THE KILDARE OBSERVER – SATURDAY MAY 2 1891
COUNTY KILDARE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY.
INAGUGURAL MEETING AT PALMERSTOWN.
On Saturday evening a meeting was held at Palmerstown House, the residence of the Earl of Mayo, for the purpose of establishing an Archaeological Society for the County Kildare, on the same lines as other county Archaeological Societies in England and Ireland. There were present – The Duke of Leinster, the Earl of Mayo, Most Rev Dr Comerford, Coadjutor Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin ; Lord Walter Fitzgerald, the Archdeacon of Kildare, the Dean of Kildare, Fr Denis Murphy, Rev John Connell, Clongowes College ; Mr T J de Burgh, Hon Gerald Ponsonby, Mr T Cooke-Trench, Rev Canon Sherlock, Rev Wm Stokes, Rev J F Cole, Rev E Maguire, Maynooth ; Rev T Gilmartin, Mr E Sweetman, General McMahon, Mr. A Vicars, Mr H Hendrick-Aylmer, Mr Geo Mansfield, Mr E Molloy, Mr Algernon Aylmer, Rev George Garrett, Kilmeague : Mr A J Owen, Rev James Adams, Kill ; Dr D P Coady, Mr J Loch, C I ; Mr K L Supple, D L.
On the motion of Lord Mayo, seconded by Dr Comerford, the chair was taken by His Grace the Duke of Leinster.
Lord Mayo, who acted as secretary to the meeting, explained the object for which they were invited. He said he was very glad that so many gentlemen of the county had responded to the invitation he had sent out. He hoped that they would be able that day to settle the rules of the proposed society and also to gain a great many more members. This meeting had greatly exceeded in size what he expected, and only that this was one of the days of Leopardstown Races the Marquis of Drogheda would have been present, and probably a good many others. With regard to the archaeological society, he hoped they would not only be able to enter into subjects of strictly archaeological interest but also matters of a more modern form interest than archaeology usually embraced. He trusted that another thing would be noticed in their society, viz, that they should try to go into, so to speak, subjects that had not been written about in the county. There were a great many interesting places in the County Kildare that were not known about. He hoped they would be able to look into these. He had a draft of rules similar to those in the Warwickshire Field Club, which he offered merely as suggestions to the meeting with the chairman’s permission. The first rule was that the society be called the County Kildare Archaeological Society, and that the purposes of the society be the study of subjects of antiquarian interest in the county and surrounding districts. A rule then followed stating that the society should be composed of a president, vice-president, hon treasurer, hon secretary, council and members. Ladies are eligible for membership.
Lord Mayo – If we publish a journal don’t you think an editor will be necessary?
The chairman thought in that they should follow the customs in other similar societies.
Mr Vicars said the council decided what to publish and what not to publish, and it was to them the papers should go.
Father Murphy said that in the Archaeological Institute that had an editor.
Canon Sherlock said the editor could not be made responsible for accepting or rejecting papers. That must be done by the council.
Father Murphy said the papers were read for the council, and if they passed a paper it was printed by the council.
Lord Mayo. . . We shall say nothing about an editor then. The council does that work.
The Archdeacon of Kildare said the editor would correct proofs.
Mr Vicars said in another Society the author corrected his proofs, and a paid secretary went over all the proofs. Each man was made responsible for his own paper.
The Archdeacon of Kildare said that a man might write a very good paper, and be a very poor hand at correcting a proof.
It was decided that the appointment of an editor was not necessary.
Lord Mayo suggested the rule that the council consist of five members, with the president, vice-president, and hon secretary. He asked would that be enough.
Chairman . . . That depends upon what you would call a quorum.
Lord Mayo . . . Three members to form a quorum.
Mr Cooke-Trench . . . I should suggest that two form a quorum for non-contentious matter, three for anything contended. You very often find a difficulty in getting three men together, and if two meet they have to adjourn and cannot do routine business.
Lord Walter Fitzgearld . . . Can you not extend the council, and make the quorum the same?
Rev Mr Garrett . . . They wouldn’t meet. I think Mr Cooke Trench’s suggestion is a good one. There are a great many cases where people agree so much, that they won’t even attend a meeting.
The Dean of Kildare . . . How would you define contentious matter?
Mr Cooke-Trench . . . Anything on which two are not agreed.
The Dean of Kildare . . . They would not know that until they got there.
