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Charles Laughton's grandfather came from Ardee

The Hunchback of Notre Dame actor had Irish grandparents on his mother’s side. Their names were Luke Conlon and Mary McAllister. Luke Conlon came from Ardee County Louth. He was born there to labourer Bernard Conlon and Bridget Gargan of Irish Street circa 1839.


By the 1860s Luke Conlan had made his way to Seaham in Durham, England, possibly attracted by work opportunities at the local coal mines. There in 1865 he married a hard-nosed business woman from County Antrim, Mary McAllister, whose parents had moved to Durham in the late 1840s or early 1850s.


The McAllisters originally came from Garron Point, on the Antrim coast, where they were tenant farmers. A remote place of exceptional beauty, Garron Point and the townland of Galboly (site of the “Hidden Village”) were used as locations for the filming of Game of Thrones in recent years.


Mary McAllister was born at Garron Point in 1843 to Stewart McAllister (b. 1801)and Eliza Murphy (b. 1811). Eliza Murphy came from the nearby townland of Nappan and was the eldest daughter of farmer John Murphy. The couple married at Cushendall in February 1833.


After their marriage Luke Conlan and Mary McAllister ran an inn at Seaham Harbour. It was known as the Castlereagh Inn, later the Castlereagh Hotel.


Charles Laughton’s mother, Eliza Conlon,was born to the couple in 1869. Steeped in the hotel trade from childhood, she went on to marry fellow hotelier, Robert Laughton, in 1893. Charles Laughton was born at his parent's hotel, The Victoria, at Scarborough,

North Yorkshire, in 1899.



Charles Laughton 1934 publicity shot for the Barretts of Wimpole Street

Historyeye | Charles Laughton Irish Roots

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