Kitty Kiernan and Greystones

Kitty Kiernan often visited Greystones.

She had gone to school nearby

in the Loreto Boarding School, Bray, Co. Wicklow.

It was there in November 1908 that Kitty and her sisters

were told by the Mother Superior the sad news

that they had to return home immediately as their mother had died.

This was a shock to the sisters, particularly as it had been their father who had been ill.

Three months later their father also was dead.

 

The family were very unlucky.

The previous year, their nineteen year old twin sisters had died of TB (tuberculosis):

their sister Lily at home in Granard

and Rose in a hospital in Davos, Switzerland,

where she went in the hope of being cured.

Now the four teenage sisters and their brother Larry were orphans.

girls make history-3Creative Commons License Maria Morri via Compfight

Kitty got engaged to Michael Collins in the Grand Hotel in Greystones

(now known as The La Touche Hotel) on Saturday, 8th October 1921.

Locals say they were planning to buy Brooklands on Trafalgar Rd.,

and live there after they married. 

 

Michael Collins was killed in an ambush in Béal na Bláth before that could happen.

The ambush happened on the 22nd August 1922.

 

While they were dating Kitty and Michael had written hundreds of letters to each other.

The first was written by Collins in February or March 1919

and the last was from Kitty on 17th August 1922.

 

On Thursday May 4 1922 there was one addressed to

‘Miss Kiernan No 10’ in Greystones.

It started:

“Kitty dear, I knocked very gently on your door

but there was no answer and I didn’t have the heart to wake you up”

She stayed for some of the time in the Grand Hotel in Greystones while she was ill.

In one of her last letters to Collins, Kitty Kiernan had written:

‘l was terrified that you would take all kinds of risks

and how I wished to be near you

so that I could put my arms tightly around your neck

and that nothing could happen to you.

I wouldn’t be a bit afraid when I’d be beside you,

and if you were killed I’d be dying with you

and that would be great and far better

than if I were left alone behind.

I’d be very much alone if you were gone.

Nothing could change that, and all last week

and this I’ve realized it and that’s what makes it so hard’.

Roman graves in Bray

Tracery Mark Seton via Compfight

How do we know the Romans came to Greystones?

We don’t.

But we know they got as far as Bray,

so perhaps they got down the road to Greystones too.

A number of Roman graves were found at Bray Head, Co. Wicklow in 1835.

Although we don’t have a great deal of information about the find,

we know these graves contained skeletons

with stones placed at their head and feet.

In the graves were copper coins of the time of the Emperor Tragan (97-117 AD)

and the Emperor Hadrian (117-138 AD).

It was the Roman custom to put coins in a grave.

The legend was that you had to pay the boatman Charon

who brought people across the River Acheron

to the Land of the Dead.

We got this information from the

Irish Archaeology.ie website

Click on the link to read about evidence of Roman contacts with Ireland.