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June 30, 2012


South Kildare Medieval Event "Athy The  Walled Town"


Thursday 28th June 2012


As a new member of Irish Walled Town Network (IWTN) this event is an
opportunity to create awareness of our heritage as a Walled Town.
It will introduce  our town to the cultural, heritage, artistic and
social benefits of membership. It will be the starting point for all
future cross community events and projects. It will create  new avenues
for cultural tourism , local enterprise, social initiatives and
communication with others involved in similar organizations both in
Ireland and abroad.   This event will also be a leaping off point for
Athy's inclusion in the IWTN.

Event Outline:  To explore Athy's legacy as a Walled Town and promote the community,
cultural and  tourism benefits of that status.  This event aims to
combine history and archaeological professionals in an exploration of
Athy's history as a walled town.

Programme Themes  

Exploring Athy's history as a walled town through:

1)    A Walking Tour   Of Medieval Athy  @ 6.30 p.m. starting from Athy
Heritage Centre & Museum

2)    Lecture by Liam Mannix   "Life in a Medieval Irish Town: the grim
details"  7.15 p.m.  in Athy Heritage Centre & Museum

3)    Exhibition  "Visions of Athy as a Walled Town" running from
Thursday 28th  June until Tuesday 3rd  July

Funded by the Irish Walled Towns Network (IWTN)    Heritage  Council

Margaret Walsh


Athy Heritage Centre Museum

Emily Square


Co. Kildare


Phone:  00353 (0)598633075

Email:     athyheritage@eircom.net

Web:     http://www.athyheritagecentre museum.ie/


South Kildare Medieval Event "Athy The  Walled Town" begins on 28 June-3 July 

June 28, 2012



By Chris Holzgräwe

A fascinating photograph has come to light recently which could perhaps shed light on the beginnings of the Horse Transport Section of the Army Service Corps which was formed in 1929 and had its headquarters at the Curragh. The photograph shows three ranks of troopers posing in dress uniform at their depot at the Curragh camp.

This photograph has been in the possession of Pamela Holzgräwe (nee Byrne) of Dublin, (now living in Newbridge), for many years, and shows her father, Thomas Byrne, 23 years old at the time, in the ranks of this Troop. The photograph, which would appear to be an official commemorative print, has an embossed title at the top of the mounting card which reads:

H. T.
(?) (?) Depot. Curragh Camp. 1928.

The uniforms worn would suggest an official occasion, but no officers are present in the photograph, although the two front middle troopers would appear to be a Lance Corporal and a Corporal. These two men are wearing different britches and riding boots to the others. A bugler sits in the front row also.


1928Horse Transport CurraghCampWEB.jpg

Back Row:
Driver:    J. Fortune. C.   Walsh.   J. Connolly.   J. Sexton.   T. Callaghan.   J. Deegan.
Middle Row:
Driver:   J. Meehan.   F. Hassett.   (?) Kinsella. P. Day.   T. Byrne.   P. Cullen.
Front Row:
Driver:    (?)         (?) Howard.  (?).         (?) Collins.  (?).          J. McMahon.

There is a reference to The Horse Transport Corps in The Kildare Observer on 3 August 1929, the year after the photograph was taken. It reads:

‘The A.S. Corps.
The new Army Service Corps which has been formed and has its headquarters at the Curragh is making rapid progress towards completion. During the past week two further staffs were transferred to the unit and the Horse Transport Section commenced to function under its new heading……..’

A 1928 photograph of the Irish Army Horse Tranpsort Troop at the Curragh Camp sheds some light on the origin of this unit


Pen and Sword: Thomas Francis Meagher and Clongowes College

James Durney

Thomas Francis Meagher was born on 3 August 1823 at a Georgian house now site of what is the Granville Hotel, on the Waterford quay. A plaque honouring the birthplace of the man known as Meagher of the Sword, or the National Orator, adorns the building, though some historians claim he was born at 19 the Mall, or 51 O’Connell Street. His father, Thomas Meagher, was a wealthy merchant, who spent his life, like other leading members of the old Catholic families, in trying to retrieve by trade overseas the family fortunes of which they had been dispossessed by confiscation and the penal laws. Most of Thomas Francis Meagher’s ancestry can be traced back to Catholic tenant farms in the hinterland of Waterford, specifically in south-east Kilkenny, south-east Tipperary, and east Waterford in the 18th century. His mother’s line – the Lattins and Kennedys – hailed from Morristown, in Co. Kildare. Thomas Meagher married Alicia Quan, daughter of another wealthy Waterford merchant, in 1820. They had four children – Thomas, Francis, Henry, Christiaana, Alicia. In 1843 Thomas Meagher became the first Catholic mayor of Waterford City in almost 200 years.
A strong admirer and supporter of Daniel O’Connell, Thomas Meagher sent his two sons, Thomas Francis and Henry, to Clongowes Wood College, a Jesuit-run boarding school, to begin their secondary education. Three of O’Connell’s sons went to Clongowes and John O’Connell was a contemporary of Thomas Francis Meagher there. During a visit to Clongowes Daniel O’Connell was said to have observed Meagher’s early genius and foretold his future greatness. A decade later O’Connell recommended Meagher be admitted to study law at the Queen’s Inn in Dublin. Clongowes College was an establishment for the sons of Catholic gentlemen and Meagher remained there for six years. In later years, Tom Meagher wrote of Clongowes, with deep affection, but complained that he and his contemporaries were taught nothing about their native land. While Clongowes burdened its pupils with many other subjects, ancient and modern, he wrote:
 ‘So far as Ireland was concerned, they left us like blind and crippled children in the dark. They never spoke of Ireland. Never gave us, even what is left of it, her history to read. Never quickened the young bright life they controlled into lofty conceptions and prayers by a reference to the martyrdoms, the wrongs, the soldiership, the statesmanship, the magnificent memories and illuminating hopes of the poor old land … Ireland was the last nation we were taught to think of, to respect, to love and remember … But I can’t bear to say anything against Clongowes. It is to me a dear old spot.’
 However, Thomas Francis Meagher was expelled from this dear old spot in 1839 at the age of sixteen after a rebellious incident. On Michaelmas Day a roast goose was supplied to each of the students table and the one offered to the senior students happened to be quite lean. Tom Meagher had the job of carving the goose and he complained to Fr. Kelly, saying he could not get a piece off the bird and demanded another fatter one. Fr. Kelly demurred and requested Meagher to cut it and see how far it would go. He refused and all the students at the table put down their knives and forks and sulked. After the senior students left, having eaten no dinner, several panes of glass in the great window were broken by stones. All the senior students were sent to the tower for an inquiry, but as no one would admit to the wrongdoing, or inform on who did it, they were given solitary confinement for a week.
 At the time, the senior students were allowed walks in the locality on their free days and on their first excursion after their solitary confinement to Carton House Tom Meagher led a group of friends off to Dublin. A pursuit party found the young men at an inn in Barrack Street, Dublin, and brought the rebels back to Clongowes. Four were expelled, including Tom Meagher. His uncle, Patrick Meagher, a Jesuit in Dublin, was instrumental in arranging Tom’s transfer to Stonyhurst College, another Jesuit-run school, in England. Here the sons of wealthy Irish, Spanish and French families were sent to receive a comprehensive British education.
 Meagher returned to Ireland in 1843 having completed his education at Stonyhurst, and went to Dublin to study law. He joined the Young Irelanders and in 1846 Tom Meagher delivered what became known as the ‘Sword Speech’ in Conciliation Hall. After the Rising of 1848 Meagher was arrested and found guilty of High Treason. He was sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered, but this sentence was commuted to Transportation to Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania). Meagher enjoyed considerable liberty in Tasmania and escaped in 1852, with the aid of his friend Patrick J. Smyth, who was a fellow student in Clongowes in 1839. He fled to New York, where he helped found the newspapers the ‘Citizen’ and the ‘Irish News.’ At the outbreak of the American Civil War Meagher raised a company of Irishmen for the 69th New York Volunteers, and served with the army of the North during the first campaign in Virginia and the subsequent first battle of Bull Run. Towards the end of 1861 he organised the Irish Brigade, which he eventually commanded. When the Irish Brigade was decimated by battle he resigned in protest. In 1866 Tom Meagher became Temporary Governor of the Montana Territory. Whilst acting in this capacity he fell from a steamboat into the Missouri and was drowned near Fort Benton, Montana, on 1 July 1867, aged forty-four. His body was never recovered.
A sculpture with Tom Meagher astride a horse stands in the Mall, Waterford, while he is honoured with another equestrian statue in front of Montana Capitol Building, in Helena, Montana.

