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October 27, 2011

OLD CLOCK GIVEN A NEW LIFE

Old clock given a new life

Naas has a new public clock or, more accurately, a clock which has not kept time in almost ninety years has been restored as a working timepiece. The clock in question is in the cupola over the archway of the old military barracks – the site now occupied by the striking Áras Chill Dara head office of Kildare County Council on the Newbridge road out of Naas. The archway (sometimes referred to as ‘the lantern building’) and its adjacent two-storey rooms are the only structures to have survived from the original sprawling barracks which at one time accommodated up to 500 men. Built in 1814 the barracks operated as a British Army station for over a century until 1922 when it was handed over to the new Irish Free State army and promptly decommissioned.  A significant military presence was not to return until 1954 when the pioneering Army Apprentice School was set up and shortly afterwards the installation was named after John Devoy, a leader of Irish-American Fenianism who was born near Kill.
The barracks was a vibrant military station training young soldier-technicians until the apprentice school was transferred to the Curragh and the last Army contingent marched out in September 1998.  Later the barrack premises were demolished, its early 19th century buildings being of little use for any modern activity, and the site was identified as the new county headquarters for Kildare County Council. By 2004 the Council’s headquarters, remarkable for its thoroughly modern steel-and-glass construction, had emerged on the site, its car park occupying the area where a hundred pairs of boots once bashed the parade ground square.
Almost dwarfed by the modern construction, the archway building was a forlorn reminder of the military infrastructure which had stood for over 180 years on the site. For a while the future for the archway was not promising. Its gable ends which had been internal walls before the demolition of the main barrack buildings were exposed to the weather. The cupola or dome structure was crumbling away and the clock mechanism totally seized up. The weather-beaten state of the building formed a stark contrast with the shimmering modernity of the KCC headquarters.
However before the point of no return the Council has stepped in and rescued the situation. In an admirable building conservation project the Council’s Architects Department engaged local contractors, Kennycourt Construction, to conserve the archway. A crucial element was the construction of a ‘skin’ wall to protect the exposed gables and the building weatherproofed. Naturally much interest centred on the restoration of the clock. It’s parts were well worn, some broken entirely, and there was reason to believe that the clock had not kept time since the British left in 1922. Kildare County  Council called in the services of a restoration horologist, Mr. Julian Cosby who was no stranger to Naas having completed a major renewal of the Town Hall clock in the mid 1980s..  The Town Hall clock was made by Chancellor & Son of Dublin and installed in 1866. The Barracks’ clock with its intricate assemblage of cogs, gears, axles and spindles, was made by Gillett & Company, a clock-factory founded in 1844 by William Gillett in Croydon near London.
The four faces and dial-hands have been repainted in gold paint and their attractive finish, combined with a replacement weather vane made in Italy (another specialist piece), makes for an evocative reminder of the time when battalions of Kildare men marched through the archway on their way to the far foreign battlefields of Europe and of Africa. Happily the clock in its revived lifetime looks over a more peaceful vista – the residents of Co. Kildare going to and from the County Council offices on a myriad of local government errands. The future use of the archway building will have to await the availability of funding – a display location for heritage material reflecting the history of the site is one possibility. And what a rich story there is to convey with such famous (or notorious) military units as the Black Watch, the Royal Dublin Fusiliers and the Black and Tans having been based at the barracks site over the years. For the time being, and thanks to the foresight of the County Council, the professionalism of its Architects Department, and the specialist horological skills of Mr. Julian Cosby, the old barracks clock adds another instalment to the inventory of historic time-pieces in County Kildare.

Series No: 216.

In his column 'Looking Back' from the Leinster Leader February 17, 2011 Liam Kenny celebrates the restoration of Naas' old barracks clock by recalling the history of the clock. Our thanks to Liam.

