Thursday, 13 August 2020

Paddy Faley R.I.P. , A New Fun Product and ball alley makeover at the planning stage

Howth Sunset

Photo; Eamon ÓMurchú


Dan, Paddy and Raymond
Tom Fitzgerald sent us the photograph. I gave you the names of Dan Keane and Paddy Faley. I knew someone would recognise the man on the right. Joe Harrington was my man.

Joe sent the following email.

Hi Mary,


The man beside Dan Keane is the late Paddy Faley from Glenbawn, west Limerick.  He was a great writer of verses, some very humourous, such as ‘Minding the House’.  He also wrote the Lyre anthem, ‘My Home in Sweet Lyreacrompane’. He never visited the place but got the details from a workmate from Lyre.  In his eighties we took him with us on one of our Irish Rambling House tours of England and he was a great hit with the exiles. It was his first time being abroad.


The man on the right was Raymond Brouder rip.   He was from the parish of Kilcolman in Co. Limerick and worked with Paddy on the Council. (On the roads I think).


Most of Paddy Faley’s rhymes were of a general and humourous nature or about places in Limerick. I must dig them out and see if any might suit your blog. I wrote the following on the occasion of the launch of a book of his verse seventeen years ago.  It appeared in the Lyreacrompane Journal back then.


Minding Paddy Faley

Message to Paddy Faley, the man who wrote 
“My Home in Sweet Lyreacrompane”,  on the
occasion of his book of verse launch at the
age of 84.


Between the covers of this book

A part of Paddy we will find

But no volume on a library shelf

Could capture full that lucid mind


From out Glenbawn that eagle eye

Observes the panoramic view

Of life as it unfolds its shape

In every creed and every hue


And in the verse that flows from out

The pen in Paddy Faley’s hand

You’ll find a record there that lists

The way we live in this fair land


And so while Paddy “Minds the House”

And wakes the memories in his rhyme

It’s right that we mind Paddy too

A gentle treasure of our time.


                                     October 26  2003






A Fun New Product with  a Listowel Connection

Listowel's talented designer, Anna Guerin, is behind this great new initiative

These beautiful cotton socks feature Irish scenes and symbols, e.g. Fungi and Cobh Cathedral
 and colorful streetscape.

Be sure to visit the website and you'll want them all.


A Close Encounter on the Cliff Walk

Photo: Bridget O'Connor


Ball Alley Painting update

from Listowel Tidy town on Facebook

A Huge thank you to local artists Erin Halpin, Michelle Quinn & Jack McKenna who along with Emer O'Connor (missing from pic) have volunteered to give Listowel's iconic Handball Alley a 'makeover' Seen here at the initial planning get together with their Mentor, established local artist, Micheal Kelleher & members of Listowel Tidy Towns. As they say: "Watch this space"

Wednesday, 12 August 2020

Knockanure Schoolgirls in the 1950s, Jowika and a Summer 2020 Wedding

Ross Castle photo; Eamon ÓMurchú


Mrs. O'Connor and Knockanure Girls in 1950's


Jowika Girls German Trip



New York NY Irish American Advocate

Sept 1 1962

SEVEN  North   Kerry  ladies  are  due   in   Solingen,   Germany,  this  week-end   to   begin   training   for   work   in  Listowel's   new  cutlery  factory.  The  young  ladies  left  Listowel  on  Wednesday  morning   and  the  over-land   trip   to    Solingen —the Sheffield    of   Germany—was   expected  to  take  three  day.  The senior  girl  in  the  party  was  Miss  Betty  Clancy,   of   St.  Brendan's  Terrace,  Listowel,   and  the  others  were  Jean  Nolan  and  Joan  Reidy,  O'Connell's   Avenue,   Listowel;  Teresa   O'Connor,   Behins,   Kathleen Flanagan,  Ballyduff;  Betty Leahy,  Harthill,  and  Sheila  Browne,  Ballyhorgan.  Another  party   of   five   girls  is  due  to  leave  for  Germany  at  the  end  of  this  month.  The Jowika  factory  began  production   some   months   ago  when  thirty-five  boys   had  completed  a  term   of   training   in   the   parent   factory  in  Solingen.  The    managing    director,    Mr.    Henrich    Weber,     told     The     Kerryman  he expected  that   the   Listowel     factory     would    have about  150  workers  on  the  payroll in eighteen  months  time.  At  the  moment  there  were   about  120.  The Listowel  factory  is  turning  out    pen,    pocket     and    kitchen    knives   and   is  about   to   go   into   the  production   of   manicure  sets, precision  tools and  other  branches  of  cutlery.   The   finished   product is exported   to   British  Commonwealth  countries  and  the  U.S.A-----------------------

