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September 25, 2008


Sam Maguire & Kildare

The Man, The Trophy and The Match


Thursday 9th October, 7pm

The GAA Museum is pleased to present a special evening of talks focusing on Sam Maguire and Kildare's win of the first Sam Maguire trophy in 1928. Professor Mike Cronin will speak on the man who lends his name to the famous All-Ireland cup, while Eoghan Corry will present a talk on Kildare's first and last win to date of the Sam Maguire cup. Dr. Paul Rouse will chair the evening.


Adults €10, Student/Senior €7


Booking is essential as places are limited.


Venue-GAA Museum, Cusack Stand , Croke Park. Entry is off Clonliffe Road and there is ample car parking within the stadium. Those coming from north Kildare might consider the Maynooth to Drumcondra rail service with Drumcondra station just being a short walk from the museum entrance on Clonliffe Road.

For more information and booking-

Selina O'Regan Education Officer

Tel- 01 8192361

Email- soregan@crokepark.ie

Web- www.gaa.ie/museum

A note from Liam Kenny on a seminar to be held in Croke Park to mark an important milestone in the history of Co. Kildare and indeed the history of the nation - the 1928 All-Ireland Football Final - the first year the Sam Maguire Trophy was awarded and sadly the last year that Co. Kildare would take the honours - to date!!!!!

September 18, 2008


Kill History Group
Autumn & Winter 2008

Monday 29th September:  “Troubled Times around Kill”
- James Durney

Monday 22nd October: Ghosts, Ghoulies and Hauntings
     - John Noonan

Monday 24th November: “Ireland's first motorway and the Kill
    - Liam Kenny

Monday 26th Jan 2009:  Annual General Meeting
All meetings take place in the Parish Meeting Room at 8.30 p.m.
(unless otherwise indicated)

A note from Brian McCabe re. talks planned by the Kill Local History Group 

September 11, 2008


McCullagh Pre Gordon Bennett Car

In a gesture of remembrance of Mr. McCullagh a car similar to that taken to Antarctica by Enest Shackleton is to be housed at Athy Heritage Centre in Co Kildare, close to the explorer's birthplace.
In 1907, explorer Ernest Shackleton took an Arrol-Johnson motor car to Antarctica in a publicity stunt that helped fund his trip. Ostensibly, the car was to be used to transport Shackleton and his men towards the South Pole but this, as Shackleton knew, was neither practical nor possible. Never a man to miss an opportunity for publicity, however, he agreed to take the car and, in return, supplied publicity shots taken in the snowy wastes.
Now, a century later, Athy Heritage Centre - which houses a permanent and extensive   Gordon-Bennett 1903 Race section - is to  receive the a gift of an extremely rare 1902 Arrol-Johnspn car which will be permanently housed in the Museum,  just miles from Shackleton's birthplace and in the town referred to as the ‘Home of the Gordon Bennett’.
The car is being donated by Honor Duncan McCullagh, in memory of her father, Ringwood Mc Cullagh, late of Sawyer's Wood Athy.  The car is a six-seater and, during World War 11, it saw service as a bus. More recently, it took part in the London to Brighton  annual rally.
The official presentation of the Arrol-Johnson 1902 Car to the Athy Heritage Centre & Museum will take place on Thursday September 18th at the Athy Heritage Centre  at 3 p.m. Cheese and Wine reception kindly supplied  by the Clanard Court Hotel
This is another major coup for Athy Heritage Centre,  and is a rare and excellent photo and press opportunity.
Further information and photographs of the presentation car contact
 Margaret Walsh,  & Staff at  Athy Heritage Centre& Museum
Phone:059 8633075   E mail: athyheritage@ericom.net  Website:www.athyheritagecentre-museum.ie

Notice of unique presentation of 1902 Arrol-Johnson car to Heritage Centre & Museum 

JACK DEMPSEY - THE NON-PAREIL 1861-1895 - 'Champion of the World'

