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October 31, 2009


Leinster Leader, September 12th, 1914
County Kildare Committee of Irish Volunteers
The first meeting of the County Kildare Committee of the Irish Volunteers was held in the Town Hall, Naas on August 26th, at two o’clock. The attendance comprised representatives from most of the corps in the county.
Mr. John Shiel O’Grady was unanimously elected Chairman of committee; Mr. J.J. Bergin, Athy, was appointed Vice-Chairman. Clause two of the Provisional committee’s scheme of Co. organisation was adopted, viz., “every company in the county shall select at a meeting convened for the purpose, and of which there shall be at least a week’s notice, a company commander, and two half-company commanders. The opinion of the drill instructors advises as to the most competent man. The Commander will in turn appoint four section commanders, but a test of military efficiency shall here be applied. In the election of officers, no man shall be eligible to vote or be elected who has not attended 75 per cent of the drills in the two months preceding election”. For the purposes of such elections and appointments the following will be the minimum strengths: Company, 64, half company, 32, section, 16. With reference to clause 3 of scheme, the first portion was adopted, namely – “The commander will be responsible for the good conduct, discipline and efficiency of the officers and men of his company.” For the remainder of the clause it was agreed that the following be substituted: - “On the occurrence, in the opinion of the commander, of a breach of discipline, that officer shall suspend the person or persons deemed guilty of such breach, pending consideration of the charge by the local committee.”

The Leinster Leader of September 12th 1914 reports on the first meeting of the County Kildare Committee of the Irish Volunteers.

October 30, 2009


Leinster Leader, May, 19th, 1962
The Naas Dominican Friary of St. Eustace was the twenty eighth house of that Order to be established in Ireland. Founded by the powerful Eustace family in 1356, it was named after their Patron Saint.
There is now no sign of the Friary, and even the site is uncertain. One writer thought that it was at Friary Lane, but this name could also be associated with the Priory of St. John the Baptist, an Augustinian house which stood close to the site of the present Labour Hall. It is more commonly believed that the Friary was about where the Hibernian Bank House now is, and the tradition of giving Benediction there during the Corpus Christi procession is said to be in remembrance of the old church. During the confiscations of monastic property in 1542, Naas Friary was found to be in possession of “a church and belfry, chapter house store, kitchen and cemetery, some cottages, a mill and about 20 acres of land”. From that date until 1641 there is little mention of the friars but it is certain that they did not leave the district. In 1641 the Prior was Fr. Peter O’Higgins. He was captured and brought before Sir William Parsons and Sir John Borlase and charged with “preaching against the English religion and seducing the people from their allegiance”. Though he pleaded innocent he was brought to Dublin and tortured. It was suggested to him that if he renounced his religion he would be set free, and Fr. O’Higgins asked for this promise in writing. He was sent to the scaffold, and when there, he held up the written promise for all to see and said “I was arrested for seducing the people from their allegiance to King Charles I, but to day I am condemned to die solely because I am a Catholic. Now I call God and man to witness that of my own free will I spurn this offer and for the Catholic faith I gladly lay down my life”. Fr. O’Higgins died for his belief and his cause of Beatification is with that of other Irish Martyrs in Rome. Another Fr. Peter Higgins from Naas was also executed in Dublin in 1641, but little else is known of this martyr.
The names of other Naas Priors of the 17th and 18th centuries are recorded. One of them, a Fr. Thomas Birmingham had the statue of St. Dominic carried in procession, and the Saint appeared to both the Irish and their enemies causing great terror to the latter. The priest was later exiled and died in Rome.
Another Prior of Naas was Fr. William Eustace, who was also Parish Priest of Naas, and in 1688, Fr. Patrick Marshall was Preacher General here. During those years the number of members in the community varied from two in 1661 to seven in 1695 and the house was represented at the Provisional Chapter held in Dublin in 1770.It is most unlikely that at any time during those years, except about 1641, that the friars ever occupied their friary, but lived in the houses of the people, or in seclusion in the country.
Early in the 18th century the Eustace family again came to the assistance of the Dominicans by giving them a home on their lands at Yeomanstown, Caragh. There, beside the Liffey they built a little chapel of which there is now only the faintest remains (due to the popular belief that stones from the chapel brought luck if incorporated into your own home), but the field is called ‘chapel field’. In a wood nearby they had their cottage and this place is still called Willis Grove, after one of the fathers who was killed there when his horse was frightened by pigeons.
An interesting tradition still alive is that an old man named Shanahan, who lived across the river from the chapel, used to attend Mass by kneeling on top of a hillock from which he could see the open-air altar. Until recent years when the ground was levelled, the supposed marks of the old man’s hands and knees were preserved on the ground and could be clearly seen.
About 1750, the friars decided to move back into Naas and a Community of six was appointed with Fr. Hugh Reynolds as Prior. Unfortunately a site could not be secured and some time afterwards Fr. Reynolds, who was also chaplain to several Catholic families, decided to move south. He settled beside the Liffey, close to the present town of Droichead Nua, and built a cottage. There he said Mass in the open. When he died in 1773, he was buried in Old Connell. The little house passed to Fr. John Daly, who had been appointed Prior of Naas in 1770.
The exact date of the official transfer of the Friary from Naas to Droichead Nua is not known but it is thought to have been in 1769-1777 and the new foundation was also dedicated to St. Eustace. With the building of the Cavalry Barracks in Droichead Nua in 1816 the town came into existence, and the Friary assumed greater importance. The foundation of a new church was laid and on Christmas morning 1819 Mass was first said there; the dwelling house had been enlarged through it was still thatched.
The relationship between the Eustace family and the Friary is remembered in the inclusion of the Stag’s Head, from the Eustace Crest, in the Crest of the Friary. In 1946, Col., and Mrs Mansfield of Barrettstown House, presented the church with a Monstrance. As this family had inter-married with the old Eustace family, a tradition of patronage extending over 600 years was maintained.
Cornelius Brosnan

Cornelius Brosnan gives an account, in the Leinster Leader of May 19th, 1962,  of how the Naas Dominicans came to Droichead Nua.

