Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Architect, of Dublin. Eleanor Butler was the daughter of RUDOLF MAXIMILIAN BUTLER RUDOLF MAXIMILIAN BUTLER , whose practice she carried on after his death in 1943 with her brother, JOHN GEOFFREY BUTLER JOHN GEOFFREY BUTLER . Born in Dublin on 7 September 1914, she was educated at Tudor Hall, Kent, at Alexandra College, Dublin,(1) and at University College Dublin, where she obtained the B.Arch. degree in 1938. Shortly after qualifying, she suffered a severe riding accident and spent a year in St Vincent's Hospital, where it was at first believed that she could never walk again.(2) During this period of confinement, she resolved that if she ever did walk again, she would try to lead a life of service to others; she had already become aware of social injustice during her schooldays in England in the early 1930s. Her father, though a Protestant himself, encouraged her to base her philosophy on Catholic principles. She became a Labour member of Dublin Corporation, and was chosen by the party in 1945 to visit Britain to investigate modern British housing.(3) She stood unsuccessfully for the Dáil in 1948. In 1954 she was proposed by the RIAI as a member for the Seanad.(4) In about 1956 she took up three-year appointment as home-planning adviser and housing consultant to the Irish Countrywomen's Association, under the terms of the American Grant Counterpart Fund for rural organizations.(5) She was on the Irish delegation which helped draft the statute of the Council of Europe. She later became involved in the Moral Rearmament movement, and travelled widely to promote its aims.(6) In the 1970s she was one of the founders of the Glencree Reconciliation Centre, and she was also on the board of Co-operation North. She died in a nursing home Blackrock, Co. Dublin, on 21 February 1997.(7)

Shortly after qualifying as an architect, Eleanor Butler became honorary secretary of the Irish Architectural Records Society. As a result she met John Betjeman, then press attaché at the British Representative's Office in Dublin. Through Betjeman she met her future husband, Billy Clonmore, who succeeded his father as eighth Earl of Wicklow in 1946 but was disinherited for converting to Roman Catholicism. The couple were married in 1959, after the death of the seventh Earl.

RIBA: student, 1939; elected associate, 12 Dec 1939, proposed by ALBERT EDWARD RICHARDSON ALBERT EDWARD RICHARDSON , Lionel B. Buddin and R.M. Butler.(8)
RIAI: member, 1942; fellow, 1959.(9)


All information in this entry not otherwise accounted for is taken from notes by Dr Garrett Crookes of a conversation between himself and Lady Wicklow, 2 May 1986, and from the obituary in The Times, 27 Feb 1997.

(1) According to her obituary, which makes no mention of this accident, she was already lame from having contracted polio at the age of six.
(2) IB 100, 17 May 1958, 366.
(3) IB 87, 6 Oct 1945, 518.
(4) IB 96, 19 Jun 1954, 595.
(3) IB 81, 29 Apr 1939, 342.
(4) see note 1, above.
(5) Obituary in Irish Times 24 Feb 1997.
(6) Notice of death in Irish Times, 24 Feb 1997.
(8) Jones citing RIBAJ 47 (1939-1940), 20,115.
(9) IB 101, 16 May 1959, 355

1 work entries listed in chronological order for BUTLER, ELEANOR GRACE

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Date: 1935-36
Nature: Placed 3rd in competition, 'in association with R.M. Butler'.
Refs: IB 78, 11 Jan,8 Feb 1936, 102,?; Sean Rothery, Ireland and the New Architecture 1900-1940 (1991), 88-89

Author Title Date Details
Butler, Eleanor Grace 'An introduction to Dublin architecture' 1947 The Architects' Conference, Dublin, June 11-14, 1947, RIBA, 1947..