Chronology of Events

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
1872 Commenced a degree in Civil Engineering at Trinity College, Dublin (TCD)
1877 His first successful song, Abdul Abulbul Amir
1881 Graduated from TCD  “admirably unfitted for any profession whatsoever!”
1883 Became surveyor or inspector of drains with the Board of Works in County Cavan in 1883. His salary excluding expenses was £300 per annum
1889-1890 The Jarvey
1888 Andy McElroe
1889 Slattery’s Mounted Fut
1890 On 28th June 1890, Percy French married Ettie Armytage
1891 Ettie dies in childbirth
1891 Their daughter was born on 5th June
1891 Highly successful musical comedy in three acts, ‘The Knight of the Road
1892 Mat Hannigan’s Aunt
1894 Married Helen (Lennie) Sheldon, an English chorus girl  of Burnington House, Warwickshire
1896 The Mountains of Mourne
1896 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 Railway
1897 Are Ye Right There, Michael
1900 When Erin Wakes
1907 Pretendy Land
1909 The Kerry Courting
1910 Oklahoma Rose, Tullinahaw and The Emigrant’s Letter
1910 Toured Canada, the East coast of the USA, and the West Indies with Houston Collison, receiving enthusiastic reviews and playing to packed audiences
1911 Flanagan’s Flying Machine
1912 Come Back Paddy Reilly
1914 The Killyran Wrackers
1915 Larry Mick McGarry
1916 French was dragged by a train and consequently his health deteriorated
1920 Died from pneumonia on 24th January and buried in the churchyard of St. Luke’s Parish Church, Formby
1957 Week-long summer festival was held at Cloonyquinn House
1957 The Percy French Scholarship
1958 Week long summer festival was held again at Cloonyquinn House
1959 The Percy French Scholarship was founded
1960 Irish Land Commission acquired the property and sold it to a Mr. Stratford who was in the demolition and salvage trade
1964 Roscommon County Council paid Marty Keogh, £3 6s 8d to demolish the house in 1964
1983 Percy French Society of North Down founded
1984 Roscommon Percy French Society founded
2009 First Percy French Festival – The Last Troubador at Castlecoote house
2010 Second Percy French Festival – When Erin Wakes at Castlecoote house
2011 Third Percy French Festival – Lead Kindly Light at Castlecoote house
2012 Fourth Percy French Festival – Through A French Window at Castlecoote house
Opened by The President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins
2013 Fifth Percy French Festival – The French Connection at Castlecoote house
2014 Sixth Percy French Festival – The French Paradox at Castlecoote house
2015 Seventh Percy French Festival – Through a French Mirror at Castlecoote house
2016 Eighth Percy French Festival – The French Letter at Castlecoote house