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Lady Dunraven To Visit Estes Park This Fall

History-JohnA travel party from Ireland that includes Lady Dunraven, widow of the 7th Earl of Dunraven and last in the Dunraven line, is tentatively scheduled to spend a few days in Estes Park the week after the Longs Peak Scottish-Irish Highlands Festival this September.

This would be the first visit to Estes Park by an Irish peer with the Dunraven title in over a century.

Beginning in 1874, Windham Thomas Wyndham-Quin, the 4th Earl of Dunraven, acquired over 5000 acres of land in Estes Park for a cattle operation and game preserve. His “Estes Park Hotel” along Fish Creek opened for business in 1877, and his Queen Anne style “Dunraven Cottage” to the north, which still stands, was built the following year.

Denver and the Cody-Yellowstone area of Wyoming are also vying for the attention of the Lady Dunraven party, as the 4th Earl of Dunraven headquartered at or wrote about these locations during his numerous trips west, often in order to hunt for big game in the company of William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody or John B. “Texas Jack” Omohundro.

The Albert Bierstadt painting of Longs Peak, valued in the millions of dollars, was commissioned by Lord Dunraven in 1876, and hung in Adare Manor in County Limerick until being sold by a Dunraven descendent in the 1950s. Until recently, it was displayed in the Denver Public Library, but because of concern over damage caused by fingerprints and food particles from too-frequent human interactions, it is now on indefinite loan to the Denver Art Museum.

While in Estes Park, the Dunraven travel party plans to stay at the Stanley Hotel, supposedly haunted by the 4th Earl’s ghost. In 1908, F.O. Stanley proposed the name of “Dunraven Hotel” for his soon-to-be-completed property, but community sentiment at the time convinced him to name it after himself instead.

Rocky Mountain National Park rangers and staff have indicated their willingness to accompany Lady Dunraven to landmarks within the park, and the Dunraven Inn has extended an invitation to enjoy dinner in their namesake restaurant.

Irish radio and television stations have expressed strong interest in documenting Lady Dunraven’s trip, and efforts are being made to encourage author and BBC producer Peter Pagnamenta, whose 2012 book “Prairie Fever” chronicled Lord Dunraven’s 19th century exploits, to play a prominent role in another Dunraven “return.”

© 2014 Estes Park News, Inc

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