Michael Collins House


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Happy Fathers Day! To mark the occasion here is a little bit about Michael Collins’ father.


Michael John Collins was born in Woodfield in 1815. It was thought that he was seventh son of a seventh son and part of the sixth generation of the Collins family born at Woodfield. He worked most of his life as a tradesman and farmer living on his brother Paddy’s farm. He married a local woman, Mary Anne O’Brien in 1875 and the couple went on to have eight children together. Michael was the youngest and his sisters later stated that he was his father’s favourite and followed the old man everywhere on the farm.


It is quite likely that Michael John had a strong influence on his youngest son. He had received an education in a local hedge school and was said to have been well read and could speak a number of languages. As such he encouraged his children into education as a means to better themselves. In his early years he was likely a Fenian like others in the Collins family with one nephew arrested for marching in formation in Co. Louth. It was said that Collins’ father also journeyed once a week to Cork prison to visit his brothers who served time there after beating up a Land agent who was alleged to have trampled their crops. In his later years and by the time of Michael’s youth his father’s politics seem to have moderated. He read the more moderate nationalist Weekly Freeman and was involved in a local dispute where he seemed to break a boycott to assist a man who had previously assisted him. His reward was a severe beating at the hands of a relative.


Michael John Collins died in 1897, sadly leaving his young Michael at just six years old, without his idol and father. On his death bed he was remembered as having said of Michael; ‘Mind that child, he’ll be a great man yet and will do great things for Ireland.’


Pictured is Michael aged about 11 with his brother Pat, sister Mary, Grandmother and mother.


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CENTENARY MASS:  The Legion of Mary are celebrating their 100th Birthday all this year. The Legion was founded by Frank Duff, a native son, born in Dublin in 1921.  The Mass will be celebrated by Bishop Ray Browne on Saturday 21st at 3 p.m. in St. Mary's Cathedral, Killarney.  We invite all the Public to attend and send a special invite to our Spiritual Directors, members, active and praying, both present and past.  All family members and in a special way we would love to invite the many students from the local schools.  We have visited the elderly in local care facilities with many students over the past years and it would be lovely to have their presence with us.  Maybe you have photos, memorabilia or stories to share?  We will have tea and cutting of the cake after Mass in St. Brendan's College and we would love to chat with you all.




War Relief to Listowel and North Kerry, 1921




Mark Holan sent us the following interesting information he uncovered in his research




I wonder if anyone knows if their family was helped in this way.






The American Committee for Relief in Ireland collected $5 million (£1,210,627) during the first half of 1921 to ease war-related suffering. The Irish White Cross distributed the money to all 32 counties through summer 1922, with £25,878 in “personal relief” approved in County Kerry. The North Kerry distribution including:




    Ballybunion, £1,312


    Ballylongford, £634


    Listowel, £2,102


    Lixnaw, £680


    Tralee, £3,901




“Personal relief” included weekly allowances to dependents of civilians prevented from working “through being ‘on the run’ or imprisoned for reasons connected with the political situation”, dependents of those killed during the war, and to those prevented from following their ordinary occupations due to military restrictions or the destruction of their businesses, the Irish White Cross reported in 1922. Lump sum payments also were made to wounded civilians, and for the purchase of key essentials such as clothes, bedding, and trade implements.




Some 600 volunteer parish committees, typically composed of “local clergy and other responsible people,” helped to process and forward applications to the Standing Executive Committee in Dublin, which made the final determination.




On Sunday, 21 August 1921, a month after the truce, Bishop of Kerry Charles O’Sullivan ordered a special collection taken at all the masses in Listowel to provide local assistance to the Irish White Cross. The collection totaled £119 5s 10d, Kerry People reported.




A few weeks later, the Irish hierarchy sent letters to the Freeman’s Journal thanking the American Committee and White Cross. In Kerry, Bishop O’Sullivan wrote, “our persecuted people have good reason to remember and be grateful for the timely help which has enabled not a few of them to keep body and soul together, after they had seen their homes reduced to ashes, their women ill-treated, their men folk cruelly done to death.”














4 March 1922: The Wife of a Plasterer Tells the Archbishop of Dublin a Secret


Gender and Poverty in the New ‘Free State’






    Ireland 1922




By Lindsey Earner-Byrne




    Dear Archbishop


    I humbly ask pardon for the liberty I take of writing to you + also hope you will excuse me as I don’t know how to address you I am the wife of a plasterer + we have 7 children the eldest only 14 years old.¹




On the 4 March 1922 Mrs Anna Lalor* was heartbroken. Little had changed in the previous two years for her family of nine; if anything, things had got worse. Indeed, on this morning she felt compelled to sit down in her overcrowded two-roomed house in Dún Laoghaire, County Dublin, to write to one of the most powerful men in her universe—the Roman Catholic archbishop of Dublin, Edward Byrne (1921–40). Her letter is but one among thousands the archbishop received: these letters represent an extensive archive of the experience of poverty in the first two decades of Irish independence.




