Monday, 31 October 2011

Evictions in Lyreacrompane

This week I'm going to share with you some research done by Kay O'Leary on a terrible time in Ireland's history, in particular the devastating effect the land war had in a small community in North Kerry;

Evictions and notices of evictions were the order of the day back in the 1880’s. Representatives of the law and the landlords marched through the land from end to end and thousands of families were left homeless. The emigrant ship took many to foreign shores but others resolutely refused to go while many of them lacked the means to pay for the voyage.
 All of this reign of terror was taken place even though Mr. Gladstone had introduced the Land Act, which, in his opinion, was to settle the land question in Ireland.

At this time the Land League was pointing out the desire of the Irish people to own their own land. For promoting this idea they were declared communists by the Tory Party.
In 1877 the number of families evicted in Kerry was 18.
In 1881 – 192.
In 1883 – 403.
 In 1884 – 410.
Thirty-two thousand pounds – extra police tax was paid out for the County of Kerry between the years 1884 – 1887 while the population in the same period through evictions and emigration had decreased.

In 1883 the evictions in Kerry were more numerous than those of the rest of Ireland put together.
This was the era in which the moonlighters were most active but Kerry had not always been a county of rebellious fame. Going back ten years moonlighting was unheard of in the county.

 It was in this setting that evictions in Lyreacrompane took place.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Our newly elected president

We have elected a poet and orator as our ninth president. Go maire sé an céad!
Among all the acres of newsprint that will be covered today with profiles of him, I offer you this insight into the human heart of Uachtarán na hEireann. I hope the link works. It's Michael D. reading The Betrayal, a poem he wrote for his father .

Listen out for all the resonances to the recent presidential campaign: old age, perks of the presidency, American citizenship, eyesight problems, family....

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Halloween in Listowel

Everywhere you look in Listowel there are goblins, ghosts, witches and other halloween fare on display.

When I went out and about in town to do my Halloween photo shoot, I met Jim Halpin who kindly posed with his "doorman".
The boys school combined the gruesome and the funny in its themed window display.

Below is just a sample of what is to see in the shop windows

Friday, 28 October 2011

Mary McAleese in Listowel and some NKRO news

I took this photo in the marquee in the grounds of The Lartigue on the day President McAleese and her husband came to town to perform the official opening.  Do you recognise some well known faces in that crowd? I thought that it was fitting to include it today as we elect her successor.

Now some NKRO news.

We are very lucky to have on our committee a very talented graphic artist, Grace Kelly. She has designed this beautiful logo for us and you should be seeing lots more of it in the future.

The Advertiser has given us the opportunity to submit a weekly column so, starting next week, look out for news of our doings, some old photos and more old guff from me online and in print.

Date for the diary: Friday November 4 another session of music, raffles and craic, this time in The Harp and Lion in Church St. Listowel.

Coming soon, news of other music sessions in venues other than pubs and in places other than Listowel.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Halloween Ghouls and other Yolks

Today we are all out voting in the presidential election so there will be a good buzz in town. Voters making their way along Church St. will encounter this ghoul at Jimmy Halpin's door. Don't worry. He is harmless!

I took this photo on Convent Street this week. Looks like a sign of development. Good news surely.

Next week we will have Looks like a brilliant programme in store for us this year. This next is from this week's Kerryman.

Billy and Joe to yolk around at Food Fair
 Listowel publican Billy Keane will battle it out with Joe Murphy, Director of St John's Arts Centre Listowel in an Omelette Challenge at the Listowel Food Fair next week. Credit: Photo by Domnick  Walsh

