« April 2012 | Main | June 2012 »

May 19, 2012


Buy a Book for Jack and Jill

Friday 25 May 2012 will see the launch of a book in aid of the Jack and Jill Foundation,at 6.30 p.m. in Riverbank Arts Centre.

It is a republication by Kildare Libraryand Arts Services of

Thomas Bodkin's, 'My Uncle Frank'.


Uncle Franksmall.jpg

The book will go on sale through the Jack & Jill Foundation for €20 a copy but there will be a special concessionary rate of €15 on the night of the launch. All proceeds will go to the Jack & Jill Foundation so you simply buy the book as a way of supporting one of the best known and best loved charities in the country.

Show on that evening at 8pm- Translunar Paradise

Those attending the launch are very welcome to avail of a €12 concession ratecourtesy of Linda Geraghty and the Riverbank Team.

Thomas Bodkin, Professor of the Barber Institute in Birmingham , originally published his light-hearted memoir of his days as a child in the company of his uncle in Co. Kildare, in 1941. It is set in the fictional house Beauparc in the fictional village of Kilcolman , near Newbridge around the turn of the last century — it was in fact Newpark House, near Kilmeague, in Co. Kildare. The uncle in question, identified as Dr. Frank MacMahon in the story, was Francis Joseph McDonagh, M.D., Medical Officer for the Kilmeague and Robertstown District.


In 1940 Thomas Bodkin was in Birmingham . The world was in turmoil as WWII raged. He wrote My Uncle Frank as a distraction to alleviate the boredom of ‘fire-watching. Bodkin tried to do his own drawing but he was a very average artist and he turned to his friend Jack B. Yeats, who had at one time made a career as an illustrator. The drawing of Uncle Frank driving his spirited horse, Black Jack, with the Hill of Allen in the distance and the swallows wheeling in the evening air became the cover of this new book.


Yeats 300dpicroppedsmall.jpg 


Eventually the drawing passed from Emma Bodkin to her nephew and godson, Dick Robinson. In late 2010 Dick Robinson sold Newberry Hall and gifted many fine paintings to the Friends of the National Collections, but Dick was adamant that the Jack B. Yeats drawing would go to Kildare and be put on display where the people of Kildare could enjoy it because it had a unique Kildare connection. His friend and neighbour, Cecil Potterton, organized everything.


Cecil and Dicksmall.jpg 
Cecil Potterton and Dick Robinson, Kilcock October 2011
with the original Yeats Drawing 



As part of the process of honouring Dick for his wonderful gift and to explain the reasoning behind the gift, Kildare Library & Arts Services committed to republishing the long-forgotten memoir by Thomas Bodkin, My Uncle Frank. The book is now as much a part of the story of the drawing as the drawing was a part of the story when it was first published in 1941. Its republication is also part of the commitment of Kildare Library & Arts Services and Kildare County Council to promoting the unique and varied history of the county and making it accessible.
We thank Dick Robinson from the bottom of our hearts, and the people of Kildare will thank him as they come to view the drawing which is displayed in the Riverbank Arts Centre for all to see. It will remain within the care of Kildare Co. Council and will become a feature of the County Kildare Municipal Art Collection.
It is a ‘charming’ book; not a word we use much today but a word that conjures up good memories of days gone by. The Irish Times of 1947 called it, a ’gentle pleasure’, while the Clongownian of 1961 described it as ‘a delightful book of reminiscences, which takes the reader back in time to a county Kildare now gone from memory'.
Thomas Bodkin preserved that memory for us and Dick Robinson reinvigorated our interest with his gift of the drawing, done for ‘My Uncle Frank,’ by Jack B. Yeats.




The RIAC Pioneer Run celebrates our
Motoring Pioneers

Pioneer Run4.JPG

On Saturday and Sunday May 26th & 27th the ninth running of the Royal Irish Automobile Club’s Pioneer Run will take place based at Barberstown Castle Hotel and travelling through parts of Counties Kildare and Meath.
Now firmly established as Ireland’s premier event for early cars and motorcycles, the RIAC Pioneer Run caters for cars over one hundred years old and celebrates the heritage of Ireland’s pioneering automobilists, for whom every journey was an unpredictable adventure.

Depart Barberstown Castle
10.00 - 10.30
Celbridge (Tesco)
10.15 -10.40
Maynooth (Centre)
10.30 -11.00
Kilcock (Centre)
Enfield (Centre)
Coffee Halt (Arrival
Coffee halt is at Johnstown
House Hotel, Enfield
Coffee Halt (Departure)
12.30— 13.00
Johnstown Bridge (Centre)
12.30— 13.05
Kilshanroe (School Car Park)
Carbury (Castle Inn)
12.55 — 13.15
Derrinturn (Turn Inn)
13.00— 13.45
Allenwood (Centre)
Prosperous (Centre)
Clane (Centre)
13.30— 14.45
Finish at Barberstown Castle
13.40 - 15.05

