Monday, 31 March 2014

Paddy Drury remembered and St. Patrick's day in South Carolina; The Listowel Connection

The Times they are a changin'"

The clocks went forward one hour at the weekend. We have always used this phrase but it struck me on Sunday that it is now true. I woke up on Sunday morning to find that all the clocks in my house had adjusted themselves to the changed time. They had "gone" forward literally. The twice yearly ritual of going round the house and manually resetting the clocks will be another story to tell the grandchildren. Woe betide you if you forgot to reset the time on the video recorder!


Paddy Drury

A poet and wit who is remembered in many of the best Listowel stories and anecdotes is the late Paddy Drury. One Sunday recently, my good friends, Anne and Liam Dillon invited me to lunch, and, to complete a very pleasant afternoon, they took me to see Paddy Drury's resting place in Knockanure graveyard.

His grave lies within the walls of the old Knockanure church.

The graveyard is an old but very well maintained one in an absolutely beautiful rural location.

The late Dan Keane  wrote a poem to Drury and here it is for you:

Drury’s Ghost       Dan Keane

Down Farran by the old churchyard
One night I took a stroll
As bright aurora’s crimson beams
Flashed upward from the pole.
From the red wine of remembrance
To the dead I drank a toast,
Then what appeared beside me
But Paddy Drury’s ghost.


At length I uttered, “Drury
What brings your spirit back?
Is there anything you’re needing? “
He answered, “Not a whack!”

“But the friends I loved are parted
And the scene is not the same.
There’s a dozen homesteads missing
Down along my own Bog Lane.
How I loved each thatched white cottage
When their silent signals spoke
Like a fleet of ships in harbour
Belching out their morning smoke.”

“I’ve met all the friends in Heaven;
Drurys, Dores, the Nolans, Nashes
Fiddler Creed and Dancing Billy
With his legs as loose a ashes,
Tade and Jim and Dick ,the Villain
Dan the Bucko from the Lane,
I’d a pint in Peter’s parlour
With my old friend, Daniel Kane.”

“I have toiled with many farmers
When the grub was really bad.
I’d never live for ninety years
But for the teeth I had.
But the frame was getting older
And the teeth were getting few
So I found my stimulation
In the stuff I couldn’t chew.

So I said, “You are in Heaven
And what more can mortals crave?
Do you know you’ll soon be honoured
With a headstone o’er your grave?
He betrayed no foolish flatter
Gave a jovial exclamation
In the quaint old Drury fashion
“Hope ‘twont raise my valuation?”

“ Let the human fad be honoured,
It will do no harm there
And some pilgrim might, in passing
For the Drurys say a prayer.
Otherwise, above my ashes
I’ve no asset to my soul
And if  Drury still was living

They’d begrudge him draw the dole.”

The poem is a very long one so I have edited it a bit but I kept the references to Drury's neighbours in Bog Lane, the reference to his legendary grumbling about bad grub, his capacity for drink and the fact that his headstone was paid for my monies raised by his friends, among them  John B. Keane.


St. Patrick's Day in South Carolina

This is Maeve Moloney Koch taking part in her local St. Patrick's parade in Columbia, South Carolina, USA. Maeve is carrying a Kerry flag.

Maeve with her local congressman, Joe Wilson


If you live or have ever lived with an Irish Mammy this will give you a good laugh:

Friday, 28 March 2014

Dan Keane's Daybreak o'er Rathea and Confirmation id Ballydonoghue

North Kerry has produced a steady stream of folk poets. One of the best of these was the late Dan Keane. Here is a typical Dan Keane piece from his collection The Heather is Purple. It tells a story of Penal Times, religious suppression, mass rocks and murders.  I don't know if the subject matter of Dan's poem  has any basis in truth but such events did occur in the Ireland of that time.

Daybreak o’er Rathea     Dan Keane

The sky is blue above the hill,
The hill is green beneath.
The songbird with a holy will
Pours out an anthem sweet.
And down the slope the sunbeams steal
A-dancing oe’r the lee
And fragrant flowers spring back to life
As the day breaks oe’r  Rathea.

Just like the flower’s old memories
All sad and yet sublime
And heroic tales of bardic tongues
Steal down the roads of time.
The mass-rock where The Sagart prayed
To shield our destiny
Looks sacred in the morning beam
As the day breaks oe’r Rathea.

It was my grandsire’s uncle Ned
With sad tear- laden eyes
Who told how once at break of day
He saw The Sagart die.
The redcoats came with daggers drawn,
“I cursed them loud,” said he,
“For they drove the cold steel through his breast
As the day broke oe’r Rathea.”

“The first to reach the Sagart’s side,
was his young sister, Nell,
Who at that mass became my bride.”
And here his teardrops fell.
“The captain’s sword her bosom pierced
I could not set her free
But with a blow I took his life
As the day broke oe’r Rathea.

“I fled and cursed that godless crew,
I cursed empire and crown
And cursed I every power on earth
That tramples freedom down.
But I have never ceased to pray
For those who sheltered me
From demons vile who rent my heart
As the day broke oe’r Rathea.
The mass rock still looks oe’r the scene
In calm majestic pride.
The font that holy water held
Through summer ne’er has dried
But dear old Ned has passed away
To God’s own sanctuary,
For once the angels called him home

As the day broke oe’r Rathea.


Grafton Street 1945 from photos of Dublin


I'm going to St. John's tonight.


Plus ça change…

Kerry Champion of April 18th 1936 reports Garda investigation into report of 19 calf skins stolen from Newtownsandes Co-op.

 The paper also had an article on Juvenile Crime and remarked on lack of parental control and absence of school instruction. 


