« December 2012 | Main | February 2013 »

January 30, 2013


An exciting new website by Turtle Bunbury includes Kildare material. Check it out:

http://www.facebook.com/Wistorical -

An exciting new website by Turtle Bunbury includes Kildare material. Check it out

January 24, 2013



Robert McLernon, of Springfield, Virginia, USA, has researched the Irish Brigade in the Civil War for the last twenty-eight years. He noted the confusion with Richard A. Kelly, in Conyngham’s ‘The Irish Brigade and its Campaigns,’ which was referred to recently in the article, ‘An Athy man with the Irish Brigade and its campaigns.’ Robert put an explanation for it from the 69th New York casualty list, enclosed here.

Lieutenant Patrick I. Kelly of Co G, 69th Regiment, New York Volunteers (Meagher’s Brigade), was the officer who was killed at the battle of Antietam, not Lt. Richard A. Kelly as was at first reported and mentioned in my second letter. Lieutenant Patrick J. Kelly was a brave, experienced and warmhearted officer. He was killed in front of his men. His remains were brought to his late residence, Melrose, West Chester County, N. Y. The funeral took place on Sunday, Oct. 5. The military escort was provided by Captain Wm. Butler, according to the following order:


October 3, 1862

Company Orders No. - Company H

“With feelings of deep regret, I have again to call on you to attend the funeral of one of our oldest members, and hope to see a full attendance. The members of Company H will assemble at the Armory on Sunday morning, the 5th instant, at eight o’clock precisely, in full uniform, without overcoats (unless it threatens to rain) when they will proceed to Melrose on the cars to attend the funeral of an old comrade, Lt. P. J. Kelly, late of the Sixty-ninth volunteers. By order of

Captain William Butler
                                                                                                                                Commanding Co. H

Poor Kelly has left a widow and five young children to the care of his country. May God comfort and protect them.”

“Lieutenant Richard A. Kelly mentioned in my second letter, instead of having been killed as at first reported, was severely wounded in the thigh, but hopes are entertained of his final recovery. The sadly reduced brigade cannot afford to lose so good an officer.”
Conyngham:  “Lieutenant R. A. Kelly was a native of Athy Co., Kildare, Ireland, and was a splendid specimen of manhood, being, though only twenty-one years of age, fully six feet three inches in height. A soldier, almost by instinct, he accompanied the Sixty-ninth Regiment, under Corcoran, to Virginia at the outbreak of the rebellion, and at the first battle of Bull Run was wounded in the right hand. When the Irish Brigade was commenced, he at once joined its ranks, and served with his regiment all through the desperate struggles in which it has borne so distinguished a part. No braver man has given his life for the cause of the Union, or no better soldier fell on the bloody plain of Antietam.”

The unit roster gives a different version of his fate:

Richard A. Kelly  age 24 years. Enrolled at New York City, to serve three years, and mustered in as first sergeant, Company A, September 23, 1861. Mustered in as second lieutenant, on July 26, 1862. Mustered out on June 12, 1863, at Washington, D. C., on consolidation. Again enrolled and mustered in as second lieutenant, Company A, on January 19, 1864. Mustered in as captain on March 10, 1864. Killed in action on May 12, 1864, at Spotsylvania, Va. Commissioned second lieutenant on August 28, 1862, with rank from July 26, 1862, Vice A. Birmingham, promoted. Commissioned captain, no date, with rank from March 1, 1864, original. 69 clippings  Lieutenant Richard A. Kelly  Company A  thigh, severely

Conyngham states that Richard A. Kelly was killed in action at Antietam, and his roster entry states that he was killed May 12, 1864, at Spotsylvania, Va.

Did Conyngham confuse Lieutenant Patrick J. Kelly, KIA Antietam, with Lieutenant Richard A. Kelly, KIA May 12, 1864, Spotsylvania, Va.?  I think so. The Conyngham biography above should be for Patrick J. Kelly.

Conyngham has a second entry for Richard A. Kelly, on page 554: “Captain Richard A. Kelly, promoted from the ranks for distinguished bravery at Malvern Hill, having personally taken prisoner the Lieutenant-Colonel of the Tenth La. Vols., and two others. Mustered out on the consolidation of the regiment; afterwards commissioned as Captain of Company A, on the reorganization of regiment, and died of wounds received at Spotsylvania, May, 1865 [should read 1864], while a prisoner in the hands of the enemy.”


Robert McLernon, of Springfield, Virginia, USA, has researched the Irish Brigade in the Civil War for the last twenty-eight years. He noted the confusion with Richard A. Kelly, in ‘The Irish Brigade and its Campaigns.’ Our thanks to Robert


Dublin City Book Fair

 Sunday 27th January

  Tara Towers Hotel

  Merrion Road

      (Just past Vincents Hospital)

          Doors Open 11am – 5pm

                                Admission €2.00.                        

N.B. please collect free parking permit at admissions desk.


Dear Booklover,

On behalf of the organisers  we would like to Wish all a very Happy and Peaceful New Year and hope you find that book you’ve been after for years. If you have a “Wants” list bring it along and leave it with the dealers. They will be delighted to help.

As is usual at the first Book Fair of the New Year, dealers have been busy ferreting out items to tempt your palate and listed below are some samples.

Noel Bourke Books of Kilkenny will have a very nice copy of The Dublin University Calendar for 1833, the first issue of the Trinity College Dublin Annual Calendar and some  maps of Wexford Town and Belfast showing the  Boundaries of each Town as enclosed under the Ireland Parliamentary Boundaries Act of 1832.