October 26 2011
TWO of Listowel's best known hosts might have egg on their faces by the end of the Food Fair as Billy Keane goes head to head with Joe Murphy in a challenge to see who can cook an omelette the quickest.
It's all part of the Saturday Live Kitchen event modelled on the BBC cookery show and taking place on Saturday, November 5, in the Kerry Parent's and Friends' Association centre in Clieveragh at 2pm.
Most of the event, however, will feature three top professionals from the north Kerry food industry — Armel Whyte, from Allos, Marius Crifan from the Horseshoe Bar and Gemma Ryan from Ruairí's Bar in Tralee.
"It's shaping up to be a lot of fun indeed," Armel told The Kerryman. "We will be up against the clock making dishes and the audience will be in with a chance of tasting the food as well. I'm really looking forward to it even though it is not going to be easy by any means!"
"It's a great departure for the Food Fair, a festival that's hugely important to Listowel and north Kerry food. One of the most important things about the festival this year I think is in the fact it's programme is geared to all ages. It is amazing how interested children, in particular boys, are getting in cooking and baking and it is not simply seen as something for girls anymore among the younger male age group."
Kerry gastro pub of the year for the last two year's running, Allo's continues to win customers through its use of local ingredients — something the Food Fair will have in common as it promotes local producers.
"Our beef for instance is all sourced from within a ten-mile radius of Listowel and we pride ourselves on our contribution to the local economy in that regard."
In the Horseshoe, chef Marius Crifan is now gearing up for the Saturday afternoon showdown and cook-off. "This is going to be a lot of fun, believe me. I will be cooking two chicken dishes on the day, one in our special Horseshoe style. But I'm only going to have about twenty minutes I think in which to do them so I will have to be very organised!"
Saturday Live Kitchen will also give Marius a chance to flag a looming expansion for his business. " The Horseshoe will be expanding into next door soon and one of the dishes I am going to make will be from our new menu so I'm really looking forward to that too.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Decentralisation in reverse

From Radio Kerry website today;

25 Oct 2011
HSE centralising Kerry’s local dental clinics

The HSE is centralising Kerry's local dental clinics to the county's two main towns. The public dental clinics in Listowel and Dingle moved to Tralee yesterday, and Kenmare's will move to Killarney later this year or early in the New Year. Sinn Féin TD for Kerry North West Limerick Martin Ferris is criticising the decision, saying it's deeply disappointing. The HSE says it's closing the local dental clinics because of new standards for dental provision in terms of hygiene, infection control, and decontamination. Services previously provided in Listowel and Dingle moved to Tralee yesterday; while the Kenmare public dental clinic will move to Killarney later this year or early in the New Year. Deputy Ferris says it's deeply disappointing, and feels this will be a huge burden on people, particularly on parents of young children. He believes it may also force some parents to bring their children to private dental clinics, putting further financial pressure on them.

This seems like a retrograde step to me.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

My Silver River Feale on RTE

I hope the above link works. It is the  RTE player link to last night's lovely documentary about the river Feale. The name of the programme is Abhainn and it's the third in a series on Irish rivers.

The Irish DNA atlas

Noreen O'Connell has shared this very interesting link with us

The following announcement was written by the
Genealogical Society of Ireland and the Royal College
 of Surgeons in Ireland: This afternoon at the
Back To Our Past show at the RDS, the Genealogical
Society of Ireland and the Royal College of Surgeons in
Ireland launched an important All-Ireland project to create
a collection of DNA samples from individuals of Irish origin,
 which will be used to explore human genetic variation
in the Irish population.
Over the past decade or so genealogists from around the
world have become increasingly intrigued by the
possibilities afforded through the advances in genetic
genealogy to...

And now for something completely different...

This is a typical shop bill from a Listowel shop in 1921. Note the dependence on tobacco!!!
Listowel people would have had their own meat, vegetables and fruit and, of course, there was no processed food available then.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Irish Orphan Girls

Julie Evans sent me this lovely poignant poem by an Australian poet. She too had a female ancestor arrive in Australia on the infamous Earl Grey Scheme

Female Irish Orphans

By Pamela O’Connor

They came here in their thousands – little orphan girls,
Cast aside, like a string of imitation pearls.
Having no value and no worth,
Having no place, no purpose on earth,
Gouged from the heart of Ireland’s deathly blight,
No one cared or sorrowed at their plight.

When they landed on this shore the lonely men were there.
Waiting to choose a wife – the chance for this was rare.
The women were waiting to choose their servant girls,
Nobody saw the tears of the little imitation pearls.
Friendships made on the voyage out were lost,
As the pearls across the colony were tossed.

These little orphan girls became the mothers of this land,
Though heaven only knows, that wasn’t planned!
For fate had not destroyed their joy and song,
And God was kind because it wasn’t long
Before they rose above the fear and pain,
The ridicule of others - and disdain.

They taught that freedom of the spirit was just a state of mind,
That pride and love and laughter were first nature to their kind,
Each day and night their work and toil
Brought life into the barren soil,
And finally their roots were sown
And now their love for this great land had grown.

