Thursday, October 30, 1997

1798 Rebellion

Next year the Bicentenary of the 1798 rebellion will be celebrated throughout Ireland. Books and pamphlets all centered on the events of 200 years ago have already begun to appear in the book shops. As an act of rebellion 1798 can only be regarded as a failure. Nevertheless ’98 remains the most potent rallying call for republicanism in our country. Other events in Irish history pale into insignificance alongside the stirring tales of the United Irishmen.

When the commemoration ceremonies take place next year they will be for the most part centered in either Dublin or Wexford - Dublin because it is our capital city and Wexford because it figured in many of the battles of the period. Who can forget Vinegar Hill, Kelly the boy from Killane or Father Murphy of Boolavogue. Growing up in an Ireland where the Christian Brothers groomed the Irishmen of the future we learned of the heroic adventures and deeds of the ’98 men. However, I never once heard any reference to the 1798 rebellion in Athy and finished my education oblivious to the extent of my townspeople’s’ involvement in the events of that time.

Indeed, it was an English television personality and historian, Robert Key who first prompted the realisation of Athy’s involvement in the rebellion. He included in his TV series on 1798 a scene of locals being flogged against the backdrop of the Town Hall in Athy. This single reference to Athy was enough to create an interest in the subject which has served to recover from obscurity the local events of 200 years ago.

The first references to Athy and the United Irishmen were included in Patrick O’Kelly’s book published in 1847 and simply entitled “1798 Rebellion”. Some years later the diaries of the Quaker author Mary Leadbetter were published as “The Ballitore Annals”. They gave a detailed personal account of events and happenings in Ballitore and surrounding areas during the period of the Rebellion.

The memory of those eventful days was however short-lived and no research appears to have been done on the Rebellion in County Kildare until recent years. Since then a number of people have independently of each other examined the part the men and women of this county played in the rebellious years which marked the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century.

In February of next year Liam Chambers of Maynooth College will have his work published by the Four Courts Press under the title “Rebellion in Kildare”. Before Christmas another book on the same topic will come from the pen of Mario Corrigan who is attached to the County Kildare Library Services. There will also be published in the new year a small booklet dealing with the 1798 Rebellion in Athy and District.

The Local Museum Society established in 1983 to foster and develop a local museum in Athy will host a number of lectures dealing with the 1798 Rebellion. These lectures will take place on the first Thursday of each month commencing in February with a talk by yours truly on “Athy and the 1798 Rebellion”. The March Lecture will be given by Vincent O’Reilly who will talk on “Hempenstall - The Walking Gallows”. In April Liam Chambers will deliver a lecture on “The 1798 Rebellion in County Kildare”. The venue for all these lectures is the Town Hall where the hanging Judge Norbury sat in judgment on local United Irishmen 200 years ago. Indeed the Courtroom is now the exhibition/lecture room adjoining the main library room and the very room where the Museum Society lectures will be given.

To give a flavour of the times experienced 200 years ago consider the following extract from a paper I recently gave to a seminar in Clongowes Wood College under the auspices of Kildare Archaeological Society and Kildare County Council.

“Trial by court martial was a common occurrence in Athy during the months of May and June. Seven men were tried, convicted and hanged in the town in the early days of June. Six of these men were from Narraghmore and had been arrested following the killing of John Jeffries. The seventh man was named Bell, a graduate of Trinity College who lived in the Curragh. One of the Narraghmore men was Daniel Walsh, a steward of Col. Keating’s and a member of the Narraghmore Yeomanry.

On the day that Walsh and his companions were hanged, Rawson’s Loyal Athy Infantry erected a triumphal arch across the Barrow bridge under which the convicted men had to pass on their way from the gaol in White’s Castle to the place of execution. The prisoners were accompanied by a Fr. Patrick Kelly, a Catholic priest who, when passing under the arch, rushed and knocked down a yeoman named Molloy. Grapping at the orange flag which was hoisted on the spot, he pulled it down and trampled on it. We are told that the Protestant yeomen did not react as one might expect, presumably because the prisoners were escorted by members of the Waterford Militia whose rank and file members were Catholics. The hangings took place at Croppy’s Acre, located at the basin of the Grand Canal. Two of the seven were beheaded and their heads placed on White’s Castle where it was said they served as targets for Rawson’s yeomen who fired at them from the adjoining Barrow bridge. The same yeomen defaced with sledges the coat of arms of the Geraldine family which was carved on a large flagstone and embedded in the castle wall when the bridge of Athy was rebuilt in 1796. The damaged stone can still be seen inset in the wall of White’s Castle.

