Town History Archive

Madhlion Ealla

Thursday, October 19th, 2017

By Éilis Hourigan


‘At night when the cottagers calm repose

And silent the grove and green,

Fair Meelan is oft at that dark hours close.

While swells the sad tale of her fate and woes.

Near her rock of enchantment seen!’


Edward Walsh


To the south west of the town of Newmarket, on the steep slopes of Shreelawn wood, a small cave can be found overlooking the river Dalua.  It bears carvings of many names, with dates going back many years.  It is a place of peace and solitude, an ancient site, whose significance is being slowly forgotten.  This is the cave of Moylan: “Meelan’s Rock”, Carraig Mhaidhlion.

There are many names for this mysterious being, Meelin, Meelan, Moylan, Maidhlion, Mylon or Maoilin.  Meelan is a term often used locally.  Not to be confused with the nearby village of Meelin, whose name derives from the particular shape of Hill that rises above  the picturesque village.  Although there is  folklore which links her to that area also.  The oldest version of the name on record is Madhlion (pronounced my-lon), and for that reason she will be referred to as such from here on out..

The earliest mention from an authentic source is where she is mentioned  in the “caoineadh” (or lament) by the famous Sliabh Luachra poet, Eoin Rua Ó Súilleabháin (1748 -1784): “Is Fíor Trím Aisling”:


“Níor b’fada dúinn fá smúit n-ar n-aonar

Gur gháir scaoth go caoineadh taobh linn -

Aoibhill Chraige ‘s a scata ban aosta,

Madhlion Ealla is ceann beanna-chnuic gréine”

We were not long in sorrow alone,

When a swarm of voices lamented all around us,

Aoibheall of the rock, and a company of ancient women

Maidhlion of Ealla and the one from Grian’s peaked hill”

The poet calls on these otherworldly women to lament the passing of a priest.  To be lamented by three Banshee was a high honour indeed according to Patricia Lysaght in her book ‘The Banshee’:

“When more than one banshee is present and they

Wail and sing in chorus, it is for the death of

Someone holy or a great one”


That Eoin Rua invoked her with Aoibheall and Grian shows that she was seen as an important figure.  Aoibheall was the protectress of the Dal gCais Sept (later known as the O’Brien’s).  She is particularly associated with the rock called Carraig Liath, near Killaloe, Co. Clare).  It seems likely that she was originally the patroness of the general area of East Clare and North Western Tipperary (Ó hÓgáin).  Grian was the goddess who dwelt in the síd of Cnoc Gréine, a hill near Pallas Green about seven miles from Knockainy (O’Rahilly)

Maidhlion’s title of “Maidhlion Ealla” is significant.  It suggests that a large area of Dúth Ealla (Duhallow) was under her protection. And that the lands of Clanawley (the ancient territories of the McAuliffe Clan) were much more extensive in ancient times.

The Banshee was not an ‘evil being’ but a ‘messenger of death’ and to have one associated with a family was an indication of that family’s importance and standing.  It is clear that  the McAuliffes would have been ‘followed’ by Madhlion.  As the lords of Clanawley it would only have been right and proper.  To be followed by a Banshee was only for the true Irish:

“Éistig, éistig, a cheannaithe an chnósaig!

Ní baol díbhse, ach is eaglach dóibh siúd.

Níor chaoin bean sí riabh ‘úr sortsa”

“Listen, listen you hoarding traders,

You are not in danger, but they have need to fear,

A banshee never keened your kind”


The use of the verb leanúint with regard to how the Banshee followed a family, is linked by Lysaght to the Old Norse being, the Fylgja, whose name means “follower”.  This being also “followed a family” in the sense of “accompanying” and “attending” a family.  Lysaght suggests that the banshee belief is most likely the result of a process of the narrowing and the specialisation of the role of these ancient female beings; that these beings held a more important and broader role in the distant past.

It is highly likely that Madhlion was a territorial goddess for the area; a female deity, symbolising the land of the family or clan to which she belonged.  More importantly she was also a symbol of “their rightful title” to it:

“The underlying tradition envisaged the goddess of being espoused to the rightful

King.  It also regarded her as the mother of such a king and the ancestress of a royal line”

Possibly the most well known legend of Madhlion is the story made popular by Edward Walsh in his poem “Meelan” which was published in the Dublin Penny Journal, April 4th, 1835.  His version tells of a bridal feast in Castle McAuliffe where the bride (Maidhlion), a daughter of the McAuliffe Chieftain is abducted by a dark stranger and taken to the rock since known as “Meelan’s Rock”.

Walsh was a folklorist and poet born near Kiskeam in 1805.  He travelled around Duhallow in the early part of the 1830s and collected “many a tuneful lay and curious legend”.  His source for this story of the abduction of Madhlion was the stories from the local area, which he then took and gave his own romantic twist.

Two things that can be deduced from this legend is that Moylan was firmly associated with the McAuliffe clan, and that she is “oft at that dark hours close … near the rock of enchantment” indicates that the role she played was a Banshee that followed the local clan.

There are other clues to the importance of Madhlion and her rock.  Brother Allen in his “A History of Newmarket” and Máire McNéill in her memorable “the festival of Lughnasa” both refer to stories told by “the old Seanchee from Glennamucklagh” (Allen) who remembered as if “in a dream” hearing people older than him, tell of a tradition of visiting Madhlion’s rock on Garland Sunday:

“Garland’s were woven and flowers strewn there and dancing, courtship and athletic sports were enjoyed.”


Garland Sunday was celebrated towards the end of July or the beginning of August and according to MacNéill has most likely descended from the ancient festival of Lughnasa.  That said, for some reason MacNéill is sceptical that these Garland Sunday celebrations related by the seanchaí were a possible Lughnasa survival.  Brother Allen is more convinced that the cave was once the site of the festival of Lughnasa.

There are many characteristics of the site that are shared with other Lughnasa sites around the country which have been described in great detail by McNeill.  The location of the site on a height, that it is overlooking a river, the celebration of garland Sunday there and also the association of an “abduction story” are all indicators of a link with Madhlion’s rock to the Lughnasa festival.

The significance of this link is that it opens up the possibility that this site has been a very special place for many centuries.  Unfortunately we have no way of knowing and are just left with tantalizing clues and snippets of folklore. As J. A. MacCulloch says:


“To summon a dead religion from it’s forgotten grave and to make it tell it’s story, would require an enchanter’s wand”


The celebration of Garland Sunday there is no longer in living memory.  As children we would visit the cave and heard stories about a female ghost and were warned that if you went around the cave three times a gateway to hell would open!  With the passage of time and with the language change much of the tradition connected with Madhlion as the protectress of the McAuliffe family and their lands has been forgotten.  But the spirit of Madhlion still lives on.

The cave still sits there overlooking the Dalua, the ancient graveyard of Clonfert and the site of Castle Mcauliffe.  The paths that lead down to it are eroding and overgrown from lack of use; but maybe at night she walks again as “the night breeze sings cold o’er Clonfert’s ancient tomb, Dallo ripples dark in his wavy woods’ gloom” (Walsh)




  1. J.A. MacCulloch, “The Religion of the Ancient Celts”, (1911)

  2. D.H. Allen “A History of Newmarket”, (1973)

  3. Dáithí Ó hÓgáin, “The Lore of Ireland”, (2006)

  4. John J. O’Riordan, “A Tragic Troubadour, Life and collected works of folklorist, poet and translator, Edward Walsh (1805 – 1850)”,  (2005)

  5. Patricia Lysaght, “The Banshee, The Irish Supernatural Death-Messenger”, (1986), Glendale Press

  6. Máire MacNeill, “The Festival of Lunasa” (1962), Dundalgan Press

  7. T. F. O’Rahilly, “Early Irish History and Mythology”, (1946), Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies


Thanks to Séamus Ó Cróinín for his advice and translations for this article.

