Stinking Soup and Sausages: Life in a Kerry Seminary in the 1960s

Urinating in the priests’ milk jug in the early hours of the morning shows a certain level of bravado among the male boarders of St Andrew’s seminary, the subject of the short, succinct Sausages for Tuesday.  It also displays, however, an inordinate level of resentment.   Sausages for Tuesday, a book by Patrick Kennelly, schoolteacher…Continue Reading

The Family of James Barrett of Dromultan, Scartaglen, Co Kerry[1]

In the wake of the executions of Sylvester Poff and James Barrett in Tralee prison on 23 January 1883 following their conviction for the murder of Thomas Browne, the families of all involved were left to deal with their grief.   I never saw before such a saddening spectacle and trust I never shall again…Continue Reading

Cover-Ups and Confusion: John Twiss Brought up for Trial

I say this, the jurymen should not bring me in through the evidence of a child – John Twiss, Speech from the Dock James Donovan, an emergency-man living in Glenlara, near Newmarket, Co Cork, was bludgeoned to death in the early hours of 21st April 1894.  John Twiss of Castleisland and Eugene Keeffe of Glenlara…Continue Reading

‘Three Cheers for Castleisland’ – The Innocence of John Twiss

When John Twiss was arrested on 25 April 1894, within days of the brutal murder, at Glenlara, of caretaker James Donovan, he explained to officers that he and his sister Jane were financially dependent on the tolls of a local Kerry fair.[1]  The fair, he informed them, was imminent, and he asked if he could…Continue Reading

‘Where is Glenlara?’: John Twiss of Castleisland, from a Cork Perspective

‘The dogs in the street knew John Twiss was innocent’ As the descendants of John Twiss, and the Michael O’Donohoe Memorial Heritage Project, await the outcome of the application for the Presidential Pardon of Twiss, hanged in 1895 for a crime he maintained he did not commit, a space is given here to reflect on…Continue Reading

Edward Creighton: Leader of Men, Irish-American Hero

Creighton reached Salt Lake City with 25,000 telegraph poles standing behind him   Castleisland man Peter Browne is the current owner of the Telegraph Field at Foilhomurrum, Valencia Island, Co Kerry, from where in 1866 was established the first wholly successful telegraph link across the Atlantic.[1]   The O’Donohoe Archive, Castleisland, has met with another…Continue Reading

The Twiss Family of Ballahantouragh, Co Kerry

Has justice been done? Well, a day shall come When a different judge shall try … Ballahantouragh, a townland in Kerry, lies near the village of Scartaglen, a few miles outside Castleisland.[1]  John Twiss of Cordal, Castleisland, hanged in 1895 for the murder, in 1894, of James Donovan, was descended from a branch of Twiss…Continue Reading

Game of Stones: The Earls of Desmond and ‘The Rubbage’

In the closing quarter of the seventeenth century, a series of sketches was taken from two stones found in rubble in Tralee Abbey.  They were made between the years 1684 and about 1692 by Robert Downinge, Deputy to Sir Richard Carney.[1]  The curious illustrations were captioned by Mr Downinge:[2]   The above is found on…Continue Reading

The Celtic Cross, Kilbannivane: Its Symbolism and Meaning

Erin!  Beloved motherland! May Kerry’s dead inspire Our youth today to take its stand, Alert with olden fire. For Erin and her freedom too, All round from sea to sea, May all her children still be true, Like those of Oilean Chiarraighe.[1]   Insular art is an impressive and imposing feature of the Irish landscape,…Continue Reading

Oileán Chiarraighe – Castle of the Island: The Album

Castleisland contains a parish-church, the Roman Catholic chapel, a sessions- house, a prison, several schools, two inns, a dispensary, and an old castle – Parliamentary Gazetteer of Ireland, 1844-5[1] Castleisland’s post-classical history begins with the most significant ‘old castle’ – Castle of the Island – which gave the town of Castleisland its name.  It was…Continue Reading