In August 1798, information was given to Captain Rawson that the Protestants of Athy were to be massacred while attending Sunday service. As outlined to Rawson, the plan was to set fire to some cabins outside the town in the hope of attracting the local yeomanry force to the scene. Three hundred men, concealed in the yard of Walsh’s Inn, were then to gain possession of the Courthouse and White’s Castle while another group waiting at the scene of the fire were to wipe out the yeomanry. Those Protestants attending service in St. Michael’s Church in Emily Square were then to be executed. Information of this alleged plot was sent by Rawson to Dublin Castle, and 120 men of the Fermanagh militia were immediately sent to Athy under the command of Major King. Arriving on Saturday evening, the day before the planned massacre, their presence guaranteed the safety of the Protestant minority in the town.”

Next year will be an important landmark in the contemporary history of our island as we commemorate a time when Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter came together in a struggle for equality and freedom.

Thursday, October 23, 1997

Detective Kevin Brady

As the first member of Athy Garda Station to receive a Garda Merit Award Detective Kevin Brady has completed a unique treble of firsts. The award presented to him last week by the Garda Commissioner was in recognition of his outstanding work as a member of the Garda Siochana. The citation which was read at the award presentation at Templemore Training College referred to Kevin’s involvement in almost all major criminal investigations in the Carlow/Kildare division over the last twenty years. In the intervening period crime figures for Athy have increased from an average of 75 a year to almost 300. Despite the resulting heavy workload Detective Brady has consistently succeeded in maintaining a high level of crime detection in the Athy area.

A native of Ballyjamesduff in County Cavan Kevin has lived in Athy since 1971 having spent a few years as a Garda in both Carlow and Ballon. When he first arrived to take up duty in the Garda Station then located in Duke Street, it was to replace the recently retired Tom Meaney. Tom was one of the great characters of the Garda Siochana who with his impish smile enlivened many a local gathering. The Station’s strength then consisted of two Sergeants, Maurice Shortt and Hugh Donnelly with six Gardai, including the newly arrived Ballyjamesduff youngster. His colleagues were Joe Carty, Tom Friel, John Murphy and Owen Doyle, all retired in recent years and still living in Athy and Mick Cullinane, now retired in Rathcoole. This of course means that Kevin is the longest serving member of the Garda Siochana in Athy.

In the first year of the 1970’s the Athy Station party did not have a squad car at it’s disposal. Members were still in receipt of bicycle allowances and each were expected to possess a sturdy Raleigh Bike to get them around their area. In those pre-Conroy days the Gardai still worked long and exhausting hours with only two days off each month. Even then the days off had to be taken at the discretion of the Station Sergeant and “subject to the exigencies of the job”. Barrack orderly duty was still the norm, requiring Gardai young and old alike to spend twenty-four hours on station duty sleeping in the day room during the night. These days are now long gone and now Gardai work eight hour shifts with eight days off in each month. The bicycle allowance has disappeared as happily the present day force is well and truly motorised.

In the intervening twenty-six years Kevin has worked out of three Garda Stations in Athy. The first was at Duke Street where Starsave is located, later a temporary Station was opened at the Model School Building on the Dublin Road before the final move into the newly built Garda Station adjoining the Dominican’s Monastery. During the same period his wife Margaret, formerly Margaret Reid of Bennekerry, Co. Carlow whom he married in 1971 has also moved house on three occasions from Grangemellon to McDonnell Drive, before settling in the newly developed Avondale Drive where Kevin and Margaret still live.

Promoted to the rank of Detective in 1977 Kevin has been involved in an extraordinary range of criminal investigations in the intervening twenty years. Several murders, armed robberies, many burglaries and assaults have all come under his exacting scrutiny, much to the discomfort of the criminals involved, most of whom have had reason to acknowledge Kevin’s forensic and investigative abilities.

