Evictions in Castleisland

Material relating to nineteenth century eviction in Kerry forms a large part of the O’Donohoe archive.  Much of it relates to the period of the Irish National Land League, gathered during Michael’s study of the Kerry Sentinel newspaper.   One document, entitled simply Evictions, reads like a roll call of the period 1878 to 1887,…Continue Reading

Directory of Castleisland

Michael O’Donohoe created his own nineteenth century directory of Castleisland to form an image of the town in commercial and residential context.1   His 27-pg handwritten directory, which covers the period 1846 to 1917, was formed from existing sources including Slater’s, Guy’s, Kelly’s and Macdonald’s Irish Directory and Gazetteer of 1917.   Michael arranged the…Continue Reading

Castleisland Schools: Presentation Convent Girls

‘They shall shine like stars for all eternity in the Kingdom of His saints’ – Very Rev Monsignor Tobias Kirby, Rector of the Irish College, Rome, congratulating the Presentation nuns on founding a convent at Lixnaw in 1877   A 102-pg registration book for Castleisland Convent School Girls dating from the 1860s to 1947 forms…Continue Reading


Céad slán chun na hÉireann, ‘si mo léan í go dubhach, Is chun Caisleáin Ghriaghaire, ní him aonar bheinn annsúd; Is mó óigbhean mhilis mhaorga do shilfeadh braon ós mo chionn ‘Gus nár ró-bhreagh an bás é seachas é dh’fhagháil i mBellvue.   Céad slán chun na hÉireann was composed in the nineteenth century by…Continue Reading

Castleisland Church of Ireland

Church history forms part of the O’Donohoe archive and includes Michael’s impressive 39-pg study of the Church of Ireland in Castleisland.  It commences with the division of land following the death of Gerald, 16th Earl of Desmond, in 1583:1   From 1587c onwards, the seigniory of Castleisland was owned by the Herbert family, apart from…Continue Reading

Charles Bianconi

‘At school Bianconi was noted as a stupid dunce’ – Obituary to Bianconi, ‘the great pioneer of passenger traffic in Ireland’1   Michael O’Donohoe’s attention was drawn by Italian born Charles Bianconi’s lease of land at Main Street, Castleisland.   Bianconi (1786-1875), founder of a public transport system in Ireland in the early nineteenth century,…Continue Reading

Visitors’ Comments on Castleisland

One of the earliest descriptions of Castleisland was given by Gerald, fourth Earl of Desmond who almost sang it as ‘the sweetest island of Kerry’. A more contemporary description came from the pen of Castleisland’s Con Houlihan, ‘Not so much a town as a street between two fields’.     Michael O’Donohoe was interested in…Continue Reading

Castleisland Workhouse 1849-1852

Michael O’Donohoe’s research material relating to Castleisland Auxiliary Workhouse reveals he tried to source records of those who were confined to the institution during its brief existence in the post-famine period, 1849-1853.     An idea of the appalling conditions in the country at this time can be discerned from Dr George Alfred Walker’s Lecture…Continue Reading

Castleisland Railway

As Michael O’Donohoe understood well, railways hold a wealth of history.  His research papers include notes plotting the history of the Castleisland line from the incorporation of the Castleisland Railway Company in 1872 to the opening of the line in 1875, its suspension in 1947 and absolute closure in 1975.     Another document records the…Continue Reading

Castleisland streets, lanes and houses

Castleisland was central to Michael O’Donohoe’s historical research. He studied the buildings in the town and vicinity and compiled notes about businesses and proprietors from Griffith’s Valuation and other sources.   Michael’s study included Barrack Street/Lane, Limerick New Road, Spout Lane, Main Street, Church Lane, Tralee Road, Chapel Lane/Street/Quarter, New Line and Pound Lane.    …Continue Reading