GAA in Castleisland

Energetic efforts are now being made to reorganise the erstwhile famous Castleisland Desmond 
Football Club ... some few years ago it was a household word in almost every district in Kerry

Kerry Weekly Reporter, 9 May 1903


An essay following the history of the GAA in the Castleisland district from 1878 to 1892 is included in the collection.  It begins: ‘On October 1, 1878, an Act came into force which had a profound effect on urban and rural Ireland.  It was the Sunday Closing Act’:


One of the many pleasing features that Sunday closing conferred on us is the revival of rural sports and manly exercises.  … football playing is one of the most popular as well as the most ancient of our national games.1


Desmonds field layout from Memories in White and Blue


The essay, which runs to 29 pages, was researched by Michael O’Donohoe in the Kerry Sentinel newspaper.2  Material includes notes on Fenian Robert (Bob) Finn (1860-1935), ‘the original Captain Moonlighter’.3


For further reference to local team, the Castleisland Desmonds, see Castleisland Desmonds GAA Club Memories in White and Blue, published in 1983 to commemorate the re-opening of the sports-field and club-room.4


Memories in White and Blue includes contributions by Con Houlihan & Fr Kieran O’Shea


1 Series reference IE MOD/29.  A transcription is being prepared.
2 'My main source of information is the Kerry Sentinel'.  Michael provided a sketch of the publication: 'Founded c1878, it was an extremely nationalist paper.  Its first editor was Timothy Harrington who later became MP for Westmeath.  His attitude was publish and be damned!  His activities led to many court appearances.  He always defended himself – not always successfully and he served at least two terms in Galway jail.  He was succeeded as editor by his brother, Edward, who was equally rabid.  He too became an MP and he also served time in jail'.
3 Further reference, IE MOD/26 (Moonlighters).
4 Edited by Eamon O'Sullivan and published by the Castleisland Desmonds GAA Club. See also Golden Jubilee Banquet to Celebrate Castleisland (1950 County Champions), a 14pg A5 booklet published in 2000 (copy of both items held in IE MOD/A4).