Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Listowel Badminton, the diet of barn owls and Knitwits Charity knitting

St. John's, The Square, Listowel, March 2016


Listowel Knitwits Knit for Charity

These are some of the hundreds of hats for premature babies that are knitted by a very kind lady here in Listowel.

There is an African charity that encourages knitters to knit these simple jumpers for African babies who would otherwise have no clothing. They ask us knitters to use colorful yarn as African people associate white with death and they love vibrant colorful garments.

Knitwits meet to knit and crochet on Tuesdays and Saturdays in Scribes Café in Church St. Listowel and everybody is welcome.


Junior Griffin fills us in on more Badminton History

The story of Listowel Badminton Club continued

Some of the ladies who played badminton in the early  years were Mrs. Clem Crowley, Miss. Kit Medell and Miss Mary Scanlan, who was a carpentry teacher in the old Technical School at that time.  Romance blossomed here through badminton as Miss Scanlan became the wife of Seamus Wilmot. Mr. Wilmot in later life became Registrar of the National University of Ireland, was the first President of Siamsa Tire and was the author of many plays in Irish.

Mrs. Crowley was the wife of Mr. James Crowley who was the Sinn. Fein T.D. for Kerry North at that time.
It is known that in the late twenties there was two badminton clubs active in the town, then playing in the Plaza Cinema and the F.C.A. centre, known locally as the Sluagh Hall.

For a time badminton was played in a shed in the Market place which was owned by a body called the Irish Automobile Club.  This it seems was short term with the Plaza hall and the Sluagh hall   being the main venues.  Names to the fore at that time were Frank Sheehy, Mai, Matt and Harry Naylor, Frank Cotter, Mick Lynch, Paddy Walsh, Babe Jo Wilmot, the McElligott family and the Macauley family.

The early thirties saw a banking family arrive in Listowel by the name of Peard and they lived in the Square in a house which has since been demolished and it was to the right of the Catholic Church.

The Peards were very much into badminton and the mother and son, named Frank, were much involved in the local club.  The family were in Listowel from 1932 to 1938 and moved back to Dublin.  Frank Peard became one of Irelands leading badminton players and in mens' doubles was rated in the worlds top ten.

In his book “Sixty Years of Irish Badminton” he wrote of his time in Listowel and mentioned a Mrs. Macauley and a Gus Stack who he played with and who was his teacher in St. Michael’s College at that time.

Indeed, Frank Peard went on to be the managing director of Guinness Ireland and is still interested in badminton though in his nineties.

( I trawled the internet for a photo of Fred Peard and this was the best I could do.)

Mr. Peard gave great praise to the Tralee Clubs of that time against whom Listowel played several friendly matches.  In particular he remembered being very impressed by the Quinnell brothers of the K.P.H. club for the manner they received service. Both, he wrote, stood right up to the short service line and “threatened” the server.


The Barn Owl and the Bank Vole

The bank vole painted by Michael Viney for The Irish Times.

"Barn owls in Britain feed mainly on field voles, a species that never reached Ireland. The range of the alien bank vole has spread widely across Ireland since its discovery near Listowel, in Co Kerry, in 1964. It had almost 40 years of Irish residence before that, having arrived with German machinery for the Ardnacrusha power project in the 1920s (a theory supported by DNA studies).
Bank voles mostly prefer woodland and hedgerow habitats, yet they now inhabit the southwestern third of the island, from the Co Cork coast to mid Co Mayo. Other Irish studies of barn-owl pellets show increasing reliance on the vole as prey, rather than the field mice and rats that used to dominate. The owl’s long legs reach easily into dense cover, but in a paper to be published in Irish Birds, the research journal of BirdWatch Ireland, the UCC scientists, led by Dr Sleeman, consider if the vole is spreading into open country, to take on the wider role that the field vole has in Britain."
I bet you  never knew that, unless, like me, you read Michael Viney of The Irish Times online.


-Ballygrenane Listowel-
Two views looking north over the town of Listowel from the hillside at the south. The comparison is approximate as I'm not sure if the white farm building is the original cottage or not, there has been many changes. Notice how the doors and windows on the older cottage are level but the cottage itself is built with the slope. Also the road surface hasn't improved much in between...
(Original photo - Lawrence late 1800s)
(Modern photo - January '16)


St. Patrick's Windows

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