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.

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