Friday, 27 March 2015

Old Creamery, folklore and a paen to motherhood

Old Creamery

This photo is in Vincent Carmody's book,  Snapshots of an Irish Market Town. It is the old McKanna's Creamery in Listowel.


Listowel Folklore

Here is some more wisdom from the folklore archive gathered by Listowel children in 1937/38
These accounts refer to food.

Peggy’s Leg

Kevin Sheehy of Church St. interviewed Dan Broderick also of Church Street.
Dan remembered a woman called Peggy Carey who used to make a confection called Peggy’s Leg. It was made from sugar and "farmers’ butter." Peggy also sold seagrass. Peggy used to  sell her wares at “Listowel Cross out in Newtown”. ( I’m presuming this refers to Moyvane. )  The Peggy’s Leg cost  two pence. 
Another local confectioner was Bridge Conway. She used to sell penny bars which she made herself.
A man from Moybella, Lisselton whose name was William Diggin used to make porridge from “yellow meal, salt and creamery milk.”

Hand Savage of Lisselton also had a story about William Diggin. Mr. Rice from Moybella had several men digging potatoes. He promised a quarter of tobacco to the man who would produce the biggest potato. William Diggin was one of the men digging the spuds. He dug a big potato and cut it in half. Then he got another potato and quartered it and he tied the two potatoes together with string to make one enormous potato. He won the quarter of tobacco.

It was the custom not to give a workman his breakfast until he had paid for it in work. A labourer often worked for two hours on an empty stomach.

People killed a goose at Michaelmas and on St. Martin’s Eve.

The stories told to the children were full of hearsay and inaccuracies but also laced with gems of wisdom. A D. Bunyan of Market Street wrote what he heard about the Famine. He wrote about a mill on the banks of the river which was full of corn and surrounded by soldiers guarding it. The local people used to go down to try to get the wheat but the soldiers prevented them. Finally the wheat rotted and had to be thrown out.


Jim MacMahon set me straight on this one.
He wrote;

"The Sciath was a half moon shaped basket  made from scallops . It was originally a shield in olden times , hence the phrase … buailim  sciath ..meaning a braggart or one who struck the shield of a chieftain who hung his shield outside his castle thereby calling him out to fight .
Re Tae Lane  there used to be a shed there with a curved wall at the right hand side going down. Tim Hannon from Ballybunion told me his father had a cinema there in the very early days of films."


Celebrating the century

The extended family of Stacks of The Arch Bar now Stack's off licence dressed in period costume on St. Patrick's Day to celebrate their 100th  year in business.

These celebrations were tinged with sadness a short week later, with the passing of Mrs. Máiréad O'Connor of Market St, formerly Máiréad Stack on March 24th. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam dílis.


Celebrating Mothers

The following was read at masses in Tarbert on Mothers' Day.

This is for the mothers who read The Three Little Pigs, The Billygoats Gruff and Little Red Riding Hood every night for a week. Then a little eye would open and a little voice would ask, “Please Mom, will you read it again?”

This is for mothers who take their children to football matches and basketball games, who sit in the car and watch and wait or stand on the sideline and when your child says," Did you see my goal, mom?"proud as punch you answer, “Of course, love, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.”

This is for mothers who run car pools and bake birthday cakes and sew Halloween costumes and for mothers who don’t.

This is for mothers whose patience runs out when their two year old wants ice cream before dinner and whose four year old says, "I’m bored. I want to go home.”

This is for mothers who taught their children to tie their shoelaces before they went to school and for mothers who opted for Velcro instead.
And for the mother who bites her lip til it bleeds when her fourteen year old dyes her hair green and puts seven earrings in each ear.

This is for mothers who don’t sleep a wink, wondering and waiting and hoping all will come in. Now all safely home and the lock on the door, she turns over and says., “Thank God for the end of another weekend.”

This is for mothers whose children have gone astray and can’t find words to reach them and all they can do is pray.

This is for all the mothers who cook, launder and clean, wash up all the dishes and never complain,

This is for all the mothers who turn automatically when they hear a little voice say,”Mom” even thought they know their own are safe at home.

