John O’Donovan of Attatimore

John O’Donovan of Attatimore Peter McQuillan Who was John O’Donovan? We’ll let him tell you himself. In an autograph letter dated October 8th 1843 he wrote “I was born on the townland of Attatimore (Áit an Tigh Mór – the place of the big house) on 3rd August 1809. My father died… when I was […]

St Patrick’s Day 1903 in Kilkenny

Saint Patrick’s Day 1903 in Kilkenny Patrick Neary Bank holidays or public holidays as they became more commonly known were first introduced in 1871 by Westminster but St Patricks Day was not observed as a bank holiday until 1903 when James O’Mara an Irish politician successfully introduced a Bill that made it an official public […]

Break Up Of Robber Gang

The breaking-up of a robber gang Edward Law (2015) Early in May, 1749, some 260 years ago, the Earl of Carrick of Ballylinch, near Thomastown received information that Bolger the robber, was hidden in a house at Killaghy in Grace’s Country, some miles west of Kilkenny city. James Bolger, a member of a notorious gang […]

The Canal Walk

The Canal Walk Edward J Law (2015) It is surmised that the Canal Walk came into being about 1763. The canal was in existence five years before that, being shown on Rocque’s map of 1758. At that time there was a lane alongside the canal and river, from the Castle Mills to the Castle, but […]

Cantwell Fada

Cantwell Fada of Kilfane Eamonn Kiely The Cantwells were a Norman family, originally from Suffolk in England. They built several castles in Kilkenny and Tipperary. In Tipperary their best known castles are at Moycarkey, Dromineer and Mellison while in Kilkenny Kells, Rathcoole and Kilfane belonged to the Cantwells. The best known of the family is […]

Captain James Arnold Smithwick

Captain James Arnold Smithwick of Kilkenny Ken Kinsella Very few families in Kilkenny remained unaffected by the Great War and the parallel struggle for Irish independence in the period 1914 to 1922. Captain James Arnold Smithwick, born in 1881, was the elder surviving son of Francis and Marion Smithwick, a highly respected Kilkenny merchant family. […]

Charitable Loan Societies Kilkenny

Charitable Loan Societies In County Kilkenny Edward J Law (2015) In the eighteenth century, before the advent of a regulated banking system, borrowing money was a difficult undertaking for all but those with good security. Individuals on the lowest rung of the trading ladder found it difficult to advance without a modicum of trading capital. […]

Charles Bianconi

Bianconi – the Great Innovator Brian Daly My name is Brian Daly and and I want to talk to you about Charles Bianconi the great innovator. Near the Black Abbey, at the Brega river, there is a 3 story building marked Bianconi Court. This was the Kilkenny depot of the Bianconi coach network which transformed […]

Kilkenny Christmas Custom

A Christmas custom of old Kilkenny Edward J Law (2013) The Kilkenny historian John Prim noted the continuation of the practice of calling the Christmas waits in 1853, but the custom appears to have ceased shortly after that. It ended with the death in December 1856 of John Burke, who had been an umbrella maker […]