Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Mid Term Break with na cailíní and Healyracing on Nationwide


Ita Hannon is a super photographer. This is her picture of Portmagee last week.


Mid Term Break

My little granddaughters made a welcome trip to The Kingdom during their spring break. If you have grandchildren who come to visit, enjoy them while they are small. All too soon they become busy with their own activities and there is less time for Kerry visits.

Aisling, Cora and Róisín are growing up fast.

When they are in Nana's house they do Nana type activities like knitting and baking.

Aisling loved my old beater. She thought it was much better than a whisk for making pancakes. The above picture is of Aisling making pancakes for Shrove Tuesday and when she returned home she made her parents cupcakes for Valentine's Day. (picture below)


Healyracing on telly

I have a cohort of Listowel people who have always welcomed me to Listowel and treated me like one of their own. They have shared stories and photographs with me and extended extraordinary kindnesses to me when I felt in need of "local" family. One of the first among these was the late Liam Healy. We shared a love of charity shops. While in search of a rare or beautiful pen, Liam would always take time to chat. He was a great man for stories, none more fascinating than his own life story, which was filled with tragedy but also with hope and success which came with making the most of talent and hard work.
There was never any mistaking that the most important people in Liam's life were his family. He was enormously proud of all of them and there was no man more delighted to have them all around him and involved in the business he grew from humble beginnings in Listowel.
I am delighted that Liam's memory is going to be kept alive with a Nationwide programme on tomorrow evening, February 21 at 7.00p.m. on RTE 1.


A Specialist for everything

Do you remember when we had a jack of all trades mechanic who could do everything your car might need to be done to it?


Listowel's Lizzie Lyons on TV3

Lizzie of Lizzie's Little Kitchen, Listowel, is forging a career for herself as a TV chef. Her easy relaxed style and clear instructions are endearing her to her Sunday morning TV audience. She has a great future ahead of her in the cooking business.

Monday, 19 February 2018

A Robin, Listowel's Carnegie Library Remembered and signs of Spring at last

Ode to a robin

Chris Grayson photographed this robin as it breakfasted on a meal worm.

Dick Carmody wrote his robin a poem.

The Robin……           
            …….companion for a reluctant gardener.

Reluctantly I kneel to tend my garden, derived of some pride, devoid of great pleasure
Painstakingly I toil to keep apace of mother nature, as weeds compete with work rate
Then I am suddenly less aware on my ownliness, a companion ever present at my side
The Robin makes his predictable welcome appearance to distract from my discomfort.

Red-breasted, he sits proud upon the boundary wall to watch my laboured movement
Takes pride in that he fanned the fire in Bethlehem’s stable to keep the Baby warm
And how the flames had burned his then colourless breast to testify his zealousness
Or was it when he pulled the thorn from Jesus’ brow on his way to cross on Calvary
And now carries his blood-stained feathers as if to show his favoured ranking.

At arms length he follows my every move, often playing hide and seek with me     
Standing tall or sometimes with head erect, motionless he stares me eye to eye 
I could believe him God-sent, no other bird in sight in hedgerow or on leafless tree
Or is it just that he sees me as his meal-ticket, as I gather and discard the fallen leaves
Exposing tasty morsels in the unfrozen ground to help him cope with winter’s worst.

I move along, hunched on bended knee, he follows cautiously close behind, beside 
Sometimes out of sight, I seek him out again and know I will not be disappointed
For sure enough he’s back again here, there and everywhere, not taken for granted
Now gardening is less of a chore as I’m gifted a companion, my new forever friend.

© Dick Carmody                                                                                November, 2013.


Listowel's Library used to be housed in this elegant building. This is how it looked on Saturday February 17 2018. My friend, Helen, is crossing the road in the foreground.

Recent posts about the old library prompted memories for some blog followers.
Michael O'Sullivan sent us this clarification;

Hello Mary,
Everybody blamed the Black and Tans for burning the library in the bridge road in March 1921. But with access to the military witness statements in recent years it was revealed that the Listowel volunteers burned it as they feared the British were going to use it as a base. The great house a mile away in Tanavalla suffered the same fate in 1920,
Michael O’ Sullivan

Mention of the library brought Cyril Kelly back to his boyhood and a memorable visit to the library with his inspirational teacher, Bryan MacMahon. Cyril shares with us this essay which was broadcast on `Sunday Miscellany;


