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February 22, 2007

SUNCROFT, PARISH OF - Comerford's Dioceses of Kildare and Leighlin

This parish comprises the old ecclesiastical districts of Ballyshannon, Kilrush, Ballysax, and Carna.
(Bel-Atha-Seanaith,-“the mouth of the ford of Seanath”), or as it was formerly styled, Ballysonan, has a history dating back even to pagan times. Conmael, son of Emer, having been thirty years in the sovereignty of Ireland, fell in the battle of Emania (near Armagh), in A.M.3579. Amongst the battles which he is related to have fought was that of Ucha, which was the ancient name of Ballyshannon. In a passage in the book of Ulster, the name Uchba is found applied to this place. In the year 733, Aedh Allan, King of Ireland, assembled (the forces of )Leath-Chuinn, to proceed into Leinster; and he arrived at Ath-Seanaith. The Leinstermen collected the (greatest) number they were able, to defend his right against him. A fierce battle was fought between them. The king, Aedh Allan himself, went into the battle, and chieftains of the North along with him. The chieftains of Leinster came with there kings into the battle; and bloodily and heroically was the battle fought between them both. Heroes were slaughtered, and bodies were mutilated. Aedh Allan and Aedh, son of Colgan, King of Leinster, met each other (in single combat); and Aedh, son of Colgan, was slain by Aedh Allan. The Leinstermen were killed, slaughtered, cut off, and dreadfully exterminated, in this battle, so that there escaped of them but a small remnant, and a few fugitives. The following were the leaders and chieftains of the Leinstermen who fell, namely: Aedh, son of Colgan, King of Ui-Ceinnsealaigh; Bran Beg, son of Murchadh, the second king who was over the Leinstermen; Fearghus, son of Maenach, and Dubhdacrih, two lords of Fotharta; The son of Ua Ceallaigh; the son of Train; Fiangalach Ua Maeleaithgin; Conall Ua Aithechdai; the four sons of Flann Ua Conghaile; Eladhach Ua Maelaidhir; and many others, whom it would be too tedious to enumerate. The (people of) Leath-Chuinn were joyous after this victory, for they had wreaked their vengeance and their animosity upon the Leinstermen. Nine thousand was the number of them that were slain, as it is said in these verses:-
    From the battle of Uchbhadh the great, in which a havoc of the Fir-Feini (i.e., the farmers) was made,
    There is not known on the fair sandy soil the posterity of any Leinsterman in Ireland.
    Nine thousand there fell in the battle of Uchbhadh with vehemence,
    Of the army of Leinster, sharp-wounding, great the carnage of the Fer Feini
            Aedh Allan cecinit:
            The Aedh in the clay, the king in the church-yard,
           The beloved pure dove, with Ciaran at Cluain (Clonmacnoise)
    Samhthann (a Virgin Saint of Cluain-Bronaigh, whose death is recorded to have taken place in 734) cecinit before the battle:
    If the two Aedhs meet, it will be very difficult to separate them,
    To me it will be grievous if Aedh (son of Colgan) fall by Aedh, son of Fearghab.
In the Annals of Clonmacnoise this battle is noticed at the year 735, as follows: “The battle of Athseanye, on the 14th day of the Kalends of September, was cruelly and bloodily fought upon the O’Neales and Lynstermen, where the two kings, head of the two armies, did so roughly approach one another, as King Hugh Allan, King of Ireland, and Hugh MacColgan, King of Lynster, whereof the one was sore hurt, and lived after; the other, by a deadly blow, lost his head from the shoulders. The O’Neales with their king, behaved themselves so valiantly in the pursuit of their enemies, and killed them so fast in such manner, as they made great heapes in the fields of their carcasses, so as none or very few of the Lynstermen escaped to bring tydings to their friends at home….. This was the greatest slaughter for a long time seen in Ireland.” 
            A branch of the FitzGeralds settled at Ballyshannon, (1) where they erected a strong castle. Pierce FitzGerald of Ballyshannon, in the county of Kildare, Esq., was in Easter term, in the 18th year of the reign of Charles I., indicted and outlawed of high treason. (Inquis. Naas. 30 Dec., 1663. )  The name of Pierce FitzGerald of Ballyshannon, appears in the Commons’ List of the General Assembly of the Confederate Catholics, assembled at Kilkenny, on the 10th January, 1647. This fortress surrendered, after resistance, to Hewson, on 1st of March, 1650. The following documents referring to this event, are taken from “ A contemporary History of affairs in Ireland, 1641-1652,” pp. 309,et seq
JOHN HEWSON, Governor of Dublin, to LENTHALL.
To the right Honourable William Lenthall, Esquire, Speaker of the Parliament of England.
            SIR, - When his Excellency marched from Dublin towards Munster, he left me intrusted with that garrison, myselfe and those lefte with me at that time being sicke. The first party that recovered were sent after the army; to wit, about 800 foot and 200 horse, which fought and beat the enemy upon their march.; some more of these sicke men that were left recovering, and some recruits coming over.
            After I had surprised the strong fort upon the bog of Allin, and taken Castle Martin in the county of Kildare, and placed a garrison therin. About the latter end of December, marched with a party of 1000 horse and foot into the island of Allin, and summoned Kilmaog theirin, but finding it not feazable to storm without guns, I marched to Rabride and Ponsers Grange, and tooke them, and placed and placed two strong garrisons there, which did give me good footing in the county of Kildare, then sent a party and took Kildare, Hertwell, and Cotlingstowne, three useful garrisons in the said county; and provisions being spent returned back to Dublin, there endeavouring to get guns, mortar-peeces, and other necessaries ready to draw forthe againe with all possible speed; in the interim I received propositions from governor and officers in the strong garrison and fort of Ballisonan, the originall whereof I here enclosed present you with all under there owne hands, which being by me totally rejected.
            I marched upon Tuesday, the 26th Feb., with a party of 2000 foot and 1000 horse towards the county of Kildare, and took with me one culverin, and one demi-culverin, and one mortar-piece, the enemy fired their garrisons of Fort of Lease, Blackreath, and the forementioned castle of Kilmaog, in the island of Allin; but I shall easily make it tenable againe, it being very usefull for your service, they also did blow up the castle of Athy, where they had a strong garrison and broke up the bridge.
            Upon the 28th Feb. I marched from the Naas, and about four o’clock with the van of the party I came to Ballysonan, a strong garrison – double works and double moted, full of water one within another, and a mount with a fort upon it, most of the officers with me esteeming the taking of it to be unfeazable. It being late, and I unwilling to lose time, did send in a summons, a copy whereof is here inclosed, and the inclosed answer under the governor’s hand was presently retirned, and the town which was without his works by him burned that night. I caused a battery to be made, and planted the artillery, and made a fort for the security thereof, having intelligence that the Lord of Castlehaven with 4000 horse and foot would come to raise me within two dayes, in which fort I could secure the guns and batter their works, whilst I drew off to fight the enemy if need were, we played our guns and mortar-peece at the fort upon the mount, intending before night to storm it, having ladders and all necessaries ready, but before any breach was made, the governor did send me a paper which is here inclosed, where-unto the inclosed answer was returned, and he treated with me about the surrender, which was concluded accordingly. The articles signed with both our hands herewith in represented unto you.
            And now, Sir, you have without the losse of one man, this strong place and thereby most of the County of Kildare; those garrisons in this county yet remaining, as Castle Dormount and Kilkenny, with others, I hope you shall have a good account thereof speedily, from
                                                Your humble servant,
                                                                        JOH. HEWSON.
Bellisonan, March 3, 1649 (50).
            SIR,- I am now marching the army to reduce that place you possess unto the obedience of the parliament of England, and it being apparent to the world that God is making inquisition in Ireland for the innocent blood, how fare you and those with you may be concerned therein I shall observe by your answer here-unto.