Mr Cooke-Trench . . . Then they could adjourn the contentious matter and go on with
the routine business. This suggestion was agreed to. Instead of adjourning all.
Lord Mayo said there must be a certain amount of subscriptions to carry on the printing publishing of the journal, if they did publish a journal. He thought they ought to settle to-day what they were going to subscribe. He had the circular of Col Vigors’ societies for the preservation of the memorials of the dead in Ireland, and his subscription was five shillings. What did they think of making it 10s for theirs?
Several members thought 10s was sufficient.
Lord Mayo . . . What shall we say for life members?
Dr Comerford suggested £5.
Mr Cooke-Trench said that the Royal Dublin Society were taking into consideration the question of life members. The membership subscription was twenty guineas, the annual subscription being two guineas. They had at the present moment a proposal before them to increase the life membership subscription to thirty guineas, because they found the life members were beginning to swamp them. Ten years’ purchase they found was not enough.
Mr Vicars instanced the Society of Antiquaries, where the annual subscription was two guineas, and the life subscription, fifteen years purchase, thirty guineas.
Mr de Burgh thought the question of funds would be very much influenced by the name they gave the society. If they called it the County Kildare Archaeological Society, it would be limited to the County Kildare.
Lord Mayo . . . It is limited, I think.
Mr de Burgh . . . Is it the custom in other societies of this kind to give them local names?
Mr Cooke-Trench – Yes.
Lord Mayo – Here is the Historical Society of Lancashire and Cheshire.
Mr Cooke-Trench, to carry out Mr de Burgh’s suggestion, said that the society should be the Kildare and Cis-Alpine Wicklow Society.
Lord Mayo pointed out that in the rule already approved of the objects of the society was the study of archaeological subjects in County Kildare and its neighbourhood.
Mr Vicars said that West Wicklow was cut off from the rest of Wicklow by a range mountains, and there were many objects of interest in West Wicklow, and a good many people whom he knew there would be glad to join the society.
The Chairman said there was nothing to prevent them, but he did not think they should depart from the name they had chosen.
Lord Mayo said that the rule contained the words “County Kildare or surrounding districts.”
The Archdeacon of Kildare said the ruins of Kilteel, in the county Dublin, were objects of great interest.
Mr de Burgh said if they adopted a local title they should take either Kildare or Leinster.
Mr Cooke-Trench said they must remember this was a local association and intended to be local. There was another association covering all ground.
Dr Comerford said their object was to supplement the work of the Archaeological Society, and there were many things they would like to know about that the Archaeological Society could not research upon.
Lord Mayo said no history of the county had been written, and if this society succeeded it would give information to some historian to write a history of the county (hear, hear).
It was them embodied in the rules that a journal be published annually, to which members are invited to contribute papers on the subjects for the study of which the society was formed.
Lord Mayo said the journal would include a column for notes and queries. The only difficulty about that would be, that if a person asked a question in 1891 upon a subject in which he was interested he would not receive an answer till 1892 (laughter).
Father Murphy – How many times a year are you going to meet?
Mr Cooke-Trench said that was a most important question because the issue of the journal depended upon that.
Lord Mayo – Most of us are home in the winter.
Mr Vicars suggested that they should meet quarterly.
Father Murphy said the Archaeological Society used to meet quarterly ; then they changed it to six times in the year, and now they were going back to quarterly meetings again.
Mr Vicars – I would suggest that we meet three times in the year and that one of these meetings be a sort of excursion, and that one member of the society each year invite the society to visit his neighbourhood and show the members the interesting objects in his locality. That will form a basis then for papers for the journal (hear, hear).
Mr Cooke-Trench – My doubt on this subject is where the papers are going to come from. Of course Dr Comerford will give us a paper, and the Duke, and Mr Vicars ; but I think that is pretty well all our paper writers.
Mr Vicars – And Canon Sherlock.
Lord Mayo – Yes. I don’t think there will be any difficulty about that.
Mr Vicars – And Mr Aylmer will also give a paper.
Lord Mayo – Then it is decided that we shall meet twice in a year for reading papers and once for – . What shall we call it – an archaeological picnic (laughter).
Mr Mansfield – I presume the excursion won’t place until the summer.
Lord Walter Fitzgerald – And the rule of the Pickwick Club will prevail here that each person will pay his own expenses. They will not come out of the common fund.
Lord Mayo – Yes. Each pay his own.
Lord Mayo stated that in addition to the papers published in the journal, the cicerone of the excursion would give something about it.
