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August 29, 2009


Kildare Observer-Saturday, October 6th, 1883
Consecration of St. Michael’s Church, Clane
On Saturday last, in the presence of a large and distinguished congregation, the Lord Archbishop of Dublin consecrated the church which has been recently erected and presented to the parishioners, through the generosity and munificence of Mr. Thomas Cooke-Trench, of Millicent. The building, which has cost the large sum of about £7,000, is capable of accommodating about two hundred people, and is a structure of much architectural beauty, reflecting great credit on Mr. Trench, on the architect and the builder. We are not going too far, we are sure, in saying that amongst the many parish churches throughout Ireland there are few, if indeed any to surpass in beauty the one consecrated at Clane on last Saturday morning. Though the building was commenced but two years ago, yet long prior to that date, Mr. Trench had desired to improve the parish church. Indeed, as we learn from a pamphlet published by Mr. Trench, so long ago as 1869 an eminent architect had been and consulted, and plans for its improvement were submitted by him. But difficulties arose which were not at the time overcome; and it was not till eleven years after that it was finally resolved to abandon the old church and build a new one on an entirely new site. It would occupy too much space to enter into all the reasons for this resolution, but the parishioners were mainly influenced by the overcrowded state of the churchyard, which forbade extension in any direction, and rendered interments impossible without disturbing older graves. Suffice it to say that at three largely attended meetings of the select vestry, held in 1880 and 1881, resolutions were unanimously passed-at the first accepting the offer of a new church, at the second approving of the plans, and at the third adopting the present site. This last resolution was passed on the 20th June, 1881, and on the same day operations were begun. The church, of which the tower is visible for a considerable distance on all sides, stands on a rising ground in a prominent and central position in the parish. The Wicklow mountains bound and give character to a view of much homely beauty. The chief material is the grey limestone of the neighbourhood, mostly from Mr. Henry’s quarry in the adjoining townland. The quoins and external dressings are of Cumberland red sandstone, the saving arches being of a black stone from Mr. Kirkpatrick’s quarry at Celbridge, which also supplied the lime. The sand was given, free of charge, by Mr. Manders. from his strand at Millicent Bridge. Internally, the walls were plastered, the windows, doors, arches, string courses, pillars, and other dressings being of white Bath stone. The steps, pulpit case, and platform at lectern and front are of Portland stone, the external steps and the bowl of the front and kerbstone of the foot-place are of red Cork marble. The walls throughout are lined with bricks. The roof is of pitch pine, covered with Welsh slates. The doors, floors, and fittings of Riga oak. The walls externally are of uncoursed ashlar, giving an idea of great strength and solidity. Handsome as is the exterior of the buildings, yet it is not till the interior is entered that its full beauties are seen. Those who have studied Lord Dunraven’s “Notes on Irish Architecture” and have learned that we possess a national style of architecture capable of exquisite beauty, especially adopted to buildings of moderate size, will not be surprised to learn that an Irishman, building in Ireland, has adopted the style closely allied to the Norman, and technically known as Hiberno-Romanesque. The first object which strikes the eye entering is the chancel arch of three members and of great richness and beauty; another richly carved arch unites the choir and chancel. These arches strongly remind one of the arches in Cormac’s Chapel, but are, if possible, more richly carved. One of the prettiest effects in the entire building is the view looking westward, when the five windows over the baptistery come into view, filled with a central figure of our Lord, with figures emblematic of baptism in the others-two from the Old and two from the New Testament. All the woodwork is richly carved, and of oak; the bosses of the roof are with a few exceptions different. When we mention that they are 220 in number, the expense will be apparent. There is no repetition of decorated work in the church. Every stroke of the chisel represents thought and care on the part of those who gave it. Of the 71 stone capitals, and 82 bosses, no two are alike, save those in the chimney and four high up on the tower. These were carved in Dublin before they came down, on account of the difficulty of afterwards of getting at them. Even the principal rafters, alike in other respects, have each their distinctive mid-rib. The floor under the seats is made of oak, tongued and grooved, and laid herring-bone fashion. The remainder of the floor is set in marble mosaic in various patterns; that in the chancel, outside the communion rails, and the border round the Bapistry, are both from the pavement of St. Mark’s at Venice. It has been executed by Italian artists in the employment of Messrs. Burke and Co.of Paris and London, The reredos and side walls of the sanctuary are covered with a glass mosaic, the work of Messrs. Powell and Sons of the Whitefriars Glass Works. The spandrels over the east windows are filled with Venetian mosaic by Capello, in memory of Lady Helena Trench who died in the ninety-first year of her age, whilst the building was in course of erection. 
                   Amongst the clergy present on Saturday were-The Deans of Dromore, Ossory, and Leighlin, the Archdeacon of Ossory, the Warden of St. Columbia, the Revs. E.D. Heathcote, J. Henry D D; B.C. Davidson-Houston, Canon Bagot, Canon Wilcox, C.J. Graham, Robert B. Stoney, H. Mollan, J. Molloy, Geo. R. Graham, Joseph Torrens, R. Irwin, R.D. Skuse, G. Garrett, A. Ren, Canon Cowell, James Adams, W. Foster, Canon Lloyd, R.S. Campbell &c.
   The Ven, the Archdeacon of Kildare (the Rev. Maurice de Burgh), read the first lesson, and the Ven the Archdeacon of Dublin this second. Prayers were intoned by the Rev. Canon Weldon and their services were highly appreciated, the choral parts part of the ceremony being really magnificent. The offertory amounted to £72.
    His Grace, in the course of an eloquent sermon, prescribed from Matthew 26th chap. And 8th verse-“To what purpose is this waste?” said: The world will allow and praise any prodigality which is bestowed upon itself; but when it is for God and for Christ, when the costly cedar is overlaid with pure gold in the temple of the Lord, when the alabaster box of precious ointment is broken above the head of Christ, and not a drop kept back, but all poured out, and not on his head only, but on his feet, even then, while the whole of the church is filled with the odour of the ointment, there will not be wanting some to join the cry, “For what purpose is this waste?” But mark, my dear brethren, on the first occasion on which these words, so often since repeated, were uttered, how the Lord silences the murmurers, allows and accepts the gift, and take her who brought it under His protecting love. “Why trouble ye the woman? For she hath wrought a good working upon Me.” And these words also reach very far. I see in them, setting as they did the seal of Christ’s approval on the costly service done to Him, disallowing as they did the plea that the money expanded upon it might have been more usefully expended in some other way; I see in this the allowance, the authority, the justification for very much which has since found place in His church. No cold utilitarianism is to reign there, no niggard calculation of the cheapest rate at which God may be served. The best which any man can bring is not too good; the richest and the rarest are not too rich and rare for Him. The kings of the earth should bring their glory and honour into His temple; and not merely the kings who sit on visible thrones, but they who reign as kings in the spirits of men-the mighty in science, the mighty in art, the mighty in song, they are then doing their best, they are fulfilling most truly the ends for which these transcendent gifts were lent to them, when they consecrate all without reserve to Him, when they, when they count all their science, their art, their song to Him, only then to have reached their highest consummation, whilst they wait as ministering handmaids upon Him, setting forth the beauty of His service, the spread of His truth, and the glory of His name. Thus, if any should ask concerning this beautiful house in which we are worshipping to-day, “To what purpose is this waste?” we answer, in the words of Christ, that it is a good work which has been wrought Him here; nor shall we be led astray though some should remind us how ten or twenty churches for the poor might have been erected for the cost of this one. I honour those who, serving in the spirit and not in the letter, have, in some famine or distress, sold the very sacramental vessels themselves, that with their price they might feed the poor or redeem the captive, but let us honour her also, for Christ honoured her and declared that her praise should be in all the churches, she too serving in the spirit and not in the letter, who broke the alabaster box of ointment over the Saviour’s head, which “might have been sold for much and given to the poor.” Let us honour her, and all who have since trodden in her steps. Short-sighted indeed, even from their own point of view, I believe the alternative course suggested by the objectors would prove. One signal act of self-sacrifice calls out so many more; so it has been found, and so it will be found often again. A noble leader will have many to follow in his footsteps. We put back, therefore, the charge, “To what purpose is this waste?” We feel that it touches not us, who rejoice in the godly house; that it touches as little the large and generous heart which designed and accomplished it.
                      At the conclusion of the ceremony the visitors and guests were entertained at Millicent and at the rectory, open house being apparently the order of a pulpit which had been made since morning, and that another bell had been promised; these, with the already promised lectern and other gifts, will make the furniture of the church almost complete.

