The Poff Family of County Kerry

Sylvester Poff of Mountnicholas was hanged in Tralee prison, alongside his cousin, James Barrett of Dromultan, on 23 January 1883.  They had been convicted of the murder of Thomas Browne of Dromultan.   James Barrett was unmarried.  Sylvester Poff had been married for eight years to Anne Sugrue, and was a father to Mary, Hannah,…Continue Reading

Portraits of Irish Nationalists by Sir Sydney Prior Hall

Sixty-five portraits of Irish Members of Parliament from twenty-one counties of Ireland appear in the O’Donohoe Archive.[1]  They were drawn in 1888 by artist Sydney Prior Hall during the Special Commission.[2]   Hall, like his colleague William Henry Pike (1850-1908), worked as an artist for the Graphic newspaper.     Hall’s portraits of Irish nationalists…Continue Reading

Dancing with History: Carriganedy Castle, otherwise Hyde Castle (Castle Hyde), Fermoy, Co Cork[1]

A series of dances was held in Fermoy, Co Cork, in August 1847 ‘to cheer every heart so long clouded by the distress and gloom now rapidly passing away,’ an account of which is held in the Castleisland O’Donohoe Collection.[2]   None of the dances, however, surpassed the fete champetre in the grounds of Carriganedy…Continue Reading

Countdown: Political Endeavours to Save John Twiss

The right honourable Gentleman’s reply will not be received with satisfaction – William Hoey Kearney Redmond, MP, to John Morley, Chief Secretary for Ireland   As the application for the Presidential Pardon of John Twiss of Castleisland awaits outcome, the O’Donohoe Archive here gives space, in January 2020, to the political efforts made to save…Continue Reading

A Sketch of Molahiffe Castle and the Manor of Molahiffe

In the grounds of Castle Farm (in the townland of the same name) stand the ruins of Molahiffe Castle.[1]  It was built in 1214 by the son of Maurice Fitzgerald.[2]     Nearby is the ancient site of Old Court of which Lewis, in 1837, stated that ‘no particulars are recorded.’[3]  O’Donovan added little more…Continue Reading

Fifty-two Degrees North: Calculating Castleisland’s Place in Longitude History

Longitude: the angular distance of a place east or west of the Greenwich meridian, or west of the standard meridian of a celestial object, usually expressed in degrees and minutes   Those who avoid the subject of maths might find the above definition of longitude explanation enough when it comes to global measurement.  Those who…Continue Reading

Foilhomurrum: Its Position in History

Foilhamurum is such a stumbling block in its etymological arrangement that it may be better adopt some other name like Valencia Cable Creek – Tralee Chronicle, 17 July 1866 Foilhomurrum Bay was catapulted onto the world stage in 1866 when it became the site of the first successful telegraph cable link with Newfoundland in Canada.…Continue Reading

Glory to God: Castleisland’s Link to the Atlantic Telegraph

On the nerve of this telegraph wire Be – Nothing of science, or profit and loss; But, flashing electrical deeper and higher, World, let the first heart-stirring message across – Be ‘Glory to God in the Highest!’ From The First Message for the Atlantic Telegraph Written at Albury, Guildford, 27 July 1857 by Martin Farquhar…Continue Reading

Remarks on the Literature of T M Donovan, Castleisland

T M Donovan, Castleisland’s prolific author of the early twentieth century, published his first book, A Popular History of East Kerry in 1931.  The Two Mothers appeared in 1933.[1]   In the intervening year, God’s Glorious Universe was published.  It first appeared as a series of articles in the Kerryman from about March to May…Continue Reading