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Showing posts from June, 2013

The oldest resident of Edenderry?

Was William Chandlee the oldest ever resident of Edenderry?

William Chandlee came to Ireland with Oliver Cromwell in 1649, supervised the English army's stores in Trim, County Meath, was "convinced of ye blessed truth" preached by William Edmundson, the first Irish Friend and lived the remainder of his 103 years near Edenderry town, in King's County.

The last train ticket from Edenderry

A little known fact is that the last train leaving Edenderry brought GAA supporters to the 1963 Railway Cup Final in Croke Park on St Patrick's Day 1963. In those days the Railway Cup was a big attraction and more than 60,000 could be guaranteed to attend to see county stars and some lesser known players compete for interprovincial honours.

On this occasion Leinster, with the famed Ollie Walsh of Kilkenny in goals played Munster, with Christy Ring of Cork at full forward in the Railway Cup Hurling Final, while four Offaly men- Paddy McCormack, Greg Hughes, Charlie Wrenn and Sean Brereton faced an Ulster team backboned by Down stars O'Neill and Doherty in the football final.

While Edenderry players Tommy Cullen, Sean Foran and Mick Brady had featured on Leinster teams in previous years they were not included on the Leinster panel on this occasion. Nonetheless the day remains a famous day for the fact that it was the day the last train left (and arrived back) in Edenderry! [Our…

Edenderry in times past

Have you any images of Edenderry ?

Edenderry Historical Society would love to hear from you. (email:

In 2009 the Society published a pictorial history - Images of Edenderry which is now out of print.

It is hoped that a second edition will appear in the near future.

The society has also been fortunate to receive a number of old shop billheads from the Edenderry area and will post a sample of them here on the on the blog over the coming weeks. These have been diligently collected by society member, Declan O'Connor, over many years.


From earliest times to the 13th Century.

About 120 AD Cathair Mór. King of Leinster, became powerful enough to be designated Ard-Rí Éireann by the four masters in the annals.He had ten sons, the eldest Ros Fáilghe (“of the rings”) was given the territory of North Offaly which became known as Uí Fáilighe in later times and from which the name Offaly derives.

The O’Connor sept is descended from Ros, they ruled all or part of Offaly up until the late 16th century.Offaly was divided into 7 “tríocha céad” or districts.Each district had it’s own sub-chief, the area that includes modern day Edenderry was called Tuatha-dá-Muighe, the territory of the two plains, which was the patrimonial inheritance of the O’Mulkenes.The name of the area gradually became corrupted until it was known as Tetmoy Ballykilleen Fort
This is the oldest structure extant in the Edenderry area. (To get to it head out of Edenderry on Tullamore road and turn left at Ballyfore crossroads towards the power station).

It is a tri…

Monasteroris (Castropetre) Vicars and Rectors

Monasteroris (Castropetre)  Vicars and Rectors(Reproduced by kind permission of the Representative Church Body, who hold the copyright)1424 Cornelius O'Lehuhyr.
1437/8 Maurice O'Fyayth.
1456 Maurice Yheaith V. is d.
1456 Magonius O'Conalean.
1456 Thady O'Sulmacg.
1464/5 Thady O'Concobuyr.
1550 Malachi Hennessy.
1558/9 Thomas Flynne.
1605 Pierce O'Fgleyn.
1628/9 John Wigget.
1666 George Mundy.
1682 Benjamin Mayne.
1685 William Nelson pres. to V. Monasteroris and R. Ballymacwilliam, June 11.
1699/1700 Daniel Tomlinson pres. to V. Monasteroris and Ballymacwilliam, Feb. 22.
1706/7 Thomas Bushe.
1731/2 William Tisdall.
1736 William Gore pres. to V. of M. & R. & V. Kilclonfert, May 3.
1736/7 Thomas Bullen.
1742 Arthur Champagne.
1761 Arthur Champagne Jnr.
1801 William Lambert.
1811 William Grattan.
1817 Patrick Renny.
1818 John Jones.
1830 Graham Philip Crozier.
1842 Henry Moore.
1844 John Edward Murray
1883 John Dickson Eccles Newcombe.
1905 Robert Hale Bodel.

St Vincent’s Paupers Graveyard, Edenderry

Heritage Week: 26/8/2009 Remembering the Famine at Edenderry

Located on Sr. Senan Avenue, Edenderry. The Edenderry Poor Law Union or Workhouse opened its door to the destitute, elderly, disabled, ill and orphaned on March 19th 1842. Until its closure in 1921, many poor souls died there and were buried in unmarked graves in a small field at the rear of the building. At its peak in 1849, there were 1,800 people in the Workhouse, which dwindled to 377 in 1861. The only monument to mark their final resting place, was erected by Muintir na Tire in 1958 when the burial place was named St. Vincent's. To mark the 150th anniversary of the Famine, the cemetery was renovated and re-dedicated on Heritage Day, September 21st, 1997. New gates and piers with commemorative plaques were erected also.