According to the 1901 census, prior to marriage Mrs Lalor had been a domestic servant, an occupation she shared with one in three single women: domestic service remained the biggest single employer of women in Ireland until the 1950s. In 1907 she left the formal workplace to marry, thereby entering a period in her life when little was within her control, not her fertility nor the waxing and waning of her husband’s earning capacity. The meaning of this impotence must have become apparent quite quickly to her: within four years she had birthed three children, almost one a year. By 1922 Anna had seven children; the maths of seven children in fifteen years indicates that some of the gaps were miscarriages or infant deaths. Infant mortality was still disturbingly high in 1920s Ireland, and it was a clear barometer of social inequality mapping closely to the geography of class. The 1926 census revealed that Dublin city had an infant mortality rate of 170 per 1,000 births, compared to 79 per 1,000 in the affluent, seaside Dublin village of Howth.² Despite the knowledge that multiple pregnancies increased infant mortality and maternal morbidity, birth control was criminalised in 1935.




The spacing in Mrs Lalor’s brood also reflected the geography of her husband’s work-life, as she explained:




    last October twelve months, there was a strike declared in the Building Trades in Dublin and at the very time I was in Bed seriously ill my husband was forced to go to England to get Bread for his children leaving me heartbroken as I was so ill, he got work in England + was allowed to join the English Trades Union for the sum of 8d with a lot more Irish men.




An excerpt from the letter of Mrs A.L., Desmond Avenue, Dún Laoghaire, (Co. Avenue), to Archbishop Byrne, 4 March 1922 (Image: Dublin Diocesan Archives, Byrne papers, Charity cases, box 1: 1921–26. Reproduced courtesy of Dublin Diocesan Archives)




The unemployment rate in the building sector was 34 per cent, with 32 per cent of workdays lost through strikes.³ She was referring to the bricklayers’ strike in Dublin that had lasted between October 1920 and June 1921. The strike had only secured the workers a temporary increase of 1d per hour, while ‘keeping the city’s modest slum clearance programme on hold’.⁴ That outcome was indicative of the false promise of political independence for the new Ireland’s poorest citizens. While the president of the Executive Council, William T. Cosgrave, oversaw welfare cuts, including to the Old Age Pension, he drew an annual salary of £2,500.⁵ The average industrial wage was £126 per annum.




The new state promoted with vigour the stay-at-home mother as the bedrock of society; women like Mrs Lalor, however, could rarely afford such idealism. The poor continued to survive through seasonal migration and emigration, largely to England. Mrs Lalor articulated the emotional cost of that strategy, deftly connecting it with a sense that political freedom was a ruse that would not feed her children:




    my husband Keeps saying this is free Ireland the Englishman can give the Irishman liberty to earn Bread for his family for 8d per week while the Irishman who is supposed to be good roman catholic christians demand £5 to get liberty to work in their own country.




She was referring to a £5 penalty her husband’s union had imposed on workers who had not returned to Ireland upon the resolution of the strike. This occurred, she explained, even though her husband had regularly sent ‘strike money’ to the ‘Dublin Trade Union’. To her the trade unions were just another source ‘taking the Bread from my children’ with their fees and penalties. She was also appealing to her Church’s dread of socialism, while placing those ‘supposed to be good’ Catholics at the centre of a narrative of social injustice and hypocrisy. By contrast, she portrayed her faith as central to her ability to cope:




    I was unhappy all the time being separated from my husband while he was also in the beginning, but later he seemed not to mind while my children + myself were praying hard for God to send him home. I wrote to the poor Clares + told them my trouble + asked them to pray also last christmas my husband came home + I prayed + tryed to [--------] persuade my husband to remain with me + the children




With a hint of where her husband’s growing acceptance of separation might lead, she proceeded to tap into deep contemporary anxieties regarding the faith of Irish emigrants in England:




Most Rev. Archbishop I will tell you a secret my husband has not been to the Sacraments for 2 years being away when we had our last retreat. England did not improve him, I heard from him that the people go nowhere no church no mass I am praying to the Sacred Heart for him we want him here.




The en passant mention of ‘our last retreat’ underscore her spiritual dominion over the seven little souls she was sheltering.




Mrs Lalor’s letter provides barely a hint of the violence and uncertainty swirling around her country, for she represents the continuity of human experience, which does not always beat to the rhythm of historical periodisation. The challenge of feeding a family changed little for women like her. Despite her mention of ill health, Mrs Lalor outlived her husband by 23 years, dying in December 1974. During her lifetime the structure and trajectory of social inequality remained largely unchanged: the children of the poor continued to be the parents of the disadvantaged. In the intimate relationship Mrs Lalor conjured in her letter, the Catholic archbishop became both her confidante and trusted friend: ‘my husband Knows nothing about me writing … Most Rev. Father again excuse me I could not trust anyone else’. While she feared she was ‘doing a Terrible thing in writing’, she was also ‘sure that you will try to do something’. She wanted him to use his influence to change a system that condemned people like her to live as she did. In asking for nothing specific, she asked for everything in spirit. She already knew what, a year prior to her death, the 1973 report of the Commission on the Status of Women in Ireland laid bare: power is always measured in pounds and pence.




