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April 26, 2012


GPO Staff in 1916: Kildare connections
James Durney

As we approach the centenary of 1916 the GPO seems to be the place for book launches on the subject. In March 2012 the first three books of the 16 Lives series were launched, while on 24 April it was the turn of Mercier Press’ GPO Staff in 1916, by Stephen Ferguson. The date, 24 April, ironically enough, was the day the Rising began ninety-six years ago. GPO Staff in 1916 was launched by the political journalist and historian, John Bowman.
Famous as the headquarters of the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising, the GPO was also the controlling nerve-centre for communications throughout Ireland. This book looks at the Rising from the perspective of the many men and women who worked for the GPO. Using Post Office records, personal accounts and photographs, Stephen Ferguson tells the story of the Post Office staff in 1916 and reveals their involvement in and response to the events of Easter Week. Their accounts provide a fresh perspective on the rebellion that recognises the crucial importance of the GPO and its staff in the event which defined Irish history and politics for close to a century.
From a Co. Kildare perspective the book is very interesting in that there are five local names in a list – in Appendix 3 – of forty-six Post Office staff suspected of complicity in the Rising. The five Kildare entries are:

Michael Smyth (Postman), Athgarvan, Newbridge (in Military Custody)
Daniel Buckley (Telephone Attendant), Maynooth (in Military Custody)
Joseph Kenny (Postman), Rathangan (Restored to duty)
Patrick Kenny (Postman), Rathangan (Restored to duty)
Christopher Kenny (Postman), Rathangan (Restored to duty)

The list was prepared for the Under Secretary, Dublin Castle, on the basis of Special Branch intelligence reports. The Wilson-Byrne Commission examined the cases of civil servants on suspension at the time of their inquiry. They did not deal with those restored to duty before it began or with those who still remained in military custody. Since the Special Branch list had been compiled before the Wilson-Byrne Commission was set up, some suspects were no longer in military custody, but remained under suspension and were duly examined by the committee. The intelligence reports, however, were not wrong. All those implicated were ‘guilty’ as charged.
Michael Smyth was born in Rosetown Cottages, Athgarvan, in 1890. At the time of the Rising he was the Officer Commanding (OC) Athgarvan Company, Irish Volunteers. He was interned in Frongoch Camp in 1916, and later became OC Kildare Brigade in 1921. Smyth was elected to Kildare Co. Council and Newbridge Town Commission in 1920 for the Labour Party. Arrested in 1921 prior to the Truce, he was court-martialled for possession of ammunition, and imprisoned in Hare Park, the Curragh, and Mountjoy Jail.
Daniel Buckley, or Domhnall Ua Buachalla, formed the Maynooth Company, Irish Volunteers, in June 1914. He led a contingent of volunteers to Dublin and fought in the GPO during Easter Week. He was interned in Frongoch after the Rising and was elected Sinn Fein TD, for North Kildare, in 1918. Ua Buachalla later became Quartermaster, 1st Kildare Battalion.
The Kenny family of Main Street, Rathangan, were prominent republicans. The three postmen, Christopher (32), Michael (28), and Joseph (21), were arrested after the Easter Rising and detained in Richmond Barracks, Dublin, before deportation to Wakefield Jail, on 13 May. Two other brothers, Patrick (23) and John (18), were also arrested and interned in Wakefield. Christopher Kenny was released on 29 May; Joseph, Patrick and Michael were released on 2 June; while John’s release is not recorded.



Kildare connections in Stephen Ferguson's book 'GPO Staff in 1916' launched on 24 April 2012


Leinster Leader 1 August 1942
“Great turf road in Kildare”
What is locally called the “Great Turf Road,” between the Convent, Rathangan, and Skiaow Bridge, Allen, is rapidly approaching completion. It will form the chief and shortest route from Portarlington and Rathangan areas to Dublin, on which turf supplies will be conveyed. At a cost stated to amount to £60,000, one hundred workers have been engaged in its construction. It was hitherto regarded as one of the worst roads in the County Kildare.

The building of the "Great turf road in Kildare" between the Convent, Rathangan, and Skiaow Bridge, Allen


Leinster Leader 10 January 1942
Link with Tobruk
Mrs. Mary Timpson, Plewman Terrace, Athy, who died on Wednesday, was the mother of Mr. Jack Timpson, a member of the British Garrison which defended Tobruk during the recent German siege of that Libyan port. Her life was one of industry and devotion to her family. Her death at a comparatively young age has evoked much regret. She was interred in St. Michael’s Cemetery, Athy.