New Dealer from Dublin
Old maps hold a fascination not only for the academic historian or geographer but for people of all walks of life. Here is an opportunity to purchase at a reasonable prices map reproductions  covering the major towns in Ireland dating back to the early 1900's On sale also will be a number of County Maps dating back to the 1800's including County map of Dublin by John Rocque 1760

Another New Dealer has decided to downsize and is offering a very broad range of items from his collection:

The Antient and Present State of the county of Kerry, Charles Smith, Mercier Press, 1969, Erskine Childer’s copy, with illuminated presentation. In front blank leaf commemorating the Official opening by Childers, as Minister for Health, of facility in Killarney, April 23rd 1971, fine to very good in vg dj.             

The Framework of Home Rule, Erskine Childers, 1st edition, London, 1911, 354pp. plus 24 pages advertising.  Original green cloth, gilt title on spine, only minor signs of wear, scarce                                                                                                                            

The Place Names of Decies, Canon Power, Cork University Press, 1952, 2nd ed. vg in torn dj                                                                            

The Printed Maps of Ireland, Andrew Bonar Law, Neptune Gallery, 1997, First Edition, mint, numbered and signed by author                                                              

Doctor Zhivago, Boris Pasternak, 1st English edition, 5th imp.Collins and Harvill, 1958, very good copy in dj               

Also on offer will be Aviation items from the 1940s.

Allod Books will  be offering a selection of Limited Editions Club books that include printing by Mardersteig, Will Carter and Enschede, and illustration by John Austen, Michael Ayrton and Aldo Salvadori.  Also Woodcuts (65/220 copies)by Harry Kernoff.

Dublin Bookbrowsers have An archive of Flann O’Brien letters; William Harkin’s Scenery & Antiquities of North West Donegal (1893); Thom’s Directories & Watson Stewart Irish Almanacs 18th 20th centuries; Golf books & lots of great books at unbeatable prices. 

First Edition “Listowel” by Rev. J Anthony Gaughan (Signed) will be on offer by an Armagh dealer (How did it get up there?)

John Swift of The Irish Labour History Society will be signing copies of his new book, Striking a Chord (A Trade Union History of Musicians in Ireland) at the Book Fair

There will of course be many thousands of other books on offer, many at very reasonable prices(we are not unmindful of the economic situation) Free valuations are offered by many of the dealers so bring along that old book or a description and it just might make your trip a profitable one. Children are welcome with adult and the venue is disability friendly. No steps.

On behalf of the Organiers:  Jim Vallely, (Craobh Rua Books) 

Barbara and Jack O’Connell,  (Schull Books)

Eddie and Kay Murphy(Lyonshill Books)

For any info or background please call Eddie Murphy at Mob. 087 2567908.

P.S. As many of you may know, our colleague Barbara O’Connell of Schull Books has been ill recently but is recovering well and will be at the March Book Fair.

Barbara would like to thank all the people who rang, sent messages and cards and good wishes for her recovery. Your many kind expressions  of concern are very much appreciated.

Dublin City Bookfair. Sunday 27th January. Tara Towers Hotel, Merrion Hotel. Doors Open 11a.m. Admission €2.00.           

January 23, 2013




New Oscar provides Newbridge with Ireland's most luxurious cinema.

THE OSCAR CINEMA - Ireland's most luxurious cinema - is now open in Henry St., Newbridge. The opening ceremony was performed by Mr. T. F. Corcoran, Town Clerk, who said it would be a wonderful amenity for the town.
The cinema is of ultra-modern design and will conform to a standard of super-luxury and presentation only equalled by recent installations in London's West End.
The cinema-theatre is of a very cosy and intimate concept (400 seats) and one outstanding feature is the unique and exclusive air conditioning system which makes the Oscar the only fully air conditioned cinema in the country. This will ensure perfect conditions even in the hottest days in summer or the coolest days in winter.
No expense whatsoever has been spared in fitting out and equipping the new Oscar to meet the most modern demands of luxury. Plush rich orange velvet drapes hang from the ceiling to floor all round the interior, while the foyer and the entire floor area are carpeted in expensive deep pile brown and gold coloured carpeting. The front curtains and ceiling are dark rich brown.
The seating is of peacock green and is the acme of comfort and relaxation. One special feature of the seating is the Pullman design, and the Oscar is the only cinema outside Dublin with genuine no-imitation Pullmans. No other cinema seat will equal these genuine Pullman seats for complete and utter pleasure and cosiness.
Each seat cost £45 to install, which gives an indication of the very high standard of luxury in the Oscar.
A very special attraction is the distance between the rows of seats. Patrons are able to pass in and out without the other occupants having to stand up.
The projection box has the very latest ultra-sophisticated equipment and the cinema has wall to wall Panoramic Screen with Multi-Directional Sound which gives first class presentation and maximum impact from all positions, ensuring full audience participation and enjoyment of the film.
Local girls have been chosen as Cine Hostesses. They are dressed in specially designed suits of gold "A" line mini skirts with matching boleroes, white lace blouse and cockade hats. The girls will welcome all patrons at the door, show them to their seats and provide refreshments during the intervals.
Normal admission prices are 40p all parts. Children to matinees - 20p and 15p. Special roadshow attractions will be 50p.
The management guarantee patrons satisfaction, and no disturbances or noise of any description will be tolerated. The Oscar will have late shows every Friday and Saturday at 11.15 p.m.
Only first class films will be shown, and the following is a list of some of the big attractions to come:-
Steptoe and Son Ride Again
King Boxer
Student Prince
Ryan's Daughter
War and Peace
Straw Dogs
Nicholas and Alexandra
Carry on Abroad
Ten Commandments
Last Picture Show
Endless Night
Ben Hur
Ulzana's Raid
Sound of Music
Play Misty For Me
Ann of 1,000 Days
Joe Kidd

All in all, the new Oscar will add a new enjoyment and pleasure to the lives of the people of Newbridge and surroundings. So take a night off, come to the pictures and relax, you'll feel the better for it, especially when you see it in luxury.

