History of the House / 1864 to 1878 - Bunbury McClintock / The Mystery of Emily Cottage

The Mystery of Emily Cottage

Captain William Bunbury McClintock first rented a property in Howth in 1862. Correspondence sent to me by Turtle Bunbury (a descendent of the Captain's) states that this property was called "Emily House".

But where was Emily House? And is this the same as Emily Cottage? And where does Earlscliffe fit in this story?

1860 - Emily Cottage for rent

Devonshire Terrace 1880
Map 1.Devonshire-Terrace with Sea Lawn next to it.

In searching online for properties in Howth called 'Emily, the first one found was on the 31st May 1860, in an advert placed in "Saunders's News-Letter", one of Dublin's most established newsletters.  [1] The advert was for the rental of two properties in Sutton, Howth, as follows:

Advert for Emily Cottage 1860

The first property was Devonshire-Terrace. The second, Emily Cottage, was said to be near to Devonshire-Terrace and was described as a commodious Residence...standing detached and close to the sea that was available to be Let for the season.

Devonshire-Terrace was owned by Cornelius Egan at the time, as listed in the Thom's Irish Almanac & Official Directory.  [2] 

Also, if you look at Map 1 shown with Devonshire Terrace on it, you will see that next to it is a property called "Sea Lawn". Interestingly, Sea Lawn was afterwards rented out to Professor John Pentland Mahaffy in , who would later own Earlscliffe in 1901.

However, the 1880 map does not show any nearby property called Emily Cottage, and the Thom's Irish Almanac & Official Directory does not mention it either.

The two properties remained advertised for rent until July 1860.

1862 - Emily House for rent

On the 30th April 1862 another advert was placed in "Saunders's News-Letter" for two properties for rent in on the south side of Howth in Sutton.

18620430 Advert Emily House

At first it looks similar to the adverts from 1860. However, the first property for rent is now called Devonshire Place, and the second Emily House. Are these the same properties as the 1860 advert? We currently have assumed that that they are.

Carrickbrack House
Map 2. Carrickbrack House at the top. Below this is Earlscliffe. Could this be Emily House?

The 30th April 1862 advert states that Emily House is adjoining Dr. Stokes' Residence. [3]

The Thom's Irish Almanac & Official Directory states that in 1859 Dr William Stokes lived in Carraig Breac (or Carrickbrack) House on what is now the Old Carrickbrack Road in Howth.  [4]

On the 1880 map (Map 2), Carraig Breac House does not have any properties adjacent to it, except for the Lodge (see map). As this was a Lodge, (and likely to be small), it is unlikely to have also been called Emily House.

However, the Earlscliffe property is not too far away (see Map 2). Is this Emily House? Could this be said to be adjoining Carraig Breac House?

To get the answer we have to do a bit more digging.

1853 & 1861 - Devonshire Place

On the 25th May 1853, an advert was placed in "Saunders's News-Letter" for three properties for rent in on the south side of Howth in Sutton. The first was Devonshire Place, and the other two detached large cottages were not named:

18530525 Advert Cottage for rent

Although not named, the description of the detached large cottages certainly fit an early description of Earlscliffe.

Roll forward to 2nd July 1861, when this advert appears in the  "Saunders's News-Letter":

18610702 Advert Cottage-house for rent

This advert is also for Devonshire Place, but also mentions a detached cottage-house for rent located near Doctor Stokes's and the Baily Lighthouse. This has to be Earlscliffe.

A later advert on the 2nd August 1861 has a bit more detail:

18610802 detached cottage advert

The coach house, lawn in front, and bathing within 100 yards means this is definitely Earlscliffe.

Also interesting that it mentions that it has a public four-wheeled bus that drives past (the precursor to the Howth Tram).

If Emily House is Earlscliffe, when was it built?

We are doing some more research to confirm the theory that Emily House was in fact Earlscliffe. In the meantime, we did some more research and found the following advert from "Saunders's News-Letter dated 4th June 1846.


Again, Devonshire Terrace for rent, plus two splendid houses. Could one of these be Earlscliffe? If so, the advert states that these houses were built last summer which would date Earlscliffe as 1845.

We will carry on our research to help us to answer the question when was the house built. We also need to confirm who built and owned the house. Was it Egan, as we suspect, or was it someone else?

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Disclaimer: Parts of the data found in these history pages are derived from sources currently available on the internet. In researching the previous owners of Earlscliffe, certain assumptions have been made as to the validity and accuracy of this internet data. If you believe that some of this data is inaccurate or should not be published on this website, please contact .

This page was last updated on 28-Jul-2023 .