Photo; The  Listowel  girls  who  left  this  week  for  training  in  Solingen,  Germany.  From  left:  Misses  Betty  Clancy,  Jean  Nolan,  Joan. Reidy, Teresa  O'Connor,   Kathleen Flanagan, Betty  Leahy    and   Sheila    Browne.  They  were seen off   by  the  managing  director  of  Jowika  (Ireland)  Ltd.,  Mr.  H.  Weber, and  Senator  D.  J.  Moloney.


A Post Lockdown Wedding

The first wedding in The Listowel Arms after its long lockdown was a joyful affair.  Aoife MacMahon and Shane Creamer were married in St. Mary's and had their post wedding celebrations in The Arms. There was much song and laughter enjoyed by their young and not so young guests.

Listowel Arms posted some lovely photos.

The wedding party on the steps of Listowel Castle, cradled in the arm of Aoife's illustrious grandfather, Bryan MacMahon. Lovely photograph!

Parents of  the bride, Judy and Owen MacMahon in The Listowel Arms


Still Picnicking

Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Old Listowel Folk, New Listowel folk, Lynch's of Main Street and a Dog Walk in the Garden of Europe

Photo; Eamon ÓMurchú

Listowel Ladies in Ballybunion

Babe Joe Wilmot/Collins and Mrs Sheehy from Main Street. I dont know the third lady's name. The picture was taken in Ballybunion in the 1940s or 50s


A Corner of Listowel


Continuing Helios' Cultural tour of Listowel

I met some lovely people on our walk. Helios photobombed every photo he was not meant to be in.

These lovely people, with Tarbert roots, were on staycation.

Tallon and Mary were introducing their puppy, Nala, a potential assistance dog in training, to the Garden.

The pitch and putt course is looking lovely.


From the papers

New York NY Irish American Advocate
27 Sept 1958 (Frank Thornton)

Kerry exile plans Irish concert tour; 

A KERRY-born Chicago policeman is organising a concert tour of Ireland next year by a group of young American boys and girls. But there will be no rock and roll—the programme will consist exclusively of traditional Irish music and song. The 47-year-old six-foot police-man, who was born in Kilbaha, outside Listowel, is holidaying in Ireland at present with his three sons and is laying the groundwork for the tour. The undertaking is sponsored by the 5,000 member Irish Musicians Association of America, which reaches out from New York to Philadelphia, Detroit, Boston, Pittsburg, Chicago, St. Louis and Houston. It will cost £5,000. 

The Association of which Mr. Thornton is President is affiliated to Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann. The 20-concert tour will be kicked off with three-hour performances by instrumentalists.


Ballybunion Garda Station in Summer 2020

Monday, 10 August 2020

Rail line in 1900, Hay and Ballybunion Toilet and Listowel Ball Alley

Photo; Eamon ÓMurchú at Ross Castle, Killarney


Saving the Hay in 2020

In Clonrobin outside Kanturk they are bringing in the hay for winter fodder. 

Fred Ward took the photos.


Ballybunion New Toilet

It's done and ready for use


Old Listowel Scene

This photo of MaiMai Gunn has resurfaced on the internet lately


Kerry Evening  Saturday, 10 February, 1900




MEETING AT NEWTOWNSANDES.  A large and representative meeting of the people of Newtownsandes district was held last Sunday, 4th inst, in the village in support of a railway from Tarbert Island, Ballylongford and Galey Bridge (for Newtownsandes) to Listowel, and for the purpose of obtaining a grant from the Government for the construction of same. 


Amongst those present were—Messrs M J Nolan, J P, C C; W Collins, D C; J M Hanrahan, D C; J B Nolan, John Stack, W Collins (Ahalahane), Edward Stack, C Lehane, Pat Culhane. H Windle, M D Kearney, Jas Walsh, J Nolan (G), Jerh Foran, D O'Connor, M Fitzmaurice, J Connor, Jerh Buckley, R Cunningham, E Scanlan, Jas Kissane, M Ahern, C O'Connor, E Mulvihill, E Flaherty. J Woulfe, P Enright, M D Enright, John O'Connor, Thos Mulvihill, M Scanlan, James Mulvihill, John Hanrahan, E O'Sullivan, W M'Elligott, E Pelican, John Collins, W Buckley, D Scanlan, Thomas de Lacy, etc, etc Proposed by Mr C Lehane, and seconded by Mr W Collins, D C—That Mr John Hanrahan, D C, do take the chair. Mr de Lacy was requested to act as secretary. 


Mr Hanrahan thanked them for asking him to preside at such an important meeting. He would call on Mr Nolan, C C, to explain to them what was being done by him in this matter. Mr Nolan, who was received with enthusiasm, said he was sorry that the meeting was not larger, due no doubt to a mistaken idea which some people had got into their heads, viz—that a guarantee should be given by the farmers of the district. But this was not the case. His intentions were—and he hoped they would be realised—that the Government would give a free grant of three-fourths of the cost of construction. He attended an important meeting of the IAOS recently in Dublin, and the President, the Hon Horace Plunkett, M P, in his annual address, made reference to the fact that under the provisions contained in the Agricultural and Industries Act, which will come into operation on 1st April next, that money would be available for any purpose calculated to benefit agriculture and other industries, and certainly this railway, when made, would materially assist these-industries in the district. This fact coupled with others, induced him to take the first available opportunity of benefitting by the Act.— 


Again, the  Financial Relations Commission proved clearly that a large sum was due to this impoverished country, and the Government could not devote a portion of that money to better work than promoting this railway, which has been spoken of for the past thirty or forty years. Naturally they might ask him where the remaining one-fourth would come from. His answer was that several railway companies would be only too anxious to furnish this portion and build and work the line. 


He had written to some of the landlords through whose lands the line would run, and they had given him assurance of their warm support. Mr Vesey Fitzgerald had promised him to take shares for the value of the land taken on his property. He trusted, therefore, that his hearers now would understand what was meant to be done, and that from the few remarks which he made that a guarantee would not he required. It was needless to point out to them the great benefit to the labouring classes the construction of this line would be, as it would give them employment for at least three years, and a good many of them permanent employment (applause). 


But that was not all the benefits the line would be productive of. It would complete a direct route between Killarney, Kilkee, and the West Coast of Ireland, and would serve to an incalculable degree to develop the tourist traffic through our county.


Mr Wm Collins, D C, proposed and Mr E Stack seconded—" That we respectfully ask the Government to give a grant of three-fourths of the cost of construction of a light railway—broad gauge—from Tarbert Island to Listowel via Ballylongford and Galey Bridge (for Newtownsandes) as it would be of the greatest benefit to the district in developing the agricultural and other industries of the locality, and will complete the tourist route in the South-West of Ireland, connecting Killarney with Kilkee, and the west coast and be of material benefit to the Government itself."


