Archive for County Kildare

31 August 1921 – The War Officially Ends

31 August 1921 – The War Officially Ends

31 August 1921 – The War Officially Ends

Photo: a lonely Commonwealth War Grave Commission Headstone in Tay Lane Cemetery, Celbridge, Co. Kildare

Walking through cemeteries you may have wondered why graves of servicemen dated 1919, 1920 and 1921 have a Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone. This is due to a sometimes-forgotten fact, today 31 August, marks the official end of the Great War.

Although guns fell silent with the signing of the armistice on 11 November 1918, treaties had to be signed and the war had to be officially ended. For example, the Treaty of Versailles, signed on 28 June 1919, ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. Different treaties were signed with other powers. To officially end the war the British Parliament passed The Termination of the Present War (Definition) Act 1918 which allowed the government to determine the official ending of the war between the British Empire and the Central Powers. Officially the war ended between the British Empire and Germany on 10 January 1920; Austria on 16 July 1920; Bulgaria on 9 August 1920; Hungary on 26 July 1921; and Turkey on 6 August 1924. It was declared for all other purposes, the Great War to have officially ended on 31 August 1921.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission was established by Royal Charter on 21 May 1917. They commemorate those who died as a result of their service up until the official end of the war on 31 August 1921. That includes those who died in service and those who died after they were discharged.

Two such examples include:

Air Mechanic 2nd Class, Charles Sheridan, Royal Air Force. Died on 16 August 1921. Buried in Tay Lane Cemetery, Celbridge, Co. Kildare, and Sapper J. Cash, Royal Engineers. Died 21 February 1919. Buried in Deans Grange Cemetery, Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown.

Air Mechanic 2nd Class, Charles Sheridan, Royal Air Force. Died on 16 August 1921. Buried in Tay Lane Cemetery, Celbridge, Co. Kildare. (Photo by Wesley Bourke)
Sapper J. Cash, Royal Engineers. Died 21 February 1919. Buried in Deans Grange Cemetery, Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown. (Photo by Peter Molloy)

Thank you to Tay Lane Cemetery and Peter Molloy.

Posted in: Aviation Heritage, County Kildare, Royal Air Force, The Great War, The Royal British Legion, World War One

Leave a Comment (0) →

Newbridge World War II Veteran turns 100

Newbridge World War II Veteran turns 100

Newbridge World War II Veteran turns 100

Ireland’s Military Story and The Irish Military Heritage Foundation send our best wishes to World War 2 veteran Joe Woods for a very happy 100th birthday today. Joe served with the Royal Air Force Regiment 1941 – 1946 and took part in the Liberation of Denmark. In 1995, Joe and his late wife Josephine, were invited to Denmark and he was presented with The Danish Liberation Silver Medal by a member of the Danish Royal family in recognition of his war service to Denmark. He is originally from Barlborough in Derbyshire but moved to Newbridge, Co Kildare.

He is well known in the Whitewater Shopping Centre and is regularly spotted around the town on his scooter he calls his ‘Spitfire’. Joe will be interviewed by Clem Ryan on Kfm Radio Kildare at 10:45am this morning.Joe was on our list to interview last year as part of our Kildare Veterans’ Story, but due to Covid-19 restrictions this could not happen. Hopefully we will meet Joe later this year.

Joe certainly lives up to the Royal Air Force Regiment motto:Per Ardua ad Astra “Through Adversity to the Stars”

Joe is pictured here at the Annual Wreath Laying Ceremony 2019 at the Irish War Memorial Gardens Islandbridge, with the then British Ambassador Mr. Robin Barnett CMG British Embassy Dublin and standard bearers of the Royal British Legion Republic of Ireland.

Photo courtesy of Joe’s good friend Tony O’Connor.