MEN OF GRIT AND EXPERIENCE

Men of Grit and Experience

There is hardly a telephone pole from Castledermot to Celbridge that is not adorned by the countenance of a candidate appealing for the support of the voters in the General Election.  Behind each of these electoral images is a flesh-and-blood candidate putting his or her credentials forward to the public. The aim of each is to be in a position to influence the policies that will shape Ireland’s social and economic circumstances in the coming years. And while every past election has had its impact on the life of the nation there is a real sense that the General Election of 2011 is freighted with more significance than most of its predecessors. The choices made by the Irish electorate over the next few weeks will have a profound influence on the future of the country. All the more reason then to take a step back from the heady pace of current political drama and look to how the voters of a bygone era approached the weighty task of choosing the representatives that would lead the country through difficult times. Just a century ago the editorial column of this paper reflected on the responsibilities of candidates who were putting themselves forward for elections in 1911. Although the elections were for the local rather than national level of government the considerations were equally serious. Writing in advance of the County Council elections of 1911 the then editor of the Leader set out the kind of qualities required of a new generation of leaders: ‘ The more our public life has developed the more imperative of has become the necessity for public men of grit, experience and constructive abilities.’ He was equally clear about the characteristics which would not be welcomed: ‘The men of merely mediocre qualities will … be less and less in demand.’ The assumption that the candidates were male reflects the almost complete absence of women from elected politics in the early years of the twentieth century. Things have improved for the female politician but not greatly – one hundred years later and women account for less than one in every five of elected positions. Returning to the realities of politics in 1911 the Leader editor stressed that the voters had responsibilities too. He stressed that the elector who casts a vote for ‘an inferior article’ was the poorest patriot and the most dangerous kind of enemy to his country. He went on to say that it was obvious to every voter that if the standard of public life was not kept up the country would not be able to develop or push ahead out of its difficulties. He felt the need to warn voters that ‘Unworthy local circumstances and a hundred and one dodges may be resorted to in order to get at the voter.’  Warming to the theme he remarked that ‘rogues often seek office and palm themselves off as highly inspired persons.’  However it was also apparent that the writer did not have the highest estimation of the electorate’s ability to do the right thing: ‘… the voter is human, sometimes ignorant and often without any scruple of conscience in the matter of his vote.’ And he had very little time for voters who knowingly elected a rogue candidate to office. He opined that where that that happened: ‘the morality of the voters had touched a very low water-mark … a constituency so degraded is almost past praying for.’  #While the Leader editor was in a sermonising mode he concluded his exhortation to the voters of Kildare on a note which suggested that there was also very positive characteristics to be found in men who put themselves forward for public office. He said that the country needed men whose minds are disciplined. The arrival of such men to public office would curb the ‘useless and hopeless ineptitude which makes a laughing stock of some of our assemblies.’ And he concluded on a hopeful note, one which could be brought forward by a century and just as easily applied to the elections of 2011: ‘Ireland has splendid material for the creation of a decent public life, and a decent public life can only spring from a healthy public opinion and the awakening of a conscience in the voters.’

Series no: 215

Liam Kenny in his 'Looking Back' column from the Leinster Leader of February 10, 2011 reflects on Kildare County Council elections a hundred years ago. Our thanks to Liam.

October 26, 2011

MOVING TRIBUTES TO TERESA BRAYTON

Leinster Leader October 24, 1959

Moving Tributes to Teresa Brayton

A simple-hearted, noble woman who loved her country dearly and remained faithful to the end, was how the President, Mr. De Valera, described the Co. Kildare poetess, Teresa Brayton, when he unveiled a memorial Celtic Cross over her grave in Cloncurry on Sunday. Close on a thousand gathered in the hillside cemetery, a few yards inside the Co. Meath border, to watch the simple but moving ceremony. Most moved of all were relatives of the famed poetess, including nieces and nephews who heard her praises expressed in sincere words. Proud onlookers too, were many local people whose memory of Teresa Brayton is still fresh in their minds. And all looked with admiration on the man who conceived the idea of a ceremonial Mr. P. Quillan, Vice-Chairman of Enfield Muintir na Tire which set up a sub-committee headed by him to carry out the project.
It was a day of great pomp and ceremonial for the placid town land of Cloncurry. His Excellency the President was met on arrival by an escort of honour of members of Enfield Muintir na Tire. They accompanied him to the cemetery gate where he inspected an F.C.A Guard of Honour. The Presidential Salute was played by the Army No.1 Band. Members of the Memorial Committee were introduced to the President and he chatted with them for a few moments. An honour guard from Navan Order of Malta Unit saluted him as he walked to the cemetery and having been officially welcomed by Mr. M. A. Regan solicitor Chairman of the Meath Muintir na Tire, His Excellency unveiled the memorial and placed on the grave a wreath from Enfield Muintir na Tire.

Prayers said.

