« September 2010 | Main | November 2010 »

October 29, 2010


Inside Naas Workhouse 1842

James Durney

Just a year after the workhouse at Naas was opened to receive the poor and destitute it was visited by the English writer William Makepiece Thackeray, who had come to the county town to attend the Agricultural Show of 1842. Thackeray painted a rather picturesque view of the Workhouse, one not shared by the inhabitants, or those looking at its grim façade.

'A neater establishment cannot be seen than Naas poor-house; and liberty must be very sweet indeed, when people prefer it and starvation to the certainty of comfort in the union-house. The first persons we saw at the gate of the place were four buxom lasses in blue jackets and petticoats, who were giggling and laughing as gaily as so many young heiresses of a thousand a year, and who had a colour in their cheeks that any lady of Almack’s might envy. They were cleaning pails and carrying in water from a green court or playground in front of the house, which some of the able-bodied men of the place were busy in inclosing. Passing through a large entrance of the house, a nondescript Gothic building, we came to a court divided by a road and two low walls; the right inclosure is devoted to the boys of the establishment, of whom there were about fifty at play; boys more healthy or happy it is impossible to see. Separated from them is the nursery; and here were seventy or eighty young children, a shrill clack of happy voices leading the way to the door where they were to be found. Boys and children had a comfortable little uniform, and shoes were furnished for all; though the authorities did not seem particularly severe in enforcing the wearing of shoes, which most of the young persons left behind them. In spite of all The Time’s in the world, the place was a happy one. It is kept with a neatness and comfort to which, until his entrance into the union-house, the Irish peasant must perforce have been a stranger. All the rooms and passages are white, well scoured, and airy; all the windows are glazed; all the beds have a good store of blankets and sheets. In the women’s dormitories there lay several infirm persons, not ill enough for the infirmary, and glad of the society of the common room; in one of the men’s sleeping-rooms we found a score of old grey-coated men sitting round another who was reading prayers to them. And outside the place we found a woman starving in rags, as she had been ragged and starving for years; her husband was wounded, and lay in his house upon straw; her children were ill with fever; she has neither meat, nor physic, nor clothing, nor fresh air, nor warmth for them; - and she preferred to starve on rather than enter the house!'

It had been the intention of the architect, George Wilkinson, who designed the workhouse, that the gabled roofs, elongated chimneys and the mullioned windows would give a pleasing and picturesque appearance; when trees would be planted around the building, he thought, ‘the whole may be an ornament rather than a reverse to the neighbourhood’. However, the architectural quality of the buildings did not impress the people; the austerity of life in institutions frightened them. Still, in a return of inmates of the Workhouse in July 1842 the total number in the house was put at 603. As the Naas Workhouse was designed to contain 550 inmates, it was proposed that no further admissions were to take place.
The layout of the Naas Workhouse was to a standard design by Wilkinson, architect of the 125 workhouses built in Ireland. The buildings were in three main parallel blocks about one hundred feet apart. The front two-storey block held the main reception area, the probationary wards, and at either end a three-storey wing which housed the school rooms. There was complete segregation of the sexes in all areas of the workhouse with the exception of the dining hall and chapel. All the buildings on the left hand side were for females while those on the right were for males. The second block stood about one hundred feet behind and not connected to the reception block. This was the main accommodation block. Two three-storey wings at either end contained the sleeping dormitories. Immediately behind this building lay the kitchen and the laundry. The third and last block contained the male and female hospitals and wards for the mentally unstable. Each section of the workhouses had its own walled yard attached, ensuring total segregation of the paupers in each area.

Just a year after the workhouse at Naas was opened to receive the poor and destitute it was visited by the English writer William Makepiece Thackeray.

October 28, 2010


Naas U. D. C. and the Irish Civil War

James Durney

The Naas U.D.C. Minute Books 4 May 1920-4 November 1924 are an invaluable insight to the workings of the local authority during the formation of the new Irish State. There are records of meetings, proposals, statements, etc., on the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty; the arrival of Michael Collins in Naas, in April 1922 – and a controversial presentation; a complaint on remarks made by the cemetery caretaker on the burial of Fianna Lieutenant James Whelan; the death of Arthur Griffith – though nothing on the death of Michael Collins; damage by rifle fire to cottages on the Newbridge Road; a letter from Cork Harbour Commission on peace proposals – but nothing on the ending of the Civil War.