Posted in: County Kildare, Irish Veteran, Royal Air Force, Royal Air Force Association, The Royal British Legion

Leave a Comment (0) →

Two Kildare Veterans Tell Their Story

Two Kildare Veterans Tell Their Story

Two Kildare Veterans Tell Their Story

Interview with Sergeant Sharon McNamara and Sergeant Major Billy Redmond

On Friday 7 August we met up with two retired Kildare veterans to record their stories: Sergeant Sharon McNamara and Sergeant Major Billy Redmond.
Sharon comes from a long line of military service with grandfathers on both sides serving in the early days of Óglaigh na hÉireann / Irish Defence Forces. Growing up on the Curragh, joining the Amy was a natural progression. In 1981, a decision was made to recruit women under general enlistment. Along with forty other young ladies, Sharon found herself part of the Defence Forces first all-female recruit platoon. As this was a new chapter in the history of the Defence Forces Sharon had some enlightening stories to tell. At that time women could not serve in combat units. Even guard duties were off the list. This did not take long to change as Sharon explained: ‘in many ways we pioneered the way for those that came after us’. Sharon primarily served in the Administration School and the Curragh Command Headquarters. Retiring after 21 years’ service, Sharon now works for The Kerry Group in Naas.

Sergeant Sharon McNamara about life in the Defence Forces with the first all female platoon in 1981. (Photograph by John O’Byrne)

Sergeant Major Redmond is a well-known veteran from Kilcullen, who regularly writes and gives talks on his 45 years’ service in the Defence Forces. Billy joined in the late 1950s and served with the Signal and CIS Corps. Billy spent ten years on missions with the United Nations Peacekeeping, three tours in the Congo, two in Cyprus, and nine in South Lebanon. Billy’s first overseas tour was to the Congo with the 32nd Infantry Battalion and was able to give us insight how signallers operated in those harsh conditions. No smart phones back then, it was old style Morse Code. Impressively Billy can still tap out 22 words a minute.

Thank you to Jim Brady from ONE Ireland in Kildare for arranging the interviewees and to NC & JO’B Photography Studio & Gallery in Rathangan for the use of their facilities and support. Covid 19 safety precautions were observed during our interviews.

Sergeant Major Billy Redmond describing the situation in the Congo in the early 1960s. (Photograph by John O’Byrne)

This project is sponsored by County Kildare Heritage Office and Creative Ireland.

Posted in: County Kildare, Curragh Camp, Irish Army, Irish Defence Forces, Irish Veterans, Óglaigh na hÉireann, United Nations, United Nations Operation in the Congo

Leave a Comment (0) →

Celbridge’s Victoria Cross

Celbridge’s Victoria Cross

Celbridge’s Victoria Cross – Lieutenant Colonel John Augustus Conolly

Project: Celbridge’s Military Story

It as a real honour today to visit the graveside of Celbridge’s own Victoria Cross recipient at Mount Jerome Cemetery in Dublin: Lieutenant Colonel John Augustus Conolly. Growing up in Celbridge I knew nothing of this man or his service. We hope by recording his story it will forever be a part of Celbridge.

John Augustus Conolly circa 1850s. (Courtesy of the Guards Museum)

John Augustus Conolly was born on 30 May 1829 in Castletown, Celbridge, to Edward Michael Conolly MP and Catherine Jane, daughter of Chambre Brabazon Ponsonby-Barker.

John enlisted in the 49th Regiment of Foot (later the Royal Berkshire Regiment, today The Rifles) and served in the Eastern Campaign/Crimean War of 1854. He was present at the Battles of Alma and the Siege of Sebastopol. On 26 October 1854 he was shot through the chest and seriously wounded after a Russian attack at Shell Hill. The Russian attack was repulsed by heavy fire from Allied guns, and infantry led by Lieutenant Conolly. Field Marshal Sir Evelyn Wood VC later wrote that the Russians: ‘fell back and our infantry pursued them, being led most gallantly by Lieutenant Conolly’.

For this gallantry, Conolly was awarded the Victoria Cross (gazetted 5 May 1857) and promoted into the Coldstream Guards. At Hyde Park on 26 June 1857 Queen Victoria awarded the first Victoria Cross’s to 62 officers and men; one of these gallant heroes was a Celbridge man, then Brevet-Major John Augustus Conolly.