October 29, 2009


Journal of the Medal Society of Ireland
No. 48, June 1999
North of Ireland Yeomanry
Camping at the Curragh
The Regiment to be Disbanded
The North of Ireland Imperial Yeomanry assembled for their annual training on Friday last. C. (Enniskillen) Squadron was the first party to arrive in camp, the other Squadrons following in quick succession, excepting B (Derry), this Squadron travelling by night and arriving on Sunday morning at Newbridge at five o’clock. The camp was pitched on the same ground as it was last year- about an English mile from Newbridge.
           What a change from last year! Instead of steady and persistent rain, the men have been sweltering under the rays of a glorious sun. When C Squadron arrived at Newbridge, the sun was shining brightly, smiling as it were a repayment for his desertion 12 months ago. The squadron was also paid a high compliment on behalf of the regiment by its sister regiment, for the men marched into camp headed by the fine band of the South of Ireland Imperial Yeomanry.
         On Saturday the usual routine of inspecting the horses and the medical inspection of the men, took place and in the afternoon the first parade was held.
       On Sunday divine service was attended by all ranks. Formerly, the Protestants of all denominations attended one service, but this year each denomination marched into the military chapel in Newbridge in turn, the different chaplains officiating. The Church of Ireland Presbyterian parties are numerically about the same, as also are the Methodists and Roman Catholics.
     The whole topic of conversation in camp is the disbandment of the regiment. Under an order from the War Office this regiment will cease to exist under its present establishment at the end of their training. A new regiment will then be formed called the North Irish Yeomanry, and it will have the proud distinction, in case of an outbreak of war, to act as escort to the general commanding the expeditionary forces abroad. The term of service will be four years, the annual training to be 24 days instead of 18 as at present, and the recruits to do six days’ training in camp before the regiment assembles. While under training the men will receive the ordinary cavalry pay, and in addition to this a bounty of £1 per quarter. Each man on enlisting will also receive £2. Already about 33 per cent of the regiment have been sworn in under the new condition, and doubtless before the disbandment many more will re-engage. It is optional also for those men at present serving whose time is not expired to finish their time in the new corps under the existing condition of regards pay, &c.
    C Squadron have a splendid lot of horses. Usually the animals for the first few days in camp are very restless, but on this occasion their conduct has been like that of old campaigners.
   Beside the C Squadron lies D (Dundalk), and in it are a number of men from Co. Cavan. Seven hail from Ballyconnell side and are attached to No.2 troop, while Cavan town and the surrounding district furnish a troop, which is the smartest in the squadron, unlike C, is recruited from a very large area. There are men in it from as far Drumshambo in the Co Leitrim to Armagh in the North and Dundalk in the East.
 A troop has gone on manoeuvres with the 11th Hussars at Dundalk. The men who left camp on Saturday are under Lieut. Yates and C Squadron furnished seven men. Letters from home to these men will not reach them until they return to camp, on next Saturday. The following are the men out: C. Lance, Sergeant Mair, Corporal Ross, Corporal M’Causland, Private J Trimble, J Nelson, S J Hall, J A Baxter, D Lance Corporal G Pratt, Lance Corporal O’Neill, Troopers W.F. Anderson, J.C. Darling, C. Trimble, Butler, Watt.
North Irish Horse
Source: The Imperial Reporter Enniskillen, June 25th 1908

The Journal of the Medal Society of Ireland reports on the disbandment of the regiment as reported by The Imperial Reporter Enniskillen, June 25th 1908.  Our thanks to Roy O'Brien

October 28, 2009


Leinster Express 4th November 1871
The Irish Builder this week publishes illustrations of two different styles of farm dwelling-houses at present being erected under the direction of Charles W. Hamilton, Esq., on the estate of his Grace the Duke of Leinster. These designs, our contemporary say, are part of a series of buildings, comprising large and small farm houses, labourers cottages (double and single); with several out-houses in connection. The two-story high dwelling-houses, according to the designs published by The Irish Builder, are to contain a hall, sitting room, kitchen, and dairy on the ground floor, and three bedrooms and a closet on the upper story. The dimensions of the sitting room are to be 14 ft. by 11 ft, ; the kitchen 14 ft. by 12 ft. 6 in., and the dairy 14 ft. by 8 ft. The dimensions of the bedrooms on the second storey correspond with those of the rooms below. The frontage of these houses will be 16 ft. high. The small farm houses are each to contain a kitchen 12 ft. 6 in. by 14 ft.; two bedrooms each 6 ft 9 in. by 6 ft. 10 in.; a bed room 8 ft. by 8 ft. 8 in., and a room 8 ft by 5 ft. These houses will be 8 ft. high. In respect to the foundations, masonry, flues, the materials and workmanship great care was taken that everything supplied was as specified. The masonry in the external walls is 21 in. thick; rough hammer-dressed or rough punched stone quoins the walls of building. The flues to kitchen fire-place are 12 in. in diameter. The door-sills are 6 in. deep by 12 in. width. The brickwork is of the best stock bricks, no place or unburnt bricks being permitted. The jambs of the external openings of doors and windows are built with bricks in 9 and 14-in. blocks, properly tailed into the masonry. All the timbers, joists, lintels, and breastsummers are of the best Memel or red pine. Shutters are provided for the ground floors; particular care has been taken that none but the best description of timber should be used. 
In the matter of drainage, equal care was bestowed in providing for the health of the inmates. The floor levels were kept at least 6 in. above the outer surface of the ground, and in excavating the trenches a good sound foundation was reached in every part. The bottom trenches were drained by a field drain carried form the lowest part of the foundations to still further lower ground, and the bottoms of all the trenches were so fortified as to drain off any moisture to such outlet. We may remark again, in reference to the masonry that thorough bond stones were used to every 10 ft. superficial, and no course of masonry exceeded 14 in. The joints of the masonry were raked out and completed 1½ in. deep, and finished with a pointing of lime sand, and forge dust. The roofing and flooring and the internal joiners’ work is of the best St. John deals.
Due attention has also been bestowed to the out-houses and offices. Well-arranged piggeries, manure-pits, and fowl-houses over pig-house, and spacious yard in connection. There are also well designed cattle-sheds, with iron columns in front.

The Leinster Express reports on illustrations of two different sytles of farm dwelling-houses published in the 'Irish Builder' in November 1871

October 23, 2009


Leinster Leader Saturday September 1st 1934





The name Straffan means the house or the church, which place first bears mention in an ancient copy of Diudsenchus transcribed into the Book of Leinster by Finn McGormaile, Bishop of Kildare, who died in 1160.  Straffan inhabitants today may be surprised to learn there once lived a saint of that name from whom our village derived its name.  According to the Four Masters Saint Straffan of Srafan is mentioned in the masterpieces of Gorman and Donegal.  He is named Srafan of Clonmore whose feast is celebrated on the 23rd May and was one of the Leinster clerics who accompanied St. Moliney, founder of St.Mullins in Co. Carlow.  In 693 St. Srafan resided about 5 miles from Straffan.  St. Srafan is regarded as having been buried at Kill.  Another more romantic form of how the name Straffan originated is related as follows: - There was once a warrior called Lummale of Tech Straffan.  Now Corbs MacCinaia had a shield that seven of the Kings of Ireland dared not face.  At this time there lived a warrior, a seer and a poet named Fern Ben who went with a poem to demand the shield from Corbs MacCinaia who gave up the shield.  In a battle which took place after the event mentioned Fern Ben took the side Corbs MacCinaia and on turning homeward after the battle he reached Tich Straffan sorely wounded.  Here he succumbed to his wounds at which place his gillie dug his grave in which he placed him with his sword at one side of him, his spear on the other and his shield across him.  He said the name of this spot shall be Tumman till doom’s day.  Hence the name Tumman Tech Strafain (Straffan) .  During its history many different owners were in possession of Straffan.  Sir John Fannyn at one period was Chief Lord of Straffan.  In 1288 his tenants of the town of Straffan styled Burgesses holding their tenements in free soccafe while his tenants of Irishtown then named Ballaspadagh were paying a fixed rent.  A man named John Gaylon in 1490 is said to have purchased Straffan Demense Richard de Penkiston.  During the Commonwealth as he was a Catholic he forfeited these estates which passed to the possession of a Mr. Thomas Bowels.  Straffan afterwards became associated with a prominent figure of Irish history named Richard Talbot who later became the Earl of Tyrconnell of history fame who purchased Straffan Demense in 1679.   The gate near the Straffan Bridge in by-gone days was known as Tyreconnell’s Gate

The Leinster Leader  of September 1st 1934 gives us an historical insight into how the village of Straffan, Co. Kildare the home of the Earl of Tyrconnell derived its name.