Their sons and daughters carried on their ways,
And many are the thoughts that take us back to those far days,
As Australians we can thank them for the heritage they gave,
For the poets, priests and larrikins – the identity we crave,
And sometimes one can hear their distant voices singing loud.
From these pearls I am descended,

And I’m proud.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Tramps and the workhouse

Since posting the story about Bridget Ryan, I have become fascinated by The Workhouse and life therein. Tramps and vagrants were frequent callers to the workhouse door. One fascinating little titbit, I'll share with you now;

Tramps' Signs

Tramps and other travellers are often said to make use of secret signs. Such signs, scratched outside houses along the route, are used to pass on information or warnings about the treatment to be expected at a particular house. Some of the signs reckoned to be most widely used ones are listed below.

(Tick) "Yes" or "all right"

(Cross in circle) "A Christian household"

(Coins) "Money may be given here"

(Table) "A sit-down meal may be on offer""

(Loaf of bread) "Food only"

(Interlocking squares) "Threats may produce something"

(Box) "Spin them a tale" or "Eloquence may get a response"

(part of X?) "No" or "Nothing doing".

(Bars) "Police may be informed or called"

(Dot in circle) "Police may be called"

(Dot in square) "Possibility of violence"

(Teeth) "Fierce dog!"

(Sickle) "Work may be offered"

(Triangle) "Too many have called recently"
Frank Gray, who became  well acquainted with tramps and their habits was rather sceptical about the supposed use of secret signs by tramps. In his view, tramps were much likely to keep their intelligence of a neighbourhood to themselves, particularly when it came to generous households.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

A man named Pat Schillaci

Listowel people have a tendency to give people colourful nicknames. I have always wondered where Schillaci got his from. The mystery was solved last weekend when this great friend and adopted son of the Keane family was laid to rest.

Billy Keane has written a lovely piece about him in today's Irish Independent but it does not seem to be published in the online version of the paper. So I'm sharing with you the Kerryman obituary.

Wednesday October 19 2011
LISTOWEL buried a cherished character this week with the passing of Patrick O'Donoghue, affectionately known as 'Schillaci'.
A massive crowd turned out for his Funeral Mass in St Mary's on Sunday with friend Micky McConnell singing him out with The Parting Glass in a particularly poignant moment.
The 55-year-old Cobh native was found dead in his flat on William Street on Thursday. A regular of John B's bar, Mr O'Donoghue was indeed named as 'resident character' by the late writer many years ago.
"He was a lovely, gentle soul and had the freedom of 30 houses around town," Billy Keane — who gave Sunday's oration — told The Kerryman.
"Pat came to town in his younger years and married the love of his life, Mary Daly. The couple had two children, Billy and John, and two grandchildren and he was a hero to them. Pat had a hard upbrining in residential care in Cork and I think the time he spent with his own children and grandchildren was his way of reclaiming his lost childhood."
Very generous to his many friends, Mr O'Donoghue carried out work all over Listowel. "He was happy with lunch or the loan of a good book in recompense and was a voracious reader. He'd read three books a week and loved reading to his grandchildren."
Mr O'Donoghue had lunch with Mary Keane every Sunday and had a second home in the bar. Indeed, he earned his moniker there in the aftermath of the infamous goal. "He was so shocked he fell off his stool when Schillaci scored and my brother John called him after the Italian player from then on. It was a name that suited him perfectly."

Quiz answers

From Vincent

Answers to our quiz,

(1) What family occupied the Central Hotel before the Galvin’s?

(A) The Potter family, who the Galvins married into.

(2) Where could you see “a local Squire being entertained in Listowel ©1842 “?

(A) The original painting is on view at the Urban Council Office, or anyone with

      Listowel and its Vicinity, the colour plate is between pages, 256 and 257.

(3) There were two hotels in Listowel, known as Commercial, where were they?

      (not the Listowel Arms)

 (A) (1) in 1867, James Collopy had a Commercial Hotel in The Square, where

       Jimmy Deenihan has his office.

        (2) O’Connor’s Commercial Hotel was in Market Street, where Pierces had

        their veterinary practice.

(4) There was also a commercial club, where? Who was the secretary?

(A) Where ‘Footprints’ is now in Main Street, John Cahill was secretary.

(5) James Butler was a watch and clock repairer, where did he live?

(A) He lived and worked at 23 Upper William Street.

(6) Where did the Young Ireland Society have their meetings?

(A) At 63 Church Street, Tarrant’s or The Bon Ton (the name was painted on the

     plinth in the overhead wall)

(7) Where was Listowel’s last Private Hotel?

(A) Lawler’s, afterwards Ashes in Church Street.

(8) Two of Listowel Pharmacies and part of another one originally had something in

      common, nothing to do with dispensing medicine, what were they?