He later married on 4 August 1864 to Ida Charlotte Burnaby from Baggrave Hall, Leicestershire. She died in 1886. They had 5 children: John Richard Arthur, Alice Geta Katherine, Conagh Edwina, Louisa Augusta and Irene Beatrice.

John Conolly was eventually promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and retired from the Army in 1863. He became a Sub-Commissioner in the Dublin Metropolitan Police, and later Resident Magistrate for the Curragh of Kildare. He died on 23 December 1888 in the Curragh, and was laid beside his wife at Mount Jerome Cemetery, Dublin.

John Augustus Conolly lays at rest with his wife Ida in Mount Jerome Cemetery in Harold’s Cross, Dublin. (Photo by Michael Coyne)

Lieutenant Colonel John Augustus Conolly VC is remembered with pride at Castletown House and Parklands, the Berkshire Regimental museum and the Guards Museum who kindly helped us with images of John Conolly.

This project is made possible with funding from Kildare County Council.

Posted in: British Army, Celbridge, Coldstream Guards, County Kildare, Crimean War, Victoria Cross

Leave a Comment (0) →

Interview with Dr. Cathal Berry TD

Interview with Dr. Cathal Berry TD

Interview with Dr. Cathal Berry TD

Project: Kildare’s Veterans’ Story

Taking part in our Kildare’s Veterans’ Story project today was Óglaigh na hÉireann / Irish Defence Forces veteran Dr Cathal Berry TD in Newbridge, Co. Kildare. Cathal is an Independent TD for the constituency of Kildare South. Cathal is a father, husband, doctor, veteran and is a resident of Portarlington, Co. Laois. He is married to Orla and is the proud father of their young children Tom and Katie.

Prior to becoming a TD, Cathal spent 23 years in the Irish Defence Forces. He entered military service in with the Cadet School, Military College, Curragh Camp in 1995. After a tough 21 months training he was commissioned into the Infantry Corps. During his time in the Defence Forces, he spent six years in the Army Ranger Wing (ARW) and served overseas in the Balkans, Africa and the Middle East. In 2008, Cathal led an ARW unit in Chad. He later took a self-funded career break to qualify as a medical doctor in Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland

He subsequently worked in the HSE Ireland hospital emergency departments all over the country and then returned to the Defence Forces where he was appointed head of the Military Medical School in the Curragh, Co. Kildare. He retired from service at the rank of Commandant

Dr Cathal Berry TD with two members of his team: Lesley Walsh and Philip Coy, both of whom are also former members of the Defence Forces. Lesley, a Newbridge native, spent 24 years in the Defence Forces, serving in the 3rd Infantry Battalion, DFTC, and Chief of Staff’s Division, DFHQ. Philip (Busty) is a Curragh native serving 24 years in the Defence Forces primarily in the Military Detention Unit and the Transport Company in the DFTC. (Photo by John O’Byrne)
Wesley Bourke interviewing Dr Cathal Berry TD . (Photo by John O’Byrne)


This project is made possible with funding from Kildare County Council and Creative Ireland.

Posted in: County Kildare, Irish Army, Irish Defence Forces, Irish Veteran, Irish Veterans, Irish Veterans

Leave a Comment (0) →

Celbridge’s Lost Son – Private Robert Beveridge

Celbridge’s Lost Son – Private Robert Beveridge

Celbridge’s Lost Son – Private Robert Beveridge

Over the past year and half we have been researching for our first project – Celbridge’s Military Story. This project has led us down history trails we never envisaged. A project by the History Squad in Scoil Na Mainistreach on Celbridge’s casualties of the Great War led us to Major William Dease – son of Sir Col. Gerald Dease – who in turn had recruited local men into the Remounts in 1914. By pure chance we came across a casualty of the Great War not on the Celbridge war dead list: Private Robert Beveridge 28th Remount Squadron who is buried in Naas, County Kildare. Robert died on 25 January 1919 in the Curragh Military Hospital. The Kildare Observer confirmed he had been given a military funeral with honours paid by the Royal Dublin Fusiliers. Robert’s military records have not survived and no birth cert exists. Last year we inconclusively connected Robert to Celbridge through census records: the census listed a Robert Beverage, foster child with the Lennon family in Celbridge and later a labourer. Digging up several conundrums we came to multiple dead ends to conclusively prove the two Roberts were one of the same.