The CYMS – a Detailed History

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

by Patricia O’Keeffe, Killowen

The Architecture of the building:

The National Inventory of Architectural Heritage gives a full description of the building

“Attached two-storey former court and market house, built c. 1810, having three-bay first floor and five-bay arcaded ground floor, with slightly lower pitched metal-roofed extension to rear. Now in use as hall. Pitched artificial slate roof, having rendered chimneystacks with brick copings and cast-iron rainwater gutters. Cut dressed limestone façade, with painted rendered walls to other elevations. Square-headed openings to first floor with replacement timber windows, dressed limestone lintels and limestone sills. Segmental-arched openings to ground floor, with dressed limestone voussoirs, end arches having infill to lower parts and replacement timber windows above. Wider central arch has recessed replacement timber door.

APPRAISAL: This building follows a standard pattern for market and court buildings of having an open arcade to the ground floor. Though the original windows and doors have been replaced and the arcade no longer being open, this building provides a tangible link to Newmarket’s historical significance as a market town. The building is in an interesting position, on a corner site on a hill, though at a distance from the central cross streets of the town. The dressed stone façade has survived well and the change of use is typical and a good example of how such buildings can be reused. The maps identify an area to the south-west as a ‘fair field’. (National Inventory of Architectural Heritage, Irish Manuscripts Commission).

The courthouse has being built to what is thought to be a standard Pain design according to the North Cork Architectural Heritage. This group wrote that

“Market houses remained in integral part of town life until the middle of the century, they were usually built to a standard design with an arcade of three or four arches on the ground floor, coupled with a Pre- mentioned breakfront or floating pediment. In Newmarket (c.1810) Mitchelstown (1823), these buildings also served as courthouses. The classically inspired style of architecture lending them an air of gravity and authority”.

“Design for a court house and bride well to be built in the different Sessions Towns in the County of Cork” by James and George Richard Pain: (An Introduction to the Architectural Heritage of North Cork, NIAH 2009) this fact has also being mentioned in: (Photocopy in IAA. Irish Architectural Archive, Directory of Irish Architects 1720-1940)

It is also mentioned in manuscripts found in Waterford, 6 May 1824, Lismore Castle “drawings collection by James and George Richard Pain”. It was believed that these were master copies. But as such the building design has not being positively validated as being of a Pain Design

A Point of Interest. It was stated in (The Dictionary of Irish Architects lists the work and biographies of architects, builders, and craftsmen who were active in Ireland between 1720 and 1940. James and his younger brother GEORGE RICHARD PAIN).

“James Pain was already in Ireland by 31 July 1813, and his brother George Richard, who had probably joined him in Ireland in or soon after 1814”.

Does that mean it was James Pain alone that was the likely Architect of the building in Newmarket?

Also:  According to Slater’s National Commercial Directory of Ireland, 1846 Newmarket, Co. Cork. “Petty Sessions are held every Friday, in a new Courthouse, A stone building beneath which the market is held” So the Question has to be asked, what did the old Courthouse look like? No descriptions or drawings were found of this old building during my research and another question? Would we consider a building still new after 36years?

According to (Niall McCullough, Courthouses-the mirror of society). Under King James The design pattern of Court/Market House Buildings were Classical because they used the patterns of Architecture of the times in which they were built and yet conformed to the realities of its purposed functions being court houses and Market houses.

“The extent to which the spread of legal uniformity is related to urban growth and town formation is striking, the courthouse as an ornament and support to new towns is a recurring theme in Ireland, and early examples were often combined with a market house function. They were located as public buildings within new town plans.”

(The Courthouse of Ireland, A gazetteer of Irish courthouses, Dunne, Mildred. Phillips, Brian. The Heritage Council)


Before the work was carried out in the 1970’s We know that there were two staircases of stone leading up from the  lower level to the upper level at each end of the back gable wall. They lead up to a central doorway leading into the previous upper level. There was no other access to the upstairs of this building other than these Limestone steps. On the ground floor through the front door, you would have walked through a central corridor and to the left and right there was one room on either side of the corridor. Bathroom facilities were at the back of the garden in an outhouse. A local group took up fundraising in the early seventies and major regeneration work by local builder’s company was undertaken to give the building a new lease of life at that time.


Newmarket CYMS building has a Bench mark on the left hand side of the front door, our local Historian tells me this is one of a coterie of bench marks in Newmarket town. The benchmark of the Courthouse of Newmarket tells us that the building is 548 feet above sea level.(R. O’ Sullivan) The Benchmark was imprinted into the building sometime between 1837 and 1843 according to Ordinance survey Ireland, The map in my possession is dated 1942 and the bench mark is clearly marked on it.

“In surveying, a bench mark is specifically any permanent marker placed by a surveyor with a precisely known vertical elevation. These markers are then used as starting (control) points by subsequent surveyors and other users to establish the elevation of nearby points” (Irish Surveyors, Ordnance survey of Ireland Glossary of Terms: Benchmark)

1837 Irish datum point fixed on Poolbeg Lighthouse in Dublin bay for primary Levelling and contouring of Ireland. The Primary network was completed in 1843. The network of bench marks from the first levelling left a mark on the landscape in the form of the crow’s foot cut into walls buildings and bridges. (OSI Ordinance Survey Ireland, History. Interior Survey

Look closely at the picture below, can you pick out the marking on the CYMS building , there is a horizontal chiselled out line on top of Three slanted lines in a downwards fashion from the top horizontal line which is also known as the crow’s feet.

The Market in Newmarket:

Sir Richard Aldworth was a very astute man, to ensure the Plantation he received from King James 1st was a successful one, he acted immediately on the licence he also received for a Court House and Market and also to have specific days in the year for the Fairs to take place. He envisaged that his  new Town of New Market as being the last Town where travellers travelling between  Tralee to Cork or Tralee and Limerick  would load up in provisions in Newmarket for the long road ahead of them as there would be no Towns between Newmarket and Tralee or Limerick whichever one they were travelling to. In doing this he set about creating a lucrative viable marketing outlet for the tenants and supplying the basic needs for the travellers.

The market and fair days were basically needed for the Tenants of the Barony of Duhallow, so that they could sell their produce in order to pay their rents to their Landlords. As Sir Richard Aldworth had the land rented out to Tenants, he recognised that the market was needed so that the farmers could sell their produce to raise the money for his rent.  Farmers mainly sold meat and potatoes, eggs and vegetables. We know that butchers arrived from cork to buy and sell meat in the eighteenth century as John O Callaghan mentions in his article in the Seanchas Duthalla 1993. The markets nurtured community development as customers came far and near to buy and sell their produce. According to John O Callaghan in his article of Sean Chas Duthalla 1993, “Newmarket had a market almost from its first beginning’s”. We learn that people of Kanturk used the market in Newmarket as there was no rent for that market payable for its use to its owner, as appose to Kanturk where they had to pay rent to sell at the market and then in turn pay the landlord rent for the lands rented to them. It is noted by Mr Richard Purcell (agent) when he complained to Lord Percival  of Kanturk that he was paying rent to hold a market in Kanturk but the his tenants and the towns business people went to the Newmarket’s Market as Sir Allworth did not charge any operational costs for the use of the market in Newmarket.  (B.L. Add. Ms 46979 f3Richard Percival Senior to Lord Percival. 2 January 1728. Pat O Sullivan op. cit. p.104 gives an account of the market house built in 1728 and its replacement in 1747)

Sir Aldworth understood the dynamics between the Market, Court House and the fair days together for the town, and how they would relate to the tenants, travellers and those that lived on his estate in in the nearby towns/Villages as well as those from afar.

