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May 27, 2006

Collar and Elbow Wrestling

Leinster Leader: Supplement 16/03/1907

Famous Kildare Wrestling

Ancient Gaelic Style of Collar and Elbow

How Kildare Exiles Carried the Game Abroad

By John Ennis


"They kept alight St. Brigid’s lamp;

Their stentor voice and measured tramp

Were heard in every rebel camp

Defying Saxon laws". 

Thus has the poet sung of the men of Kildare. Not only were they foremost in defence of their alters and the firesides, but they cherished the old Gaelic sports; they ever excelled in hurling, football, and handball, and their historic old county was the last stronghold of the eminently manly and ancient Gaelic style of wrestling known as "Coilear agus Uille (collar and elbow)". 

Until within the last two decades collar and elbow was cultivated by the youth of Kildare with an enthusiasm and devotion analogous to the American boy’s infatuation for the game of baseball. It was the chief physical sport of the male population from childhood to mature manhood, and every parish had its champion who was kept busy defending his title against would-be usurpers in his own bailiwick, and contending for higher honours in inter-county contests with neighbouring champions. The men of the adjoining counties of Dublin, Meath, Westmeath, King’s, Carlow, and Wicklow ever sought to emulate the prowess of the wrestlers of Kildare. Time and time again the best men from these counties came into Kildare seeking the laurels of victory only to return wiser but sadder. 

The decline of collar and elbow in Ireland is primarily due to the rigorous application of the numerous Coercion Acts during the Fenian times and in the troublesome days of the Land League agitation, when gatherings for any purpose except religious service were strictly prohibited, and later, to the unnatural exodus which has denuded the country of its stalwart manhood, and has left but the infant, the infirm, and the aged.

A Herculean Encounter

A famous collar and elbow contest which was second only in the popular enthusiasm it aroused to the celebrated battle between Donnelly and Cooper, and the details of which the writer has many times heard discussed by old men who had witnessed it, was held on the "commons" of Loughinure, near the town of Clane, County Kildare, in 1826.

The principals were Richard Carey, Mullingar, champion of Westmeath, and James Larkin, Clane, Champion of Kildare. The men were a close match in weight and height, weighing about thirteen stone (182 pounds), and measuring about five feet ten inches. Each had wrestled the best men in his own and neighbouring counties and had never suffered defeat.

On the morning of the Sunday selected for the contest, Carey set out for Clane accompanied by fifty admiring Westmeathians in horseback. This imposing cavalcade was met at Kinnegad, twenty miles from Clane, by two hundred mounted Kildare men and escorted with great prompt to Clane. This cordial reception was not uncommon in those days. Visiting champions were always accorded a degree of hospitality befitting their prowess; and if they failed to achieve victory-which was invariably the case-they returned to their homes with a high opinion of the hospitality, impartiality and fair play of the men of Kildare.

The ring was pitched on a declivity, which formed a vast amphitheatre affording ample room for the great concourse-variously estimated from twenty to thirty thousand-to witness the contest. What was known as "Kildare Rules" governed the match. Under those rules any part of the body above the knee touching the ground, constituted a fall, and dropping on knees, either wilfully or otherwise, three consecutive times, was also counted a fall; best two out of three falls was the invariable custom.

A Three Hours Struggle

As it was the fashion on those days to wrestle in "stocking feet," the men walked to the middle of the ring and there removed their shoes. They then shook hands and what was probably the greatest wrestling match ever held in Kildare had begun. After one hour of skilful wrestling, during which all the trips, hooks and locks peculiar to the sport were used by both, the Westmeath man gained the first fall. Notwithstanding the fact that Larkin was the idol of nine-tenths of the spectator, the hearty, spontaneous cheers that greeted Carey demonstrated the fine spirit of fair play which dominated the men of Kildare. The next fall was won by Larkin in thirty minutes, by an inside hook which Carey was unable to break, although using all the arts known to the wrestler for that purpose. On resuming the bout for the final fall the men showed excessive caution, which bespoke the wholesome dread each man had of the other’s skill. For one hour and a half they continued the struggle, giving a splendid exhibition of footsparring, tripping and blocking. Then Larkin feinted with his right foot, and, quick as a flash, threw in his left, and getting Carey on his hip, threw him with great force, winning the fall and the match. The contest lasted three hours, and, considering the high tension maintained throughout, was a remarkable feat of endurance.

An extraordinary demonstration followed the close of the contest, in which victor and vanquished shared alike in the admiration of the spectators, the men were seized and carried on the shoulders of the crowd into Clane where they were royally entertained.

During the period from 1850-1870, collar and elbow wrestling was in the zenith of its popularity in Kildare. In the early portion of this period Pat Byrne, of Killashee was the leading exponent of the art in Kildare. He met and conquered the best men in Ireland in numerous contests in Phoenix Park, Dublin and ably upheld the old tradition that the collar and elbow championship belonged to his native county.

In the late fifties James Kennedy, of Raheen, was the best wrestler in the county. He was an all-round athlete, and had a good record of forty-two feet for three standing jumps. He was also the victor in many a hard-contested bout in Phoenix Park, where he met some of the best wrestlers in Ireland.

The Marlins Tournament

In 1862 a match which attracted wide attention was held at The Graigues, between Andy Scully, Cock Bridge, and Bill Farrell, Green Hills; Scully was a giant in stature, standing six feet two inches, and weighing sixteen stone (226 pounds). Notwithstanding the great disparity in height and weight, Farrell easily won in less than thirty minutes. One month later Farrell lost to Paddy Dunne, of Donore, at the same place.

Dunne was now considered the best man in Kildare, and the following year he was challenged by Patrick Cullen, of Rathcoole, Co. Dublin. Cullen had wrestled many important bouts in Phoenix Park and was held to be the best man in his county. He stood six feet one inch and weighed thirteen stone (182 pounds). Dunne tipped the scales at fifteen stone (210 pounds) and measured five feet ten inches. The contest was held at Marlins, near Naas, the scene of many a wrestling tournament where champions were made and unmade. When the men entered the ring quite a wrangle ensued between their backers over the coat worn by Cullen. It was of the fashion known in those days as the "set-to" (a corruption of surtout). Dunne claimed its long skirts would prevent his seeing Cullen’s legs but Cullen refused to use any other, and finally Dunne acquiesced and the contest began. After about twenty minutes of clever wresting Dunne secured the first fall by neatly catching one of Cullen’s cross trips. On resuming Cullen became aggressive and forced the work at all points.

Dunne’s excessively fleshy condition began to tell on him; he could not successively combat the hot pace set by his opponent and quickly lost the next two falls and the match. Dunne claiming he was not in condition for such a hard contest asked Cullen for a return match which the latter granted, and set the date for two weeks from that day, and at the same place.

The men again came together on the date met with exactly the same results on the former occasion. Dunne secured the first fall. Cullen easily winning the next two.

In 1864 Andy Scully was matched to wrestle James Rourke, of Clane. Rourke was about the same height and weight as Paddy Dunne and, like the latter, was remarkably active and skilful with his feet. The match was held at Aughpawdeen Bridge, on the Grand Canal. Scully acted on the defensive throughout and the contest resulted in a draw.

Ten Thousand People near Carbury

The following year Rourke was matched with James Gallagher, of Drehid, near the hill of Carbury. Gallagher was a splendid specimen of physical manhood, standing six feet five inches, and weighed about thirteen stone (182 pounds). He was a noted jumper and runner and had wrestled and thrown the best men in the western portion of Kildare. No wrestling contest held in Kildare since the memorable one between Larkin and Carey in 1826, aroused such interest, or attracted such a crown to the ringside, fully ten thousand were present. The match was held in a large field on the farm of Michael Farrell, at Hodgestown near Timahoe. The ring, 200 yards in diameter, was formed in the centre of the field and maintained by five men on horseback.

When the men entered the ring Gallagher rushed across and met Rourke almost before the latter had left his corner, and inside of one minute after taking hold Gallagher gained the first fall.

As Rourke arose he seemed to be in a dazed condition. He was as a child in the grip of his towering adversary, who, seemingly without effort, won the second fall and the match. From 1863 to 1867, when the dread of Fenianism prompted the Government to proscribe gatherings of the people, Kildare had a splendid crop of lightweight wrestlers-men under twelve stone (168 pounds). Among the best of these were John Salmon and Pat Salmon, Starffan, Pat White, Newtown, Matt Cully, Landenstown; James and William Byrne, Killashee, John Fulham, Clongorey; Timothy and James Dempsey, Newtown, and Christy Donahue, Caragh.

During the middle of the nineteenth century and up to the late seventies, collar and elbow was practically the only style of wrestling known in America. It attained a widespread popularity and developed many champions of international fame

Kildare Man in Vermont

The sport was first introduced in New England by a colony of Kildare men that settled in Vermont in 1840. It caught the fancy of the Yankees at once. The young men of Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts became adepts in all the pedal artfulness and cunning which the sport develops. It appealed to them as a high class, manly style of wrestling because skill and activity, not brute force, were the chief essentials.

But this once popular and highly scientific style of wrestling was allowed to wane. The "hooks," "trips," "locks," and lightning-like foot work which the sport developed are practically unknown to the present generation, and no more is the pity, for no physical contest requires greater skill, endurance and activity of brain and limb. "Greco-Roman" and "catch-as-catch-can" styles have entirely supplanted it in popular favour.

As a gladiatorial spectacle a wrestling contest under collar and elbow rules is to "Greco-Roman," or "catch-as-catch-can" what a purely scientific boxing match is to a rough and tumble fight. In the former, while strength of grip must be developed in hand and wrist, there is no choking, or strangle holds; the art is confined to the feet which are kept dextrously sparring and feinting for an opening to use the various hooks, trips and locks peculiar to the sport, while in the latter styles-to the uninitiated observer at least-brute strength seems to be the chief requirement, and a contest appears unseemly, unedifying and suggestive of the rough-and-tumble.

Elaborate rules for the government of collar and elbow contests were established in America; under those rules it was necessary for one shoulder, or one hip to touch the ground to constitute a fall. A strong leather harness with handles at the collar and the elbow was devised which was substituted for the unreliable and cumbersome coat formerly worn.

