Friday, March 3, 2017

Famine Orphan Emigration Scheme (Part 1)


Some years ago I visited the Hyde Park Barracks Museum in Sydney and viewed the Australian monument to the Irish Famine.  It was commissioned in 1999 by the Historic Houses Trust of New South Wales on behalf of the Great Irish Famine Commemoration Committee.  The sculpture consists of a bronze table piercing the sandstone wall of the museum with the names of the orphan girls sent out from Irish Workhouses to Australia sandblasted onto glass panels.  It includes a shelf with a few potatoes, a shovel, some books and personal belongings with three bronze stools showing evidence of womens clothing and needlework.



The orphans commemorated in this monument were the more than 4,000 girls from Irish Workhouses who in the aftermath of the Great Famine were selected by government officials to be sent to Australia between October 1848 and August 1850.  The Orphan Emigration Scheme was devised by Earl Grey, the British Secretary of State, as a means of alleviating overcrowding in Ireland’s workhouses and in an attempt to lessen the imbalance of the sexes in Australia.



Criticism of the Orphan Emigration Scheme was led amongst others by the Anglican Bishop Goold of Melbourne and much of that criticism was based on fears that an influx of orphan females, the majority of whom were Catholics, would ‘Romanise the Australian colonies’.  The Orphan Immigration depot in Adelaide was described as a ‘government brothel’ and claims were made and reported that the orphans were not the ‘kind of people suited to Australia’s needs.’  In the face of increasing mounting criticism the Scheme was abandoned at the end of 1850, but not before more than 4,000 young orphan girls had landed at Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney.  Amongst their numbers were two groups of girls from Athy’s Workhouse.  The first group of 18 girls travelled in the ship ‘Lady Peel’, arriving in Sydney on 3rd July 1849.  The second and last group of girls comprising 16 former inmates of Athy’s Workhouse arrived in Sydney on the ship ‘Maria’ on 1st August 1850.  The details of those who arrived in 1849 are:-











NAME
AGE
ADDRESS
PARENTS

RELIGION
Carroll, Ann
17
Athy
Martin and Biddy
Father in America
R.C.
Clare, Ann
17
Athy
Patrick and Ann
Mother living in Athy
R.C.
Connor, Lucy
19
Athy
James and Eliza
Both dead
R.C.
Croak, Bridget
19
Stradbally
John and Ann
Mother living in Hyde, Kildare
R.C.
Dobson, Margaret
17
Athy
Joseph and Julia
Both dead
R.C.
Egan, Bridget
18
Athy
John and Jane
Mother living in Athy
R.C.
Fitzpatrick, Eliza
19
Monasterevin
Stephen and Elizabeth
Both dead
R.C.
Flemming, Catherine
18
Athy
Barney and Catherine
Mother living in Athy
R.C.
Flemming, Rose
19
Ballyadams
Patrick and Mary
Mother lives in Ballyadams
R.C.
Green, Mary
18
Athy
John and Catherine
Both dead
R.C.
Hayes, Mary
18
Athy
John and Mary
Both dead
R.C.
Hayes, Elizabeth
18
Athy
John and Mary
Both dead
R.C.
Ivory, Bridget
17
Athy
James and Margaret
Both dead
R.C.
Moore, Bridget
18
Athy
James and Mary
Father in America
Mother living in Athy
R.C.
Murray, Ellen
18
Athy
Hugh and Jane
Mother living in Athy
C. of E.
Neill, Margaret
18
Athy
Michael and Catherine
Both dead
R.C.
Sinclair, Ann
17
Àthy
Patrick and Mary
Living in Athy
R.C.
Sullivan, Ellen
18
Athy
John and Ellen
Mother living in Athy
R.C.







......................... TO BE CONTINUED ...............................