Not wanting to leave it at that we endeavoured to find out more. With the help of historians Drs Ann Mathews and Brendan O’Shea, local historians Jim Tancred and George Bagnall, Graham Hughes and Martin Whyte of St. Corban’s cemetery, and David Grant (www.cairogang.com) the story of Robert began to come together piece by piece. Through documents such as Robert’s Soldier’s Effects we were able to link the Private Beveridge buried in Naas to Celbridge and the Lennon family. As it turns out the Lennon family are still in the area and proudly remember Robert. We met the Lennon family – who still poses Robert’s medals and his photograph – and paid tribute at his grave. The History Squad had the key all along. 100 years ago, the Lennon family were the stuart’s of the Dease estate in Celbridge Abbey and Kilmacredock.

We will be bringing you Robert’s full story in the coming months.

Nora and Eoghan Lennon at the grave of Private Robert Beveridge in Naas. (Photograph by Wesley Bourke)

This project is sponsored by Kildare County Council Heritage Office.

Posted in: British Army, Celbridge, County Kildare, Curragh Camp, Remembrance, The Great War, World War One

Leave a Comment (0) →

Sergeant Noel McGivern: retired Emergency and United Nations veteran with the Irish Defence Forces.

Sergeant Noel McGivern: retired Emergency and United Nations veteran with the Irish Defence Forces.

Project: Dublin Port’s Emergency Story

Noel with his wife Patsy. (Photo by Ken Mooney)

This week we had the pleasure of meeting Noel McGivern and his wife Patsy. Noel gave us a remarkable insight into life in the early Defence Forces. His father Daniel McGivern had served during the War of Independence in County Down with the Irish Republican Army. Moving south he enlisted in the new National Army and served in the Curragh Camp. Noel was initially born in the Curragh 91 years ago. Moving to married quarters in Arbour Hill Daniel served with the 2nd and 5th Infantry Battalions. On the outbreak of the Emergency in 1939, he was transferred to the 11th Infantry Battalion in Greystones to help train the new entries.

Noel’s memories of life in Dublin during the Emergency were remarkable. Rationing was the order of the day but living in married quarters meant the army families could receive some extra rations from McKee Barracks. He remembered clearly the frightful early morning of 31 May 1941, when four Luftwaffe bombs fell on Dublin, one of which fell at the Dog Pond pumping works near the Zoo in Phoenix Park. This wasn’t all that far from Arbour Hill. Noel enlisted for the first time in 1945 near the end of the Emergency serving with the 2nd Infantry Battalion. He left the army in 1947 as the army was rapidly scaled down and went to England to work. Twelve years later Noel read in the news of the Irish Defence Forces deploying to the Congo on peacekeeping duties with the United Nations Operation in the Congo (ONUC: French: Opération des Nations Unies au Congo) and he headed for home. He was barely back in uniform and he was on a plane to the Congo to serve with the 34th Infantry Battalion – Jan 1960 – Jul 1960. He deployed a second time with the 36th Infantry Battalion – Dec 1961 – May 1962. Noel went on to complete two tours with the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP). Back home Noel and Patsy lived in married quarters in Arbour Hill. As Patsy told us: ‘it was a great place to live. When Noel was overseas or on the border, everyone looked after each other’. Serving in Collins Barracks with the 5th Infantry Battalion Noel went on to carry out his duties until he retired in 1981 at the rank of Sergeant.

Not forgetting his comrades Noel helped establish the Irish United Nations Veterans Association (IUNVA) and both himself and Patsy volunteered, until the present day, helping veterans in IUNVA. The two still live happily not far from Arbour Hill.