A Special Meeting of the Council was held on the 29 Dec. 1921, to express its opinion of the proposed treaty between the English and Irish Nations.
Presiding – Mr. D. J. Purcell
Also Present – Messrs. M. Fitzsimons, J. Dowling, T. Patterson, M. Carroll, S. Garry

Proposal by Mr. D. J. Purcell seconded by Mr. Stephen Garry & resolved:
“That this Council approves of the Treaty as we believe it embodies the essentials of Ireland’s Freedom, although it does not give everything satisfactory to the aspirations of the Irish People.
 “We urge on our Representatives on the Dail to vote for the ratification of the Treaty, and in so doing we believe we are expressing the practically unanimous wishes of the people of this district.
 “That we desire at the same time to record our high appreciation of the services of the members of the Dail individually and collectively in the cause of Irish Freedom.”

A Special Meeting of the Council was held on the 11 April 1922.
Presiding – Mr. D. J. Purcell
Also Present – Messrs. M. Fitzsimons, J. Dowling, T. Patterson, M. Carroll, S. Garry, T. J. Williams

Proposed by Mr. T. Patterson, seconded by Mr. Garry and resolved – “That an address of welcome be presented to Mr. Michael Collins on the occasion of his visit to Naas on Sunday next.”

The Quarterly Meeting of the Council was held on the 18 April 1922.
Presiding – Mr. D. J. Purcell
Also Present – Messrs. M. Fitzsimons, J. Dowling, M. Carroll, T. J. Williams

The Chairman was questioned by Messrs. Carroll, Fitzsimons and Dowling regarding the procedure adopted in the preparation and presentation of an address from the Council to Mr. Michael Collins on the occasion of his visit to Naas on the 16 inst. The members mentioned and Mr. Williams expressed their strong disapproval of the manner in which the presentation had been made.

A Special Meeting of the Council was held on the 25 April 1922.
Presiding – Mr. D. J. Purcell
Also Present – Messrs. T. Patterson, S. Garry, T. J. Williams

Messrs. Patterson, Garry & Williams made statements regarding the discussion which took place at last meeting in reference to the presentation of an address to Mr. Ml. Collins and each of these members having expressed his views on the subject, the matter dropped.

The Monthly Meeting of the Council was held on the 4 July 1922.
Presiding – Mr. D. J. Purcell
Also Present – Messrs. M. Fitzsimons, Ths. Patterson, T. J. Williams

A complaint against the Caretaker of the Cemetery, in reference to remarks alleged to have been made by him on the occasion of his being asked to open a grave for the remains of the late James Whelan, Dublin Rd, Naas, was enquired into and the Caretaker having offered an explanation which was considered satisfactory the subject ended. Arising on the discussion it was ordered “That a plot be set apart in No 1 Section of the cemetery for the interment of such persons as the Council may desire – the number of grave spaces in the plot so set apart to be fixed by the Surveyor and Cemetery Registrar after consultation and examination of the map.”

The Quarterly Meeting of the Council was held on the 18 July 1922.
Presiding – Mr. Michael Fitzsimons
Also Present – Messrs. Mark Carroll, T. J. Williams

The Surveyor reported that some of Councils cottages near the Military Barracks had been damaged by rifle fire. He was ordered to have the necessary repairs carried out.

A Meeting of the Council was held on the 19 Sep. 1922.
Presiding – Mr. D. J. Purcell
Also Present – Messrs. J. Dowling, S. Garry, M. Fitzsimons

Ordered that the damage to Trapps’ cottage on Newbridge Road be repaired “and the cost of same be furnished to the Military Authorities for payment.”

A Meeting of the Council was held on the 19 Dec. 1922.
Presiding – Mr. D. J. Purcell
Also Present – Messrs. M. Carroll, M. Fitzsimons

A letter from the Cork Harbour Commission on the subject of peace in Ireland was read and an order made that it be put on the agenda for next meeting.

A Meeting of the Council was held on the 19 Dec. 1922.
Presiding – Mr. D. J. Purcell
Also Present – Messrs. M. Carroll, M. Fitzsimons

A resolution from Cork Harbour Commissioners on the subject of peace in Ireland was read. No order was made.

