Humphrys genealogy

Genealogy research by Mark Humphrys.

My ancestors - O'Mara - Contents

Strand House, Limerick

Strand House (formerly Stonetown House), Stonetown townland, Limerick city.
This stood in extensive grounds, near the River Shannon at Sarsfield Bridge (formerly Wellesley Bridge), at the start of the Ennis Road.

Strand House.
The front (E side), 1930-1932.
See larger and full size.
From [P40/912]. Used with permission of [UL Archives].

Stonetown House (later Strand House)

Stonetown House was built between 1760 and 1770 by Vandeleur.
The OS map of 1870 shows clearly that Stonetown House is Strand House.
The Ordnance Survey Name Book describes Stonetown House as the seat of Daniel Gabbett.
Daniel Gabbett is listed at "Strand House", Limerick, in [Slater's directory, 1846].
Though the house is "Stonetown House" on map of 1870.
It is "Strand House" on 1887 to 1913 map.

Stephen O'Mara moved to Strand House c.1909.
His widowed daughter Mary Rynne moved in there with him. (Her husband had died in 1907.)
Mary Rynne writes letter of 25 Jan 1910 from Strand House.
Stephen's wife Ellen Pigott died at Strand House in Oct 1910.

Stephen O'Mara and his daughter Mary are listed in 1911 census at Strand House. There are two servants living with the family.
The house has 16 rooms, and 14 windows in front of house.
There are 6 out-buildings - consisting of 1 stable, 2 coach houses, 1 harness room, 1 cow house and 1 fowl house.

Stephen's grandson Stephen Sullivan was born at Strand House in 1913.
His daughter Nell Sullivan died at Strand House in 1919.

De Valera was at Strand House on the night the Treaty was signed in London:
On 5th Dec 1921, Eamon de Valera, Dick Mulcahy and Cathal Brugha were down in Limerick reviewing troops of Volunteers, while Treaty negotiations reached a climax in London.
Dev received Freedom of the City. The younger Stephen O'Mara was Mayor of Limerick at this time.
De Valera, Mulcahy and Brugha stayed night of 5-6 Dec with old Stephen O'Mara in Strand House.
Early in the morning a phone call came through with the news that the Treaty had been signed in London (signed in early hours of 6 Dec 1921).
Old Stephen O'Mara saw them off at the station. "the split had come but no one told Grandfather that the Treaty was signed". He heard it for the first time as he walked home. He said: "I have just seen the Chief off at the station. I am sure there's a truth in these rumours".

Stephen O'Mara died 1926.
The younger Stephen O'Mara then lived at Strand House.
His sister-in-law, the writer Kate O'Brien, often stayed at Strand House and wrote there. She finished writing The Ante-Room there in 1934. The dedication in the book reads: "To Nance and Stephen O'Mara under whose kind roof the greater part of this book was written, I dedicate it with my love and gratitude."


The second "Strand House"

Stephen O'Mara demolished Strand House c.1943.
He built a second "Strand House" at the site in 1943.
The old Strand House was simply wiped out. The new house was built a short distance to the NW, in what was the old garden.
In the late 1940s, Stephen O'Mara donated the grounds of Strand House to Limerick Corporation provided it was used to build a new town hall (NOT a park). If they used it for any other purpose they were to give him the value of the land.


Ivy Bank (later "New Strand House")

In 1959, the O'Maras moved out of the second Strand House.
They moved to the next door house, Ivy Bank, Ennis Rd, Limerick.
Stephen O'Mara organised the move, but died in Nov 1959 before moving in.
The O'Maras re-named Ivy Bank to "New Strand House".

Limerick Corporation did not use the Strand House grounds for a new town hall.
In 1962 they sold the site to InterContinental Hotels, gave money to O'Mara family.
Hotel built on site.
The hotel was bought in 1970 by Jurys Hotels.
It was Jurys Hotel, Limerick, for many years.
The old hotel is now demolished. Site was re-developed as "The Strand", Limerick (apartments) and the Strand Hotel.

The first and second Strand Houses are both demolished.
Ivy Bank ("New Strand House") survives.
No trace of Strand House left. Some of the old wall survives.

Strand House ("Stonetown House") on 1829 to 1842 map.
Ivy Bank does not yet exist.

The family of Daniel Gabbett of Strand House.
From GABBETT in [Burkes Irish, 1899, pp.159-160].