Irish rebel and American soldier Thomas Francis Meagher's connections with Co. Kildare and Clongowes College


Kildare Observer 21 April 1934
Mrs. Margaret Wheeler, Roseville, Naas

The sympathy of all sections of the community has been aroused by the death which took place at her residence, Roseville, Naas, on Friday, of Mrs. Margaret Wheeler. Deceased was well known for her generous disposition and kindly nature and her demise ahs caused universal regret. She was the relict of the late Mr. Bernard Wheeler, Master of the old Workhouse, Naas, and was the mother of Mr. Joe Wheeler, Assistant Secretary of the Kildare Board of Health, and the popular captain of the Naas senior hockey team. Her son, Mr. Tom Wheeler is the very popular hon. secretary of the North Kildare Coursing Club, and besides a prominent player on the Naas senior G.A.A. team.
The funeral, which took place to the New Cemetery, Naas, on Sunday, was one of the largest witnessed in the town for a number of years, bearing eloquent testimony of the popularity and high esteem in which deceased and her family were held by the townspeople.
The chief mourners were – Michael, Jos. And Thomas Wheeler (sons), Etta Wheeler (daughter), Mrs. T. Hughes, Robertstown (sister), John Donegan (Portarlington), and James Donegan (Barraderry) (brothers), Joseph Wheeler (Mullingar) and Aloysius Donegan, Portarlington (nephews), Miss Rita Hughes, Robertstown; Mrs. T. Donegan, Barraderry, and Mrs. A. Kenny, Balbriggan (nieces); Mrs. E. McCarthy, Dermot and Jack McCarthy, Dublin, Mr. and Mrs. H. Hughes, Dublin (cousins).
Rev. P. J. Doyle, C.C., officiated at the graveside.

The obituary of Mrs. Margaret Wheeler, of Naas, from the Kildare Observer of 21 April 1934


Irish Independent 2 February 1951

Sallins casualty in Korea
The casualty list issued by the British War Office numbers among the wounded, Major M. Pratt, of the Northumberland Fusiliers, who was awarded the D.S.O. two weeks ago when he “greatly distinguished himself in two actions” in which he showed “outstanding qualities of leadership and skill.” Major Pratt lives at Sallins, Co. Kildare.

A report from the Irish Independent of 2 February 1951 on Major M. Pratt, Sallins, wounded in Korea

June 22, 2012


Kildare Observer 28 April 1934      

Bog of Allen Festival

Turf Cutting Competitions

First Sod Cut by Mr. de Valera

Saturday was a red letter day in the history of Allenwood, Robertstown, Co. Kildare, which claims to be “the capital of the Bog of Allen,” when the local committee of the County Kildare Peat Development scheme held their first turf-cutting competition and festival in the presence of an enormous gathering of people, who travelled by car and omnibus from a wide radius.
The importance of the occasion was enhanced by the attendance of six members of the Executive Council, including President de Valera. The object of the demonstration was to bring before the public the importance of peat as a national asset.
The competitions were designed to show most of the operations necessary in the production of turf, and those who watched the different cutting teams at work were much impressed by their skill. The “cutter,” the “catcher” and the “wheeler” each did his part skilfully, while the “footing” and the “clamping” were also quickly done. In the six competitions which took place there were 77 entries, and the Findlater Cup, for best wing slean work, went to James Howard, of Kyledoon, whose wife was placed third in the footing competition. Footing is the second stage of the drying operation.
The Leinster Flour Mills Cup, for breast slean work, was awarded to James Connolly of Ticknevin.
The No. 1 Army Band and a local band provided a musical programme, while there were also held in connection with the event an Aeridheacht and Ceilidhe, which were well attended. Luckily, the day was fine.

Major de Courcy Wheeler read the following address of welcome:—

A Uachtarain,—
Is cuis broid agus athais duinn-lucht bainte na mona agus Muintir na duthaighe seo-fior chaqoin Failte a’ fhearradh romhat go hAlnhain Eachtach leathan laighin lais an sleaghan seo scapaimid siolta an charadais.
Le seo cuirimid ruaig ar gach miscarthanacht.

Mr. President,— We the members of the Management Committee of the Robertstown District – who have been asked to organise this entertainment to celebrate the inauguration by yourself of the first turf-cutting competition which as far as we are aware has ever taken place – we representing all classes of opinion without distinction have united to give you a very hearty welcome, believing that your visit here to-day will be for the special benefit of a very numerous, industrious and important class of our fellow countrymen whose claims for recognition in the industrial world have hardly yet been considered. Everyone present knows that the object you have in view is to bring the peat industry of Ireland prominently before the general public and by so doing to consult the good and prosperity of those who follow this way of livelihood not only in this district but throughout many other parts of the country and so encourage others to do likewise.
The peat industry centred in the bogs of Ireland has for ages been a problem which has not up to this been satisfactorily solved.
It may be of interest however to recall that 20 years ago in 1908 a scheme was promoted by the Central Ireland Electric Power Company the object of which was to utilise the bogs for generating electricity. The process sounds like “The House that Jack built:” the peat was to be converted into gas – the gas was to drive engines, the engines were to drive dynamos, the dynamos were to generate electricity and the electricity was to be distributed as light and power throughout Central Ireland. The process appears complicated but the bi-products arising from it were so valuable that it was estimated that they would cover the whole cost of production. Should the Shannon go dry for any reason it would be useful, Mr. President, to remember that the bogs are always with us and that they can be used to take its place but until then Robertstown and kindred villages would welcome a little light and power from its successful rival. I should not forget to mention that the power house and generating station were to be erected about a mile from where you are standing quite close to Robertstown which has always claimed to be the capital of the Bog of Allen.
But in the meantime we are here today to support you in a most interesting and novel event – an exhibition of skill combined with strenuous manual labour by expert turf cutters who earn their livelihood by this means. This precedent might be followed by other industries and a friendly rivalry encouraged in the production of work as well as in the pursuit of sport. It can hardly be realised what labour and time and hardship is undergone by the turf-cutters who live on and by the bogs from the moment that they have cut the first sod of peat out of the bog which you can see in front of you until it is delivered at the door of the house in which it is to be burned. And like the rest of the crops in the country the success of it depends upon the weather as this turf has to be cut and dried and saved as carefully as a crop of wheat; both crops can be spoiled by a bad season and rendered unfit for use – and the loss and hardship incurred can be very great.
We thank you Mr. President for your visit here today and are grateful for the opportunity which it gives of bringing the claims of the turf-cutters vividly before the householder who has very little knowledge of the skill required and the technical experience necessary to produce that delightful source of homely warmth which up to a very short time ago was looked upon in our cities as a luxury and accessible to the few.
Mr. President, with these few words of welcome and appreciation of your kindness in coming amongst the residents of this district I have the privilege of presenting to you the competitors who have entered most enthusiastically for this unique contest.
Before doing so we wish to draw your attention to this beautiful Challenge Cup so generously presented by Messrs. Alex. Findlater and Co. for the best all round work in the Wing-Slean Competition, and to The Leinster Flour Mills Challenge Cup, so kindly presented by Messrs. Odlum and Odlum for the best all round work in the Wing-Slean competition and the purpose of inaugurating these two principal events we have the pleasure of presenting you with the tools necessary for this purpose, the handles of which have been made locally out of bog oak dug out of the bog on which you are standing and the sleans of which have been brightened up in honour of the event.

