‘It is not our intention to bore you’: Some Recent Additions to Castleisland District Heritage

Scartaglin Parish News


Scartaglin Parish News for the years 1977-1981 have been added to the archive of Castleisland District Heritage.  The first carries a foreword by Fr John J Scanlan, CC, Scartaglin:


It is the first time in the history of Scartaglin that a newssheet has been issued locally.  Those who scripted it are to be commended for their initiative and perseverance.


An article, ‘Scartaglin Yesterday and Today,’ informs the reader:


It is not our intention in this our first newsletter to bore you with the history of our parish, much of which you probably know already anyway.  However, we do feel that a few lines can be devoted to Scartaglin as it appeared well over a hundred years ago.


The first issue established a format with items genealogical, poetic and social.  For example in this issue space is given to Macra Na Feirme, Scartaglin Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann, Scartaglin GAA, schools (Scartaglin, Knockeenahone), Scartaglin United Soccer Club, Pioneer Total Abstinence Association, the Jerry O’Leary Memorial and the Scartaglin Reunion in London.  The demolition of the Scartaglin Barracks was news in 1977:


This year one of the old landmarks of the village – the Barracks – was demolished.  This barrack was brought from Dublin where it had been a military barrack and erected in October 1925.  It was built of pine timber and sheet iron, and stood on the same spot until this year.  One of the sergeants to serve there was a Sergeant Duff.  Mrs Maurice Leen worked there for a large number of years.  In 1932, the late Maurice Kerin came into possession of the building, and lived there until his death in 1953.  After that his widow, Mrs Kerin, continued to live there until her death.


A five-stanza ballad, ‘The Roving Fiddler’ by J Galvin gave tribute to Padraig O’Keeffe.  It was sung by Richard Prendergast, Castlemaine and won first prize at the first All-Ireland Open Ballad Contest held during Writers’ Week in 1977.


Contributors were named in each issue, those in the first were Fr Scanlan, Joan Brosnan, Mike Cremin, Michael Daly, Sheila Daly, Jerome Driscoll, John Galvin, Michael Horan, John Kerins, Dermot O’Leary, Michael Murphy, John Reidy, John Spillane.  The price was 30p.


It certainly didn’t bore, for another issue appeared in December 1978.  In this production its chief editor was identified as John Galvin, Adriville.  Fr John J Scanlon, CC, remarked on the foundation work underway on the new school there and articles included one about Kilsarcon Graveyard and additional facts on the Scartaglin Garda Station.  Kerry’s All Ireland Winning Teams 1903-1978 were listed, and the Grave of Diarmuid Down discoursed on.  Inflation was an ongoing problem: the cost of the newsletter had increased to 50p.


The years 1979 and 1980 were combined in a double issue.  Fr John J Scanlan composed an introduction:


This modest brochure from Scartaglin may not reach the Vatican Secretary of State, or any of the busy executives of the BBC but experience proves to us that ‘Scart’ folk at home and abroad will give it a warm welcome … It is a healthy sign of a little community to have the zeal and ambition to express itself in different items of interest.


Items of news for 1979 included the visit to Ireland of Pope John Paul II including a poem about the event, an article about the shooting of Sergt Woods in 1923 and another about the Padraig O’Keeffe Memorial:


This Committee was set up in late 1978 for the purpose of erecting a suitable monument to honour the memory of the late fiddler Padraig O’Keeffe.  Amongst those heading the committee are Tom Fleming MCC, Ted Kenny, John O’Connor, Sean O Ciardubhain, Michael McGillicuddy and Michael Barrett … The committee also intend to publish a commemoration booklet … and hope to collect £2,500 for the proposed memorial.


The news for 1980 was less substantial, and a notice advised readers that though earlier sales had been reasonable, if the current issue was not successful, ‘it will not be possible to publish any future editions.’


As duly forewarned, so it came to bear: only one further issue of the newsletter appeared for the years 1981-1982.  In this issue, the opening words came from Donacha O’Cuire, SC, ‘I am the fifth curate to reside in Scartglin since 1972, when it became an area of special responsibility.  In the short time I am here, I have grown to like it more and more.’


News items included the departure of Fr Scanlon to Ballymac, and the arrival of Fr Quirke from Moyvane.  The assassination attempts on Pope John Paul and President Reagan were in the news, as well as remarks on Northern Ireland, the opening of the new National School and the conversion of Knockeenahone National School into a community centre.