If you know any Emergency veteran please do get in touch as it would be an honour to meet them and record their story.

Posted in: County Kildare, Curragh Camp, Cyprus, Irish Army, Irish Defence Forces, Opération des Nations Unies au Congo, The Emergency 1939 - 1946, United Nations, United Nations Mission in Cyprus, United Nations Operation in the Congo

Leave a Comment (0) →

In Defence of North Kildare

In Defence of North Kildare

In Defence of North Kildare

Tony Maher recollects his time in the Fórsa Cosanta Áitiúil (FCÁ)

Today we had the pleasure of meeting former reserve Corporal, Tony Maher from Celbridge. During the 1960s Tony was a member of Maynooth Platoon, C Company, 7th Infantry Battalion FCÁ.

Tony Maher at his home in Celbridge. (Photo by Michael Coyne)

During the Emergency period (1939 – 1946) and the Cold War (1947 – 1991) Ireland remained neutral, however, the threat was still real. During these two periods the reserve elements of the Irish Defence Forces were greatly expanded. Nearly every village in the country had a platoon size or more of reservists stationed there. Celbridge in North Kildare was no different. During the Emergency the North Dublin Battalion of the Local Defence Forces had a Company in North Kildare, with a platoon in Celbridge, Maynooth, and Kilcock. Following the Emergency and the establishment of Fórsa Cosanta Áitiúil (FCÁ), this transitioned to the North Dublin Battalion In Defence of North Kildare – Tony Maher Recollects and in 1959, C Company 7th Infantry Battalion FCÁ.

At the time Tony lived in Lexlip and told us some amazing stoire so Lexlip and the surrounding areas in the 1950s and 1960s. Tony grew up not far from where Sergeant Hugh Gaynor lived and had very fond memories of him. Sadly Sergeant Gaynor was one of the nine Irish peacekeepers killed in the Niamba ambush in the Belgium Congo on 8 November 1960.

Tony’s rifle trophy.

The reservists met several evenings during the week and at the weekends. The headquarters for the C Company platoons were as follows: the Methodist Church (now Cunninghams Funeral Directors), Celbridge; the town hall in Maynooth; and the old church off the centre in Kilcock. Life in the reserve infantry back then was defined by marching and the .303″ Lee-Enfield rifle, which Tony remembers like it was yesterday. He proudly still has his rifle competition trophies. Drill, local exercises, training in Gormanstown and the Glen of Imaal, St. Patrick’s Day Parades, and 1916 commemorations were the annual routine. Thankfully Tony was an avid photographer and he has kept a remarkable collection of the reservists in North Kildare.

Movie star Tony in German uniform on the set of the Blue Max 1965.

It wasn’t all drill and more drill. During this time the FCÁ got called upon to provide extras for the movie the Blue Max; directed by John Guillermin and starring George Peppard, James Mason, Ursula Andress, Karl Michael Vogler, and Jeremy Kemp.. During 1965 Tony found himself in a German World War I uniform and charging across no-mans land in the Wicklow mountains. Tony managed to smuggle his camera on set.

Tony’s story has been recorded as part of Kildare’s Veterans’ Story; supported by Kildare County Council and Creative Ireland.

The history of a lot of these reserve units has been lost. We are tying to build up the history of the reserve in North Kildare and would really like to talk to members of C Company. Please drop us a line.

Posted in: County Kildare, FCÁ, Fórsa Cosanta Áitiúil, Irish Army, Irish Defence Forces, Irish Veteran, Irish Veterans, Óglaigh na hÉireann, Reserve Defence Forces

Leave a Comment (0) →

Kildare’s War of Independence Story

Kildare’s War of Independence Story

Kildare’s War of Independence Story

Wesley Bourke discussing the War of Independence in County Kildare with historian James Durney.

The War of Independence (1919 – 1921) turned Ireland upside down. In a series for Kildare Decade of Commemorations we will be telling the story of this period in Kildare with the help of local historians we will be telling the stories of attacks in Naas, Leixlip and Maynooth. On Friday last we met author and historian James Durney who took us through the events of 20 August, 1920.

