Wednesday, August 5, 2009

More Mulvanys

The fact that Isabella Mulvany, Head Mistress of Alexandra College, was the elder daughter of a Christopher Mulvany who had been Civil Engineer of the Grand Canal company and formerly of the Board of Works suggests that she was related to the famous William Thomas Mulvany (1806-1885).

When I spent three weeks in Gelsenkirchen (more here) in the German Ruhr Valley in the early 90s I was told of this man who was responsible for the development of the coal mining industry in the area. He had worked with the Board of Works in Ireland before and during the Famine but left Ireland for Germany afterwards. On St. Patrick’s Day, 1856 the coal mine named Hibernia was opened in Gelsenkirchen amidst great pomp, and two more, the Shamrock and Erin, were to follow, all highly successful.

A street in Gelsenkirchen was named after Mulvany and there was a beer called after him as well. Soon afterwards a TV documentary made him better know in Ireland and a biography was published later.

William Thomas Mulvany was the eldest son of the landscape artist and portrait painter Professor Thomas J. Mulvany, RHA. Another son of the artist was George Francis Mulvany who also became an artist. He also became a member of the RHA became the first director of the National Gallery of Ireland in 1862.

A very distinguished family and it appears likely that the famous Isabella was one of them.

No comments: