Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Lá Fhéile Bride, some photos and memories of Listowel in the fifties

Lá 'le Bríde

Tomorrow is February 1 2017, Lá Fhéile Bríde. The photo from the internet is of Bridgitswell in Kildare. She is our patron saint, of equal status with St. Patrick. Today we celebrate her and by tradition, we hang her cross to ward off evil.


Beale on the Wild Atlantic Way

Ita Hannon loves her native Béal and you can see why. This is just one of the many beautiful scenes she has captured and shared with us.


Trip to Trinity

Presentation Secondary School students paid a recent visit to Trinity College Dublin.  
(photo; Twitter)


Ballybunion Sea and Cliff Rescue

Isn't this a super photo? It was taken on Christmas Day in Ballybunion and posted on the internet.
 I apologise for not noting the photographer's name.


Broderick's Bar, Tae Lane, Listowel


Summers in the 1950s Remembered by Maria Sham

During the summer school holidays we would take jam pots and go to Teampaillín Bán. I think the name means in English the little white graveyard. People were buried in a mass grave there during the Famine, only we did not know that then. Years later my brother Neilie got a group together and had a monument erected there to all the people of the famine who are buried there. The walk was on the Ballybunion road and I can still smell the tar on the road melting with the heat. In Teampaillín Bán there was a stream and we would paddle and catch kissans [little fish] and bring them home in our jam jars; the poor things did not survive long; we killed them with kindness over feeding them.

Also trips to Ballybunion, that was fantastic, Mam and Aunty Angie would bring tomato sandwiches, a large apple pie in a roasting tin and ' currant loaf, we would get a tray of tea at Collins’, (which was a house just off the beach) a large pot, milk, sugar and cups, all for I think 2 shillings. First we ran into the sea only in our knickers as we did not have swimsuits. After we would have our tea and it was fantastic. Even if the tomato sandwiches were full of sand nobody cared. Before leaving Ballybunion we would get our sand buckets and when the tide was gone out we marched off to the rocks and filled our buckets with periwinkles that we would boil when we got home. I remembered going to Ballybunion once with my aunt Eily in the donkey and cart, there was not that many motor cars or buses on the roads then.

At the back of our house there were a lot of elder bushes and we would hold concerts there. Admittance was a piece of broken china or a bottle top. We would dress up and pretend all kinds of things. We would put the elder flowers in our hair and pretend to be princesses. We would make mud cakes in empty polish tins and decorate them with daisies. We would have pretend shops.

As we got older it was not all play, Doreen and myself had to do jobs in the house i.e. wash up and clean the windows. There were brass rods on the stairs we had to clean with Brasso. Another job for us girls was to clean all the shoes for everyone on Saturday for Sunday mass.

My education finished at the convent at the early age of 15 followed by 2 years at the local technical college.

I left for England in March 1959 on the first step to my future.


A Few Names

Marie Shaw thinks she recognises a few faces in Maria Sham's photo.

This was a younger class for me but I THINK I recognize a few girls.
Third from left, back row is definitely Joan Relihan (Brennan)
Fourth from right, back row looks like Anne Wixtead.
Margaret Dillon, front row in plaid.?
Cathy Mae Leahy or maybe her sister Eleanor, front row, first on right and Maeve Mooney, second from right, front row.
God, that's a long time ago.
Keep the memories coming Mary!

Monday, 30 January 2017

Beano, The Bog,The River, The Courthouse and the Ambassador

The River Walk in January 2017

Photo by Deirdre Lyons


Goodbye Ambassador

Kevin O'Malley has returned to the U.S. and the new ambassador, a Kerry man will be the next to take up the post.


Listowel Courthouse


Some Things are Timeless

I have someone in my family who loves nothing better than a session with her Beanos and she has a good few. Whenever I see an old Beano annual in a charity shop I buy it for her.

The photo shows her on Christmas Day 2016 when she abandoned all her other presents to read her Beano first.


Maria Sham Remembers the Races and The Bog

The railway was very exciting during The Races, which fell at the end of September. It was the Harvest Festival when all the farmers would have finished the harvest and come to town. It would go on for 3 days and well into the nights. The horses would be transported onto the train for the races. The town would be decorated with buntings and music played into the early hours of the morning.