Leinster Leader, June 12th 1926
A Kildare Champion

          Somewhere on the plains of the Curragh there is a monument erected in grateful remembrance of a “bare-knuckle” gladiator. The peasant will proudly recall the doughty deeds of the great Donnelly and sometimes by turf fires the “mitchers” sing, o’ the nights the praises of the valiant plainsman. In a county famed for its sporting traditions it is but just that sporting memories should endure. Yet it is strange that Kildare should forget one of the greatest knights who ever stepped forth from the “Short Grass” arena. There is no monument, there is no tradition nor is there a single verse in his native county in memory of one of the greatest fighters in the history of the “squared circle.” Jack Dempsey the famous Nonpareil. Fate is bitter indeed and the fruits of conquest are pitiful recompense when Kildare forgets a son who for six years waved the “Short Grass” stand and over the heads of the foremost middle weights of forty years ago.
Jack Dempsey was born near the Curragh on December 15, 1862, and his parents brought him to New York while he was a hardy youngster, although little is known of his early career in those tough, bare-knuckle days. His first notable encounter took place on April 7th, 1883 and from that date until he fell victim to the treacherous pivot punch, six years later, he claimed the plaudits of the multitude as a boxer and a gentleman. One hundred and fifty-eight pounds of strength, strategy, grace and chivalry speedily won him the flattering title of “The Non pareil” of the ring. A man of sterling honesty and gentlemanly bearing in that raw pioneer period, when good qualities were at a premium, could not fail to elicit a grudging word of praise even from those who sampled the dead accuracy of his flashing hands. His uncanny skill and unquestionable pluck could only be really appreciated when this grey-eyed wizard with the light brown, wavy hair was pitted against some fierce cave man battling with desperate ferocity.
          The good looking young Irishman easily became the idol of the boxing public. He was a master of strategy who opened a new chapter in ring-craft with his powerful arms and restless, slender legs. His contests numbered hundreds while he suffered only three defeats. 
          This new favourite was hailed as champion even before he met and defeated George Fulljames. Dempsey fought the Toronto boy on July 30, 1884, at Far Rockway, just outside New York, and the Canadian went down and out in the 22nd round. The Champions during an unbroken series of victories, handed a sleeping draught to La Blanche at Larchmont, Long Island, on March 4th, 1886. La Blanche who was later to prove the Nemesis of his conqueror, was four years Dempsey’s senior and a great fighter. He took the quietus in the 13th round.
           The battling Irishman took part in many unique contests, but strangest of all was his encounter with Johnny Regan on December 13th, 1887. This meeting was the climax of much ill-advised bitterness between the backers of both camps. The ring was the dock of an old barge in Long Island Sound, and the test was a fight to a finish with the bare knuckles. Truly it was a battle of primitive man but it is well to remember that the “kid glove” era of boxing was merely at its birth. The rounds were not yet set to time and a “knock down” replaced the gong. Knuckles flashed for a solid hour. Fourteen rounds had been fought under London Prize Ring rules when the barge, which had been securely moored to two stakes, was partly submerged by the tide. The strange “ring” was cut loose and towed out into the Sound. Both the principals were about to resume when a squall struck the “ring” and a heavy snow shower covered the slippery deck. A truce was called and the party went ashore. Someone suddenly remembered an old boat house about 20 miles away and a heavy trudge through the driving snow brought the small body to more cheerful surroundings. An obliging landlord, some hot drinks, and the men were soon trading punches with the onlookers sitting on the bar and shouting advice between drinks. Another sixteen rounds and almost an hour of furious fighting were marked when word came that two policemen were down the road. Disdaining heavier clothing the fighters plunged into the woods and their followers found a clearing amid the snow. Here Dempsey and Regan fought to a finish. In the 45th round the referee cried “Time,” but Regan was unable to continue. It was the end of over four hours of heavy punching with almost anything allowed except biting and kicking. No doubt some our present-day champions would look rather sheepish at the prospect of a four-hour “mix-up” with a twenty mile walk for a “breather.”
           In August 1889, Jack Dempsey lost the crown. It happened in San Francisco and the winner was La Blanche. Jack’s defeat was the sensational climax to a terrific bout in a setting typical of those prize-fighting days. A rudely constructed ring with its four plain posts and sagging ropes, stood out under the blinding glare of unshaded lights. ‘Frisco was he-man’s town in those days and many a rough joke was cracked with the waiters who answered the call for beer in the smoke-laden atmosphere of the Old Pavilion
          For thirty-one rounds Dempsey had maintained an unbeaten front against his more powerful opponent and held the heavier end of the points. In the thirty-second round the swarthy, thick-set marine bounded to the centre and the final act had begun. A clinch, a break and the champion shot a left and right to the head.
          Blanche again hung on and the crowd became sarcastic. Four more clinchers and Dempsey was non-plussed. He was content to break away, drop his hands and await the next clinch in La Blanche’s wrestling tactics. And then the crowd woke up. At the ninth break Dempsey dropped his hands and the marine remained at close quarters. A half-turn to the right and he swung completely round. A whirlwind right connected with Dempsey’s chin and the pivot punch had landed. The Nonpareil sagged at the knees and dropped. He was out. The crowd gasped as the referee reluctantly awarded the laurels to the victor. And so the star of a great fighter set in ‘Frisco. La Blanche won the championship but lost his reputation. Since that fateful August night the pivot-punch has never again been tolerated in the ring.
          The Kildare boy was bitter but took his defeat like a sportsman. On January 14th, 1891, he was out-classed by the great Bob Fitzsimons, man of superior strength and weight. Dempsey resisted gamely until the Cornish-man put him away in the thirteenth round.
          It was apparent to all that the former champion had seen his best days. He fought three more contests. Mike Keogh suffered defeat at his hands. “Australian” Bill, Pte. Carthy, was held to a draw and Tommy Ryan secured the victory on January 18th 1895. Ryan was an ambitious, capable young man of twenty-five while Jack was a sick veteran who had seen thirty-two years of a bitter struggle for existence.