Visit the Pionner Run website for more details

Pioneer Run3.JPG

While the Pioneer Run itself takes place on Sunday, the activity starts on Saturday with a ‘shake-down’ run and display. The 25 mile run will start from Barberstown Castle at 2.00 pm and we’re very happy to announce that we will be co-operating with the Dunboyne Motor Club and participating in the formal launch of their ‘Spirit of Dunboyne’ event that takes place on 23rd September next. The launch will take place in the village of Dunboyne (suitably decorated for the occasion) with displays of classic cars and bikes and tea, coffee and sandwiches available.
The 25 mile “shakedown” gives participating drivers the opportunity to “tune up” their vehicles for the Sunday Run, and to meet up with an enthusiastic group of motorsport enthusiasts while having their vehicles on public display in Dunboyne village.
Participating cars will depart from the Pioneer Run event HQ at Barberstown Castle at 2.00 pm and follow a well arrowed route to Dunboyne. They will be assembled at a location off the bypass road just outside Dunboyne, where they will be met by an escort from the Dunboyne Motor Club and escorted in convoy to designated display positions at the Green in the centre of Dunboyne village. Participating cars will remain in Dunboyne until 430 pm, before returning to HQ at Barberstown Castle.
The Pioneer Run will start from Barberstown Castle on the following day (Sunday) at
10.00 am where the cars will be flagged away by John Boyd Dunlop, great grandson of
the famous inventor of the pneumatic tyre, and will follow a route through Counties
Kildare and Meath designed especially around the capabilities of these early cars.
Details of the route are available to interested spectators and the RIAC have produced a special programme that will be given out free at the Saturday event in Dunboyne and along Sunday’s route. The finish of the Run is back at Barberstown Castle and the first cars should reach there around 3.30 pm.
Cecil Sparks, Chairman of the RIAC, expressed his pleasure that “Ireland’s motoring pioneers are remembered in such a fitting fashion each year by the RIAC Pioneer Run. Every journey those early pioneers of motoring in Ireland undertook was an adventure, yet they showed great courage and resourcefulness in exploring the four corners of Ireland. The RIAC is particularly pleased to have the support of Dunlop in running this event, and this is particularly appropriate given the shared motoring heritage of both organizations. Indeed, Dunlop has been involved with Irish motor sport events since 1903
— surely an unparalleled association.”
This year will see around thirty cars and motorcycles taking part in the RIAC Pioneer
Run with several entrants coming from Britain as well as from the four corners of Ireland.
Oldest vehicle is the 1899 Sperry Cleveland of Reginald Plunkett from Dublin and entries
are split into two classes: up to the end of 1904 (Brighton Class) and 1905 to 1912
(Centenary Class). Motorcycles run in a class up to 1914.
The organizing team have made a special effort this year to attract spectators and as well as the free programmes given out over the weekend several classic car clubs are organizing special outings to view the cars along the route.

Pioneer Run.JPG Pioneer Run2.JPG

Cars must be at least 100 years old to be eligible to participate over a course ideally suited to early cars. Great care is also taken with arrowing the route and the group are constantly told by overseas entrants (and Irish participants) that the marshaling on this event is second to none.

They are fortunate to have the support of Dunlop for the event, a particularly appropriate association as the pneumatic tyre was invented in Ireland in 1888 by John Boyd Dunlop. In addition, Dunlop has been associated with Irish motorsport longer than any other company, first presenting cups for the Speed Trials held in Dublin’s Phoenix Park just two days after the 1903 Gordon Bennett Race.

Based at the historic Barberstown Castle Hotel at Maynooth, a short distance from Dublin, the event is easily accessible from all parts of Co. Kildare.

The format is simple, on the Saturday Check-in with the event officials is available and in the afternoon a short (25 mile) ‘Shake-down’ Run is organized with an opportunity to stop and display the cars to the public at one of the many picturesque towns and villages along the route.

On Saturday evening the Chairman of the Royal Irish Automobile Club hosts a drinks reception at the hotel and this is followed by a Barbeque. This is optional but is very much the social highlight of the weekend and should not to be missed.

Check-in by entrants is again available on Sunday morning before the Pioneer Run itself gets under way at 10.00 am. The route is approximately 55 miles with a shorter version of the route available for the older cars. Following the finish of the Run a prizegiving lunch takes place and awards are given out.

May 17, 2012


Leinster Leader 22 February 1975

Noel’s jet design a winner

Sgt. Noel Dowling (33) son of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Dowling, St Corbans Place, Naas, has been appointed a recruitment officer at the R.A.F. recruiting office at West Side Centre, Luton.
He has also been awarded a certificate for meritorious service as an electrician with the R.A.F. The award followed work on redesigning flight deck instrument  panels on a jetfighter.
Sgt. Dowling joined the R.A.F. as a ground mechanic in 1959. His new post will involve touring local schools and colleges in recruitment campaigns for the air force. He is married with two children and lives in Adams Close, Ampthill.


