Poff and Barrett: The Truth Will Out

And lo! As he spoke, there beside him, some shadowy beings appeared, And his heart’s blood grew cold as he saw them, though he scarce would confess what he feared. Then summoning courage, ‘Who are ye?’ he asked, in a quivering voice, And sternly one shadow made answer, ‘Behold me, your victim, Myles Joyce, Hither…Continue Reading

Poff and Barrett: The Case against John Dunleavy

‘The smallest thing in the world would hang us’ – Sylvester Poff to James Barrett Sylvester Poff and James Barrett, hanged on 23 January 1883 for the murder of Thomas Browne on 3 October 1882, maintained their innocence to the end, and declared that they did not know who murdered Thomas Browne.   They did,…Continue Reading

Remember Poff and Barrett

Mountnicholas – the former homeland of Sylvester Poff – and its surrounding townlands suffered their share of eviction, violence and grief during the land struggles of the 1880s.  The rents on the farms made vacant were ‘in every case double the government valuation, in many instances nearly treble.’1   On 3 April 1881, Sylvester Poff’s…Continue Reading

The Two Mothers: A Portrait of Castleisland in the 1930s

The Two Mothers by Castleisland author, T M Donovan, was published in 1933.  The book, described as ‘a realistic story of rural life in Ireland, of typical Irish homes and families, of honest work and earnest striving,’ is rare.     The story is set in ‘Inishciar’ (Castleisland) in the period before and during the…Continue Reading

The Kilfallinga Outrage

In January 1885, a correspondent of the Kerry Sentinel brought to the attention of the public the actions of the RIC in Kilfallinga, near Currans.  A public meeting had been called for the purpose of establishing a branch of the Irish National League.  However, on the evening before the proposed meeting, the Lord Lieutenant proclaimed…Continue Reading

County Kerry’s Contribution to Lexicography

As a school principal and a local history researcher, Michael O’Donohoe made good use of the dictionary.  Indeed, the collection includes a copy of his own 1977 edition of Foclóir, on the cover page of which is proudly written, Micheál S O Donnchadha.1   Michael’s research papers reveal that he made frequent reference to Rev…Continue Reading

Charles Patrick O’Conor: The Irish Peasant Poet

A curious poem entitled ‘God Save The Queen’ by ‘The Irish Peasant Poet’ appears among the O’Donohoe papers.1  It was published in 1886 and inscribed to William John Evelyn, MP for Deptford, London:   Here’s the Queen, boys, God bless her! Ah!  Long may she reign O’er hearts that for England Must conquer again! Aye…Continue Reading

Bob Finn: Captain of the Castleisland Moonlighters

Every fool can be a patriot … every blackguard can sing a national hymn and wave a flag.  But it takes a man to live a life of devotion and sacrifice for his country.1 Robert – ‘Bob’ – Finn was born in Castlegregory in 1860, son of William Finn and Sara Casey.  The family moved…Continue Reading

Thomas Moore: A Discourse on his Paternal Ancestry

Kerry historian Jeremiah King described how, after the subjugation of Leix by the English, Sir Arthur Chichester transplanted some of the O’Moore family into Kerry in 1608, ‘lest the White Moors should be extirpated.’1    In the following century in the county Kerry, one John Moore was born, father of Thomas, Ireland’s nineteenth century bard.…Continue Reading

The Lost Castles of the McElligotts

In earlier times, the McElligotts held an impressive number of castles in the parish which takes their family name:   Bally Mac Elligot distant to the east from Tralee about three miles, has in it the ruins of some considerable castles but it is chiefly remarkable for its name, which it takes from the Mac…Continue Reading