          On June 8th 1895, five months after his defeat by Ryan, a benefit was given for the sick and poverty stricken boxer. His friends sent him to Portland, Oregon, hoping that the change of air would aid him in his losing fight and tuberculosis. On November 1st 1895, the poor, wasted body of the once famous Nonpareil answered the final call of “Time” and death was the victor. He lies buried far away from his native plains.

          Perhaps, later on, when Kildare erects a monument to those who took part in a sterner fight she will not forget Jack Dempsey. And, perhaps, the site will be in Donnelly’s Hollow where the spirits of two gladiators will hear the faint echo of distant cheering when the horses come “up the straight.” Meanwhile the champion rests in a neglected grave over which some former admirer has carved the simple, yet sincere, lines:-
Far out in the wilds of Oregon
On a lonely mountain side
Where Columbia’s mighty waters
Fell down to the ocean’s tide,
Where the giant fir and cedar
Are imaged in the wave
O’ergrown with weeds and lichens,
I found Jack Dempsey’s grave
I found no marble monolith
No broken shaft or stone
To tell of the great triumphs
This vanished hero won;
No rose, no shamrock I could find,
No mortals here to tell,
How sleeps in this forsaken spot
The immortal Nonpareil
A wind rock-strewn canyon road,
That mortals seldom tread,
Leads up this lonely mountain
To the bivouac of the dead.
And the western sun was sinking
In the Pacific’s golden waves
And solemn pines kept watching
O’er poor Jack Dempsey’s grave
Forgotten by ten thousand throats
That thundered his acclaim;
Forgotten by his friends and foes
Who cheered his very name
Oblivion wraps his faded form
But ages hence shall save
The memory of that Irish lad
That sleeps in Dempsey’s grave
Oh! Fame, why sleeps thy favoured son
In wilds, woods and weeds?
And shall he ever thus sleep on
Interred his valiant deeds?
‘Tis strange New York should thus forget
Its “Bravest of the Brave”
And in the wilds of Oregon
Unmarked, leave Dempsey’s grave
                                        Val O’Grady
[typed by Roy O'Brien]
NOTE: Over the years we have had many queries re. Jack Dempsey and based on the information given, Karel Kiely, Genealogist with Kildare Co. Library was able to come up with the following information regarding his bitrhplace and parents. .
Jack Dempsey, “The Nonpareil”-“Without Compare”