            These are to require you to deliver that place you now possess unto me for the end aforesaid; whatsoever your return here-unto may be, and the effect thereof, my summons will justifie the future proceedings of
                                                                                     Your Servant,
            28 Feb. 1649 (50).                                                                   J. HEWSON.
For the Governor of Bellisonan.
            SIR, - I am now in possession in this place by Authority from my King, how you may demand it by authority of the Parliament of England, I know not; England denying their king, therefore your power I disobey. And for God, my King and Country, will defend this place to the uttermost of my power.
                                                                                          Your Servant,
                28 Febru., 1649   (50)                                                 DUNNO(GH) KELLY.
            For Col. Hewson,
Commander-in-chiefe of the Parliament
party now at the field of Ballisonan.
(Colonel Hewson’s last Summons.)
SIR,- Blood I doe not thirst after, yet so far a soldier, as not to neglect present opportunity, I shall for the end in your letter mentioned send Captain Hewson according to your desire, provided you send one or two fully authorised to treat and conclude, and all to be concluded within halfe an houre, provided also you doe not worke at all to repaire what my guns and mortarpeece have demolished, and to that end that Cap. Hewson may remain in the Mount during that half houre. Sir, I shall be glad if your wisdome prevent what otherwise will unavoidably fall out, though not desired by
                                                                                                 Your servant,
March, 1649 (50).                                                                            J. HEWSON.
SIR,- To avoyed the confusion (sic) of Christian blood, we sent out a drum to demand a parley, my desire for the reasons aforesaid is, that you send in a captaine of yours to treat with us, and we will send forth a captaine of ours who shall demand no more but what is honourable and just, and so Sir, I conclude,
                                                   Your servant,
                                                                                                DONNO(GH) Kelly.
March 1, 1649 (50).         
            Propositions made to the Garrison, which were rejected:-
            We do hereby employ Governor Donno O’Kelly for the delivery of the hereunder propositions to the General of the Parliament’s forces in Ireland:-
            Imprimis. That the party commanding this garrison and fort of Ballysonan, and all other that will adhere to them, are really and willingly to join to the parliament forces, upon such terms as are hereunder written.
            2nd. That a colonel, lieutenant colonel, and a major, besides captains and under-officers, be employed of the said party constantly in the standing army of the parliament’s forces in this kingdom.
            3rd. That in case any such officers do come in, that they may have free liberty to their religion, and two priests admitted and employed to serve the said regiment now intended.
            4th. That neither Taaffe nor Dillon shall be accepted of the Parliament’s party.
            5th. That their estates, wrongfully detained and enjoyed by the said Dillon, Browne, and Taaffe, may be allowed unto them by the State of Parliament.
            6th. That their arrears since May last may be allowed them. This and aforesaid propositions may be granted by the General, Lieutenant-General, Major-General, and Commissioners- General of the Parliament forces of this Kingdom that what these countries assigned to them for their pay are in arrear since their coming to Ballysonan, may be forthwith caused to be paid.
            7th. That this granted, they shall obey any deriving power from the State of Parliament.
                        J. GORDON.                                      CONNOR KELLY.
                       CH. KELLY                                       M. DONNOGH.
           Articles agreed upon, between the Honourable Col. John Hewson of the one part, and Captain Donnagh Kelly, Governor of Bellisanon, in the County of Kildare, of the other part; 1 March, 1649 (50).
            Imprimis-That the said garrison and fort of Bellisanon, shall be immediately delivered with all the ammunition, and provisions therein, except as in the insueing article is agreed upon.
            2. That the said governour, officers, and souldiers, shall continue in the castle until to-morrow morning at ten of the clocke if they please, and then they are to march out of the said castle and forte with a trumpeter for convoy tenne miles if they desire it, or to any of the next Irish garrisons within ten miles as aforesaid, the trumpeter remaining without any prejudice.
           And the said officers are to march with their horses and pistolls, and with their colours flying, and drums beating, and the souldiers with their armes, and matches lighted, and each musketeer one pound of powder with bullet and match pro portionable.
           3. Whatsoever oates and pease shall appear to be in the castle belonging to Miss(tress) FitzGerald, shall be restored to her
           4.  And lastly, for the due performance of the aforesaid articles we have hereunto set our hands, the day and yeare first above written.
                                                                                                   JOHN HEWSON.
                                                                                                   DONNO(GH) KELLY.
           An old drawing of “the strong fort of Ballysonan,” reproduced in the Kilkenny Archaeol. Journal, New Series, Vol. 1., fully justifies the description of it given by Hewson. The first or outer moat was 25 feet wide, with 12 feet of water; the second moat was 40 feet broad. The fortified mount and the church were within the fortress, whilst the town adjoining was surrounded by outworks, and, at one of its two gates a fort, called the Blackcastle, appears. Sir Erasmus D. Burrowes, writing in Kilk. Archaeol. Journal, in March, 1858 (Vol.11., 2nd Series, p.41), say:- “ Last Autumn, I visited the strong fort of Ballysannon. No remains of the castle as seen in the old drawings exist; whatever of it remained at the beginning of the last century, was pulled down by the Annesley family, with which they helped to build a castellated mansion quite close. The immediate defences of the old castle of the unfortunate Pierce Fitzgerald still exist, though somewhat smoothened off by time. The mound is still there covered with trees of some 40 years’ growth, but, strange to say, the remains of the old ash tree so conspicuous in the drawing, can still be traced. I found two lusty scions growing vigorously from the same old hollow root, right in the centre of the mound. There was no rival near the throne of that old stock; it spoke eloquently of the siege, of Cromwell, (Hewson) and his mortars…….The spot where he placed his mortars was not more than some 50 or 60 yards from the castle.”
            The taking of Ballyshannon had an important effect on the campaign. Carte, in Life of Ormonde, thus writes: - “ In Leinster there was scarce a castle or strong house which the husband or wife was not for giving up and receiving conditions from the enemy. Thus Ballysonan and other castles were delivered up to Hewson who was thereby enabled to march with a party from Dublin into the County Kilkenny, where Cromwell joined him at Gowran, which was traitorously given up by the soldiers of the garrison. These successes enabled him to lay siege to Kilkenny.”
            The old parochial Church stood on the site now occupied by the burial ground; of the church, no vestige now remains.
            In 1536, Philip O’Mullaghan was presented by the Bishop of Kildare to the Rectory of Ballysonan. (Mem. Roll. 18 Hen. VIII.) An Inquisition taken at Dublin “die Jovis prox. Post fest. Sec. Nichi. “ 28th Hen. VIII., mentions “ Philippus O’Malaghelen Hibernicus,” as Rector of Ballysonan ; and a Pat. Roll, of about the same date, apud Morrin – records the Presentation of Philip Malaghlin to the perpetual rectory of the Church of St. James the Apostle, of Ballysannan, vacant certo nudo, and in the Kings presentation pro hac vice. From these latter it would appear that O’Mullaghan joined Henry in his schism. 
            In the Aphorismical Discovery, Part 3, p. 32, Willian Garan, Vicar of Ballysonan, anno 1649, is referred to.