Inscription on the right pier reads;
Suaimhneas Siorrai
Doibh Go Leir
Erected 1997 to mark the 150th Anniversary of the Great Famine
Inscription on the left pier reads;
Erected in Memory
Of all who are…

The Blundell Mining Company, 1851

The Blundell Mining Company, 1851
In July 1851 the Blundell Mining Company was formed in an effort to revive the town of Edenderry and surrounding area after the Great Famine. Spearheaded by the fourth marquis of Downshire who owned some 14,000 acres around Edenderry the company was formed on the basis that local people would contribute to mining costs and were given the opportunity to become shareholders. In total over sixty locals bought shares and included MP O'Brien, Denis Fay and James Delaney owner of a hotel in the town. Lord Downshire acted as director of the company, while his land agent Thomas Richard Murray was vice chairman. His brother William Murray was secretary and John Atkin acted as solicitor for the company.

Mining was to be overseen by Edward Pickering, a Welsh mining expert who had overseen similar projects on Downshire’s other properties particularly at Banbridge, county Down. Before leaving Edenderry on the occasion of the meeting to form the company, Downshi…

St Mary's Roman Catholic Church Edenderry

Members of the Edenderry Historical Society are currently engaged in research in the building and history of St Mary's Roman Catholic Church in Edenderry. Built between 1914-1918 the church was the goal of Rev Paul Murphy and remarkably was paid for in his lifetime.

If anyone has any information, photographs, memorabilia of any kind relating to the church we would be delighted to hear from you. Information can be sent to

Is this a 1798 poem?

This is a well known poem/song in the Carbury/Edenderry area. But who was Charlie Og McCann and what period does the poem refer to? My own research into the 1798 rebellion and the build up to it has unearthed the case of four men from the Edenderry/Carbury locality who were sentenced to death for their part in the murder of the Grattan's, Mary and Esther at the estate of Lord Harberton on 12 July 1798. The four men, Kilmurray, Bermingham, Kenny and McCann were originally sentenced to be transported for life, but their sentence was changed, the court deciding that they should die at the spot where they had committed the crime. Although the transportation lists the name of McCann as Thomas, newspaper coverage of the incident was uncertain of his Christian name.

In 1873, Edenderry man Hugh (or Aedh) Farrell, wrote a book of nationalist poems entitled Irish National Poems, which included the poem Charley Og McCann. Was Farrell the author?

Charlie  Og McCann
The brave old hill of Carb…

Decade of Commemoration 2012-203

As we enter the decade of commemoration, the centenary of the period 1912-23, arguably the most important in the state, this column will provide an insight into how Edenderry & environs was affected. From the First World War to the War of Independence these miscellaneous accounts aim to provide an insight into all that was occurring at the time.

War casualty
Capt S. Rait Kerr RFA who fell on 13 May 1915 was 27 years old and was the eldest surviving son of Mr Rait Kerr, Rathmoyle, Rhode. He was educated at Rugby and the Royal Military Academy Woolwich, 2nd Lieutenant in the RFA in December 1907, lieutenant in Dec 1910, Capt in November last. Served in South Africa, India and was on home leave when the war broke out. Went to the front with the G battery RHA in early November 1914 and put in charge of a Howitzer battery in April. His eldest brother Capt William Charles Rait Kerr D.S.O RFA was killed at Ypres on 10 November 1914.
Severing links with Britain
On 20 October 1920 Edenderry d…

Did Edenderry have a 1916?


That is the question which will be answered on Friday 5 July at 7.30pm in the Parish Centre, when Edenderry Historical Society presents a benefit lecture by Dr Ciarán Reilly entitled:

'In the name of God and of the dead generations....':Did Edenderry have a 1916?

The lecture will examine what happened in Edenderry and the surrounding area during this tumultuous year in Irish history and probe how we should commemorate the 100th anniversary of the event in 2016.

The lecture is being organised to benefit a very worthy local cause. All are welcome and all donations are greatly appreciated.

The Famine Irish: Emigration & new lives

The Centre for the Study of Historic Irish Houses & Estates based at the Dept of History, NUI Maynooth are collaborating with Strokestown Park House (as seen on the recent TV3 series 'The Big House') for an exciting two day conference on the Famine Irish.

A host of papers (18 in total!) by leading experts on the Irish Famine and emigration makes for an extremely informative conference.

