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April 30, 2009


Kildare Observer April 28 1906
Punchestown in the Olden Times
At a time when it is admittedly difficult to find anything new to say concerning Punchestown, we think it will not be inappropriate this week to quote an appreciation of it which appeared in “Our Van” in Baily’s Magazine of 1874, and most likely from the brilliant pen of Mr. J. Comyns Cole, a gentleman who for many years was an annual visitor, generally accompanied by Mr. Charles Browne, well remembered by some readers as the genial “Robin Hood” of “The Field.” We quote as follows:-
Dublin was unusually lively, we thought, and though there was no Viceroy either at the Lodge or at Punchestown, the Duke of Abercorn not having then arrived, yet business and pleasure seemed both brisk. The Grafton street shops were gay with colours, and in the afternoon the pave was gay with pretty women. There was the usual big sale the following day at Sewell’s, and this time the late Lord Howth’s horses were the attraction. They did not fetch extravagant prices, as may be supposed; and Mr. Croker, of Ballynagarde, in the Co. Limerick, a gentleman who has taken very kindly to steeplechasing and other sports, gave the top price- 405 guineas-for Yorkshire Relish. Shelmartin, who had shown some form at the Curragh when a two year old, went for 860 gns, and Royal Arms, the bargain of the sale, for 125 gns. The yard was crowded to excess, and one met everybody, and talked over everything-sport, politics and scandal-with effusion. In fact, there was more coffee-housing than business, it struck us. The day was a wretched one, necessitating some living above the weather, and rendering visits to Morrison’s, Bailey’s, the Clarendon, etc. etc., not unpleasant. Red Banks are always more or less soothing, and frequent liquoring-up is a vicious habit not confined to either side of St. George’s Channel. The next day was a lovely one, and Punchestown was in its glory. True, we missed the Lord Lieutenant and his surroundings, the cortege, the reception at the Stand, the bows and courtesys, the uncovered heads, and all the rest of the pageant, but still there was about the usual show of beauty and form in the Ladies’ Stand, and about the usual sport.
Somehow one does not see the horses in Ireland we used to. Perhaps we don’t see them anywhere; but it struck us, both here and at Fairyhouse that the class was moderate. This was particularly apparent in the Farmers’ Plate, for which race we have seen many a good horse run before now, and much buying and selling result therefrom; but this year we don’t think there was anything that would have tempted Lord Combermere, Sir Watkin Wynn, Sir George Wombwell, or any of our hunting men, who, by the way, were not present this time in any force. Some lamented deaths kept many away, but still we missed familiar faces that might have been there if they had pleased. Has Punchestown lost its savour? The army was represented by the Scots Fusiliers, the 5th Dragoon Guards, the Enniskillens, the 14th Hussars, the 12th Regiment, etc., and in the luncheon paddock their hospitable boards were duly spread. The same ridiculous order respecting tents and marquees was in force as last year, and the consequence was that on the second day, owing to a tremendous hailstorm just about the luncheon hour, we partook of that meal under circumstances of general discomfort, more especially to the ladies, which would hardly have been pleasing to the Horse Guards if General Order had seen it. For ladies barely apparelled to stand up to their ankles in mud and water, and eat soddened cold lamb, mayonnaise of salmon with which hailstones had played the very deuce, and cake well sopped in rain when a covering might have obviated all this, seems a very ridiculous and unnecessary thing, and for which we are deeply indebted to that same General Order, and if he had only been there to partake of the pleasure, we all felt it would have been very gratifying. We thought that Lord Drogheda had done his utmost last year in the way of making Punchestown paths pleasant, but he had been hard at work, it appeared, ever since the last meeting, and had spent nearly £500 in levelling the straight run in and raising the ground between the two last fences into an embankment, by which the going was most materially improved, besides a capital view being obtained from the Stand. Formerly there was a nasty dip here, and the ground very rough and broken-now one might play croquet on it. All these improvements have been carried out under Lord Drogheda’s direction and Mr. Waters’ superintendence, and, moreover, the fences have been all looked to, and, where necessary, repaired, and in fact, everything done that could be done to make Punchestown perfect. The mud through which on the second day one waded in the field leading from the road to the course, set us thinking that but one thing is now needful, and that is a road over the said field-a great boon could it be accomplished. But we can’t expect anything, and will be thankful by comparing what the hillside was ten or twelve years ago, and what it is now. There was but little speculation in Dublin on the Prince of Wales’ Plate or Conyngham Cup; in fact, it would be more correct to say there was none. We remarked last year on its absence, and Bailey’s and the clubs this time were blank draws as far as business was heard of was that a gentleman dropped £700 at roulette in a certain street which shall be nameless, and that he didn’t get it back the next night, which was singular. Heraut d’Armes had been made favourite for the Prince of Wales’ Plate, but at the post Night Thoughts, a Queen’s Plate winner at the Curragh, had decidedly the call in the betting. Mr. Forbes’s horse did not quite look in his Liverpool bloom; and Albert, second in the Grand National at Fairyhouse, was even a better favourite than he. Scot’s Grey with the same weight which he could not carry to the front on the previous Monday was, of course, out of the hunt; and there was a very good-looking horse in Albert’s stable-Egyptian-about the best-looking we saw, but, if they could win with Albert, of course, it was no use exposing Egyptian, who will win races some day, if we mistake not. Heraut d’Armes did not jump at all kindly, for he ran into the fence past the Stand without attempting to rise at it, and was out of it there and then; Albert, who had always been well up in front, taking the lead at the double, and, though he was headed between that and the third fence from home, he easily quitted his horses there, and won hands down, Gamebird and Gaslight being second and third. We were glad to see Waterford with Captain Middleton again up, win the Grand Military, which he was done out of last year by a wrong description of age-hard lines for its owner. He won in such a common canter that we should like to see him in better company. One of the notable features of Punchestown was the good form shown by “Mr. St. James.” That gentleman will, we feel sure, excuse us, when we say his riding was a surprise to us. He exhibited a knowledge of pace, judgement and patience, with which we had not credited him. He rode Leinster Lily admirably in the Drogheda Stakes, and the way in which in the Kildare Challenge Cup he stalled off in a rush of Capt. Smith’s on Lady Mary was artistic. He had previously ridden Warbler in the Bishopscourt Plate, and three wins in one day at Punchestown has, as far we remember, never been accomplished before. On the second day “Mr. St. James” was unfortunate enough to get two falls in the Railway Plate and the Veterans’ Sweepstakes, and in the latter he must have won if Phoenix had stood up. As it was he was only beaten by Highlander by a length. We have seen more people at Punchestown, and had more fun than on this occasion; still, as the young ladies say, “It was awfully jolly,” bar the mud. One thing Punchestown deserves special kudos for, time was well kept. We got rather behindhand the second day, for which the weather was, perhaps, responsible; but on the first day we got back to Dublin by 6.30-a feat we certainly never accomplished before. The railway service (we hear the company took £500 less than last year) was perfect; and one special brought us from Sallins to Kingsbridge in 25 minutes-very good indeed. As there was a time when the Great Southern and Western Railway did not do this or anything like it, we hasten to record its present excellent behaviour, from which we hope it will never lapse. Lord Drogheda was everywhere, so was Mr. Waters; and as we look upon them, each in their own degree, to be the embodied spirits of Punchestown, we trust to find them next year with renewed energies and fresh improvements, that will make it what it has been, and always ought to be, facile princeps among Irish meetings.

The Kildare Observer of April 1906 quotes an article from "Our Van" in Bailey's Magazine which describes events in and around Punchestown in 1874. 


