A Ryan family reunion took place on July 25 at Glenculloo Lodge, 88 years after five children from the family went on holidays to the shooting lodge from London.
The venue, situated near Killoscully in the Silvermine Mountains, was their home throughout the summer of 1927, but continued to resonate with the family many years later.
Nicolas Ryan (whose father Denis, known as ‘Deece’, was one of the five children) and his wife, Carmel, spent countless hours tracing the family history and arranging the reunion. ‘The whole idea is based on the fact that in 1927 there was a holiday in this house in Glenculloo,’ Nicolas says. ‘They had this wonderful holiday at this lovely house and they never forgot it.’
The five were known as ‘the pack’ and included Denis, Denis’ brother Daniel, and three cousins, Peter and George Guyan and Wendy Cardue. Peter and George’s mother Winnie accompanied the group along with their Ford Model T car to the lodge which was then owned by Stella Power Lalor, widow of Winnie’s cousin George Power Lalor.
Glenculloo Lodge, known to the family as Keeper Lodge due to its proximity to Keeper Hill, was built circa 1860 by the Power Lalor family of Longorchard, Templetuohy, as their hunting lodge. Mary Frances Ryan, daughter of George Ryan of Inch House, and widow of Captain Edward Power Lalor, later went on to be highly respected for her charity work, including the refurbishment of Killoscully Church.
‘It was a beautiful Georgian house, it didn’t have running water, it didn’t have any mod-cons, but they had a fabulous time,’ says Nicolas. Indeed, in a letter written by Winnie about those summer holidays of 1927, she recalls her memories of life at the house. She describes how they used water from the stream, a ‘little river which runs close to the Lodge [and] makes music all the time.’ Their wholesome country experience included meals which ‘seemed delicious in the hungry air’ and the field ploughed ‘like a sundial.’ Their travels to nearby town Nenagh would not have been possible without their Ford Model T car, named ‘Tin Lizzie’, which according to Winnie ‘caused more joy, strife, and education than anything.’
‘They had a great holiday; my father always talked about it,’ says Nicolas, who decided three years ago it would be fun to have a reunion of anybody descended from those five cousins. This idea and subsequent research and organisation culminated in the reunion on July 25 which saw 38 members of the Ryan family gather for a weekend in Tipperary.
Travelling from the Horse and Jockey, Castle Fogarty, Wexford, England and Scotland, the family toured the county, visiting Jimmy Ryan’s thatched pub, Castle Fogarty and Inch House. They also paid a visit to the Silvermines to see the village, receiving a talk on the mines from Pat Sheehan of the Silvermines Historical Society, while also viewing the church bell which was donated by the Power Lalor family. The main purpose of the reunion, however, was to visit Glenculloo, and the Lodge’s current owners, Roz and Roy Middleton, welcomed the family to view the restored house.
Throughout the busy weekend, the family based themselves at the Anner Hotel, Thurles and wish to thank the Maher family and staff who looked after them in a warm and friendly manner for the duration of their stay.