Tullowphelim Historical Society’s magazine is on sale in Tullow museum Bridge Street Tullow.
This unique issue covers The 1916 Rising and the effects of The Civil War locally and includes articles on
Thomas Traynor, Local Volunteers in Tullow and Rathvilly area, Tullow Burnings, Nurse Bolger, St Austin’s Abbey, Nan Nolan Ballon, 1916 GAA and Kevin Barry etc. Contact Secretary for further information. Priced €5.

Rev Fr. Jack

Born 9 April 1904 in Ballygalduff, Tobinstown, Tullow, Co. Carlow, Jack was educated by the Christian Brothers and at Blackrock College where he came in 1921 for his final year. He went to the Novitiate in Kimmage, 1922, and after his profession he prefected for three years at Blackrock, 1923-26.

What was written about him during those years can be applied to the rest of his life: "Straightforward, thoroughly decent and disinterested with his confreres and with the boys, he was level-headed, efficient and very popular - always reliable and ever ready to give his time and labour". He proved a very useful member of the Blackrock Club XV. He went on to do his philosophy at the Castle, sitting in class with some who had been his students. After a year's theology in the Castle he was sent to Rome. For most of his time he was the only Irish representative at the French Seminary where he was dubbed by his French companions 'Le Boxer' because of his name-sake of world boxing fame.

He was asked to do his thesis for the doctorate on Pelagius' commentary on St Paul' - a work but recently discovered. On completing his studies at the Gregorian University in 1934 Fr Jack was appointed Director of Philosophers in the Castle, a post he retained when the senior scholastics all moved to Kimmage in 1938. He was also entrusted with the duties of bursar for the Senior Scholasticate in 1938 thereby joining that galaxy of doctors of theology who were called on in the Congregation to turn their talents to more earthy matters. In 1939 Fr Jack was relieved of his duties as director of philosophers and was appointed a member of the Provincial Council. Came Christmas 1939 he deputized for another confrère to give the end of year retreat to the St Louis Sisters in Bundoran.

He stayed on an extra day at the request of the local branch of the Legion of Mary and preached a one day retreat to its members 1st January. It was with great shock all round that it was learned that he died in his sleep in the early hours of 2 January 1940. Fr Jack was aged 34. It was recalled that he had preached a very striking conference to the Sisters on death, referring to the incidence of sudden deaths in the recent months. The only sign of illness was that he had remarked that he felt uncommonly cold that day. He was buried in Dean’s Grange. BCA 1942, 54; IPNl Vol. II., No.2., April 1940.



A Second Fr. Jack with Tullow connections

1916 Rising’s Fr Jack educated in Tullow


The Very Rev John Flanagan.

WITH Easter 1916 commemorations barely behind us, it has emerged that the priest that ministered to some of the most famous names from that historical time was educated here in Carlow.

Paul Horan, an assistant professor at Trinity College, contacted the Carlow People with some very timely and interesting information on the Very Rev John Flanagan. John – or Jack as he was known – was born in Dublin on February 24 1872 and we on to attend boarding school in Tullow. He went on to study for the priesthood at Clonliffe College and in Rome before returning to Ireland around 1895.

He was a curate at Balrothery in Balbriggan and St Michael and John’s Church in Temple Bar before he became curate of the Pro- Cathedral in 1902.

During the Easter Rising in 1916, he was called to the GPO by the insurgents. Aside from ministering to the rank and file members, Fr Jack blessed The O’Reilly before he left to meet his death, attended to the wounded James Connolly and stayed with the men until their surrender.


Abraham Watchorn (1894-1916) WWI vet and 1916 insurgent

The flames of the Easter Rebellion fanned right into Lisnavagh, Rathvilly, County Carlow, with the death of 21-year-old Private Abraham Watchorn who was serving with the 5th Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers. He was killed in action in Dublin on Easter Wednesday (26th April 1916). He was a son of Abraham Watchorn, of Williamstown, Rathvilly, Co. Carlow, by his Carlow-born wife. Jane, daughter of George James.

Born in Dundrum, Co. Dublin, on 20th October 1894, Abraham had been educated in the Lisnavagh Schoolhouse and was working as a farmer when the First World War broke out. He enlisted with the Royal Dublin Fusiliers on 22 November 1915. Official reports say the regiment was brought to Dublin from The Curragh, arriving in Dublin at 3.45am on Tuesday 25h April. They appear to have gone straight into action around Dublin Castle. After he was killed (or perhaps fatally wounded) he was taken to Dublin Castle's Red Cross Hospital. He was buried at Grangegorman Military Cemetery. He is amongst those named on the Great War memorial on the organ in St. Mary's Church in Rathvilly.

[In 1915 A. Watchorn subscribed 12/- (twelve shillings) to St. Mary's Church Sustentation. By 1929, Abraham Watchorn, the father of the dead soldier, was giving ?1.10.0. The 1934 account reveals Frank Watchorn, brother of the soldier, giving the same amount whilst the accounts list a Mr. & Mrs. Watchorn subscribing from 1970 right through to 1982. They may have been related to Joan Watchorn who worked at Lisnavagh in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
By Turtle Bunbury.