Thursday, 19 July 2018

Ballygologue Cross, The Feale in Summer 2018 and The Abbey in 1963

Ballybunion as you've rarely seen it

Photo credit; Salva Tore


Is this the best kept corner of Listowel?

 This is Ballygologue Cross, always in pristine condition.

Across the road is the entrance to Hawthorn Drive, another pristine estate.


Started Early, Took my dog

Molly posed by a local landmark just to prove to her family that she is seeing all the sights while she is on her Kerry holidays.

We took our early morning walk by The Feale, which is the driest I have ever seen it.


An Old Abbey programme

Mary McKenna of Newbridge brought me an old Abbey programme when she came for the John B. Keane Festival.

Health and Safety in 1963 was the spraying of Jeyes'  Floral Spray

"Ireland's gift to a thirsty world"

Ah, The Queen's!

So many of the Abbey greats!

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Hay and Tae in Bromore in Summer 2018, Ballybunion and Smores

Life's a Beach...Ballybunion July 2018


Hay and Tae in Bromore

Every year Michael Flahive organises a unique event at his farm near Ballybunion. This year in ideal weather his meitheal saved the hay the old fashioned way. A man who posts on Facebook as Salva Tore took these priceless photos.

This is the meitheal gathered for the photo when the work was done.

This is how they took the photo from that angle. No drone here.

Here the men are piking the gathered hay on to the wynn and Michael is spreading it and shaping the cock. There is a special skill in that job. You do not want to peak too soon. My poor dead mother would have a heart attack if she saw that man in bare feet with so many pikes about.

This haymaking was done to musical accompaniment.

You've heard of piping the captain on board his ship or piping the bride into the wedding breakfast but this is a new one, piping the farmer on to the wynn.

 What a lovely picture as Michael holds the next farmer who may make hay in a different way.

Sliding off the wynn can take a bit of skill too. Dried hay can be very slippery.

All the loose hay is combed down from the wynn and the whole lot is secured with a súgán. A súgán is a rope made from twisted hay.


Late Evening Ballybunion July 2018

 My young visitors were playing in the sea until late evening every evening.


Sunny's Hair and Beauty, Church Street


Please sir, may I have s'more

Here are my grandchildren and friend roasting marshmallows over a disposable barbecue to make smores.

I never heard of this delicacy until last week but its amazing what you can learn from children.

s'more is a traditional nighttime campfire treat popular in the United States and Canada, consisting of a fire-roasted marshmallow and a layer of chocolate sandwiched between two pieces of graham cracker.[1] National S'mores Day is celebrated annually on August 10.[2] The Guinness World Record for number of people making s'mores at one time was 423, set April 21, 2016, in Huntington Beach, California.[3  

That last is not from the children. It's from Wikipaedia. We didn't have Graham crackers so we 
improvised with digestive biscuits.


John B. Keane Festival

As part of the festival to celebrate John B. Keane on July 19 to 21 2018, there will be an 
exhibition of photographs at
The Seanchaí. Here is one from the Seanchaí's collection

Some of the founders of Listowel Writers' Week with Marie Keane of RTE.

Seamus Wilmot, John B. Keane, Bryan MacMahon, Marie Kean and Tim Danaher

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Macra na Feirme 1968, a new Social Service at Listowel FRC and Full Museum Status for The Seanchaí

 Littor earlier in summer 2018 photographed by Elizabeth Brosnan


Macra Dance 1968


A New Service at Listowel Family resource Centre

This new service is for anyone who is feeling lonely. It will help everyone but most especially people who might feel a bit at a loose end and in need of company.

This service is called "social prescribing" and the social prescriber will help put you in touch with local groups and activities that will help you integrate into the community.

Your GP might refer you for this programme or you can refer yourself. Just call the Listowel FRC 06823584 and ask for MayEllen or drop her an email

Mary Ellen will organise a chat with you and if you need company going to one of her recommended activities she will come with you and support you every step of the way.

Some of the groups you might like to join are

Man's Shed
Park Run
Active Retirement
Tidy Towns
Knitting group


Mary Ellen has set up a new walking group which meets on Mondays at 7.00 p.m. at the  Convent Primary School. That's a good place to start, some gentle exercise and chat and absolutely no pressure.

If you are feeling a bit lonely or stressed just now this service might be just the thing for you. If you know someone who could benefit from a chat with Mary Ellen do encourage them to make the call. She is lovely, really approachable and understanding. I felt better for talking to her.


Sunset in Ballybunion: Summer 2018

It's just like the good old days with crowds on the strand at 10.30 p.m.


Finding Shelter

Dogs are good at finding a shady spot. A man who appeared to know told me that fish are good at finding shade too.  The fish in the Feale will be sitting out the drought in deep holes.


