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September 26, 2009


Leinster Leader 6th August 1977
“Robbers’ Gulch”
is no more
There was a time when people called it “Robbers’ Gulch”, a stretch some couple of hundred yards long at Mullaghmast on the Athy-Ballitore road. It was cut through a hill, the bank rose high on either side, and there was scarcely enough width for two large vehicles to pass each other safely.
It was an ideal stretch for a hold-up, and in the early days of the State bandits used it for that purpose. It was there that they held up the car conveying bank officials from Athy to Ballitore sub-office and robbed them. No longer is it a narrow, forbidding stretch. At a cost of about £30,000, Kildare Co. Council has removed the high bank on one side and widened the carriageway to modern standards.

The Leinster Leader of August 1977 reports on the removal of a stretch some couple of hundred yards long on the Athy-Ballitore road called "Robbers' Gulch"

September 24, 2009


c600 Mission work by St Mochua at Celbridge where the Slí Mor forded the Liffey, associated with undated holy well on later site of Celbridge mill.
c1150 Stone church at Donaghcomper, windows of cut stone were inserted in the fourteenth century.
1176 First mention of church of Stacumny
1202 Abbey at St Wolstan’s founded for Adam de Hereford
1308 John Le Decer’s bridge constructed at Salmon Leap. When it was removed for a hydro electric scheme in 1939 it was the oldest surviving bridge in Ireland.
1314 Mention of village of Kildrought in Naas court case
c1350 Kildrought church
1536 Abbey at St Wolstan’s becomes first monastery in Ireland to be dissolved by Henry VIII (September)
1647 Eoghan Rua Ó Néill and Thomas Preston pitch their joint camp in Celbridge, preparing for an attack on Dublin which never took place (June).
1654 Population of Kildrought recorded at 102 by Down Survey
1683 Celbridge born Thomas Dongan appointed Governor of New York
1703 Celbridge Abbey constructed by Bartholomew Van Homrigh
1709 William “Speaker” Conolly from Ballyshannon Co Donegal purchases Castletown estate in 1709 from Thomas Dongan. School set up in the old market house and James Carberry's Brewery established, later to become Coyles and eventually Norris’s and the Village Inn.
1720 Development of modern Main Street begins with construction of Kildrought House, designed by Joseph Rotheny for Robert Baillie.
1720 Visit of Jonathan Swift to Esther Vanhomrigh (Vanessa) at Celbridge Abbey, Celbridge’s most famous love affair.
1722 Construction of Castletown House commences.
1722 Richard Guinness, father of Arthur, opens brewery for Arthur Price on site of Holy faith convent.
1724 Oakley Park built to a design by Thomas Burgh for Arthur Price, newly appointed Bishop of Meath.
1724 Year in which Celbridge rather than Kildrought or (briefly) Cell-bridge, is thought to have prevailed as the name of the town
1732 Collegiate School built as a charity school to design by Thomas Burgh.
1739 Celbridge Obelisk built as famine relief scheme
1750 Jasmine Lodge, later Mulligan’s house, built at corner of Main St and Maynooth Road.
1755 Lord Lieutenant William Cavendish, later Prime Minister of England, makes Castletown house his summer base.
1758 Castletown house inherited by Tom Conolly and the interior decoration was finished by his wife Louisa Lennox, great-granddaughter of Charles II of England.
1760 Construction of Tea (or Tay) Lane
1763 Mention of racecourse at Celbridge (Oct 10).
1765 First “modern” factory in Ireland, manufacturing agricultural implements, opened by John Wynn Baker in Loughlinstown near the newly constructed Grand Canal. It was destroyed by fire in 1767.
1770 Killadoon house built for Nathanial Clements MP, banker and amateur architect (redecorated 1820).
1773 Broe’s house and shop constructed, now the Bank of Ireland.
1773 Lord Lieutenant Simon Harcourt comes to reside at Celbridge for the summer.
1779 Man shot during riot in Celbridge as local people attempt to release prisoner (Aug 11)
1779 Three houses on east bank swept away and thirty people rescued by boat after Liffey rises “with an unusual and most alarming swell for the space of three hours, and at nine o’clock was two feet three inches above the greatest height to which it had risen in the memory of man.” (Nov 13)
1780 Mary McKee, Celbridge’s oldest resident, dies aged 110
1782 John Begnall’s Academy established in Kildrought House, school of Celbridge’s most famous military family, the Napier brothers.
1783 Castletown gates constructed
1783 Date of construction of mill building
1787 Flood on river Liffey causes extensive damage (November)
1798 Rebellion in area leads to burning of several houses and old church on Tea Lane (May-June).
1802 Celbridge bridge destroyed by flood (Sept 10)
1803 “Rebels in arms” take possession of Celbridge but withdraw on news of failure of rebellion in Dublin (July 23)
1805 Celbridge “Manor” Mills opened by Laurence Atkinson. Construction of “English Row” for Yorkshire immigrants who come work on mill.
1810 Fire at Celbridge mills extinguished by villagers (reference Dec 3)
1813 First Church of Ireland built at Castletown Gates. Celbridge Mills closes and reopens when Jeremiah Houghton joins Atkinson as partner (June 4)
1815 Daniel O’Connell challenged by Robert Peel to duel at Celbridge which never takes place (Sept 1)
1817 Owner Jeremiah Houghton tells Westminster parliamentary committee that Celbridge mill is “the biggest wool manufactory in Ireland,” employing 600 people.