Mr Hendrick-Aylmer suggested the adjournment of the annual subscription question.
The Archdeaon of Kildare said the man who would subscribe £5 to them as life member now at their inauguration would be exercising a very considerable act of faith, and they should be very grateful to him for his piety (laughter).
It was agreed to that the annual meeting be held at such a time as the council should decide.
Mr Cooke-Trench – Who will be eligible to attend your meeting?
Lord Mayo – Members.
Mr Cooke-Trench – Only members?
Lord Mayo – I suppose if we go look at any buildings we will be surrounded by quite a crowd if we have no restrictions.
Mr Cooke-Trench – Can a member bring his wife?
Lord Mayo – Certainly.
The Archdeacon of Kildare said he thought there would be a great advantage if members could bring others who were archaeological experts. If a meeting were held in Naas he would be glad to get down Mr Drew, Dr Stokes and others, and let them give the society the benefit of their knowledge and experience. He thought it would be a good thing to throw the meetings open as much as they possibly could.
Mr Cooke-Trench – I think members should be allowed to bring anyone they like and as many as they like. The more we have at our meetings the better I think.
Mr Hendrick-Aylmer – Can ladies be members?
Archdeacon of Kildare – Yes.
Mr Hendrick-Aylmer – Even when their husbands are members aswell?
Archdeacon of Kildare – Yes, a fortiori.
Mr de Burgh – I suppose you won’t refuse a paper sent by a non-member?
Lord Mayo – No I don’t think so.
Chairman – They must be introduced to the council by a member.
Lord Wlater Fitzgerald – But they must be local. For instance, if a Connaughtman sent a paper about his own country it would not be received?
Lord Mayo – No.
The Chairman said he had received a letter from Colonel Clements saying he would be very glad to co-operate. He saw Major Barton that morning and he said he would be very glad to do so too.
Mr Cooke-Trench said that Miss Aylmer, of Donadea Castle, would be very glad to join, and so would Mr G de L Willis.
The election of officers and council was then proceeded with. The following were elected: President – The Duke of Leinster ; Vice-president – Most Rev Dr Comerford ; Hon Secretaries – The Earl of Mayo and Mr A Vicars ; Hon Treasurer – Mr H Hendrick-Aylmer. Council – Archdeacon of Kildare, Father Denis Murphy, Rev Canon Sherlock, Lord Walter Fitzgerald.
The Archdeacon of Kildare moved the following resolution – “That a brief account of the proceedings of this meeting be printed and circulated throughout the county and its neighbourhood ; and that all persons who forward their names to the secretary with a subscription for this current year be admitted as original members.”
Mr Mansfield seconded the resolution, which was passed unanimously.
Fr Murphy proposed that two members of the council should retire each year and be eligible for re-election. Thus they would have some new blood each year, if necessary, and of they desired they could keep on those whom from their merits they wished to retain.
Lord Walter Fitzgerald seconded this proposition, which was agreed to.
The Archdeacon of Kildare said he had a proposition to make and it was that their next meeting should be an excursion, which would be to the noble town of Naas. They happened to have in the person of the bishop here a thorough cicerone who would be able to explain to them the antiquities – and there were many – of Naas. He thought they would spend a very pleasant day indeed there. The had ecclesiastical ruins and the old church had very interesting archaeological features, and the ruins of Jigginstown were very well worth a visit. He supposed there was not in Ireland a more interesting ecclesiastical edifice than what remained of the old tower, with the long subterranean passage adjoining. He thought they could easily arrange an expedition to Naas, and to come to minor matters, with regard to refection – which, he observed, appeared to have an important place in archaeological matters – that was easily managed in Naas. They had an excellent Town Hall, and a small subscription would cover the refection and enable them to see many archaeological remains.
Chairman – The Town Hall included.
Archdeacon of Kildare – Yes; the Town Hall is not without history. It was the old jail, in which heads blackened before now.
Mr Hendrick-Aylmer – You have mentioned so many objects of interest we must not use them all up in one year.
Archdeacon of Kildare – Every inch of Naas almost has got some old association. I suggest that we make out first expedition to Naas.
It was decided that the Naas members, in conjunction with the council, arrange for a suitable meeting place in Naas, and after much discussion, it was resolved that the meeting take place early in September.
Subscriptions having been received and other routine business transacted. A vote of thanks to the chairman terminated the meeting.
Re-typed by Lydia Potts