This was the man who led us, both literally and metaphorically, from the classroom every day. This was The Master, our Pied Piper, who was forever bugling a beguiling tune, a tune sparkling with grace notes of the imagination. He’d have us on the white steed behind Niamh, her golden fleece romping in our faces. Transformed by his telling we had mutated into forty spellbound Oisíns. Knockanore was disappearing in our wake. The briny tang of the ocean was in our nostrils, bidding us to keep a westward course, forbidding us to glance back at our broken hearted father, Fionn. We were heading for the land of eternal youth, Tír na nÓg.
On the very next antidotal day, we’d be traipsing after him, into the graveyard beside the school. The narrow paths, with no beginning and no end criss-crossed the place like some zoomorphic motif. We were on a mission to see who would be the first to spot a headstone which was decorated with a Celtic design. The diligent boys leading the line were in danger of overtaking the laggards at the tail who were hissing that, in the dark recesses of the slightly open tomb, they had seen, staring back at them, a yella skull.
But, on very special days, we crossed the road to the Carnegie Library. Master McMahon told us that it was the most magical building in the whole town. Even the whole world, if it came to that. He told us that we were so lucky because Andrew Carnegie, the richest man on earth, had bought all of these books for us. We were amazed because none of us knew Andrew and we felt sure that he didn’t know any of us. As a matter of fact, not one of us knew anyone who bought books, either for us or for anyone else. Master McMahon said that the Librarian, Maisie Gleeson, was minding the books for Carnegie and, especially for the boys in 3rd class.
On our first day in the library, we all had to line up on tippy-toes at Maisie’s desk to scratch our names with nervous N-nibs on green cards. Maisie eyed us all over her spectacles, welcoming each one of us ominously by name, telling us that she knew our mothers and woe-be-tide anyone who didn’t behave themselves, particularly any boy who did not take good care of Andrew’s books.
If you have a book, boys, Master McMahon’s voice was echoing around us. If you have a book, boys, you have an exciting friend.
Drumming his fingers along a shelf, humming to himself, he flicked one of the books from its place, tumbling it into his arms. Turning towards us, he held it like a trophy in the air.
The Clue of The Twisted Candle. Nancy Drew, boys. She’s a beauty. Blonde, like Niamh Cinn Óir. Solves exciting mysteries for her father.
The Master took his time to scan our expectant faces.
Here, Mickey, proffering the book to Mikey Looby whose father was a detective. Why don’t you sit down there at that table. Read the first few chapters. See what Nancy Drew is up to this time.
Turning to the shelves again, The Master threw back over his shoulder; Sure if I know anything, Mikey, you’ll probably solve the mystery before she does. Mikey, clasping the book in his arms, stumbled to the nearest chair, thirty nine pairs of envious eyes fastened to him. Sure it’s in the blood, Mikey boy. It’s in the blood.
Selecting another book, The Master faced us once more. This time he called on Dan Driscoll.
I saw you driving your father’s pony and cart to the fair last week. Three of the lovliest pink plump bonavs you had. And what a fine looking pony Dan Driscoll has, boys.
Well, here in my hand I’m holding Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey. This man is a fantastic story teller. He’ll take you to the frontier lands of America. I promise that you’ll see and smell the rolling plains of Wyoming more clearly than if you were in the Plaza cinema down the street. You’ll ride with cowboys, you’ll hear the neighing not of ponies but of palominos. You’ll meet deadly gunmen, boys, noble Red Indians. And on the headstones in Boothill, boys, you won’t find any Celtic designs. And there, in the vastness of the library, The Master’s youthful tenor voice startled the silence; Take me back to the Black Hills/ The Black Hills of Dakota/ To the beautiful Indian country that I love. By the time he was finished he was besieged by a posse of outstretched hands and beseeching cries of SirSirSir. Every one of us was demented to get our paws on that book, any book.


Spring 2018.......at last!

Friday, 16 February 2018

Macra in 1968, Athea and Dairymaster, a Kerry Success Story

A Rook

Photo: Graham Davies


Macra na Feirme Dance in 1968


The Giant's Garden, Athea

Athea always looks super neat and tidy thanks to the hard work off its Tidy Town Committee.

Wind turbines on the hills above Athea

This crucifix stands by the graveyard on the site of a old church.


From little acorns........

This is a mega North Kerry success story.

Causeway is a small village in North Kerry, sixteen kms from Tralee. 
It is nestled in an area rich in dairy and agricultural enterprise.

The village has a population of 257 souls.

This number is boosted everyday with the influx of second level students to Causeway Comprehensive School.

(Photo from the internet)

But there is another complex which sees a huge influx of people into Causeway every day.

(photo from the internet)

Dairymaster in Causeway is the global headquarters of the acknowledged world leader in agricultural technology.

Dairymaster is 50 years old this year, having been set up by Edmond Harty, senior.

Dr. Edmond Harty, son of the founder,  and now CEO of Dairymaster has moved the company to the top of the dairy technology industry.

Edmond is Adjunct Full Professor in the School of Biosystems and Food Engineering at UCD College of Engineering and Architecture.  But it is not for this that he is famous.

Dairymaster harnesses all of today's internet of things, embedded sensors, wearable technology (for cows) and cloud computing to make a dairy farmers job easier.

These cows are wearing their Moomonitors which take millions of readings daily about everything about the cows health and fertility and feeds that information back to the farmer.