Christy Dunne - Musician


Music has always been an important part of the social life of Athy people.  Examining records going back as far as the 19th century one comes across many references to fife and drum bands, pipe bands and brass bands associated with different parts of the town and sometimes associated with local associations such as the C.Y.M.S.  That musical tradition found expression in the 1940s and later in the orchestras and show bands fronted by Athy men and women.  After the Stardust and the Sorrento dance bands of the 1940s and 1950s there followed a bewildering array of groups and musical combinations, not all of whom I have been able to document. 



My near neighbour Christy Dunne was for many years a stalwart on the music scene.  He was just 15 years of age when he joined Alex Kelly and his Aces as bass guitarist.  He would remain active in music making for upwards of 50 years, combining a busy music career with a full time job in the local Asbestos factory, later renamed Tegral.  He retired from Tegral at 60 years of age, following 41 years of service.  If this was not enough Christy was also a volunteer fireman who served for 31 years in that capacity.  Coincidentally his father Christy also worked in the Asbestos factory and served for many years in the local fire brigade. 



Recounting his music playing career Christy recalls nine years spent with Alex and his Aces where his fellow musicians included Alex’s brother Tom Kelly on keyboard and Brian O’Neill on drums.  Alex’s Aces played relief band for the annual military ball which was one of the major local social events held in Dreamland Ballroom during the 1960s. 



Christy married Kathleen Foley in September 1968 and that same year with other local musicians formed the Adelaide Showband.  The line up included John Kelly, John Lawler, John Scully, Christy Leigh, Robert Eston, Denis Chanders and Pat Keeffe.  With the decline of the show band scene Christy formed a beat group with David Craig and John Kelly.  Under the name ‘The Reeds of Innocence’ the trio played the provincial club scene including what I am told was a local club venue in St. John’s Hall.  The country music scene next attracted Christy’s attention and with John Joe Brennan and their respective wives formed the group ‘Big Country’.  It proved to be a very successful music combination during the seven years of its existence and they were joined towards the latter part of that period by Denis Chanders.



The final musical combination with which Christy was involved was the Spotlights.  This three piece combination originally featured Christy, his wife Kathleen and Denis Chanders, later to be augmented with the addition of Eamon Walsh and for a time were joined by Pat Kelly and Andy Murphy.  The Spotlights played on a regular basis in Jurys Hotel Dublin and held a weekly residency for almost five years in Lumville House, The Curragh.  Towards the end the Spotlights consisted of Christy and Kathleen Dunne and Eamon Walsh who continued to enjoy huge success, not only locally but particularly with Dublin bookings.  The band was on the road six nights a week, only keeping Tuesday as the one day free of engagements.  After almost 50 years playing music Christy retired about three years ago and the Spotlights disbanded.



It is strange to recall the dance venues which were once available to the people of Athy, starting with St. John’s Hall and the Townhall ballroom, both of which were replaced by Dreamland ballroom.  Now the former Dreamland ballroom is a sports venue and bands deprived of dancing venues are few in number.  We can look back with nostalgia at the time when Alex and his Aces, the Adelaides and laterally the Spotlights played their part in continuing Athy’s extensive music tradition.


Preserving Local Authority Records


With the abolition of Athy’s Town Council looming on the horizon my thoughts have turned to the treasure trove of minute books, documents, maps and files which the local authority has accumulated over the years.  What I wonder is planned for those priceless records which document the infrastructural development of the town over many decades.  Preserving those records is an imperative and I hope that both Council officials and public representatives have agreed on a plan of action to archive the Council records of Athy Town Council once the Council is abolished. 



I had the privilege some years ago of examining in detail the minute books of Athy Urban District Council and its predecessors, Athy Town Commissioners and Athy Borough Council back as far as 1781.  Later on I had to visit the Public Records Office in Belfast to study the earliest extant minute books of the Borough Council covering the years 1738 to 1783.  That particular Minute Book was deposited in the Belfast Public Records Office with the Fitzgerald family papers some years ago.  The whereabouts of the minute books prior to 1738 are unknown and in all probability have been lost forever.  Those missing records should prompt local authority officials and representatives to value the records still held by the Council and to ensure their preservation and secure protection for the purpose of future historical research.



