Beatrice of Carnew Castle - a Life in Letters, 1888-1964

The life story of Beatrice Woodhouse (born Dowse) as told in letters, from 1891, when Beatrice was sent back to Ireland from Canada, to her death in 1964 in Dublin. Compiled and edited by her grand-niece Alana Stephens and published on this website in a series of chapters

CHAPTER SEVEN: Life at the Castle


True to Beatrice’s plan for the Castle both she and Hugh began a number of successful enterprises in order to make the Castle and Carnew Motor Co. profitable. An article in the Irish Motor Trader, March 20, 1930 gives a flattering description of Hugh’s business,


Capt. T.H. Woodhouse, whose photograph appears on this page, is already well known to many of our readers as the proprietor of the Carnew Motor Co., Carnew, Co. Wicklow, which he opened in 1922 on being invalided from the British Army, in which he spent the early portion of his career.

            The conception of thoroughness and efficiency that one gains from a military training has been utilized by Capt. Woodhouse in the organization and administration of his garage business, which is one of the best conducted in rural Ireland. First-class mechanics are always employed, and any type of garage work can be undertaken.

There is also a coachpainting department under the control of an expert craftsman; and the most recent of Capt. Woodhouse’s activities is the establishing of a body-building department.

            Although in the course of general garage business Capt. Woodhouse deals in a variety of makes of cars, he has always held the Rover agency, and this is the car in which he still specializes. That he is a firm believer in the value of personal goodwill and conscientious service to customers is shown by the fact that all work is carried out under his supervision.

            It is impossible to deal with matters concerning Carnew without making reference to Carnew Castle, the residence of Capt. and Mrs. Woodhouse. This grand and historic building is one of the oldest residential castles in Ireland, and any one visiting it, as we did last year, does not need to be informed of the fact, for the very atmosphere of the place speaks of ages gone by and soothes one with the benediction that infinite peace and quietude which only the time-hallowed can confer.


Photo of Captain Thomas Hugh Woodhouse from Irish Motor Trader


Once again Beatrice’s father sailed to Ireland to visit his daughter at the Castle. It had been twelve years since they had seen each other, and the circumstances were very different. Beatrice was now a busy entrepreneur in charge of her own life, and was making a success of it.

A letter of William Dowse to his daughter Kathleen in Canada describes life at the Castle.


Carnew Castle           

                                                                                    Dec. 16, 1936

My dear Kathleen,

            I have so much to say that really I have not time to say it. The day passes so fast that it’s night before I know it. We have breakfast at about 9 of or after, and then the day is gone.  

I had a great time in train, lunch was very nice and had plenty & to spare. The boat was very rough from the time we met the open sea, waves like mountains, but I never missed a meal, right on schedule you bet. We had nice people & lots of talk – some Irish but mostly Scotch.

Arrived in Belfast about 2 a.m. Saturday morning. Went to Hotel and left by morning train for Dublin, and on to Dalkey. Went to Vi[1],and took night train to Shillelagh. Wired Bee to meet me at Shillelagh, but they met at Wooden Bridge and we [arrived] here in short time. Hugh drives like the devil. Road good – you can picture the whole thing – talk, talk, all the time. Bee talks like a streak all the time. I have met a lot of people since, and very nice people too – they come from over, here all the time. Beehas no time to herself – we never go to bed until 1 or 2 of. The weather has been awfully wet & stormy, one day 60 mile-per-hour.

We went to Dublin (three of us) yesterday. Hugh went to his club[2] & Bee & I went shopping & then to Maude’s. Her place is very nice. Hugh came for us, and we got home at 11:30, had a snort and tobacco. Up late today, and then a Major somebody has just come, for all day, and this goes on all the time. 

