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.
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 equalled 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
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
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
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
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 ½ 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.
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.