Exciting Times at The Seanchaí

Cara Trant and members of the board of The Seanchaí travelled to Kilkenny recently to receive the award of full museum status for Listowel's Writers' Centre which is going from strength to strength.

This week is a big week in The Seanchaí with the festival to celebrate what would have been the 90th birthday of John B. Keane.

Here is the programme;


Say (Swiss) Cheese!

Holidaying in Listowel with her dad, Cliff Gore, is Helen Mitchell and her family. I met them on Courthouse Road just after they arrived.

Monday, 16 July 2018

Kerry Ancestors, Sheehys of main Street and Altered Images

Bridge Road, July 2018

My old Friends Remembered

There is a lovely little shady corner in Listowel Town Park dedicated to the memory of three great Listowel brothers. I first came to know Martin, Michael and John Sheehy through the internet where I came to know them as men who retained a great love for their native Listowel even though they all had spent more years away from it than in it.

I "met" John first when I started contributing to the Listowel thread of My contributions to that forum were very much an early form of this blog. I used to post photographs and snippets of news and John invariable replied and encouraged me. There was a time when he used to return "home' every year but that time had passed by the time I knew him so we never met.

John still retained a great grá for his hometown. His time growing up in Main Street and summering in Ballybuinion held very special memories for him. Of course his twin brother Jerry still lives here and once when I posted a photo of Jerry, John emailed me to tell me to urge him to wear his cap because it was getting very cold.

I kept up a correspondence with John right up to his untimely death. He shared many stories and photographs with me over the years and I regarded him as a friend.

The Sheehy brothers were one of those extraordinary Listowel families who raised bands of really intelligent men. Marty was probably the brightest of them. If I recall correctly he achieved a first in Ireland in Leaving Cert Greek (or was it Latin?). He went on to forge a very successful career in medicine and later medical insurance in the U.S. I met him often on his annual trips home. He was very appreciative of what I do and gave me every encouragement to keep going with the news from home.

Michael used to come every year for Listowel Races. He and his family were regulars every day on the racecourse. He told me once that Listowel Connection was one of the highlights of his day.

They have all passed to their eternal reward now. Whenever I am in the park I will sit on their seat now and remember them and say a prayer. I think they'd like that.


Beautiful Paintwork at Altered Images

I was delighted last week to spot Fred Chute back painting again. This beautiful painting of the plaster work of Pat McAuliffe is done best by a Chute and Fred is the best of them all.

I hear that we are going to see many more of these old facades preserved, repaired and repainted in the future. They will add greatly to the overall beauty of our lovely town.


Strange Tales from the Petty Sessions

Did you read lately how Stormy Daniels was arrested for allowing a person to touch her while she was performing in a skimpy costume?
She broke an Ohio law that says that nude employees cannot touch or be touched by patrons other than family members while on the premise of a “sexually-oriented” establishment where they appear on regular basis.
The charges were later dropped.

Believe it or not our ancestors were very quick to take to the law to sort out their disputes and Kay Caball found some very interesting cases when she read through some of the transcripts of the Petty Sessions courts.
Nothing as ludicrous as the Ohio law but some interesting cases nonetheless and you can read about them in Kay's very interesting Kerry Ancestors' blogpost:
"Did your Kerry Ancestor pawn a coat, own a wandering pig, or ‘commit a breach of the Sabbath’?  While Genealogy in its purest form is defined in the English Dictionary as ‘a line of descent of a person or family from earliest known ancestor’, my training in Family History and Genealogy goes much further.  We don’t just concentrate on the dry details of date of birth, marriage and death without trying to find out how the person lived, in what circumstances, what was going on in their lives around their Kerry location at the time they lived and/or emigrated.   And lots more – if we can get a flavour of their personality, all the better.
One way of doing this is checking the Petty Session Registers.
The Petty Sessions handled the bulk of lesser legal cases, both criminal and civil. They were presided over by Justices of the Peace, who were unpaid and often without any formal legal training. The position did not have a wage, so the role was usually taken by those with their own income – in practice usually prominent landowners or gentlemen. Justice was pronounced summarily at these courts, in other words, without a jury."
This is just a flavour. Read the full post here;   

Molly at Convent Cross

One of the advantages of having a dog is that it forces you to get out and walk. While Molly is with me for her Kerry holiday she obligingly poses for me at local landmarks. Here she is on the seat beside one of the oldest postboxes in town.

A Fun Fact about a postbox

For three weeks in 1979 Ballymacra, Co Antrim had the world's most inconvenient post box.

In March 1979 workmen replaced the telegraph pole to which the pillar box was affixed. The workmen did not have the keys needed to release the clips that held the box in place so they raised the box over the top of the old pole and slipped it down the new one. 

The new pole was thicker than the old one and the box came to rest 9 feet above the ground. It remained there for 3 weeks and in that time people using the post box accessed it by stepladder.

Source: Foster's Irish Oddities by Allen Foster