On 5 June I949 Miss Annie Cummins~ of the
Greenhouse, Castletown, gave the following note:
‘The Farrell’s of Crossneen, Killeshin parish came from Co. Longford;
they are over 300 years in Crossneen. They were great cow-doctors,
decent, obliging. Martin Farrell is a brother of Patrick, senior and
there is one sister. The house was burned about five years ago. John Peevers. verger at Staplestown Church and a respected member of the Old
Carlow Society used to play handball there. Pat Farrell, Martin’s
father, died about 1887. He had an uncle Andy Farrell in the rebellion.
He went to Oylegate. Co. Wexford and about 1795 joined the United
Irishmen. He was a captain. He took part in the rising at Vinegar Hill.
He came to his home place and was in hiding.
At a great luncheon at Col. Rochfort’s, Clogrennane. a visitor said:
‘I heard that Captain Farrell is in this neighbourhood.’ Col. Rochford
said: ‘He has escaped so far; we shouldn’t interfere with him.’ No.’
said the Colonel’s brother Robert ‘we must proceed against him. An
English butler said to the coachman, Pat McDonald: ‘Go and warn Farrell
if he is in the neighbourhood and take this bottle of whiskey.’ Pat
McDonald either was afraid or got drunk and did not go. The Crown forces
walked into Crossneen on a Sunday evening and found him, Andy, rocking a
three-months baby in the kitchen.
The babe was his nephew Pat who died
in 1887. Pat’s mother, nee Bolger of Ballyadams, that is Martin’s
grandmother went to Wexford and brought the dead body in a car and
buried it in Kellistown. As you go in the gate, go up to the church door
and a bit further there are six or seven graves there but no headstone.
The Cummins and Farrell’s were always very friendly. The Cummins came to
Kellistown in the thirteenth century. Fr. Campion said the Kelly’s beat
the Cummins out of Kellistown. Old Mat Cummins of Cloghna was married to
a sister of Pat Kehoe of Leighlin who was executed in Carlow jail in
1798. It was to this sister that Pat Kehoe wrote the letter the day
before his execution.
Mrs. Farrell, nee Bolger, Ballyadams was a great weight thrower.
Captain Andy Farrell was 5’ 4” in height and 34 years old when he was
executed about 1800. The Farrell’s were buried in Kellistown up to
seventy years ago. They are now buried in Killeshin where there are
headstones to them. Martin is buried near the church. Martin’s father,
Pat, as stated already, was born in 1800, the year his uncle Capt. Andy
There are two houses in Crossneen. It was Farrell’s below the lane
that went to Kellistown for burial. The Farrell’s and Cummins were
related. A Farrell married a Cummins. That may explain why the Farrell’s
were buried in Kellistown. Martin died in 1942. He was born in 1857. He
was an uncle of Pat Jun. who was born about 1890. Pat Jun’s mother was a
Miss Aughney of Muinebheag. Martin had the Captain’s shin-bone in his
hand; he was at the burial of a cousin in Kellistown. Martin used to cry
at this point.”
John Peevers, verger at Staplestown, was present while these notes
were being taken. He was by trade a carpenter and hence took a special
interest in buildings.
Musgrave writing in 1801 describes the trial of Andrew at Wexford 22
May 1800. “William Furlong, a Protestant, swore that he was taken
prisoner by the rebels on Whitsun Tuesday 1798 and taken to the Windmill
. . . Andrew Farrell had a sword in his hand and was called Captain by
the rebels. He desired the loyalists to fall on their knees and prepare
for death as they should be killed directly ... John Mooney swore he saw
Farrell head a party at the attack on Borris, the seat of Mr. Kavanagh.
That after it, he saw him sworn in as a Captain, on which Fr. Kearns,
the priest, kissed him. He was called St. Ruth. Morgan Byrne and he
disputed who should be eldest Captain. The former said he had subscribed
a long time to the United Irishmen. Farrell answered that he had
subscribed full as long.”
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