Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My Articles by Ronan Killeen

Dear Readers,
                       For those of you who have read my article on p12 of the Athenry News & Views, Vol.2, Issue 7, September/October 2011 entitled Irish Republican Women, it was my own desicion  not mention the men's names in the photograph. There are two reason's for this, the first one is because of my 480 word limit per article I write and secondly, my main focus was the women not the men. Why women and not men you ask? It is because at the moment I am working on my own Athenry Ladies History which I feel in my opinion is underwritten.
I have wrote about the article that mainly focused on the men in 1916 which you can find in the back issue of Athenry News & Views (Killeen, Ronan, 'Athenry and the Easter Rising 1916', Athenry News & Views, Vol.2., Issue 3, Mar/Apr 2011, p18).
You should find my articles in the 'Reference Folder' of Athenry Library including the picture of the Cumman Na mBan which also includes the names of men as well as women from 1966. As I have said before I am on a word limit of 480, so I do apologise if some people do not get mentioned. If any of you miss an article of mine in the Athenry News & Views it will be put into the 'Reference Folder' of the Athenry Library.

Moving on, I would like to know who could e-mail about a British barracks that would have been out in Newford, Athenry one time. I know that there was an Royal Irish Constabulary hut out there in the early 20th century. I would apprecaite it if anyone could send on information about the British barracks that would have been there one time.

Another, question to the public is - would anyone know about tunnels going between Esker-Athenry during the penal era (18th century a.k.a. 1700's)  which priests would use to escape detection?

Furthermore, anonymous e-mails will be ignored.

Kind  regards to all readers,
                                           Ronan Killeen

Monday, September 12, 2011

A short history of Athenry House

Athenry House: Courtesy of Brain Quinn's 'Athenry Historic - Google Maps'.

The Town House was built by John Lopdell between 1822 and 1830. It was originally known as 'River View' before it was called Athenry House. By 1865, the river Clarin with its roman-arched bridge, was brought through the estate lending added charm to the place.
   Dr. Henry John Wellington Leonard died there in 1893, leaving an invalid wife, and a raised family of one son and four daughters. Historian Aggie Qualter remembers her going to Athenry House 'I remember two big tennis tournaments at Town House during WWI, both within a few weeks. Judging from the crowd that attended , they may well have been the County championships. I'll never know. The gentry came from all over - in landaus, carriages, and bell-ringing pony traps. The Lobdells ( I presume this is a spelling mistake of Lopdells?), Roes, Halls and Concannons came on bicycles (bikes were status symbols in those years). 

I am researching the life of Dr. Henry John Wellington Leonard at the moment and hopefully I can publish it soon.

A little bit more Stories of Athenry and the Irish Civil War: Shots in to the houses of Athenry's Ex-R.I.C. and Contradictions by Ronan Killeen

In Janury 1922 four months before the outbreak of the Irish Civil War (5 June 1922). It was decided to disband the Royal Irish Constabulary. Who had suffered many attacks in the past by Republicans. In Athenry. On the 12 June 1922 it was reported in the Irish Independent.

'Many attacks on ex-policemen and civilians and raids on ouses are reported, principally from the West of Ireland, the most serious incident occurring at Athenry, were the raiders used rifles and a machine gun, and at Ballinasloe were a number of ex-policemen were beaten.
   A number of ex-policemen in Athenry got notice to leave the town last week, but some declined to do so. About midnight a number of men with rifles, and it is said, a machine gun opened fire  on the houe of Constable Beatty, who has since left. Sgt. McGovern lived in the sam house. The windows in the house of Constable Lyons were broke by rifle bullets, and he and his family have also left. Shots were fired into the house of ex-Costable Hansberry and Reynolds. Sgt. McGlade, Sgt. Lynch (with his wife and children) and Constable Spratt has also moved.'

but four days later in the Irish Independent  it was contradicted by Timothy Hansberry ex-RIC officer.