Country’s Resources

Mr. de Valera, in replying, said that he was very grateful to the Committee for having invited him, and desired to express to them the thanks of the Government for their enterprise. It was very necessary that the work on which they were now engaged – the work of developing the resources of the country – should get all the assistance which competitions of the kind afforded. On that account the Government was grateful, and was hopeful that throughout the whole twenty-six counties they would find people of enterprise such as they had there, who would help the Government in the work.
“We want their co-operation,” he said, “and it is a very great pleasure to us to know that, no matter what political differences there may be, we can be united in work of this kind. Already this year a very good beginning has been made. We began last year, and the fact is clear in the reduction of our imports of coal. We hope this year it will be possible to calculate on from 300,000 to 500,000 tons of peat being cut, distributed and used. That is not going to satisfy us, but if we could do that last year we ought to do twice that this year. Already 8,000 workers are getting seasonable employment at this work, which is only one indication of what we propose doing to develop the resources of the country.”
In conclusion, he thanked the donors of the cups which had been presented.

The Luncheon

After luncheon Mr. F. B. Barton proposed the health of President de Valera, and said that they were inaugurating something entirely new in their country life, and something that was going to be of great benefit to those living in the bog districts. They were deeply indebted to the President for giving them a hand in the start of that great enterprise. Those who attended were of all shades of political opinion, but they had come along as friends anxious to further the great work of popularising home fuel.
Mr de Valera, responding, again thanked the Committee for inviting him, and said that their work would be an inspiration to other parts of the country.
Major H. de Courcy Wheeler, Chairman of the Committee, who presided, proposed the health of the members of the Executive Council.

Much Criticised Scheme

Mr. Lemass, Minister for Industry and Commerce, replying, said that it was a source of pleasure to members of the Government to take part in that festival. That pleasure was enhanced by the fact that behind all those entertainments there was very serious business. No activity ever planned had met more criticism or more scepticism than the scheme for the development of turf as fuel. That criticism was not confined to one party. The success of the scheme was all the more remarkable in so far as it was unexpected both by those who opposed, and those who promoted that particular form of national enterprise.
It was a matter of very considerable importance that the plans which had been made for the development of the peat resources should be successful. The importance arose from the fact that it was not only sound national work, but also that it was good business. Many people who used turf for the first time last year for patriotic reasons had since decided to use it for preference. They had found it to be good fuel, cleaner and cheaper than coal. No doubt, as a fuel it had its difficulties, like every other fuel; but it had also its advantages.
It was of great importance that that should happen, because the development of the fuel resources was not merely conducive to increased employment. It not only would mean the conserving of national wealth, but also would enable those people who had hitherto been endeavouring to secure a precarious livelihood on the poorest land to gain an adequate means of assisting themselves by their own labours, and towards that end they were not asking for any greater measure of Government assistance than other industries had sought and obtained.

Guaranteed Markets

In the course of the last year all the peat that had been made available under the Government scheme had been disposed of before the winter was half way through, and at a time when they thought it would be necessary to intensify the publicity campaign they had to terminate it, so that the demand for peat would temporarily subside.
This year they hoped to increase very considerably peat production under the Government schemes, and for the 500,000 tons to be produced they were prepared to guarantee a market. They had been assured by coal merchants and others that there would be no difficulty in disposing of that quantity under the Government scheme, without any element of compulsion. The demand was bound to grow, and, although there was no use shutting their eyes to the fact that the difficulties associated with the scheme would increase with the future they had confidence that those difficulties would be overcome.
When they had secured the organisation of the requisite number of co-operative societies, when they had brought into existence the central marketing organisation which had been planned, when they had utilised the large sum of money which the Minister of Finance was going to place at their disposal to secure drainage works, the Government would be able to withdraw from Government participation in the scheme the officers of the Department of Industry and Commerce who were now the guiding spirits and life of the co-operative movement. After that had been done the Government would always be willing to give assistance or advice.

A Peat Factory

They hoped in a district not far from there to establish this year a factory for the production of peat briquettes. The work of construction would begin shortly. Those associated with that enterprise were confident that it would mean not merely the production of fuel for the use of this country which would be second to none, but also for export. He had been informed that already an offer from a neighbouring country to take 50 per cent of the total production had been received.
An Industrial Research Council had been established to investigate the possibility of using peat for purposes other than fuel. Various propositions for using peat for different industrial purposes were being examined.
He pointed out, in closing, that in this country coal of a better quality than that used on the Continent for household and industrial purposes was bought, and they could face the possibility of promoting the use of peat to the restriction of other forms of fuel without any qualms.
They had always used for fuel purposes not less than 4,000,000 tons of peat each year in areas adjacent to the bogs. The 500,000 tons were production under the Government scheme for districts where peat had not been used previously.

Army Co-Operation

Mr Frank Aiken, Minister for Defence, proposing the health of the Chairman and Committee, who had arranged that festival, congratulated them on what they had achieved. It showed that the men on the bogs were prepared to work if they got a fair return, and also that consumers were willing to pay a reasonable price. Irish turf was as good a fuel as there is in the world. It was clean and handy, and in most parts of the country was cheaper than coal. In the year before last, he said, the Army had used 1,000 tons of peat, and last year they had used 2,500 tons. It was found on the Curragh that peat was cheaper than coal, although they got coal there at 29s per ton. The officers and men of the Army had co-operated with the Government in getting the turf scheme going. They were enthusiastic about it, and he was glad that they were helping the turf-cutters to get a living.
The Chairman, replying, thanked the members of the Executive Council for attending, and paid a tribute to the members of the committee, who had helped to make that event such a success.
Mr. T. Harris, T.D., presided at the presentation of the prizes to the winners by Mr. de Valera.
Mr. de Valera said he did not think there had been such a hosting on the Bog of Allen since the days of Finn and Fianna. He hoped it was going to be an annual event. It was particularly appropriate that the work should have been started on the Bog of Allen, because when one thought of Irish bogs one could not help associating the Bog of Allen with them.
“The bogs of Ireland,” he said, “were called in the past our gold mines. I hope they will prove so still, and be the means of giving a livelihood to many people living on the bogs who have found it difficult to get a living.”


The awards were as follows:—
Wing Slean (open) – Findlater Challenge Cup for best all-round work – 1, James Howard, Kyledoon; 2, Frank Donnellan, Derry, Co. Kildare; 3, William Cross, Giltown; 4, Pat Norris, Timahoe, Coolcarrigan.
Do. (Veterans) – 1, Pat Lynam, Timahoe.
Breast Slean (open) – The Leinster Flour Mills Challenge Cup, presented by Messrs. Odlum and Odlum, Naas, for best all-round work – 1, James Connolly, Ticknevin; 2, Patrick Brennan, do.; 3, Patrick Farrell, Allenwood; 4, John McGrath, Killanna.
Do. (Veterans) – 1, Patrick Brereton, Robertstown.
Clamping Competition – 1, Thos. Connolly, Ticknevin; 2, Michael Ward, Hodgestown, Coolcarrigan; 3, Maria Reddy, Prosperous.
Footing Competition (confined to women) – 1, Mary Melia, Ticknevin; 2, Mary Dempsey, Kyledoon; 3, Mrs. Howard, do.; Mary Kearney, Walterstown.