1818 Mill runs into financial trouble and is purchased at auction by Houghton from his former partners (Dec 18)
1821 Royal visit to Celbridge by English King George IV (Aug 31)
1826 Strike by Celbridge weavers (Aug 11)
1830 Mill closes, death of Jeremiah Houghton (Aug 25).
1831 Constabulary Barracks established at Kildrought house.
1839 Construction of Celbridge workhouse commences (tender May 7).
1841 Constabulary Barracks moves to the site of the current Michaelangelo’s restaurant
1842 Bare knuckle prize fight for £50 and Irish championship between Jem Byrne and Mick Hayden stopped by Celbridge constabulary in the 20th round (Jan 1)
1846 Hazlehatch station opens (August 4).
1856 James Lambert from Celbridge becomes Lord Mayor of Dublin.
1867 Large party of Fenians assemble in Celbridge including two “American Celts”,
1859 Catholic church of St Patrick, designed by JJ McCarthy, dedicated by David Moriarty, Bishop of Kerry in the absence through illness of Archbishop Paul Cullen (June 19)
1877 Holy Faith convent opens
1879 Royal visit to Celbridge by Empress Elisabeth (Cissi) of Austria (Mar 19).
1880 Celbridge cricket club founded (active until 1902)
1884 Christ Church Church of Ireland constructed utilising the tower of original 1813 church 
1885 Celbridge GAA club founded (August 15)
1871 Closure of Joseph Shaw's flax and flour mills at Temple Mills (Oct 4)
1879 Closure of Celbridge Mills
1901 Polo Club established on Castletown Estate
1902 Royal Visit to Celbridge by Crown Prince Heinrich of Germany (May 20)
1903 Death of Gerald R Dease] (1831-1903) benefactor to Catholic church in Celbridge and chamberlain to successive Lord Lieutenants who was knighted by Queen Victoria in 1897 (October 18)
1903 Callendar paper company established in former mill to manufacture paper from turf but lasts just one year.
1920 RIC barracks, on at site of disused mill, burned by Irish volunteers (Aug 31)
1921 Celbridge bridge badly damaged during War of Independence (Jan 8)
1921 Celbridge resident Art O’Connor TD becomes Minister for Agriculture in the second Dáil (Aug 16)
1921 Celbridge barracks, on site of Workhouse/Hospital, later the paint factory, is reputedly first in which uniform of the new Free State army is worn when occupied by an officer and 40 men (Mar 24).
1921 Gunfight ensues when volunteers attempting to mine the railway bridge at Stacumny are surprised by Black and Tan patrol (July 5).
1922 Free State Soldiers travel from Celbridge to take possession of Beggar’s Bush Barracks in Dublin (Jan 31).
1922 Anti-treaty forces attack but fail to capture Free State’s barracks in Celbridge workhouse, one of first engagements of civil war (April 17).
1923 Celbridge born Anthony O’Reilly executed following hjs capture after battle of Pike’s Bridge (January 8).
1923 Celbridge Union abolished by Minister of Local Government leading to closure of hospital (May)
1923 Celbridge tennis club founded
c1923 The 67 bus service commences linking Celbridge to Dublin city centre.
1928 Celbridge Rugby club founded by Fr Joseph Furlong, active 1928-29.
1931 Weston Aerodrome established by Darby Kennedy
1933 Union paint factory opens on site of Celbridge workhouse
1934 Celbridge Mills reopened by Leinster Hand Weaving Company (Oct 2)
1939 Workman, trained by Jack Ruttle at Hazlehatch, wins Aintree Grand National (Mar 24).
1939 Celbridge Garda station opens.
1947 Hazlehatch station closed (Oct 11).
1948 Construction of housing at Ballyoulster.
1953 Oakley Park opened by St John of God brothers as St Raphael's hospital (January 17)
1954 Construction of first of two phases of housing at St Patrick’s Park (1954-57 and 1964-‘67).
1957 Secondary school for girls opened by Holy Faith sisters at St Wolstan’s on Dublin Road.
1959 Celbridge Town AFC founded
1966 Celbridge born Aidan Higgins wins James Tait Black Memorial Prize for literature
1966 Celbridge Mills acquired by Navan carpets, employment rises to 180
1966 Weston airport serves as the base for the war film, The Blue Max, directed by John Guillermin.
1967 Celbridge rezoned for rapid growth under the Kildare Development Plan
1967 Desmond Guinness purchases Castletown House to save it from development and establishes headquarters of the Irish Georgian Society there.
1969 Permission was granted for the first development of 400 houses within Castletown Gates.
1973 Collegiate school closed by the Incorporated Society for Promoting Protestant Schools in Ireland. Pupils are transferred to Kilkenny College.
1975 Minister for Industry & Commerce Justin Keating opens Castletown, first of more than 30 multiple housing developments in Celbridge (October 1st).
1977 French electrical group Telemecanique group open factory on Maynooth road
1980 Former Collegiate School opens as Setanta Hotel (January 25th)
1982 Celbridge Mills closes for final time (May)
1984 Celbridge Paddlers canoe club founded
1986 Census lists Celbridge as the fastest growing town in Ireland with a growth rate of 54.9pc.
1989 Ben Briscoe becomes third resident of Celbridge to become Lord Mayor of Dublin.
1994 Hazlehatch station reopens to passengers (May 19)
2002 St Wolstan’s Girls school moves to Ballymakealy.
2003 Schnieder MGTE group closes former Telemecanique factory on Maynooth road (September)
2007 New main terminal opens at Weston Airport.
2008 Celbridge wins Kildare senior football championship for first time

