Kerry slug". In fact, I think I met a Kerry slug in a bar in Dingle last summer, when even my highly limited Irish could understand the words "Oh he's from Dublin ... a jackeen." Andrews was also Brazilian consul in Dublin. Why? If the DIB doesn't tell us, I suppose we'll never know. Love of nature almost redeems the 5th Earl Annesley. (The DIB has him as Earl "of" Annesley, but I think that's a confusion with his relatives, the Earls of Anglesey, who were also Annesleys. British peerage trivia: my favorite.) You start reading his entry, and you wonder why he's there at all: "an indifferent, reluctant politician ... spoke infrequently, tersely and only on army matters ... only voiced Irish concerns were over law and order ..." Half a column later, we get to the point: he was a tremendous gardener and laid out magnificent grounds at his Co. Down estate (apparently he couldn't get by with the 24,000 acres he also owned in Cavan). He "owned one of the largest collections of exotic trees and shrubs in the UK." That's worth remembering.
The Annesley's peerages brought other complications. One of the complicators, Richard, "5th Baron Altham, 7th Viscount Valentia, 7th Baron Mountnorris and 6th Earl of Anglesea" - you couldn't make this stuff up - dealt with a bothersome (and apparently legitimate) nephew who laid claim to his titles by having him sold into indentured servitude - little better than slavery - in America. He later tried, unsuccessfully, to influence witnesses to find the nephew guilty of murder so that he could be hanged. Richard was excommunicated by the ecclesiastical courts for failing to pay alimony to his second wife: his defense had been that his marriage was invalid because it was bigamous, his first wife still being alive.
I also enjoyed the effortless ease with whihch Richard Sydney Anthony lived with paradox. Despite having been a Labour Party TD (member of the Dáil) and trade unionist, in 1939 he congratulated General Franco "on concluding his war against communism and anarchy in Spain" and told the Irish Trade Union Congress that "he would prefer fascism to a dictatorship of the proletariat." Having expelled him in 1932, the Labour Party readmitted him 16 years later. Had he changed his view of the dictatorship of the proles?
Lastly, two adjacent Andrews who are also among the astonishingly long list of distinguished past puplis of the Christian Brothers' School in Synge Street, central Dublin. Todd Andrews was a revolutionary who reaped the rewards of victory in post-independence Ireland, winning leading positions in such state-owned enterprises as Bord na Mona (the nationalized turf [peat] fuel business), CIÉ, the state transport authority and RTÉ, the public broadcaster. Although apparently "quite liberal by the standards of his time" and "anti-clerical" (something to do with his having been excommunicated), he was also, in the lapidary prose of the DIB, "a man of direct and even violently held opinion." Bord na Mona was said to have employed someone to prevent strikes Andrews almost started. He started one of independent Ireland's many political dynasties: I remember his son David knocking on our door in Killiney in 1965, canvassing for his first, successful, Dáil election. He was young and good-looking. My mother was very impressed. I think she voted for him.