The country looks very pretty, green fields, the Irish green, the furze bush in bloom and lots of flowers. Bee has green houses (3 of them) full of flowers & strawberries (I picked one the other day) Mums five feet high in full bloom. We brought home a fern from Killarney yesterday, a rare one, in glass shade. She has a very large rock garden in front of house full of everything. Garden full of vegetables, peas well up, lots of lettuce and cabbage, B. sprouts. Cabbage is good, and the dead pig not bad. There is a lovely view from the window I am writing this from. This house beats all, I counted 30 rooms, counting all I could, & I think I missed some – too big, too much walking. Some of the rooms would make 3. I have a large room & bath. The bathroom would make 3 bathrooms in Canada, & the bathroom is much larger. I am going up some day aloft to look round.[3] Bee gave me overalls to work in, but so far I have not put them on in time.  Hammond[4] came for me and I spent the day at his place – very nice. The people come in to see me, and talk – I got hoarse. 

I hope all are well. I look for letters every day. Will cable for Xmas. Love to all from your loving Dad.


And a letter to Kathleen’s husband, George Binkley, on the same date:


Dear George,

            Had rough trip on boat, but had good time all the same. One lady fell down stairs, and got badly hurt, and another was thrown against something and broke her knee, but I said let her roll, and roll she did. Met a number of boys and had lots of talk and snorts you know.

Visitors here all the time, Hugh does a good business, orders coming all the time, lots of men (I don’t know how many) all trades. Cars & trailers for horses. Hounds meet twice a week. The rabbits are thick. One man I know, sends 1660 a week to England – too many rabbits for the grass, hares plentiful too.

We had a pheasant for lunch the other day sent over by Lord[5] Fitzwilliam, and a good one too, very large. I have talked a lot since I saw you. I got a good welcome from everybody, taking off their hats, Ireland forever. The roads are splendid, greatly improved, coated with tar, no mud. Main roads very good. The grass is as green as ever. Cattle all out in fields, flowers in bloom. Ploughing going on now, slow but sure. I saw a Fordson working, ploughing a field that had not been ploughed for 100 years!! What do you think of that? I know the place well. I could go on for a long time & tell you a lot more. Hugh drives fast and a good driver. About 20 horses here, mostly hunters. The hounds met here on Tuesday, 48 hounds – looked nice outside the gate. Huntsman in pink the same old way. Foxes plentiful, in fact too many. Hugh with his Club, Hunting & trailers, I tell you he is a pretty busy man. I can’t think of all I hear now, I hear so much – talks of farming, and machinery. It beats all. 

It’s raining to beat the band. Had some snow in the North when I landed, but of course went soon. The country looks so nice – green, green, the Irish green. I am looking out now on the hills, very pretty, all green. The turnips are good as ever, I wish we could grow them, but good too – thick & fat, good. Oh boy! I will tell you more when we meet.   

Hoping all are well and wishing you all a happy New Year, and trusting all are O.K. and hoping to see you all before very long.

                                                                                    Very sincerely

                                                                                    W.R. Dowse



Irish Times photo taken in front of the Castle – the Hunt


William’s letter to his wife, May Dowse, Dec. 28, 1936


My own darling May,

Things go on the fly here, no time for anything, breakfast very late, the forenoon is gone before you know.  

Hugh & I went to Courtown Harbouron Xmas day, it took only a few minutes there & back. We walked about, and I took the place in, much changed but I could see some things the same – two Hotels at least, the old one gone. I found I had clover in my pocket, when I put my hand in my coat in church on Xmas day, so I scattered some down close to the pier at Courtown. Hugh is going to watch it. Vi & Maude here on Xmas. I gave Bee a clock & Hugh a pen and pencil (Waterman), Vi & Maude 1 pound each. I got safety razor from Hugh, and pipe from Bee & tie. 

