Pictured at the launch of the Old Kilkenny Review by Prof Muiris O’Sullivan at Rothe House, Parliament Street were Prof O’Sullivan, Danielle MacEneany and Pat Nolan, president KAS
A trawl through times past is the treasure trove on offer in the latest edition of The Old Kilkenny Review.
The new edition, which was launched last Thursday, features articles on the archaeological site discovered on the Callan Road during the road realignment there, a bronze age hill fort in North Kilkenny and the story of the Shea brothers from Chapel Lane in the city but with strong links to Firoda, Castlecomer.
In a story very similar to Saving Private Ryan, the article by James O’Keeffe chronicles the military careers of the five Shea boys who fought in World War I.
Only one - Michael - survived. The four other brothers are buried across the Continent.
After being wounded, Michael returned home after the war to his maternal grandparents’ lands in Firoda where he farmed with his youngest brother, James.
Persecution and Deliverance in 16th Century Kilkenny is another excellent piece. The cover alludes to a never-before-published account of a visit to Dunmore Caves in 1806 in the Kilkenny Archaeological Society publication.
However, the most controversial paper, even almost 100 years later, is the one by Michael O’Dwyer on the compensation claims following on from the Irish Civil War.
One that stands out is a claim made in 1924 by a Michael J O’Brien, Callan for £2,500. This was for being driven from his home with his wife and family and being evicted.
Lord Desart was awarded £19,000 for the burning down of Desart Court, of which, £12,000 was conditional on it being rebuilt.
In a letter unearthed by Michael, we learn from Lord Dysart’s daughter that: “As it was impossible for my father to undertake the rebuilding of Desart, he handed the property over to his niece, Lady Kathleen Pilkington who rebuilt the house which was completed in 1936.”
However, it has now vanished. To find out why, you’ll have to buy the Review, which is excellently edited by Coilin O’Drisceoil.
The other major compensation claim to stand out was made successfully by Mary Murphy, Club house and Kilmogar for ‘residence damaged and lands grazed £3,000’.
The review was launched by Muiris O’Sullivan, Associate Professor of Archaeology at UCD and is a must-read for anyone interested in their own place and its history.