Monday, 29 February 2016

Changing face of town,Brian Lenihan and Aodhagán ORahilly, a concert in 1864 and more about Sive

All Over Bar the Shouting


Lovely Listowel

St. John's in Listowel Town Square in Summer 2007


Then and Now


A Midland Event with a North Kerry Connection

Minister Brian Lenihan opening the rail bridge over the Shannon in 1969. He was Minister for Transport and Power from 2/7/69 to 3/1/73. The priest had blessed the bridge just beforehand. To the priest's left is BnM MD, Dermot Lawlor and left and just behind Lawlor is BnM Chairman, Aodhagán O'Rahilly. O'Rahilly's father Michael, known as "The" O'Rahilly" was a member of the GPO garrison and was killed on Easter Friday 1916 while charging a British barricade in Moore Street.

(photos and text: Bord na Mona Heartland)


"I don't care about Clifton Clowers…"

Who needs Clifton Clowers when we have our own old ploughmen here at home.


Concert in Listowel in 1864

This concert seems to have been a bit of a pot pourri. Poor Mr McCarthy got an awful reception from the audience;

Tralee Chronicle and Killarney Echo  Tuesday, 15 November, 1864; Page: 3

CASTAGLIONI’S CONCERT IN LISTOWEL, from a Listowel correspondent

On Thursday evening last, the celebrated Madame Castaglioni gave one of her pleasing and entertaining concerts in Listowel.

We have not had any concerts worth speaking of in Listowel, ever since the Messrs Richardson performed the beautiful piece of the harmonious Blacksmith on their curious rock band some few years ago; and now accordingly heard with delight, this visit of a troupe of clever artists, as the harbinger of a goodly number of future visits of a similar kind.

The Signors Carletta Zerbini and Le Petit Louis Napoleon were prime favourites with the audience and really, taken on the whole, their performance was very creditable. The latter little marvel of precocity gave “The Dark Girl dressed in Blue” and “Polly Perkins”, with admirable effect, while the Senora Zerhiai positively enthralled the audience with the flood of feeling and passionate pathos, which she infused into Lurline’s” Sweet Spirit Hear My Prayer” and the capital manner in in which she rendered the Italian air “ Una Voco pocofa”.

 We were particularly delighted with the deft and skilful manner, in which this accomplished cantairiea introduced the tremulous quator and thrilling shake into her magnificent voice. At first she warbles a few notes with bird like clearness and vivacity; then slowly and majestically her voice falls, and for some seconds becomes pendulous with deep emotion, then suddenly rising to the full height of her vocal powers, she pours forth one sustained volume of delicious harmony. With reference to the personal attractions we may be permitted to state, that when in repose, the countenance of the Signora Zerbini seems immobile and statuesque, but when under the inspiration of the spirit of song, every feature is animated and illumed with the charming glow of eloquent enthusiasm.

The performance of Mr M’Carthy was unsatisfactory; he seemed restless and fidgety and the slightest interruption on the part of the audience discomposed his equanimity; In consequence of this the “Hour of Ireland” was completely expunged from the programme.- M’Carthy who seems to us to be either very sensitive or very irascible, had commenced his comicalities, some of which were received with loud laughter by the audience, whereupon he retreated behind the scenes in high dudgeon and did nor put in an appearance for the rest of the evening. Mr. M’Carthy misunderstands the effervescing and joystering disposition of his countrymen. But he should recollect that a public concert, is not a humdrum Quaker meeting.

After Mr M’Carthy’s disappearance a scene of considerable confusion took place. In the midst of the tumult “Patsy the Cottoner”a well known character, rose to address the assembly, and was received with tremendous cheering and waving of hats by his fellow townsmen. This important personage who had been a long time absent from Listowel, formally enjoyed a high reputation, as a village orator and was quite indispensable at every gathering of the “great unwashed”.

He said,” ladies and gentlemen, I have a very great cold, so that if I break down, I hope I am quite excusable. After so long an absence. I have returned to visit my old friends and acquaintances in Listowel again.” Having delivered himself of those two weighty sentences, this individual blurted out a comic song of a very doggerel character, which of course our musical sympathies and affinities do not permit us record, much less notice approvingly.

Miss Carlotta Zerbini then rose and said,- “It is unusual for a lady to address an audience, but I must say we have come here to fulfil our engagement, and not to be insulted,- If therefore you will have a little patience, we will terminate the performance. Miss Zerbini concluded accordingly by singing a song. Then the company dispersed, though, it must be confessed, not without some feeling of disappointment, caused by the fragmentary nature of the entertainment.


Times Past

A nun in Convent Street in 2007


Listowel Drama Group's Sive in 1959

What some papers said


A Listowel Dance Card from 1908

Jim Halpin found this when he was renovating his shop in Church St. some years ago. It is in perfect condition. We can only assume that the young lady it was intended for lost it before she ever got to the dance . Jim has kept this treasure safely and you can see it if you visit the Listowel Military and Historical Museum at 24 Church St.


Colourful Spirits in NCW

Friday, 26 February 2016

Risin Sun then and now, a favourite recipe and the premier of Sive in 1959

Beautiful Beale

Ita Hannon


Your Help is Needed to Identify this old school, Teacher or Pupils

It's somewhere in North Kerry but the sender of the photo has no further clue.
As they say on the TV programme, Crime Call, "The image is very clear. Someone must recognize someone…"


The Success of Sive

Text and photos: Vincent Carmody

Vincent Carmody was at the premier of Sive in Walsh's Ballroom and he wrote the following account of the night.
Premier of Sive.
I was there at the beginning.
John B. said, 'All Souls Night' was his introduction to three act plays. My introduction was Sive's premier, at Walsh's Ballroom, on Feb 2nd, 1959.

