Hall-Dare / Adair Envelopes



There's a somewhat coincidental connection between this collection and the recent Torney/Knatchbull collection - namely the locale of Glenageary, Co. Dublin. The Knatchbulls sent their daughter Bridget to Hillcourt School (now Rathdown School) in Glenageary whereas Mrs. J. O. Adair occasionally stayed at a similar 'big house' called Gowrie, which is on the same road as Hillcourt about half a mile apart. She also stayed at Blenheim (on Marlborough Road, Glenageary) which is another large private residence on a road of impressive homes.

Initial Observations

The letters are not all addressed to the same person - as one might expect from a hoard of letters. We have primarily:

  • Ella Hall-Dare (some of the earliest letters and one apparently later)

  • Mrs J O Adair

Is this the same person ? There does seem to be a transition from Ella Hall-Dare to Mrs J O Adair between 1886 and 1887.

However the theory that it might be the same person does appear to be thwarted by the 1935 letter to Ella Hall-Dare. Upon closer inspection, I think this is a 1886 letter as the stamp is consistent with some of the others from that period. Let's leave that for the moment.

Mrs J O Adair

So how do we go about finding who Mrs J O Adair was ? At first sight she would appear to be a lady of independent means and is possibly travelling between friends and relatives. We should also be aware that it was a common practice for women to use the name of their husband - so "J O Adair" may not be her name but that of her husband. Scanning through the letters, we do see a steady flow of communications from Tullow / Tulach O'Bhfeidhlim in Co. Carlow over an extended period. Let's just do a 1901 census search for Adair in Carlow.

And, voila, there is Adair, John Olphert (a Land Agent, aged 42) and his wife Elizabeth Frances (born in Switzerland) with three of their children. Let's run with the working assumption that Mrs J. O. Adair is none other than Elizabeth Frances Adair. Olphert is a curious name, being the surname of John's mother.

What other names can be found in the letters ?

Mrs Clarke - Lisburn

Aileen Ellen Adair (a daughter of the J.O. Adair couple) married Edward Stanley Clarke of Lisburn.


Another recurring name is Miss Ella Hall-Dare, also at exotic locations.

The Hall-Dare lineage started with the MP Robert Westley Hall-Dare who changed his family name from Hall to Hall-Dare by virtue of marrying into the Dare dynasty. He had a son of the same name (b. 1840 - d. 1876) and it is he that is being referred to subsequently. Robert was High Sheriff of County Carlow amongst other notable positions. As the Wikipedia entry states, his daughter Mabel Hall-Dare married an explorer called James Theodore Bent - they also happened to get married in Staplestown, Co. Carlow which isn't far from Tullow. So there is a definite Carlow connection shared with the Adair family.

Robert W. Hall-Dare was also High Sheriff of County Wexford - the more the merrier - and he had a residence in that county at Newtonbarry House which also appears as an address on the envelopes. So this is definitely the correct family. What is the link between the Hall-Dare family and the Adair family ? It seems that John O. Adair was Robert Hall-Dare's land agent but is there a closer connection?

Yes! The Belfast Newsletter (10 July 1886) tells us that Elizabeth Frances (Ella) Hall-Dare married John Olphert Adair in St Paul's church, Kensington, London on 7th Jul 1886. This means the theory that the two names refer to the same person was correct. Ella was a daughter of Robert W. Hall-Dare (b. 1840 - d. 1876) - one of six or so children.

Glenageary Links

  • "Gowrie" & Mrs Berry ?

Occupied from at least 1861 to at least 1872 by James Reside, Esq.

House occupied in 1925 by George F Marshall. George F Marshall was a shipping agent and he can be found with his family living in Dun Laoghaire (Kingston) in the 1911 census. Their son was Harold Cecil Marshall, a vicar in Lambeg (and later Rector of Carrowdore) and author of the 1933 history book "The Parish of Lambeg".

The property was sold in 1950 . Who is Mrs Berry ?

  • "Blenheim" (~ 1933) & Miss Halanhan (?) ?

The 1911 census has Samuel & Emma Halahan living on Marlborough Road. They have boarders so it could be a posh boarding house and not necessarily relatives of the Adair / Hall-Dare dynasty. The house is convenient for the local train station so would facilitate Mrs Adair on her extensive travels :-)