Since it's St. Patty's Day....Because I really don't have time to do research right now, and I do want to try and post something every day, even if it is small, I thought that I would share tidbits. If I cannot post something witty from my own brain, then I want to at least bring a little bit of opulent house history to you. I can do this by at least copying and pasting. I will, of course, give citations. Enjoy this beautiful Irish mansion on St. Patrick's Day!!
In 1888, at the age of 18, Harry ran away, determined to seek his fortune in America or the colonies. But his father caught up with him in Liverpool and made a deal - he could go to America, but as a salesman for Upperlands linen. His trip was a brilliant success. Apart from booking hundreds of orders, he visited an Indian chief and went bear-hunting in Quebec, collected a bad debt in Chicago and inveigled his way into a White House reception where he shook hands with President Cleveland. Throughout his life, he retained a fierce affection for God's country, as he called the United States. His older brother Alexander, meanwhile, became a formidable expert on the Irish and English trade and the technical side of the beetling process. Harry, by contrast, was fascinated by water power and steam power - which he persuaded his cautious family to harness. He was one of two brothers responsible for keeping the family fortunes afloat in the face of competition from cotton and other cheaper materials. Evidence of some of the objects collected on his travels can still be seen on the entrance hall with the two busts and a dinner gong brought back from the New World. William Clark & Sons is still operating in Upperlands.
As well as the Clarks, there was one other local family which made a modest living during the early 1700s by finishing and bleaching linen: the Thomsons. One of them, Charles Thomson, became one of America's Founding Fathers, a Philadelphia revolutionary who penned the first draft of the Declaration of Independence. He spent the first nine years at Gorteade Cottage close to Ardtara.