The Kildare Observer of October 6th 1883 reports on the consecration of St. Michael's Church, Clane in the presence of a large and distinguished congretation. Our thanks to Roy O'Brien 

August 27, 2009


Kildare Observer, January 2nd, 1904
Death of a Crimean Veteran.
We regret to record the death of Mr. Patrick Turner, of Naas, one of the few surviving Crimean veterans. Deceased, who had attained a ripe old age, took part in all the battles in the famous campaign with his regiment, the 50th, or “Blind Half Hundred.” Mr Turner was granted a modest pension on being invalided, but on being medically certified as fit for work, that small emolument was taken from him.
Of a quiet, retiring disposition, Mr. Turner was seldom, if ever, found to talk of the stirring events of his military career. He passed peacefully away on Christmas morning. The funeral, which was largely attended, took place in the Old Abbey church yard on Sunday last.

The death of a Crimean Veteran is marked by the Kildare Observer of January 1904.

August 26, 2009


Leinster Leader, March 3rd 1889
Strange Discovery in Jail A Naas Girl’s Disguise
 On a Saturday afternoon an extraordinary discovery was made in Kilmainham Jail. A prisoner named John Bradley, convicted in the Southern Police Court of vagrancy and sentenced to fourteen days’ imprisonment, was found to be a woman. On Friday evening a police constable on duty on Wellington Road saw a person who he believed to be a young man of twenty years of age wandering in the locality. He arrested the wayfarer on a charge of vagrancy, and on Saturday the accused was brought before Mr. C.L O’Donel, and sentenced to fourteen days’ imprisonment. On being lodged in Kilmainham prison, the prisoner refused to comply with a warder’s order to prepare for a bath, and persisted in the refusal for some time. In the end the poor creature, with tears in her eyes, pleaded that she was a woman. The warders then desisted and a female employee in the prison corroborated the prisoner’s statement. Afterwards the girl was removed to Grangegorman prison, where only females were detained. Since the discovery the prisoner gave to those in charge of her some information as to her previous life. She was born in Naas about twenty-four years ago. Her father she does not remember, and her earliest recollections are of herself (as “John Bradley”) and her mother residing in a house in New Row, off Francis-street, Dublin. Her mother supported them both by working as a laundress, and sent “her son” as the poor girl was known in the neighbourhood, to the Christian Brothers’ school in Francis-street, where she remained for several years. As far as she knew she had never been dressed as a girl, and she did not remember being called by any name other than that of “John Bradley.” This deception was at the desire of her mother, of whom she spoke in terms of deep affection, and on her death a few months ago she did not care to make a change. Since then she had been living on £10 or £12 left her by her mother, but the sum being expended, she was on Saturday last seeking on the Wellington Road some person who had been in debt to her parent, when she was placed under arrest. She had scarcely ever done any work, except that of assisting her mother, carrying water, &c, and, in consequence, when her money was done she felt quite helpless. She does not know the reason of her mother having been desirous that she should appear a boy, but she believes that some person was paying them a periodical sum, and argues that they, whoever they were, would likely prefer to pay for a boy than for a girl. On being received into Grangegorman jail the prisoner was dressed in women’s clothes, in which she seemed to be awkward and uncomfortable. She is stated by those who have seen her to have a very good address and pleasing voice. Her hair is dark, her complexion pale, and her face lighted up with a pair of expressive eyes. -

The strange discovery of a Naas girl's disguise is recounted by the Leinster Leader of March 1889. Our thanks to Roy O'Brien.