Some key dates in Celbridge History. Our thanks to Eoghan Corry

September 22, 2009


This week sees the arrival of descendants from all over the world of one of the most famous Kildare families - The Eustaces. They have a busy itinerary and two of the planned events may be of great interest to Kildare people.

Day 2 Wed 23rd September

1:00 pm Arrive at Castlemartin. Welcome Ceremony & Tour
2:00 pm  Mass at St. Mary’s Church; Fr Louis Eustace

3:00pm Introductions & Tour Discussion
4.00pm New Abbey
5.30pm Round Tower Kilcullen

Day 3 Thursday 24th September
8:00 pm Presentation: Mr Ger Mc Carthy, local historian. Eustaces of Kildare. Location: St Johns Church, Ballymore Eustace.

Ron Eustice of Minnesota emailed me a copy of the itinerary










Day 1 Tuesday 22nd September



Pick up participants in Dublin (See attached schedule)



Early arrivals settle in at Hazel House



Walk to Coghlanstown



Lunch ?



Dinner ?











1.00 pm or 2:00 pm












Time TBD






Day 2 Wed 23rd September



Tour Orientation for Participants at Hazel House



Lunch ?



Arrive at Castlemartin. Welcome Ceremony & Tour



Mass at St. Mary’s Church; Fr Louis Eustace



Introductions & Tour Discussion



New Abbey



Round Tower Kilcullen



Dinner West Wicklow Lounge, Blessington



Evening Irish music, ballads


















1:30 pm



2:30 pm














Day 3 Thursday 24th September



Harristown House.     nabeaumont@hotmail.com                                        http://harristownhouse.com/






Barretstown Castle , Ballymore Eustace,
Tel: +353 45 864 115;






Tour Elverstown, Tipperkevin, Blackhall, Punchestown, Manor Kilbride. Cemetery, Knock Bawn? (Weather contingency plan).



Dinner Ballymore Inn; www.ballymoreinn.com/



Presentation: Mr Ger Mc Carthy, local historian. Eustaces of Kildare. Location: St Johns Church, Ballymore Eustace.