Kildare Observer April 28 1906
The Social Side of Punchestown
In the month of showers and sunshine, and in the country known as the land of the smile and the tear, it is difficult to understand why people should feel aggrieved if that almost impossible combination, fine weather and Punchestown Races, do not come off, and yet of grumblers there are a goodly throng, who do not seem to realise that even bad weather, much less a few showers, cannot dim the prestige of our greatest racing event, or rob it of its prerogative to be dubbed “Glorious Punchestown.” On Tuesday typical April weather prevailed, and yet the crowds were greater than usual on both sides of the course, while the Kildare Hunt stand accommodated a very distinguished gathering. With the barometer in such an uncertain vein, it goes without saying that tailor-made toilettes were the most popular, and, indeed, the most becoming and suitable wear. Lady Aberdeen was attired in a handsome gown of fawn face cloth, with a long paletot of a lighter shade of cloth, beautifully trimmed with silk braid to match; her brown crinoline hat was adorned with brown and pale blue ostrich plumes, and a stole and muff of Russian sables completed her costume. Lady Cadogan, who was greeted by scores of friends, wore a gown and basqued coat of dark moss green cloth, with sable boa, and a toque of mauve primulas, with cluster of pink roses and maiden hair ferns; the Countess of Mayo had a very smart black costume, with white vest, and a cluster of Malmaison carnations, and a large black crinoline hat, with feathers; the Countess of Fingall wore a grey ribbed panne costume, with a brown chip hat, wreathed with shaded roses; the Countess of Rosse wore a Royal blue toilette with handsome sable cape and a black toque; the Countess of Limerick wore a mauve tweed costume, with a black hat and handsome furs; the Countess of Listowel had a dark costume; the Countess of Clonmell had a pleated gown of very dark purple cloth; Lady Weldon looked remarkably well in a Princess gown of pale grey cloth, with silver embroidery on the bolero, and a black picture hat, with long black tulle scarf; Lady Milbanke wore dark blue, with a lovely cluster of pink carnations fastened on her vest; Lady Annette La Touche was dressed in black crepe de chine, with tiny white plisses on the bodice, and a black toque; Hon. Georgina O’Brien was in black and white and handsome furs; Mrs. St. Leger Moore wore cresson green cloth, with embroideries of paler green on the bolero; Mrs. De Burgh wore dark violet, with black braiding and embroidery; Mrs. Warren wore a black costume; Mrs. Rimington had a black costume with a mauve toque; Miss de Burgh was in pale blue; Mrs. Eustace Borrowes in a stylish green dress and hat; Miss Royse wore deep purple, and Miss Clare Royse a green and white gown. On Wednesday the colours were a little more decided, and the materials a little more substantial. Navy blue face cloth, navy blue serge, and navy blue tweed, in its infinite varieties, were the most favoured fabrics, and gave scope for many flights of imagination in the creation of hats and toques. That French modes in headgear have caught on here was very evident, and the right angle at which he chapeau should (or should not) be posed on the elaborate coiffure, offered much food for study and reflection. The threatened invasion of the mushroom hat has stopped half-way, and the shapes, though originally designed to shade the face, are now turned and twisted, and flared up in the most fantastic manner, those of fine crinoline being the most effective. A charming novelty was to be found in the chiffon scarves, hemmed with sable and chinchilla, which will doubtless become very popular. Lady Aberdeen wore a toilette of dark moss green, with dainty white guipure and pink silk embroidery on the collar and vest, a long paletot of paler green panne, with magnificent gold embroidery forming the yoke, and a wide gold and black gallon bordering the whole; her green toque of the same shade, with wreath of shaded yellow and pink roses. The Countess Cadogan favoured a tailor-made costume of very dark blue cloth, and her small straw hat had high black ostrich plumes at the back and black and white ribbon; the Countess of Wicklow had a panne velvet coat and skirt, with a blue scarf, and twists of the same uncommon shade in her hat; the Countess of Fingall wore heavy beaver face cloth, stylishly cut; the Countess of Mayo was in black, with slight relief of white, and a picture black hat; Lady Powerscourt wore dark green chiffon velvet, trimmed with chinchilla; Hon. Mrs. Lindsay wore black, relieved with mauve; Lady Weldon had a Princess robe of turquoise suede cloth, trimmed with white satin and embroidery; Lady Annette La Touche was in black and white; Mrs. St. Leger Moore had a dark purple and black costume, and toque with pansies; Mrs. Rimington wore the deepest purple cloth, and purple hat; Mrs. Eustace Borrowes wore pale mushroom cloth; Mrs. Hamilton-Stubber wore a costume of tabac tweed, and hat with yellow roses.

An article in the Kildare Observer of 1906 demonstrates that watching what fashionable ladies wear to the races is not a new phenomenon.


The Leinster Express, January 14, 1871
At the next meeting of the Athy Farmers’ Club a paper on the closing of public-houses on Sunday will be read by Mr A.M. Sullivan, of Dublin. The question whether public-houses should be closed during the entire Sabbath, is one which affects the agricultural community very nearly, and it is to be greatly wondered that landed proprietors and farmers have not hitherto taken a prominent part in its discussion. The “Sunday Closing” movement has been left almost altogether in the hands of professional gentlemen and manufacturers who are not more deeply concerned in the movement than the employers of agricultural labour. Now and then some members of a Farmers’ Club has attempted to arouse the agricultural community to a proper appreciation of the question, but these isolated efforts have always failed to evoke a proper response. We trust, however, that the lecture to be delivered by Mr Sullivan on Wednesday next will induce the farmers and land proprietors, in our district at least, to take an interest in the movement. We do not know on what premises Mr Sullivan bases his argument in favour of the closing of public-houses. We know, however, that there are arguments against the present system of allowing public-houses to remain open during a portion of Sunday, which must present themselves to every one who has given the question a moment’s consideration. Few of us approve of the French mode of observing the Sabbath. We object to race meetings being held and theatres being open on the day we fancy we observe so strictly ourselves. The parable of the mote and the beam would, we fear, refer to us in this matter. We forbid our race committees to hold races on Sundays, we close our theatres, but we open our public-houses. Our labourers must not observe Sunday as the naughty Frenchman observes it, but we tempt him to make a beast of himself in our public-houses.
About three years ago Mr W.B. Brownrigg in an able paper read at one of the monthly meetings of the Athy Farmers’ Club, dwelt with considerable force upon the evil effects of intemperance upon the condition of the working classes. “The greatest hindrance,” he said, “to our progress as a country and individually is our growing national vice of intemperance. To exaggerate its evils would be impossible. If we take the very lowest ground, it is a loss of capital to the country, loss of industry, time, savings to those who drink, loss of money to the State for the support of gaols, poorhouses, lunatic asylums, reformatories – nine tenth of the inmates of which find their way there through intemperance, as every judge that sat on the bench and every medical man of eminence has testified.” Mr Brownrigg might truly have assigned as the principal cause of all this evil the law which permits the sale of liquors on  Sundays. Habits of intemperance among the working classes are, in nine cases out of ten, contracted in public-houses on Sunday afternoons. Mr Thos. Robertson was not in error when he described the Sunday liquor traffic to be at the bottom of all the demoralization of the labourer. We do not agree with those who argue that the closing of public-houses on Sunday would be productive of greater evils than the Sunday liquor traffic. The majority of labourers, it is said, would, if no public-houses were to transact business on Sunday, purchase liquor on Saturday for use on the Sabbath. Thus, it is said, temptation would be brought nearer to the wives and daughters of many families. To adopt this argument we must forget the nature of the Irish people. It is not the love of liquor so much as the love of company that leads an Irishman into intemperate habits.

The Leinster Express in January 1871 reports on a paper to be read at Athy Farmers' Club on the question of whether public-houses should be closed on the Sabbath.

