family photo strip - Ros
Ros Escott's Family History Pages


The information on this page is from many sources. I have done a lot of research myself, especially searching through old British, Australian and New Zealand newpapers and BDM records, and communicating with members of the extended family in various parts of the world. This has built on the extensive research conducted over many years by other family members, especially by the late John Ireland in Mebourne, and by David de Courcy-Ireland in Belgium. We are all grateful to them for their work on the Ireland genealogy over many years.

Please contact me if you have additions, corrections or questions, and particularly if you are related to our branch of the Ireland family. I am generous about sharing my work to further collective research, but please do not copy information and pictures from this site and publish them elsewhere, e.g. on Ancestry, without attribution and without contacting me first.


Our Ireland family came to Australia from Ireland, where they had lived for generations. The family can be traced back to the 13th Century when they owned the manors of Hutte and Hale, Lancashire.

Our branch of the Ieland family is sometimes referred to as the 'de Courcy Irelands' dating back to William Ireland who married Margaret de Courcy in circa 1667.

William Ireland had been born in Chester, England, but settled in Ireland in the late 17th century, purchasing estates in counties Kildare and Laois. In circa 1667, he married Margaret de Courcy sister and heir of Almerius de Courcy, Lord Kinsale.

Their grandson Richard Ireland (c.1706-1754) settled in the vicinity of Headford, county Galway and married Catherine Lynch of Lydican. Their son the Reverend William Ireland, Warden of Galway, married Magdalen Irwin, the daughter of John Irwin of Lisbally, county Sligo and granddaughter of Henry Irwin of Roxborough, county Roscommon.

William and Magdalen's children included sons De Courcy Ireland (1746-1812) and Richard Ireland (1748-c.1814) who both married sisters of Sir Edmund Stanley, whose grandfather acquired the estates of Low Park and Bethlem, Kilkenny West, county Westmeath, in the early 18th century.


James Stanley Ireland and Matilda Louise Davies

Captain James Stanley Ireland (c1781-1856) was the second son of Richard Ireland and Elizabeth Maria Stanley. He served with distinction as an officer in the 87th regiment during Peninsular war (1808-1812); he is believed to be one of six brothers to serve in this war, four of whom lost their lives. After he retired from his miltary career, he served as a stipendiary magistrate and held other civil offices, including surveyor of Irish ports.

In 1815, James Stanley Ireland married Matilda Louise Davies (1785-1843) in St Peter's (Church of Ireland), Athlone, Co Roscommon. She was the daughter of James Davies, officer and later magistrate of Newcastle, Co Galway, and his wife Catherine Cruise. James Stanley and Matilda had eight children (see below). On 20 February 1843, Matilda Louise Ireland died at Lower Gardiner-street, Dublin. In the 1851 England census, James Stanley Ireland is recorded as a retired stipendary magistrate, living at 13 Montpellier Terrace, Ilfracombe, Devon with his 2 youngest daughters. He died on 02 Mar 1856 at Chateau Hunaudieres, Le Mans, France.

James Stanley Ireland and Matilda Louise née Davies had 8 children, five of whom survived to adulthood:

  • Richard Davies Ireland (1815-1877), my great-great-grandfather (see below for further details)
    married Sophia Mary Carr (c1821-1875); married on 28 Jul 1840 in Dublin, Ireland, they had 11 children:
         Selina Caroline Ireland (1841-1879)
         James Davies Ireland (1842-1883)
         Matilda Louisa Ireland (1843-1927)
         De Courcy Ireland (1845-1935)
         Richard Stanley Ireland (1847-1914)
         Thomas Carr Ireland (1848-1887)
         Sophia Mary Ireland (1850-1937)
         Charles Warburton Ambrose Ireland (1853-1928)
         Garnet Augustus Ireland (1855-1857)
         Harriet Frances Ireland (1856-1954)
         Edmund Arthur Ireland (1859-1922)
  • Elizabeth Maria Beatrice Ireland (1818-1904), known as Ede
    married Henri De Braham (c1810-c1870), they may have had 1 child:
         William Thompson Braham

  • James Stanley Ireland (1819-?)
    died young
  • Catherine (Kate) Sophia Geraldine Ireland (1821-1884)
    married barrister John William Carleton QC on 18 May 1840 in Ballygar Church, Co Roscommon, Ireland; they had 1 child:
         Andrew O'Brien Carleton (1841-1889)