The opening of the Oscar Cinema in Newbridge from the Leinster Leader of 27 October 1973. Re-typed by Chris Holzgräwe



MAY 4, 1872.


Landing the coffin at Custom House Quay: Illustrated London News 4 May 1872

The body of the late Earl of Mayo, Governor-General of India, who was murdered at the Andaman Islands' penal settlement, on Feb. 8, by a Mussulman fanatic of Cabool, has been brought back to Ireland, and laid in the family vault, near his mansion of Palmerstown, at Naas, in the county of Kildare. It was on Wednesday week, late in the evening, that the Admiralty yacht Enchantress, which conveyed the mortal remains of this lamented nobleman from Suez, arrived in Dublin Bay. Next morning that vessel came up to the city, and lay at Custom House Quay. The landing of the coffin, at noon that day, and the procession with which it was carried through the streets of Dublin, are the subject of our Illustrations. The Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Earl Spencer, supported by the Marquis of Lorne, who attended in place of the Duke of Argyll, his father, as Secretary of State for India, took the leading part in this mournful ceremony. The arrangements were made by Sir Bernard Burke, Ulster King of Arms, with strict regard to all that was due to the rank and high office of the late Lord Mayo. The Lord Lieutenant, in a plain dress, but wearing the star and ribbon of St. Patrick's Order, with the Marquis of Lorne, in the uniform of a Colonel of the Argyll Artillery Militia, came from the Castle on horseback, attended by an escort of the King's Dragoon Guards, while three carriages brought the officials and members of the Viceregal household. The Lord Mayor, Aldermen, and Corporation of Dublin; some of the nobility, the Privy Councillors, the Lord Chancellor, Judges, and officers of State; some of the Irish members of Parliament; the family of the deceased, his little son (now Lord Mayo), and his brothers, with other relatives and friends; a party of 150 tenantry from his estates, attired in white scarves and hat-bands; Major-General Sir T. Steele, and other military officers in high command; the Under-Secretary of State for India, Mr. Grant-Duff, with Sir John Kaye, Secretary to the Political Department, and Sir Erskine Perry, Vice-President of the Council of India; the bearers of the banners of the Order of St. Patrick, and Order of the Star of India; the officers and sailors of H.M.S. Vanguard and H.M.S. Enchantress, were assembled to form the procession. The landing-place was guarded by a hundred rank and file of the Coldstream Guards, with their officers, while the Carabiniers formed behind the Custom House, at the east end of Beresford-place. The bands of several infantry regiments, combined together, were stationed on Eden Quay, near Carlisle Bridge; those of the cavalry regiments were in Westmorland-street. The coffin, which was of great weight, having been lifted from the deck of the steamer by machinery, was placed upon a gun-carriage on the quay alongside, and was covered with the Union Jack as a pall, in token of the military command held by the late Viceroy of India. The procession started immediately afterwards.

The Procession crossing Carlisle Bridge: The Graphic 4 May 1872

The coffin, borne on the gun-carriage, with a bannerol at each side, attended by six mounted aides-de-camp, was preceded by Ulster King of Arms, by the Lord Lieutenant, as chief mourner, with the Marquis of Lorne on horseback, and the mourners belonging to Lord Mayo's family and personal friends, who were on foot. Behind the coffin were carried the Earl's coronet on a crimson and gold cushion, borne by Captain Lockwood, and the Earl's banner. Next came the Lord Lieutenant's staff and household, the Very Rev. Dr. Dickinson, Dean of the Chapel Royal, the Under-Secretary for India, and his colleagues of that department, in the Windsor uniform; the Major-General commanding the troops, in the absence of Lord Sandhurst; the banner of St. Patrick, borne by the Marquis of Drogheda; that of the Star of India, in charge of the Cork Herald, in the absence of Lord Strathnairne; and the pennon, a long streamer with forked tail, which displayed the ancient crest of the Bourkes of Mayo, with the Union Jack. The military bands, the sailors, and marines, and soldiers, and the tenantry of Lord Mayo, composed the rear of the procession. Its route was over Carlisle Bridge, by Westmorland-street, College-green, Dame-street, Parliament-street, Essex Bridge, the Four Courts, Ellis's Quay, and Pembroke Quay, to the Esplanade; which line was guarded by the King's Dragoon Guards, Royal Artillery, Royal Engineers, Coldstream Guards, 15th Regiment of Infantry, 16th, 20th, and 40th Regiments. The spectacle was very imposing, and its effect was heightened by the music of 160 instruments in perfect accord. The streets and quays were thronged with people, whose demeanour showed their respectful sympathy. Having reached the Esplanade, the procession broke up, and the Lord Lieutenant, with his suite, returned to the Viceregal Lodge. The coffin, still on its carriage, attended by those mourners personally connected with Lord Mayo, and with an escort of the 8th Hussars, travelled along the road to Naas, reaching Palmerstown House that evening before dark. The interment took place on the following day, in the Johnstown Cemetery, at Naas. It was attended by the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. The funeral service was performed and a sermon was delivered by the Rev. Maurice de Burgh. This brought to an end the long series of Lord Mayo's funeral obsequies, which began with the landing of his body at Calcutta.