But it is not only in the realm of law or more precisely law breaking that Kevin has shone. As a somewhat slimmer man he played football for the Virginia Blues which he refers to as a Gaelic football team in County Cavan of indefinable talents. A spell on the County Cavan minor team confirms Kevin’s above average ability to catch and kick with skill, if not a whole hearted willingness to rough it with Cavan’s best. It is not only on the Gaelic Football pitch however that his sporting talents were to the fore. Kevin has been a golfer of indeterminate talent for some years. He claims not always to have the time to practice his game and to bring it to the level of perfection as performed by his near neighbour Peadar Doogue. However, he can claim the honour of achieving the first “hole in one” on the extended eighteen hole golf course at Geraldine.

As a Committee Member of Athy Golf Club for approximately ten years Kevin has served as the Club’s Social Secretary and also as organiser of the very successful Open Week held each year on the Geraldine Course. His hard work was given due recognition by the Club Members when he was appointed Club Captain for 1997. The honour is one which has never before been accorded to a member of the Garda Siochana. In fact, as far as I can ascertain, Kevin is also the first Cavan man to hold that position in the Athy Club, a double first of which he can be justifiably proud.

I have often met with Kevin the Detective in the course of “my day job”. Always good humoured he is an efficient law officer who has earned the respect of all those who have had dealings with him. The nature of his work has changed enormously over the last twenty years. Today there is a far greater level of violent crime than existed in Ireland a generation ago. Investigating and solving such crimes requires a high level of dedication and committment with an astute application of shrewdness born of experience. As the first and as yet the only detective assigned to Athy, Kevin Brady has had a tremendously successful career in solving crime. The first detective in the town, the first Garda Captain of Athy Golf Club and now the first Garda Merit Award winner, his is a remarkable triumph of firsts for the Ballyjamesduff man. Percy French’s call “to come back to Ballyjamesduff” must go unanswered for Kevin whose roots are now well and truly transplanted in Athy, even if his football allegiance is still to the “Brady Bunch” of Cavan!

Thursday, October 16, 1997

World War 1

It’s that time of year again. No, not Christmas, rather the time set aside by people around the world to remember those lost in the carnage of World War I. Here in Athy we have more reason than others to remember that awful time over eighty years ago when young men rushed or walked to their deaths across the muddy ground which was Flanders fields.

Those young men came from rural or small town backgrounds and joined the British Army in their hundreds for reasons which we can never satisfactorily explain. Was it the prospect of wearing a smart uniform which first caught their attention? Was it the opportunity of shedding the perennial unemployment status which drove the Athy men into the recruiting station in Leinster Street? Perhaps the opportunity to go overseas, even in war time, was to many who had never gone further than the nearest village the reason they enlisted in such numbers. Maybe the answer is to be found in all of these possibilities, coupled with a manly and courageous response to a call for arms in aid of beleaguered Belgium.

For whatever reason almost half a million Irishmen fought in World War I at a time when their own country was nearing the end of it’s 800 years of subjugation to English Rule. Indeed some historians would claim that many of those men joined up in the belief that Home Rule would be granted to a thirty-two county Ireland at the end of the hostilities.

All of this fades into insignificance when we review the high number of Irishmen, believed to be in excess of 36,000 who died during the Great War. The effect their deaths had on communities throughout Ireland has never been properly assessed, but even now it may be claimed that this country is still unable to divest itself of the social problems which followed in the wake of that War.

For the town of Athy and District the loss of 188 men over the period 1914 to 1918 could only have had a most depressing effect on the psyche of the area. Accentuating this was the large number of badly injured men, pensioned off after the war, who remained for decades a constant reminder of those terrible days.

It is difficult to grasp the enormity of the losses suffered by some families whose fathers, husbands or brothers were never to return alive or dead. Their bodies were never recovered, being buried as they lay in the mud of Flanders or France. The families they had left behind in Athy were never to have the consolation of mourning at the graveside of their loved ones.

During the War the uniformed postboy who delivered telegrams at one time or other came to every street and lane in Athy. In his hand was invariably clutched the dreaded message which informed the next of kin of another death on a European battlefield. Sadly several local families received the awful news not once, but twice. Last April I received a letter from 90 year old Mae Vagts of Washington, U.S.A., daughter of Edward Stafford of Butlers Row. She recalled her father who had enlisted in the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, leaving his house for the last time to walk to the railway station in Athy where he was joining other local men on the first leg of a journey which would end in France. Edward was killed in action on 24th September, 1914, leaving a widow and three young children, Mae, George and Tommy. Strangely his son Tommy died on the same day as his father 74 years later. Mrs. Stafford later re-married Paddy Shaughnessy and their son Danny died within the last year.

