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February 28, 2013


Former Resident of The Mount, Kilcock, Ran Secret Missions for Clan-na-Gael and I.R.B.

Fran Christ

In 1914, Co. Kildare native John Kenny ran a dangerous secret mission that helped set the stage for the 1916 Uprising.
John was born in Branganstown, Co. Kildare in 1847.  After spending a few years in Australia, he arrived in New York around 1870, where he joined Clan-na-Gael, the secretive Irish-American organization associated with the Irish Republican Brotherhood. He rose quickly through the ranks and by the early 1880s was the president of the New York Clan-na-Gael. John Devoy (whom Pearse called “the greatest of the Fenians) and Thomas Clarke, later arrested and imprisoned on an attempted bombing mission in London, were among the members.
In 1885, John left a very successful business in New York to bring his family back to Ireland, renting The Mount, a horse farm in Kilcock, Co. Kildare. There, while playing the part of a gentleman farmer, he ran high-level meetings and laundered funds coming in from America. His young daughter Margaret would be sent through town carrying a cake to a neighbor’s house as a signal that a meeting was to be held that night. The children were strictly warned never to speak of anything or anyone they saw at The Mount. John and his wife Annie worried they may have carried things too far when their youngest daughter Josephine, asked by a kindly neighbor “And how old are you?” answered “I really don’t think that’s any of your business.” 
Despite evident surveillance by G-men, the children enjoyed their years in Kilcock - but the stress took its toll on John’s marriage. In 1890, the family moved back to New York.  John and Annie separated, the children were sent to boarding schools in America and John returned to Ireland – first to Naas and later Dublin, where he continued his revolutionary work. His frequent trips between Ireland and America served as a cover for his role as the Clan-na-Gael/IRB liaison.
Tom Clarke, released in 1898 after fifteen brutal years in prison, found his way back to New York, eventually serving as Business Manager on John Devoy’s newspaper The Gaelic American. Clarke returned to Dublin in 1907 to prepare the way for rebellion; John, who had returned to New York, took Clarke’s place as the newspaper’s Business Manager. By 1914, John was once again the president of the New York Clan-na-Gael, as well as the Vice President of the I.R.B. Veterans Association, and a founding member of the provisional committee formed to arm the Irish National Volunteers, as well as a member of many other Irish organizations.

Secret Mission – 1914
On August 4, 1914 Great Britain declared war on Germany. Under John Devoy and Sir Roger Casement, the top Clan-na-Gael officials in New York arranged a meeting with the German Ambassador to the US. They presented their plan to the Germans: if the Germans would sell them guns and provide military leaders, the Irish would start an uprising in Ireland, thus putting England at war on two fronts.  Casement and Devoy, anxious to present their case themselves but unable to travel, sent an envoy to Europe. They chose John.
John sailed on August 14, landing in Naples.  After finally getting permission to land on the condition that he proceed directly to Switzerland, John slipped into Rome. Finding the German embassy, he was surprised when his credentials gained him immediate entrance and a lengthy interview with Ambassador Count von Flutow. Von Flutow read the Clan-na-Gael’s proposal and questioned him extensively about it. At the end of their meeting, von Flutow called Berlin on John's behalf, and issued him an Imperial Pass to facilitate his travel through Germany.
For the next ten days, John crisscrossed Europe in the midst of the mobilization of millions of men. The Imperial pass allowed him to ride on troop trains, where he was often the only civilian. The rest of the time, he walked, foraged for food, and slept outdoors when necessary. He recalled his difficult years in Australia fifty years earlier as good training for this mission. While never quite catching up with the Kaiser, he did meet in Berlin with the ex-Chancellor Prince von Beulow, who also read the proposal. He offered to help John reach the Kaiser but John, seeing that his return through Naples had been cut off by the war, decided he had accomplished his mission. Von Beulow warned him against heading for Ireland, which would require travel through England where capture “might mean the 'Tower' with unpleasant possibilities.”
Nonetheless, when John arrived in Rotterdam to learn he had missed by several hours the ship for New York, he headed over to Ireland. There he met with his old friends Tom Clarke and Patrick Pearse, as well as Sean MacDermott, and updated them on his mission which until then was known only to Devoy and Casement.
Arriving back in New York six weeks after he had left, John lunched with Casement, who was enthusiastic – boyishly so, thought John – about the success of the trip. Casement would leave in a few days on his own trip to Germany. Captured by the British while trying to bring the German guns into Ireland, Sir Roger Casement would be hanged in London on August 3, 1916.
On November 14, John again sailed – this time for Ireland, to bring the money from the Clan-na-Gael to buy the guns. Making it successfully through the checkpoints in Liverpool – much to Clarke’s and the others’ surprise - he delivered the money to The O’Rahilly and received a receipt from MacNeill. He spent the next few weeks meeting with and talking to old friends, many whom he knew as he had, as president of the Clan-na-Gael, sponsored their numerous US lecture and fund-raising tours. He met with Pearse, Clarke, The O’Rahilly, MacDermott, MacDonagh, MacNeill, and Plunkett, where the topics of discussion ranged from the political mood of the country and its readiness for rebellion to the best types of ammunition and guns to purchase. When the government suppressed the newspapers, an imaginative suggestion was put forth to use a Zeppelin or airplane to distribute bundles of leaflets in Ireland.
John reported that contrary to popular opinion, people’s political leanings were not predictable. He "found many separatists among the so-called garrison, many shoneens among the workingmen, and so on.”
The day before John sailed, he attended a meeting at James Connolly’s relative’s house. Maeve Cavanaugh arrived with the news that Connolly was on the run, having been warned of a warrant for his arrest for an alleged treasonable speech in Liberty Hall the night before.
John met for the last time with Clarke and MacDermott in Wynnes Hotel. That evening, just before John left for the Liverpool boat, the O'Rahilly called to see him on a personal matter. That was the last John was to see of the men of Easter Week.
Years later, John would write: "They were the stuff of which is made the heroes and martyrs whose statues adorn our public squares and whose names are canonized in our churches. Yet they were condemned as little less than criminals by some who now profess that their greatest desire is to emulate them. They were derided as visionaries, yet Ireland is well on the way towards which they would have led.
"Within two years Dublin had risen, Ireland was aflame and continued virtually in armed rebellion until De Valera hung out the white flag."
John lived out his life in New York, still active in politics and frequently writing articles for the Gaelic American. Estranged from his wife and family, unable to return to Ireland, he was trying unsuccessfully to get into a nursing home when he died from pneumonia at age 77 on December 27, 1924. His death was reported in the headlines of the Gaelic American. His passing was mourned by the many Irish organizations in the city, and a special Mass was said in his honor for all the Irish societies, sponsored by the Cummann na mBan. Among the many letters of sympathy printed in the newspaper for several weeks after his death, was the Cummann na mBan’s:
"The organization feels that in the death of John Kenny they have lost one of their most valued friends, and one of the sincerest, noblest, and most intelligent friends of Ireland who was ever ready to assist wholeheartedly and unselfishly; ...a soul that never valued the material things of this world."

