Thursday, 13 December 2012

Christmas in the workhouse, photos from Vincent's launch

  Both Junior Griffin and Michael Lynch, county archivist, sent me accounts from newspapers of the time (very early 20th. century) of Christmas in Listowel workhouse. Here is the first of those accounts from The Kerryman Jan 5 1907 and I will bring you the others over the next few days


Human nature is so selfish that the great majority of us never think of the miseries and misfortunes of our poorer brethren.  We are so much engrossed with our own little affairs that we rarely go out of our way to give a helping hand to those who most need it.  And for that reason we doubly value the generosity and kindliness of heart which prompted Mrs. Foran, lady guardian for Listowel and vice-Chairman of the Board to institute an annual Christmas treat for the workhouse children. 

We were present at the entertainment on Tuesday night at the Union schoolrooms and one would require to be present to thoroughly appreciate the happiness which was brought even for a few short hours into the lives of the little ones which cruel destiny has decreed to spend their youth in the Workhouse.  For weeks the children look forward with pleasure to the entertainment and it would be no exaggeration to say that it is their happiest hour in the whole long year.  Smiling faces everywhere and it was an inspiration to watch the gleam of pleasure in the children's eyes as they received one of the toys from the Christmas trees artistically placed at the head of the school room, which was turned into a veritable fairy land.  And then the playing of the Brass band - the members of which who, so kindly and generously attended - sent a thrill of delight through the little ones which found expression in a joyous cheer for their fair benefactress.

  Truly the few hours, fading and evanescent though they may be brought joy and gladness into the lives of the little ones.  The first night of the New Year was to them a pleasurable one, and no matter what their lot may be in after years, their annual Christmas treat will be a sweet and pleasant memory.  We would wish that all the other Unions in Kerry would follow the example given by Mrs. Foran and her lady friends and bring happiness into the cheerless lives of the children.  To Mrs. Foran particularly, the originator of the Christmas entertainment in Listowel, the best thanks of the community are due for the charity and warmth of heart which prompts her to bring so much happiness into the lives of the poor little waifs who are compelled to spend their innocent youths in the cheerless surroundings of a workhouse.


From The Advertiser


Very, very nearly there!


Joanne Dillon, a good friend of this blog discovered this Facebook page
It has all kinds of interesting historical stuff including a piece about this man;

The O'Rahilly


Sunday Dec. 9 2012 in the ballroom of The Listowel Arms

A few more photos from the launch

Billy Keane, Jerry Kennelly and Jimmy Deenihan

Ann and Oonagh Hartnett

Vicent's sister, Maura and his wife, Kathleen

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