Street names are wonderful caretakers of history, as shown in Michael O’Donohoe’s essay on Creamery Lane, published in a separate post.1
Barrack Street was of particular interest to Michael as number 11 was his family home.
The area takes its name from the military history of Castleisland. Michael published an essay on the subject in which he informed his readers that ‘no where have I come across the exact date of the building of the barracks’.2
In the 1930s, T M Donovan documented the changes:
Barrack Lane has felt the improving hand of time … When the old Yeomen Barracks, now undergoing extensive repairs, will be completed, and the Bridewell opposite, which at present is being pulled down, is turned into residences, the old Lane will again be restored to its pristine importance and no doubt will be advanced to the status of a street.3
Pound Road, named after the enclosure once located there, was in 1878 described as ‘decidedly the most unhealthy part of the town of Castleisland’ where sickness was ‘almost always present’:
It is made up of a lot of small houses, about fifty-seven in number and only a few of the cabins have a second room … the little houses are too small and confined for a single person to live in and yet there is no house without a family.
Barrack Street and Pound Road can be viewed on this map illustrating the town in lots. The street names have been marked in colour.4 Of interest is Rack Lane near the old courthouse, which may take its name from the 1798 period.
As well as the history thrown up by street names, Michael compiled, from census and other records, information on households including Barrack Street/Lane (IE MOD-87-87.1). Main Street (IE MOD-87-87.2), Pound Road (IE MOD-87-87.3) and Scannell’s Lane (IE MOD-87-87.4).
It is clear from this document – IE MOD-55-55.1-55.1.253 – that Michael worked hard to discern the history of Scannell’s Lane. It would seem to point in the direction of Jeremiah Scannell, one time proprietor of Scannell’s Hotel, Castleisland.5
In 1901 Scannell’s Lane had one stable, one cow house, four piggeries, two turf houses and a dye house.
As will become evident in the collection, hardly a brick or gatepost in the town escaped Michael’s attention.
1 IE MOD/26. 2 Essay, 'Barrack Lane' reference IE MOD/55/55.1/55.1.28. Michael moved to 25 Main Street in the late 1990s. Barrack Street was also the birthplace of Very Rev Cornelius D Buckley who ministered in Brooklyn, New York. He planned to retire to Castleisland in 1953, though it proved to be the year of his death. 3 A Popular History of East Kerry by T M Donovan, p193. Further reference IE MOD/63. Castleisland barracks, once located in Main Street, withstood several attempts to destroy it including one by gunpowder during the moonlighting period (1886) and another by armed civilians during the Civil War (1921). The following year, 1922, about 30 armed men entered the barracks and locked the police in a room taking arms, ammunition and explosives (in 1920, the barracks at Cordal and Scartaglen had been completely destroyed by fire). The barracks, later the quarters of the Garda Siochana – one time workplace of Michael's father Matt – was subjected to an arson attack in 2001 at which time the Garda vacated the building. A new Garda station on a new site on the Tralee Road opened in November 2011. The old barracks building remains. 4 Map held in IE MOD/32/32.1/32.1.4. 5 Also known as Castleview Hotel and Castle Hotel. Jeremiah's daughter Julia married Maurice M Hartnett who subsequently managed the premises. The census of 1911 records two children born to the couple, Jeremiah Hartnett aged 6 and Michael Joseph Hartnett aged 4. Julia died at Castleview Hotel on 5 December 1916.