(“ the Church of the Wood, “ Joyce.) St, Briga, daughter of Fernadh of the Hy Ercon, with her six sisters, were venerated on the 7th of January. One of her Churches was at Kilrush. It is related of her that she went to St. Patrick to acquaint him of the plots that were laid against his life at Moone. An Abbey was founded at Kilrush about the beginning of the 13th century (Harris assigns its foundation to the 12th century), for Canons Regular of the Order of St. Augustine, by William Mareschal, Earl of Pembroke; this was a cell to the Priory of Carthmel in Lancashire. (Ware) On the suppression, this Abbey with its appurtenances was granted to the Earl of Ormond. (Auditor General.) These possessions are more particularly set forth in a Patent Roll, Sept. 13th, 5 & 6 Philip and Mary, apud Morrin, “The Manor of Kilrush, in the County of Kildare, a castle, a small garden, 6 messuages, 360 acres of arable land, and 11 cottages in Kilrush, parcel of the possessions of the late Prior of Cartmel, in England.” In Dr. MacGeoghegan’s list, we find the chapel of St. Laurence of Kilrush; this probably refers to the chapel of the Augustinian friary. Amongst the parochial churches in the same list is that of Kilurigh, supposed to be that now existing in ruins at Kilrush, attached to which is a burial- ground. At the commencement of the present century, the Parish Priest set about rebuilding the Church of Kilrush, but, after a little time, the work was discontinued.
            In a Return, made in 1766, the names of those resident in the Parish of Kilrush are given; for which, see Vol . I., p. 272.
            A battle was fought in this neighbourhood in 1642, which is thus described by a writer in the Dublin Penny Journal:- “ The land in the neighbourhood of Inch Castle lies remarkably flat, with the exception of two ridges that run nearly parallel northward from the castle, with a marsh lying between. It was in these heights the armies of Ormond and Mountgarrett, in 1642, marched in sight of each other, the evening previous to the battle of Kilrush; that of Ormond on the high grounds of Ardscull, Fontstown, and Kilrush, whilst the rebel army under Mountgarrett, and attended by the Lords Dunboyne and Ikerrin, Roger O’More, Hugh O’Byrne, and other leaders of Leinster, proceeded in the same direction along the heights of Birtown, Ballyndrum, Glasshealy, and Narraghmore. Mountgarrett, having the advantage in numbers, and anxious for battle, out-marched Ormond’s forces, and posted himself on Bull Hill and Kilrush, completely intercepting Ormond’s further progress to Dublin; a general engagement became unavoidable. The left wing of the Irish was broken by the first charge; the right, animated by their leaders, maintained the contest for some time, but eventually fell back on a neighbouring eminence, since called Battlemount; here they broke, fled, and were pursued with great slaughter, across the grounds they had marched over the day before. This victory was considered of such consequence that Ormond was presented by the Irish Government with a jewel, value £50.”   A Rath of considerable dimensions is to be seen at Kilrush.
          The present Protestant Church occupies the site of the old parochial church; of this latter there are now no remains, except a very massive and ancient Baptismal font, round in shape, but rising out of a square base, and measuring nearly three feet each way. The aperture for the escape of the water is in the side. The socket of a cross has also been preserved; it is composed of sandstone, and running round the four sides is an inscription in Roman Capitals without any attempt at a division of the words. It is in Latin, and is a petition to Christian friends to pray for the person in memory of whom the cross was originally set up:-
            Catholics are still interred in the adjoining burial-ground. A Return made in April 1766 (see Vol. I., p 273), gives, in the Parish of Ballysax, 8 Prostestant, and 40 Papist families; and in the Parish of Ballysonan, 6 Protestant, and 24 Papist families. An Inquisition taken at Naas, 21st Oct., 1617, finds Robert Nangle, late of Ballysax, to have been seized in fee of a castle and several messuages in the town and lands of Ballysax. The said Robert died, 15th Nov., 1615. Matthew Nangle, now of Ballysax, is his son and heir, aged 24, and married.
            A grave-yard marks the site of the old parochial Church, but the Church itself has been completely obliterated. The spot is considerably elevated and appears to have been, as its name indicates, a carn or monumental mound, probably anterior to the introduction of Christianity. 
            Near to the parish bounds, in the direction of old Kilcullen, there is an ancient burial- ground called Rathnow. It has been much encroached on-by the high-road on one side, and, on the other, by the modern boundary – wall having been built so as to exclude the greater part of the rath which gives it its name. It is locally supposed to have been the site of a church, but of this there is now no trace.
            On Mr. Morrin’s farm at Martinstown, is an untilled spot, called the Religeen; this must be the site of the “ Capella de Ballevartine” of Dr MacGeoghegan’s list. (See Vol. I. P. 260.) 
            There are several raths on the Curragh, some, at least, of which are sepulchral. A paper in Transactions of the R.I.A .for 1788, states:- “ A short time since, some small tumuli were opened on the Curragh, under which skeletons were found, standing upright, and in their hands, or near them spears with iron heads. In 1788, a sepulchre was found at Calverstown, with a skeleton in a sitting posture, a small urn or basin, of earthenware, beside it.”
            PHELIX COGHLAN is found in the Registry of 1704, residing at Ironhills, aged 47, Parish Priest of Ballyshannon, Ballysax, Kilrush, and Carna, ordained in 1677, in Italy, by Don Jeronyme Gentil, Archbishop of Genoa, and his sureties were Phelim Fox of Newtown, Gent., and Captain Cornelius Coonan of Kilcock. When Father Coghlan died, or by whom he was succeeded, has not been discovered. In a Return made in 1731 (see Vol.I., p. 262 ), it is stated that there was no Mass-house then in Ballyshannon, Ballysax, or Kilrush; but that the Papist resorted a neighbouring parish, where a priest, who took upon himself the name Parish Priest of these parishes, says Mass.
            MICHAEL DUNNE is named in a Return made in 1766 (see Vol.1.,p.272), as P.P.of Kilrush. He died in 1777, and according to the tradition of the locality, was interred in his native place, somewhere in the Queen’s County.
            JOHN LYNCH succeeded; he was a native of the parish of Suncroft. Father Lynch died in 1805, and lies interred in the chapel at Suncroft, to the Epistle side of the High Alter, where a stone marks his grave, bearing the following inscription:- “Here lie the remains of Rev. John Lynch, 28 years Parish Priest. Departed this life the 16th day of February, 1805, aged 56 years. Lord have mercy on his soul. Amen.”
            FATHER ROCHE, newhew of Father Lynch, next had charge of the parish; he resigned after some years, and left for the neighbouring parish of Kilcullen, in the Diocese of Dublin.
            MALACHY MAC MAHON succeeded; in 1821, he accepted the pastoral charge of Clane at the request of Dr. Doyle.
            REV. JOHN DUNNE was appointed to Suncroft. When the parish becoming vacant again towards the end of 1823,
            FATHER MAC MAHON was re-appointed; he died in 1868, and is interred in Suncroft chapel where the altar of St. Joseph has been erected to his memory; an inscription upon it is to the following effect:- “ In memory of the Rev. M. MacMahon, P.P., who died February 18th, 1868, aged 108 years. R.I.P.
            REV. THOMAS CULLEN, who had been Curate in the parish for many years, succeeded as P.P.; he died in less than a year, and lies interred also at Suncroft, where the Alter of the Blessed Virgin has been erected to his memory:- “ In memory of the Rev. T. Cullen, P.P., who died Nov. 30th, 1868, aged 53 years. R.I.P   
            REV. DENIS FLANAGAN, P.P. of Graignamanagh, was translated to Suncroft, in succession to Father Cullen. He died in 1872, and is interred at Suncroft chapel. A tablet there bears the following inscription:- Pray for the soul of Rev. Denis Flanagan, who laboured zealously and faithfully in the Sacred Ministry for 35 years, and was P.P. of Graignamanagh and after-wards of Suncroft, where he died, 31st of October, 1872, aged 59 years.
            REV. THOMAS MAHER succeeded; he died on 31st Oct., 1883, and was succeeded by the
            REV. WILLIAM RANSBOTT, the present Pastor.
 (1) Thomas, 7th Earl of Kildare, is said to have married –1st, Dorothea, daughter of Anthony O’More of Leix, and by her was ancestor of the families of Blackhall, Blackwood, Ballysonan, Rathrone, Tectoghan, etc.

