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

The Eagar Family of Kerry: A Penny’s Worth of History

Russell Walker, a postal history collector in Glasgow, recently acquired a document relating to journalist and founder of The Tralee Chronicle, James Raymond Eagar Esq of Tralee. The document, with stamped addressed envelope, related to a life insurance sought by Eagar from the Albion Life Insurance Company, London.   In this document, dated 9 November…Continue Reading

‘Why Make a Long Story of it?’  The Publisher’s Writer’s Tale

‘A pilgrim in whose heart God had set eternity’[1]   Frederick Joseph Harvey Darton was born on 22 September 1878, eldest son of Joseph William Darton (1844-1916) of ‘Lacklands,’ Beckenham, Kent.[2]  He was educated at Sutton Valence Grammar School, Kent, Dover College and St John’s College, Oxford.  While at St John’s, he joined reading parties…Continue Reading

W B Yeats and the Story of a Castleisland Curate

In 1892, a correspondent of The Academy, writing under the concealed identity, ‘A Lover of Originality,’ complained that the newly published Book of the Rhymers’ Club contained a plagiarism.  The offending composition was ‘The Ballad of Father Gilligan’ by W B Yeats:   Will you allow me to point out what appears to me a…Continue Reading

A Short Tribute to Her late Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II

Today, 19 September 2022, the UK more or less shut down to give its monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, a Funeral of Funerals.  The occasion was remarked on as ‘a brilliant blend of ancient and modern,’ and ‘an embodiment of greatness.’     It was a spectacle most fitting for a strong and tolerant woman who…Continue Reading

Fr Michael Leahy’s Tops of the Town, Castleisland

Fr Michael Leahy was appointed curate to the parish of Castleisland by Bishop Eamonn Casey in January 1971 where he served for four years.  He set about forming the Castleisland Youth Club, and a committee to build a Community Centre in the town.   He is particularly remembered today for his role in organising the…Continue Reading

Poff and Barrett, and the ‘Gallows Government’ of Lord Spencer

Shortly before the December 1882 trials of Sylvester Poff and James Barrett, Earl Spencer, the newly appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, acquired another ‘title’ – The Gallows Earl.   It seems to have been ‘created’ soon after his official entry into Dublin on 6 May 1882 – evidently in the wake of the hanging, in September…Continue Reading

‘This is it, chaps’: A Kerry Tribute to Paddy Finucane

He was one of the greatest heroes to ever come out of Ireland[1]   This year (2022) marks the 80th anniversary of the death of Irish Second World War RAF hero Brendan Eamonn Fergus Finucane, DFC, DSO, otherwise ‘Paddy’ Finucane.  The Dubliner, son of Thomas Andrew and Florence Louise Finucane, shot down thirty-two enemy planes…Continue Reading

Listen Unto Me: The Trials of Sylvester Poff and James Barrett, in Word and Song

Sylvester Poff and James Barrett were tried twice at the Munster Winter Assizes of 1882 for the murder of Thomas Browne of Dromultan.  At the end of the first trial, which took place on 14 and 15 December, it was shown that there was ‘not the slightest chance’ on the jury agreeing.  The following week,…Continue Reading