Dublin Obsequies of Lord Mayo. The Funeral Procession through Dublin: Illustrated London News 4 May 1872

A report from the London Illustrated News of 4 May 1872 on the funeral of Lord Mayo, Governor-General of India, who was murdered at the Andaman Islands' penal settlement. Re-typed by Chris Holzgräwe

January 12, 2013



Irish Times 13 February 1937
Irishmen in Spain. Four killed; many wounded

Four more Irishmen have been killed and seven wounded while fighting with the Spanish Government forces, it was learned in Dublin on 5th February. They were members of the Irish column serving under Mr. Frank Ryan on the Madrid front.
The four killed are:-
Dan Boyle, Dublin.
Frank Conroy, Kildare.
James Meehan, Galway.
William Beattie, Belfast.
The wounded are Jerry Doran, Donal O’Reilly, Jack Nalty, Seamus Hillen, and Patrick Smith, all of Dublin; J. J. O’Beirne, Belturbet, Co. Cavan; and Patrick Murphy, London.
It is stated that the Irish Column suffered these losses when they were ordered to take a village held by a battery of insurgent artillery in the Guadarrama sector. The Irishmen rushed the village, capturing it after a fierce struggle.
A number of prisoners and five machine guns were taken and sent back to headquarters. The total casualties in the Irish Column now number five dead and thirteen wounded, it is stated.
Among the latest casualties are several well-known men. Mr. Donal O’Reilly, a son of J. K. O’Reilly, was one of the four young sons marched out by his father to take part in the 1916 Rising.
Mr. Jack Nalty is an ex-I.R.A. officer, and was interned during the civil war. He served two further periods of imprisonment under the late Government. Mr. Nalty is a well-known cross-country runner and athlete. A member of Dublin City Harriers he represented Ireland on three occasions.
Transferred to Madrid.
In a letter received in Dublin on 5th Feb., Mr. Frank Ryan states that, after playing a considerable apart in the fighting on the Andalusian front, where they were the only non-Spanish section, the Irish column were transferred to Madrid, where they joined the international Brigade.
Mr. Ryan states that Jack Nalty was wounded in the chest by a burst of machine-gun fire. With a broken arm in addition, he walked three miles to the nearest dressing station.
“The moral [sic] of my boys is amazing,” adds Ryan, “and no higher courage has ever been displayed by Irishmen.
“Mick May did great work one black day in Andalucia, covering off his comrades as they went back under shell and machine-gun fire. Frank Conroy, now dead, fought like a hero the same day.
“We buried Dinny Coady in Torrelodenes, his comrades, under Kit Conway, firing three volleys over his grave. A true man and a fine soldier. I have his cigarette caae for his brother.”

Who is Frank Conroy? Can you help?

A Mr. Conroy, Irish teacher, was mentioned in the Kildare Observer as being in Athy on 17 September 1921, while a P. Conroy, Irish teacher, was arrested in Maynooth during the Civil War, held in Naas Military Barracks and then transferred to the Curragh, in July 1922. This same P. Conroy, Irish teacher, turns up in Naas in November 1923 and again in 1925. He is mentioned as giving Irish classes in Staplestown and Celbridge in 1924. There is a Miss Conroy mentioned at a ceilidhe in Kildare Town in 1929.
Margie Sheridan, Kildare Town Parish Centre, provided information on the marriage of Thomas Conroy and Lizzie Bennett in 1914 – though they seem to be from Rosenallis, Co. Laois – and the birth of Mary Josephine Conroy in Kildare Town, in 1915. Further research provided a birth for Francis Conroy in Jan.-March 1914, in the registration district of Naas, and the birth of Francis Conroy in July-Sept. 1917, in the registration district of Athy. There is no baptismal record for Francis Conroy in the Naas town parish office, so this birth must be in some other part of the surrounding area.

We are trying to locate the birthplace of the above mentioned ‘Frank Conroy, Kildare.’ Can you help? Please email Mario Corrigan at localhistory@kildarecoco.ie

We are trying to locate the birthplace of ‘Frank Conroy, Kildare, who fought and died in Spain.’ Can you help?

January 10, 2013




The original testimonial, transcribed below, came through a former Kildare Co. Council employee, Michael Bermingham, who thought it would be of interest to the people of Kildare and generously donated it to Kildare Library and Arts Service, Newbridge Library, in January 2013.

Robert Bourke testimonialsmall2.jpg

To His Excellency The Right Honorable Robert Bourke, Governor of the Residency of Fort St. George, Madras

Verse in English with translation in four languages

Verse in English with translation in four languages

His Excellency Robert Bourke
Famous ruler and good Monarch
May God bless him and Lady Bourke
Prays each Indian, Persian and Irish
Verse in Hindustani with translation in English
When the stars of India shone from the horizon of dignity
The Empire of India has been enlightened with the light of justice
The world depends on these moon and stars
You are the moon of nobility and Empress of India is the sun

1887 A.D.

Verse in Arabic with translation in English

If there be any picture of the beauty of justice
It is you, O’ full moon of the sky of dignity
Ever live as ruler and possess consent of the subjects with you
And rise in position with your excellent qualities
Verse in Persian with translation in English
O’ grand pearl of the crown of crown-wearers by descent!
Your name has beaten the drum of justice up to China and Arabia
You do with India what cloud does with garden
You do with tyranny what the sun does with night.

1304 Hijri Era

Dedicated, translated, written and presented by Abdul Ghani Khan Bahadur of the carnatic family and fellow, Madras University.

