by ehistoryadmin on July 23, 2016

The Laois 1916 Committee have done great work in identifying that the first shots of the Easter Rising were fired in an action at Colt Wood near Portlaoise when a number of Volunteers dug up a section of rail line which resulted in the derailment of an engine. On the same night, Easter Sunday, 23 April, 1916 a small section of this group of men cut communications lines and a pole which they lay across the Athy-Carlow rail line. The problem is we are unsure where it took place – at Ardreigh or Maganey. Working with Frank Taaffe in Athy and Jim Fleming and the Laois 1916 Committee we are looking for any information to identify the site of this action.

According top the Leinster Leader  a farmer named Nolan from Ardreigh (and there are Nolans in Ardreigh in the 1911 Census) came across the scene and reported it to a signal box but unfortunately it does not say where – Athy or Maganey station (would this station have been a part time day time only operation in 1916 or would he have been anywhere near Maganey in the first place?). We can find no other mention of Ardreigh or Ardree.

There are  3 mentions of Maganey in pension applications – Eamon Fleming, Michael Gray and John Peter McGuire (called Sean in some statements) and these can be looked at online. However if you read the indexes etc. then the material it seems associated with Maganey for Gray and McGuire may come as a result of the administrators looking at the file of Fleming in light of their claims and therefore the one good source for Maganey remains the evidence of Eamon Fleming though it was given in 1934. There is no corroborating statement from another witness.

On the Laois side Ramsbottoms were involved in the action near Portlaoaise and there was a Ramsbottom (born Queen’s County) at Maganey in 1911 working as a labourer and also a farm labourer named Nolan in the area!!

There are strong grounds for speculation for either site. We have searched through newspapers and other resources as well as Witness Statements and Pension Applications online.

We are currently left with possibilities!

  • Maganey mentioned twice as scene of action by Eamon Fleming and once more as Athy-Maganey line – otherwise the locations is described variously as
  • outside Athy
  • south of Athy
  • Athy-Maganey line
  • Carlow – Athy line
  • Bagnalstown – Athy line
  • Athy-Kildare line
  • Kilkenny-Kildare line
  • site undecided or unknown up to a day before

If anyone has any information please contact us at , Frank Taaffe or Athy Heriatge Centre or Jim Fleming and the Laois 1916 Committee. Thank you

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