An article from the Leinster Leader of 22 February 1975 on Noel Dowling's winning jet design


Leinster Leader 30 November 1974

The Champ from Newbridge

Jockey’s merited flat title

CONGRATULATIONS to Newbridge-born jockey Pat Eddery on his outstanding achievement in winning the English flat racing jockeys championship of the year for 1974.
Pat, son of former leading Irish rider Jimmy Eddery, learned at rudiments of the profession at Seamus McGraths stable at Glencairn, Dublin, before moving to a leading English stable. A clever, forceful rider, a very bright future is forecast for him and his winning the coveted title at such an early age augurs exceedingly well.
But it was fully in the nature of things that Pat should be a champion jockey. Apart from the fact his father was such a well known and accomplished rider, he has a very close connection with race-riding on the maternal side of his family. His  grandfather, the late Jack Moylan, had a distinguished  career in the saddle in this country and rode numerous winners, particularly for the Feathrstone stable to which he was attached for many years. He rode the Irish Derby winners Piccadilly and Slide On as well as classic winners Avoca and Lancer and also steered home the winners of many other important events.
And his son Bobbie (Pat’s uncle) rode with success in this country for the Ainsworth, Sleator and other stables official jockeys valet until forced to retire  for health reasons some years ago. 

An article from the Leinster Leader of 30 November 1974 congratulating Pat Eddery on winning the English flat jockeys championship


Leinster Leader 1 September 1956

Athy Over Seventy Years Ago

Editor “Leinster Leader”
Sir, I always take an interest in Athy. In my late teen age, I resided with good friends quite near it for several months in the year 1881.
   Only two of the many premises I know now remain one Mr. Jackson of Leinster Street, and the other Messrs. Doyle Brothers, of William Street. The drapers in my time were Ransbottom Foley and Company, A. Duncan and Ml. Keating. Thomas Hickey supplied groceries. Pat Knowles was a victualler. Messrs. Deegan, Stone and Miss Silke were vintners. Lumbleys were merchant tailors. Of the old gentry class was Mr. Plewman who lived in a mansion nearby. Mr. Telford in his foundry near the Chapel, constructed splendid machinery. The only bicycle in Athy was owned and ridden by Mr. James Doyle.
    Middle-aged and young country men then wore beards, though within two yards of the big ugly Courthouse in the Square was a little barber who charged only a penny for a shave.
  The town had the inevitable police station housed in a very curious looking barracks, the centuries old ruin known as “White’s Castle.” The R.I.C. barracks housed the town Sergeant Griffin and Head Constable Bodley and as many armed “Irishmen” as did their bit in holding their fellow-country men in bondage to England’s Queen Victoria.
  I was one of many thousands who attended the great demonstration held on the Square of Athy, when there were thunderous cheers and applause for Michael Davitt, who, by his Land League had abolished the centuries old evils of planter landlordism and famine, and I was also present when the news was broadcast the world over that Dr. Walsh, the great scholar, Churchman, Irish Nationalist patriot was appointed Archbishop of Dublin. In his honour candles were lighted in every house and the rejoicing couldn’t be excelled.
    In the year 1884 there were six priests in Athy. Those attached to the Parish Church were Fathers Doyle, P.P. Staples, O’Carroll and Lube C.C.s. The latter lived in a thatched house.
    In their little chapel two Fathers Duffy, O.P. and Hughes, of the Dominican Order, officiated.
  There was a little sport about Athy. I was invited to play cricket and the club had a fine supply of bats and balls. Walking was the universal physical exercise. With companions of my own age and sex one day we walked from Athy through Ballyadams and across the Slieve Bloom mountains to Stradbally, and back the same evening, doing about twelve Irish miles. Another walk would be along the peaceful Barrow river as far as Mageney in Carlow or to Ballylinan in O’Moore’s country, or Moone Chapel where Father Shurman, P.P. or Father Slattery officiated.

A letter published in the Leinster Leader on 1 September 1956 describing Athy seventy years ago


Leinster Leader 23 April 1977

Fought In First World War
A man who fought with distinction in World War I and took part in most of the major battles in France died last week at St. Vincent’s Hospital, Athy, at the age of about 83. He was Mr. Dick Warren, Killeen, Narraghmore. He served in the Irish Guards. Standing just 6 ½  feet tall, he was once described by a senior officer as the finest looking man in the regiment.
One of the great encounters in which he took part was the Battle of the Somme. He was wounded a number of times, and lost part of his fingers under cannon fire.
On return to civilian life he became a road maker for Kildare County Council, and later worked his horse and cart for that body. He lived on his small farm with his sisters, the Misses Bridget and Anne Warren, who survive him. Also surviving him is his brother, Michael.
As a young man he was a prominent athlete, and won important sprint races. Throughout his life he remained remarkably active, and up to about a month ago continued to cycle.
He was a very pleasant, unassuming man people liked and trusted instinctively. An interesting conversationalist, he was quite an authority on local history. The many who knew him deeply regret his passing. He was interred in Crookstown Cemetery after Requiem Mass.

