Aline Countess of Portarlington
1823 - 1874
The third Countess of Portarlington
was born Alexandrine Octavia Maria Vane on
In 1843, her sister Frances Anne Emily
married the 7th Duke of Marlborough, and thus a link was established
with the Dukes of Marlborough and the Churchill family. The Duke later became
the Lord Lieutenant of
Marriage and Emo
She brought with her many works of art to
adorn the rooms at
“Her powers of conversation gave to her society a charm which fascinated all who had the honour of being admitted into her circle; and in rare attainments and high intellectual gifts she was equal to the most gifted of the distinguished ladies who adorned English society” – Leinster Express 24 Jan1874
Generosity of Lord and Lady Portarlington
In 1862, Lord Portarlington donated land in Emo to build the Roman Catholic church in the village.
In 1867 Lady Aline converted to Roman Catholicism, and subsequently always took a great interest in the Emo church and especially in the music there. She bought the first organ for the church. She also arranged that the parochial house and 16 acres of land should be left to the parish priest, and that the income on the house of one guinea per annum should be given to the poorest parishioner. When Catholic guests were at Emo, word was sent to the village for a cushion to be placed in the front pew for them. Within the house, she had been given permission by the Pope for a private chapel, and she often entertained the Bishop of Meath Dr Nulty and also Dr Delaney, the rector of St Stanislaus College near Tullamore.
Lady Aline died on
“Many thousand people were assembled to pay the last tribute of respect and affection for the memory of the deceased Countess ... the great loss (the people) have sustained was made manifest by their outward expressions of grief, and they did not forget to show how they sympathised with the noble earl......The procession numbered about 10,000 people, and reached over a mile of the avenue.”
The interior of the church itself was draped in black for the occasion.
The Countess was buried in the graveyard beside the church, and a memorial to her was also erected in Coolbanagher church by her sister the Duchess of Marlborough.