Compiled and edited by Mario Corrigan; typed by Breid and Maria; edited and checked by Niamh McCabe

A history of the Roman Catholic Parish of SUNCROFT by Rev. Comerford, from Collections relating to the Dioceses of Kildare and Leighlin published in 1883.

February 21, 2007

'Hoisting of the Flags' to commemorate St. David's Day, in Naas

*All historians and friends are invited to the communal hoisting of the

Irish and Welsh Flags at Naas Town Hall this Saturday at 1500 hours.*

This event is held in advance of St. David's Day (1st March) to reflect on

the particular Welsh heritage of Naas dating back eight centuries to the

arrival of the Norman Welsh barons in the locality. They brought with them

the dedication to the welsh patron saint, a fact marked in a concrete way by

the ancient St. David's church in the town centre. In modern times the

connection across the Irish Sea has been reiterated through a formal town

twinning between the town councils of Naas and of the town of St. David's in Pembrokeshire, Wales.

Look forward to seeing you there

Liam Kenny

on behalf of the committee Naas Local History Group

087 2872704

A note from Liam Kenny on the communal hoisting of the Irish and Welsh Flags to commemorate St. David's Day in Naas - Saturday 24 February 2007

February 16, 2007

An article from the Leinster Leader of 7th May 1938 recording a fire which swept over thousands of acres of bogland in the County.

Leinster Leader
A Terrific Fire
Co. Kildare Boglands in Flames
Turf Workers Dash to Safety
              Hundreds of pounds worth of damage was done, when on Monday evening, a fire involving some thousands of acres of bog swept over the townlands of Downings and Allenwood, in the Robertstown area.
Large quantities of turf saved during the recent long dry spell of weather were burned to ashes, as well as turf cutting instruments and bog barrows. Game of all sorts perished in the huge conflagration which swept, tornado-like over miles of territory.
Guards under Chief Supt. Murphy and Supt. Casserly co-operated with civilians in an endeavour to save three houses situated in the path of the fire, and Guard Kane, of the Divisional Office, had a very narrow escape in this connection.
It appears that while engaged near some property he was enveloped in flames owing to a sudden change in the wind. Blinded by smoke and dust he found himself in a most perilous position, but happily, with great presence of mind, he threw himself face downwards into a ditch until the fire had passed over.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, the fire was still raging, but with diminished fury, and turf owners were kept busily occupied trying to protect their ricks.
The fire originated in a lighted match being thrown accidentally amidst a number of parched gorse bushes.
Fearsome Spectacle
Not for fifty years, our representative was informed have people earning their living from the peat industry, witnessed a bog fire of such colossal dimensions. There was a very high wind blowing at the time and from the moment the gorse bushes took fire it spread with amazing rapidity. In the course of half an hour, there was a raging sea of fire, stretching almost in a five miles frontage, along towards Robertstown, as far as the eye could see.
Peat workers, suddenly confronted with the approaching conflagration, ran, terror-stricken for their lives, chased by roaring flames, which at some points, where accumulations of turf lay, darted up into the air to an altitude of thirty feet.
An eye-witness, who viewed the scene from a slight eminence with field glasses described it as the most fearsome spectacle he had ever seen. Like lava tearing down the hillsides from an erupting volcano, the fire dashed forward from ridge to ridge, consuming everything in its way and leaving behind a mass of blackened earth and ashes.
Small plantations dividing the bog from patches of arable land, representing the labour of a life-time, were swallowed up in the flames, as were numerous turf bridges of the type constructed by the Land Commission, turf cutting instruments, bog barrows and carts.
Owners of turf ricks, robbed of the fruits of months of labour, were very distressed over the disastrous occurrence, and many of them informed our representative that their prospects of livelihood for the next three months or more has been bound up in the turf destroyed.
Nearly all the families affected live solely from the sale of turf, which they cart regularly to the Dublin Markets. They had taken advantage of the long dry spell of weather to save large quantities, and the turf destroyed was just ready for marketing in the coming months.
Guards, under Chief Superintendent Murphy and Supt. Casserly were prompt on the scene and worked like Trojans to save a few houses, their efforts proving very successful. Of course, not even an Army Corps could curb the spread of the fire. The parched condition of the gorse, fern and turf banks required only the slightest ignition and the heavy wind sweeping across the bog from Downings did the rest.
Civilians co-operated with the Guards in preventing damage to property, but in many cases, carts and turf-cutting tools had to be abandoned by the owners, some of whom had to run for their lives to escape the oncoming torrent of fire.
Another factor which militated against effective work was the blinding smoke and turf dust which filled the air for miles around, rendering all movement along the trench-cut bog very perilous.
Guard Kane’s predicament, when trapped by the flames, caused grave apprehension for some time, as his comrades were unable to get near him.
On Tuesday and Wednesday the bog was still smouldering and burning fiercely in some parts, and our representative was informed that there is little hope of the fire being completely extinguished until there is a heavy downfall of rain.
One of the first to visit the scene of the occurrence after the news had reached him was Mr. T. Harris, T. D. Mr Harris informs us that he takes a very serious view of the losses which have occurred as a result of the fire and which, he believes will cause considerable distress in the area.
The families affected are-James Reddy, P. Reddy, P. Dempsey, J. Behan, Messrs. Hannon, Devine, Ward, Curly, Byrne, Dunne, Mc Hugh, Condrons, etc. etc.
The police state that the fire started through the accidental throwing of a lighted match in some gorse by a youth named Delaney.
A fire that caused thousands of pounds damage broke out on Wednesday in Rathconnell Bog, six miles from Athy. It started in a little wood by the roadside and quickly ate its way through the dry grass, heather and furze into the heart of the bog. Fanned by a strong wind that blew across the bog from the direction in which the fire broke out, the flames during the day leapt 20ft into the air, and great columns of smoke from the sizzling mass could be seen miles away.
By Wednesday afternoon the fire had extended over a tract of bog four miles long and one and a half miles wide. Two woods known as Small Derry and Big Derry, containing in all about 14 acres of Deal, Fir, Spruce and Larch trees were destroyed, and hundreds of tons of cut turf were burned. Fortunately there were no houses in the path of the fire.
Scores of pheasants, partridge and grouse perished in the flames. Game on this tract of bog was regarded as being the most plentiful for a number of years.
Late on Wednesday afternoon the fire reached Cloney Bog and traffic on the Monasterevan-Athy road a half mile away found the dazzling sunshine cut off from the road by a dense cloud of smoke.
The fire burned fiercely throughout Wednesday night and tongues of flame illuminated the sky. People from surrounding districts were attracted to the scene by the spectacle.
By mid-day on Tuesday, some hours after the wind had abated, the fire died down to smouldering patches here and there across the vast expanse of bog. It is believed, however, that the fire will smoulder for weeks if there is no rain, and it is feared the wind may fan the smouldering heather and turf to life and cause another fierce outbreak.
The fire was discovered on Wednesday morning about 5.30 by Mr. Thomas Behan of Booleigh and had then caught hold. He summoned Mr. Hanlon of Rathconnell, to the scene, and together they tried to check the flames, but without the slightest avail.
This is the third open-air fire that occurred in South Kildare recently. A fortnight ago a Kildare County Council plantation at Dollardstown, Castledermot, and a wood at Ardmore, Athy, caught fire.