April 23, 2009


Leinster Leader April 21st 1962
House Of Famous Authoress Changes Hands
Cornelius Brosnan
Last week the family home of the Lawless family came up for sale. Though originally a seat of the Aylmers, Lyons has been in the possession of the Lawlesses since 1796 – twenty years after the first baron, one of a wealthy brewing family, was created.
From him were descended the Lords Cloncurry, of whom the most famous was Valentine Browne Lawless, who was twice confined in the Tower of London, and of whom there is a statue in the dining room at Lyons.
In the advertisements relating to the sale of this lovely Georgian mansion and its many art treasures, he is mentioned, but there is no reference to the poetess, the Hon. Emily Lawless. Even the oldest retainers at Lyons have no recollection of the gentle Emily, and the pleasant lawns and woods, the steep Hill of Lyons with its deer, or the dark lake, all of which she loved so well, carry no memorial.
Yet, she was by far the most remarkable lady of this old family, and the one member whose name is most likely to be remembered by future generations. Anglo-Irish by birth, and a fervent Unionist, she was regarded by her friends as “Irish first, and all the rest afterwards”, or in her own words – “I am not anti-Gaelic at all, as long as it is only Gaelic enthuse and does not include politics”.
Her novels “Hurrish” and “Grania” may not be in much demand nowadays, and her favourite work “Essex in Ireland” – which Gladstone took to be an original diary – forgotten, put her poems particularly those from the volume “With the Wild Geese” are familiar to every schoolchild, and her name is forever linked with such other great patriotic writers as Davis, de Vere, Mangan, Moore and Rolleston.
 Born During Famine
Born at Lyons in the famine year of 1845, she was the eldest daughter, and one of the eight children, of the third Lord Cloncurry; her mother was a Kirwan from County Galway. It was from the long childhood visits which she made to her mother’s home and the frequent holidays spent in Aran and in County Clare, that Emily developed her love of things Irish.
It has also been believed by her relatives that her mother was a great source of inspiration to her, and that after Lady Cloncurry’s death she did not write so well.
Even as a little child, Emily had a great love of books, and had no difficulty in memorising long poems. A story is told that one evening, when her father was entertaining a distinguished party, he asked her to recite. Not understanding the words, she quoted from an Elizabethan play some passages which were not very delicate. Her father was shocked, but the guests must have been amused!
When a “girl with corn-coloured hair”, Emily loved nature, and collected flowers, birds and animals into the nursery. She was a keen swimmer and a great walker and she delighted in visiting the cottages of the country people to listen to the stories of the old folk, or to spin her own tales for the children.
Though she travelled abroad for long periods, and lived in England after the marriage of her brother, who inherited Lyons, she always spent long holidays in Ireland – in Kildare, Dublin or in the West. Described as a “bold thinker, having a concrete mind with a turn for affairs, and with a man’s business outlook, large and lucid and with a passionate companionship for the Irish earth and sea”, she took a keen interest in science, and was a supporter of the suffragette and other social movements.
Immediate Success
Her earliest writings were about nature, and she did not publish her first novel, “Hurrish”, until she was 41: it was an immediate success. Six years later, “Grania” appeared – and it was even better received. Her history of Ireland was also successful and in 1890 “Essex in Ireland”, which she considered “the only one of my books that gives me personal satisfaction” was published. Cardinal Manning, Merdith, de Vere, Lecky and Swinburne admired her works, and Gladstone called to congratulate her while they were both holidaying at Cannes. She often told of the initial embarrassment of this visit, as she was resting in bed when he came in – and she thought he was the maid with her tea.
It was in later years when her health had disimproved, that she concentrated more on writing verse. Poetry seemed to flow naturally from her, and she once remarked , “it is curious how much easier rhyme is to me when I am weak and disabled”. In 1905 she was awarded an Honorary D. Litt. by Dublin University, and this recognition from Ireland she treasured very highly.
When in her sixties, her doctor ordered her to leave Kildare for good, and to settle in the more agreeable climate of the South of England. At this time one of the people who knew her said, “She made a big mistake in going abroad to England when the pains attacked her, for she surely missed over beyond the birds and flowers of Lyons and her evening walks by the Liffey, and indeed everything Irish”.
Gift Retained  
With her friend Sady Sarah Spencer she built a little house in Gomshall in Surrey and named it after Hazelhatch, the family railway stop near Lyons. There she spent her final years in gardening and entertaining friends, and she did not lose her gift of conversation. She was at that time described as being “tall and almost angular in her shady shapeless gardening hat and long brown coat. She had a long, stately step and true Irish warmth”.
She longed to come nearer to Christ, but could never rid herself of the doubt that “He was only a great man, overstepping all other men”. One of her friends called her “that rare thing, a religious stoic”. This searching for peace is found in some of her poems – “Who am I? Lord, lead me on the night is dark, no stars are in the sky”.
She died on 19th October, 1913, the same year that her sister Mary offered the hospitality of Lyons to the children of the locked-out Dublin workers, and is buried in Surrey, under a Celtic cross similar to those in the family burial place at Lyons.
The following piece is in the centre of the above article
Bought by University
Lyons House was bought by U.C.D for £100,000 at a public auction last week. English, German, American and French buyers were present. Bidding was keen.
The Georgian house, designed by the Architect Grace in 1797 was completed in 1820, stands on 1300 acres of farm land, pasture and timber. On the estate is a deer park holding the only herd of Norwegian fallow deer in the country and a lake which covers about 27 acres is stocked with rainbow trout.
Before he opened the bidding to the estimated 50-60 persons who crowded the drawingroom, the Auctioneer, Mr. Arthur McCabe of Messrs Jackson-Stops and McCabe, said that he rarely had the pleasure of selling an estate of this size which was freehold, so near Dublin.
The Lyons Estate came to the vendor Mr. Mark Winn, through the daughter of the third Lord Cloncurry, his cousin, The Hon. Kathleen Lawless who died in 1957

The Leinster Leader of April 1962 reports on the sale of the Lyons Estate, home to the famous authoress the Hon. Emily Lawless.


 Leinster Leader November 10 1962
Lyons House, Straffan, one of the great stately homes of Co Kildare, was this week taken over by the University College Dublin, authorities in preparation for its transformation into a seat of learning. The estate, proud reminder of another age, will from to-day (Thursday) house the Agricultural Faculty of U.C.D.
All last week hundreds of bargain-hunters swarmed over the building for the final clearing out of the furniture and household effects. And the remaining staff were packing their bags, ready to leave. For the men employed on the estate there is a chance of jobs with the new owners, but for two elderly ladies who, between them, have worked for over eighty years, it was a sad departure.
60 Years There
Eighty-years-old Miss Annie Down, head housekeeper, got her first glimpse of Lyons House almost sixty years ago. Since then she has been a faithful member of the household staff, serving the Cloncurry family for the best part of a life-time.
With Miss Elizabeth Miley, the head housemaid for twenty years, she left on Wednesday, before the U.C.D. authorities arrived.
Miss Down, born in Southsea England became a servant in the London house of Lord Cloncurry when she was still a young girl. She came to Ireland with the family, worked in Lyons as a kitchen-maid.
“It was all very different then”, she said during the week. “Of course we used to travel backwards and forwards for the London Season, and then used to go to Co. Mayo where Lord Cloncurry had fishing and shooting lodge. But best of all I liked Lyons”
One of her most vivid recollections is of the disastrous fire which destroyed the servants’ wing in 1918. “The fire began early in the morning, and the whole wing had been burned down before it was brought under control” she recalled. Luckily, we all escaped in time, and the wing was restored the following year”.
Sparkling Parties
At that time, Lyons was one of the finest houses in the county. The staff then included a valet, butler, chauffeur, coachmen, grooms, hall boys, ladies’ maids, housemaids, five in the kitchen and three in the laundry. Apart from this there was a steward and a big staff on the estate. This was a period of grandeur and sophistication in the history of Lyons and Miss Down recalls the sparkling parties given at the time. “It was particularly exciting during Horse Show week or Punchestown Races” she said. We often had as many as fifty guests in the house during these events”.
Miss Miley was born at Harold’s Cross, Dublin and began work in Lyons as a laundress. When her employment was terminated during the week, she had reached the position of head housemaid. They recalled how, after the death of Lord Cloncurry, in 1928, the mansion was taken over by his brother, Mr. Frederick Lawless, of Blackrock, Dublin, who died within twelve months.
The running of the estate was then taken on by the Hon. Ms Kathleen Lawless and she continued to do so until her death in July 1957. Her cousin, Mr. Geoffrey Mark Winn, of Yorkshire, England took over then, and it was he who negotiated the sale of the house and estate to U.C.D. for £100,100.
Started at 12
Another long-standing member of the staff was Mr. James Tankard (62), Boston, Straffan, who had fifty years service. At last week’s auction, Mr. Tankard was in charge of the parking arrangements to facilitate buyers. When he first was employed at the estate, as a boy of 12, his job was to keep crows out of the cornfields. “I worked from six o’clock in the morning until ten o’clock at night” he recalls, “and I was paid four shillings a week”.
Mr. Tankard, whose father and grandfather worked at the estate before him, became ploughman and ploughed with horses up to about seven years ago, when a range of new farm machinery was bought. Was there a future for him at Lyons House under the new owners? “We have been told that there will be jobs here, but as yet we have received no definite word” he said. “We can only hope”.
New Homes
The Misses Down and Miley have no definite plans. Miss Down said she is going to stay for a while at the home of a friend, Mrs Elizabeth Herbert, Landscape, Nangor road, Clondalkin, widow of the late gardener at Lyons Mr. Lancelot Herbert. Miss Miley will be staying at the home of her cousin Mr. John Morton, Main Street, Rathcoole.
The remaining five members of the estate staff were mostly old hands. Mr. Paddy Forde had been employed there for forty-eight years, Mr. Patrick Treacy for over forty, Messrs Michael Murphy and Gerry O’Connor for over twenty years each, and Mr. Andy Ryan for ten years. They all echoed Miss Down’s words: “We have many happy memories of this place, and we certainly regret leaving”.

