Friday, 19 April 2019

Ballybunion, Listowel History Festival and Cough Syrup from another age

Sing, Sing a Song of Joy.....
Photo; Ita Hannon


On the Long Strand 

Weather is predicted to be balmy this weekend so make the most of it.  Why not take a trip to Ballybunion.

Photos; Knockanure Local


A Skillet

You sometimes see these pots nowadays used as planters but their original use was for cooking food for human or animal consumption . This cooking was done over an open fire.


Sad News

This was taken in Listowel Town Square in 2015 during the annual history festival.

Thi festival has been cancelled for 2019 and it looks like it is unlikely to happen again. Our thanks to the hard working dedicated team who had the vision to set it up and the stamina to hold it for so many years in the teeth of rising costs. Thanks for the memories.


To Kill or to Cure

What on earth could the "other essentials" be?

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Lislaughtin Holy Well, Whiskey for a Writer and a Powerful Poem

 Young people enjoying a game of pitch and putt in Childers' Park Listowel in March 2019


Spotted in the Off Licence window

Sounds like just the think for the writer in your life.


St. Laictín of Lislaughtin

In Lislaughtin Abbey.
About a mile from Tarbert Parish there is a well over which is a bush. One evening two men sat near the well, one was chewing tobacco and as he did so he began spitting into the well. Suddenly he thought a rat ran up his leg, and in his effort to keep the rat from running up he felt the supposed rat in the other leg. He tried to restrain the rat from running up the second leg but the rat went over to the first. The supposed rat ran over the man’s body and he stripped himself on the road but no rat was to be seen. It was no rat but that was his punishment for spitting in the well.

Alice Mc Carthy- Address, Tarbert, Co. Kerry
Informant, Richard Curran, Age 78 Address Tarbert, Co. Kerry
Local Patron Saint
(name not given)
The following story was told to me by my father a few nights ago.
The patron Saint of Ballylongford is St. Laictín. The townland of Lislaughtin is called after him and it means the “Fort of Laictín”.
It is said that he lived in Lislaughtin Abbey but in the year 1478 a man named Smith said of an older Church being there dedicated to Saint Laictín.
Saint Laichtín’s feast day is kept on the 19th March. Before he died he walked around Lislaughtin and blessed it. It is said that he was buried in the Church near the Altar with other Monks and Priests.
There is a Well called after him and it is known as “Laichtín’s Well”. It is in the land of Mrs. Sullivan in the townland of Lislaughtin. It is said that he visited the Well on the 13th May 758 with other followers. There are no rounds paid at the Well because it is not certain whether he visited it or now.


A Powerful Poem from Facebook

Barbara Derbyshire shared Viola Wilkins poem and the accompanying picture.

When this horror ends (because it will end), 
we will do museums and in the showcases 
there will be shoes, letters, small photos, 
Cards, hair, pile of torn cl
And there will be school classes 
that will wonder how this has been possible.
And there will be survivors who remember 
"if it was human” thinking of Primo Levi.
And there will be intellectuals, well-thinking, 
of all variety that agree “never again this"
There will be TV shows where they interview our contemporaries
And there will be those who will say that they only obeyed the orders. 
And there will be those who will explain they had the courage to disobey
And as always there are those too busy on the shopping channels
Who will say "we didn't know"
And there will be grandchildren 
who are going to ask their grandparents
on which side were you ?
And there will be grandparents, a few,
who will answer with truth "I was on the side of humanity".
And there will be others who will drop their eyes and will not answer.
........ A. Nonymus

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Gurtinard Wood, Tidy Town seat, Frank Sheehy and Finuge's New Jersey

Remembering a popular teacher and a great servant of the GAA who died in Nigeria.

I previously published the below biography in 2013

Who was Frank Sheehy?
The question is answered by Vincent Carmody 

Frank was born in 1905 to John J.(b 1870) and Annie Sheehy.(b 1874) His father served as a drapery assistant in the Listowel and his mother was a native of Tipperary. Frank was the youngest of 4 children, with a brother John (b 1898), Margaret(b 1899) and Ellen ( b 1901).

He received his primary education at the Boys' National School, only 3 doors up the street from his home,. After this he attended St Michael’s College where he was a classmate of Seamus Wilmot among others.
 Having achieved an M.A. at University College Dublin he then applied for and was accepted to attend at St. Patrick's Training College 1932-1934 to complete his studies to become a National Teacher. Among his colleagues at this time was the redoubtable Sean O Síocháin, later to become a long time General Secretary to the Gaelic Athletic Association. OSíocháin, in a tribute to Frank in 1981 wrote, ‘I first made his acquaintance in 1932/1934 as a student teacher in the Primary School attached to St. Patrick’s Teacher Training College, in Drumcondra, Dublin, where Frank had established himself as one of the great primary teachers of his time. In the following years, through the thirties and into the forties, we worked in after-school hours for the Comhar Dramaíochta, in the production and promotion of plays in Irish, he as runaí and I as a junior actor and sometimes Bainisteoir Stáitse. His high efficiency, his drive and his sense of humour streamlined many a situation for amateur actors which, otherwise might have been chaotic. During the forties, as Principal of an Endowed Primary School in Oldcastle, Co. Meath, gave him a distinction enjoyed by few in Primary Education, while his period in that part of Co. Meath, which coincided with that of the incomparable Paul Russell as Garda Sergeant, transformed the town and the district into a mini-Kingdom all their own’.

