St Brigid, ‘The Prophesied Woman of Christ’

She was a consecrated vessel for keeping Christ’s Body … She it is that helpeth every one who is in straits and in danger   Monday 6 February 2023 marks the first public holiday in Ireland in celebration of St Brigid, patron saint of poets and midwives.  In 1877, Whitley Stokes, scholar and descendant of…Continue Reading

A Camera for a Brush: Portrait of Adolf Morath, 20th Century Celebrity Photographer

‘A death-blow to the stage-Irish Tradition’   Adolf Morath, whose publications include Portrait of Ireland (1951) dedicated ‘to Irish Men and Women all over the world,’ was an acclaimed international photographer.[1]  He visited Ireland in 1946 and 1947, and was in Killarney in 1948 professionally to photograph Kerry life, ‘leaving out the usual pig and…Continue Reading

The Murder of Arthur Edward Herbert

Arthur Edward Herbert (1830-1882), magistrate and land agent, was shot dead in broad daylight at Lisheenbawn Cross  as he walked from Castleisland to his home at Killeentierna House near Currow on 30 March 1882.  Nobody was brought to justice for the killing.   A murder enquiry was set up and two rewards offered, one of…Continue Reading

Bales and Butter: Early Creameries in Castleisland

‘You want the delicate touch of an artist for successful butter making’   Watson’s Creamery, Castleisland, once occupied a site in Old Chapel Lane.  The company was established in Tralee in 1885 though initially with some difficulty:[1]   There is a factory worked at Middleton [Midleton], County Cork, and one at Hospital, County Limerick, where…Continue Reading

Encore!  Step forward Patrick Daniel Reidy, Castleisland’s Lord of the Dance

Music, like the wind, travels – and so it is no surprise to find the repertoire of Castleisland born Patrick Daniel Reidy, Irish dancer and Professor of Dance, in the University of Notre Dame, Indiana.  The manuscript is a musical treasure, containing thirty-seven dance scores from Irish musicians who long put down their instruments.[1]  …Continue Reading

‘Kiss me, my little wife’: Parnell recalled in Knockbrack School Records[1]

In March 1887, contractors were sought by Rev T Moriarty, parish priest of Brosna, for a national school house at Knockbrack, located between Feale’s Bridge and Headley’s Bridge in Co Kerry.  Up until then, the school was conducted in a dwelling house, as shown in the records of the Tralee Board of Guardians of May…Continue Reading

The People’s Priest: Rev William Casey of Abbeyfeale

Castleisland District Heritage holds a copy of James D Harnett’s A Sketch of the Life of Rev Wm Casey, PP, of Abbeyfeale published in 1908, soon after Rev Casey’s death.[1]  The beloved Rev Casey died on 29 December 1907 aged sixty-three, and a measure of his popularity might be taken from the 12,000 people –…Continue Reading

Three Wasps and A Skylark: Return of the Nature Poets

They love each other’s company, whatever place they meet, Though captive in the glass, the three, each knew their life was sweet. – from The Three Wasps, unpublished poetry of M J Reidy   In an age dominated by technology, with so many – including toddlers and children – perched unnaturally immobile in front of…Continue Reading

American Legacy: The Last Will of Mary Frances White

“The whole parish of Cordal was related to Mary Frances White” – Pat Jo McAuliffe, Cordal native, 8 August 2022   In 1939, news of the last will of Mary Frances White caused a sensation in the Castleisland district.  More than eighty years on, the story was almost lost to posterity until a flash of…Continue Reading