9:00 am



9:30 am



12:00 pm



2:00 pm



4:00 pm



5:00 pm



Day 4 Friday 25th September



Depart Hazel House



Irish National Stud & Japanese Garden



Kildare Town Tour/Lunch (Place TBD)



Clongoweswood Castle and School (045) 868202



Maynooth Castle/Cartron House


















1:00 pm



2:30 pm



Day 5 Saturday 26th September



Depart for Glendalough






Arrive Ballykealey Lunch



Depart for Castlemore/Hardymount



Ardoyne Church



Baltinglass Abbey









9:00 am



10:00 am









4:00 pm



Day 6 Sunday 27th September



Depart Hazel House



St. Audeons (one hour)



Christchurch Cathedral



Trinity College






Visit with Declan & Helen Eustace in Chapelizod






9:00 am



11:00 am



1:30 pm



3:00 pm



Day 7 Monday 28th September



Depart Hazel House



Arrive Highfield Hospital






Tour Dublin Castle (Phone+353 1 645 8813 or 01 645)



/Shopping; Dinner



September 18, 2009



A Tie to the Land
Colm Flynn
A tie to  the land front.jpeg
will be launched in
 The Heritage Centre, Athy,
Co Kildare
Monday 21st September 2009. 
It began simply as an idea born out of a need to commemorate the return of the National Ploughing Championship to Athy, the place where it all began in 1931. The book indeed is ultimately a commemoration of this rather unique area where not only necessity, but foresight and a unique set of people were the mothers of invention. It is a curious amalgam of truth, fact and fiction but in every word and sentence a celebration of the traditions associated with the land and agricultural production as well as the early ploughing competitions. Every movement, taste, sight and sound of the text awakens in us a memory of our own experiences and passions. The central themes highlight a connection and feeling of community which we may sometimes feel are in danger of being lost in the modern world. It is right then that we continue to celebrate our connection to the land and the traditions attached to it and as we continue to move forward we remember to keep an eye on the past.
The book provides a perfect release for all those stories and literary inventions which had been apparently rolling around in the author’s head for many years. They form a peculiar (often hilarious) combination of poignant memories and tall tales. Sometimes it is hard to distinguish fact from fiction in Colm’s stories but the use of newspaper articles and other historical sources grounds us constantly throughout the book in the early decades of the twentieth century when the great Irish agricultural associations began to thrive. From local and national farmer’s and labourers organisations to ploughing matches and tobacco growing we are slowly but inevitably hooked. It is with pride and understanding we read through the pages and indeed we could say with pride and prejudice for we are indeed prejudiced when it comes to these passions of ours – our home, our families and our way of life – these are OUR ties to the land.
Pick up a copy of the book to while away the small hours and when you find yourself smiling or even laughing out loud to yourself at some of the incidents or characters you encounter, remember – I told you so!


In early October 2008, it was announced that the Ploughing Championship was returning to the place of its birth, Athy, in 2009. It became a talking point in my local pub, Conlans of
Booleigh. In the course of these discussions, much talk centred around the possibility of using the occasion to generate badly needed funds. There was talk of running boats from Athy and Vicarstown along the canal to get people to the grounds, all sorts of innovations were on the cards. This put me thinking. Surely there was opportunity. Then my good friend Breda Gleeson suggested to me “Why don’t you do something to celebrate the Ploughing and its return to Athy.” And the seeds were sown, the challenge was on. On reflection I did have many connections to the people who were and some who still are associated with the Ploughing Championship. Anna May McHugh and her brother Stanny Brennan were of immense help in developing the story. Andrew Bergin shared my desire to find out more about our respective grandfathers J. J. Bergin and James Flynn. Nassau and Jenny Greene and his mother, Juliet have a fascinating archive of material associated with John Nassau Greene and Juan Greene, all manner of material recalling innovation in the early life of the Free State, so much so, that we felt their story was a book in itself. It was then the idea of celebrating Athy’s movers and shakers and what was unique about them seemed to take on a life of its own. The expression “You don’t know the half of it” certainly came to mind as we trawled through all the old drawers of my fathers writing desk. There were cobwebs in there that hadn’t seen the light of day since Gods time. As we enter another recession, the solution to our problem may well be in the past. Indeed many of the difficulties experienced
during the founding and delivery of the Irish Free State, on reflection, are transferable to modern day. Innovation, thinking outside the box, the sharing of ideas and ideals, coming together, are all things we need to be doing today. In order to make any sense of the mindset of those that work the land and the seemingly unfathomable bind it has on them, it would be important to see how it is engrained and where it all began. So with that in mind I’ll take you back to the beginning, my childhood, a time when innovation just happened in the immediate world of farm experience. If writing this book helps one person to break out from the shackles of recession then I will be well pleased. If I seem rushed, its because I’ve never done this before and the Ploughing can’t wait. So enjoy.
 Anna May Mc Hugh, the great orchestrator of the National Ploughing Championship ahs written a foreword to the book