Directly across the road from the Leinster Leader and the Court Hotel on Main Street Naas is Haydes Café. In 1920 it was the home and boot and shoe store of Jimmy White a known active IRA (Irish Republican Army) volunteer. Following an ambush at Greenhills, Kill, by the local IRA unit led by Thomas Harris (Bureau of Military History Deposition by Major Patrick Colgan) in which two RIC (Royal Irish Constabulary) constables were left dead, Jimmy White was listed as suspect number 1. Seeking revenge two lorries of Black and Tans (Royal Irish Constabulary Special Reserve) from the Curragh headed into Naas. However, their local intelligence was not the best. They were looking for a boot and shoe shop. In one of histories ironies the Black and Tans were presented with two boot and shoe shops; one was Jimmy Whites and the other was Boushells across the road beside the Leinster Leader right on the corner leading to the laneway to the Naas RIC barracks (Naas Court Hotel). Boushells was mistakenly chosen and burned.

This project is funded by Kildare Decade of Commemorations. Thank you to James Durney and to Haydes Café Naas.
Featured in this Story: Leinster Leader Haydes Naas Café, Naas Court Hotel, Kildare County Library Service Kildare County Council and Kildare Heritage

Posted in: County Kildare, Decade of Centenaries, War of Independence

Leave a Comment (0) →

Celbridge’s Military Story – Private Robert Beveridge A Son of Celbridge?

Celbridge’s Military Story – Private Robert Beveridge A Son of Celbridge?

Private Robert Beveridge – A Son of Celbridge?

Celbridge’s Military Story took us to Naas, County Kildare this week. For the past few weeks we’ve been researching Celbridge and the Great War. Extensive work has been done on this by Dr. Fionnuala Walsh, by the History Squad in Scoil na Mainistreach, and the students of Salesian College. Today there are now two Great War memorials in Celbridge, honouring those who lost their lives in that conflict; one in Christ Church and one in Salesian College. The History Squad that unearthed a connection with Celbridge and the Remount Service. They reported that local man, Major William Dease, had recruited Celbridge men into this branch of the Army. It was on this trail that led us to Private Robert Beveridge of the Army Remount Service, who died in the Curragh Military Hospital on 25 January 1919.

Robert’s name popped up as a casualty of the Great War, buried in Saint Corbans Cemetery in Naas, County Kildare. He is listed as: R/066621 Private R. B. Beveridge, 28th Remount Squadron, the Royal Army Service Corps. Son of Mrs. M. Beveridge, of Limerick Road, Naas, Co. Kildare.

Producer Wesley Bourke at the grave of Pte Robert Beveridge in Corban’s Cemetery Naas, Co. Kildare. (Photo by Michael Coyne)

There is no mention of a connection with Celbridge. As it is an unusual name we had a look at the census. In the 1901 Census, there is a Robert Beverage, 6 year old boy, living with the Lennon family at Main Street, Celbridge, Co. Kildare. He was noted as a “boarder”. In the 1911 Census, Robert Beverage was a 17 year old Agricultural Labourer, living with the Lennon family at Kilmacredock Upper, Celbridge, Co. Kildare, and still noted as a “boarder”.

Our link to Robert Beveridge in Naas is only speculative as the trail ends here. Recent information indicates that Robert was a foster child of James Lennon and Norah née Somers Lennon.

We do know from the surviving medal index card of Private Robert Beveridge buried in Naas, that he was awarded the 1915 medal. Indicating he joined possibly around the start of the war.

He died at the Military Hospital at the Curragh, from appendicitis and liver abscesses. Hopefully more information will come to light and we can confirm that Robert Beveridge buried in Naas is the same Robert Beverage from Celbridge listed in the early census.

This project is supported by Kildare County Council.

Posted in: British Army, County Kildare, The Great War, World War One

Leave a Comment (0) →
Page 1 of 2 12