The History of 7 Lewes Crescent
Kitty O’Shea in Lewes Crescent Gardens
Kitty O’Shea 1846 – 1921
‘‘In the evening we used to walk in the Lewes Crescent gardens where the scent of the wallflowers and the drowsy swash of the sea lulled us into the desire for sleep.”
In 1890 Charles Stewart Parnell’s campaign to achieve Home Rule for Ireland was on the brink of success when, in divorce proceedings, his relationship with Kitty O’Shea, a married woman, became public. They had been living together for years and Kitty had three children by Parnell. The outrage that followed this news caused a split in the Home Rule lobby and robbed Parnell of the victory he was so near to achieving. Home Rule did not come to Ireland until 1914.
Kitty O’Shea was a younger sister of Lady Lennard Barrett at 7 Lewes Crescent. In memoirs written by Kitty in 1913 she recalls the time, decades earlier, when she and her sister Anna would visit their older sister at Lewes Crescent and walk in the gardens at dusk. She tells the story of two young beaux tossing bouquets of flowers up onto the balcony of No.7 for the two sisters to find.