This year, 2009, sees the return of the National Ploughing Championship to Athy where it all began in 1931. I am extremely delighted to write a foreword to this book by Colm Flynn which not only celebrates the traditions associated with the early ploughing competitions and indeed with farming in general but the peculiar innovative spirit which was evident at that time in South Kildare. It also highlights the rural ethos which is in danger of disappearing in an ever changing world. A time when people were indeed tied to the land not simply out of ecessity but also out of pride and generations of family associations. We at the National Ploughing Association wish Colm well with this publication and would like to take this opportunity to thank him for drawing attention to what it was like to grow up surrounded by the traditions we sometimes take for granted. This unusual combination of memories, stories, anecdotes and historical facts will hopefully engage and entertain the reader into the wee
small hours.
We must take every opportunity to preserve and protect our heritage as much as we must continue to strive to develop and grow. The National Ploughing Championship is a unique event, calculated to do just this and has developed over time as a truly national event and a great social occasion. The spirit of the early ploughmen lives on in this book.
Anna May McHugh
National Ploughing Association, 2009

The launch of ‘A Tie to the Land’ will take place in The Heritage Centre, Athy, Co Kildare at 8.00pm on Monday 21st September 2009. 
A perfect gift for Christmas, the book costs €15, but is available at a discounted price of €10 on the launch night and during The Ploughing Championships.
‘A Tie to the Land’ is available for sale at The Heritage Centre in Athy and at a number of stands in The Ploughing Championships.
1. The Athy Vintage stand
2. The Library stand
3. The Irish Family History Foundation stand

September 17, 2009


Leinster Leader 11th April 1959
For the first time, terrier-racing, so popular in certain parts of Munster, is to be introduced in Leinster. May 3rd is the official “off” day, when Kilcullen Boxing Club will sponsor a series of Sunday afternoon races to be held on a course quite near the town.
[The] Idea behind the plan is the raising of funds for the building of a new athletic club premises in the town. The site for the club has been cleared.
Trials have already been held on the course, appropriately named “Mongrel Park”. The response from dog owners has been very heartening. [The] Man behind the project, Mr. J.J. Byrne, jun., states that there are plenty of runners available and that main problem is to get them to chase the quarry, a stuffed hare-skin.
The racing is open to all dogs other than greyhounds and whippets. Dogs will be classed on height to shoulder and will do timed trials for the purposes of grading.
Races will be over 100 yards (straight for the bigger dogs and 80 yards for smaller animals. Prizes will range from £2 for a race up to £10 for a stake event.
The sport has proved extremely popular in West Cork and Limerick, where meetings attracts large crowds. Kilcullen, being centre of a large sporting area, should be an ideal location for the introduction of the racing in Leinster.
[Spelling and grammar retained as original]

The Leinster Leader of 11th April 1959 reports on terrier - racing introduced in Kilcullen for the first time to raise funds for the building of a new athletic club premises in the town.


The Nationalist and Leinster Times 14th November 1959
By Rev. P. J. BROPHY
The new church on the Curragh speaks well for Ireland-1959.   Buildings tell us about the people who design and use them, especially churches.  A French cathedral as that at Chartres spreaks for the Christian builders of the thirteenth century who poured their heart and Faith into its making.
St. Brigid’s garrison church on the Curragh training camp is a building of genuine religious significance.  It does credit to the talents of the Irish artists who have collaborated towards its harmonious completion.  This is a frankly twentieth century church.  It shows no ambition to imitate gothic or Romanesque models.  Its sincerity and modernity command respect. Up-to-date materials and techniques unite to give us a house where worshippers of the 1960’s will feel at home.
The site was so well chosen that a striking architectural landmark now dominates the Kildare plain.  Your eyes fasten on the slender campanile which does not conflict but blends with the water tower close at hand.  Red brick was the obvious material to harmonise with one architectural feature of the camp.  The Marian close and the carefully preserved pines set off the new church admirably.  It seems to belong here with its surroundings.
                                                         ST. BRIGID'S STATUE
Oisin Kelly’s statue of St. Brigid dominates the façade. This larger-than-life-size figure in teak represents the patroness surrounded with children who are enfolded by her cloak.  It was a happy thought to incorporate the St. Brigid cross so successfully into the main design. 
The interior is spacious, lofty, well-lit.  there is no doubt about the centre of interest, the lovely open high alter.  The table and supports are of green marble.  The alter stands at eye-level to the worshipper in the pews.  The communion rails, also of marble, are at once seen to derive from the table of sacrifice.  The chancel wall, richly panelled in mahogany, soars up above the nave as if to funnel up the prayers of the congregation heaven-wards.
Very pleasing is the baldachin suspended over the altar.  It is surmounted by a painted crucifix.  This reverent but unfamiliar work of Patrick Pye recalls illuminations from the Book of Kells and byzantine frescoes.  Sanctuary lamp, crucifix and six candlesticks in copper for the high alter are notably successful.  Altogether this sanctuary is a magnificent setting for the ceremonies for the liturgy. 
Space, decorum, quality characterise the final result.  It is a worthy sounding-board to echo with the prayer of the church and the sonorous chants of the Mass.
There is comfortable seating for 1,500 people.  Everybody has an uninterrupted view of the altar and the pulpit.  The arrangement for heating, lighting, ventilation and sound diffusion are excellent. 
Only five of the stations of the cross are yet in place.  They are modern in an honest sense.  Not content to say what has been too often repeated in a traditional way, they express deep emotion in modern idiom.  One should reserve judgement until one had studied them humbly a few times.  A real artist ponders long over his work.  It is sheer impertinence on our part to dismiss the fruit of serious effort after a momentary glance.
A dozen Irish artists are represented in this church of our National Army.  Good taste has prevailed in restricting the decorative features.  The stained glass window which frames in the organ – an admirable instrument, I am informed – is a beautiful handling of the theme of Christ as the Alpha and the Omega.  From God has come all, and to God all must return.  The Twelve Tribes of Israel and the Twelve Apostles sent by Our Lord symbolises the channels through which God’s loving mercy flows out to men.
The traditional cruciform shape has been retained externally with the sacristies and meeting rooms as arms.  Baptistery and mortuary chapel are important parts of the church.  Their treatment here shows careful consideration for their purpose.  Through one we are brought into the Church, through the other we are carried out at life’s end, fortified with the Church’s prayer for the road ahead.
The Curragh Camp now has a real house of God.  It is as worthy as possible a place of prayer as the combined efforts of a group of sincere Irish artists could produce.  There is no sham ornamentation here, no confusion of ideas.  There is nothing to distract attention from the main thing - the alter and the tabernacle.

