Ringlestown.

 

Ringlestown House is located outside Kilmessan. Bence-Jones described Ringlestown as a pleasant Victorian house in the late Georgian manner. A pond with a waterfall and fountain were located to the south of the house. John Wilkinson of Curtistown purchased Ringlestown in the middle of the eighteenth century. About 1840 John Wilkinson built a new house for his younger son, Robert, at Ringlestown. His cousin, one of the Mason Yeates, erected a house of the same design at Grangemoccin, Delhusey, Co. Dublin. Robert and his sister lived at Ringlestown until 1885. He erected a shell grotto, created an artificial lake and a bath house. In 1876 Robert Wilkinson of Ringlestown held 124 acres in County Meath.

Robert had no children and the property was inherited by his nephew, George. George had been to Oxford and he installed a water pump and a gas plant. George kept driving horse but did not hunt or shoot. George died at another Wilkinson home at Curtistown in the late 1920s. The Land Commission then acquired Ringlestown.

Senator Bill Quirke purchased the house. Bill Quirke was born in Clonmel in 1894 and was involved with the Tipperary No £ Brigade IRA. In 1921 he was imprisoned on Spike Island in Cork Harbour by the British forces. He and seven others managed to make an escape from this very safe prison. Quirke took the republican side in the Civil War. There is a story that one day he came face to face with Larry Clancy, a neighbour who was on the pro treaty side. Both of them were armed. Bill is alleged to have defused what might have been a serious situation by saying, “Larry, if I shoot you or you shoot me, there is not much in that for either of us, so why don‟t we both have sense and go home?” For a period in the 1920s he went to America. Returning to Ireland he became involved in his family‟s auctioneering business. In 1932 he became a senator, a position he led until his death in 1955. He served as Leader of the House. He was a pioneer in the development of the Irish bogs and was at an early stage a director of the Turf Development Board. He was also a member of the Agricultural Credit Corporation and of the Racing Board. In 1936 he moved to Ringlestown. He revived the Tara Harriers and became Master. He served two terms as Mayor of Clonmel in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The family lived in Dublin for a period. Senator Quirke died from a seizure on 5th March 1955 while taking part in the Ward Union Hunt at Garristown. The President Sean T. O‟Kelly and the Taoiseach Eamon de Valera attended the funeral.

The house was lived in by Surgeon and Mrs. Pringle during the late 1940s and early 1950s. Seton Sidney Pringle began his career as a surgeon to the Mercer Hospital, to which his father had bequeathed a large amount of money for hospital expansion. During the First World War Pringle served in France as a surgeon in the urgency cases hospital with the French army. In 1918 he became visiting surgeon to Baggot Street hospital, where he worked till 1944. Pringle specialised in abdominal surgery. Known to his students as „Satan‟, he had a reputation as a swift surgeon. On his retirement from active surgery in 1944 he moved to Ringlestown House, where he spent his time fishing on the Boyne river and managing his farm. He died in 1955.

Sir Hercules and Lady Langrishe moved to Ringlestown in 1956. Hercules Langriche was created Baron of Knocktopher Abbey, Co. Kilkenny in 1777 and the Hercules who lived at Ringlestown inherited the title in 1973. He died in 1998. A relative is Caroline Langriche who is an actress and became known for her role in Judge John Deed as Deed's ex-wife, Georgina Channing, QC, and was also the leading lady of Lovejoy in the show's last two seasons. She then moved onto a role in Casualty. Ringlestown was lived in for a period by Mr and Mrs Mel Beecher.

An article on the house by John G.S. Wilkinson appears in „Kilmessan and Dunsany: A millennium memoir‟

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