See also:


An article from Fran Christ, of New York, on John Kenny, a Kildareman who ran secret missions for Clan na Gael and the IRB. Our thanks to Fran


All the  Queen’s men and all the Queen’s horses celebrate a jubilee

This summer all eyes have been on London. Shortly the Olympic Games 2012 will draw global attention to the city on the Thames. Even the colour and excitement of the great sporting occasion will be hard set to match the Jubilee celebrations at the start of the summer which marked the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne. No matter what views people hold on the place of a hereditary monarch in the 21st century it was hard not to be attracted by the spectacle of all the Queen’s men and all the Queen’s horses. With a backdrop of iconic London locations such as Horse Guards Parade, the Mall, and Buckingham Palace, the pomp, the ceremony, the uniforms and the horses created theatre on a grand scale. And although the rituals of royalty have their roots in history, the ceremonial seemed as if it was designed for the television age – all the colour, variety, music, dress and decoration made for compelling viewing even in countries well removed from monarchical loyalties.

Back in the summer of 1897 there were no television cameras to bring the Diamond Jubilee into households throughout the realm then under British rule. But the media of the time, the local newspaper, spared no superlatives in describing the extravagant preparations made to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897. The Kildare Observer newspaper which was, to an extent, the paper of the loyal gentry was gushing in its description of the celebrations and decorations throughout Co. Kildare. From the Curragh to Kill, and from Millicent to Naas, there was festivity and celebration to mark the 60th anniversary of Victoria’s reign – a tenure that had seen the British Empire reach to every corner of the globe. Not that everybody in Ireland would have felt the same sense of jubiliation. During Victoria’s spell the country had been ravaged by famine and tormented by agitation earning her the dubious title in some quarters as the “Famine Queen”.  However no such disloyal sentiments were allowed intrude on the picture of festivity which the Kildare Observer presented to its readers even though it is clear that the celebrations were confined to a particular section of Kildare society. In the elegant grammar of the day the Observer reported that “Civilians and military seemed to vie with each other in unconscious but splendid rivalry in their endeavours to do something conspicuous.”  And the organisers had everything going for them – even the weather. In fact the weather in late June of 1897 was so good that it was described as being “almost tropical”. So rare was the good weather in an otherwise wet June of 1897 that it was given a name – “the Queen’s weather”.

Favoured by brilliant sunshine the festivities among Victoria’s loyal Kildare subjects were spectacular in their scale and colour. The county town was to the fore as a showcase of jubilee celebration. In the military barracks on the Newbridge, the Royal Dublin Fusiliers presented arms and fired a “feu de joie” (a celebratory fusillade of gun fire) followed by “three cheers for her majesty”.  According to the Observer the festivity extended to the Main Street where “loyal emblems met the eye and in some cases a very pretty scheme of decoration was followed.” The Union Jack was hoisted on the Constabulary Barracks (now the Naas Court Hotel) and prominent citizens displayed bunting and evergreens on their premises throughout the town. At Oldtown Demense, seat of the de Burghs, there was sport and refreshment to mark the Jubilee. The Observer reporter recorded that “A plentiful supply of tea and cake was afforded and outdoor amusements were entered into with great gusto. A cricket match between the Union Jack Club and Hewetson’s School, Clane, was included in the bill of fare.” However even loyalism has its price and the expense involved in organising the party was, according to the paper, defrayed by the Baron de Robeck and Mr de Burgh.

