RICHARD LANGRISHE

Dictionary of Irish Architects

Jim Fahy

Interesting account of Sir Richard Langrishe who was was involved in the Corrib Drainage Scheme in the 1850’s.

LANGRISHE, RICHARD Born: 1834 Died: 1922

Engineer and architect. Richard Langrishe was born on 6 November 1834 at Knocktopher Abbey, Co. Kilkenny, the youngest child of the Rev. Sir Hercules Richard Langrishe, Bt, and his wife Maria, née Cottingham. After attending school at Rossall Hall, Lancashire, from 1845 to 1846, and at Kilkenny College from 1847 to 1852, he worked on the management of his father’s estate and farm at Knocktopher. In 1853 he started a two-year pupilage to SAMUEL USSHER ROBERTS (/architects/search/SAMUEL USSHER ROBERTS) , then district engineer for the Lough Corrib Drainage and Navigation works. In 1855, at the end of his period of pupilage, the Board of Works appointed him an assistant county surveyor for Co. Galway, responsible for the Connemara district. In 1856 he was transferred to the Lough Neagh district, where he worked under CHARLES SAXTON OTTLEY (/architects/search/CHARLES SAXTON OTTLEY ) on drainage and navigation schemes for a year. He also assisted ROBERT MANNING (/architects/search/ROBERT MANNING ) in a survey of the fourth Marquess of Downshire’s estates in Co. Down. From 1857 until 1862 he was engaged as a railway surveyor under Sir JOHN MACNEILL. (/architects/search/JOHN MACNEILL. )

In 1863 Langrishe left Ireland for London to set up a mining business in partnership with Ethelstane Blake, a younger brother of Edgar Blake of Renvyle, Co. Galway. An attempt was made to open a mine in the French Alps, but the venture did not thrive, and in 1867 Langrishe withdrew from the partnership and returned to Co. Kilkenny. With his sister Charlotte he took the tenancy of a farm at Firgrove, Ballyduff. In 1869 he was appointed clerk of the peace for the county of Kilkenny, a salaried position which enabled him to leave Firgrove and set up in private practice as a civil engineer and architect, while his official duties were delegated to a paid deputy. On 1 May 1871(1) he again entered the employment of the Board of Works as clerk of works for the Kilkenny Lunatic Asylum. The following year he was appointed architect for the Church of Ireland combined dioceses of Ossory, Ferns and Leighlin; although this post was abolished in 1880, he was to remain the architect to St Canice’s Cathedral, Kilkenny – where he had also been honorary secretary and treasurer to the vestry(2) – for the rest of his life. He had a deep and informed interest in the history of the cathedral and in the antiquities of the city and county of Kilkenny and was the honorary curator of the Kilkenny Archaeological Museum for many years until the collection was transferred to Dublin.

In 1880, when the care of the buildings belonging to the Church of Ireland was vested in the Representative Church Body, Langrishe was appointed district architect to the Church Commissioners for the western dioceses of Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh, Tuam, Killala and Achonry, and Killaloe, Kilfenora, Clonfert and Kilmacduagh.. In order to be able to carry out his new duties he moved to Athlone. He remained in this post until 1892 when, following the death of the deputy clerk of the peace in Kilkenny, he resigned and returned to Kilkenny. Apart from an interlude in Dublin, from 1899 to 1907, he remained in Kilkenny for the rest of his life. He continued to hold the post of clerk of the peace until 1916,(3) when it passed to his eldest son, Henry. He died at home in Kilkenny on 7 October 1922.

He was married three times: to Frances Stafford Chaine (d.1867) in 1863, to Sarah Ogle Moore (d. 1873) in 1871, and to Amitia Sneade Brown (d.1941) in 1882. By his second marriage he had one son and two daughters, by his third, two sons and four daughters. He had a lifelong interest in his family genealogy and made several attempts to write a family history; one of these, The Family and Manor of Langrish was privately printed in Athlone in 1880. He was also a dedicated Freemason.

The Irish Architectural Archive has a drawing by Langrishe showing details of the Church of Ireland church at Ballintubber, Co. Laois, in the Carberry
Collection, Acc. 85/200.9/1.
Inst.CE: elected associate, 3 May 1864; resigned, 1879.
RIAI: present at meeting to discuss projected reconstitution of RIAI, 22 Jan 1878;(4) elected member, 28 November 1878, proposed by GEORGE
CARLISLE HENDERSON (/architects/search/GEORGE CARLISLE HENDERSON ) and seconded by ALBERT EDWARD. MURRAY
(/architects/search/ALBERT EDWARD. MURRAY ) and JAMES HIGGINS OWEN (/architects/search/JAMES HIGGINS OWEN) ;(5) elected
fellow, 17 December 1887.(6)
RSAI: elected member, 3 April 1872;(7) elected fellow, 16 April 1879;(8) vice-president, 1879-1895, 1900-1903, 1909-1912.
Addresses: Oughterard, Co. Galway, 1855-56; Toome Bridge, Co. Antrim, 1856-57; London, 1763-67, with long absences in Valgodemard, France,
Val Sesia, Italy, Lausanne and Edinburgh; Firgrove, Ballyduff, Co. Kilkenny, 1867-1870; Sion Villa, Maudlinsland, Kilkenny, 1871-1874; Noremount,
Kilkenny, 1874-1880; Shamrock Lodge, Athlone, 1880(9)-1892; Creggan, Athlone, 1883-1892; Noremount, Kilkenny, 1892-1899; Dundrum House,
Rathmines, Dublin, 1899-1909; Archersfield, Kilkenny, 1909 until death.

See WORKS and BIBLIOGRAPHY. (?tab=bibliography.)
(/) Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 – 1940
BIOGRAPHY WORKS BIBLIOGRAPHY

References
All information in this entry is from Hugh R. Langrishe (grandson of Richard Langrishe), ‘Richard Langrishe, FRIAI, FRSAI 1834-1922’, Old Kilkenny
Review, No. 49 (1997), 48-65, which see for a fuller account of Langrishe’s life. The article includes two photographs of Langrishe. Hugh R. Langrishe
has also written a full-length typescript biography of Richard Langrishe (2007). Obituaries of Langrishe are in Irish Times, 11 Oct 1922, and JRSAI 53
(1923), 110.
(1) Jones transcripts from Board of Works records.
(2) Irish Ecclesiastic\al Gazette 22, no. 21, 22 May 1880, 414.
(3) 1917, according to Thom’s directories.
(4) IB 20, 1 Feb 1878, 46.
(5) RIAI council meeting minutes, 13 Nov 1878, 214; ?general meeting minutes, 28 Nov 1878.
(6) RIAI council meeting minutes, 5 Dec 1887, 259; annual general meeting minutes, 17 Dec 1887, 285; IB 30, 1 Jan 1888, 7.
(7) JRSAI 12 (1872-73), 67.
(8) JRSAI 15 (1879-82), 53.
(9) Irish Ecclesiastical Gazette 22, no. 29, 17 Jul 1880, 542.

This page was added on 04/04/2022.

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