Leinster Leader
Bog Fires Again
Fresh outbreaks of fire occurred in the Robertstown and Allen areas on Wednesday and Wednesday night, amongst the peat heather. The slight rain that fell during the night and morning helped to prevent the fire spreading, whilst also giving a certain amount of relief to the parched countryside.

The tale of a terrible fire which swept across Downings and Allenwood in the Summer of 1938.

[Compiled by Mario Corrigan; typed and edited by Niamh Mc Cabe]

February 15, 2007

Grand Jury archives in Kildare

Kildare Grand Jury
A local authority service is custodian to a broad variety of archival series, including a significant number of predecessor bodies of the present government system. Some of these bodies encompass the earliest extant materials in a local authority archive, and include grand juries, poor law unions, rural district councils, boards of health and public assistance, as well as Town Commissioners, Town Councils and Urban District Councils.
The Grand Jury system
The Grand Juries were set up across the country from ca. 17th century, and were an early form of local government. Grand Jurors, who were appointed by the Sheriff, were most of the time, well-known local landowners.
They were initially concerned with the administration of justice. However, their role gradually expanded to include the provision of roads, and bridges, and the maintenance of dispensaries, county infirmaries, lunatic asylums, courthouses and goals.
The Grand Jury was empowered to levy a tax in the country (local Cess: tax or rate) and met at Spring and Summer assizes where presentments (works) were passed.
Corrupt practices among grand juries were widespread in the 19th century and the office of the county surveyor in 1817 brought back some degree of control into the order of making presentments.
The County Council superseded Grand Juries in 1898, thereby introducing democratically elected county and city representatives for the first time.
Here is a transcription of the initial page of the 1809 Presentment Book:
  1. John Wolfe, Esq.                                                         13. John Green, Esq.
  2. John Aylmer, Esq.                                                       14. Thomas Kelly, Esq.
  3. Sir Fenton Aylmer, Esq.                                               15. Francis Fitzgerald, Esq.
  4. Wogan Browne, Esq.                                                   16. Benjamin Braddel, Esq.
  5. Michael Aylmer, Esq.                                                   17. Wheeler Barrington, Esq.
  6. Dominick Wm. O’Reilly, Esq.                                       18. George Chapman, Esq.                   
  7. Christopher Baggot, Esq.                                             19. John Bergin, Esq.
  8. John Fish, Esq.                                                           20. John Hill Farrange, Esq.
  9. Joshua Rice, Esq.                                                        21. William Sherlock, Esq.
  10. Samuel Mills, Esq.                                                        22. Francis Eardly, Esq.
  11. Thomas Graydon, Esq.                                                 23. John Simmonds, Esq.
  12. John Cassidy, Esq.


Printed by BRETT SMITH, No. 38, Mary-Street.
What do we have in Kildare Local Authority Archive?
The main surviving series from the Grand Juries are presentment books, treasurers query books and surveyor query books. We are very lucky in Kildare Local Authority Archive to have examples of each.
Most grand jury’s abstract of presentment books are soft or hard bound. All of them are in printed form with occasional hand-written pages (except KCA/GJ/2) and very fragile. The originals will be produced under the archivist’s supervision, when possible.
Abstract of Presentment:   Reference Code: KCA/GJ/
1.                                          Summer 1809
2.                                          1810 – 1826 (outsized volume – entirely hand-written)
3.                                          Summer 1838
4.                                          Spring 1852
5.                                          Spring 1855
6.                                          Summer 1855
7.                                          Spring 1857
8.                                          Summer 1857
9.                                          Spring 1858
10.                                      Spring 1860
11.                                      Summer 1860
12.                                      Summer 1861
13.                                      Spring 1862
14.                                      Spring 1864
15.                                      Spring 1866
16.                                      Spring and Summer 1867
17.                                      Spring and Summer 1869
18.                                      Summer 1870
19.                                      Spring 1881
20.                                      Spring 1883
21.                                      Spring 1893
22.                                      Summer 1893           
23.                                      Summer 1893
Treasurer’s Query Books:
24.                                      Spring 1858
25.                                      Spring 1860
26.                                      Summer 1860
27.                                      Summer 1861
28.                                      Spring 1864
 County Surveyor Query Books:
Printed schedules of public works, containing itinerary, travelling notes and calculations of the County Surveyor, Mr. Edmund River. Also containing printed Abstract of Presentments heavily annotated with comments by the surveyor.
29.                                      Summer 1891
30.                                      Summer 1892
31.                                      Spring 1893 (Not annotated)
 Details and Access to the collection:
Extent: 2 boxes
Level of description: Fond
Finding aid: List
Access: by appointment only and application form. Access governed by the Rules and Procedures governing access. Copies of the originals may be produced when necessary.

An article by Regional Archivist, Cecile Chemin, on the Grand Jury system and on the archives that survived from the period in County Kildare.


February 09, 2007

What are archives? What does a County Archivist do?

What are archives? What does a County Archivist do?
 Cecile Chemin, Regional Archivist
Archives are generally described as the accumulated unique records of an individual or institution that warrant permanent preservation because of their value to their creator (Local Government) for their legal, administrative or fiscal purposes or to researchers because of their potential research value.
Why are archives so important?
  •  Archives are the raw material of history: they are primary sources
  •  Invaluable tools for the historian
  • They are a sign of transparency: local government’s archives
  • They are a right: notion of public and cultural ownership
  • They are an irreplaceable heritage, making up the history of the population at a local and national level.
  • Archives confer an identity to individuals and groups. Together they are the common inheritance of all humanity.
What harms archives?
Archival material is fragile and may deteriorate easily. It has specific requirements and needs to be securely stored and maintained under proper conditions and listed for easy retrieval.
Every format has its own environmental requirements:
  •  Parchment
  •  Photographs
  •   Slides
  •  Maps, plans and drawings
  •  Audio and visual material
  •  Electronic formats
  •  Microfilms
Archives should be preserved against:
  •  Light (UV radiation, heat gain)
  •  Fire, or even smoke
  •  High humidity (higher than 60%)
  •  Pollution
  •  High temperature (higher than 20°)
  • Dust
  • Handling
What does a county archivist do?
We ensure that, through our work, that the records of today are preserved for future generations. The records can then be used to show the life, ideas and decisions of the original creators, linking the past, present and future.
We appraise records with the help of those who originally received, created or/and used them
We arrange and describe these selected records in order to allow efficient and effective access and retrieval.
We preserve records and apply basic conservation techniques to those which are damaged or deteriorating.
We provide expert advice on the care and management of specialized media, for example, electronic records.
We facilitate the work of a variety of researchers with diverse topics of inquiry.
We meet legal obligations in areas such as copyright, patent protection, data protection and Freedom of Information.
We offer records management advice to organizations, as required.
We encourage public awareness of the cultural significance of archives through various outreach activities.

