Thursday, January 12, 2017

Bride Park: Not Just a Kennel

Page by page, that discarded family photo album I had found now started providing more clues. The more details spotted on previous pages, the more understanding the exercise yielded. It took a process, first, of linking internal clues to each other, then, when enough of those were aggregated, taking the leap into the real world to try out our hypothesis and see if it led us to any real people.

Before jumping to any conclusions, though, it might be helpful to view just one more page in the album I rescued from our local antique shop. This one allows us to step back from that "hall door" we had already seen in the photograph of "Grannie" and take in a view of the house through which the entrance led.

Not only did this photograph provided a glimpse of just what the place looked like in 1936, but its caption revealed to us that the building, itself, was called Bride Park.

Part of Bride Park House.

What we had previously assumed was the name of the kennel claiming the bragging rights for the prize-winning "Bride Park Periwinkle" turned out to be the name of the home where the kennel was likely based.

The question now became: where, exactly, would that Bride Park home be located? If the house known as Bride Park was the residence of the "Mrs. P. Hawkes of Ovens" whose prize-winning West Highland White Terrier came from a kennel bearing that same name, it would figure that Bride Park would be located in Ovens.

Fortunately, questions like this are serving to reawaken some of my hibernating research memories from our family's trip to Ireland, two years ago. One site I had found back then, upon discovering an Irish relative's address led to the ruins of a now-deserted two story home, was a useful database set up by the National University of Ireland in Galway. Called the Landed Estates Database, it catalogs properties in Ireland by location, by family names and by estate names.

My next step, obviously, was to go straight to the NUI database and see what could be found under the heading, "Bride Park." There was indeed an entry, from which I gleaned that there is also a townland bearing the same name as the estate, itself.

The entry provided a brief historical rundown on the first owners of the Bride Park estate. The house was built in the 1770s by a Reverend Stephen Rolleston, changing hands in the early 1800s to a Reverend Spread. By the mid 1800s, the owner was a man named Thomas Power, but there had apparently been others on the title, prior to that point.

None of the surnames, however, included that of the woman whose kennel shared the name of this estate. There was no mention of anyone named Hawkes.

That was where I slowed down to take in all the details on this brief house history. While I was somewhat consoled by spotting the mention of new owners taking over in the early 1900s, that hardly mattered when I realized what the map on the page was shouting at me: this Bride Park was on the wrong side of the city of Cork. If Mrs. P. Hawkes was from Ovens, she had to live in a place to the west of Cork, not the east. And the NUI Galway site had this Bride Park situated to the northeast of the city.

Now I understand why, despite a recent renovation, that Bride Park house didn't quite look the same as our photograph. It wasn't the same house!

That left me wondering: should I be following the lead of the name of the kennel owner, Mrs. P. Hawkes? Or should I pursue further clues by examining more details about this property which appeared to be the rightful claimant to the estate name Bride Park?

Not only that, but another possibility occurred to me: what if, like many "photo shoots" of our current day, this unnamed family was just on an outing to a beautiful, photogenic locale which would serve as a pleasant backdrop for their family portraits?  


  1. Check out this site. Note Bride River.

    1. Interesting website, Geolover. Thanks for mentioning it! It hadn't occurred to me that there might be a reason behind the name Bride Park, but the River Bride makes sense. Back to the maps for me!

  2. Google Maps has a photo of the place.,+Killumney,+Ovens,+Co.+Cork,+Ireland/@51.8703191,-8.6568969,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x48448d59acad0265:0x928c28bc10c80f9!8m2!3d51.8703158!4d-8.6547082!6m1!1e1

    1. Well, Bride Park Cottage may figure in our story, but it's a photograph later in the album that makes me wonder about the identity of Bride Park Cottage (in addition to the building called Bride Park House. That, too, has an interesting history, as I'm discovering.

  3. What a lovely place it is today:) I can only imagine how pretty it was covered in vines:)

    1. I think you would love visiting Bride Park Cottage, Far Side. The owners apparently have a holiday open house, given to benefit local charities. The current-day photos look wonderful, inside and out, when the place is all decked out in Christmas cheer.


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