Helen Selena Blackwood (1807 - 1867):
Writer, playwright and balladeer
Helen Blackwood grew up in South Africa, and returned to England to live at Hampton Court Palace with her family after her father had died. She married Captain Blackwood, who succeeded to the barony of Dufferin in 1839. They lived in Italy, England and Clandeboye, County Down. In 1863 she went to Egypt and after a trip on the Nile with her son, wrote Lispings from Low Latitudes, or Extracts from the Journal of the Honorable Impulsia Gushington. Her play, Finesse, or a Busy Day in Messina was produced at the Haymarket Theatre, London, later the same year. In 1862 she re-married, Lord Gifford, fourteen years her junior, when he received terminal injuries and was brought to her house to be nursed. Her son, Frederick Blackwood, wrote of her 'I doubt whether there have been any who combined, with so high spirit, such strong unerring good sense, tact, and discretion'. She was the author of many famous Irish ballads, for example 'The Bay of Dublin', 'Terence's Farewell' and 'The Irish Emigrant'. In 1894 a collection of her work was published privatley.
||13 June 1867