Friday, 9 December 2016

A Knitting Project, Seán McCarthy and Ireland's Own

December Robin photographed by Kerry's best Robin Photographer

Another Chris Grayson robin in The National Park, Killarney


Michael Tea

A very talented knitter and a super designer of tea cosies, Frances O'Keeffe of Listowel designed and knit this charming tea cosy.


Diocesan Knitting Project

Recently I was part of Diocese of Kerry organised crafting project. The idea was that people (mostly women) from all the parishes of Kerry would knit squares. Then we all came together in Killarney to sew or crochet the squares into blankets to send with Trocaire to Gaza. It was an uplifting and enjoyable occasion and I took a few photos.


 Seán McCarthy R.I.P.  Poet of the People

Seán McCarthy, poet and balladeer was a man who had his finger on the pulses of North Kerry people. He wrote many great verses celebrating Kerry and its people. Junior Griffin treasures all his collections of poems and songs and I have photographed a few for you. Firstly read what Bryan MacMahon wrote about him in the forward to one of these anthologies.


What I'm Reading Now

No Christmas reading list is complete without Ireland's Own Christmas Annual. this year it contains a story from one of our own. Be sure to read Bobby Robin's Christmas gift, a story for young people by Neil Brosnan.

They say that if you miss The Ireland's Own you miss part of Christmas. If you read all of Ireland's Own you'll miss the whole of Christmas.

I'm going to share with you a piece of knowledge I learned from this year's Ireland's Own Annual. Christmas pudding was first made in the 14th century. It was made five weeks before the big day on what was referred to as "Stirring Sunday". It was made with 13 ingredients representing Jesus and his twelve apostles. Every member of the household took a turn at stirring the mixture. It had to be stirred from East to West to represent the journey of the Magi.


A Few More Photos from the BOI Expo in November

Interview with a Dragon

Eileen Broderick and Aoife Hannon at Aoife's stall.

Finesse had some beautiful wedding wear on display

Available at Chery's Antique store in Church St.

Oonagh Hartnett and Sonja of Broderick's Pharmacy

Susan Quilter, vet.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Oliver Plunkett, Killarney, a great escape and a few St. Vincent de Paul Volunteers

Festive bike outside Eleanor's Flowers in Tralee


Blessed (now Saint) Oliver Plunkett

I came across this recently. It's a relic of a relic; "a piece of linen that touched a relic..."

This prayer for his canonisation worked.


Killarney, Christmas 2016

Killarney looks very Christmassy this year.

This is a brilliant idea. They have used the old phone kiosks to house defibrillators.

The key to access the life saving device is housed in a little box with  glass door.


Smart Boys

26 May 1877 Freeman’s Journal

CLEVER ESCAPE FROM A BRIDEWELL. An incident of a novel nature occurred
at  Listowel on Monday, in connection with the cleverly planned
escape from the bridewell. A lad named Mulvihill, aged 13 year, had
been convicted about five months ago at Tarbert Petty Sessions, of
stealing a dog, and sentenced to five years in the Upton Reformatory.
On his removal, after leaving Tralee gaol, he succeeded in giving the
gaol officer the slip, and managed to elude the police until last
Saturday, when he was apprehended at Ballylongford, and lodged in
Listowel bridewell preparatory to being sent back to the reformatory.
His younger brother, aged about 11 years, visited him on Monday, and
while in the cell with him the prisoner exchanged clothes with him ;
and thus disguised, he was allowed to pass out by the official, who
naturally believed he was the brother who had passed in some minutes
before. The mistake was of course soon discovered.  but the escaped
culprit had a good start, and has not been recaptured. The brother is
kept in custody, having been remanded to next petty sessions.


Listowel Humans

Christmas is a busy time of year for these ladies, Kay, Nancy, Hannah and Eileen. I met them at the BOI Enterprise town expo but they are usually to be found with their fellow volunteers in the Second Time Around shop in William Street or at bingo or Meals on Wheels at The Plaza or out visiting and quietly helping the less well off at Christmas time and throughout the year. 
They are the salt of the earth.


Seán McCarthy's Christmas

Christmas is often a lonely time for someone who has lost a life's partner. Seán McCarthy puts it sadly and poignantly in this old song which I photographed from an old book among Junior Griffin's treasures.


Thomas F. O'Sullivan Update

Mark Holan contacted me to alert me that he has recently updated his blogpost about T.F. O'Sullivan of Listowel.