The Leinster Leader of 23 April 1977 reports on the death of a WWI veteran from Athy

May 11, 2012


School visits and lectures connect County Kildare

with the story of the Titanic Disaster

Since January, noted local historian, James Durney, has been travelling to local history groups with an illustrated talk entitled Titanic: Kildare Connections, visiting groups in Kill, The Curragh, Leixlip, Athy, Rathangan, Naas and Timahoe. Librarian Mario Corrigan also delivered a talk to Kildare Local Hsitory Group and Athy Heritage Centre organised a month long exhibition of Athy in 1912 for April. Naas Local History group organised a Titanic afternoon on the 100th Anniversary of the Titanic collision with the iceberg on 14 April in Naas library. There remains a great interest and fascination with the Titanic tragedy but local references to the disaster were new to most people.

If you search the EHistory website there are a number of articles that make reference to the disaster, most notably

Kildare People Aboard the Titanic and Kildare Connection to Titanic Sinking!


WebCelbridge.JPG WebCelbridge2.JPG
 Models and projects in
Scoil na Mainistreach Celbridge

Mario and James have also visited 13 schools at Maynooth, Monasterevin (2), Rathangan, Naas (2), Caragh, Celbridge, The Curragh, Suncroft, Kildangan and Timahoe. They also accommodated schools from Ballysax, Athy, Naas and Newbridge in libraries in Kildare, Athy, Naas and Newbridge reaching in total around 1350 students within the last two months. To date almost 1600 people in total have heard first-hand of the Kildare connections with the disaster and more visits and lectures have been planned for later in the year, particularly around the One Book One Town festivals in October in Kildare and Newbridge.

Some people wonder about the effectiveness of commemorations but the response from the children in the primary schools and indeed their knowledge of the subject and their enthusiasm made it all worth while. Sadly history may become optional in schools in the future and it may not receive the focus it deserves but the teachers and students in Co. Kildare have demonstrated their passion for history and knowledge and we thank them for their invitations and kindness.

 Titanic Projects from Cianog Naofa National School, Timahoe





Timahoe smallICEBERGLandscape.JPG Timahoe small3rdclass.JPG Timahoe smallMolly Brown.JPG

Timahoe smallposter.JPG

Timahoe small.JPG

Timahoe small1.JPG Timahoe small2.JPG 

To date some 1600 people, adults and students, have heard of Kildare connections with the Titanic Disaster courtesy of Kildare Library & Arts Services, local historian, James Durney, Athy Heritage Centre and local history groups in Kill, The Curragh, Leixlip, Athy, Rathangan, Naas, Timahoe and Kildare Town.


Clane Local History Group Talk

Clane Local History Group will be hosting a talk on 'St. Michael and All Angels Church' by Carita O'Leary on Wednesday 16 May in the GAA Centre, Prosperous Road, Clane at 8:00 p.m.The talk will cover the historical pieces of interest, the artwork and background of the people involved in the making, as well as the details of the arts and crafts, and the period artists.


Clane Local History Group next talk - 'St. Michael and All Angels Church' by Carita O'Leary on Wednesday 16 May


Newbridge Local History Group

Next meeting
Wednesday 16 May at 7.00 p.m.
In Newbridge Barracks
Reading and Recreation Rooms
(Courtesy of Bord na Mona)

‘From Military Barracks to Bord na Mona 1812-2012’

Illustrated talk and tour


Newbridge Local History Group next meeting 16 May - ‘From Military Barracks to Bord na Mona 1812-2012’


Gabriel Hayes, sculptor and artist

James Durney

When Irish currency went decimal in 1971 a little-known fact of the process was that several of the coins were designed by the Kildare sculptor and artist, Gabriel Hayes. The design of the halfpenny coin was based on a ornamental bird detail in a manuscript in Cologne Cathedral; the penny on an illumination from the Book of Kells; and the twopence from a bird detail from a Bible in the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris.
Born at Holles Street Hospital, Dublin, on 25 August 1909, Gabriel was the daughter of Jeremiah J. Hayes, and Gertrude Hayes (née Lawlor), of Bridgehouse, Monasterevin, Co. Kildare. At the time Jeremiah Hayes was an RIC member who worked on maintenance in the prison service, but later worked as an architect with the Board of Works. Reared primarily by her aunt she was educated at the Dominican College, Eccles Street, Dublin. Gabriel wanted to be a painter and spent three years studying French in a school near Montpellier. While there she attended art classes at a provincial académie-des-beaux-arts. On her return to Ireland she enrolled in the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art, spending her summer holidays in France and Italy. In her second year at college she won the teachers-in-training scholarship, and in 1933 she had five works exhibited at the Royal Hibernian Academy. In her masters certificate Gabriel came first in Ireland. She began exhibiting at the RHA in 1932 and continued to exhibit there until 1947.
In 1936 Gabriel married Seán P. Ó Riordáin, an archaeologist and lecturer in UCC, and moved with him to Monkstown, Co. Cork. They had one son and one daughter. Thereafter, she signed work sometimes with her married name and sometimes with her maiden name. However, it is as Gabriel Hayes she is widely known. In 1943 Gabriel moved with her family to Newbridge Lodge, Celbridge, after her husband had become professor of Celtic archaeology at UCD. In 1953 she exhibited in the inaugural exhibition of the Institute of the Sculptors of Ireland. Most of her commissions were completed before starting on the life-size Stations of the Cross for Galway Cathedral. Work began in 1957 and took twelve years to complete. (Seán Ó Riordáin became ill in the summer of 1956, and died on 11 April 1957, in Dublin, at the age of fifty-two. He was buried in Donoughcomper cemetery, Celbridge.) In 1967 Gabriel carved a life-sized group of the Holy Family in Portland stone for the Holy Family Post-Primary School, Newbridge.
Soon after Gabriel received the important commission to supply the designs for the bronze decimal coins to be issued as the new Irish currency in 1971. After suffering a broken collar bone in 1970 she was unable to carve for a while, and spent her time researching and drawing coins. She designed a series of seven medals, in silver, depicting incidents in the life of St. Patrick for the Franklin Mint, Pennsylvania, USA. In 1977 Gabriel won the Oireachtas gold medal for her walnut sculpture ‘Grainne Mhaol looking towards the sea.’ Examples of her work can be seen locally at Clongowes Wood College, Clane, and the Holy Family Post-Primary School, Newbridge. After a long illness Gabriel Hayes Ó Riordáin died on 28 October 1978 at St. Vincent’s nursing home, Elm Park, Dublin, and was also buried in Donoughcomper cemetery.