October 22, 2009




The Leinster Express 20th May 1871






There is in St. Audoen’s Church, Dublin a monument representing Lord and Lady Portlester, which was removed there from New Abbey, near Kilcullen, county Kildare, about the year 1786, representing on the tomb in altorelievo the effigies of Sir Rowland Eustace, Baron of Portlester, and his Lady, Margaret Jenico.  Sir Rowland, who was founder of New Abbey in the year 1460, is clothed in armour, according to the custom of the times.  Lady Eustace is in the fashionable English dress of her age; on her head she wears a cap called a cornet, bound by a fillet or frontier of gold or silver lace, wrought with the needle in no inelegant pattern.  This fillet is tied behind from which depend long lappets, a kind of veil which occasionally could be draw [sic] over.  On her bosom is a cross of pearls.  Her gown is that species called a kertle, made to fit close with robings, and as pins were not then in use made fast by a girdle studded with pearl roses.  The skirts are plaited in large and thick folds, and trimmed at the bottom with a flounce.  Her shoes are neat and in a later fashion.  The inscription states Roland Fitz-Eustace de Portlester to have died 19th December 1496, &c “etiam pro anima Margaretae uxoris suae.”  On the front of the sarcophagus are three figures representing in the centre a Keveen clothed in the Irish habit.  On her forhead, she wears the Cabbin or Keveen, and on her neck and shoulders a clallbade, &c.  The two other figures represent Heralds in the crown, sword, tunic, and cloak, of their office, and also on their heads under the crowns the long veil or coif usually worn at funerals.  At one end is a monk in the habit of his order, and other figures much defaced.  The principle seat of the Lords Portlester or Eustace family was Harristown, near Naas, of which they were barons in the year 1200, and also of Castle Martin.  The inscription on the tomb on the outer edge is—“Orate pro anima Roland FitzEustace de Portlester, qui hoc mo. construxit et fundavit, et qui ob; die December 19th A.D., 1496, etiám pro anima Margaretae utois suae”

The Leinster Express of the 20th May 1871  reports on an interesting monument representing Lord and Lady Portlester  in St. Audoen's Church,Dublin. 

October 21, 2009


Irish Times Tuesday 24th April 1906
Funeral of
Lieutenant General Morton
The Curragh, Monday.
This afternoon the remains of Lieutenant General Sir G. de C. Morton were interred with all the honours befitting his rank in the Military Cemetery, about a mile and a half distant from the camp at the Curragh. The funeral cortege was an exceptionally large one, and its representative character indicated the esteem in which the deceased was held by his brother officers and by the men of the different regiments quartered in the district. His sympathy with those under his command, his unfailing kindness in their behalf won for him a measure of popularity which comparatively few in the service are privileged to enjoy. Outside the military circles he had also many friends for his genial, unassuming manner gained for him goodwill wherever he went. This was made strikingly apparent by the large number of civilians, including representatives of the gentry in Kildare and the adjacent counties, who drove in carriages or motored early to the camp. They desired to join in the last tribute of respect to the memory of the deceased, but as the cortege was confined to the military they assembled in respectful groups at different points along the line of route to the cemetery. The extent to which the General’s services were appreciated in the highest quarter may by inferred from the fact that His Royal Highness the Duke of Connaught sent Major Henniker to represent him. During his stay in Ireland as Commander of the Forces His Royal Highness was in close touch with General Morton, in whom he had the fullest confidence both as a soldier and a citizen. His Excellency the Lord Lieutenant shared in the general feeling of sorrow, but as his other engagements did not permit him to attend in person he sent Captain Ruthven, Military Secretary, to take his place. The Royal Irish Constabulary force was represented by its official head, Sir Neville Chamberlain, Inspector-General, and the officers of different ranks who followed the remains to the cemetery were more numerous than any similar body that has been seen in the Camp for many years past. Some of these had travelled long distances, bearing with them floral tributes, which affectionate hands placed on the coffin.
About half-past two 0’clock the special guard over the remains, consisting of a company of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment of which the deceased had been Adjutant, took up their position in the garden in front of his quarters at the South road. To the right of the column were eight pall-bearers, and close by were a number of sergeants of the Warwick Regiment, told off to carry the coffin to the gun carriage, which was drawn up at the rear of the pall-bearers, the other regiments were meanwhile marching to the positions assigned to them. It was the duty of several of these to line the thoroughfare on either side from the point at which the procession started on the South road to West church, where the first part of the Funeral Service was conducted. Each regiment bore its colours, draped in crape and uncased. Close on tree o’clock the coffin bearing the remains was carried from the General’s quarters to the gun carriage. It was wrapped in a Union Jack, and was covered with floral wreaths, and bore the head dress and sword of the deceased. The measured tolling of the church bell and the heavy discharges of the minute gun announced that the procession had started for the church. It was headed by a cavalry band playing the Dead March, followed by four squadrons of cavalry, the 4th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment, with its band, and the 1st Battalion East Lancashire Regiment, preceded by its band, all forming the escort. Then came the gun carriage with the remains, drawn by four horses, and followed by a trooper leading the saddled charger of the deceased, with boots reversed in the stirrups.
The chief mourners occupied the next place in the ranks. They were Colonel Morton (brother), Mr. W. G. Elliott (step-brother), Colonel Sturgess (brother-in-law), and Lieutenant Beaumont (nephew).
Next in the order came the representatives of the Lord Lieutenant and His Royal Highness the Duke of Connaught, friends (in uniform) outside the Seventh Division Command, the clergy, including the Presbyterian and Methodist chaplains and the Dean of Kildare; officers, in reversed order of seniority, and individual representatives of the corps and regiments other then officers. Then followed detachments of the rank and file by units in the following order: 3rd Dragoon Guards, 19th Hussars, Royal Horse Artillery, Royal Field Artillery, Royal Engineers, 4th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment, 4th Battalion Royal Fusiliers, 1st Battalion East Lancashire Regiment, 1st Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment, detachments of the 13th Brigade Battalions in order of precedence, Army Service Corps, Royal Army Medical Corps, Ordnance, Pay, and Veterinary Corps, the whole forming a brilliant and picturesque spectacle such has been rarely seen even in this centre of military life. As the procession passed on its way to the church the soldiers lining the route presented arms, and on its arrival at the West Church, where a large number of civilians had assembled, the remains were received at the entrance by the Right Rev. Bishop Taylor Smith, Chaplain-General; Rev. W. G. Howard, Chaplain at Newbridge; Rev. A. Dallas-Ennis, Chaplain at the Curragh; and Rev. E.V. Hanson, Senior Chaplain to the Forces in Dublin. Lord Grenfell, Commander of the Forces in Ireland, had preceded the procession, and taken his place in the Church to the right of the lectern. He was accompanied by Lady Grenfell, and attended by his Aides-de-Camp. Seats were available for a limited number of the general public to the right and left of the two rows of pews in the centre, which were reserved for the chief mourners and officers. While the remains were being carried into the church and laid on a catafalque in front of the Communion rails the organist played Chopin’s Dead March. The band of the Warwick Regiment occupied the pews beside the organ, and accompanied the choir in chanting the 39th Psalm. Bishop Taylor Smith read the 15th Chapter of the 1st Corinthians, and the choir sang the 499th Hymn, accompanied again by the band and organ. This portion of the service was most impressive and the scene presented by the diverse colours of the officer’s uniforms was singularly picturesque and beautiful. 
In the meantime, the cavalry and infantry of the escort, leaving the general body of mourners, moved at quick time towards the cemetery, carrying their rifles “at the trial”. They halted after passing Newbridge-Brownstown Road, and rested on arms reversed. There they remained until the coffin was replaced on the gun carriage, and the other troops reformed in procession in the order already named and marched up to them. The journey to the cemetery was then commenced in “slow time” and with reversed arms, the band of the South Staffordshire Regiment playing the Dead March. After passing Keane Barracks the pace was changed to the “quick time”, the rifles being carried reversed, and three hundred yards from the cemetery the band of the East Lancashire Regiment took up the Dead March from the South Staffords, and the pace was again reduced to “slow time”. At the cemetery gate the coffin was carried by the eight sergeants selected for the purpose to the side of the grave, the cavalry forming up facing south-east, the Warwickshire forming in line outside the north wall and facing south, the East Lancashire being on the south east, and the 1st South Staffordshire on the south-west. The special guard, with band and drums, formed up on the lawn. The remaining portion of the Burial Service was conducted by Bishop Taylor Smith, and the other Chaplains assisting him, and the coffin was lowered into the grave, which was immediately closed up. A farewell salute of thirteen guns was fired, a bugler sounded the “last post”, and the impressive ceremony came to an end. The troops, who were all dressed in review order, then returned to their respective quarters. The coffin, which was of polished oak, with heavy brass mounted handles was supplied by Mr.Waller. A shield on the lid bore the following inscription:
Lieutenant-General Sir Gerald Morton, K.C.I.E., C.V.O., C.B. Born February, 1845; died April, 1906.
Transcribed by Matt McNamara – Curragh History 2009

