- Fr Peadar MacSuibhn in the 1920's
- Fr Peadar MacSuibhne, Rector, Knockbeg College
- He worked on collecting archival material
relating to Carlow College and Knockbeg College.
In July 1949, Fr. MacSuibhne went
as P.P. to Suncroft. Co Kildare. He was succeeded by Fr. Patrick J. Maher, B.D.,
Vice-president Carlow College. Under Fr. Maherís short rule the
college continued to make progress. His unexpected death on 3 May
1955 was keenly regretted by the pupils of Cnoc Beag, by past and
present students of Carlow College and by the priests of the
Ft. Patrick J. Shine, B.D.
succeeded. In 1 963, a handsome and much-needed new wing was added
to the college, and the number of pupils was !hus increased. In 1971
a spacious, well-equipped gymnasium was provided. In March 1971. Fr.
Shine was appointed P.P. of Monasterevan. His successor is Fr.
Michael Noonan, under whose wise guidance the college is maintaining
the noble traditions of the past.
A Poet at Knockbeg
William A. Byrne (William Dara)
was one of the most gifted poets of the New Movement in Irish
poetry. He studied in Carlow Lay College and Maynooth, where he was
chosen to write the Centenary Ode, but he had to abandon all
thoughts of the priesthood owing to indifferent health. He was for
many years a professor at St. Mary's, Knockbeg, where he wrote some
of the poems published in 1901 and again in 1904 in a little volume
entitled ďA Light on the Broom.Ē He later occupied the chair of
English Literature at University College, Galway in which city he
died 13 May, 1933. He has a world of his own in Irish poetry and
defined it in the Proem:-
- I sing of manhood dignified by toil,
- And children growing holy as the soil;
- I tell of undisturbing faith kept warm
- At hearths where purity hath said a charm;
- Of one that sirigeth to his heart in vain,
- Under the sun, the moon, the passionate rain,
- Of lovely faces wandering in a wood;
- And peace the eternal dew of solitude;
- And curlews coming in the night in streams;
- And angels bending o'er a peasant's dreams,
- 1 chaunt a folk unearthly as the sea,
- That sings for ever of eternity;
- Whose aging hearts grow simpler than a child's
- Amid the pleasing of these broomy wilds.
Back in 1903, William, who at that
time was on the Knockbeg staff wrote of the Irish language:
- Ah! could we kneel and softly loose
- The words our martyrs blessed by use
- We should indeed have little fear
- But God would bend his loving ear
- And grant our prayer for that dear tongue
- The Irish angel-throats have sung.
- Oh never may the day and night
- Pass by and hear that heart's delight
- A senseless and a wandering rune
- Amid the victor's conquering tune!
The Blossoming Tree
Surmounting the College Crest is a
blossoming tree and underneath it the motto "Rescissa Vegetior
Assurgit." li is a reminder of penal times and a symbol of the
College itself. Nourished by the blood of martyrs, the tree of our
Faith now flourishes, sheltering us. And lest we should forget these
martyrs, and all we owe to them, we have many relics and mementos in
the museum and throughout the house. A bell that called to prayer in
Penal days is still rung here, a Penal Chalice is in daily use at
Mass, and we have Penal Crosses, missals and books. Most intimate
reminder of all, the tongue of the martyrs is taught and spoken.
William Dara's prayer has been granted. The restoration of Irish as
a living language will mark the final triumph over the penal laws.
1. Fr. Corbett's
dates at this period of his life are not clear. His name appears
only once in the Irish Catholic Directory the 1885 issue has in the
College advt. p. 47: "Dean of Lay College, Rev. John Corbett." The
Carlovian 1949 p. 102 has "Corbett, John 1878-80. ord. 1880, Kildare
and Leighlin. Died 4 Oct 1901, C.C, Carlow." The entry at Irish
College, Rome, reads "Joannes Corbett, natus 14 Dec. 1856, Clonaslee
of Robert and Louise Conroy. Carlow College, 2 years. Ingressus (Romam)
21 Oct. 1880. Tonsure 15 Apr. 1883. Called home to be dean in Carlow
College where he received Holy Orders. "A note by Fr P. MacSuibhne
reads' "Dean in Lay College a couple of years. Fr. John Conroy
Corbett. C.C. Carlow, d. 4 Oct. 1901. Cath. Directory p. 400, Born
14 Dec. 1855, died as result of a gun accident, in the same room in
which he was born, at Ballykaneen, Clonaslee. C.C, Newbridge,
Monasterevan." Year of birth is queried.
- 2. Fr, James Harris. His entries are as
follows Carlovian 1949 p. 102," Harris, James 1878-83.
Ordained 1883. Kildare and Leighlin. Died 9 Nov. 1920. P.P.
- "19 May 1883 Fr. Harris went as rector to
Knockbeg." Dr. T. Wall, Knockbeg Annual.
- Catholic Directory 1884 Prefect, Knockbeg
p. 47 Advt. 1885 Prefect, Knockbeg p. 47 Advt. 1886 Prefect,
Knockbeg p, 57 Advt. This latter issue has also C.C. Clane.
3. Fr. Paul E.
Murphy was born at Acres, Coachford, Co. Cork. His brother was
William Murphy, Acres, Dripsey, Co. Cork. Another brother was Canon
Philip, P.P. Carriganim who predeceased him. Fr. Paul was adopted
first for Hobart. The bishop, Dr. Daniel Murphy had visited Carlow
that year looking for subjects. The Carlovian 1949 p. 105 has
"Murphy. Paul 1883-6. Ord. 1886, Kildare and Leighlin. d. 3 Jan
1933. P.P. Edenderry." Mgr. L. Brophy's ordination list has "ord. 1
Fr. Paul visited
the college in 1929 and also in 1930. He was keenly interested in
the foundation of the Union. In 1929 he addressed the pupils in the
study hall which later became a play-hall, under the chapel.
Knockbeg remained closed three years after the death of Fr, Nolan.
Dr. Burke, president asked Dr. Walshe to re-open it. The bishop
drove out in his carriage. He added a new wing and placed it under
the patronage of the Blessed Virgin. A statue of St. Joseph
surmounts that wing. Fr. Paul recalled that during his time
Archbishop P. J. Ryan, Philadelphia, came out with Carotty Kehoe.
Dr. Ryan said that as a student of Carlow cr as prefect at Knockbeg
"many a time and often he declaimed his sermons to those arching
trees at the back of the college." In this connection there is doubt
if there were Carlow prefects in Cnoc Beag at this time. Fr. Pat
Foley, later bishop, got Bishop Lynch to make a regulation that all
future priests were to go to Knockbeg. It was Dr. E. W. Burke who
got Jamesie Donohoe to Knockbeg. Jamesie had been a monitor at St.
Patrick's Training College. Drumcondra. It was Dr. Taylor, the
founder, who had the hole as for a letter-box put in the rector's
bedroom door in the old house, facing the Barrow. A free day was
given in honour of Fr. Paul. He died poor. The small residue was
left to the poor of Edenderry and Muine Bheag. Executors, Bishop
Cullen and Mgr Brophy V.G. He was uncle or cousin of Fr. Jerome,
O.F.M., St. Francis, Cork. A grandnephew Fr. John Murphy C.C.
Kildorrery was a past student of Carlow College.
- Source: The Parish of
KILLESHIN, Graiguecullen'. by P.MacSuibhne. 1972.
M. Brennan c2008
in the 1930's
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