Papers will focus on the lives of the Irish who settled in America, Canada, Britain, Australia and South Africa. The conference keynote address will be delivered by Professor Christine Kinealy, while society member Dr Ciarán Reilly will give a paper on anti-Irish sentiment in South Africa in the 1840s.

The conference takes place on the 19-20 July in Strokestown Park House and the conference fee is €25.

 For more see or

Edenderry emigrants

Over the coming weeks we hope to publish details of some Edenderry natives. Our first entry is for Arthur Hill Murray.

Passing of the Pioneer Dr. A. H. Murray: The news of the death of Dr. Arthur Hill Murray, of Nulbear, Cunnamulla which occurred at a private hospital in Brisbane on May 4, was received with regret by a wide circle of friends and business acquaintances in Brisbane and the South-western districts of Queens land. The late Dr. Murray was born at Edenderry, King's county (Ireland); about 74 years ago. He arrived In Sydney in 1880, and four years later was appointed medical officer of the Cunnamulla District Hospital. The late Dr. Murray rendered 35 years of valuable service in that position before retiring in 1919 to follow pastoral pursuits on Nulbear. Deceased was a foundation member of the Warrego Masonic Lodge and Royal Arch Chapter, and a life member of the Cunnamulla District Hospital. Through-: out his life the late Dr Murray took a keen interest in all matters…

Education in Edenderry through the years

Hedge Schools (Taken from the Leinster Leader, 26 March 1960)

‘A mud walled cabin has been demolished in St Francis Street last week and with it went the old hedge schools of the district. Its headmaster when it opened in May 1823 was Edward Elliot (30) who taught reading, writing, arithmetic, book keeping, English grammar, geography and whose income was £8 a year- payable by the scholars at 1 ½ d per week. In his work Schools of Kildare and Leighlin, Rev Monsignor Brenan PP Edenderry states that the thatched school consisted of one room 24ft by 12ft, it had three desks, three forms and some small seats of a bad description, built by the master at a probable expense of £6.In the summer of 1823 it had an average attendance of 100 pupils. Mr John Whittaker’s father, the late Tom Whittaker, lived beside the school and once dug up several half pennies in his garden. They represented months of hard teaching and were probably lost by the pupils or their poorly paid teacher. The old building …

Some townland place names in and around the parish of Edenderry

All around us here in Edenderry are place names which have long been anglicised, the result of which we no longer know the meaning of the name. The following is a list of local place names which Mairead Evans put together some years ago:
Ardbash: Ard bais- the flat hill Ballinakill: Baile na cille – the place of the church Ballynanum: Baile an eanaigh – townland of the swamp Edenderry: Eádon Doire – the brow of the oak wood Esker: Eiscir- sand hills Glann: Gleann – glen or lowland between two heights Killane: Cill Anna – the church or cell or cemetery of Ann or Cill Eanaigh- the church of the swampy land Kinnefad : Cinn Atha Fada – the head of the long ford (across the Boyne)Kishevanna : Ceis an Bhainne – the wicker bridge of the milk Leitrim – Liath druim- the grey ridge Rangles: Rahen ne nangell- (raithin: a clamp or built up sods) Aingeal: fire or lighted sod or coal [this is an area of bogland near Codd Shean: Sidheán – a fairy mount

Appeal for Edenderry World War One Information

Following on from a project I completed in 2009/10 about WW1 and the part Edenderry people played in it, I now intend publishing my findings. It would be nice for anyone who had an ancestor who took part in the War to have him or her commemorated in the book. As the centenary of the start of WW1 is almost upon us, the book will be a memorial to all those who took part but were forgotten. If you have photos, stories, memorabilia of any kind in relation to men or women who took part in the First World War and had a connection with Edenderry, I’d love to hear from you. Whether it is a person who died in the War or one who survived and returned to civilian life in Edenderry or elsewhere, I’d love to hear about them. All information welcome, no matter how small. If you would like your ancestor included, please contact Catherine

2013 Lecture Series

22 February: Mary Delaney, The Digby Estate, Geashill under the management of William Steuart Trench, 1857-1871
22 March: John Feehan, The geology of the Edenderry area
26 April: Maeve Skirosa, Recent archaeological finds in County Offaly
24 May: Michael Byrne, The newspaper industry in Offaly from 19th to 20th century
August Heritage Week Talk: Paula Lalor, The Royal visits of Queen Victoria to Ireland & Irish country houses
27 September: Ciarán McCabe, The poor and the provision of relief in pre-Famine Carbury
25 October: Elizabeth O’Brien, Re-discovering Columba’s Monastery at Durrow, Co. Offaly
22 November: Liam Kenny, Ballots and bullets: The 1920 Kildare County Council elections