Tuesday 28th

Rained all night, and today bright and sunny. Out to see Hugh’s hunter that is lame from last heat, it’s a trick that hunters have. I have so much to say that I don’t know what to say. We are expected to go to Ballyredmondtoday for lunch – Mrs. Piggot’s place, you know, Arthur’s[6] brother. She was over for Xmas day, old but pretty, and holds her age remarkably well. Hugh says she is 80, but I can’t think if you would take her for 45, it beats all. Mrs. Smith’s place on Saturday, Jack Smith, you remember him, dead since Xmas here before. Everybody seems to be dead since Xmas here before. Old Sandyham Symes[7] dead too, and the wife.  All gone. John Fenton (3000 farm) going strong – we went to see him first of all – his wife dead too. 

Bee & Hugh are in a great state over the horse that is lame. Hugh was booted & spurred up for Lunch yesterday, got up on the horse and could not go, horse lame. He (Hugh) was mad, and then we went to the meet in the car. Found a fox and saw a good hunt up at Killcavan Gap. I was looking for the Woodbine in from up the town, with the dogs. 

The maid has come with lunch things so I must stop, 2 maids – young. I asked the cook how the mistletoe came out and she said “not too bad Sir,” I said I told you so.

Had a choral service on Sunday, Hugh soloist and some girl, I don’t know who.  

Loads of love

            From your loving Hubbie


Do you remember sending maple seeds over to Ethel?[8] Bee says that she got some. She told me she would show me the tree here and I told her not to tell me where they were & I would pick them out. I was standing by one tree looking at it but did not recognize the maple, not a bit like ours, bark all different – climate is the cause I think. The spring bulbs are up now and the rock garden will look grand, and a big one too. Ploughing going on, lots of turnips in the fields like old times. Savoy cabbage is grand here, and lots of it. I weighed one and it was 7 lbs, and not the biggest by any means. They have lots of vegetables – send up some every week to Dublin. Bob Smith kills sheep every week, about 20 or more, and brings them to Dublin in caravan, quite a butcher. Hugh is busy at horse boxes, has a host of men all over. Patis the gardener, he has been away for Xmas, and leaves more to do. Fires have to be kept on in greenhouses – 3 of them, quite a chore. I am only beginning to find my way about the house, too big for anybody, too much to keep up, too much walking. I tell them they should have an elevator.

            Electric light is very good – lots of light everywhere, stables good, and street. I went the other day prospecting the house of stairs, I got lost and could not find the [illegible]. Doors everywhere, all double, it beats all.

Maude just came, lunch over, a rush. Bee& 2 girls going to Georgie Piggot’s. I won’t go (Hugh says it’s a hen party). He & I will go later.

Your loving



You have no idea of the rush here, no wonder Bee never writes. She got your letter.


William Dowse was visiting “Georgie” Pigott at Ballyredmond. The following newspaper obituary gives a few details about her:

Pemberton – Pigott, September 14, 1955 (peacefully), at her residence, Ballyredmond House, Clonegal, Co. Carlow, Anna Georgina, widow of William John Hobhouse Pemberton-Pigott. Remains will be removed to Clonegal church this Thursday evening at 5 o’clock. Funeral to Shillelagh after Service in Clonegal Church at 2 o’clock tomorrow (Friday).


Hugh with his 3 – horse box

Bea with her hens



January 17, 1937 – a letter of W. R. Dowse, Carnew Castle, to daughter Kathleen and her husband George Binkley:

 Awful weather, nothing but rain, and then some. Last night beat all for rain and wind, floods everywhere. 

I am sitting in study window looking out on the hills beyond, very green. Hugh is gone to church, in the choir. Hugh & I drive a lot about, he is very busy building horse vans, can’t keep up with the work. Sold a Packard car this week, a dandy, 550 pounds, 20% commission, not bad. Is talking of putting up more buildings, not room enough, wants me to boss the job Canadian style. Lumber is high priced & comes from Russia, most of it.