August 22, 2009


Heritage Week Events in Co. Kildare 2009
Located in the restored Market House opposite St. Brigids Cathedral is an Exhibition telling
the story of Kildare past and present.
Date: Sat 22nd August – 29th August
Time: 9.30am - 5pm
Contact: Mary Stones
Venue: Kildare Town Heritage Centre.
Adm: Free
Tel: 045-530672
Irish Peatland Conservation Council
Volunteer Days at Lullymore West Bog, Co. Kildare. Work with the IPCC to help block drains
that were opened during the development of this peatland in the past. The drain blocking
will help us to preserve the habitat of the endangered marsh Fritillary butterfl y. Bring wellies
and packed lunch.
Date: Sat 22nd August – Sun 30th August
Venue: Bog of Allen Nature Centre
Contact: Cillian Breathnach
Tel: 045-860133
Adm: Free
Leixlip Union Parish
The Church was built 1179 and destroyed by the Bruce forces in 1317. The Church and Tower
were not restored until mid 15th Century.
Date: Sat(S) 22nd & 29th Aug Also Tue 25th & Thurs 27th Aug
Time: 10.00am – 1pm
Venue: St. Mary’s Church of Ireland, Main Street, Leixlip,
Tel: 01-6240976
Contact: Helen Ryan
Email: Stag@Indigo.Ie
The O_ ce of Public Works
Family day on Sat 22nd (Heritage day) with music from Push for Porter, face painting and
kids games in the afternoon.
Date: Sat 22nd August
Time: 10am
Venue: Maynooth Castle, Maynooth
Contact: Donna O’connor
Tel: 01-6286744
Adm: Free
Email: Maynoothcastle@Opw.Ie
The Office of Public Works
In 1176 Strongbow granted the manor of Maynooth to Maurice Fitzgerald who erected a
castle for protection against the native Irish. In 1426 the sixth Earl of Kildare enlarged and
rebuilt the castle. In the latter half of the fi fteenth century, Maynooth Castle became the
centre of the Geraldine powerbase
Date: Sat 22nd August - Sun 30th August
Venue: Maynooth Castle, Maynooth
Time: 10am - 5pm - Fri 28 Aug 10am - 16pm
Contact: Donna O’connor
Tel: 01-6286744
Adm: Free
Email: Maynoothcastle@opw.ie
06 ‘GORE AND GARDEROBES GALORE’ _ Guided tour of Maynooth Castle for children
The Office of Public Works
In 1176 Strongbow granted the manor of Maynooth to Maurice Fitzgerald who erected a
castle for protection against the native Irish. In 1426 the sixth Earl of Kildare enlarged and
rebuilt the castle. In the latter half of the fi fteenth century, Maynooth Castle became the
centre of the Geraldine powerbase
Date: Sat 22nd, Sun 23rd And Sat 29th
Venue: Maynooth Castle, Maynooth
Contact: Donna O’connor
Tel: 01-6286744
Adm: Free
Time: 11am -10.30am & 1pm- 1.30pm 10am – 5pm, Friday 28 August 10am - 4pm
Email: Maynoothcastle@opw.Ie
The O_ ce of Public Works
A photographic exhibition of some of the many castles and buildings associated with the
Fitzgeralds, Earls of Kildare and Dukes of Leinster.
Date: Sat 22nd August - Sun 30th August
Venue: Maynooth Castle, Maynooth
Time: 10am – 6pm
Contact: Donna O’Connor Tel: 01-6286744
Adm: Free Email: Maynoothcastle@opw.ie
Naas Local History Group
An exhibition of people, places and events from old and modern Naas.
Date: Sat 22nd August - Wed 29th August
Venue: Naas Library, Basin St., Naas
Time: 10.00am - 6pm: Wed 29th 10am - 1pm
Contact: Larry Breen Tel: 045-897445
Adm: Free Email: larrybreen8@eircom.net
Maynooth Local History Group
Short talk at St. Mary’s Church followed by walk through Maynooth town & Carton Avenue
to FitzGerald burial plot at Carton House for second talk.
Date: Sat 22nd August
Venue: St. Mary’s Church of Ireland, Maynooth & Carton House, Maynooth
Time: 2.30pm - 4.30pm
Contact: Rita Edwards Tel: 01-6016332
Adm: Free Email: ritaedwards@eircom.net
Celbridge Community Council
Come and experience this wonderful house – a Dublin Merchant’s house of 1719 in the heart
of Celbridge.
Date: Sat 22nd August
Time: 10.30 – 11.30am
Venue: Kildrought House
Contact: Rhoda Judge Tel: 01-6279145
Adm: Free Email: judger@live.ie
Celbridge Community Council
Date: Sat 22nd August
Time: 2pm – 3pm
Venue: Castletown Estate, Entrance Gates Main Street Celbridge.
Contact: Rhoda Judge Tel: 01-6279145
Adm: Free Email: judger@live.ie
12 INTERFACE_“MANY PLACES MANY FACES” Photographic Exhibition by Gino Kenny
Athy Heritage Centre & Museum
An exhibition of photographs from all around the world.
Date: Sat 22nd – Sun 30th August
Time: 22nd & 23rd 11.30an – 15.30pm
24th to 28th 10.00am – 17.00pm
29th & 30th 11.30am – 15.30pm
Adm: €3. Family ticket = €8.
Venue: Athy Heritage Centre & Museum, The Town Hall Emily Sq., Athy
Contact: Margaret Walsh
Tel: 059-8633075 Email: athyheritage@eircom.net
O_ ce of Public Works
A photographic exhibition of some of the many castles and buildings with connections to
the Fitzgeralds, Earls of Kildare and Dukes of Leinster.
Date: Sat 22nd August – Sun 30th August
Time: 10am – 6pm
Venue: Maynooth Castle, Maynooth. Tel: 01-6286744
Adm: Free Email: maynoothcastle@opw.ie
The Heritage Centre-Museum houses exhibitions and audio visuals which focus on Ernest
Shackleton, Gordan Bennett Race, WW1, Canals among others. 25% off admission prices
during Heritage Week.
Date: Sat 22nd August – Sun 30th August
Time: 10am – 1pm closed for lunch. Open 2pm– 5pm
Adm: €2 Adults. Children free during Heritage Week.
Venue: Museum situated in the early 18 century town hall.
Contact: Margaret Walsh
Email: athyheritage@eircom.net Tel: 059-8633075
See the largest collection of scientifi c instruments on public display in Ireland. The Scientifi c
artefacts include the apparatus of the renowned Fr. Nicholas Callan, inventor of the
induction coil.
Date: Sun 23rd Aug, Tue 25th Aug. Thurs 27th Aug & Sun 30th Aug
Time: 2pm – 4pm Sun, 2pm – 4pm Tue & Thurs day
Venue: National Science Museum, St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth
Contact: Dr. Niall McKeith Tel: 01-7083780
Adm: Free Email: niall.mckeith@nuim.ie
Kildare Heritage Company
Discover this historically important Irish town and learn about the mythology of Fionn
MacCumhaill & St. Bridid patroness of the Gaels. Walk led by Mario Corrigan, local historian.
Date: Sun 23rd & 30th August
Time: 1pm – 2.30pm
Venue: Outside Kildare Town Heritage Centre, Market House,
Market Sq., Kildare Town.
Contact: Mary Stones
Tel: 045-530672
Email: kildaretownheritagecen@ireland.com
Maynooth Local History Group
Third photographic exhibition; showing aspects of Maynooth life in times past.
Date: Mon 24th August - Fri 28th August
Time: 9.30am – 5pm – Mon 24th 2pm – 8pm
Adm: Free
Venue: Maynooth Community Library, Main St., Maynooth
Contact: Fergus White
Tel: 01-6286557
Email: ferguswhite@yahoo.com
County Kildare Federation of Local History Groups
Daily radios talk on various aspects of County Kildare history and heritage narrated by local
writer and poet Mae Leonard.
Date: Mon 25th August - Friday day 29th August
Time: 9.00am – 12.00am
Venue: KFM Radio, M7 Industrial Park, and Naas.
Contact: Larry Breen
Tel: 045-897445 Email: ibreen8@eircom.net
Irish Peatland Conservation Council
Talk will include the uses of peat, the loss of peatland biodiversity and the future options
for Ireland’s cutaway peatlands. The evening will fi nish will a guided tour of a cutaway in
Lullymore Bog.
Date: Tue 25th August
Time: 7.30pm-9.30pm
Venue: Bog of Allen Nature Centre
Contact: Cillian Breathnach Tel: 045-860133
Adm: Free Email: bogs@ipcc.ie
Athy Heritage Centre & Museum
Archaeology Uncovers highlights the various treasures found in the County of Kildare
Date: Tue 25th August
Time: 19.30pm – 20.30pm
Venue: Athy Heritage Centre & Museum.
Contact: Karen Woods Tel: 059-8633075
Adm: Free Email: athyheritage@eircom.net
Kilcullen Heritage Group
Lecture by Coletee Jordan, Historical Researcher on Duchesses of Leinster who resided in
Carton House
Date: Wed 26th August
Time: 8pm – 9.30pm
Adm: Free
Venue: Kilcullen Town Hall & Heritage Centre, Lower Main St., Kilcullen
Contact: Nessa Dunlea
Tel: 087-2339610
Email: nessadunlea@gmail.com
NRA on Archaeological Finds on Road Schemes
The National Roads Authority’s annual seminar this year will examine the archaeological
evidence for production, manufacturing and invention discovered on national road schemes
in recent
Places are limited and must be booked in advance.
Date: Thurs 27th August
Time: 9.30am registration
Adm: Free
Venue: Gresham Hotel, O’Connell Street, Dublin.
Contact: Lillian Butler
Tel: 01 6602511
Email: lbutler@nra.ie
Leixlip Community Library
Presentation by Patrick Guinness on the history of Guinness brewing in Leixlip including a
presentation on Arthur Guinness and maps of Leixlip.
Date: Thurs 27th August
Time: 7.30pm- 9.30pm
Venue: Leixlip Community Library, Captain’s Hill, Leixlip
Contact: John Duggan
Tel: 01-6060050
Email: leixlip@kildarecoco.ie
24  ‘ASPECTS OF CASTLETOWN’_ TALK _ Speakers John Olley and Dr Patrick Walsh
Castletown House
This is a free ticketed event so booking is required.
Date: Thurs 27th August
Time: 8pm
Adm: Free booking is required.
Venue: The Long Gallery
Contact: Clare Hickey
Tel: 01-6288252
Email: Castletown@opw.ie
Celbridge Library
Photographs depicting the history of St Patrick’s, church Celbridge
Date: Thurs 27th August - Friday 11th September
Adm: Free
Venue: Celbridge Public library
Contact: Marianne Heff ernan
Tel: 01-6272207
Email: celbridgelib@kildarecoco.ie
Celbridge Community Council
Join noted author Pat Dunne perform this piece as Jonathan Swift.
Date: Friday 28th August
Time: 7.30pm – 9pm
Adm: Free
Venue: Kate Walsh House, The Mill, Main St., Celbridge
Contact: Rhoda Judge
Tel: 01-6279145
Email: judge@live.ie
Castletown, Celbridge The Irish Land Mark Trust
Visitors have the opportunity to come and view the work of the Irish Land Mark Trust. The
Irish Landmark Trust Ltd. was founded in 1992 with a remit to save interesting and unusual
‘landmark’ properties throughout the whole of Ireland and to re-use them, once restored,
as good quality self catering holiday accommodation. At its heart is the principle that the
structure itself is of prime importance and any interventions must respect this.
Date: Sun 30th August
Time: 10am – 4pm
Venue: The Round House & Gate House, Castletown, Celbridge
Adm: Free
Contact: Louise Wogan
Tel: 01-6704733
Email: bookings@irishlandmark.com
Celbridge Community Council
Join Cathriona Russell, Horticulturist, on this wonderful nature walk for all the family to
Date: Sun 30th August
Time: 12.00pm – 1.30pm
Adm: Free.
Venue: Castletown House, Celbridge
Contact: Rhoda Judge
Tel: 01-6279145
Email: judger@live.ie
Date: Sun 30th August
Time: 10am – 4.45pm
Venue: Castletown House, Celbridge.
Contact: Claire Hickey Tel: 01-6288252
Adm: Free Email: castletown@opw.ie
Castletown House
Date: Sun 30th August
Time: 2pm-4pm
Venue: Castletown House Entrance Hall, Celbridge
Contact: Claire Hickey Tel: 01-6288252
Adm: Free Email: castletown@opw.ie
County Kildare Archaeological Society
A talk by Ms Anna Dolan, Snr. Architect with the OPW on the conservation work being
carried out on the building. Began in 1636-7 by Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Straff ord, Lord
Deputy of Ireland from 1633 to 1640 but never fi nished. The house was one of the fi rst ones
built with red-brick in Ireland
Date: Sun 30th August
Time: 3pm- 4.30pm
Adm: Free
Venue: Jigginstown House, Newbridge Road, Naas
Contact: Mary Glennon
Tel: 045-876243
Email: secretary@kildarearchsoc.ie
TEL: 045 980791,

A list of events for Heritage Week 2009, taking place in County Kildare.


