Tag Archives: Bantry

Col. Joe O’Reilly, ADC to General Michael Collins

Joseph O’Reilly was born in Limerick on 15 April 1893 and baptised in the Church of St. Michael Parish.  At this time the family lived in Henry St., Limerick.  His parents were Patrick O’Reilly, a Clerk, and Margaret (nee Noonan) who married on 5th June 1892 in St. Michael’s Church, Limerick.  He had one sister Margaret O’Reilly who was born on 27 April 1894 and at this time the family lived at 31 Patrick St.  When baby Margaret was just six weeks old, their father, Patrick O’Reilly aged 24, died of “Traumatic Gangrene,” in Barringtons Hospital, Limerick on 7 June 1894.

A few years later, their mother, a widow, married Edward Howard in Limerick on 15 January 1898. They had two Howard children and were living in Windmill St Limerick according to the 1901 Census.  On that Census night Edward was working as a fireman on a ship laying off Hauley’s Quay, Limerick.

However, in Census 1911 the family, Edward Howard (Engineer on a steam vessel), Margaret Howard (his wife), and children Patrick Howard, Thomas Howard, Joseph O’Reilly and Margaret O’Reilly were in Chapel Street, Bantry. In this Census report (1911), Joseph O’Reilly is 18 years old, and is recorded as working as a Wool Weaver.

Apparently, Joseph O’Reilly went to London later in 1911, where he met Michael Collins (who was later ambushed at Béal na Bláth) through GAA and other Irish social circles.

Bantry Town Council abolished

On the stroke of midnight on 31 May 2014 Bantry Town Council, like so many others, was abolished.  From its beginning in the town in August 1896 the elected Body in Bantry was known as Bantry Town Commissioners.  In January 2002 the name changed to Bantry Town Council.  This was because nationally former Town Commissioners and Urban District Councils were to be called Town Councils.  So the elected Body in Bantry was called Bantry Town Council – but today it is gone !! – just like its neighbours Skibbereen, Clonakilty, Bandon, Passage West , etc

Bantry Town Commissioners / Bantry Town Council 1896 – 2014

Below is the Introduction taken from the 60 page Summary of the Minutes of Bantry Town Commissioners / Bantry Town Council over its 118 year lifespan. To read the full summary of the Minutes then please CLICK HERE.


I was Town Engineer in Bantry from March 1987 to May 2009. When I realised that the Town Council would cease to exist after 31 May 2014 I volunteered to do a quick summary of the Minutes of the Town Commissioners / Town Council over the 118 year lifespan. My compilation is a brief summary, from the Minutes, of the work of the public representatives.
I have endeavoured, as much as possible, to use text from the Minutes and avoid colouring any part of my summary with my own impressions.        Continue reading

The Kilnaruane Pillar Stone, Bantry, Ireland

The condition of one of the most interesting early Christian carvings located near Bantry was identified as a source of considerable disquiet and concern during a visit by members of the Group for the Study of Irish Historic Settlement and Bantry Historical Society. Jim Hourihane, who commented on the deterioration of the pillar in recent years, co-authored an article in the Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society in 1979 and compared the present condition of the iconography with photographs published by him in that article. He urged that some ameliorative treatment be considered and if some such work wasn’t carried there was a very real prospect of the pillar stone’s detail disappearing almost completely.
The pillar stone presents a fascinating insight into early Christian Ireland. The etymology of the place name – Kilnaruane – presents its own unique challenge. Some writers incorrectly associated it with St Ruadhán of Lorrdha, Co Tipperary. Linguistically this would be incorrect since the ‘na’ part of the place name is the genitive plural, not the singular structure which St Ruadhán would require. The most likely explanation is that the name means Church of the Romans – the people who adopted the Roman calendar after a dispute arose during the late sixth and seventh centuries over the placement of Easter in the calendar. This would support Francoise Henry’s suggestion of an 8th century date for the pillar based on its iconography.
The pillar is 2.13 metres in height, 28 centimetres in width and averages 14 centimetres in thickness, tapering gradually from base to top. The north-western face is decorated for approximately three-fifths of its height. There are four distinct panels on this side. The uppermost panel consists of an interlace with four terminals. Classically, this may be interpreted as the conflict between good and evil. The second panel consists of an orans or praying figure, with hands uplifted in prayer on either side of the body. The third panel is composed of an incised cross while the lower panel represents perhaps one of the most significant iconographic representations anywhere in Ireland. This represents St Paul and St Anthony in the desert, located on either side of a table, on which the bird which has brought the bread for the saints to share is also visible. The saints have their hands on the bread and thereby encompass the entire story in one panel, making it quite unique.
The south-eastern face is decorated for a little more than half of its length. The uppermost panel is very badly worn and the surviving elements suggest an interlaced spiral, again suggesting the conflict between good and evil. Below this is a panel which appears to consist of two pairs of four legged animals and it open to being interpreted as the passage in the Book of Revelations (4: 6-8), probably symbolic of the four evangelists. The third panel on this side is generally referred to as the Bantry Boat, with a coxswain and four oarsmen guiding the boat upwards through a sea of crosses. There is little doubt that it is based on a pre-Viking skin-covered boat, in all probability a currach.
The Bantry Pillar Stone is a unique part of West Cork’s heritage and its deterioration, undoubtedly caused by air pollutants, is very worrying and potentially irreversible. Now may be a timely point in its history to address its current state and future condition.

Kilnaruane Pillar Stone, Bantry

Kilnaruane Pillar Stone, Bantry

The Pillar Stone is on a drumlin in the townland of Kilnaruane to the SW of Bantry town. Access is off the Rope Walk road and the Pillar Stone itself is through a field and about 200 meters to the South of the Rope Walk road. It is marked on the Ordnance Survey maps as “Monumental Pillar”