Friday, 24 June 2016

The Arch is restored, Murhur 1982, Springsteen in Slane and a sad poem

St. John's Eve

Yesterday, June 23, was St. John's Eve. I heard of no bonfire in these parts. There was a time when there would be a bonfire at every crossroads.


The Flags are Out for Féile 2016

Everywhere you look in town this week there are flags. On the street we have the strange sounds of lads in football jerseys speaking with American accents. 
It's all because of Féile Peile na nÓg. This is a competition for players Under 14. There are competitions in hurling, football camogie and handball and they taking place all over Kerry nd Limerick this weekend.


Listowel Arch is Restored

This little corner of our town is due to undergo big change soon. The arch will be unveiled and the old Neodata building which had been used by Kerry County Council is to be demolished. 
What is coming in its place? 
As soon as I know you'll be the first to find out.


Murhur Pupils in 1982

Photo with names from Moyvane Village on Facebook

Wonderful photo of 2nd and 3rd class with Mrs. Adams in Murhur NS from 1982.

Front Row: Joanne Shanahan, Sinead McEvoy, Aileen Stack, Esther Foley, Mary Lynch, Michelle Sheehan, Riona Fitzmaurice, Celine Kennelly, Noreen Brosnan, Breda Quinn, Claire McGrath, Margaret Scanlon, Brid Kearney

Middle Row: Paul Hudson, Adrian O’Connell, John Fitzgerald, Marguerite Greaney, Denise Carmody, Yvonne O’Carroll, Mary Brassil, Keith O’Connell, Margaret Enright, Irene Culhane, Kathleen Enright, Michelle Groarke, Aine Kissane, Martin Mulvihill, Liam Roche, DD Hughes, Richard Stack, Johnny Stack

Back Row: Nola Adams, Pat Kearney, Jim Liston, John Cunningham, Roger Mulvihill, James Culhane, Stack, Shane Riordan, Andrew O’Connor Bray, Shane Hughes, Muiris O’Connell, Padraig Kearney, Aidan Stack, Maurice O’Connor, Padraig Horan, John Horan, Maurice Kearney, Conor Walsh, Myles Quinn, Kevin Greaney


Blast from the Past

This turned up on the internet.



Mount Carmel Industrial school

(Connie Roberts won the prize for a poetry collection at Listowel Writers Week 2013. This is one of the many powerful poems in that collection)

I have no Mossbawn
to take down from a shelf
and leaf through. No banks of earth

embroidered with ferns and bluebells; 
no rabbits running through the thicket,
no wrens sheltering in the boxwood hedge.

My omphalos is a pigeon-grey orphanage yard
clotted with kids; see-saws, pissy knickers,
a clay filled Kiwi tin on a hopscotch square;

British Bulldog; freckled faces, conkers on
shoelaces, pig-tailed girls twirling twine
jump ropes by Saint Martha's Kitchen.

Jack stones, scabby knees; chinny alley marbles,
and alongside the cloister, two seater barn red swings
We rode like horses till suppertime's holler.

My initiation that summer in '69
galloping from the scullery to
the laundry- my brother riding piggyback-

I tripped. Like dripping solder, globules of blood
fell from my nose to the concrete turf.
My baptism, a brazen call to bear witness?

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Three new businesses, Thade Gowran remembered and an upcoming Music Festival

Three New Businesses Open Their Doors

This colourful shop is located at No. 3 Main Street. In  it,  you can customise a cup or plate with birth, marriage, Fathers' Day or other details or just bring home your very own souvenir of your visit to Listowel.

Lizzie's Little Kitchen on William Street opened on June 17 2016. This is the Listowel outlet of a food emporium which is very popular in Ballybunion and at the Friday Market in Listowel.

Jimmy Deenihan's constituency office premises is now Purtill Solicitors.


Trade Gowran's Descendants

Bernadette Beardsley sent this photo . She and all of Thade's descendants are proud of their Irish heritage.

"Hello My name is Bernadette Bardsley you recently published an article about my Great Grandfather Thade  Gowran who was my mothers  Hannah Teresa Flaherty's Grandfather My mother was featured in the article as was my Father who was an Englishman Warren Paul Bardsley, also featured my sister Fran Blyth and her three children my nieces and Nephews Michael, Sean Chamberlain and her daughter Alexis Johnstone.
Thade's  Decendents from his Granddaughter are many, and many of us have his love of Poetry including myself, I sing like my Great Grandfather and play an Instrument, I was also born in the same month of May, his Great Grandson Anthony Warren Bardsley is very talented in Poetry and has a Book Published, Kathleen Johnson is also gifted with writing, also his Great Granddaughter, of course many of us have children too, so the spirit of Thade  carries on to a fourth Generation ."


