Transcript of a lecture by Padraig O'Maidin in Millstreet on Wednesday, October 6th, 1971.
T he late John T. Collins was fond of telling the story of how Charles Lever in one of his novels tells of a mixed group of travellers touring the Continent after the Napoleonic Wars. They were in the city of Florence, one of the greatest cities of the Medieval world, renowned for its art galleries and its architecture. The guide was pointing out one of the beauties of its architecture to the visitors. An Irishman in the group said that he had seen in Dublin buildings that were just as beautiful. His companion touched his arm and whispered "There is no use in talking about Dublin here, you may as well talk about Macroom", "And why wouldn't I talk about Macroom" he replied, "You could talk about Macroom in any part of the world and not be ashamed of it."
We could talk about Millstreet in any part of the world at any time and not be ashamed of it. A difficulty in attempting to lecture on it is that the story of this locality or rather of the human race in this part of the earth is a very long and I think a very absorbing story, We could take a whole fortnight of days and nights talking about it and still not come to an end of it, or even to the best part of it.
And yet, when we are asked in the library for a history of Millstreet we cannot produce it. True, there is a little booklet entitled "Sraid an Mhuilinn: a history of its people, by its people, for its people", incidentally a booklet that I am personally very fond of. While in its own way it is one of the most interesting publications on Irish local history, it's by no means a history of Millstreet. Yet with its help and with the help of the mass of material gathered by Father Ferris in a few hours after each Station Mass in the Parish in 1935 we may be able to get some few glimpses into the history of the area. This mass of material is lodged by Father Ferris in Tralee in the headquarters of Kerry County Library. I have been given a loan of it to show it to you this evening. 31
Although there is no satisfactory published history of Millstreet, we find an astonishing amount of material we can use. My mission tonight is to encourage one of you to take on this task of writing a satisfactory history of your locality. We may be able to persuade either the Cork Historical Guides Committee or some other publisher to publish it. Whoever will do it will find fame because it is a story of enduring interest and importance.
I will read to you the headings of the Fr. Ferris notes as they are listed in the 15 folders that make up the collection:
3 1 T h i s was later lodged in Cork County Library and is now in the Cork Archives Institute, Christ Church, South Main St., Cork. Tel. 021 4 27 78 09. (Jack Lane)