Extracted from Ireland 1922 edited by Darragh Gannon and Fearghal McGarry and published by the Royal Irish Academy with support from the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media under the Decade of Centenaries 2012-2023 programme. Click here to view more articles in this series, or click the image below to visit the RIA website for more information.






By Sheila Pires




Manzini, 20 February, 2022 / 9:00 pm (ACI Africa).




A member of the Congregation of the Mantellate Sisters, Servants of Mary (MSM), commonly known as Servite Sisters, has highlighted education and healthcare as the most noteworthy achievements in their 100 years of service in the Southern Africa Province.




In a recent interview with ACI Africa, Sr. Teresita Schiavon who has served in Eswatini for four decades looked back at the 100 years of service of the Servite Sisters in the Southern Africa Province and acknowledged with appreciation the contributions the alumni of MSM learning institutions make to society. 








Dubliner Jack Campbell, Ireland's last "Old Contemptible" served in the Great War with four of his older brothers. He was gassed during the course of the war. He died in Leopardstown Hospital on the 18th November 1992 aged 97.


Jack Campbell of The Royal Dublin Fusiliers, 16th Irish Division on Ireland's 'The Late Late Show'.












Last Tuesday 23rd February marked the Centenary of that dreadful event of 1921. In those olden times, the people suffered great persecution from foreigners and the Irish race was no exception. They suffered greatly from the tyrannical soldiers called the Black and Tans who took possession of almost every village in the Country and Ballylongford did not escape. It was very fitting that this unkind deed was remembered in a dignified manner on Tuesday last as a group of people gathered and said the Rosary at the Village Cross Roads as a mark of respect and those present reminisced of the pain and the torture that local people of that time suffered at the hands of the Black and Tans.




Here through the records of local historian Padraig O’Conocubhair we trace back the events of that time. “As raids on Republican homes became more frequent and IRA men went on the run ‘Flying Columns’ were established, full time soldiers travelling all over North Kerry to attack the British Forces. On 22nd of  February 1921, a party commanded Dennis Quill of Listowel accompanied by Con Dee of Ballyline, who was a column officer of the 6th Battalion who took up position around the constabulary barracks on the Well Road and George Howlett, a Black and Tan, (who were ex-army men recruited into the RIC and so called from their uniforms, a mixture of police bottle-green and army khaki) was killed, and Seaman Wills, a radio operator, was seriously wounded, as they returned to the barracks. Retribution was not long delayed. On the following evening, several lorry loads of Black and Tans and RIC from Listowel arrived in the village. “The Kerry People” reported on 5th March 1921. ‘In the history of reprisals, no place has proportionally been visited with such destruction as the prosperous village of Ballylongford.




What was at one time the business centre of North Kerry because of its port of Saleen Harbour is now little more than a smoking ruin. Seventeen buildings including a creamery, business establishments and dwellings, are reduced to ashes. The houses remaining are shattered and the occupiers confined indoors. Those whose houses were destroyed with no notice and who fled in terror at the dead of night through the discharges of rifle, revolver and machine gun fire, the rattle of petrol tins and the crackling of flames found refuge with their country friends and are afraid to return.’ 




Strange as it may seem, RIC Sergeants Nevin and McNamara from the local barracks, accompanied by Constable Herger, a Black and Tan, helped the locals to fight the fire. Conor Martin, who was the local doctor, confirms this and writes that they saved at least six more houses from being burnt and that he had to treat two of the police for burns received when trying to put out the flames. The usual official efforts were made to cover up what had occurred: ‘When the police were entering the village, intense rifle shotgun and revolver fire was concentrated on them from the houses. The rebels occupied the village in strength and some of them wore police and soldiers’ uniform, the people of the village were roughly handled by the rebels and their property was not spared.’ However, this effort at justifying what happened was unsuccessful because of Michael Moore, Quay Street, who was an American citizen, and who gave an eye-witness account in a letter which was published in the Manchester Guardian newspaper; ‘The shop of Jeremiah McCabe, a baker, (Bridge Street) was set on fire and the children had to be roused from the bed and flung out a back window. Several people had to rush from their houses in scanty attire.




Several houses not burnt were looted and wrecked. The house of John Kelly was one, the house of John Moran was set on fire and his wife has since died, the result of shock. Several efforts were made to set fire to the shop and public house of Mrs. Kennelly (Quay Street), but this brave woman defied their efforts, quenching the fire each time with brine from the salting tubs.’ The Ballylongford girls school attendance book reported; 23rd February 1921, attendance 0 out of 83.  24th February 1921, attendance 5 out of 83 25th February 1921, attendance 6 out of 83 – policeman shot – town burned – children afraid to come to school. On the 19th of March, the “Kerry People” reported: ‘The Dublin White Cross Society have forwarded a sum of £50 towards the relief of the poor recently affected by partial destruction of Ballylongford by fire as the outcome of reprisals. The more fortunate inhabitants, though seriously affected themselves, have with their pastor, Fr. Allman, subscribed more than £100 and a subscription of £1 has been levied on each of the farmers of the district, which it is pleasing to know has been paid willingly.’








