TV role for Boxwells of Butlerstown

By Dan Walsh

The 200-page hardback memoir, The Boxwells of Butlerstown Castle, a lineage of the Boxwell, Harvey, Skrine, Stokes and St Leger families, written by Helen Skrine, a Boxwell descendant, will be featured on Nationwide presented by Helen McInerney, on RTE 1 on Monday at 7pm.

The book is edited by Anna Skrine Brunton and set in Butlerstown House, near Tacumshane, in south-east Wexford and combines the experiences of 94-year-old Helen Skrine with her interpretation of Ireland and Irish history since the arrival of the Normans in Wexford in 1169.

Helen Skrine wrote the book over a period of 30 years. She tells in descriptive, colourful, and entertaining prose about her experiences, and the history of her famous family in the 1798 Rebellion, the War of Independence of 100 years ago, World War II, and the bleak 1950s living in a big house across the yard from the historic Butlerstown Castle on its 100-acre farm.

Maeve Davison of Bargy Castle, mother of singer-songwriter Chris de Burgh, Helen Skrine and Anna Skrine- Brunton, of The Boxwells of Butlerstown Castle book, and Francois Davison with Helen McInerney, presenter/ producer RTÉ Nationwide programme and Neilus Dennehy, cameraman, during filming Butlerstown Castle. (Pic; Michael Freeman).

The Boxwell story goes back in time to England of the 1600s and incorporates family relationships and connections with Bagenal Harvey of Bargy Castle, commander-in-chief of the rebels during the 1798 Rebellion in Wexford, and the legendary Oscar Wilde, whose mother was Jane Francesca Elgee from Wexford.

In more than 16 family trees dating back to the 1500s, she connects her direct family to Boxwells, Harveys, Skrines, St Legers, and more than 280 other names including Dr John Colclough of Ballyteigue Castle and Monk Gibbon. The extended families now stretch from Wexford to Ireland to England to Asia to South America and Australia.

Helen Skrine grew up in Butlerstown, spent two years in London with the BBC, and later many years in Malaysia where she lived with her late husband John Skrine, a lawyer. She started writing the manuscript about her family and her Wexford roots about 30 years ago. During the 1980s she was secretary and later president of the Wexford Historical Society for some years

Copies of The Boxwells of Butlerstown Castle, a lineage of the Boxwell, Harvey, Skrine, Stokes and St Leger families are on sale at Wexford town bookshops at €30 each, and directly from Anna Skrine-Brunton at Butlerstown, Tomhaggard, Co. Wexford, telephone 087 9803403 or email: annaskrine@hotmail.com.

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