  • Matilda S Ireland (1824-?)
    died young
  • Harriet Leonora Frances Ireland (1829-1905)
    married widower Rev Richard Osborne Tylden (1783-1862), married on 06 May 1852 in Brompton, Middlesex, England
    (in a double wedding with her sister Nannie); they had 2 children:
         Catherine Matilda Tylden (1855-1924), married Alfred Henry Carter, they had 1 child: Richard Henry Archibald) Carter
         Richard Tylden (1858-1885), married Margaret Isabel Georgina Carter, they had 2 children:
            Geoffrey Tylden (1883-1970) and Ricarda Tylden (1886-1887)
  • Jane Frances Ireland (1828-1829)
    died age 8 months
  • Nanny Olivia de Courcy Ireland (1829-1865)
    married Edward Manning (c1823-1878), married on 06 May 1852 in Brompton, Middlesex, England
    (in a double wedding with her sister Harriet); they had 6 children:
         Edward Stanley Marcellin Manning (1854-1861); died age 7 years in Portland, Victoria, Australia
         James Arthur Goble Manning (c1855-1922); married Blanche Eleanor White
         Everard Manning (1858-1861); died age 3 years in Portland, Victoria, Australia
         Reginald Kerr Manning (1861-1910); married Constance Mary Innes Salter; they had 3 children:
                Reginald Lance Manning (1897-1964), Phyllis M Manning (1906-1920) and Neville Horace Manning (1901-1976)
         Hubert Henry Manning (1863-1922)
         Eveline (1865-1865); died age 1 day in Portland, Victoria, Australia

Richard Davies Ireland and Sophia Mary Carr

Richard Davies Ireland was born on 27 October 1815 in County Galway, the eldest son of James Stanley Ireland and Matilda Louise née Davies. He studied law at Trinity College, Dublin and was called to Irish Bar in November 1838. On 28 July 1840, in Dublin, he married Sophia Mary Carr (c.1817-1875). 

Sophia Mary Carr and her twin sister Selina Frances Carr were the youngest daughters of the Rev Thomas Carpenter Carr (1785-1850) and Frances Susanna Mongan (1794-1864), who had been married on 12 Jan 1812 at St Peter's, Dublin, Ireland by Frances' uncle and guardian, Charles Mongan Warburton, Bishop of Limerick. In circa 1818, Frances deserted her husband (who was in debtor's prison) for Charles Shannon, a Dublin lawyer. She took the children with her but Thomas Carr took custody of them a few years later - they probably never saw their mother again. Frances and Charles eventually settled in Paris and had six children. 

Richard Davies Ireland successfully practised law in Ireland was also politically active. He was associated with the Young Ireland Movement, was one of Charles Gavin Duffy's colleagues on the Nation newspaper; he supported Irish Confederation. Then he moved with his family to Lancashire, England for a period in the late 1840s. This was ostensibly to work in Manchester to recoup losses from unfortunate railway speculations, just as the Great Irish Famine (1845 and 1852) was taking its toll. But the move may also have been prompted by the arrest of several of his friends and colleagues after the failed Young Irelander Rebellion in 1848. In 1852 he decided to move with his family to Melbourne, Australia, where there were even more opportunities. He was one of several Trinity College educated lawyers to move to Melbourne at about this time.

Richard, Sophia and their 8 eldest children arrived in Melbourne on 3 January 1853 on the Ben Nevis ex Liverpool. Travelling with them were Sophia's two unmarried sisters Caroline Charlotte Carr (c1816-1901) and Selina Frances Carr (c1821-1902). Her brother Charles Warburton Carr arrived the following year. The gold rushes had placed enormous strain on accommodation in Melbourne, so the Irelands lived for some time in “Canvas Town", a tent city which had been established on the flat land around Emerald Hill, west of St. Kilda Road and south of the Yarra River. This makeshift town was laid out in streets with shops, residences and pubs, all under canvas.