O’CARROLL    DIES    IN    AUSTRALIA. Prof.  Dan  O’Carroll,   a  noted   Volunteer   and   personal   friend    of   Michael  Collins,  died  on  Christmas  morning  at!  a   consumptive     home     at     Brisbane.     Thirteen  months  ago,  because  of  failing  health,  he  went  to  Australia  with  a   younger     brother,    with     whom   he  worked    on   a   banana   farm    in    New  South  Wales,  but  his  condition  not  improving  he  entered  the  home  at  Brisbane. The   son   of   a   national   teacher   at  Newtownsandes,   he  was   only   31.    In    1913   he   became   professor    of   mathematics  and  Irish  In  Belvedere  College.  Being  a    fluent    native     speaker, he  taught  In  the  Leinster  College  of  Irish during  vacations.  A   member   of   “D”  Co..   2nd   Dublin  Batt,  at  the  time  of  the  rising,  he  was  appointed   despatch-carrier   to   his   native    Kerry,    and   was    shadowed    the entire  way  by  two  British  agents.  Entering   a     hotel,     he     Coolly     walked   through  to  the  back  and  thence  took  to  the   open   country,   and,   though    still  pursued,    eventually    got    clear    away and  delivered  his  despatches.  Later he  was   quartermaster   of   the  company   of  which  Paddy  Moran   (executed    after    “Bloody    Sunday’)    was  captain   and   Martin  Savage   (killed   in the attack on Lord French) was lieutenant. As intelligence officer during the Black and Tan Regime he had numerous exciting adventures and took part in many operations especially in Dorset St. area. Under his control were five batches of secret service agents and in the end all except himself were  arrested.  At  a  time  when the  British  were  eagerly  searching  for  him   he   succeeded   in     paying     three     visits  to  Mountjoy  to  see  Moran,  then  under  sentence   of  death.




Rita Shannon, who died in the last few years, who is referred to never got recognition as an entrepreneur. She had her own travelling shop, a Volkswagon van. In a way a legacy of her Shannon ancestry. Her branch was Catholic. The main family probably came down from the northern counties c 1740 in connection with flax/linen/weaving. By 1790 in the general Durrus/Bantry area the Shannons were heavy hitters lending money to the local landlords. Contractors to the Grand Jury working with the Flynn family in house building in Bantry.




Rita married Gerald McCarthy, his father Dr. McCarthy was praised for helping the RIC men in the IRA raid on the Durrus RIC barracks. What was not known at the time war that he had prepared the explosives possibly a result of his experiences as a doctor on the front in WW1.




Rita's branch of the Shannon were active in the War of Independence in Brahalish in Durrus in conducting Dáil Courts. They also descend from the influential 'King' Tobin' family of Kilcrohane.








The Bureau of Military history collection is hosted on our website www.militaryarchives.ie


From there select the Bureau of Military history.


There is a search function which will search through the text of all Witness statements


Military Archives militaryarchives@defenceforces.ie








Kerry Writers' Museum


148 subscribers


Sir Arthur Edward Vicars was a genealogist and heraldic expert. He was appointed Ulster King of Arms in 1893 but was removed from the post in 1908 following the theft of the Irish Crown Jewels in the previous year.  Although Vicars was never seriously suspected of being involved in their theft, the incident led to his ruin.




On April 14th, 1921 while staying with his sister at Kilmorna House, just outside Listowel, Vicars was taken from the house, led to the end of the garden and shot by members of the IRA North Kerry Flying Column.




Based on his 2003 book ‘The Stealing of the Irish Crown Jewels: An Unsolved Crime’, this lecture by historian, author and broadcaster Myles Dungan recounts details of the audacious robbery and Vicar’s fall from grace as a result.




This is the first in a series of lectures organised by Kerry Writers' Museum as part of it's North Kerry War of Independence Centenary Commemoration Programme.  The lecture is kindly supported by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Art, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media for its generous support under the Decade of Centenaries Programme.






Patrolman Philip Fitzpatrick was born in Aughavas, Co. Leitrim in 1892, and emigrated to America in the early 1920s, settling like so many Irish men and Irish women in New York City. He joined New York's Finest in 1926 and became a Patrolman, assigned to Mounted Squad 1 in Manhattan.




Patrolman Fitzpatrick wrote the song, "Lovely Leitrim," in a loving tribute to his beloved home county. Popularized when it was recorded by Larry Cunningham, the song is still loved both in Ireland and the US.







Kerry's Downton Abbey: Pierce Mahony & the Kilmorna House Visitors Book


Kerry Writers' Museum


Charles Stewart Parnell, WB Yeats, Maud Gonne, as well as songwriter Percy French and Home Rule advocate John Redmond had one thing in common - they all stayed at Kilmorna House just outside Listowel in the later years of the 19th century. Their signatures appear with dozens of others in the Kilmorna visitors book which records their visits to the home of Pierce Mahony, nationalist MP and renowned philanthropist, horticulturalist and Irish chieftain. He was the half-brother of Sir Arthur Vicars, the former Ulster King of Arms and keeper of the Irish Crown Jewels, who was killed by the IRA on April 14th, 1921 at Kilmorna and the Great House burned to the ground.




