Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

Co. Carlow

Our Readers' Views
Kellistown Past and Present
To the Editor of "The Nationalist and Leinster Times"

Sir - Much local interest has been lately evinced in connection with the lands of Kellistown, situated between Carlow and Tullow. This grazing ranch of fourteen hundred acres - in the possession of Mr. Doyne, Wells, Wexford, is causing more than usual notoriety. Some time ago it was rumoured that this ranch was to be disposed of but nothing definite was known, till circulars came to light announcing the sale. Immediately the local inhabitants, who ought to be mostly concerned about this transaction, called a meeting to protest against the manner in which this property was about to be disposed of. The speeches delivered at that meeting will no doubt show to a great extent the feelings of the people.

Kellistown 1798 memorial

Recently notes of "Kellistown Past" came into our possession which we think ought to be re-printed in your columns. They are from the able pen of Mr. P. McDonald, a native of Tinryland, whose historical erudition is only equaled by his love for the old land. Hence we shall esteem it a great favour, if in the interests of Kellistown and its inhabitants, you afford us space for what must be certainly considered a very exhaustive historical research.

The antecedents of Mr. Doyne came into possession of these lands, according to Ryan, the Historian, in the reign of Queen Anne; the writer does not specify the reasons why - presumably it is better left unwritten; possible Christmas boxes were much in vogue at the time., which are now unfortunately as dead as the Queen herself. Since this reign the Doyne family has stuck to these lands with proverbial tenacity. Some time ago there were abortive attempts made to redress the uneconomic stress to this locality. Mr. Doyne forestalling all possible contingencies by making a tenant of his son. On the 25th of May, 1798, a jeremiad of lamentations went up from the broken hearts of 28 widows in Kellistown, their husbands, sons and relatives having fought and fallen for self-determination in Carlow. In consequence of their noble action their wives and children were cast upon the roadside, their houses fired and all the shocking brutalities of the time ensued. About the year 1844 the fiendish work of eviction was completed. Almost thirty families were victims of the blasting tyranny of landlordism. This wholesale depopulation occurred in the district called Castlequarter at the hands of Carter and Elliot. The late evictions are so vivid in the minds of the old inhabitants that they cite one case where a poor woman named Lawlor received the last ministrations of the Church at 4 a.m., evicted at 7, and at 9 her soul had found peace with God.

As you stand by the old Church of Kellistown, built according to tradition by the hands of the great St. Patrick, what thoughts must naturally fill your soul with anguish when you behold those fertile lands, consecrated by the footprints of the great Apostle, and rich in the historic lore of Kings and Princes, and in later time to be the Gethsemane of the Irish peasant crushed and broken beneath the lordly hand of the oppressors of '98 and '44. Does not hell itself sicken at the thought? We are told by Historians that in 1807, when the present Protestant Church was built by the wanton destruction of the Church and Round Tower of St. Patrick by those who in imitation of their continental masters, tore asunder the seamless robes of Christ, there then lived in Kellistown six hundred and sixty-two people, of which now only a fraction remains. A time has now arrived to assuage in some manner the horrors of the past, and once more the fair lands of Kellistown to become the property of those whose ancestors worshipped at the Shrine of the Irish Apostle, It is now for Mr. Doyne to decide.

That decision will cost him nothing; these lands will be paid for at their full market value, the only obstacle being to break up some of the tenancies to suit the pockets of the poor. So far Mr. Doyne has refused this reasonable demand. A monster meeting of the county is summoned for to-morrow (Sunday), whereat in no unmistakeable language the hopes, aspirations and rights of a spirited people will be fearlessly voiced.

A Defence Fund has been opened to which a generous response is already forthcoming; but it must be doubled and redoubled for impending agitation which will be maintained according to true Christian principles. Wherefore, men of Carlow rally to the call and help us for the justice of our cause. We are not actuated by greed or vengeance, but we are strongly in the pursuit of fair play and justice, recognizing in all things charity, the Queen of Virtues. - Faithfully yours, J.C. Kelly, C.C. E. E. Campion, C.C. Rathoe, 26th Feb 1919

From "The Nationalist and Leinster Times" newspaper, Saturday, 1st March 1919

Source: From "The Nationalist and Leinster Times" newspaper,
Saturday, 1st March 1919

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

Kellistown, or Kellystown, a parish, partly in the barony of Forth, but chiefly in that of Carlow, county of Carlow, and province of Leinster, 4 miles (S.E.) from Carlow, on the road from that place to Newtown-Barry; containing 662 inhabitants. It comprises some elevated grounds, which command extensive prospects; and in it is Moyle, the residence of T. Bunbury, Esq. The living is a rectory, in the diocese of Leighlin, and in the gift of the Crown for two turns, and the Bishop for one: the tithes amount to 361. 12. 6.

The church is a small plain building, for the erection of which the late Board of First Fruits granted a gift of 600 and a loan of 100, in 1810; it was lately repaired by a grant of 155 from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. The glebe-house was built in 1801, by aid of a gift of 100 from the late Board; the glebe comprises 20a. 2r. 23p.

In the R. C. divisions the parish forms part of the union or district of Gilbertstown. One of the ancient round towers stood here till 1807, when it was pulled down to make room for the belfry of the church. The remains of the old church denote an early date; in the burial-ground are some tombstones of the Cummins family, formerly proprietors of this place.

 [ Tenants of Kellistown Farm ]
Kellistown Parish Church ]
[ Kellistown Point-to-Point ]

Source: Michael Purcell (Scanned & Transcribed by Sue Clement 09/2007)

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