Keeping up with the times: Carnegie Library and Hall, Castleisland

Castleisland’s cherished Carnegie Library reopened its doors in September 2017 as a modern, revamped, co-working office space.1     The building had been idle since the courthouse closed its doors in 2011, exactly one hundred years since Mr William Hugh O’Connor had thanked Mr Andrew Carnegie for his generosity in handing over £1,500 for the…Continue Reading

Castleisland Church and People by Fr Kieran O’Shea

Michael O’Donohoe made a study of Castleisland Church and People, a book (now rare) written by Fr Kieran O’Shea in 1981 (reprinted 1982).  Michael’s study resulted in a handwritten index to the work, transcribed below, of great use to those conducting research into the town of Castleisland and vicinity.     The book also contains…Continue Reading

Nineteenth Century Castleisland – the Heart of the Collection

Michael O’Donohoe’s detailed study of Timothy Charles Harrington’s nineteenth century newspaper, the Kerry Sentinel, might be described as the heart of the O’Donohoe Collection.1     It is, essentially, an A-Z of Castleisland-related people and subjects in the nineteenth century.2   The subjects, which run over many hundreds of pages, are varied and numerous.  By…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

Church of St Stephen and St John, Castleisland

The Michael O’Donohoe archive contains a study of Castleisland parish church, Church of St Stephen and St John.     In 1878, Most Rev Dr M’Carthy, Bishop of Kerry, spoke of the ‘great want’ of a parochial church in Castleisland during a visitation there.1   The church that then existed was described as ‘very seedy looking’…Continue Reading

Patrick O’Keeffe

The approaching annual autumnal Patrick O’Keeffe Festival in Castleisland provides opportunity to present material on this subject from the collection.   The foundation of the festival, now in its 23rd year, was sketched by John Reidy:   Noted piper, Peter Browne arrived in Castleisland late in 1992 and began researching the life and times of O’Keeffe for RTE…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

Michael O’Donohoe, ‘The Master’

The month of September recalls the birth of the late Michael O’Donohoe, creator of this collection,  who would have this year – on the 26th of the month – celebrated his 80th birthday.1     Michael was born in Tralee in 1936, the eldest of three children of Matthias O’Donohoe (1898-1995) and his wife Catherine…Continue Reading

Boys’ National School Castleisland

Michael O’Donohoe’s transcription of the roll book of Castleisland Boys’ National School contains his own enrolment there in 1945:   This followed the appointment of his father Matt, a garda based in Farranfore, to the station in Castleisland.  From this time on, the town was home to the O’Donohoe family.   The roll book, which consists…Continue Reading

Castleisland Charter school

The O’Donohoe Collection contains a number of articles and references to the Castleisland Charter School which operated in the town for about forty years in the closing decades of the eighteenth century.   The material includes Michael O’Donohoe’s summary of the school from its opening on 2 May 1763 until its suppression in 1802.1  …Continue Reading