Friday, 2 November 2012

The Cows lawn concluded.; More on Superstorm Sandy

The final installment of Kay Caball's history of Childers' Park.

In 1966, Listowel Urban Council, still striving to finally put the Cows Lawn in public ownership and also to provide a Town Park for the residents, opened negotiations with the ‘Cow Keepers’ to purchase their shares. On 23 August 1965 the following Shareholders were offered £200 per share:
Martin Daly Market St.
Joseph Walsh, Church St., 
Paddy Keane, Church St.,

Joe Scanlon, Bridge Road, 
Gerald Lynch, The Square, 
Mrs. Tadg Brennan, Colbert St., 
Patrick Finucane, Church St 
Mrs. May Quillinan, C/o Miss Stack, The Emporium, Church St., 
Miss N Kelly, Upper William St.,

Mrs Nora Buckley, William St.

Miss Tessie Buckley, William St.,
Michael Woulfe, C/o McKennas, Listowel
All signified their agreement but at that point problems with the legal conveyance arose. A barrister’s opinion supplied by William A. Binchy (father of Maeve Binchy) dated 10.10.1965 spelled out the ‘defect in the title of the land in question’. 
Because the ownership had been vested in so many different titleholders, some now deceased, his opinion was that the best and indeed only way forward was a Compulsory Purchase Order.
The Compulsory Purchase Order was effected on 14 April 1966, the Urban Council borrowed £4,300 from the New Ireland Insurance Co., to pay for the acquisition, which they later recouped by selling a small section of the road frontage. At the same time the very distinctive Danaher’s Lodge, now called the Dandy Lodge, a nineteenth century cottage which had been the gate lodge to the manor and was identified as the first house in Bridge Road in the Ordinance Survey map of 1887,19 was moved stone by stone across the road to the new entrance to the Park. The Town Park, now known as Childers Park is in public ownership, used on a daily basis by the people of the town with pitch & putt, rugby, soccer, a children’s playground and Community Centre.
The highlight of the
 development of the Lawns is the Garden 
of Europe. In the wooded area which had 
formerly been used a town dump, the 
council, with the help of local voluntary
associations initiated the planting of the 
Garden of Europe, now regarded as one of Listowel's hidden treasures. It contains more than 2,500 trees and shrubs from all European countries. It also contains Ireland's only public monument to the memory of the millions who died in the Holocaust. The focal point of the garden is an impressive bust of the poet Schiller. Schiller’s ‘Ode to Joy’ set to music by Beethoven in his Ninth Symphony is now the official anthem of the European Union.


‘Ode to Joy’ expresses Schiller’s idealistic vision of the human race becoming brothers, a vision also shared by Beethoven.  Surely it is a fitting conclusion to the long drawn out struggle of the people of Listowel to be masters of their own destiny, to walk 
their ‘own’ land and enjoy all the facilities 
on offer in their ‘Town Park’. As this research shows, It had taken from the middle of the twelfth century, firstly with the Fitzmaurices, then the Hares as overlords, to reach a conclusion where the tenants and dispossessed were ‘brothers’ rather than serfs.
I am very grateful to Kay for sharing this with us. She has done us all a great service in documenting this fascinating piece of Listowel history.

Below are some of the facilities available in the Cows' Lawn to the people of Listowel today.
Adult playground

tennis courts

Tee box on Pitch and Putt Course

Artwork and Graffiti


flower bed




Beautiful early colour photographs here (mostly Galway)


Did you know there’s an Irish actor in the popular TV soap Home and Away?
Irish actor Alison McGirr, from Co Carlow, landed the role as Molly Brenner and has been appearing in episodes of the show in Australia since August of this year. 
She started appearing in episodes broadcasted in Ireland in recent weeks. 
McGirr, whose great-grandparents were from Ireland, was herself born in Australia but moved back to Ireland with her family 1996 where she attended Tullow Community School in Co Carlow.
McGirr is engaged to fellow actor Sam Atwell, who is best known for his role as Kane Philips in the TV show.
Home and Away is watched by an estimated 150,000 Irish people on RTÉ everyday.

Do you remember yesterday's first hand pictures from New Jersey? They were shared with us by Marie Shaw and she wrote this account of superstorm Sandy.

Hi Mary,
Fortunately I was not in the thick of it. I live in Manchester, NJ about 13/15 miles inland from the coast. Most of those pictures were taken from the block behind my son's home in Belmar, NJ.
As I am sure you have heard in the media, the devastation on the coastline from lower Manhattan and all through the Jersey shore to Atlantic City is horrendous. A quarter of a million people in lower Manhattan without power which means no water, no heat, no cooking facilities. Over one hundred  homes in Breezy Point NY burned to the ground. Miraculously, nobody perished in the blaze.Rockaway Beach, NY (affectionately known in the old days as Ballybunion USA) just a memory of what it once was.
The entire Jersey shore has been wiped out with hotels, private beachfront homes and miles and miles of boardwalk gone. So many families homeless in the aftermath, so many lives ruined by the wrath of mother nature.
When, as a child back in Listowel, we would experience a storm, the older people would talk about "The night of the big wind" I had no idea what the fuss was about but I certainly do now. I have never heard such gale force winds. Up to 80 miles an hour, windows shaking, trees uprooted and flashing lights in the sky. The flashing lights we found out later were transformers exploding.
Incredibly, only about forty lives were lost and most of those were people who refused to follow orders to "Stay inside your homes" and ending up being struck by falling trees and live electrical wires on the ground.
Most of us (The Irish in partulicar) have always had an ongoing romantic affair with the sea but we are all realizing that the sea and nature in general can turn on us in an instant and many can be left with broken hearts and broken lives.
On a happier note, as the sea grows calm once again, the attached picture shows that everything has it's time and place and tonight we feel that God is still in the heavens and all will be right with the world once again.
Marie Shaw

Calm after the storm


Still standing in the midst of the devastation ay Breezy Point New York.


And I saw this next on Facebook. Uplifting!

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