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

The Market House, Castleisland, and its Associations

A plaque on the Market House in Castleisland is inscribed: Built 1747 / Rebuilt 1825 / Reconstructed by J K O’Connor Esq JP 1914.  The considerable history of this building is rooted in the Earl of Desmond’s lands, the confiscation and subsequent division of which was known, in feudal terms, as the Seigniory of Castleisland.[1]…Continue Reading

The Legacy of Baron de Monte Marisco, Lord of Castle Island

Kerry historian, Mary Agnes Hickson wrote a short account of Castleisland from the foundation of its castle in 1215 until ‘the present day,’ which at the time of her writing was 1872.  The town was then described as ‘one of the most prosperous and peaceful districts in the south-west of Ireland.’[1]  In less than a…Continue Reading