Monday, 31 August 2015

Ballylongford Hooley, Friends at Marty Sheehy's Funeral and Convent Cross

Celebration of Brendan Kennelly in Ballylongford

On August 21 2015, after the unveiling of the bust to Brendan Kennelly in the grounds of Ballylongford church, assembled family and friends milled around for a while and then repaired to the hall for the hooley. Local poets read from the works of Brendan Kennelly, Noel O'Grady sang a beautiful version of Home Sweet Home and then the great man, himself read a poem inspired by his daughter when she was three. It must have been the greatest thrill of the night for Doodle Kennelly, to hear her father dedicate a poem to her in his native Ballylongford on such a special night.

Some of the many Kennellys who were in Ballylongford for the big occasion pose with the bust.

The next generation

Some of the large attendance at the unveiling of the plaque to Brendan Kennelly.

Anne Dillon met up with Mary Barry and family and John Coolahan.

The Maddens and Breda Carmody were there.

Paddy McElligott and John Keane

Helen Lane and Breda Ferris checking to see how the photo looked.

Rebecca O'Carroll posed with the work of artist, Jarlath Daly, Tipperary born sculptor in bronze.

When we transferred to the hall Noel O'Grady regaled us with Home Sweet Home, a poignant and fitting welcome for Brendan Kennelly.

Professor John Coolahan read from the work of Brendan Kennelly.

Noel King read as did Mary Lavery Carrig (picture below)

Ann Egan is a protegee of Kennelly's and she lavished praise on him as a mentor and teacher.

Paddy MacElligott brought Moloney to life as only he can. His antics and delivery were a great hit with his audience especially the poet himself.

 Gabriel Fitzmaurice read and sang.

The final say was left to the great man himself. He may have declined physically but he has lost none of his charm or his ability to hold an audience in thrall.

Noel O'Grady and Gabriel Fitzmaurice lead the audience in a Ballylongford version of Sé Ár Laoch ….A great way to end a great night.


Upper William Street

The finished job at The Saddle Bar….lovely!


Friends Reunited

Mary Sobieralski, Seamus Browne, Tony Dillon, Jimmy Griffin, Miriam Kiely, Batt Hannon and Jimmy Quigley


Back to School Time

These are the days when I love being retired. So much has changed in education in general and in my old school that it's hard to believe it's only 5 years since I soldiered there.


No Limbs, No Limits

I met Joanne O'Riordan at Kanturk Arts Festival 2014, where she was the special guest. This special young lady has been honored once again. This time she is The Outstanding Young Person of the Year 2015 and she will travel to Japan to receive her award.

Joanne was born with a rare condition, Total Amelia. This means she has no arms or legs. This has never stood in Joanne's way. Her own feisty, bubbly, positive personality and the massive support of her family have bought Joanne to a place where she is the best known disability campaigner in Ireland, a much sought after motivational speaker and now a world leader of young people.

The title of her brother's film about her is certainly apt.

No Limbs, No Limits


The Secret's Out

In her article in Saturday's Irish Examiner, Darina Allen reveals Mary John B.'s secret recipe for Listowel Races' famous meat pies

Meat Pies

Friday, 28 August 2015

Bust of Brendan Kennelly unveiling, A Doctor's Sword and Listowel people in Lourdes in 1924

Brendan Kennelly….plaque unveiling

 It was a chilly August evening, Friday August 21 2015, when we gathered in the grounds of Ballylongford church to unveil a bust of the celebrated local poet, Brendan Kennelly. Local musicians kept us entertained while we waited for the great man himself. Brendan Kennelly has not been well and it is a few years since he has returned to his native Ballylongford.

Above are some photos of people who had come to honour one of our greatest living poets and teachers of modern English Literature. Brendan Kennelly has taught in Trinity College Dublin for 42 years and for 32  of them he was professor of modern English.

These big smiles of greeting from Brendan and his daughter, Doodle are for Brendan's only sister, Anne.

Brendan's niece, Mary is master of ceremonies and she calls us all to order.

Jimmy Deenihan tells us why it is fitting that Brendan Kennelly be honored in his lifetime. He outlines his importance to literature and his great and abiding love and pride in his North Kerry/West Limerick upbringing and education.

Ta dah! Jimmy and Kate, who is Kerry Co. Council Arts officer and coincidentally is Brendan Kennelly's niece perform the unveiling.

The extended Kennelly clan pose for photgraphs.

This is it.

This is the poet with two of his brothers


Dr. Aidan McCarthy….War hero

If you get a chance to see the film A Doctor's Sword, do go. It is the extraordinary war story of a doctor from Castletownbere in west Cork who was captured as a prisoner of war in Japan during WW2. If you ever doubted that truth could be stranger than fiction, doubt no longer. This is the best war story I have ever heard.
There is a Kerry connection. The producer and driving force behind this film is Bob Jackson who works in IT Tralee.


Beauty Queen with a Listowel Connection

This is Hannah O'Donoghue from Pittsburg whose grandfather came from The Six Crosses, Listowel. She recently travelled north after a visit to  her Listowel ancestral home to take part in The Maiden of the Mournes Festival

Hannah didn't win but I'm sure she did us all proud and, who knows, she might be back next year for The Rose of Tralee.


Lourdes 1924

This is a group of Listowel people on pilgrimage in 1924. Anyone recognize anyone? Maybe someone has an ancestor on the pilgrimage and has seen the photo already?