The market would increase the spin-off benefits on the surrounding community, by encouraging investment, thus improving social and economic benefits for his Plantation. These spin-off effects, in turn, will draw larger numbers of customers to the market,

In the following passages we can see how successful the market has being and how its success is mentioned over the years.

A Market were granted to Sir Aldworth by means of charter in the according to O’ Muimhneachain, Tadhg.  (Paganism to Christianity in Duhallow). By the 1620’s Sir Richard Aldworth had being given permission to hold both markets and Fairs, he then had a market house built. These markets and Fairs were very successful. According to Sir John Percival of Kanturk’s Egmont estate in a letter to his brother in law who was considering moving to the Kanturk district at the time. “Your neighbour at Newmarket thrives with his Plantation”

Smith in 1751 wrote that “Newmarket is a considerable thoroughfare into Kerry”. Proving that Newmarket was indeed thriving. (Manuscripts of the old Corporation of Kinsale1944 No 15, Anlecta Hibernicia)

It becomes apparent that Sir Aldworth must have thought his market in Newmarket was in danger at one stage of being lost or decimated as Sir John Percival wanted to build a bridge over the river in order that Kanturk would have the advantage of being on the main thoroughfare to Kerry. Sir Aldworth declared that “The Bridge would ruin all his estate and all that was on it”. (B.L, Add. Ms. 46954A f59-60. Meade, Thomas, Cork to Sir Robert Southwell. 13 March 1677.)

“Its present name (That being Newmarket) is obviously derived from the establishment of a market at this place, which was granted to the family of Aldworth by Jas. I in 1615 on the forfeiture of the estate by the McAuliffe’s and confirmed in the reign of Chas”. (NEWMARKET, COUNTY CORK IN LEWIS TOPOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY 1837: Samuel Lewis, Cork City and County Archives)

The market is on Thursday, and is chiefly for the sale of potatoes and turf; it is thought that if the day were changed to Friday, which would afford the Cork butchers an opportunity of attending both this market and that of Kanturk, it would contribute greatly to its improvement. Fairs are held on June 8th, Sept. 8th, Oct. 10, and Nov. 21st; the last is the principal for cattle, sheep, and pigs. A daily post between this place and Kanturk is supported by private subscription; a constabulary police force is stationed in the Town”. (NEWMARKET, COUNTY CORK IN LEWIS TOPOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY 1837: Samuel Lewis).

“Ascension Thursday, 26 May 1910 saw large numbers of people descending on the town. Market day was busy”.  (Violent Cork: Newmarket riot, May 1910. The hidden history of Cork city and county, 1890 – 1916) Here we can see that the market was thriving even though the author was writing about more troubled times in Newmarket rather than the market.

The market in Newmarket seems to have chequered history of being opened and operating or not operating at all for one reason or other, reason being in my research I have seen in some of the postal Directories that it is said of Newmarket.

Piggott’s and Co. Directory of 1824 wrote there is no market, and only speaks of fairs four times a year.

Samuel Lewis wrote 1837: the market is on Thursday, it is thought at that stage it should be changed to Friday to suit the butchers of Cork.

Slater’s National Commercial Directory of Ireland 1846 wrote “the market is held every Friday, fairs six times a year”

Guys Cork Almanac Directory 1907 wrote that fairs were once each month for cattle and fair days for pigs were held on the day previous to cattle fairs of each month. There was a calf, butter, egg and fowl market held on every Thursday.

Guy’s City and County Almanac and Directory for 1921

Fairs and Markets—14 Jan, 9 Feb, 6 Mar, 21 April,11 May, 8 June, 16 July, 15 Aug, 8 Sept, 10 Oct, 31 Nov, 19 Dec. Fairs falling on Saturday will be held on that day ; falling on Sunday, held on Monday. Pig market 1st Wednesday of each month. Horse fairs 3rd Thursday in Feb and 2nd Thursday in Oct. Calf market (opens 1st Thurs, April). Butter, egg and fowl market every Thursday

This is part of the 1842 map which I enlarged to show the Courthouse marked on the map and the benchmark is noted by the letters BM, 548 Ft signifies the height above sea level from this point.

Saving our Market Rights of Newmarket:
Market rights arose over the centuries and were usually granted by royal charter or statute to individuals or to locations.  Markets subject to market rights were excluded from the scope of the Casual Trading Act 1980 but this was reversed in the current Casual Trading Act of 1995.
(Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment July 2006. )
According to an Phoblacht, “Local authorities across the state have been implementing a strategy of “use or lose it” on the exercising of rarely exercised rights to set up street markets and engage in casual trading” (4th May 2006.Edition, An Phoblacht)
To keep the rights of the market active in Newmarket, a purposeful market had to take place before May 1st 2006.according to legislation. That being under Section 7 (4) of the Casual Trading Act which deemed market rights unexercised by 1st May 2006 to be extinguished.
(Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment July 2006. )
So with that in mind our local business woman Olive Forde with the help of her daughter Brid set up her market in Newmarket on the 28th of April 2006 to establish a legal right to a market/fair in the town. Records will show that active trade was witnessed by Dermot Jones, Lower Road and Gerald Murphy, Newmarket. (Olive Forde, Newmarket, Cork)
Olive with her husband John Forde are very distinguished food producers, Under the Certification Body of Irish Organic Farmers’ and Growers’ Association (IOFGA). They are Producers of Pork, Bacon, Beef, and Lamb. They sell their produce at many Farmers Markets, they also are a Demonstration Farm and hold Day Visits to the farm. They are have a very successful business through their farm gate sales. Their Pork is a Bridgestone Award winner according to The Organic Centre, the Organic Guide for Ireland.


 History of Newmarket Court house:

Newmarket Court House has a varied and interesting past. It was one of the basic prerequisites in the area for the town to develop. Sir Richard Aldworth was member of the crown forces of England, he fought in the wars at the time, In 1621 Sir Richard was in the kings favour, when he received a grant of land to the value of 200 English pounds rent a year, the claims to these lands was forfeited by the previous owners The McAuliffe’s of Clanawley.  Sir Richard was knighted in 1612.         

In the following passages we see how that the Court House is mentioned:

“Petty sessions are held on alternate Thursdays; and a Court for the recovery of debts not exceeding 40s. Every third Friday, for the manor of Newmarket, which extends over 32,000 statute acres in the parish of Clonfert”   (NEWMARKET, COUNTY CORK IN LEWIS TOPOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY 1837: Samuel Lewis)

According to the Guy’s Directory Newmarket Petty Sessions are heard every third Wednesday of the month.

The Courthouse is mentioned in Records written by W. M. Brady D.D, He was writing of John Philpot Curran’s birthplace being to the west of the present courthouse in 1863(Clerical and Parochial Records of Cork, Cloyne and Ross)

It seems over the years that the day of the week of the Petty Sessions have changed as we see by (Guys Postal Directory. 1907 Almanac) “Petty Sessions were on every second Friday”.

Petty Sessions Court heard cases such as stealing, malicious damage to property belonging to others, not paying for a day’s labour, family squabbles, neighbours quarrels, fighting, drunkard’s, livestock trespass, damaging crops and fences and Poaching. Etc.,

They could impose fines, a couple weeks in jail at a time, the maximum a person could be sent to jail for was 1 year with or without hard labour depending on the Justice of the peace and the crime. Petty Sessions could bind a person to the peace.  Until the 1920’s petty sessions were the lowest courts in the country. When a case was too serious in nature it would be referred onto the Quarterly Sessions or the Assizes Court in Kanturk.