When Irish currency went decimal in 1971 a little-known fact was that several of the coins were designed by the Kildare sculptor and artist, Gabriel Hayes

May 04, 2012


John Hawkins. No ordinary life

James Durney

I first met John Hawkins, of Enniscorthy, about eight years ago, when I was working on a book about the Irish in the Korean War. Declan Hughes, Director of the Irish Veterans Memorial Project, passed on my name to John, who rang me with his customary greeting ‘G’day.’ John was the first Korean War veteran I spoke to and interviewed for the book. His photo graces the cover of The far side of the world. Irish servicemen in the Korean War 1950-53.
John Hawkins was born in 1926, in Drumgoold, Enniscorthy, in the shadow of Vinegar Hill, that great battlefield of the 1798 Rebellion. The family had a great military tradition stretching back to 1798 where a family member fought on each side. John’s father was a boy soldier and served on the Northwest Frontier and in the Great War and following in his footsteps John served three years in the Irish Army during the Emergency, enlisting when he was sixteen. He emigrated to Australia, in 1948, where he joined the Australian Army. John was on occupation duty near Hiroshima, Japan, with the British and Commonwealth Occupation Forces, when the Korean War broke out in June 1950. Landing in Korea with the 3rd Royal Australian Regiment John and his comrades were soon in action against the invading communist North Korean People’s Army. He served nearly a year in Korea, where he experienced much combat and witnessed many forgettable events. John had many stories to tell, most of them funny. The bad stories he rarely mentioned. From Korea John went to other hotspots with the ‘Diggers’ – Borneo, Indochina and New Guinea, to name a few.
On a visit home to Enniscorthy he met a young local girl, May Carty, on Christmas morning 1954, and soon they were an inseparable couple. They married and went to Australia and travelled around the world. Their only child, Maria, was born in Enniscorthy. In the 1980s, after forty years service, John left the Australian Army and the family returned to live in Enniscorthy.
John was a soldier most of his life, but he was also many other things. He was a good husband and father. He was a good friend to many; a good neighbour, too. He worked well into his eighties, only being slowed down by his recent illness. In his last few years he worked locally on a nearby deer farm and also cleaned chimneys and cut the grass for his not so-able neighbours. John was active for many years with the British Legion – facilitating, promoting and collecting – and Maria carries on that fine work. When a ‘Poppy’ collection was needed John was first out and always collected the most – being the most visible in his Aussie slouch hat – and the most popular. Who could resist those mischievous blue eyes?
He was one of the first to throw his weight behind the Kiltoom Project, a veterans’ campaign to finance and raise a lasting memorial to the Irish war dead. John was the unofficial spokesman for the Irish Korean War veterans and was ever present at commemorations and events. He was a rock of strength and a natural leader – I’m sure he was the same under fire and in combat situations. An extremely proud man he was not afraid to speak his mind and to say how disappointed he was in the way this country is run.
John was interviewed for radio and television programmes and few will forget his interview on RTE’s ‘War Stories, Korea,’ and his speech on behalf of his comrades at the 50th anniversary commemoration of the Korean War at the South Korean Embassy in Dublin, in June 2010. Being a veteran of Indochina John also spoke on behalf of Irish veterans at the launch of Vietnam. The Irish Experience, in Barker and Jones, Naas, when that book was launched there in 2009.
Over the years I brought many people to Enniscorthy to meet John and he always took time to bring them to Vinegar Hill, where he would give a description of the 1798 battle as if he had been there. The most recent visitors were Ger McCarthy and Paddy Behan as we planned last year’s Naas Local History Group trip to the sunny south east. Despite recovering from an operation John brought us up to Vinegar Hill where he compared that fight in 1798 to that of the Battle of Kapyong in April 1951 when the Aussies held the line against overwhelming odds.
Perhaps my most memorable visit to Vinegar Hill was with John and Charlie Dennehy, a Kerry native, who lived most of his life near Straffan, Co. Kildare. Charlie had served a year in Korea with the US Army, his service mirroring that of John’s – the advance to the Yalu river frontier with China and the headlong retreat back to South Korea when the Chinese People’s Army entered the conflict. That time the Aussies held the door open as the Yanks retreated. Sadly, Charlie Dennehy passed away in October 2011, so this time the Yank is guarding the gate, waiting for the Digger. G’day!

