Friday, 29 March 2013

St. Patrick's Day 2013 and Peat Briquettes and new genealogy website

The very last of my St. Patrick's day photos........... for now.

Martin Stack

Liz Healy


Maurice Hannon AKA St. Patrick

Matt Mooney

Liam Brennan AKA St. Patrick

St. Patrick's sandals....and it was skinning cold!



There is much talk of winter fuel and fuel shortages during this cold snap. Bord na Mona has had one of its worst peat harvests on record and is currently witnessing unprecedented demand for briquettes.

Did you know that peat briquettes as fuel are an Irish thing?

Here is a sequence of archive photos from  Bord na Mona Heartland  from the briquette factory in Croghan.

After the briquettes were made they were extruded on runners to help them cool down before baling. The runners extended for 75 meters into the baling house. When baled the core temperature of the briquettes was 78 degrees C.

Eventually the briquettes were loaded for transport.  At this time some 22 million bales were produced each year between Lullymore, Derrinlough and Croghan.


Jimmy Deenihan T.D.
Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
 launched the new Genealogy Website
at Royal Irish Academy, Dawson Street, Dublin 2
on Tuesday 26 March 2013 is a new Irish Genealogy search portal
This portal will make it possible for users to search records from a number of genealogy records sites including:
·         Census 1901/19011 records, Irish Census of populations for all counties of Ireland.
·         Griffiths Valuations, the first full scale valuation of 19th Century property in Ireland, published 1847 to 1864.
·         Tithe Applotment records, Compiled 1823-1837,
·         Soldiers wills,
·         Military Archives,
·         National Library of Ireland,
·         Ellis Island records, passenger lists and other records of U.S. immigration through Ellis Island, New York.
·         Ireland-Australia transportation database,
·         Women in 20th Century Ireland 1922-1966, a database of almost 20,000 entries on a set of records relating to central government.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Hoarders, Mike Aylmer R.I.P. and a cigarette card

Congratulations Boys!

Moyvane brothers, Aaron and Sean Slemon who came 15th and 1st in The World Irish Dancing Championships in Boston.


We are not done with St. Patrick's Day yet!!

John McGrath
Johnny Cronin dancing school

Johnny Cronin

John Stack

Mary Moylan


People who hoard photos and old newspapers, magazines and programmes are to be treasured. These people are an invaluable help to me in compiling the blog.  My newest collaborator is Tom  O'Connor of the well known local Mike the Pie family.  Recently Tom brought me 2 old GAA commemorative programmes and a copy of The North Kerry Chronicle. 

The North Kerry Chronicle was a free newspaper before The Advertiser was heard of. Tom had kept the paper from June 1966 because in it there was a tribute to his old friend, Mike Aylmer. Customers of McGuire's will remember Mike as he was pharmacist  there for years and he was a valued member of Listowel Tennis Club.

 His friend, Gerard Leahy wrote this obituary. If you knew Mike, take a minute to read it and remember a "character" who is gone but not forgotten.

Tribute to a nice man
 from The North Kerry Chronicle 1996
(Gerard Leahy)

The death of Mike Alymer on May 12 1996 was an irreplaceable loss for the town of Listowel and an occasion of shattering sadness for his many friends and admirers.

Mike was born in Castledermot, Co, Kildare, a village nestling in lush Kildare pastureland, enriched by the River barrow. His father was editor of The Carlow Nationalist and his mother was headmistress of Castledermot National School, next door to the family home. He was the eldest of two sisters and four brothers, all of whom went on to achieve distinction in the medical and legal professions. Mike went to Rockwell College and although his initial passion was architecture, because of the cost and length of this course at the time he decided to study Pharmacy. He qualified with distinction and set up a successful in Carlow Town. The death of Mike’s wife, Frances prompted him to move on. He came to McGuire’s Pharmacy and stayed her until his death.

Mike was a man of tremendous intellect, combined with personal sensitivity and humility. He had a unique ability to size people and situations and to transform these observations into a witty analysis, which he would quietly confide with his friends over a pint. He was not opinionated or particularly well informed on current affairs but he had a view on most aspects and situations in life based on his own acute observations down through the years. Above all he loved to spice his observations with a quotation or a good yarn gleaned from his own experiences. He was a renowned wit and the nicknames he invented for local and national characters combined a roguish sense of fun with a penetrating sense of observation.