He returned to his native town in the early 1950s and quickly immersed himself in the local club and county GAA scene. He became Chairman of the county board in 1953 and many would say that he indeed was the spark that ignited the Kerry Senior team to regain the Sam Maguire, the first since 1946. That year he also organised the golden jubilee of the county’s first All Ireland success in 1953 and he was also instrumental in initiating the scheme that allowed Kerry All Ireland medal holders the right to apply for two tickets whenever the county reached the final. 

He was appointed as principal of the senior boys’ school on his return to Listowel, a position he held until 1960. He served as Munster Council President from 1956-1958 and was narrowly beaten for the Presidency of the GAA by Dr.J.J.Stuart. 

In 1961 he went to Nigeria, Africa, to take up a position of Professor of Educational Science at a training college in Asaba. He died there in 1962.
Listowel sports field is named ‘Pairc Mhic Shithigh’ in his honour.


Gurtinard Walk

It is lovely to walk in Gurtinard Wood at this time of year.

This set is surrounded by wild garlic.

This new seat by the pitch and putt club hut is a gift to the town from the Tidy Town Group.


The Most Stylish team in the North Kerry Championship

When you have a fashion designer in your club.....

Photos and text from Paul Galvin on Facebook

Finishing up the Finuge senior club jerseys for 2019. Under-designed so as to promote color, meaning & identity. 
•Deep green & gold color combination. 
•Finuge Cross printed on the sleeves where 4 sides of the parish come together to play shoulder to shoulder.
•The parish map co-ordinates sit alongside to drive identity.
•Sampled 3 different sleeve lengths, went for a half-sleeve covering the bicep to the top of the elbow which I think is under-utilized in jersey design. Finished product to come

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

April Horse fair, The Kindness of Friends and St. Senan's Well

Celtic crosses in St. Michael's  Cemetery, Listowel


It's a Good Day When

Your friend brings you scones, just because.......

A U.S. friend sends a card to say she appreciates what you do.


I wasn't the only one taking photos at the horse fair. I ran into Steve and Helena on Market Street.

 sellers, buyers and some of the goods and animals for sale on April 4 2019


Spotted on a Listowel Window


St. Senan's Well

Tarbert School collection. Nora Scanlon Dooncaha.
Our Holy Wells
There is a well in Tarmons known as St. Senan’s. It is in the corner of Buckley’s field in Ballintubber.
This well is not deep and a stream flows out of it. Always in the month of May people pay rounds at this well on every Saturday of the month.
This is how people pay rounds. People pick up seven pebbles out of the stream and then kneel down at the well and start reciting the Rosary. Then they start at the right hand side of the well and walk slowly all round reciting a decade of the Rosary while going round. At the end of each decade they throw one pebble away. Then when the seventh round is paid they kneel down and finish the Rosary. Then they take three drinks out of the well and wash their faces at the stream. Then they usually tie a piece of string on an overhanging bush. It is said that according as the cloth wears away the disease wears off the patient.
It is called St. Senan’s well because it was St. Senan who blessed its waters. From the well you can see the ruins of seven churches and round tower in Scattery built by St. Senan.
There are no fish in the well and the water is not used for household purposes. Once a woman went to fill her kettle at the well. She forgot to bring a vessel with which to fill her kettle. She left her kettle at the well and went back for a saucepan. When she returned the well had disappeared and the bush with it. It went from the top of the hill to the side where it is now.
Transcribed by a member of our volunteer transcription project.
Collector- Bernadette O’ Sullivan- Informant Gerald O Sullivan, Age 60, Address, Tarbert, Co. Kerry

Monday, 15 April 2019

Convent Cross, 1916 Commemorative Manhole Cover, Kennedy Home, Holy Wells and Buying a Duck

 Calvary at Convent Cross


Manhole Cover

Because Listowel was undergoing road repairs in 2016 when these special commemorative manhole covers were commissioned we have a few of these at locations around the town. This one is on Upper Church Street.


Kennedy Home Then And Now


Holy Wells on the Move

( from Dúchas school folklore collection)

Local Place Names
Collector Jeremiah Clancy- Age 11-Informant, Patrick Ahern, Age 70, Occupation, labourer
In a farm in Gortdromagowna owned by Thomas OConnor there stands a well called St. Mary’s well. The field is known as the Blessed Well Field. People from this parish and the surroundings go there to pay their rounds in May.

The Blessed Well
Collector Annie Heffernan, Tarmon West.
There is a blessed well in Mr. John Buckley’s field. It is St. Senan’s Well. There is a story connected with this well. First it was situated in Kelly’s land and now it is relocated to its present loacation.