Robert Bourke testimonial2crop2.jpg

Note on Robert Bourke:
Robert Bourke was born in 1827, son of Robert Bourke (1797-1867), landed gentleman of Hayes, near Slane, Co. Meath, and Anne Charlotte Bourke (née Jocelyn; 1801-67), granddaughter of the 1st Earl of Roden. He was one of eight children – seven sons and one daughter. After the death of his uncle, John Bourke (1766-1849), 4th earl of Mayo, Robert Bourke became 5th earl and (from 1852), a conservative representative peer for Ireland.
Robert Bourke (jnr.) was 1st Baron Connemara (cr. 1887), conservative MP for King’s Lynn (1868-86), under-secretary of foreign affairs (1874-80, 1885-6) and governor of Madras (1886-90). He died in 1902.

Robert Bourke testimonialcrop2.jpg

An 1877 testimonal to Robert Bourke, Governor of Madras, donated by Michael Bermingham. Our thanks to Michael


The night Jem Boe fought the bear on the Naas road

Pat Wallace, of Birmingham, England, and late of Cabra, Dublin, has been vainly searching for the origin of the expression ‘the night Jem Boe fought the bear on the Naas road …’
Can anybody help? If so contact Mario Corrigan at: localhistory@kildarecoco.ie

Pat Wallace, of Birmingham, England, has been vainly searching for the origin of the expression ‘the night Jem Boe fought the bear on the Naas road …’


Resolution of sympathy with the relatives of the late President Kennedy
Monday, 25 November 1963

The Chairman, M. St. Leger, announced that he proposed to move the adjournment of this Meeting of the County Council to another date and that no other business be transacted until the next Meeting of the Council. Proposing the resolution the Chairman, referred to the wave of horror, indignation, grief and sorrow that had swept across the world at the news of President Kennedy’s death, and he said those feelings would remain for a long time. That the sorrow was so strong in Ireland was only natural, as the dead President had been Irish to the core, a person proud of his Irish ancestry and Irish blood, as he had shown in his recent visit to this country. It was the courage and statesmanship of President Kennedy continued the Chairman, that had averted war, and, because he desired freedom and liberty for all men, he had striven to secure for every citizen of his country, regardless of colour and creed, the God-given rights enshrined in the constitution of the United States of America.
Deputy W. Norton seconding the Motion, recalled the first meeting with President Kennedy. ‘It was my privilege, many years ago, to meet him when he was a relatively unknown young senator,’ said Mr. Norton, ‘but in the discussions I had with him it was easy to discern that he was a man who seemed destined by his unbounded love of mankind, his restless courage and resolve and his brilliant intellect to bring peace to many parts of the world, to eliminate from our midst the horrible spectre of poverty.’ He became President of the United States of America at a time when many anxious minds and hearts feared that the world was drifting towards the brink of war. He had great courage and fearless resolve.
Councillor m. Cunningham endorsed the tributes and the expressions of sympathy and said that America had lost one of its greatest Presidents – if not the greatest one.
Councillor Mahon also associated himself with the resolution and tributes and said that Ireland had lost a beloved friend, one whose death had cast a deep gloom over the country.
The County Manager, on behalf of the Council officials and on his own behalf, associated himself with the resolution. ‘The world has known no greater champion in the cause of peace and freedom than he, and we pray that others will continue his great work until the causes and principles for which he lived and strove will be realised.’
The Resolution of Sympathy was then passed by the County Council and all present at the Meeting standing respectively.
On the proposition of Councillor Frayne, seconded by Councillor Malone, it was decided that the Council would attend, as a body, the 12 o’clock Mass the following day for the repose of the soul of President Kennedy.
The County Manager said that the County Council offices would be closed on Tuesday as a mark of respect.
It was unanimously agreed that the resumed Meeting of the County Council would take place on Monday next the 2nd December, 1963 at 2.30 p.m.

Kildare Co. Council passed a resolution of sympathy to the relatives of the late President Kennedy

January 04, 2013


Three wise men arrive in Kildare ...

a new history authored by local trio

Three wise  men arrived in Kildare last week. But the magi in question were not the Balthasar, Casper and Melchior of the Epiphany but instead bore the names of Durney, Corrigan and Connelly, three local historians bearing gifts in the form of copies of their new book on social housing in Kildare town.


Kildare Town Community Library

The first-named, James Durney, has pioneered the study of council housing in County Kildare and his meticulous approach to documentary sources is augmented in the case of the Kildare town book by Mario Corrigan who has brought a new resource in the form of oral history, and by Joseph Connelly, an accomplished local historian and energetic organiser of the Cill Dara Historical Society. The resulting publication “Hearth and Home: a history of social housing in Kildare Town 1889-2009” thoroughly engages with not alone the policies and practicalities of housing in the town but also brings forward the human stories behind the headlines.  The first-hand recollections by residents of the hardships involved with bad housing and of their delight when new houses were provided make for riveting reading. The family and community experience of the new estates is highlighted in the treasury of photographs from the early days. And the book will be a cherished resource for many Kildare folk through its listing of so many names of residents of the new estates – some 900 names are listed in the index making Kildare town one of the most thoroughly documented towns in the modern era.


Mattie Duffy, President of Cill Dara Historical Society, who launched the book, with Mario Corrigan, James Durney and Joseph Connelly

The publication of the Kildare town book brings to three the number of studies on urban social housing in the county with Naas and Newbridge already documented by James Durney. The three books which focus on council houses provide a balance to the prolific coverage of the “Big House” in the history literature of Co Kildare. Earlier generations of historians devoted volumes to describing the circumstances of the mansions such as Castletown at Celbridge and Carton at Maynooth and of the privileged lives of their titled residents.  Such extensive coverage was perhaps justified given that the “Big Houses” were at the centre of the local economies and had a major impact on the lives of the people living in their proximity. However it is wonderful that a new generation of historians should turn their skills to documenting the history of those who lived in the small houses of the labourer and the artizan. As well as the importance of such history to the locality it also provides insights into the political and social forces at work in Irish society.

