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Dorothea Herbert - Aristocratic Socialite 1770-1829

Dorothea Herbert

Author and Aristocratic Socialite

Dorothea Herbert 1770-1829 is buried in what is now the Heritage Centre in Carrick-on-Suir, in what was previously a Protestant Church.

Her father, Rev Nicholas was Rector of the united parishes of Carrick, Kilmurry, Kilsheelan and Knockgrafton and was the youngest son of  Edward Hubert, the wealthy landowners of Mucrus, while Grandmother Herbert was a sister to Lord Kenmare. Her maternal grandmother was a Beresford, a half sister to the Earl of Tyrone and her mother Martha was the youngest surviving daughter of Lord Desert of Co. Kilkenny. The English branch of the family included the powerful Lord Powis in Wales.

In her autobiography  ‘ Retrospections of Dorothea Herbert ‘ she describes her life and experiences in 18th century upper class Irish Society. Volume 1 concentrates on the first nineteen years from 1770-1789. Details include her education, studying dancing, music and drawing, her social debut, women’s fashions c. 1780. Family history includes a visit to the Desert family seat. Political and social history includes listing the causes and consequences of the parish rebellions of 1781-82. Volume 2, 1789-1806 recounts her love affair with John Roe, and his betrayal of her, and relates further details of her domestic life, and Anglo-Irish contemporary events.

Retrospections of Dorothea Herbert was first published in 1929, when the following reviews appeared:

"Entrancing...Her book is sure of readers for several hundred years to come."
Arthur Ransome, The Observer

"Makes the most delightful reading. Lovable Dorothea!"
VH Friedlander, Country Life

"So vivid and amusing that I can most warmly recommend her book to all intelligent readers."
Edith Somerville

To celebrate the 75th anniversary of its first publication, it was reissued by TownHouse Dublin in September 2004.

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