I have been to many fine places and lovely houses – solid comfort. Visited racing stables (pretty good) one with 150 horses. Stables A-1, one man to every 2 horses, not over worked you will say. Train them on the Curragh, the racing place of Ireland, flat, with plenty of jumps, a good place to train. They train here the same old way as I often told you. One racing man I met sold two horses in England a few days ago. Duty on the two came to 590 pounds!!! Is not this high? This man’s son has gone to India to race horses there, horses that are not good enough to race in England. The Derby takes a good one. So much for the Irish Sweepstakes. The owner of these horses bought the Packard car that I mentioned – lots of money. It takes it to race. Hugh sent up one mare to be trained at a racing stable last week, he thinks she may have a future.

Raining to beat the band now. Spring flowers coming out all over, and lots of grass. Cattle & horses out all the time.

Great differences of opinion as regards the government here. Everybody that has money leaving the country for England. Hunting goes on the same as ever. We met a lot of men in pink last night as were going to Carlow about 40 [miles] away to deliver a horse box to a lady that lives in a house by herself, with about 50 rooms. She has a lot of money, single, & I think will remain so. She had two places, one was burned down in 22, and she moved to this place I mention. They built pretty good houses long ago. I think Ireland has seen its best days – too bad for old Ireland. I am thinking of retracing my steps and face the setting sun.  

I am busy at nothing all the time – doing some jobs, but not too much. I have two dogs to take out, very fond of me now. You should see Bee smoke, all the time, beats all.  Tobacco high here and none too good – home grown. I have had great talks with the old boys. They say I have got a good memory for things & places. I like to hear them talk. I cut the snorts out – too many. We had a fair last week, just the same. You should hear the talk over sales – you would laugh your head off.

Monday 19

Rained all night, low land under water, and looks a lot more, it beats all. Bee just sold 120 hens, & you should have heard the bargaining she had. I was trying to chip in and finally closed the sale with luck [illegible]. The buyer wanted 5/ but I think it will be shaved down to 2/6!! Irish quite Irish you know.

 Hugh & I are going to see an old mill with the idea of buying some of the building. Hugh requires more room, took on more men today. He makes some good horse-boxes, and there is a lot of work on them.

 I have seen miles of stone walls, 10 feet high, labour must have been cheap years ago. 

The hounds meet today but Hugh not going, too wet. It’s a very cold day, & my hands are cold – too much so to write. You will have a hard time to make this out. Cars go wrong here the same old way. Bad storms here, looks like snow, & cold. 

With love to all,

            Yours sincerely,

            W.R. Dowse


Part of a letter dated January 29, 1937 to May describes the terrible winter they are having in Ireland.

 We are having awful weather, nothing but rain and storms, floods everywhere.  Water in some places over the roads, and cars getting stalled, and being pulled out by Dobbin. Very cold here, East wind & S.E. all the time.  

Bee just came in and the cold was awful. Hugh gone to Dublin, just two of us here now. I am writing in the billiard room, the best place in the house, stove burning Kilkenny coal, never gives out. Hugh can’t stand it hot, wants window open all the time. I laugh at him and……. [rest of letter missing]


Part of a letter, which was in the same envelope as Jan. 29, 1937

…in and out, very familiar with the dogs. I am out in the workshop very often, and the forge. I am repairing the bricks in the grate Study & Drawing room. 

Your wire today said no hurry home, all the same I feel I should be on the way.  When I say anything about going here they say no. This has been the worst Winter for rain in 40 years, & I think they are right. Awful weather, hardly any sun. We were in Dublin one day, and it was grand, but it rained all day here. 

 Some days ago I was in the lawn looking at the beech tree that I carved your name on last time here[9]. I redated it, and will do so in Umrigar too. 

 Farming is no good now over here, everybody getting out of the country that has anything to go with. Only forHughandFitzwilliam[10] this place would be on the hummer, so they tell me. I told you I was in Barndown[11]. Bee & I picked a bough from the tree I gave you for Christmas, it is now a very huge tree. Bee is asleep at the fire. I stiled (sic) up the hen house – hens laying fairly well. 