The President having  spoken and been thanked for coming, a decade of the Rosary was recited by Very Rev. Fr O’Meara, P.P., Kilcock, followed by the National Anthem, and as  the crowed dispersed the strains of the Old Bog Road, Teresa Brayton’s famous poem, inspired by a nearby boreen came over the loudspeakers striking a deeply sentimental note.
The song was sung by Mr. Des Brennan, Rochford Bridge, with piano accompaniment by Mrs. R. McDyer, Enfield. It was recorded on tape and broadcast by Mr. Noel Mongey, Enfield.
The old bog road itself and the poetess’s birthplace at Kilbrook were decorated with flags and bunting. Boxes of flowers were laid at intervals on the roadside.
The F.C.A honour guard was drawn from North and South Kildare and North Dublin, under Capt. C. Stapleton, Navan, Col. R. J. Callanan O.C. Eastern Command received the President when he arrived.
The attendance included Very. Rev. P. Dillon. P.P., Enfield; Rev Fr. Donovan. C.C. Kilcock; Supt. T. Lavan, Trim: Mr. Vincent Griffin Co.C.
Relatives of the late poetess include Mrs. M. Lynch, Mullingar and Miss B. Flanagan, Kilcock, nieces; Messrs. Hugh and Leo Boylan, Kilbrook; Messrs. James Francis and Joseph Flanagan, Kilcock, nephews.
Miss Margaret Kearney was Secretary of the Memorial Committee and other members were Messrs. McQuillan, Thos. Walshe, Michl. Kearney, Robert Tuite and Liam Corrigan.

Prominent Figure

The President said: “Forty years ago Teresa Brayton was a prominent figure in the Irish life of New York. Her books of verse, which echoed the yearnings in their hearts, were in the hands of many of the Irish exiles. Her songs were favourites at every Irish gathering. They enkindled a burning love for Ireland and rallied their hearers to the cause of Irish Independence.
“Teresa was not content with this but busied herself in seeing that sentiment and enthusiasm were harnessed effectively to the work of organisation. When her immediate hopes seemed lost she counselled perseverance and built up the will to struggle on.
“This cross which we have unveiled here to-day will serve to remind all who see it of a simple-hearted noble woman who loved her country dearly and remained faithful to the end.
“May her memory continue to be an inspiration, not merely to the people of Cluain Chonaire but to all of us.
“Every one who had the privilege of knowing Teresa Brayton and her worth, is grateful to the branch of Muintir na Tire here who have seen to it that see will not be forgotten.

Exiles Heartbreak

Very Rev. Dr. J. Corkery, Librarian St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth proposing a vote of thanks to the President, said that they were extremely grateful to him for performing the ceremony.
Some people in their ivory towers and synthetic garrets might deery their presence there and the verse of the poet, but she spoke in the language she knew expressing the heartbreak of the exile and the yearning for freedom. Some of the beatniks might think them foolish, but those who would advance Ireland furthest must base our future on the traditions of the past.
Dr. Corkery said that they honoured Teresa Brayton too, as a woman as it was the mothers and grandmothers of Ireland who kept the traditions of the country alive.
“We hope” he added “that this occasion is symbolic not only of our pride in the past but also of our determination  to make the future worthy of the past.”
Commenting on a souvenir booklet got out by the Memorial Committee he said that it was the first time in Irish publishing that a collection of her writings appeared. He commended the Committee on the booklet.
Lt-Col W. Rea, seconding said it was very important that the people of this and future generations should honour her, because her verse kept the desire for national freedom alive. By seeing that the young people learned the poems and songs of our illustrious past we would be ensuring that our great heritage was known to them. The place go get that done was at parish level, he urged.

Bishops Interest

Mr. Regan said that they appreciated the kindness of His Lordship Most Rev. Dr. Keogh Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin for conveying his good wishes and blessing and expression of regret at being unable to attend on account of a prior engagement.
He welcomed the relatives and very many friends and admirers of Teresa Brayton who had come from near and far to be associated with them.

An article from the Leinster Leader October 24, 1959 about the funeral ceremony of Teresa Brayton which was attended by Eamon De Velera who gave a speech on her work, poems and songs from the early 1900s. Re-typed by Killian Brennan