Looking through details extracted by me from the minute books of the Borough Council I find a reference to the town clock in 1780 which I had previously overlooked.  William Drill was paid a handsome fee of £6 for looking after the clock, the location of which was not indicated.  That same year is recorded the orders of the Court Leet presided over by the Town Sovereign, Rev. Anthony Weldon ‘that no huckster or forestaller is to buy any commodity or goods coming into the market of Athy until such commodity or goods be brought into the public market place under the penalty of five shillings to be levied and raised by sale of the offenders goods and paid to the informer.’  Obviously the selling of goods outside the town’s market place and the consequent loss of customs and tolls was not to the Borough Council’s liking.



Another interesting reference in the Sovereign’s court records for 1786 was a direction that ‘the meat shambles be removed, they being a great nuisance.’  The shambles was located in the alleyway which ran between Andersons pub and the adjoining premises.  I noted that the Court held five years previously was called the ‘Leet Court’ but that term was not used for the 1786 Court. 



An entry in the Borough records of 1792 referred to the water running from the house of William Cahill, Kildare Street, starch manufacturer ‘having a foul smell so as to be prejudicial to the health of the inhabitants’.  Incidentally Kildare Street in 1792 is today’s Stanhope Street. 



In a recent article I mentioned clock and watchmaker Thomas Plewman.  The borough records for 1800 detail a payment of £3 to Thomas Plewman, being one year’s salary for attending to the town clock.  A similar sum was payable to John Andrews for taking care of the town’s fire engine.  On 3rd September 1808 the Town Sovereign and the Burgesses of Athy passed a bye law requiring every boat loaded with turf passing the weir to pay a toll of ten shillings to be applied by the Sovereign in the purchase of fuel for the relief of the poor of Athy.  The Sovereign in question was Thomas J. Rawson, originally from Glasshealy, who played a major part in putting down rebellious activity around Athy and South Kildare during the 1798 Rebellion. 



I was reminded of McHugh’s Foundry which was once located in Meeting Lane when reading the following entry in the Sovereign’s Court record book of the 27th May, 1820.  ‘We present that a forge for working iron which has been erected by Edward Moore in a house in Meeting Lane is a nuisance and not only exposed the said house but also adjoining houses, all of which are covered with timber and straw to constant danger of being consumed by fire and therefore that business of said forge should be forthwith discontinued.’  So much for early 19th century town planning!



The written record is always an important resource for historical researchers, whether it relates to local authorities or clubs, sporting or otherwise.  I have twice in recent years been tasked with writing the history of two Athy institutions but in each case found to my horror that the records once so carefully compiled over many decades had in one case been destroyed and the other lost and never found.  I sincerely hope that the records relating to Athy Town Council and its predecessors will not suffer the same fate.




Remembering the Dead of World War 1


The knock on the front door was unusual.  After all, the half door was always open and the neighbours never knocked.  As she went to the door the woman of the house caught a glimpse of the uniformed telegraph boy standing outside.  Her heart sank for she knew that he brought bad news just as he had to some of her neighbours since the start of the war.  Those same neighbours were now gathering at her door, even as the telegraph boy passed over the telegram.  As she feared the telegram from the war office read: ‘Deeply regret to inform you that your husband died of wounds on June 28th.  Lord Kitchener expresses his sympathy.

 

The scene is an imaginary one, but in reality it was a scene re-enacted more than 100 times in the laneways and courtyards of Athy during the years of the 1914-18 war.  The dreaded telegram was delivered to so many local houses during the 52 months of the war that neighbours readily recognised the scene even as it evolved.  Sometimes the telegraph boy retraced his steps to the same house, not just twice but sadly in at least one case, three times.  The Kelly brothers of Chapel Lane were to die fighting another nation’s war.  Encouraged by local Church and civic leaders brothers Denis, John and Owen Kelly enlisted in the British Expeditionary Force to fight overseas where they died. 