The last contest for the collar and elbow championship of America, and a purse of 2,500 dollars was held in Mc Cormick Hall, Chicago, in October, 1877, between Colonel Mc Laughlin, of Detroit, who then held the championship, and John Mc Mahon, of Vermont, champion of New England. Mc Laughlin was six feet two inches and weighed 230 pounds; Mc Mahon was five feet ten inches and tipped the scale at 185 pounds. Both men being experts, the great disparity of height and weight would have militated against the smaller man under any other rules but those of collar and elbow, but Mc Mahon’s superior skill prevailed and he won by gaining two falls out of three.

Kilcullen Champion in Chicago

A contest which aroused considerable local interest was held at the old Sunnyside race track, Chicago, in February, 1869. The principals were Patrick Brennan, a native of Kilcullen, Co. Kildare and James Cahill, a native of County Westmeath. Neither of the men were professionals. Brennan was a teamster and Cahill worked in the North Side Rolling Mills; both however, were powerfully built men and clever wrestlers. The stakes were 250 dollars a side, and the conditions best two out of three falls, Jack Mc Cann, a blacksmith and athlete of local renown, was chosen referee.

Brennan weighed about 200 pounds, but he was fully 30 pounds lighter than his adversary, who was a physical giant. By agreement the men wore strong sack coats and light, soft shoes. Surplus under garments were dispensed with. From the moment the men took hold it was evident that Brennan was the superior tactician, and after about six minutes of neat foot sparring Brennan feinted with the right foot, Cahill tried to catch him with the left but Brennan doubled with right and caught Cahill on heel, putting him down for the first fall. After a short rest the men came together again and it was evident Cahill was in ugly humour, he tried to use rough tactics, but the referee cautioned him; he then crouched, spread his feet and acted entirely on the defensive. In trying to pull his man towards him Brennan ripped Cahill’s coat up the back, rendering it useless for a hold. Brennan refused to go on unless Cahill got another coat, and this Cahill refused to do. A wrangle ensued among the backers of the men and Mc Cann being unable to give a decision, it was finally agreed to refer the matter to Frank Mc Queen, who was at that time editor of the "New York Clipper" and the acknowledged sporting authority of America. The principals also agreed to meet at the same place two weeks from that date and be governed by Frank Mc Queen’s decision.

Promptly on the date set the men were on hand ready to continue the contest. Mc Cann read Mc Queen’s decision which was that Brennan’s fall was to stand good, the same coat should be used and ripped part securely stitched.

On resuming the contest Cahill began his old defensive tactics, refusing to give Brennan an opening. In an effort to pull Cahill into a position where he could throw an "inside hook," Brennan again ripped the coat and the contest was declared off. If Cahill’s coat was sufficiently strong, or if the men wrestled in the regulation collar and elbow harness, Brennan would have undoubtedly been the victor.

A Staplestown Victor

A match which drew public attention and aroused lovers of the sport to a high pitch of excitement was held in West Twelfth Street, Turner Hall, Chicago, in November 1878. The principals were Wm. Ryan, a native of Staplestown, County Kildare, and Horace Brink, a New England professional. Ryan who was a Chicago policeman at the time, is still an active member of the force. As a wrestler he was an unknown quantity in Chicago, never before having performed in public, while Brink had a national reputation as a collar and elbow wrestler, and had a number of hard-fought victories to his credit. Ryan stood six feet two inches and weighed two hundred pounds. Both men were well trained and were splendid specimens of physical manhood. The stakes were five hundred dollars a side, and the conditions were best two in three falls. Brink was the favourite with odds at 2 to 1; and thousands of dollars changed hands. After the first few minutes of foot sparring and manoeuvring it became evident that the amateur, Ryan, was the professional’s master at the game. He easily baffled all of Brink’s attempts at hooks and locks, and inside of thirty minutes of clever wrestling he gained the two falls and the match.

It is to be hoped that this eminently scientific and picturesque style of wrestling will be again revived and popularised. The Gaelic Athletic Association should include it in its list of ancient Gaelic sports, which it is so commendably and successfully reviving in Ireland.

It is indubitably the duty of Kildare men, wheresoever their lots may be cast, to take the initiative in resuscitating and cultivating this incomparable style of wrestling.

The writer would suggest that clubs for this purpose be organised in our large towns and competent instructors engaged. If this be done it will be but a few years until we shall again be holding tournaments which will develop champions of the types which in former years were the pride of Kildare.-"The Gaelic American."

Report from Leinster Leader 16 March 1907 on the forgotten sport of collar and elbow wrestling in 19th century Kildare.

[The subject of Collar and Elbow wrestling was first brought to my attention by Eileen McGregor who was researching the topic in 2004 and 2005. I was able to locate this article from the Leinster Leader by searching the Leinster Leader Index and it remains one of the definitive sources on the sport in Co. Kildare. I would like to thank Eileen for sharing her research with me.]

[Compiled by Mario Corrigan; typed and edited by Niamh Mc Cabe; final edit Dee O' Brien ]

KILL - Hunting Song of Bishopscourt

Leinster Leader: 09/04/1960


Hunting Song of Bishopscourt


Bishopscourt boasted a fine private hunting establishment in 1792, one of several which were forerunners of organised hunting on a major scale. An old hunting song confirms the tradition of the Bishopscourt pack. It was written out from memory by Mrs. Ellen Murray, Templemills, Celbridge, for a publication in 1913.


You Irish Gentlemen I pray draw near

And listen to what I do declare;

If you be fond to hunt the fox

To Bishopscourt I pray repair.


Last New Year’s Day I chanced to stray

Abroad to take the pleasant air

I heard a cry which raised my heart;

Straightaway to them I did repair.


There I espied a numerous train

Of educated gentlemen

If you’re not of extraction great

You won’t be let to hunt with them.


Mr. Ponsonby he was there

And well prepared he was to go,

He was mounted on a gallant horse

Which went by the name of brave Stingo.


To Elvestown they all trained down

Into the covert where he lay;

Such a hunt in your life you ne’er did see

Nor heard tell of this many a day.


Our staunch metal hounds, they fear no bounds.

They followed him through thick and thin,

And through trick, herey, haggart, corn

And they rolled him over on Blakestown Hill.


The fox being stout he wheeled about

Unto Lord Miltown’s waterfall.

The river Liffey there he crossed,

Says he to himself: "I’ll shun you all."


Mr. Ponsonby being the first man up,

It’s after him he did leap in;

He sunk to the bottom deep,

And for his life he was forced to swim.


Each man and horse was at a stand

To see him plunging in the deep,

But Stingo brave that ne’er gave up,

It’s o’er the hole with him did sweep.


The standers by aloud did cry

For fear he ne’er would chase no more,

But by lucky chance he reached the bank,

And his flesh and clothes by the rocks were tore.


Through Monniemuck his course he took

Through Ballintubber ground and o’er

He swam the lake and off did take

Off to the cross of Ballymore.


They spent that day in merry heart

And killed the fox which crowned the sport,

And returned that night by moon so bright

To the sporting place called Bishopscourt.


The Mr. Ponsonby mentioned in the song was the Right. Hon. W. B. Ponsonby, who kept the pack.

A hunting song of the Kildare Hunt from the Leinster Leader 9/4/1960.

[Compiled by Mario Corrigan; typed and edited by Niamh Mc Cabe; final edit Dee O' Brien ]

NAAS - Sinn Fein, Sean Connolly Branch

Sean Connolly – First ‘rebel’ casualty of the 1916 Rising


Brian McCabe


The recent re-discovery of an old political banner in the Naas area calls to mind one of the more interesting – and often overlooked – figures involved in the Easter 1916 Rebellion.

The banner, which has now come to light again after many years, belonged to the early Naas branch of the Sinn Fein organisation and commemorates Sean Connolly, who was a Captain in the Irish Citizen Army, and who led the assault on Dublin Castle in what was, in effect, the first action of that fateful week.

Connolly, at the time of the Rising, was living at Philipsburg Avenue in Dublin but his father, grandfather and great-grandfather had come from Straffan, Co Kildare, and his earlier forebears from Monasterevan, in the same county. This is, presumably, why the Naas branch of the organisation – which was one of the earliest in Kildare – was named after him.

Connolly was also a notable actor in Dublin at the time but it is probably as the leader of the attack on Dublin Castle and City Hall on Easter Monday 1916 that he is best remembered. For the assault, Connolly had a total of 16 men and 9 women, including three of his brothers and one of his sisters (Mrs Barrett).

The objective for this stage of the Rising had been to seize and hold the approaches to the Castle but this had been compromised by the poor turn out of Volunteers that morning due to the confusion over plans, and the order countermanding the mobilisation issued by Eoin Mc Neill.

The Commander of the Citizen Army, James Connolly, had secured a duplicate from an impression of the key of the City Hall main door and the original plan had, apparently, been to make the attack on the Upper Castle Yard and seize the guard room there from the City Hall. However there had been some delay in securing this key and Sean Connolly then decided to rush the Castle Gate directly. This daring move almost paid off spectacularly.

On reaching the Castle, Connolly demanded admittance and, when the policeman on duty went to slam the gate shut, shot him. As the sentry fired and fled, six Citizen Army men rushed the guardhouse and overpowered three of the soldiers there – tying them up with their own puttees. Leaving six men there Connolly then proceeded to City Hall, not realising that the Castle was completely undermanned and probably could have been taken by the rebels if the attack had been pressed further at that point.

Connolly and the rest of his small force proceeded to scale the iron front gates of City Hall and install themselves there. Connolly had previously been employed there in the Motor Taxation Office and would have been familiar with the layout of the building. On entering, he deployed half his men on the ground floor, proceeding himself with the remainder (including his brother Matthew) to the roof circling the huge dome.

Shortly afterwards a troop of British soldiers arrived at the Ship Street barracks and began to concentrate fire on City Hall. Snipers from surrounding high points began to pick off the rebels one by one and Connolly himself was reputedly shot around two o’ clock by a sniper operating from the Castle clock tower. According to some reports he slid down the roof after being shot and the Citizen Army medical officer, Dr Kathleen Lynn, tried to reach him on the parapet but was unable to do so.

Connolly was 32 when he died and left a widow and three young children.

