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

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

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

Castleisland: Last Resting Place of Matchmaker, Dan Paddy Andy

In the days before Tinder or match.com, legendary matchmaker Dan Paddy Andy of Renagown had perfected the job of bringing people together in rural areas.  The late and great Listowel writer, John B Keane, whose book, Man of the Triple Name is a tribute to Dan Paddy Andy, suggested that Dan did more for his…Continue Reading

Charles Bianconi and the Yorkshire Calendar

Entrepreneur Charles Bianconi, founder of a public transport system in Ireland, leased land in Main Street, Castleisland in the nineteenth century.  The late Michael O’Donohoe researched Bianconi’s link to the town, as can be read on another page on this website.   Recently, the O’Donohoe archive was contacted by a lady from Wexford who had…Continue Reading

Castleisland and the patriotic Sullivan Brothers of Bantry

  “In his day he did something for Ireland.” – from My Ambition, A Young Man’s Song by T D Sullivan   On the morning of Friday 3rd April 1914, the remains of the great Irish patriot, Timothy Daniel Sullivan, were interred in Glasnevin Cemetery.1   Among the many expressions of sympathy, one described ‘T…Continue Reading

From Waterspouts to Moving Bogs: the weather in Kerry

Adverse or favourable, discussion about the elements is part of our daily lives.  Our literature abounds with tales about weather-related events and their effect on people and the environment.   In times gone by, before the improvement of roads and bridges, people in everyday situations were often caught out by freak weather conditions.  In Castleisland,…Continue Reading