History

The History of Kildorrery

Quick Stats

Kildorrery is a village in north County Cork, Ireland. It lies at the crossroads of the N73 road from Mallow to Mitchelstown and the R512 from Kilmallock to Fermoy. These roads were first opened in the early 18th century, the first being a road that linked Clonmel to Doneraile which was soon crossed with a road linking Kilmallock to Fermoy. The streets of Kildorrery were built along these roads pointing them north, south, east and west directions.

Kildorrery has an area of 18.3 km² / 4,526.5 acres / 7.1 square miles. The modern day R.C. Parish of Kildorrery is made up of 6 medieval parishes.

This hilltop village has views to the east of the Galtee Mountains and Knockmealdown Mountains with Slievenamon in the distance. To the north the Ballyhouras – the Limerick road is flanked by two mountains, Castlegale and Carrigeenamronety (Carraigín na mBróinte). To the south, across the Blackwater Valley are the Nagle mountains, and to the west towards County Kerry the Paps are sometimes visible.

In summer, the village hosts an annual festival fundraiser (affectionately known as 'Hillfest'), which sees a variety of live music and tribute bands (Qween, The Fogues), local acting talent, family-friendly activities and most recently, a major sporting event 'Cork's Fittest Superstars', hosted by Davy Fitz of Ireland's Fittest Families fame. Kildorrery celebrated its 50th anniversary of Hillfest in 2022 with tribute band ABBAesque, popular country folk singer Mike Denver, as well as a skit by local talents that captured the highlights of the last 50 years. The festival is organised and run by a small group of dedicated volunteers and well supported by the local and neighbouring communities.

Agriculture, including dairy farming, provides much of the local employment. The village itself is well supplied with a variety of businesses, including a large petrol station, a well-stocked grocery shop, a fast food outlet, a bus/coach transportation service, a top-rated restaurant cafe, two lively pubs with frequent live music, several hair salons and beauticians, home bakers, craftsmen, sign makers/printers, mechanics, vets, kennels, horticultural businesses, a national haulage firm, a funeral parlour and a nursing home.

Kildorrery National School was opened in 1977, an amalgamation of Ballinguyroe and Scart National Schools. Kildorrery NS is a co-educational, Catholic Primary School. There are ten full time teachers, one part time teacher and four Special Needs Assistants in the school. There are 195 pupils on roll as of 2022/23. Kildorrery also has a pre-school, It's All About Kids, located in a community hall within the grounds of the church.

Origins

The village of Kildorrery owes its origins to a church, mentioned in 1507, the papal taxation records of Pope Boniface VIII. Kildorrery began as a market town in 1606, when King James I granted a licence to Maurice Fitzgibbon, the White Knight of Oldcastletown to hold a fair on the eve of St. Bartholomew’s day (24th Aug).

The village we see today originated in the 1780’s when Robert the 2nd Earl of Kingston began a lifelong project of developing his 100,000 acre estate which involved demolishing whole villages and replacing them with wide urban streets with two storey houses for his tenants. By 1837, Kildorrery had 90 houses, a constabulary barracks and a medical dispensary. Fairs for selling cattle, sheep and pigs were held in May, June, September and November. St Bartholomew's parish church was built in 1838.

'Kings of ancient Erin - Three
Indulged here 'neath an old oak tree
Long ere the shelter on this scene
"O tell us" said they to their Druid,
"Reveal this hillock's future good"
Replying, he proudly looked around
"Every good shall here be found - 
Riches, people living well,
Ye Kings of Erin, time will tell".
Today this spot seems to wear a crown,
Overlooking vales, a lovely town
With splendid church where once hath stood
Nough but a dark and drear oak wood'
- Eugene Geary, 'Kildorrery Town', 1901-1956

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1916 Easter Rising

Kildorrery's Centenary Commemoration

On Easter Monday, April 24, 1916, a group of Irish nationalists proclaimed the establishment of the Irish Republic and, along with some 1,600 followers, staged a rebellion against the British government in Ireland.

The Easter Rising was intended to take place across Ireland; however, various circumstances resulted in it being carried out primarily in Dublin.

On April 24, 1916, the rebel leaders and their followers (whose numbers reached some 1,600 people over the course of the insurrection, and many of whom were members of a nationalist organization called the Irish Volunteers, or a small radical militia group, the Irish Citizen Army), seized the city’s general post office and other strategic locations.

Early that afternoon, from the steps of the post office, Patrick Pearse (1879-1916), one of the uprising’s leaders, read a proclamation declaring Ireland an independent republic and stating that a provisional government had been appointed.

Despite the rebels’ hopes, the public did not rise to support them. The British government soon declared martial law in Ireland, and in less than a week the rebels were crushed by the government forces sent against them. Some 450 people were killed and more than 2,000 others, many of them civilians, were wounded in the violence, which also destroyed much of the Dublin city center.

Initially, many Irish people resented the rebels for the destruction and death caused by the uprising. However, in May, 15 leaders of the uprising were executed by firing squad. More than 3,000 people suspected of supporting the uprising, directly or indirectly, were arrested, and some 1,800 were sent to England and imprisoned there without trial.

The rushed executions, mass arrests and martial law (which remained in effect through the fall of 1916), fueled public resentment toward the British and were among the factors that helped build support for the rebels and the movement for Irish independence.

In the 1918 general election to the parliament of the United Kingdom, the Sinn Fein political party (whose goal was to establish a republic) won a majority of the Irish seats.

The Sinn Fein members then refused to sit in the UK Parliament, and in January 1919 met in Dublin to convene a single chamber parliament and declare Ireland’s independence. The Irish Republican Army then launched a guerrilla war against the British government and its forces in Ireland.

Following a July 1921 cease-fire, the two sides signed a treaty in December that called for the establishment of the Irish Free State, a self-governing nation of the British Commonwealth, the following year.

Ireland’s six northern counties opted out of the Free State and remained with the United Kingdom. The fully independent Republic of Ireland (consisting of the 26 counties in the southern and western part of the island) was formally proclaimed on Easter Monday, April 18, 1949.

Source: History.com

Recommended Reading

National Museum of Ireland

The War of Independence 1919-1921 "A Short History"
Atlas of the Irish Revolution, Resources for Schools
UCC College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences

The Irish War of Independence
National Museum of Ireland

War of Independence: the bloodiest six months
The Irish Times 3 June 2020

‘The War of Independence in Limerick, 1912-1921’
Tom Toomey

‘Honouring the Men and Women. The War of Independence Volunteers in East & Mid Limerick’ Tom Toomey and The Knocklong History Group
Kildorrery Community Development

Kildorrery Community Development CLG
Main Street
Kildorrery P67HX49
Co. Cork, Ireland

Monday to Friday 
9am-5pm
+353 (0)22 25777
kdycommunity@gmail.com

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