Naas History Group emphasise Welsh links

Members of Naas History Group, Bernie McAuliffe, Mick Mulvey, Ronnie Kinane, who has Welsh connections, her mum being from South Wales, Ger McCarthy and Paddy Behan pictured at Naas Town Hall marking St. David's Day,  with the flag of Naas twin town, St.David's, Wales.    Photo Tony Keane.
MEMBERS of Naas Local History Group unfurled the Welsh flag, commemorating the feast of St David, at the Town Hall.

MEMBERS of Naas Local History Group unfurled the Welsh flag, commemorating the feast of St David, at the Town Hall.

This is an annual affair since the formal twinning of Naas town and the south Pembrokeshire City of St David’s in the early 1990s.

The town’s link to St. David continues through a wide variety of names such as – St. David’s School, St. David’s Terrace, The Church of Our Lady and St. David, St. David’s Boxing Club.

The twinning has resulted in a long term friendship: the Mayor of Naas is invited to St David’s each year for their St David’s Day dinner.

And the Naas and St David’s Rugby Clubs arrange exchange visits for their youth teams.

St David’s association with Naas can be traced back to Norman times.

The confiscation of lands commenced to reward his knights and to finance the campaign. The Barony of Naas was granted to Maurice FitzGerald from the St David’s area of Pembrokeshire in South Wales.

Maurice’s half brother David FitzGerald was Bishop of St David’s from 1147 to 1176.

The Anglo-Normans made many changes to Naas.

The town was fortified by walls, gates and castles, including St David’s Castle (formerly King John’s Castle as King John is said to have held parliaments or meetings there in 1206 and 1210).

The Church of Ireland parish church, which celebrated its 800th anniversary last year was originally dedicated to St Patrick and St. Corban, was rebuilt by the Normans and re-dedicated to St David in 1212.

Those Anglo Norman Barons renamed many townlands – Kerdiffstown (after Cardiff), Nunsland after St Non (mother of St David), Brannockstown (town of the Welshmen),, Punchestown (a

fter Puncheston near St David’s) and Davidstown.

St. David’s Day was celebrated in Naas for centuries and this custom continued up to the close of the 18th century when it was the custom to wear a green leek in honour of St. David every March 1.

- Paul O’Meara