An article reproduced from the Naas U.D.C. Minute Books, on the Irish Civil War and its effect on the local authority.

October 20, 2010


Day of Days. V Beach, Gallipoli, 25 April 1915

James Durney

In early 1915 the First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill, conceived, what he thought was a brilliant plan to knock Turkey out of the war and force Germany to a negotiated settlement. The plan was to force the Dardanelles straits, bombard Constantinople and put Turkey out of the war; secure a short sea-route to Russia and open another front against Germany and Austria-Hungary. When an attempt to force the straits by naval power alone failed the Allies began planning an amphibious assault on the Gallipoli peninsula. By now, however, the Turks were well prepared and their defences were reinforced and skilfully strengthened with German help. The 29th Division was to land at Cape Helles at beaches designated S, V, W, X, Y. The Turks fully expected an attempt at invasion and had made great preparations. Overlooking V beach was the old castle and fort of Sedd-el-Bahr. Here 3,000 men of the three Irish battalions – Dublins, Munsters and Inniskilling Fusiliers – were to land and seize their objectives. With the 1st Dublin Fusiliers were many Kildaremen, all regular experienced soldiers who had been in the British army for years. An eyewitness to the landing, E. Keble Chatterton, wrote in Dardanelles Dilemma:

'The first troops to come ashore here arrived in cutters towed by the naval steamboats, but the rest of the covering force was landed by means of the collier River Clyde. So much has been written around this steamer, whose name has long since become legendary, that she needs only the fewest words of introduction . . . At the inspiration of Commander E. Unwin, R.N., and under his supervision, she had been specially prepared to act as a marine “Wooden Horse” on territory opposite ancient Troy. Large square ports had been cut in her sides, with wooden galleries to run out from either bow, so that her cargo of soldiers might dash ashore. A dozen little armoured houses built on her forecastle contained twelve Maxim guns.
'On she came, towing heavy lighters, and the plan was that, on grounding, the River Clyde would, of course, stop dead, whilst the lighters would carry on their way and reach the beach. The galleries or gangways would then be let down to the lighters, and a ready-made bridge would exist.
'In actuality what happened was that she grounded right enough, and the barges went on, but the latter failed to reach their proper stations, so that a gap existed between the two of them, and only the tallest men could wade ashore. . . Eager to rush forth and close with the enemy, those soldiers who had emerged and got so far as the lighters were shot dead from rifles, Maxims and small guns. Practically all who had landed from the cutters in the first trip were casualties … True, the River Clyde was fast ashore, and made a convenient breakwater at the eastern end of this beach; yet it was useless to waste more men’s lives by such a passage. Disembarkation of troops was therefore diverted to W beach; but, under cover of night, the River Clyde people dashed ashore and found shelter on the beach, though they could not get very far, as concealed Maxims were enfilading them from each flank.'

On that first day on Gallipoli the Dublin and Munster battalions suffered horrendous casualties. Private Michael Kavanagh (24), 1st RDF, from Corbans Lane, Naas, was killed in action, on that first day on V beach. So, too, was Lance-Corporal Michael Heffernan (23), 1st RDF, from Eadestown. Twenty-one year old Private James Birmingham, 1st RDF, from Dublin Road, Naas, was one of scores wounded on that fateful day. He was transferred to a hospital in Malta, where he died from his wounds. Private Thomas Doran, also from the 1st Battalion, from the Harbour, Naas, was also wounded as were Private Coughlin, Rathasker Road, Naas, and Private Christopher Pierce, Corbans Lane, Naas.

On that first day on Gallipoli the Dublin Fusiliers suffered horrendous casualties. Among them were many men from Co. Kildare.

October 16, 2010


Growing up in Newbridge. Mary Nolan (Arrigan)

Mary Arrigan is a well-known children’s writer and illustrator and lived in the town and in Moore Park.