James Durney has written a tribute to Australian Army veteran John Hawkins who died on 30 April 2012


An update to Bartholomew Millerick, a young Kildare soldier

Kildare Library and Arts Service received a recent email from the daughter of Bartholomew Millerick, Ruth McAleese.

I was delighted to read the story regarding Bartholomew Millerick – ‘Young Kildare Soldier’s Career’ – posted in January 2010. He was my father. Bartholomew Millerick married Sarah McIntyre Morson (born 9 February 1899, in Glasgow) in St. Rollox on 1 January 1923. Both are now deceased.
The couple had six children. Their first child, a boy named Anthony, died in infancy. There was a girl born next, who also died shortly after birth. The next girl, Patricia Joan Millerick, was born on 11 December 1934. She is still alive and has a son Jonathan, born 19 August 1971. There were two other boys, who also died under the age of three.
I was the last born, Ruby Sapphire Millerick – born 17 August 1941 – now known as Ruth McAleese.

Kildare Library and Arts Service received a recent email from the daughter of Bartholomew Millerick, Ruth McAleese. Our thanks to Ruth


Leinster Leader 12 December 1975

Unusual new Church blessed in Newtown

Kilcock parish’s new Church of the Nativity at Newtown – the  birth of a modern, unusual building richly spiritual in atmosphere – was blessed by the Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, Most Rev. Dr. Lennon, on Monday in a ceremony and concelebrated Mass personally involving all concerned with Gods work in this pleasant, intimate rural area. 
Physically the church is a far cry form the nineteenth century Gothic edifice it replaces, a new building for new days designed with a freshness of approach modest of line and denied the grandeur of the old Church’s noble proportions. Instead there is a compartmentalised simplicity capturing a living awareness. It speaks of the presence of God, as Most Rev. Dr. Lennon said. One relaxes in the uncluttered surroundings, more acutely aware of the Divine presence.
Irish artists, including Michael Biggs, brother Benedict Tutty, Bernadette Madden and Patrick McEllroy gave their expertise to its decoration, after the design had evolved from, as the Parish Priest, Very Rev. P. J. Brophy, commented, a great amount of thought and theological reflection.
There is no attempt to conceal the materials used. Statues and other representations are at a minimum and stained glass totally absent. In many other respects there has been a rejection of traditional church building and fitting without being totally revolutionary. Care was obviously taken that the transformation did not defeat its purpose.
And the past is not altogether forgotten for the old square tower has been retained. The designer has given a rural community a church in a modern setting using today’s resources and expertise. He is Mr. Richard Hurley who has presented the dove over the baptistery as an added gift.
The Brass Band came from neighbouring Maynooth to play sacred tunes in the Church before the ceremony, and one of its trumpeters sounded the Royal Salute at the elevation in the Mass. Later the Band entertained the congregation in a marquee across the road while a light meal was served
Chief con-celebrants of the Mass were the Bishop Father Brophy and the Vicar General of the Diocese, Right Rev. Msgr. Conway, Bagenalstown. There were 14 other con-celebrants. Many clergy were in the congregation also. Newtown choir was accompanied on the organ by Mrs. Marine Ennis, and she had the advisory and local assistance of Rev. Ian Kelly, English mission native of Tiernoghan, Donadea. Mr. Hurley, the architect, read the first Lesson, followed by Michael Connolly. The applicatory prayers were read by Bernadette O’Donoghue. Mrs. M. Devine Mrs. P Dillion and Mrs. H Sheridan – brought the offerings to the alter.
His Lordship thanked the architect and his collaborators for the simplicity and warmth which created the atmosphere, the contractor and workers for their skills and the priests under whose direction the work took shape: the Very Rev Fr. O’Meara, Rev. Fr. O’Reilly and Very Rev. Fr. Brophy, the new parish priest.
The church was a generosity and sacrifice of the people and it counciled them to cherish what they had built. During Mass in the prayers for the departed Most Rev. Dr. Lennon invoked Gods mercy on the soul of Miss Brigid Doyle whom he said had worshipped in the old Church far beyond the normal span of life. She died the previous day. She was 105.
Fr. Brophy thanked the architect, artists, builders and all others involved for their work in building the Church. He sensed already that everybody felt very much at home in the building.