October 13, 2011

LACKAGH'S NEW SCHOOL

Leinster Leader, June 21st 1958

Lackagh’s New School

Tuesday, June 17 was a memorable day for Lackagh Parish, Monasterevan. It marked the opening of a new National School, which was blessed and dedicated to St. Brigid, by Very Rev. T.H. Burbage, P.P, V.F.
Set adjacent to the old school in a rampart field on the Monastervan-Rathangan Road-the new building is the meeting point of two centuries of history, one ending the other beginning. The history of one recorded in tradition, the other unwritten glistening in the freshness of the dawn. For the ceremonies which began at 12 ‘o clock hundreds of parishioners and children assembled. Many farmers left their work to attend. At a specially erected altar in the corridor of the new building Mass was celebrated by Rev. Father Hughes, C.C. Nurney.
Monasterevan’s C.B.S. Flageolet Band (30 Strong) under the direction of Rev. Brother O’Connor played “Faith of Our Fathers” and “Hail Queen of Heaven” the congregation joining in the singing of the hymns. After the blessing of the ceremonies closed with the playing with the National Anthem. Clergy assisting were Rev. Father McSuibhne, P.P. Kildare; Rev. J. Hayden C.C. Rath; Rev. J. McDonald, C.C. Monasterevan; Rev. K. O’Byrne C.C. Portarlington; Rev. Brother Conleth O’ Carm, Kildare.
Father Burbage, addressing the congregation from the steps of the school building said the invoking of God’s blessing on the opening of a new school was a reason for rejoicing anywhere in the world but especially in the land of ours that was famed for centuries for being an island of saints and scholars. The fact that our nation had a brilliant past is a stimulant to achieve an equally brilliant future.
At one time the sons of Ireland carried culture and learning to Britain and the Continent, became teachers of whole nations and Councillors of Kings and Emperors. That spirit would be flourishing here to-day, he said was it not that a barbarous nation invaded trampled our people underfoot for a century and made the acquiring of religious and secular knowledge a capital crime. The old school that is replaced is a grim reminder of these facts. It was built at a time when our people were plunged in poverty, and famine was devastating the land.
Father Burbage said thee were facts that our children should be taught-so that they may face life without any inferiority complex. Not only should our people be made aware of the glories of the past, they should be informed of the colossal sacrifices they had to struggle against, and which they eventually overcame. Lackagh is rich in information of this kind and the people are fortunate in having local historians who have made such information available. He congratulated the priests of the parish and the people who had worked hand in hand to gather the necessary funds.
Mr. Boyd-Barrett, Architect said: “From to-day this school belongs to people of the parish. It is your heritage, the State has nothing to do with it. It is parochial property, and like the churches it should be kept in first-class repair.”
Returning thanks to Very Rev. Father Burbage, Rev. J. McDonald, C.C. Monasterevan, said Fr. Burbage’s name was cherished and dear to every home in the parish. He is a true Irishman and distinguished scholar and a great priest.
He congratulated Mr. Boyd-Barrett, Messrs. McDermott and McDonnell, Brannextown, Contractors, and that men for the efficiency of the work.

An article from the Leinster Leader, June 21st 1958 about the opening of a new school in Lackagh, Monasterevan.