The departure of long serving staff members from the Lyons Estate is marked by the Leinster Leader in November 1962.The estate was purchased by University College Dublin.

April 22, 2009


County Council .
Minutes of a meeting of the Council of the County Kildare, held in the Council Chamber in the County Court House, Naas, on Saturday, 29th April 1899, at 12:30 p.m. o’clock.
(1) (38)
The Secretary called over the names of the Councillors, and all the members of the Council were found to be present or attended shortly afterwards except Mr. James Kelly of Bohergoy & Mr. Peter Crosbie. The Chair was occupied by
                        Mr. Stephen J. Brown, Chairman of the Council.
(2) (39)
With reference to Minute N°. 5 of 22nd April, the Secretary read a letter from Mr. Joseph Connolly, Pollardstown, accepting the position of Additional County Councillor under Sub-Section (2) of Section 3 of the Local Govt. Act. Mr Connolly being now present made the Statutory declaration accepting Office, and took his seat on the Council.
(3) (40)
The Minutes of the last meeting of the County Council were read and confirmed and signed by the Chairman.
       (4) (41)
The Chairman read his Minutes of a meeting of the Finance Committee, held at 10:30 a.m. on this date, and submitted same as their report. It was then –
 Proposed by Mr. M. J. Minch MP, seconded by Mr. J. P. Dowling and unanimously agreed:
  That the Minutes of the Finance Committee be adopted as their report.
(5) (42)
The County Council approved of the decision of the Finance Committee (in their Minute N°. 3) relative to the account furnished by Mr. Charles Daly Sub-Sheriff, as Returning Officer, for his election expenses.
(6) (43)
The Finance Committee, in their Minute N°.4, recommended that the several sums applied for by Unions and District Councils amounting to £9645: 6: 7, as set out in County Council Minute N°. 20, should be paid. The County Council approved of this, and Form N°. 27, authorising the County Treasurer to make the necessary transfers to the Union and District funds, was subsequently handed in by the Secretary and signed by the Chairman and two members of the Council.
(7) (44)
The County Council also approved of the further payments recommended by the Finance Committee in their Minutes N°s. 5, 7, & 8, viz:-
     £   s    d
To Mr. Charles Daly, Returning Officer, on account 500   -   -
To Naas Gas Company Limited    11  9   3
To Hibernian Bank, Ld., Naas, for credit of the Subsidiary Account 100   -   -
To G. de L. Willis, Secretary to the Council, tovprovide temporary clerical assistance in his Office 50      -  -
Form N°. 14 for the foregoing amounts was subsequently handed in by the Secretary and duly signed by the Chairman and two members of the County Council.
(8) (45)
The remaining Minutes of the Finance Committee were also approved of.
(9) (46)
With reference to County Council Minute N°.11 respecting the appointment of a Joint Committee for Carlow Lunatic Asylum, the Secretary read a letter (No. 23726) dated 28th April, from the Local Government Board, stating that “the Kildare County Council cannot formally appoint members to act on the Joint Committee until after 16th May next, ……. but they may consider the question of the persons to be selected, at their meeting to-morrow,” and further stating that only two persons could be selected who are not members of the Kildare County Council.
The County Council decided to defer further action in this matter until their next meeting to be held after 16th May.
(10) (47)
County Treasurer: - With reference to County Council Minute N°.22, the Secretary read a letter (N°.23577) dated 26th April from the Local Government Board stating that “the Bank which acted formerly as Treasurer of the Grand Jury will continue so to act unless, under Section 83 of the Local Government (Ireland) Act 1898 the County Council of a County appoint another Bank as Treasurer.”                                                   
(11) (48)
County Treasurer’s Account:- With reference to County Council Minute N°.21 the Secretary read the following letter from the Hibernian Bank, Naas, dated 28th April:-
    “Dear Sir,
                     I have laid your application of 25th inst. before my Directors, who have granted the overdraft required by the Council, at the rate of 3½ per cent. With regard to the further question of interest on credit balances I have to say that interest at the rate of 2 per cent will be allowed on the daily credit balances.                          
Yours faithfully
                                                                        (Signed) A. Thunder, Manager.”
On considering the foregoing letter it was –
Proposed by Mr. John Field, seconded by Mr. M. J. Minch, M.P., and carried:-
That the terms for temporary advance and interest on current balances proposed by the Hibernian Bank be accepted.
(12) (49)
Bank Overdraft: - Proposed by Colonel Sir G. R Dease, seconded by Mr. J. P. Dowling, and carried unanimously –
That the Local Government Board be requested to sanction an overdraft up to £10,000 as may be required from time to time up to 30th September next.
(13) (50)
With reference to County Council Minute N°.31 respecting the appointment of a third additional councillor for Baltinglass N°.3 Rural District Council, the Secretary read a letter (N°.24056) dated 28th April from the Local Government Board, stating that in their opinion the County Council had correctly interpreted Section 113(3) of the Local Government (Ireland) Act.
The Secretary also read a telegram from the Clerk of Baltinglass N°.3 District Council as follows:-
“To Willis, Naas. District Council nominate Edward Peter O’Kelly, J.P. Baltinglass. (Signed) Dagg.”
It was accordingly proposed by Mr. Owen Cogan, seconded by Mr. Edward Hayden, and unanimously passed –
That Mr. Edward Peter O’Kelly be appointed a third additional Councillor for the Rural District of Baltinglass N°3, under Section 113(3) of the Local Government Act.
(14) (51)
 With reference to County Council Minute N°35, the Secretary read a letter (N°.24056) dated 28th April from the Local Government Board, concurring with the view taken by the County Council to the effect that the Council had no jurisdiction under the Diseases of Animals Acts in the portion of Naas Union which is situate outside the bounds of their County.
In consequence of the foregoing letter the Notice prohibiting movement and the Notice of a fresh outbreak of sheep scab handed in by Mr. C Black at the last meeting of the Council, were now handed back to him, and his five withdrawals of Notice were marked read.
(15) (52)
Diseases of Animals Acts – The Secretary read a circular (N°.380/99) from the Assistant Under Secretary, Dublin Castle, relative to the business transferred to the County Council under the Diseases of Animals Acts 1894 and 1896.
On considering same it was – Proposed by Mr. J. P. Dowling, seconded by Mr. M.J. Minch, M.P., and carried –
That the Chairman & Vice Chairman of the five District Councils of the County and of the Boards of Guardians of the Athy, Celbridge, Naas and Edenderry & Baltinglass Unions be an Executive Committee for the purposes of the Diseases of Animals Acts, any three to form a quorum. The first meeting of the Committee to be on whatever day may be fixed for the next meeting of the County Council.
(16) (53)
The Council further adjourned to their next meeting the consideration of fixing dates for the quarterly meetings of the Rural District Councils.
(17) (54)
The Secretary read a letter (N°.22344) dated 22nd April, from the Local Government Board, stating that in their opinion “Collectors of Poor Rate are placed in exactly the same position as Collectors of County Cess with regard to employment by the County Council, and no preference is given, so far as the Board are aware, to one class over the other. Having regard to the terms of Section 115(12)(c) of the Local Government (Ireland) Act, 1898, The Board consider that if a Cess Collector has expressed his unwillingness to serve, he is entitled to receive a gratuity even if the County Council are willing to employ him.”
On the foregoing letter being read, Mr. Dudley White, B.L. instructed by Mr. Kennedy, Solicitor, asked the permission of the Council to make some observations on behalf of the Poor Rate Collectors, and he was permitted to do so.
The Council proceeded to consider the salaries to be fixed for the County Coroners. The Secretary handed in an abstract of the Coroners’ Accounts for the five years ended at Summer Assizes, 1898. Dr. Falconer, Q.C., instructed by Mr. W. A. Lanphier, Solicitor, appeared for the Coroners, and handed in a similar abstract, prepared by the Coroners themselves, and which showed that they estimated that their average emoluments, including salary, fees, and mileage for the five years in question had been –
Dr. Smyth ----------- £93:2:5.        Dr. O’Neill ------------ £152:8:0
After hearing Counsel and examining the abstracts of accounts the Council agreed to accept these estimates as correct.
On the motion of Mr. Edward Hayden, seconded by Mr Laurence Malone, Dr. O’Neill’s salary was fixed at £152:8:0 in terms of Section 14 of the Local Government Act.
Mr. Edward Hayden proposed and Mr. Laurence Malone seconded that Dr. Smyth’s salary should be £123.
Mr. John Field proposed and Mr. George Wolfe seconded an amendment – that Dr. Smyth’s salary be £110.
Mr. J.P.Dowling proposed and Mr Thomas Orford seconded a further amendment – that Dr. Smyth’s salary be £100.
Mr. Owen Cogan proposed and Mr. James Kelly (Rathbride) seconded a further amendment – that Dr. Smyth’s salary be £93:2:5.
A division was taken upon Mr. Cogan’s amendment with the result that there voted for the amendment Mr. Owen Cogan, Mr. James Kelly (Rathbride), Mr. A. More O’Farrell, Mr. Joseph O’Loughlin, and Mr. Cassidy. There noted against the Amendment all the other members excepting Mr. Minch, Mr. Medlicott and Mr. Kelly of Bohergoy (who were absent).
Mr. Cogan’s Amendment was accordingly declared lost.
A division was then taken on Mr. J. P. Dowling’s amendment – that Dr. Smyth’s salary be £100. There voted for the amendment all the members except Messrs. Minch, Medlicott & Kelly of Bohergoy (who were absent).
There voted against it Mr. Edward Hayden & Mr. Laurence Malone. The amendment was accordingly declared carried, and was then put by the Chairman as an original resolution, and was declared carried on a division in which the voting was the same as for the amendment.
Dr. Smyth’s salary was accordingly fixed at £100 – in terms of Section 14 of the Local Government Act.
The Council further decided that the salaries of both Coroners, at the rates now fixed, should be paid as from 1st April 1899, up to which date they are to be paid their salaries and emoluments at the rate heretofore paid.
County Kildare Infirmary – Pursuant to notice Mr. John T. Heffernan moved as follows:-
“That the Secretary be instructed to communicate with the Trustees of the Duke of Leinster as to whether they are disposed to enter into negotiations with regard to the opening of the County Infirmary.” Mr. Heffernan’s resolution was seconded by Mr. Edward Hayden. Lord Frederick Fitzgerald being present stated, on behalf of the Trustees of the Duke of Leinster, that they would be prepared to enter into negotiations for the re-opening of the Kildare Infirmary, but not for the letting of the Doctor’s residence, as that house had been let on lease.
After considerable discussion Mr. Heffernan withdrew his resolution, and the following Notice of Motion was handed in by Mr. A. More O’Farrell:-
“That the question of the re-opening of the Kildare Infirmary be referred to the several Rural District Councils of the County Kildare, and that they be requested to favour the Council with their views at next meeting”.
County Carlow Infirmary – The following Notice of Motion was handed in by Mr. Edward Hayden:-
“To ask the County Council to instruct their Secretary to communicate with the Committee of the Carlow County Infirmary, to see if arrangements could be made for patients from the Electoral Division of Ballaghmooon, and the townlands of Ballyhale & Knocknacree to be sent to and treated at that Infirmary.”
Railway Reform Association – Proposed by Mr. W. R. Ronaldson, seconded by Mr. John Field and unanimously adopted:-
That the County Kildare County Council appoint members to represent them on the Railway Reform Association, viz., Mr. Ronaldson, Mr. Field & Mr. W. McKenna.
The next meeting of the County Council was fixed for Saturday, 27th May, at 12:39 p.m.
Provisions for Sudden Damage Orders – The County Surveyor submitted the following resolution, and same was proposed by Mr. J P Dowling, seconded by Mr. Laurence Malone, and unanimously adopted:-
For the purpose of providing for the immediate repair of a Sudden Damage to any public work, under Section 11 of the Local Government (Ireland) Act, 1898, the County Council hereby direct their County Surveyor to forward a certificate relating to such sudden damage and stating probable cost of repair, to the County Councillor of the district in which the damage occurred. Such certificate, if countersigned by the Councillor and returned to County Surveyor, to be full authority for execution of the necessary repairs, provided the expense, if wholly a District charge does not exceed £50. Where the expense will be wholly a District charge and exceeding £50 – The County Surveyor, before proceeding with the work of repairs, shall communicate with the Clerk of the District Council in whose District the sudden damage occurred, and forward to him a copy of the signed and countersigned certificate above referred to. If after the lapse of ten days the District Council do not communicate with the County Council Surveyor (vide Minute?? N°141 – may well have been written into Minutes at later stage) and object to the expense, the County Surveyor to have authority to proceed with repairing the damage. Expenditure on Sudden Damages to be paid out of “Subsidiary Account”, upon certificates issued by the County Surveyor.
Train Service to Naas – Proposed by Mr. George Mansfield, D.L., seconded by Mr. George Wolfe, and unanimously adopted:-
That we call the attention of the Great Southern & Western Railway Co. to the inadequacy of the present train service to Naas & Sallins, owing to which the Jurors, Witnesses, professional men attending Assizes and Quarter Sessions, the members of this Council and of the District Council, and the public generally are subjected to great inconvenience and we urge upon the Company the necessity of improving the present service.
Bills for Confirming Provisional Orders – The Secretary read a circular (N°20734/1899) dated 24th April, from the Local Government Board, containing particulars of arrangements made by the Irish Government with reference to Bills to be introduced in Parliament for the purpose of confirming Provisional Orders made by the Local Govt., Board under the Public Health (Ireland) Acts, the Housing of the Working Classes Acts, and the Local Govt., Act 1898.
Malicious Injury Claim £250 – The Secretary handed in notices of a claim for malicious injury for £250 which had been served on him on behalf of Major R.H. Borrowes, D.L. On considering same it was proposed by Mr. J.P. Dowling, seconded by Mr. J.T. Heffernan, and unanimously agreed –
That our Solicitor be instructed to defend the claim made for malicious damage of £250 by Major Barrowes.
Revised Valuation Lists – The Secretary read a circular (dated 28th April) from the Commissioner of Valuation, forwarding the revised Valuation Lists for the County of Kildare, and a Statement for each Rural District showing the changes made in the Valuation during the recent annual revision, and also printed copies of Instructions issued by him under the Valuation Acts.
The Council adjourned to Saturday 27th May
Stephen J Brown Ch.
27th May 1899.