As already mentioned, Connolly was a very talented actor and, in fact, his name is amongst the seven commemorated in the Abbey Theatre ‘1916 Plaque’ which was unveiled, on the wall facing the main entrance, by the then Taoiseach, Sean Lemass, during the opening week of the new building in July 1966.

Connolly had made his first appearance at the Abbey in 1913 and had featured in at least a dozen new productions and many revivals there over the following three years. In fact, a revival of W.B Yeats’ "Kathleen Ni Houlihan" had, apparently, been planned for the Abbey for the Tuesday of Easter week, in which he was to have played the leading male role.

Lady Gregory had, previously, praised his playing expressed her gratefulness "for his beautiful and distinguished work, especially in the tragedy of ‘Kincora’ and the comedy of ‘The Lord Mayor’" On hearing of his tragic death that week she penned the following touching lines, on the back of a letter, while travelling to Dublin by train:" O branch that withered without age!

Would we could see you where you’re missed

Step airy on the Abbey stage

Play there ‘The Revolutionist’

Or fill with laughter pit and stalls

With Bartley Fallon’s croak and cry

What led you to those castle walls?

We mourn you Sean Connolly"



Thomas Travers grandson of Matthew Connolly contacted us with some first-hand observations of the action in Dublin, as Matthew, brother of Sean, was present on the fateful day.

The information contained in this is taken from recordings and transcripts from conversations with my grandfather, Matthew Connolly, who was in Dublin City Hall at the time of the Easter Rising 1916 made while my grandfather was still alive and in good health.
He did commit a lot of his memories of that time and other incidents of that time to reel to reel tapes which were transcribed later. I also had conversations with him.
The tapes would have been made in the late 1960s and early 1970s.He was an architect with the Board of Works (now OPW) during the 1960s.
He was the architect responsible for the upgrading of the GPO, the Four Courts and other national buildings for the 1966 commemoration ceremonies.
The objective of the group (30 men and 8 or 10 women) under the command of Sean Connolly was to enter Dublin City Hall and use the vantage of the building to keep the British Army from returning to Dublin Castle. The building has the ability to see in three directions from its roof. Parliament Street and up Capel Street, Dame Street and Lord Edward Street. The men there were to keep the British Army, who were at the races in

the Curragh, under fire as long as possible.
Although the British Army had allowed leave to their men in Dublin to attend the races at the Curragh, there would still have been a large contingent of the military at The Castle. Never at any time was the objective to seize Dublin Castle. With the gates of Dublin Castle closed it would have slowed a response from the remainder of the military force in the Castle and given the returning forces a hindrance getting to their weapons and ammunition.
The British Army would be returning to Dublin by train and the trains were to arrive at Kingsbridge Station, now Heuston Station. Sean Connolly had a key to the City Hall as he worked in the motor tax office, which was located in the building. When they reached Dublin City Hall he ordered two men to secure the sentries at the gates of Dublin Castle which would allow him and his men time to enter the City Hall. It was at this time the DMP policeman was shot and killed. Sean Connolly was angered at this shooting. Some of his men entered the office of “The Evening Mail “and the gent’s outfitters Henry and James on the corners of Parliament Street. There was a young lad of about 17, Charlie D'Arcy, on the roof of Henry and James who leaned out to warn some women on Parliament Street that they were in danger when he was shot and killed by a sniper in the Bedford Tower. Charlie D’Arcy may have been killed before Sean Connolly died in Dublin City Hall.
Sean Connolly was a part time actor and had acted on the stage of The Abbey. He was employed by the city council. Some articles and books report that he tried to raise the flag of the Irish Republic on the roof of the City Hall, he did not do this as the municipal flag was flying, as was custom on bank holidays.  

Thomas Travers.



2006 marks the 90th anniversary of the 1916 Rising and this article on Sean Connolly by Brian McCabe explores a little known connection with Co. Kildare. 

May 24, 2006

NAAS 16/09/1939 - Chairman of the UDC witnesses U-Boat Action

Leinster Leader 16/09/1939

Mid-Ocean Thrill-Sinking of Olive Grove, witnessed by Naas residents


The dramatic sinking of the English merchant ship Olive Grove was witnessed in mid-ocean by Mr. James Dowling, Chairman of Naas Urban Council, and Mrs. Dowling, who were on the American liner Washington, that arrived in Cobh on Friday evening. Mr. and Mrs. Dowling were on a visit to their son, Rev. Father Jas. Dowling, Fresno, California. Father Dowling was in New York when Mr. and Mrs, Dowling arrived, and they had planned to travel to California. The ominous war news, however, compelled them to change their itinerary, however, and they hurried back from Buffalo to New York, and having failed to secure a berth on a ship of the French line, all of whose sailings had been cancelled, were fortunate to be able to transfer to the American ship, Washington. American opinion at that stage veered to the opinion that there would be no war, but when a day out from New York, the announcement was made that war had been declared.

Everything went smoothly until Thursday when about twenty-four hours’ journey from Cobh, when great excitement was created by the news that a German submarine had wirelessed that it was about to sink an English Merchant vessel and asking the liner to take off the crew. The Washington hurried to the scene as indicated by the radio call, and the passengers saw the submarine which appeared to have no markings, fire the fatal torpedo that sent the Olive Grove to the bottom of the ocean. The crew of the vessel came on board the Washington, but not before they had been entertained and supplied with clothing by the Commander of the German submarine, who treated the men very kindly. The crew of the submarine spoke English fluently and their Commander spoke very friendly to the Captain of the liner. The Washington then went on to Cobh where Mr. and Mrs. Dowling disembarked and travelled by motor to Naas. After leaving Cobh the ship sailed to Plymouth. The Olive grove possessed no wireless equipment.

September 1939 - the early stages of World War II; Naas UDC Chairman witnessed the sinking of a British Merchant Vessel by a German U-Boat.

[compiled and edited by Mario Corrigan; typed and edited by Niamh McCabe; final edit by Dee O'Brien]

ATHY 14/06/1941 - Bog Butter and the Sinking of the Bismarck


Leinster Leader: 14/06/1941


In South Kildare

Athy Bog Find

Workmen engaged on Skerries Bog, Athy, this week unearthed a lump of butter weighing about 10 stone. It was wrapped in cloth and was contained in a wicker basket. The butter was as hard as cheese. It is believed that it was buried in the bog at least 20 years ago. Its state of preservation, in view of this belief is astonishing.


Athy Boy in Historic Battle

Mr. David Murray, Ardreigh, Athy was a wireless operator on board the British warship Norfolk, while the vessel took part with other British naval units in the recent battle with the German Battleship Bismarc. He is a son of the late Mr. John Murray, Ardreigh, formerly a Lieutenant in the British Army, and is a nephew of Mrs. W. Neill, Foxhill, Athy. His brother John, while engaged as a wireless operator on board a British naval craft was killed last year when his ship was sunk by a German bomber off the Norwegian coast.


[Bimarc - Bismarck]

The South Kildare Notes in the Leinster Leader of June 1941 carried two interesting snippets relating to Athy; a find of bog butter near Skerries and a report of an Athy man involved in the British navy's battle with the German Battleship Bismarck.

[compiled and edited by Mario Corrigan; typed and edited by Niamh McCabe; final edit by Dee O'Brien]

May 18, 2006

NAAS 1905 - Free Library; 101 Years of Library Service in Naas

Articles taken from the Leinster Leader Newspaper




Page No: 7 Column: a Edition:1 Date: 28/01/1905


Sub-Heading: Monday and Tuesday

Free Library Committee Meetings:

The Clerk read a report of a meeting of the Free Library Committee held on 28th December. At that meeting it was decided to expend £50 on books, the list to be submitted to a Sub-Committee. Rev. W. Elliott and Mr. J. W. Dane were requested to visit public libraries in order to obtain information as to the furniture, etc., required. The public were requested to send books for the use of the library. At a subsequent meeting it was decided to advertise for a librarian or caretaker at a salary of £15 per year. The Committee decided to have the upper room over the library used as a smoke room, arrangements to be made with the Naas Catholic Institute.

A further meeting was held on the 11th Jan. It was ordered that the colouring of the library be proceeded with. A promise of a contribution of books was received from the Department of Technical Instruction. The tender of Mr. J. Eacret for supply and erection of fixtures at £18 10s was accepted.



Page No: 5 Column: a Edition: 2 Date: 24/06/1905

Heading: Books

Good and Bad Literature

We have been favoured with a copy of the "Memorandum" issued by the Irish Rural Libraries Association, aiming at the organisation of rural libraries in Ireland, and we have pleasure in recommending the good work to our readers. The Irish people, even those in the most remote rural districts have always been a reading-loving people, but they have never had any adequate opportunity of getting good and useful literature to read. It is the aim of the Libraries Association, with the assistance of the Rural District Councils and voluntary Library Associations to supply that want. We think this is a good and a patriotic work. It is argued that the establishment of libraries in rural districts tends to brighten and sweeten an otherwise dull life, and that it makes people both happy and content. While the establishment of good libraries admittedly does all this we believe it does a great deal more, and has an even higher and better influence. It strengthens and broadens the minds of the people, opens up to them new interests and outlooks of life, uplifts them, makes them thinking men and women. The class of literature in popular demand among the bulk of the people up to the present is the kind of literature that poisons and warps and lowers the intellect. It has made sensationalism a craze, developed morbid instincts, and created a deadly mind paralysis. Literature is daily becoming one of the most potent forces in the world, and it must never be forgotten that there is good literature as well as bad literature, hurtful literature as well as helpful literature. This country has been flooded with the sensational, mind-paralysing brand of literature, and it is consumed by the people because they are a reading-loving people, and have not the same ready means of getting good literature. It would be just as easy to cultivate a love for good literature as bad literature, if the proper means were taken to do so. It is here that the Libraries Association steps in and asks the District Councils to help them, as they are empowered to do by Act of Parliament, in the establishment of rural libraries, where the people would have access to the best books. The schemes proposed are fully and lucidly detailed in the "Memorandum" issued by the Association, and we bespeak for it favourable consideration. The work is a noble one, and one deserving of the hearty and practical support of all men who would see the trashy, injurious and mind-warping literature that is doing such destruction intellectually throughout the country, substituted by a pure, a healthy, and an educative literature suited to the natural tastes and genius of the people.