October 12, 2011

COMDT. DENIS BARRY IN NEWBRIDGE AND THE CURRAGH

Comdt. Denis Barry in Newbridge and the Curragh

James Durney

Commandant Denis Barry, of Cork, died on 20 November 1923 in the Curragh Military Hospital while on hunger-strike. During the Irish Civil War hundreds of republican prisoners were interned in Newbridge Barracks and the Curragh Camp. Despite the ending of the Civil War in May by 1 July 1923 the number of republican prisoners in the Free State was officially estimated as 11,316.  On October 10 as a protest against conditions and the continued incarceration of the prisoners prisoners in Mountjoy Jail began a hunger-strike. An order of the day was issued by Frank Aiken, I.R.A. chief of staff, asking for support for the Mountjoy hunger-strikers, which was interpreted in the jails and internment camps throughout Ireland, as an invitation to support the Mountjoy prisoners by joining the hunger strike. As many as 8,000 prisoners decided to do so.
Denis Barry, a veteran of the War of Independence in Cork, was arrested on 6 October 1922 in Courtown Harbour, Co. Wexford, by National troops in a general round-up of republicans. He was brought to Newbridge Internment Camp where he was detained without charge or trial. Denis was first detained in L Block, in old army huts which had no beds or heating. He was later moved to K Block, where conditions were a little better. Denis joined the mass hunger-strike on 17 October 1923 in support of his protesting comrades. On 6 November he wrote his final letter to his brother Bartholomew or ‘Batt’ … ‘I hope there is nobody worrying over-much, as for the present, thank God, I am as strong as can be expected, not having eaten for 21 days, but otherwise can sit up in bed, and get out while it is being dressed. The general state of my health, now at any rate, is really very good. I need nothing for the moment as friends I have by the hundred who attend me so my advice to ye is to do everything with a light heart, trust God for His hand is greater than those who hold me here.’
However, the health of Denis Barry went into serious decline from 12 November and two days later, Rev. P. Doyle, Chaplain of Newbridge Barracks, gave him the last rites. On Saturday 17 November a telegram reached the Barry home in southeast Cork, which read: ‘Your brother is now seriously ill in Newbridge Internment Camp, Co. Kildare. Every facility will be given to his family to visit him on making a personal application to the Governor.’ Batt Barry left immediately to travel the 140 miles to Newbridge. On his arrival at the barracks Batt met the Military Governor, Seán Hayes, who escorted him to a hut where he saw his brother and three other men lying on stretcher beds on a dirty floor. Denis Barry was conscious but could not speak and when he made an effort went into convulsions. A doctor arrived and Batt had to leave. He returned the next day and after seeing Denis again asked the governor to move his brother to the hospital, but he was told that nothing could be done as long as he refused food. Batt then sent a telegram to the Minister of Defence, Richard Mulcahy, stating that Denis should be sent to a nursing home, but the reply was the same. Batt then signed a document stating that his brother receive food and treatment to save his life.
Denis Barry was brought by ambulance to the Curragh Military Hospital the next day, Monday 19 November, between 3 p.m and 4 p.m., but he died at 2.45 a.m. the following morning. Batt arrived Newbridge Barracks that morning to see Denis and was duly informed he had died in the Curragh Military Hospital. An inquest was held by Coroner Dr. F. Kenna, who attributed death to heart failure due to inanition caused by his refusal to take food. Dr. Kenna requested that the body be handed over to his relatives. When Batt and his brother-in-law, Walter Dain, arrived at the Curragh the authorities refused to hand over the remains. The family consulted a legal team in Dublin and instructed them to act on their behalf, but when Batt again arrived to claim the remains he was informed that Denis Barry had already been buried by the Military at a site near the 'Glasshouse' Military prison.  The family members went to the grave and recited the Rosary.
On November 26, following a High Court action, the remains of Denis Barry were exhumed from the site near the Glasshouse and handed over to his family. The remains were removed to a mortuary in Naas and then brought to Newbridge Town Hall where the body lay in state. The remains of Denis Barry arrived in Cork on the afternoon of 27 November. However, more controversy awaited.  Under the orders of Bishop Daniel Colohan, the remains were not permitted to enter any church in his diocese. The Bishop, a great supporter of a previous hunger-striker, Terence McSwiney, also forbid any of his priests to officiate at any religious ceremonies for the deceased. He wrote to the Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, Dr. Patrick Foley, in whose diocese Denis Barry had died, asking whether Denis had received the last sacraments. Fr. P. Doyle, who was prison chaplain for Newbridge Barracks, confirmed in writing on 27 November, that he had administered the last rites of the church prior to Denis Barry’s death.
Having been denied the benefit of a Christian burial, Barry’s remains were taken to the headquarters of Sinn Fein, at 56 Grand Parade, in Cork City. The funeral the next morning to the Republican Plot, in St. Finbarr’s Cemetery, was one of the largest seen in Cork for some time. The prayers at the graveside were recited by David Kent, T.D., who also prior to the burial, sprinkled the grave with holy water. Denis Barry was forty when he died.

Comdt. Denis Barry, of Cork, was interned in Newbridge Barracks during the Civil War

October 08, 2011

ATOMIC BOMB

Leinster Leader, August 9, 1945

ATOMIC BOMB

 

Atomic energy is being used – against – for the first time in the history of the war. President Truman, on Monday, disclosed that Japan had been struck by an atomic bomb 2,000 times more powerful than the ten-tonners dropped by British planes on Germany, and that several plants in America are turning out the new secret weapon.

 

American and British scientists have been working on it for five years, out of reach of German long-range weapons. V-1 and V-2 were the forerunners of the atomic bomb, but lost the war before her scientists attained this goal. Describing the bomb as a “harnessing of the basic power of the universe,” President Truman said its power has been used against those who brought war to the Far East .”

 

They spent $2,000,000,000 (about £500 millions) on the greatest gamble in history and had won. “It was to spare the Japanese people from utter destruction that the ultimatum of July 26th was issued from Potsdam ” the President stated. “Their leaders promptly rejected that ultimatum. If they don’t accept our terms, they may expect a rain of ruin from the air the like of which has never been seen on this earth.

 

“Behind this attack will follow land and sea forces in such numbers as they have not yet seen, and with a fighting skill of which they have already become aware.”

 

Following President Truman’s announcement a statement from Mr. Attlee said that research on the atomic bomb was carried out in Oxford, Cambridge London, Liverpool and Birmingham universities, and a special directorate had been formed – called for the purposes of secrecy, the “department of kube alloys.”