To commemorate the 110th anniversary of theFirst Meeting of Kildare County Council on 22 April 1899 we have added the Minutes of the Second Meeting of that First Council. The Minutes of the First Meeting are already on EHistory.  

April 18, 2009


Kildare County Council marks its 110th birthday

The 110th anniversary of Kildare County Council will be marked on Wednesday, 22 April at 8pm in the council's award-winning new headquarters at Aras Cill Dara, Naas with a public talk on the first meeting of the council in 1899. The talk by local historian, Liam Kenny, will take place 110 years to the day since the inaugural council took office following the local elections of April 1899. The event will reflect on the excitement -- and the controversies -- generated by the first election in which the people of county Kildare were given a say in the choice of their elected representatives. For generations before participation in county administration had been confined to the landed elite; the 1899 elections were the first to bring a level of democracy to the county. The timing of the commemoration is particularly apt given that campaigning is in full swing for the 2009 local elections with twenty-five seats to be filled on the council from electoral areas throughout the county.

We hope to have members of the Fulham family in attendance on the night with some of the original equipment used by the Co. Surveyor on the roads of Kildare.


Come to ARAS CHILL DARA for a talk by local historian Liam Kenny on the 110th anniversary of Kildare County Council,Wed. 22 April 2009 at 8 p.m.


April 17, 2009


Leinster Leader 06/03/1920
Closure of R.I.C. barracks
The Leixlip R.I.C. barracks has been closed and Sergt. Lane who was in charge is transferred to Maynooth. The four constables at the Leixlip station are transferred to different portions of County Kildare.

The closure of the R.I.C barracks in Leixlip is announced.


