30 April-Lyrath Estate

Lyrath Estate Hotel is located on the outskirts of Kilkenny City, Ireland. It is a 5 star hotel set in almost 70 hectares of mature parkland. The hotel consists of the restored 17th century house carefully combined with a modern building. The house and surrounding estate were once the home of the Tobin family. The Tobin family were evicted by Oliver Cromwell following his capture Kilkenny City in 1650.

James Butler Marquess of Ormonde, from the Irish Confederate capital of Kilkenny led the army opposing Cromwell when he arrived to conquer Ireland. Cromwell had been ruling England as a republic since 1649. Butler’s army was forced to retreat from Rathmines following a surprise attack.

Having taken Drogheda Cromwell marched South capturing Wexford and Waterford. When Carlow and New Ross had surrendered to him Cromwell laid siege to Kilkenny and captured the City. In May 1650 Cromwell returned to England to lead an army to conquer Scotland. By 1653 the conquest of Ireland by Cromwell’s army under Ireton was complete.

Many landlords, including the Tobin family, had their lands confiscated. Richard Tobin of Lyrath House like many other landowners was ordered to move to Connaught. The orders gave rise to the expression: ‘To hell or to Connaught’. The Penal Laws already in place in England were imposed on Ireland. Most of the ordinary population, however remained on the estates and many of the estates were restored to their original owners after the English Restoration of 1660.

Though it was put back to March 1st 1655 Richard Tobin of Lyrath had a certificate of ‘Transplantation to Connaught’ signed in the year 1654 On This Day.




30 April-Kilkenny Royal Visit 1904

Edward VII, King of the United Kingdom, and his wife Queen Alexandra visited Kilkenny City, Ireland in 1904. The royal couple and their daughter Princess Victoria had arrived at Dún Laoghaire (then Kingstown) on April 26th 1904. They travelled by rail to Naas and attended the Punchestown Races for the day. As Prince of Wales Edward VII had previously attended the Punchestown Races in 1868. The Royal party later continued their journey, again by rail, through Carlow to Kilkenny City.

King Edward VII was no stranger to Ireland. As Prince of Wales he was stationed at the Curragh in County Kildare when his mother Queen Victoria, her husband prince Albert and three of their nine children came to visit Ireland in 1861. At the time he was undergoing military training with the Grenadier Guards. Queen Victoria and her family spent eight days visiting several part of Ireland including Killarney and the Curragh Camp where she watched he son marching on parade.

Whilst stationed at the Curragh the future Edward VII began a relationship with Nellie Clifton who was described as an actress. His parents were horrified when they heard of the relationship. Queen Victoria blamed the relationship for the early death of her husband. When he became king following the death of Queen Victoria, Edward VII visited Ireland in 1903. However he curtailed his visit due to the death of Pope Leo XIII who died on the day of the king’s arrival in Ireland.

In 1904 The Royal party arrived by train to a bright, colourful Kilkenny city which was festooned with flags and bunting. The route from the railway station to Kilkenny Castle was decorated with tiny fairy lights of every colour together with bunting and streamers. Among all the colour and excitement at the visit however, flags protesting at the visit were hung from some windows along the route. The Royal party was welcomed at the railway station by Kilkenny city authorities and the Marquis of Ormonde.

As the King and his family made their way through the thronged city streets there was chanting and cheering from the crowds. On the first night of the visit a fireworks display was held that lit up the night sky of the entire city. During their two day stay in Kilkenny the Royal family visited the Kilkenny Agricultural Show. The show was being held in St James Park on Saturday, the first day of their visit. On Sunday the family attended service in St Canices Cathedral and attended other events. Princess Victoria planted three trees in the grounds of Kilkenny Castle. Having spent two nights and three days in Kilkenny the Royal family left by train for Waterford. They sailed form Waterford on May 4th. The King and his wife visited Ireland again in 1907.

King Edward VII began his visit Kilkenny city in the year 1904 On This Day.


Photo by National Library of Ireland on The Commons Royal Group, crowds

Royal group in Kilkenny Castle

24 April-Nurse Margaret Kehoe

Nurse Margaret Kehoe was a native of Orchard, Leighlinbridge, Co Carlow, Ireland. She was shot dead at the South Dublin Union (now St James Hospital) on Easter Monday 1916. She was the first civilian casualty of the Easter Rising of 1916. At the time of her death Nurse Kehoe had been working at the hospital for almost twenty years.

Margaret Kehoe was born on March 17th 1867. Her father Patrick was the coroner of Co Carlow. Her mother Marion died when Margaret was just nine years old. Margaret was the grandniece of Captain Myles Kehoe who served in the Papal wars in Italy. He also served in both the Civil war and the Indian wars in the United States. Captain Myles Keogh died at the Battle of the Little Bighorn during the Great Sioux War of 1876.

Margaret Kehoe began working as a nurse at the South Dublin Union in 1896. The South Dublin Union was a complex of hospitals and workhouses. When the hospital was commandeered by the volunteers on April 24th 1916 there were 3,282 people including patients, doctors, nurses and ancillary staff on the site. The volunteers established their headquarters in the Nurses Home. They were led by Éamonn Ceannt and Officers Cathal Brugha, Con Colbert and W T Cosgrave. Cosgrave would later become Taoiseach. The patients and staff were not evacuated during the fighting. In order to dislodge the rebels, the British Army attacked the Union on the afternoon of Monday April 24th. The situation for staff and patients became perilous and many people lost their lives.

A Mr James Cribbin who was a native of Prosperous, Co Kildare had been employed as ‘Diet Clerk’ at the hospital for 30 years. In an interview with the Kildare Observer Cribbin stated: ‘I was in charge of the place on Easter Monday morning, the Master and the Assistant Master having gone to the races at Fairyhouse. The Sinn Feiners – about a hundred in all – entered and took possession of the buildings’. He went on to say that they helped themselves to supplies of food from the stores.

When talking about the casualties Cribbin described Nurse Kehoe as a ‘popular, capable and conscientious officer. She opened a door to cross a passage in search of one of her patients when she dropped with a bullet through her heart’. Along with others who died in the fighting Nurse Kehoe was buried in the grounds of the hospital. Her remains were later exhumed and reinterred in Ballinabranna cemetery, Leighlinbridge, Co Carlow.

Nurse Margaret Kehoe, a native of Co Carlow, became the first civilian casualty of the Easter Rising when she was shot dead whilst on duty in the year 1916 On This Day.