Friday, 29 April 2016

Ballybunion Sunset, Richard Cotter and Domhnall de Barra of Athea

Some of my family watch the sun set at Ballybunion  April 23 2016


A Final few Photos from Banna

A History class from Pres Listowel were there.

 I met these two Listowel ladies on my way back to the bus.


Second Year in Pres. Listowel 

This photo from the 1950s has come to light. People who have been recognized are Mary Catherine Sweeney Reidy, Sinead Joy O'Sullivan and Eithne Buckley.

Does anyone recognize anyone else?


The Light of Other Days

In Scribes last week Richard Cotter, grandson of "Tasty" Cotter after whom Cotters' Corner was called, met up with Eileen O'Sullivan and Mary Sobieralski.

Eileen remembered Tasty as a rent collector who used to call to her house every week when she was a child. Richard is a keen family historian and was delighted to meet someone with memories of his grandfather.

Richard has a puzzle for us. His grandmother's family were Buckleys from Ennismore.

He has this photograph of four of the Buckley sisters taken at the wedding of their sister in 1910. Richard doesn't know who is who . His grandaunts were Mrs. Jane Kelly whose husband, Ambrose  was a farmer from near Finuge, Mrs. Paddy Griffin who worked in Cotters shop, Mrs Fitzmaurice who had a daughter  a nun and who had Kearney relatives in Ballyduff and Mrs. Seán O'Brien who worked in Cotters' shop and whose grave is inside the gate in St. Michael's graveyard.

Mary and Eileen looking at Richard's photos of his ancestors.

Richard's grandparents on their wedding day in 1910. His grandmother was Margaret Buckley, known in the family as Rita.


Athea's Domhnall de Barra, a Great local Chronicler

Making a Newsletter

Only on Wednesday last did I realise that this issue will be No. 1008.
Somehow we passed the 1000 mark a few weeks ago without marking the
occasion in any way. To be honest I never dreamed, when I first
thought of creating a local newsletter, that it would last for such a
long time. It had its humble beginnings as part of a FAS scheme
sponsored by Cáirde Duchais. Our first publication had four pages
(black and white of course) and it cost 20 pence in old money. Soon
afterwards the FAS scheme ended and I decided to keep the publication
going. In the early days it came out towards the end of the week to
facilitate the inclusion of the Church pamphlet which we printed also.
Lillian and myself sold the newsletter at the Church gates on Saturday
night and the two Masses on Sunday. It was a bit of a commitment every
week but it was great to meet all the people coming from Mass (the
Church was full in those days). Eventually we were in a position to
leave the selling to the two shops, Stapleton’s and Brouder’s  and we
extended our sales to Carrigkerry and Knockdown. The shops did this
for us free of charge and continue doing so to this day. We are very
grateful for this as the newsletter does not make a profit. We were
also very fortunate in securing the services of correspondents,
Kathleen Mullane, the late Pat Brosnan R.I..P., Tom Aherne and Peg
Prendeville who kept our readers abreast of all the local news and

The newsletter gave an opportunity to local clubs and organisations to
publish their events, fixtures, results etc. free of charge.
Publication of small classified ads were also free. Other commercial
advertising was given at a very reasonable rate. As long as we made
ends meet we wanted to be of service to the community. All we asked in
return is that the clubs and organisations who benefitted from the
newsletter would use C.D. Printing  for all their printing needs. Most
of them do so but there are the odd exceptions!  In the early days
there was a lot of typing. Computers were scarce so longhand was the
order of the day. The actual printing process was also very different
to what we do now. As soon as the pages were ready for printing, a
plate was made for each one. These were then printed off individually,
put together and folded by hand. This took a bit of time and the
quality of the printing was not great in comparison to today. As time
went by, more pages were needed as more and more people began to use
the newsletter. This created more labour as the pages had now to be
collated by hand, before folding.

Fast forward to today and things have changed a lot. We are now at 12
pages and in full colour. The biggest change is in the printing.
Plates are no longer necessary with the advance in technology. As soon
as the newsletter is ready for printing it is sent directly to the
printing machine. This prints a whole book in one go and folds it as
well. All I have to do is ensure the setup is correct and count the
copies as they are printed.

