Marjorie Olein (Mollie) Cecil (formerly Wyndham-Quin), Dowager Marchioness of Salisbury (b. 1922), Part 1
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Marjorie Olein (Mollie) Cecil (formerly Wyndham-Quin), Dowager Marchioness of Salisbury (b. 1922), Part 1


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Happy memories of Adare Manor during the young life of Miss Mollie Wyndham-Quin are detailed at the beginning of the recording. Her grandfather, Windham Henry Wyndham-Quin, 5th Earl of Dunraven and Mount-Earl and his wife Eva, Countess of Dunraven, lived at the Manor during those years. Mollie recalls the many occasions on which she hunted there and took part in point-to-point races. Visits to the Dunraven family summerhouse at Derrynane in South Kerry are also fondly remembered. Mollie’s earliest memories were formed at Castletown Cox in Co. Kilkenny where her grandparents lived before her grandfather inherited the Dunraven title and estates on the death, in 1926, of his first cousin, Windham Thomas Wyndham-Quin, the 4th Earl of Dunraven. The influence of her governess at Castletown Cox, who introduced her to wild flowers and birds, is mentioned. Another strongly positive influence in this respect came through her mother, Marjorie Wyndham-Quin, who was a keen gardener. Mollie admits that she herself was not much interested in study at that early age. Later memories of fishing on the River Maigue which flows through the Dunraven Estate, and wonderful days of fox-hunting are described in detail. Mollie’s aunt, Lady Olein, who also lived on the Estate, and who mentored Mollie in horseriding, is fondly recalled. She was also a keen golfer and she regularly played on the Dunraven Golf Course, established in 1900. It was handed over to the Adare Golf Club trustees in the 1980s. Mollie explains that her father, Captain Valentine Wyndham-Quin, served in the Royal Navy for the duration of both World Wars and, of necessity, spent long periods away from home. The Dunraven Estate on the Glamorganshire coast in South Wales is discussed and the “Blue Lady” who would frequently appear at Dunraven Castle there is mentioned. Sadly, the castle was demolished in the 1960s. Mollie explains that she feels totally Irish, and that her roots are very much in Co. Limerick. The staff at Adare Manor in earlier times, including the chauffeur, the head gardener and the kitchen staff are all fondly remembered. Also mentioned are happy times spent at another family property at Garinish Island in Kenmare Bay. The preferred family holiday property was in Derrynane, also in Co. Kerry. The events which took place at the Limerick Show, established by the Dunravens, are recalled, as is the deep sadness Mollie experienced after the sale of Adare Manor. Much happier memories surface as she recalls her marriage to The Hon Robert Cecil, the future Viscount Cranborne and subsequently 6th Marquess of Salisbury, at Westminster Abbey in 1945. The couple initially lived at Lodge House in Hatfield Park. When her parents-in-law took over Hatfield House in 1948, and due to the inevitable neglect resulting from the war years when the house was used as a hospital, Mollie became very much involved with the work which needed to be undertaken in the house and gardens. The family moved to Cranborne in 1954 when Mollie took charge of major work on the gardens there. They took over Hatfield House, the seat of the Cecil family since 1611, when her husband succeeded to the title on the death of her father-in-law, 5th Marquess of Salisbury, in 1972. Hatfield had at one time been the home of Queen Elizabeth I. This first recording concluded with further memories of Mollie’s aunt, Lady Olein, whom she describes as having been her “guardian spirit”. She also recalls her grandfather, Windham Henry Wyndham-Quin, 5th Earl of Dunraven and Mount-Earl, who was passionate about the running of the Estate, the upkeep of the village, the wellbeing of his workers and of the people of Adare. During the revolutionary period of 1916 to 1923, he would travel by horse and trap to troubled areas to meet with the local IRA leaders in an effort “to talk sense to them”. In conclusion, Mollie speaks about family titles and their importance to her and to her family.

Additional information


Disk, MP3

Audio series:

The Adare Manor and Village Oral History Collection


128 kbps

Download time limit:

48 hours

File size(s):

57.4 MB

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Early Irish Memories

Recorded by:

Maurice O’Keeffe – Irish Life and Lore