The Jubilee day was also marked in Kill with a parish fete in the grounds of the Church of Ireland rectory. Here too there was no shortage of refreshment: “A liberal fund had been supplied for the purpose of giving all the school children a day’s enjoyment.” Not alone was their tea and cake on offer but at the close of festivities Mrs. Alymer of Kerdiffstown House presented the Jubilee medals which had been sent from London by the Countess of Mayo (of Palmerstown House) to be presented to the school children.

The legacy of Empire has not entirely disappeared from modern Ireland. Throughout Kildare letters are posted in post-boxes bearing the cipher “ V R” for “Victoria Regina” – the application of green paint representing a pragmatic response to the constitutional arrangements of independent Ireland. And in the town of Naas there is also a tangible reminder -- a range of houses on the Newbridge named Jubilee Terrace, presumably built in the year of Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.

An article from Liam Kenny's Looking Back series, 3 July 2012 : In 1897 many in Co. Kildare celebrated the Diamond Jubliee of Queen Victoria. Our thanks to Liam


A Kildareman missing in action … the mystery of Corporal James Martin …

County Kildare has had a long association with the profession of soldiering at home and abroad, primarily through the use of the military camp on the Curragh by British and, more recently, Irish forces. However, an interesting theory is now being proposed by  military historian Robert Doyle  regarding a Kildare man who emigrated to America in the mid-19th century, joined the U.S. Army and was killed in action during one of the most famous battles in North American history.

In late June 1876, the charismatic General George Armstrong Custer and almost six hundred troops of the 7th U.S. Cavalry rode into the Little Big Horn Valley determined to strike at a Sioux and Cheyenne encampment located on the banks of the nearby river. It was expected to be the regiment’s moment of glory but the attack instead led to its decimation along a three-mile field of slaughter in a battle that became known as “Custer’s Last Stand.”

Riding with Custer that day were 103 Irishmen, two of whom were natives of Kildare - Corporal James Martin from Kildare Town and Private James Philip McNally from Maynooth. Cpl. Martin died that day but McNally survived, owing his life to the poor condition of his horse which broke down before his comrades went into battle. The North Kildare man and his winded horse ended up well away from his General’s  fatal struggle and saw out the fight in relative safety.  There is a certain irony that someone from the “Thoroughbred County” should owe his life to a nag!

In 1895, the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad established a tiny station on the edge of the Custer Battlefield in Montana and called it “Garryowen,” after Seventh’s regimental marching song. By the mid 1920s, Garryowen was in private ownership but was still little more than a small market town.

In May of 1926, almost fifty years after “Custer’s Last Stand,” construction work commenced on an irrigation ditch just east of this station, along the line of retreat Major Marcus Reno's men took early in the battle. While digging, workmen discovered a near complete set of skeletal remains, accompanied by 7th Cavalry uniform buttons. The dead soldier appeared to be have been decapitated at death as no skull or skull fragments were ever found.

The remains were buried with full military honours later that year. During the ceremony, White Bull, a Sioux Indian Chief, and General Edward Godfrey of US Army literally “buried the hatchet” when they placed a tomahawk in the grave as a sign of peace. The tomb was then overlain with a granite memorial, inscribed: “Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God.” But was this dead trooper American? Possibly not. It’s likely, in fact, he was a “Lilywhite.”

James Martin was born in 1847, possibly near Rathangan, and baptised in Kildare Town. He emigrated and enlisted in the 7th U.S. Cavalry on February 6, 1872, at age 24, and is recorded as having grey eyes, brown hair, fair complexion and stood at 5’5” tall. He met his end during Reno’s retreat when he was shot from his horse and killed by a group of warriors.

Martin’s remains were never identified but Private  John Foley from Dublin, made the gruesome discovery of the severed head under a kettle in the Indian village days after the battle. Foley stated that it belonged to a corporal from G Company. As only two corporals from G Company were killed during the battle - Martin and a German called Otto Hagemann - Foley’s identification of the head probably stems from his recognition of James Martin’s facial features and his awareness that this fellow Irishman served as a corporal in G Company. 

The intriguing possibility is that the skeletal remains uncovered in 1926 and buried in Garryowen as the “soldier known but to God” could, in fact, be James Martin. The bones were discovered near the spot of his death and the lack of a skull with the skeleton further suggests that the remains could be Cpl. Martin’s, one of only a few soldiers whose severed heads were found in the abandoned Indian village. Certainty might be established by an exhumation and the use of DNA evidence but it is probably more fitting that this soldier son of Rathangan rests with honour near the monument to one of the most celebrated battles in the story of America.