The telegram which was delivered to Butler’s Row announcing Edward Stafford’s death was to be followed by a second telegram when his brother Thomas, a lance corporal in the Dublin Fusiliers was also killed in France on 6th September, 1916. The Heydon family in Churchtown also lost two sons, Patrick, killed in France on 4th September, 1914 and Aloysius killed on 27th November, 1917. Brothers John Hannon and Norman Leslie Hannon of Ardreigh House also died in the War. Norman was 20 years of age when he was killed at Festubert on 16th May, 1915 while John was 24 years old when he died on 18th August, 1916.

On three separate occasions the messenger of death came to the houses of two local families during the Great War. Mr. And Mrs. Kelly of Mount Hawkins suffered the loss of son Owen on 3rd May, 1915 and 20 days later the loss of their other son John. A third son Dennis died of his wounds in France on 3rd September, 1918.

Jack and Margaret Curtis of Rockfield like the Kellys of Mount Hawkins also lost three sons in the War. Patrick was killed in France on 5th November, 1914 while his brother John was killed in action on 9th January, 1917 and his brother Lawrence died of his wounds on 4th December, 1917. Just before Christmas 1995 I received a letter from their niece, Mrs. J. Watts of Northold in Middlesex who as a young girl had worked in Hutchinsons Hotel in Leinster Street. She is a reader of “Eye on the Past” and in the course of a very nice letter thanked me for remembering the young men from Athy who died in the Great War. “You are the first person to mention them” she wrote which I felt was a somewhat sad indictment of the local townspeoples’ neglect of an important part of their own history.

On Sunday, 9th November a small group of local men and women gathered in St. Michael’s Cemetery to remember those forgotten men from Athy who died so young and so tragically during the 1914/18 War. In doing so they were publicly recalling the worst days in the history of warfare and possibly the most tragic four years in the long history of our Town. At the same time they helped recover from oblivion the memory of those local men who died in previous wars, especially the 1914/18 War. Their generous action serves to remind the people of Athy that Nationalists of whatever hue do no disservice to what they believe in by remembering their own dead.

Thursday, October 9, 1997

George Lammon

Bartle George Lanham was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne on 12th September, 1876. Almost 76 years later he died in Athy, Co. Kildare, known to his neighbours and friends as George Lamon. The transformation in his surname was not due to any conscious decision on his part or that of his parents, but probably reflected an Irish persons transcription of a geordies name. To the unpracticed ear Lanham had all the intonation and resonance of the name Lamon and so it was that the Lanham family which came to Ireland sometime after 1876 came to be known as Lamon. George’s parents were William Lanham and Sarah Kennedy. They lived at Gun Terrace, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and why and when they came to Ireland we cannot as yet say. Their youngest son John was born in Mountrath, Co. Laois and they also had a daughter Mary, but her place of birth is not known. What we do know is that when the Lanham children were still young the family moved to Athy where the parents William and Sarah died within a few years.

Their young daughter Mary was then brought out to America and she was never again to see her two brothers. A photo of her in a Nurse’s uniform taken sometime around the turn of the century is the only record of her that has survived. It was a photograph taken in Belview Hospital, New York and by then her name was changed to Mary Lamon Dockery. This may be a clue to the name of her adopted parents.

Her brothers George and John were fostered by a Mrs. Byrne of the Flags just over the bridge at Upper William Street. She was obviously very kind and good to them and provided for them in every way until they were old enough to fend for themselves. First to go was George who had enlisted in the British Army and served in South Africa during the Boer War. He returned unscathed to Athy where he married Lizzy Mulhall, an Aunt of “Cuddy” Chanders. Lizzy was to die while still a young woman, leaving George with their young son Paddy. Paddy was in time to train as a carpenter in Doyle Brothers where he had as his master Paddy Keogh of Woodstock Street. He subsequently took up employment with the Board of Works and died in 1971.

George who by now was employed by Athy District Council later married Mary Quinn and they had two children, George who recently retired from Tegral Building Products and Mary who is married and living in London since 1951.

George’s brother John enlisted in the British Army during the Great War and afterwards returned to Athy where he was to die in the 1930’s from the after affects of Malaria. He had five children, Paddy, Christy, John, Mary and Elizabeth.

