Charlotte Bronte's Kilkee Honeymoon
Nineteenth Century Novelist
Charlotte Bronte the famous nineteenth century English novelist whose books such as Jane Eyre are still popular. Charlotte’s father, Patrick was born in Northern Ireland but went up to Cambridge where he changed his name from Prunty to Bronte and where he took his degree in 1806 and was ordained a Church of England clergyman. In 1812 he married Cornish-born Maria Branwell and they had six children. Maria died in1821. Two of the children Maria and Elizabeth both died in their early teens. Charlotte and her other two sisters became authors all using pen names. Charlotte wrote, the novels, Jane Eyre and Villette. Patrick Bronte her father, was appointed rector at Haworth in Yorkshire and later Rev Arthur Bell Nichols was appointed curate. Arthur Bell Nicholls and Charlotte Bronte fell in love and after overcoming the objections of her father Charlotte and Arthur married on 29th June 1854 although the father did not attend the wedding.
The newlyweds set out for Ireland and to Kilkee where they spent the greater part of their honeymoon. Charlotte was very taken with the natural beauty of Kilkee as was her husband Arthur. In a letter to a friend she described the coast at Kilkee “such a wild iron-bound coast – with such an ocean-view as I had not yet seen and such battling of waves with rocks as I had never imagined.” Arthur, in a letter to the clergyman who married them, wrote ”Kilkee, a glorious watering place, with the finest shore I ever saw – completely girded with stupendous cliffs – it was most refreshing to sit on a rock and look out on the broad Atlantic boiling and foaming at our feet.”
Having enjoyed the spectacular beauty of Kilkee, Charlotte Bronte and her husband returned to Hawick where she tragically died eight months later in March 1855. Plaque on hotel where Bronte stayed in Kilkee.
Arthur Nicholls continued to work as a curate in Hawick, with Patrick Bronté, until the latter died. Although Arthur applied for the rectorship he was not appointed. He then returned to his ancestral home in Co Offaly and ran a small farm. He never took up a clerical role again. He died in 1906.