A report by Rev P.J. Brophy in the Nationalist and Leinster Times of November 1959 on the modern new  St. Brigid's church on the Curragh training camp.

September 12, 2009


The Nationalist and Leinster Leader 6th October 1928
The death is announced this week of Mr. John Devoy, of New York, the great Fenian Leader of 1867. He was the Editor of “The Gaelic American” newspaper. His ancestors belonged to Leix.  Michael Devoy, a grand uncle of the late Mr. John Devoy, wrote a history of Athy, which he sent to the “Irish Magazine” in March 1809. The volume of the “Irish Magazine” in which the article appears was picked up at Mendoza’s Old Book Store, at Anne Street, New York, by Mr. Frank Richardson, a native of Athy, and handed to the Editor of “The Gaelic American”. The full title of the publication iis “The Irish Magazine and Monthly Asylum for Neglected Biography” and the editor and publisher was the notorious Matty Cox.
The father of Michael Devoy, the writer of the history, was born in 1713 and died in 1815; so that he was alive six years after that article was written in 1809. He spoke no English until he was twenty-five years of age. His son, when writing the article had the benefit of his father’s long and intimate knowledge of the town of Athy, as well as access to books and manuscripts that are now extant. He was a Captain of the Rebels in the Kildare Insurrection of 1798, and had to leave the neighbourhood of Athy on that account. He settled in Kill in 1805, became a prosperous contractor, and superintended the construction of a large part of the Grand Canal. He died about 1841 or 1842.
Michael Devoy, the writer of the history was born at The Heath, a farm on the estate of the Duke of Leinster, and situated in the parish of Athy, but moved to Kill in the early part of the nineteenth century. Many families of the name resided in the neighbourhood of Athy for several generations after the Massacre of Mullaghmast, where the Chief of the Clan was butchered with Rory O’Moore and many others by the Earl of Essex, in 1578. The proper name for the family is O’Duibhidh. A history of the family is given in the late Canon O’Hanlon’s “History of the Queen’s County”

The Nationalist and Leinster Leader of 6th October 1928 reports the death of Mr. John Devoy,  of New York, the great Fenian Leader of 1867

September 05, 2009


Kill History Group
Autumn & Winter 2009
Monday 28th September: The Earls of Kildare
- Maryann Lyons
Monday 26th October:     The Great Flu of 1918
                                                - Ida Milne
Monday 24th November: Arthur Guinness: 250 years
                                      - Eibhlin Roche
Monday 25th January 2010: Annual General Meeting
All meetings take place in the Parish Meeting Room at 8.30 p.m.
(unless otherwise indicated)

List of events for Kill History Group, Autumn & Winter 2009

September 03, 2009


Co. Kildare 1911 Census Online

The National Archives of Ireland has made all the 1911 Census returns for every county (all 32), including returns for Co. Kildare, available to search and view online at http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/

Ua Buachallawebsmall.jpg

1911 Census Return for Domhnall Ua Buachalla, Main Street, Maynooth

It is an amazing resources and the National Archives are to be highly commended.