Born John Kelly 21/11/1861 at townland of Athgarvan to John Kelly and Alicia Kelly (nee Lennon)
Mother remarried at death of her first husband on 7/8/1865 to Patrick Dempsey of Walshetown, Newbridge and John Kelly took the name of John Dempsey.
John “Jack” Dempsey died of tuberculosis/consumption at home of his father-in-law James Brady at Grand Avenue, Portland, Oregon on 1/11/1895 and is buried at Mount Calvary Cemetery, Portland, Oregon.
There are some curious references to other areas and John Noonan of Clane has unearthed a strong local tradition that suggests the Kelly family were originally from Clane and that the boxer hails from there.
We would be interested in any information regarding his birthplace which might throw further light on ther matter.
A feature in the Leinster Leader of 12 June1926 on World Champion boxer Jack Dempsey - 'The Non-Pareil,' who hailed form Co. Kildare


1. Biodiversity Workshops Sat 13th September
The Discovering Kildare Biodiversity Workshops will recommence on Sat 13th September.
The topic of this Saturdays workshop will be Tree and identifying them. This workshop will be given by Members of the Ancient Tree Forum and will be in Donadea at 10am
2. Newbridge Tidy Towns Goes Batty
On Wednesday 17th September Newbridge Tidy Towns will host a Bat walk and a talk at 7.30pm in Newbridge Library followed by a walk along the Liffey. Children are welcome but must be accompanied by and adult.
3. County Kildare Biodiversity Plan - public consultation
Thursday 18th September Kildare Biodiversity Plan
The Heritage Office of the Kildare County Council has prepared the first Draft Biodiversity for County Kildare and are now inviting you to comment on it.
Dick Warner will give a presentation on Kildare's Wild Places and Dr Janice Fuller will present the Draft Biodiversity Plan and invite comments from the general public, at a public consultation meeting in the Kildare County Council Offices, Aras, Chill Dara, Naas at 8pm on Thursday 18th September. If you would like to find out more about biodiversity in Kildare and what you can do to help conserve it then come along to this meeting.
4. Biodiversity Workshops Sat 20th September
The topic of this Saturdays workshop will be  the Nature of Bogs. This workshop will be given by IPCC at the Bog of Allen Nature Centre Lullymore. Starting at 10am.

A note from Co. Heritage Officer, Bridget Loughlin, re. a number of Biodiversity Events to take place in Spetember 2008 

September 10, 2008


A query re. a folk Song about Carbury from Eamonn Pitts - can anybody help identify the subject of the song? Was this an actual historical character? The song was either entitled The Hill of Carbury or Charlie Og McCann. If anybody can shed any light on the subject they can either email me at localhistory@kildarecoco.ie or email Eamonn direct [his address is below]

Here is text i received from a member of the Comhaltas branch in Edenderry about two years ago. Like all folk songs there are variations eg I remember from my youth the first line of the fourth verse as "The autumn breeze blew loud and shrill, the rain began to fall". and my memory is that at the end of each verse you go Charley Og McCann, Charley Og McCann followed by a repeat of the last line.
1 The brave old hill of Carbury is stately bold and strong
and down the vale of Newberry, the river flows along
strong and ancient is that hill, well known to every man
and gentle as the purling rill went Charlie  Og McCann
2 Twas in the merry month of May we met upon the green,
the fairest at the fair that day my Charlie Og was seen,
the brightest at the dance was he, where mirth and music rang
and many a maid invited him, my Charlie Og McCann
3 The brave old hill of Carbery, where many a time we met,
when summer birds sang merrily, I never can forget.
Twas there we wandered side by side, twas there our love began,
twas there I said I'd be the bride of Charlie Og McCann
4 The evening breeze blew loud and shrill, the leaves began to fall,
I stood alone upon the hill beside the castle wall.
My love was borne away from me, all in a prison van
They banished him far oer the sea, brave Charlie Og McCann (beyond the waves rather than far o'er the sea in my memory)
5 the brave old hill of Carbury in grief I wander o'er
My heart is beating wearily for I know he'll come no more
His loving bride i ne'er shall be, his face i ne'er shall scan
for its in old Ireland's cause he died, brave Charlie Og McCann

Eamonn Pitts eamonnpitts@hotmail.com

An interesting ballad/song relating to Carbury which begs the question - Who was Charlie Og McCann?


