Morning Walk in Lovely Listowel
Listowel Tidy Town Committee have done great work in promoting biodiversity in town. Read the full judges' report here;
The report speaks glowingly of the town and of the work of the local committee. The two ladies who are singled out for mention for their early morning efforts to keep our lovely town in tip top order are Breda McGrath and Margaret O'Donoghue.
I learned a lot about Listowel by reading the report and when I headed out on my morning walk I determined to seek out areas that got high praise from the judges.
I have passed this sign several times and never stopped to read it. It took the Tidy Town judge's report to alert me to this great initiative.
This is the fruit and nut community garden and picnic area by the river.
This area is bee and bug friendly and it has some lovely new planting alongside more mature trees.
One of the Tidy Town volunteers was hard at work picking up the litter on Church Street.
Listowel Tidy Town Committee acknowledge that the town's continued success in the competition is due to the efforts of all the town's citizens. They recognised the contribution of so many in the town at a special award ceremony in Listowel Family Resource Centre last week.
The below photo from Listowel Tidy Town's Facebook page shows he people who collected the awards on behalf of the winners. In many cases the award was earned by a team of people. Take a bow, everyone!
Be Careful on Listowel Streets
We all have to be very patient with these roadworks. It will be worth it all in the end. But while the upgrade is underway we have to drive more slowly and carefully and be super aware of pedestrians who are unfamiliar with our new traffic layout.
Traffic on Church St. is now two way. Motorists, particularly large trucks avoiding the snaggle on the John B. Keane Rd. please please drive very slowly.
Convamore, Ballyhooley, Co. Cork
Alas, Convamore itself no longer stands. The house was one of nearly 280 big houses burned during the Irish Troubles of 1919 - 1923. It was built in the early 19th century for William Hare, later 1st Earl of Listowel, to celebrate his elevation to the peerage. The architects responsible were the celebrated Pain brothers.(3) The house, one of the first in Ireland to feature large plate glass windows, was much praised by contemporaries.
"For the first in beauty and magnificence is Convamore, now the property of the Honourable Richard Hare, eldest son of Lord Ennismore. This place was much and justly admired for the singular beauty of its situation, before it derived any adventitious graces from the hand of art. The addition of a superb house and grounds, highly dressed and judiciously planted, fully entitle it to the pre-eminence here bestowed. This fine mansion is not less calculated to gratify the accomplished spectator within than without. Lord Ennismore and his son are both distinguished for their skill and love of painting, and have in consequence profusely adorned the house with pictures of the best Masters".(4)
Another visitor noted Convamore's beautiful setting:
"… in a fine domain stretching along the banks of the Blackwater, and commanding an interesting view of the winding of that river through rich masses of woodland to the picturesque ruins of the ancient castle of Ballyhooly, situated on a rocky prominence over the Blackwater, and, with the present church and the ruins of the former, both closely adjoining, presenting a highly picturesque and romantic group".
The Earl of Listowel sold off most of the Convamore estate in the wake of the Irish land reforms of the early 20th century. The present Earl recalled his childhood at Convamore as a time of "baked potatoes from the bottom of a bonfire in the garden, and a vast Christmas tree dressed by my grandmother, who was extremely annoyed when we dashed for the presents underneath it, instead of admiring her work in dressing it. This was not unnatural, as having a staff of at least 20 indoor servants and nothing to do in the house, she had spent hours tying little baubles to the branches of the tree. I also remember the golden pheasants which fluttered about like farm-yard fowls in the great park. There was general jubilation when my grandfather celebrated his 80th birthday by half a day's woodcock shooting at Convamore".
During the War of Independence, a reign of terror swept across Ireland with a bloody tit-for-tat war between the Black and Tans and the IRA. The latter concluded that the big houses of pro-British gentry were "legitimate targets". One fine summer evening in 1921 three country houses in North County Cork were burned down in retaliation for a reprisal. Convamore was the first to go. Lord Listowel's elderly niece, Mrs. Wrixon-Beecher was in the house at the time. She survived but was found wandering dazedly around the house without her false teeth, which perished in the fire. (5)
(The above information was put together by Turtle Bunbury and the photo is from the internet.)
Convamore House remained the Irish seat of lord Listowel until it was burned during the War of Independence in1921. Destroyed with the mansion were “all its wealth of antique furniture and treasures of art,” with the losses totalling as much as £150,000 by the earl’s estimate. Unoccupied for much of the 20th century it was demolished in 2000.