This is for the heartbroken mothers who put flowers and teddy bears on the graves of their children, who hold precious and fond memories of times past and wonder today, what they would look like or how tall they would stand.

This is for the mothers who have gone home to Heaven themselves. If we had them today we would treat them and spoil them but instead we pray for them and look forward to meeting them in heaven.

This is for young mothers who are learning and mature mothers who are trying to let go, for working mothers and stay-at-home mothers, for young mothers and old.

Can I say, “Hang in there. We need you. You are rarer than gold. God bless all mothers. May they never grow old.”


Alexandra Park

Some people live near really beautiful places, e.g. Alexandra Park London


Darkness into Light, Saturday May 9 2015

Below is the link for online registration if you would like to take part in the first Listowel walk

Pieta House Darkness into Light


That show on a lovely June day in 1953

John Murphy sent the following

"This is  in response to the picture dated June 29,1953.
I believe this is me the seventh person seated from fence on right and I believe Sean Cahill is seated immediately on my left  as you view picture  and that is Junior Griffin standing to the left  and behind  Sean Cahill as you view picture.
It sure brings back some great memories of that show.
Keep up the great work you are doing keeping us informed while faraway from lovely “Listowel”.
Yours Truly,
John F. Murphy "


Listowel Community Centre  is planning a refurb and is looking for ideas.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Daffodil Day 2015

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills
When all at once I saw a crowd
A host of golden daffodils

Daffodils are the symbol chosen by the Irish Cancer Society to symbolize its fundraising campaign. Listowel has always put in a great effort in supporting the cause which supports people who have cancer and families who suffer because of it.

On their Facebook page Listowel Daffodil Day they have posted photos of the Daffodil Day committee down through the years. It is great to see all the people who have worked so hard on this over the years but very sad to see the lovely faces of so many who have passed away. To celebrate Daffodil Day 2015 and to honour all of the local people who have lost the fight against this disease here are some of the photos.

Thank you all!


Confirmation Day 2015

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Agricultural Show in 1953 and other old stuff

June 29 1953

Margaret Ward gave me this photo from 1953. The occasion is the annual agricultural show and the place is the sports field. If you recognize yourself or your family, do tell us. The two girls in the middle of the picture with big bows in their hair and eating ice creams are daughters of the local garda, Barney Scanlon. Mrs. O'Flaherty, formerly Walshe is there and so is Gene Moriarty. Mrs Kennelly and Ned Browne are in the photo as well.


Kanturk Arts Festival 2015

They had a great arts festival in my home town in the weekend before St. Patrick's Day. I took part in a  photographic event. We went on a little tour of the town snapping away. Then we compared our snaps and shared them with the group. The Mallow Camera Club facilitated it all. We had a reading of some hilarious one act plays. Hazel Gaynor gave a great author reading and talk and I'm told that the poetry slam was brilliant but I had left by then. It's a lovely event. I'd advise local people to take a trip there next year. It's only down the road.

During the arts festival a local man displayed his old record collection in a shop window. Do you remember these?


No Mail Today

I took this photo of a deserted mail box in a wall beside the castle in Kanturk. I think it used to be an An Post postbox but its an unusual one.


 Reminder; Daffodil Day 2015, March 27

(photo; Listowel Daffodil Day)

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Tractors on Parade and Con and Paddy Minogue of Rathea

Vehicles in the St. Patrick's Day Parade 2015


Kennedy Home

The former Greenlawn/ Kennedy Home is to get a new lease of life soon.

The notice on the gate says that the Brothers of Charity are asking for planning permission to change the use to a Family Resource Centre.


Minogues of Rathea

A few weeks back I reproduced a story first told in the Rathe Irremore Journal. It was one of my most popular posts in a long time.  

Today I bring you another story from the same journal. This time is Kitty Sweeney's account of a man who lived a sad and lonely life but who had many friends and admirers in Rathea.

