Maynooth Studies in Local History Series – Book Launch

The five latest books in the acclaimed Maynooth Studies in Local History series will be launched at 7.00 p.m. on Wednesday 11 September 2019 in Renehan Hall, South Campus, Maynooth University, Co. Kildare.

All welcome to attend!

The book titles and details as follows:

The Kirwan murder case, 1852
A glimpse of the Irish Protestant middle class in the mid-nineteenth century

Suzanne Leeson

This book relates the story of the controversial trial, conviction and imprisonment of William Burke Kirwan, a Dublin artist, for the murder of his wife, Sarah, in 1852. His trial and the extensive and divisive social commentary it provoked provide a representation of the strata of society to which he belonged, the Protestant middle class of the mid-nineteenth century, allowing an examination of many of the attitudes and values that they subscribed to.

Suzanne Leeson lives with her family in Baldoyle in Dublin. Due to a keen interest in history she returned to Dublin City University as a mature student, gaining an undergraduate degree in history and psychology. This is her first book.

Paperback. 64 pages. Illustrations. €9.95
Available Now

Waterford port and harbour, 1815–42
Shaping the port

Mary Breen

The management and development of Waterford port and harbour during a formative period in Irish history are explored in this book. Particular attention is paid to the relationships and interactions between Waterford Corporation, the body granted control of the port and harbour under successive royal charters; Waterford Chamber of Commerce, the chartered body representing merchants and traders; and Waterford Harbour Commissioners, the new statutory port authority established in 1816.

Mary Breen is a retired public servant from Waterford city. She holds an MA in Irish History from NUI Maynooth.

Paperback. 64 pages. Illustrations. €9.95
Available Now

Rathcoole and the United Irish Rebellions, 1798–1803
Kerron Ó Luain

The story of the United Irish rebellions in a hitherto quiet corner of south-west County Dublin is a story of personal resentments fuelled by the spread of radical republican ideology, followed by a violent attempt at altering the social and political status quo. This book focuses on Rathcoole society between the years 1798 and 1803 and argues that, rather than agrarian or sectarian tensions, it was primarily United Irish politicization and organization that led to the outbreak of rebellion in the locality.

Kerron Ó Luain is an historian and activist from Rathcoole, County Dublin. He recently held a Fulbright Scholarship in Villanova University, Philadelphia, and has published on various aspects of popular collective action in Ireland during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Paperback. 64 pages. Illustrations. €9.95
Available Now

Landholding in the new English settlement of Hacketstown, Co. Carlow, 1635–1875
Oliver Whelan

The new Protestant settlement in the lordship of Clonmore, centred around Hacketstown, proved resilient to the 1641 rebellion and attracted investment, including by Dublin bureaucrats and landed and military figures. Entrepreneurial Catholics turned to trade in response to the penal laws. Unusually, in the period 1852–74 most leaseholders, including Catholics, achieved security of tenure, subject to fixed rents. In 1874–5, Henry Parnell (brother of Charles Stewart), owner of the lordship, had the Landed Estates Court auction its heavily encumbered 13,000 acres which were purchased, piecemeal, mainly by large-scale local landowners, sitting tenants and Dublin-based professionals.

Oliver Whelan, a retired Director of the National Treasury Management Agency, was awarded an MA in Irish history by Maynooth University in 2016. He is currently studying for a PhD at Maynooth University, researching the struggle between landlords and tenants for the ownership of land in late 19th- and early 20th-century Carlow.

Paperback. 64 pages. Illustrations. €9.95
Available Now

John Ferrall
Master of Sligo Workhouse, 1852–66

Fergus O’ Ferrall

This case study provides the first account to focus on the career and work of a master of an Irish workhouse. It explores the role of a master in respect of issues such as management, governance and the provision for the poor in post-Famine Ireland during the fourteen-year period when John Ferrall served as Master of Sligo Workhouse. It illuminates how the poor-law system evolved in terms of medical and other services in the 1850s and 1860s despite the limitations laid down for the system in law and the ineffective governance provided by the annually elected Sligo Poor Law Boards of Guardians and the detailed regulations of the remote Poor Law Commissioners in Dublin.

Fergus O’Ferrall is an author and historian. He has written Catholic Emancipation: Daniel O’Connell and the Birth of Irish Democracy (Dublin, 1985) and a number of works on local history including co-editing with Martin Morris, Longford: History and Society (Dublin, 2010).

Paperback. 64 pages. Illustrations. €9.95
Available Now

Irish Military Seminar 2019 & Book Launch

Irish Military Seminar Launch - and Book Launch

Kildare County Council Decade of Commemorations Committee and Merrion Press cordially invites you to the launch of

The Irish Military Seminar 2019
Clem Ryan, C.E.O./Executive Director, KFM
the launch by Kevin Myers of
A Bloody Dawn: the Irish at D-Day
Dan Harvey
Newbridge Community Library, Newbridge
Thursday, 6 June 2019, at 19.00 p.m.

All welcome – Free public event
Please let anyone you think might be interested know
Facebook: @kildaredecadeofcommemorations

This event talks place 75 years to the day since the D-Day Landings took place.