It was proposed by Mr J Walsh, seconded by Mr D Kearney, that copies of above resolution be sent to the Chief Secretary, the Vice President of the Board of Agriculture, the Secretary of the Congested Districts Board—as the proposed line will run through a Congested District—the M P's for Kerry, Clare, and Limerick, to Lord Kenmare, Lord Lieutenant of the county; Col Saunderson, and the Secretary of the County Council.

A vote of thanks was passed to Mr Hanrahan, D C, for presiding, and the proceedings terminated.


Listowel Ball Alley

Listowel's Ball alley has a great history of providing free entertainment for Listowel young people. I have told you the story before in Junior Griffin and John Fitzgerald's text and poems.

Nowadays young people here dont play handball any more. Maybe its time to revive the game. It's good healthy outdoor exercise.

Last week Listowel Tidy Town volunteers began a cleanup of the old ball court. The walls had proved too inviting for graffiti writers. Our friends in Tidy Towns are inviting local artists to decorate the walls. Before you attempt any artwork, contact the Tidy Town Committee as this project is being overseen and co ordinated by them.


Friday, 7 August 2020

Mike the Pies, An unequal match on a sloping field in 1900 and advice for seamstresses in 1949

Photo: Eamon ÓMurchú


Upstairs, Downstairs at Mike the Pies

They painted some silhouettes of well known Irish musicians on the upper wall of the facade of Mike the Pies.


 Matches in 1900.....and an unlevel playing field

Kerry Weekly Reporter Saturday, 31 March, 1900


Two matches in connection with the Listowel football and  hurling tournament were listed for discussion on Sunday List, but for some unaccountable reason one of the teams (Newcastle West Lord Edwards) did not put in an appearance, so that one of the Contests fell through. The other football match between Ballybunion and Newtowsandes, however, was played off and was witnessed with a good deal of interest. It was on the whole a well-contested game particularly during the first half hour .

Details—Play commenced shortly before three o'clock. Newtownsandes winning choice of sides played with the incline, and a slight breeze in their favour. For twenty minutes the play was of the most even description, neither side gaining the slightest advantage, until Newtownsandes scored their first point after a very stiff tussle with the Ballbunion backs, who with the goal keeper worked splendidly during the game. For the next eight or nine minutes the play changed quickly from one end of the field to the other. Newtownsandes Iost several opportunities of scoring Before half time was called they scored their second and last point leaving the play :  Newtownsandes - 2 pts. : Ballybunion -  nil.;

On play being resumed it was evident that the Ballybunion men from the stand they made during the first half would have matters much as they liked. Within two minutes after the resumption  of play they had scored a goal and a point, and a few minutes afterwards being awarded a fifty yards, Brennan connected it into a minor. For the following twenty minutes the play was of a more even  character. The Newtownsandes men made several excellent raids into their opponent’s territory, but without adding to their record. Ballybunion annexed another minor before time was called, leaving the final score: 

Ballybunion -  1 goal 4 pts (7 pts). Newtownsandes - 2 pts !

The teams _were:

Ballybunion—J Lavery (captain) ; W Lavery, J M’Mahon, J Mulvihill, J Foley, J Mahony, M Denihan, T Costelloe, M Quinlan, W Fitzmaurice, J Brennan, J Collins, J Beasley, D Walsh, E Murphy, M O'Brien and T M'Elligott.

Newtownsandes—M O'Connor (captain) ; P O'Connor, M J O'Connor, W McGrath, M Fitzgerald, M Mahony, E Connor, J Mulvihill, W Murphy, P Shanahan, M O'Connor, James Horgan, D Dineen, W Keane, T Hanrahan, D M'Enery and D Grady.

Mr Thomas F O'Sullivan. Referred the match, and the other officials were—goal umpires—Messrs W Dillon and J Curtin; linesmen—Messrs P O'Connor and P Foley.



It's Circus but not as we know it

John Kelliher took this picture of Circus Vegas in Listowel on August 5 2020. Adapting to Covid 19 restrictions the circus acts performed in the open air at Greenville to a drive- in audience.