'The Cove, Eyre Street – writing that address even now draws me into the warm cocoon of my earliest memories. Our house was the last one on the right, at the end of the street (it is now a health-food shop). Our sitting room – known as ‘the carpet room’ because it was the only room with a carpet – looked out across the river to what was Maher’s field before the primary school was built. Other youngsters from the area – the Henseys  - Noel, Willie, Anne and Paddy; the large family of Crummeys, whose two aunts, Maggie and Mamie ran an old-fashioned shop selling grain, sweets and, best of all, loose biscuits from glass-topped boxes; Dunnes, whose dad had a sweet shop and hackney car. In Canning Place lived the Lunneys  (father a garda sergeant) and the Breens – Seamus, Anne and Tom (hardware shop on the corner of Main Street). My brother Gay (Gabriel) and I loved the adventure of crossing the bridge with these kids to play in Maher’s field. We flew kites, caught minnow in jam-jars in the river, played hide-and seek in the big ruined house behind the chestnut trees, and fought the youngsters from the cottages known as Chinatown. When I was about six years old I discovered that the field had belonged to my grandfather, Tom Maher, and that my mother, Dolly, had been born in, and grew up in the house. I remember the day that the old house was knocked to make way for the new school. It seemed as if the whole town came to watch. Brick by brick, all of my mother’s memories came tumbling into a heap of rubble. I was too young to understand her tears.
'Growing up in a street back then was like living in an extended family; all doors were open to us children. The house next door was home to Paddy and Dora Fox, tailors. It was fascinating to watch them chalk shapes on fabric, cut them out and sew the parts together on the clickety-clackety foot treadle sewing machine. Irons were constantly heating before the fire to press the finished jacket or trousers. At one time Paddy employed a tailor called Simon who had just enough English to say ‘Mary my girl.’ At the age of four one didn’t ask questions about where people came from - they simply materialised from somewhere - but I think he’d been a Jewish war refugee. An elderly lady called Katy lived in one room at the front of Fox’s. It was the sort of haven I aspired to have when I’d grow up. It was a treasure trove of the fascinating clutter Katy had gathered throughout her life. My favourite was a statue of the Virgin Mary which, when a key under her dress was turned, played the Bells of the Angelus. Katy’s big, soft bed was tucked behind a blue curtain. Much as I pleaded, I was never allowed to sleep there. It was Katy who taught me to see pictures in the fire. She would turn down her oil lamp, poke the red coals and tell me stories of dragons and giants – and they were so real as their shadows danced across the ceiling.
'Summertime focused on the river. I had a love/hate attitude towards what was laughingly called ‘the strand’ which was accessed down a steep path above the fast flowing Liffey. That slip-sliding journey, with towel and togs under my arm, was a nightmare only partly relieved by Gay’s grip on my arm. A fraternal act, which he felt entitled him to half of my Honey Bee toffees - six for a penny in Mrs Murray’s sweet shop two doors from The Cove.  Mrs Murray had a lodger called Mr Duffy who shuffled about silently in brown slippers with the sides cut to relieve his bunions.'

A new series of interviews by Raphael/Ray Ryan on local people’s memories of growing up in Newbridge in the 1950s. Our thanks to Ray.


Minute of  Inaugural Meeting of Leixlip History Club* at Leixlip Library,
7pm, 12/10/2010.

The meeting was convened by the County Kildare Library Services and notified to the public through the local news media.

Approximately 38 persons attended and provided their names and contact particulars for future communications.

Mario Corrigan, of the Library’s Resource and Archives Centre, at Newbridge, acted as facilitator. Gillian Allen, Executive Librarian at Leixlip, offered the support of Leixlip Library and the use of the seminar room and computer and projector facilities on either of two evenings a week when the Library is open until 9pm for meetings etc.

Mario explained that, at present, Leixlip and Newbridge were without associations, and it was acknowledged that Leixlip had one many years ago. He spoke of the federation within the county of history clubs/groups/ or associations and a website to facilitate them. He also referred to his unit’s e-history website, (www.Kildare.ie/ehistory), and outlined in general terms the way local associations functioned – talks, papers, walks, tours etc, to which the general public would normally be invited, and sometimes on payment of a fee. Public liability insurance would be advisable for outings, but not needed for in-house meetings.

A tour de table followed. Almost all said they were long-time resident in Leixlip, though few were born here. They are interested in local history, and also in large measure in genealogy. Another, albeit smaller number, expressed an interest in non-local history. Some are established local historians and some more are current or former teachers of history.