The traffic regulations during the Festival were admirably looked after by the Garda Siochana under Chief Superintendent Murphy and Superintendents O’Halloran and Heron. Sergeant T.B. Brennan, Divisional Officer, G.S., Naas, acted as chief steward in which capacity he rendered valuable services.

Distinguished Attendance

Those present included – Mr. Sean T. O’Kelly, Vice President of the Executive Council; Mr. Sean MacEntee, Minister for Finance; Mr. G. Boland, Minister for Posts and Telegraphs; Dr. Ryan, Minister for Agriculture; Mr. Hugo Flinn, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance; Senator Cummins, Mr. W. Norton, T.D.; Mr. T. Harris, T.D.; Major-General Brennan, Chief of Staff; Major-General H. McNeill, Assistant Chief of Staff; the Attorney General, Mrs. Con Maguire and party, Mr S. Davin, Gen. Sec., Fianna Fail; Mr. Eamonn Donnelly, T.D.; Mr. P. J. Little, Parliamentary Secretary to Mr de Valera; Mr. P. Morrissey, Fianna Fail Organiser; Mr. Eamonn Cooney, T.D.; Mr. Seamus Moore, T.D.; Dr. J. B. Lynch, T.D.; Prof. T. Dillon, U.C.G.; Mr. Aodh and Mrs. De Blacam, Miss Kathleen O’Connell, Private Secretary to Mr. de Valera; Mr. Charles Lambe, (who intends to paint a picture of the Festival), Major-General Sweeney, G.O.C., Curragh District; Col. Costello, Col. D. McKenna, Major McNally, Major Hoolian, Major Egan, Major O’Connor, Comdt. Maher, Capt. L. Collins, Capt. Duffy, Capt. Burke, Dr. Henry H. Kennedy, I.A.O.S.; Mr. Sean Leydon, Dept. of Industry and Commerce; Mr. J. Hanley, Chief Science Inspector, Dept. of Education; Col. Broy, Chief Commissioner, Garda Siochana; Mr. E. Childers, Miss D. Macardle, B.A.;  Mr. D. Findlater, Mr. J. J. Irwin, Private Secretary to the Minister for Defence; Rev. Fr. Prior, Dominican College, Newbridge; Rev. Fr. O’Donohue, Carbury; Mr. A. Connolly, Private Secretary to the Minister for Industry and Commerce; the Misses de Courcey; Mr. P. D. Harrington, Dr. and Mrs. Blake, Mrs. Hughes, Mr. A. de Courcey Wheeler, Dr. and Mrs. O.C. Fitzsimons, Dr. Kirby, Mr. J. P. O’Brien, General Manager Irish Tourist Association; F. McDonald, C.C.; Rev. H. Armstrong, District Justice and Mrs. Reddin.
Telegrams expressing regret at inability to attend were received from Mr. McDermot, T.D., and the Lord Mayor of Dublin, (Ald. Byrne, T.D.).

[Spellings and text remain as in original. Note. The de Courcy Wheeler family name is shown with differing spellings (de Courcy and de Courcey.]

Re-typed by Chris Holzgräwe

President Eamonn de Valera cuts the first sod at the Bog of Allen Festival. A report from the Kildare Observer of 28 April 1934. Re-typed by Chris Holzgräwe

June 20, 2012


Leinster Leader 15 November 1958

Minor Hurling Championship
Army Apprentice School 10-2; Éire Óg 0-0.
The Minor Hurling Final at Newbridge also proved a big disappointment as Éire Óg were no match for a bigger and stronger Army Apprentice School side, who have a very well balanced selection.
Éire Óg were badly hit by defections, as some of their star players have returned to Colleges and could not be made available on Sunday, while a few more have emigrated from the area. Consequently they were forced to call on a number of players, who naturally, found the occasion too big for them.
Outstanding for the winners were: Sean Buckley, Frank McEvoy, Seamus Lucey, Martin Phelan, Paddy Reilly, P. Kilgannon and Sean Fox, while Éire Óg were best served by Jim Fields, Johnny Hannon, Peter Sharpe, Charles Dunny and Seamus Sullivan. Referee was P. Fanning, Coill Dubh.

A report from the Leinster Leader of 15 November 1958 on the Co. Kildare Minor Hurling Championship


Kildare Observer 7 August 1915

The marriage of Mr. Francis Lillis and Miss Claire Wogan Browne took place very quietly on 31st July 1915, at the church of Our Lady of Victories, Kensington. In the absence of her father, the bride was given away by her brother, Mr. J. Wogan Browne, R.F.A.

The marriage of Claire Wogan Browne from the Kildare Observer of 7 August 1915


Rathcoffey Historical Group

Programme of events

7 July 2012 – Joint North/South visit to Belfast

August (date to be confirmed) –  St. Mochua Annual Joint Event – Clondalkin

25 August, Saturday 12.30 pm to 4.30 pm – Heritage Week Guided Local Bus Tour – North Kildare

Rathcoffey Historical Group Programme of events July/August

June 19, 2012


Leixlip in the news, 1302 to 1461Trinity College Dublin, in collaboration with others, recently published on the web, newly translated rolls (written records in rolled-up form) created by the Irish Chancery. The Chancery is the secretariat of the government which attaches the great seal to documents to authenticate them. Rolls which are open and available for all to see are called patent rolls; those which are sealed in a closed state are known as Close Rolls. The newly available Irish records complement the records in British State papers of the same period which relate to Ireland. The formal launch of this new facility took place on Thursday, 10 May 2012 in TCD, with an address by Professor Robin Frame, entitled ‘Rediscovering Medieval Ireland.’ The website can be searched by modern place name and surname. The period, 1244 to 1509 is encompassed. For more information see


The following extracts, edited by John Colgan, refer to the thirty-five mentions of Leixlip and one of the Barony of Salt Barony.


1302-3: The King’s agent appointed Richard Bereford, with others, to supervise the weirs on the Liffey river between Dublin and the town of Leixlip, to inquire by the oath of worthy men of the counties Kildare and Dublin as to by whom the said weirs have been operated lately in ways other than those accustomed as of old, and to remove the damaging items. [Irish Chancery Rolls, Patent roll, No.1, 31 Edward I, 22/2/1302-3]

1310: The King’s agent gave his chaplain, Andrew Kent, the chantry of the King’s chapel of the castle of Leixlip. [Irish Chancery Rolls, Patent roll No.125, 4 Edward II, 20/12/1310]. Chantry is an endowment to a priest to say masses for the benefactor’s soul in this chapel.

1380: The King’s agent made an order to restore a weir, a hatchery and a fishery on the river Liffey at Chapelizod, Co Dublin, belonging to William Taney, prior of St John of Jerusalem, because he had a lease on it, which had been taken into the King’s hand so as to secure a passage of water 24 feet wide to enable boats and floats with goods on them passage from Dublin city to the manor of Leixlip. [Irish Chancery Rolls, Close Roll, No.37, 4 Richard II, 24/11/1380]

1381: The King’s agent granted to Richard Harghin, now Hargaden, after his petition, 20s from the issues of Leixlip manor, by the hands of the prior and brethren of the hospital of St John of Jerusalem, in recompense for the office of chief serjeant of Co Dublin, which Edward III, grandfather of the present King, had given him by letters patent. Harghin had been maimed in the service of Edward III; the prior and brethren were ordered to have this allowance in their account. [Irish Chancery Rolls, Nos.3 & 19, 5 Richard II, 12/8/1381]

1384: A further order, to the Barons of the Exchequer, was given by the King to allow the prior and brethren of St John of Jerusalem to provide 20s a year out of the manor of Leixlip to Richard Harghin alias Hangham, who had given 25 years’ service as chief serjeant of Co Dublin. [Irish Chancery Rolls, No.60, 8 Richard II, 12/11/1384]

