Monday, 24 April 2017

Listowel Tidy Towns and Scoil Realta na Maidine Walk

Photo: Lisa Egan of Mallow Camera Club for their People at Work project

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Listowel Tidy Towns Committee working tirelessly...as usual.



One morning while on my morning walk I happened upon this group of Listowel Tidy Town Folk with ecologist Aoibhinn down by the river.

They were planting nettles!

That is not the whole truth. They were planting meadowsweet as well as the nettles, herbs and other wild flowers to attract the birds and the bees to our community fruit and nut orchard.


 The week before they had been out cleaning all the approach roads as part of the County Clean initiative. Above is the pile of rubbish they collected.



Ever so often I come across another little garden that they have planted. This one is by the river at the corner of the picnic area.


This perfect picnic area is in the garden by the old ball alley.


In a few years time you will be able to pick some apples and nuts for your dessert from the nearby trees.






This bed is by the arch.

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Scoil Realta na Maidine

On Easter Saturday 2017 they had a great time at the boys school. They had a 20 k and 10k walk and they had an old style town league.

I encountered some of the marathon walkers as I was strolling with my Easter visitors. Here for you is just a very small selection of the many people who walked on this lovely spring morning.














(more tomorrow)

By the way, Country won the town league.

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Believe it or Not

I learned a fascinating fact as I was listening to the radio at the weekend.
Bowls are the fastest selling pieces of crockery or some time now. The sale of plates is at an all time low.
Is this a fashion fad?
Partly but people who study these things think that the rise in the use of bowls rather than plates is due to the change in the way people eat meals nowadays. Sitting at the table together is a thing of the past. People eat on their own on the sofa or in an armchair. Even if they sit at the table, they are checking in on their social media feed as they eat. Bowls are more convenient as food is less likely to spill from them.


Friday, 21 April 2017

Public Benches, Sundays in the 1950s and painting at St. John's

Photo: Elizabeth O'Connell of Mallow Camera Club for their People at Work project

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Public Seating invites us to Linger

We are very lucky in Listowel to have an abundance of public seats in beautiful corners of our town. They just invite the walker or sight seer to rest a while. Here are a few I photographed lately





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The Way we Were From Jim Costello's Asdee Miscellany


"In days gone by we had a six day week where Saturday was an ordinary working day and Saturday night was spent preparing for Sunday. Sundays and church holidays were days of rest and no servile work was done. If the weather was very bad of a year, the priests gave permission to farmers from the altar during Sunday mass to save their crops. Even with the approval of the clergy, some farmers still would not work on the land on Sundays."
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As I remember it Sunday was a day for visiting. My father would tackle up the horse and we would pile into the trap and go to visit our relatives who lived a few miles away. We would still be dressed in our "Sunday best" so we had to be on our best behaviour and keep our good clothes clean. As soon as we got home they would be put away until next Sunday. If there was no visiting on the agenda we changed out of our best attire immediately after mass. 
If the visitors were coming to us, it would be for a few hours in the afternoon between dinner and tea. They always brought sweet cake and there would be chatting and tea drinking for the adults all afternoon.
If we were not either visiting or being visited we used to listen to the radio or read.  Maureen Potter's "C'mon Christy," was always part of Sundays as was The Clitheroe Kid's "Ow, me leg!"
We always did the crossword in The Sunday Press. This was no trial of skill really, just guesswork. I always hoped we'd win. We never did. My mother loved to take a shot at Spot the Ball. Again we never had any luck there either.

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Work at St. John's



As I was walking in the Square I spotted a cherry picker accessing the roof of St. John's



Our Arts Centre is getting a lick of paint

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Cherry Blossom Time

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Stacks Mountains, Sonny Bill update

Photo by Donal Murphy of Mallow Camera Club from their People at Work project

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The Stack's Mountains  by John B. Keane (continued)

I returned every year to the Stacks’ Mountains for those long summer holidays until I reached the age of fifteen. I still frequently return to the warm secure home where I was reared when Hitler was shrieking his head off in Berlin and innocent Irishmen were dying in distant places like Tobruck and Alamain, men from The Stacks at that, long before their time, in useless carnage, carefree boys whose only weapon until that timewere the hayfork and the turf slean, who wanted only the right to work and play and find a place at the table.
I had already written a short book about the matchmaker Dan Paddy Andy O’Sullivan but if his name crops up now and again, don’t hold it against me. Dan was to The Stacks’ Mountain what bark is to a tree. Any cur síos about the Stack’s Mountain would be incomplete without Dan Paddy Andy. Dan would, no doubt, have been the most famous name in the area. The wealthiest is a man in England who doesn’t like having his name mentioned.
The Second World War was the best time to be in The Stacks Mountain. There was no man nor boy who didn’t have a shilling in his pocket. There was an insatiable demand for turf and Lyreacrompane was the home of it. Man, woman and child took to the bogs across the summers and, for the first time in the history of that much abused, much deprived community every person who wasn’t disabled or sick had a pound or two to spare.
Buyers would come from Tralee, Castleisland, Abbeyfeale and Listowel on the lookout for likely roadside ricks to fill the wagons waiting at the railway depots in the aforementioned towns.  Those who journed to the towns with horse, ass, mule and pony rails were often met a mile outside with buyers with orders to fill. In addition, Kerry County Council initiated a turf cutting campaign in order to supply cheap fuel to the many institutions under its care. This even ensured jobs for townies if they wanted them.
In The Stacks there were no villages but there were several shops such as Lyre Post Ofice, Doran’s, Nolan’s and McElligott’s and, of course, there was Dan Paddy Andy’s famous dance hall at the crossroads of Renagown. There were three or four visiting butchers and fish mongers and occasional travelling salesmen. Mostly Pakistani with huge trunks of wispy undergarments, scarves and frocks perched precariously on the carriers of ancient bicycles. I remember two of these quite well.
There was Likey Nicey Tie and Likey Nicey Knickeys. The latter often indicated that he was prepared to  exchange his wares for the favours of the country ladies. As far as I know he never did any business in this fashion. In our youthful ignorance we would stalk them as far as the cross of Renagown shouting “Likey Nicey Tie”, Likey Nicey Knickeys and, most heinous of all, “Likey Pig’s Bum.”
We had been informed by hobside knowalls that these dark coloured salesmen would be damned if they ate any kind of pig’s meat but doubly damned if it was the rear of the pig.  We didn’t know any better. We were young and backward and wouldn’t know prejudice from the prod of a thorn.