Expressions of interest in being members of a committee to organise events and functions was solicited; the following persons being present have volunteered: Mary Brennan, Michael Kenny, Sheila Clifford, Christy Fagan, Brian Howlett, Joan Kenny, Kim Mullahey and John Colgan. The attendees agree that this group should meet during the first fortnight in November next and elect from their ranks officers, including, at a minimum, chairperson, secretary and treasurer.

It was decided to have the first meeting on the last Thursday of November, 2010, ie the 25th, at 7pm; it will conclude at 9pm.

At this meeting Suzanne Pegley will talk on Sources for Genealogy (family-tree making); John Colgan will talk on Sources for Local History; Mario Corrigan and Gillian Allen will outline the resources available at Newbridge and Leixlip respectively. Time is assured for questions and answers.

Nuala Walker of Celbridge History Group attended and offered encouragement.

*  Name to be decided.

There are three further open meetings to gauge local  interest in setting up Local History Groups  in Newbridge (Tues. 19 Oct. 7 pm Newbridge Library), Rathangan (Thurs. 21 Oct. 7 pm Rathangan Library), and Castledermot (Fri. 22 Oct. 7 pm Castledermot Library). Posted by John Colgan. Our thanks to John.

October 12, 2010


Andrew Byrne of Longtown Demesne

England resident Mike Byrne sent the following article and photographs to the Local Library and Arts Service, Newbridge. ‘I am studying my family history. My late uncle, Andrew Byrne, owned The Longtown estate near Clane in Co. Kildare. My grandfather was Nicholas Byrne, brother of Andrew, who was born at Two Mile House.

Two mile Housesmall.jpg
Two Mile House

I first visited the original Longtown house in about 1947 which was about the time of my first visit to . I was then seven years old. I also remember on that journey we travelled on the narrow gauge railway that went from Dun Laoghaire to Dublin , having crossed a very rough sea from Holyhead on the ‘Hibernian.’ I would guess that both these methods of transport are now long gone. The impression I got was that the Byrne family had been there for a lot longer, but I now know that to be wrong. Andrew Byrne, my uncle, originally farmed at Two Mile House farm and made a good deal of money clearing timber from the land, thus providing him with the means to buy Longtown in 1943. This is what my father, Bartholomew Byrne told me in the past. I always thought that it was a great pity that the old house was pulled down, but I believe that a lot more Irish stately homes met the same fate.’



 Longtown House Clane

Longtown Demesne was the ancestral home of the Sweetman family and the palatial mansion and land was sold by Senator Gerald Sweetman, Co. Council, to Andrew Byrne, the Saw Mills, Two Mile House. The sale, which involved a substantial sum, in the vicinity of five figures, was negotiated by Messrs. Denis Brennan and Son, Auctioneers, Kilcullen and Newbridge. The solicitors for the vendors were Messrs. G. D. Fottrell and Son, Fleet Street, Dublin, and for the purchaser, Messrs. O'Connor and Coonan, Naas. 'Two Mile House farmhouse was where Andrew Byrne and my grandfather Nicholas Byrne were born. Their father was Bartle Byrne, also a farmer like Andrew. Nicholas was not on the 1911 census as he was in the British Army in the Irish Guards at the time of the census.’ Sergeant Major Nicholas Byrne served with the 1st Battalion, Irish Guards, in the 1914-18 War.



‘The house was a very imposing place and had about 57 rooms! These included a chapel on one of the upper floors and a library which had a door covered in the spine ends of books so that you had a job to find your way out once the door was closed! The estate comprised about 350 acres and included about seven smaller houses.  All the cooking was done in the basement area by the Delaneys (I think). From what I remember of the house, the lower floor was very dark and dismal. In summer time a boys club was put up on the upper floor for the summer holidays. Andrew bought the house from the Sweetman family but had to demolish it in the 1950’s when running costs were too high. A smaller farmhouse was then built on the same site as the old house. An interesting point re. the old house was the Ice Store. This was a short walk from the house, up an incline to the left-hand side in some trees and was where all the meat, etc., was stored before fridges came into use. There were two lodges at the main gate and I believe there was another one at the rear gate.’


Sale of Longtown1943057.jpg


 Leinster Leader 1943










England resident Mike Byrne sent the following article 'Andrew Byrne of Longtown Demesne' and accompanying photographs to the Local Library and Arts Service, Newbridge. Our thanks to Mike. Posted by James Durney.