Richard Davies Ireland was admitted to the Victorian Bar in February 1853, a month after he arrived. In July 1854 he served on a committee for welcoming William Smith O'Brien on his visit to Melbourne after O'Brien had been given a conditional pardon and released from custody on Van Diemen's Land. At the festivities, Ireland proposed a toast to the Press - to which he paid a high compliment - which was rather ironic given his later relationship with them. The Eureka Stockade Rebellion on 3 December 1854 prompted Ireland in 1855 to offer his services as defence counsel, pro bono, to Raffaelo Carboni and the others who had been charged with treason. He earned widespread acclaim for his brilliant defence and all of them were acquitted.

Ireland was Victoria's leading criminal lawyer for 20 years - there were few cases of notorious crimes in which he did not appear. He took silk in 1863 as Queen's Counsel, one of the first two QCs appointed in Victoria. He was described as well-read, eloquent, clever and witty; an engaging raconteur, rather than a learned or industrious counsel. His conduct of cases was remarkable mostly for his skills of masterly argument and his ability to win over juries. In some ways he was probably rather like John Mortimer's fictional character Rumpole of the Bailey. He earned an estimated £140,000 in fees but was reputed to have spent or given away four fortunes in his lifetime.

Ireland was also active in politics. He was first elected to the Legislative Assembly in 1857 and later served as Solicitor-General and Attorney-General. At various times in the 1850s and 1860s he was the member for Castlemaine, Maryborough, Villiers and Heytesbury and Kilmore. He had also been an unsuccessful candidate for the constituencies of South Bourke, Belfast, Warrnambool and North Gipps Land. He retired from politics on a pension of £1000 per annum, one of only two former ministers who had met the requirements for this unpopular entitlement before it was repealed.

His personal life reflected his gregarious vivacity and tendency to impulsiveness. He was reputed to have had an affair in 1855 with Henrietta Molesworth, the rather impetuous and flighty wife of Supreme Court Judge Robert Molesworth, who was a neighbour in St Kilda. Ireland's wife, Sophia, had banned the Molesworths from her house, where they had once been frequent visitors. Sophia's brother, Charles Warburton Carr, had also warned his unmarried sisters, who were living with the Irelands, to have nothing to do with Mrs Molesworth. Henrietta Molesworth later sued for divorce on the grounds of cruelty and her husband countersued on the grounds of her adultery with Ireland (and others). The divorce case, in November 1864, was widely reported in the newspapers and full of scandalous details. The jury found no evidence for adultery with Ireland, but found that the conduct of the petitioner (Mrs Molesworth) with Richard Davies Ireland "was unduly familiar for a married woman".

Richard Davies Ireland died at his residence at Balmoral Street, Prahran, Vic, on 11 January 1877. He was 61 years of age. He had been in ill health for some time, with 'softening of the brain and spinal cord' which suggests a stroke and some form of paralysis. He was said to have never recovered from the death of his wife, Sophia, 14 months earlier. He is buried with his wife and young son Garnet in St Kilda Cemetery. 

 Richard Davies Ireland and Sophia Mary née Carr had 11 children:

  • Selina Caroline Ireland (14 June 1841 in Dublin, Ireland - 8 November 1879 in Victoria, Australia)
    married William Kearsey Hughes (c1834-1876) in Victoria on 11 November 1862;
    they had 5 children who moved to New Zealand, probably to live with one of their aunts after Selina and William both died at a young age:
         Sophie Hughes (1863-1932 NZ) married Herbert Wells Wait (1856-1926) in 1886 in Dunedin, NZ; children unknown
         Catherine Emily Hughes (1866-1946) married Arthur Wilbraham Dillon Bell in 1887 in Dunedin, NZ; children unknown
         William Edward De Courcy Hughes (1869-1941) married Elizabeth Susan Eudora de Lambert (c1879-1956) in 1904 in NZ; they had at least 2 children
         Francis Henry Hughes (1871-1962) married Georgina Mary McLaren (c1874-1914) in 1900 in NZ; children unknown
         Mary Frances Selina Hughes (1875-1879); died age 4 in Windsor, Vic, Australia
  • James Davies Ireland (20 June 1842 in Dublin, Ireland - 10 September 1883) did not marry; he died after being lost in a snowstorm trying to cross from Omeo to Harrietville, Vic, Australia.
    "The Alpine Observer reports a narrow escape from being frozen to death in deep snow which was experienced by Mr J. D. Ireland, a son of the late Mr R. D. Ireland. It appears that on Tuesday afternoon last Mr J King, manager of the Italians claim at Cobungra, reported that he had found Mr Ireland in an almost inanimate condition buried in the snow on the Omeo track, about nine miles from Harrietville He attempted to convey Mr Ireland to Harrietville, but was compelled to leave him by the roadside to seek assistance. When Mr King returned with a party he found that, although not an hour had elapsed, the body was almost covered with the falling snow. At first doubts were entertained as to the possibility of restoring vitality. The body was perfectly rigid, and all expression gone from the countenance. In about three hours Mr Ireland recovered. He states that he was desirous of crossing the mountains from Gipps Land to the North Eastern district, and left on the morning of the 20th August. He travelled for four days, the whole time in snow, through the Dargo Plains, the track being so badly blazed that he lost himself, and on Saturday last, the 1st inst., returned to his starting place. He made a fresh start on Monday morning, 3rd inst. When he got well on to the Dargo Plains it began to snow heavily. Rounding Freezeout the snow was chest deep, and he was compelled crawl along on his hands and knees for a considerable distance. Shortly after the snow fell so thick and blew so fiercely into his face that he became confused, and knew not where to look for the shelter that he had been striving to get to. His head got giddy, and he was falling over logs and scrub He ultimately became insensible, and was almost buried in snow." (The Argus Monday 10 September 1883)