Expect Delays

Vital repair work on both sides of the Big Bridge is causing some delays to traffic recently as a stop go system is in operation.


A Saturday Night in Listowel Town Square like no other

Some big names booked for Listowel for August 13 next.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

A Few Success Stories and The Euros

Summer Came and Went while I was away

Ballybunion on the June Bank Holiday Weekend was like a throwback to the good old days. (Photo; Ballybunion Prints Beach)

Listowel Writers' Week 2016 was a great success. (Photo LWW)


A Few Success stories while I was on my break

Professor Rob Landers, formerly Listowel, now Chief Clinical Director South/South West Hospital Group had the Honour  of delivering the Conferring Address at UCC Medical Conferring. He is pictured congratulating Hons. Graduate Darragh Enright, Glin, grandson of the late Tom & Eileen O' Halloran, Bridge Road.

 Included also is Dr. Zelie Gaffney Daly, Newmarket , Co. Cork and Darragh's Mam, Brenda. Darragh expects to take up a position shortly in one of the Dublin hospitals. Prof. Landers inspiring address to the graduates offered words of encouragement and support as they enter a difficult and challenging work environment in the health service. A double Listowel connection on this auspicious occasion!


Meanwhile on the Agricultural Show Circuit

 No sooner were they home than the horsey crowd were off to the show. Sonny Bill won all round him in Clonakilty. My brother and his daughter are holding the two cups he won. I don't think that horse could look more proud if he tried. His very able rider is Joanna Jones.


We've all Gone Football Crazy

Spotted in a shop window in Market Street, Listowel on the Monday of the Ireland Sweden game.

In Athea Co. Limerick  (photo from Athea Village site on Facebook)

The fans who are in France are doing us proud too.


Who'd be a football manager?

According to Dough McLeod, the three greatest football managers of all time were Jock Stein, Jock Stein and Jock Stein, so maybe it is worthwhile to listen to what Jock Stein has to say about what makes a good manager;
 "The secret to being a good manager is to keep the six players who hate you away from the five who are undecided."

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

While I was away

Adventure in St. Louis, Missouri

During my break from blogging I went on a big adventure to St. Louis in the U.S.A. The occasion was the marriage of my nephew, Philip Ahern to local girl, Anna Sobotka. There is little else but this joyous event would have persuaded me to leave Listowel during Writers' Week.

 I was with this Irish gang and we stayed at The Parkway Hotel...So far so good, until I stepped into the lift.

I never did find out what happens if you press this button.

Parents of the groom, my brother, Pat and his wife Breda Ahern.

The humanist ceremony was held in a rooftop venue. The Officiant, Holly, personalised the ceremony to include a nod to Philip's Irish heritage and Anna's Jewish background. Elizabeth Ahern read Heaney's Scaffolding and Philip smashed a glass and we all cheered mazel tov.

 Another Listowel connection ( besides me) was the rings. The beautifully engraved gold bands were custom made for the couple by Listowel goldsmith and silversmith, Eileen Moylan.


While we were in town we did a few touristy things. One of the most magnificent tourist attractions in St. Louis was within walking distance of our hotel. We attended Sunday mass in the Catholic basilica. This church has very strong Irish connections. It has had many Irish archbishops, priests and bishops. The most famous is Cardinal Glennon who was very involved in building the cathedral.

This is one of the many mosaics in the church. The basilica in St. Louis  has more mosaic work than any other church in the U.S. It took artists, working in teams of 15, 75 years to complete all the mosaics in the church.

 This is Cardinal Glennon, much revered in these parts. The man who was on duty in the souvenir shop on the day we visited was called Glennon after the cardinal.

St. Louis is home to Anhauser Busch who make Budweiser. We took the tour. If you are ever in this part of the U.S. it's a worthwhile lesson in automation. We saw the old way with the Clydesdale dray horses and the labour intensive brewing process. There was scarcely a human being to be seen on today's factory floor.

 The Clydesdales are treated like royalty.

Our hotel was right next to Barnes Jewish hospital. This is just a small portion of this huge hospital which is famous for transplants and particularly for children's cancers. 

This visitor attraction is called The Museum. It's not a museum but more like a huge children's adventure playground. Do you see that plane? Well, look above it and you will see a bus teetering over the edge of the tenth floor. It is possible to climb up to the bus and slide down the ten stories to the ground. There are swaying ropewalks, caves and dungeons, tunnels to crawl through and all sorts of scary places to get wedged or lost or just plain scared to death.

The trolley bus tour was much more my cup of tea. It was a hop on and never hop off tour of the   city.

Monday, 20 June 2016

I'm Back.....Kinda!

