Cromwell in Kilbehenny on Thursday


Cromwell in Kilbehenny on Thursday

by Conor O'Brien

1649 that is.

I began my march upon Tuesday the Nine-and-twentieth of January, from Youghal; and upon Thursday the One-and-thirtieth, I possessed a Castle called Kilkenny sic. (Kilbehenny), upon the edge of the County of Limerick; where I left thirty foot. ( Cromwell's letter from Castletown 15th February 1649. )


On this Thursday, 3rd July 2014, John Tierney of Eachtra ( showed a dozen and more of us the approach, methods and skills in recording the history and nature of our areas. We came from Doneraile, Kildorrery, Kilbehenny and Skeheenarinnky, all organised by Amanda Slattery of Ballyhoura. ( ).

The key to what John taught us, is that unlike all the other techinically orientated instructors, John started with the content, the people, the stories and the places.

We started with a class in the new Community Hall on how to organise our data. Practical: there's not much use recording material if it cannot be found easily.

Our recording began with the Church of Ireland graves of St David's graveyard at the back of the Hall, before moving on to the Old Graveyard beside it. John had shown us how to record the graves there for the Historic graves project (

We looked at the Mandeville headstone, as well as the Luddy headstone ( which has an elaborate scene of the Passion carved onto it, and its adjoining memorial to the Luddy's of Waterbury, Connecticutt. (,_Connecticut )

Leaving the Old Graveyard, we crossed to the building that had housed the Creamery. John Quish describes the goings on there in his book 'Going to the Creamery' ( ). The building is well kept, with flowers growing from a collection of the churns that once held milk. Simple as they were, they were enough to stimulate among us stories of going to the creamery.

They were as many stories again when we visited the Catholic church. John took the opportunity of the quietness in the church to show how to record some of them.

Outside the church there is the memorial to trooper Pat Mullins who was killed in 1961 on peace-keeping duty in the Congo. He is still remembered and features in the memories of the community. Journalist and author, Ralph Riegel, has written a book about Trooper Mullins (

Just beyond the Church is the Mill river which Cromwell would have crossed at the ford beside the present bridge. This shows the marks of where it was rebuilt in 1926 after the Civil War in 1921-22.

Afterwards John showed the techniques of recording the material onto the computers. That is all a long way from Cromwell, but our people were there a long time before him and will be here for a long time yet.