For The Love of Ireland

A Historical Novel by Judy Leslie

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Delia Tudor Stewart (Delia Parnell's mother)

Delia Stewart Parnell - 1816-1898

Delia Tudor Stewart Parnell was the daughter of the famous Admiral Charles Stewart and Delia Tudor (from the revolutionary Tudor family).  Delia Tudor was an ambitious Boston socialite known for her ability to spend other people’s money. She and her husband had a blow-out argument on their wedding night, and it was downhill after that. In order to mitigate Delia’s propensity to splurge, Charles placed her on a 225 acre estate in Bordentown, New Jersey, safely distant from both New York and Philadelphia.

 

While he was at sea, she was busy selling the furniture.  There were rumors that she was romantically involved with their neighbor, Joseph Bonaparte, brother of Napoleon and deposed King of Spain. Bonaparte was not the last man to whom she would be linked...but that is another story.

 

Their third child, Miss Delia Stewart (later Mrs. Parnell) was described as remarkably beautiful, and at an early age she developed a taste for learning.  She studied math, science, music and art and spoke several languages.  As she got older, her candid political opinions regarding the British were often considered unfeminine, but she was forgiven because of her stunning beauty and social status.

 

 In 1835, at the age of 19, Delia married 22 year old Irishman John Henry Parnell. Shortly after her marriage she moved to Parnell’s Avondale Estate in Ireland, where she succeeded in offending many of the British and Irish upper class friends of her husband with her American ways and outspoken political views. As a result, her husband made it taboo to discuss politics at Avondale. Delia took frequent trips to America and France often not seeing her husband for more than a year.  However she did manage to have 11 children, several which died at a young age.

 

 Delia became friends with many rebels and began to take part in covert activities after her husband died in 1859. While living in Dublin, Delia Parnell provided a haven for rebels, often harboring wanted men, toying with treason herself.  Delia's interest in politics manifested itself in 3 of her children.  Her son Charles Stewart Parnell went on to become an Irish member of the British Parliament and advocate for Home Rule.  Fanny wrote and published revolutionary poetry.  Anna published articles on the Irish situation.  Delia along with her daughter’s Fanny and Anna worked diligently in rallying support for Ireland’s independence through the work they did with the Ladies Land League.  Delia remained a staunch Irish Nationalist throughout her life.  She lived at her parent's house in New Jersey, after their death.  She died while staying at Avondale from severe burns after catching her gown on fire.

 

 

 

For The Love of Ireland

The story of Margaret Sullivan & the Secrets of the Clan-na-Gael

A Historical Novel by Judy Leslie