1395: The King made several orders, including one at Kilkenny for the delivery of letters patent by him to grant to John Phelipp lands called Marchalrath in Newcastle Lyons and a tenement in "le Lexlep" - Leixlip – Co Dublin for the term of his life. [Irish Chancery Rolls, Close roll No.61, 6 Richard II, 12/3/1385]

1398: On 15/1/1398 the King wrote to the Barons of the Exchequer stating that on 24/2/1395, King Richard II granted for life to William Kylvyngston, sergeant of his lands, all lands, tenements rents and services in Ardras, parcel of the manor of Leixlip, and by writ dated 2/3/1396, he ordered the prior and brethern of St John of Jerusalem, farmers of that manor, to permit him to have same. He ordered the Barons to grant the prior etc an allowance in their account. [Irish Chancery Rolls, Close Roll, No.7, 21 Richard II, 15/1/1398]

1399: The King’s agent granted £20 per annum to Edward Perers aka Perrers, (a Knight), from the fee-farm of the manor of Leixlip, payable by the prior of the hospital of St John of Jerusalem in Ireland. [Irish Chancery Rolls, Patent Roll, No.10, 22 Richard II, 1/3/1399] In a Close Roll (No.5) of the same date, the prior and the brothers of the hospital were ordered to make the payment to Perers. Similar order made in 26/8/1414.



1402: The commons of Co Kildare agreed, in aid of the resistance of the Irish who were striving to destroy neighbouring parts, to find 260 foot soldiers (known as kerns) and to assess sums for their sustenance; and to deliver the same to Thomas Peynton and Thomas fitz Adam, who were elected as receivers. The following persons were elected as collectors of the money, among whom were Stephen Ward and Thomas Griffin, in the barony of Sant aka Saltus Salmonum. [Irish Chancery Rolls, Patent roll, No.242, 3 Henry IV, 27/5/1402]

1402: The King’s agent, from Trim Castle, granted for his service to Henry Strangways, clerk, of, inter alia, rent of 38s 8d per annum issuing from the lands and tenements at …………….., lately a parcel of …………….. probably the prior and brethren of the hospital of St John of Jerusalem at Leixlip, which the prior and convent of St Wolstan pay the King, to be held by Henry for his life, without rendering anything. [Irish Chancery Rolls, Patent Roll, No.29, 4 Henry IV, 16/11/1402]

1406: Lately the King granted to Thomas Monyn, Esquire, £20 to be received annually for his life out from the fee-farm that the prior and brethren of St John of Jerusalem in Ireland and their successors are required to render to the King at the Exchequer of Ireland for the castle and manor of Leixlip, Co Kildare, and for Chapelizod. Thomas has relinquished his grant and the King has now granted to Edward Perers, Knight, and Joan, his wife, of those £20 for their lives and whichever of them lives the longer, to be received as before. [Irish Chancery Rolls, Patent Roll, No.66, 7 Henry IV, 27/1/1406] Perers late sought exemplification of his grants (others of which extended to Dublin city and Wales), which is recorded in Patent Roll, No.49, 8 Henry V, 18/10/1420. Perers and his son, John, were also given the office of constable and keeper of the castle and town of Wicklow, in the territory of the enemy, O’Brynnes, Irish enemies, and far away from English lieges; detailed in Patent Roll No. 92, 1 Henry VI, 1/3/1423.

1406: The King’s agent, at Kilkenny, granted to Henry Poule, chaplain, the free chapel of Leixlip, which pertains to the King’s gift. [Irish Chancery Rolls, Patent Roll, No.56, 7 Henry IV, 12/3/1406]

1408: The King granted to William Stokynbrig, second engrosser of the Exchequer, a lot of lands, including one messuage (=a house with surrounding garden or land) and one acre that lately belonged to John Walsh in Palmerston Palmerstown, co Dublin, and all the messuages, lands and tenements which William holds by the King’s letters in Leixlip. [Irish Chancery Rolls, Patent Roll, No.128, 10 Henry IV, 6/1/1406]

1409: King’s grant, made in Kilkenny, to Nicholas Cook of four messuages, three gardens, one croft and seven acres of land in Leixlip, Co Kildare. [Irish Chancery Rolls, Patent Roll, No.111, 10 Henry IV, 1/6/1409]

1410: William Stafford, parson of a moiety of the Church of Leixlip and Comsy Confey, diocese of Dublin, and John Tydylsyde, chaplain of the church of Chall..tu Wyn…. intend to exchange their churches. Presentation to Thomas Cranley, archbishop of Dublin, of John of the said moiety. [Irish Chancery Rolls, Patent roll, No.1, 11 Henry IV, 6/1/1410]

1415: The Lord Lieutenant, John Talbot of Halomshire, Knight, and the King’s council in Ireland, making his decision at Trim, Co Meath, granted for service £20 per annum to Thomas Talbot, junior, Esquire, of the fee-farm that the prior and brethren of the hospital of St John of Jerusalem in Ireland, and their successors, are required to pay to the King each year for the castle and manor of Leixlip and for Chapelizod, with appurtenances; to have for life, receiving those twenty pounds out of the hand of the prior and brethren of that hospital in equal portions at Michaelmas and Easter. [Irish Chancery Rolls, Patent roll, No.159, 2 Henry V, 21/2/1414]

1415: The King’s representative in Ireland, acting from Trim Castle, inspected and confirmed letters patent dated 22/4/1401 in the time of 2 Henry V by which the King granted to Walter de Hyde of £40 per annum from the fee-farm that the prior and brethren of St John of Jerusalem in Ireland are bound to render to the King for the castle and manor of Leixlip and Chapelizod, as the King had retained Walter to himself for life. In a separate order of the same date, the prior and brethren were ordered to make the payment to de Hyde. [Irish Chancery Rolls, Patent roll, Nos.11& 12, 3 Henry V, 29/3/1415]

1415: The King’s representative ordered the Treasurer and the barons of the Exchequer to allow the prior and brethren of St John of Jeerusalem to pay Walter de Hyde £40 a year out of the fee-farm in their account, out of Leixlip and Chapelizod etc. [Irish Chancery Rolls, Patent roll, No.13, 3 Henry V, 23/4/1415]

1419: On 12/1/1419 at Trim Castle consideration was given to a certified copy of an act made in the King’s council before John Talbot, lord lieutenant of Ireland at Naas on 20/11/1417. Many documents were considered and following is a brief summary with particular reference to North Kildare. At this time a debate and discord had arisen between Thomas Butler, prior of the hospital of st John of Jerusalem in Ireland, on the one side, and Walter Burke (alias Burgh), chieftain of his lineage on the other and both parties had assembled and retain with them many men, both horse and foot, the King’s Irish enemies and English rebels, to a very great number in order to ride against each other and destroy the King’s liege people, etc. Walter Burgh eventually observed the King’s peace, lately made in the Lieutenant’s presence in Waterford, towards the faithful English but for a few days etc. Brother Thomas Butler, prior, was ordered, by proclamation made on 16/1/1418 in several parts of Dublin, including the borough of Lucan, Newcastle, the borough of Kilmainham, and the market town of Lusk, to appear in the parliament at Dublin on 14/2/1418. And Richard Wellesley, sheriff of Kildare, returned that he caused proclamation to made at Naas on Monday, 14/2/1418; at Kilcoke on 30th January; at Cloncurry the next day; at Kildare on 29th January; at Leixlip on 1st February; at Clane on 3rd February; ad Kyldroght on 4th February; at Straffane on Sunday, 6th February, etc. On 14/2/1418 Laurence Newton, the King’s serjeant-at-arms, at the barriers of the place of the parliament in Dublin, called out, in the presence of the Lieutenant and the lords and commons assembled there, "Brother Thomas Butler, prior of the hospital of St John of Jerusalem in Ireland, come and appear in this parliament to answer the King upon high crimes, contempts and offence which will be charged against you according to the tenor of the writs of proclamation made concerning this, on pain of law." Having read this three times, and again for another three days, the Lieutenant appeared in parliament and, by the assent and advice of the lords spiritual and temporal, adjourned the parliament, in the same estate and condition as it was, to the town of Trim until Monday next, 30/5/1418. [Irish Chancery Rolls, Patent roll, No.14, 6 Henry V, 12/1/1419]