War Letters of Nicholas Byrne, Two Mile House, Naas

James Durney

Sergeant-Major Nicholas Byrne, Stephensonstown, Naas, was serving with the 1st Battalion, Irish Guards, in Flanders, at the opening rounds of the Great War. The Irish Guards were assigned to the 4th Brigade, which was composed of four Guards battalions. Retiring to the village of Landrecies, the force of 4,500 men were quickly surrounded by a far superior force of Germans, estimated to be about 20,000. The Brigade, however, fought its way out of the trap. On 28 August 1914 Nicholas Byrne wrote one of many letters to his step-father, Mr. Byrtle Byrne, detailing his experiences:

'We defended the town so gallantly that the Germans were not able to break through, but were forced back. Our losses were about 14 killed and about 80 wounded. I got lost with a pack of animals and was very near walking into the German ranks. At daybreak I was at a place where the biggest attack was made at our lines and I could see nothing but piles of dead Germans and some of their wounded had not been taken away … During the last eight days we have marched over 160 miles, and in six of these days I could only manage 14 hours’ sleep.’

On September 2 Nicholas wrote: 'I hope you will excuse pencil, as pen and ink are as scarce as a bottle of Guinness. Tim Kelly, of Mullacash, is still safe and sound. You can tell his people. Jack Cummins did not come out with us, as he was not in London at the time. I lost yesterday one of the best friends I ever had. He was a Company Sergt.-Major the same as myself and we have been together for the last eleven years at Caterham and elsewhere. He was Nicholas’s [his son] godfather and I shall never forget his last words as he was struck twice in succession with bullets from a German machine gun, “Goodbye, Byrne, old man I’m done!” He said no more.’

After five weeks of action the Guards were relieved. Nicholas wrote of the soldiers’ allegiance to their Catholic faith. ‘The following day, Friday, was a rest day, the first one we have had for nearly two months. We had a good clean-up in the morning, and in the evening I took 93 men of my company down to confession in the town. We were to go to Communion yesterday morning at 7 p.m., but unfortunately we had to move off at a the time and we could not go to Mass on Sunday. Previously we generally had a big fight on Sunday. In fact, Sunday and Tuesday were our “scrapping days” up to now.’

Nicholas Byrne, Two-Mile House; Tim Kelly, Mullacash; and Jack Cummins, Newlands, Naas, all survived the Great War. Around 560 Kildaremen were not so lucky.

The war letters of Nicholas Byrne, taken from ‘Far from the short grass. The story of Kildaremen in the two World Wars,’ by James Durney.


Open Meetings to gauge local  interest in setting up Local History Groups

In recent years there has been a great resurgence in local history, heritage and genealogy in County Kildare. We believe that the time may be right to establish a local history groups in the following areas: Leixlip, Newbridge, Rathangan and Castledermot. The invite is open to all age groups and anyone interested in local history and genealogy. Local historian and librarian Mario Corrigan with members of the County Kildare Federation of Local History Groups will be on hand to offer advice and support.

There are 19 Local History Groups currently active in Co. Kildare. They are connected through The County Kildare Federation of Local History Groups whose website http://kildare.ie/local-history/ contains local history information and contact details for all the groups. This year the Federation celebrates its 10th anniversary at its AGM and Annual Seminar on 6th Nov. in Kilcullen Heritage Centre, the focus being this year on the Curragh of Kildare. The Federation was formed in 1999 in order to optimise the resources of local groups and foster communications, exchange ideas, and generally raise the awareness of local history groups within the county as well as improve accessibility and representation on relevant county committees and associations. As part of their remit, the Federation are keen to re-activate a local history group in Newbridge and establish local history groups in Leixlip, Rathangan and Castledermot. Anyone who is interested can come along to the following open meetings:

Tuesday 12 October
7.30 pm
Leixlip Library
Tuesday 19 October
7 pm
Newbridge Library
Thursday 21 October
7 pm
Rathangan Library
Friday 22 October
7 pm
Castledermot Library

Open Meetings to gauge local  interest in setting up Local History Groups  in Newbridge, Leixlip, Rathangan and Castledermot. Posted by James Durney