Page No.: 5 Column: g Edition: 3 Date: 01/07/1905

Heading: Public Library Committee-Naas

They applied for a much-needed extension of the Library premises. Those who frequent the Reading Room know that the present accommodation is inconveniently restricted, and in order to make the institution more popular and inviting the Library Committee find it absolutely necessary to make provision for a place which may be used as a smoke room, or for the purpose of any innocent games which members and their friends may care to indulge in.

The Council was entirely in sympathy with the views of the deputation and appointed a Committee to inquire into the best means of meeting them.


Page No.: 8 Column: b Edition: 3 Date:) 01/07/1905

Heading: Urban District Council-Naas

The Library-extension of premises

The Venerable Archdeacon Torrens, the Rev. Mr. Elliott, and Mr Denis Donohoe waited as a deputation on the Council, and were introduced by the Clerk. The Venerable Archdeacon said they had been asked to come there as a deputation from a body that the Council was acquainted with-the Library Committee. Their desire was to request the Council to grant them the privilege of using the upper rooms above the Library premises, and they wanted the Council to be good enough to furnish those rooms for them and whoever else might have the privilege of using them. This would give those who attended the Library as well as others the advantage of having a smoking room, or a retiring room, or for playing some games such as draughts or chess, or a quiet game of cards. They thought it was not unreasonable that the Library Committee should make this request, inasmuch as Mr. Carnegie gave £600 for the Library, and there was he thought £150 locally collected which made a total of £750. They on the Library Committee were of opinion that the amount of accommodation at present provided could hardly be regarded as representing that £750 and they hoped that the Council would be good enough to hit upon some plan by which the Committee’s suggestion might be carried out. If there should be any difficulty in it he (the Archdeacon) would be inclined personally to suggest that the Council appoint a small subcommittee to see whether any possible difficulties could not be swooped away. He did not know that there was any such difficulties, and he could not imagine that there should be any that would not be perfectly easy of arrangement. He hoped the Council would be good enough to take the matter into their earnest consideration, and to give a favourable answer to the committee’s request.

The Rev. Mr. Elliott said that they had only one room really for the Library and it was necessary that the room should be as quiet as possible, because it was meant for a Reading Room, and it would not be allowable to have conversation going on there. It was pretty hard for a smoker (so he believed) to remain for three or four hours without a smoke, and they could not smoke in the Reading room because it was open to ladies as well as gentlemen. As the Archdeacon had said, he thought they were reasonably entitled to this extra room, but he did not think, unless the Council were good enough to do it, they would ask them to furnish it for them. To make the Library a success and make the Reading Room more popular it would be necessary to have an extra room to give anyone who so chose an opportunity of retiring to have a quiet smoke, or a game. The Archdeacon said the matter of furnishing the room would not cost a great deal. Mr. Donohoe: All we want is a table and half-a-dozen comfortable chairs. Chairman: This change would not exclude the Catholic Institute members? The Archdeacon: Not at all. Mr Fitzsimons: The committee meetings of the Catholic Institute are held there once a month, and they could not be interfered with. The Archdeacon: That would not be in the way at all. Mr Quinn: there is no doubt but anybody frequenting this Hall who is not a member of the Catholic Institute finds a great want for a room in which a few people could meet and discuss matters from time to time. There is no such place at all for the general public. Mr Fitzsimons: Of course the billiard-room is only for billiards. Mr Quinn: Yes, and an outsider walking in there has no place to spend an hour. Mr Foynes agreed with the Archdeacon’s suggestion to appoint a committee, and on the Chairman’s motion Messrs Fitzsimons, Quinn, and Foynes were delegated to inquire into and report on the matter. Having thanked the Council, the deputation then withdrew.


Page no. : 5 Column: a Edition: 1 Date: 05/08/1905

Heading: Library Services

The Rural Libraries

Some short time ago we referred in our columns to the establishment of rural libraries throughout Ireland. To insist in the intellectual, moral, and indirectly, economic advantages which the establishment of these libraries would be bound to bring about would be like flaying a dead horse. A good deal of times has now passed since the Libraries Association issued its Memorandum outlining schemes for the libraries, but since then we have not heard any of the rural public bodies doing anything anywhere in connection with the matter. Everywhere we read thundering eloquence on the state of the village pump and the pollution of the village well-on which, by the way, a goodly sum of money is spent. The men on the rural public Boards are, of course right in securing a pure supply of water for the people. But they might also turn their attention with advantage to the pollution of their constituents in an intellectual sense by the poisonous literature that is in the present day being consumed in every village in Ireland with disastrous results to the intellectual, moral, and very often the physical well-being of the inhabitants. It would be a progressive and a hopeful sign of the times if some men would stand up in the public boards and move the closing up of these stagnant wells and the establishment of pure ones, where the people could drink of the freshening and bracing waters of a wholesome nature.




Page No. : 5 Column: e Edition : 1 Date : 23/09/1905
Heading: Library-Naas

The reading public of Naas and district will learn with extreme satisfaction that preparations for the opening of the Naas Free Library are fast approaching completion and in a few weeks it is hoped that the splendid institution will be declared formally open.

A comprehensive selection of literary works has been secured, and the rooms have been furnished comfortably and commodiously.

A grant of books of an educational and instructive character has been made by the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction, and a feature that will be sought by many readers is a complete set of the Kildare Archaeological Journal presented by the Society.

Altogether the Library Committee are indebted to kind benefactors for donations of one hundred and eighteen volumes, and in addition have ordered 322 new volumes, to the value, as stated by Mr. William Staples in his lucid report to the Urban council of about £45. For their untiring and unselfish work in organising the worthy project the committee deserve the gratitude and congratulations of the townspeople.

The opening of the Library will be no longer delayed that is absolutely necessary and we understand Sir Horace Plunkett will be present at the interesting ceremony.






Page No.: 8 Column: b Edition: 1 Date: 23/09/1905

Heading: Urban District Council-Naas

The following was read: "since the appointment of the Committee the necessary furniture, consisting of 12 arm and 18 ordinary chairs and 5 tables have been purchased and paid for by the Council; bookshelves, to hold several thousand volumes have been erected, at a cost of £18 5s.; incandescent burners have been substituted for the old ones, at a cost of £1 11s. 2d. A subsequent alteration of the enclosure for books was found to be necessary, and is now being carried out. A grant has been made of books of an educational and instructive character to the value of £5 by the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction. The Council of the Kildare Archaeological Society has presented a complete set of the Kildare Archaeological Journal. The Committee have received, in addition, donations of 118 volumes, and have ordered new books, 322 volumes to the value of £45. This will leave in the library upwards of 500 volumes of good literature. Being anxious to open the public library in the beginning of October the Committee would be glad of an answer to the request of the deputation which waited upon them on 28th June last as to the use of the upper room in connection with the library, and wish to know if the Council have made arrangements to get the lantern light in the reading room completed according to Mr. Inglis’s specification. Rain and dust at present blow in, which would practically render the room unusable, and daylight can be seen through the woodwork of the roof. The skirting in reading room is incomplete, and there is also a slight leakage in the valley next the assembly room. The Committee hope that the urban Council will immediately take steps to remedy these defects, and that they will get the plaster work repaired and the rooms properly coloured.

-signed on behalf of the Committee.




Page No. : 6 Column: e Edition: 1 Date:14/10/1905

Heading: Agricultural Committee-Kildare Co.

Books for the Library

The Department wrote stating that a grant of books has been made by the Department to the Naas Library Committee and requesting that the instructors in the county be informed that useful books of reference are available in the library.


Page No.: 8 Column: b Edition: 3 Date: 21/10/1905

Heading: Free Library Committee-Naas

A meeting of the Committee of above was held on Friday, 13th inst. in the library, Town Hall, Naas. Mr. William Staples, chairman, presided, and other members present were:- Rev. Wm. Elliott, M.A., Messrs. S.J. Brown, J.P.; J.Whiteside Dane, D.L., and William. Quinn.

The following were appointed a committee to take charge of the arrangements for opening of the library:- Messrs. S. J. Brown, J. Whiteside Dane, Wm. Quinn, and the Chairman of the Committee, to meet as occasion would require.

The following resolution, proposed by Mr. J. Whiteside Dane, and seconded by Mr. Quinn was unanimously adopted:- "That the best thanks of the Committee of the Naas Free Library are due, and are hereby tendered to the Kildare Archaeological Society for their gift of a complete set of the Kildare Archaeological Journal".

The following resolution, proposed by Mr. J. Whiteside Dane, and seconded by the Rev. Wm. Elliott, was also unanimously passed:- "That as the Naas Free Library is about to be opened, that the Secretary be instructed to write and ask Mr. Carnegie, who so generously subscribed to the Library, to be so good as to present a large photograph with his autograph to be hung in the library.

The question of opening the Library was discussed by the Committee, the following letter addressed to Mr. S. J. Brown having been read:- "Palmerstown, Straffan, 9th October, 1905. Dear Mr. Brown,- I shall be most happy to open the Free Library at Naas, and feel honoured at being asked to do so. Saturday 28th, would suit me best if it would suit you and your Committee. Yours truely, Mayo.

The Committee considered that although the date suggested would suit them, that it would not suit the general public whom the Committee would wish to see in large numbers at the opening, and directed the Secretary to write Lord Mayo pointing out this fact, and asking him to fix another date, say 27th.

The following reply has been received from Lord Mayo:- "Palmerstown, Straffan, October 15th,1905. Sir,-Yours of October 14th received. I am not quite certain of I shall be in Ireland on 27th and therefore of your Committee would allow me to fix Wednesday, November 1st, for opening the Library I would feel very much obliged. Yours truely, Mayo.

The Committee having charge of the opening arrangements have agreed to this date and accordingly the Library will be open to the public on November 1st 1905.

It was also decided that tea and light refreshments be provided at the expense of the Committee on the day of opening.




Page No.: 8 Column: a Edition: 1 Date: 04/11/1905

Heading: Free Library-Naas

Naas Free Library

Opened by the Earl of Mayo

Large and Representative Attendance

Speeches by Mr. Wm Staples, U.D.C., Lord Mayo, Col. de Burgh, Rev. A. Murphy, C.C.; Rev. Mr. Elliott, Mr. S.J. Brown J.P., etc.