It is said that the servant of the house took water from this well to wash clothes and next morning it had disappeared.
Many people go to the blessed well during the year to pay rounds. They go on the Saturday before May, and on the Saturday before St. John’s Day.


Buying a Duck at the April Horsefair

On April 4 2019 on Market Street Listowel I came upon this family taking a great interest in the poultry seller and particularly his ducks. He had  a variety of healthy looking young ducks for sale.

This little man was very adamant that this was the one he wanted. Even though the duck was heavier than he anticipated, he was delighted with his new purchase.


Good Job, Firemen

Photo; John Curtin

Extensive damage was done to this Ballybunion premises on Friday night. Our hard working fire  fighting personnel did a good job and thankfully there was no loss of life.


Women in Media

The full programme has been revealed.

official promotional photo

See what's in store;

Women in Media 2019

Friday, 12 April 2019

Ballybunion. Little Lilac Studio, April 2019 Horse Fair, the public loo in 2019

Ballybunion in March 2019 photographed by Bridget O'Connor


The Last Project

I have sadly delivered the last Little Lilac Studio project to my grandchildren


Listowel's Public Convenience

Listowel's public toilet on Market Street has some state of the art features that are meant to make it attractive to patrons.

It is wheelchair friendly. It costs 25cents to spend a penny. It has instructions in several languages including Braille. For hearing impaired people there are audio instructions.


Wells and Place Names from Dúchas School Folklore Collection

There is a well situated in Mrs. David Dillon's farm. At this day the well goes by the name of Tobair na Giolláin. The people say the English of it is the well of the flies. At first the well was situated near a hedge in the field but one morning a woman rinsed clothes in it and when the people came to the well it was dried up but it sprang up about four perches from the place. The people are still taking water out of it but the old people always said it was a blessed well.
Collector- Martin Connelly,Address, Kilteean, Co. Kerry. From Drom Muirinn School
Informant, Mrs K. Quilter

The name is still used by the local inhabitants and probably means the Glen of the Quern. It is beside this glen the “brittlen” woman used to be heard.

In the farm of Pat Trant Jnr, Behins, there was a blessed well. This was known to the older people as Tobar Uí Leidhin. There was an old midwife living in Behins named Moll Barry. One May morning she went to the well for a can of water. She had hardly reached the well when she was lifted off the ground and the next place she found herself was below at the monument in Lixnaw, spirited away by the good people.

Beside the well there was a graveyard. A glen beside it is still known as Gleann Dóighte.
Beside our house is a place called Pike, on the main road between Listowel and Castleisland. Old Ned Prendiville use to say that there were two gates here and everybody who passed the way with cattle or cars had to pay a toll of a halfpenny. There was also a pound there. There is a Dispensary at Pike. In this building was the old National school whose first teacher was John O’Connor. O’Connor was not long there when he had to flee the country owing to his connection with the Fenians. Then came my Grandfather old Master Lynch who taught there for six years and who opened the school at Rathea in 1875.

My Grandfather was a native of Knockanure. He used to tell stories about a woman name Joan Grogan of Knockanure. This woman used to be “out” with the good people. One night they were on their way to Castleisland to decide whether a girl there name Brosnan was to be taken away or not. On their way they called in to my grandfather’s aunt the wife of Michéal Ruadh Kirby of Behins and took her snuff box as a joke. Micéal Ruad’s wife met her a few days after at the big fair in Listowel (13th May). Joan asked her did she miss her snuff box on such a morning and she said she did. Micheal Ruadh’s wife told her she heard them laughing in the kitchen that night.
Maureen Lynch
M’athair Muiris Ó Loingsig O.S a d’innis an méid sin dom. Rathea Listowel.

Thursday, 11 April 2019

April Horse Fair, Tidy Town Judges favourites and a Holy Well

Minnie posing in Ballybunion at evening time.   Photo by Bridget O'Connor


April Horse Fair 2019

Market Street was busy on April 4th as a big crowd attended the street fair.

Cabbage plants

Scealláns or seed potatoes. I remember long hours spent cutting them and preparing them for planting.

Saddles and other assorted horse related tack.


Mentioned in The Tidy Towns Judges Report

The Tidy Towns adjudicators had mostly positive things to say about Listowel. A few places in particular they loved. They loved the Pat MacAulliffe plasterwork and they praised the people who preserve it. 

They loved the houses along the John B. Keane Rd by the Lartigue museum. The one below, No. 6 was a favourite.

Their report mentioned this tribute to Ireland's most popular car.


A Holy Well, a moving experience

(from the Dúchas folklore collection)

There was a blessed well in Jim Woulfe’s field and one day they washed clothes in it and that night the well changed out to Tom O’Connor field which was two fields away. People used go there on Sundays and especially Sundays of May. Some people used go there to get cured from some disease they had and they would leave a piece of cloth on the bushes round the well. They used also go around the well three times to every rosary they would say. It is called Sunday's Well. If you were to be cured at some wells you would see a fish.
Eileen Shine
Gortdromasillahy, Co. Kerry