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The curious tale of the Westmeath family and Queen Victoria's salad bowl

After Ms Carroll returned to Ireland, the bowl was regularly used for salads at her home.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

A DISPUTE OVER a bowl which the High Court was previously told was part of a dinner service specially commissioned by Queen Victoria has been remitted from the High to the Circuit Court because a question has arisen if money was ever paid for the item.

The dispute centres over a Wedgwood fruit bowl which the court was previously told was used by the British royal family at Balmoral before ultimately being bought by Mary Elsie Carroll from Sarsfield Square, Athlone, Co Westmeath who died in 2011.

High Court proceedings were commenced by Ms Marie Ryan the executor of her late mother’s estate after correspondence, including from London fine art auctioneers Sotheby’s, suggested her brother Michael Carroll had sold the bowl for Stg £100,000.

It is alleged the bowl forms part of their late mother’s estate after she bought it in England in the post-war years. They seek orders restraining dissipation by Michael Carroll of any proceeds arising from any sale of the bowl.

Mr Carroll previously gave undertakings not to dissipate any funds connected with the estate of his late mother pending the outcome of the hearing.

The matter was briefly mentioned before Mr Justice Paul Gilligan, who was informed there was consent from both parties for the dispute to be heard by the Circuit Court.

Mr John Hayden Bl for Marie Ryan said it was agreed the matter should go before the Circuit Court as there was now a question if Stg£100,000 had been paid for the bowl.

John Kerr BL, for Michael Carroll, said his client who lives at Sarsfield Square for a time and also has an address in Dublin, was seeking to have the case heard in Dublin.

The Judge said the matter should be remitted back to the Midland Circuit Court given all the parties are from Athlone.

Previously the court heard Marie Elsie Carroll died testate more than four years ago and, in her will, left her home, valued some €53,000, to her daughter and six sons. The residue of the estate was also divided between the siblings.

It is claimed she bought the bowl at a local market in the Bury St Edmunds area, when she was working in the UK. After Ms Carroll returned to Ireland, the bowl was regularly used for salads at her home.

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Aodhan O Faolain

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