* Appreciation to Robert Doyle for highlighting the story of Kildare men at Custer’s Last stand.  Robert is a frequent speaker on military history and has written for popular history periodicals including ‘History Ireland’ and ‘Military Illustrated.’ He is also a contributing editor for the Irish heritage website,www.thewildgeese.com. After years of researching ‘Custer’s Last Stand,’ Robert recently discovered that Corporal William Lalor from County Laois, who served in Custer’s 7th U.S. Cavalry at the Little Bighorn, is the nephew of his great, great grandfather.  Series No: 287.

Liam Kenny's 287th Looking Back article explores the death of Kildareman James Martin at the Battle of the Little Big Horn in 1876. Our thanks to Liam



Leinster Leader, November 16th 1929

All the Curragh Camp is at present in the Garda district of Newbridge. Until the close of the war there were two additional barrack for the constabulary-one at Lumville and another at Brownstown.while a Petty Sessions Court was held weekly at Lumville near the residence of Major Thackeray, R.M. There was also in the present Garda area in Newbridge in pre-war days a Constabulary station at Milltown, and at Barrettstown for a considerable time. All these districts are now in the Newbridge Garda area. When passing along the Curragh I frequently wonder when was the old Stone Barracks (Constabulary) situated midway between Newbridge and Kildare dismantled. The barracks were first established owing to the number of footpads which at one time infested the Curragh plain for many decades before the first sod of the great Camp was turned. In some old publications we find that when the old coaches were travelling from the South towards Dublin in the good old days of our grandfathers they usually spent the night at Kildare fearing an attack by footpads while crossing over the Curragh plain. There was rarely an attack during the day time and again all who remained over at Kildare generally travelled together at the same time with the result that they went safely on their way.

An article from the Leinster Leader of 16 November 1929 on the Curragh Camp being situated in the new Garda district of Newbridge

February 23, 2013


Kill History Group


Spring & Summer 2013


Monday 28th January: “Civil War Surgery”, - Dr Chris Browne
   (preceded by Annual General Meeting at 8 p.m)

Monday 25th February: Cogitosis’ Life of St Brigid, - Fr Matt Kelly

Monday 25th March:  Knights Hospitallers of St John of Jerusalem - Paddy Walsh

Monday 22nd April: “Shane argett”: a look at the 1641 Depositions
          - Patrick Guinness

Monday 27th May: “If maps could speak: History of Ordnance Survey in Ireland"
– Dick Kirwan  

Monday 24th June:  An Irish outlaw in the time of Robin Hood - Aine Foley

All meetings  take place in the Parish Meeting Room at 8.30 p.m.
(unless otherwise indicated)

A list of talks for Kill Local History Group's Spring and Summer programme

February 21, 2013


Irish Academic Press relocates to Kildare

Following the acquisition of Irish Academic Press in 2012 by local Kildare resident, Conor Graham, the long-established and respected history publisher has fully relocated to the county with new offices on Chapel Lane, Sallins. Ever since the foundation of the company in 1974, which emerged from the dissolution of the now legendary Irish University Press in the same year, the company has been based at various locations in central Dublin, but with the new owner and publisher being a full time resident in the canal village of Robertstown, it made sense to him to move his new business a little closer to home.
“I moved to north Kildare in January 2000 to take up a position in the publishing industry in Dublin, and never dreamt of running my own publishing company from a Kildare base. Having spent 10 years commuting into Dublin, it’s a pleasure to work from a local office and to run the business in what is now my home county.” The strategic direction of the company has also changed slightly since Graham’s takeover, with a much greater focus on local history publishing to complement the large national subjects. “I’ve a great personal interest in local history myself, and since moving to the county I’ve had a strong ambition to uncover some of the rich and vibrant local history that must be under the surface in Kildare, and to translate that into the publishing output for IAP, and for my more popular history imprint, Merrion. This year [2012] we’ll see new local history titles on the impact of the First World War on life in Co Tipperary; the effect on Co Donegal of the work of the Congested District’s Board at the end of the 19th century; the devastation of the Famine in Co Leitrim; and further First World War county histories planned for Kilkenny, and hopefully Co. Kildare too.”
Irish Academic Press was founded by Frank Cass in 1974 and, following his death in 2007, his son Stewart continued and expanded the business while remaining true to the core values of the company – integrity, scholarly research and accessible, insightful writing. Key titles such as Reflections on the Irish State by Garrett Fitzerald and The Surnames of Ireland by Edward MacLysaght exemplify how IAP brought to the fore many important and revealing aspects of Irish history, society and current affairs.
Conor Graham is well known throughout the Irish book trade from his role as the commercial director of New Island Books from 2009, working under Edwin Higel and Dermot Bolger, and also as the sales and marketing manager of Brookside Publishing Services from 2002. It was in this latter role that Conor represented Irish Academic Press to the book trade and grew very familiar and enthusiastic about its highly respected titles, authors and tradition. The keen rapport and mutual understanding between Stewart, the Cass Family and Conor Graham meant that he was clearly the ideal successor, and well placed to take Irish Academic Press into the future. Speaking about the acquisition, Conor said: “This is a really unique opportunity to run a publishing house of such great reputation and influence, to base it in Ireland, and to marry its tradition with my own experience and vision. I’m thrilled.”
As the new owner of Irish Academic Press, Conor is committed to continuing the work of the company and reinforcing its brand, and through the creation of a new general imprint, Merrion Press, to develop IAP’s publishing in the coming years. The range of titles span general Irish history and literary studies, specialising in modern Irish history, 20th century military and political history, as well as books in the areas of arts, media, women’s studies and genealogy. With between 25-30 titles in 2013, the company’s publishing programme has never been so vibrant. Graham is especially looking for new publishing submissions on all aspects of life in Co Kildare, whether social, political, or military, and can be contacted at the IAP offices 8 Chapel Lane, Sallins on 895562 or by email conor.graham@iap.ie