Daniel Gabbett listed at "Strand House" in [Slater's directory, 1846, Munster, p.260].
Though the name "Stonetown House" still appears on map of 1870.

Ordnance Survey of Ireland map. Date created: 1870. From here.
Shows that Stonetown House is exact same building as Strand House.
The gate, lodge, avenue, and front of house were on the E side.
The garden on the W side.

Strand House on 1887 to 1913 map.
Note Ivy Bank next door.

Eamon de Valera staying with Stephen O'Mara at Strand House, as the Treaty was being signed in London, night of 5-6 Dec 1921.
This was taken the morning after the Treaty was signed, 6 Dec 1921.
Back (Left to Right): Michael Rynne (aide-de-camp to Dick Mulcahy), Dick Mulcahy (Chief of Staff of IRA).
Front (Left to Right): Mary O'Mara, Eamon de Valera (President of the Irish Republic), Stephen O'Mara, Cathal Brugha (Minister for Defence).
This is front door (see doorbell).
This has been printed elsewhere flipped left-right. But apparently the above is the correct way round (doorbell on RHS).
See full size.

Strand House letterhead in letter of 17 Jan 1923. See full page.
See also Strand House letterhead in letter of 25 Jan 1910.
See also Strand House letterhead in letter of 19 Jan 1914.
See letterhead of 16 Feb 1914.


The second Strand House


The second Strand House (built 1943, now demolished).
Painting in Stephen O'Mara family.
See full size.

Plan dated around Aug 1943 for the second Strand House.
N is down. W is to the right. This is the NW corner of the Strand House site.
Shows the new Strand House is being built a short distance to the NW of the old Strand House.
Note new entrance gates being opened up on the Ennis Road.
From P40/328. See larger and full size. See close-up.
See also plan dated Aug 1943. From P40/327. In this one N is to the left. Ennis Rd is to the left. Shows new entrance gates.

Map of 1958 showing the second Strand House.
Shows that the old Strand House has been wiped out. The old lodge and the old entrance are gone too.
The new Strand House has been built a short distance to the NW, in what was the old garden.
A new entrance has been opened up to the NW.
From P40/330. See larger and full size. See close-up.
See also plan dated 1951. From P40/329. In this one N is to the right. Note the "North" indicator is wrong on the plan! Shows that the old Strand House has been wiped out by 1951.


The site today


The site of Strand House on modern map.
The red cross is the approximate site of Strand House, which is entirely gone. See street view.
The Strand House site is built up as housing estates and apartments and hotel. Ivy Bank survives.
See satellite view.

The grounds of Strand House before re-development.
See full size.
Formerly at

The new entrance opened up to the NW when the second Strand House was built in 1943.
This is the only really surviving remnant of Strand House.
The entrance itself dates from 1943, but made into a wall that is older.
Click to rotate. From street view.


The documentary An Conradh 1921

The TV documentary "An Conradh 1921" ("The Treaty 1921").
2011 documentary on the 90th anniversary of the signing of the 1921 Treaty.
By Fastnet Films, for TG4, broadcast 7 Dec 2011.
This uses images from my site, and features the O'Maras and Pat Lavelle.
Re-broadcast on 24 Nov 2015.


This is part 1.
See other parts:

The murdered Mayors of Limerick

During the War of Independence, Stephen O'Mara of Strand House was elected Mayor of Limerick on 22 March 1921.
His two predecessors had just been murdered in their homes by the Black and Tans in the small hours of 7 Mar 1921:

  1. Michael O'Callaghan, Mayor of Limerick Jan 1920 to Jan 1921, murdered Mar 1921.
  2. George Clancy (also here), Mayor of Limerick Jan 1921 to Mar 1921, murdered in office Mar 1921.

Stephen O'Mara's life was under threat until the end of the War of Independence.
He served as Mayor of Limerick until 1923.
He later organised a memorial to O'Callaghan and Clancy at the corner of the Strand House site near the bridge. See street view.
The two parts of the strand are named O'Callaghan's Strand and Clancy's Strand after them. Also O'Callaghan Ave.


The memorial to the murdered Mayors (and others) at the Strand House site.
Photo 2016. See larger and full size.
See other shot.

The memorial to the murdered Mayors.



Strand House - The front



Strand House - The garden side





Sources yet to be consulted



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