Petty Sessions were held in the smaller towns in the Counties, with a number of Justices of the Peace allocated to cover all the courts in that district, Newmarket shared the Justices of Peace with Tralee, Kanturk, Killarney, and Cork. That we know of through writings of William Taylor, an agent that accompanied the judges from Cork to Kerry and on one occasion Limerick is mentioned. (Sean Chas Duthalla 1993)

Richard Aldworth had the assize Judges and gentry staying in his own home for a number of reasons, one being to improve the Aldworth’s social life and the other important point being to keep the businesses and markets  of Newmarket thriving.

We also learn that Sir Richard Allworth wanted Newmarket to stay on the main route into Kerry so he provided good accommodation for Travellers on the road.

According to Berkeley Taylor to Lord Percival 29th January 1719

“The Allworth’s have systematically set about making Newmarket a more logical place in which to stay”. There was a new route being proposed by Lord Percival through Kanturk to Kerry.


The Petty Sessions were recognised in law in 1827 even though they were in progress for centuries previous to this. People in Ireland at this time were concerned about decisions made by untrained Justices of the Peace. So under the Petty Sessions (Ireland) Act 1851 Justices of the Peace were slowly replaced by trained Professional paid Judges. The Petty Sessions were replaced by the District Courts in Ireland in 1924(Petty Sessions Order Books 1842-1913: Institutions and Organisations: Find my Past)

In 1923 The Judiciary Committee’s recommendations for the new Court System were adopted in The Courts of Justice Act, 1924. It created a District Court to replace the court of petty sessions and the Justice of the Peace. This structure was replicated in the 1937 Constitution. (History of the Law 1691 – present:  Heritage An tSeirbhis Chuirteanna/ Courts Service IRELAND. New Courts System)

Through my research I have come across some notices that drew my attention to Notices brought to the Bench at the Newmarket Petty Sessions.

Notice 1 from the Kanturk board of guardians:

29 Nov 1877: Letter from the Privy Council Veterinary Department regarding

Appointments under the Pleura Pneumonia Act; Letter from Newmarket Petty

Sessions regarding their appointment of an inspector under the Explosives

Act 1875.    20 Dec 1877 (BG/98/A Kanturk Board of Guardian Minute Books)

Notice No. 2:

“The Following Petty Sessions Courts were adjourned out of a mark of respect to the dead King James: – Ballineen, Newmarket, and Ballydehob, Co. Cork. Dr Neville Justice of the Peace Ballineen stated that in King Edward, Ireland had lost a great friend that ever sat on a throne”. (Archive.

Notice 3.

The magistrates at Newmarket, Co. Cork Petty Sessions passed a vote of sympathy with Richard Aldworth on the death of his brother Major Aldworth, a highly successful fellow magistrate. (

According to Francis Guys Almanac. Quarter Sessions Notice under the Munster heading, PGE. 109 1884.the Officers of the Petty Session of the Newmarket area were as follows:


“Deputy Lieutenants. Aldworth Richard Oliver, Newmarket


Aldworth Col. Richard William, Newmarket

Aldworth Colonel Robert, Cheltenham

Aldworth Richard Oliver, D.L, Newmarket

Verling B. W, Springfield lodge, Newmarket”


Guy’s City and County Almanac and Directory for 1921


Petty Sessions held each alternate

Friday. Quarter Session of Mallow

Clerk Petty Session—Newmarket:  R. H. Fetherston


R. H. Fetherston, CP S

 Civil Bill Officers County and City Cork.

NEWMARKET AREA: Jeremiah Quinlan and David Quinlan 

 So I now ask the question, was the courthouse completely destroyed or was it only part damaged and reconstruction undertaken in either case, as in statements above in 1919 said it was destroyed. But according to Guy’s City and County Directory of 1921 it was in use again as a courthouse.

J.J. O’Riordain, 1985, stated that the destruction of Newmarket Courthouse in April of 1920 was one of many events linked back to the H- Company of Kiskeam and the Flying column, known also as the North Cork Flying Column. (O’Riordain, 1985)

 The Destruction of the Court House Newmarket:

According to John Jones, Killowen, Newmarket,

 Eye Witness Statement, Lieutenant same Company, 1920-.

Military Archives.

This is a passage in his statement as he told the statement.

“During 1919 it was strongly rumoured that a military

Garrison was due to occupy Newmarket. So it was decided to

Destroy the Courthouse, which was a very likely place for

Occupation. The Courthouse was the upstairs portion of a

Two-storey building and the lower part of the premises was a

Very large egg store. Under charge of Seán Moylan, and with

Bill Moylan and D. McAuliffe, our Company, a lot of whom were

Armed, assembled at the premises one night. We removed a

Huge quantity of egg cases, timber and other stores and success-

Fully destroyed the whole building, including all the Court


During this operation we had a party of armed men, under

Paddy McCarthy, covering off the R.I.C. Barracks adjacent to

The Courthouse. They made no attempt whatever to interfere

With us, for they realised it would have been futile to do so.

While the burning was in progress the local District Inspector,

R.I.C. (named Dignan) entered the R.I.C. Barracks: He did not stir out again that night.”

Through my own research I have found that it was John O’ Brien of House 20 on Main Street, Newmarket had the Egg store on the lower level of the court house, According to the 1911 Census he was an Egg and Poultry Merchant. It is my understanding that this man would have being Councillor John O Brien’s father.

Other Groups and societies that have used the hall as a base for their meetings in the past:

The building came back into the Free State of Ireland sometime in the 1920’s and most of the Aldworth Properties were sold off. The Catholic Church took over the Court house/Market house and rear yard between the years 1927 and 1931, this is learnt from a letter dated in 1928 belonging to the Aldworths. (Registry of Deeds, Dublin)

The Catholic young men’s Society had access to the hall in the 1940’s,50’s and 1960’s where under Spiritual Director’s Guidance they passed the time discussing local and national politics, and the goings on in the community in general such as matches and sports. Some of the Spiritual Directors were Fr Donal McCarthy, Fr. Sheehan, Fr. Roche and Fr. Glennon and Matt Jones was Secretary for many a year, Raymond o Sullivan was Secretary for Three years of the Society.  Many a good debate was had in this society.  This was a well ran and successful society by all means according to locals in our community.

There was a beautiful billiard’s table which was used by all ages at the time. Tournaments were set up against Charleville and the competitors would travel back and forth for matches. Paddy Murray, Joe Gorman and Danny Riordan, Matt Jones, Dan Halliden and Danny Donoghue the reliving Officer to name a few were all men in Particular that were good at the game. I have being told that Danny Donoghue was an excellent Reliving Officer.

There are many fond memories of games played there I am told by locals. On speaking to locals they tell me that they gave most evenings in the hall. Young boys waited for the chance to be allowed access to the CYMS, they were not allowed until they were 15-16 yrs. of age. It was every young boy’s ambition to play on the Billiards table, you had to pass an exam to be allowed near it. First you had to be able to make a bridge with your fingers for the stick to rest on, if you tore the cloth of the table it would have being considered the ultimate sin according to locals. There were high seats around by the walls where they waited patiently for a chance to get on the Billiards table. The boys had to be of a certain height to play also.

There was also Table Tennis and cards to play, many a game of 45 and poker were had for small change only. There were two tables for the card games.