Major publisher, Irish Academic Press, under the helm of Conor Graham, has relocated to Sallins, Co. Kildare


The Great War experiences of Edward Reddy, Rathbride

James Durney

On 2 September 1914, a little over a month after the outbreak of the Great War, Edward Reddy, of Rathbride, Kildare, enlisted in the British Army for ‘the duration of the war’. He was demobilized on 27 July 1919, after four years and 269 days service, in which he had served in three different campaigns. Edward Reddy returned home to Co. Kildare, with three medals – the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal – and the physical scar of a wound to his right hand. Few, if anyone, asked of the mental scars of his four years of war in three of the war’s decisive battles fought in some of the world’s most unforgiving territory.
Edward Reddy was the youngest son of James and Bridget Reddy, Rathbride. James Reddy married Bridget Nolan on 5 January 1873. They had six children, recorded in the 1901 Census. All were born in Kildare and baptized in Allen parish: Margaret, 21 November 1880; Mary 3 September 1882; Anne, 26 October 1884; Patrick Joseph, 3 April 1887; Simon – only the year 1889 is recorded; and Edward, whose baptism is not recorded. Edward was eight years old in the 1901 Census, so we can assume he was born around 1892/3.
The Reddy family was heavily involved in the local GAA scene and Simon lined out for Kildare Round Towers when they beat Eyrefield, by 0-6 to 0-3, in the Co. Kildare 1911 Junior Football Final, played on 21 October 1911. On 25 July 1914 Edward and Patrick Reddy played for Milltown against Rathangan in the South Kildare Junior Championship at Maddenstown. Milltown won 0-8 to 0-0. A few weeks later Edward donned British Army khaki and on 31 October was assigned to the newly formed 7th Service Battalion of the Royal Munster Fusiliers.
Within ten days of the outbreak of the war Lord Kitchener had called for 100,000 new recruits, and announced that six new divisions would be formed from them. One of these new divisions was the first ever ‘Irish’ division in the British Army – the 10th Irish. The 7th Royal Munster Fusiliers, together with the 6th Munsters and the 6th and 7th Royal Dublin Fusiliers formed the 30th Brigade of the 10th Irish Division. Basic military training on the Curragh was followed by battalion training and then brigade field days. In April 1915 the division moved to Basingstoke, in England, where they practiced trench warfare and divisional route marches.
On 9 July 1915 the 30th Brigade of 10th Division, including the 7th Munsters, left Liverpool for the Greek island of Mudros and cast anchor there on 16 July. These troops were the first of the division to reach the advanced base of the Dardanelles operations. The Mediterranean Expeditionary Force had landed on the Gallipoli peninsula in April 1915 to secure the high ground commanding the Narrows of the Dardanelles, and to silence or capture the Turkish batteries which barred its passage to the Allied fleet. The 10th Division (less one brigade) was to land at Suvla Bay, a name which brought sorrow to many Irish, and indeed, Kildare homes.
The 7th Munsters landed on the north shore of Suvla Bay on 7 August with a strength of twenty-eight officers and 750 men. They immediately went into action attacking the Kiretch Tepe Sirt Ridge and suffering severe casualties. After capturing the western edge of the ridge the Munsters dug in and then on 9 August attempted to advance but were beaten back. As Turkish reinforcements arrived all hope of an easy victory faded. In the fighting on 9 August Edward Reddy was hit in the hand by a Turkish bullet. On 15 August, a day known in Ireland as ‘Lady Day in Harvest,’ the 7th Munsters made an attack taking the north slope of the ridge, but Turkish reinforcements compelled them to retire. Twenty-three members of the battalion were killed. On the whole the 10th Division lost 114 officers and 3,000 men killed and wounded. The 10th Division had been shattered. The work of a year had been destroyed in a week.
By the 19 August the 7th Munsters were down to half-strength with more casualties being caused by sickness rather than enemy action. On 26 August Edward Reddy was admitted to the Field Ambulance Unit with complications due to his hand injury. He was subsequently placed on a hospital ship and arrived back at Hayton House Hospital, Carlisle, on 23 September 1915. A letter addressed to his father, James, said:
'I beg to inform you that your son No. 2006 Private Edward Reddy 7th R. M. Fusiliers was admitted to Hayton House Auxiliary Hospital Carlisle 23/9/1915 suffering from bullet wound right hand (slight).'
In February 1916 Edward was fully recovered and was shipped to Salonika, in Greece, where he joined the 6th Battalion, of the Royal Munster Fusiliers. The 10th Irish Division had left Gallipoli in late September 1915 and was dispatched to Salonika to assist the Greeks who were under threat from Bulgaria. In Edward’s absence the 10th Division had suffered a severe mauling from the Bulgarians in appalling winter weather. Throughout the spring and summer the Division refitted and retrained. In May the Bulgarians invaded Macedonia and the Munsters were involved in action on the Sturma river over the next couple of weeks. Private Arthur Moran, of the 6th Munsters, died in Macedonia on 29 September 1916. Arthur Moran was born in the Curragh, but it is not known whether Edward Reddy knew him. Malaria took a huge toll on troop strength and when few replacements were forthcoming the 6th Munster Battalion was amalgamated with the 7th Battalion.
On 18 August 1917 the 10th Division received orders to move to Palestine. Edward Reddy was admitted to hospital on 22 August suffering from malaria. By the end of the third week of September the division was concentrated in the area of Ismailia on the edge of the Suez Canal. A period of rest and training followed and then it was off to war again. The division had a limited involvement in the Battle of Gaza and was also involved in the capture of Jerusalem in December. By the middle of 1918 most of the battalions were well below strength and many units were further amalgamated, with only one Irish battalion remaining in each of the three infantry brigades of the 10th Irish Division. The other Irish battalions were sent to the Western Front and were replaced by Indian infantry battalions. From then on the Division ceased to be ‘Irish.’ Edward was transferred to the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Irish Fusiliers on 6 October 1918. By then the war in the Middle East was over.
Edward Reddy was demobilized in Dublin on 27 July 1919 and returned home to Rathbride, Kildare. His character was noted as ‘very good’. Two of Edward’s medals – the 1914-15 Star and the British War Medal – have survived, although the ribbons are missing.

