Kildare Dobbs is an editor, writer and poet. He was born on 10 October 1923 in India and spent much of his childhood in Viewmount House, which is on the border of the townlands of Paulstown and Duninga. The house is on a boreen just off the Paulstown to Goresbridge road. Dobbs’ own genealogy is rich with family members who held positions of importance in religious life, the British military, education and on Anglo-Irish estates. Two examples being his maternal grandfather, who was a Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin and Provost of Trinity College, and his paternal great-grandfather, who was an agent for the Wandesforde estate in Castlecomer. In 2005 he published an autobiography Running The Rapids: A Writers Life.
In the late 1920s or early 1930s the family purchased Viewmount House, “a Victorian mansion with walled gardens and fine trees”. Dobbs outlines that “Viewmount was well named, sited in clear view of Mount Leinster…with a chimney piece of black marble”.
Of relevance to this blog is a story he tells concerning threats made to his father. One Sunday the Dobbs family was at Church. The governess of the house, Miss Caldwell, cycled home to find a note with Evelyn Dobbs’ name (the father of the family) and a depiction of a coffin. The note menaced, “undo the conquest or I will riddle your orange carcass.” Miss Caldwell took the note to the Garda Barracks in Paulstown. An investigation ensued and two detectives were posted to Viewmount Hose to protect the family. The culprit was soon found out. Dobbs had originally bought 15 acres of the Viewmout lands with the remaining 45 acres kept by the land steward, named O’Mara. Seemingly O’Mara wanted to get his hands on all the land and had written the note. The conclusion was that Dobbs did not press charges and O’Mara left the county, he was “not a local man, and neighbours turned their backs on him”.