Online Encyclopedia

CURRAGH

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V07, Page 647 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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CURRAGH  , a level stretch of open ground in Co .

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Kildare, Ireland, famous for its
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race-course and its military camp . It has an
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area of upwards of 4800 acres; and its soft natural sward, which has never been broken by the plough, affords excellent pasture for sheep . From the peculiarity of its herbage, the
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district is known in the neighbourhood as " the short grass "; and the young men of Kildare are jocularly distinguished as the " boys of the short grass." The
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land is the
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property of the
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crown, which appoints a
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special officer as the ranger of the Curragh; but the right of pasturage is possessed by the land-owners of the vicinity . The
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oldest mention of the Curragh occurs in the
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Liber Hymnorum (the
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manuscript of which probably
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dates from the loth century) in connexion with St Bridget, who is said to have received a grant of the district from the king of
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Leinster, and is popularly credited with the honour of having turned it into a
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common . It is evident, however, that long before the days of the saint the
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downs of Kildare had afforded a
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regular place of assembly for the
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people of the south of Ireland . The word cuirrech, cognate with the
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Lat. cursus, signifies a race-course, and chariot-races are spoken of as taking place on the Curragh as early as 'the 1st century A.D . The Aenach Colmain (Curragh
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fair), also called Aenach
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Life (the fair on the plain of the Liffey), is frequently mentioned in the Irish annals, and both racing and other sports were carried on at this, the
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principal meeting of its kind in
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southern Ireland, and the plain appears from time to time as the scene of hostile encounters between the kings of Meath, Leinster and Offaly . In 1234 the
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earl of Pems broke was defeated here by the viceroy of Ireland, Lord.Geoffrey de
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Monte Marisco; and in 1406 the Irish under the prior of Connell were routed by the
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English . In 1789 the Curragh was the
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great
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rendezvous for the
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volunteers, and in 1804 it saw the gathering of 30,000
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United Irishmen . The camp was established at the time of the
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Crimean War, and is capable of accommodating 12,000 men . The races are held in
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April,
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June, September and
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October .

See W . M . Hennessy, in Proceedings of Royal Irish Acad., 1866 .

End of Article: CURRAGH
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JEAN NICOLAS CURLY (1774-1827)
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JOHN PHILPOT CURRAN (1750-1817)

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