Tom Reddy made a recent visit to Kildare Collection and Research Services at Newbridge Library with some information on his father, Edward Reddy.

February 08, 2013


Dear Booklover,

Fethard Book Fair, Tipperary, this Sunday, February 10th, 2pm -6pm. Don't Miss it. Packed full with Thousands and Thousands of Books, History, Literature, GAA, Sport, Local History, Obscure, Esoteric, Bizarre, Illustrated, Fiction, Chick-Lit, Antiquarian, Rare, Unusual, Scarce, Irish Language and something for every pocket. Historic town, Historic Books.

All welcome.

For info, contact Terry Cunningham, Organiser, Fethard Historical Society. Mob.086-3905373.

Eddie Murphy
Mob. 087-2567908.

Fethard Book Fair, Tipperary, this Sunday, February 10th, 2pm -6pm. Don't Miss it.


Boro Books
Rare and interesting books,
Corballis, Rathdrum, Co. Wicklow

Tel – 086-3323502 - Email – tomdoylebooks@gmail.com

Just to let you know Boro Books will be taking a stand at the Antiques and Fine Arts Fair at Lawlor’s Hotel Naas on Sunday next Feb 10 from 11am to 6.00pm.
Among a number of local interest items I will be taking to the fair will be a copy of the Rev. M. Comerfords’ – Collections relating to the diocese of Kildare and Leighlin – 3 volumes published in 1886.
Also a series of eight issues of local interest journal Canaliana, a signed limited edition of Desmond Egan’s – The hill of Allen- and a copy of Des Maguire’s – Horses are my life – the story of Ned Cash from Clane.
There will also be a good collection of other local interest pamphlets and books.
If there is anything of interest among these that you would be interested in purchasing I would be delighted to welcome you on the day and look forward to meeting you.

Tom Doyle
Boro Books

Boro Books will be taking a stand at the Antiques and Fine Arts Fair at Lawlor’s Hotel Naas on Sunday next Feb 10 from 11am to 6.00pm.


Liam Kenny sent on details on three recent authors on topics of interest to Kildare local history groups looking for speakers to populate their lecture programmes. Liam has spoken to each of the authors mentioned and is sure they would have a lot to offer to history groups in the county.

1. New book on the Jubilee Nurses - the first community care nurses, co-author of the book is Elizabeth Prendergast who gave generous content to the Co Kildare nursing schemes in which Lady Geraldine Mayo of Palmerstown House (Johnstown) had a central role. Elizabeth has already given some talks to groups in the Dublin area. Her email address is:

2. Burials/graves/etc ... Ray Bateson has published four or five books relating to the burial places of famous Irish people and of 1916 fatalities etc. He tells me that he is willing to go to groups and give talks tailored to local connections. Ray lives in the Blanchardstown area. His email address is: irishgraves@eircom.net

3. The Garda Mutiny in Kildare barracks 1922 ... Brian McCarthy has published a book on this title through Mercier Press. So turbulent was the atmosphere in the barracks in summer of 1922 that events spilled out into the streets of Kildare town. Brian teaches post-primary in Dunboyne and his number is 086 8100181.