In this lecture, historian Tom Dillon explores the history uncovered by the Kilmorna House visitors book and discusses how it gives an insight into life on the Kilmorna estate in the late 1800s, when it welcomed some of the most prominent political and cultural figures of the time.




This is the second lecture in the North Kerry War of Independence Centenary Commemoration series hosted by Kerry Writers' Museum and kindly supported by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Art, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media under the Decade of Centenaries Programme.






15 May 2021


ROSARY:  Fr. Kevin will pray the Rosary this Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 4pm on the Radio 99.9fm.  The Church will be open if anyone would like to come and pray. Fr. Kevin and a small group said the Rosary at Gortaglanna, memorial, on Wednesday last.


GORTAGLANNA: we remember Jerry Lyons, Patrick Dalton and Paddy Walsh who were killed by members of the RIC and Tan forces at Gortaglanna on the 12th May 1921, and also Con Dee who was wounded but escaped. Our 5th and 6th class students have been very busy researching the atrocity and have put together a short production for you to watch. They are accompanied by 3rd and 4th class for the famous ballad ‘The Valley of Knockanure’. See Facebook for more.








Kerry Writers' Museum- On May 12th 1921, a troop of Black and Tans were travelling out from Listowel towards Athea when they arrested four young unarmed men in Gortaglanna. They were brought to a nearby field to be executed, but one, Con Dee escaped. See site for more.







Con Colbert Remembered       By Tom Aherne




LIMERICK LOST a noble and brave son when Con Colbert, was executed in Kilmainham Jail for his part in the Easter Rising on May 8, 1916. Small in stature, and young in years, he was a giant in the fight for Irish freedom and paid the ultimate sacrifice. Con was born on October 19, 1888 at Moanlena, Castlemahon. He had twelve brothers, and sisters, and he was the fourth youngest. His father Michael who was a farmer, came from Athea, and his mother Nora Mc Dermott came from Cooraclare, in county Clare. Michael Colbert was a former rebel who had taken part in the Fenian uprising in 1867.




When Con was about three years old the family moved to Gale View House Templeathea, Athea, where he attended the local National School. He was taught the usual subjects reading, writing, maths, geography, grammar, and drawing. Con also attended Kilcolman National School for a while, staying with his relatives, the Colbert family in Balliston. He was very interested in local history the Irish language, and in national affairs, as a youngster growing up.




At the age of fifteen years, he went to live in Dublin with his sister, and he attended the Christian Brothers School’s at St Mary’s Place, and O’Connell’s. On leaving school, Con secured employment at Kennedy’s Bakery in Parnell Street, and remained there until 1916. He joined the Irish Republican Brotherhood, and he became very proficient in military drill. In 1909 he joined the Fianna Eireann, at the first meeting, and was soon putting his skill as a drill instructor, to good use by teaching the new recruits.




He gave the Fianna every moment of his time, and during his summer holidays, he would cycle from place to place, getting a few boys together to start a new branch. With his eagerness and youthful enthusiasm, he proved a most successful recruiting agent. Con joined the Irish Volunteers, on their foundation in 1913, and was one of their first drill instructors. He was quickly appointed Captain of F Company 4th Battalion-a rank he held until the Rising.




Despite his youthful age, he shortly became one of the inspirations of the new and vigorous resurgence movement and in due course, he was appointed to Volunteer Headquarter Staff. During the years which preceded the fateful Rising of 1916, Con devoted every moment of his spare time, to the work of organising the men, and boys, who were to participate in that historic event. Con wrote poems, as well and signed them with the pen name An Claidheamh (The Sword).




He spent every penny he had of his hard-earned money in the advancement of the movement, to which he had given everything but his soul. Padraig Pearse spoke lovingly of Con, and all the help he gave him as drill instructor at Pearse’s Scoil  Eanna. Con was offered a salary for his services but declined as he saw his work as being a contribution to the national cause. Con was not a big man being just over five feet tall.




Madge, a sister of his comrade-in-arms, Edward Daly from Limerick knew Con very well as he used to call to their house, coming from Dublin, on the way home to Athea. She recalled he was bright and cheerful and always in good humour. So spiritual was he, that he abstained from meat during the seven weeks of Lent, and he was always slipping away to say his prayers in some Dublin Church.




He would visit her uncle also, who was an old Fenian, like his own uncle, who was a member of the Fenian Brotherhood. They would discuss events until the small hours, and Con wrote him a short note before he was executed. Madge said he was highly thought of by all the leaders.




Tom Clarke held him in high esteem, Eamonn Ceannt, loved him and was forever singing his praises, Padraig Pearse, trusted him as a friend and comrade. Their last meeting was a week before the Easter Rising, when they shared tea, and a long chat in O’Connell Street, Dublin.