Interesting Proceedings

(From our reporter)

The earnest and sustained work of some years culminated in the opening of Naas Free Library or Wednesday afternoon. The interesting and important ceremony was performed by the Earl of Mayo, under the able presidency of Mr. William Staples, U.D.C., and in presence of a large and thoroughly representative assembly. For the past few weeks elaborate preparations for the impressive event have been in progress, and the Library Committee, of which Mr. Staples is Chairman, devoted themselves with a generous unselfishness to the task of making the occasion worthy of itself and of the old town of Naas. The Library has been organised in the most approved and up-to-date style. When the old Town Hall, to whose eventful and romantic history Lord Mayo referred in his address-when it was being re-modelled from the unsightly old pile it was into the beautiful building which it stands, a credit to the town, today, the Library Committee acquired rooms from the Urban Council, and no trouble or expense has since been spared to make them in every way suitable for the purpose. Shelves capable of holding 8000 volumes have been erected, and the different apartments have been elegantly but usefully furnished. As yet, as Mr. Brown briefly pointed out in his remarks, many of the shelves are empty. Of the eight thousand volumes which can be accommodated, only six hundred have found their places on the shelves, but, no doubt in time, when the great advantages of the institution come to be realised the hiatus will disappear, and the shelves will be laden to the utmost of their capacity with the best of good literature. Even now, when the Library is but in the first few days of its infancy it can boast a splendid variety of reading. The books include such a wide range as works on Antiquities, Amusements, Astronomy, Biography, Biology, Education, Essays, Fiction, Fine Arts, Finance and Free Trade, Geography and Travel, History, Logic, Miscellaneous Writings, Oratory, Poetry, Political Economy, Religion, Satire and Humour, Zoology, and a very good collection of books of reference. Among the 137 volumes which were given in donations may be mentioned a complete set of the County Kildare Archaeological Society’s Journal, which are of immediate interest to the majority of those who will frequent the Library, and from the Department of Agriculture 33 volumes of an instructive class and 27 volumes of useful pamphlet reading. Among the other donors were-Lord Walter Fitzgerald, Rev. Wm. Elliott, M.A., Rev. A. Murphy, C.C., Mr. J. Whiteside Dane, D.L., Mr. S.J. Brown, J.P., Mr. George McDonagh, Mr. David A. Quaid, Colonel Claude Cane, Mr. W. Alexander Craig, Mr. F. J. Bigger, Col. F.W. Wilson, Mr. Denis Donohoe, Mr. D.W. Sime, etc. The Committee themselves purchased 403 volumes at a cost of £57, and as soon as they become acquainted more fully with the tastes of the reading public they propose purchasing a considerable number more, as well as taking in several of the monthly magazines. Thus, it will be seen that a splendid start has been made in a noble cause. The establishment of a Free Library in a town of the size and population of Naas was no easy undertaking, and it required a good deal of courage and perseverance to face. But from the inception of the idea, the project was in very capable hands, and when initial difficulties were brushed aside, the work forged ahead. In response to an appeal by the Committee, a sum of £226 was subscribed by the public, but this, of course, generous though it was, could be expected to go but a very little way towards the starting of a Free Library on any sort of safe or firm footing. Mr James Laurence Carew, whose sterling services to Ireland cannot be forgotten, even by ungrateful and ungenerous critics, was then still with us, and he added one more to the many deep debts of gratitude which the town of Naas owes him and his memory, by obtaining from Mr. Carnegie the munificent contribution of £600 towards the establishment of the Library. Two years later it is handed over, a magnificent gift to the public.

Wednesday evening’s ceremony passed off under the happiest auspices. The concert room of the Town Hall was pressed into the service of the occasion and large and roomy though it is, it was packed to over-flowing. As master of ceremonies, Mr. J. Whiteside Dane was untiring in his attention to the comfort of the visitors and guests, and took care to guard against anything like uncomfortable congestion in the front seats, some rows of which were reserved. Punctual to time, Lord Mayo, accompanied by Mr. Wm. Staples, made his appearance on the platform and was greeted with loud applause. Mr. James Hyland, Chairman of the Urban Council, opened the proceedings by proposing that Mr. Staples, as Chairman of the Library Committee, preside, a proposition which was seconded by the Rev. Father Murphy. Mr. Staples, who was loudly cheered, then took the chair. To his immediate right sat Lord Mayo, and to his Lordship’s right sat Mr. Stephen J. Brown, J.P., Chairman of the Kildare County Council. To the Chairman’s left was Mr. James Hyland. The Proceedings, which were very enthusiastic throughout, lasted over an hour-and-half, and immediately they concluded the visitors were entertained to tea by the Library Committee. Mr. Thos. Lacy has been appointed to the important position of librarian.


Amongst those present or who received invitations were-The Countess of Mayo and party, Rev. Canon Adams, A. Aylmer, Earl and Countess of Clonmel; H.H. and Mrs. Aylmer, J. Whiteside Dane, Stephen J. Brown J.P., and Mrs. Brown, General and Mrs. Weldon, Lady A. Bourke and party, Col. and Mrs St. Leger Moore and party, Mrs. Falkiner, Captain and Mrs. Webb, Miss de Roebeck, Miss Culshawe, Mrs. H. de Burgh, Miss C. de Burgh, Dr. J. Smyth, Dr, Morrissey, Dr. Murphy, Rev. A. Murphy, C.C, Rev. A. Delany, C.C., Rev. Thos Morrin P.P., Archdeacon and Mrs. Torrens, Rev. J.W. Crozier, Major and Mrs Wogan Browne, Major and Mrs. Alexander, Lady Carden, John Sheil O’Grady, J.P.; Colonel W.F. Wilson, Lord Walter Fitzgerald and Ladies Fitzgerald, Lord Frederick Fitzgerald, Mr. and Mrs. Williams, Canon and Misses Sherlock, R.W. Manders and Miss Manders, R. Wells, and Miss Wells, Mr. and Mrs. E. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Sir John Kennedy, Rev. Daniel O’Rourke, Kill, Rev. Wm. Byrne C.C.; Rev. Fr. Norris, the Rector of Clongowes, Colonel Cunningham, Mr. and Mrs. T. M. Good, Captain and Mrs Eyre Massey, Colonel and Mrs. Cooper, officers of R.D.F. Depot; Dr. and Mrs. O’ Donal Browne, Mr. and Mrs. J. O. Murphy, Mr. D. J. and Mrs. Purcell, Colonel and Mrs Philpotts, Mr. and Mrs. Gibson, Mr. and Mrs. Favell, Major Mansfield, Rev. Somerville Save, Rev. the Parish Priest, Caragh; H. Doyle, Mr. Eagleton, T. Lacey, W. Lanphier, F. Mc Quaid, Mr. Odlum, George Sargent, A. A. Shortt, Mr. Syme, T. Thompson, Mrs. Rowell, J. Hendy, M. Penrhyn, G. Wolfe, J. Grehan, Rev. Christian Brothers, Mr. and Mrs. L. H. Victory, P. Cunningham, Sallins Road, Naas, Mr. John Eacret, Sallins Road, Naas, Head Constable Smith, Mr. and Mrs. Crane, Mr. A. Gray, Mr. D. A. Quaid, Editors "Leinster Leader", "Carlow Nationalist", and "Kildare Observer", Mr. O’Callaghan, Mr. King, Mr. Dorrian, Mr. W. Rankin, Mr. O’Hagan, Mr. M. Salmon, Mr. John Salmon, Mr. Barton, Rev. L. Fletcher, Mr. and Mrs. H. J. Farrell, Mr. James and Mrs. Farrell, Mr. John F. and Mrs Rattray, Mr. J. Comerford, Miss M’Evoy, Mr. and Mrs L. Hayden, Mr. and Mrs. Mc Cormack, members of Catholic Institute, Naas, the Sergeants Mess R. D. F.; Mr. Ring, Mr. and Mrs. T. O’Neill, Mr. and Mrs. P. Power, Misses Bermingham, Misses Dowling, Mr. and Mrs. Flanagan, Mr. and Mrs T. Wilson, Mrs. Grehan, Mr. J.J. Conway, Mr. M. Fitzsimons, Mr. and Mrs. Langan, Mr. T. Kilmurry, Mrs. Watson, Mr. and Mrs. R. Sargent, Mr. and Mrs. Sheridan, Mr. and Mrs M’Crohan, Mr. and Mrs. Gogarty, Mr. and Mrs. O’Neill, Mr. and Mrs. Foynes, Mrs. Cantrell, Miss Clinch, Mr. and Mrs T. Mc Dermott, Mr. and Mrs. Butterfield, Sergeant Boyle and Mrs. Boyle, Sergeant and Mrs M’Kee, Sergeant Walsh, the men, R. I. C. Naas, Sergeant Major and Mrs. Brumby, Sergeant Major and Mrs French, Captain and Mrs. Matthews, Mr. England, Mr. H. Hyde, Mr. Agnew, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Mr. and Mrs. Hanna, Mr. John Shiel, Mr. Wade, Mr. and Mrs. Hall, Mr. J. and Miss Tracy, Mr. and Mrs. Doyle, stationmaster, Mr. and Mrs. O’Connor, Sallins, Mr. and Mrs Plant, Mr. and Mrs D. Patterson, Mr. and Mrs. Young, District Nurse, Major and Mrs Pilson, and Mrs J. Dowling, Mr. Tarles, Mr. and Mrs. T. O’Brien, Mr. and Mrs Mathews, Dublin Road, Mr. and Mrs. Tyndall, Miss Byrne, John Carroll, Rev.E. W. Clover, Mr. Croker, etc.

The Public Proceedings

Mr. James Hyland, C.U.D.C., said I beg to propose that Mr. Wm. Staples, chairman of the Library Committee, take the Chair.

Rev. Fr. Murphy: I have much pleasure in seconding that proposition.