An article from the Leinster Leader of 12 December 1975 on the blessing of Kilcock parish’s new Church of the Nativity at Newtown


Leinster Leader 8 April 1978

New Naas stock mart opened

The new £200,000 mart at Caragh Road, Naas, run by Naas Livestock Mart Ltd., was blessed and officially opened on Friday by the very Rev. L. Newman, P.P, Sallins. The mart replaces the one which had operated for 13 years at the Fairgreen Naas.
The new mart is being run by Mr. Colm McEvoy, local auctioneer, who owned the former mart and operated it for some years with Mr. Jim Morrin, another local auctioneer. The new premises is in the ideal location about a mile form the town, and is on a 9-acre site which allows plenty of room for expansion. It has a capacity for 2000 cattle per sale day which will be on Fridays. It is hoped initially to sell 900-1000 beasts a week.
There are plans for a second sales ring. For the present, sales will be confined to cattle. There was a fair amount of cattle on offer at the opening sale held after the blessing. The first beast was sold to aid a local deserving charity. It was owned by Mr. Patrick Kerry, Emo, Portlaoise, and the shorthorn bullock, weighing 7cwt. 3 quarters was bought by Mr. John Good, Newhall, Naas, for £358. A cheque for that sum will be given to the local charity by the mart.
The old mart at the Fairgreen closed a few weeks ago. Mr. McEvoy has tentative plans to use it as a mart for sheep and pig sales as the concrete base and facilities remain. But he also outlined planning permission for a commercial shopping centre-cum office block on the part of the Fairgreen which he owns. He has not yet decided on the site’s future.
Naas Livestock Mart has an estimated turnover of £5m. a year and attracts buyers and sellers from the local meat factories, England, the Continent, and services farmers from Kildare, Wicklow, Laois, North Offaly and Carlow. Mr. McEvoy says that the departure form the old site was made imperative by the lack of space.
But the existence of the new enterprise was fraught with uncertaintly. Although the U.D.C members favoured strongly the move to the Caragh Road, its planning officers thought otherwise and planning permission was refused initially. At the time the route for the proposed bypass of Naas was being planned and it was considered that the mart was too near the new road. As well, the line for the bypass had not been firmly decided. However, Mr. McEvoy got planning permission to appeal to the Minister for Local Government, Mr. Tully.
Although the mart is situated off a narrow secondary road and in an area with bad bends, Mr. McEvoy does not welcome the bypass which will be 100 yards from the premises. He objects mainly on the grounds of noise, particularly as he lives in the area. The entrance to the mart will be via a slip-way, somewhat similar to the road arrangements at Goff’s livestock complex at Kill off the dual carriageway proper.
But the fear of pollution was also a factor in delaying building of the mart. North Kildare Anglers Association objected strongly as members feared that slurry from the premises would flow into the Liffey, thus endangering fish life. Mr. McEvoy is very forthright in his views about the objection. He says that he originally proposed to spread the slurry by mechanical means over 70 acres nearby. But the Council insisted on tests being carried out. They were undertaken by the Institute for Industrial Research and Standards, and the Co. Committee of Agriculture also conducted a survey.
“My view was vindicated thoroughly,” he said after the mart’s opening. “It was found that seven acres would be sufficient to absorb the slurry which would be spread on the land by mechanical means. A maximum of 14 acres was laid down, but I had a lot more available for the purpose.”
He is fulsome in his praise of Naas U.D.C. who he said had the foresight, when supporting his application over three years ago, to see into the future much better than the Council engineers. They knew that the mart was attended by local representatives, farmers and those engaged in agribusiness and the attendance included Mr. Charlie McCheevy, T.D., Mr. M. Lawlor, Chairperson, Naas U.D.C., and members of theUrban Council.
A highlight of the opening sale was the offering for purchase of two exceptional beasts, both Simmental bullocks of enormous girth: one weighing 18cwt, sold for £680 and the other, 16cwt., for £641. They were sold by Mr. Martin Murphy, Dowdenstown, Ballymore Eustace who had bought them at the old Naas mart two years previously for £165 each, but then weighing in at a mere 8cwt. each. They were bought by Premier Meat Packers in Sallins. Mr. Murphy said later that he was hoping they would be brought for the Continental trade, as they would have fetched a higher price. But he was highly pleased with the price he got for ten Friesian crosses averaging 12-3cwt. in weight, which went for £509 apiece.
Work started on the new mart in October and the main contractors were the National Excavation and Construction Company, Dublin Road, Naas, and the consultant engineer was Mr. Colm Hassett, Naas.