A notice from the Leinster Leader of 10 January 1942 on the death of Mrs. Mary Timpson, Athy


Leinster Leader 19 December 1942
Well-known farm sold
Considered to be one of the best farms in Leinster, the well-known Kildangan estate at Ballinabrackey, formerly the residence of the Carew family, has been purchased by Mr. Patrick Moore, Old Croghan, Rhode. It comprises 400 acres and the magnificent residence known as Kildangan House.

One of the best farms in Leinster, the well-known Kildangan estate at Ballinabrackey, was sold in December 1942


Leinster Leader 28 March 1942
Kildare Group, L.D.F.
Guard changing ceremony
Last week-end Kildare Group, L.D.F., furnished the main guard at Kildare Barracks, thus, it is believed, earning the distinction of being the first unit of the Force to be entrusted with an important guard of this kind.
The L.D.F. guard, under Squad Leader Michael Flanagan, was dismounted on Sunday morning, with the ceremony, and a large and interested crowd witnessed the changing of the guard. No. 3 Army Band was in attendance and played the appropriate music as the L.D.F. Guard handed over its charge of the previous twelve hours, and the oncoming Regular Army Guard was mounted. 
The L.D.F. Guard impressed greatly by their smart appearance and general work and lost no points by a comparison with their comrades of the Regular Army.

An article from the Leinster Leader of 28 March 1942 when Kildare Group, L.D.F., furnished the main guard at Kildare Barracks for the first time

April 23, 2012



Declan O'Connor

A few hundred metres separates the mausolem of Fr. Eoghan O'Growney from
the mausoleum  integrated into St.Mary's Church at Parson Street, Maynooth. This fifteenth century tower was converted into a mausoleum by Augustus Frederick Fitzgerald, the third Duke of Leinster, and houses the  remains of the following:

The right honour lady Olivia Fitzgerald died April 18 1822 aged 6 years
Master Patrick Fitzgerald Fox Robeck born April 24 1834 died January 8 1839
Miss Gertrude Elizabeth Robeck departed this life 15 September 1844 aaged
18 years
Master Augustus Fitzgerald Robeck departed this life 7 december 1844 aged 1
year and 9 months
Master Richard John de Robeck born on 7 and died on 8 November 1847
Constance Repton aged 15 days died 8 October 1849
Charlotte Augustus Duchess of Leinster aged 66 years died 15 February 1859
Edward Fox Fitzgerald died 23 January 1863 aged 68 years
Rev. George Blacker born 20 November 1791 died 3 May 1871
Augustus Frederick Duke of Leinster born 21 August 1791 died 10 October 1874

Reverend Blacker , author of " Maynooth Church--- a record of the
history of Maynooth (Dublin 1867 ) is the only non-member of the Fitzgerald
family and was interred there in recognition of his close friendship with
Augustus Frederick.

A note by Declan O'Connor on the mausoleum  integrated into St. Mary's Church at Parson Street, Maynooth

April 14, 2012





An illustrated talk by Raphael Ryan


Wednesday 18 April 2012 at 8.30pm




Raphael Ryan will give a talk next Wednesday, 18 April 2012, in Sarsfields GAA Hall at 8.30 p.m. entitled, ON THE BANKS OF THE LIFFEY: THE DOMINICANS IN NEWBRIDGE, 1920-2000. ALL ARE WELCOME

April 13, 2012


The 1912 County Final, Athy.

By Frank O’Brien

The 1912 County Final: Roseberry (Newbridge) 2-6 Monasterevin 1-2

This was the first County Final to be played with teams made up of fifteen players. Roseberry, now Sarsfields, was the most prominent team of the early part of the 20th century in the county. Between 1904 and 1912 the club contested nine finals losing only one to Monasterevin in 1911 by 1-2 to 0-2. They also contested the 1910 Final which Monasterevin lost by 1-3 to 1-1. Both these finals were played under the seventeen- player-a-side rule. The 1912 Final was the last to be played in Athy.


Roseberry: Jack Fitzgearld, Tom Keogh, Jack Murray,
“Sparrow” Farrelly, James Kelly, M .Donnelly.
J. Carey(Capt), “Sucky” O’Rourke, T.F.Boyhan
“Pip” Leahy, M. Kennedy, J. Grady.
“Joyce” Conlan, J. Scott.