An article by Regional Archivist Cecile Chemin on the nature of archives and the role of the Archivist.

An interesting snippet from the Leinster Leader of 1938 telling of a visit by the Aga Khan

Leinster Leader 10/9/1938
The Aga Khan (H.H Aga Sultan Sir Mahomed Shah) paid one of his rather rare visits to this country on Sunday last, the main object of his brief stay being an inspection of his famous Stud Farms at Sheshoon and Ballymanny, The Curragh. Arriving at Dun Laoighaire on Sunday morning, he left Dublin by car a few hours later for the Curragh, being accompanied by his secretary Miss Blain, and Col. T. G. Peacocke (Director of Sheshoon and Ballynanny Studs). At Sheshoon the party was joined by Mr. N. W. Waddington (Assistant Director) and an exhaustive tour of the Studs followed. His Highness was, perhaps, most keenly interested in the yearlings paraded for his inspection- a splendidly bred and practically priceless lot- and he was obviously delighted with the abundant promise they displayed. When he viewed the wonderful batch of brood mares in residence he was, of course, renewing acquaintance with many animals who, in their racing days had carried his colours to victory over the elite of their day and who have since produced performers that have, in their turn, made Turf history. His highness again expressed his pleasure at the present obvious well-being of his old favourites.
At the conclusion of the tour of inspection the Aga addressed an assemblage of the entire working staffs of his Curragh estates. He thanked them most heartily for the good work which all had done since his previous visit. It was that work, he said, which made possible the success of the Stud, and he was confident that he could rely upon each and every one of them for a continuance of the excellent work of the past.
His Highness then moved among the men, showing his keen interest in their welfare by kindly queries to each. As he was about to leave, obviously pleased with workers gave him three hearty cheers all he had seen and heard, the assembled Acknowledging the compliment smilingly, His Highness, in his turn, called for cheers for Col. Peacocke, a request which met with a ready and hearty response

The details of a visit made by the Aga Khan to his Curragh stud in 1938.

[Compiled by Mario Corrigan; typed by Sarah Luttrell; edited by Niamh Mc Cabe]