The Readers Digest Monthly was available to read free of charge in the CYMS and certainly it was the one magazine that was well read by all.

The opening times of the CYMS Hall then was after mass on the Sundays to 6-7 pm and on Week days 6pm to 11.30pm approx. weekdays. (C.Reilly, D. Jones, M. Halloran and R. O Sullivan)

“I was hon. sec. but I’d say 3 or 4 years from the early to mid-’60′s.We had several ways of financing the club – an annual raffle, hops (mid- week dances that finished at midnight), etc. and we had 2 meeting rooms which we let out at 5 shillings a night during the Summer and 7 shillings and 6 pence during the Winter. The extra 2 and 6 went to the caretaker for setting the fire etc. As far as I can remember there was a small membership fee and you had to be 16 yrs. old to join.” (R. O Sullivan)

The Community centre was also a School twice: The first time was in 1945 to 1954. Locals went to the National School in Newmarket, Boherbue and the village of Meelin and onto private school in the CYMS Hall for Secondary School for Three Years up to the Inter Certificate as it was called then what we know as the Junior Cert today. The reason it was said to be a private School was that families paid 8 Irish Pounds a year per pupil to attend in the year of 1949 I have being informed. If a student was to progress in the education system in Newmarket then, you would graduate into the follow on secondary school at the top the hill just above the St. Mary’s Church where Vincent O Conner lives today, the class there was in the front left room of the front entrance door. At that time in the upstairs quarters, there would have been an unused look out sentry post on the left back gable end of the school house where the roof is curved. Paddy O Keeffe also ran this school and students would complete their Leaving Certificate here.

The Principal of the Secondary School was Paddy O Keeffe, Vice Principal: Eilis O Keeffe, Miss Dwayne taught Commerce and Geography

The fourth Post in the school was somewhat thought to be temporary as teachers came and went in short periods of time, for example there was a Miss Hobbs from Cork City also taught in the School, Miss Renee also taught in the school at a different time in that same post and a Mrs Julia Breen married in Boherbue also taught in this post a different time.

The Community Hall served as a Secondary School between 1945 and 1954 then the school was moved to the local Protestant Trinity Christ Church, Newmarket.

There were 28 boys in the Secondary School in Newmarket in 1945 according to the (Table showing the numbers of pupils in a recognised secondary schools: 1945 Department of Education) I could not access how many girls attended the school at that time. The children went to school in the CYMS Hall 5½ days a week from 9am to

1pm. It was also told to me that Mrs Julia Breen would load up her car in Boherbue with children and bring them on to the CYMS for the school.  When you entered the building from the front door, you would have walked through a central corridor and to the left and right there was one room on either side of the corridor.

On the ground floor level of the School, there was a back door out on to what was then a beautiful garden belonging to Jerry Philpot, the hall was much smaller then and this garden would have covered the area where the stage once was. The aroma from this garden was always wafted through the air.  (D. Jones, R. O Sullivan V. O Conner)

The CYMS Hall was transformed in to a School again in the early 1980’s, (Department of Education) Our local boys National School was being extended and the pupils and Teachers transferred up into the Hall for a period of time. (C McAuliffe)

The ICA was a tenacious group within the community in the 1940’s 50’s and 1960’s organising outings, arts and crafts and competitions for the lady members. Ardent members such as Nelly Daly, Rosacon and Mary O Keeffe, Kerry Road were great to organise events for the ladies. (B. o Keeffe)

The hall was Quiet for a lot of the late 60’s and early 70’s but a Parish Council was formed from there laid new beginnings, A Committee was formed in the early 1970’s and it was decided to refurbish the hall. A major fundraising campaign was taken on and enough funds were gathered to refurbish the hall. The hall was renovated in the 1970’s by a local builder in which an extension was put on.

On the opening night an accomplished accordion player by the name of Dermot O Brien played to a large crowd. It was a memorable night for all. (Corkman)

In the early 1970’s, there were two meeting rooms, one cost 5 shillings to rent and the other cost 7and six, sometimes the care taker would get an extra half a crown.

Conradh Na Gaeilge known also as the Gaelic League had meetings regularly in the Hall.  In the late 50’s it was active and its aim was to promote the Irish speaking language through dance, song, music and recitations. They fund raised once a year on St. Patrick’s Day. This group were organizing an Eireach/garden Fete in the 1961 approx. year and they had a pipe band booked for the social event. The band cancelled on the group and so it was decided in Newmarket Conradh Na Gaelge to form their own Pipe Band here in Newmarket. The Band came together and starting practicing in the CYMS Hall, this was their base for many a year until they fundraised to erect their own Hall which is still to this day alive with the music of the Pipe Band. Paddy Murray was their Treasurer for years. People like May Linen, Julia Cronin, Bill Flynn of Barley Hill, Jim Cronin, Liam Cudihy from Kilkenny, Dermot Jones were all members of this group. (D. Jones)

 Muintire Na Tire was also a very energetic group that used the hall at the time. Muintir Na Tíre is a national organisation promoting community development in Ireland.   In Newmarket when Muintir Na Tíre was a very spirited organisation it promoted and supported the concept of active community participation and focused on the idea of community development in Newmarket foremost and Ireland. Newmarket’s Muintire Na Tire was involved in a lot of fundraising for various events in the area. (D. Verling)

Marca Na Feirme had a strong group in Newmarket in late 1970’s, this group met once a month. It was mainly a young Farmers club which promoted active involvement community events. (P.O Keeffe)

The Legion of Mary are also another group that used the hall on a regular basis during this time. This is a religious catholic prayer group which met weekly. This also as a successful group in Newmarket. (J. Moynihan)

  The ‘Thursday Club’ is very active group in the town. They have held many meetings in the community centre over the years.

There were many Caretakers of the Community Hall down through the years, looking after maintenance and the general upkeep of the hall. Some of those men were (not in order): Jerry Philpot, Denny Collins, Paul Brosnan, Joe Rahailly, John Lucey, Jimmy Cross,  John Buckley, M. Clifford, Teddy Mahony and  Jerry Moynihan to mention a few. There were many more around Newmarket that have looked after the Hall lovingly. (C. Reilly, M. O Halloran and J. Moynihan)

Long Standing Treasurer: Paddy Murray of Newmarket was the treasurer of the CYMS Hall for a good 25 years. He was very dedicated to the CYMS Hall, He produced his book in which he recorded all the monies in and out and he always provided receipts for each transaction without ever being asked to. He was a very upfront man. (D. Jones)

Newmarket Drama Group:

Newmarket Drama Group are a very successful group within the community and have many successful plays to their credit staged in the Community Centre of Newmarket to name a few: ‘Lend me a Tenor’ by Ken Ludwig, and ‘Many Young Men of Twenty’ by John B. Keane and ‘Moonshine’ by Jim Nolan. (Various Corkman Articles)

The local Drama Group is an amateur drama group which strives to draw from the huge talent base within the town and county and is open to all, inviting people to get involved,  They very active group within the community of Newmarket.

 Past And To the Future:

In the past The CYMS Hall has being fundamental to the wellbeing and to the growth of Newmarket as a trading town. It has served as an central active part in Newmarket’s history down through the years from being a Marketplace and Courthouse, to a Barracks, and Egg store to a School and a meeting place for young men to its existing roll which is to support Newmarket’s community projects holistically well into the future. In today’s terms the CYMS Hall still has a big role to play in the locality by facilitating local groups such as Drama, Fitness, exercise, dance, music. A Meeting place, a place of learning to a place of leisure, to a safe haven for our youth in the community. The future of the CYMS Hall looks secure because of its central role in local groups and its interests in facilitating these groups to function and aid them to reach their own goals. The Present Committee welcome all groups Large and Small to use the Community’s Centre.