In many instances local men starved of employment and weary of the unsanitary and claustrophobic conditions in which they lived gave their names to the local recruiting sergeant in Leinster Street.  They would after all be home by Christmas, or so they were told.  The excitement of travel to foreign lands, pride in wearing a smart uniform and of course, the army pay, no doubt played a part in prompting the large scale enlistment of men from Athy and district.  Perhaps even the promise of Home Rule played its part in encouraging many to join the ranks. 



Later, as those who survived the war returned to their home town, their late comrades, the majority of whom had no known burial places, would be forgotten and overlooked by the general public and also by local church and civic leaders.  Those who had encouraged recruitment now kept silent in the face of Sinn Fein’s rise in popularity.  The pre war politics of the Irish Parliamentary Party had been overtaken by the political dominance of Sinn Fein.  The local men who fought in France and Flanders and further afield were no longer war heroes.  Their return to Athy was not marked by parades led by local bands as was their departure from the local railway station a few short years before.



The returning ex-soldiers would of necessity keep a low profile, apart from honouring their dead comrades once a year on Remembrance Sunday.  But even that limited homage to the dead was not deemed appropriate to continue far beyond the election of the first Fianna Fáil government in 1932.  The families of ex British soldiers of the 1914-18 war may have grieved privately and commemorated loved ones within family circles.  Nowhere however was there any public recognition for those local men who responded to the call to arms and in so many cases answered with their young lives. 



I have in the past expressed the view that we can remember our neighbours of long ago without in any way feeling that we are doing a disservice to what we ourselves believe.  Whether you are a republican, a socialist or simply a political party member, commemorating the war dead of your town is not only a tribute to the young men of a past generation but also a mark of your respect for your town’s history.



Sunday the 10th of November is Remembrance Sunday, the one day in the year when the dead of World War I are commemorated.  Here in Athy six soldiers who died in their home town and are buried in St. Michael’s Old Cemetery will be the focus of a Remembrance Sunday ecumenical commemoration service to take place at 3.00 p.m.  The service, which will remember all the local men who died in World War 1, is not intended as a celebration of war but as a commemoration for a lost generation and an acknowledgement of the years of neglect of those men who died during the war as well as those who survived. 



Local men’s participation in the 1914-18 war is a part of our local and national history and in remembering those men we are recognising their contribution to their communities and the losses sustained by their families.  An open invitation is extended to everyone to join in the commemoration service at St. Michael’s Old Cemetery at 3.00 p.m. on Sunday next, 10th November.



No doubt many of you were puzzled to read of Mrs. Anna Duthie of 30 Duke Street.  I’m afraid Homer nodded yet again as of course Duthie’s jewellery shop has always been at 30 Leinster Street.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The early history of Athy's Workhouse


The first meeting of the Board of Guardians of the Athy Union was held in the Courthouse, Athy on Thursday, 29th April 1841 (the Court room at that time was located in the Town Hall).  Present at that meeting were Lord Downes of Bert House, Sir E.H. Walsh of Ballykilcavan, Sir Anthony Weldon of Rahinderry, W.H. Cole of Moore Abbey, Monasterevin, Benjamin Lefroy of Cardenton and Edward Bagot of Kildoon.  They were ex officio members of the Board, as was B.A. Yates of Moone Abbey and George Evans of Farmhill who were not present at that meeting. 



Those attending also included the following guardians who had been elected to the position.  Patrick Cummins, Athy; Gerald Dunne, Snugboro; P.C. Doran, Castlemitchell; John Butler, Athy; Thomas Fitzgerald, Kilberry; Robert Cassidy, Monasterevin; Edward Conlan, Monasterevin; John Hyland, Ballitore; Patrick Maher, Kilrush; William Pelan, Ballindrum; James Caulfield, Pilsworth, Castledermot; Joseph Lyons, Moyanna, Stradbally; Thomas Budd, Timogue, Stradbally; Michael Dowling, Inch, Stradbally; Francis Roberts, Stradbally; Thomas Kilbride, Luggacurran; John Hovenden, Modubeagh and John Kehoe of Ballylinan.  Elected guardians who were absent included Daniel Browne, Ashgrove, Monasterevin; John Dowling, Kildangan; Andrew Dunne, Dollardstown; William Caulfield, Levitstown; Major E.H. Pope, Carlow and William Tarleton, Stradbally [the last two representing Ballyadams].