In the meantime George became a leading member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians. A non-smoker and a non-drinker from his middle years onwards he developed an abiding interest in fishing and was regarded locally as a superb master of that craft.

Employed by the local Urban District Council he regularly featured in minutes of that Body where many references can be found to George Lamon who was employed as a weigh man in the Market in Emily Square. Each year George and his colleague John Farrell were supplied with what was referred to in the Minutes as “sleeved vests”. In later years George was responsible for the water supply to the town and was the nominated “key man” with special responsibility for turning on and off the water as required. George continued working with the Urban District Council until 1951 when he died.

His son George Lamon who now lives in Pairc Bhride has a unique position in the annals of industrial employment in Athy. Just recently retired after 50 years service in the Asbestos and Tegral factories, George is the longest serving member of that factory since it opened in 1936. The explanation for this lies in the “subterfuge” exercised by George when in 1947 he first applied to join the Asbestos factory as a juvenile worker. In those days and indeed I understand up to the early 1960’s the Asbestos factory took on workers aged fifteen years upwards. Termed “juvenile workers” they worked less hours and received less pay than their adult colleagues. On reaching eighteen years of age they worked the same hours but for less pay and only achieved parity with adult employees on attaining twenty-one years of age.

George who attended Athy Christian Brothers School with Mossy Reilly, John Anderson, Stan Mullery, Hugh Kerrigan and Jackie Hayes left in the middle of his first year in Secondary School when aged thirteen and a half years to join the Asbestos factory. He told his prospective employers that he was fifteen years of age and was put into the moulding section where he worked under foreman Frank Gibbons and chargehand Dan Meaney. His true age was not known to his employers until he had to go out on sick leave in 1966. In his long period in the Asbestos factory he worked under all of the Managers, including the Welshman Ned Cornish, his successor Charlie Stephens, Jens Preisler, Brian Taylor and the present Manager, Denis Mullins. When he retired in August of this year George did so as chargehand, to which position he had been appointed in 1969.

George is married to Betty McCormack, originally from Dun Laoghaire whom he met at a marquee dance in Naas in the early 1960’s. Married in July 1966 they have six children, all of whom I understand spell their name with a double “M”. Their eldest son George is in America, while Frank and Gerard are working locally with son Paul, a legal student in UCD. Their eldest daughter Teresa is in Cathal Brugha College in Dublin while Ann is presently in the Leaving Certificate class in Scoil Mhuire.

George who was reared in Upper William Street has lived in Pairc Bhride since marrying. His leisure time was devoted to Athy Soccer Club with whom he played for the seconds and occasionally the first team in the early 1950’s. Local men on the soccer teams in those days included “Cha” Chanders, Ger “Scratch” Robinson, Jimmy O’Donnell, “Onie” Walsh and occasionally Danny Flood who was to win a Leinster Senior Championship medal with Kildare in 1956. Two men who also played with George in those days were Tom Bohana and T.J. Byrne, both of whom cycled from Carlow to Athy for the soccer games. T.J. Byrne went on in later years to manage the Royal Show Band in the 1960’s.

George and Betty are a delightful couple to meet and the soft-spoken woman from Dun Laoghaire speaks warmly of the kind and neighbourly people she has met in Athy over the last 30 years. “Athy people are always friendly and will always speak to you” she says. For George Lamon the journey from Newcastle-upon-Tyne to Athy is part of his family history. As he looks back on a lifetime spent in Athy, George the third generation Lanham, knows that for himself and his own children Athy is the place which they will always call home.

Thursday, October 2, 1997

Ned Ward

Yet another long established business in Athy has closed down. The door was shut for the last time last week on the betting shop business first opened by the late Ned Ward fifty years ago. It was in 1947 that Ned extended this business empire when he opened the small betting shop at No. 2 Woodstock what is now Harry Bachelor’s house. Ned who was a native of Portarlington had first arrived in Athy within a year or two of his marrying Elizabeth Murphy of St. Michael’s Terrace. Her father was a renowned stone mason as indeed had been other members of the Murphy family for generations past. Indeed I can recall Elizabeth’s brother Joe Murphy also of St. Michael’s Terrace building the fine cut stone entrance at St. Dominic’s Church in 1957. This was possibly one of the last pieces of stone work he undertook in the Athy area.

