Mass on the Mountain: Plight of the Kerry Clergy in Penal Times

It is difficult today to imagine how life must have been for the religious in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries during Penal oppression.  Glimpses are given in notices from the times, this one from 1650:   All the Papists are to be turned out of the city; and from the Jesuits, priests, friars, monks, and…Continue Reading

‘Father Arthur – the True and Tried Champion of the People’[1]

In 1885, the inhabitants of Listowel presented an Illuminated Address to their parish priest, Rev Arthur William Murphy, on his transfer to the parish of Prior.  Rev Murphy, later Canon Murphy, had formerly served the parish of Castleisland and later, as Parish Priest of Brosna, assumed – together with Rev William Casey of Abbeyfeale –…Continue Reading

Crown on Shepherds’ Pie: A bit of lightheartedness from the King’s Cousin

Mope is an anagram of Poem, and often is moping found in poetry as writers drench their verse with troubles and tears.  Not so with Peter Howarth, the Castleisland poet who claims to be an untitled cousin-of-sorts to King Charles III of England.  His verse is laced with subtle humour, as this seasonal stanza from…Continue Reading

Bricks and Breeding: A Sketch of Ballymacadam House, Castleisland

Ballymacadam House belongs to the eighteenth century, described as the mansion house of the Marshall Estate ‘built and inhabited by the celebrated Ralf Marshal.’  In 1799, Ralph Marshall of Ballymacadam, known also as Don Radolph Marshall, married into the Markham family of Callinafercy, Milltown, Co Kerry where he took up residence soon after his marriage.…Continue Reading

Calling California: Castleisland Reaches Out to Donovan Descendants

Castleisland historian T M Donovan had much to say about his home town, and his Popular History of East Kerry remains a valuable resource for researchers of Castleisland in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.   His name appeared frequently in the columns of the local press on all matters of history but he was also…Continue Reading

Topographical Survey of Castleisland in 1942

In 1942, John J Quinlan carried out a number of topographical surveys in Kerry for the Irish Tourist Association.[1]  It included topography, geology, historic houses, churches, holy wells, mass rocks and burial places, spas and mineral springs, customs and patterns.[2]   The survey, a very useful source for the social historian, included pastimes like angling…Continue Reading

Buried in Oblivion: ‘Unknown Scholars’ from Castleisland 

In 1935, a youthful John Francis (‘Jack’) MacMahon (1908-1963), son of Patrick MacMahon and Kilkenny-born school teacher Joanna (née Caughlin) MacMahon, and brother of playwright Bryan MacMahon (1909-1998), sought information from the public about old Gaelic poets from Kerry.[1]   He explained that he had been studying and annotating poetry of 18th and 19th century…Continue Reading

Patrick Buckley, Castleisland: Setting the Genealogy Record Straight

Castleisland District Heritage has recently acquired a number of articles published in the Garda Review relating to the family of Patrick Buckley, a victim of the Ballyseedy Massacre of 1923, and his wife Delia.[1]  This donation coincided with a query from a family in the UK about Buckley ancestry, notably Mary Julia Buckley, daughter of…Continue Reading

Castleisland Co-Op Mart 1957 to 2023

Castleisland Mart stands within a stone’s throw of the offices of Castleisland District Heritage.  John Roche, Chairman of Castleisland District Heritage, is one of its founding members and has been asked to place on record a sketch of its formation.     Only those of us 75 and over have a memory of rural Ireland…Continue Reading