Monday, 23 March 2015

Folklore, Green shoots and Tadhg Kennelly honoured in Sydney

The country has gone rugby mad

puts it best.

Together, standing tall



This is the Kerry County Library in Tralee. I was here last week on a mission.

I'll begin at the beginning.

In the school year 1937/38 the Irish Folklore Commission undertook a great project. They got teachers around the country to encourage their pupils to collect lore from their elders. The boys and girls undertook the task with varying degrees of enthusiasm and success.  The results of their efforts are now stored in archives around the country.  It is no surprise to see that one of the biggest files is the one collected by pupils in Scoil Realt na Maidine, Listowel. Their teacher, Bryan MacMahon had a deep appreciation of the value of this project .

A past pupil of my own, Emma MacElligott, now herself a teacher, alerted me to this rich store of stories, sayings, placenames etc. I visited the archive in the Kerry County Library, Tralee and there the archivist, Michael Lynch introduced me to this treasure trove. I will share with you some of the stories I read there.

One boy wrote about a woman called Madge Shine who lived in The Red Cottages, Cahirdown. Madge used to make baskets from hazel. She used to place the hazel twigs over the fire to soften before weaving them into baskets.

Another local man, Martin Sheehy, made ‘sgiaths” from “scallops”. I’m guessing that sciaths are the kind of flat basket used for gathering flowers or vegetables, which, in English, we call a trug. According to Michael O’Brien of Ashe Street who recorded the story, “he bended the sticks in and through one another until he had his sgiaths made.”

Other basketmakers used rushes.

Before candles were commercially made people used to make their own from “fat.” They used the fat of goats and other animals according to Mary Hickey of O’Connell’s Avenue who was 85 when she told her stories to B. Holyoake of Railway House. According to Mary, they got a mould, put a stick across the top. Attached to the stick were 6 or 7 “cotton threads”  These were obviously the wicks. Then they “rendered the fat”.
(I remember well my own mother rendering suet in the days before cooking oil.  There was always a bowl of fat at the ready for frying.)
Back to 1937…the hot fat was poured into the mould and left to set overnight. In the morning they had 6 candles. Half penny candles were called “padogues”.

More stories to come….


County Colours

Do you remember the days before scarves and county jerseys, people showed their support by wearing crepe paper badges and caps? These things inevitably ran all over  your face and clothes…happy days!


Progress Report on Listowel Revival

The rebuilding of The Plaza is moving along nicely.

The rumour mill says that this premises is to be a medical centre.

Rumour has it that this will be a veterinary clinic.
If true, all of this is great news.


Hall of Fame

Tadhg Kennelly of Listowel has been inducted into the Sydney Swans Hall of Fame. What an honour!


Tidy Town Awareness Day in Super Valu

Photo;  Listowel Tidy Towns


+   R.I.P. Ann Cox  +

My very stylish, feisty, animal loving former colleagues in Pres. Listowel has gone to her eternal reward.
Ann was a fashionista before the term was invented. She was always beautifully groomed, softly spoken and ladylike.
Ann loved her dogs. When she brought them from the rescue home they were the luckiest dogs in Kerry for Ann lavished love and care on them to their final days.
She loved the Irish language and promoted Irish culture and traditions in everything she did.
She took up golf late in life but she enjoyed immensely the whole new circle of friends it brought her.
Ann contracted Parkinsons Disease in her late sixties but due to her fighting spirit and the great care of her neighbours and friends she continued to live in her own home until two years ago.
She passed away on March 21 2015.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam uasal.


Sunday Morning in Brosna, March 2015

photo; Ballybunion Prints Beach

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