Chairman’s Speech

Mr. Staples then took the chair. He was received with loud and continued applause when he rose to open the proceedings. He said: My Lord and rev. gentlemen, and ladies and gentlemen, my first duty this evening is to thank you for the honour you have been pleased to confer upon me in asking me to take the chair on this important occasion. This is, indeed an occasion to be remembered in the civic history of our town. Such an event does not often occur in provincial circles, and I think it is the first of its kind in Naas. However highly I appreciate the compliment which you have paid me in asking me to preside here this evening, I think I would be badly repaying your great kindness were I to stand for any length of time between you and the speakers who are to follow. Therefore I will not trespass on your time, and my remarks must be as brief as possible in order that you may have, the sooner, an opportunity of hearing the Earl of Mayo, who has so kindly responded to the invitation of the Library Committee to address you this evening, and declare your library formally open (applause). As you are aware, the library will just now be opened by his Lordship is a free library, and as such is open to those of the public who wish avail themselves of reading within its walls, free of charge, while a small charge is made to people who wish to borrow books to read elsewhere than in the building. The charge is the very moderate one of one penny per week, and is made so that the library may be kept stocked with all the latest literature, and for the general purposes of keeping the books in repair. The rules governing the library have been carefully framed by the Committee to safeguard the books and other property in the institution, and I am sure they will be observed by the reading public. It is the earnest desire of the Committee to cater in every possible way for the tastes of the public, and make them as comfortable as lies in their power (applause). The Library is well stocked with books, there being on the shelves within reach of everybody six hundred volumes of good and wholesome literature. The project of a free library for Naas has been thought of for some years. It assumed a tangible form about two years ago, when a Committee was formed to further the project, and a circular was issued to the public asking their co-operation, and soliciting subscriptions. Mainly through the exertions of Mr. Brown, we received a contribution from the rates, but it was necessarily a small allowance, and left us nearly in as bad a position as before. The subscription of £226 from the public was still inadequate to start with, and we appealed to Mr. Carnegie for a grant. Subsequently, through the instrumentality of the late lamented Mr. Carew, we received a gift of £600 from Mr. Carnegie (applause). We then went to work again, and when the old Town Hall was being remodelled we succeeded in acquiring suitable rooms, and stocking them with books, which I am sure you will thoroughly appreciate when you visit the library-a library which I think you will agree is one of the best equipped and most up-to-date in Ireland (loud applause). I will not now detain you further than to introduce to you a nobleman well and favourably known to each and everyone of you –a gentleman who requires no words of introduction to a Naas audience-his Lordship the Earl of Mayo, who will now address you and declare the Naas Free Library open to the public (loud cheers).

The Earl of Mayo

Lord Mayo, who on coming forward was received with loud applause, said: Ladies and gentlemen, and especially those ladies and gentlemen who are citizens of the town of Naas, I beg to say that I am extremely honoured by being invited here today on the occasion of the opening of the free library. It is a delicate compliment that has been paid me, because for many years my family, of which I am the head, has been associated with the town of Naas (applause). They have been associated with it since the year 1770, when one Theobald Burke was the Sovereign of Naas.

I see by the county paper that I am put down to deliver a lecture today. I have no intention of lecturing anyone, much less of lecturing such a distinguished audience as I see before me, although I have no doubt that such a discourse might be made interesting by means of dissolving views from a magic lantern depicting such scenes as the studious corner-boy at the free library at Naas (laughter); or the Urban Council deliberating for the design of the panel fronts which you see as you drive into Naas (laughter); or even Mr. Carnegie in his own library. We have to thank Mr. Carnegie for a gift of £600, which was obtained mainly owing to the instrumentality and help of the late Mr. Carew, who had the best interests of the town at heart (applause). We also have to thank the subscribers who in response to a circular that was sent out sent in a sum which amounted to £226. Our Town Hall has been practically rebuilt, and it sadly wanted re-building, for it was an ancient and musty place (laughter). In the olden times part of it was called the "White Castle", or the "Old Castle," but little is known of it before 1776 to 1792. All we know of it at that time was that it was a jail of some sort, and it was called the "White Castle," and it continued to be a prison until the year 1883, when the present jail, now no longer used was built. We stand where once stood a glum old castle and a jail for unhappy prisoners. But all is now changed, and has been so for a great many years. This Town Hall, once containing dungeons, has been the scene of many merry gatherings-dances, theatricals, and concerts- and several generations of foxhunters here tripped the light fantastic toe at the hunt balls (applause). In fact, this historic old Town Hall has been the scene of a great deal of our county social life (loud applause). Notwithstanding this, the premises were not adequate. The Urban Council took the matter in hand, and you now see the result of their efforts. I think we may be proud of the accommodation of the Town Hall of Naas, and in coming through Naas one is struck with the front-or to be artistically correct-the facade of the new building. I must say that the artist must have had a lively imagination-(laughter)-when he planned that elegant front. But it is unbecoming of me as a country gentleman to criticise what, I am sure, pleases Naas, and if Naas is satisfied that is all that is required. In saying this, I am quite forgetting about the free library, so I must go back to that. Two apartments are set apart for the library-one for the storage of books (the Librarian’s room), and the other for a reading-room. The Committee have asked the Urban Council to provide another room on the second floor, and it is hoped that their request will be granted. Book shelves are provided capable of holding 8,000 volumes and the Committee are spending £14 in furniture, £10 in book shelves, £2 for incandescent light, and changes and fixtures about £5. You will see that matters have gone forward, and that the public comfort is being looked after. There are now in the library 600 volumes of good literature, which include every kind of subject. The Committee have received in donations 137 volumes from the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction, and also 27 volumes of a pamphlet class. I consider these most useful additions to the library, as they deal with everything connected with agriculture, cottage industries, and dairy work. The Committee have purchased besides 403 volumes at a cost of £57 odd, and they hope shortly to purchase a great many more, when they know better the taste of the reading public. They also intend in taking several of the monthly magazines. I am sure you will agree with me that the library makes a very good start. I hope I may not be considered pedantic in drawing attention to the fact that public libraries have existed from ancient times. We must not imagine with our boasted civilisation that these institutions are modern luxuries. Thousands of years ago in ancient Babylonia there were public libraries; the books were tablets of sun-baked bricks, and it is from these tablets, which are now in the British Museum, that we learn almost every phase of private, social life of that most ancient Empire. I am speaking of the time fully 2,000 years before Christ. There were libraries in ancient Rome and ancient Egypt before the Christian era dawned upon the world. You will understand the use of public libraries, not only are they the records of our social life, history and country, but they are the means of educating the many who cannot afford to have libraries of their own. I am not one of those who believe in the trite saying that free libraries, workingmen’s clubs, reading rooms etc., prevent people from drink, or prevent people from going to the public house. If a man wants to go to the public house he will do so, and if he wants to get drunk he generally does get drunk. But I say this, that in a free library a man can read that when he is drunk he is a beast, and makes a beast of himself, and that drink ruins his health (applause). Nor do I agree with those who are narrow-minded enough to think that the sporting and betting news should be left out of the daily papers. I have seen such suggestions made in some papers on the other side of the water. I think that it is ridiculous. A man should be allowed in a free library to read his paper in peace and as it is published. Perhaps my ideas on the subject may be rather broad, but I think it is better, in a question of education to take a broad view. Reading in a public library is an education in itself, and even reading a novel is better than loafing about and doing nothing at all. I am one of those who believe that it is in education that we will see the amelioration of that great social evil which is not only common to this country but to England and Scotland-I mean the drink question. I think that when education spreads people will begin to understand that excessive drinking is bad for themselves, is bad for their health, and bad for the race to which they belong (loud applause). I am a great believer in these free libraries where everybody can walk in, read a book comfortably; and there is no doubt that this helps in some way to keep a man away from certain temptations, which you all know exist outside. And now, ladies and gentlemen, let me say a word or two as regards the librarian. The librarian can and ought to be a help to those who come to read at any library. He can suggest books that will assist in the study of any particular subject; he should be able to tell what books to read through, and what only to glance at and he can encourage those who go there to go on with their studies, once begun. It is remarkable, but I have experienced it myself, what reliance is placed by readers on a sympathetic and interesting librarian. He becomes respected and looked up to, and readers feel that he is more than an animated catalogue of his library-that he is a bookman, one whose profession is the study of books. As to the readers, they should take care of the books when they go to the library, and not dirty them, or not turn down the leaves, making "dogs’ ears." The volumes will be wanted again, and there is nothing so disgusting as reading a soiled or dirty book. Books are like old friends, and we should treat them with respect and consideration. We like to sit down and chat with old friends. We should do the same when we read in instructive book. I have not very much more to say to you. I must congratulate the Committee of the Urban Council upon the very smart, clean premises that the citizens of Naas will now enjoy, and I believe that we have now to adjourn to the free library to have it declared open. I have to thank you all for having listened so kindly to what I had to say. I do not think I should keep you any longer as I believe tea is waiting, and I am sure a great many of the ladies would enjoy a dish of tea (applause and laughter).