A modern milking parlour, photos from Dairymaster's website

And now the latest news is that Dairymaster has teamed up with IT Tralee and Science Foundation Ireland to research a millions of dollar project to improve farmers output while decreasing their work.
Dr. Ednond Harty is a world class entrepreneur and innovator. He is my nomination for Kerryman of the century.

Down Memory Lane

I recently met up with Jean Kiely and her girlhood friend, Eileen Greaney.  Jean was on a birthday visit to The Kingdom.  She was kind enough to bring me some old photos for our Presentation Secondary 75 commemoration.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Yeats, Ballybunion and The Pogues Whiskey

Mistle Thrush

Photo; Graham Davies


Photo of a Dying Poet

This extraordinary photo was shared on Twitter by the Irish Literary Trust. It was taken by W.B. Yeats wife, George, shortly before the poet's death in 1939.


Wintry Seas in Ballybunion in Winter 2018


Staff of Presentation Secondary School in 1990

I'm issuing a renewed appeal for memories and photos of the secondary school for the forthcoming history of the school which will be launched towards the end of 2018.


Extending the Brand?

Spotted in Cork

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

A Ballybunion Mermaid, Winnowing and the Listowel Firefighting force in 1959

A Coal Tit

Photo; Graham Davies


Ballybunion's Stone Mermaid


A picture to lift Hearts

Dúchas shared the photo on Twitter with a caption telling us that it was a man 'winnowing" in Com Dhineoil, Co Kerry.

Wind winnowing is an agricultural method developed by ancient cultures for separating grain from chaff. It is also used to remove weevils or other pests from stored grain. Threshing, the loosening of grain or seeds from the husks and straw, is the step in the chaff-removal process that comes before winnowing.
In its simplest form it involves throwing the mixture into the air so that the wind blows away the lighter chaff, while the heavier grains fall back down for recovery. Techniques included using a winnowing fan (a shaped basket shaken to raise the chaff) or using a tool (a winnowing fork or shovel) on a pile of harvested grain. (Wikipedia)


Listowel Firemen

October 10 1959   photo from the Kennelly Archive

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Listowel Librarians Remembered, Stokers' Lawn and Liam Miller R.I.P.

A Magpie

Photo: Graham Davies


The MacSweeney family, Librarians

A while back we were talking about Listowel library.  I received an email from Billy MacSweeney outlining his families long association with the library;

"Vincent is correct about the Carnegie Library. The original Carnegie
Library in Listowel was where Mick ("Four Goals") Barrett has his Tyre
Centre on Bridge Road. In my youth it was a shell. I was told that my
Grandmother Annie (nee Carmody) Gleeson was the first Librarian,
followed for a short time by her daughter Jo and then by my mother
Maisie (nee Gleeson) McSweeney, each of whom did some training in
Trinity College. The Library burned down but I have no further
information. The next Carnegie Library at the top of Church St was built
sometime before 1940. My mother was the Librarian there until she
retired;  each of my brothers and sisters acted as unofficial librarians
in their turn as we grew up. It was a great education for us."

Dave O'Sullivan said he'd look up a few things in the newspapers. Here are a few library related cuttings he found.


Stokers Lawn, off John B. Keane Road, Listowel,

Winter  2018


R.I.P. Liam Miller

Photo; Féach News on Twitter

Cork footballer, Liam Miller who passed away at the weekend at the age of 36, had played for Ireland, Cork, Celtic and Manchester United.

"Golden lads and girls all must

As chimney sweepers come to dust."

Sad beyond words.


A Few Corrections

Here are a few corrections to the list of Listowel people who went to Leinster House as the guests of Dan Moloney, T.D. after their victory in Athlone in 1959.

Front Row From Left:

Jeffrey O’Connnor (Cahirciveen,  Sheila Keane’s Husband)
Brendan Carroll   (William St)
Margaret Dillon     (She played Sive)
John B. Keane        
Cecile Cotter  (‘Tasty Cotter’s’ daughter– Scully’s Corner used to be called Cotter’s Corner)
Nora Relihan
Dan Moloney T.D., (grandfather of Jimmy Moloney)

Second Row Left to Right
John Cahill,  (Main St.,)
Hilary Neilsen, (Bridge Road)
Siobhan Cahill (Main St.)
Bill Kearney  (Lr. William St. – where The Shebeen is now)
Harry Geraghty  (Bank of Ireland or maybe National Bank?)
Eamon Keane 
Mrs. Peggie Walsh  ( The Square)

Back Row, Left to Right
John Flaherty  (Charles St)
Margaret Moloney (Gurtinard)
Kevin O'Donovan (Upper William St)
Seamus Ryle  (Nora Relihan’s brother)
Ina Leahy  (Leahys, Market St)
Dr. Johnny Walsh
Peg Schuster  (John B’s sister)