Leinster Leader 9/7/1983
Last of Leixlip’s old style grocers to go
Maria Marron
The closure of Torley’s shop in Leixlip’s Main Street on September 15 will represent not only a significant break with the commercial history of the main street but the culmination of a difficult decision which had to be made by the present and last Torley incumbent in the shop, Miss Patricia Torley.
Torley’s, which is the last of the small type grocery stores in the town centre, and which has been in business for 61years, was recently put up for auction by Miss Torley, and the chances are that the new owners will demolish the existing building to erect a more modern premises, be it residential or commercial.
Many Leixlippians will mourn the demise of Torley’s where they were ensured personal service and a kind word down through the years, and already anticipating the closure of their local grocery store they are asking Patricia “What will we do when you’re gone?”
It was Patricia’s father who started the grocery business in the Main St., after the R.I.C. disbanded, more than six decades ago. Originally from Co. Mayo, he had once been stationed in Leixlip, where the old R.I.C. barracks was located in a house at the rear of Casey’s factory just off the Main St., and behind what was later to become Torley’s grocery.When Mr. Torley died in 1937, Patricia, her mother, and her sister, Eileen, who died in 1966, kept on the business, selling all types of groceries as well as newspapers, cigarettes and tobacco.Saying that she is about the last of the old style grocers in the village, Patricia says that Dowdall’s, a similar type grocery, closed last year. The pattern of business, she says, has changed in recent years, and the advent of the large supermarkets is culpable for much of that change. “We noticed a change when Gubay’s (now Tesco) came to Lucan” says Patricia, and although she and other grocers, were affected by the diversion of some of the business to the supermarket chain, she didn’t try very hard to recapture fall-off. “I had no dependents and what’s the point in killing yourself?” she remarks. A lot of new people in the village who have cars are inclined to travel outwards to do their shopping, Patricia claims, and she feels that the credit system which was largely used years ago will never be reverted to. Profit margins, she says, have halved of late, with high expenses eating into profits. But even if profits have diminished in recent years, some changes are certainly welcome. One which Patricia was only too delighted to see taking place was from the rations system at the end of the war years to ordinary business.” The rations system was just murderous” she says, and she recalls that Danish butter, which was the only butter available in any quantities, used to come in half barrels while jam used to come in 7 pound pots, and would then have to be distributed. Cigarettes, which were delivered in long boxes of 500, were generally sold in 5’s and “there used to be queues looking for them”.Torley’s, it seems, did a marvellous passing trade at one time, but congestion in the Main St. and parking problems did away with that.
Patricia says that it was a hard decision to make to give up the shop, and one which she had been thinking about for 3 years. Ultimately, it was one of her nieces who persuaded her to give it up, and give herself a break.She admits that she is bound to miss the shop, as it has been her life for so many years, but when she considers that it was a 7 day a week job, with only a half day on Wednesdays and Sundays, she feels that the closure will allow her time to do the things she has always wanted to do, but for which she never had the time.
Torley’s, which has not been modernised or altered in recent years has a lovely old fashioned façade. The sculpted name of TORLEY stands out in high relief on a green painted wooden board above the door, while the large shop window displays a colourful array of cigarette advertisements and other advertising pull-outs. “John Player – kingsize” and "Will’s Capstan” adverts form a harmonious colour combination with the shop itself, which, these days, is overhung by a “Coonan’s auctioneers” sign.
The adjudicators of the Tidy Towns competition once recommended that Torley’s should not do anything with their shopfront, says Patricia, so mindful of that, and aware that there was no point in doing anything with the shop in the event of possibly selling it, she left it as it was originally.
The autumnal demise of Torley’s will be a demise of the old style grocer and trader in Leixlip’s Main St. Already, the old forge which used to be beside the Post Office (formerly a grocery and petrol filling station) has been demolished, while all of the old groceries have closed, or have been converted for other commercial purposes. The town’s new furniture store, the greengrocers, the fish ‘n chipper, the jewellers and the travel agency are all businesses which have sprung up in Main St. in recent years. They are all reflective of growth in the area and of changing business patterns. Just as Torley’s future demise is reflective of a trade that is past…. or almost past.

Maria Marron's article in the Leader of 1983 marks the closure of Torley's shop on Leixlip's Main Street. Torley's was the last of the small grocery stores in the town centre. 

April 09, 2009


War of Independence Exhibition
War of Independence Exhibition opening on Easter Monday 13th April  at 7.30 pm in the Athy Heritage Centre & Museum   featuring 'Lord Edwards Own' re-enactment group from Monasterevin.
This exhibition contains artifacts, documents, and photos dealing with that period of 1916 -1923.  The exhibition will run from  Monday night till Wednesday 22nd April.
Please come along to the opening.

Launch of War of Independence Exhibition in Athy Monay 13 April at 7.30 p.m.

April 08, 2009


 Leinster Leader January 29 2009
A Brigid of the 20th century – Rebel, Soldier and Doctor
The history of a locality is ultimately made by its people. Very often historians document the life of somebody who was born and reared in the locality and who went on to play a prominent and distinguished role in the life of the community. But sometimes a character flits across the stage of local history, spends only a short time in the locality and yet leaves a mark which is worthy of record.  Such a character who spent a brief but significant time in Co. Kildare was Brigid Lyons, revolutionary activist and campaigning doctor. She had a career full of adventure becoming at a young age deeply committed to the nationalist movement and being involved in the thick of the 1916 action, all the time weaving in her studies for the medical profession, itself a career which seemed unachievable to women in the early decades of the 20th century.
Brigid Lyons’ story has been brought to print in a book titled ‘A Noontide blazing – Rebel, Soldier, Doctor’ by John Cowell, himself a member of the medical profession. By bringing her story to book he continues the process of highlighting the under appreciated involvement of women in the Irish independence struggle. As the author himself declares with lyrical flourish ‘ On that April day in 1916 when a patriotic bunch of men in cloth caps wheeled into Sackville Street, antique rifles on their shoulders and newly burnished purpose in their hearts, a group of equally patriotic , long-skirted, long haired women followed …’
Brigid was born in east Co. Roscommon but as a child went to live with an uncle and aunt in Longford, a garrison town indeed but her new family was marked by its adherence to nationalist politics. Her Uncle Frank was up to date with the emerging nationalist currents of the time – Arthur Griffith, Sinn Fein and the Abbey Theatre. Another uncle, Joe, was even more radical – he had just returned from the United States where he had worked with John Devoy and Joe McGarrity in keeping the militant republican thrust for Ireland alive.
Brigid completed her secondary school in Sligo where encouragement from a teacher, Mother Scholastica, inspired her to pursue her dream of medical studies. However this aspiration was to take second place as her involvement with the nationalist movement took over her life. She moved to Dublin in 1915 where her Uncle Joe was training and recruiting the Irish Volunteers and his wife, her Aunt Joe, was training their female counterparts the Cumann na mBan. Back to Galway she began her first year at medical studies. On a break to her Dublin relations in April 1916 she found herself ushered into the front line of the 1916 rising. Brigid spent the week as nurse and provider to the First Battalion of volunteers who had taken possession of the Four Courts and the adjacent streets. She worked with other Cumann na mBan volunteers as the battle raged with ferocity throughout Easter week. She volunteered for a particularly dangerous mission when she joined a colleague in making their way through the murderous cross fire to a position in a house at Church Street where they converted the place to a canteen and first-aid post for the Volunteers. She was to find herself at the centre of the battle of North King Street, one of the most vicious episodes in that Easter week of violence in Dublin city. 
The remainder of her participation with the Volunteers, her completion of her medical studies, and her re-engagement with the struggle through the 1919-21 period are well documented in Dr. John Cowell’s book including the excitement of her involvement with Collins in an attempt to rescue Sean McEoin from Mountjoy jail.   
Brigid Lyons connection with Kildare was to come in later years when she resumed her medical career. She had a particular interest in tackling the epidemic which was the scourge of Ireland for decades – tuberculosis. She had suffered herself from the disease so had an especial empathy with its victims. The Medical Officer for Co. Kildare in the late 1920s was Doctor Austin Harbison (father of the former state Pathologist – Dr. John Harbison). He was one of three Doctors selected by the new Free State Government to train with the Rockefeller Foundation in the US in regard to establishing a public health service. Brigid, now a qualified doctor, was appointed as his assistant in Kildare which had been designated as the pilot area for a tuberculosis treatment scheme. Despite her best professional efforts a certain amount of political and public indifference, and, in her view, a lack of commitment within medical circles meant that TB would remain a scourge for years to come. Nonetheless there were many who benefited from her care and attention during her year with the County Kildare medical board in 1928.
‘A Noontide Blazing – Brigid Lyons Thornton’ by John Cowell, published by Currach Press.  
 Series No. 104

In his regular Leader feature 'Nothing New Under the Sun', Liam Kenny recalls the life of Brigid Lyons, revolutionary, activist and campaigning doctor.