 

Coverage from the Leinster Leader of the Atomic Bombs in Japan in August 1945. Retyped by Aisling Dermody.

MILLIONS FOR TWO ESTATES

Leinster Leader, February 2, 1977

 

Millions for two estates

 

Almost tow million pounds changed hands in two big land sales in County Kildare last week. £1.5 m for Carton Estate, Maynooth and over £400,000 for Moyglare House, Maynooth.

Carton Demesne on 1,100 acres had been on the market for a considerable time and is probably one of the finest period residences in . It was purchased in trust by J. A. Shaw and Co., Solicitors, Mullingar and it is understood the purchasers are Irish and intend to retain the character of the property and to occupy the house.

Owned by Mr. David Nall-Cain, it was the former residence of the Duke of Leinster. The prospect of the unity of estate will be welcome to the many local people associated with it. The selling agents were Keane Mahony Smith.

Moyglare House, a Georgian manor on 286 acres was withdrawn at auction at the end of September at £370,000. Part of the property was purchased by adjoining Moyglare Stud. The house and a small acreage was bought by a well-known figure in the bloodstock industry, and an adjoining landowner bought the remainder.

The joint selling agents’ were John Hamilton Country Department partner of Jackson, Stops & McCabe and E.A. Coonan & Sons, Maynooth.

An article from the Leinster Leader, February 5, 1977 on the sale of two estates in Maynooth. Retyped by Aisling Dermody.

October 06, 2011

KILDARE EMIGRANTS HAVE NEW CLUBROOM

Leinster Leader, April 30, 1960

KILDARE EMIGRANTS

HAVE NEW CLUBROOM

The Kildare Association and its members take a very active part in Irish affairs in London. Its members, who come from all parts of Kildare, meet regularly at the dances, socials and outings organised by the Association.
Assistance is given to new emigrants from Kildare in obtaining employment, the sale of Irish goods is fostered, and generally, Kildare and Irish interests are advanced in every possible way.
The Association recently sought assistance from many of the funding Kildare concerns and thanks to Irish Ropes Ltd., Newbridge, and Wallpapers Ltd., Kildare, the new clubroom acquired at Alexandria Hotel, Clapham Common, London, S.W.4, will be laid with Tintawn carpets and decorated with Kildare wallpaper.
The association hopes to invite in the very near future a noted Kildare man to perform the official opening of the clubroom.

A story from the Leinster Leader, April 30, 1960 on the opening of a new clubroom for the Kildare Association in London. Retyped by Aisling Dermody.

THE GATES OF NAAS

Leinster Leader, 5 October, 1963

Few people to-day can picture Naas as a town of many gates. No trace of them remains. Six gates are regarded as having stood at different entrances.
Their purpose was toll more than defence since Henry VIII’s time. The West gate, Custom gate in 1786, at the junction of Main Street and New Row, received its name from the custom on turf entering by there. In 1671 the custom on turf was sold to William Shannon whose duty it was to pave the entrance to the gate and keep it in repair each year, for which he received the customs on turf.
Corban gate, entering to Corban’s Lane from Main Street, was pulled down in 1680 o make up walls for the church.
These ancient gates of Naas, it is thought, dated from 1171 when the town was surrounded by a wall strongly fortified.
We are told that from the time of Queen Elizabeth’s charter perpetual references were made to fortifying Naas and rebuilding its walls. Naas was a prosperous market town in 1577.
During the stormy days of the 17th century, from 1641 to 1647, Naas was many times taken. In 1680 two of the old gates were pulled down. At this period the Vicarage Castle, St. David’s, was regarded as the strongest defence of Naas.
The Town Hall is built on the site of what was named “White Castle” or “Old Castle.” The year 1771 saw the rooms in the old castle let to people at 30s. 

An article from the Leinster Leader, 5 October, 1963 on the six gates that once surrounded Naas. Retyped by Aisling Dermody

