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Authority record

Birr Business & Professional Women’s Association

  • Corporate body
  • 1967-1982

Birr Business and Professional Women’s Club was formed in the County Arms Hotel, in November 1967. It was the first business and professional women’s club to be formed in Ireland outside of Dublin.

Farmer, Henry G.

  • Person
  • 1882-1965

Henry George Farmer was born in Birr Barracks on 17 January 1882 and was later baptised in the Garrison Church. He was the son of Sergeant Henry George Farmer and Mary Anne Farmer (nee Moore), Depot, Leinster Regiment.

Henry had three siblings, Martha Mary who was born in London and sadly a brother and sister who died in infancy, both of whom were interred in Birr Military Cemetery.

Henry was an accomplished musician at a young age. He joined the Royal Artillery, at Birr as a ‘boy soldier’ just a month and ten days after his 14 birthday on 27 February 1896. Upon joining he was recorded as being four foot and six and a half inches tall. He has brown eyes and light brown hair. Initially he played the violin and clarinet, but took private lessons on the horn.

Throughout his life Henry was also a prolific writer, his first published piece was a ‘Sketch of the Leinster Regiment’ which appeared in the King’s County Chronicle in 1901, in this he outlined the history and origins of this famous Irish regiment. Farmer’s next publication in 1904 was a far more substantial ‘Memoirs of the Royal Artillery Band: its origin, history and progress.'

Henry left the Royal Artillery Band in November 1911 due to medical reasons. Soon afterwards he took up a job as a musical director in the Broadway Theatre, New Cross, London. Later in 1914 he was offered musical directorship of the Coliseum Theatre in Glasgow but soon transferred to the Empire Theatre also in Glasgow. He remained there for 33 years.

During this time he become an external student at the University of Glasgow, later becoming a postgraduate there and completing his master’s degree and PhD. Farmer’s doctorate thesis, which he completed in 1926 was ‘A musical history of the Arabs’. Other music interests of Henry were Irish and Scottish music, which saw a publication in 1947 ‘A history of music in Scotland’.

Henry Farmer married Amy Maud Jackson in 1904. He died at the age of 83 in South Lanarkshire, Scotland.

Fitz-Simon, Christopher Richard Manners Daniel O'Connell, Lt Col

  • Person
  • 1898-1984

Born in Glencullen House, Co Dublin on 30 May 1898, to Daniel O'Connell Fitz-Simon and his wife Alice Maud Bunbury MacFarlane, Christopher Fitz-Simon spent his early life at 'Moreen', in Sandyford, Co. Dublin. He was educated at Earlsfort House, Dublin and St. Edmund's, England. He completed his military training at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, England.

His military career began when he was commissioned in December 1917 for the Prince of Wales Leinster Regiment, Birr, Co Offaly, subsequently serving during World War 1, where he was wounded at Flanders in May 1918 and awarded the Military Cross. He returned to the Leinster depot at Birr until August 1920, and subsequently served on a peacekeeping mission to Silesia (Poland) in 1921. On the disbandment of the Leinsters in 1922, he joined the King's Own Royal Regiment in December of that year and saw subsequent service in India, Sudan, England, Egypt, and Palestine. He commanded the 2nd Battalion King's Own as temporary Lieutenant-Colonel, WW2 North Africa campaign against Italy in 1940/1941. He was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel in 1942, and subsequently served in England, Northern Ireland and Scotland commanding the 1st battalion East Surrey Regiment. In 1942, he was hospitalised and invalided from the army in 1943.

In 1945, he was appointed land agent to the Tottenham estate at Mount Callan, Co. Clare and moved to a similar post in Annaghmakerrig, Co. Monaghan, in 1948. He retired to Glencullen House, Co. Dublin in 1953 and died in June 1984.

Col. Fitz-Simon married Gladys Killen, in October 1931; she pre-deceased him. Their sons are Dr Christopher O'Connell Fitz-Simon b.1934, now in Dublin, and Nicholas O'Connell Fitz-Simon, b.1936, now in Victoria, Australia.

Presbyterian Church, Birr

  • Corporate body
  • c.1839-

The Presbyterian Church in Birr grew in numbers in the 1840s following the Crotty Schism. Fr William Crotty (with his cousin Fr Michael Crotty) led this breakaway Catholic congregation to join the Presbyterian Church. Crotty's Church built to emulate a Presbyterian Hall was erected in Castle Street in 1839. A new church building for the Presbyterian congregation was erected in 1885 in John's Mall, not now in use.