Before coming to Athy Ned Ward operated three butcher shops in Portarlington, Castlecomer and in the Cornmarket, Dublin. These were sold off in time and when Ned and Elizabeth came to Athy with their newly born child May, Ned opened up a butcher shop in Athy in what is now Fred’s Fashions.

The Civil War had just ended and the local men who had served in France and Flanders and survived the Great War had returned to live in Athy. For most of these men life in the town meant unemployment as in common with the rest of provincial Ireland Athy struggled to come to terms with the political and economic freedom of the newly established Irish Free State. The local brickyards with one exception had closed down and the long established firm of Hannons Millers of Ardreigh and in Athy had also ceased business. It was not a good time to open up a butchers shop in Athy.

Ned Ward’s business however was to prosper and he was in time to open up another butcher shop in Stanhope Street next to the corner shop which is now occupied by Lehanes. The growing family which by now included Dympna and Sam lived in No. 35 Duke Street.

Apart from his involvement in business Ned actively concerned himself with the social life of Athy. Possessed of a very fine tenor voice he sang in the local Dominican choir and on the stage with Agnes Glespen of Duke Street who was a well known contralto. Agnes was a daughter of Patrick Whelan a draper of Leinster Street who in her early days was a member of the Dublin Grand Opera Society and later still of the D’Oyly Carte Company in London. She married John Glespen who had a coach building business at 19 Duke Street and one of their sons was the late Brother Seamus Norbert Glespen who published in 1957 the first full length biography of the 1798 patriot Thomas Russell.

One of the Ned Ward’s life long interests was the local soccer club which was first started during the period of the Barrow drainage scheme in the mid 1920’s. The club did not prosper then and was to shut down soon after the men employed on the scheme had left Athy. It was not until 1948 that another attempt was made to revive the club and one of those involved in that attempt was Ned Ward. He

remained a constant supporter of the local club for the rest of this life earning for himself the title of “grandfather of soccer in Athy”.

In 1947 Ned opened his first betting shop at No. 2 Woodstock Street. By now the Ward family included Dominic who died tragically in the early 1960’s while an officer in British army, Stella and Noelle both of whom live in Dublin and Brendan now living in England. The Ward businesses included a greengrocer shop in Duke Street but in time the butcher shops were closed and the betting shop was re-located to No. 36 Duke Street. Mrs. Elizabeth Ward died in 1957 and thereafter Ned wound down his business interests.

My memory of Ned Ward in the late 1950’s is of his card playing skills which were always to be seen on the night of the big 25 tournament which ran each year in a number of venues in the town but centred in St. John’s Hall. It was organised by the local church fundraising committee in which my father was involved and the 25 tournament was his particular responsibility each year. There was always a card table sequestered for the serious poker players of which Ned was one and throughout the night large amounts of money passed to and fro across the table with a practised regularity. Ned like his companions was a superb poker player and a frequent card player in the local CYMS club where he continued to be a member until his death in 1971.

The Ward family suffered the tragic loss of their second eldest child Tommy in February 1938. Tommy who was born in 1927 crept out of bed early that fateful evening to play cowboys and indians with his friends. His father Ned met him in St. John’s Lane and sent him back home little realising that Tommy would scamper past 35 Duke Street to have one last encounter with his young friends at the canal lock. He was drowned that evening in the canal lock having fallen in when crossing the canal gates. Tommy was to have made his confirmation that following May.

Ned’s daughter Dympna who married Brendan O’Flaherty continued to live in 36 Duke Street. Brendan was from Dublin and came to Athy when he took up employment in Bord Na Mona. He was a playing member of the local soccer club for many years and in later life was an officer and a member of the club’s committee. The eldest Ward daughter May married Bobby Bachelor brother of Harry of Woodstock Street and the late Michael who was a jockey of note. May, Dympna and Stella possessed fine singing voices and May and Dympna especially were involved in the local musical societies in the 1940’s and later. Indeed in the photographs I have seen of musical stage presentations on the town hall in the 1940’s the Ward sisters have been ever present. Theirs was a musical tradition stretching back to their father which continues today with the daughter of their brother Brendan who is a concert pianist in London.

With the closure of the betting shop in Duke Street the business concern started by Ned Ward over 70 years ago have now passed into memory. The man from Portarlington left his mark on his adopted town not least in the wonderful musical legacy in which we all shared down the years. The Ward family name continues to conjure up for each of us memories of times past long after the legendary Ned Ward had passed away.