Entertainments for School Children at Emo Park,



On July 9th 1892, a fete was held at Emo Park for the local school children. Approximately 400 school children were received by Lord and Lady Carlow at Emo, where they enjoyed sports activities and games, and were treated to cake and sweets.


The Leinster Express newspaper reported on the event:

          “On Friday Lord and Lady Carlow entertained at Emo Park the children attending Emo, Coolbanagher, Moret and Deer Park Schools. The children, about 400 in number, arrived in charge of their teachers at half-past three o’clock, when they were cordially received by Lord and Lady Carlow, Rev. Thos. J. Kelly, P.P., Emo Presbytery, and Rev. J. Torrens, Coolbanagher Rectory.

          After three hearty cheers were given for their noble patrons, the children started at (such) different kinds of sport as cricket, rounders, swings, and high-gates. Tea was served at five o’clock, when all the children were seated together at tables put up in the Park for the purpose. When tea and cake were fully discussed (sic.) several other games were started. The boys thoroughly enjoyed the siamese and sack races, while the girls were most proficient in the racing with eggs upon spoons.

          The greatest possible pains were taken by Lord and Lady Carlow to make the evening enjoyable for the children. About half-past eight o’clock cake and sweets were again served, and after making the welkin ring with cheers for Lord and Lady Carlow, they dispersed to their homes after spending one of the pleasantest evenings of their lives.”

(Leinster Express, July 9th 1892)



In his diary, Viscount Carlow recalled helping out at one such school fete at Emo, as a young boy in the early 1900s,

          “…I made my first public appearance at a school treat in the grounds, where I had     to pour out tea and hand round buns to the local school children; but my staff of office was soon taken away due to an irresistible temptation to sample the buns while dealing them out”.



Lord Portarlington’s Christmas Entertainments for School Children, 1914


On January 3rd 1914, the children of the three local schools supported by the Earl and Countess of Portarlington were entertained to tea and cake at Emo Park, and later presented with toys in the billiard room. The event was described in the Leinster Express as an “annual observance” greatly looked forward to by both the children and their parents:


          “Emo Park, Portarlington, the Irish seat of the Earl of Portarlington, was, on New Year’s Day, a scene of juvenile enjoyment and merriment. All the children of the three schools adjoining the Park – Emo, Morette, and Coolbanagher – were entertained to tea, with cake, sweetmeats, and bon-bons in abundance. Lady Portarlington… had many assistants from amongst the members of the house party… They entered with much gusto into the entertainment of the children.

          Tea over, a move was made to the billiard room, where toys, from a Santa Claus stocking to a mechanical aeroplane, from a skipping rope to quite a battalion of cavalry, were displayed. Each child was allowed to select the present which it most desired.

          Hearty cheers were given as each group wended its way homeward in various directions across the Park.

          This function has now become of annual observance, and is looked forward to not only by the children, but by their parents also.”

(Leinster Express, Jan 3rd 1914)