Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Like Old Times

Friday, July 30th, 2010

These old tractors must be on their way home from the vintage day in Finea last Sunday


1911 Census

Sunday, July 25th, 2010

The entire 1911 census (and most of the 1901 census) of Ireland is now available online for free. It’s a fantastic tool if you want to check your roots, and great to see their returns written in their own writing.
This is my great grandfather, Jerome Murphy’s census return from April 2nd, 1911. He was a shipping clerk for Cunard in Cobh, Co. Cork (then Queenstown). My granny, Marjorie is also there, aged 12. Check out your own at

To see it bigger, click on the photo, and on the flickr page, click on actions>view all sizes

Floating Coffins

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009


These floating coffins are in Kill graveyard, a mile or so west of Kilnaleck. They are a mother and daughter. The mother was married to an O’Reilly from Baltrasna, but the O’Reilly family wouldn’t allow her burial in the O’Reilly plot. There is a spring well under the vault which causes it to flood. For loads more about Kill graveyard, check out this project done by kids from Kilnaleck National School in 2005 including instructions for using it’s famous healing clay which it is said can cure pretty much anything.

Cavan Cathedral

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

cavan cathedral-2105

The original Cathedral of the diocese of Kilmore was situated about four miles south of Cavan town in the present parish of Kilmore. Some time in the 6th century St Felim established a church there. It was rebuilt in the middle of the fifteenth century as a cathedral. During the reformation it was confiscated and is still a Church of Ireland (Anglican) cathedral

The new cathedral was built between the years 1938 and 1942, and was one of the last of the huge Roman Catholic cathedrals built in Ireland from the 1850s onwards. Unlike most Irish cathedrals, it is neo-classical in style with a single spire rising to 230 feet. The portico consists of a tympanum supported by four massive columns of Portland stone with Corinthian caps. The tympanum figures of Christ, St Patrick and St Felim were executed by the Dublin sculptor, Edward Smith.

The interior is vast and quite gloomy. The twenty eight columns in the Cathedral, the pulpit on the south side and all the statues are of Pavinazetto marble and came from the firm of Dinelli Figli of Pietrasanta in Italy. The interior seems unfinished, the chapels to the northern side are finished in better materials than those on the southern, suggesting a budgetry problem. Unusually it still has its altar rails intact.

Cavan Cathedral-2091

cavan cathedral-2

Kilcrea Friary

Saturday, October 17th, 2009

Kilcrea Friary-2036

Kilcrea Friary is near Ovens, west of Cork city. Founded in 1465 for the Observant Franciscans by Cormac Laidir MacCarthy, Lord of Muskerry. It is set in beautiful farmland and is the burial place of Airt Ó Laoghaire (Art O’Leary) , a Roman Catholic, who was an officer in the Austro-Hungarian army.
Having returned home to Rathleigh House near Macroom, Cork, Ireland, Art refused to sell his prize-winning horse to Englishman Abraham Morris, and was thus made an outlaw. Under the Penal Laws of Ireland, Roman Catholics were obliged under law to sell their horse to Protestants if demanded to do so. Morris tracked O’Leary and shot him on his horse on May 4, 1773.
O’Leary’s wife Eileen O’Connell composed the famous Caoineadh Airt Uí Laoghaire or Lament for Art O’Leary, mourning his death and calling for revenge.

As is common in ancient Irish churches and Abbeys, people began using the interior as a graveyard, and there’s a mixture of people buried here; some right up to the present day.

Kilcrea Friary-2043 Kilcrea Friary-2044

St Mary’s Abbey

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

Cavan is unusual historically as it was founded by the local Gaelic chiefs the O’Reillys and is one of the few (perhaps the only) Gaelic town in Irish history.

St Mary's Abbey-0284
Founded in 1300 by Giolla Iosa Rua O’Reilly as a Dominican abbey. In 1393 the Dominicans were expelled, and replaced by the Franciscans. The abbey was burned in 1451, 1468 and 1576. Owen Roe O’Neill was buried there in 1649. There are no remains of the medieval abbey although an 18th century tower survives on the site.

The plaque was unveiled in 1949 by President of Ireland, Sean T O’Kelly.

The death of Owen Roe was a colossal blow to the Irish people at large and particularly the Irish of Ulster. The country was cast into deep mourning. Now that Charles the First of England was dead the threat of Cromwell and his Roundheads hung over the country and Owen Roe was their sole protector against him. As the poet most succinctly put it

“Did they dare, did they dare, to slay Owen Roe O’Neill?
Yes, they slew with poison him they had feared to meet with steel.
Had he lived – had he lived – our dear country had been free;
But he’s dead – but he’s dead – and ’tis slaves we’ll ever be.

Sagest in the council was he, kindest in the Hall:
Sure we never won a battle – ’twas Owen won them all.
Soft as woman’s was your voice, O’Neill; bright was your eye,
Oh! Why did you leave us, Owen? Why did you die?

Your troubles are all over, you’re at rest with God on high;
But we’re slaves, and we’re orphans, Owen! – why did you die?
We’re sheep without a Shepherd, when the snow shuts out the sky-
Oh! why did you leave us, Owen? Why did you die?”

Thanks to Jim Hannon’s article. More photos here