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Continuing his winning ways




If you don't know who Sonny Bill is or why a show horse with only the most tenuous of Listowel connections is featuring today, just go ahead to the next item or, if you have an hour to spare, look him up on the blog and you will get the whole story.

For anyone wondering how my favourite horse is doing in his new home, well, its all good news. He has started his 2017 showing season with two wins, one show champion win and one reserve, (meaning second overall for best in show). The photos were sent from the U.K. by Rebecca Collins.

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When is a fountain not a fountain?




A while ago I posted this photo of Castleisland's fountain. As we can see it is not actually a fountain in the traditional sense but it's a Kerry fountain. Margaret Dillon took the time to remind me that there was also such a fountain in Listowel at Ballygologue cross. Listowel's fountain was also a water pump.
In Castleisland's case I wonder if the pillar behind the pump has anything to do with the water supply. Could it be some sort of folly?

Mario Perez celebrates the Choctaw Nation

Photo: Ita Hannon

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A washboard

This was once the latest in laundry technology. Who needs a gym when one has one of these to work out on.



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 Beautiful Ballybunion

On April 1 2017 I took a walk in the sunshine along Ballybunion beach and along the cliff walk. Very often when material for the blog is drying up and I feel that its all getting a bit repetitive, something happens to restore my faith and give me the impetus to carry on. Such an encounter happened to me as I left my car. A lady I didn't know approached me and introduced herself as a blog follower. She told me that her uncle had written a memoir of his childhood and growing up in Asdee in the 1940s. She promised me a copy of the book. 

She was as good as her word.

 I grew up in the 1950s so many aspects of our upbringing were the same. I look forward to bringing you more reminiscences from Asdee...A Rural Miscellany. 
Thank you, Anne Marie Collins

As I made my way to the beach I saw that Mario Perez, Ballybunion's beach artist, was at work.


Mario cut a solitary figure as he painstakingly created yet another work of art.




I approached him and Mario kindly took time out to let me photograph him and to explain what his latest artistic creation was celebrating.

The event he was commemorating was the generous act of the Choctaw Nation to help alleviate the suffering of the Irish people during the Famine.

Here is an account from Irish Central;

On March 23, 1847, the Indians of the Choctaw nation took up an amazing collection. They raised $170 for Irish Famine relief, an incredible sum at the time worth in the tens of thousands of dollars today.

They had an incredible history of deprivation themselves, forced off their lands in 1831 and made embark on a 500 mile trek to Oklahoma called “The Trail of Tears.” Ironically the man who forced them off their lands was Andrew Jackson, the son of Irish immigrants.

On September 27, 1830, the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek was signed. It represented one of the largest transfers of land that was signed between the U.S. Government and Native Americans without being instigated by warfare. By the treaty, the Choctaws signed away their remaining traditional homelands, opening them up for European-American settlement. The tribes were then sent on a forced march

As historian Edward O’Donnell wrote “Of the 21,000 Choctaws who started the journey, more than half perished from exposure, malnutrition, and disease. This despite the fact that during the War of 1812 the Choctaws had been allies of then-General Jackson in his campaign against the British in New Orleans.’

Now sixteen years later they met in their new tribal land and sent the money to a U.S. famine relief organization for Ireland. It was the most extraordinary gift of all to famine relief in Ireland. The Choctaws sent the money at the height of the Famine, “Black 47,” when close to a million Irish were starving to death.
Thanks to the work of Irish activists such as Don Mullan and Choctaw leader Gary White Deer the Choctaw gift has been recognized in Ireland.

In 1990, a number of Choctaw leaders took part in the first annual Famine walk at Doolough in Mayo recreating a desperate walk by locals to a local landlord in 1848.

In 1992 Irish commemoration leaders took part in the 500 mile trek from Oklahoma to Mississippi. The Choctaw made Ireland’s president Mary Robinson an honorary chief. They did the same for Don Mullan.

Even better, both groups became determined to help famine sufferers, mostly in Africa and the Third World, and have done so ever since.


The gift is remembered in Ireland. The plaque on Dublin's Mansion House that honors the Choctaw contribution reads: "Their humanity calls us to remember the millions of human beings throughout our world today who die of hunger and hunger-related illness in a world of plenty."

When I came home I checked in with Mario's Facebook page and here is his finished sand picture. It represents the seal of the Choctaw Nation. It took Mario six hours to craft this perfect piece.




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When the Pope Came


Photo from a Facebook page devoted to photos of old Dublin

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John B. Keane Memorial in the Garden of Europe


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Easter 2017 at Scoil Realta na Maidine


They had a big weekend of fundraising at the boys school. I took a good few photos of the marathon and half marathon runners and walkers. I'll post them next week.


Meanwhile Ned O'Sullivan spotted his young self in some photos on display in the school.