The Irish Times of April 24th 1906 carries an account of what was probably the biggest funeral ever witnessed in the Curragh Camp. Our thanks to Matt McNamara from the Curragh History Group.

October 20, 2009


Maynooth Horror for all film festival
30th and 31st October 2009
JHL2 NUI Maynooth, Co. Kildare
Kildare County Council Library & Arts Services in partnership with the School of English, Media and Theatre Studies NUIM host the inaugural Maynooth Horror For All film festival.
Friday 30th October
Join us for the opening night reception and a glass of wine after the featured film, Nosferatu.
30th Oct 09/ 8pm
Director: FW Murnau
Germany [1922] 89 mins
Language: Silent
The earliest surviving adaptation of Stoker’s novel, F.W. Murnau’s film was an unauthorised version of the book in which the character names were changed in a failed attempt to conceal its origins. In Orlok, Muranu created a spectral and highly cinematic image of the vampire that is more uncannily supernatural than Stoker’s original.
For details on this historic event and other future screenings see below.
Box Office
Maynooth Community Library
Opening Hours:
Mon & Thurs: 1.00pm – 8.00pm
Tues, Wed, Fri: 9.30am – 1.00pm, 2.00pm - 5.00pm
Closed Saturdays
Tel: 01 6285530

Details of Maynooth Horror for all film festiva to run on October 30th and 31st, 2009


