Julian Walton (b. 1941)
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Julian Walton (b. 1941)


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Track 1: Julian Walton’s childhood home was Clifford House, near Mallow in North Cork. His English father, Ernest, came from the city of York and he spent his working life in Siam. On retirement, he bought a house near his friend, Maurice Cooke Collis, whose sister Diana he married in 1928. The Cooke Collis estate was at Castlecooke near Kilworth and it was burned in May 1921 during the Troubles. Maurice and Diana were the only members of their large family to come back to Ireland. Julian explains that his father died when he was five years old, and his mother, Diana, later married Harry Kenny of Tramore, Co. Waterford. Julian recalls his maternal uncles who served in the WWI. The oldest in the family, Major-General Sir James Cooke Collis, Diana’s half-brother, served in the Boer War and in WWI. Her full brother, Brigadier Edward Cooke Collis, was commander of the 6th Battalion (The Green Howards), in WWII. Julian also mentions a Walton uncle who was killed at the Battle of the Somme, and also Lieutenant John Mary (Jack) Kenny, a step-uncle, who was in the Royal Flying Corps and was killed in 1916. He discusses the information he has gathered about Jack Kenny through his research. Julian’s father, Ernest Walton.was the youngest of eight children, and he had an older half-brother, Frank, who emigrated to South Africa. Frank’s career in Rhodesia during WWI, fighting against the Germans and later on the Western Front is described, and two letters which Frank wrote are read. Track 2: Julian talks about his maternal grandfather, Colonel William Cooke Collis, and his reputation in North Cork. He describes the burning of Castlecooke from information gleaned from a letter which survives. After the burning, his grandparents moved to England where they later died and the only son of the family to return was Maurice, who rented a house in Killavullen. His sister Diana would visit him and on one of those visits, she met Ernest Walton, whom she married. The history of the Collis family from Kerry is discussed and Julian also talks about the land held by the Cooke Collis family at Castlecooke. He explains that his mother, Diana, was absent on the night when the house was burnt down, and says that her memories were of an idyllic childhood despite having a tyrannical father. She was the youngest girl in the family and she lived in England from then onwards until her marriage in 1928. Julian remarks on his father’s love of Ireland and the Irish language, despite his English origins. He also discusses his stepfather’s first cousin, Edward Molyneux, who lived between Tramore and London and who was a significant fashion designer from the 1920s through to the 1950s. He had a distinguished career in WWI, was badly injured and was awarded a Military Cross. Julian recalls the fact that he was never mentioned in the family, probably due to his homosexuality and the fact that he was a women’s fashion designer. Julian further discusses his own conversion to Roman Catholicism. Track 3: His teaching posts in England and his teacher training in Ireland are recalled, and he explains that in 1970, he returned to teach in Dublin for two decades. He later worked in Waterford Heritage Services which led to an interest in cataloguing older printed books and to a position at University College Cork. He has also held various positions involving the writing of reports on private family papers, and he discusses what he has learnt through his cataloguing work and the contents of private libraries. The work of the Land Commission, the consequent radical effect on the original families, and the politics involved in the 1920s and later are also discussed, as is the Economic War and its effect on the surviving landowners in the 1930s.

Additional information



Audio series:

The Irish Country House and the Great War


128 kbps

Download time limit:

48 hours

File size(s):

10.91 MB, 8.29 MB, 7.49 MB, 7.45 MB

Number of files:


Product ID:



The Cooke Collis, Kenny and Walton families

Recorded by:

Maurice O'Keeffe – Irish Life and Lore