At that first meeting of the Board George Evans was elected Chairman, William Caulfield Vice Chairman while Patrick Dunne was elected Clerk to the Board at a salary of €40 per year.  Arrangements were made for the Union area to be surveyed and valued for the purpose of fixing rates to finance the running of the Workhouse which would open in Athy in January 1844. 



At its next meeting on 27th May it was agreed to admit the press to board meetings and to divide the union area into eight vaccination districts, with vaccination stations located at Athy, Castledermot, Monasterevin, Stradbally, Luggacurran, Nurney, Ballylinan and Moone. 

On 20th July 1841 the Board received an order from the Poor Law Commissioners directing it to raise or borrow the sum of £6,700 for the building and fitting out of a workhouse in Athy. 



On 10th March 1842 the Board met to decide applications from persons claiming the right to vote at the annual election for members of Athy Board of Guardians scheduled for 26th March.  The only change following that election was the replacement of John Butler by John Peppard.  The outgoing chairman, George Evans, retained his position following the first meeting of the newly elected Board when defeating Sir Anthony Weldon by one vote.  However, his name is absent from the record of all subsequent meetings and on 11th October 1842 the Board unanimously agreed to elect Sir Anthony Weldon as Chairman of the Board of Guardians on the proposal of Lord Downes, seconded by Captain Lefroy. 



In July 1842 the salaries for the various officers of the workhouse were fixed by the Board.  The Workhouse Master was to be paid £40 per year with furnished apartments, fuel and candles and a limited quantity of house provisions.  The Matron was to receive £20 a year, with similar allowances, while the workhouse porter was granted £10 a year and allowances.  The workhouse schoolmaster and mistress were to be paid £20 and £15 respectively in addition to the earlier mentioned allowances.  Their duties were to include ‘assisting the master in the management of the workhouse.’  The medical attendant’s salary was fixed at £50 a year and his duties included the ‘compounding of all necessary medicines.’  A ‘nurse teacher’ was to receive £10 a year with the agreed allowances.  However, the Poor Law Commissioners took issue with the Board of Guardians decisions and directed that the fixing of salaries was premature and consequently refused to sanction any appointments. 



The dispute between the Board and the Commissioners was eventually resolved and on 7th February 1843 the Board proceeded with appointments of various officials to Athy Workhouse.  William Bryan was appointed Workhouse master, with Elizabeth Quinn as Workhouse mistress and James Butler as the porter.  The appointment of the Workhouse medical attendant appears to have been the only appointment which necessitated a vote, even though there were several applicants for each position.  Dr. Ferris, Dr. Kynsey and Dr. Clayton submitted their applications and the position went to Dr. Kynsey who received 16 votes to 13 votes cast for Dr. Clayton.  The hapless Dr. Ferris received no votes. 



A rate of five pence in the pound was levied on all rateable properties in the Athy Poor Law Union area to fund the operation of the local Workhouse and John Mulhall was appointed to collect the poor rate in the Athy and Kilberry districts.  Collectors were also appointed to the other areas of the union.    As the opening of the Workhouse in January 1844 approached the preceding months were taken up with arrangements to purchase equipment, clothing and food products for which local businesses were asked to tender. 



……………………………………….TO BE CONTINUED NEXT WEEK………………..

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Athy's Association Football Club


‘Athy town lifted the League Shield for the first time in the club’s history with a 5-1 victory over Coill Dubh’.  Under the banner headline ‘Five Star Athy lift League Shield’ last week’s Nationalist brought us the story of Athy A.F.C.’s latest success on the field of play. 