Leinster Express, December 4th, 1852
Owing to the inquest on Philip Smith, the highwayman, taking place on the eve of our publication, we were prevented giving a report of it in last week’s Express. We do not regret this as we are now enabled to give a full and accurate report of that enquiry. It was held at the Police Barrack, Celbridge, before Mr. Hayes, the Coroner of the Southern Division of the County Kildare. The body of the deceased prisoner lay in an adjoining room. He seemed to be a man about 28 years of age, 5ft. 10in. high, strongly built, and of great muscular power.
The Hon. Edward Lawless, J.P.; N Barton, Esq., J.P; Alexander Kirkpatrick, Esq., J.P.; Counsellor Maunsell, &c., attended, and took great interest in the proceedings.
The Coroner having directed Dr. Mouritz, to make a post mortem examination of the deceased, previous to giving his evidence, proceeded to swear the following respectable jury:-
John Haughton, William Brown, Henry Hobart, William Kirkpatrick, Thomas Henry, William Nixon, John Maunsell, James McManus, Richard Heir, George Buckly, Richard Cooney, Edward Gargan.
The Coroner addressed a few observations to the jury – He said, their duty on this occasion was to try and enquire, when, how, and by what means the deceased Philip Smith, came by his death. From the report that had been made to him, it was clear that a homicide had been committed, he was bound to tell them, that there were three degrees of homicide, viz., murder, manslaughter, and justifiable homicide; it would be for the jury, after hearing the evidence, and maturely weighing every circumstance, to say to which of these classes the present case belonged. The Coroner and jury having proceeded to the next room to view the body, on their return the following evidence was taken:-
Richard Stafford examined – I am a constable of constabulary stationed at Celbridge; the 18th November I was on duty in the country, and on my return I met a man named Thomas Reilly, against whom I had a warrant, signed by Sir Edward Kennedy; I arrested him, and as I came along the road, through Oldtown, with my prisoner, a man came out of a lane and said, “is that Tom,” meaning the prisoner; Reilly answered “yes,” and turned round; I also turned round; the man who came out of the lane fired a pistol at me; the contents took effect in the right side of my head; I was a little stunned for a moment; the man fired another shot at me in about a second of time from the first, and it wounded me in the left arm and the left side of the head; I was greatly stunned by the second shot, and staggered on the road; my walking stick fell from my hand and Reilly picked it up and struck me on the head with it; I had never seen the man who shot me before that evening; I saw the deceased, Philip Smith, after he was brought here, and he was the man who fired at me; he and Reilly beat me on the road.
To the jury – I had been on duty by myself, but not for the purpose of arresting Reilly; I met him by chance.
Mr. Pilkington, the District Inspector, stated that it was contrary to rule for a constable to go out alone for the purpose of executing a warrant for the arrest of a prisoner.
Examination continued – Smith, before firing, said to Reilly, “Guard yourself!” or something of the kind; it happened about five in the evening; when I was knocked down Smith said to Reilly, “lay on him you, while I load the pistol again, and blow it through his ear; Smith struck me with the pistol and split my lip; Reilly kept striking at me on the ground, while Smith began loading the pistol; and as I knew if they loaded again I would be killed, I managed to draw my bayonet, and struck at Reilly with it; it touched his groin, and he drew back; I got on my legs, and ran about a hundred paces into Mr. Booth’s gate; they followed me, and I heard Smith say to Reilly, “You cowardly dog you let him off to prosecute us;” they followed me until I got inside the gate, and then I heard their footsteps going off; when I got into Mr. Booth’s I asked for a loaded gun, intending to pursue them, but Mr. Booth’s gun was not in order, so I had to give up my intention of doing so; Mr. Booth treated me very kindly.
Anne McCann examined – I live in the house of James McCann at Taghadoe; I am his daughter; on last Wednesday morning, about seven o’clock, the deceased came to my father’s house; he was in the habit of frequenting it; he slept there one night after he broke out of the police barrack at Clonee; he slept there again about a month ago; on the second occasion he had a pistol with him; about a fortnight ago he was in my father’s house and had a blunderbuss with him; it was about half-past five in the evening, and he only remained a few minutes; when he came to the house on last Wednesday he said he would shoot any one that would not give him shelter; he sent for bread and butter and tea for his breakfast; he remained all day in the house until about half-past two, when the police came to arrest him; I saw them approaching and told him they were coming; they came up a straight lane to the door; Smith was lying in bed at the time; he said he was sold; he made me shut the door, and then got up and dressed himself; my father was in the house at the time; he took the blunderbuss which he had with him in the bed, and put powder in the pan from a powder horn (identifies a powder horn which was found with the deceased); he then put powder in the pan of the pistol; at this time the door was locked; the police knocked at the door, and demanded admittance, he said he would open it and be out with them shortly; he said he had only one life to lose, and that he would take the life of some of them; he said, “If I knew who sold me –“ and then desired me to open the door; I did so and then retired; he then walked out with the double-barrelled pistol in one hand, and the blunderbuss in the other; (identifies a loaded pistol which was found with the deceased, and a blunderbuss which she said was the one she saw with him); when he went out I heard him tell them to come on now and fire, and take him if they dared; Sub-Constable Adams told him he was the Queen’s prisoner, and called on him to lay down his arms; he said he would not and desired them to lay down theirs; I heard more words pass between them but did not know their purport;’ Smith walked sideways with his fire-arms presented at the police; then he turned round and walked up to them and said, “Come, now, fire;” he had the blunderbuss in one hand presented towards them, and the pistol in the other; he walked about eight perches from the house, the police still following him and calling on him to surrender; Sub-Constable Adams begged of him in a kind tone to surrender, and not to have any blood spilled; in about two minutes afterwards Smith walked towards the police, when Sub-Constable Adams fired, and Smith fell on his knee, and at that moment discharged the blunderbuss at the policeman who was opposite to him; then a second shot was fired by a policeman, but it did not take effect; Sub-Constable Adams then ran in upon him and took the double-barrelled pistol and powder horn from him; when he was down the police did not bayonet him; one of the policemen took the blunderbuss and was going to strike him with it, but Sub-Constable Adams prevented him; he was not assaulted or struck while down; the police got a cart and deceased was put on it and taken away.
To the Jury – When Smith went to bed in the morning he told me to keep watch for him; he was awake when I told him the police were coming, and the door was only latched.
To the Coroner – The night he possessed himself of the blunderbuss he came to my father’s house, and was accompanied by Reilly; he acknowledged that he had taken the blunderbuss from a man named Henry, who lived at Newtown, about a quarter of a mile off; he said to my father that he was after rescuing Reilly from a police sergeant whom he beat; he said he had fired a pistol at the sergeant, but it missed, and that he fired a second time at him, but he thought it did not kill him; on last Wednesday he said to me he had stopped a bread cart on Monday evening, and taken two pounds and something from the baker’s boy; I heard him say that he always fed well.