Leinster Leader, February 9th 1974
Dr. was officially “dead” for years
The remarkable story of a Co. Kildare doctor, who was officially regarded as dead for some years, but in reality was a prisoner of the Japanese, was recalled with the death during the week of Dr. Jeremiah O’Neill, Lower Dodder Rd., Rathfarnham, native of Athy. He was aged 68.
   Dr. O’Neill was serving with the Indian Medical Service with the rank of Colonel in Malaya during World War 2, when the Japanese troops broke through the centre of the peninsula and routed the defending forces. Dr. O’Neill, who with several colleagues was serving at a post along the Slim River, was subsequently reported killed in action, and a telegram to this effect was received at the family home, Mount Offaly, Athy. In fact he had managed to escape through Jap lines with two companions, one an officer in the Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders, the other an Irish corporal from Donegal, Paddy Mearns. After three months hiding in the dense Malayan jungle, they were captured soon after they had secured a native boat to make the journey to Burma. Brought by rail to Singapore, Dr. O’Neill was subsequently charged with espionage before a military tribunal and later related that he did not understand a word of what his captors were saying during his trial. He was sentenced to one year’s solitary confinement and five years hard labour. Naked in his cell measuring 7 feet by 5 feet, he was subjected to cruelty and extreme deprivation, and later his family, following the joyous re-union, was amazed that he managed to retain his sanity. He was one of two thousand prisoners held at the notorious Outram Road Prison. After spending a year of solitary confinement in a cell in which the only “furniture” was one block of wood, he was given 3 ½ years hard labour before his release by British forces. Less than one in ten of the prisoners survived their ordeal.
His family and friends in Athy attended anniversary Masses for him during the years when he was presumed dead, and his “widow” was granted a pension
 News that he was alive was conveyed to Gardai in Athy and the Garda who received the message on the phone ran all the way to the O’Neill home, where he informed Dr. O’Neill’s father, the late Dr. Jeremiah O’Neill senr., the then Kildare Co. Coroner. The released prisoner was extremely weak when put aboard a hospital ship to Bombay where his brother, the late Dr.John O’Neill - who died last year - was also serving with the Indian army. Many of the nurses and doctors in the Indian Medical Services were Irish.
As the ship berthed, Dr. Jeremiah O’Neill recognised a former colleague, Dr. Vincent Lee of Carlow town, who had gone aboard. The astonished Dr. Lee, on recovering his composure exclaimed: “But Gerry, you are supposed to be dead!”.
 Flown to London, Dr. O’Neill immediately telephoned his family and there was a great rejoicing when he subsequently arrived home. After spending over a year recuperating, he resumed his service with the Indian army and was the only white officer at Rasmuk. He was to witness some appalling scenes when he remained on after the departure of the British forces.
 Later he retired from the Indian Medical Service and lived in Co. Wicklow before entering a practice in London from where he retired 3 years ago.
 Dr. O’Neill’s brother, Dr. Joseph O’Neill, is now carrying on an unbroken family tradition stretching over 100 years, of medical officer to St. Vincent’s Hospital, Athy, a post previously held by his late father and grandfather.
The funeral took place from St. Michael’s Church, Athy, to Geraldine Cemetery, Athy, following Requiem Mass.
 Chief mourners: Mrs. Marjorie O’Neill (wife); Dr. Jeremy O’Neill, Dublin and Mr. John O’Neill, Switzerland (sons); Mr. Patrick J. O’Neill, Co. Registrar, Naas and Dr. Joseph O’Neill, Athy (brothers); Mrs. De Courcy McDonnell, Mount Offaly Athy; Mrs. J. Carbery, Athy and Mrs. Georgina O’Neill, Athy (sisters).

The remarkable story of a County Kildare doctor who was officially regarded as dead for some years is recalled by the Leinster Leader in February 1974. Our thanks to Roy O'Brien.

August 21, 2009


Leinster Leader December 8th, 1956
Kildare Gaels Honour Members of Famous Team
The greatest moment in the history of Gaelic football in County Kildare-their first All-Ireland victory, which they secured at the expense of their traditional rivals, Kerry, in the 1905 championship-was recalled at a dinner in Mrs. Lawlor’s Ballroom, Naas on Thursday last, when the survivors of that team were presented with illuminated addresses to mark the Golden Jubille of their victory.
 Of the seventeen men who brought to the county the highest honour of Gaelic football only eight now remain alive. Six of them still live in their native country, but, like too many of our people, the other two have joined the ranks of Irish exiles in America.
Five of them were present at the functions; Mr. William Merriman, Mr. William Bracken, Mr. Laurence “Hussy” Cribben (Clane); Mr. Edward “Ned” Kennedy (Monasterevin) and Mr. Thomas Keogh (Roseberry). The absent ones were Mr. Tommy Kelly (Kilcock) and “Steel” Losty and Michael Murray now in the U.S.
The dinner, organised by the County Board and the Kildareman’s Association, was attended by over a hundred of the best known Gaels in the county and country.
 Before the proceedings commenced letters of apology were read from Rt. Rev Dr. W. Miller, P.P., V.F; Mr. Gerard Sweetman, Minister for Finance; An Tanaiste Mr. W. Norton, Minister for Industry and Commerce; Mr. P. O’Keefe; Mr. Martin O’Neill and “Squires” Gannon all of whom were regrettably unable to attend.
Foundation of Success
Mr. Liam Geraghty, Chairman of the County Board, who proposed the toast of “Our Guests”, extended a hearty Cead Mile Failte to each and everyone present. Not only, he said, did these men bring to Kildare its first All-Ireland, but together with Kerry laid the foundation of success of the G.A.A. They achieved a great victory and introduced an artistry that was so to singularise and characterise Kildare’s football.
They introduced to Kildare a sense of fair play that was to make the “name of Kildare” honoured The feats of these men on the playing fields were discussed at the threshings, at the cross roads.
 In replying to the toast, Mr. Frank Sheehy, Chairman of the Kerry County Board, spoke first in Irish, and said it was a great honour for him to be in Naas to celebrate Kildare’s first All-Ireland victory. Those of you who know a bit of Irish, he said, saw that I used Kildare as an adjective not as a noun showing you that in the minds and hearts of the people of Kerry you are nearer to us than any other people in the country. Kerry thinks more of you than we do of ourselves”. He thanked the Chairman for the honour done to Kerry in inviting them to the celebrations. He knew that somewhere in the near future that Kildare and Kerry would meet again. “There will be white jerseys and green and gold, and as always has been the case, green and gold and white will give a display of Gaelic football that will be a credit to this country”. The gathering then drank to the guests, and also to those who were absent.
Kildare Taught Kerry
Mr. Gus Fitzpatrick, a member of the famous Lily White team of 1927 and ’28, and Chairman of the Naas Club, welcomed those present to the town, and said “we must admit that we played the game with Kerry, and they played the game with us, but Kildare are the ones who taught them the game.”
Amidst loud applause Mr. Geraghty then made the presentations.
   Col. Broy of the Kildareman’s Association said the G.A.A. had taught the people of Ireland administration. Larry Stanley, the most famous of all Kildare Gaels, said the occasion was indeed an historic one. At the table were five of the men, who started the tradition of Gaelic football in its finest sense, and passed on its sportsmanship. For good performances on the sportsfield, he said, you wanted opposition, and those men met that opposition when they came up against Kerry. The names of Kerry and Kildare will always be associated with everything that is good about Gaelic football.
 Frank Burke, a Kildareman who won fame as a hurler and footballer with Dublin, said he was only a “nipper” when he heard the result of the first All-Ireland Kildare won, and he was overjoyed when he heard they had beaten Kerry. The county that could beat Kerry were real champions.He recalled that on one occasion long ago he had the pleasure of seeing Clane and Roseberry. (Roseberry now defunct was at one time the leading team in the county. Clane hold more senior championships than any other team in the county). His first experience of meeting one of the old players was when playing with Dublin against Kildare in Newbridge. To his horror he saw that the man in goal was Larry Cribben. “I think we beat Kildare that day” he said, “but I was sorry in a way.”
 Mr. Burchill, Chairman of the Kildaremen’s Association, in proposing the toast of the G.A.A., took the gathering back a few years before Kildare’s first All-Ireland victory, when, he said, the Gaelic games were going to die. A group of Irishmen formed an association to protect and promote Irish games, and after a few years went by, Kerry, Kildare and other counties responded and the association grew from strength to strength.
Kept Game Going
An ex-Lily White and former chairman of the County Board, Mr. Tom Lawler, said, in replying to the toast, that he came from a parish (Caragh) that never, since the G.A.A. was formed, failed to have a team. They played the games of the association and kept them going not alone in the parish, but in the county. They kept the game going although they were beaten. The game was always strong in the county, and the gaels in our county are always as sincere as any other county. Kildare won only a few All-Irelands, and they were beaten in a few by our great opponents Kerry, but they were great men in this county.It was not easy to keep the G.AA. going as they had great opposition, probably greater than in any other county in Ireland.
 Mr. T. Harris, T.D. recalled that one Monday morning when the teacher came to school he told them about all those men; what they stood for and what the G.A.A. stood for. The G.A.A., he said, kindled a national spirit in the youth of that generation, and on looking back on it now, around that period the national spirit was very low. With the Gaelic League, the G.A.A. is the most powerful organisation in the country. The purpose of the G.A.A. was more than to make good athletes. It was to arouse the national feeling of the people. The youth of the Association, said Mr. Harris, can make it their aim, and take it on themselves to bring back the national language to be the living language of this country.
Memorial Cup
Col. Thos. Feeley, the representative of the present county champions, Military College, also spoke.
Mr. Geraghty then introduced the Jack Higgins Memorial Cup which will be inaugurated in the near future and presented to the junior county champions. The cup had been subscribed to by the clubs in the county as well as individuals.