(A) 3 Public Houses. Wm. Keane Stack’s, (now Aidan O Connor’s) was a pub ran by

       Jeremiah Foley in 1911. Broderick’s Pharmacy was a pub ran by Edward Cain in

       1901. Thirdly, the William Street addition to McGuire’s Chemist shop (Justin

       Stack’s) was a pub ran by a William McCarthy.


 (9) Listowel residents, John McCrystall, George Rice and Gabriel Thorpe had           

      something in common, what?

(A) They were three Listowel physicians and surgeons in 1846.

(10)  Listowel’s Royal Hotel was owned by whom?

(A) Patrick J. Houlihan, 1880s

      Miss Hannah Roche, 1890s

(11) If I was to meet you for a drink in Listowel’s, Hotel Brendan, who’s home would

        we have been in?

(A) The home of Robert M Danaher, father of Tim Danaher (Gift of Ink). Afterwards

       John Joe Kenny’s and the Castle Bar.  

Thanks to all those who took the time to contribute, I got some very funny answers, nobody got them all right, even remotely near it!!, I suppose there will be some who will say,"I knew that" however having read the answers they would say that, would'nt they?
Here to the next one,

Friday, 21 October 2011

For recent and not so recent emigrants...a new forum launches today

Today's Irish Times article is about the scourge of emigration, not in famine times but today.

Today, The Irish Times launches Generation Emigration, a conversation – on the web and in print – with Ireland’s mobile citizens, wherever they may be in the world Introducing the project, its curator CIARA KENNY looks at how the internet has made the world a smaller, cosier place for emigrants
IT IS NIGHTFALL in the Doyle household in Manly, Sydney, and two-year-old Valentine is putting on her pyjamas, brushing her teeth, and getting tucked in to bed. A laptop glows beside her as she settles down to sleep, her Irish and French grandparents joining in the bedtime routine by webcam from the other side of the world.
“I don’t think we could do it without Skype,” says Vallie’s father Devin (41), a screenwriter from Portmarnock in Dublin, who emigrated to Australia with his French wife Nadège in 2007.
“Facebook is fantastic for maintaining a sense of involvement with friends and family back home, but Skype is making it possible for our daughter to know her grandparents. Although they desperately miss not being able to hug her, at least she knows what they look like, and they can see her growing.”
For the vast majority of Irish emigrants, the days of waiting by the postbox for a letter from home have long been replaced by instant communication across thousands of miles. Facebook, Twitter and Skype have created online communities that span continents.
The experience of living so far from home has changed dramatically for Devin since he first lived in Australia in the 1990s.
“Phone contact was possible but expensive, and my parents didn’t have email, let alone Skype,” he says. His mother used to cut out articles she thought he’d like from The Irish Times and send them by “snail mail”, and his father would spend a small fortune posting VHS tapes of Premiership football matches.
Although he still enjoys getting clippings in the post and seeing his mum’s handwriting, Devin can read the articles on The Irish Times website and watch the football matches live online.
“The boys in our family bond a lot through football, and nowadays we can sit down and watch the matches together live on the internet. We’ll often run a Skype text chat on the side while we’re doing something else on the computer, if we’re online at the same time. It’s nice. We chat about the weather, the football, aviation, war films, jazz . . . I’d go so far as to say that I’m probably even more in touch with my father now than I would have been at home.”
Facebook and Twitter have also affected long-distance relationships in a profound way by facilitating “passive monitoring” of friends’ lives, according to Lee Komito, a senior lecturer in the School of Information and Library Studies in University College Dublin, who is researching the impact of social media on migration.
“Internet users can browse photos of their friends online, read status updates, see what events their contacts have attended, and generally keep up-to-date with daily life back in Ireland,” says Komito. “They can also watch programmes and videos online, listen to Irish radio, read the news, and completely surround themselves with exactly the same information and social interaction that they would engage with online at home,” he adds.
“But the most distinct benefit of these new media technologies is the fact that you can combine the visual, text and audio components, and in real time. No one would say it is as good as being there with the person, but it is very close to it.”
THE INTERNET HAS removed much of the anxiety from the process of moving abroad but it has also made planning much easier. Today’s emigrants can use it to research their destination, apply for visas, view apartments, send out CVs, and even carry out job interviews over Skype.
“Those who are planning to move to Canada now see the internet as their first and main resource,” says Brian Reynolds, who runs, a forum and information resource for Irish people in Canada. “We have a few thousand visitors to our site on average per week, asking the same questions we did when we arrived. What’s the best city to live in? How long does it take to get a job? What is the rent like? These are issues for everyone, from the qualified lawyer to the student.”
Online social networks have replaced the traditional role of the Irish pub or community centre as the place to create social and professional links in their new hometown.
“Networking with other Irish people is not necessarily about gathering around an Irish cultural activity to reminisce about home anymore,” explains Mary-Clare Connellan, who launched in May, which aims to provide an online space where Irish people can connect with one another, and a resource of “how to” information for Irish people who have recently arrived in the city.
“Irish people want to network with each other because they have a similar attitude to business, to meeting people, and to helping each other. The first networking event we held attracted people from every single profession you could think of,” she says.
Komito believes links created through social networking may create a more mobile Irish population.
“If these contacts are maintained over a long time, people are more likely to have connections who can help them to suss out whether there are better opportunities somewhere else. Before, people would leave Ireland and establish themselves in a new place, and it would be rare for them to up sticks and resettle in another place, unless they were coming back home again. That is changing,” he says.
'Social media is the new way of creating an ex-pat community'


