Iris Harben (b. 1920)
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Iris Harben (b. 1920)


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Track 1: Iris Harben (née de Stacpoole) initially recalls her paternal grandparents who had a house in London and returned on holiday to Mount Hazel, Co. Galway. They had five children including two sons, Roderick and Robert, who were killed during WWI. Her father George, 5th Duc de Stacpoole, served with the Connaught Rangers. Her grandfather, also George de Stacpoole, wrote about the family in his book, ‘Irish and Other Memories’. Her father inherited a farm with a house and 300 acres in Tobertynan, near Trim, Co. Meath to which he returned having suffered from illness during the war. Iris’s older brother, Derek who was in the Royal Marines, was killed in WWII and her eldest brother, George, also served in that war. Iris explains that she and her husband, Colonel Eric Harben, farmed in Malta for a period until they returned to Ireland. Her father’s work with horses is described and Iris explains that her mother was Eileen Palmer from Glenlo, Co. Galway. Track 2: Iris recalls that in 1914 her father’s friends and cousins were joining up as well as he. She recalls her brother’s death towards the very end of WWII and explains that he is buried abroad. Her husband, Col. Eric Harben, served with the Royal Engineers in North Africa under General Montgomery’s command. After the war they lived near Lough Sheelin, Co. Cavan, where they had a first-class herd of Hereford cattle and Suffolk sheep. Her father’s career as a politician is described. Track 3: Iris talks about Mount Hazel in Galway and she describes the interior, including the oratory where daily Masses were said during the war. The servants who worked in the house are also remembered. She recalls that the land on the estate was not good and was very wet. Her father ran the estate with a local steward, along with his farm in Meath, and he also ran the house at Monivea owned by her godmother, Miss French. Iris describes the journey from Meath to her school in London and Glenlo Abbey, and her maternal grandparents’ home in Co. Galway, is also recalled. She remembers the end of Mount Hazel when her father inherited it, explaining that most the contents were auctioned in London and the remainder sold locally, though her father kept what he could in his own house. The house at Tobertynan in Co. Meath, which had been inherited by her father from his mother, Pauline MacEvoy, and which was Iris’s childhood home, is described.

Additional information


Disk, MP3

Audio series:

The Irish Country House and the Great War


128 kbps

Download time limit:

48 hours

File size(s):

8.37 MB, 5.84 MB, 17.94 MB

Number of files:


Product ID:



The de Stacpoole family of Co. Galway

Recorded by:

Maurice O'Keeffe – Irish Life and Lore