LAST REMAINING STALL HOLDER AT CURRAGH CAMP DIES

Leinster Leader Jan 18, 1969

Mrs. Mary Burke of Dublin Rd., Kildare who has died after a rather lengthy illness, was the last remaining stall-holder at Curragh Camp and her passing severs a 60-year association with the military establishment. She had operated a stall, under licence from the military authorities since the days of the British Army and for over 60 years had sold fruit and confectionery to the military at a temporary “shop” set up each day in the Barracks.
Relict of the last James Burke, she had been in the business since childhood when she first tended a stall for her mother on the camp. Ill-health forced her to retire some years ago. She was tremendously popular with the troops, particularly with the young recruits; down through the years she developed the facility of getting to know a surprising number of recruits quite well and to a great extent followed their fortunes, by word of mouth, as they progressed through other units of the Army. Generous to a fault, the straight dealing and invariable willingness to “help along” until pay-day, endeared her to the soldiers to such a degree that it became a sort of established code among her customers that Mrs. Burke should never be disappointed or “forgotten” on pay-day.
In her native Kildare, she was well known for her quiet, unassuming generosity, deep religious convictions and general cheerfulness in adversity; her passing is deeply regretted and it is certain that throughout the county soldiers and ex-soldiers who knew her when stationed at the Curragh Camp will pause to reflect, sorrowfully, when they learn of the death of the little old lady who for so many years, in all kinds of weather, was such a familiar cheery figure in the heart of the military establishment.
She is survived by her sons and daughters; interment took place in St. Conleth’s cemetery.

A story from the Leinster Leader, January 18, 1969 on the death of Mr. Mary Burke, Kildare and her 60 years as a stall holder in the Curragh Camp. Retyped by Aisling Dermody.

THE LATE MR. MYLES LAWLOR

Leinster Leader 10 February 1951
Impressive funeral tribute
The late Mr. Myles Lawlor, Naas

