This is Ardee

Taaffe’s Smarmore items up for auction

Barry Landy | 16th October, 2015 at 9:47am

A range of items with significant historical value relating to Smarmore Castle and the Taaffe family who once resided there will go under the hammer at an auction later this month.

The items – one of which is valued at up to €5,000 – will be auctioned at Mealy’s Fine Art sale in Kilkenny next week – on Tuesday 21st and Wednesday 22nd October.

A collection of letters and documents concerning the Taaffe family are what is valued at €5,000 – with some of the letters sent back to Smarmore from George Taaffe, who was serving in the Crimean War in Sevastapol at the time.

The family’s history in Louth dates back to the 13th century and the documents, letters and photographs detail numerous periods during the Taaffe’s time in the area. George Taaffe’s dispatches from Sevastapol – where he was serving with the British Invasion force – describe the fighting in some detail.

Also included in the range are letters to George from a number of world political figures and detailed workmen’s accounts for the upkeep of Smarmore Castle estate. This describe daily work schedules and costings.

A printed passport issued to George Taaffe and dated 1825 are also up for auction as is another printed passport issued to John Taaffe by John Earl Russell, Her Majesty’s Secretary for Foreign Affairs (below). Russell was the father of the philosopher Bertrand Russell. That passport is dated 1862.


These are joined by a copy of the book ‘The Prince and the Wild Geese’ – penned by Brigid Brophy and based on the story of Julia Taaffe of Smarmore Castle and the Russian Prince Gagarin’s unsuccessful attempt to marry her.

Numerous photographs included in the lot take in scenes such as Smarmore Castle weddings, animals and the estate’s tobacco plantation – all taken across the 18th and 19th century.

You can read more about the objects from Smarmore Castle that are up for auction by clicking here (page 33/108):

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