This week I am looking for your assistance in identifying, as well as getting some background information, on the following men who were interned in Newbridge during the Civil War of 1922/23. All of them fought on the anti-Treaty side and were just a few of the 11,000 or so men held as Prisoners of War in the Irish Free State in July 1923.
James Wynne Ballylinan
Patrick Kelly Narraghmore
Patrick Kavanagh Castledermot
Sean Hayden 41 Duke Street, Athy
Thomas Kavanagh Moyle Abbey, Ballytore
John Butler Belan, Moone
Peter Lambe William Street, Athy
M. O’Rourke Canal Harbour, Athy
J. O’Rourke Canal Harbour, Athy
J. McNamara Ardreigh, Athy
William Tynan Ballytore
Tom Murphy Ballytore
James O’Connor Ballytore
James Kenny Dunbrinn, Athy
James Kelly Gracefield, Ballylinan
Pat Rowan Modubeagh, Wolfhill
Michael Rowan Modubeagh, Wolfhill
Thomas Rowan Modubeagh, Wolfhill
I am also looking for information on Bill or Willie Brennan of Johnstown, Maganey who was Quarter Master of the Carlow Brigade and a member of the Kilkea Company 5th Battalion I.R.A. during the War of Independence. He died suddenly in Dublin in March 1922.
Michael O’Kelly, Editor of the Leinster Leader in the early part of the last century when writing of his involvement in the events of 1914/1921 mentioned that P.P. Doyle of Athy was one of those who attended the first meeting held in Newbridge for the purpose of forming a Sinn Fein Club in 1917. Sinn Fein was founded by Arthur Griffith in 1905 but it was not until the aftermath of the 1916 Rising that the organisation emerged as the leading Nationalist grouping in the country. The execution of the 1916 leaders outraged many of those who had given no support to Pearse and his colleagues and with the change in the publics attitude the opportunity was seized to extend the Sinn Fein organisation throughout Ireland. The man mentioned by Michael O’Kelly was Peter Paul Doyle of Woodstock Street, then a member of Athy Urban District Council and who was to be chairman of that body in 1920/21. His brother was Dr. John Leo Doyle who also lived at Woodstock Street and who died in 1939 aged 46 years. According to the Nationalist of 22nd January 1921 which reported the death of Michael Doyle, father of Peter and John, another son was M.E. Doyle, Clerk of Athy Union Workhouse. However a grave memorial in St. Michael’s Cemetery to the Doyle family members makes no mention of M.E. Doyle but does give an account of Patrick Joseph Doyle who died in 1952, aged 63 years.
The father of the Doyle family, Michael Doyle, passed away at the venerable age of 95 years in January 1921, just over a year after his wife Anne had died. Michael Doyle was born in Ballintubbert to where his parents had moved from a farm in Castledermot. As a young man he was apprenticed to a Mr. Rooney, a pawn broker in Duke Street and Michael’s son, Peter Paul Doyle, was the proprietor of the same pawn brokers when he died in 1964. Michael Doyle was elected a member of Athy Town Commissioners in 1879 and he remained a public representative up to 1920 as a member of Athy Urban District Council. Indeed, Michael and his son Peter Paul were both members of the Urban District Council for a number of years prior to 1920. Michael Doyle was also a member of the Board of Guardians which controlled the local Workhouse and administered poor relief in this area. He had been active during the Land League period and in 1891 supported Charles Stewart Parnell when the country at large, especially the Catholic clergy, turned against the one time leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party.
I recently came across a newspaper reference to the “Duke Street Cinema Hall” in Athy where in April 1922 there was a Sunday showing of the film “The Wearing of the Green”. There is no one around today who will recall the film but perhaps mention of the Duke Street Cinema Hall will strike a chord with somebody. I never previously heard of this Cinema Hall but I wonder was it in some way connected with Nicholas O’Rourke Glynn or his son Ernest whom I knew were involved in showing films in the late 1920’s. If you can help me pinpoint where the Cinema Hall was in 1922 it will add another piece to the jigsaw of our local history.
I got a number of phone calls following last weeks article in which I suggested that it was now time to honour and commemorate the memory of the local men who died in World War I. Most callers supported the idea, one caller felt that any such monument should commemorate all war dead, while one sad soul found the idea objectionable. I hadn’t the heart to tell him that his own family were represented amongst the many thousands of Irishmen who fought in France and Flanders but I am sure he was already aware of that. If you have any views on the issue I would be delighted to hear from you.
Finally this week I would like to extend birthday wishes to Isobel Calvert who on Friday, 23rd July celebrated her 100th birthday. Isobel is the mother of Pat Henshaw, formerly of Smugglers in Duke Street and now living in Woodstock Street. Pat’s husband, Dave, is presently recovering after a sudden illness but I am sure he enjoyed the birthday celebrations for his mother-in-law with his usual energy and good humour. My best wishes goes to Dave for a speedy recovery to health