The Leinster Leader of December 1956 reports on a social event held in Naas which recalled "the greaterst moment in the history of Gaelic football in County Kildare".

August 20, 2009


Leinster Leader 8th August 1959
Celbridge Church
Centenary Celebrated
One hundred years ago the dedication of St. Patrick’s Church, Celbridge, took place.
On Sunday the people of Celbridge, with their clergy rejoiced at the 100th anniversary of this memorable event when Solemn High Mass was celebrated by Very Reverend John MacLaughlin, P.P., at which the Archbishop of Dublin, Most Reverend Dr. J. C. McQuaid, D.D., Primate of Ireland, presided. The special sermon was preached by Right Reverend Monsignor Boylan, P.P., V.G., Dun Laoghaire.
The deacon at the Mass was Rev. J. Corbett, .C.C. Celbridge, and sub-deacon, Rev. R. Neville, St. Wolstan’s. The Master of Ceremonies was Rev. E. Cotter, C.C. Assistants at the Throne were Very Rev. J. Cannon Kelly P.P. Marino: Very Rev. J. Canon Purfield P.P. Rolestown and Very Rev. D. Canon Keogh P.P. Dundrum.
The Archbishop on his arrival at the church, was received by a Guard of Honour of school children. The town was gaily decorated with flags and bunting.
The attendance also included Very Rev. Monsignor J. O’Regan, Chancellor Archbishops House: Very Rev W. J. Byrne P.P. Rathgar: Very Rev. J. Doyle, P.P. Clane: Very Rev. W. Matthews P.P. Kill: Very Rev. W. O’Riordan P.P. Maynooth: Rev. D. McMahon Archbishop’s House.
Rev. J. S. Barnard . C.C.  Ballyfermot: Rev. T.P. Callan .C.Arklow: Rev. E. O’Connor C.C. Donabate: Rev. T. Curley C.C. Balbriggan: Rev. D. Begg C.C. Leixlip: Rev. N. Martin C.C. Dun Laoghaire: Rev. P. Randles C.C. Mourne Road Dublin: Rev. J. Loughran C.C. Lucan: Rev. T. Carroll C.C. Rev. J. Whelan C.C.
There was an overflow congregation for the ceremonies, which were broadcast to the people in the grounds. Later a Te Deum was sung and solemn Benediction imparted in the church.
The sermon
Right Rev. Monsigner Boylan said “The parochial records show that the population of this parish was much greater a century ago than it is to-day. The yearly average of baptisms was then about 110 as compared with 25 or 30 in recent years. Marriages were then twice as numerous as now. “Yet the old Church was very small, not more than 60 ft. by 20, whereas the dimensions of the present Church are 127 by 53. The overcrowding at the Sunday Masses in the old church must have been very uncomfortable. Moreover the old Church is said to have been squalid and miserable in appearance. From the Church   records we learn that the Parish Priest paid only
£8. 12. 9 for its demolition.
            “The new Church, like the tiny ancient chapel at Ardrass, was
to have St. Patrick as its Titular; and it was hoped that it would
be ready for blessing and dedication on the Feast of St. Patrick in 1859”
“The completion of the Church however, took two years and three months and the ceremony of blessing was fixed for the Feast of the Holy Trinity, June 19th 1859, a day that must surely seem most fitting when one remembers how often and with what deep reverence St. Patrick used to ponder on the Mystery of the Truine God.
“Those who had not seen the gradual growth of the Church were quite amazed when they came to assist at its dedication. The graceful beauty of Mr. McCarthy’s design was rather breathtaking something without parallel at that time in any country district of the Diocese.
“Today we are gathered here with our Archbishop humbly to thank Almighty God for the blessings He has bestowed on this parish in, and by means of this parish  in and by means of this Church of St. Patrick during a hundred years. One of the chief blessings has been a succession of zealous and energetic Pastors. Thirteen pastors have held office here since this Church was blessed and their loving cares for this House where God’s glory dwells is reflected in the admirable condition of St. Patrick’s.
“The work of Father Edward Dunne, who was Pastor here from 1912 to 1922 was perhaps peculiarly outstanding. Many here will probably remember it. He built its specious and well-planned Sacristy; he provided a new Communion Rail and Confessionals; he erected a Shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, and greatly improved the appearance at the Church generally. Father Dunne’s successors maintained, each in his own way the tradition of loving and lavish care to this stately Church.
            “During the past two years a Sacristy for the Alter boys and a Mortuary Chapel inside the Church have been provided: a new wiring and lighting system has been installed: extensive repair work on the roof and walls has been done, and complete interior and exterior decoration of the Church has been carried out.
            “The Church then, which a century ago was the object of general admiration is today more elaborately equipped and more artistically impressive than ever. And it must be remembered that the parishioners have always supported most gladly and most generously everything undertaken by their Pastors for the maintenance and improvement of their Church.
            “In 1859 this Church was a proud profession
 of the people’s faith. To-day, in its persisting and carefully tended beauty it is still an imposing Credo in stone; but it is also in the perfection of its condition, a symbol and token of the people’s gratitude for the countless graces imparted to them in this Holy House.”
            “Round this House of Prayer a parochial life of genuine spirituality has grown up and flourishes. The Sodality of the Sacred Heart, the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary, the Perpetual Novena and all the other pious organisations and devotional activities customary in our parishes are here at work.
            “Through the influence of Father Wheeler who so loyally assisted Father Byrne in building this Church, the Sisters of the Holy Faith came to Celbridge in 1878, and are still carrying on their great apostolate with splendid success in our midst.
St. Wolstan’s.
            “Through the inevitable development of the poor law system in early twenties the parish lost the companionship and splendid example of the Sisters of Charity of the St. Vincent de Paul, but the Sisters have not been forgotten, and the influence of their kindness seems still to be felt among the people.
            “In 1956, at the request of the Archbishop, the Sisters of the Holy Faith established a boarding school at St. Wolstan’s – thus dramatically reinstating that ancient house as a centre of prayer and teaching and religious life.
            Religious life which flourished at St. Wolstan’s 700 years ago is now flourishing there again. Surely the finger of God is manifest in this.
            “Recently the spiritual resources of the parish have been further increased by the establishment of St. Raphael’s under the direction of the Hospitaller Brothers of the Order of St. John of God
            “We may truly say that the history of this parish in the hundred years since this Church was built is a story of never ceasing divine blessing.
            “Let us all join with our Chief Pastor in offering heartfelt thanks to God for the graciousness of Hid Providence and the boundless abundance of His mercies and let us pray that he may continue to manifest His favour to those who come to worship before His face in this His House.

To commemorate the 150th Anniversary of St. Patrick's Church Celbridge and to promote the History and Heritage of County Kildare for Heritage Week we republish (as our 450th EHistory article) a report from the Leinster Leader of 8th August 1959 on Centenary Celebrations of Celbridge Church.

August 19, 2009


Leinster Leader, May 8th 1948
Newbridge Man Wins D.C.M.
Anzio Bridgehead Bravery
Former Company Sergeant-Major Frederick Kelly, now Regt. Sergeant Major of the Royal Fusiliers, stationed at Armagh, to whom King George presented the D.C.M. at Buckingham Palace on November 10, is a native of Droichead Nua and a member of one of the best-known families in the district. Second son of the late James (“Stim”) Kelly, Ballymany, Sergeant Major-Kelly was decorated for gallantry and devotion to duty during operations in the Anzio Bridgehead on March 2nd, 1944. The Story behind the presentation is contained in the citation of award, which reads:-
“On 2nd March, 1944, C.S.M. Kelly was C.S.M. of “D” Company, the Royal Fusiliers (Princess Victoria’s), which was ordered on the evening to clear the enemy from a wadi at the area north-west of the Flyover Bridge, in the Anzio Bridgehead.
    “This was partially done, but owing to the darkness, the thickness of the scrub and casualties from the shell-fire, it was not possible to finish the job that night. The next day the remnants of the Company went forward to complete the job. Almost immediately the Company Commander received wounds from which he later died, and C.S.M. Kelly carried on, saw the task completed and remained to see that the position was held until it was possible to get reinforcements under cover of darkness.
     “Although wounded and under constant fire, he remained cheerful to the end, and his gallantry and devotion to duty was of the highest order and ensured that all the enemy were either killed or captured, and the station completely restored.
     “C.S.M. Kelly’s example of courage and his determination to see the task completed under the most trying conditions were beyond praise.”
       Since recovered and promoted, Sergeant-Major Kelly is now back in Ireland. His many friends and acquaintances in Droichead Nua congratulate him upon the well-merited honour bestowed upon him. A brother, also in the British army, is at present stationed in Palestine, while a sister, Mrs. B. Martin, resides at 848 Rathfield Cottages, Droichead Nua.