'To the Editor of the 'Irish Indepent'. Sir - On 12th inst. you published a report to the effect that the house of Constable Hansberry, Athenry, was fired into. I am the only ex-R.I.C. in the town or neighbourhood whose name nearly corresponds to Hansberry. My house was not fired at nor were any shots fired in the neighbourhood of my house on the occassion.
   I left the R.I.C. 24 years ago , and refused  to have any dealings with that body during recent troubles. Whoever originated the report was acquainted with the town, and as there is no basis for the reference made to me I can only conclued that the intention was to injure my business. You will, therefore, give this denial as prominent a place as the report, complained of.'
                                                                                   Timothy Hansberry, Athenry

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A little bit more Athenry and the Irish War of Independence: Compensation for Mrs. Shawe-Taylor

After Frank Shawe Taylor of Moorpark was ambushed in Coshla on 3 March 1920. His wife Mrs. Shawe-Taylor went to the Galway Union to claim £80,000 from Galway Union for the shooting of her husband. The 'Recorder of Galway' on 25 October 1920 to give his decision on the claim. The Recorder of Galway said that Frank Shawe-Taylor had been 'done to death under extreme callousness.
   Under the Grand Jury Act 1836, compensation could be claimed only  when a magistrate was murdered or maimed in the execution of his duty but it turned out that Shawe-Taylor was murdered because of trouble between him and certain people who were claiming portion of his land but the Recorder of Galway and the county council dismissed the claim but she was allowed £4,514 for burning and wreckage of Castle Lambert and £977 for the burning of the steward's house adjoining, following a rumour that the military were about to occupy these places.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Athenry Ladies History: Irish Republican Women by Ronan Killeen





On 5 May 1914 a new all-female nationalist organisation called the Cumman Na mBan was founded. It was largerly led by relatives of leading Irish Volunteers, it was seen as an auxilary to the male movement. Many female activists  hid, nursed, fed and cared for Republican activists. In many of these cases these would be relatives such as husbands , fathers, brothers and sons. In both the town and countryside the provision of 'safe houses' to conceal men, weaponry or uniforms was paticulary important.
   While many of these activities were confined to the domestic setting, they were none the less risky with raids and searches becoming more commonplace. Irish women played a critical role on the side of militants. Their contributions while risky, sometimes involved little departure from everyday life. Contact between the capital and the provinces again relied heavily on Cumman na mBán couriers -the organisations appeared to possess most of the car driv ers in Republican ranks.
  
With several republican men under police surrvaillance, women played a crucial role in pasing messages and information even before the Easter Rising began. Cumman Na mBán was largely supportive, mainly consisted of cooking and nursing but the women of the Irish Citzen's Army were more militant.
   In the photograph which dates from the Connaught Tribune on 14/04/1966 is the Athenry Cumman Na mBán outside the Old Boy School at the unveiling of the Liam Mellows Bronze bust down. The Old Boys School is now Sommers Garage and the new Boys School is in Knock-aun-glass.
    An interesting story in the picture is of Mrs. Kathleen Kennedy (Cleary-Kennedy in the photograph). She was apart of the Cumman Na mBán and a nurse in her time too. She looked after a man in Castlelambert She came from a pro-Irish Nationalist family. One of Athenry's Irish Volunteers, Tommie Cleary was held a prisoner out in Newford camp, and Kathleen sister, known as 'Ciss' brought food and some clothes to Tommie. 'Ciss' met a British soldier at that camp in Newford and subsequently decided to marry him to the dissapproval of her Irish Nationalist family - The Cleary's. The father  Thomas B. Cleary and his two sons Joseph and Thomas Jr. of the family spent there time in Frongoch Internment Camp in Wales during 1916. The took a while to get over it and eventually did becuase 'Ciss' came home every summer from Britain.

Special thanks to Monica Kennedy for the information and photograph for this article.

Iggy's Bar by Ronan Killeen

In a previous article I already talked about the Old Barracks Resteraunt which used to be the Royal Irish Constabulary barracks of Athe...