October 07, 2010


Bombs over Britain

James Durney

In the dark days of 1940, following the surrender of France, Belgium and Holland, Britain stood alone in her fight against Nazi Germany. At the beginning of September, after an accidental bombing of south-east London and RAF retaliatory attacks against Berlin, Adolf Hitler ordered the Luftwaffe to begin a reprisal campaign against British cities. The examples of Warsaw and Rotterdam, which had produced sudden collapses in Polish and Dutch resistance, were a clear inspiration in this new policy. The difference was that the British population soon proved to be made of sterner stuff than Hitler and his generals believed. For seventy-six consecutive days the Germans bombed London. The London Blitz began on 7 September and soon German bombs were being dropped on other major cities, including Belfast and Derry.
The bombing campaign, designed to break the spirit of the British public, continued until May 1941 and resulted in over 30,000 deaths. Air-raids continued throughout the war, culminating in V1 and V2 rocket attacks in the summer of 1944. Hundreds of Kildare people were living and working in Britain and at least eleven people from the county were killed in air-raids in Britain:
30 August 1940. Miss Kathleen Whelan (24), Curragh Camp, was killed in an air raid on Liverpool.
October 1940. Henry (28) and Simon (26) Rose, Ballyfair, The Curragh, were killed in an air raid on London.
2 November 1940. Thomas Behan, a WWI veteran and winner of the Military Medal and Croix de Guerre, was killed in a raid on Coventry. He was the son of Patrick and Mary Behan, Derrymullen, Robertstown.
Miss E. Pierce, Athy, was killed in London during an air-raid in December.
Dr Edward J. O’Kelly, Maynooth, was killed in an air-raid at his residence, 30 Oakley Square, London, in April 1941.
Mr Thomas J. O’Farrell, son of Mr Daniel O’Farrell and the late Mrs O’Farrell, Main St, Naas, was killed in an air raid on London, in October 1941, while on A.R.P. duty.
October 1941. Miss Kathleen Crosby (24), daughter of Mr. Daniel Crosby, Sallins, was killed in an air raid on Liverpool.
Patrick Barnwell (29), son of Patrick and Julia Barnwell, Lough Brown, Newbridge, died of injuries received on 4 May 1942 in an air raid on Ryde.
Josephine O’Connor (34), whose parents were from Rathangan, died in a raid on Wansworth on 19 February 1944.
On August 2 1944 Bridget Nevin (73), daughter of James Nevin, Sallins, was killed in a V1 rocket attack.

Leinster Leader 21 September 1940
Victim of Liverpool Air Raid
Popular Kildare Girl Killed
One of the victims of a recent German air raid on Liverpool was Miss Kathleen Whelan, who was killed when a bomb struck the house in the Knotty Ash district of the city where Miss Whelan resided with her aunt and other members of the family. The news caused sincere regret in Co. Kildare where the deceased young lady (she was 24) was well-known and very popular. She was a noted camogie player and some seasons back represented Co. Kildare in many a hard-fought game. Deceased was a daughter of Corporal Murtagh, Mechanical Transport, Curragh Camp, and sister-in-law of Coy Sergt. Dan Douglas, the brilliant Laoighis Co. and Army footballer. Widespread and very sincere sympathy goes out to the bereaved family and relatives of the deceased.

Leinster Leader 2 November 1940
Killed in London Air Raid
Members of Curragh Family
A bomb which struck a block of flats in the West London area brought grievous sorrow to Mrs H. Rose, Ballyfair, The Curragh, as it killed two of her sons and a son-in-law. The dead are Henry Rose (28), Simon Rose (26), and Mr de Bonis. The last-named was the husband of Emily, a sister of the deceased brothers. Mrs Emily de Bonis and other members of family were also in the house when the fatal bomb wrecked it, but they escaped with their lives. Reports published in Irish papers stated, erroneously, that Mrs Emily de Bonis was killed.
The dead brothers, Henry and Simon Rose, were Curragh born but, with other brothers and sisters, have been living and working in London for some years. The family is well-known and highly respected in the Curragh area. In London, five of the Rose boys, including the two deceased young men, were popular and prominent members of Round Tower GAA Club. The mother of the family, Mrs H. Rose (who has been widowed for over twelve years) is greatly esteemed and respected in the Curragh area. Mrs rose is a valued and most popular member of the Women’s Section of the Brownstown Branch of the British Legion. The most sincere sympathy is expressed with Mrs Rose and the surviving members of her family in their tragic loss.