Colonising a Royal Landscape – Book Launch

Transport Infrastructure Ireland and Kildare County Council cordially invite you to a book and audio-book launch

Colonising a Royal Landscape – the History and Archaeology of a Medieval Village at Mullamast, County Kildare
TII Heritage Series 6

Mullamast – the Story of a Medieval Village (audiobook)

The Tanyard, Ballitore, County Kildare;
5.00 – 7.00 pm,
Thursday 6 December 2018

Cuireadh chuig seoladh leabhair agus closleabhair de chuid Bonneagar Iompair Éireann agus Comhairle Contae Chill Dara
Colonising a Royal Landscape – the History and Archaeology of a Medieval Village at Mullamast, County Kildare
TII Heritage Series 6

Mullamast – the Story of a Medieval Village (closleabhair)

An Tanyard, Béal Átha an Tuair, Contae Chill Dara;
5.00 – 7.00 i.n.,
Déardaoin 6 Mí na Nollag 2018

Mr Michael Nolan, Chief Executive of Transport Infrastructure Ireland and Mr Peter Carey, Chief Executive of Kildare County Council, invite you to the launch of Colonising a Royal Landscape – the latest in the TII Heritage Series dedicated to publicising the archaeological results on national road projects.

The book will be formally launched by Mr Guy St. John Williams, author and horse racing historian.

Ba mhór ag an Uasal Michael Nolan, Príomhfheidhmeannach Bonneagar Iompair Éireann agus an Uasal Peter Carey, Príomhfheidhmeannach Comhairle Contae Chill Dara, cuireadh a thabhairt duit chuig seoladh Colonising a Royal Landscape – an teideal is déanaí i sraith tiomanta ag an TII do phoibliú torthaí na imscrúduithe seandálaíochta ar thionscadail bóithre náisiúnta. 

Beidh an leabhar dá sheoladh go foirmiúil ag an Uasal Guy St. John Williams, údar agus staraí rásaíocht capaill.

Directions to venue: Turn off the M9 Kilcullen to Waterford Motorway at Junction 3 (Athy), onto the R447. After 2.4km turn left at the T-junction onto the R448. Take the first left at 0.6km for Ballitore. At 0.8km arrive in the centre of Ballitore village. The Tanyard is located beside Mary Leadbeater House and Ballitore Library.

Bodenstown Revisited – Book Launch

Bodenstown Revisited – The grave of Theobald Wolfe Tone,
its monuments and its pilgrimages
by C.J. Woods
Book Launch at 6.00 p.m. on Wednesday 17 October 2018
in O’Connell House, 58 Merrion Square South, Dublin 2
Professor J.J. Lee will officially launch the book

RSVP (acceptance only) Four Courts Press |
If you are unable to attend the launch but would still like to purchase a copy of this book, please contact Four Courts Press directly at 01 453 4668.

Bodenstown revisited is about a place of memory and pilgrimage often mentioned in history books but never before treated as a subject meriting an entire book. It surveys the grave of Theobald Wolfe Tone during the 185 years after his death in 1798, noting its silence for the first 45 years, its discovery by Thomas Davis in 1843, the placing of memorials in 1844, 1873, 1895 and 1971, the annual visits by political pilgrims from 1873, the logistics of organizing pilgrimages to a rural location, the crowds who descended on Bodenstown or paraded to the grave, the graveside orators who achieved fame or infamy, all assessed with regard to the political and social backgrounds of the changing times. Many well-known figures make significant appearances: Matilda Tone, John Devoy, John Daly, Fred Allan, James Connolly, John MacBride, Tom Clarke, Patrick Pearse, Sean O’Casey, Constance Markiewicz, Mary MacSwiney, W.T. Cosgrave, Éamon de Valera, Frank Aiken, Brian O’Higgins, Peadar O’Donnell, Seán MacBride, Tomás Mac Giolla, Roy Johnston and Ruairí Ó Brádaigh.

C.J. Woods retired in 2006 from the Royal Irish Academy, where he was employed on its New history of Ireland and Dictionary of Irish biography projects; he was also an occasional lecturer in history at Maynooth University.

To learn more about this book, visit the Four Courts Press website at

A New Book on Saint Brigid of Kildare – by Noel Kissane

Saint Brigid of Kildare
Life, legend and cult
Noel Kissane
Paperback €22.45
Catalogue Price: €24.95
ISBN: 978-1-84682-632-0
June 2017. 360pp; ills.

Despite being the female patron saint of Ireland and one of the most remarkable women in Irish history, St Brigid has always been an elusive figure. Some scholars have argued that she never existed as a real person but was merely the Christian personification of the cult of a pagan goddess of the same name. This book reviews all the evidence – history, legend and folklore – and concludes that while she has many of the attributes of the goddess Brigid, she was certainly a real person. The book also reviews her cult and veneration in Ireland and overseas, from her lifetime down to the present day, as attested by placenames, holy wells and folklore, and also by the large numbers of churches (Roman Catholic and Church of Ireland), schools and GAA clubs dedicated to her.

Noel Kissane worked in the National Library of Ireland for over thirty years, where he held the positions of Education Officer and Keeper of Manuscripts. His doctorate was for his edition of the Metrical Life of St Brigid. His previous books include The Irish face (Dublin, 1986), Parnell: a documentary history (Dublin, 1994) and The Irish famine: a documentary history (Dublin, 1996).