A letter written almost 150 years ago in an Irish hotel by a descendant of the great princes of Carbery has been presented to the hotel by his American family.

Susan MacCarthy, a great, great grand-daughter of Daniel MacCarthy Glas, retraced his steps and said she was delighted to present the original letter he wrote while staying in the Imperial Hotel in 1870 to its general manager, Frits Potgieter.

Ms MacCarthy, from Salem, Oregon, is visiting Cork with her family to formally present the extensive Daniel MacCarthy Glas archive to the State.

They took time over the weekend to visit the Imperial Hotel, where Daniel stayed before visiting his ancestral home in Dunmanway. They presented to the hotel the letter he wrote to his son, Florence, from his hotel room overlooking the South Mall, in August 1870.

In the letter to his “dearest Florry”, Daniel recalls an almost day-long boat trip from England to Ireland.

He writes: “So far safe and well, but after a sadly rough and suffering passage of 23 hours. I spent the night on deck and hope not to spend such another, however Thank God, I am all well again. This hotel is a huge world in which I lose myself every time I venture out of the coffee room. It is full and I was lucky to get a bed, as people telegraph for them before hand. I think I shall stay quiet till Monday and make my excursion to Dunmanway; but I will let you know my movements as soon as I determine anything.”

Ms MacCarthy and her family also gave the hotel a framed copy of a portrait of Daniel from 1841, probably painted in Italy while he was on a grand tour of Europe.

Mr Potgieter was delighted to accept the presentations not just on behalf of the 200-year-old hotel, but on behalf of the people of Cork.

“We feel very privileged to be in this position,” he said.

“We celebrated our 200th anniversary last year and we created a ‘wall of memories’ to display the many personal connections people have had with the hotel over the decades. This letter and portrait will be display on that wall.”

Daniel MacCarthy Glas was directly descended from the princes of Carbery, the MacCarthy Reaghs and the MacCarthy Glas, based at Togher Castle near Dunmanway, Co Cork. His grandfather emigrated from Cork to England in 1763, and Daniel was born to a wealthy Irish Catholic merchant family in London in 1807. He died in 1884.

His archive has been donated to the City and County Archives in Cork.


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