A letter to Kathleen confirms what William has been telling May about the weather in Ireland that winter.


The Castle

                                                                                    Feb. 2, 1937

My darling Kathleen,

            I had a wire from Mother this morning brought up to my room by the maid, so I wired back to let her see all was O.K. Awful weather you seem to have, real Manitoba, I know something about.

            When we talk about weather we haven’t far to go to get it, right here the worst in 40 years, nothing but rain & more of it day and night since I came, & storms, gales I should say, something terrible, roads washed away, sea walls the same, cars stranded in the roads owing to water and being pulled out by horses! Houses flooded in many parts, but I am glad to say that we are on high ground here, and the water runs down the hill strange to say. 

Hugh is up in Dublin today and won’t be home until tomorrow, so Bee and I are alone. Tonight we are down in the billiard room and I have a dog looking up at me, a great pet, and has taken a great fancy to me. I can’t move, she follows me everywhere, upstairs and down, name Jessie (collie) & then comes Robin just the same. Jessie talks to me, she is at it now.

Just by the way of a change it has thought fit to snow tonight, and I think I will have to start making a sleigh tomorrow. We have quite a bunch of men here, all trades, making horse boxes and bodies for cars – very good work turned out and busy all the time. The blacksmith and I are very thick, very, and in fact all the rest – I am in & out all the time. Hugh & I go for drives all over for business all the time, some very fine places and big houses. Some have money left still, but a good many are getting out for England. We went to one racing man not too long since, 150 horses, 2 horses to each groom – not heavily worked.

Feb. 3

Wet again today, I don’t expect to see any sunshine again. We are thinking of going up to Donegal to seeEthel[12] before I go West.

Hugh is in bed today, got cold out hunting. I told him he would get it, wet to the hide some days. He is a great fiend for fresh air, has window open all the time, pretty fresh some of the time, too much so for me. 

Bee and I went out yesterday to a meet, but was too wet to see anything and we hiked for home. I was to dinner last night at Doyne’s, agent to Lord Fitzwilliam. The latter has chartered steamer for West Africa and taking his own servants and a host of friends some time, Doyne is one of them. Fitzwilliam has plenty, $5000 a day.   

I hope influenza keeps away from Canada, has been very bad here all over, bad weather for it.

Love to all, hoping to see you all soon.

Your loving Dad


And a letter to his other daughter, “Brownie” Dowse, who was unmarried and resided at  The Maples with her parents and unmarried brothers, Neville and Dick.


Carnew Castle

                                                                                    Feb. 5, 1937


My darling Brownie,

            I think I wrote to Mother last. I write all the time. I forget things now – all days seem the same. I thought this was Saturday, but it’s Friday. We had frost last night. Two fine days running, quite a [illegible]. All well here now.

 Hugh had a cold and kept to bed, & was like a bear. He has so much on hand that he can’t get through in time for Spring Show, orders coming too fast, & they all want their job right away. It takes a month to build a double horsebox. One order from [illegible] in a hurry also.

Bee & I went over to Mrs. Pigott’s last evening to Georgie’s. She is very nice, & quite an old place & very nice, lovely flowers & grounds, Laurels very large, & lovely walks by the river, rock garden very pretty, will go again. She was laid up with cold, & could not come out with us. The house full of staff (good), & two lovely cocker spaniels, took to me right away. Lovely old trees, dating back for years. Rev. French lived there, Mother will know.

Bee& I & the groom went a few days ago hunting up a pony for some kid, & we drove a long way. Went by Clone, which has gone to the dogs, & then we went home by Kilpipe. Nearly got lost, but got there all the same, dark, & raining cats & dogs all the time. Didn’t see anything, & went home by Tinahely, some place. The side roads are very bad, simply trails. I hardly knew the road down by Kilpipe Church, rough as the Devil, and narrow, two cars hard to pass. Off now to meet.