Christopher Monaghan examined – I am at present in the employment of James McCann, and was threshing for him on Wednesday last, at his house at Taghadoe; I was just after my dinner, and was going from the house to the barn when the police came up to the barn door; they asked me who was within, and I said the old man (McCann), and another boy whose name I did not give them, it was Philip Smith; they asked me could they get into the house for fire, and I said they could; they went to the door, and I heard them knock, but I saw no more until about fifteen minutes afterwards, when I saw Smith coming out of the house with this blunderbuss in one hand, and this pistol in the other; the man that shot him said – “In the name of God lay down your arms;” he said “death before I’ll lay them down;” he kept moving about, holding the fire arms presented at the police, and Sub-Constable Adams called on him five or six times to lay down his arms; Smith ran up to Adams and said that if he did not lay down his arms he would put the contents of the blunderbuss through him; they were then six yards from each other; it was then that Adams fired at him; Smith was just raising the blunderbuss to his shoulder when he did so; Smith fell on one knee and discharged the blunderbuss at a policeman who was within four yards of him and both fell together; just as Smith was falling to the ground another policeman fired at him; the man that fired the last shot took the blunderbuss from Smith, and was about to strike him with the butt end of it when Sub-Constable Adams prevented him; he told him not to mind him; when Smith was shot he cried out, “Adams, you have destroyed me,” and in that way witness learned the name of the policeman who fired; deceased and the wounded policeman were then put in a cart and taken away,
To the Jury – I had seen Smith at McCann’s four or five times; he slept with me one night in the barn about a fortnight ago, and had a double-barrelled pistol with him; he said he carried them lest the police might take him, and that he would shoot them before he would allow himself to be taken; I saw the blunderbuss with him when he came to the house on Wednesday morning.
To the Coroner – He acknowledged that £1 1s which he had that morning, was part of the money which he took from the baker; from Smith’s demeanour, and the way he was armed, I do not think the police could have arrested him without firing on him; he said on one occasion that he would shoot any of the police that came in his way, whether they wanted to take him or not, and particularly a man named Fitzgibbon.
Mr. Pilkington said that Fitzgibbon had once prosecuted Smith for tearing his clothes.
The Coroner asked the jury did they desire to have any of the police constable’s examined, and they replied in the negative.
Henry Brudenell Pilkington, Esq., examined – I am the inspector of constabulary of the district, and am stationed at Leixlip; a proclamation of the Lords Justices, a copy of which I now produce, signed by Mr. Wynne, the Under Secretary, offering a reward of £60 for the apprehension of Thomas Reilly and Philip Smith, the latter of whom had fired at Constable Stafford, was posted previous to the 24th instant, the day on which Smith was shot, and was a sufficient authority to the police to arrest him; independently of it they are authorised to arrest all persons who go armed through the country and commit robberies as he did; on Wednesday, the 24th, I was out in search of Smith, and in the evening I came here and found him lying in a dying state; I went to his bed-side, and he looked at me and said, “It’s well for you Pilkington, that I am here, as I intended to have balled you off (or some such expression), and then I would have died easy.”
The Honourable Mr. Lawless mentioned that he was standing by at the time, and the deceased also said that he might be out of that yet, and then he would put a ball through him.
Dr. Mouritz examined – On the evening of Wednesday last, about four o’clock, I was summoned to the police barrack, and a cart came up in which the deceased and the policeman were lying wounded; I attended to the policeman first, and to Smith afterwards; the policeman was bleeding profusely from the mouth and face, from several wounds caused by shot; I found Smith bleeding from a compound wound made by a bullet through the joint of his right knee; the bone was fractured in pieces; I applied a tourniquet both above and below, and plugged up the wound; I placed him on a bedstead and applied stimulants to try and retain life; both men were cold and in a collapsed state when they arrived on the card; Smith died at 18 minutes to 10 o’clock that evening; his death was the result of haemorrhage from his wound; there was but one wound on his body, viz., that on his knee, of which he died.
The Coroner asked the jury if they required any further evidence, and they expressed themselves perfectly satisfied with that which they had heard.
The Coroner said it was clear that the deceased had committed various offences in the country, and that the police had every right to arrest him. They went to do so, and he met them and evinced a determination to offer all the resistance in his power. He (Mr. Hayes) would read the opinion of Chief Justice Bushe as to how policemen were to act under such circumstances. The Coroner then read the following case from Hayes’s Criminal Law: - “Rex v. Quinerty and Another, tried at Carlow Lent Assizes, 1830.” The prisoners were constables who had a warrant against a man named Watters for felony. They went to his house by night and found it closed. He was inside, and being informed by them of the warrant and called on to surrender, refused to do so “until death.” After being repulsed, in an attempt to escape out of the thatch of the house, he broke out of the door behind his mother and fled. The constables pursued him a few yards, when one of them fired at a distance of 25 yards, after first throwing his stick at him, which missed. The prisoner fell, but immediately rose again and took to flight. The second shot was fired at a distance of 25 yards from where he had fallen, which brought him to the ground, from which he rose no more. Chief Justice Bushe, in charging the jury, said – “The law is simply this: a constable in the execution of his duty is justified in taking away life if it be indispensably necessary, but not otherwise. If he have a warrant for any crime, from the highest to the lowest, whether a felony or a misdemeanour, and the party resists, and the constables have no means of making him amenable except by killing him, he is justified in so doing.” It was quite clear that the police had no other alternative but to fire at this man, and therefore they (the jury) would be justified in finding a verdict to that effect.
Mr. Maunsell, J.P., said he thought it only right that the conduct of the party of police should be brought under the notice of the proper authorities, for he considered that they had acted with a great deal of lenity and forbearance, and deserved a great deal of credit, especially Sub –Constable Adams.
The jury at once found the following verdict:-
“We find that the deceased, Philip Smith, died at Celbridge on Wednesday, the 24th November, 1852, from the effects of a gunshot wound received on the 24th instant, at Taghadoe, in the parish of Taghadoe, barony of North Salt, county Kildare, when resisting being arrested on a charge of firing at and grievously wounding Constable Stafford, near Celbridge, in said county, on the 18th instant. We further find that said shot was fired by Andrew Adams, sub-constable of police, and that he fired it justifiably and of inevitable necessity in the discharge of his duty. We, the jury, cannot separate without bearing testimony to the humane, and at the same time, firm conduct of Sub-Constable Adams, and the party under his command on this occasion, and wish that this, our opinion, should be forwarded by the Coroner to the Inspector-General.”   