Liam Kenny sent on details on three recent authors on topics of interest to Kildare local history groups looking for speakers to populate their lecture programmes.



MAY 27th, 1976

Late Mr. M. G. Nolan

MR. MICHAEL G. NOLAN, P.C., Duke St., Athy, one of the dominant figures in political, social, educational and cultural spheres in South Kildare for close on half a century, died at St. Brigid's Hospital, Carlow, on Friday at the age of 70.
A native of Mountrath, he came to Athy towards the end of 1934 to set up his drapery business at 6 Duke St. Soon he was to display the tremendous energy and organising ability that distinguished him in the ensuing years.
During World War II he was one of the founders of Athy Social Club, and a prime mover in the acquisition of the former British Legion Hall in St. John's Lane, as a club premises. The club's table tennis and badminton teams were among the best in the Midlands, and its drama group, Athy Social Players, won the Feis Maitiu drama cup with one of its productions.
In the early 1940's, M. G. ― as he was popularly known ― became an active member of Fianna Fail, and successfully contested Athy U.D.C. election for that party in 1945. He held his seat until the local election of 1974, and served for a considerable number of terms as the Council's Chairman.
Although he was unsuccessful at one general election at which he was a Fianna Fail candidate, his dynamism and drive gave greater impetus to the party machine throughout the constituency. His high standing in that party was indicated by his election for a term on the Fianna Fail national Executive.

In 1950 he was elected a Fianna Fail member of Kildare County Council, a seat he retained into 1974. His wide-ranging interests extended to vocational education. For many years he served with distinction as a member of Co. Kildare Vocational Education Committee and over ten years ago he became its Chairman, an office he held at the time of his death. As a member of Carlow/Kildare Joint Mental Hospital Board, he was one of those who advocated the modernisation scheme undertaken at St. Dympna's Hospital, Carlow, during his membership.

He encouraged healthy outdoor activities among youngsters. Before the last war, when Athy had a troop of Catholic boy scouts, he gave it generous financial aid, and his car was at all times available to it for transport. Other bodies of which Mr. Nolan was a member were Athy Urban and Rural Old-age Pensions Sub-Committees. It could truly be said of him that whatever good he could do for anybody he willingly did it. He was a man of highest integrity, a devout Catholic and a daily communicant.

As a public representative he set model standards. Above all, he was a just man who entertained no ill-will or animosity towards others. On public and general affairs he liked to argue a point he found unacceptable, but always in a friendly way without any semblance of resentment.
Few public representatives achieved as much for their area as he did for his; few worked as selflessly as he in the public interest. That he continued to do so in recent years despite the affliction of almost total blindness indicated his heroic qualities.
The many who knew him well, particularly those who were privileged to call him friend, will remember him with affection and gratitude for his humanity, his anxiety to help others and his great courage. And they will appreciate the big loss he is to the area.
He is survived by his brother, Peter, Mountrath, and sisters, Mrs. Kathleen Cossick, Portumna, and Mrs. May Glasgow, Abbeyleix. After Requiem Mass in St. Michael's Church, Athy, on Sunday, he was interred in the family plot in St. Fintan's Cemetery, Mountrath.

An article from the Leinster Leader of 27 May 1976 on the death of Athy man, Michael G. Nolan. Re-typed by Chris Holzgräwe


A Joycean odyssey through the flat lands of Kildare

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 6 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.

Article no. 284 from Liam Kenny's ever popular Looking Back series in the Leinster Leader

February 01, 2013




Blessed Church for expanding population

In torrential rain on Sunday, Most Rev. Dr. Keogh, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, blessed and dedicated the Church of Christ the King, Cooleragh.
On dignified contemporary lines, the building, which cost about £36,500, has seating accommodation for 500 and will serve the parishioners of Coill Dubh and surrounding districts. It replaces the temporary Church at the Bord na Mona Works, Timahoe.
Before the extensive working of the bogs, residents had to travel either three miles to Allenwood Church or two to Staplestown.
With the great influx of Bord na Mona workers and the creation of their village, the Church at the camp, set up in 1942, was inadequate.
Eight years ago, under the direction of Very Rev. J. Doyle, P.P., Clans, plans for the erection of the new building were mooted.

The Ceremony

Assisted by Rev. W. Hughes, C.C., Nurney, and Rev. J. O'Leary, C.C., Carlow, former curates of Clane, the Bishop blessed the Church and grounds and opened the doors to the faithful.
High Mass, at which Dr. Keogh presided, with as assistants Right Rev. Monsignor J. J. Conway, P.P., V.G., Muine Beag, and Right Rev. Monsignor W. Miller, P.P., V.F., Droichead Nua, was celebrated by Very Rev. J. Doyle; Deacon, Rev. W. Hughes; Sub-Deacon, Rev. J. O'Leary, and Master of Ceremonies, Rev. P. Keogh, C.C., Clane.
The Gregorian Chant was sung by the Presentation Convent Choir, Clane, under the direction of Rev. Mother Perpetua. Mr. J. Dunny was organist.