1419: A gift and grant was made by the King’s representative, Richard Talbot, archbishop of Dublin, on behalf of Thomas Talbot, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, of £20 per annum to Laurence Merbury, Knight, from the fee-farm of Leixlip and Chapelizod, to be received from the hands of the prior and brethren of the hospital of St John of Jerusalem at the terms of Michaelmas and Easter in equal portions. [Irish Chancery Rolls, Patent roll, No.76, 7 Henry V, 20/9/1419]

1431: The King’s Justiciar in Ireland, Robert Talbot, archbishop of Dublin, made a grant of £20 per annum to Thomas Hawkeslow for the term of ten years from the fee-farm of Chapelizod and Leixlip. [Irish Chancery Rolls, Patent roll, No.55, 9 Henry IV, 14/7/1431]


1431: Richard Talbot, archbishop of Dublin and the King’s Justiciar, made a grant to William Sutton, for his lifetime, of £10 from the fee-farm of Chapelizod and Leixlip. [Irish Chancery Rolls, Patent roll, No.57, 9 Henry IV, 18/7/1431]

1440: An order made in writing by the King’s agent at Drogheda to the Treasurer and chamberlains of the Exchequer for payment to Alexander Eve of a tally of 50 shillings (levied in 1437) from the fee-farm of Chapelizod and Leixlip, by the prior and brethren of the hospital of St John of Jerusalem in Ireland, farmers, who were unwilling to receive it. Tallage is a form of taxation levied on towns, etc, and on feudal dependents. ‘Tally’ is a piece of wood scored across with notches for the items of an account and then split into halves of which each party kept one. A tally is also the account so kept. [Irish Chancery Rolls, Close roll, No.46, 20 Henry IV, 20/11/1440]

1442: The King’s representative, writing from Dublin Castle to the Treasurer and chamberlains of the Exchequer reminded them that it had been ordered by letters patent at Westminster dated 27/1/1406, transferred an annual grant of £20 payable by the prior and brethren of St John of Jerusalem out of Chapelizod and Leixlip to Edward Perrers, Knight, and his wife Joan for the life of the longest-living of them. Now Joan had survived Edward and was seised until Michaelmas 1441, when all the manors and lands and all kind of profits pertaining to the said prior and brethren, except the house or preceptory (= a subordinate community of Knights Templar, and their property) of Kilmainham and other parcels and portions of the lands of the collegiate church of Kilmainham, were seized in the King’s hands by the Chancellor, by force of an agreement made in Dublin Castle in June last by Lionel Welles, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland; and because Thomas fitz Gerrot, prior of the said hospital did not appear before the King to answer upon certain treasons and other offences which were to be declared to him on the King’s behalf; As the castles and lands of Leixlip and Chapelizod were seized by the King, Joan did not receive those ten pounds due to her last Michaelmas and after, the said Joan did appoint James Cornewalshe. Esquire, chief baron of the Exchequer, and Nicholas Furlong, chaplain, as her executors, and she died at Bagotesrath, co Dublin, on 31/12/1441, the executors seek payment of those £10. It was so ordered. [Irish Chancery Rolls, Close roll, No.25, 22 Henry IV, 19/5/1442]

1450: James Butler, Earl of Ormond and Deputy Lieutenant, made an order at Dublin of a grant to John Gogh, second baron of the Exchequer, of £10 per annum out of the fee-farm of Chapelizod and Leixlip by the prior and brethren of the hospital of St John of Jerusalem in Ireland, in part payment of his fee of £20 and, further, the arrears of his fee and the remaining £5 per annum at the Exchequer. [Irish Chancery Rolls, Patent roll, No.50, 29 Henry IV, 5/1/1410]

1450: Grant made by the King’s representative to Robert fitz Rery, the King’s attorney, towards the fee of his office of 100 shillings per annum out of the fee-farm of Chapelizod and Leixlip, by the hands of the prior and brethren of the hospital of St John of Jerusalem in Ireland. [Irish Chancery Rolls, Patent roll, No.51, 29 Henry IV, 6/1/1410]

1450: Grant made by James Butler, Earl of Ormond, Deputy Lieutenant, to Thomas Sneterby, serjeant-at-law, towards the fee of his office, of 100 shillings per annum out of the fee-farm of Chapelizod and Leixlip and 100 shillings of his arrears out of the revenues of Ireland. [Irish Chancery Rolls, Patent roll, No.53, 29 Henry IV, 7/1/1410]

1461: The King’s representative in Ireland made a grant to Thomas Dartas, alias Darcas, of the free chapel of Leixlip. [Irish Chancery Rolls, Patent roll, No.73, 1 Edward IV, 20/5/1461]


 Trinity College Dublin, in collaboration with others, recently published on the web, newly translated rolls (written records in rolled-up form) created by the Irish Chancery. The following extracts, edited by John Colgan, refer to the thirty-five mentions of Leixlip and one of the Barony of Salt Barony.


June 16, 2012


A Joycean odyssey through the flat lands of Kildare
Liam Kenny

Joyce, Synge, Beckett and Yeats … four of the titans of Irish writing who have drawn international critical acclaim for pushing the boundaries of language and for crafting novels, plays and poems that are ranked among the greatest in world literature. The first of these,  James Joyce (1882-1941), is at once among the most celebrated but also the among the most enigmatic. The free flowing nature of his texts which bend and warp the rules of grammar require do not make for light reading. That perhaps explains why so many know his name and his repute but have never got beyond the first few pages of his works such as  “Finnegan’s Wake” (1939) and the incomparable “Ulysses” (1922).
For those who do penetrate the textured foliage of his written language there are, no doubt, many rewards. Perhaps less well known in these parts are references in Joyce’s work to his life experiences in Co. Kildare. The fact that his writing is out of copyright this year gives this column the freedom to explore at some length the county’s Joycean connections. And the timing is good with Saturday next, 16 June, marking “Bloomsday,” the date on which Joycean connoisseurs recreate the perambulations of Leopold Bloom, the hero of “Ulysses”, through the streets of Dublin.
However Joyce’s most formative years were spent not within the red-bricked terraces of early 20th century Dublin but in the plains of north Kildare where in 1888 at the tender age of six he attended Clongowes Wood College, the Jesuit secondary college near Clane. In his semi-autobiographical  “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man”  (1916) his experiences as told through the recollections of one Stephen Dedalus (a cipher for Joyce himself) are painted through vivid descriptions of Clongowes and its environs.  He recalls the atmosphere of college meals in the refectory, of study periods and of Father Arnall’s mathematics classes. He also mentions his interactions with life outside of the college halls when he makes reference to attending mass in the Peoples’ Chapel at Clongowes. Perhaps this was to inspire Joyce in later years when he wrote of Leopold Bloom, the main character in “Ulysses,” serving mass as he “carried the boat of incense then at Clongowes”.
Notable are his references to the environs of  north Kildare as seen on his journeys between Clongowes and Sallins to catch the train at the end of school term. In “Portrait of the Artist” one of those end of term journeys is evoked. He tells of how the horse-drawn coaches, laden with cheering boys, crunch along the gravel avenue of Clongowes and then on the road to Clane past the house of “the Jolly Farmer”. The carriage drivers are pointing “with their whips to Bodenstown” as they trot along the road towards Sallins. Joyce’s description brings home in colourful detail the busy nature of Sallins as a hub of rail travel: “Going home for the holidays! .. the train was full of fellows: a long chocolate train with cream facings …”.
On another rail journey through the “flat lands” of Kildare Joyce makes reference to Stephen Dedalus seeing the Hill of Allen as he gazes out of the train window. Joyce’s gift of making the words on paper sing with music is apparent when he describes how Stephen began a prayer “which he made to fit the instant rhythm of the train; and silently, at intervals of four seconds, the telegraph-poles, held the galloping notes of music between punctual bars.”
A few more notes of Joyce trivia. The rector of Rathcoffey gets a mention in “Ulysses” when we read of Leopold Bloom receiving a card from “the reverend Hugh C. Love, Rathcoffey. Present address: Saint Michael’s, Sallins” – a reference to the Church of St. Michael and All Angels at Millicent.
And unlikely as it may seem there is also a local GAA connection among the huge cast of characters that populate “Ulysses.”  A prominent personality on that Dublin day of 16 June 1904 is one Alderman Nanetti, then a member of Dublin City Council. Pioneering research by Naas GAA historian Liam McManus identified that Nanetti, in earlier life, had worked as a printer in the Kildare Observer, Newspaper at the Market Square, Naas. During his time in Naas he participated in the inaugural meeting of Naas GAA club in 1887. An activist in nationalist and trade union circles he moved to Dublin, later being elected to the City Council in which capacity he was immortalised by Joyce as one of the metropolitan personalities referred to in “Ulysses.”
But back to “Portrait of an Artist” and Joyce’s sardonic humour. He writes of Stephen  Dadalus sharing a school-boy riddle with a fellow Clongowes pupil: Question- “Why is the county of Kildare like the leg of a fellow’s breeches?”; Answer- “Because there is a-thigh in it …”.  Think about it!  Series no: 284.