Link with Athy
The daily report that a Mrs. Treacy of London, who has lost a son, daughter-in-law and grand-daughter in the air raids on London, is a native of near Athy and aged over 80 years, has aroused considerable interest in Athy. Exhaustive inquiries made this week failed to associate her with Athy or discover any of her relatives in the district.

Leinster Leader 21 December 1940
London Air Raid Victims
News had reached Athy that Miss E. Pierce, who, until two years ago, was employed as an assistant in Mr Shaw’s drapery establishment at Athy, was killed in London during an air-raid last week.
A bomb struck a London house in which Miss M. Dunne, grand-daughter of Mrs. Margaret Dunne, Nelson Street, Athy, was residing. She escaped with slight injuries. Her employers were badly hurt.

Leinster Leader 26 April 1941
Killed in Air Raid
Irish Doctor’s Death
Sincere sympathy has been aroused in Co. Kildare by the tragic death of Dr. Edward J. O’Kelly, in an air-raid at his residence, 30 Oakley Square, London.
Deceased was a son of the late Dr. Thos. O’Kelly, of Maynooth, who was a sterling Nationalist in the old Parnellite days, and was also an enthusiastic supporter of the GAA at its initiation.
The late Dr. Edwd. O’Kelly was a medical student of University College, and during the stirring times prior to 1916 organised the Volunteers in Kildare. He held the rank of Commandant of the 4th Battalion, Dublin Brigade, IRA, and led the Maynooth and Kildare men to Dublin in Easter Week.
He was married to Miss Maisie Stallard, second daughter of the late George Stallard of Dunville House, Kilkenny, who survives him. Deceased was related to the late Cardinal Cullen. His many old friends of the National Cause in Maynooth and other parts of the country will deeply regret to learn of the tragic occurrence, and will extend their heartfelt sympathy to his widow. The funeral took place on Friday after 10 o’clock Mass at the Church of Our Lady of Hal, London NW 1.

Leinster Leader 1 November 1941
Naas Man’s Death in London on A.R.P. Duty

The announcement of the death in London of Mr. Thomas J. O’Farrell, son of Mr Daniel O’Farrell and the late Mrs. O’Farrell, Main St, Naas has aroused feelings of the deepest sympathy in the town and district. No definite details are available as to the circumstances of deceased’s death, but it is known at the time he was engaged in A.R.P. (Air Raid Prevention) work.
The late Mr. O’Farrell had an important position in a chemical works in Croydon, and had been only recently promoted manager of the concern. He had always taken the keenest interest in chemistry, and research work in this industry was both his hobby and his profession. Prior to going to London he was employed in Coventry and was there when that city received its terrific aerial bombardment. Deceased had also worked in Salisbury. A laboratory technician of outstanding ability, he was for three years in Philadelphia, USA, where he assisted in one of the laboratories under the direction of the eminent pathologist, Dr. Browne. In Naas, deceased was a popular favourite with all sections of the community.
Of a very happy disposition, he took a prominent part in social activities in the town, and was noted for his great organising capabilities in the initiation and carrying out of dances and other functions. His unexpected and very sad death will be deeply mourned by his many old friends, and sincere sympathy will be extended to his bereaved father, brother and sister in their irreparable loss. The interment took place in London on Tuesday.
The chief mourners are Mr. Daniel O’Farrell (father), Mr. Donald O’Farrell (brother), Mrs. J. A. Purcell (sister).

Killed in Air-Raid
News has been received of the death which took place in an air raid on Liverpool, of Miss Kathleen Crosby (24), daughter of Mr. Daniel Crosby, Sallins, Co. Kildare. Deep sympathy is expressed with the bereaved father and other members of the family in their tragic loss.

Leinster Leader  4 March 1944
Rathangan girl killed in London
Miss Josephine O’Connor, daughter of Mrs. and the late Mr. J. O’Connor, Coolegagen, who was killed in an air raid on London, was a domestic nurse who had been working in London for a number of years.

An article by James Durney to mark the 70th anniversary of the London Blitz from the archives of the Leinster Leader. Our thanks to James.

Powered by
Movable Type 3.2