I heard from Vincent Carmody of Listowel, a local historian and author. He writes that Thomas F. O’Sullivan and his book are not forgotten. Story of the GAA received at least five mentions in The G.A.A., A People’s History, a 2009 book by Mike Cronin, Mark Duncan and Paul Rouse.
Carmody continued:

When in Listowel, [O’Sullivan] was the driving force, both as a player and administrator of the local G.A.A. club. He later served as an administrator at both County and National level of the Association. He is credited with the proposal of Rule 27, of the G. A.A.s rule book. This came into force in 1902 and it read, ” any member of the association who plays in any way, rugby football, jockey or any imported game which is calculated or injurious affect our national pastimes, is suspended from the association” . This rule was commonly known as, The Ban. It was for a long time rigorously enforced, indeed in 1938, the then President of Ireland, Douglas Hyde, was banned from the G.A.A. , for his attendance at an International Soccer match in Dublin. The rule was deleted in 1971.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

My Trip Home, a Funeral, A Hunt and Kitchener is remembered by a "school chum"

Holly at the Bridge


Adventures on Returning Home in November 2016

Recently I went back to my roots for the sad occasion of the funeral of my Aunty Nun, Sr. Perpetua Hickey of The Convent of Mercy, Charleville, Co. Cork.  She wasn't really my aunt at all. Her sister was married to my uncle, but all my life she was known to me as she was to all her nieces and nephews as Aunty Nun.

The Mercy sisters in Charleville are lucky in that they still live in their convent in the centre of town. Unlike so many sisters nowadays, they live in familiar surroundings among people they have lived with all their adult lives.

The wake in the convent chapel was like taking a step back in time.

The coffin of Sr. Perpetua was shouldered by relatives and friends the short distance from the convent that was her home to the nearby parish church.


Never a Dull Moment

I love to go home to Kanturk. My old home is a warm welcoming place always full of bustle, friends, family and incident.

One incident from this visit will not be forgotten in a hurry.

I was stung by a Kanturk wasp  on November 26 2016!!!!!

On a more pleasant note I got to see Duhallow Hunt gather for their meet in Kanturk and on Day 2 of my visit I got to see the farrier at work on EPA's new acquisition who is called after Conor Murray. In case you are new to my blog, the Aherns naming convention sees all their horses named after rugby players.

That is my brother in his element, among fellow horse lovers.

These beautiful hounds waited patiently some distance away as the hunt got mounted and ready.

Their handlers know every one of these hounds by name .

They only leave their waiting spot when instructed to do so.

Here they are, heading out on the Greenfield Rd. ahead of the hunt.

It was a perfect day for riding out, cold, crisp and dry.


The Farrier

The forge is a thing of the past. The farrier or blacksmith now comes to you. Luckily, while I was still at home, C.J. called to shoe Conor. The horse behaved impeccably for his first experience with the farrier. 

"Thank you, Pat"


Kitchener... a friend's account of him from the archives

Northern Star (Lismore, NSW ):

Wed. 5th July 1916




Mr. Michael Byrnes, who is now on a visit to Manly, was a schoolmate
of Kitchener’s

'' It- is over 55 years ago," says 'Mr. Byrnes, since Lord Kitchener
went to the old National School at Kilflinn, Sweet County Kerry, which
I attended. It was half-way between Listowel and Tralee, and his
father, .(Colonel Kitchener), had a farm called Crotta Domain. My
recollections of the boy Kitchener are very distinct, although it is
so many yours ago. We were neighbours and playmates together, and
always 'the best of chums. We were just about the same age, both
under 10 years, and we were both literature lovers and rambled about
the beautiful countryside in each other's company. Although there
was nothing very remarkable about the boy in the way of cleverness
at school, yet I've always vividly remembered him through the long
years. No doubt he had a personality; He was a very strange boy in
many ways, very reserved, and studious. 

He preferred being by himself very often, not that he was stuck up in
any shape or form, and although not many of his schoolmates shared his
confidences, he was liked and respected by the. whole of them, and
enjoyed a popularity which was strange considering his studious moods
and attitude of aloofness. He never cared for footall or hurling, but
was passionately fond of horses. He was always happy on horseback, and
loved to follow the hounds. The sight of the huntsmen and the, dogs
and the sound of the horn, always woke him out of his usual
seriousness, and he used to get very excited and enthusiastic when the
meets were on.

At school he was not by any means a dull boy,  I said before, he
didn't, to our minds at least, show any signs of cleverness. The
masters, however, thought a lot of him, and he always managed to get
through his lessons without difficulty.

Every summer we boys used to spend a month at a Strand, a little
watering place on the sea. Young Kitchener always came with us?  we
all stayed with uncles and aunts of mine. With all of my family he was
a great favourite and the womenfolk particularly were fond of the 
gentlemanly, quiet lad. Strange to say, he had  a dread of deep water
a big wave would always drive him back to shore, and he would never go
in any depth. The remarkable thing was that he was utterly fearless
in every other direction. Looking back on his extraordinarily boyish
fear of the deep sea, it appears uncannily, pathetic now that he has
found a lonely grave in the depths of the ocean.

There are some stories of the late Lord Kitchener that convey the
idea that he was official and unapproachable, but my experience of him
to me, on that memorable morning of his visit to Sydney,' showed that
he was possessed of indeed very human qualities. 


What I'm Reading

Best :Loved Poems; This is an absolutely lovely book and perfect for a present for a lover of literature and pictures and perfect for a lover of Kerry.
The poems are introduced and curated by Gabriel Fitzmaurice and the photographs are by John Reidy,
The collection includes one of my favourite poems; 

Though there are Torturers by Michael Coady

Though there are torturers,
 There are also musicians


Though the image of God
 is everywhere defiled,
A man in West Clare,
Is playing the concertina