From Liam Kenny's weekly series in the Leinster Leader of 14 June 2012 'A Joycean odyssey through the flatlands of Kildare,' celebrates the coming Bloomsday. Our thanks to Liam


Newbridge Local History Group meeting

Newbridge Local History Group last meeting of the year will take place on Wednesday, 20 June in Sarsfield GAA hall at 8.30pm. The meeting will start with a brief review of the year, an outline financial statement, and a glimpse at what we have scheduled for the coming year's talks. This will be followed by a slide show of our most recent photographic acquisitions.

Thank you all for all your loyal support during the year. The autumn programme will commence on Wednesday 19 September, and there will be some activity during Heritage Week at the end of August.
Raphael Ryan (PRO).

Newbridge Local History Group last meeting of the year will take place on Wednesday, 20 June

June 14, 2012


Part of the remit of the Kildare Collections and Research Services Dept. is to acquire interesting material relating to County Kildare. At a recent auction organised by Whyte’s Auctioneers, on 21 April 2012, we successfully bid on a memorial dinner programme signed by Éamon de Valera and a small number of rebellion veterans.

We unearthed an account of the ceremonial dinner in Lawlor’s Hotel Naas in the Leinster Leader which was organised to pay tribute to the Kildare men who took part in the 1916 Rising. The programme is now a part of the unique local collection for County Kildare held in Newbridge Library and Archives.

1916 Dinner Programmesmall.jpg

Leinster Leader 30 April 1949

Kildare men honoured

Tributes to 1916 veterans at Naas dinner

There was an attendance of almost three hundred at the dinner in Mrs. Lawlor’s Ballroom, Naas, given in honour of the Kildare men, who had marched to Dublin and fought in the 1916 Rising. Mr. Eamonn de Valera, who was present, received an enthusiastic reception, and was very warmly greeted by many of his old friends from the county who he met.

Paying a very high tribute to Mr. Donal Ua Buachalla, Mr. de Valera referring to the appointment of Mr. Ua Buachalla as Governor General during the Fianna Fail term of office said – "When it came to filling the position of Governor-General, the name that came first to my mind was that of Donal Ua Buachalla, a man of Republican ideals," said Mr. de Valera.

"When Donal Ua Buachalla came, I said to him: ‘I am going to ask you to do one of the hardest things I can ask any Irishman to do. I want you to do something for Ireland – to accept the position of Governor-General here.’

"It was a request completely unexpected by him and at first, he could not answer. I asked him to think about it, and I did not use any persuasion. He thought it over and later he said: ‘I am willing to do anything that you think ought to be done for Ireland.’ That is how Donal Ua Buachalla came to be Governor-General and the last Governor-General in Ireland.

"That was the most crucial point in our programme; after that things were not so difficult. When Donal Ua Buachalla wrote his name to the Bill that removed the British Crown and the British representative from the British dictated Constitution, there was no man happier than himself. He deserves great honour from Fianna Fail. Personally, I owe him a debt of gratitude which I can never fulfil. He had to bear with a great deal of misrepresentation and he bore it all for the sake of his company. He was a man who, by his action, made it possible for us to have our own Constitution."

Referring to the men of 1916 who came from Kildare, Mr. de Valera said they deserved a special honour because they were an isolated group. They had not the encouragement and the strength that big numbers gave, yet they had done great work.

Toast of Ireland

Mr. W. A. Tynan, Co. C., Monasterevan, who presided, said – "The first toast this evening, which I feel honoured to propose, is one that commends itself to the heart of every Irishman. It is the toast of ‘Ireland.’"

Mr. M. G. Nolan, Chairman of Athy Urban Council, proposing the toast of "Our Guests," declared – "To-night we are gathered to do honour to the Kildare men of 1916 – that gallant band that so gloriously answered Ireland’s call to her children. It has seemed fitting to us that we should honour these men while most of them are still living. Some have passed away and them also we honour, and in paying tribute to the Kildare men of 1916, we pay tribute to all the dead of every generation who died for Ireland. It is fitting also that this tribute should be paid during Easter Week – that week of glorious and imperishable memory. And what more fitting than we should have with us Senator Miss Pearse, sister of one whom I regard as having been the noblest of the noble – and Eamonn de Valera, last surviving leader of the rising, and still leader of the Irish Nation. It is a great honour for me to speak here, to-night…"

Donal Ua Buachalla, speaking in Irish, said that Kildare had been proud to carry on in 1916 the fighting tradition of a county that had always been foremost in the struggle for independence. They were equally proud to have with them that night Mr. de Valera who had led in 1916, and who continued that leadership through days that were equally perilous during the war.

Capt. Thomas O’Byrne, a member of the Irish Brigade in the South African War and a 1916 veteran, said that in Mr. de Valera and Donal Ua Buachalla they had leaders who could inspire men to do great things. It was futile to talk of what might have happened in 1916 but there was no doubt that the blood shed on that occasion led to the revival of the National spirit.

Lieut.-Col. Colgan, another 1916 veteran, said that the men from Maynooth who took part in the Rebellion were extremely fortunate. They would not have been there but for the great example and teachings of Donal Ua Buachalla, who kept them together through the Gaelic League and kindred organisations.

Very Rev. Fr. Burbage, P.P., V.F., Mountmellick, proposing the toast of "Our Glorious Constitution," to which Mr. de Valera replied, said – "I am very pleased and feel highly honoured in being permitted to propose the toast of the Constitution of the Irish Republic. It is likely that some, even in Ireland, have never read the Constitution, and may overlook the fact that it is not of yesterday or the day before, but was enacted by the people more than ten years ago, on the 1st July, 1937, to be exact, and came into operation from 29th December that year."