The Leinster Leader of 8th May 1948 reports on how a native of Droichead Nua and member of one of the best known families of the district Sergeant-Major Frederick Kelly, was decorated for gallantry and devotion to duty during operations in the Anzio Bridgehead  in March 2nd 1944.  Our thanks to Roy O'Brien.

August 14, 2009

Brother's terrible experience in occupied France

Leinster Leader, September 1st 1945
Brother’s Terrible Experience
In Occupied France
An interesting visitor to Co. Kildare is Rev. Brother Edward Harrison, of the St. John of God Order at present on vacation in his native Monasterevan, where the other members of his family reside. Brother Harrison, who is 29, went to France in 1938, the year before the war broke out, and he has been at Lyons all during the German occupation. On the staff of an hospital carting for 800 mental defectives he has had some trying experiences. The food was very often bad and the task of looking after the needs of this large institution immense, apart from the ever present terror of air raids. On the 26th May, 1944, bombs were dropped on the hospital by the R.A.F., killing two Brothers and fifteen patients, and injuring many others. About 400 patients were in a shelter at the time. A number of the buildings were destroyed. Altogether over sixty bombs were dropped from time to time on the buildings or cultivated lands of the Brothers. Some of these did not explode. On one occasion Brother Harrison stated aircraft bombed a stationary train on a railway line running alongside the grounds of the hospital. The passengers left the train and had sought refuge in the cutting nearby. A bomb, however, unfortunately exploded near them and six were killed and others injured.
        When the Germans were retreating they destroyed 22 bridges over the Rhone; they sought shelter in the hospital for a few days. A large part of the industrial City of Lyons was destroyed in the air attacks. Brother Harrison who was delighted to be back again amongst his old friends and school mates, will return to France in three weeks’ time.

The Leinster Leader of September 1945  reports on the terrible experience of a  Brother of St. John of God Order in Occupied France. Our thanks to Roy O'Brien

