Cuil Ui Caoinaith

Location in Ireland

Coordinates: 52°46′55″N 6°35′46″W / 52.782°N 6.596°W / 52.782; -6.596Coordinates: 52°46′55″N 6°35′46″W / 52.782°N 6.596°W / 52.782; -6.596
Country Ireland
Province Leinster
County County Wicklow
County Carlow
Elevation 157 m (515 ft)
Population (2006)
  Total 562
  population of Shillelagh rural area region
Irish Grid Reference S946712

Coolkenno (Irish: Cuil Ui Caoinaith meaning The Nook of The Ui Caoinaith clan) is a village in County Wicklow in Ireland. It is roughly located between Tullow in County Carlow and Shillelagh in County Wicklow.

The village is served by Ballyconnell National School (2.5 km) and Tullow Community School (8 km). Local monuments include the ruined Clonmore Castle, Rath Gall hilltop ring fort, Labbanasighe megalithic tomb in Moylisha and Saint Finian's monastery at Aghowle. Mount Wolsley Hilton golf course is 8 km away at Tullow and Rathwood Home and Garden Centre is 3 km away. The local public house is Byrne's, the Crablane.

Coolkenno GAA History

The hurling club "Killinure Emmets" were the earliest starters of hurling around the Shillelagh district. Coolkenno are believed to have represented the area as well as Ballyraheen and Derry Rovers. From the beginning of the century “Shillelagh” dominated as the name of the district team.

The history of local football goes back much further than 1980. In 1890 Crecrin Harps played Graiguecullen in the County Carlow final. The Harps men were beaten by a one-point scored between two posts which were beside the goal. Crecrin's top defender, Jim Carthy, moved up in attack, Graiguecullen managed to get the ball and sent it over his head and Jim was left stranded. A Graiguecullen player got the ball and with his chance he scored the only point of the match. John Lennon of Knockballystine was captain that day and his team mates were Joe Lennon King’s Cross, William Doyle Coolmanagh, John and Edward O’Brien Crecrin, Michael and Pat Treacy, Michael Donaghue, Martin Keogh, Pat Murphy, John Sheppard, Jim Kennedy, Charlie Breen, Pat Mulhall The Rock . Patrick O’Neill, Knockeen. Pat and John Bolger, John Condron, Kilquiggan Pat Timmons and Jim ‘Red’ Tyrrell, Killinure, and of course Jim Carthy, Knockballystine. As can be seen football teams had 21 players in those days.

In 1897 Killinure arrived and beat Shillelagh in their first match. The team was also present in 1913 as well but the club disappeared again in late 1914. After the 1921 War of Independence treaty the team restarted and in 1924 it was beaten by Rathdangan in the County Junior Football Final. The club eventually fizzled out due to age increasing, decrease of youth and high emigration from Killinure and Coolkenno.

The present club in Coolkenno was founded in November 1980, after a meeting in the Crablane pub by local Gaelic football enthusiasts; Myles Keogh, John Byrne, Jack Bowes, Jim Walker, Liam O'Rourke and Viv Sandes who wished to see a team in Coolkenno. A committee was established, with Fr. Kaye honoured with the title of Club President and John Timmins of Killinure as vice-president; Cathal Friel was the club's first Chairman.It took a seventeen years for major success when the club won its first county title, the Junior B Football Championship, in Baltinglass in December 1997. The original lineup consisted of Jack Bowes, Bob Doyle, John Byrne, Seamus Doyle, Finn Doyle, Myles Keogh, Patrick Keogh, Pat Whelan, John Keogh, Percy Fitzharris, Kevin Byrne, Jim Keegan, Joe Tompkins, Peter Dempsey, Liam Bowes, and others.

Football however has always enjoyed more popularity locally than hurling or any other sport To date, the club has progressed at an astounding rate, 1999 saw promotion to intermediate ranks. Coolkenno won the county intermediate title in 2002, beating St. Pats of Wicklow Town in the county final at Aughrim.The New Football pitch was completed in 2003-2004 and holds a modern clubhouse and gym. In 2010, Coolkenno joined ranks with Shillelagh G.F.C to re-create the 1946 St. Mary's team. The team shocked the county by winning the Wicklow Senior Championship in its very first season in late 2011, with Paddy Dalton of Rath (Coolkenno) and Keith Byrne of Shillelagh lifting the cup for both localities.

Coolkenno also has produced players for the Wicklow Senior Team under Mick O'Dwyer such as Don Jackman of Knockeen, Paddy Dalton of Rath, Eamon Rossiter of Coolkenno and Steven Cushe of Rath East.

Bernard Jackman of Coolkenno, the former Ireland rugby and Leinster Heineken Cup winner, had also played for Coolkenno G.F.C in his youth.


Coolkenno is also the locality where Christabel Bielenberg and her husband, Peter, resided from 1948 until their deaths in the early 2000s. Christabel was the author of two novels, The Past is Myself and The Road Ahead about their journey of fleeing Nazi Germany and subsequently settling on their farm at Munny House, Coolkenno. Peter had been a qualified lawyer during the rise of Nazism in Germany. He befriended Adam von Trott zu Solz, one of the resistance fighters that plotted to kill Hitler in July 1944, in what was known as 'The Bomb Plot'. Von Trott was arrested and executed by the Gestapo, with his execution filmed for Hitler's pleasure.[1] Bielenberg, being a friend of the apprehended, was also arrested and placed by the Gestapo into Ravensbruck Concentration Camp. Christabel Bielenberg pleaded with the authorities to release her innocent husband. He was released, but placed into a 'suicide division' of the German Army to die with reclaimed honour on the front. He escaped the clutches of the Army and hid with his wife and young children in the Black Forest until the war's end in May 1945. The couple bought Munny House, a dilapidated country estate that once belonged to the Nickson and Lawrenson Families. The family settled there and created a successful farm. .[2] Today, the 'Munny Trail' is an established walking and equestrian trail for keen nature enthusiasts and is based at Munny House, Munny, Coolkenno.

.[3] Rev. Fr. John .J. Cavanaugh, President of Notre Dame University in the 1950s. Born in Michigan, U.S.A, He had been a personal secretary to Henry Ford of Ford Motors before being ordained. All of Cavanaugh's grandparents had come from Killinure, Coolkenno and Kilquiggan and had left the vicinity during The Great Famine. Cavanaugh became a personal friend and chaplain to the Kennedy Family of Boston. He advised the Kennedys during the 1960 Presidential Election of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, with religious and civil rights doctrine. He was with the Joseph .P. Kennedy in the Kennedy Compound in Hyannisport, MA, when the news arrived about the assassination of J.F.K on November 22, 1963. He gave a private service over the coffin of America's first Roman Catholic President in the East Room of the White House before the funeral procession. Cavanaugh was also one of the three priests who buried J.F.K. He died in 1979, aged 80

.[4] Abraham Groves, the first surgeon to perform the removal of the appendix in 1883 on the American Continent had been the son of Aghowle and Coolkenno people who emigrated in the 1820s to Ontario, Canada


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