Sunday Feb. 7:  Cold day and raining. Hugh off to the church – leads choir; BeeI don’t know where, she is pretty hard to find any time. Always hat – I think she sleeps in it, and long rubber boots. We have had 5 days without rain since I arrived, and it seems we are

in for more rain. On Friday last we went to the meet at Coollattin, took Hugh with us, groom riding one horse, and leading Hugh’s horse to the meet. Then we took the road and saw the hunt very well, and drove a lot here and there and ended up and met Hugh, and he drove home. It was a lovely day and had some lovely views of the country. Clear day and could see well with glasses. The hounds meet here tomorrow outside the Castle gate. Mr. Doyne the Master is away with Lord Fitzwilliam to the West side of Africa, having chartered steamer, & taking his own servants & a bunch of friends, will be away for 6 weeks. His Lordship is worth 1000[13] pounds a day, so he can well afford a trip like this. What say you?   

I am carving your name on beech tree, same one that I carved your Mother’s on in ’24.

                                                                                    Ever your loving Pa


Bee (I found out from the maid) is gone to church. I am holding the billiard room down, with Jessie the collie. We may go to the Curragh after lunch. Hugh has a horse in training for race, may have a chance. He is deluged with orders for horseboxes, one just finished and looks grand; fitted up with every thing – Electric light, seat for groom, etc., padded nicely. Three more on the way now, pushed for time to make others for the Spring Show in May. Orders for cars too; sold a Packard not long since, 550 pounds; another ordered. Hugh is a fresh air fiend, must have window open all the time, cold as outside. Hugh can polish off oranges to beat the band, 4 & 5 at a time, big ones at that. He & I get on very well.

I was busy yesterday repairing tile in the drawing room grate; made a good job & the study also. Made poker for the stove[14] in billiard room; fire never goes out, burns Kilkenny coal; anthracite. Greenhouse full of flowers all in bloom; and strawberries, big ones, just fit to pull – not many but very big. Tomatoes planted in flats about 2 inches high. Lots of bulbs coming up in garden, and cabbages very good. Rhubarb doing well. Preparing for mushrooms in building. 

                                                                                    Au revoir


Photo of William Dowse standing in front of The Castle with one of Beatrice’s dogs


Part of a letter to May, “Carnew Castle, March 14, 1937”


             Things go on here just the same, nothing but rain & snow. The worst snow & whitest winter for 70 years, and that’s going some. Roads in some places full of snow. The Parson here tried to go to Dublin, got as far as Blessington and had to turn back and go some other way, and did not make Dublin until late night. Am sending papers, you will see. The weather has been very cold & raw; the hills are all covered with snow and Spring work will be very late. Report over Radio last night from N. England and Scotland very bad. Snowbanks 6 feet on top of sheep, and no traffic on roads.  N. Ireland the same, worse than Canada. 

Bee and I went for a load of wood in big truck the other day, you should see us – the first time she drove it and went fine, and a good load of ash makes a fine fire. Hugh and I went yesterday for more, on the road all the time. I have more work to finish before I start West – hot bed frame, and I don’t know what else. Hugh got an old trailer the other day, a big brute on 4 wheels, intends turning it into a summer camp, at Courtown, Ardmore, somewhere. We are going down there after lunch today to inspect things – they have a lot down there. Very busy in the Garage now, lots of orders. Can’t make them fast enough, no time to make exhibits for Spring Show in May…                                       


March 19, 1937, to May


The weather has been so bad that we have not yet gone to Ethel’s but I think will soon.

I am keeping like a fighting rooster – up to anything, and I have plenty on hands now. I have been planning all day on a building that Hugh wants me to boss, rather a big one for factory, present one too small for their work now as he gets plenty to do and space is rather limited.

Papers came last post, thanks, I sent you some also, all about the snow and floods, bad in the North, cars stuck, and in England very bad, the worst in Ireland for 50 years. Snow on the hills here still, and looks like more. Spring will be very late, no spuds down yet nor oats, which is very late for Ireland. 