A round-up of news for 1982 mentioned the invasion of the Falklands, completion of work on the football field, and an article about The Moving Bog at Rathmore.


The publication concluded with the following:


This publication may not merit much attention at the present time, but it is as the years go by that it will become more historical than it appears now and, perhaps, in a 100 years from now, there may be a copy still in existence (stuck in the rafters or under a mattress) somewhere and people living in this parish at that time will wonder what life was like in Scartaglin in the early 1980s.


It did not appear again.


O’Connell Knockeenahone Scartaglin County Kerry Eire


A second publication from Scartaglin has been added to our archives.  It relates to the genealogy of the family of O’Connell of Knockeenahone and was compiled by Father Charles Michael Coleman, Kingsville Township, Johnson County, Missouri, USA circa 1974.  The author includes a letter from Basil O’Connell, ‘who is regarded as having done the most work on the origins and descendants of the O’Connells of County Kerry’ dated 13 June 1970:


In 1891, there were 16,600 of the name O’Connell, McConnell, Connell and variants O’Connells in the island of Ireland.  An educated guess is that in the republic at the moment, there are about 3000 O’Connells and in USA about 21,000.  Taking a family group as a maximum of 10 then it means that in the Republic at the moment there are at least 300 little groups of O’Connell with no known blood connection and no knowledge of their other O’Connell groups.


The names  associated with O’Connell in this genealogical work are considerable: Adams, Agan, Allen, Archuleta, Barmun, Barrett, Barry, Bartlett, Behm, Bosche, Boyer, Boysen, Bradbury, Brearley, Brillhart, Brosnan, Brosnahan, Browning, Bruns, Buckley, Burianek, Burks, Callahan, Carr, Carrell, Carroll, Casey, Casson, Chevigny, Chirpich, Choate, Coleman, Collins, Connole, Cooney, Crawford, Cronin, Crowley, Currie, Demsey, Dennehy, Downey, Dudley, Dunlevy, Eichhorn, Faherty, Farrell, Ferguson, Ferris, Fitzgerald, Frakes, Galvin, Gardner, Gates, Gaura, Gilligan, Goldman, Goodenough, Grace, Greer, Guenther, Hamilton, Hannigan, Helton, Hensley, Hinze, Hobbs, Horan, Howard, Huselbus, Jenkins, Johnson, Kane, Keane, Kelly, Kenihan, Kennedy, Kerins, Kocour, Kreftmeyer, Kruse, Laechal, Leonard, Long, Lynch, Lowman, Ludlam, Lyon, Lyons, McCarthy, McClanahan, McDonough, McGraw, McKimrey, McMahon, Manning, Marshall, Mefferd, Moore, Mulvahill, Murphy, Nobles, Odien, O’Meara, O’Riordan, O’Sullivan, O’Toole, Owen, Paule, Peppard, Pfeiffer, Phillips, Piatt, Plummer, Prendiville, Puttman, Quinlan, Reidy, Reilly, Rempert, Rhodes, Riefle, Riley, Roesslein, Roley, Royce, Ryan, Schniedermeyer, Scrutchfield, Scullin, Semon, Sheeren, Short, Skelly, Smith, Stoeger, Thiese, Thomas, Thompson, Tierny, Tuhill, Twiss, Walsh, Warchol, Washburn, Weiler, Wheeler, Wilke, Yacciano.


The Catholic Key announces the death of Father Charles Michael Coleman, author of This Far by Faith and Further by Faith, on 4 January 2022.


Me and My Shadow


Me and My Shadow, a memoir by Pat Ahern, was launched in 2006 and presents a snapshot of growing up in Kerry in a family of eight in 1940s and 50s Kerry.  Pat Ahern was born in Scart, Gortatlea on 13 June 1942 and attended Nohoval National School, Clogher School, St Brendan’s Seminary, Killarney and Tralee CBS.


Pat reminisces on killing the pig (and castrating the bonhams), the Stations held in the home, his father’s purchase of a motor car in 1947, farming (and farm accidents), trapping and selling rabbits, and the excitement of the circus coming to town.  Pat loved football, and played with the minors, juniors, under 21s and seniors.


When Pat finished his education, he worked on the family farm for a while but his father encouraged him to pursue a career where he would be ‘pushing a pen and not a shovel.’  He subsequently took up employment in the National Bank where he remained for the next forty years.