John Kelliher took some lovely photos at the recent Ballydonoghue confirmations. The photos are available to purchase from John.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Spring 2014 and Arsenic and Old Lace in St. Johns

Spring has sprung

My lovely granddaughter picking daisies on the way from school recently.

Her sisters with "the scholars coming home"

Maybe Spring has not come quite yet to every part of the country

(photo; Farmers Journal)


Denis Hayes, Roches Street Limerick……..Chickens, I think.


Arsenic and Old Lace

I have it on good authority that this is the best set that Listowel Drama Group have ever constructed. The costumes look super too in Brendan Landy's photo of a dress rehearsal.

Demand is heavy for tickets so get on to St. John's at 068 22566 to book yours.
 The show runs until March 30


Have you brought any fish with you?

This is the photo on Breaking News' website of Pat O'Connell and the queen of England. Pat and Her Majesty hit it  off when they met in Cork's English Market and he donned the suit and tie to greet her again in her home. Pat is a practiced flirt with his chat up lines perfected on his fish stall in Cork where he is a hit with all the ladies. Queen Elizabeth greeted him with a warm smile and a quip about his fish business.

You can just see Niall Horan of One Direction in the background. He was another of the Irish movers and shakers invited to this exclusive bash.


Don't forget Mammy on Sunday, Mothering Day March 30 2014. Lovely handmade cards and gifts available in Craftshop na Méar 53 Church St., Listowel.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Vintage cars and tractors.Craftshop na Méar, dogs on The Titanic and Irish soda bread

Some of the old vehicles in the St. Patrick's Day parade and a few winners


Mike and Grace Flahive representing Ballybunion Sea Rescue



Happy crafters in  Craftshop na Méar were delighted with their 3rd prize for their window display.
Here are some of the goods currently for sale in the shop.


Useless piece of information coming up

Twelve dogs survived the sinking of the Titanic. These are three of them according to a site called Historical Pictures


For lovers of Irish Soda Bread

Kelly Browne alerted me to this great post on the internet. John Giuffo reminisces about Irish soda bread and shares his favourite recipe.


I remember a time when every woman had her own individual way of making her bread. In the days when shop bread was a rarity, housewives baked bread every day. There was no weighing scales used and every ingredient was measured in handfuls and pinches. It was a joy to visit a neighbour and be treated to a cut of newly baked bread spread with real butter and homemade jam. My mouth is watering at the memory.

John Giuffo's Listowel great grandmother passed on a version of soda bread I have not before encountered, but I'm willing to give it a try. I'll keep you posted on results but, as John says, it's easy to make but also easy to mess up. There's chemistry involved!


Moyvane Drama news from Jer

Cast of Play staged in Moyvane 21 March 2014, They hope to sell a CD of the night later. 
MC was Tom Moore.

"What Love is: A Farmers Version, Moyvane Boro Players, Play written and directed by Katie Galvin. Taking part Donie Enright, Katie Galvin, Aine Cronin, James Fogarty, Jamie Vaughan, Jennifer Kennelly. March 2014. Co Directed by Aine Cronin. Money from the event went to LiveLife and Irish Cancer Society. Sound and Lighting Joe Mulvihill and Catherine Dore. MC Tom Moore. Hair and Make Up, Karina Sweeney and Anna Fogerty. Front of House, Regina Galvin. Stage and Set Design; Kevin Greaney, Joe Mulvihill and Jamie Vaughan. Prompters Brenda Kennelly and Caroline Maune"


One for  Dublin people with a Listowel connection

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

More St. Patrick's Day snaps and The Thumbers by Seamus Hora


Meanwhile, in San Diego they held their St. Patrick's Park programme on March 16:


A while ago, I featured a lovely nostalgic poem by a poet called Seamus Hora. I knew nothing about the poet. I just liked the poem.
Since then Seamus has been in touch and he shares with us today another of his pen pictures of  Ireland in bygone days. It is the Ireland of my childhood and Seamus' but one unrecognizable to today's youngsters.

The Thumbers.

The practice of thumbing in the seventies was rife
Cars they were scarce it was part of our life.
Friday is one of the day’s I recall
People seeking a lift; for post office to call.

First on the road, Summer Light. –Winter Dark.
Problem with hearing, this was Mrs Clarke.
The ball alley stood out on the hill up ahead
In winter this part of the road I did dread

A picturesque cottage my next port of call -
Where colourful roses adorned the wall.
Doors painted brightly, lime on each stone
Mod’ lady called Sally stood waiting alone

At this time the car was beginning to fill
A couple of regulars awaited me still.
Pat Hoban was next-with a strange point of view.
To let air circulate cut vent holes in his shoe

The three in the back were not very pleased -
Let in Mrs Ganley crush became squeeze
Sadly, the last one mobility did lack.
Surname was Kenny either Jimmy or Jack

Each day of the week things were much the same.
So many thumbers! Too numerous to name.
Some are still with us. Some laid to rest.
Relaxed eyes closed tightly - I can picture them best.

Seamus Hora

Now who is Seamus?
The answer in his own words:

I was born in 1953 in Gorthaganny Co Roscommon.  I have been employed by Delaneys ltd.,
Ballyhaunis for 44 years.  I am married to Rosaleen and we have one daughter Sandra.

It only in the past couple of years I started to write a little poetry most 
 of which is based on life's experience. I am enclosing a poem which will
help explain what I mean.  I feel proud to have been part of an Ireland 
described in this poem also honoured to have known those people.
It is hard to believe that 60 years ago we didn't have electricity in 

 My hobbies are fishing, I enjoy a leisurely 9 holes of golf
listen to country and Irish music.

Thumbing was was the word we used
to describe a signal from somebody requesting you stop and give 
a lift in you car.


This premises on Church St. is getting a facelift. Watch this space for updates.


Picture from 1900 from a site called Limerick Life