For the purpose of genealogical research in Ireland only the individual household census returns of the 1901 and 1911 are available for the whole country. A census was undertaken in Ireland from 1821 onwards from which statistical data and reports were complied. The census returns themselves for 1821, 1831, 1841 and 1851 were, by and large, lost in the fire at the Public Record Office in the Four Courts in 1922.  However, returns do survive for some counties. The census returns for 1861, 1871, 1881 and 1891 were destroyed by the State. 
Microfilmed copies of the 1901 and 1911 Census are held by most County Libraries in Ireland and in the national repositories of the National Archives, and National Library, Dublin. Returns from 1901 pertaining to the North of Ireland are held at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland.  You can use the census returns to locate an ancestor in 1911, where they were born, age and so on.

Don't forget that there are a wide range of resources on the Kildare Library and Arts Services website under Kildare Collections and research Services which relate specifically to Co. Kildare, with live links to online parish registers etc.
Please note also the Irish Family History Foundation’s website at www.rootsireland.ie has made computerized parish registers available online as well as other sources for many Irish counties, allowing you to research your Irish ancestry.  All the county genealogy centres will carry out research on your behalf and have many sources which are not available online, including a computerized index of the 1901 census and some have fragmentary census data from earlier returns.
It is common for discrepancies in age to be thrown up by the census returns; for example, you may find that a person’s age can be four, five or more years out of line with baptismal, birth or marriage records that you have already located, or between one census return and another.  Cross checking with the census data, using known family names, occupations and place of residence will help you to establish whether a census record may be relevant.

Sometimes you must persevere and try different things. For example if you look for Donal Buckely in Maynooth because the returns were normally filled written in English you will not find the return for Domhnall O'Buachalla, indeed if you look for O Buachalla you actually have to look at every (scroll through) return for Buachalla in Co. Kildare (or DED if you know it) as the return is under Ua Buachalla. Similarly if you look for the street of Shraud (or Shrawd) in Kildare Town you will not find it in the Census as it is listed as Strand, a mistake probably made by the enumerator. So look around, try different searches. Don't become frustrated because the beautiful thing about a searchable database is that it allows you to search across the whole country, county, DED etc etc. - you just would not be able to do this manually. So again a big thank you to the staff and Board of the National Archives.

Karel Kiely M.A.
Kildare Genealogy
Supported by the Kildare Town Heritage Centre and Kildare County Council Library and Arts Services. Member centre of the Irish Family History Foundation.

The 1911 Census returns for all 32 counties have been made avaialabe online by the National Archives. Great praise is due to the National Archives for a truly magnificent resource. 

September 02, 2009


Leinster Express 3rd June 1871
THE FUNERAL OF THE REV. GEORGE D. BLACKER MAYNOOTH. – There seldom has occurred such a demonstration of all classes and creeds in showing their appreciation of worth and benevolence as took place on Saturday morning last at the funeral of the above named reverend gentleman, in the town of Maynooth, county Kildare. The hearse and four horses had to proceed in advance without its customary burden, for the parishioners and friends of the deceased would carry his remains themselves all around the town, and to his honoured grave, followed by a long line of sorrowing relatives, and the carriages of the nobility and gentry, who themselves largely attended, and walked in the procession, the various public schools and educational institutions, in which the deceased was so much interested bringing up the rear. A considerable number of clergy of all denominations also attended, headed by the Very Rev. the Dean of St. Patrick’s Dublin, in which Cathedral the deceased held a prebendal stall. The solemn service was most impressively read by the Rev. George Studdert, rector of Ardee, a relative of the deceased assisted by the Rev. Mr.Fussell, curate of the parish, and the remains were deposited in the family vault of the Duke of Leinster, and at his urgent affectionate request his Grace thus closing a life-long series  of most cordial acts to a loved friend and school fellow, whose worth he so long appreciated. His Grace from indisposition was unable to attend, but the Marquis of Kildare followed the cortege, and joined in the service. The Leinster Mausoleum adjoins the church, of which the upper tower, an ancient portion of the Castle of the Geraldines, covered with luxuriant ivy, forms the belfry, while the lower story contains the vault.- Daily Express

The Leinster Express of 3rd June 1871 reports on the funeral of the Rev. George D. Blacker, Maynooth.