Con was calm and happy talking of the risks, as part of the day’s work, in the cause for which he lived.  He said that he believed they would all go down in the fight, but the sacrifice would be well worth it. He was in the highest spirits when he left Madge, glad of the opportunity to play his part in the struggle.




When the fighting broke out in 1916, Con had command of one of the outposts of the South Dublin Union at Watkins Brewery in Ardee Street. The number of men under his command was about twenty. After two days of fighting, he was ordered to move his men, to reinforce a large outpost at Marrowbone Lane. This garrison with the others under the command of Eamonn Ceannt and Cathal Brugha, won immortality both for bravery and strategy. They shattered and drove off large forces of experienced English troops, commanded by Sir Francis Vane.




The order to surrender came as a great blow to the men and Con, whose youth and subordinate command could have saved him. He stepped into the place, of an older man who had dependents and suffered in his place. After the surrender, the agents of Dublin Castle made sure that Con was singled out for execution. The reason for this special treatment can be found in his activities, as an organiser of the national movement prior to 1916.




Con did not send for any of his relatives to visit him in jail, as he felt that visit would grieve them too much. He wrote a number of letters to his brothers, and sisters, and relatives and friends. Writing to his sister on the eve of his execution he said: ‘’Perhaps I’d never get the chance of knowing when I was to die, and so I will try and die well. I received this morning and hope to do so again before I die. After asking his sister to have Masses said for him, he continued: ‘’May God help us-me to die well- you to bear your sorrow, I send you a prayer book as a token.




Today we remember Con on his 105th anniversary. I will continue his story in next week’s newsletter.










History Lectures ; Kerry Writers’ Museum in conjunction with Listowel and District Historical Society, presents a series of history lectures throughout the year.  Each lecture focuses on a particular aspect of local history or commemorates significant anniversaries in Irish and international history.






The months of April and May, 1921 saw a lot of bloodshed in the Parish of Moyvane-Knockanure.  This was, of course, during the Irish War of Independence.  On Thursday, April 7, Mick Galvin, an IRA volunteer, was killed by British forces during an ambush at Kilmorna in Knockanure.  On Thursday, April 14, 1921, Kilmorna House was raided by the local IRA.  Kilmorna house was burned and Sir Arthur Vicars was shot.  Then on May 12, Crown forces shot dead three unarmed members of the Flying Column, Paddy Dalton, Paddy Walsh and Jerry Lyons at Gortaglanna.  Their comrade and fellow member of the Column, Con Dee made a miraculous escape from the scene.  On Thursday May 26, Jack Sheehan was shot in Moinvionlach bog as he attempted to escape capture by the Crown forces.  To commemorate these events, the North Kerry Republican Soldiers Memorial Committee are asking that each household light a candle on Wednesday, May 12, the centenary of the Gortaglanna tragedy, at 9pm.  Fr. Kevin has very generously sponsored commemorative candles which can be collected by parishioners at all Masses this weekend.                                        


GABRIEL’S BOOK LAUNCH- Gabriel Fitzmaurice


With freedom now to gather, maintaining social distancing and wearing masks, Gabriel Fitzmaurice will launch his latest book – ‘Rhyming History:  The Irish War of Independence and the Ballads of Atrocity in the Valley of Knockanure’ in the Seanchaí, the Kerry Writer’s Museum on Saturday 15th May at 2pm.  Feel free to join this historic launch which commemorates the centenary of the very tragic and sad events in Knockanure which occurred one hundred years ago this month. 


STORYTELLING;  Kerry Writers’ Museum storytelling workshops take place on May 7th, 14th and 21st from 10 am to 12 noon.  Each workshop is a standalone event. This Bealtaine Hero event is organised in partnership with Age & Opportunity as part of the nationwide Bealtaine festival – celebrating the arts and creativity as we age. To register for the workshops email: kerrywritersmuseum@gmail.com.





Kerry's Downton Abbey: Pierce Mahony & the Kilmorna House Visitors Book




•Apr 18, 2021


Kerry Writers' Museum


130 subscribers


Charles Stewart Parnell, WB Yeats, Maud Gonne, as well as songwriter Percy French and Home Rule advocate John Redmond had one thing in common - they all stayed at Kilmorna House just outside Listowel in the later years of the 19th century. Their signatures appear with dozens of others in the Kilmorna visitors book which records their visits to the home of Pierce Mahony, nationalist MP and renowned philanthropist, horticulturalist and Irish chieftain. He was the half-brother of Sir Arthur Vicars, the former Ulster King of Arms and keeper of the Irish Crown Jewels, who was killed by the IRA on April 14th, 1921 at Kilmorna and the Great House burned to the ground.




In this lecture, historian Tom Dillon explores the history uncovered by the Kilmorna House visitors book and discusses how it gives an insight into life on the Kilmorna estate in the late 1800s, when it welcomed some of the most prominent political and cultural figures of the time.




This is the second lecture in the North Kerry War of Independence Centenary Commemoration series hosted by Kerry Writers' Museum and kindly supported by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Art, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media under the Decade of Centenaries Programme.








