Old News



A collection of old newspaper extracts relating to Kilbrin parish, dating from the late 1800's, is given below. The majority of these articles came from the 'National Library of New Zealand' website, which can be viewed here.



Archbishop Croke

The article below, from the 'Irish News' section of the 'New Zealand Tablet', dated 5 June 1902, gives an account of Archbishop Thomas William Croke's ill health. Dr. Croke was born in the little townland of Dromin, in Kilbrin, in 1824.



The news of the illness of the Most Rev. Dr. Croke, Archbishop of Cashel (says the 'Freeman's Journal'), will occasion regret throughout the whole Irish world, for wherever there are Irishmen the name of his Grace is honored. He is at present suffering from a severe attack of bronchitis. The Most Rev Dr. Croke is an old man, and even his splendid constitution can now ill stand such an attack That he may speedily recover will be the prayer of every Irishman who reads that the revered Prelate, and uncompromising and generous Nationalist is stricken. The attachment of Nationalist Ireland to the Archbishop of Cashel is personal, because he has ever shown himself an earnest co-worker in the cause, and labored for the people, and defended them with extraordinary vigor.

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Sadly, Dr. Croke was not to recover from his ill health, and died at the Archbishop's Palace in Thurles on 22 July 1902. The following article was published in the 'New Zealand Tablet', on the 7th August, 1902



Telegrams from London, of date 22nd July, announced the demise of the gifted and patriotic Archbishop of Cashel and Emily. Earlier intelligence told that the illustrious prelate was dangerously ill, and that the Pope had sent him his blessing. Evidently the end was approaching - the end of a truly great champion of creed and country. The Catholics of his day in Auckland will never forget his letters on Masonry and Orangeism. and the consternation they caused in these two hotbeds of bigotry. His preaching, too, in old St. Patrick's attracted universal attention. All denominations thronged to the Cathedral to hear his brilliant discourses. Usually there were crowds around the door and alongside the windows outside, the capacity of the church being quite unequal to the demand on such occasions. One had to go an hour before the appointed time in order to find sitting or even standing room. This went on for three years, when, to Auckland's great loss, Dr. Croke left the shores of New Zealand. This, however, was Ireland's gain. His letters on the Home Rule question, his brilliant speeches throughout his Archdiocese in support of the National cause, attracted profound attention and gave the movement an impetus and nerve that bore it on to the very brink of complete triumph. Useless to recount this sad cause of temporary failure. Suffice it to say that Dr. Croke, the patriotic prelate, did his part nobly and fearlessly. When yet Home Rule will be granted, his honored name will be mentioned with reverence and respect. As his sage advice and his generous purse were always at the service of his country, so the spirit of patriotism and generosity he infused will not fail until victory shall crown the Home Rule movement and make Old Ireland a nation once again.



No prelate was better known in ecclesiastical circles, There was no National movement but felt the support of his voice and purse and pen. And the diocese of Auckland, his first See, he never ceased to help, as his successors have thankfully acknowledged.



The following brief biography of the deceased prelate will be interesting to the readers of the Tablet. It is taken from the late Dr. Comerford's 'History of the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin:- 'Dr. Croke was Processor of Humanities at Carlow College in 1847, and left, early in 1849, for the Irish College in Paris, having been appointed Professor of Dogmatic Theology in that institution. His Grace is a native of County Cork, having been born near Mallow, May 19, 1824. He entered the Irish College, Paris, in 1839, whence he removed, in 1845, to become Professor of Rhetoric and the Mathematics in the College Episcopae de Merien, near Courtrai in Belgium. In November, 1815, he proceeded to the Iriph College, Rome, took his degree of D.D. in the Roman College, and was ordained priest on the 28th May, 1847. On relinquishing his professorship at Paris, Dr. Croke returned to Ireland, where he served on the mission for about six years. He was afterwards president of the newly-established College of St. Colman, Fermoy, in which position he continued for the succeeding eight years, at the termination of which he received the appointment of P.P. of Doneraile. Four years later be was chosen by the Holy See as Bishop of Auckland, New Zealand, and was consecrated on the 10th July, 1870, in the Church of St. Agatha, Rome, by his Eminence Cardinal Cullen, assisted by Dr. Murphy, Bishop of Hobartown, and Dr. Quinn, Bishop of Brisbane. In June, 1875, Dr. Croke was appointed Archbishop of Cashel, in succession to the Most Rev. Dr. Leahy.'