Illustrated talk on Leixlip



 Lucan Library,

Superquinn Shopping Centre,

Newcastle Road,

Thursday, 18th September


Admission is free.

The title is in the subject line, above.Many of the pictures I will show have not been published before.  They will include photos of the 5,500 year old inhumations discovered in 2003 at Cooldrinagh townland, in the course of archaeological investigations for amendments to Leixlip Water Works.
All are Welcome.

The Lucan Library officer oveseeing this event is Vincent Allen, tel 01 6216422 or email: lucan@sdublincoco.ie

Illustrated talk on Leixlip  by  JOHN COLGAN

September 09, 2008


From cinema prices to cemetery caretakers
 – local notes cover all topics
Cinema prices, cemetery caretakers, and first communions were just some of the eclectic range of news items highlighted in the local notes page of the Leinster Leader of 29 March 1958. The local notes continue to be a universal feature of the provincial newspapers throughout the country bringing notice of events, meetings, results and general local happenings.
The Naas notes for the end-of-March issue of the paper featured some jottings from a meeting of the Town Council. The Town Clerk, Mr. J.P. Whyte told councillors that no reply had been received from the Directors of the Coliseum Cinema (later the Dara) despite the council having sent a second letter regarding cinema prices.  Cllr. W. Daly said that the cinema directors should have written to the council as a matter of courtesy. He suggested that the UDC should make another approach. Cllr. P. Fitzsimons said that no useful purpose would be served by writing again, and the other councillors agreed.
There was news from the sporting fields as well. On the previous Saturday at Oldtown , Green Rovers took over leadership of the Saturday section of Naas A.F.C. 5-a-side league, by a meritorious win over St. Patrick’s. The Army Apprenctice School beat Eadestown.  There was also a match between soccer sides from Naas and Edenderry. The young Naas side won by 7 goals to nil in a one-sided game. Although a great amount of praise is due to the Edenderry side for the ‘never say die’ manner in which they played to the final whistle. Naas were described as being the superior side, playing clever and fast soccer, mastering the strong wind.
Away from the football field there was other joyous news recorded in the local notes. The previous Saturday was described as being the ‘happiest of their lives’ for a large number of young boys and girls of the Naas Convent of Mercy schools who received their first holy communion at the 8.30 mass. Distributing communion were Fr. P.J. Doyle PP and Fr. L. Newman CC.
The local notes might seem a little parochial – literally so given the amount of parish news conveyed – but from time to time there was a little spice of far foreign fields among all the local material. Under the heading ‘A Visitor to Naas’ there is news of the visit home of Sergeant Martin Butler who had just left the Malayan jungles for a three-week holiday in Ireland. Sergeant Butler had fought all through the Second World War and had the distinction of being the first soldier on the British side to meet the advancing American Army in South Italy. The Naas man had indeed featured in the international press at the time of this episode, according to the Leader correspondent.
The local notes had news of arrivals and departures in many parts of Co. Kildare. Under the North Kildare notes there was an item headed ‘Farewell Party’ which recorded a going away function in the CYMS Hall, Maynooth for Miss Leta Sullivan who was leaving to take employment in New York. Clearly a popular lady in the North Kildare town, some two hundred people attended the party. Quaintly the report notes that she flew out from Collinstown – the old name for Dublin Airport. Accompanying her was Mr. C. Bean who was returning to New York after spending a holiday with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Bean, The Harbour, Maynooth.
There was property on the move too in March 1958. The local notes report that in Celbridge the licensed premises ‘Breens’ of Celbridge had been sold to Mr. John Lawless of Drumree, Co. Meath for €6,000 odd.  He was following in family footsteps in the licensed trade as we are told that there his brother had a licensed premises in Dunshaughlin.
Further news on the commercial front in Celbridge was recorded under the heading ‘New Manager’. The item records that Mr. John Robert Horsham, the newly appointed manager of Celbridge Spinning Co. Ltd., had recently taken up residence in the three-storied house adjoining the mills. He hailed from Yorkshire, the traditional home of textiles. Mr. Horsham and his family were wished a long and happy stay in Celbridge.
A change of personnel was also featured in the Athy notes. Beneath the heading ‘Cemeteries Caretaker’ it was related that Mr. John Leonard was about to retire from Athy Urban District Council having served as caretaker at St Michael & John’s cemetery for the previous ten years. He was to be replaced by Mr. Paddy Rowan of Convent View, Athy who had been one of thirteen applicants for the job interviewed by Council officials.
The foregoing is a miscellany of the nuggets permanently recorded in print in the pages of the Leader fifty years ago this month.
Series No. 60

Liam Kenny in 'Nothing New Under the Sun' for the Leinster Leader 27 March 2008, explores the true merit of the local notes section of the newspaper in 1958.