    "Mr J. D. Ireland, who was lost in the snow last week under circumstances recorded in The Argus of yesterday, has, we learn, since died from the effects of the severe exposure to which he was subjected." (The Argus Tuesday 11 September 1883)
  • Matilda Louisa Ireland (28 November 1843 in Dublin, Ireland - 20 August 1927 in Hawthorn, Victoria), my great-grandmother
    married Casimir Francis Xavier Rowe (1842-1915) on 22 Aptil 1873 in St Kilda, Vic; they had 7 children:
         Mary (Mol) Sophie Rowe (1873-1955); did not marry, no issue
         Katherine (Kitty) Augusta Rowe (1875-1926); did not marry, no issue
         Cecil Frances Rowe (1877-1961); married widower Alfred W Hay (1846-1918), they had 6 children
         Winifred Matilda Rowe (1879-1961); married Eustace Julian Keogh (1865-1925), they had 10 children
         Constance Mary Rowe (1881-1973); married Graham Rhind Johnson (1876-1938), they had 12 children
         Dorothy Selina Rowe (1883-1965); married William Lionel Hay (1878-1965), they had 5 children
         Amy Agnes Rowe (1885-1885); died at age 22 days
  • De Courcy Ireland (27 April 1845 in Dublin, Ireland - 3 November1935 in Heidelberg, Victoria), known as Coe
    married (1) Victoria Caroline Louisa Dopping (1844-1887) on 15 December 1868 in Kew, Victoria; they had 5 children:
         Lucie de Courcy Ireland (1869-1965); died in Perth WA, did not marry, no children
         Sophia Mary Ireland (1874-1949); married in 1897 her first cousin Richard Whittaker Ireland (1877-1964); they had 2 children
         William Richard Ireland (1878-1970); married in 1905 Lucy Beryl O'Farrell (1879-1952); they had no children
         Jane Ripton Ireland (1880-1970); died in Perth WA, did not marry, no children
         Arthur George Ireland (1882-1936); married in 1918 widow Ethel J Bowden (c1893-1954); she already had 1 child who took his stepfather's surname.

     married (2) Margaret Elizabeth (Dolly) Carter (1859-1932) in 1889 in Victoria; they had 2 children:
         Selena Josephine Ireland (1891-1953); did not marry, no children
         Lt Col Percy Markham de Courcy Ireland (1893-1976); married Lillian Maud Lascelles (1894-1989); they had 2 children
  • Richard Stanley Ireland (23 July 1847 in Dublin - 11 November 1914 in Fitzroy, Victoria)
    married Elizabeth Whittaker (1852-1898) on  23 October 1878 in Victoria; they had 5 children:
         Richard Whittaker Ireland (1877-1964); married first cousin Sophia Mary Ireland (1874-1949); they had 2 children
         Sydney Alfred Ireland (1879-1960); married (Alice) May Johnson; they had 2 children
         Stanley Claude Ireland (1881-1881); died age 2 months
         (Selina) Mary Elizabeth Ireland (1883-1977); married Charles Reginald Holman (1887-1973); they had 2 children
         Ela Constance Ireland (1887-1918); did not marry, no children
  • Thomas Carr Ireland (13 September 1848 in Dublin, Ireland - 14 June 1887 in St Kilda, Victoria); married Madeline Kirkland (c1841-1903) in 1885 in Mont Albert, Vic; no children
  • Sophia Mary Ireland (5 October 850  in Liverpool, Lancashire - 25 April 1937 in Dunedin, NZ)
    married Gerald Dyson Branson (1850-1886) on 22 April 1873 in Victora; they are thought to have had 6 children:
         Jane Wilhemina Branson (1876-1850); married Ernest MacDonald in 1913 in New Zealand; children unknown
         Gerald Charles Francis Branson (1878-1945); married Vivian Florence Parkes in 1917 in Sydney, NSW; children unknown
         Lillias Branson (1880-1922); married Harold Coote Low (c.1879-1926) in 1902 in New Zealand; at least 3 children
         Hilder Branson (1882-?)
         Stanley Branson
         Minnie Branson    