All the country people came to town and you would see them walking through the streets eating crubeens [pigs feet]. They would be displayed in all the shop windows in large dishes, steaming hot. The streets would be strewn with bones . I can't remember any rubbish bins then. Another special treat at that time and still is!! mutton pies, all the restaurants would sell them in soup plates covered in soup.

Mam would make dozens for us and there would be a big pot of bone broth left on the range the whole of The Races so we could pop in a pie anytime. Nothing spoiled as there were no onions in anything.

But for us children it was not about horse races, but the market. It was a delight with bumper cars, swinging boats, chair planes, the wheel of death, and lots more, games to win anything from a doll to a set of saucepans. My favourite was at the entrance to the market with the tinkers, now called Travellers’. They lived in horse drawn caravans then. They would have fires lit and do their cooking outside, selling heather and telling fortunes, I am sure I can still smell the smoke. As I got older I got a job for the days of the races from 9am to maybe 10pm a £1 for the day.

Another big occasion for our family and for all the people at that time was the cutting of the turf and bringing it home. The turf would be cut with a slawn and would be allowed to dry. Well the bringing home was a great effort and in those days all the neighbours helped each other. On one occasion one of the men fell into a bog hole and had to come home without his trousers only a sack tied around him. We had a great laugh.
That morning the men would set off early with bread and ham and the makings of tea,
On arrival back with a lorry full of turf mam would have a grand dinner ready for everyone, meat, potatoes and a pigs head. We all helped to draw in the turf and stack it in the shed in the back.

There was also a big field called Jack Thornton’s where we also played. We had to be careful and watch out for Jack as he would chase us with his big stick. He also had a shop on the Ballybunion road and we could buy a tosheen which was just a piece of paper rolled up in cone shape, full of sweets for a penny or a Peggy’s Leg or slab toffee which was a favourite of mine. A big treat was if we met dad at his local, Sheahens. Then it was a bottle of lemonade and a big cake.


A Clarification Re Listowel Badminton Tournament 

When I asked Junior for a photo of the first presentation of his trophy, he asked Tom Bourke to send me one. Now, I presumed that Tom was the photographer but, in fact, he is the winner of the trophy. When I asked about the whereabouts of the trophy I was told that it was on its way to Cork so I presumed the winners were a Cork partnership.
I was all wrong. So here is the photo again and the correct story from the horse's mouth;

Thank you so much for printing that photo of the first presentation of the cup that the Listowel club commissioned and named after me.
Just to advise that Tom Bourke is not a Cork man. Whilst he is Clare native he is stationed in Kerry and has represented the Kingdom in Badminton for many years, being a winner of numerous Munster singles and doubles titles.
I commenced our mixed doubles event in 1972 and Tom is the leading winner, after his first win in Listowel in 2003  with Dublin's Helena O'Sullivan , he won his 7th title this year with Cork's Niamh O'Driscoll who competed in Listowel for the first time. Tom's 7 wins includes a treble from 2011 to 2013, his partners being Brid Murphy and Peggy Horan, both Kerry, and Patricia O'Herlihy of Cork.
Thanks again Mary

Well done, Tom from Listowelconnection


R.I.P. John Hurt

This photo shared on Facebook by John Keane was taken when John Hurt came to Listowel. The two Johns had a great respect for one another and everyone agrees that John Hurt was a brilliant interpreter of the character, Bird O'Donnell, in John B's The Field. 
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a n-anamnacha araon.

Friday, 27 January 2017

Planting in the Park,Tara Brooch and More Listowel Memories

Giving it Full Blast

This magnificent shot won Jim MacSweeney a bronze medal at a recent photography competition. The photo was taken in Killarney National Park during the rutting season.


This Listowel public house got a new sign while I wasn't looking.


1916 Commemorative Garden

 I took this photograph of the 1916 installation from the path beside the pitch and putt course. I went into the garden and photographed details of the planting. It's well worth a visit. It's lovely.

The design for the garden is in the shape of the famous Tara Brooch.