It is said when we start looking back over our lives, it's a sure sign of old age creeping up on us. When we think back and once again draw from the archives of our minds, all that is stored in there for as far back as we can remember, things  that happened are partly forgotten and have laid dormant for so long. These memories can belong to faces, places, the sound of voices that come re-echoing out of the past, friends, neighbours, family long  gone, but some little figment of remembrance lingers on. When we draw these out again and re-live them, it's amazing how much is stored away in the caverns of our minds. The friends and people we knew so well who formed our community one big family and whose names have been erased as it were forever. It's nearly half a century since these people walked among us. The family I am going to tell you about, are a father and son, Con and Paddy Minogue. It doesn't seem that long ago since they left us, but I recently asked someone who is in his fiftieth year,"Do you remember Paddy Minogue". Never heard of him was the reply.

Con and Paddy Minogue lived in a thatched little "cot", consisting of one room, a stones throw from Brown's Bridge. The father a poet, the son the singer - that's why I would like to write a little memorial to them. Con was a farm labourer, his family were of Clare extraction, but he came to these parts at the time of the "hiring fairs", when labourers went to market places and were hired by the farmers. He also broke stones on the road for the council, drew turf to Tralee with a jennit and cart - a hard life by any standards, but these people never complained.

Con was a poet and he wrote plenty of poetry - a lot of comic commentary on happenings in the locality and Skelligs lists. I can remember him rhyming them off at our house during the dinner when he worked with my father. He would be eating and reciting. Some of these local verses were frowned upon by the "boyos" they were written about. But his serious ballads were beautiful - the one surviving one, the well known song "The Banks of the Sweet Smerla Side". He also wrote other lovely songs, one about the "Mass Rocks of Ireland", but sadly they are all lost. Today he could hold his own with the best poets of the day. But alas he was born too soon and his work was not appreciated. I don't think he lived to pension age. He is laid to rest in Finuge cemetery.

While the father was the poet and balladeer, his son Paddy was the singer, and anyone who remembers him singing will agree that he had a glorious voice. He could use his voice so well for someone who never had a singing lesson - it was melodious and beautiful. Paddy had the misfortune of losing his mother when he was only a few years old, he didn't remember her. His father re-married, but his step-mother didn't have much authority over Paddy. He didn't bother with school too much, he didn't believe in spending his day at a bench learning the three R's. He was like an adopted son of every family in the surrounding townlands, everyone liked him. Paddy spent his years singing and enjoying himself. He was welcome at every hooley and invited or not he turned up, his hair shining with "Brillantine" (it could be bought at Pike for 2d. a Bottle). Paddy had a very narrow little head, he couldn't get a peaked cap small enough, so he had to roll several sheets of the "Kerryman" lenghtwise and fit it inside the cap to keep it from falling down over his eyes.

He was very popular when it came to the saving of the hay or the turf cutting. He would promise faithfully to come, but if he got a "wink" from a girl somewhere else, he was like an elusive butterfly, he was gone - he loved the girls. During the many days he spent on our farm doing the chores, we would have him singing all his newest songs. At milking time, in the times of stools and buckets, we would sing along with him, the same at meadow time and at the picking of the spuds or at whatever job we were lucky enough to have Paddy doing. He was innocent and harmless, everyone's friend, he had no foes and he never missed Mass on Sundays. He lived life without worries or cares, he never took a wife, he said they were too troublesome and of course maybe they let him down. When Paddy was in his late thirties he became a diabetic. He didn't have anyone to look after him - his latter life was mostly spent in hospital and eventually he went to Killarney and never came home again. When he died, he didn't have one single family member alive. He died rather suddenly and by the time the news reached Rathea, he was already buried in Aghadoe - a beautiful place - His neighbours were very upset as they would have brought Paddy back to be buried beside his father - not that it mattered where he was laid to rest.

He was certainly one of the decent flowers that blushed unseen. I hope there are hoolies up in heaven because if there are, Paddy is there for sure giving his rendering as only he could of the "Bold Gatty Boy" - the last verse went like this,
"Tomorrow Mulcahy will stand on the dock
 watching forever the turns of the book.
The judge will reply, with a wink in his eye,
 Ten more years for the Bold Gatty Boy".

Kitty Sweeney.