An article from the Leinster Leader of 8 April 1978 on the opening of the new Naas Livestock Mart at Caragh Road, Naas


Leinster Leader 21 September 1957

The Flu Epidemics Now and in 1918

The term “influenza epidemic,” conjures up for many people memories of the great flue epidemic of 1918 and 1919, which took 20,000,000 lives around the world. Actually, this reaction to the present wide-world flu wave is quite unjustifiable, doctors say.
The “Far Eastern flu” which was first reported from Hong Kong in April and seems to be spreading wherever human beings live, is only a pale shadow of its devasting predecessor. Although hundreds of thousands throughout Asia have had the disease in the past three months, only a very small proportion of the cases have been fatal.
And although flu typically strikes mainly at young adult, the young have accounted for few of the deaths occurring in the present epidemic. Most fatalities have been found among the normally much more vulnerable groups, the very young and the very old.
But the relative mildness of the flu epidemic of 1957, as compared to that of 1918, does not mean of course that either the present or any of the other numerous variations can be disregarded with impunity. All of them are specific acute infections of the entire system. All bring high fever for at least three or four days, respiratory or gastro intestinal inflammation and head, back and other pains. And such symptoms always call for both attention and care.
Secondary Infection
The danger to the individual from flu however lies not so much in this relatively short-lived discomfort as in exhaustion and weakness it leaves in its wake. For a protracted period convalescence is usual slow the patient is far more vulnerable than ordinarily to other entirely new infections. And then they strike; their effect on the already debilitated victim is often devastating and far worse than the original flu.
This frequent sequel is known as “secondary infection” “secondary” not because it is of minor importance, but it follows a first infection. Many diseases may be controlled under these circumstances, but those serious and one of the most common is bacterial pneumonia which can be a very grave matter at any time especially in this role.
Against flu itself, once the infection is contracted medical science has little specific treatment to offer. This is principally because the disease is caused by a virus, and all but a very few viruses are beyond reach of even the newest drugs. Medical defences against flu proper are thus necessarily limited to helping the patient conserve his ebbing strength by unlimited bed rest and by taking adequate nourishment.
But against secondary infection medicine is now far better armed than it was in 1918-1919. Medical men believe that if those drugs had been available forty years ago many of the, victims of the earlier epidemic would still be alive today.
A New Vaccine
Preventative vaccines have long existed against some kinds of influenza but not all. In particular when the present outbreak began there was no such protection against the three strains of the virus which had been isolated from “Far East flu” suffers.
Now, however, there has been produced a vaccine which does combat these types. Manufacture has begun and is expected to reach major proportions by October or November.
This is a complicated, long drawn out process, which consists essentially of adapting the desired strains of virus to living and growing embryonated chicken egg tissues and then planting and “harvesting” crops of virus. After the virus has developed in quantity, the embryonic fluid is refined, concentrated and the virus is killed by adding formalin. This renders it safe for use in humans but does not impair its influenza-protective qualities.

An article from the Leinster Leader of 21 September 1957 on comparisons to the Great Flu Epidemic of 1918 and another outbreak in 1957


Terror in Ireland: Terror in Kildare

James Durney

County Kildare native, Michael Murphy, is a contributor to Terror in Ireland 1916-1923, by Lilliput Press, a collection of essays edited by David Fitzpatrick, Professor of Modern History at Trinity College, Dublin. Dedicated to the memory of the distinguished former member, the late Peter Hart, this volume is the fifth publication by the Trinity History Workshop, an informal group of academic historians, research students, and undergraduates associated with Trinity College. The contributors, including gifted postgraduate and undergraduate students as well as prominent historians, tackle many facets of terror, such as ‘Bloody Sunday,’ the Kilmichael Ambush and the Sack of Balbriggan. Most contributors concentrate on the War of Independence, but Michael Murphy’s chapter ‘Revolution and Terror in Kildare, 1919-1923,’ opens up questions on the unexpectedly vicious Civil War in a county where the economic importance of the British military presence had discouraged vigorous prosecution of the conflict.
Michael Murphy’s study of violence and terror in revolutionary Kildare examines four propositions. First, that Kildare’s reputation for acquiescence in British rule ran counter to a long-standing tradition of republican disaffection stretching back to 1798. Second, that the strong military presence in Kildare tended to impede rather than strengthen republican resistance. Third, that violent opposition to the Treaty was surprisingly vigorous in the county, partly due to the personality of such leaders as Jim Dunne, of Kill. Fourth, that republican violence after the Treaty tended to erode rather than inspire public support for continued revolution.
There are thirteen essays, all of them of interest to scholars, students, political activists and all those studying the Irish Revolution. ‘Counting Terror,’ by Eunan O’Halpin places County Kildare, with twelve deaths, as twenty-eight in the list of casualties by county and country – eleven people died in Britain, while three died in India. Fearghal McGarry’s essay ‘Violence and the Easter Rising,’ tells us that despite the backlash against the captured rebels, most of the civilian dead of Easter Week were killed by the British military, rather than the insurgents, while in ‘English Dogs or Poor Devils. The dead of Bloody Sunday morning,’ Jane Leonard points out that four of the fifteen ‘English dogs’ shot dead that fateful day in November 1920 were Irish-born. The purpose of Terror in Ireland, is not to assign blame to one party or another, but to offer varied perspectives on one of the most contentious periods of Irish history.

County Kildare native, Michael Murphy, is a contributor to Terror in Ireland 1916-1923, a collection of essays edited by David Fitzpatrick, Professor of Modern History at Trinity College, Dublin.

Powered by
Movable Type 3.2