Here is the story of the Tara Brooch from the Irish Central website:

The Tara Brooch is perhaps Ireland’s greatest piece of jewelry dating from the 7th century AD. It remains a popular symbol of Ireland and the country's rich ancestral past.

Although the beautiful brooch is named after the Hill of Tara, traditionally seen as the seat of the High Kings of Ireland, the Tara Brooch has no connection to either the Hill of Tara or the High Kings.

The brooch was supposedly found in August 1850 on the beach at Bettystown, County Meath by a peasant woman. The story goes that she found it in a box buried in the sand, though many believe the brooch was actually found inland but the woman’s family altered the facts to avoid a legal dispute with a landowner.

It was sold to a dealer and then made its way into the hands of Dublin jeweler George Waterhouse. With a keen sense of trends, Waterhouse was already producing Celtic Revival jewelry, which had become immensely fashionable over the previous decade. It was he who renamed the precious item the "Tara Brooch," in order to make it more alluring.

Waterhouse chose the name Tara in order to link the brooch to the site associated with the High Kings of Ireland, "fully aware that this would feed the Irish middle-class fantasy of being descended from them." And it worked. The Tara Brooch was displayed as a standout showpiece at The Great Exhibition in London in 1851 and the Paris Exposition Universelle, as well as the Dublin exhibition visited by the Queen in 1853. Prior to this, it had even been specially sent to Windsor Castle for her inspection.

In 1872, the brooch was added to the collection of the Royal Irish Academy, which later issued its antiquities to the National Museum of Ireland, where the Tara Brooch remains today.

The National Museum notes that “It is made of cast and gilt silver and is elaborately decorated on both faces. The front is ornamented with a series of exceptionally fine gold filigree panels depicting animal and abstract motifs that are separated by studs of glass, enamel, and amber. The back is flatter than the front, and the decoration is cast. The motifs consist of scrolls and triple spirals and recall La Tène decoration of the Iron Age.

“A silver chain made of plaited wire is attached to the brooch by means of a swivel attachment. This feature is formed of animal heads framing two tiny cast glass human heads.

“Along with such treasures as the Ardagh Chalice and the Derrynaflan Paten, the Tara Brooch can be considered to represent the pinnacle of early medieval Irish metalworkers’ achievement. Each individual element of decoration is executed perfectly and the range of technique represented on such a small object is astounding.”


Maria Sham's Memories of Happy Listowel Sundays

The family in Gurtinard

After dinner on Sunday we would all go to my Grandmother Moloney’s house in Charles Street and take some jelly and current loaf for her. Mam would meet up with her sisters there and enjoy a little gossip.  Our cousins would also meet there and we would all sit on the door step and wait for our uncle Jimmy to get home. He would give all of us 2p for the cinema. Sometimes on a Sunday my brother Paddy would go fishing and we would have a fresh trout for tea.

Grandmother Moloney kept pigs in a pig sty in the back yard and as she was a bit feeble she would ask us children to take the pig food and feed them. I was scared stiff of them and would throw the food on their backs and run. Poor Mud, as we called her, was so glad thinking I had looked after the pigs and fed them. She was a bit deaf and could not hear us giggling. It was this grandmother that bought my first suitcase years later when I was leaving to go to England.

Some Sundays we would go for walks to the spa and through the woods to pick bluebells. The wood looked fantastic like a carpet of blue. Then we'd walk home through gurtenard and up through the graveyard, our arms loaded with bluebells.

The train ran at the back of our house and we were like the railway children. We would sit on the big bridge and watch who came off, anyone we knew coming from England just to see what they were wearing. It was also sad to see people crying as they were saying goodbye, leaving on the train the first leg of their journey to England. It was on this train I also left many years later.

The last train came in about 6.O'clock. Then the railway gates were locked for the night. We could then go and play there. It was quite safe. We would go to the cattle pens and have great times.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Bare Trees, Food in the Fifties and Ballylongfond in the snow

"Bare Ruined Choirs where late the sweet birds sang"

Trees in the pitch and putt course in January 2017


Old Friends

I snapped Junior with Helen Loughnane at the badminton tournament in the community centre. Junior was helping to run the tournament and Helen was part of the catering corps.

Tom Bourke sent me this photo of Junior presenting his new cup for his old competition to the Cork winners.