Cometh the hour, cometh the man
McCormack marshals All-Whites to victory

A senior football match between Kildare and Carlow exercised the attention of the Leinster Leader GAA correspondent in the issue of 22 March 1958.  In a report which mixed straight reporting with the correspondent’s own opinions on the merits of the respective teams and players, the trends of the game were described and analysed.
We are told that ‘ Kildare had a very meritorious win over Carlow at Athy on Sunday last and the margin of victory 2-5 to 1-3 does not really indicate the complete superiority which the All Whites asserted over their opponents.’
Kildare were a much improved team compared with a previous encounter at Carlow a few weeks previously. A blustery wind prevented good football from being served up but it was seen from the start that the All-White players had lost their lethargy. However Kildare did not have the game all their own way: ‘ When twenty minutes had elapsed, and Carlow could only secure one point with the assistance of the wind, it looked rosy for Kildare but near the end of the first half Carlow had a goal and two further points.’   But cometh the hour cometh the man and according to the Leader reporter ‘ Were it not for the brainy generalship of Larry McCormack, Kildare would have found themselves in arrears at the end.’ Indeed Larry McCormack (a Kilcock clubman) was mentioned on no fewer than eight separate occasions in the same report. At one point the Kildare forwards are chastised kicking the ball away too quickly ‘ were it not for the prompt action of L McCormack in appealing to his corner forward to stand and secure a punched ball from him we would not have secured our first goal.’’ The reporter adds with gushing approval ‘ that is what we want – understanding among the forwards and there is no one better able to do that than the captain, Larry McCormack.’   The same episode is described later in the report along the following lines with reference to another of the Kildare forwards named Hogan ‘ He is inclined to crowd in on the parallelogram and the salutary warning of L McCormack checked him and gave us a chance of a goal.’
Indeed Kildare were in trouble at half time with Carlow having chalked up a goal and three points to a solitary point for the All-Whites. But here comes that man again ‘ Larry McCormack was urging on his men; he kept feeding and marshalling …’
He gets another mention when he took a pass from Paddy Gibbons and sent it over the bar for Kildare’s second point.  Clearly the back bone of the side Larry McCormack was instrumental in a crucial move when ‘ working up the field, Larry McCormack secured a hard shot and passing it to Hogan, that player sent over to Treacy, who was nicely placed and he unerringly sent to the Carlow net.’ Not that the ubiquitous McCormack was the only player to attract the attention of the correspondent. Others who merited mention included P Gibbons who ‘ played a fine game, he was a tower of strength in defence and he deserves great credit for a hard hours work’; ‘ K Daly played one of his best games and is fitting in well to his position at left half-back.’; ‘ S McCormack never spectacular but slow and sure and goes far in a day’; ‘T Connolly at centrefield gave his best display and, with young Maguire, gave our forwards enough of the ball to win twice over.’
Clearly not one to spare blushes the correspondent shot straight-from-the-hip in his assessment of the Kildare players with descriptions such as: ‘ Kehoe on the right wing gave a finished display, and avoided puerile tactics which lead nowhere. O’Malley was much better than in his previous match and was a hard worker. Treacy was an opportunist as usual. Hogan secured one of the goals and was much better than in his last game. “Bah” Dowling kept the Carlow defence on edge.’’
In his description of the closing half-hour the Leader correspondent is equally direct in his style; ‘ We were not happy at all with time ticking away. Dowling and Hogan tried to hold the ball too long, instead of lashing out at the sticks.’  And it was at this point that the ‘brainy generalship’ of Larry McCormack came to the rescue, setting up a second goal for the all Whites who reversed Carlow’s lead and ran out winners by almost double scores on that March Sunday of 1958.      
 Series No. 59

Riveting account of Senior Football Championship match between Kildare and Carlow in 1958, re-told by Liam Kenny, in his regular column, Nothing New Under the Sun, Leinster Leader, 20 March 2008. 


