It gives me great pleasure to publish these two contributions towards a history of Millstreet that were prepared some time ago. Both have had a very limited availability and this publication is an effort to rectify that situation. Both involved quite a lot of work in terms of collecting very valuable information that might otherwise have been lost and therefore they deserve to be made available.
Canon Costello took a particular interest in the history of the Parish while he was Parish Priest here and collected a lot of information over a number of years. The late Padraig O'Maidin was in charge of the County Library for many years and contributed an enormous amount to local history through his research and writings in many journals and newspapers.
Fortunately, our current Parish Priest, Monsignor Michael Manning, took the trouble of collecting Canon Costello's notes and put them in printed format in 1993 and it is thanks to him that they are available today. He has also added a lot of extra information to these notes, which are included as footnotes and annexes in this publication. I am grateful to him for allowing us to publish them and to the ever-helpful Seanie Radley for providing a copy.
Canon Costello's notes concentrate, naturally enough, on Parish and Church matters. I do hope that people from other walks of life will collect and make available similar information on other aspects of our history. As Padraig O'Maidin pointed out in his talk, 30 years ago, there is no history of Millstreet in existence and this is a great pity as there are good stories to tell on so many subjects. For example, the eye witness account that O'Maidin himself got, almost by accident from the other side of the world, on Black and Tan behaviour in Millstreet and their wrecking of Linehan's shop is very graphic, pp 45-7, and there must be more information like this available from periods before and since.
All this kind of information deserves to be made available. Apart from its intrinsic interest there is also the very real possibility these days that we will have our history written for us if we don't do it ourselves. Looking at our present crop of professional historians that would be a truly dreadful prospect.
There are a number of references in Canon Costello's notes to an 'Inventory' or 'Inventory book' and this is likely to have been a reference to a diocesan property record.
The cartoon on page 33 was inspired by the visit to Millstreet in September 1884 of Earl Spencer, the Lord Lieutenant, who decided to do a tour of the 'disturbed' areas of Kerry and this included a visit to Millstreet. The RIC, the military and Canon Griffin were the only people to greet him. The town was practically closed down and festooned with banners and cartoons bearing slogans such as "Parnell forever", "God prosper Irish industries", "Faith and Fatherland", "God Save Ireland", "Millstreet loves William O'Brien", "Ireland Loves Parnell", etc. After dining with the Canon he was taken to visit the Presentation Convent where the pupils had been asked to wear their best for the occasion but none turned up for school that day. As Lord Lieutenant, Earl Spencer was responsible for the enforcement of the law and the skeleton on his back is a reminder of those he had executed as in a German folktale where the ghosts of one's crimes haunts one forever.
Jack Lane, January 2001. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org