While the new Kildare town book leaves no stone unturned in its chronicling of the story of council housing in the town it also serves as a guide to its wider and dynamic history. For instance in introducing a chapter on the planning of the Assumpta Villas scheme in the late 1940s the authors write that “ In 1948 the local newspaper recorded the departure for Australia of J.J. Murphy of Bishopsland House; the death of former publican, Thomas McWeeney; a petrol pump fire at Cunninghams; and the arrival of the first public telephone kiosk which would be in operation in 1949.”

This approach of linking the main theme of housing with the historical context of the times is evident from the opening chapter which summarises the beginnings of Kildare town from its illustrious status in the time of St Brigid and earlier. The narrative gets into its stride when drawing on sources to describe the appalling living conditions of the 19th century long before the state took an interest in housing its citizens. While County Kildare did not suffer the devastation of the Famine (1845-48) as starkly as the counties of the western seaboard, it was not free of destitution with Kildare town being a stark example. The authors quote, Thomas Carlyle, a writer and critic, who visited Kildare town in July 1849 and found its people so poor that he described it as being “a wretched and wild village.”

Poorly built cabins, overcrowding, and open sewers were all part of the miserable circumstances of the day and when public bodies eventually responded their actions were slow and feeble. The first improvements came in the 1880s when the Westminster Government brought in legislation intended to provide housing for farm workers. For the first time local councils were empowered to raise funds from the ratepayers to provide housing. As a result six council cottages were built in the townslands of Greyabbey, Whitesland West, and Tully East, the first ever social housing provided in the Kildare town locality. More cottages followed but a scheme intended for rural housing needs could make no impression on the pitiful circumstances of the urban dwellers of Kildare town.  Even the powerful advocacy of champions of the public welfare such as the celebrated Dr Laurence Rowan -- who devoted his life to bombarding the authorities with reports on the need to provide housing – did not manage to accelerate progress and it was as late as 1939 before the first housing scheme of any size was provided in the town. The reasons for such delay are many but there was a central contradiction in the mandate of the County Council which, on one hand was tasked with improving the welfare of the citizens, and yet on the other was expected to keep the rates down for the farmers and shopkeepers who were the chief source of local funds.

It was not until the 1930s when national government took an interventionist stance and saw that promoting large scale housing schemes would not alone provide better accommodation for the people but also boost employment and increase purchases of locally produced building materials that Kildare County Council was given scope to act on delivering housing on a significant scale.

In the context of Kildare town this materialised in the form of the 82-house Rowanville scheme which was occupied from July 1939.  The strong oral history content of “Hearth and Home” again provides a vibrant context with one early resident Mrs Lil Nevin (nee Flanagan) recalling that the Rowanville Houses were “good, solid, stone houses and compared to the pokey little house where we were living it was a  mansion. Rowanville had a toilet, a range for cooking, a kitchen and three bedrooms.” By the mid-20th century council housing had become an expected feature of public service provision and soon council schemes were mushrooming in and around Kildare town. The 62 houses in Fr Campion Cottages followed in late 1942. An amusing side story tells that the cottages gained the title of the “White City” -- an unofficial name shared by at least one other council housing scheme in the county. 

Whatever about unofficial names, the naming policy of estates reflected the clerical influence of the time. Sixty new houses occupied in 1951 were named Assumpta Villas and another 30 later in the decade were titled Lourdesville. The Marian sentiment continued into a more modern phase of building when 77 houses built off Melitta Road in 1969 were named Maryville. The layout of Maryville was innovative - the front doors were linked by pedestrian paths with vehicular access confined to service roads to the rear of the houses. Demand for Kildare County Council housing remained strong through the 1970s/80s and more Maryville houses were followed by schemes at Woodside (1974), Melitta Road (1977), Bishopsland (1985), Dunmurry View (1997), and post-2000, smaller schemes at Farincooley, Ashfield, Dunmurry Rise, and Connagh. 

Hearth and Home Cover small2.jpg

The book also documents alternative housing provision such as the Army houses, the National Building Agency sites project, and the work of the Cill Dara Housing Association and its schemes at Willow Grove and Meadow Court.  The national obsession with private ownership which fuelled the “Celtic Tiger” boom and crash has obscured the fact that until relatively recently far more people in urban Ireland lived in publicly provided houses than those built by private developers. The three authors of “Hearth and Home” in their impressive description of social housing in Kildare as a force for good in the community have served a reminder that the provision of decent accommodation is a basic duty of any society which aspires to be call itself caring. A sentiment no doubt worthy of an earlier set of three wise men on their visit to a humble abode in Bethlehem two thousand years ago. Book reviewed: “Hearth and Home – a history of social housing in Kildare town 1889-2009” by James Durney, Mario Corrigan and Joseph Connelly and published by the Cill Dara Historical Society.  Series no: 212.

[Note: Hearth and Home – a history of social housing in Kildare town 1889-2009 is available from Kildare Heritage Centre, Malones newsagent and Southwells, Kildare Town; Farrell and Nephew, Newbridge; Barker and Jones, Naas, price 13.99.]

To commemorate our 1000th article on ehistory we publish Liam Kenny's 212th article from the Leinster Leader Looking Back series as a fitting tribute to Liam's contribution to Co. Kildare history and indeed to this site. The article, which reviews a new local history book, commemorates the contribution of Kildare Local Authorities in providing housing for over 100 years.