Setting up the newsletter for printing is an art in itself. The
process begins with the clearing of items from the past week’s issue,
some items will remain from week to week. Towards the end of the week
I start to create a new crossword. Sometimes it flows to me but there
are other times when I am wracking my brain trying to make words fit.
I try to make the clues not too difficult but I include one or two
“sticklers” to keep people thinking!. If I have time I do my own piece
as well. On Monday morning the e-mails start coming in and Lillian
goes to work, downloading and placing text and treating photographs in
the photo shop. The text has to be resized and put into the correct
font with paragraph headings in the proper size and colour People call
into the office with notices, anniversaries, thanksgiving prayers
adverts etc. All these are typed up and placed in different pages.
Some come in over the phone. Finally, when all the material is
together everything must be placed so that each page is full. This is
where the skill comes in and there are a few little “tricks” to
getting text to fit into available space. Now it is time to collect
the remaining crosswords from the shops and, together with the ones
already handed in to the office, they are checked for accuracy. The
correct ones are put into a box and a winner is drawn. Now the file is
put onto my USB key and I take it home with me. I start up the printer
and do the necessary settings on the computer. A test copy is then
sent to the printing machine and I give a quick look through it. Some
more adjustments are made and another copy is printed. This goes on
until I am satisfied that it is ok. I key in the required number for
each outlet and off the machine goes. Sometimes the paper gets jammed
but eventually all the copies are printed and ready to go to the
shops. Another week gone by and another issue on the shelves. Number
1008; who’d have thought it.

Domhnall de Barra

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Easter Rising Commemoration in Kerry, A Party in Áras Mhuire and more Photos from Kennelly at 80

Beautiful Ballybunion In April 2016 photographed by Jason O'Doherty


Kerry and The Rising; State Commemoration

One of the saddest events of The Rising of 1916 happened in Kerry when the driver of the car bringing 3 volunteers mistook the pier at Ballykissane for a road. All three were drowned. This event was commemorated when President Higgins came to Kerry last week.

Photo: Aisling Griffin

Aisling Griffin shared this photo too of the L.E. Niamh in the waters off Banna during the  commemorative event on April 21 2016.

It was a reminder of the ill fated Aud which hovered in the bay, hoping in vain to be able to come ashore and land the guns to arm the Rising.

Photo: Aisling Griffin

The soldiers at Banna on April 21 were drilled to within an inch of their lives. Their formation was perfect, their uniforms pristine, the barked orders, as Gaeilge, loud and clear and everyone to a man and woman proud to be there.


The World and His Wife Was in Banna

 Owen O'Shea was an excellent M.C.

 This actor, Declan McCarthy, made a convincing Casement as he delivered the rousing speech from the dock.

 Our president , Michael D.Higgins gave a measured and crafted speech. I was so glad we elected a polished orator. He does this sort of occasion with great pride and dignity.

 Everyone I spoke to experienced the same catch in the throat and tear in the eye as the three planes flew overhead and out to sea as we sang the National Anthem.

 And the tricolor flew over it all.


Party in Áras Mhuire

James Gould is 80 and his friends in Áras Mhuire threw him a party. They invited me.

 Danny Hannon came to wish him a happy birthday.

Noreen O'Donoghue joined in the celebrations.

 Stevie Donegan provided the music.

 This lovely lady, a visitor, sang a song or three.

Happy Birthday, James


People in Ballylongford at the Kennelly at 80 Event

 Christy Kenneally and Rose Wall at the launch of the DVD, River of Words in The Seanchaí.

 Poet, Mary Lavery Carrig was among the attendees at Lislaughtin.

 Paddy McElligott in Kennelly's Bar. Paddy performed two of his acclaimed Moloney sketches

Gabriel Fitzmaurice in Kennelly's, Ballylongford and below in Ballybunion.

Liz and Jim Dunn. Liz is organizing the bus and Jim took a few photos while waiting for the talk to begin.