After forsaking his practice in Carlow he lived life on his own terms and discarded material goods. He lived humbly, his only prized possessions, his tennis racquet, his classical music tapes and his 2 budgies. He had little time for religion and nothing was guaranteed to irritate him more than the clickety clack of high heels going down Church Street to mass on a Sunday morning. He was amused at the changeover to Saturday night mass, describing it as “going to mass today for tomorrow.” He expressed is personal philosophy on life as “Life is like a blossoming flower which eventually withers and dies.’ He lived his own life accordingly.  He was mildly suspicious of women of whom he used to say, in a deliberate misquote from Macbeth, “She looketh like the innocent flower but she the serpent under it.” At the same time he had great admiration for many of those females he met through tennis and through his work. He would not tolerate the company of fools but he was incapable of insulting anyone, preferring to quietly avoid their company. He needed neither people nor distractions and h spent his life in Listowel at work, having a few pints in O’Connor’s Bar, walking in the park or playing tennis in the town courts and placing the odd cross double on a Saturday afternoon. To my knowledge he never progressed beyond McKenna’s Corner in either direction in his 17 years in Listowel.

Mike’s great passions and consolations were tennis and classical music. I first met him through an arranged tennis match in 1979 and we remained firm friends since. He loved tennis, particularly men’s doubles, and nothing would give him greater satisfaction than to send a winner past a beaten opponent. He would invariably turn and describe the shot as “one from the bottom drawer”. He helped to revitalize Listowel Tennis Clun in the 1980's and was its chairman for two years. During one of these years the club held a fancy dress social. Mike arrived, dressed impeccably in uniform as Adolf Hitler. After the meal he stood up to give the club chairman’s annual address. For 10 minutes he recited in strident and vociferous German a prepared Hitlerite speech and then he sat down without a word of English or any comment whatsoever on the previous tennis season.  He brought the house down and the affectionate applause was thunderous.

Mike’s friends transcended all class boundaries. He had friends from all walks of life who will miss him dearly. He loved good sunny weather and he always said that the best time of year was the last two weeks of April and the first two weeks of May when the effervescence of life was at its most potent.

He fell ill during this period in 1996, died on May 12 and was buried on a beautiful day in Castledermot on May 14th. On the way back to Listowel, I went through the nearby village of Moone. I pictured Mike on a tennis court receiving a weak second serve which his legs would not carry him in quickly enough to return properly after which he would describe the serve with sneering disgust to his opponent “like the women’s sodality up in Moone”. Passions may come and go, but friendships are forged through years of trust and can only die with death. Mike’s friends remembered him at his month’s mind mass in the convent chapel on June 12th followed by refreshments in O’Connor’s Bar.


Listowel Garden Centre decorated with flags and daffodils for the national holiday.

Digging up The Square again?


This artefact is a cigarette card with a very strange tale.


Wednesday, 27 March 2013

March 17, Gortaglanna, Ronnie Delaney and Duagh 1958

During the St. Patrick's Day Parade 2013, Listowel Celtic entertained the crowd by inviting onlookers to take frees against Elmo (AKA Edel O'Connor)

The theme of Dromclough School's troop was the scourge of emigration. In the group I saw the grandson of returned emigrants reliving the pain of emigration which is ravaging our green and misty isle today as it did in his grandparents time in the 1950s.



Ronnie Delaney Feb 2 1959


I took the following account from the Pres. school yearbook of 1992. In the days before the internet girls used to ask their parents and grandparents to tell them the stories of historical events.

The Martyrs of Gortaglanna

There was a mission on in Athea this particular week.  Con Dee, Paddy Dalton and Paddy Walsh were after attending the mission on the morning of the 12th May 1921.  They had Mass, Confession and Communion.  They had come a couple of miles to Connors cross where they had arranged to meet Ger Lyons.  As Ger arrived, the lorries which belonged to the Black & Tans surrounded them.  The only thing the four men had with them was their rosary beads.  They hadn’t expected to meet the Tans but it is rumoured that a woman in Athea told the Tans that she had seen them leaving a while earlier and that they were on the road.  The Tans captured them, beat them up and threw them into the lorries.  They took the four men about a quarter of a mile in the direction of Listowel.  They took them out of the lorries and marched them into a field where there was a fort.  This field is now known as the “Martyrs’ Field”.  This field was owned by William McMahon of Kilmorna.  The Black & Tans lined the four men up and selected a firing party from the Black & Tans.  The Tans were ordered to shoot the four men, the orders were given and the shots rang out.  Paddy Walsh, Paddy Dalton and Ger Lyons fell dead.  Con Dee was wounded in the leg.  He turned and ran down the glen as shots rang out after him.  He kept going on towards the bog with his leg bleeding heavily until he came to a road.  He had travelled a mile when he was spotted by a man who had a horse car and rail.  He put  Con into the horse car and covered him over and brought him a  mile or two towards Coilbee and put him into a meadow and hid him in a dyke and contacted some of the other comrades.
            Con was collected by Donal Bill O’Sullivan who helped him across about eight fields to Enrights of Ballahadigue where a doctor was called from Listowel to treat his wound.  He had lost a lot of blood by this time.  Later that night Con Dee was removed in a pony and trap to a farm between Ballylongford and Lisselton where he was cared for until his wound healed and he had recovered to health.  Con Dee emigrated to Philadelphia in the late 1920s.  He used to make regular visits to Ireland and called to the people who cared for him while he was wounded and would also call to the location where the murders had taken place.  Con Dee died in Philadelphia about ten years ago.
            There is a monument in memory of these men at Gortaglanna and also the well-known song “The Valleys of Knockanure” is dedicated to these men. 