Yesterday was fair day here, and I was going out to the workshop and had just put on my overalls, and had a hammer & saw in hand, and passing the stable door heard some talking inside, went in to see what was going on. I found Bob Symes[15], Hugh & Bee. Bob had seen Bee just before and enquired was I up – what do you think of that? She told him I was very much up – he was surprised very much, and he was more so when I was finished with him. We returned to the billiard room and Bee brought Irish & Scotch, not to mention soda. Then the talk began, for two solid hours. He said he never saw the fair of Carnew pass so quickly. I told him things he was surprised at, and in the end I had him like a boiled owl. Hugh took him out to see a car, and he couldn’t tell back from front. He said I was a wonderful man, and had a great memory. Bee & I intend going to Wingfield some day soon, and will have more to say. What do you think. 

You know I am not a betting man, but today I began. The Grand National was on today at 3 p.m. & I put a bob on a horse, and the horse won. My first bet on a horse, and that was the G. National.  I put the bet on at 2 p.m.  Bee & Hugh won also.

Hugh & I went to Tinahely and saw R. Taylor, and quite a time talking. They all seem surprised at me, expect to see an old man all crippled up,[16] nothing doing so far. I am talking of going home, but when I do they say here, not yet. Bob Symes thought I would come here and stay for good, one more thought coming. 

I sent you some buds lately, but I suppose they will all be dried up. Will send you a rose, I see some out in the green house. I spent St. Patrick’s Day making a hot bed frame for Bee. It was a holiday, and I had the shop to myself. We are busy now getting ash sawn up for horseboxes; it takes a lot of stuff to make them, and a lot of money. One on hands now to hold 3 horses. The duty off horses now has brightened up trade in horses. 

The roads have been covered with water in some places. Kildare was bad, races had to be postponed, owing to wet course. Sheep in the North were buried in snow, 12 feet deep in some places, and bad floods. Land very wet, will take two weeks to dry even if it stops now, and no sign of that. We all heard the Grand National Race being run off today, the groom & some of the men came into the study to hear the result, Gardener & boy. 

We had friends of Hugh’s here for dinner this week, man & wife. very nice -Electrical Engineer, wife very small, Irish & pleasant to talk to. Fishing for salmon at Newtownbarry, drew a blank as far as fish. Lots of money, and willing to spend it I suppose. Private rights seen as high on some rivers as 600 pounds for season, rather high for a tin of salmon.

March 20: Good Morning. Rained all night, water all over. Just been down to Coollattin  about lumber for building, river Derry overflowing and fields very wet, will take two weeks to dry up. Tom Carney (man in building yard at Coollattin) asked me today did I remember the harrow I made. Some man was asking yesterday about me – they don’t forget. I am pretty well known down there now. If I get all the buildings up here before I go West you won’t see me for some time, I will, or someone will, have to hustle.


Before William Dowse left Beatrice and Hugh for home, he made the trip to Donegal to visit May’s sister, Ethel Steele and her husband, Rev. John (Jack) Curtis Steele.


Photo of photo of Ethel, Jack and May Steele with William Dowse and the grandsons, Des and Neville Pollard


Beatrice’s father left Ireland for home on May 8, 1937, and she was devastated to see him go, “I want to keep him to the last possible moment.” She would never see her father again.


The 1930s were prosperous times for Beatrice and Hugh, and they won many awards for their various enterprises:

1933 Beatrice won the “Alfa” All Ireland Cake Making Competition

1934 Carnew Motor Co. won an award at the Royal Dublin Society Spring Show for Irish Manufactures in the Caravans and Trailers category

1935 Carnew Motors again won an award at the Royal Dublin Society Sadrstat Industries Fair for their Caravans and Trailers

On September 20, 1937 both Beatrice and Hugh won prizes for their horses


Irish Times photo taken in front of the Castle – the Hunt



1939 Hugh won an award at the Royal Dublin Society Horse Show, “Class 27 Four Year Old Mare, First prize awarded to Captain T.W. Woodhouse (owner and Breeder of) For “Marchesa”

 In later years Beatrice looked back on these busy years at the Castle and described to her sister Kathleen some of work she took upon herself.