February 07, 2007

Graveyard Transcriptions - Ladychapel Graveyard, Maynooth

[editors note: Ladychapel Graveyard is in Maynooth]
Ladychaple Graveyard, Celbridge, County Kildare, Ireland
This is an old graveyard which was restored in 1989.
The graves are listed in no particular order and it is a partial listing.
This stone was Erected by, Patrick Archbold in memory of his father, James Archbold, who Departed January, 16th , 1803, aged, 63, years, also his Brother, Mathew, died, May, 1781, aged, 16, years.
This stone was erected by Patrick Cafey, of Larbrien in memory of his father, Richard who departed this Life, 10th October 1778, aged 74, also four of his children, and a child of said Patrick.
This stone was erected by, John Colgan, in memory of his Brother, James Colgan, who Departed this life, September 20th 1770. Aged,
29, years. 
In memory of Eleanor Coleman Warren, Died, 3rd November 1931, Esther Coleman Died. 3rd May 1955, Joseph Coleman, Died, 6th August, 1959.
In loving memory of Laurence J.Coleman, Ladychaple, died, 8th March 1922, His Wife, Annie, died, 14th September 1929. Their sons, Walter, died, 20th April 1911, Laurence J. 26th January 1944, Patrick, died, 25th January 1963, Marian Colgan. Died. 6th April 1904.
Erected by, Mary Teresa Corrigan, in memory of her beloved Husband, Simon, who died, 23rd October 1910 aged 60 years.
Erected by Mary Corbally, in memory of her beloved Father, Elias Corbaly, who died 16th March 1883, also her beloved Mother Anne Corbally, who died, 10th November 1883.
This stone was erected by Denis Doolin, of Celbridge, to the memory of his posterity 1772.
Erected by William Dunne, of Farnathum, in memory of his beloved wife, Mary, who departed this life, June 6th 1871, aged 64 years, , also their Daughter, Catherine, June 1st 1866, aged 11 years. The above names William Dunne, died, August 13th 1875 aged, 70 years, also their Son, Barthlemew, died, May 30th 1885 aged 47 years, also their son, Richard, died, August 7th 1885 aged 46 years, also their son, Martin, died, May 30th 1892 aged 56 years.
Erected by Garrett Farrell, of the Parish of Kilcock, to the memory of his Mother Mary Farrell who departed this life 25th September 1810 aged 30 years, also his Father Daniel Farrell, departed this life 25th March 1818, aged 63 years. To the memory of Edward Farrell, Son of Daniel Farrell 20th October1822 aged 9 years.
Erected by Daniel Farrell in memory of his beloved Mother Anne Farrell who died 6th June 1868 and his Father, Garrett Farrell who died 29th December 1869 aged 74 years. Also Edward Brother of Garrett Farrell who died while young.
This monument was erected by John Flinn, in memory of his father, Peter Flinn, who departed this life, November 7th 1806 aged 61, , also two of his brothers, Nicholas and Laughlin and his sister, Mary, she departed this life, October 9th 1824.
Rest in peace.
Erected by Mrs Catherine Fields, Kilcock, in memory of her beloved husband, Patrick Fields, who departed this life June 14th 1860, aged 60. also her beloved son, Peter Fields, who departed this life, June 14th 1860 aged 60 years, also her beloved son, Peter Fields, who departed this life, May 26th 1879 aged 26 years. Mrs. Catherine Fields, died, 27th December 1892 aged 70 years, Francis Fields, died 8th August 1893,John Fields, died, 1st March 1916, Patrick Fields, died, 1st August 1917, Tom Fields, died, 1st January 1927.
Erected by, Mrs. Annie Gill, of Kilross, Co., Tipperary, in memory of her beloved Husband, Patrick Gill, Who departed this life, December 25th 1871, Aged, 25 years. Also her son, Patrick Joseph, who died, young.
Erected by, Patrick Kelly, of Ladychaple , Co. Kildare, in memory of his Daughter, Catherine Kelly, who died , October, 15th, 1850, aged, 31, years, also Mary Kelly, died, July 16th 1847, aged 28, years.
Erected by, Mrs. Jane Gore, Kilcock, in memory of her beloved husband, Thomas Gore, who departed this life, 14th April 1862, aged 45, 
Also her beloved daughter, Kate C.Gore, who died 26th January 1889, aged 27 years.
In memory of William Hanway, died, 24th December 1985. Jane M. Hanaway, 26th January 193? And their children, Dr. William, died 2nd September 1923, Mary Jane, died, 22nd February 1925, Patrick Joseph, died, 29th November 194?, Margaret Mary, died, 25th October 1945?
This stone and burial place belonged to Patrick Megan & his posterity. Here lyeth his wife, Mary Megan, alias Malone, who departed this Life , 8th July, 1754, also his Father, Bryan Megan & Elenor his Mother.
Erected by Paul Mooney, in memory of his beloved Parents, Nicholas and Margaret Mooney, the former departed this life 6th July 1845 and the latter on the 25th March 1836. Here also lie the remains of the above named Paul Mooney, who departed this life, 29th July1887, aged 86 years.
Erected by, Patrick McGrath, of Celbridge, in memory of his beloved wife, Ellen, who departed this life on the 5th January 1868, aged 61 years. Also in memory of his Father, Richard, McGrath, who departed this life the 6th of May1824 aged 55 years, and in memory of his Mother, Bridget McGrath, who departed this life, the 8th of August 1845 aged 74.
Erected by John Monks in memory of his father, Thomas Monks, who died, 11th March 1795 aged 60 years, also his mother, Mary Monks, who died, March 17th 1807 aged 55 years, and his sister, Catherine Monks, who died, March 7th 1807, aged 18 years, his uncle, Richard O’Toole, who died, October 6th 1807 aged 97 years.
This stone was erected by William Moran, of South Great Georges St. in the city of Dublin, in memory of his wife, Mary Moran, who departed this life 9th of January 1809, in the 34 year of her age.
This monument erected by Robert O’Brian , Baltracy in memory of his son Mark O’Brian who departed this life, 10th December 1817 aged 20 years.
Erected by Mary Anne Ratigan, in fond and loving memory of her dearly beloved husband, Richard Ratigan, who died at his residence, Baltrady, 3rd November 1914 aged 63 years, , his wife, Mary Anne Ratigan, died 23rd October 1923 aged 60.
This Stone Erected by Mary Reily, to the memory of her beloved Husband, John Reily, who departed this life, October the 18th 1797 aged 58 Years. Here lies 4 of their Children.
In loving memory of our dear parents, Bernard Reilly, who died at his residence, Pagestown Co. Meath, November 22nd 1871, aged, 94. His Wife, Anne, who died, June 18th 1882, Aged 53. Their son, James, who Died, December 8th 1878. Aged 23. And their Grandson, Bernard Joseph, who died at his parent’s residence, Blyth Avenue, Church Road, Dublin, May 3rd 1857, aged 7.
Thomas Reilly, who Died, 16th April 1910, aged 51,, and their daughter, Anne Reilly, who Died, 7th May 1922 aged 64 years.
In loving memory of, Oliver Ryan, Laragh, died, 2nd April 1986, aged 64 years. His parents, Daniel, Died, 28th May 1926, aged, 65 years, Katherine, Died, 5th February 1915 aged 85 years. Patrick Ryan, Died, 20th November 1996, Brigid Ryan, Died, 4th August 1956, Rest in Peace, Erected by their loving, Family.
Of your charity pray for the soul of Catherine A. Ryan, who deceased September 26th 1849 aged 27 years.
Beneath this monument the mortal remains of Thomas Swords of Maynooth, Esq. who departed this life on the 18th August 1826, in the 77 year of his age. In Manners kind and conciliatory. In disputation humane and generous. In friendship steady and disinterested, characterised not less. By purity of principle than by integrity of life. He enjoyed the sincere and disinterested characterised not less, and died deeply regretted by his sorrowing family, by an extensive circle of friends and by the poor who lost in him a bounteous benefactor. To perpetuate the memory of a revered and lamented parent. To record the final piety of his affectionate and afflicted
Children. The memorial of his many virtues is inscribed to the tenderise and best of fathers
Erected by, Mr. Christopher Souhan of Ballycahan, in memory of his beloved Wife, Mrs, Rose Soughan, who died, 21st January 1826 aged 55 years. Also his beloved mother, Catherine, who died, 4th June 1826, aged, 38, and his beloved Father, James, who died, 19th January 1828 aged 13 years, also his beloved daughter, Julia, who died, 10th November 1873 aged 24, also the above named Mr. Christopher Sourhan, who died, 1st September 1880, aged 72 years, also his beloved Son, Patrick, who died 6th April 1894 aged 54 years, also his beloved Son, Patrick, who died, 6th April 1894 aged 54 years, also his beloved daughter, Bride Mary, who died, 19th February 1900 aged 55 years, Mary Murray, died, January ? 1927.
This stone and burial place belongs to Patrick Travers and his Pofictity 1777.
In loving memory of The Travers Family, Jane, died 29th July 1922 aged 33. Mark, died 4th November 1922 aged 70. Marie, died 15th January 1936 aged 8. Rosana, died 15th June 1950 aged 71. Josephine, died 11th June 1961 aged 62, her husband Joseph, died 27th April 1982. Loughlin Dunne, infant grand son of Mark and Rosana, died, April, 1933.
This stone is Erected to the memory of Patrick Travers, Graiguesallagh who erected a memorial to the Traver’s Family in Ladychaple in 1777, also to the memory of Nicholas Travers, Johnstown, died 1882, his wife, Margaret, who predeceased him, and their sons, Patrick, died, 1899, Nicholas, 1909, Thomas, 1912, Richard, 1914 , Ellen, wife of Patrick, died, 1927, Henry, died, 1891, James, 1936, Edward, 1946, Edward, 1946, Patrick, 1961, and Elizabeth, wife of Patrick 1914, sons, and daughter in law, of the above, Patrick and Ellen Travers, Ita, died, 1938, and Joseph, 1942, grand children of the above, Patrick and Ellen Travers, Alice, wife of Joseph, died 1989. In memory of all buried here, rest in peace.
Erected by James Quinn, in memory of his Mother, Mary Quinn, who departed April 1780 aged 1780 aged 67, also Elizabeth Quinn
His wife, who departed July 16th 1780, and Richard Quinn, his Father, who departed February 1st 1781 aged, 68.
Of your charity, pray for the happy repose of the soul of Peter Turner, of Straffan, who departed this life, April 22nd 1875 aged 96 years, also his father, Patrick Turner, of Kilmurray , who died at Straffan, February 20th 1818 aged 92 years, also for his father, John Turner of Loughtown, who  died at Leixlip, Co., Kildare, March 1788 aged 90 years, also Richard Turner, killed in the Irish Army at the Battle of Ovidstown in 1799 aged 23 years.
Erected by Michael Treacy of Rooske, in memory of his beloved Wife, Mary, who died, 5th December 1901 aged 46, Here also is interred the remains of the above named Michael Treacy, who died, 2oth August 1905 aged 70 years.
This Stone was Burial place of was Erected by Patrick Troy, in memory of his Daughter Elizabeth Troy, who died, June 17th 1767 aged 23, years.