WHAT IT SAID IN THE PAPERS: How the Press reported on the War of Independence in North Kerry




Kerry has always been well served by its newspapers. There have been only short periods in the past 200 years when there was just a single provider of published news in the county. In the early twentieth century there were as many as 10 titles serving County Kerry. The War of Independence was a period when many of these were hard-pressed to survive, needing to walk a very thin line – if a paper was too republican in its editorial, it was prey to Auxiliary Police action; too establishment-leaning and it was liable to attack by republicans.




By the time the Truce was agreed in July 1921, just 1 title (The Kerry People) was still in publication.




This lecture by Michael Lynch, Archivist with Kerry Library, will examine the difficulties of reporting in wartime, and some of the reportage carried in the various Kerry titles during the War of Independence.






Apr 30, 2021 07:30 PM in Dublin


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The months of April and May, 1921 saw a lot of bloodshed in the parish of what is now Moyvane-Knockanure near Listowel in North Kerry. This was, of course, during the Irish War of Independence. On Thursday, 7 April, Mick Galvin, an IRA volunteer, was killed by British forces during an ambush at Kilmorna in Knockanure. The IRA had been lying in wait to ambush a group of British soldiers who were cycling to Listowel after a visit to Sir Arthur Vicars at Kilmorna House, his residence. Vicars had been Ulster King of Arms and custodian of the Irish Crown Jewels which were kept in Dublin Castle, the burglary of which in 1907, although Vicars was never seriously suspected of being involved in their theft, led to his ruin and, ultimately, to his death.




A Feature about Major General Sir Hugh Henry Tudor KCB, CMG (1871 -1965)


By Michael Boyle


General Hugh Henry Tudor: his friends would have called him Hugh or Hughie, never ever Henry. What happened to him after he left Ireland?




Hughie Tudor kept a low profile in the city, avoiding public events and for many years was looked after by an Irish Catholic housekeeper, Monica McCarthy. He rarely gave interviews but he did write a booklet Fog of War which he sent to Churchill. A local myth grew up around him (and in part was perpetuated by local author Paul O’Neill) suggesting that in the early 1950s members of the IRA came to Newfoundland to assassinate him. It is an interesting story, but according to my research lacks historical accuracy.




After his death, his military uniforms and medals mysteriously disappeared, resurfacing at a military auction house in England. Mr Gerry Burroughs, a collector in Belfast, acquired much of his military paraphernalia. Without so much secrecy and intrigue, a long life of service and exile, his unswerving loyalty to his Prime Minister was not returned.




Was Tudor the fall-guy for the shambles in Ireland? Some historians suggest that in other conflicts the British Army had the intelligence and knew the enemy. This was not the case in Ireland and the relatively new campaign of guerilla war by the IRA proved to be formidable. Nevertheless, it is indeed passing strange that a Hollywood producer has not brought the Tudor story to a larger audience.






A wreath laying ceremony was held on Monday evening, February 8th. 2021 at Knockalougha, Knocknagoshel where the body of Robert Browne was discovered by local people after being shot dead by crown forces on February 8th.1921.




By Éamonn Ó Braoin




In his book ‘Dying For The Cause’ Tim Horgan gives an account of Robert Browne’s life and his involvement in the war of Independence:




Robert (Bob) Browne was born in1894 at Beheenagh in the parish of Knocknagoshel.




His family later owned a shop at Clogher in Ballymacelligott. He was a member of the Irish Volunteer company in Ballymacelligott which was attached to the 2nd Battalion, Kerry No.2 Brigade.




A Shop in Ballymacelligott




Robert Browne had a shop in Ballymacelligott but the business and his home were burned by crown forces in response to his suspected Republican activities.




Subsequently he operated a shop at Feale’s Bridge near the family home at Knocknagoshel.




The shop was located at a junction where the main Castleisland to Abbeyfeale road meets the Listowel to Brosna road. It is now bypassed by the modern road.




Build-up of British Forces




In January 1921 a flying column composed of men from the Lixnaw and Listowel battalion was established under the command of Thomas Kennelly.




Kennelly was O/C of the 3rd. Battalion but had been active in the Duagh area before the flying column was established.




Being familiar with the area, he based the column in the town-land of Derk, a remote district in the Duagh parish.




However, in early February there was a build-up of British forces in Listowel town.




Safety of the Stack’s Mountains




In a local public house a conversation was overheard suggesting that the crown forces were planning to saturate the Duagh area in an attempt to annihilate the column.




On learning of this Bob McElligott, the O/C of the Listowel Battalion, sent Thomas Pelican with a warning to Kennelly.




Kennelly hurriedly evacuated his column and marched them south to the safety of the Stack’s Mountains.




Robert Browne was Taken Prisoner




The expected sweep by the British materialised but failed to capture the column which had retreated to the south of this desolate area.




On the day of the sweep of the Duagh district by the Auxiliaries, Robert Browne was taken prisoner as he walked along a road at Knockalougha, Duagh, where he had been ’on the run.’




He may have been attempting to join the column, which had been billeted nearby.




Shot Dead by the Auxies




His final hours are not recorded but he was shot dead by the Auxiliaries on February 8th 1921 and his body was left in an area known as Willie Walsh’s bog.




