Tennakill House home of the Lalor clan.
The Australian Ambassador to Ireland will make a historic visit to Laois ths month where he will visit the home place of a family of Irish and Australian patriots.
The ongoing restoration of Tenakill House, Raheen, Abbeyleix, has attracted considerable interest at home and abroad and the latest visitor to this historic structure is the Australian Ambassador, Richard Andrews, who will view the house on St Valentine's Day.
Mr. Andrews will be given a detailed account of the committee’s plans for the building which is home to the famous Lalor family. It is felt that it would be a major link in the Ancient Ireland East tourism drive as it is intended to establish a museum which will reflect the considerable contribution of the members of the Lalor family to the history.
It is also hoped to establish a library which will house the contributions of Honest Pat Lalor MP and his son Richard MP in the Westminster Parliament. Speeches and texts by James Fintan Lalor on the Irish agrarian problems of the nineteenth century and the contributions of Peter Lalor to the Parliament in Victoria, Australia would also be included.
Following his visit to the house Mr. Andrews will visit the old cemetery in Raheen where he will lay a wreath on the tomb of Honest Pat Lalor, MP.
Peter Lalor, who was born in Tinakill House, Raheen in 1827, the son of Honest Pat Lalor MP and the brother of James Fintan and Richard, MP, is regarded as the Father of Australian Democracy because of his involvement in the gold miners revolt at the Eureka mine in Ballarat, Victoria state in 1854.
The three brothers, James Fintan, Richard and Peter were very committee to the Irish cause and in their earlier years were Young Irelanders and took part in the 1848 uprising with James Fintan being arrested and imprisoned in Cashel and Newgate prison in Dublin.
But it is the Australian connection which will be the focal point of the Ambassador’s visit and the contribution which Peter Lalor made to Australian politics.
Peter Lalor is regarded as the Father of Australian Democracy. An engineering graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, he left Ireland after the Young Ireland era and after a short period as a railway engineer made his way to the gold fields of Ballarat.
The miners there were subject to oppressive taxation from the Crown and this led to considerable unrest among their members. This unrest came to a head with the death of as miner in a hotel fire in Ballarat and the failure of the authrities to investigate it.
Unrest grew and Lalor was elected president of the miners who erected a stockade at Eureka, Ballarat in anticipation of an attempt by police to arrest the miners. The police attacked in the middle of the night, the stockade was overrun, a number of miners were killed and Lalor was outlawed with a price of £200 on his head.
Some of the captured miners were later put on trial, acquitted, Lalor came out of hiding and was later elected to parliament where he had a distinguished career. He was elected chairman of several Parliamentary Committees and ultimately was appointed Speaker of the House of Parliament. He died on February 9, 1889.
Peter Lalor was offered a knighthood and a peerage by Queen Victoria but he refused both until Home Rule was granted to Ireland.
Details of visit below picture
Mr Andrews will arrive in Laois at 11am on Wednesday when he will visit County Hall where he will be met by the Cathaoirleach of Laois County Council Cllr. Padraig Fleming, Laois CEO, Mr John Mulholland, Council Officials and the committee of the Tenakill House Restoration Committee.
The visit of the ambassador has been in the pipeline for some time and the details have only been recently completed. There is a long time association between Australia and County Laois, most particularly, Tenakill the ancestral home of the Lalor family, of which Peter Lalor was a member.
Following the formalities at County Hall Mr Andrews will then go to Tenakill, arriving between 12noon and 12.30pm where he will see the restoration work which has been carried out in 2017. This work consisted of the stabilising of the windows and walls and the removal of vegetation and trees which posed a threat in stormy conditions.
On arrival Mr Andrews will be greeted by children from Tobar an Lein National School, Raheen, and Kevin and Mary Lalor-Fitzpatrick the current owners of the property, members of The Tenakill House Restoration Committee, and people from the locality. Kevin Lalor-Fitzpatrick is a grand nephew of Peter Lalor.
Kevin Lalor-Fitzpatrick Chairman of the Restoration Committee, said this week that it is a great honour to have the ambassador visit Tenakill House, the ancestral home of Peter Lalor. Kevin added that he was immensely proud of the contribution which this illustrious member of the Lalor family had made to the development of Australian democracy and self determination. He extended a welcome for everyone to come and welcome the ambassador, Mr. Andrews on his visit.