Gardeners and Groundsmen
Eleven men were in full-time employment maintaining gardens, lawns and driveways to the mansion. The Head Gardener who was employed by the Duckett family in the early 1900s was John Sweeney, originally from Friarstown, Bennekerry, Carlow and later lived at Kneestown, Duckett’s Grove. He was founding Secretary of Killerig Land Club and one of the 28 Beneficiaries of Duckett’s Grove Estate in 1921 when Killerig Land Club purchased Duckett’s Grove demesne with a loan of £32,000 from the Bank of Ireland. He was appointed Caretaker of the Mansion House and lands in 1930.
John Sweeney came from a great GAA football family which the “Sweeney Cup” was named. He was County Secretary of Carlow GAA in 1922 & 1923 retiring in 1924. He was involved in securing the land for Dr. Cullen Park GAA grounds and was elected Trustee of Carlow GAA in 1926. His first cousin was Captain John Sweeney of Carlow Fire Brigade who Captained the Fire Brigade during the fire at Ducketts Grove in 1933. John Sweeney (Head Gardener) died on 1st May 1939 and was survived by his wife and his seven children. This website and the John Sweeney Archives have been established in his memory.
The following was published in The Nationalist and Leinster Times dated Saturday, 6th May, 1939;
“The death occurred during the week of Mr. John Sweeney, Duckett’s Grove after a tedious illness. Deceased was very popular and held in high esteem in the locality. He was for a number of years actively associated with G.A.A. affairs in the county, and for a period acted as Secretary to the Carlow County Board. He was a fine player, and helped the Palatine team on many a hard-fought field. He continued his interest in the club up to the last. At a meeting of Palatine G.F.C. a vote of sympathy was passed with his bereaved brothers in their great loss. The meeting was adjourned as a mark of respect.”