From Tullow to Newbridge … proud record
of the Brothers of St. Patrick
The word ‘Patrician’ means associated with Patrick so it’s appropriate this week if we look back at the story of the Patrician order of teaching brothers who have earlier this year celebrated the bicentenary of their foundation. The order has a special connection with the Diocese of Kildare & Leighlin as it was founded in Tullow by Daniel Delaney, then co-adjutor bishop of the diocese  There were celebrations too fifty years ago when the commemorations of the order’s 150th anniversary took place in Newbridge where the order has had a renowned school since 1939.
The Leinster Leader of 15 March 1958 reported that to mark the occasion Solemn High mass was celebrated in St. Conleth’s Parish church by Monsignor Miller PP and a special sermon was preached by Fr. John Gahan, CC Clane. Both celebrant and preacher were past pupils of Patrician brothers schools. Among the clergy involved in the ceremonial were Rev. A. McNally CC, Rev. Shine, CC, while the choir included Fr. Healy, OP, prior of the Dominican College, Bro. Francis Redmond, Superior General of the Patricians at the time, Bro, Lazerian, superior, Newbridge, and Bros. Brendan, Aidan, Alphonsus and Damien. Indeed it was the latter who had established the Patrician house in Newbridge in January 1939.
The Leader report proceeded to eulogise the contribution of the brothers to education in Ireland in general and Newbridge in particular. The Brothers of St. Patrick had, in the comparatively short space of 150 years, done wonderful work throughout many countries and the community in Droichead Nua had, in the previous eighteen, supplied their full share of the Order’s great contribution to Catholic education. In that period they had been responsible for the administration of the boys’ primary schools through the portals of which had passed hundreds of youngsters equipped for life’s struggles by the teaching of the Patricians.
It went on: ‘Many honours, large and small, have been earned over the years by former pupils of the Droichead Nua Patricians. The beflagged Monastery and schools were the outward show of a notable day (150th anniversary): the Droichead Nua Patricians shall continue their fine work in the knowledge that their efforts maintain to the full the high principles of their founder …’
The homily was preached by Fr. Gahan, a Patrician past pupil and then curate in Clane. He recalled the circumstances of the foundation of the Patrician order. The key figure was Daniel Delaney, co-adjutor bishop of Kildare & Leighlin who, in the early 1880s,  saw the need for a Catholic education for young boys at a time when the penal laws were being relaxed by the British allowing the Irish Catholic church to re-establish pastoral and educational leadership. There were also social problems to be tackled, particularly the prevalence of alcohol. Bishop Delaney’s initial focus was on making Sunday a day of temperance and he established a Sunday school in Tullow with men and women acting as mentors on a voluntary basis.  After some years he saw the need for a continuity of leadership, and for expanding the educational role of the schools beyond Sunday, and this led Bishop Delaney to found an order of religious brothers in 1808 which he titled the Patrician Brothers in honour of the national patron.
Within a few years the Order began to extend to other locations, Mountrath and Galway being among the early foundations. As with many other Irish religious orders the call to the foreign missions was answered with generosity and the Patricians sent men to establish schools in India, Australia and America. Their foundation in Newbridge was relatively recent with Bro. Damien Early heading up the first community of brothers to the Liffeyside town in 1939.
Fr. Gahan concluded his sermon at the 150th anniversary celebrations in 1958 with the stirring commendation: ‘High then should be our esteem for the Patrician brothers when we consider how privileged we are to have had such a thorough training …May the good deeds of the Brothers spread and multiply, until, like the sun, they shed their golden rays far and wide.’
Series no. 58

Unique celebrations in Newbridge in 1958 to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the Patrician Brothers and their arrival in Newbridge in 1939, from the regular feature by Liam Kenny, 'Nothing New Under the Sun,' in the Leinster Leader, 13 March 2008. 

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