Una Keane; Maurice Barrett (1913-2005)
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Una Keane; Maurice Barrett (1913-2005)


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Ballyferriter is the birthplace of Una Keane, who is now 95 years old. She resides at Ocean View Nursing Home at Camp, near Tralee. When I met her in 2004 she told me she spend her younger days in the lovely village of Ballyferriter in West Kerry, and went on to describe for me an incident which has remained etched in her memory from those far off days. When she was about ten years old, she would often see the Auxiliaries’ lorries on the roads around the village and on the occasion of a meitheal at her home place, she and her mother were bringing tea to the men in the fields. As they walked along the road, a lorry of Auxiliaries appeared, and a flock of geese scattered ahead of the lorry. One of the British picked up his gun and aimed and fired at one of the geese, killing it, before driving off leaving mother and daughter traumatised and distressed, and as Una told the story it was obvious that she could still see in her mind’s eye that occasion of mindless violence on a country road so long ago. In the summer of 2000, I was searching out a house in the locality of Scartaglin, Co Kerry, when I stopped to ask directions at an old cottage with an open front door. Maurice Barrett was sitting inside by the fire, and I was invited to come in and sit down, which I did. It was not long before it became obvious that I should get my recording equipment from the car, because before me was a man with recollections rich and rare. Maurice Barrett was born in Limerick in 1913, and shortly afterwards his father, who had been working in the mines in England, met a tragic death. At the age of three years his mother brought Maurice back to her home place at Castleisland. He remembered and described the real fear he felt while going and coming from school in case the Black and Tans would pass him on the road, as “they were lawless and drunk day and night.” He recalled a terrible day when two Black and Tans came to the house searching for Republicans. They were armed with rifles with bayonets, and they proceeded to ransack the house, stabbing the bayonets into the beds in their search. He recalled agent Sam Hussey of Edenburn House, Ballymacelligott, who was under constant guard by RIC in case of attack, and he also mentioned Lord Herbert of Currow who was shot in 1882 in earlier troubled days. In May 2005, I was sad to hear that this fine gentleman had passed away.

Additional information



Audio series:

Witnesses to Independence


128 kbps

Download time limit:

48 hours

File size(s):

36.87 MB

Number of files:


Product ID:



The Black and Tans in Kerry

Recorded by:

Eddie Barrett (grand-nephew of Austin Stack)