The club’s website gives details of eight underage teams catering for under 8s up to under 16 year olds.  Would that, I wonder, make it the sporting club catering for the largest number of young players in and around Athy and south Kildare?  Athy A.F.C. has over the years had several reincarnations with a history stretching back almost 90 years to the mid-1920s.  It was then that a Mr. Sanford who was employed in the Athy headquarters of the Barrow Drainage Company set up the town’s first soccer club.  Calling themselves ‘the Barrow Rovers’ the team included such locals as Chevit and John Doyle, Ned Ward, Jim Eaton and Cuddy Chanders.  The club seemed to have disbanded soon after completion of the Barrow Drainage Scheme.



During the 1930s the popular sports in Athy included Gaelic football, rugby and hockey.  Soccer had apparently lost its appeal with the demise of the Barrow Rovers, while the once popular sport of cricket was but a fading memory.  The local hockey club had its hockey pitch in the agricultural show grounds alongside the G.A.A. pitch and the rugby pitch.  Matt Tynan, who was manager of the local L. & N. shop at the corner of Leinster Street and Emily Square (now the Vodafone shop) was involved with the hockey club.  When that club ceased to exist Matt Tynan with Jimmy O’Donnell, Harry Prole and others called a public meeting in 1948 with a view to restarting a soccer club in the town.  They were fortunate in that the new club got the right to use the vacant hockey pitch and subsequently got a lease of the grounds which is still in use as Athy A.F.C. home grounds.  Several Athy men, who in the absence of a local soccer club had played with Carlow, transferred to the new Athy club.  These included Jerry Sullivan, ‘Oney’ Walsh and Tom Kealy.



In the summer of 1952 Matt Tynan presented a cup to the club for a street soccer league in an early attempt to encourage youthful participation in the game of soccer.  Youth teams from Barrack Street, Pairc Bhride, Offaly Street/Leinster Street and St. Joseph’s Terrace were some of the teams which competed for the Tynan Cup.  Despite some initial success the club lost some momentum during the 1959/’60 season which coincided with the departure of Matt Tynan from Athy.  A few barren years prompted some of the older club members to call a meeting in December 1964 with a view to reinvigorating the club.  The local press reported that the attendance at the meeting included ‘members of both the old Barrow Rovers team of the 1920s and the later club which flourished from 1948/’49 to 1959/’60.’  Lead by former players Brendan O’Flaherty, Denis Smyth and Mick McEvoy the club entered on its second revival.



The following season the club registered with the Leinster Junior League Dublin Division.  Very soon the club had three teams, one playing in the Dublin League, the other two in the Carlow League.  With Denis Smyth as secretary Athy A.F.C. again promoted a soccer street league for underage players.  It proved very successful and lay the foundation for the club’s success in the years which followed. 



In addition to numerous underage teams Athy A.F.C. now also has three adult teams.  The first team won the Lumsden Cup last week with what the local papers described as a ‘good team performance with a man of the match display by Ricky Moriarty.’  One of the club’s adult teams is for over 35s, a category which is also being catered for by another local soccer club ‘Bridge United’. 



The continuing growth and development of association football in Athy is to be seen in the soccer clubs which have been formed in recent years.  In addition to Athy A.F.C. and the earlier mentioned ‘Bridge United’ there are soccer clubs in Clonmullin and Woodstock.  Soccer pitches are now to be found in Clonmullin, Woodstock and the Showgrounds where the latter includes an extensive indoor practice area opened in recent years by the General Secretary of the F.A.I. 



Local involvement in sport is on the increase and is a measure of the healthy attitude of a community which is looking to the future regeneration of the social and economic life of the town with confidence.






Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Joey Carbery Irish Rugby International


Irish rugby has a new sporting hero.  Joey Carbery made his international debut on the Irish rugby team last week during Ireland’s first win over New Zealand.  The Soldier’s Field in Chicago was the scene of Joey’s entry to the ranks of an Irish international player. 