This photo from 1917 shows US submarines in Bantry Bay.


Liam Murphy found these photos of Duagh Confirmation 1958 while trawling through the great Kennelly Archive

 Back L to R- ?-Horgan, Thomas Hickey(R.I.P.) Bernie O'Connell, Pat Buckley, J.J. Somers,Ned Murphy, ? Keane. Front L to R- ? Keane, Ned Somers, (R.I.P.) Joe Doran, (May be) Pat O"Loughlin, Me, and Billy Doran.


Tuesday, 26 March 2013

More from March 17 and famous ancestors

A few more from March 17th


Mary Moylan sings Sweet Listowel. I apologise in advance for all the background noise that I have no clue how to filter out.


MIchael Collins throws in the sliotar to start the All Ireland Hurling Final in 1921


Girls remember some famous ancestors 

 ( From Pres. Secondary School yearbook 1992 )

Michael Collins – Eilín Olive Pierse, 1 Bríd

Michael Collins, Commander – in – Chief of the Free State Army during the Civil War, was killed at Beal na mBláth on 22nd August 1922.
            His brother Johnny had lived at the family home at Woodfield, near Clonakilty with his wife Kate and their eight children. Kate died in February, 1921.  Woodfield was burned by the Black and Tans and the children were forced to live with relations.
            One of the eight was Mary.  She married Richard (Dick) Pierse of Listowel and had seven sons.  The second eldest – Robert- is my father so this makes Michael Collins my great-grand uncle.

Patrick De Woulfe Scanlon (1862 – 1893), Karen Kennelly, 1 Bríd

The anniversary of the death of Patrick de Woulfe Scanlon brings to mind the taking off in the springtime of his life of a talented young North Kerry man whom the Pittsburgh, Pa. press described, at his demise, “as one of the brightest and most talented young men that city had ever known”.
            A journalist, and an artist, whom disease cut down more than a quarter of a century ago, just as fame had dawned on the marvels of his brush.  De Woulfe Scanlon was born close to the village of Newtownsandes in North Kerry and, when quite a young lad, emigrated to America and, for a while, settled in Philadelphia, Pa. where he accepted a position on the clerical staff of the Pennsylvania railroad.  He was shortly afterwards promoted to Pittsburgh, Pa.  Having always a taste for literature and art, his spare time was devoted to the cultivation of both, and shortly after his arrival in the great iron smelting city of the west, he was looked on as a brilliant and effective writer.
            The brush, however, dominated the pen in his ambition, and after four years he had spared sufficient money to enable him to set out for Europe to pursue his artistic studies.  In Paris he studied painting under the leading masters of the period and there became associated with Mr. J. Elmar Salsibury, the well known Pittsburgh artist, who took a keen interest in the work of young Scanlon.
            Outside the studio he still continued to write for the American press and supplied art critiques and articles under the pen name of “Vandyke”.  After the Paris Exhibition he studied in Florence and Rome and, having toured France, Germany and Africa, he returned to Ireland on way back to America, having taken in the principal cities of England in his route.
            During this itinerary many interesting sketches and articles found their way into the leading journals of the States, while yet he was laying the foundation of the more solid and enduring forms of art.  Returning to Pittsburgh he opened a studio in 4th Avenue and soon his paintings attracted a number of patrons through whom his work was gradually attracting lucrative attention.  Death claimed him at the age of 31.
            For many years afterwards in his old home – a pretty homestead on the roadside between Newtownsandes and Tarbert – numbers of his earlier school day sketches were to be seen up to a few years ago, but they have gradually found their way into the hands of his many friends and admirers.