I remember it, as it was one, of only two times ( apart from attending Mass), that I ever went, to any social occasion with both my parents. The other was when we went to see the film, Oklahoma, at the Plaza. My sister, Maura was with us. She was entering the nuns shortly afterwards.

I had seen Walsh's Hall, rising from a green field site, in the mid 1950's, and the night of the premier, was my first glimpse of it internally, it appeared then to me, as the largest building, apart from our local Church, that I was ever in. 

The hall was jam-packed, many of those around, were familiar to my parents, so there was a continual buzz of conversation. Looking back, much of what went on, on the stage that night, went over my head, However, there are certain moments that I can vividly remember to this day, after a distance of 57 years.

The first was, the distinctive sound of a bodhran being beaten, first in the distant, then louder as it came nearer the Glavin's house, then louder as the two tinker men came into the kitchen, Carthalawn singing and being told by Pats Bocock, 'your best, your almighty best'

I remember, Mena Glavin's taunting of her mother in law, Nanna Glavin, and I am sure that I felt pity for her. What I remember most of the acting, was the shouting outside the house, before Sive's dead body was brought back from the bog, and then as she was brought into the kitchen and laid on the table top. 

Make believe became reality when the play finished, the lights were turned and the actors took several standing ovations.

All those on the stage that night were people that my family knew well, The Cahills, John and Siobhan (Carthalawn and Nanna Glavin), our mothers used attend Children Of Mary together, John Flaherty (Pats Bocock) as gentle a billiard player, as he was a gentleman, he was our tailor, Bill Kearney (Thomasheen Sean Rua, the Matchmaker) we knew him as Sgt. Kearney, he was officer in charge of the local F.C.A. headquarters, The Slua Hall. Nora Relihan (Mena Glavin) Nora was married to Mick Relihan, our neighbour. Brendan O Carroll, the play's producer, my mother was a regular customer of his drapery shop, ( it was there I got my first pair of green and gold Kerry socks). Margaret Dillon (Sive). Her brother Tony and myself were for a while altar boys at the convent. John B, I did not know him then, at this time, he would have been known as The Joker's ( Eamon Keane's) younger brother. Kevin O Donavan (Mike Glavin), our friend and neighbour, he was our shoemaker. Brian Brennan (Liam Scuab), he was from out of town, he worked for the contractors that were building the new boys school at the time. Hiliary Neilson (Sean Dota) the Technical School's metalwork teacher with the Swedish name, at the time, we only knew of him from lads attending the school. They used say," you better keep on his right side or else he could hit you with anything"  Meeting him in later life, I found him a kindly man, his sole interest in teaching, the progress and well being of his pupils.
I have since seen the play over 10 times, however those first night memories are indelibly frozen in my mind.
The photograph and program, I framed, and gave to John B. on his 70th birthday in 1998. It remain's in the bar.
The original photo of the opening night cast,
From left, Sean Cahill, John Flaherty, Bill Kearney, Nora Relihan, Brendan O Carroll, Margaret Dillon, John B Keane, Siobhan Cahill, Kevin O Donavan, Brian Brennan, Cecile Cotter ( assistant stage manager, a daughter of Tasty Cotter) Hiliary Neilson.

From Kay Caball's scrapbook comes the early reaction from the critics


A Pleasant Surprise

When I opened the Weekend Magazine in my Irish Independent a few Saturday's ago I saw a familiar face. It was Patricia Murphy who I remembered from Pres. a few years ago. Patricia was part of a feature about people sharing their favourite recipe. 

I've included it here for you. I haven't tried it yet so you might let me know if you do.


Do you remember this?


Then and Now




Life in Downtown Asdee

Fr. Pat Moore continues his slow recovery. He is keeping us all posted on progress here

Between the Hills and the Sea

On Sunday he shared a memory of his good friend, Chrissie Nolan who passed away in December 2015

Fr. Moore's photo of Chrissie Nolan taken at his deaconate ceremony in Rome in 1981


Fealeside Frolics

All photos by John Kelliher

You have until Sunday night to catch this Widows' Paradise It's gas!

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Ballybunion Cliff walk, Bryan MacMahon's The Golden Folk, and Charles Street then and now

 Cliff Walk

On a fine day there is no nicer walk than along the cliffs by Ballybunion. It is an opportunity to observe so many features of sea erosion and to enjoy the bracing sea air. I took this walk with my family recently.

 The walk is accessed by these fairly steep steps.

 If you are a bit tired after the steps, there is a convenient seat with a splendid view of the beach on which to catch your breath before continuing on.

There was a crooked man and he walked a crooked mile.
He found a crooked sixpence against a crooked stile.
He bought a crooked cat who killed a crooked mouse.
And they all lived together in a crooked little house.

The girls knew the rhyme but they had never seen a stile. I explained to them that the purpose of the stile was to allow pedestrians to pass without their having to open the gate with the danger that it would be left open and animals could escape.

 The Nine Daughters Hole is a fine example of a blow hole.

 These young gulls are fledged but not quite ready to fly yet.

 Ballybunion's Virgin Rock is an excellent example of a sea arch.

 I presume this to be a herdsman's stone hut. The girls took a good look but they couldn't see his toilet!

Four year old legs got a bit tired towards the end.

 Mammy and the older two were well able for this trek and more.

They all had enough energy left for some monkey business in Ballybunion's lovely playground.


Listowel Drama Group and Bryan MacMahon's play The Golden Folk

I dont have the exact date but this play was staged sometime in the 1950s


Do you Remember This?


Then and Now