The New Zealand fifteen whom the one time Athy club player lined out against shared with Joey a country of birth.  A New Zealander by birth Joey has however lived a large part of his young life in the South Kildare town where the Carbery family links stretch back to the dark oppressive years of the Luggacurran evictions.



It was his great great grandfather Dan Carbery, who evicted from his small holding in Luggacurran in June 1889 by agents of Lord Lansdowne set up home in Athy.  It was here that Dan Carbery established the business which on his death in 1896 was continued and expanded by his 31-year-old son, also named Dan.  The Carbery building legacy is to be found in several local schools, numerous housing estates in and around the town of Athy and in the more recent refurbishment by the Carlow branch of the firm of the local Courthouse.



The name Joe Carbery has passed down through several generations of the Carbery family, the last four generations of which have been actively involved with Athy rugby football club.  Joe Carbery, great grandfather of the current rugby star, was a playing member of the club in the 1920s, as was his cousin Donal.  Joe continued to play through the 1930s and was club captain in 1933/’34 and played on the provincial club team of 1938.  Twenty years after his club captaincy he was elected president of Athy Rugby Club for 1953/’54.



The next generation Joe was also a stalwart of Athy rugby club.  A veterinary surgeon by profession he played, as did his brother Jerry, for the Athy club in the late 1950s and early 1960s.  Joe Carbery and his clubmate Jack Ryan were members of the Leinster Junior squad in 1961/’62.  Joe Carbery emigrated to New Zealand for a period and on returning to Ireland played for Naas rugby club and in 1981/’82 trained what is now regarded as one of Athy club’s most successful teams.  It was the third team which hold the unique distinction of not having lost a match while Joe Carbery was their trainer. 



The name Joe and the involvement in rugby passed on to the next Carbery generation.  This was Joey’s father who was born in Athy.  As a young child, he moved to New Zealand with his parents, but now lives in the south Kildare town where he is employed by the Irish Rugby Football Union as a youth coach.  He is also coach to the Athy senior rugby team.  His son Joe, known to the media and public alike as Joey, is the fourth generation of the Carbery family to have had an association with Athy rugby club.  Educated in Athy and Blackrock College he played underage rugby for Athy and later with Blackrock College and with the Clontarf senior team. 



We have to look back many decades to find another Athy player who reached the high status of Irish international senior team player.  The only one I have located is John B. Minch, son of Matthew and Elizabeth Minch of Rockfield House who was born in 1880.  John’s father Matt Minch was elected a Member of Parliament for South Kildare in 1882 and remained an M.P. for the following 21 years.  John B. Minch, like Joey Carbery, also attended and played for Blackrock College.  He won the first of his five international caps playing for Ireland against South Africa at Lansdowne Road on 30th November 1912.  The following year he was capped twice, playing against England at Lansdowne Road on 8th February 1913 and against Scotland in Edinburgh on 22nd February.  His final two caps were earned in internationals against England at Twickenham on 14th February 1914 and against Scotland at Lansdowne Road two weeks later.



Joey Carbery, Irish rugby international, follows in the proud footsteps of a father, grandfather and great grandfather, all bearing the name Joe and all associated players with Athy’s rugby football club.  The Carbery family association with Athy R.F.C. is one which was mirrored by the family’s active involvement with Athy Golf Club.  That association started with Dan Carbery, eldest son of the Carbery father who was evicted from Luggacurran.  Dan was captain of Athy Golf Club on six occasions between 1915 and 1932 and was followed in that position by three other Carbery family members including Joe Carbery, great grandfather of the rugby international.  Both the aforesaid Dan and his son Joe also held the position of Golf Club President each on three occasions.



The people of Athy and district rejoice in having a rugby player of the calibre of Joey Carbery whom they can say is one of their own, as is that other international sportsman, boxer Eric Donovan who won his second professional fight on the same night as Joey Carbery earned his first international cap.