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Three sisters' wedding brightens up a wet summer of '58

Leinster Leader June 19 2008
Three sisters’ wedding brightens up a wet summer of ‘58
It is the time of year when we scan anxiously the weather signs for some omen of what the summer holds in prospect. Now that schools are on the point of breaking up for the summer families are finalising holiday plans, the early signs of a good or a wet summer being decisive as to whether the decision is to stay at home or head for sunnier shores.
Certainly things were not looking good on the weather front in the early summer of fifty years ago. A report in the Leinster Leader of mid-June 1958 is headed ‘ Rain Holds up Work on the Bog’ and goes on to say: ‘ The fate of thousands of tons of machine and hand-won turf is in the balance. A continuance of the rain may mean that 500 casual bog workers on the Glasbaun and Ballydermot bogs will lose two to three months employment.’ The bogs were so sodden that the first cutting of turf remained unfooted and turf machines were unable to get in and start on a second cutting.
Elsewhere in the county the heavy rains had not caused anticipated problems. The northern end of Naas town from Poplar Square and beyond was notorious for flooding which had also been a nuisance to the residents of St. Corban’s Place estate on the Dublin Road. However at the June meeting of Naas Urban Council the Town Engineer, Mr. Concannon, reported that he visited St. Corban’s Place during the recent heavy rains and found that the gullies were well able to take the storm water.
The Council Chairman Mr. Tom Dowling said that if the shores had been able to take the abnormally heavy rainfall of recent weeks then there was nothing much wrong with the drainage system in that part of the town. Cllr. Paddy Fitzsimons said that if the gully traps were altered then ‘everything would be all right’ while Cllr. Barney Smyth felt that there was a problem with the drainage levels.
A water feature of another kind landed the members of the town council with a perplexing historical problem. The Town Clerk, Mr. Whyte,  mentioned that he had been approached about the re-opening of a well known as St. Patrick’s Well which was said to be in the grounds of St. David’s Church in the heart of the town. The report stated that the St. Patrick’s Well in question had been closed a few years previously by the late Chancellor Clover because visitors trespassed on church property. However his successor as Church of Ireland rector. Rev. JCW Beresford, was agreeable to reopen the entrance in deference to the wishes of the Co. Kildare Archaeological Society.
There was some bewilderment regarding this request as there is also a St. Patrick’s Well, marked prominently on Ordnance maps,  in the grounds of the De Burgh estate on the Sallins Road out of Naas. The Town Clerk Mr. Whyte had carried out some research and reported to councillors that he saw no mention of a St. Patrick’s Well in the official guide to Naas but mention was made in the guide to the fact that it was in the site of St. David’s Church that Patrick was reputed to have pitched his tent on his first visit to Naas. Whatever about the precise nature of the vanished well in St. David’s church the Council agreed to ask the Town Engineer to see Rev. Beresford regarding a means of access to the well.
While holidaymakers, town engineers and farmers all have reason to be anxious about summer rains there is probably no category more concerned about the weather than brides-to-be who are planning their big day in the expectation of fine weather. Certainly the Child of Prague was deployed with much hope in bygone times to ensure a fine spell for the special occasion. One remarkable wedding that was reported and photographed in the Leader in June 1958 seemed favoured by the elements. The Leader reported that three sisters got married in the same church and with exactly similar ensembles. The brides were the three Butler sisters from Grange, Enfield – Eileen, Detta and Breda. Their grooms were respectively Brian Barrett of Enfield, Bernard Hyland of Enfield and Sean Cribben of Mainham, Clane. The weddings took place in St. Coca’s church, Kilcock with Very Rev. J O’Meara, PP, Kilcock officiating.
And, for the record, the brides wore an ensemble of an ivory brocade ballet length dress of tulle with pearl wreath. A spray of red roses and a pearl prayer book completed the accessories. It certainly made for the a pretty and pleasing sight and one guaranteed to make a splash of colour against the background of a wet Irish summer.                                                                                     
Series No. 72

Liam Kenny in his regular feature 'Nothing New Under the Sun examines the newspaper coverage of the weather in 1958 and the wedding of three sisters that year.

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