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Burying Landlordism



The article below, from the 'English News' section of the 'Clutha Leader', dated 25 March 1881, gives an account of an unusual burial that had taken place in Kilbrin.



A strange scene was witnessed at a land meeting held at Kilbrin, a rural district midway between Charleville and Kanturk. Previous to the meeting, a black coffin, having the inscription “Landlordism” in large capitals, was borne on the shoulders of four men, which a large crowd followed “keening". The supposed corpse having come to a grave, which was dug for the purpose, the coffin, amidst a scene of great excitement, was hurled in, and the grave closed up. It is stated that a similar scene was enacted there during O'Connell's Tithe agitation. At the close of the proceedings, loud cheers were given for Mr Parnell and the Land League.

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Rev. T. Higgins



The obituary notice below was published in the 'Southland Times', dated 1 August 1887. Rev. T. Higgins had been Curate in Kilbrin for two periods, firstly in 1871, and again from 1882 through to 1884.



Although (says the Cork Examiner of May 21) it was known to his lay friends and to his reverend brethren in the diocese of Cloyne that the Rev. T. Higgins had been in very delicate health for a considerable time, yet the announcement of his death was to most of them a surprise. For more than a year he had been obliged to relinquish missionary work in consequence of the infirm state of his health, and had spent his time exclusively in preparing his soul for the summons of death that he felt was nigh, and that came to him in the quiet seclusion of the Mercy Hospital at Cork on last Tuesday morning. More than twenty years ago, after a successful collegiate course, he received the order of priesthood, and was appointed to the curacy of Ballyvourney, whence he was transferred to Kilbrin, and subsequently to Fermoy. In each and all of these missions he devoted himself with zeal and untiring assiduity to the duties of his sacred calling, and gained for himself the affection and veneration of the people and the approbation of his superiors. During his curacy in Fermoy the Very Rev. W. Coleman, Vicar-General of Dunedin, in New Zealand, came to this country to seek for priests who would be willing to take part in missionary work in the Antipodes where the harvest was great and the labourers were few. Animated with Seal for the extension of God's kingdom upon earth and for the salvation of souls, Father Higgins asked and obtained permission from his own bishop to serve for a few years in the distant diocese of Dunedin. He was appointed pastor of Invercargill, the most southern district of the New Zealand group; and in that remote locality he actively exerted himself in promoting the glory of his Divine Master and in securing the salvation of his flock, as the commendatory letters he received from the Bishop of Dunedin testify. On his return to his native diocese, the Most Rev. Dr. McCarthy appointed him to the curacy of Buttevant, but failing health compelled him to ask for a less laborious mission, and his kind and considerate bishop gratified his wish by replacing him in the curacy of Kilbrin. There he found himself again with the friends of his early priesthood, and amongst a people whom he greatly esteemed; and there he worked, "like a good soldier of Christ," until sickness forced him to give over his labour in the vineyard of the Lord. His remains, accompanied by a very large concourse of friends, were brought from Cork to Carrigtwohill on Thursday. Yesterday morning a Solemn Office and Mass were offered for the repose of his soul in the handsome church of St. Mary's Carrigtwohill, beside whose walls his body now lies interred.

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Irish Rangers



The extract below, from the 'Irish News' section of 'New Zealand Tablet' dated 15 June 1888, gives some details of a competition in which the Kilbrin Rangers team took part.



CORK: Dr. Magner, who was recently dismissed by the Local Goverment Board for the sole reason that he was convicted under Balfour's Coercion Act, has been elected Medical Officer of the Timoleague Dispensary.



An important fact came to light at the recent inquest on the body of Emergencyman M'Carthy at Ballinhassig. The evidence showed that on the farm deceased had been employed the landlord had lost £56 rent and £62 a year expenses since the eviction.



Jeremiah M'Carthy, P.L.G., Scart, a prominent Nationalist, reports that Sergeant Sullivan, and Constable Ryan, of Aughaville, shot his dog on the night of March 22, about 100 yards from bis house, near the Durrus road station of the Cork and Bandon railway. Mr. M'Carthy has been under police espionage for some time.



At the Cork Police Court, March 20, before Magistrates Gardiner, M. D. Daly, and F. Cade, Policeman Kells, one of "Balfour's model peacemakers," was charged with beating the horse that conveyed the High Sheriff to the County Gaol. W. Sullivan said he saw the "peeler" strike the poor animal a brutal blow on the head with his baton. The Court dismissed the case.



