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Ivo Vesey, 5th Viscount de Vesci

Laois Local Studies > Uncategorised > Ivo Vesey, 5th Viscount de Vesci

Ivo Richard Vesey was born in England on 15 December 1881. He was the second son of Eustace Vesey and Constance Mary Lawley, becoming the eldest living son upon the death of his older brother Eustace Thomas Beilby Vesey in 1882.

Ivo was educated at Eton College. He joined the Irish Guards and attained the rank of Major before the First World War. During the war he saw active service in France and after some years, for medical reasons, was assigned to forestry duties in that country, where he gained the Agricultural Medal of France. His interest in forestry is reflected in his photographic collection, which contains many images of tree species.

In 1903 Ivo became the 5th Viscount de Vesci when he succeeded his uncle John, 4th Viscount de Vesci, who died without a male heir. He married Georgiana Victoria Wellesley on 24 April 1906, in St. Marylebone, Middlesex, England. The marriage was not a success the couple parted within months and formally divorced in 1919.

Ivo is best known locally for establishing the Abbeyleix Carpet Factory in 1904. The carpet factory provided employment for young women in the area in a period of high emigration. It supplied good quality deep-pile carpets to many of the big houses of England, Ireland and Scotland. Abbeyleix Carpet was purchased by the White Star Line for its ships, including the Titanic, and it was even used for the Coronation of George V in 1911. Unfortunately, the factory closed in 1912. A few years before his death Ivo began an extensive sawmills in Abbeyleix, creating local employment.

On 15 May 1920 Ivo married his second wife Frances Lois Parsons, widow of the 5th Earl of Rosse. As a keen amateur photographer Ivo had much in common with the Parsons family. The family are famous for their scientific genius. Best known for designing and building the giant telescope and inventing the steam turbine, family members also played an important role in the development of photography. The family feature in many of images in the collection.

Ivo died on 16 August 1958, at the age of 76, following a car crash in which he was seriously injured. He was buried in De Vesci Estate Church Cemetery, Abbeyleix. He was one of the last Representative Peers of Ireland, being elected in 1909. He was succeeded by his nephew John Eustace Vesey, 6th Viscount de Vesci.