Pat Ahern passed away on 11 October 2012.  The late Michael Ahern of Aherns Garage, who died in May 2018, was a brother of Pat.


The Bard of Knocknagree


The Bard of Knocknagree 136 Previously Unpublished Poems by Ned Buckley has been added to the Castleisland archive.  It contains a poem, ‘The Kerryman,’ a tribute to one of the county’s newspapers, and ‘The Marian Year,’ the concluding poem in the collection, which was to be the poet’s last before his death at Millstreet District Hospital on 18 February 1954.  The book, compiled by Jerry O’Leary and published in 2004, includes a foreword by Tim Vaughan, Editor of the Irish Examiner.


Edmond (Ned) Buckley was born in 1880, son of Eugene and Ellen Buckley of Knocknagree, Co Cork.  He was a poet, prolific writer, and humourist of distinction:


Many of his 2,000 poems appeared in Irish newspapers and in various periodicals in England and the US.  A volume of his poems printed by The Kerryman some years ago had a wide circulation.  He was one of the leading collectors for the Irish Folklore Commission and was complimented on a number of occasions by that body for his fine collection of stories, many of which he recorded from his mother, Mrs Ellen Buckley, a noted seanachaidhe and fluent Irish speaker.


A copy of the book mentioned above was presented to a representative of the ESB when he called to the poet following a complaint about the fixed charge.  He found the poet sitting on a sugan chair outside his house smoking a clay pipe ‘at peace with himself and the world.’  Their conversation resulted in the discovery of a shared love of poetry, and Ned presented him with the volume of verse.  Ned also recited, at the request of the caller, one of his verses about ‘a Homeric struggle between two local football teams,’ When Knocknagree played Scartaglin:


Our grand football team undefeated has been,
Since the day that they vanquished Rathmore,
And from every place that they battled since then,
They have come back with laurels galore.
Fierce contests they had in Cullen and Nadd,
And ’gainst Boherbue’s stalwart men,
But they’ll never forget how their ‘bosses’ they met,
On the day that they played Scartaglin.


The subject matter of Ned Buckley’s poetry was wide; as shown in a six stanza verse about the ‘Warble Fly’:


There’s a Bill passed in the Dail,
Warble Fly,
’Gainst your tribe, both great and small,
’Tis no lie;
An outlaw you are declared,
To be poisoned, squeezed out, snared,
So you’d better be prepared,
Warble fly.


Warble fly, you must die,
You must die, warble fly,
You can’t escape, no matter how you try;
Could you live to float in air,
You’d defy inspectors there,
But they’ll meet you in your lair,
Warble fly.


Another poem was written on the occasion of a trip to Ballybunion on Sunday 8 July 1934.


By road or by rail never travelled before
Such a jolly well-selected party,
With wit and good humour, they were brimming o’er,
And with laughter contagious and hearty.
Thro’ Ballydesmond and Castleisland we rode,
And gaily our engine did ring on –
Past many a quaint and commodious abode,
On our journey to Ballybunion.


Kilcummin: Folk, Land and Liberty


Kilcummin: Folk, Land and Liberty by local historian, Conor Doolan, has been added to the Castleisland archive.  Its diverse content includes articles on ringforts and folklore, local historical houses including chapters on the story of Ardagh House, Kilcummin and Mount Prospect House and Gate Lodge, Ballynamaunagh.  It also covers land agitation including the Clashnagarrane Eviction Scene 1886 and military history.


A chapter devoted to landmarks from the Ordnance Survey includes notes on residential landmarks, a good starting point for researchers.  Those given include Ardagh, Ballynamaunagh House, Farmhill, Coolbaun (Coolbane) House, Churchview Cottage, Dromadeesirt Cottage, Dromadeesirt House, Dooneen Cottage, Cockhill Cottage, Mount Prospect, Ryemount Cottage, Toormore Cottage, Inch Cottage, Maulyarkane House, Mastergeeha Lodge and Tournananaugh Cottage.


This finely produced book includes many snippets of interest.  For example, many who travel the N22 between Killarney and Tralee will be familiar with the signifiers Lawlor’s Cross and Brennan’s Glen.  In the author’s notes about Coolbaun House (Barry’s Glynn House), it is seen that the property was built in 1780 by John Brennan.  ‘There can be little doubt,’ writes Conor, ‘that the area known presently as Brennan’s Glen is a reference to the residents who lived here.’