Colonel de Burgh

Col. De Burgh, who was received with applause, said-Mr. Chairman, my lord, ladies and gentlemen, I have been asked-and I do it with great pleasure-to propose a vote of thanks to Lord Mayo for his very interesting lecture this evening. You have heard the history-the genesis-of this free library, and of the buildings in which it is situate; and I beg to associate myself in praise and in thanks to the Council which has afforded us the pleasure of having such splendid rooms in which to meet for this purpose (hear, hear). It is all very well to have rooms, and to have a place to read in free, but, after all the main object of a public library is to have properly-filled shelves. Without them, it is of very little use as a public library. We have got to ask ourselves what is the main object of a free library? I think it is to try and get people to think, to try and teach young people how work has been done; how others have worked and succeeded-how they can work can succeed themselves (hear, hear); and without waiting for either sympathy or for help to square their shoulders to the work within their reach, and to do the best that is in them at that work, no matter how small. The task of making out a catalogue for a new library is one to be performed by but a few men-as hard a task as can be put a man with his mind trained to a particular subject. Every librarian is a man whose mind is inclined to a particular groove, who has been very highly educated, and it is almost useless for persons quite untrained to aspire to be able to make out a list of books which would really suit different religions and different persons, who make use of the free library-not only a library in the selection of books, but, remember, they are not only to teach people to think, but they must teach them to think broadly-to give a larger scope and a larger range to their thoughts than their immediate surroundings or their immediate wants and wishes. Properly selected books will make a man more usefully independent-make him a more useful citizen of a town or a country-will make him give his whole range of thoughts to others much more than to himself and will induce him to give up the blind fallacy of custom and of people, whose only advantage, perhaps, is that they are the loudest speakers, the most consistent speakers, or the last speakers. You must teach people to think independently, and work for themselves. When all the shelves in a public library devoted to religion and politics have been filled there are many still that have been left unfilled. The most important of those are history and geography. When I say history I mean more or less true history. The history geography teaches-how very small we are-how very useless it is to try to force the world to follow us. It teaches us, at the same time what a power is a small, widely read community over larger communities in this world. It teaches us how within the last ten years our condition has improved –how very much more largely it has improved within the last hundred years; and at the same time it teaches us how very little we would have to teach those who were before us forty or fifty centuries in very ordinary matters which concern our most vital interests (applause). Then there are shelves devoted to arts and science-those innumerable topics without which a man can be successful from a worldly point of view, but without which there would be very little refinement or beauty in our lives. There are, also, shelves dedicated to fiction, and I think there is one thing wanted in Ireland at the present day-that is, some books that will make people laugh, because if there is one thing that strikes one in Ireland today it is the want of amusement, which is apparent to any person who goes through the country (applause). I said to a man one day-an old car-driver-"I have not heard a man laugh and I have not seen a dance at the crossroads those many years," and he said, "Oh, no sir, the people are thinking of their wrongs" (laughter). Surely to goodness wrongs could not be righted by brooding over them. I beg, Mr. Chairman, to wish every success to the Naas Free Library, and to its promoters. We owe a good deal to our local Councils. Within the last few years they have done wonders in this county. They have done what nobody in ’98 expected our Councils would do-more broad-minded than it was ever expected they could possibly be. We owe them a deep debt of gratitude. In this county the local bodies have raised themselves to the very top in Ireland as regards the proper management of their affairs (applause). I beg to propose a vote of thanks to Lord Mayo for his attendance here this evening (cheers).

Father Murphy

The Rev. Father Murphy, C. C., who was also loudly applauded on coming forward said:- As a member of the Library Committee I have been allotted the task of seconding Col. De Burgh’s proposal with reference to Lord Mayo, for the very interesting and very practical lecture he has given at the opening of the public library at Naas. So much has been said by Lord Mayo and Colonel de Burgh on the importance of the free library which has been opened today that there is nothing left for me to remark. I shall only add that the Library Committee have taken great pains to provide interesting books. As yet the library as far as books are concerned is more or less in its infancy, and we earnestly invite the public who have books to spare to send in a list of the books which they can give to library, and submit a list to the Library Committee and we shall be very pleased to make a selection. That is a wise regulation of the Library Committee requiring a submission of the books, in order that we should not allow any book on the library shelves which might in any way offend the susceptibilities of any one coming to use the free library. I earnestly wish success to the free library of Naas, and pray that the people may reap rich advantages from its use.


Colonel de Burgh’s resolution was then put to the meeting and carried unanimously. Lord Mayo, in replying to the vote of thanks said that he was very much obliged indeed for the kind vote of thanks which had been passed to him. Both the proposer and seconder had insisted upon putting him down as having delivered a lecture, so he supposed it should remain a lecture (laughter). He regretted to say that these dissolving views were absent (laughter). He was sure it would be much more interesting to have a magic lantern, with the lecturer a big pole explaining everything with a sort of disquisition on Babylonian tablets, and what the librarian ought to do. He thought they had showed their thanks in a very practical way to the free library, and they should send in a list of books which they could present to the library. He again thanked them very much for the vote of thanks (applause).

Vote of thanks to the Chairman

On the proposition of Mr. J. Whiteside Dane, seconded by Mr. Wm. Quinn, U.D.C. the chair was now vacated by Mr. Staples and taken by Mr. Stephen J. Brown, J. P.

Mr. James Hyland, in proposing a vote of thanks to the Chairman, said a very pleasing duty devolved upon him on that auspicious occasion. It was not for him to reiterate the goodness of their Chairman, but when work and money were wanted Mr. Staples was the mainstay of the Committee in connection with the library up to the present and he hoped that in the future he might be spared many a long day to act as he had done in the past (applause).

Rev. Mr. Elliott

The Rev. Mr. Elliott, M.A., who was well received, said that he had very great pleasure in seconding the vote of thanks, and he did so for many reasons. Mr. Staples had had a very easy task that evening compared with his duties during the past few months. Mr. Staples had presided most regularly at their Committee meetings, and he (the speaker) was there to testify that he was an ideal chairman. When the audience remembered the composition of the Committee, perhaps they would agree with him. They had three methodical and business-like parsons who could do a great deal of talking, but did little work; then they had the patient persistent lawyer who was always keeping them to the point; they had the exceedingly tactful and active-minded member who was always for doing things in the best possible way; and then last but not least they had the guardian of the Urban Council’s purse. Under Mr. Staples’ ideal chairmanship they had done their work and done it well. Mr. Staples, as chairman, had kept them well in order. In seconding the resolution he did so with one regret. He was sure they were very sorry that one gentleman was not with them that afternoon-he referred to the Archdeacon of Kildare (hear, hear and applause). He had attended their various meetings and he had taken the deepest possible interest in the library, and he was sure he regretted not being with them that evening. He had great pleasure in seconding the vote of thanks to the Chairman.

Mr. Brown, in putting the vote of thanks said: My Lord, ladies and gentlemen, the fact that I am in the position in which I stand this evening is merely due to the modesty of the Chairman, who is not supposed to remain in the chair while a vote of thanks is being proposed to him; and my duty this evening will be very short, indeed. I have only to say that I thoroughly agree with everything that has been said with regard to the Chairman and the part which he has taken in the establishment of this library, and in the renovation of this building which so recently was nothing short of a reproach to the town of Naas, and which is now a source of pride and pleasure to everyone of its inhabitants (cheers). It was during the period that Mr. Staples was chairman of the Urban Council that the project of renovating this building was conceived and carried into effect, and, therefore, I think he deserves the best thanks of everyone in this room, and the people of Naas (hear, hear). Before I formally put the resolution, I will just ask you to remember that as yet the library consists of only 620 volumes, and that there are shelves upstairs which are capable of containing just 7,200 more (laughter), and that any assistance which may be given towards a repletion of those shelves will be very gratefully received. I now put the resolution which has been proposed by Mr. Hyland and seconded by Mr. Elliott.

The vote of thanks was carried with acclamation.

Mr. Staples, in reply, said he did not see what thanks were due to anyone for doing what he considered best for the general public, and it was his aim always to assist in the advancement of the public of Naas, where he lived (cheers). He thanked them cordially for the manner in which they received the vote of thanks.

Lord Mayo, at the conclusion of the speeches declared the free library formally open, and from that time forward it would be open to all from 7 to 10 in the evening for general readers and on two days in the week-Wednesdays and Saturdays-in the morning for the loan of books. This concluded the proceedings.







Page no.: 5 Column: c Edition: 1 Date: 25/11/1905

Heading: Free Library-Naas

A meeting of the Committee of the above was held on Friday, 17th inst. Mr. William Staples, chairman, presided, the other members present being; Rev. Wm. Elliott, M.A., Rev. A. Murphy, C.C., Messrs. S.J. Brown, J.P.; and William Quinn.

The Secretary reported that since the opening of the library on the 1st just there had been issued to outside borrowers 111 books, and he had issued 71 reader’s tickets which brought in subscriptions to the amount of £2 12s, 4d.; that there were 71 books out of the library, and that the average number who availed themselves of the library for reading was 20. He also reported that the efforts of the Committee were appreciated by the general public in their choice of the literature which they had procured and selected with such great care, and added that a suggestion book be provided for the library. The Committee approved of the report and ordered that the suggestion book (which had been previously recommended by the Committee) be procured.

A letter dated 1st November was read from the Countess of Mayo enclosing cheque value £5 for purchase of books for library, and on the motion of Rev. Wm. Elliott, seconded by Mr. S. J. Brown the following resolution was unanimously passed: "That the best thanks of the Free Library Committee be given to the Countess of Mayo for her kind donation of £5 towards purchasing books.

A letter dated 7th November was read from the Rev. Canon Sherlock, enclosing list of books for presentation to the library, and on the motion of Mr. S. J. Brown, seconded by Mr. Quinn, the following motion was unanimously passed: "That the best thanks of the Free Library Committee be given to Canon Sherlock for his gift of valuable books to the library."

The following resolution proposed by Rev. A. Murphy, seconded by Mr. S. J. Brown was unanimously passed: " That we gratefully accept the kind offer of Mr. Elliott to repeat in the Town Hall his lecture and notes of a campaign tour through Palestine, the proceeds to be devoted to the upkeep of the free library. It was decided that the meetings of the Committee be held in future on the first Friday of each month, at 2.30 p.m. Other routine business having been transacted, the meeting adjourned to 1st December.



Page No.: 8 Column: f Edition: 1 Date: 16/12/1095

Heading: Elliott M.A., Rev. Wm.

Naas Free Library-Lecture by The Rev. Wm. Elliott

"A camping tour through Palestine"

(From our Reporter)

On Friday evening the Rev. Wm. Elliott M.A., delivered an interesting lecture, on a recent trip to the Holy Land, in the Town Hall, Naas, in aid of the Naas Free Library. The attendance in the high-priced parts of the house was all that could be desired, and the audience seemed to appreciate the treat which the lecturer had prepared for them. The lantern views of the different scenes were most interesting and, coupled with the vividness of the lecture, helped to make up an entirely successful intellectual treat. Mr. William Staples U.D.C. Chairman of the Library Committee was moved to the chair. On rising to introduce the lecturer he said that the Rev. Mr. Elliott had always taken an interest in the Free Library project or any movement having for its object the improvement of the town. It would be well indeed for Naas if there were in it many more gentlemen of the same public spirit as Mr. Elliott (hear. hear ). He (Chairman) was sure that they would all enjoy the lecture which Mr. Elliott was about to deliver (applause).