1916 Dinner ProgrammeBsmall.jpg

The following 1916 men from Kildare were present – Domhnall Ua Buachalla, Frank Burke, Lieut.-Col. P. Colgan, T. Harris, T.D., Patk. Kirwan, Jos. Ledwith, John Maguire, Thomas Mangan, John McGlynn, Capt. T. O’Byrne, Mrs. Kelly, wife of Lieut. O’Kelly (deceased), Timothy Tyrell, Patrick Weafer.

1916 men unable to attend were – Thomas O’Brien, Michael Cosgrove, Ml. Cowley, J. Graves, Jas. Neill, William Regan.

Deceased members were – Matthew Maguire, Oliver Ryan, Lieut. E. O’Kelly.

Members of Committee

The committee consisted of – W. A. Tynan (Chairman); M. G. Nolan, Vice-Chairman; S. McCormack, Secretary; W. Mahon, W. Miley, J. Hickey, C. Tynan, T. Dunne, R. Harris, T. Boylan, W. Byrne, J. Buckley, T. Donnellan, and C. Ryan, Droichead Nua.

The ballroom was beautifully decorated for the occasion and in a really congenial, social atmosphere the entire proceedings were thoroughly enjoyable.

Vocal items were rendered by Mr. Cregan, Dublin, and Mr. Prendergast, Athy, and they were accompanied by Mr. and Mrs. Flynn (violin and piano), and Miss Donnelly, violin. Mrs. Donnelly also supplied the music for the ceili which followed.

The catering was carried out by Mrs. Lawlor, and was very favourably commented on all sides.









To commemorate our 900th article on EHISTORY - An account of the ceremonial dinner in Lawlor’s Hotel Naas in the Leinster Leader of 30 April 1949, which was organised to pay tribute to the Kildare men who took part in the 1916 Rising.

June 08, 2012


Hodgestown boy in Heliogland battle

Kildare Observer 12 September 1914
Hodgestown boy in Heliogland battle
Mrs. Bridget freeman of Hodgestown, Kilcock, has during the week received a letter from her son, Joseph, who is a stoker on board one of the British battleships engaged in the battle near Heliogland recently. The writer gave but meagre details, merely stating that they beat the Germans and that there was no casualty on his ship. He added that he was sorry he was forbidden to tell where his ship was or what it was doing.

Kildare Observer 23 January 1915
Last week Stoker Joseph Freeman, H.M.S. Lowestoft, paid an unexpected visit of a few hours’ duration to his parents, who reside at Hodgestown, near Donadea. He had nothing of interest to relate.

Two entries from the Kildare Observer on Joseph Freeman, Hodgestown, Donadea, serving in the Royal Navy in WWI


Madam Uniacke. A fond memory

Liam Buckley

Madam Uniacke of Monasterevin House was a member of the famous Cassidys of distillery fame, circa the turn of the 19th century. The remains of the distillery still remain and can be visable as you approach Monasterevin from the Kildare side. The complex was taken over by Daniel Edgar Holmes who had a thriving business there until the 1960s. The plant had a unique steel turning machine, which specialised in very technical work and was in constant demand in England and Europe. But back to Mrs. Uniacke; she married a French captain, hence the strange name. They lived in Monasterevin House, on Main Street, Monasterevin. It is a beautiful house, overlooking a lovely garden, and the grounds border the River Barrow.
The world-famous poet, Gerard Manly Hopkins, used to visit Mrs. Uniacke’s sister at the house and wrote most of his poetry sitting on the banks of the Barrow in her company. In recent years Monasterevin hosted the annual Gerard Manly Hopkins Festival, but the event – which attracted visitors from all over the world – became too big for the small town, so now Newbridge hosts the festival.
Men and women of my vintage would remember Madame Uniacke out and about with her fine horse and trap. All the children of the town would run along behind the trap, while Madame Uniacke would throw out loads of sweets to one and all. Money for sweets was scarce for most children during the 1940s and yours truly really enjoyed the sweets from Madame Uniacke. Another thing that I remember from those days was that Madame Uniackewould send her ‘Man Friday’ to the Christian Brothers and the Convent of Mercy schools with buckets of hot soup. Paddy Nelligan, who lived on the Kildare Road near the town, used to bring the soup from Madame’s house to the schools at the midday break and mugs of the hot soup were very welcome. People talk of recession today, but if they were out in our day they would really know what poverty is. Thanks to the likes of Madame Uniacke our days were made brighter by the sweets and the hot soup.


Madam Uniacke of Monasterevin House was a member of the famous Cassidys of distillery fame. She is recalled here by Liam Buckley. Our thanks to Liam


Rarely seen Kildare photos

James Durney

The Chapman Collection is a unique collection of photographs spanning the half-century from 1907 to 1957. Robert L. Chapman (1891-1965), a keen photographer and cyclist, began taking photographs at the age of sixteen. As Chapman cycled the Irish countryside, he photographed a range of subjects from boats and trains to landscapes and buildings, as well as his family, friends and fellow cyclists. He also photographed historic events such as the burning of Dublin’s Custom House.

In 2008 Collins Press published a collection of Chapman’s photographs drawn from an archive of 3,000 pictures. Robert L. Chapman’s Ireland. Photographs from the Chapman Collection 1907-1957, compiled by Christiaan Corlett, has four, rarely seen Co. Kildare photographs:

Cathedral and Round Tower, Kildare, taken at 11 a.m., on 10 April 1910.
Athy Bridge, River Barrow, and White Castle, taken at 2.15 p.m., on 24 August 1919.
Blackchurch Inn, Naas Road, County Kildare, taken at 9.30 p.m., on 20 June 1922.
W. J. Taafe on tricycle outside the Covered Coat public house near Leixlip, Co. Kildare, during Irish Road Club 50-mile race, taken at 5 p.m., on 9 July 1927.

The Genius of Fr. Browne. Ireland’s photographic discovery, compiled by E. E. O’Donnell, SJ (Wolfhound Press, 1990), has two Co. Kildare portraits:

‘The Poacher’ at Straffan (1925).
James Farrelly from the Wood of Allen (1929).
Madam Uniacke. A fond memory

Photographs from the Chapman Collection 1907-1957, compiled by Christiaan Corlett, has four, rarely seen Co. Kildare photographs


Votes of Condolences, Kildare County Council Minute Book No. 9 Nov. 1920 to May 1924

James Durney

The Minute Books of Kildare County Council are a very useful source for historians and students and an invaluable insight to the workings of the local authority. As we approach the ninety anniversaries of the deaths of four of Ireland’s great leaders, we reproduce, from the Minute Books, the votes of condolences passed by Kildare Co. Council.

Votes of Condolences
Proposed by Mr. John Fitzgerald, seconded by Mr. Patrick Phelan, and resolved:– “That we, the members of Kildare County Council desire to place on record our sense of the loss which the Nation has sustained through the untimely death of the late President Arthur Griffith, and we hereby convey to his widow our sincere sympathy in her sad bereavement.”
The Secretary was directed to send copy of the foregoing to Mrs. Griffith.

Proposed by Mr. James Behan, seconded by Mr. Michael Smyth, and resolved:– “That we, the members of the Kildare County Council, regret the untimely death of Mr. Cathal Brugha and Mr. Harry Boland, who were a great loss to our country as champions of freedom, and we tender our deepest sympathy to their families and relatives.”
“We also tender our sympathy to the relatives of all those Irishmen who have fallen in the conflict.”

Proposed by Mr. Hugh Colohan, seconded by Mr. Smyth, and resolved:–
“That we the members of the Finance Committee, Kildare County Council, desire to place on record our sense of the loss which the Nation has sustained through the tragic death of GENERAL MICHAEL COLLINS, and we hereby convey to his relatives our sincere sympathy in their great loss.”

As we approach the ninety anniversaries of the deaths of four of Ireland’s great leaders, we reproduce, from the Minute Books, the votes of condolences passed by Kildare Co. Council.

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