2013/14 Committee Members are as follows:

Chairman: C. McAuliffe, Sec, H. O Keeffe, Treas.: S. Guerin, Pro: E. Higgins

Charles Gilman, Fr. D. Herlihy, T. O Sullivan, J. O Keeffe, M. Murphy, P. O Keeffe.

Caretaker: Sonny Cronin.



  • Clerical and Parochial Records of Cork, Cloyne and Ross: W. Maziere Brady D.D. Chaplain to the Lord Lieutenant and Vicar of Clonfert and Cloyne: Vol 11. DUBLIN. Printed for the Author, Alexander Thom, 87 & 88 Abbey Street, 1863
  • Corkman advertisements. Cork City Library, Cork City Library Archives.
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  •  Dictionary of Irish Architects lists the work and biographies of architects, builders, and craftsmen who were active in Ireland between 1720 and 1940. James and his younger brother GEORGE RICHARD PAIN.
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  • Dunne. Mildred. Phillips. Brian. The COURTHOUSES OF IRELAND. A gazetteer pf Irish Courthouses. 1st Published 1999.The Heritage Council. Pge. X. Niall McCullough, Courthouses-the mirror of society
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  • Find your ancestors in Irish Petty Sessions Court Registers 1828-1912. Petty Sessions Order Books 1842-1913: Institutions and Organisations: www. Find my Past Website.
  • Guy’s City and County Cork Almanac and Directory for 1907. Cork Past & Present. Cork City Council. Libraries. Cork’s history, culture, places, people, and events
  • Guy’s City and County Almanac and Directory for 1921.  Street and Trade DIRECTORIES. Cork Past & Present.
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  • O Callaghan. John. 1993 SEANCHAS DUTHALLA. Pge 44 no.10. Travelling in Duhallow before 1760.  B.L, Add. Ms. 46954A f59-60. Meade, Thomas, Cork to Sir Robert Southwell. 13 March 1677.
  • O Callaghan. John. 1993. Travelling in Duhallow before 1760. Seanchas Duthalla. Page. 27-45.
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  • O’ Riordain, J. J. 1985. Kiskeam versus The Empire. Chap. 4. Specializing in Generals.1st Edition printed by The Kerryman.
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A Brief History of the CYMS

Sunday, May 18th, 2014

The CYMS, is a fine two storey, limestone clad, building, located to the side of the Church on Main Street, facing down the steep hill of High Street.  It was originally built as a market house and court house around the year 18101 a focal point of a ‘Market Town’.  It played a very important role in the local economy of the region and the increasing commercialisation of agricultural activities in the eighteenth century. These and other civic or public services buildings were usually sponsored or instigated by local landlords, in this case the Aldworths, who collected taxes from both the markets and the fairs.

The original building is over 200 years old and has had many different functions over the years.  The ground floor was originally an open air market complementing the nearby Fair Field.  The Courthouse was on the first floor and was accessed from the back by two stone stairs.  The above picture,taken at the beginning of the 20th. century shows the building with its arcaded ground floor which seems to have been enclosed by this time as the various markets were now being held on the side of the streets.   The Courthouse was still in use at this time and the RIC man standing in the background reminds us that British Law supported by the Royal Irish Constabulary was still in force.  Petty sessions were held in the courthouse at regular intervals where minor cases were tried and and where more important matters were referred to higher courts. According to Davis (2) John Philpott Curran’s Father had an official function at these Petty Sessions. We have the following brief mention from 1846:

“Petty Sessions are held every Saturday in a new Courthouse near which the market is held”(3)

From the above it seems that the days on which the Petty Sessions were held varied from time to time.  The next reference we have to the Courthouse is in 1863 in connection with Newmarket’s most famous son.

“1774 October 16th John Philpott Curranesq and Sarah Creagh, both of this parish were married by license by the curate Henry Weston, in presence of Richard Odell and Jeremiah Keller,(Par.Reg.). The celebrated Curran,whose memory is still affectionately remembered in the land of his birth,was born on or about 24thof July or August,1751, in a house which has long been removed, which stood to the west of the present Courthouse in Newmarket. (4)

The following reference from 1888 reflects the turbulent years of the Land War at the end of the 19th.century

“Captain Stokes and Captain Seagrave R.Ms, sat at Newmarket Petty Sessions to hear the case against John Browne, Maurice Collins, Jeremiah McAuliffe, Gerald Browne and Charles McCarthy, for taking part in a meeting of the suppressed branch of the Irish National League at Meelin, County Cork, on the 13th of November. ” (5)

In July 1894 John Twiss was remanded in custody in Newmarket Courthouse by Major Hutchinson, local Resident Magistrate and so began one of the most infamous trials in Irish legal history.(6)

By 1914 the Courthouse was still being used on a regular basis and The Petty Sessions were held on alternate Saturdays. (7)

25 years after the unfortunate John Twiss began his long journey to the gallows the administration of British justice in the Newmarket area was dealt a deadly blow when the local IRA burned the Courthouse during the War of Independence.

“During 1919 it was strongly rumoured that a military garrison was due to occupy Newmarket. So it was decided to destroy the Courthouse, which was a very likely place for occupation. The Courthouse was the upstairs portion of a two-storey building and the lower part of the premises was a very large egg store. Under charge of Seán Moylan, and with Bill Moylan and D. McAuliffe, our company, a lot of whom were armed, assembled at the premises one night. We removed a huge quantity of egg cases, timber ad other stores and successfully destroyed the whole building including all the Court records.” (8)

It is more than probable that this attack only destroyed the first floor of the building but that the well built stone structure of the building survived and would eventually play a central role once more in the town of Newmarket.

Local historian Raymond O’ Sullivan records that older inhabitants of the town recalled the courthouse being  sometimes used to provide concerts and entertainment for the local gentry during the 19th Century and it is interesting that the new role of the old building would be to provide recreational and social services for the community.  At sometime after the foundation of the State the building was obtained by the Church and reconstructed as a Catholic Young Men’s Society (CYMS) hall and this hall played a major role in the life of the town down to the present day. The following photograph, kindly presented by Tim Cashin, seems to record the restoration of the building for this purpose.

As a CYMS hall it provided a club house for the young men of the parish and many will fondly remember the magnificent snooker/billiard table which was the centerpiece of the first floor club house which was also the scene of keenly contested card games. The ground floor rooms provided local clubs with meeting rooms. Saint Mary’s Secondary school had its junior classes in these rooms until 1954/5 when the school moved to the Protestant Church. In recent times the building has undergone considerable renovation. Mass was celebrated there when the Church was being renovated.

The Newmarket Dramatic Society staged many of their productions there after the building underwent a major, much needed renovation in 2002, spear headed by the late Father Anthony Cronin and a committee of local people. The first play the group performed there was their award winning production of John B. Keane’s ‘Many Young Men of Twenty’. Among the many plays they performed there, were ‘Dancing at Lughanasa’, ‘Out of Order’. ‘Holiday Snap’, ‘Don’t dress for dinner’, ‘Caught in the act’, ‘Lend me a Tenor’. More recently the group performed a play by local playwright Mike Guerin called ‘Alpha’ in Meelin hall.

A new hall committee was formed in 2013 and a huge amount of work has been undertaken.  The stage was removed, the floors replaced and some much needed renovations were undertaken.  A wide range of groups and clubs use the hall on a weekly basis: the parent and toddler group, irish dancing classes, ballroom dancing, exercise classes, junior GAA club training, Foróige along with various parties and meetings.  This year there will be more work undertaken to improve the hall and make it a facility that can be used by an increasingly larger range of clubs and groups.  You can follow current developments and news about the CYMS on Facebook (search for Newmarket CYMS).