  • Charles Warburton Ambrose Ireland (6 May 1853 in Dublin, Ireland - 9 February 1928 in Voctoria, BC, Canada); Moved to New Zealand and then Canada
    married Charlotte Eliza Cargill (1850-1931) in 1877 in New Zealand; they had 3 children:
         De Courcy Cargill Ireland (1877-1957); married (1) Mary Tronson (1882-1938) in 1900 in Canada; they had 9 children;
            he then married (2) Ellen Bittle in 1942; they had no children
         Kathleen Mary Cargill Ireland (1880-?); married William Gray (c1878-?) in 1914 in Canada; no children
         Enid Madeline Ireland (1883-1974); married Alfred Modesto Sobieralski (1884-1965) in 1914 in Canada; they had 3 children

  • Garnet Augustus Ireland (May 1855 in St Kilda, Victoria - 27 March 1857 in St Kilda, Victoria); died age 22 months
  • Harriet Frances Ireland (5 August 1856 in St Kilda, Victoria - April 1954 in New Zealand)
    married John MacQueen Fraser (1852-1915) in 1878 in New Zealand; they had 4 children
         Kathleen Frances Fraser (1879-1922); married Reginal Alexander Back (1876-1955) in 1906 in NZ; 3 children
         Alice Aline Fraser (1880-1863); married Percy Seabourn Kettle Macassey (1873-1936) in NZ
         Thomas Alister Fraser (1883-1965); married Catherine Agatha Whelan in 1936 in NZ; children unknown
         Nora Fraser (1885-1922); married James Dunlop in 1907 in NZ; at least 2 children

  • Edmund Arthur Ireland (15 October 1859 in St Kilda, Victoria - 14 June 1922 in Armadale, Victoria); known as Ned
    married Emily Lucy Lawton (1863-1947) in 1882 in St Kilda, Victoria; they had 5 children:
         Lucy Mary Ireland (1882-1928); married John Bee in 1915 in Victoria; they had 6 children
         Hector Vere Ireland (1884-1966); married Ada Jane Carter (1886-1969) in 1907 in Horsham, Victoria; they had 4 children
         Hilda Jane Ireland (1886-1981); married Reginald Benson Harris (1888-1963) in 1911 in Horsham, Victoria; they had 2 children
         Nellie Matilda Victoria Ireland (1890-1974); married Alexander Baird Wilson (c1888-1973) in 1913 in Victoria; they had 1 child
         Edmund Arthur de Courcy Ireland (1893-1969); married Lavinia May Berlyn (1897-1987) in 1916 in Ballarat, Victoria; they had 1 child




This information is a brief interim summary; there is more about the Irelands to come.  

Portrait of the Hon. Richard Davies Ireland
National Library of Australia

Sophia Mary Ireland née Carr
wife of Richard Davies Ireland

The Ben Nevis
on which the Irelands sailed to Australia
from Illustrated London News, 4 Sep 1852

Matilda Louisa Ireland
daughter of Richard Davies Ireland

Charles Warburton Ambrose Ireland
son of Richard Davies Ireland
emigrated to Canada via New Zealand

Harriet Frances Ireland
daughter of Richard Davies Ireland

James Davies Ireland
eldest son of Richard Davies Ireland
died of exposure after caught in a snowstorm crossing from Omeo to Harrietville, Victoria