 I have milked cows, done the separating & churning, all the dairy work, ran & looked after the engine for them all & the water supply for the house, ploughed, sown potatoes & all the rest. Never think I did not work as hard as anyone, & harder than a lot – reared 1,000,000s of chickens & ducks, turkeys, pea hens, etc. etc. etc. besides breeding & exporting greyhounds – made a name for them too! Sat up at night with sick cows, mares & foals & woke up one morning to find myself with my pet mare standing over me, & heaps of other things few women do here – delivered many piglets too! 

In addition to winning awards for their various enterprises during the 30s and 40s Beatrice and Hugh were often featured in various newspapers when attending special events such as: the Enniscorthy Show, the Gorey Show, or Point-to-Point races in Shillelagh.


Scan of newspaper article showing a photo of Beatrice and Hugh at the Enniscorthy Show



Newspaper article and photo of Beatrice at Point-to-Point races at Shillelagh



Newspaper article and photo of Captain T.H. Woodhouse at Gorey Show with his prize winning horses



In addition to this Beatrice and Hugh were invited to some notable social events:

In the late 1920s[17] Beatrice and Hugh attended the Coollattin Hunt Ball at Coollattin House, the residence of Earl Fitzwilliam. Others in attendance were Fitzwilliam’s agent “Mr. D. W. Doyne, M.F.H., Mrs. Doyne, the Misses Doyne, Mr. and Mrs. Barton, Mr. and Mrs. Hudson-Kinahan, Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy, Major K. Alexander, Captain Gibbon, Lieutenant-Colonel Vandeleur, Mr. and Miss Hall-Dare, and many more.”


Newspaper photo of the people attending the Coollattin Ball



Captain and Mrs. Woodhouse received an invitation from the Governor General and Mrs. McNeill to attend a Garden Party at the Vice Regal Lodge in Dublin to celebrate the Bi Centenary of the Royal Dublin Society on June 24th, 1931



In July of 1943 Captain T. Woodhouse and Mrs. Woodhouse received an invitation from the President of Ireland to a “reception in the grounds of Arus an Uachtarain on the occasion of the award of the President’s Trophy to the premier Red Cross County for the year 1943.”




Later, in February of 1946, the Woodhouses attended a Farewell Dinner at the Officer’s Mess, Clarke Barracks, Curragh Camp. The invitation is signed by many of the other attendees.





[1] After the death of Aunt Kate, Violet Kilbride moved to 1 Derrynane Terrace in Dalkey

[2] United Services Club, Dublin

[3] The castle has a turret

[4] The Auctioneer, WR refers to him in his letters from The Castle in 1924 on his last visit

[5] Should read Earl Fitzwilliam

[6] Arthur Piggot came to Canada to learn farming from W.R. in the late 1800s. W.R. is visiting Arthur’s sister-in-law

[7] Sandham Symes

[8] May’s married sister – Ethel Steele

[9] In 1924

[10] Earl Fitzwilliam

[11] The Dowse family home was in Barnadown. William inherited the farm from his mother when she died in 1884, and sold it before he came to Canada in 1886

[12] Ethel Steele, May’s sister.

[13] His other letter claimed it was 5000

[14] William Dowse was an amateur blacksmith and won awards at country fairs in Manitoba for his blacksmithing skills

[15] Robert Symes of Wingfield

[16] William had turned 76 in Dec.

[17] A newspaper photo has a date of Jan. 9, but no year. On the opposite side is a set of figures “at September, 1928”, and therefore the Ball was likely in January of 1929

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