Two well known Listowel ladies enjoying the day.

watching the action

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Local faces at WiM 2016, Lectures and a Visit to Asdee and Finuge Freewheelers

Early morning in Ballybunion photographed by Mike Enright


I met some local people at Women in Media


Military Weekend Coming Up

There are some really interesting history lectures planned for this weekend :

Wednesday April 27 8.00p.m.
Ardfert Witnesses at the Trial of Roger Casement by Helen O'Carroll

Saturday April 30 at 7.30 
Irish Spitfire Legends by Paul Beaver

Sunday May 1st. at 7.00
The Architectural Design of the Early Spittfire by Diarmuid Walsh


News from Downtown Asdee

With my friend, Helen Moylan I visited Fr. Pat last week. I found him in very good spirits and looking forward to witnessing the changing season in his beloved Asdee.

You can read his account of life in rural North Kerry among the bluebells and the wild garlic in his uplifting blog Between the Hills and the Sea


Old Cork

Patrick J. O'Shea shared this old photograph of the No. 3 bus passing under Brian Boru Bridge in Cork


Finuge Freewheelers had a fun run and John Kelliher took the photos

More photos HERE

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Women in Media 2016, Lislaughtin and another 80th Birthday Party

Chris Grayson


Women in Media in Ballybunion April 2016

There were some big names in attendance at the 2016 event.

 Joan O'Connor is the organizer of the whole event. She is the hardest working woman in Ballybunion on that weekend. Here she is consulting with Mary Dundon, Head of Journalism at UL.

 Hildegarde Naughton T.D. was there.

 Miriam O'Callaghan of RTE

 Joan Burton T.D.

 Aoibhinn Ní Shuilleabháin of RTE

These two ladies are not so well known because they are the big names behind the cameras; Catherine Magee, producer of Rebellion for RTE and Katie Holly, M.D. of Blinder Films.

I didn't attend every event. There were big names on Sunday as well but your blogger had moved on to the Brendan Kennelly at 80 event.


Kennelly's Lislaughtin

 On Sunday April 17 2016 Listowel Writers' Week and The Seanchaí Writers Centre celebrated Brendan Kennelly's 80th birthday with a day of events dedicated to him. In the Seanchaí we watched the remastered DVD, River of Words. We saw a younger Kennelly read his work in Lislaughtin Abbey and in Ballybunion, places we were soon to visit on our bus tour. Then it was on the bus away we went to Ballylongford and Lislaughtin, where Padraig OConcubhair and Gabriel Fitzmaurice were waiting to entertain us with history and poetry.

 We stood among the monastic ruins and the graves and listened, enthralled to tales of friars, monks, piety and massacre, betrayal, looting and sacking.  We heard stories of very powerful O'Connors and the very powerful Cromwell whose marauding army sacked the Friary. The story told to us was that Cromwell, uncharacteristically decided to spare the monastery. But when the monks rang a bell to call everyone to pray in thanksgiving , Cromwell mistook this for triumphalism, returned and burned the place. All of the monks escaped except three old men and these he massacred on the steps of the altar.

The wealthy O'Connor clan commissioned a huge processional cross for the monastery. This was discovered one day years after the sacking of Lislaughtin by a farmer who was ploughing. I suppose a monk had rescued and  buried it during one of the raids on the monastery. The farmer, Jeffcott, was reluctant to part with his find and kept it for eighteen years, before a combination of the gentle persuasion of a local historian and the fact that he had fallen on hard times combined to persuade him to part with it. It is today on display in The National Museum.

As well as history we had poetry. The first of many renderings  of I See you Dancing, Father was given by Denis Hobson.

Before we left the churchyard I took a wander around and noted Ballylongford's strong republican leanings  with the presence of many tricolours adorning headstones.

This republicanism is alive today. When we returned to Bally a group of people had laid a wreath at the memorial to The O'Rahilly.


A Hooley in Áras Mhuire

Two 80th birthdays in a row! I took a few photos at Áras Mhuire at James Gould's birthday party. I'll share them shortly.


Giants of the Game

photo: John O'Shea

Mrs Spillane sees her three sons head out to a football game during the glory days of Kerry football.