Leinster Leader 25 January 1941

Lost at sea
Robertstown family bereaved

Mr. Wm. J. Wilkinson and Mrs. Wilkinson, Littletown, Robertsown, Co. Kildare, have received news of the tragic death of their son, Dr. John Wilkinson, who was a ship’s surgeon in the Mercantile Marine. No other details are available.
Dr. Wilkinson graduated at the National University, and was a well-known athlete. He was captain of the athletic team in that University and was sprint champion of Ireland. He was educated at Clongowes Wood College, Sallins.
Numerous messages of sympathy have been received by the family. The deceased was a brother of Mr. Paul Wilkinson, solicitor, Naas, to whom and other members of the family sincere sympathy is expressed.

An article from the Leinster Leader archive on the death of Dr. John Wilkinson, of Roberstown, in 1941

January 03, 2013


No. 1 South Main Street, Naas

David Wilson

Next to the Town Hall of Naas, which was originally built in 1796 as a jail, is a rather unremarkable three-storey building that also has a history of more than two hundred years.  It was previously numbered as 24 Main Street West but is now 1 South Main Street.  Some light is shed on its early history by a rambling and repetitive document in the Registry of Deeds, which I have transcribed below.  Even the clerk who wrote the document obviously lost his concentration at several places and made a number of mistakes but I have tried to reproduce the original as nearly as possible and have added a few additional notes from official sources and from papers handed down in my own family.


Registry of Deeds, Dublin.
Naas 1826-28: Long & others to Atkinson, 818.94.550829

To the Reg[istra]r. appd. by act of Par[liamen]t. for regy. Deeds Leases & soforth.
A Memorial of an Indented deed of assignment bearing date the 4th day of Jany 1825 Between John Long of Kingstown in the County of Kildare [corr: Dublin] Tavern Keeper and Mary Ann Long ow”se [otherwise] Gillett his Wife of the first parts, Thomas Gillett of Naas in the Coy. of Kildare Surgeon of the second part Saml. Atkinson of Naas afd.[aforesaid] Shop Keeper and Sadler [sic] and Laura Atkinson ow”se Gillett his Wife of the third part, Peter Gillett of Naas Gentn. of the 4th part andWm. Atkinson of Naas afd. Shopkeeper and Ellen Atkinson ow”se Gillett his Wife of the 5th part..Whereby after reciting that Jas. Whelan of Naas in sd. Coy. of Kildare by Ind[entu]re of Lease dated the 18th of April 1802 for the cons[iderat]ion therein ment[ione]d demised granted set and to farm let unto Peter Gillet his Ex[ecut]ors adm[inistrat]ors and assigns All that and Those the Tenem[en]t or Holding situate lying and being in the town of Naas in the Coy. of Kildare whereon stands a new dwelling house lately built by the ad. Richd. Bonner fronting the Street of Naas being 42 feet in the front be the same more or less with the Yard and Stable in the rere [sic] of the sd. new house as the same was inclosed by Richd. Bonners House on the South West side and left by a stone wall which divides it from the Lane between the sd. tenemt. and the ground marked for the new Jail on the North East side and by the sd. new house and the sd. Street of Naas on the South West side with the app”urs [appurtenances ?] and did by Cov[enan]t therein contained did make over all his the sd. Jas. Whelans right title and Intt. [Intitulement ?] of in and to the said prem[is]es and also in and to the sd. recited Ind[entu]re of Lease and all clauses and Covts. therein contained.
To hold unto said Peter Gillett his ex”ors adm”ors and assigns from the 25th day of March 1802 for and during the rest residue of sd James Whelans term being for the term of 14 years  . and all his right title and Intt. therein and right of renewal for sd. term of 10 years under sd. covts. and reciting that the said Peter Gillet [sic] had made many lasting and valuable improvemts. on sd. demised prem[is]es far exceeding said sum of £40 and was therefore entitled to the benefit of sd. cont.and reciting that the sd Peter Gillet had entered into an agreement with the existing parties thereto for a further term of 999 years in and to the sd. prem”es after the expiration of sd. term of 10 years and reciting that the said Peter Gillett entered into the poss[essi]on of sd. prem”es and remained therein until her [sic] death and by her [sic] last will and testement [sic] devised and bequeathed all her [sic] real freehold and personal property unto his wife Mary Gillet for her life and after his [sic] death unto his children share and share alike and reciting that the sd. Mary Gillett was then dead and reciting that the sd. John Long in right of his wife Mary Ann Long ow”se Gillett Thomas Gillett   Saml. Atkinson in right of his wife Ellen [corr: Laura] Atkinson ow”se Gillett   Peter Gillett  and   William Atkinson in right of his wife Ellen Atkinson ow”se Gillett    which sd. Mary Ann Long, Thomas Gillett   Laura Atkinson Peter Gillett and Ellen Atkinson ow”se Gillett  are the sons & Daughters of the sd. Peter Gillett and Mary Gillett and therefore entitled to an equal share and proportion of the Intt. in sd. recited House buildings and prem”es and reciting that the Intt. in sd. prem”es had been valued by competent persons called and chosen for the purpose to a sum of £250 and reciting that the sd. John Long and Mary Ann Long his wife Thomas Gillett and Peter Gillett had agreed to sell and dispose of their respective Intts. in the prem”es therein and herein before and herein after mentd. unto sd. Wm. Atkinson and Ellen his wife Samuel Atkinson and Laura his Wife for a sum of £50 sterg. to be paid to each and every of them res”ply after which recital sd. Ind”re witnessed that the sd. John Long and Mary Ann Long his Wife  Thoms. Gillett and Peter Gillett in cons[iderat]ion of the sum of £50 Sterg. to each of them paid the sd. sum of £50 making the purchase money of the sd. prem”es £150 did each of them according to their respective rights and powers  grant bargain sell assign and make over unto the sd. Wm. Atkinson and Ellen Atkinson Saml. Atkinson and Laura Atkinson his wife all that and those the tenemt. or holding situate lying and being in the town of Naas aforesd. whereon stands a new Dwelling house fronting the street of Naas and on the North West side of the sd street being 42 feet in the front be the same more or less with yard and offices in the rere as the same was in poss”on of sd Peter Gillet and Mary Gillett and was then in poss”on of sd. Saml. Atkinson & Wm. Atkinson, To hold the sd. Bargained and Sold or meant to be sold mentd. or intended to be thereby Bargained and sold dwelling house & prem”es with the app”urs and all the estate right title and Intt property claim and demand at law and in equity of the sd. John Long and Mary Ann Long his Wife, Thomas Gillett & Peter Gillett their and each of their Ex”ors and adm”ors for and during the residue of sd. term of 999 years, thereof granted in & by the sd. therein recited Ind”ure of Lease of 14th May 1801 together with the sd. Intended Deed but only [subject ?] nevertheless to the paymt of the rent and performance of the covt. therein on tent. or lessees part mentd. reservd. and contained which sd. Deed of which this is a meml. as to the execution thereof resply are witnessed by James Thomas Harrison of Peter Street in the City of Dublin Gentn. atty. at law Thoms. Gillet seal John Long seal  Mary Ann Long seal Signed and sealed in presence of Wm. R. Lloyd Thomas Harrison signed sealed and delivered by the above named John Long and Mary Ann Long ow”se Gillett his Wife in presence of Geo.[?] Harrison  Christ. Wm. Campion Thos Harrison Thos Harrison of Peter Street in the City of Dublin Gentn. atty. maketh oath and saith that he is a subscribing Witness to the deed of which the forgoing [sic] writing is a meml. and also to sd. Meml. and that he saw the sd. deed duly executed by  John Long   Mary Ann Long, Thos. Gillett Saml. Atkinson Laura Atkinson Peter Gillett Wm Atkinson Ellen Atkinson and the said memorial duly executed by the said Thomas Gillett John Long Mary Ann Long and that the name Thomas Harrison subscribed as a Witness to sd. Deed and Meml. resp”ly is this depts. proper name and hand writing and sayth he delivered said deed and this Meml. to Francis Armstrong Esqre. Dep. Reg. in his office on the Inns Quay Dublin on Friday the 3rd day Novr. 1826 at or near the hour of 12  ½ past twelve OClock in the afternoon of sd day Thomas Harrison Sworn before me this 3rd day of Novr. 1826 Francis Armstrong Dep. Reg.

