Photographs and documents from the family archives are examined. Geraldine describes a photograph dating from 1913 and also the “Reminiscences of Christy Walsh’ transcribed by Elizabeth, Countess of Mayo, in 1914. Some photographs of the 12th Lancers in 1914 are examined and she re-tells the story which was handed down to her about the ‘boys’ visiting Palmerstown House in Co. Kildare in order to burn it in the early 1920s. Track 5: The line of descent of the title is described and Geraldine explains that the title of the Earldom of Dunraven has now become extinct. Changes happen over time, she says, and recalls that her husband felt that family is more important than bricks and mortar. At the Manor, there was about 1,200 acres inside the wall, including about 20 buildings. She recalls that the Manor had 96 rooms, 365 windows and 52 chimneys. The buildings in the Village were sold in the early 1970s because, from a business point of view, it was expensive to re-thatch the cottages and to generally maintain them. Her involvement with the Historic Irish Tourist Houses and Gardens Association and the growth of visitors to the Manor is explained as is the fact that Geraldine and Thady continued to live in part of the house during this time. The contents of the house, and the house itself, were offered to the State, but this was not acceptable, and the contents were auctioned in 1982. She explains that it was put on the open market, being purchased by Mr Thomas Kane to run as an hotel. Items of family interest, including copies of The Annals of the Four Masters, were kept and other items are on loan to the Loretta and Lewis Brennan Glucksman Library at the University of Limerick. Some of the old paintings from the Manor are remembered. The vigil kept for several days following the death of Thady in 2011 is recalled by Geraldine as is the large number of visitors who came to pay their respects.

Additional information


Disk, MP3

Audio series:

The Irish Country House and the Great War


128 kbps

Download time limit:

48 hours

File size(s):

8.57 MB, 12.06 MB, 8.28 MB, 9.02 MB, 19.65 MB

Number of files:


Product ID:



The Wyndham-Quin family, Earls of Dunraven and Mount-Earl

Recorded by:

Maurice O'Keeffe – Irish Life and Lore