Monasterevin: T. Regan, Pat Lawler, C. Ryan.
Tom Shinkins, S. Martin, Jack Cash,
M.Donohue, J. Brennan, R. Dowling.
Joe Regan, Tom Regan, Pat Byrne,
N. Dowling, R. Dowling, D. Coughlan

In 1912 the first county final with fifteen-aside was played in Athy. Our thanks to Athy historian, Frank O'Brien


Leinster Leader 18 August 1945
Kildare Bee-keepers' sucesses
R.D.S. Show awards

Kildare Bee-keepers Association whose "Liffey Vale" brand products are so well known and appreciated by the buying public, scored a notable list of successes at the Royal Dublin Society's Autumn Show, held at Ballsbridge last week. Following is the list of awards gained by members of this very successful Association:-

Class 1 (Six Sections of Honey)-
2nd Prize, J. Morrissey, Fairgreen, Kildare.
Class 2 (Three sections of Honey)-
2nd Prize, D. O'Neill, Barrettstown, Newbridge.
V.H.C., P. Byrne, N.T., Beechville, Kilcullen.
Class 3 (One Section of Honey)-
2nd Prize, M. Conway, Gurteen, Nurney.
Class 4 (Three 1lb. jars, run Honey, light)-
1st prize, P. Byrne, N.T.
2nd Prize, Capt. A. Swan, Newbridge.
3rd Prize, J. Melia, Crossmorris, Kildare.
V.H.C., C.Q.MS. Charles, Brownstown, Curragh; J. Morrissey, M. Murphy, Punchersgrange, Newbridge.
Class 5 (Three 1lb. jars run Honey, medium)-
1st prize, P. Byrne, N.T.
2nd Prize, J. Morrissey.
3rd Prize, C.Q.M.S. Charles.
V.H.C. J. Melia.
Class 6 (Bees-wax; cake not less than 8 ozs.)-
2nd prize, J. Morrissey.
3rd prize, C.Q.M.S. Charles.
V.H.C. Capt. A. Swan, J. Melia.
Messrs. P. Byrne and J. Morrissey shared in a triple tie for the cash prize presented by Messrs. M. Rowan and Co. Ltd., Capel St., Dublin.


The Kildare Bee-keepers Association were busy at the RDS in August 1945


Leinster Leader 18 August 1945
American soldier's visit to Naas

Staff Sergeant James White of the American Army paid a flying visit to Naas on Monday of last week accompanied by his wife, mother and brother. A native of Naas, he is the eldest son of Mrs. Anne White, who conducted a progressive business in the town for many years. Sergt. White, who has been fifteen years in America, fought in both European and Far Eastern theatres of the present war, and has won a number of distinctions. The family paid visits to a number of their old friends in the town, who greeted them warmly.

An article from the Leinster Leader of 18 August 1945 on Naas born James White's visit to his hometown


Leinster Leader 29 December 1945
Naas Man in Palestine

Mr William O'Neill, a native of Naas, who is a member of the Security Police in the Royal Naval Depot, Haifa, Palestine, has written to a friend in Naas, stating that the conditions in that country are very disturbed at present and that skirmishes with the Jews are frequent, often resulting in casualties. The writer reports that he has been involved in a number of clashes himself, fortunately escaping unscathed. The cost of living he adds, is tremendous, a suit of clothes costing £30; a shirt £3 and a tie £1. Beer costs two shillings a pint. The cost of foodstuffs is correspondingly high. Mr. O'Neill is spending the Christmas in Jerusalem and hopes to come home in two years' time.

An article from the Leinster Leader of 29 December 1945 on Naas man, William O'Neill's, experiences in Palestine

April 05, 2012


Easter Monday April 9th
Tara Towers Hotel
Merrion Road
Open 11am-5pm.
Admission €2.00.
Dear Booklover,
 Our Easter Bank Holiday Bookfair takes place as above with approx thirty dealers exhibiting from all over Ireland. Several of the dealers only exhibit at this Fair so expect some surprises in their stock. We have an array of very exceptional items this time including a visitors book from a former embassy, Isaac Welds book on Roscommon(doesn’t turn up very often) as well as the rare Edmund Borlase item from 1675. Not to be missed is John McGahern’s “The Barracks” Details are listed below.
 There will of course be several thousand other books offered by dealers, each of whom have their own specialities. Free valuations are offered and the venue is disability friendly. Refreshments are available in the bar and restaurant and parking is free to patrons of the fair. Please collect your permit from anyone at the admissions

LARACOR BOOKS will be offering the following books for sale:

• Statistical Survey of the County of Roscommon, by Isaac Weld, R.D.S. Dublin 1832
• The Life and Letters of the Great Earl of Cork, Dorothea Townshend, London 1904
• Burke’s Landed Gentry of Ireland, London 1904

Dave Downes of Dublin Bookbrowsers has:-
Edmund Borlase’s The Reduction of Ireland to the Crown of England with the Governors Since the Conquest By King Henry II. Anno MCLXXII. With Some Passages in Their Government a Brief Account of the Rebellion Anno Dom MDCXLI (1675);a collection of rare Ulster Unionist posters circa 1920’s-50’s; Art books relating to Jack B. Yeats, Markey Robinson, Louis Le Brocquy & other Irish artists & Charles Dalton. With the Dublin Brigade 1916-21.