The Rev. Mr. Elliott, with the assistance of a large map of Palestine showing the routes and principal places visited, proceeded to outline his departure from Dublin to Holyhead and Paris, and from thence to Egypt. He humorously described the incidents of the passage, and the arrival of Cook’s tourist party, to which he was attached, in Cairo, where they visited the many places of note. He commented on the ease with which an English Speaker could find his way about the city and surroundings, due to the almost universal use of the language. The party had the pleasure of a trip to the Pyramids and Sphinx, and also went up the Nile and inspected the battlefield of Tel-el-Kebir, being shown over it by an English Colonel, who was in the party. The voyage through the Mediterranean on the way to Jaffa, the principal port in Palestine was then described. In vivid language he described the perils of the landing, and said the question the party were asking themselves was whether they would be able to land at all. However Cook’s boats came out and brought them ashore. The lecturer then described the journey to Jerusalem, and brought his audience on the route to Damascas, from whence the party made their way to Beyrout and via Constantinople to Athens, Rome, and Paris home. During the interval Miss Matthew’s fine contralto voice was heard to great advantage in "The Star of Bethlehem." Subsequently, at the conclusion of the lantern exhibition she rendered "The Holy City." In both pieces, which were very appropriate, the singer was accompanied by Miss Gray.

The lantern slides, particularly those made from photographs taken by the lecturer were high-class, and the delineation was remarkably clear, having regard to the necessarily hurried manner in which the preparations were made. Almost every place mentioned in connection with the Saviour’s life on earth was portrayed, and many landmarks of the Old Testament were brought vividly before the audience, who listened with attention to the lecturer’s description of each sacred and historic spot as it was illustrated on the screen. The pictures shown of Jerusalem, particularly those of the Via Dolorosa (the sorrowful way), Pilate’s house, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre were very much appreciated. In connection with the last named the lecturer pointed out that the Latins, Armenians, Greeks, etc. worshipped in the building, and there was always a guard of Turkish soldiers mounted there to prevent them from fighting with one another. It would not be fair to the lecturer to go into details because his services are bound to be enlisted again in the cause of philanthropy and charity. He performed his task ably and thoroughly, and one would wish that he made his lecture longer.

A hearty vote of thanks was unanimously passed to the lecturer, on the motion of Mr. S. J. Brown, J.P., after which the proceedings concluded.





Page No.: 8 Column: b Edition: 1 Date: 23/09/1905

Heading: Urban District Council-Naas

The following was read: "since the appointment of the Committee the necessary furniture, consisting of 12 arm and 18 ordinary chairs and 5 tables have been purchased and paid for by the Council; bookshelves, to hold several thousand volumes have been erected, at a cost of £18 5s.; incandescent burners have been substituted for the old ones, at a cost of £1 11s. 2d. A subsequent alteration of the enclosure for books was found to be necessary, and is now being carried out. A grant has been made of books of an educational and instructive character to the value of £5 by the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction. The Council of the Kildare Archaeological Society has presented a complete set of the Kildare Archaeological Journal. The Committee have received, in addition, donations of 118 volumes, and have ordered new books, 322 volumes to the value of £45. This will leave in the library upwards of 500 volumes of good literature. Being anxious to open the public library in the beginning of October the Committee would be glad of an answer to the request of the deputation which waited upon them on 28th June last as to the use of the upper room in connection with the library, and wish to know if the Council have made arrangements to get the lantern light in the reading room completed according to Mr. Inglis’s specification. Rain and dust at present blow in, which would practically render the room unusable, and daylight can be seen through the woodwork of the roof. The skirting in reading room is incomplete, and there is also a slight leakage in the valley next the assembly room. The Committee hope that the urban Council will immediately take steps to remedy these defects, and that they will get the plaster work repaired and the rooms properly coloured.

-signed on behalf of the Committee.



 [compiled by Mario Corrigan; Typed and edited by Niamh McCabe; Final editing - Dee O'Brien]

To celebrate the launch of  kildare Co. library and Arts Service Online History Journal -  - articles from the Leinster Leader newspaper on 101 Years of Library Service in Naas Co. Kildare

Co. Kildare and The Da Vinci Code

Co. Kildare and The Da Vinci Code
In a conversation with Rory de Bruir in Kildare I learned that Co. Kildare has a connection with the book by Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code. While reading the book in London Rory realised that he was in fact in close proximity to one of the sites mentioned in the text – the Temple Church –
The text makes mention of the Knights effigies which are located in the Church, at one time the Headquarters of the Knights Templars. The most famous effigy is that of the Crusader Knight, William Marshall or le Marshall, one of the most famous knights of his age. This William Marshall had married Isabel or Isabella de Clare, daughter of Strongbow in 1189 and was created Earl of Pembroke. He also inherited the Lordship of Leinster and the manor of Kildare. He is credited with building the castle of Kildare although it is more than likely a castle had been built there by Strongbow. This castle was developed over time and at one stage had four towers, the last of which is still standing. Marshall received a new grant of Leinster around 1208, having arrived in Ireland in 1207. He died in 1219 but Kildare Town remained in the direct hands of the Marshalls until 1245.
After the death of the last of the male heirs the lordship of Leinster was divided up among the five Marshall heiresses in 1247. A daughter of one of these was Agnes de Ferrars who married William de Vesci and her son William became Justiciar of Ireland (1290-1294). He surrendered the lands to the Crown in 1297 and was regranted them for life but he died that same year whereupon the land reverted to the crown. The land was soon after to pass into the hands of the Fitzgeralds, the 1st Earl of Kildare being created in 1316.
I believe that it is quite probable that Marshall or even Strongbow had granted the lands at Tully (where the ruin of the Church is situated at the Irish National Stud) to the Knights Hospitallers – another Crusader military Order. As Tully had been confirmed in their possession in 1212 by the pope then it is probable that it was one of theses two men. Marshall himself had fought with the Templars (although he was not a member of the Order) in the Holy Land and would have been acquainted with the Hospitallers and the value of having such a military Order close to his seat of power in Kildare.
Who Knows, maybe William Marshall brought more than Norman blood to the manor of Kildare?
Mario Corrigan - Local Studies

Did you know that Co. Kildare has a connection with the book by Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code?

Mission Statement

Mission Statement:
Welcome to Kildare County Library and Arts Service Online Electronic History Journal. All material on this site is administered by the History and Family Research Centre, incorporating the three related departments, Local Studies, Genealogy and Archives. The centre is located in the Old library HQ, in Newbridge, Co. Kildare at the corner of Main St. and Athgarvan Road. Full details can be found in the contact section.
The idea of an electronic journal is to provide a forum for local historians to publish material relating to the history, archaeology and heritage of Co. Kildare. It is a way of preserving information that might otherwise be lost (such as local history, talks, queries etc.) as well as a way of reproducing valuable material relating to Kildare which is rare and out of print. Hopefully it will also be a way of advertising events and promoting an interest in the history, archaeology and heritage of Co. Kildare.
All are welcome to contribute but contributions should be made by e-mail or on disk. It is hoped that this will be a joint effort with some of the prominent local historians in the County and should material need to be edited then it will be done by those involved. There are many individuals like myself who come across interesting snippets of information, intend to publish them somewhere or make them available but who never get around to it. Lastly there are local history talks all over the county every year and those speakers should be encouraged to publish their research or topic of interest and this journal will allow them to do that with ease.
We welcome contributions, big and small. Our aim is to preserve and promote and to offer a platform for people with valuable knowledge whereby they can publish their information with no cost to themselves. Indeed there is a wealth of local knowledge in the hands of individuals who would have no interest in traditional publishing.
Any thoughts or contributions can be e-mailed directly to
18 May 2006
Mario Corrigan
Local Studies Department
History and Family Research Centre
Main St.
Phone 045-432690 / 087-9871046

Co. Kildare Online Electronic Journal - What its all about!

Contact details

All contributions and comments can be made via e-mail to


Don't forget to visit the heritage section of




Incorporating Genealogy, Local Studies, and Archives


Local Studies Department

Contact: Mario Corrigan at

Hours: Tues.-Fri. 10.00-1, 2-4.30; Sat. 10-4.30 closed for lunch each day.Website:

Tel. 087 - 9871046; 045 - 449721

Fax. 045 - 449721

The Local Studies Department forms an integral part of the Kildare County Library Arts Service and ultimately, in partnership with Genealogy and Archives, has become an integral part of the Riverbank Cultural Campus. The Local Studies Collection is located in the History and Family Research Centre. It is the focal point for local history research in County Kildare for historians and enthusiasts alike. The new reading room and research facilities have greatly enhanced the services on offer. The collection will be added to the computerised catalogue on the County Library’s Horizon system further enhancing the service and making it more accessible.

As well as containing an extensive collection of secondary source material the Local Studies Department includes many original sources such as Griffith’s Valuation, the Ordnance Survey Maps of the county, the Tithe Applotment Books, photographs from the Lawrence Collection, Rentals from the Marquis of Drogheda and Verschoyle Estates, a valuable collection of Quaker Manuscripts etc. It has newspapers dating from 1763 on microfilm as well as the 1901 and 1911 Census. Many important primary resources have been added to the website to allow researchers even greater accessibility to the collection.


Contact: Karel Kiely at

Hours: Mon.-Thurs. 9-1, 2-5; Fri. 9-12.30 closed for lunch each day.Website:

Tel. 045 - 433602

Fax. 045 - 449721

The Kildare Heritage and Genealogy Co. was established in partnership with Kildare County Council, to identify, collect and record historical, archaeological and genealogical information for County Kildare for the purpose of establishing a County Heritage and Genealogical Centre.

The Kildare Heritage Project, sponsored by the Kildare Heritage and Genealogy Co., co-funded by Kildare Co. Council and FÁS, has been running in Newbridge since late 1987. The project is computerising Co. Kildare’s genealogical records, including Roman Catholic and Church of Ireland registers; graveyard inscriptions; Griffith’s Valuation; Tithe books and the 1901 and 1911 Census. A professional research service is provided to members of the public both at home and abroad.


Contact: Ms Cecile Chemin, Archivist at


The Local Studies Dept., will only provide limited access to the archival collections from March 2007, until the return of the archivist.

Kildare County Council is developing a County Archive Service based at the History and Family Research Centre in Newbridge. In preparing for this, it was first necessary to identify and preserve those public archive collections held in various locations throughout the county. A specially adapted storage facility has now been assigned for the archives at Newbridge. Fortunately quality archive collections have survived for Co. Kildare. These include material relating to the Grand Jury system, the Boards of Guardians and the Rural District Councils.

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