EVENTS in 2015

Forthcoming events:


Members will receive news of our 2016 events in the Spring Newsletter.

Previous 2015 events:

November 22nd, 2015. Annual Huguenot Service.

Our Annual Huguenot Service took place in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin on Sunday, November 22nd at 3.15pm. The event was very well attended. Our annual bi-lingual service gives us the opportunity to come together and remember those Huguenots who came to Ireland as refugees in the late 17th and early 18th century, many of whom worshipped in the Lady Chapel in St. Patrick’s Cathedral. This year, it also afforded us the opportunity to remember the victims of recent tragic events in Paris. We were honoured by the presence of the French Ambassador to Ireland, M. Jean-Pierre Thébault and all present were grateful for the opportunity to stand together in prayer and in unity with France at this difficult time.

This year, we were also privileged to witness Matthew, a new young chorister, being welcomed into the magnificent choir of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

November 3rd, 2015. Huguenot Memorials in Lisburn.

A service of re-dedication of the Coulson, Crommelin and Dubourdieu memorials was held in Lisburn Cathedral on Tuesday 3 November, attended by the Lord Lieutenant of Co. Antrim and the Mayor of Lisburn & Castlereagh. The Rector, Canon Sam Wright conducted the service and preached. The readings were by Dr Jane McKee, Chair of the Irish Section of the Huguenot Society and David Twigg, Chairman of the Lisburn Memorials Trust, and there was an address by Brian Mackey, Curator of the Irish Linen Centre and Lisburn Museum.

Following the service there was a reception in the Irish Linen Centre at which there were speeches by descendants of the Crommelin and Dubourdieu families.

The restoration of the memorials was organized by the Lisburn Memorials Trust, a sub-committee of the Lisburn Historical Society which includes Elizabeth Bicker, the Honorary Secretary of the Irish Section of the Huguenot Society. The work was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The Crommelin memorial, which is in the cathedral grave yard, marks the grave of Louis Crommelin and members of his family. Louis Crommelin, a French Huguenot refugee, was appointed by William III as Overseer of the Royal Linen Manufacture in Ireland. He settled in Lisburn in 1698 with a small colony of around seventy Huguenots which led to the establishment of a Huguenot church in the town.

The Revd Saumarez Dubourdieu, whose memorial is on the south wall of the cathedral, was the last minister of the French church in Lisburn. Appointed in 1757, Revd Dubourdieu’s ministry in the French church, which he held together with the perpetual curacy of Lambeg, lasted for over fifty years. He was also Master of the Classical School in Lisburn for fifty-six years and when he died in 1812 his pupils erected the memorial in the cathedral.

If you would like to learn more about the Lisburn Memorials Trust and the Huguenots mentioned above, please click here.

November 3rd, 2015. Children’s Art Workshops in Lisburn.

Also as part of the Lisburn Memorial Trust’s restoration project, a series of art workshops was arranged. The workshops were held in the Irish Linen Centre & Lisburn Museum and were led by the education team at the Museum and local artist Tommy Barr who is of Huguenot descent and a Committee Member of our Irish Section. Read the full story about this creative initiative here.

September 26th, 2015. A Visit to Waterford City.

On Saturday September 26th Members visited Waterford City. There are three museums in what is known as the Viking Triangle in the heart of Ireland’s oldest city and we were very fortunate to have a wonderful tour of its treasures arranged for us. We are very grateful to our committee member, John Maiben Gilmartin, for organising a fantastic tour and for placing us in the very capable hands of the best guides we could ever have wished for.

Following an enjoyable lunch at the Bishop’s Palace Café, we were met by the Director of Waterford Treasures, Eamon McEneaney, who treated us to a fascinating tour of the Bishop’s Palace, a Georgian Townhouse which dates from 1743.
Just a 2 minute walk from Waterford’s famous Reginald’s Tower is the 13th Century Greyfriar’s Franciscan church. In 1693, the corporation that controlled the city, encouraged French Huguenots to come and settle in Waterford. Bishop Nathaniel Foy arranged for the Huguenots to hold their services in Greyfriar’s, which soon became known as ‘The French Church’. We enjoyed a wonderful talk inside the church from our guide, Julian Walton, who is an eminent local historian. He showed us the simple gravestone of Waterford’s famous architect John Roberts which is one of just a few stones inside the church. Roberts was married to French Huguenot, Mary Susanna Sautelle.

A step further back in time brought us to the Mayor’s wine vault where we viewed more treasures, this time dating from the 15th century. After our tour, we enjoyed 21st century hospitality at a nearby cake café and those who stayed overnight in Waterford met again later for dinner and enjoyed another welcome opportunity to discuss all the treasures that we had seen and all that we had learned throughout the day.

April 11th, 2015.  Commemoration of the bi-centenary of the famous duel between John Norcott d’Esterre and Daniel O’Connell.

On Saturday, April 11th we met in Collins Barracks in Dublin to commemorate this famous event which took place on 1st February 1815 in Kildare.  Our speakers were Professor Patrick Geoghegan of Trinity College Dublin and Captain Lar Joye, curator of Military History at the National Museum of Ireland.

Patrick Geoghegan gave an engaging and informative talk, explaining the circumstances of the duel, while Captain Lar Joye discussed the custom of duelling and its prevalence at the time, exhibiting Irish-made duelling pistols of the period.  He pointed out that many of those who fought duels at this period were in fact officers based in what is now Collins Barracks – the same venue where our commemoration event took place 200 years later.

Discussion of the O’Connell d’Esterre duel produced a picture of two very different men. O’Connell, who was not yet the towering figure we remember, was seen as a fire-eater and troublemaker and was thought perhaps to be afraid to fight, since a previously arranged duel had not taken place.  D’Esterre, on the other hand, was a former soldier who had turned to business in Dublin, not altogether successfully.  He was a man of undoubted courage and skill with firearms and had distinguished himself during his military career.

The duel aroused huge public interest, first in whether O’Connell would or would not fight and then in the event itself which, very unusually, attracted a large audience.  After the signal, d’Esterre was first to fire, but his ball landed at O’Connell’s feet. O’Connell’s shot hit him in the hip causing injuries of which d’Esterre died a few days later, but not before he had exonerated O’Connell.  Unresolved questions about the duel were discussed, including whether d’Esterre’s second had loaded his pistol properly or whether d’Esterre had deliberately fired into the ground.

The d’Esterre family is recorded in Ireland from 1675 when an Abraham Dester from Holland purchased Rossmanagher Castle near Bunratty. The birth of a daughter to an Isaac Staar in 1685 is also recorded in the registers of the Huguenot church of St Patrick’s in 1685.

We were delighted to have descendants of both D’Esterre and O’Connell amongst the large attendance at this event.  We also received messages from another d’Esterre descendant and were pleased to have had this opportunity to learn more about both families and to hear lively and stimulating talks from our wonderful speakers.  Our thanks go once again to our Chair and Hon. Secretary for arranging such an enjoyable and interesting event.

Some photos taken on the day may be viewed here: Famous Duel

The poster used to advertise the event may be viewed here: Poster re Famous Duel Event

          (Photography courtesy of Dallas Camier.)