This stately building has had many roles over  the last 200 years of it’s existence: it has been an economic centre, a court-house, a school, a theater, a temporary church and a place for all of us, young and old, to gather together.  With recent renovations and exciting new plans in the pipeline, it is clear that it will remain at the heart of our community for many more years to come.

by Eilis Hourigan


  1. An Introduction to the Architectural Heritage of North Cork, National Invenntory of Architectural Heritage (2009).

  2. Davis,Thomas, Curran’s Speeches (1845)

  3. Slaters Directory (1856)

  4. Brady , Dr. William Mazier Clerical and Parochial Records of Cork, Cloyne and Ross (1863).

  5. The Irish American , week ending January 21. 1888.

  6. Lynch,Pat, They Hanged John Twiss (1982).

  7. Guys Postal Directory (1914).


Thanks to the following who helped with this article: Catherine Culloty, Teresa O’Keeffe, Séamus Ó Cróinín and Raymond O’Sullivan.

If you have any further information about the history of the hall we would love to hear from you. You can get in touch with us at

Slieve Luachra – an excerpt

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

An excerpt from Brother D. H. Allen’s book, “A History of Newmarket”

Situated on what was once the main thoroughfare into Kerry, Newmarket lies in a deep glen, surrounded by the rounded summits of the Slieve Luachra foothills, here rising to heights of seven and nine hundred feet.  To the west this glen converges on that of the Dalua where tree-clad slopes shelter wildlife of every description.

The Island Wood, in particular, is a haven of beauty, peace and rest, where local and stranger stroll along tree-bordered paths or pause to gaze on the valley, far below, where the meandering Dalua and the narrow Awekeale entwine to continue on their way through leafy glades till they reach Kanturk where they mingle with the waters of the Allow, from which Duhallow derives its name.

To the east of the town Priory wood owes its name to the patriot, John Philpot Curran, a native of this town, whose country residence, “The Priory”, graced the slope of pleasant Priory Glen, once known as Glenanaar.

As one proceeds west from the Dalua the trees grow scanty, giving vegetation save for the lowly heather and ever swaying canavaun or bogcotton.  These mountains know to-day as Mullaughareirk, were Slieve Luachra of old, where Fionn and the Fianna chased the stag and the wild boar through once wooded glens and mountain slopes.

Today these peat-covered, heath-clad uplands, where the silence is broken by the sough of the wind and the occasional plaintive cry of the curlew, are the haunt of the plump but furtive grouse.  In the narrow glens between, the woodcock seek the shelter of the grove and brake as winter tightens its grip on the higher hills; in season, too, an odd pheasant crosses one’s path.  So, to-day as in the past, the eager hunter hopefully looks forward to a full bag as the day draws to its close.

The Dalua with its tributaries – the Glenlara, the Awekeale and the Owenarre, abound in trout and salmon; in November the lordly salmon may be seen floundering through the shallows on its way to its natal pool in the higher reaches of the river; how pleasant to watch the trout – motionless, save for the ceaseless movement of its tail or now again breaking the smooth surface to catch an unsuspecting fly.

The story of its people reaches back wellnigh three thousand years to a time when the uses of iron were not yet discovered.  Remains from these days of antiquity are numerous in the area – ringforts, fulachta fiadh and galluans; a stone alignment and a cairn.

Taurmore or Bocaura, once the burial place of the sons of Dedad – the pre-Gaelic inhabitants of Munster rears its cairn-crowned back on the western bounds of the parish.  Nearer the town the sacred rock, where Mylon or Meelan was worshipped, may be seen overlooking the timeless Dalua.


Newmarket Gaelic League (Conradh na Gaeilge)

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

According to Brother Allen’s book, “A History of Newmarket”, the Newmarket Gaelic League (or Conradh na Gaeilge) was founded in February 1904. The purpose of the organisation was to promote the Irish Language and Irish Gaelic culture.

It was the Gaelic League which brought Countess Markievicz to Newmarket for a Feis Mór. Brother Allen tells the story in his book as Gaeilge:

“Sa bhliain sin (1919) bheartaigh  an chraobh in Áth Trasna go mbeidh Feis mhór acu, agus tugadh cuireadh don Countess Markievicz teacht mar aoi-chainteoir. Chuir sí fúithí san Railway Hotel. Bhailigh na póiliní ó gach áit sa Bharúntacht. Go déanach um thráthnóna an lae sin sciurd an Countess amach as an óstlann; chuaigh sí isteach i gcárr is síos léi go dtí an Stáisiún mar ar chuaigh sí ar bórd na traenach. Nach ar na póiliní a bhi an gliondar is an t-áthas. Bhí ‘Sí Féin’ imithe; bhí an gcuid gnó déanta acú; scaip siad soir is siar. Ach ní raibh ‘fhios acu nárbh í an Countess féin a bhí ann ar chor ar bith ach Madge McCarthy – cailín cróga, galánta nár theip ar an misneach riamh uirthí – is í gléasta in éadaí an Countess.

D’éalaigh an Countess cheart as an óstlann is d’imigh sí léi go teach Corney Lenihan i nDrom an Airgil, mar ar chaith sí an oíche. Lá ar na mhárach bhí sí are árdán na Feise. Bhí breall ar an roinnt bheag póilín a bhí sa pháirc – bhí an lá ag Gaeil”

The league was very strong in Duhallow in 1920, when the photo above was taken, eventhough the war of independence was under full sail at the time in the barony. That summer an Irish College was set up in Newmarket and students from all through Duhallow attended. The civil war put an end to the activities in Duhallow except in Cullen. There were Irish Classes in Newmarket again from the summer of 1936 but it is not felt that these were run by the league. In the 50′s a new branch was set up in Newmarket” and this branch was particularly active in the early 1960s.

Newmarket Railway

Friday, June 8th, 2012

Newmarket Railway opened in 1889 and closed (finally) in 1963. It was built by Robert Worthington for the Kanturk and Newmarket Railway Co. (local land gentry and Cork businessmen) and went on to have an independent existence of three and a half years until purchased by the Great Southern and Western Railway in February 1893. The line, 8 3/4 miles long, from Banteer to Newmarket, had it’s only intermediate station at Kanturk. It crossed the River Blackwater just outside Banteer, from which point it was on a rising gradient almost throughout to Newmarket . The ruling gradient was 1 in 60 on leaving Banteer. Curves were relatively easy, the sharpest, two of 20 chains radius. There were twelve bridges of which seven were under and of steel structure. The remainder were masonry. The Blackwater bridge had five steel spans, each of 63 feet. A lattice girder bridge over the River Duala, near Kanturk, had one span of 70 feet. The Duala , from this point, flowed downwards parallel with the line to Banteer, and into the Blackwater.

It was never profitable and had to be supported by baronial guarantee from the beginning. Until 1942 four trains ran daily, with occasional Sunday excursions to the seaside, G.A.A. matches, or pilgrimages (Drogheda and Knock) and the annual exodus to Banteer Sports in June.

On 30 November 1962, notices, signed by Secretary, CIE Kingsbridge, appeared in the National daily newspapers, and the Cork Examiner reading:- “Pursuant to section 19 of the Transport Act 1958, the Board of CIE hereby gives notice that on and from the 2 day of February 1963 all services of trains for the carriage of merchandise operating on the railway between Banteer and Newmarket will be terminated and that road services will be substituted for the railway.”