The Return of your Blogger

When I was away from it for a bit, I realised just how much time I put into this blog. So if I don't make it every day from now on, it just means life got in the way.

Here are some of the things you might have missed while I was away.

Eamonn Keaveney passed through town as he walked barefoot around Ireland in an effort to raise money for suicide awareness.


A Young Lady who is Going Places

(story and photo from The Irish Examiner)

Barrister Marie-Louise Donovan, 24, from Moyvane in Co Kerry, jetted out to the US at the weekend to begin a three-month voluntary placement with the Innocence Project which has freed over 340 wrongfully convicted prisoners, some of whom were facing the death penalty.
She is one of just three Irish lawyers chosen by the Bar Council of Ireland to work this year on the project founded by lawyers Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld, who were both on OJ Simpson’s defence team in his famous murder trial in 1995.
Each US state now has its own Innocence Project, which, since its foundation in 1992, has proven the innocence of and secured the freedom of over 340 wrongfully convicted inmates, at least 20 of whom served time on death row. The inmates served an average of 14 years before being cleared.
The Wisconsin Innocence Project helped highlight Steven Avery’s case which was the focus of the global hit Netflix documentary Making a Murderer. Avery, who has been in jail for 18 years, remains behind bars despite serious questions over his conviction.
Ms Donovan will be based in Cincinnati until August, working with the Ohio Innocence Project which has, since its foundation in 2003, exonerated 23 inmates in a state where the current method of capital punishment is lethal injection.
“I applied to work on the Innocence Project when I was 21, shortly after qualifying as a barrister, but I was told I was too young,” Ms Donovan said.
“Looking back now, they were probably right. But I’m really looking forward to it now. It is such a worthwhile cause and I’m looking forward to helping. I think this is a very worthwhile cause and we are always striving to improve our own criminal justice system here so I am very much looking forward to moving over to Ohio and working with the Innocence Project there over the next few months.
“It should be a very educational and rewarding experience. It will be a privilege.”
Ms Donovan, whose parents are teachers in Listowel, started school aged four, sat her leaving cert aged 16, graduated from UCC with a law degree aged 19, and was called to the bar shortly after her 21st birthday, making history by becoming the youngest person to qualify as a barrister in Ireland.
After three years working in Dublin, she is now working on the South Western Circuit covering Kerry, Limerick and Clare.
She will spend the summer recess working voluntarily in Ohio with other lawyers from around the world to help exonerate wrongfully convicted inmates who are serving life sentences or who are on death row.
The Innocence Project teams take on certain cases post conviction and specialise in using advances in DNA testing, uncovering evidence of police misconduct, and in driving reforms of the criminal justice system to prevent future injustice.
They also review cold cases and engage in fieldwork interviews with key witnesses in the hope that they can prove a person’s innocence before they are executed.
Ms Donovan said witnesses often come forward with new evidence or testimony years after a person has been convicted.
She said some of the cases she will be working on will involve inmates who are facing execution soon.
“I hope to provide a fresh pair of eyes. Coming from another jurisdiction, we might see things that may have been overlooked,” she said.
An Irish Innocence Project was founded in Dublin in 2009 by David Langwallner, the Dean of Law at Griffith College


Some Green Shoots of Recovery

L.D.s Hair Salon moved a few doors back Market Street.

I spotted this sign in a shop window in Market Street.


Do you remember Hand Milking?

It's now a bit of fun when the children go to the pet farm but once upon a time it was a very serious business.

The boy in my photo, who wouldn't survive 2 minutes under a real cow, is my grandson, Sean. His great grandmother, my late mother, was a great milker. She milked six or eight cows every morning and evening for as long as I can remember.

She knew all the cows by name and she talked away to them as she brought them home and settled them into their stalls. Cows are creatures of habit and they like to go to the same stall every time and they like to be milked by the same person every time as well.

The doors of the cow house were always left open at milking time and the yard cats would be perched waiting anxiously for their portion of the fresh milk.

My mother settled her three legged milking stool, rested her head against the cow's flank and coaxed the milk into the bucket held between her knees. There is a knack to hand milking. If you are not doing it right the cow will let you know with a kick or a belt of her tail.

As soon as my mother stood up from the first cow the cats went crazy, tripping her up, mewling and bawling, maddened with desire for the warm milk. For the sake of peace, she  always threw a good portion into their bowl first. Then she climbed the milk stand and poured the milk into a strainer atop an old fashioned milk churn. The same ritual was repeated for all her small herd.

It all came back to me recently: the cows, the cats and my poor hard working mother when I saw milking turned into a visitor attraction at Kennedy's Pet Farm and Muckross Farms.