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Padraig Pearse in Celbridge

A recent query to the Kildare Collections and Research Services, Newbridge Library, from local historian, Jim Tancred, of Lyons, Straffan, led to this very interesting find in the Kildare Observer and Leinster Leader newspapers.

Kildare Observer 5 July 1902


On Sunday evening a most successful and enthusiastic open air demonstration was held at Celbridge, in connection with the establishment of a branch of the Gaelic League in that district. The demonstration took the form of Gaelic football and hurling matches, a public meeting, and concluded with an Aerideacht, to which several well-known Gaelic musical artistes contributed. A special train, which left the Kingsbridge at 1.30 o'clock, brought down an enormous crowd, which included many young ladies and a strong representation of the various Gaelic League branches in Dublin. Large contingents also attended from Clondalkin, Lucan, Leixlip, Straffan, Clane and Maynooth. The matches were contested in an admirably laid-out field, which is about a mile from the railway station, while the meeting and the Airideacht were also held here. In all there were about 3,000 people present, and it was quite apparent that the people of Celbridge have taken up the question of the revival of the Irish language in a whole-hearted manner. The proceedings opened with a football match between Maynooth and Clane, which was won by the latter. In the hurling contests the Confederates (Dublin) were badly beaten by the Maynooth team.
At the conclusion of the games the public meeting was held. Amongst those on the platform were the following members of the committee charged with the organisation of the Celbridge branch of the Gaelic League:― Dr O'Connor, Thomas Connolly, R H Paisley, E Kelly, M O'Brien, M Gogarty, T Coleman, J Martin, J Shiel, F Shortt, Mulligan, Michael Lambert, etc. Sir Gerald Dease was also present. Rev Father Meighan, C C, presided.
The Rev Chairman said the object of the meeting that evening was to start a branch of the Gaelic League in Celbridge (hear, hear). A few days ago he was delighted to hear that the people of Celbridge had at last responded to the call for a unity of all, and had joined the Gaelic League (hear, hear). About Christmas last a few of them endeavoured to start a branch, but they were unable to do so because they could not obtain sufficient support; consequently he was very glad to find when he came back to Celbridge that all the people united, and that practical steps had been taken to establish a branch, and that was the principal thing which brought them together that day, and also to say a word in favour of Irish industries in connection with which a resolution would be submitted to them. They should determine to further in the future Irish manufacture, and leave as much money as they could in the hands of their fellow-countrymen, and thereby financially improve their country (hear, hear). They should bring the importance of the Irish industrial revival home to themselves. They should take the matter up and start some little industry in Celbridge.
Mr P H Pearse, B L. proposed ― "That a branch of the Gaelic League be hereby formed. Recognising that the lack of industry in this country is one of the principal sources of emigration, we, the members of the Celbridge Branch of the Gaelic League, hereby pledge ourselves to support and encourage by every means in our power the revival of Irish industries." He said not long ago he had a conversation with a Leinster Irish lady over the language question. He said he thought it would be a good thing if every Irishman and woman spoke the Irish language. This remark seemed to startle the lady to whom he addressed it, and she replied, "Arrah! do you want to make Connaught men of us all." He said he was not anxious to make Connaught men of them, but he wanted to make Irishmen and women out of them, and their object in coming there that day was to accomplish that. He did not commit himself to the opinion that everyone who did not speak Irish was not an Irishman, but he said the Irishman who did not understand Irish should make an effort to learn it, or if he did not he was a sorry specimen of an Irishman.
Mr Butler seconded the resolutions, which were supported by Messrs Hourihane and Cunningham, and passed amid great applause.
The following contributed at the Aerideacht, which was greatly appreciated by those present:― Buidheann cheoil na nGaedhilgeoiri Miss A Kenny. J Lawless, MacHale Branch. J O'Connell, D O'Hea, T Cuffe. J Kelly Central Branch Quartette, Caithlin ni Ghriodhthn. The programme concluded with the rendering of an Irish National Anthem, composed by Mr O'Brien Butler.

Leinster Leader 2 July 1902


Celbridge Branch

A meeting of the Celbridge Branch of the Gaelic League was held in the meeting rooms on Friday last. Rev Father Meighan presided. The following members of the committee were also present:― Dr O'Connor. Messrs Thos Connolly, D C; Jas Malone D C; O'Brien, Kelly, Paisley, Ahearne, Kevany. Dr O'Connor was elected vice-president, and Mr Malone, deputy vice-president; Mr E Kelly, hon sec; Mr O'Brien, assistant hon sec; Mr Jas Fay, treasurer. The committee co-opted the following additional members:― Mr A Dwyer and Mr E Byrne, Hazelhatch; and Messrs Jas Mulligan, John Mahon, T Ward, and Thos Coleman, Celbridge. The secretary was directed to write to the surrounding branches of the League for information as to the forming of the classes, fees, &c., and in the meantime to have posters printed calling on the people of the district to assemble at the meeting rooms on Thursday, 17th inst. so that a commencement can be made. After arranging for a meeting of the committee to be held on the 14th inst. at 7.30 o'clock, p.m., the meeting adjourned.

A recent query to the Kildare Collections and Research Services, Newbridge Library, from local historian, Jim Tancred, of Lyons, Straffan, led to this very interesting find in the Kildare Observer and Leinster Leader newspapers.

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