Schull Books  of Cork, will have the Capuchin Annuals for the 25th and 50th Anniversaries of the Rising, 1942 and 1966, plus  a copy of the Sinn Fein Rebellion Handbook.
They will  also have a collection of material, including some typescripts, relating to the Irish Defence Forces in the Congo and on other UN duties.

The Dublin City Bookfair takes place on Easter Monday 9 April in the Tara Towers Hotel, Merrion Road. We hope to see you there



Written and directed by Gerard O’Shea

APRIL 17-21 – MOAT THEATRE, Naas – 045-883030; www.moattheatre.com
Tickets €15/12 

*A World Premiere *
One year after the dramatic, but failed, Dublin Rising of 1916, the residents of the tiny Irish village of Kilfeckert take up arms once more against the British Army.  The rebels occupy key buildings in the village and prepare to go to war to defend the new Republic they have declared.  As they wait and ultimately go to war, leading figures from the literary revival have begun to dramatise their exploits for the stage, under the watchful eye of the parish priest.  And watching all of this unfold is an embedded TV crew, filming a news documentary on the dramatic events. 
‘Easter 1917’ is a wild and hilarious ride through an alternative view of Irish history.  A laugh out loud comedy featuring run ins with cans of beans, attempted communications with the Kaiser’s Germany, makeshift weapons, rebel in fighting, knowing in jokes and all the drama, suspense and comedy of a David versus Goliath clash with a few surprising plot twists. 
It is Irish history in all its glory and failure – political, military, religious, artistic, sporting – as you’ve never quite seen it before.
A large cast of new and familiar Moat Club actors bring to life the rebels and writers, poets and priests, hurlers and cricketers, soldiers and reporters that inhabit the crazy, comic world of Kilfeckert at Easter 1917.
On Thursday 19th April from 7pm to 7.30pm prior to that night's performance of Easter 1917 there will be a panel discussion focusing on the 1916 rebellion. The event will be chaired by Mario Corrigan, Kildare Library & Arts Services and will feature notable historians, Paddy Behan, Stan Hickey, James Durney and Liam Kenny as well as the playwright and director of Easter 1917, Gerard O'Shea. The panel discussion is free but it is hoped it would entice people along to the performance on Thursday evening. 

In recent times Gerard O’Shea has directed ‘The Playboy of the Western World’, ‘The Seagull’ and ‘This Lime Tree Bower’ at the Moat Club.  As a writer, his short play ‘Revolver’ appeared at the Moat in 2007, and ‘Skullduggery’ has been toured on three occasions by devise+conquer theatre company in 2010/11, including a two week run at Bewleys Café Theatre.

Eilish Rafferty, Moat Club PR Team (087 9174360)

The world premiere of 'Easter 1917' by Gerard O'Shea in the Moat Theatre 17-21 April. Prior to Thursday's performance Mario Corrigan chairs a discussion panel of notable historians


Introduction to becoming a Walking Tour Guide

To help promote County Kildare as a premier Tourist destination, Kildare Town Heritage Centre is hosting a one day introductory course for people who have a genuine interest in becoming a Walking Tour Guide. The course is open to anyone over 18. All parties interested, need to confirm their attendance by contacting Tom McCutcheon, at Kildare Town Heritage Centre, by no later than Friday 13 April. There will be a nominal charge of €5.00 for the day per applicant. Further details outlining the days schedule will be available upon request.

Venue: Kildare Education Centre
 Date:   20 April 2012
 Time:   9.30a.m.

CONTACT: Kildare Town Heritage Centre 045 530672; email: kildaretownheritagecen@ireland.com

If you are interested in becoming a walking tour guide in Kildare Town come along for an introductory course on 20 April 2012


Titanic - the Kildare Connections
James Durney

Tuesday 10th April
7.30 p.m.
Music of the Period
Barley Wine starts at 7 p.m.
Athy Heritage Centre-Museum
Emily Square
Co. Kildare

To coincide with ‘Athy April 1912 & Titanic Exhibit’ running for the month of April

An illustrated talk by James Durney on 'Titanic - the Kildare Connections' in the Athy Heritage Centre on 10 April

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