From Ashe to the Dennys, Old Kerry Journal has it all

Dónal Nolan

Great Kerry patriots, powerful families, heroes of World War One and much else besides are brought to life in a striking new publication coming out in time to commemorate the figure of Tomás Ághas on the centenary of his death.

Volume four of the Old Kerry Journal hits the bookshops of the county this week bursting at the seams as it is with lively and insightful articles on a host of topics relating to the story of the county in recent centuries.

It's the work of a Tralee couple long steeped in the history of the nation through their Irish Life and Lore series - husband and wife Maurice and Jane O'Keeffe - and it unfolds across scores of strikingly-laid out pages featuring the work of the O'Keeffes' daughter Dr Helene and fellow historians Russell McMoran (a co-editor of the Journal), Thomas Dillon, Gerald O'Carroll, Martin Moore and John G Knightly.

Indeed it is Helene O'Keeffe who is responsible for the striking visual quality of the Journal as well as one of the centrepiece articles - The Life and Legacy of Thomas Ashe - having laid it all out in a labour of love in recent months.

Cover star Diana Denny sets the tone with distinction in a portrait from 1821 by John Linnell capturing this lady of old Tralee in a naturalised style full of youthful vibrancy. Her portrait appears thanks to the scions of the Denny family - in particular UK-based descendant Tom Denny, who opened up the family collection for use in the work.

Tom will himself be playing an important role in the continuing story of the Dennys and Tralee soon, as Jane O'Keeffe explained: "Tralee will shortly mark an important symbolic gesture by the Denny family in the installation of a stained glass window in St. John's Church, Castle Street, Tralee. The artwork will be entitled The Reconciliation Window. Tom Denny, a UK-based stained glass artist, is a descendant of the Denny family of Tralee, and he will this month finish work on the window which will be ready for installation in the church in October 2017." On the opposite side of the political coin is the story of the county's great patriot Tomás Ághas, done justice in a comprehensive piece by Helene at the core of the Journal and surrounded by so many other fascinating pieces on old Kerry. It's available in bookshops or through www.irishlifeandlore.com, at €12.

Kerryman

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