01 Jul 2022

Fresh portraits provide a clearer picture of Kilkenny's past

Heritage: Fox Greenhough pictures are a real find for Kilkenny Archives

Fresh portraits provide a clearer picture of Kilkenny's past

Tom Treacy

Kilkenny woman Orla Murphy has been in touch and sent in a photograph of her maternal grandfather, ‘Commandant’ Thomas Treacy, which she thinks dates from 1915.

She also forwarded a photo of her mother, Gertie Treacy, on her First Communion Day c. 1936.

Gertie a daughter of Tom Treacy, has a clear memory of going to a photographic studio (which was near the corner of Rose Inn Street near Bateman Quay). Gertie’s portrait photograph does not bear the Fox Greenhough label, but the style of the photograph and internal fittings such as the table feature in other Fox Greenhough studio photographs, so we are on pretty safe ground in ascribing it to this well-known Kilkenny studio.

Thomas Treacy (1885-1975) was born December 1885 in Maudlin Street, Kilkenny. After his father’s death in 1891 the family moved to Abbey Street. He later moved to Dean Street where he lived for the rest of his life, first in No 15 and later in No 30, which was the family home in Kilkenny until the late 1980s.

Thomas was Captain of the Irish Volunteers in Kilkenny in the 1914-16 period. After the 1916 Rising he was arrested and interned in Frongoch.

War Of Independence

He was later Brigade Commandant of the Kilkenny Brigade during the War of Independence until his arrest in November 1920 when he was interned in Ballykinlar for over a year.

He was finally released in December 1921 just after the Treaty was signed.

This photo appeared in the Kilkenny People on December 24, 1921 along with a piece welcoming him and other Kilkenny prisoners home.

He was appointed Secretary of the Board of Health in early 1922. He died in 1975 and is buried in Foulkstown.

Another photograph has come from Mike Maher of Scart Freshford and features his great-aunt Miss Julia Maher (1894-1988) who lived on the Square at Freshford.

She was principal of Freshford Girls School. The studio prop includes her dog Bran. It is believed that the photograph dates from c. 1914 when the sitter was just 20 years of age, probably taken at the time she had her first job.

Mary Doyle McDermott has sent us in a photograph of her great-grandfather William Dalton of Upper Grange, Goresbridge where he was born c. 1854 the son of Richard Dalton by his wife the former Ellen Shea of Tinnislatty, The Rower.

The couple were married in the parish of Inistioge and The Rower in 1842 and had at least one other child, a daughter Mary.

Through these images we have links to families from Kilkenny city, Freshford, Goresbridge, and Inistioge-The Rower. They range from formal portraits to First Communions which were the bread and butter of Arthur Greenhough’s business for near 50 years.

Images may be sent to archivist John Kirwan at Kilkenny Archives, which is situated on the campus of Kilkenny College.

Photographs can also be emailed to

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