Registry of Deeds document 1839.21.20 is a mortgage dated 11 November 1839 between
(1) Samuel Atkinson, saddler of Naas, and Laura Atkinson,
(2) John Atkinson, son of the said Samuel Atkinson,
(3) James Fitzpatrick of Newland, Co. Kildare.
It states that John Atkinson, deceased, was the father of Samuel and William Atkinson.
Samuel consigns his half share of property from his father to James Fitzpatrick for £110.
Also relates to the “New house built by Richard Bonner on the Street of Naas near the
New Joal [sic].”
Witnessed by James Dunn(e), apprentice to Samuel Atkinson.

Peter Gillet senior had married Mary Tracy in 1787 [Dublin Marr. Lic. Appendix to 26th Report of Deputy Keeper of Public Records in Ireland]. 
Mary died 14 July 1824, aged 63 years, and is buried at St David’s, Naas, with her sister Martha, who had married William Read in 1783 [Brian McCabe, ‘St David’s Church Naas.’ Irish Family History, vol. 9, 1993, p. 45; Dublin Marr. Lic. Appendix to 26th Report of Deputy Keeper of Public Records in Ireland]. 
Mary’s will was proved at Dublin in 1824 [Index to Prerogative Grants, 1821-1830]; it seems that her husband had predeceased her.
Mary Ann Gillet married John Long in 1812 [Index to Marriage Licence Bonds, Diocese of Kildare].
Ellen Martha [described as “Eleanor”] Gillet married William Atkinson in 1816 [Dublin Marr. Lic. Appendix to 36th Report of Deputy Keeper of Public Records in Ireland].


After some fifteen years of marriage, Ellen Martha and William Atkinson already had six children when, on 11 April 1831, Ellen Martha gave birth to another boy.  Three or four days later, William was killed by his favourite hunter, which pressed him to a wall in a loose box.  The news of his death was announced to his widow by bringing in the new baby with black bows on his shoulders.  The baby was christened on 30 April and shortly after this his poor mother died; she was buried on 2 May.  Fortunately the baby himself survived – he was my great grandfather.  Just across the road from “Richard Bonner’s new house”, in the old churchyard of  St David’s, there is a sad reminder of his start in life: a grave enclosed with iron railings that carry a plaque with the name ATKINSONS.  

David Wilson, December 2012

An article on No. 1 South Main Street, Naas, by UK resident David Wilson. Our thanks to David, who visited Kildare Library and Arts Services, Newbridge Library, in late 2012


Leinster Leader 28 February 1948

Cunningham’s Bakery sold

The well-known bakery, Cunningham’s of Naas, Co. Kildare, was sold some time ago by Kevin J. Wilson, Auctioneer and Valuer, Commercial Buildings, Dame St., Dublin, for £15,00 0s 0d. The bakery was the property of Mrs. M. Cunningham, who has retired and the new purchaser is Mr. Andrews, of Belfast.

The well-known bakery, Cunningham’s of Naas, was sold in 1948 to a Belfast businessman

Powered by
Movable Type 3.2