I was recently given this very attractive photo of my grandparents in law, Mollie and Arthur Caball, who married in Tralee, Co. Kerry in 1908.

My Kerry AncestorsThey came from two very different backgrounds.    Arthur’s father was Edward Willasey Caball, a native of Saxmundham in Suffolk, who came to Athlone as garrison librarian with the Old 2nd Queen’s Regiment.  Edward married the Barrack Sergeant John Fitzpatrick’s daughter Mary. She was seventeen and we have the original romantic letter that Edward wrote to her on 7th June 1867:

We are having a dance to-night.  Will you kindly oblige us with the pleasure of your company?  If, so with your leave, I will call for you.  Dancing will commence at 9pm.  Hoping to be excused my forwardness as a stranger.  Please to find an answer,
I am, Miss, yours to command
Sgt. E. Caball, 2/2 Reg. Garrison Librarian”
Sgt. E. Caball, 2/2 Reg. Garrison Librarian”

They married in Athlone on 30 March 1868.  They spent some time at Aldershot  in the Uk and eventually returned to Tralee where Edward had the position of running the Officer’s Mess, what were called the ‘wet and dry canteens’ in Ballymullen Barracks, home of the Munster Fusiliers.  They had seven surviving children, all of whom left Tralee  with the exception of Arthur (in the photo).  Edward died in 1898, coincidentally in the same room he was born in at Saxmundham.  He had gone to see off his sons Eddie and George, who worked on the railways in South Africa, when he took ill.    He is buried in the New Cemetery in Tralee.    Mary Ann Caball and her daughter Lucy, who was the youngest, emigrated to Chicago in Sept 1908.  This was a brave move for a fifty seven year oldwidow.  She returned to Ireland on a couple of occasions on holidays and died and is buried in Forrest Hills, Chicago.  In 2012, an English  visitor arrived in Tralee with surprising news of Edward’s father –  Edward Willasey but we will have to leave that story locked away in the family secret cupboard …..  same as lots of other family stories!.

Mollie Caball (above) was Mollie Reidy from a Republican family in Ballymacelligott.  On Christmas Night 1920 her brother (then 25 yrs of age), a well known athlete,  was visiting the Byrne family home next door to the Creamery in Ballydwyer when ‘Between 8 and 9 o’clock, on Chritmas Night, as they were all enjoying the Christmas spirit, the armed forces, led by Major McKinnon burst into the house.  Leen was shot through the heart and Reidy was shot through the head.  Both died instantly’  (Jer Breen)