Jane Kenny (27)

Three months after her graduation from NCAD this summer, Kenny, a textile designer and fashion blogger from Dublin, moved to London to pursue a career in fashion. She has used Twitter and her fashion blog, Noisy Shoes, to bridge her professional transition between countries.

“I have a fashion line in Om Diva on Drury Street, in Dublin and I can coordinate everything from here by email, and use Facebook and my blog to promote it. While I want to base myself here in London, I like the idea of being able to still work and have connections in Dublin, as I think it is a great city. That would be really difficult without social media.”

Kenny has also used social media to create a new circle of friends in London. “The old notion of going to the Irish pub seems so foreign to me, I would never dream of going to one, unless to watch the rugby. Instead, I use social networking sites to find other places that would be more suited to my interests. Social media is the new way of creating an ex-pat community.”


Emily Gotto (28)

From Kinsale, Co Cork, Gotto has spent her life on the move. Since graduating with a BA from UCD in 2006, she has lived in Dublin, Nottingham, New Zealand and Spain.

She is currently living in Los Angeles finishing an MA in film audio visual management, but is planning to move to New York in September.

“I move every three months on average. I didn’t plan it that way; it just happened really,” she says.

Social media has been an important way for Gotto to remain connected to Dublin, which she calls her “real home”, and keep herself up-to-date with what’s happening in her friends’ lives back in Ireland.

“I’m lucky to have a very accepting and loyal and generally amazing bunch of mates that grab me on Skype for a chat or comment on my pictures on Facebook, even though they are rarely ever in them these days, which makes me feel as though I didn’t sacrifice one life for another.”

Gotto says her new network of friends in LA were made mostly through other friends and introductions on Facebook.


Róisín Cameron (27)

When Cameron returned to live in Dublin last month after almost five years in London and New York, new faces among her old circle of friends were familiar before they had even met.

“Coming back to Ireland has been hard,” she says. “But the internet definitely helped me to keep a handle on what was going on here while I was away. When I am introduced to someone new here now, I will probably already know their name because I recognise them from photos on my friends’ Facebook pages.”

Cameron, who is taking a break from publishing to do a masters’ in American Studies in UCD, used Gmail Chat instant messenger to keep in touch with close friends while living abroad, but says Facebook was important for keeping up-to-date with what was happening among her wider social circle.

“If I had to rely solely on email, I don’t think I would have lost touch with close friends, but I definitely would have fallen out of contact with acquaintances,” she says. “But by reading their Facebook posts for a week, you are staying in each other’s lives without having to make any effort.”
Generation Emigration: An Irish Times editorial project

LAST YEAR, an average of more than 100 Irish people a day went overseas in search of opportunities and adventure. This mass exodus of Irish citizens will have a lasting impact on their lives, on the lives of those they’ve left behind, and on our society and economy.

Today, The Irish Times launches Generation Emigration, an online and print initiative aimed at this current generation of mobile Irish citizens. It’s a two-way dialogue that will be curated and facilitated by Ciara Kenny.

Online, a multimedia blog on will feature stories and opinion pieces from Irish people overseas and other guest contributors, news for the Irish community abroad, and a discussion section where readers can express opinions, ask questions and debate a range of issues relating to Irish emigration.

In print, the newspaper will highlight a different emigrant experience every Friday, through interviews with Irish people living in diverse locations around the world.

Readers are invited to contribute their views, news, experiences and stories.

You can access the blog at

Follow it on Twitter @GenEmigration

Keep in touch on our Facebook page,

Or you can email us on