Graveyard Transcriptions from Ladychapel from Anna Ryan. If anybody has transcribed memorials in a County Kildare graveyard we would be interested to add them to the site. Thanks to Anna for offering her transcriptions to us. People interested in this area in Ireland generally should take a look at Internment.net

Fethard Book Fair Sunday 11th February

       Fethard Ballroom, Fethard,
             Sunday 11th February.
           Doors Open 2pm to 6pm.
 The Annual Tipperariana Book Fair takes place as above this Sunday. It is the premier Book Fair in the South of Ireland with approx 40 dealers exhibiting. It is held in a very convivial and social atmosphere and is well supported by the local community. There is a restaurant on the premises and lunches and snacks are provided(At a nominal cost) Fethard of course is an old walled town with an extensive medieval history and when you have browsed the great range of books you can have a browse around the town. Well worth a visit.
 The Fair is organised by Terry Cunningham and his colleagues of the FETHARD Historical Society. Email:‑bookfair@fethard.com
 Looking forward to seeing our regulars and many new ones on Sunday.
Eddie and Kay Murphy

News of the annual book fair at Fethard to be held this Sunday


Major Seminar on 'The Curragh' in honour of Con Costello

The County Kildare Archaeological Society

presents a one day seminar:

Ancient and Modern
Saturday 3rd March, 2007
Hotel Keadeen, Newbridge
Associated Field Visits:
Sunday 4th March, 2007
Details on the Society's website
Full details at

The County Kildare Archaeological Society presents a one day seminar: THE CURRAGH OF KILDARE - Ancient and Modern, on Saturday 3rd March, 2007 at the Hotel Keadeen, Newbridge to commemorate the late Lt. Col. Con Costello’s lifetime of dedication to the recording and preservation  of the heritage and history of County Kildare.


February 06, 2007

Interdisciplinary Conference in Cork in May

Sexualities, Textualities, Art and Music in Early Modern Italy
University College Cork, Ireland
May 18-19, 2007
Thanks to the work of scholars of civil and canon law, we now have a fairly nuanced understanding of the complexities of the legal codes governing sexual behaviour in early modern Italy. This interdisciplinary conference will explore the integration of sexualities with other aspects of early modern life and the role of writing, art and music in fashioning, circulating and even policing early modern Italian sexualities.
I welcome 20-minute papers on early modern Italian sexualities, particularly papers relating to female-female erotic practices and/or that deal with the 'erotic inheritance' from previous centuries.
Female-male erotic relations are ubiquitous in early modern literature, arts and music--the delicious suffering of the Petrarchan lover is set to exquisite music throughout the period, and the more prosaic suffering of non-Petrarchan lovers is likewise a topic for song, comedy and poetry. Male-male erotic relations are alluded to in literature, song and art, and have had some scholarly attention, but, Pietro Aretino's licentious works notwithstanding, female-female erotic practices and desires appear to be less commonly depicted. Some historians and literary scholars have discerned positive language for male-male activities and relationships in poetry and literature (for example, the erotic language of male friendship) or in art (e.g. the figure of Ganymede). Female-female practices and desire seem a particularly underexplored aspect of early modern Italy. The integration of eroticism with spirituality is likewise frequently alluded to yet poorly understood. Papers might explore the circumstances surrounding the use of alternative images for diverse sexual practices, or the integration of sexualities and/or eroticism into facets of early modern Italian life.
Current confirmed participants include Bonnie Blackburn (Wolfson College, Oxford), Donna Cardamone (University of Minnesota), Linda Carroll (Tulane University), Suzanne Cusick (New York University), Laura Giannetti (University of Miami), Julia Hairston, Leofranc Holford-Strevens, Catherine Lawless (University of Limerick), Katherine McIver (University of Alabama, Birmingham), Guido Ruggiero (University of Miami), and Laurie Stras (University of Southampton). Deborah Roberts (of Musica Secreta and formerly of the Tallis Scholars) will perform a concert of music by 17th-century Italian courtesans and nuns.
Please send abstracts via email (either in the body of an email or as an attachment) to Melanie Marshall, ml.marshall@ucc.ie, by 7 February 2007.
For more details, please contact:
Dr Melanie L. Marshall
Department of Music
University College Cork
Co. Cork
Email: ml.marshall@ucc.ie

This interdisciplinary conference will explore the integration of sexualities with other aspects of early modern life and the role of writing, art and music in fashioning, circulating and even policing early modern Italian sexualities - Thanks to Brian McCabe for the notification

Some Naas Anniversaries to recall in 2007

Some Naas Anniversaries to recall in 2007 – the Group will be featuring some of the events identified below in its programme during the year. 

 Stan Hickey and Liam Kenny


 Rory Og O’Moore and Cormack Mac Cormacke with 140 men run amok in Naas burning over 700 thatched houses.

 Naas again burned! This time by Colonel Preston with 7,000 infantry and 1,000 cavalry on his way to Carlow.

 Completion of Naas Courthouse (but new façade in 1859).

 Catholic parish church opened on Sallins Road. Ancient devotion to St. David recognised in name of ‘ Our Lady & St. David’.

 St. Corban’s cemetery opened on Dublin Road.

 First GAA club in Naas founded in Town Hall (look out for plaque).

Last timetabled passenger train to Naas station (where Tesco supermarket now stands).  Goods and rare excursion trains operated for a further 12 years.


General Election – Kildare had a high powered representation going into election with TDs Ger Sweetman (Kill), Minister for Finance; Billy Norton (Naas), Tanaiste and Minister for Industry & Commerce, and Tom Harris (Caragh), Ware of Independence veteran.

Kingswear factory on Newbridge Road opened – key employer of young people in mid-Kildare for decades after.

Pastoral boundary changes: an area to the east of the town (including the Hospital and Ballycane) which historically had been in Eadestown parish and the Archdiocese of Dublin was transferred to Naas parish and the Diocese of Kildare & Leighlin.

Restoration of Naas canal branch.

Murtagh’s corner landmark premises demolished (some NLHG members maintained an overnight vigil!)














[Compiled by Stan Hickey & Liam Kenny]

Some Naas Anniversaries to recall in 2007 compiled by Stan Hickey and Liam Kenny

Naas Local History Programme - Spring 2007

Naas Local History Group
   Spring 2007
5th February, Monday, Naas Library, 7.45pm 'The Downshire Estates &
Blessington' by Kathy Trant, author and historian. This is the 2007 Ger
Kinchella memorial lecture.
24th February, Saturday, Town Hall, 3pm – communal hoisting of Welsh flag
to mark St. David's week (1st March), patron of Naas for eight centuries.
5th March, Monday, Naas Library, 7.45pm, ' The Forgotten Heritage of
Kildare' – Ger McCarthy. Ger will give us a photographic tour of many of
Kildare's forgotten gems which form the subject of his recently published
book of the same name.
2nd April, Monday, Naas Library, 7.45pm ' Sweetman, Norton and Harris –
the General Election of 1957' – P.C. Behan and Liam Kenny.   Just as the
nation is being gripped by 2007 General Election fervour we will recall the
personalities and the controversies of the Kildare constituency in the
General Election of 1957.
22nd April, Sunday, Punchestown, 3pm: Walking Sunday – enjoy Punchestown
… with not a horse in sight! Informal gathering at finishing post.
A programme of visits and walks will follow for the summer.
News and Updates
Additions and changes to the programme will be notified via the Leinster
Leader; Naas Parish Newsletter; KFM radio. Alternatively ring Ronnie @
876254 or Liam @ 087 2872704 or see
Committee 2007
Chair: Ronnie Kinane; Vice‑Chair: Liam Kenny; Secretary: Rose McCabe;
Treasurer: Tom Keegan; Archivist: Stan Hickey; Committee: P.C.Behan, Anne
Breen, Catherine Gyll, Des Hipwell, Ger McCarthy, Anne O'Byrne, Charles
O'Malley. Auditor: Brian Mullaney
Subs 2007
The annual sub which has remained inflation‑proof for decades has been set
at €20 – Tom Keegan will be glad to receive same at any meeting.
Suggestion Box
We are always open to suggestions for topics or particularly from members
who can give a presentation of some local interest … new voices always
welcome at the top table!

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