The inquest on Philip Smith, the highwayman,which took place in Celbridge, is recounted in the Leinster Express of December 4th, 1852

October 03, 2009


Leinster Leader March 1st 1964
One hundred and fifty years ago this week, on 4th March, 1814, the Society of Jesus took legal possession of Castle Brown, now known as Clongowes Wood College.
The first Rector, Rev. Peter Kenney, dedicated exactly a month later, under the patronage of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, the great Jesuit patron of youth, the building just acquired.
The occasion was a historic one. Although Catholic education was no longer forbidden and churches could be built without breach of the law, there were no Catholic secondary schools in the country and the authorities were anxious to maintain this position. No sooner had the Jesuits bought Clongowes Wood than the ascendancy newspapers were denouncing “this daring act of Popery”, and the Chief Secretary of Ireland, Sir Robert Peel expressed his disapproval in public.
The mediaeval castle of Clongowes Wood was one of the border fortresses of the “Pale”. It was probably built in 1415 but there are no reliable records of it until 1493 when it was granted to the Eustaces, Viscounts of Baltinglass. In 1642 it was destroyed by General Monk in the Confederate War and lay in ruins until a wealthy Dublin merchant Thomas Wogan-Brown, bought it in 1718 and had it restored.
Napoleon’s General
The Wogan-Brownes later became a famous military family and it was General Michael Wogan-Browne, of the army of Saxony commander of a division in Napoleon’s march on Moscow, who sold it to the Irish Jesuits. Tradition says that the ghost of Marshal Wogan-Browne was seen on the stone steps leading up from the hall door on the day of the Battle of Prague (1737) in which he was killed.
The house and demesne were bought by Fr. Kennedy for £16,000. A further £2,700 was spent on furnishings, and it cost £3,820 to stock the farm and reconstruct the building for scholastic use. When Clongowes opened in 1814 it held the distinction of being the first college in the world to have been established by the restored Society of Jesus. The work of teaching began five weeks before the solemn restoration of the Society by Pope Pius VII, on August 7th 1814. About this time the population of Ireland was close on 4,500,000 and about 3,000,000 were Catholics. The majority of the Catholics were still labourers and tenant farmers, but, nevertheless, a new middle class was slowly emerging. Hence the great need for a Catholic secondary school.
Making Good Christians
The system of studies and the organisation of all teaching was strictly that of the Jesuit Ration Studiorum which became the law of the Society in 1599 and which declares “A master in the Society of Jesus is a person to whom Jesus Christ has entrusted a number of children purchased by his own precious blood, not merely for the purpose of being taught secular knowledge, but above all for the purpose of being made good Christians.”
In the school’s first prospectus, issued in the spring of 1814, there are two direct references to the course of study but neither of them goes into any great detail. “It does not seem necessary to outline the system here as it is already well known and highly esteemed” says the prospectus. An interesting feature of college life in those days is that parents were urged not to remove their children from the school during Christmas and Summer holidays. The prospectus asked parents to adhere to this rule with the greatest exactness.
Day of 16 Hours
The earliest Clongowes timetable show that in the summer the students put in a sixteen hour day. They arose at 5 a.m. and attended Mass at 5.45 and studied for two and quarter hours before breakfast. The next meal was at noon and consisted of bread and beer. Dinner was at 3.30 followed by an hour and a half of recreation. Supper was at 7.15 p.m. followed by another period of study, recreation and night prayers. Students retired at 8.45.
The success of the new college was apparent within a few months of the opening as the number of applications greatly exceeded the places available. It was obvious that parental approval of the Jesuit plan of studies in the liberal arts was widespread.
Among the letters of application was one from Daniel O’Connell seeking places for his two sons. “I intend the elder and indeed both, for the Irish Bar”, he wrote. “I wish them to acquire much classical learning and a solid formation in Greek."
His Hat Preserved
In later years Daniel O’Connell was to become a regular visitor to Clongowes Wood. He made retreats in the college and even contemplated ending his days there “in preparation for death”. One of his hats is preserved in the College museum.
When Clongowes Debating Society was founded in 1837, O’Connell came down to supervise the debates. Its first secretary was Thomas Francis Meagher, of whom the late President Kennedy said in his speech to the Dail; “He served with gallantry and distinction in some of the toughest battles of the American Civil War."
Today, Clongowes Wood is one of the best known Jesuit Colleges in Europe. The high ideals of Fr. Peter Kenney and his faithful little band have been maintained through the years, and the college which was founded in defiance has become a valued and essential institution in the Irish educational sphere.
Great Names Stand Out In College's Long History
The story of Clongowes Wood or indeed the story of any similar institution would be sadly incomplete without some account of the dedicated men who through the years moulded and influenced its policy.
Neither ample breadth of lands, nor fine material structures on them, constitutes a state. Man alone can provide that, and the same rule applies to a college. In this respect Clongowes Wood has been more than fortunate. The names of many of its devoted masters today shine forth as outstanding examples of truly great educationists. That first band of men who aided Father Kennedy in his undertaking and who settled those lines of work and tradition within the first decade, were all young Irishmen.
Died in Rome
The superior himself was only 35 when the college opened in 1814, and when he died in Rome in 1841 he was still a comparatively young man. Before the restoration of the Society, Father Kenney had served as Vice-President of Maynooth and during that time gave many retreats to members of the clergy from all over the country. He was a personal friend of Edmund Ignatius Rice founder of the Irish Christian Brothers and his advice to him on matters relating to the new Congregation was always accepted. He also played a big part in the foundation of the Irish Sisters of Charity.
Father Shine, who taught the first rhetoric class, 1817-1818, was an enthusiastic student of classical literature. Few masters have ever won so thoroughly as he the reverence of their classes. His early death, at Dublin in 1832, was due to service to the sick and dying during the great outbreak of cholera that year. An inspiring influence among the teaching staff in those days was Father James Butler, the professor of theology. His early death in 1820 was a severe blow to the college. The second Rector, Father Charles Aylmer, was of a great Norman family which originally came from Lyons and later settled in Kilkenny. His brother, William Aylmer, was a well known military man who served under Napoleon and died in the South American wars in 1821.
Outdoor recreations in the early days of the college were very different from what they are today. During the opening fifty years of the college, cross-country walks seemed to be the most popular outdoor recreation. Handball, played with a soft ball, was instituted early in the history of Clongowes and remained very much in favour until the alleys were taken down. Tops and marbles were in full use among junior pupils. Two very primitive forms of what later developed into cricket were occasionally used from 1814 onwards. “The wickets were two stones, broad and low in position. The ball was large and rough; the bat was shaped exactly like the caman of the hurler. There was no blocking, once you touched the ball you had to run as it was all swiping”, wrote a student.
Nature study was always encouraged and became very popular. One of the leading lights in the nature study club was Maurice Daniel O’Connell, eldest son of the Liberator. But perhaps the most unusual recreation of all, and it was by far the most popular among the students, was coursing. Senior students had the privilege of keeping their own hounds in the college, and the early records describe many an exciting chase over the Duke of Leinster’s land around Maynooth.
Skill in self-defence was elaborately provided for and officially regulated. On 17th October, 1820, Father Bartholomew Esmonde, then acting as Rector, arranged for “a competent teacher to give instruction in fencing, broadsword exercise, etc., to 60 young gentlemen, from 11.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. on one day each week”.
The production of plays, chiefly those of the great dramatists of Italy and France, was a distinctive feature of the school year in all decades down to 1880. After this all dramatic work undertaken by the students was purely recreational.
The world-famous Clongowes Union was founded in 1897. Its first President was the distinguished scholar and jurist, Christopher Palles, Chief Baron of the Exchequer in Ireland for over two score years.

The history of the founding of Clongowes Wood as a Catholic secondary school by the Jesuit Fathers in 1814, is outlined in the Leinster Leader of March 1st 1964.