Maria Sham continues her memories as she remembers some foods they ate in her Listowel childhood.

 Maria on her confirmation day

Maria's mother
 Maria's Nan Moloney

Happy days

When Lent came along we would give up eating certain things such as sweets and save our pennies. On Easter Monday we would take  off for a picnic. We would take whatever we could; lemonade, bread and maybe cake, nothing fancy, our pennies would not stretch so far.

My dad worked at the creamery and when we were old enough he would take us in his truck with him. There were no restrictions then. He would go to all the small creameries to collect the milk. I remember in Ballylongford dad would go for a pint with the other workers and I would have to wait in the creamery for him and he would put a whole measure of cream for me to drink. Today I don’t have to wonder why I have high cholesterol! He took my cousin Kathleen and me to pick mushrooms. They were plentiful early in the morning; he used to say he had never seen anyone run as fast as me to get the best ones.

I remember mam going to Tralee with him in the lorry and spending the day in Woolworths. She would always bring Doreen and me lovely slides for our hair. They had stars attached to them. Her trip would not be complete without chips and peas at the Brass Rail.

When it was blackberry season I would go with my cousin Betty and friends to pick them. We would pick gallons full and eat as many more and go home our mouths all black from the juice. On one occasion I lifted a blackberry bush and to my surprise I saw something bigger then a butterfly with big eyes.and wings. It turned and looked at me. Nobody believed me, but to this day I am convinced it was a fairy. Nobody will change my mind.

Often mam would send Doreen and me to Foleys or Louis O’Connell’s. They had orchards and for 6d we would get a bag full of beautiful apples. On the way home we would sit under a tree and enjoy some of the apples. We had to save some for mam as she made the best apple pie I have yet tasted.

Milk did not come in bottles then and because dad worked at the creamery we were entitled to a full gallon of milk every day. Dad would make sure it was pasteurised. I think there was a lot of TB in Ireland then due to unpasteurised milk. Mam was able to help the neighbours out and give them some milk. When it got sour she would make soda bread with it.

On Sunday we always had a lovely dinner, roast beef or lamb sometimes veal with green garden peas which had to be soaked the night before, so on Saturday night the routine was soak the peas and make the jelly. Also on Saturday mam would make a currant loaf, a huge one.


Ballylongfond in the Snow, Early January 2017


An Honour for Local Cyclist

Photo of Eugene surrounded by the Moriartys by  John Kelliher

"Cycling Ireland has announced the appointment of Eugene Moriarty, a member of the Institute of Directors, as the latest addition to the Board. He replaces Senan Turnbull who stepped down in November as an Appointed Director. Former international cyclist, Moriarty, is very accomplished in both the sporting and professional realms. Originally from Listowel, Co. Kerry, Moriarty has competed at the top level of the sport, finishing fifth in the Road Race at the B World Championships in Uruguay in 1999, contributing to the qualification of a slot for Ireland in the Olympics in Sydney in 2000. 

Currently residing in the Netherlands Moriarty has a range of professional qualifications from both the academic and business sides. He holds an honours degree in medical sciences, qualified as an accountant via the ACCA and has worked in asset management for the last number of years. He has extensive experience across a range of areas from finance, legal and IT to reporting and governance. 

Speaking about the appointment of Moriarty to the Board, Cycling Ireland President Ciaran McKenna expressed his delight saying – “Eugene will bring a wealth of cycling and business experience to the Board, particularly in the area of Corporate Governance and Organisational Reform – with them being his two areas of expertise.”

Moriarty is looking forward to joining the Board of Cycling Ireland – I am flattered and honoured to have been approached to serve as a member of the Board of Directors of Cycling Ireland. I look forward to working together with my fellow directors, our members and our highly skilled and dedicated team at the Kelly Roche House, and beyond, to continue to build on the significant achievements of this great organisation for the benefit of our current and future generations.” 

This appointment brings to eight the number of members on the Cycling Ireland Board of Directors. At the 2016 AGM the Memorandums and Articles were passed with a ruling to increase the Board of Directors to ten, once approved two further members will be appointed to the Board."  Source; Cycling Ireland website