Leinster Leader, May 19th 1956
Passing Of Great Footballer
The Late Mr. Joseph Rafferty, Naas
The tragic death last week of Joe Rafferty (76) one of Kildare’s greatest football heroes, came as a great shock to Gaels not only in County Kildare but all over the whole country. Strangely enough Joe was not born in Kildare, but in Lambay Island off the coast of Dublin, where his father was employed at the time, before coming to a job in Osberstown, Naas.
    Joe, it is stated, was not christened for six weeks due to the difficulty of reaching the mainland owing to storms.
   From his earliest years Joe Rafferty took a keen interest in athletics, and he was only fourteen years when he took up Gaelic football. The first team he played with was Sallins, known as “John Manderville’s” at that time, but it wasn’t very long until Clane then ruling the roost in Kildare football heard about his abilities and had him enrolled. They did not regret their decision as Joe won three county championships with Clane; incidentally it was Joe’s habit to walk from Osberstown to Clane weekly either for a match or practice.
     Speaking to a well-known Gael and sportsman, Mr. Jack Lawler, Obserstown, Naas, who knew the late Mr. Rafferty very well and recalled playing football against him, he mentioned some prominent teams that Joe played against including Mountrice then known as “The Blunts,” “Crom Abus” from Maynooth, and the “Sons of Rest.”
   Before going to Kilcock he played for a time with “The Rags” a Kilcullen team. He have trojan service to Kilcock where that evergreen Gael Tommy Kelly too him under his wing and he was with Kilcock for years and won a championship with them.
   He never played football with Naas and his last game was about 1921 when Naas just promoted from junior ranks defeated his adopted team.
   Of course Joe’s fame as a footballer went far beyond the confines of Kildare, and even the youngest boy in the county speaks with both awe and respect of that grand old warrior of the playing fields of half a century ago. He led Kildare (Clane) to their first Leinster title in 1903, and it was he who captained the All-Whites in their three memorable clashes with Kerry (Mitchel’s) in the All-Ireland Final of that year before the Kingdom won their first game.
   Two years later Joe achieved the great prize for which all footballers yearn-an All-Ireland medal-when Kildare (Roseberry) overcame the same Kerry Mitchel’s in the All-Ireland Final. Joe’s contemporaries at that time included Bill Bracken, “Joyce” Conlon, “Steel” Losty, Jim Wright, Willie Merriman, “Hussey” Cribben and Eddie Kennedy.
    Apart from the memorable games with Kerry, Joe had fond recollections of the great games with Louth in the Leinster Championship which he was of the opinion made Kildare the peers of the football world at that time. Substitutes were then unknown and the All-Whites played the same seventeen players in their three matches against Kerry and Louth.
     The late Joe Rafferty usually played at midfield, but if required could play in any position with distinction and could use both feet with equal accuracy. He had a powerful kick, a Gael who watched him in many matches told a Leinster Leader Representative, and he knew where he was placing the ball. He had a great admiration for the Kerry men and the Jubilee dinner which the “Kingdom” celebrated after their 1953 All-Ireland triumph he was the honoured guest and those veteran Kerry footballers of other days vied with one another in making him feel at home. “Kerry,” he used to say, “were the most honourable lads I ever met. They would give and take and they never whimpered. I never saw one of them say a word to a referee.”
     Of latter years Joe who was in the best of health lived quietly near Naas, honoured and respected by all. An amiable good-natured man he had a kind greeting for everyone, and his popularity was lasting.
   His wife died about twelve years ago he is survived by two sons and three daughters. His tragic passing will be sincerely mourned.
    There was a very large attendance at the removal of the remains to the Church of Our Lady and St. David on Friday evening and to Dean’s Grange Cemetery on Saturday last. Included amongst the Gaels in attendance were Larry Stanley, Mick Buckley, Tom Keogh, “Gus” Fitzpatrick, Jack and Tom Lawler, Tim Clarke, Secretary of the Kildare County Board of the G.A.A. Eddie Marum, T. Kelly.
      The chief mourners were Joseph and John Rafferty (sons); Mrs. Mary Kealy, Mrs. Rose O’Sullivan and Mrs. Nancy McDonald (daughter) and other relatives.
     At the meeting of the Naas Urban Council on Tuesday night sincere sympathy was voted to the family and relatives of the late Mr. Rafferty, and many tributes were paid to his sterling qualities as a Gael and patriotic Irishman.


The Leinster Leader of May 19 1956 reports on the tragic death of one of Kildare's greatest football hero's (thought to be the result of a bicycle accident on Main Street Naas)  Our thanks to Roy O'Brien

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