Our next talk will take place at 8.30 pm on 29th November 2018 in the West Cork Hotel entitled: “The Earls of Castlehaven or Lord Audleys” by Dr Michael Keane, who is a retired lecturer from University College, Cork and lives in Farran, Ovens, Co. Cork.
He will discuss the colourful lives of the Castlehavens/Audleys who were very large landowners in West Cork for close to 300 years extending from Castlehaven to the Mizen peninsula, They were leading participants in all the major historical events of that period, including the Battle of Kinsale, the Plantations and the Catholic Confederacy uprising. In the 19th century they developed Audleys mines in the Mizen and the Audley estate was a focus for the catastrophe of the Great Famine.
Controversy and scandal were never too far removed from the family. The 2nd Earl of Castlehaven married royalty as his wife Anne, eldest daughter of Lord Derby and Alice Spencer of Althorp of more recent Lady Diana fame, was at one stage heir presumptive to the throne of Queen Elizabeth I. However the 2nd Earl was accused by his wife Anne of extreme sexual depravity and, following a sensational trial, was executed in London. Remarkably his successor, the 3rd Earl of Castlehaven became a leading commander in the Catholic Confederacy uprising and led the resistance in Ireland to Protestant advancement and to Cromwell. In the 19th century three successive Lord Audleys were involved in copper mining on their estate in the Mizen peninsula near Ballydehob in West Cork, a venture which was riddled with fraud and corruption.
In overall terms the story of the lives of the Castlehavens/Audleys helps to illuminate the shifting sands of control and dominance of Irish affairs during many of the key centuries of Irish history.