I came across John Barrington when researching my family history.
My great grandmother, Sarah Rankin, was a domestic servant and she married out of 202 Great Britain Street, Dublin, in 1866.
Thoms told me that this was the residence of John Barrington, tallow merchant, and I then found out that he had been Lord Mayor of Dublin in 1865. That was the year the Prince of Wales visited the city and he was so impressed with the Lord Mayor's hospitality that he knighted him. John Barrington was also Lord Mayor in 1879.
And this is where two research paths cross.
I am also following up on some earlier local history research on the Ballybrack/Killiney area in south Co. Dublin. In the course of this I find that Sir John Barrington was the occupier, but not the owner, of St. Anne's on the Killiney Hill Road, between 1872 and 1883 and Santa Severina between 1883 and his relatively sudden death in 1887 at age 63. Following his death, Santa Severina vanished and Summerhill emerged in its place. His widow moved to Campanella, within a stone's throw of the former Santa Severina.
Santa Severina from Tower No.7
William Lawrence Collection
Meanwhile my mother moved to Ballybrack in 1954 and ran the local paper shop. We had paper deliveries in those days and one of the houses to which we delivered was Campanella, initially still occupied by a descendant of Sir John Barrington. I think it was on Maurice O'Connor's paper round.
St. Anne's is described by Peter Pearson, in his book Between the Mountains and the Sea as one of the major houses in the area at the time. The house was first owned in the late 1860s by the Du Bedat family of stockbroking and other notorious fame. In more modern times it was occupied by Constantine Fitzgibbon.
St. Anne's, with Barrington's Tower,
from painting by Du Noyer
courtesy Niall O'Donoghue
It appears that John Barrington decided to move up the property ladder by moving to Santa Severina. At least this is what the relative rateable valuation of the two houses would suggest (St. Anne's £54 - Santa Severina £84!). It is not clear to me why Pearson has not included Santa Severina in the houses he describes unless he is unaware that it and the current Summerhill are one and the same.
courtesy Niall O'Donoghue
A further connection is No.7 Martello Tower on Killiney Hill Road. As well as taking a lot of photographs of the locality in the late 1960s and early 1970s, I dealt with the Martello Towers in my local history essays. As a result of this I came into contact with Niall O'Donoghue, who has done a magnificent restoration job on No. 7 Tower. Niall was able to confirm to me that Santa Severina had in fact become Summerhill, and he even had a map of the original house to prove it.
Niall's Tower No. 7