August 13, 2009


Kildare Observer, September 29th 1883
Labour Meeting at Kill
On Sunday last a meeting of the labourers of the district was held at Kill, for the purpose of securing the benefits of the Act recently passed. The proceedings were enlivened by the Ardclough band, which played a choice selection of music at intervals. There was a large attendance of local farmers, and when the proceedings commenced, the substantial platform, which had been erected in a field close to the town, was well filled. Amongst those present were- Very Rev. Dr. Gowing P.P.; Rev. G.P. Gowing, C.C; Dr. Patrick J. McEvoy, Dr. Coady, Mr. A. Ritchie, Mr. L. Malone, Mr. D. Kearney, Mr. M. Kearney, Mr. Howe, Mr. Barry, Mr. T. Fitzpatrick, Mr. Monahan, Mr. Cummins, Mr. Palmer, Mr. J. Coady, Mr. Walsh, J.P; Mr. J. Short, Mr. R. Turner, Mr. P. Traynor, Mr. R. Ledwich, Mr. T. Broughall. On the motion of Mr. Ritchie, seconded by Mr. T. Fitzpatrick, the chair was taken by Very Rev. Dr. Gowing. P.P.
The chairman said as he had been moved to that position he would read for them some of the correspondence he had received as follows: -
“Narraghmore, Athy, 20th Sept., 1883.
“My Dear Dr. Gowing,
In reply to your invitation for Sunday next, I regret extremely it will be wholly out of my power to be with you on that day. I am nevertheless glad to see you moving on behalf of the working class, and trust to hear of your meeting as an entirely successful one. The labourers stood everywhere loyally by the farmers in the late land agitation. The farmers are therefore now bound in common gratitude to return the compliment. Add to this that it is the interest as well as the duty of the farmers, and others in comfortable and independents positions, to now come forward and do all they can to elevate their poorer fellow men and fellow Christians in the social scale (Hear, hear). No man has more to do with the working men of Kildare than I ever had, and no man can speak with great experience of their honesty, civility and intelligence than I can. (Hear, hear). These qualities I have always found in the character of the labouring class to a degree which has always appeared to me to be surprising considering the treatment its members have had to submit to. It now therefore gives me the greatest pleasure to see light breaking on the working man and his following. A comfortable, an airy, and a well lighted dwelling will be a fitting first step in the improvement of his position. (Hear, hear).The bit of land attached to his residence will be a means of teaching his children habits of care and industry, while the produce carefully cultivated and harvested, will supply his family with many comfort, and be moreover to him and them, a stock to drain from at intervals of chance or unavoidable disemployment. Secure in his home, the Irish labourer will gradually feel a new life within him. He will gain in manliness and independence. He will realise that he is at least a citizen and no longer a serf. (Hear, hear). Self respect will follow, and for his offspring he will long for that education he never had the opportunity of acquiring for himself. The great gains to society by the elevation of the labourer will be a lessened pauperism, and a decrease of crime. Labour is the only source of a nation’s prosperity-(hear, hear)-and wealth. Until this is fully recognised in Ireland the resources of the country will never be developed as they ought. (Hear, hear). The Labourers’ Act is a beginning in this direction. May the policy be yet further improved upon is the sincere wish and hope of yours faithfully and truly,     “Thos. Robertson”
(Loud cheers)
                     “Ballygoran, Maynooth
                                       “Sept. 21st 1883
“Rev. Dear Sir
In reply to your kind letter of the 19th inst.. I hasten to say that I am truly obliged for your invitation to attend the meeting at Kill on behalf of the labourers. Nothing would give me greater satisfaction than to be able to be with you all for the promotion of this most desirable object. But my other engagement will, I regret, not admit of it. Perhaps at some future time I may have the pleasure of giving my humble cooperation. Rest assured of my sympathy of this, I have endeavoured to give practical proof in my own immediate neighbourhood, for nearly fifteen years ago I spontaneously raised the pay of my workmen 33 per cent. and I have in the interval spent several thousand pounds in wages-Here wishing you great success-
I am, Rev. dear sir, yours faithfully,         
“S. Patterson”
“The Rev. Dr. Gowing, P.P”
 “Drummin House, Sept. 20th 1883.
“Dear Sir
I thank you for your kindness in sending me an invitation to attend the meeting to be held at Kill next Sunday, for the purpose of taking into consideration the claims of the labouring classes and the best mode of improving their condition. I trust your meeting will be the precursor of many such in Kildare and the adjoining counties, I will be with you in spirit. Unfortunately, my strength is beginning to fail and I am quite incapable of making long continued bodily exertion, besides I am fast losing both sight and hearing, still what I can do in the cause of Ireland I will not willingly leave undone. I can carefully consider our unhappy condition and give my advice. I send you two copies of my last publications; perhaps you might find an opportunity to call the attention of the meeting to it. Recommend the adoption of Edenderry resolutions (page 24), the adoption by so influential a meeting as yours promises to be would give them an importance they might not otherwise possess, and place Kildare foremost in the present struggle for Irish independence-With sincere respect, yours very truly.          
“Richard Grattan.”
(Loud cheers).
A letter was also read from Mr. Charles Kelly, New York, in which he stated he had seen a report of the labourers meeting at Kill copied into the Irish World from Kildare Observer. He stated the money which had been subscribed there was given by the labourers, and it was expected that portion of it would be spent on the Irish labourer. (Cheers).
     The Chairman said the observations he proposed to make must necessary be short. He would bring under the notice a few texts from the valuable pamphlet he had before him by Mr. Healy. He thought he properly expressed the sentiment of all there when he stated they had only one purpose in their presence at this meeting, and that to aid the cause of labourers. He would not be there that day if he did not believe in his heart he was there in the discharge of duty of charity as well as of patriotism. (Cheers). He might tell them this was not a political meeting, but it is one in which the hearts of all persons could unite. He hoped to see all in the country combine for the benefit of the Irish labourers and for the good of their mother land. It was in that spirit he made a move two years ago. It was at that time they had a meeting in the school house to help the labourers. He did not then expect that Parliament would have passed a bill in favour of the labourer so soon, and it was now likely to prove a great blessing. He for one did not believe that justice had been done to the tenant-farmers by the Land Act, and justice would not be complete until the leaseholders were placed on the same footing as the other farmers, and the working of the act made more expeditions and more inexpensive. (Cheers). At the first labourers meeting held in the county he asked the tenant-farmers to give a few things to the poor man-a better house, a piece of land, &c. He was sorry to say two years had passed away and nothing was done. Now Parliament had stepped in to make them generous and patriotic.
They all knew this Act came into force on the 25th August last. That Act of Parliament was one of the messages of peace Mr. Gladstone had sent to Ireland, and they were indebted to him for it. They owed a lasting debt of gratitude to Mr. Gladstone for the great boon. (A voice-(And Mr. T.P. O’Connor). He hoped Mr. Gladstone’s name would go down to posterity with the gratitude and blessings of the Irish people, and that his cherished memory would find an abiding place in the hearts of posterity, along with the other illustrious philanthropists of the 19th century: a Howard, a Wilberforce, an O’Connell, a Grattan and a Parnell. Moreover, he hoped yet to see-and that time might not be far distant when Ireland will adequately express her reverence for the great man, who, in spite of opposition, did so much for her. He hoped yet to see a monument erected to him in Dublin, and he thought no fitter time could be chosen to erect the monument than when the Irish Parliament was opened to the Irish people in College Green. (Cheers). He would be greatly disappointed if these two events did not simultaneously take place within a few years: the unveiling of the national monument to W.E. Gladstone, and the restoration of Ireland’s legislative independence. It was not his place to enter into any lengthened explanation of the Labourers’ Act. It was their business and the business of the farmers to takethe initiative, and the working of the Act lay with the Board of Guardians. This was the first step they had seen made towards self-government. They found this Act of Parliament empowered the Boards of Guardians throughout the country to administer public funds and to take the management into their own hands. This was a point in the right direction [Doctor Going here explained the working of the Act. He stated it was necessary to get a form of representation signed by twelve ratepayers and sent to the board of guardians who then carried out the necessary steps and the responsibility further rested with them]. No one should lose time in taking the initiative step so as to precure the benefit of the Act. He had seen in the papers within the past few days that a charge of apathy had been brought against the Irish farmers. He was sorry to say he could not free them from the charge. There was certainly a marked indifference shown in this matter. He trusted the farmers would hold public meetings to secure for the labourers the benefits of the Act. It was a matter of charity to assist the poor and it was their duty to do so. The man who did not help the poor in their necessities had not charity, and therefore, had not the love of God. Is not the social and domestic condition of the Irish poor a disgrace and a scandal in Europe? It was some years ago since the Devon Commission was appointed to enquire into the condition of the labourer. They stated, as a reference of most of the witnesses will show, that the agricultural labourer of Ireland continues to suffer the greatest privations and hardships; that he continues to depend upon casual and precarious employment for subsistence. That he is badly housed, badly fed, badly clothed and badly paid for his labour. Our personal observations during our inquiry have offered us a melancholy confirmation of these statements, and we cannot forbear expressing our strong sense of the patient endurance which the labouring classes have generally exhibited under sufferings greater, we believe, than the people of any country in Europe have to sustain. Mr. Ruskin, a distinguished man, wrote as follows:- “The cabins in Ireland have been so frequently described that there is no necessity for telling the English public that in the villages I have named anything approaching the character of a bed is very rare. A heap of rags flung on some dirty straw or the four posts of what was once a bedstead, filled in with straw, which a blanket spread over it form the sleeping place. Everybody knows that one compartment serve in these seaside hovels for the entire family, including the pigs (if any), ducks, chickens, or geese.” (A Voice-Right, your reverence). Speaking on the same subject, the special correspondent of the Daily Telegraph said “the cabins of the peasantry seem to be about the very worst dwellings for human beings I had ever viewed. I noted that many of the cottages I passed boasted of no windows-that they all had mud floors and most of them mud alls-that many were insufficiently thatched-nearly all were shared by the family pig as well as the family children-that in the majority of cases a very slough of mud faced the door-and that the utmost misery of appearance characterized every dwelling. I have been in many lands, and have seen many so-called oppressed people at home, but I declare that neither in the Russian Steppes, nor in the most neglected Bulgarian village, still less in the very poorest Hindoo hamlets have I ever seen such squalid kraals as the Irish poor inhabit. Here they are not hidden away from public view, but front the high road-a dreadful testimony to mismanagement and uncleanness as can be met with nowhere else. An officer of one of Her Majesty’s Regiments, who lately served with honour in Zululand, declared to me that not even in the worst parts of Cetewayo’s dominions, did he come across anything so bad, and I am inclined to believe that he was not exaggerating in the slightest.” How could a nation prosper under such circumstance? (A Voice-No, no). That was the condition of a crushed people. It was as true that day as the time before mentioned-it was true three years back-aye forty years back. Was a nation like Ireland to be ever degraded in this manner? – a nation of renown for a knowledge of the arts and sciences and light of the Gospel long before any of the great nations of Europe had yet approached the cradle of Christianity or of civilization. He would continue Cardinal Newman’s beautiful thoughts as they apply at present: “A noble and puissant nation rousing herself as a strong man after sleep and shaking her invincible looks as an eagle renews her mighty youth and kindling her undazzled eyes at the full mid-day beam purging and unscaling her long-abused sight at the fountain itself of heavenly radience, while the whole noise of timorous and flocking birds, with those also who love the twilight flutter about amazed at what she means; and would it not be strange indeed that this old Catholic nation should not feel acutely the bitterness and wounds, the injustice and injuries inflicted on her through centuries –that she should not have been through the strength of her unsullied faith her best support in every ordeal and persecution, hopes and aspirations, commensurate with her past and her future avocation.” There was no doubt good would come from the Labourers Act if vigorously and earnestly worked. The labourers would excuse him if he exhorted them to sobriety, good conduct and self respect. If they were not true to themselves and if they did not reform their habits the remedy which was now sought to be applied for their welfare would be worse than the disease. Let them endeavour to realise the future that was before them and be faithful to the trust that was placed in their hands. Unless that was done, he for one did not expect much advance in the future. He knew the poverty of the labourer was attributable somewhat to his own shortcomings. He (chairman) had seen poverty and wretchedness worse than Mr. Ruskin or the correspondent of the Daily Telegraph had described. If they asked him the cause of all this he would tell them it was unfortunately too often drink. More squalid poverty had resulted from drink than from anything else. Therefore it behoved all persons to lead sober lives. He did not want them all to become teetotallers, but he wanted every man to live within his means. (Cheers)
 Mr. Fitzpatrick-Rev. chairman and fellow countrymen (A voice-More power, Mr. Fitzpatrick)-I have great pleasure in reading for your adoption this resolution: -
“That all present pledge themselves to immediate and hearty co-operation to secure for our struggling and dependent fellow countrymen, the agricultural labourers, the fullest benefits of the Labourers’ Act within our respective electoral divisions.”
 He said the working out of the Act in a great measure depended on themselves. If they did not urge on farmers to assist them, the farmers might be slow to move in it. (A voice-That is right.) The labourers stood by the farmers during the last two or three years of the Land League. He thought the farmers should come forward and work this Act for the benefit of the labourers. The Act was in a great measure due to the extraordinary exertions of Mr. T.P. O’Connor. He thought many of them had the pleasure of hearing him at a Land League meeting at Allen. That was the man who brought forward this Act, which was acknowledged to be the only measure of good for Ireland. A plot of ground was to be attached to every house (A voice-They will think very bad of giving it). He hoped when they got it when they would be contented with it. Some one in the crowd says the farmers will think badly of giving the plot of ground. He must say the farmers in that district did not benefit much by the Land Act, as they were nearly all leaseholders. He thought the farmers were willing to conform with the Act, and he hoped they would adopt it spiritedly and speedily. (Loud cheers).
   Mr. Carroll seconded the resolution which was passed.
     Mr. Byrne proposed-“That an organizing and corresponding committee (with power to add to their number) of the following gentlemen, be now appointed to take speedy and effective steps to carry out the preliminary conditions required to render operative in our midst the Labourers’ Act-a measure which we regard as an augury of future peace, contentment, and national prosperity, and highly calculated moreover to alleviate the social and domestic privations of a necessary, deserving, and long neglected class-Rev. Dr. Gowing. P.P; Rev. G.P. Gowing, Messrs. T. Fitzpatrick, P.L.G; ;Laurence Malone and Archibald Ritchie.”
Mr. Malone seconded the resolution.
Peter Purcell, labourer, proposed-
“That we, the labourers of the parish of Kill, express our sincere gratitude to Mr. W.E. Gladstone and to the Irish party, in particular among the latter Mr. T.P. O’Connor, for espousing our cause and so effectively helping to improve our domestic and social condition; and we hereby promise to turn our newly acquired advantages to the best account by the careful practice and example of sobriety, industry, and faithful attention to our duties and to the business of our respective employers.”
   He said he felt pleasure, brother labourers and gentlemen (hear, hear) in proposing the resolution. If they would look after their own interests the farmers would do their duty. It was time to get some relief. They all knew in what sort of hovels they lived, and wages, food, and clothing bad. He hoped better times were in store for them.
   Patrick Halligan, labourer, had great pleasure in seconding the resolution. When they got the benefits of the labourers act they would have peace and plenty.
 Dr. McEvoy proposed-“That we work together without sectarian differences for Ireland’s prosperity and peace as a united Ireland with a sympathetic and intelligent spirit of justice and compassion for the labouring poor.”
He said the labourers cottages should be vastly improved as far as sanitary arrangements were concerned.
 Mr. Palmer seconded the resolution, which was passed.
 A vote of thanks was proposed and seconded to the chairman.
    The Chairman, in thanking them, said he did not feel he deserved the vote of thanks. He was convinced he was only doing his duty to the people. Whenever an opportunity arose which was suitable, he should not be wanting in assisting the people. He knew no part of Ireland which presented so desolate a spectacle as northern Kildare. He would give a few figures to show how matters stood there. In 21 townlands they had 4,8882 acres. How many houses did they think were on that extent of land? 62! And some of those were so wretched that they ought not to be called houses. He was speaking to a man last week who was living in a house with only one room, and seven children besides himself and his wife had to reside there. That man told him also that he had to walk 4 ½ miles to his work every day and the same distance back in the evening. Not very far from where they stood he could show them a house with only one room which had to accommodate twelve in family. This was a condition of things too general, he was sorry to say. There were 334 people living on the 4,882 acres. He hoped everybody by and bye would have justice and fair play. (Hear, hear). They should go home orderly and quietly and they would be pleased with the business of the day, as they had done good work. (Loud and prolonged cheering).
   The meeting then separated.

