Romantic Hidden Kerry

Michael O’Donohoe studied T F O’Sullivan’s Romantic Hidden Kerry (1931), a rare find on the second-hand bookshelves today, and wrote his own useful index to its content. In this document are entries such as Ginkle besieging Limerick in 1691, and Capt John Zouche at Dun an Oir in 1580.


The collection also contains a small number of photocopies from Romantic Hidden Kerry which are marked with Michael’s detailed referencing.


romantic hidden kerry


The author of the book, Thomas Francis O’Sullivan was born in Glin, Co Limerick in December 1874.


Shannon and Hip Hall 24 June 2012 (4)
The Shannon 


Treaty negotiations

He was educated in Listowel and began his career as a journalist working for The Kerryman.  In 1907 he joined the staff on the Freeman’s Journal and was that paper’s London correspondent 1916-1924:


He actually covered the Treaty negotiations.  He joined The Irish Press after it was established in 1931.  He left the staff in 1937 and from then until his death in November 1950 he did freelance newspaper work and spent a lot of his time doing research work in the National Library.1


O’Sullivan was chairman of the Munster Council from 1903 to 1906 and was a member of the Central Council.  He was also involved in the ’98 Memorial Committee in Tralee and spoke at ceremonies commemorating the Manchester Martyrs.


Manchester Martyrs (18)
Memorial to the Manchester Martrys at Rath cemetery, Tralee.  The Diary of Robert O’Kelly contains the history of this structure



Story of the GAA


O’Sullivan also wrote the Story of the GAA with Portraits (1916) evidently the first history of the association in which he was described as ‘Ex-Trustee and Vice-President of the Association, Ex-President Munster Council, Ex-Hon Sec Kerry County Board and Ex-Capt and Sec Listowel F.C.’


Story GAA edit


Another work, Irish Footprints in the Temple, was delivered as a lecture in the Carnegie Library, Listowel in 1917 during the course of which O’Sullivan revealed the following:


Since October last it has been my lot to reside almost permanently in London.  During that period my work was entirely in the English House of Commons … I commenced a series of investigations into the Irish historical associations of the city … I first reverently turned my footsteps to the Temple with which the names of so many distinguished Irishmen have been identified for almost four centuries and my address tonight is the result of numerous visits to those historic buildings.2


Irish Footprints


O’Sullivan commenced his lecture with the history of the foundation of the Knights Templar in London and in Ireland, and opened with lines from J[ohn] F[rancis] O’Donnell’s poem, ‘Goldsmith’s Grave’:


 I love this quiet Temple nook,
 This ancient haunt of wren and rook,
 Thick writ with legends like a book.

 Dark-circled in the town it lies,
 Above it loom the misty skies,
 Outside the songs of commerce rise.

 Ten paces from the battling street
 Lurks the old-fashioned, quaint retreat,
 A land of murmurs loud and sweet.

 Afar the yellow river gleams,
 Within there is a sound of streams,
 An island lulled in dreams it seems.

 There, open to the sun and rain,
 There, alien unto tears and pain,
 There, whilst the seasons wax or wane,

 Rich-hearted Goldsmith takes his rest,
 Earth's silent, unobtrusive guest,
 Between the sunrise and the West.3


‘What a litany of great names come almost unbidden to the lips of the student’ he mused:


Oliver Goldsmith, Edmund Burke, William Molyneux, Theobald Wolfe Tone … what mingled feelings of pride and sorrow and shame do these names evoke.  Surely there are some of them that Ireland would never willingly let die? 4


22 road trip to cork (57)
Statue of Wolfe Tone at Bantry


Thomas Francis O’Sullivan died on 14 November 1950.  The following was recorded in the Irish Press, 17 November 1950:


The remains of Mr Thomas F O’Sullivan, the journalist and author, were removed from Miss O’Donel’s Nursing Home to the Franciscan Church, Merchants’ Quay, Dublin last night.  Chief mourners: Mrs Mary A Powell, Tralee (sister); Michael, Eugene, Dr George and Thomas Powell and J J O’Sullivan, Manchester (nephews); Mrs M K O’Sullivan, Listowel (niece) and Mr Liam Skinner, Irish Press (cousin).  The funeral takes places this morning from the Franciscan Church, Merchants’ Quay after 9 o’c Mass arriving at Listowel at 7pm and Tralee at 8pm.  The funeral will take place tomorrow to Rath Cemetery after 10 o’c Mass at St John’s Church, Tralee.



1 The Kerryman, 30 October 1981.  He was also chairman of the Press Gallery. His brother John Francis O'Sullivan was also a journalist.
2 Published in 1918; a copy of Irish Footprints in the Temple held in IE MOD/A23. Other works include The Young Irelanders with plates including Portraits (1944) and Fenian Memories by Mark Francis Ryan edited with an introduction by T F O'Sullivan (1945).  Further reference see entry in Dictionary of Irish Biography.  See also 'Gleanings on T. F. O'Sullivan's Romantic Hidden Kerry' in The Catholic Bulletin, Vol XXII, October 1932, pp777-8.
3 Verse in full in Penny Readings for The Irish People, Vol IV, Dublin 1885, pp261-264.  Print of same in IE MOD/A23.
4 He also named Henry Grattan 'and his great rival, Henry Flood', John Philpot Curran, Thomas Moore, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Lord Chief Justice Whiteside, Lord Cloncurry, Lord Cairns, Robert Nugent afterwards Earl of Clare; A M Sullivan, Lord Charles Russell 'to mention only a few of the more notable men of Irish birth who have been associated with the famous buildings'.  Full report, The Kerryman, 13 October 1917;  print of same in IE MOD/A23.