There was a grand Gaelic festival held on St. Patrick's Day and Sunday. The first match played was Liscarroll (Lord Edward's) against Doneraile (Sarsfield's). The match was undecided and will be played again at Buttevant. Kilbrin Rangers then played against Castlemanger and were defeated. On Sunday the Sons of Liberty, Ballyclough, headed by Father Bowler, their President, played the Freemount "William O'Briens" under the direction of Father O'Regan. The latter won by a point.

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Unwelcome Visitor



From the 'Irish News' section of the 'New Zealand Tablet', dated 30 December 1887, the following account is given of an unwelcome visitor to the area.



Cork: Father Collins, C.C., Castlemagner, and Father O'Keeffe C.C., Kilbrin, felt it their duty, to warn the Nationalists of Duhallow of the presence there of a visitor who represented himself in gushing sympathy with their cause, and as a responsible South American inquirer into their grievances. The circumstances of his presence at and sudden disappearance from Father Collins' house have created a distinct impression that he is Balfour's emissary.

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Michael Davitt



From the 'Wanganui' section of the 'New Zealand Tablet', dated 17 September 1886, a reference is made to a speech given by Michael Davitt in Kilbrin.



Mr. Davitt, speaking at Sligo on November 29, 1880, said : "The revenge which we should seek in this great movement is to strike down ignorance by labouring to remove its cause; to see the miserable hovels of our people— the blots upon the social life of Ireland as well as upon its landscape beauty— pulled down, and replaced by neat and comfortable dwellings; plenty and wholesome food substituted for the Indian meal stirabout, and rotten potatoes, which have impoverished the physical life of our people; rags replaced by respectable raiment, and general prosperity raising victory over national poverty. Let the victims of the Land League movement be injustice, ignorance, social degradation, and pauperism."



At Blessington, County Wicklow, on December 14, 1880, Mr. Davitt said : "I am not here to ask any man to commit any act or any outrage which would be repudiated or condemned from any platform or pulpit in the land. I do not require you, neither does the Land League, to lay a hand upon a single hair of any man's head."



Again, at Kilbrin, near Kanturk, County Cork, on January 17, 1881, Mr. Davitt said : "But glorious, indeed, will be our victory, and high in the estimation of mankind will our grand old fatherland stand, if we can so curb our passions and control our acts in this struggle for free land as to march to success through provocation and danger without resorting to the wild justice of revenge, or being guilty of anything which could sully the character of a brave and Christian people.”

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A fortnight after the speech above was given in Kilbrin, Michael Davitt was arrested and sentenced to 15 months in Portland Prison. On his release, he wrote a letter to the 'Standard', which was published in the 'New Zealand Tablet' on the 7 July 1882. An extract of the letter is given below.



Mr. Forster, in reply to my speech at Kilbrin, county Cork, a fortnight previous to my arrest, at which I predicted the accumulation of crime that would result from his policy, and held him answerable before God for the consequences that would inevitably follow from police terrorism and coercion, said that I was a convicted Fenian. Very well, I am. It is true that I was convicted on a false charge, sworn to by a salaried perjurer whom I had never seen ere he confronted me in the dock of Newgate, but I do not wish to plead that. I would only ask any fair-minded Englishman to read a few chapters of Irish history, to put himself in imagination in the place of a son of an evicted Irish peasant, and to answer whether it is any stigma to an Irishman that he has been a Fenian. The people of Ireland do not think so. Nothing so shows the false relations into which the two countries have been brought by misunderstanding and misrule than that a man may be a criminal on one side of the Irish Sea and a patriot on the other. And if it be said, as many unthinking Englishmen would say, that a Fenian is a man who wishes to burn, to blow up, to murder, I will not reply even to that, though I know it to be untrue. I will only ask if it is just to hold that a man of mature years must be held to the opinions of youth. And this, at least, let me say for myself. If in the hot blood of early manhood, smarting under the cruelties and indignities perpetrated on my country, I saw in an appeal to force, the only means of succouring her, there has dawned upon my graver thought, in the bitter solitude of a felon's cell, a noble vision, a dream of the fraternisation and enfranchisement of peoples, of the conquering of hate by justice. I have suffered by their power, and, as I believe, by their ignorance and prejudice, but, there is in my heart to-day no sentiment of bitterness towards the English people. The gospel of the land for the people is a universal gospel, and in its triumph is involved the social regeneration of England as clearly and as fully as the social regeneration of Ireland. In the heart of whoever receives it, race bitterness and ancient hatred die away.

