1 May, 1854
William Percy French was born at Cloonyquin House, Co. Roscommon
“Nearly sixty years ago an event of immense importance occurred in the history of Ireland. No cables buzzed the news to the ends of the earth. No telephones rang – there were none to ring. Cabinets were not hastily summoned nor consuls recalled, but Larry McCullagh lepped on the “chestnut mare” and galloped as fasht as he could shplit for Dr. Peyton. By the time the doctor arrived I was an accomplished fact, endowed by my parents with all the mental activity of the house of French and all the physical health and beauty of the Percys.”
He was the second son of landowner Christopher French and his wife Susan Emma (nee Percy), daughter of Reverend William Percy, a rector at Carrick-on-Shannon
French was educated at Windemere College and Foyle College, Derry
Commenced a degree in Civil Engineering at Trinity College, Dublin (TCD)open_in_new
His first successful song, "Abdul Abulbul Amir"
Graduated from TCD
“admirably unfitted for any profession whatsoever!”
Became surveyor or inspector of drains with the Board of Works in County Cavan in 1883. His salary excluding expenses was £300 per annum
On 28th June 1890, Percy French married Ettie Armytage
Ettie dies in childbirth
Their daughter was born on 5th June
Highly successful musical comedy in three acts, The Knight of the Road
Married Helen (Lennie) Sheldon, an English chorus girl of Burnington House, Warwickshire
10th August – French’s epic journey to a performance at Moore’s Hall, Kilkea at 8pm which resulted in the highly entertaining "Are Ye Right There Michael?" which describes his journey from Dublin to Kilkee on the West Clare Railwayopen_in_new
"Are Ye Right There, Michael?"
"When Erin Wakes"
"The Kerry Courting"
"Oklahoma Rose", "Tullinahaw" and "The Emigrant’s Letter"
Toured Canada, the East coast of the USA, and the West Indies with Houston Collison, receiving enthusiastic reviews and playing to packed audiences
"Flanagan’s Flying Machine"
"Come Back Paddy Reilly"
"The Killyran Wrackers"
"Larry Mick McGarry"
French was dragged by a train and consequently his health deteriorated
Died from pneumonia on 24th January and buried in the churchyard of St. Luke’s Parish Church, Formby
Week-long summer festival was held at Cloonyquinn House
The Percy French Scholarship
Week long summer festival was held again at Cloonyquinn House
The Percy French Scholarship was founded
Irish Land Commission acquired the property and sold it to a Mr. Stratford who was in the demolition and salvage trade
Roscommon County Council paid Marty Keogh £3 6s 8d to demolish the house in 1964
Percy French Society of North Down founded
Roscommon Percy French Society founded
First Percy French Festival – The Last Troubador at Castlecoote houseopen_in_new
Second Percy French Festival – When Erin Wakes at Castlecoote house
Third Percy French Festival – Lead Kindly Light at Castlecoote house
Fourth Percy French Festival – Through A French Window at Castlecoote house
Opened by The President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins
Fifth Percy French Festival – The French Connection at Castlecoote house
Sixth Percy French Festival – The French Paradox at Castlecoote house
Seventh Percy French Festival – Through a French Mirror at Castlecoote house
Eighth Percy French Festival – The French Letter at Castlecoote house
Ninth Percy French Festival – Towards a Third Republic at Castlecoote house
Tenth Percy French Festival – Percy French: The Synge of Song at Castlecoote house
Eleventh Percy French Festival – Taking French Leave at Castlecoote house
Twelth Percy French Festival – Time for a French Revue at Castlecoote house
Thirteenth Percy French Festival – A French Vision at Castlecoote house
Fourteenth Percy French Festival – Does the Soul have a Future? at Castlecoote house
Fifteenth Percy French Festival – French Awakenings at Castlecoote house