Among the Clergy present were: Rt. Rev. Mons. M. Brenan, P.P., V.P., Edenderry: Rt. Rev. Mons. G. Mitchell, President, St. Patrick's College, Maynooth: Rt. Rev. Mons. P. Lennon, President, St. Patrick's College, Carlow: V. Rev. P. Harris, P.P., Naas: V. Rev. W. Matthews, P.P., Kill: V. Rev. J. Bennett, P.P., Caragh: V. Rev. E. O'Byrne, P.P., Allen: V. Rev. J. J. Dunny, P.P., Tinryland: V. Rev. J. McDonnell, P.P., Clonbullogue: V. Rev. C. Crowley, Admin., Carlow.
Rev. M. Gleeson, C.C., Suncroft: Rev. L. Fleming, C.F., Curragh Camp: Rev. G. Brophy, C.F., do.: Rev. T. Walsh, C.C., Kill: Rev. L. Newman, C.C., Naas: Rev. M. Kelly, D.E., Tullow: Rev. J. Kelly, C.C., Allen: Rev. T. O'Malley, C.C., Clane: Rev. T. Coonan, Knockbeg College.
Rev. C. Cullen, C.C., Edenderry, a former Clane curate: Rev. B. O'Byrne, Knockbeg College, also a former Clane curate: Rev. B. O'Byrne, C.C., Droichead Nua, and Rev. E. Shine, C.C., Droichead Nua.
Monsignor Brenan preached the special sermon. It appears on page 13.


At a reception in the Bord na Mona Works at Timahoe, Father Doyle said it was the end ― of eight years' labour ― and the beginning ― a new Church for the people ― of chapters in the history of the parish.
He thanked His Lordship for his permission and encouragement. Monsignor Miller, Monsignor Brenan and the clergy for their help.
Referring to the parishioners, he said churches could easily be erected if money was available. Without their help, that of the local committee, particularly the secretary, collectors and Bord na Mona, the occasion would not have been.
Congratulating the architects and contractor on their outstanding work, Father Doyle said it was the first time either firm had been engaged on church erection.
He thanked the choir, organist and their director, who, he said, did not praise, and the sub-contractors, particularly the designers of the stain glass windows and Stations of the Cross.

Likes Simplicity

Dr. Keogh said: "We are at our best when we are in a Church. It lifts us above the common day way of life." Thanking Father Doyle, His Lordship said church building was a troublesome job and a constant worry, but one which every priest was glad to take.
"I am not a judge of art, but I know what pleases me. I like it to be simple. My appreciation of the work is sincere. Everything is done which should be done."
Thanking the people of the parish, Dr. Keogh said that on such occasions they were inclined to be forgotten. They had borne the burden of financing this church and deserved congratulations.
Monsignor Conway congratulated the Bishop and Father Doyle on the achievement of such a magnificent edifice to God.

Unique Stations

Mr. A. Lardner, Architect, paying tribute to Father Doyle, said it was a privilege to be associated with him.
Father Doyle was mainly responsible for the unique Stations of the Cross. When visiting the supplying firm he had suggested that the Stations be made from broken glass chippings in their works.
He thanked the contractor, sub-contractors and building foreman, Mr. S. McGuire.
Referring to the building, Mr. Lardner said he and his partner, when designing it, sought a portal framed contemporary, economic and sufficient structure with the elegance fitting a church. They avoided novelty for novelty's sake.
"If we have done anything, I hope we have justified Father Doyle's trust in us," he continued.
Also present were Dail Deputies G. Sweetman, B. Crinion, W. Norton and P. G. Dooley: County Councillors H. Cosgrove, C. Weld and P. J. Frayne.
Bord na Mona was represented by Mr. D. C. Lawlor, Managing Director, Mr. A. D. Sheehan, Secretary, Mr. J. Doyle, Manager, Timahoe, and Mr. P. Barry, Manager, Lullymore.

Features of new church

The Church of Christ the King has its main entrance facing east. Its narthex is adorned by three stain glass windows depicting St. Brigid, St. Conleth, patron saint of the diocese, and St. Patrick.
On the Gospel side, beside the entrance to the choir gallery, is a 30' x 7' window of the twelve apostles and in the sanctuary a 30' x 10' one of Christ. The plain and worked glass is wedded to give unity and maximum light.
The altar and tabernacle are of plain marble and gold, and the pulpit and railings also marble. The interior walls are in plain brick under a grained wood ceiling. On the northern wall are unique mosaic Stations of the Cross made from stain glass tesserae and can be luminated by strip lighting. Heating is by infra ray.
The architects were Mr. A. Lardner and Partner, Dublin; contractor, James Geraghty and Co., Celbridge. The designers and manufacturers of the windows and stations were Messrs. Murphy Devitt, Dublin.




An article from the Leinster Leader of 12 October 1963 on the blessing and dedication of the new church at Coolreagh. Re-typed by Chris Holzgräwe

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