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Leader Estate



The 'Irish News' section of the 'New Zealand Tablet', dated 27 May 1887, gives the following account of a demonstration on the Leader's estate.



A demonstration similar to those common on the Kingston estate took place on the Leader estate at Carrass [sic – Curraghs?] on March 2. The people of the surrounding country for a radius of over 20 miles assembled on the estate to till lands of tenants who have adopted the Plan of Campaign. About 1,200 horses, with every kind of agricultural implements requisite for work, were employed at the operation. Great enthusiasm prevailed. During the day contingents came from Banteer, Newmarket, Kilbrin, Kanturk, Castlemangner, and several other places, and before nightfall crops were sown on the farms of several campaigners.

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National League



From the 'Dublin Notes' section of the 'New Zealand Tablet', dated 8 June 1888, a reference is made to an address given by a Mr. J. 0. Flynn, M.P. to the Kilbrin Hurling Club in relation to the National League.



The "things of the past" proved on Sunday, April 8, that they are also things of the present. Mr. Balfour's ghosts sprang up all along the line in Galway, Cork, and Clare, and looked emphatically more substantial than shadows. The gauntlet flung down by the Chief Secretary has been taken up with a hopeful and an enthusiastic alacrity that was the only befitting response to the silly taunt that the league was dead and buried in the "suppressed" districts. Mr. Balfour will be good enough to put last Sunday's answer in his pipe and smoke it.



Brave Loughrea has gallantly upheld its record for grit and determination by the splendid manner in which it faced Balfour's battalions. The people adopted no ruse, but came out boldly and fearlessly to show their contempt for the proclamation of Dublin Castle. Opposite the entrance to the field where the meeting was to be held were arranged the fusiliers and the hussars, together with the usual posse of police. At two o'clock Mr. William O'Brien, M.P., accompanied by an English Member, Mr. Henry Wilson, and several priests, proceeded at the head of an immense multitude to the scene of action, where Mr. O'Brien announced to Mr. Longburne, the officer in charge, his intention to hold a meeting for perfectly constitutional purposes. "If I am myself assaulted or arrested," said the hon. gentleman, "I shall take care and guarantee that no further effort will be made to hold the meeting ... l am the malefactor here. I take the whole responsibility of the meeting; and if I am doing anything wrong you can take me by violence and arrest me." To all these remonstrances the officer replied that he would have to carry out the proclamation. Mr. O'Brien thereupon entered the field, followed by hussars, police, and people, jumbled together in all the order of disorder. Mr. O'Brien immediately mounted the platform, and was addressing the swaying multitude for some time when the police charged with their rifles, striking everyone they could reach, After a hard tussle, the assemblage dispersed, but soon afterwards followed Mr. O'Brien to the bishop's palace. Later on in the afternoon a meeting was held in the Temperance Hall, the doors of which were well barricaded, where the hon. gentleman was presented with an address from the Loughrea branch of the National League, after which he delivered a glowing speech, breathing defiance to Balfour and Clanricarde, and all their works and pomps.



Colonel Persse, R.M., was commander-in-chief of her Majesty's forces at Kanturk. Cavalry and infantry swarmed in to town. Mr. T. M. Healy, M.P., and Mr. J. 0. Flynn, M.P., accompanied by Mr. and Mrs. Byles, arrived in Kanturk in the morning. After having taken a drive in the suburbs, escorted by police and military, Messrs. Healy and Flynn addressed the people here and there along the route. At one particular point the Kilbrin Hurling Club was addressed by Mr. Flynn, who said that it had taken 200 police and 200 soldiers to prove that the National League was a corpse. Well, he added a corpse in that condition struck him as one that was very active. Mr. Healy subsequently spoke to the assemblage, and alluded in triumphant tones to the victory achieved there that day. Mr. Byles, Rev. Mr. Ellis, and Rev. Father O'Keeffe followed Mr. Healy. Despite the vigilance of the authorities, Kanturk held the proclaimed meeting, and treated the proclamation as Mr. Healy himself treated it, by kicking it from his presence.

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