We deeply regret to announce the death which took place on Friday last at his residence of Mr. Myles Lawlor, Mill House, Naas. Deceased had been in failing health for some time past, but his end, nevertheless, was unexpected and evoked widespread sympathy.
Aged about 70, Mr. Lawlor was a native of County Dublin, but early in the present century he purchased, together with his brother, the late Michael Lawlor, a farm at Johnstown, Kill, and was engaged at farming until sometime after his marriage, when his wife, Mrs. Bridget Lawlor, started in the catering business at Nas Na Riogh Hotel. This was around about 1913, and the venture was destined to be such a huge success that to-day the firm of Mrs. B. Lawlor and Son is a household word throughout the length and breadth of the land – in fact it is by a long way the premier concern of its time, noted everywhere for its efficient service and providing large scale and lucrative employment in Dublin and Naas.
Mr. Lawlor played his part in this great build-up, working as hard as any member of the staff, and discharging the duties for which he was specially suited.
It is not so much, however, for the eminent position which his firm attained in the commercial world, that the late Mr. Lawlor will be remembered in the years to come as for the kindly, gentle disposition that was his, and for his inoffensive, unobtrusive character. An unkind or uncharitable word about his neighbour would be contrary to every instinct of his nature, and the people, both rich and poor, generously testified to this on both last Friday and Sunday. He was not merely a popular, but a beloved figure in the town.
In the religious sphere he was a very sincere, humble Catholic, who always placed first things first, and when the final moment came it found him peacefully resigned to the Holy Will. The last rites were administered to him several times during his illness by Rev. G. Brophy, C.C.
We respectfully offer to his widow, Mrs. B. Lawlor, and his two sons, Mr. James Lawlor, Osberstown House, and Mr. Thomas Lawlor, Nas na Riogh Hotel, as well as all the other relatives, the expression of our deepest sympathy in their sad bereavement.
 The funeral
The funeral, which took place after last Mass on Sunday in the Church of Our Lady and St. David to St. Corban’s Cemetery, was one of the largest ever witnessed in the town. Not only from all parts of the County, but from all parts of Ireland, people came to pay a last tribute of respect to the deceased and to his widow and family.
The prayers leaving the Church, and later at the graveside, were recited by Very Rev. P. J. Doyle, P.P., Naas, assisted by Rev. C. Phelan, C.C., Naas; Very. Rev. Father Foynes, P.P., Kildare; Very Rev. Father Roche, S.J., Rector, Clongowes Wood College; Rev. Father McNally, C.C., Kill; Rev. Father Carey, C.C., Eadestown; Very Rev. Dr. Kevin, Maynooth College; Very Rev. Dr. Hamill, do., and Rev. G. Brophy, C.C., Naas.
The chief mourners were Mrs. B. Lawlor, (widow); Messrs. James and Thomas Lawlor (sons); Mrs. Violet Lawlor (daughter-in-law); Mrs. Whiteside and Miss Keely (sisters-in-law); Mr. Peter Keely (brother-in-law); Mr. Michael Conway, M.R.C.V.S.; Mrs. M. Conway, Mr. Anthony Lawlor, Miss Concepta Lawlor, Messrs. Denis, Joseph and Thomas Headon and P. Powers, Miss N. Whiteside and Mrs. Powers, Mr. and Mrs. P. Byrne (relatives).
In view of the immense proportions of the cortege, it would be impossible to give anything like a complete list of those present. All creeds and classes were represented, including various trade organisations from Dublin and elsewhere. The Government was represented by An Tanaiste, Mr. W. Norton; Mr. Liam Cosgrove, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry and Commerce, and Mr. Gerard Sweetman, T.D. Also present were: The McGillicuddy of the Reeks, Dr. Lyons Thornton, Capt. R. O’Sullivan (Army Medical Services), W. C. Kelly, Palmerstown; R. D. Fetherstonhaugh, J. Hogg, B. Roche, G. Morrin, M.R.C.V.S.; Dr. Murphy, Dr. W. McCarthy, Chief Medical Officer; Dr. McQuillian, Dr. Herlihy, Dr. Purcell, Dr. Fitsimons, Dr. Ryan, Dr. Bartley, P. P. Wilkinson, solicitor; R. Coonan, solicitor; F Wright, solicitor; P. Boland, solicitor; F. Murphy, solicitor (Kildare); M. Salmon, solicitor; A. Osborne, solicitor; A. MacMahon, solicitor; H. Farrell (Ballinagappa), P. Frayne, George Wardell, Col. J. Slattery, Col. McGuinness, Capt. Armstrong, David Lalor, J. Keely, James Byrne (Kilcullen), T. Byrne, do.; M. Fitzsimons (Chairman Urban Council), John Lawler, U.D.C.; P. Cox (Newbridge), Joseph Osborne, Joseph Gorry, John Gorry and the Misses Gorry, Mr. O’Brien, Manager Munster and Leinster Bank, Naas; T. Dowling, U.D.C.; P. Broe, T. Fletcher, Joseph Kavanagh, Chief Superintendent O’Driscoll, Superintendent G. O’Flynn, W. Kehoe (Carlow), Brian King, James Lawler (Dublin), Dr. Connolly, C. O’Neill, A. H. Whiteside, Rev. Brother Ryan, Superior, Christian Brothers Schools; Dr. O’Reilly (Kilcock), Gregory Byrne (Ballymore-Eustace), Ted O’Connor (Boston), M. Purcell, M.A., L.L.B., solicitor; D.J. Purcell, Peter Canning, solicitor, James Dargan, solicitor; Peter Coonan, T. Brady, L. Masterson, P. O’Sullivan (Dentist), Dr. Boylan, M. J. J. Whelan, T. Flangan, L. Fullam, J. Mullaney, Secretary County Council; J. J. Mullowney, C.E.O., Kildare Vocational Committee; Mr. john O’Neill (Newbridge), Mr. W. Carter, etc., etc.
 Messages of sympathy
Hundreds of Mass cards and messages of sympathy were received by the family of deceased. The messages of sympathy included ones from the Lord Abbot of Mount Melleray, An Tanaiste, the Rector of Clongowes Wood College, Sir John Esmonde, T.D.; Rev. Father Kearney, C.C.; the Minister for Justice and Mrs. McEoin, the Minister for Industry and Commerce, Mr. Morrissey; the Minister for Education, Mr. R. Mulcahy; Mr. W. T. Cosgrove, Mr. L. Cosgrove, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry and Commerce; Rev. Father Perrot, Clongowes wood College; Rev. Father Green, D. P. Connolly, T.D.; Dr. O’Donel Browne and Mrs. Grace Browne.
 Naas Council’s sympathy
At the meeting of the Naas Urban Council on Tuesday night, Mr. M. J. O’Donoghue proposed a resolution of sympathy with Mr. James Lawlor, their esteemed colleague, on the great loss he had sustained by the death of his father, Mr. Myles Lawlor. The Lawlor family, added Mr. O’Donoghue, was a great asset to the town, and they were held in the highest regard and popularity not only in Naas, but throughout the county and over the whole country. He was very sorry to learn of Mr. Lawlor’s death, and he trusted that the Council’s sincere expression of regret would be some consolation to the family in their sad trial.
Mr. Tom Dowling, seconding the resolution, said that the passing of Mr. Myles Lawlor removed one of the old and honoured links with the town. Mr. Lawlor had reached a good age, but nevertheless they all deeply regretted that his end should come so soon, and he extended to Mr. James Lawlor, their colleague, and to the other members of the family his sympathy in their sad bereavement.
The other members concurred, and the vote was passed in respectful silence.

A Leinster Leader article from 10 February 1951 on the passing of Myles Lawlor, of Johnstown


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