When we looked back into the pages of The Kerryman for this week’s extract from 100 years ago, we found that there was little reference to Glenbeigh for this particular week. Perhaps the sun was shining in the last week in August back then! There were a couple of follow-ups to articles previously reported, such as the letter explaining why a number of Justices of the Peace had recently resigned, to which Thomas Evans of the Towers Hotel was a signatory, and a report of a rejected compensation claim after the RIC barracks in Glencar was destroyed by fire.

The rest of the selection below are from wider afield across Kerry, and show the impact of the escalating military activity during the War of Independence on the local population. The fire in Tralee mentioned in the extract was the burning by the ‘Black and Tans’ of the printing press used to publish The Kerryman, amongst other journals. This was the precursor to what became known as the Siege of Tralee in November 1920, when the town was subject to severe reprisals after the assassination of several police constables in the area.

In our ongoing series of extracts from the pages of The Kerryman from 100 years ago, we have a really mixed bag of stories this week, ranging from the mundane to the sad and serious matters of the ongoing War of Independence, including the tragic death of a Kells man, apparently from fright, after his house was invaded by a group of masked men. This week’s Glenbeigh notes shows the owner of the Towers Hotel, Thomas Evans, resigning as a magistrate. The paper reports that several other magistrates also resigned that week, and we can only guess that this was probably related to the military situation. It is also reported that the Glencar house of John Taylor, reported last week to have been damaged in recent disturbances, has been restored with the help of local volunteers. Alongside these stories, we can see that “normal” life still carried on, with the circus due to arrive shortly in Tralee. It’s also interesting to see that John Ross Jeweller in Tralee was operating then as it still does today, as can be seen in its advertisement for the latest technology in its “Traly” watch.

Notes. The Irish Newspaper Archive (https://www.irishnewsarchive.com/) contains a vast database of newspapers and journals. The Local History and Archives Department in Tralee Library, although closed at the moment due to the current health situation, also holds an extensive range of historic Kerry newspapers and journals, including The Kerryman, on microfilm

This week we have again been looking back into the archives of The Kerryman from a century ago, when the country was embroiled in the War of Independence against the British*. As it still does to this day, the paper carried small articles from many towns and villages in the county, including Glenbeigh. Below are the “Glenbeigh Notes” from the edition printed on July 31 1920, and a further small cutting from the same edition. Both articles appear to refer to the same or linked events.

You will see that military activities were to the fore this week. The first cutting has an account of the evacuation of the RIC barracks in Glencar after constables had been attacked. The longer article below describes attacks by the RIC and/or British military on the houses of known or suspected republican supporters. Houses were set alight and presumably the inhabitants rendered homeless. It is unclear from these two cuttings which came first, but it is highly likely that the events described are linked.

In the coming weeks, we will continue to review historic editions of The Kerryman from a century ago and will publish any items which we think may be of interest.

* The Irish Newspaper Archive (https://www.irishnewsarchive.com/) contains a vast database of newspapers and journals. The Local History and Archives Department in Tralee Library, although closed at the moment due to the current health situation, also holds an extensive range of historic Kerry newspapers and journals, including The Kerryman, on microfilm.

This week, using the online Irish Newspaper Archive,  we have again been looking back into the archives of The Kerryman from a century ago, when the country was embroiled in the War of Independence against the British*. As it still does to this day, the paper carried small articles from many towns and villages in the county, including Glenbeigh. Below are the “Glenbeigh Notes” from the edition printed on July 17 1920.

You will see that the author was particularly concerned about emigration at the time. While being sympathetic to the reasons for folk seeking to emigrate, he could see that the potential loss of a significant proportion of the younger generation, particularly at such a time of crisis, would be very damaging to the country.  The Irish Volunteers clearly agreed, and the article describes how action was taken to “discourage” the emigration of young men.

The further extract below is also from the same edition of the newspaper, and recounts further  activities of the Irish Volunteers, this time in a perhaps more surprising area, that of enforcing the local licensing laws. You will see that it wasn’t only the humble farmer who fell foul of the regulations, though it did help to have friends in high places!

In the coming weeks, we will continue to review historic editions of The Kerryman and will publish any items which we think may be of interest.

* The Irish Newspaper Archive (https://www.irishnewsarchive.com/) contains a vast database of newspapers and journals. The Local History and Archives Department in Tralee Library, although closed at the moment due to the current health situation, also holds an extensive range of historic Kerry newspapers and journals, including The Kerryman, on microfilm.

The Irish Newspaper Archive (https://www.irishnewsarchive.com/) contains a vast database of newspapers and journals, including The Kerryman.*

This week we have been looking back into the archives from a century ago, when the country was embroiled in the War of Independence against the British. As it still does to this day, The Kerryman carried small articles from many towns and villages in the county, including Glenbeigh. Below are the “Glenbeigh Notes” from the edition printed 100 years ago this week.

It is interesting to see the mixing of the serious stuff about local developments regarding the struggle for independence alongside the pride in Mr O’Riordan’s potatoes! We will continue to review the Kerryman’s archives and will report back here when we find items of interest.

 

* Note that the Local History and Archives Department in Tralee Library, although closed at the moment due to the current health situation, also holds an extensive range of historic Kerry newspapers and journals, including The Kerryman, on microfilm.

Many travellers passing through Glenbeigh along the Ring of Kerry will have noticed the ruins of the castle-like house on the outskirts of the village.

Modern day view of the ruins of Wynne’s Castle

This building, known by many names including Glenbeigh Castle, Winn or Wynn’s Castle and Wynne’s Folly, had an ignominious history, and this week marks the centenary of its destruction on the night of Saturday 5th June 1920 at the hands of a unit of Irish Volunteers. Most online references record the date of the fire – incorrectly – as either 1921 or 1922, but research in the Irish Newspaper Archive has confirmed the earlier date, as demonstrated in the cuttings from contemporary newspapers shown below.

Contemporary newspaper cuttings

The house had been built in the late 1860s by Rowland Winn, nephew of the 2nd Lady Headley who inherited the estate on her death in 1863. In his book A Guide to Irish Country Houses, author Mark Bence-Jones described the house as a ‘grim Victorian-Medieval fortress’, and the photograph taken before the fire shows why!

Wynne’s Castle as it originally looked

As landlord of the Glenbeigh estate at the time of the infamous evictions which took place in 1887-88 and which gained international condemnation, Winn is not fondly remembered in the parish. We aim to provide more information in future articles on the Headley/Wynne estate in the nineteenth century, but for now we point out that the cost of building the house severely stretched the family finances, and thereby played a key role in creating the circumstances which led to the evictions.

The Bureau of Military Archives, freely available online at this link contains numerous documents from the period, including a witness statement concerning the attack on the castle*. In this, local man Sean ‘Bertie’ Scully explains that he led a party of 40 men from Glencar to undertake the operation, which had been planned because the intelligence indicated that the British Army were to occupy the building the following day. It seems that the party had some difficulty in setting the fire due to the general dampness and extensive stonework, and it was necessary to obtain more fuel from a shop in the village. The fire finally did take hold, and the building was destroyed. The operation could be deemed a success, as according to the newspaper report, a detachment of British troops did indeed arrive in the area the next day. As can be seen from the present-day ruins, no attempt was ever made to rebuild the house.

* Notes on the Witness Statement. This runs to 32 pages and provides much interesting information on Irish Volunteer operations in the area in the . The extract relevant to the attack on the castle is shown here, and the full witness statement can be downloaded from the embedded link further below.