Welcome to the webpages associated with the info board installed in Castlelyons churchyard. You can branch off here for fuller accounts of the “historic trio” sketched in brief on the info board.
- Click HERE to hear an tAthair Peadar’s voice plus the story of how he came to be recorded in 1907
- Click HERE for “The Irish Nestor” (an account of pioneering author an tAthair Peadar Ó Laoghaire)
- Click HERE for “The Evicted Priest” (an account of Land League activist Fr Thomas Ferris)
- Click HERE for “The Forgotten Volunteer” (an account of rebel poet Thomas Kent)
Click HERE for “Stair Áitiúil”, Irish-language versions of the above webpages.
Though many helped bring this project together, here are some who deserve special thanks:
Christian Liebl, Mag.phil., MSc, at the Phonogrammarchiv in Vienna for arranging permission from the Austrian Academy of Sciences Press to make Trebitsch’s recordings of an tAthair Peadar playable on these webpages. If you would like to hear more of Rudolf Trebitsch’s Celtic recordings, you can purchase a CD of them here: https://verlag.oeaw.ac.at/produkt/celtic-recordings-ireland-wales-brittany-isle-of-man-and-scotland-1907-09/600310?product_form=2034
Conor Nelligan, Cork County Council Heritage Officer, for encouraging us to apply for Creative Ireland funding. Many thanks also to Cork County Council’s Commemorations Committee for awarding the extra funds needed to commission the bronze bust (see below).
Virginia Cantillon for not only helping to get the funding application shipshape but also for upping the ambition in applying for additional funds to commission a bronze bust of Gaelic Ireland’s answer to Charles Dickens. And we are very glad that she did for you can see from the result below that sculptor Seamus Connolly of Kilbaha Gallery has outdone himself in capturing an tAthair Peadar’s likeness in bronze. Never again can people visit Castlelyons churchyard and leave without an inkling of the historic figures buried there. In an tAthair Peadar’s case, you need only look at the bronze bust of him near his grave for a vivid sense of the man in life.
James Ronayne, Seamus Geary and Castlelyons Community Council for helping to cover some of the cost of the bronze bust. Their involvement shows the commitment to preserving heritage in Castlelyons.
Marie Murphy for casting her editor’s eye over these pages and taking many of the photographs that feature therein.
Austin Bovenizer at Bovenizer Design for doing a superb job in designing and making the info board.
Fr Gerard Coleman for agreeing to host these webpages on castlelyonscatholicparish.ie, where they will hopefully be a resource for visitors to Castlelyons churchyard for a long time to come. He also stepped up when the pandemic scuppered the commemoration planned for the centenary of an tAthair Peadar’s death on 21st March 2020. But, see below, lockdown or no, the day of the centenary did not go entirely unmarked with Fr Coleman saying a few prayers by the Séadna author’s grave.
And, last but not least, where would we be without my co-author (and mother!) Eilís Uí Bhriain: if she hadn’t taken an interest in stories of the “priest in his long black coat and hat” who used to go for walks up our road, I don’t think I ever would have given much thought to how a literary trailblazer in the early days of modern Irish wrote all his books not a mile from where I grew up. In terms of keeping alive the flame that is the faint memory of him in the parish, this project has her name written all over it.
Speaking of which, if you would like to purchase a copy of our book Mise an Mac San: Remembering an tAthair Peadar Ó Laoghaire, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Otherwise, I hope you enjoy these webpages for the insight they give into a fascinating time in Irish history. Focusing on three lives in one small village may seem parochial but I would argue that it gives an up-close personal view of what it feels like to live in tumultuous times. Likewise, Castlelyons may seem far from the action today, but that was not the case back at the turn of the twentieth century. A time when, like many villages up and down the country, Castlelyons was a place where events of national importance were playing out on a local stage. And why wouldn’t they when the big issues of the day intimately concerned the grassroots: the campaign for tenant farmer rights; the struggle to save the Irish language; the fight to break free of British rule. So pay a visit to Castlelyons churchyard and you’d be surprised at what the stones themselves to say. If only we would but stop, read, and ponder the inscriptions scattered all around. Many an interesting story lies behind their faded lettering.
Dr. Pat O’Brien, Castlelyons, September 2022.