October 02, 2009


Kildare Observer, June 4th, 1898
Imposing Ceremony at Newbridge
At a quarterly stated communication of the Provincial Grand Lodge of the Midland Counties held at Newbridge on Friday, the ceremony of opening a new Masonic Hall, erected in George’s Street for the accommodation of the United Service Lodge 215, was performed by the Provincial Grand Master (who was assisted by several other Provincial Grand Officers) in the presence of a large concourse of Brethren, who attended not only from the different Lodges in the district, but from Dublin and other parts of Ireland. The building is of handsome red brick, with white stone facings, and includes caretakers’ apartments, lodge, and committee room, with spacious ante-rooms and a commodious banqueting hall, and was erected by Mr John Cromer, contractor, Lucan, from designs of Mr J J O Ramsay, CE, Dunlavin. The total cost of the edifice was £1000, and there is still a considerable sum required to clear the building account.
The following officers of the Provincial Grand Lodge were in attendance – Colonel Robert G Cosby, D L, Prov. Grand Master; R Middleton Smith, Senior Grand Warden; R J Wilson, Junior Grand Warden; R Hawes, Senior Grand Deacon; J Boyle, Junior Grand Deacon; T Robert Ely, J P, Grand Secretary; Rev D H O’Connor, Acting as Provincial Grand Chaplain; G Pierce Ridley, M D, Grand Superintendent of Works; Robert Williams, Grand Director of Ceremonies; R T Fitzgerald, T Bowers, John Hipwell, and D R Mullarchy, Grand Stewards; Thomas G Lumley, Grand Sword Bearer; Isaac Williams, Grand Organist; and Henry E Joly, J P, Grand I G.
Amongst the other members of the Order present were – The Earl of Portarlington, Grand Senior Warden of the Grand Lodge of England; Robert Malone, Mus. Doc, Grand Organist of the South - Eastern Provincial Grand Lodge; Francis H Wayland, Past Prov. Grand Secretary of Wicklow and Wexford, and Representative of the Grand Lodge of North Dakota; W Beck, J D, 215; W G Hamilton, S D, 662; C H Manners, P M, 662; James Dunne, Fr Sec, 402; P Hannigan, P M, 321; W C Murray, J D, 662; G T Tyrrell, P Prov S G W, 662; H G Houghton, W M, 150; W F Houghton, S W, 150; J T Turner, P M, 825; E l McCormack, O M, 125; James Neville, 158; F Scarr, J W, 222; P R Gray, p M, 167; J Erskine, J W, 100; R Simpson, P M, 384; J Hampton, J D, 125; W Coughlan, W m 321; R H Mather, W M , 321; W J Parry, W M 321; Robert Chalmers, 321; A H Jackson, P M, 139; M C Carey, P M, 398; J N McGuire, J W, 398; F R Jackson, PPGSW, 167; T E Norris, 730;W M Tehan, 1604 (London); James Hartley, 2387, (Manchester); J Cromer, 500; W H M Conne, J W, 139; R Fincher, 660; W Finnegan, W M, 402; J Edgar, J W, 94; S H Marshall, J W, 398; J L Mills, J W, 150; T Burne, 660; S F Synes, 245: C P Tracy, 215; A Johnston, 215; H T Love, 321; G W Henderson, W M, 167: D J W Wilkinson, W M, 139; A Richardson, 660; F E Somers, S W, 321; R T Leatham, J D, 660; W H Johnson, W M, 660; R N Barron, P M, 50; H E Byers, W MJ, 215; T Llewellyn, P M, 215; A K Douglas, S W, 662; T R Gibson, P M, 215; W Cockburn, 215; Alex Bond, S W, 660; W Bailey, J W, 660; A read, 215; P Kingston, S W, 307; H W Clark, 215; J Baldwin, P M, 402; J H Smith, P M, 402; J S McElveen, T G, 215; George Clark, 215; A Haslam, 215; G Trickett, 340; H Livick, 215; T Jerome, 215; G Emerson, 215; E Dagnall, 215; G Wallace, J Barber, 215; Rev D H O’Connor, PM, 215; H Church, S W, 215; G B Read, 215; McGuirck, 62; H Cooper, W Baird, P M, 150; Chas Perman, 215; H G Sheppard, J W, 307; Wm Jackson, P M, 167; W F Mackey, P Prov G S W, 398; A W Savage, 215; Weller, 215.
Provincial Grand Lodge was opened in accordance with ancient Masonic custom, but owing to the crowded state of the Lodge Room the elaborate ceremony of dedication had to be somewhat curtailed, and the perambulations had to be dispensed with. The opening hymn, the first verse of which is:-
                       Hail, Eternal, by whose aid
                       All created things were made,
                       Heaven and earth, Thy vast design,
                       Hear us, Architect Divine.
having been sung, the grand honours were given at the appropriate time, and the Rev D H O’Connor, Secretary of the Lodge, offered up prayer as follows: - “O Most Holy and Glorious Lord God, Though Great Architect of the Universe, Giver of all good gifts and graces, Thou hast promised that wherever two or three are gathered together in Thy name Thou wilt be in their midst. In Thy name we have assembled, and in Thy name we desire to proceed in all our doings. Grant, O Lord that the sublime principles of Freemasonry may so subdue every discordant passion within us, and so harmonise and enrich our hearts that this Lodge may ever humbly reflect that order and beauty which reign before Thy throne, so mite it be.”
The Secretary then, acting on behalf of the WM, addressing the presiding officer, said – Right Worshipful Master, the Brethren of this Lodge, being animated with a desire to promote the honour and interest of the craft, have erected a Masonic Hall for their convenience and accommodation. They are desirous that the same should be examined by the Right Worshipful Grand Lodge, and, if it should meet their approbation, that it be dedicated solemnly to the purposes of Freemasonry, in accordance with the ancient usages of the craft.
The Provincial Grand Master expressed the pleasure he had in acceding to the wishes of the Lodge.
In the meantime three suitable vessels, containing respectively wheat, wine, and oil, were placed on a table before the chair; on another table, at convenient distance, were placed the Holy Scriptures open with a square and compass thereon; the book of constitutions, the Warrant of the Lodge, copy of its by-laws, and a roll of the names of its members, with their respective offices.
Addressing the Secretary as one of the promoters of the new building, the Provincial Grand Master said the skill and fidelity displayed in the execution of the trust imposed in Br O’Connor and those acting with him had secured the entire approbation of the Provincial Grand Lodge, and it was their sincere prayer that the edifice would continue a lasting monument to the taste, spirit, and liberality of its founders.
The Consecration and dedication of the Hall was then proceeded with according to the ancient rites and usages of Freemasonry, the prayer of Consecration being read as follows; Almighty and ever glorious Lord God, Creator of all things, and the Governor of everything Thou hast made, mercifully look upon Thy servants now assembled in Thy Name, and Thy presence, and bless and prosper all our works, began, continued and ended in Thee. Graciously bestow upon us Wisdom in all our doings, Strength of mind in all our difficulties, and the Beauty of harmony and holiness in all our work and communications. Let Faith be the foundation of our Hope, and Charity the fruit of our obedience to Thy will. O Thou, preserver of men, graciously enable us now to consecrate this Lodge to the honour and glory of Thy Name, and mercifully be pleased to accept this service at our hands.
The Ode, commencing
Hail Masonry divine,
Glory of ages, shine;
Long mayst thou reign,
having been sung, the Provincial Grand Master solemnly dedicated the Lodge to the purposes of Freemasonry, after which the Chaplain invoked a blessing as follows:-
May the Most High God, the giver of every good and perfect gift, bless the brethren here assembled in all their lawful undertakings and grant to each one of them in needful supply, the corn of nourishment, the wine of refreshment and the oil of joy and peace.
The Provincial Grand Lodge was then closed in due form, the Grand Officers retiring, whilst the Brethren sang the following verses:
God of light, whose love unceasing
Doth to all Thy words extend;
Crown our order with Thy Blessing,
Build, sustain us to the end.
Humbly now we bow before Thee,
Grateful for Thy love divine,
Thine the power, the praise and glory,
Mighty Architect Divine.
The Brethren, to the number of about 130, were subsequently entertained at luncheon in the Banqueting Hall. The Provincial Grand Master, who occupied the chair, in eloquent language proposed the usual toasts, which were duly honoured, In proposing the toast of the “Three Grand Masters of England, Ireland and Scotland,” he coupled with it the name of the Immediate Past Senior Grand Warden of England.
The Right Worshipful Lord Portarlington, who was received in a most cordial manner, expressed the great honour he felt at being present on such an interesting occasion. As an English Mason, he felt the great desirability of there being more of an amalgamation between England, Ireland, and Scotland; that, while they preserved their distinct constitutions, they might be the same in ritual and working. If this was brought about, he thought it would be a great advantage.
The Provincial Grand Master, in replying to the toast of his own health, dwelt on the progress which was being made in Freemasonry, not only in their own province, but throughout Ireland. Last year no less than nine warrants for new lodges were issued by the Grand Lodge of Ireland, and the opening of that Masonic Temple in Newbridge that day was an indication of the standing of the order in the province. He hoped other lodges in the province would emulate the example set by Lodge 215. He wished the lodge every prosperity in the future. He took a deep interest in the success of every Lodge in the province, and in the discharge of his duties as Provincial Grand Master he tried to follow in the footsteps of his predecessor, the late Lord Huntingdon. Freemasonry was increasing in strength and vigour in Ireland, and it was a pleasant thing to know, particularly in a Lodge like No 215, which was composed equally of soldiers and civilians, that the distinguished hero, at present at the head of the Forces in this country, Lord Roberts, was a Freemason, and that eminent nobleman at the head of the Government in Ireland, Lord Cadogan, was also a Freemason.
A number of other speeches followed, and the proceedings closed in “peace, love, and harmony.”

The opening of the new Masonic Hall in Newbridge is reported on at length by the Kildare Observer in June, 1898

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