Leinster Leader, Saturday 14 November 1981
Frank Driver Passes into Legend
Staunch, lifelong republican, Frank Driver of Ballymore Eustace, who died last week, was given a funeral on Saturday which will live on in memory.
Frank, who had been in poor health in recent years, was in his late seventies. His whole life was devoted to the movement, and his last big public occasion was in June when he laid the Provisional Sinn Féin wreath at Bodenstown.
A most notable feature of his funeral was the presence of over 100 Gardai and detectives including members of the Special Branch. Some took up duty on all approach roads, and scores flanked the cortege and later encircled the hillside cemetery where he was laid to rest.
The late Mr. Driver was a life Vice-President and former member of the Provisional Sinn Féin Árd Comhairle and a former internee at Newbridge and Curragh. The internment followed Mass in irish concelebrated by three priests, Rev. John Dunphy, C.C Ballymore Eustace; Rev. Myles Christy, Francis Street Church, Dublin, formerly of Ballymore and National H-Blocks Committee Chairman, Rev. P. Ó Duill. Peace and justice were highlights of a brief eulogy by Fr. Dunphy.
Five men and two women in black garb flanked the Tricolour draped coffin during the Mass and a lone piper (Jack O’Connor) walked ahead of the cortege playing laments. The coffin was borne over half a mile on the shoulders of Sinn Féin colleagues and friends. Outside his humble home near the church it halted for a brief period as a mark of respect.
The huge Gardai force was directed by Chief Supt. James Murphy from H.Q. in the local station, and only on occasions of Cabinet meetings in nearby Barrettstown Castle has the village seen so much activity and official transport in use.
The attendance included Ruari Ó Brádaigh, President of Provisional Sinn Féin, Daithi ÓConaill, Joe Cahill, Richard Behal, Joe O’Neill, and the former Fianna Fáil Minister, Kevin Boland.
In an oration in Irish and English at the graveside, where prayers were recited in Irish by Fr. Dunphy, assisted by Fr. Christy, Mr. Ó Brádaigh touched on highlights of Mr. Driver’s devotion to the cause of republicanism and described him as a lodestone to whom all supporters could gravitate.

The Leinster Leader of November 1981 reports on the funeral of lifelong republican Frank Driver of Ballymore Eustace.

April 02, 2009


Leinster Leader, January 22, 2009
Few January blues at All-Whites County Convention
The month of January brings something of a lull on the Gaelic playing fields as players and managers sit out the mid-winter waiting for more playable conditions. However it is the time when the back-room people, the administrators of the sport come to prominence with that great staple of the GAA calendar, the county convention.
The Kildare GAA convention of 1959 was covered comprehensively in the paper in the last week of January. The report began by highlighting an example of longevity in the administration of the sport with Mr. Tadgh O’Cleirigh re-elected County Board secretary for the thirty-ninth successive year – surely a record of some kind.
In his report to the Convention Mr. O’Cleirigh provides a fascinating record of the state of GAA in the short grass county. He said that although the county seniors were engaged on at least 20 Sundays yet the championships were completed before the end of the season and the only outstanding match was the junior final proper. The weather was the worst for many years with the result that gate receipts were down by more than £200. He had some stern judgements to make on the quality of football on view in the county over the previous twelve months. He maintained that the standard of play in the competitions was not greatly improved. His solution was to urge for a greater introduction of youth in some teams and this would lead to the competitions being more appreciated.
He reported that at the beginning of 1958 Kildare had full points in the National Football League but the chances of reaching the League final looked slight. The first (pleasant) surprise was at Naas, when Kildare, in rampant style, took the points from Kerry and gave Lilywhites supporters a glimpse of what their team could do. However the next outing against neighbours Carlow came as a cold ‘douche’ to the Kildare selectors and supporters, Carlow leaving Kildare guessing until a draw was ground out at the end of the hour. It was lucky for Kildare that Carlow had already lost two points in the League. In the replay at Athy, Kildare players made no mistake and overwhelmed Carlow in the second half. To show the popularity of Kildare the gate receipts at this match amounted to an impressive £1,000.
Kildare’s display against Tyrone proved that the All-Whites were the better team and, according to the Co. Secretary, the clash between Kildare and Dublin in the final would have ended differently only for circumstances. However if Kildare’s longer than expected run in the National League was to give supporters something to cheer about, the county was not able to keep up the momentum for the All-Ireland championships.
Mr. O’Clerigh reported that after the great display in the League many of the Kildare players were on the injured list when the county was called on to play old rivals Offaly in the first round of the championship. He remarked that ‘ we can blame nobody but ourselves for our defeat on that occasion.’
Looking to the 1959 fixtures he was guarded about the prospects for Kildare. ‘Our chances this season do not look very rosy’ he reported ‘ We are two points down in the National League and to make any sort of impression we must take the points from Kerry and Carlow in the coming matches’. He went on to say that the senior team was nearly as good as it was in the beginning of 1958 but in an interesting assessment of Kildare’s psychology he said that senior team lacked ‘enthusiasm and faith in itself’.
Despite this judgement he paid tribute to the team’s trainer – G Fitzgerald of Saggart – for all the work he had one for the Kildare team.
Another stalwart of Kildare GAA administration was Liam Geraghty who was re-elected to the position of county board chairman. Speaking as Gaeilge he promised that he would continue to do all in his power to maintain ‘dignity, honesty and fair play’. Casting his net wide he paid tribute to the Kildare men domiciled in America who were doing staunch work for the Association and he expressed regret for his absence at the Kildaremen’s Association function in Dublin.
The All-Whites clearly had strong support in the capital and across the Atlantic. But the hard grind of training and preparing teams for the 1959 season would have to take place on home grounds through the county
series no 103.

The Kildare GAA convention of 1959 was covered comprehensively by the Leader in the last week of January. In his regular Leinster Leader feature 'Nothing New Under the Sun', Liam Kenny takes a look at the coverage.


Irish Times June 29 1921
Curragh Civilian Employee Murdered
A military court of inquiry, in lien of an inquest, assembled at Kilbeggan, Co. Kildare on the 15th June 1921, for the purpose of investigating the death of Michael Power, aged 40, civilian employe [sic] Royal Engineers, of the Curragh Camp. According to the evidence, deceased, who was an ex-soldier, lived with his wife and four children at Brownstown, Curragh, when one night, about 11 o’clock, their cottage was surrounded by fifteen men, who started to burst open the door. Power immediately went down and opened it, and two masked men, armed with revolvers, entered. They asked him if he was Power, and then took him away, half dressed. He returned home at 4 a.m. the next morning, and stated that he had been taken to a big house and tried for alleged larceny by a Sinn Fein court, which sentenced him to leave the country for a period of twelve months on the following Monday.
Power obtained quarters in the Curragh Camp and employment with the Royal Engineers in September, 1920. In April, 1921, his wife visited her sister at a house where she was employed in Kilbeggan. Power joined his wife later, and left about 7 p.m. At 9 p.m. four men, two of them masked, came to the house and asked Mrs. Power where her husband was. She told them he had gone home. The men then searched the house, upsetting everything. Two of them had revolvers.
On the 10th June, 1921, Mrs Power again visited her sister at the house in Kilbeggan. Power went with her and remained about an hour. He then said that he was going into the yard and would be back in about five minutes. Mrs. Power was up stairs at the time, and after her husband had left she noticed men approaching the house. When she observed the centre man put a white handkerchief over his face she became suspicious and went down stairs and into the yard to look for her husband. She found him lying face downwards in a stable. He was unconscious, and, although she remained with him till he died about half an hour afterwards, he never spoke.
A medical witness gave evidence that deceased had bullet wounds on the left side of the chest, the left groin, and the left collar bone. All wounds had been caused by small calibre bullets, which had been fired from a distance of at least three yards.
The Court found that Michael Power was wilfully murdered by some person or persons unknown.

The Irish Times, in June 1921, reports on the murder of Michael Power, a civilian employee with the Royal Engineers based at the Curragh Camp.