It was later found by local people and brought on a cart by Richard ‘Starry’ O’Shea to the Browne family home in Beheenagh.




Republican Plot in Knockane




This site in Knockalougha where the body was found was initially marked by a monument erected in July 1921 and a memorial plaque was unveiled there in 1997.




Volunteer Robert Browne was buried in the Republican Plot in Knockane Cemetery near Knocknagoshel.






Kerryman, Saturday, August 03, 1912; Page: 5




Mr. Fitzgerald proposed and Mr. Moran seconded the following resolution, which was passed unanimously in silence:— "That this Council, representing and voicing the sentiments of the people of Listowel, deeply sympathise with the widow and children of the late Mr. Patrick Kennelly, Knockanure, at the loss they have sustained by the death of a devoted husband and father. His death, mourned deeply by his immediate friends and neighbours, by whom he was dearly and highly esteemed, is equally regretted by the manhood of North Kerry, to whom he was well and favourably known—Firstly as an Irishman who paid the penalty of his strong nationalist convictions on the plank bed in the prison cell, when it took men of pluck and courage to withstand the rigours of the old Land League days under a despotic landlord administration—it is but natural that we should deplore the loss of such a true, genial, generous and kindly Irishman. He also gave two inspired daughters to the Presentation Convent, who are a credit to their parents and an ornament to the Order to which they belong, and we wish to convey to his dear widow our sincere condolence in her bereavement."




Book Ireland's Call is the story of 40 Irish sportsmen who died fighting in the Great War. They were the heroes of their day and they entertained crowds in stadia like Lansdowne Road, Croke Park and Dalymount Park, as well as in events like the Open Championship and the London Olympics.




As soldiers, they saw action in the horror of the Western Front and in the carnage of Mesopotamia.






Bertie O'Connor


t1Spa8onnshortedd  ·


Jack Dineen dancing the hornpipe at his home in Kilmore August 1949.His mother Johanna O’Connor Dineen my grand aunt seated on the left.Paddy Mc Carthy Ardagh;Johanna Dineen McCarthy;Bridge Hara O’Sullivan Kilmore; Pat Dineen ;Rev Batt Hayes Slievadara; Willie McCarthy Ardagh; Maureen O’ Connor Corridon New Jersey; Janey Dineen Kilmore &New York.








Kay Caball marked the Centenary of two famous Cow's lawn (Town Park) incidents, in a talk at the Seanchaí Listowel 22.4.2018. Excitement in Listowel as 1000 men with Hurleys , Gurtenard Gates Burst, Lawn - Ploughmen start. VIDEO Michael Guerin 22.4.2018






                                                             NOT A PRAYER IN SIGHT!


Am I the only one who was disappointed that the ‘Bloody Sunday’ tribute from Croke Park on Saturday 21st November, commemorating the 100th Anniversary of those who were killed – not one prayer was said!  I found that sad!  Even an “Eternal rest grant onto them” could have been uttered by a lay person, if the power that be, were uncomfortable with having a clergy man present.  


REMEMBRANCE MASS:  Our remembrance Mass was deeply appreciated by so many but especially by those living outside the Parish who were able to connect with us in prayer last Monday evening.  Sincere thanks to all who helped in making the celebration special. 




This article is based on the research and writings of Cora O’Connor, who is a great-great granddaughter of John O’Connor.




Click for Bureau Statements




Thanks to Denny McSweeney you can read witness statements on the John O’Connor murder from page five in the Bureau of Military History. 1913 – 1921 by witness John J. Walsh of Lyre, Farranfore. Please Click on the link below here:








Ashe was sent to Mountjoy where he was denied political status and to protest against this he went on hunger strike. He started his hunger strike on September 20th and on the fifth day warders entered his cell to take him away for a session of force feeding. An hour later they returned the bike loving Kerry man, unconscious. After a few more hours he was pronounced dead on the 25th of September 1917 at the age of 32.


A year after his death both the Hudson and Hazelwood were offered by the Ashe family as prizes in a raffle to raise funds for the construction of a memorial hall in Tralee. The tickets for the raffle cost a shilling each and the draw took place on St Patrick’s Day 1918. The first prize was the impressive Hazelwood with its wicker side car while the Hudson which saw action in 1916 was the second prize. The ticket also informed the prospective winner that the Hudson’s ‘magneto requires attention.’


The tickets were sold across Ireland and as far away as Britain and the US and the winning numbers were published in newspapers. Even though we do not know who won the bikes or what became of them afterwards, we do know that enough money was raised to build the Ashe Memorial Hall on Denny Street in Tralee.


Construction did not begin until 1924, there was the little matter of the War of Independence and a Civil War to get out of the way first. The building was finished in 1928 and it became home to the Kerry County Council for the next 60 years. These days the Ashe Memorial Hall is home to the Kerry County Museum and earlier this year it was rededicated to the Kerry patriot who died 100 years ago and whose love of biking indirectly resulted in the construction of the famous building on Tralee’s Denny Street.