The Kildare Observer of 1883 reports on a meeting of the labourers of the district held at Kill, for the purpose of securing the benefits of the Laborour's Act recently passed by Parliament. Our thanks to Roy O'Brien

August 12, 2009


Leinster Leader December 10th 1887
To the Editor of the Leinster Leader
                                   Castlewarden, Kill
Sir-you truthfully describe the village of Kill as Lord Mayo’s “Model Village” and so it is; that is a model of all that is offensive to good taste; decency (in habitations) or sanitary laws; in a word, to civilization. All the houses in Kill belong to four proprietors, viz: Lord Mayo, Mr. Richard Cunningham, Mr. Walshe, a small dealer, and Mr. Raymond. The former are tenants to Lord Mayo, and it is probable that they would not stand in the way if the local pashaw was inclined to improve the principle village on his property where there is a church, a chapel, and schools. The appearance of the village is, moreover, apart from sanitary laws, a signal disgrace in so beautiful a county. I am sure that many of the local gentry - who despise those adventurers - feel ashamed at such a mean, poverty-stricken site as they ride or drive through time after time. It forms a poor contrast beside the tidy village at Straffan and other villages in the county. I am sure the guardians, if they have been indifferent to their duty about this village hitherto, will yet exert themselves and enforce the law they are expected administer impartially and effectively. There is one matter that I, as a Catholic, have a right to look on as a grievance, and not I alone, but all Catholics attending the Kill Chapel Sunday after Sunday, should also feel aggrieved and humiliated at the insult so long permitted close to the gate of God’s house - a degradation as well as a standing affront, and a well-known danger to morals it is no exaggeration to say.
 I will explain briefly: -There is a row of houses opposite the Roman Catholic Chapel gate, six. In the centre of the row, and on the side of the public road, there stands the front and back wall of an old house enclosing a yard, in the centre of which is a wooden privy to which all the sexes and ages may have indiscriminate access. It is not an uncommon matter to see both classes going in and out together. The schools are on the other side of the road, beside the Chapel. And for the schools, there is accommodation in the Chapel yard. So, the clergy house and the Chapel, the House of God, are situated between two public nuisances. The Catholic parishioners are not indifferent to this. They feel it Sunday after Sunday. They know that respectable Protestants would not stand the like for any time. This unsheltered public mews, of so many years duration, has, as another drawback, no outlet. So that in summer, one passing the Chapel gate, is instantly offended by the foul air created by the school arrangement within the Chapel yard, and across the road. I believe the owner of this row of houses expects all the occupiers, to whom he denies back-yards, or back doorways, to make the best use they can of his generous provision, the yard in question, they prefer in the total absence of any ordinary sewerage about these houses, to throw all house refuse out on the road, thereby adding evil to evil-But the people are not to blame. I don’t think so. Still this public yard is used, and will be, as I said, indiscriminately, as long as it is open. Excuse me for troubling you with my feelings. As a Catholic parishioner these feelings have often, under the above circumstances, been sorely tried, and I can say the same of numberless others. I hope the singular state of matters will soon be set right; and that we Catholics, can go to our chapel for Divine worship, without outrage to our religious feelings, or to our sense of propriety and morality. I invite the Naas Guardians to inspect the situation themselves, and personally test the ground of my remonstrance, which I believe they will find to be, not alone substantially, but literally true. I believe we have a remedy in law,if all else fails-I am, yours, etc.,
                                                                                                                   John Barry

Mr John Barry from Castlewarden, Kill writes to the Leinster Leader in December 1887 to complain about the unsanitary conditions prevailing in the village of Kill. Our thanks to Roy O'Brien.

August 08, 2009


Leinster Leader Aug. 25th 1917
Arrest Of Sinn Fein Leader
Mr. Thos. Ashe, who was re-arrested in Dublin on Saturday, was brought to Newbridge by the mail train on Sunday night, arriving about ten o’clock. He was immediately conveyed to the Newbridge Military Barracks; afterwards being removed under a very strong military escort to the Curragh Camp. Inquiries there on Tuesday evening showed that he was still being detained at the Garrison Barracks, Curragh, until arrangements are completed for courtmartial.   Our representative having made further inquiries on Tuesday evening at the Curragh Camp with reference to the arrest and detention of Mr. Thomas Ashe, learned that Mr. Ashe was detained in the cells of the Guard-room attached to the 22nd Infantry Battalion at Keene’s Barracks. Mr. J Grehan, who was arrested at Mountmellick and brought under strong escort to the Curragh Camp on Monday was detained in an adjoining cell. It was stated that Mr. Ashe and Mr. Grehan would be brought up under courtmartial but the time of the trial had not been arranged at the time of the inquiry.
 Mr. Mr. James Grehan, who was arrested at Mountmellick and brought to the Garrison Prison, Curragh Camp, has been formally charged with illegal drilling, and will be tried by courtmartial when the necessary formalities have been gone through. There was no charge preferred up to Wednesday afternoon against Mr. Thomas Ashe who was arrested in Dublin, and is at present in a neighbouring cell in the same prison at the Curragh. Mr. Michael Collins, of the National Aid Association, travelled from Dublin to the Curragh on Wednesday, with some local friends, visited Mr. Ashe and Mr. Grehan.

The arrest of Thomas Ashe is reported in the Leinster Leader of August 1917. Our thanks to Roy O'Brien.

August 05, 2009


Leinster Leader, July 7th 1956

Kildare Man’s Invention



A young Kildare man with an inventive turn of mind has completed a vehicle which he claims will cut the farmers work in half, also his expenses. The inventor is Mr. Anthony C. Muldowney, Nurney, a former County Kildare champion cyclist. In its first stage the vehicle is a trailer; it goes at the back of cars or tractors and does all the work of a trailer. With the turn of a few screws the vehicle becomes a hand cart suitable for every carting job around a farm. Next, and most useful stage, is that of a baler. The cart can be secured to a tractor or combine and as the baled straw is ejected it is piled in two stacks on the baler. Then, with a slight pressure of the foot on the lever the baler leaves the stack of baled straw on the field. Responding to a demand from farmers Mr. Muldowney had put his invention on the market and is now doing a brisk trade in his ingenious invention.

The Leinster Leader of 7th July 1956 reports on Kildare Man's invention.  Our thanks to Roy O'Brien.

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