April 01, 2009


Leinster Leader 12/1/1985
Kilcullen Mill Comes Down
It was an emotional moment recently for Jim Collins, one of Kilcullen’s best known residents and businessmen, when he oversaw the destruction of a building with which his family has been connected for a century.
Jim, who started up “Saunaland”, a firm which manufactures sunbeds, in 1983, had been working from the old mill first operated by members of the Collins family in 1890. It was however, basically unsuitable and in a bad state of disrepair, and Jim recently received permission to construct a new factory on the site.
Despite that element of sentimentality inevitably attached to such an issue, Jim Collin’s sense of humour rarely deserts him and he was able to give a graphic and frequently light-hearted account of the history of the old mill, close to the town.
It was built in 1830 by a man called La Touche who apparently had little interest in milling as a trade, despite owning three mills in the locality. He was also the owner, at the time, of Harristown House and lands and, so the story goes, after a ball there one night he heard one of the local people refer to him as ‘La Touche the miller’ which didn’t go down too well with him and the upshot was that he burned down his three mills the following day.
A person called Murphy, however, who had operated one of the mills, was understandably annoyed at the sudden annihilation of his means of survival and, in the absence of an Employment Appeals Tribunal, went to see ‘La Touche the miller’ to ascertain what might be done. Apparently, his former employer wasn’t such a bad old stick because (in the story according to Jim Collins) Murphy subsequently found himself the proud owner of a new mill.
Murphy’s Mill, literally given to him by La Touche, was a three-story water mill with two water wheels and it continued to function as a mill right up to 1972. Mind you, as Jim Collins will hasten to add, things didn’t always run smoothly. The Collins family came to operate the Kilcullen mill in 1890, after losing a lease on the De Burgh mill in Naas. That was Jim’s great (or was it great great) uncle….. But at any rate the family continued to run the mill as a traditional water-powered operation until 1946.
Then the weir broke and Jim’s father embarked on legal battle with the ESB on the grounds that its new hydro-scheme at Poulaphouca was definitely interfering with business. The ESB, in its early days and fearfully imagining a trail of discontented mill-owners throughout the country beating a track to its door, took him all the way to the High Court. The result? A whole new electrically operated system at the mill.
The mill, incidentally, was unperturbed as it was, by that time, accustomed to having its old walls rattled by unusual events. Back in the ‘20s, when Jim’s father had been active in the Old IRA, it apparently housed some unusual items and activities. It also had the honour of being the means of maintaining, during the six years of World War Two, one of the few cinemas to keep showing ‘the pictures’. The indomitable Mr. Collins used the generator to light the cinema, showing the films off the water-wheel. Also during the War, Germans interned at the Curragh worked with Jim’s father at the mill, which was primarily used to grind meal and oats for local farmers.
In 1972, the mill ceased to fulfil its original purpose and was converted to a factory, originally occupied by a knitwear company, Shelmalier. Later, M.A.S. Precision (now based in Newbridge) began operations there until finally, with the wheel, as it were, turning full circle, Jim Collins moved back in to set up his new and very modern company, the only operation of its sort in Ireland.
Five people are now employed by Jim in the manufacture of the sunbeds – ever increasing in popularity in this rather damp climate of ours.
Jim hopes that the construction of the new, 3000 sq. ft. factory will result in the expansion of his business. “At present, we are manufacturing a fairly sophisticated piece of equipment in very bad conditions and we hope that, on completion of the new premises, we will be in a position to develop the operation and reduce the amount of sub-letting of work which we currently require”.
With construction commencing in January, Jim hopes that things can really get underway in March – the peak season for sunbed sales. While he admits that the destruction of the mill is a breach in a long historical link, he is also all too willing to state that he building was “essentially useless as it stood and of little or no architectural value”. So it all looks like a very good business move indeed. There’s just one thing Jim hasn’t thought about. What happens when people start calling him ‘Collins the sunsoaker’. Hopefully he won’t find it as objectionable as did La Touche the miller.

Jim Collins, a well known Kilcullen businessman, recalls the history of the Old Mill in Kilcullen for The Leinster Leader in January 1985.


Leinster Leader, January 8 2009
Tally Ho! As hunt traverses the county on mid-winter gallops
The mid-winter was, of course, the hunting season and for the supporters of hunting in the county it was a keenly anticipated time of the year. There was a long tradition in the local paper of publishing full accounts of the various hunting meets including descriptions of the terrain traversed by the horses and hounds. These give some flavour of the thrill of the chase – although that is hardly likely to be a sentiment felt by the unfortunate fox! Nonetheless the reports give a valuable insight into a pursuit which figured prominently in the county in bygone years. The Leader of January 1959 picks up on a number of meets with the Kildare Hunt Club which had taken place in late December 1958.
On the Saturday after Christmas, after all had partaken of Lord and Lady Carew’s kind hospitality at Castletown House the hounds moved off to draw the Long Wood, which proved blank. A fox found in the main covert was hunted around the demesne for some time, before the scent fizzled out. Finding in Griffinrath covert hounds pushed their fox out and ran fast through Pickering Forest on to Mr. M. Dempsey’s farm at Springfield. Here they swung left-handed and continued to run fast, leaving Oakley Park on their right, across the Griffinrath- Celbridge road, through Griffinrath bottoms on to Major O’Kelly’s farm at Ballygoran where they marked to ground – after a capital 25 minutes.
A fox found in Cullen’s gorse took the hounds across Mr. Brady’s farm at Greenfields, before turning right-handed through Ballygoran and Oldtown, on close to Castletown. Here Reynard swung left-handed and continued to run fast through Laraghbryan, on to Crinstown. Unfortunately, says the writer, this good fox was headed by some motorist but hunting beautifully, hounds pushed him across the Crinstown-Laragh Road through Derrinstown, on to Laragh Screens where they were defeated after a capital hunt lasting forty-five minutes over a grand line of country – to finish a good days sport.
On the following Monday the Hunt met at Lislee House, Kildare, where Mr. and Mrs. Stan Cosgrove dispensed hospitality. The hounds moved off to draw Sillot Covert. Finding a good fox in the covert the hounds were soon away and ran fast across Mr. Joe McGrath’s farm, over the Kildangan-Kildare road to Cherryville. Here they crossed the main Kildare-Monasterevin road, on over the railway line, across Mr. Dooney’s land and on by Rathwalkin House to the covert on the Red Hills west of Kildare town. Finding the earths well-stopped Reynard (the fox) led the hunt on a chase over the Red Hills to Watergrange before swinging left to Knavenstown, across Mr. M. McLoughlin’s farm and Mr. Vernon Gibson’s land to Mr. Wilson’s farm at Lackagh where this fox found refuge in an old badger earth – a grand hunt lasting fifty minutes.
Capt. O’Kelly’s kale near Cherryville held a brace; selecting one, hounds pushed him out and hunted nicely through Moortown and Sillot covert, across Mr. J. McGrath’s farm, over the main Kildare-Monasterevin road, to an old shore under the railway on Mr. McDonnell’s farm. A fox found in Mr. Delaney’s furze was marked to ground near Doneany. Ballyvarney covert failed to hold. After partaking of Mr. More O’Ferralls’ hospitality at Kildangan House the hunt turned homewards after a good day’s hunt.
There was no stopping the Tally-Ho brigade in that winter of 1958/59 because they were out again on the following day this time congregating at Beggar’s End near Punchestown. The gorse at the race course held several foxes. Selecting one the hounds pushed him out and ran fast across the Naas-Ballymore road through Gowran Grange on close to the Baron’s Bog. Here they swung right-handed and continued to run fast across Mr. Brian King’s farm at Swordlestown on over the Punchestown-Two Mile House road, over the Baron de Robeck’s schooling ground and on to Horse Hill, on the Naas-Ballymore Eustace road, where they marked their fox to ground after a fast twenty minutes. Later in the day the hunt pursued a fox in the opposite direction, across Mr. King’s farm again and on through Gowran Grange to the old covert at Killashee where hounds were stopped in the failing light after a very nice twenty-five minutes to finish a busy day.
And so all was well in the sport of hunting in Kildare as the New Year dawned.
Series no 101.

In his regular Leader feature 'Nothing New Under the Sun', Liam Kenny finds that the Leinster Leader of January 1959 gave extensive coverage to the activities of the Kildare Hunt.

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