An Post

Catherine McAuley

In 1978 An Post issued a new 10p stamp to commemorate Catherine, her life and work. Catherine was the fourth person associated with the Coolock area to have a commemorative stamp issued by An Post. The other three stamps were commemorating St. Brendan, Henry Grattan and Arthur Guinness the founder of the Dublin Brewery.



St. Brendan

Coolock's first church is said to have been founded by St.Brendan, or more probably, his followers. There is no primary documentary evidence of this foundation but because it is traditionally dedicated to St.Brendan, it is fairly safe to assume that there was an early Celtic church on the site. St.Brendan was born about the year 484.He was a native of Kerry. He entered the monastic life. Much discussion has occured about his narrative of his voyage to America, and all the wonderful events which took place on this journey. A man named Tim Severin crossed the Atlantic in a curragh similar to Brendan's, to prove that the journey was possible.Yet nobody has come up with a definite answer as to whether St. Brendan reached America. St. Brendan founded the famous monastery at Clonfert, which at one time had 1000 people attached to it. At quite an old age, he visited St.Columcille at Iona. He returned to Ireland and died in 577 aged 93. He died at a sister monastery in Annadown but was buried at his own monastery of Clonfert. His festival is celebrated on May 16 each year. In all the details of the life of this great saint, there is no reference to his having ever visited Coolock.

St. Brendan's Well

Across the road from Coolock Church a lone tree marks the site of St.Brendans Well. A small trickle of water coming out of the hole in the cement wall of the stream is all that is left to remind us of this well.

"A small well, about four feet in diameter, covered in a small clump of whitethorn, with a large poplar tree. No evidence of devotion. The water is piped away for domestic use ", a description of St. Brendans Well by Kevin Danaher.

There was an outbreak of fever in the area around the year 1914. It was thought that the well was not helping matters, so it was duly filled in. But water came up in the kitchen of a nearby house. The well was opened again and its water was piped to the house, which gave the house a constant supply of water. In 1934, the well had a low stone arch to protect it. The wells name "Brendan Parkees" and the original dedication of the Church are the only known links St.Brendan has with Coolock.

Henry Grattan

Henry Grattan, a descendant of English Settlers was born in Dublin in 1746. He was educated at Trinity College admitted to the Bar and in 1772 became a member of the Irish Parliament.

He was a brilliant speaker and a great champion of the Irish cause. His demand for free trade, for Ireland was granted by the British in 1779 and his campaign to abolish the authority of the British Parliament to legislate for Ireland achieved success in 1782.

In spite of these improvements and concessions the majority of Irish people could not vote because they were Roman Catholics and important appointments were made by British and not the Irish Parliament.

Although a Protestant himself, Grattan campaigned tirelessly for the political rights of the Roman Catholics. But, unfortunately, at about 1790 the British attitude to Ireland hardened and Grattan could get no further concessions. He retired from public life in 1797. Grattan was not a member of Parliament during the 1798 rebellion and took no part in the rising. In 1800 he returned to Parliament to fight against the Act of Union. He failed in his efforts and sadly the independent existence of the Irish Parliament ended.

After the Act of Union, when the Irish Parliament was abolished Grattan became a member of the British House of Commons. Until the end of his days he was a friend of Ireland and continued his activities on behalf of Roman Catholic emancipation.

Arthur Guinness

The history of The Guinness Family is one of the biggest success stories in Irish Industry. From a small obscure brewery on 4 acres of land it grew into a multimillion joint-stock company and a world wide dynasty.

Arthur Guinness was born in Celbridge in 1725. His father Richard was agent and receiver for the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Cashel, Dr.Price. Dr.Price bequeathed £100 each to Arthur and his father Richard.

In 1756, at the age of 31 years, Arthur leased his first brewery in Leixlip. Three years later in 1759 he leased the St. James' Gate brewery.
Arthur Guinness was a first class parishioner and founded Ireland's first Sunday School. He married Olivia Whitmore and had 21 children-10 of whom survived.

In 1764 Arthur bought a country villa, in Beaumont, as an alternative residence for a delicate daughter. In 1900 this residence was bought by The Sisters of Mercy who opened a convalescent home there to provide aftercare for patients from the Mater Hospital. This good work is still carried out by the Sisters of Mercy but, today, the patients are elderly and long-term.

Arthur continued to extend the brewery. He took a prominent part in public life and was a strong supporter of Penal Reform. On two separate occasions 1772 and 1779 Arthur was Church warden in Coolock Church.

In 1959 to mark the bicentenary of the founding of St.James' Gate Brewery, An Post issued a stamp bearing the portrait of Arthur.

Arthur died in 1803 at the age of 78 yr.

Arthur the Second continued the work of his father. He was born at St. James' Gate in 1768 and was made a brewer by being left the Silver Salver which Arthur Senior had received from the Corporation of Brewers of the city of Dublin.

Arthur the Second was, like his father, very charitable and good to the poor. He contributed generously to the poor fund, the school fund and the roads committee.

Arthur the Second died in Beaumont House in 1855 at the age of 87 yr.

Arthur's son Benjamin Lee, who was Lord Mayor of Dublin in 1852, took over the running of the brewery after the death of his father. His son Arthur the Third , who inherited his father's title and his parliamentary seat sold the brewery to his brother , Edward Cecil. It was he who presented the 22 acres of St.Stephen's Green to the people of Dublin and today his statue stands in St.Stephen's Green.

The Guinness Company has always been generous to and caring of its employees and over the years have been big sponsors of Art, Music and Sport. Even today 200 years since the company was established by Arthur, it is his name that is always associated with Guinness. When tribute is being paid to Guinness for its sponsorship people usually say "Thanks to Uncle Arthur".

The History of Stamps

Stamps and Stamp Collecting
Postage stamps are gummed labels placed on letters or parcels to indicate payment of the charge for postal delivery. They are usually issued by a sovereign nation, by a national post office, or by a single postal monopoly. The collecting and study of postage stamps and related items such as first-day covers—stamped envelopes postmarked with the date of issue of the stamp—is known as philately (a coined Greek word meaning, literally, "love of what is free of further tax"). Stamp collecting is one of the most popular hobbies in the world.

The idea for the adhesive postage stamp was first suggested by the English schoolmaster and civil servant Rowland Hill (1795-1879) as one of the many postal reforms in Great Britain in 1837. Hill's conception, for which he was later knighted, was derived from similar labels that had been issued almost a century earlier in many parts of Europe to collect a tax on newspapers.

The 1840 Penny Black
Through Hill's efforts, on May 1, 1840, Great Britain released the world's first officially issued adhesive postage stamp, a one-penny denomination universally referred to as the Penny Black. The stamp features a portrait of Queen Victoria, which established a postal precedent in Great Britain; since that time, all regular-issue stamps have portrayed the reigning monarch. Moreover, like the Penny Black, no subsequent British stamp has been inscribed with the name of the country.