On 25 January 1963 services was cancelled, and a replacement service provided from Abbeyfeale. The Newmarket Branch, after a long history of faithful service, closed at 4pm on Saturday, 2 February 1963 .

Source: IRRS (Irish Railway Record Society) Journal number 157, published June 2005

Description of Newmarket from circa 1749

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

“The Ancient and Present state of the County and City of Cork” by Charles Smith M.D. (published 1749)

Description of Newmarket and Kanturk taken from the above. This account was written c1749.

“Five measured English miles west of Kanturk is Newmarket, the last place of note in the north-west part of the county. It is adorned with a stately house of Boyle Aldworth esq. composed of two regular fronts of hewn stone, which stands on the south-east of the town. Newmarket consists of one regular street and is a considerable thoroughfare into the county of Kerry. In it are some well looking houses and a decent parish Church. To the west of this place and on the left hand side of the road to Blackwater Bridge stands Castle MacAuliff formerly the chief seat of the sept, and there is also another of their castles at Carrigacushin a mile north-east of Newmarket”

“The town of Kanturk is in a thriving condition, several well built houses have been erected in it, there is a neat market-house but no church nearer than Newmarket. It is tolerably well peopled by persons employed in the worsted manufacture.”

Statistical Survey of County Cork 1810

Saturday, April 7th, 2012

An extract from a statistical survey of county Cork. Rev. Horatio Townsend , Statistical survey of the county of Cork, with observations of the means of improvement; : drawn up for the consideration, and by direction of the Dublin Society (1810)

Duhallow: Towns—Manufactures—Minerals—Seats, etc.

KANTURK and Newmarket, the only towns of this barony, are situate within a short distance of each other, near that range of mountain, which divides this part of the county from Kerry. The road, that passes through these towns, was formerly the principal line of communication between the counties, and probably the primary cause of their origin. Newmarket stands upon the Allo, which after a short course runs into the Dallua, Kanturk being placed a little below their confluence. This river, which occasionally rolls a very large and rapid flood, swelled by the torrents from the neighbouring mountains, falls into the Blackwater at Bantyre.


Newmarket, possessing nothing deserving of notice as a town, is chiefly remarkable for being the seat of the old and respectable family of Aldwortb, who have here a large and handsome mansion house, with very extensive grounds well planted and inclosed. Of the state of these, it is sufficient to say that they are in the occupation of Richard Aidworth, Esq. who is justly esteemed one of the best and most enterprizing agriculturists in the county.”

Lewis Topographical Dictionary, 1837 – Newmarket

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

Abstract from Samuel Lewis’ Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, published in 1837

“NEWMARKET, a market-town, in the parish of CLONFERT, barony of DUHALLOW, county of CORK, and province of MUNSTER, 4 miles (N. w.) from Kanturk, on the road from Cork, by the Bogra mountains, to Abbeyfeale and Listowel; containing 1437 inhabitants. This place was formerly called Ahatrasne, or ” the place of the ford,” from its situation near an ancient ford now superseded by a neat bridge at the entrance of the town. Its present name is obviously derived from the establishment of a market at this place, which was granted to the family of Aldworth by Jas. I., on the forfeiture of the estate by the Macauliffes, and confirmed in the reign of Chas. II. At Scarteen, a village, a little to the north of the town, about 1000 of the peasantry assembled in 1822, anticipating the evacuation of the town by the military, but were repulsed by Capt. Kippock and Lieut. Green, who, leaving 10 men to defend the barracks, marched “with 30 to attack the assailants, whom they dispersed with the loss of about 20 that were killed in the conflict. The gentry of the surrounding district, upon this occasion, presented to each of those officers a handsome piece of plate, as a testimony to their intrepidity and an acknowledgment of their services.

The town is situated on a small stream which falls into the river Dallua a little below, and on the north side of a gentle eminence ; it consists principally of two streets intersecting each other at right angles, and contains about 246 houses, of which several are neatly built; the inhabitants are well supplied with water, the
air is salubrious, and the neighbourhood abounds with interesting scenery. Adjoining it is Newmarket House, the stately mansion of R. R. Aldworth, Esq., lord of the manor, handsomely built of hewn limestone, and situated in a demesne richly embellished with timber of luxuriant growth; an avenue of ash trees is said to have been planted in the reign of Elizabeth, and there are some noble specimens of elm, beech, and sycamore.

Near the town are also Mount Keeffe, the residence of M. O’Keeffe, Esq. > Liscongill, of W. Allen, Esq.; and the Priory, formerly the residence of John Philpot Curran, Esq., now in the occupation of E. Stannard, Esq. The market is on Thursday, and is chiefly for the sale of potatoes and turf; it is thought that if the day were changed to Friday, which would afford the Cork butchers an opportunity of attending both this market and that of Kanturk, it would conduce greatly to its improvement. Fairs are held on June 8th, Sept. Sth, Oct. 10, and Nov. 21st; the last is the principal for cattle, sheep, and pigs.

A daily post between this place and Kanturk is supported by private subscription; a constabulary police force is stationed in the town; petty sessions are held on alternate Thursdays ; and a court for the recovery of debts not exceeding 40s. is held here, every third Friday, for the manor of Newmarket, which extends over 32,000 statute acres in the parish of Clonfert. The parish church, a handsome structure of hewn limestone, with a lofty tower and spire, is situated in the town; in which also is the R. C. chapel, a spacious edifice, erected on a site given by the late Richard Aldworth, Esq., who contributed £75 towards its erection, to which also the Earl of Cork, Lord Lisle, and John Duggan, Esq., liberally subscribed ; the altar, which is a copy of that of the ancient abbey of Quin, is much admired. A school in the town for boys is supported by Mr. Aldworth and the vicar; a school for girls is supported by Mrs. Aidworth, and an infants’ school by the vicar and his lady; a school in connection with the R. C. chapel is supported by collections at the chapel, and there is also a Sunday school. Richard Aldworth, Esq., bequeathed £50; Michael Creagh, Esq., £100; W. Philpot, Esq., £40; the late Richard Aldworth, grandson of the former, £100 ; and St. Leger Aldworth, Esq., £100, for the poor of Newmarket, the interest of which sums is annually divided among them. St. Leger Aldworth, Esq., also bequeathed £1000, contingent on the death of three annuitants, to be appropriated, by the representative of the Aldworth family, to the establishment of some manufacture in the town. There are a fever hospital, containing four wards and 20 beds, and a dispensary. The celebrated John Philpot Curran was a native of this town; during his residence at the Priory, it was the favourite resort of many distinguished literary and political characters, who used to meet there under the auspices of Lord Avonmore, also a native of this place; they held their meetings annually in the grouseshooting season, and from their conviviality at the Priory obtained the appellation of ” Monks of the Screw.” Major Swan, who assisted in arresting Lord Edward Fitzgerald, in 1798, was also a native of this town.”

To see what the town looked like at this time check out the OSI map below. This map was made between 1837 and 1842:,531712,607382,7,7

Pigot’s Directory 1824 – Newmarket

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

An abstract from Pigot and Co.’s Provincial Directory which was published in 1824:

“In the county of Cork, is a small irregularly built town, distant 122 miles south west of Dublin, and 30 north west of Cork. The Church is a neat building, but has nothing else to recommend it to particular notice; and the Roman Catholic chapel is of considerable size. The barracks are calculated for two companies of foot. Free schools it is understood, are about to be erected by R.R. Aldworth, esq. whose magnificent mansion is the principal ornament that Newmarket or its vicinity can boast of. There is no market, but fairs are held on the 8th of June, the 8th of September, the 10th of October, and the 21st of November. “