Thursday, 6 August 2020

Murals, 1990 Pitch and Putt comp.,Helios' Visit and a Drive in Circus

Powerscourt: Eamon ÓMurchú


Kerry artist; Mike O'Donnell

Mike O'Donnell's intriguing artwork could turn up anywhere in Tralee. His subjects could be having a ball at UHK or sailing the high seas in the Jeanie Johnson.

He called this on "Time Flies".

They're up the walls in the canteen at Kerry University Hospital.

She sails again, the Jeanie Johnson


Inter firm Pitch and putt competition 1990

Left to right; Paddy Lynch, ?  , Michael Whelan, John O'Connor, Tom Fitzgerald, Willie Enright, Ian Nugent, Barry OLeary, Peter Curtin, Gabby McCarthy and Jim Maher


Helios in Kerry

I'm practicing my French on this canine visitor. He is Helios and he understands French. I have my 'Ici" perfected by now. Luckily for me he is a very obedient dog so he responds to an authoritative tone in any language. He is years older than my previous canine visitor so he doesn't require anything like the same amount of energy. He likes a walk, but nothing too tiring.
I have given him the guided tour of the town in stages.

The eagle eyed among you will spot a difference between day1 and day 2. It's the ears.

His first day in Kerry was spent in Woof, near Lisselton where the very competent groomer, Claire, gave him a make over. He had a mani pedi, a shampoo and blow-dry and he had all the long straggly hair on his ears clipped off. It took 10 years off him.


The Circus 2020 is different 

Wednesday, 5 August 2020

A Covid Picnic. Ceramics and Remembering Ahanagran

Photo: Eamon ÓMurchú


Picnic in Childers' Park in Summer 2020

During summer 2020, I have been enjoying the joys of outdoor dining with friends in Listowel Town Park. There is no shortage of great providers to buy the picnic. This week we bought our supplies at Halo, the home of great salads.

We took up our usual position under the magnificent ash tree which was planted by the Chinese ambassador some years ago. In his article in last week's Ireland's Own to mark the 50th anniversary of Listowel Writers' Week, Fr. Antony Gaughan refers to the visit of the ambassador during the literary festival. One of his jobs during his visit was the planting of this tree which has grown and flourished since and is now the shady location we chose for our picnics.

Our old friend, Dolores O'Connor joined us last week.

Unfortunately we chose the wrong day this time. The heavens opened and rained and rained on our parade. Undeterred, we'll be back again next week.


North Kerry Ceramics

This is Delia O'Donoghue, who sells her beautiful ceramics in Kilcooley's on Saturdays and will soon open her own shop in Castleisland. She makes some lovely and unusual things, ideal for that birthday or occasional present.

I lover her unique soap dish. Last week I picked up this lovely brooch as well. I feel entitled to treat myself in these tough times.

Another crafter with beautiful products for sale in Ballybunion Community Market is Siobhán Walsh of IBU Botanicals. I bought some of her unusual soaps to go with my new soap dish.

While I was talking to Delia I discovered that she is based in Knocknagoshel. I asked her if she knew another Knocknagoshel ceramicist who used to be part of the Listowel Blue Umbrella Co Operative. Sadly, she told me that Maura Mangan had passed away some years ago. 

In tribute to Maura I am going to show you the piece our children bought for our wedding anniversary. Maura made it especially for us from a design she worked on with the children.

It depicts parents enfolding their children in a cloak of love. The cloak, while protecting them does not block all of the outside world, allowing them to see and experience the world, safe in their family cocoon.


Remembering Ahanagran

I'm a bit late to the party on this one. I picked up Richard White's book in a charity shop. White is a historian and while the book is based on his mother's stories he does his best to connect the stories with historical facts and to sort out the wheat of history from the chaff of folk anecdote.

Frank McCourt was an American author who achieved fame/notoriety with his book based on his mother's memories. White's book, so far, seems to me to be a different kettle of fish and Ballylongford and its people are portrayed more sypathetically