Tuesday, 30 May 2017

M.S. Busking, Listowel for Writers Week 2017 and more from that wedding

With all the excitement of the wedding I forgot to mention that May 19th 2017 was the annual busking day in town. This event is organised every year by the local branch of the M.S. Society. It is a cause close to my heart but this year I only managed a few photos as I had other things on my mind.

Barbara Walshe and Bridie O'Rourke were collecting at Super Valu.

Batt O'Keeffe joined Noelle Hegarty and Bridie O'Rourke in The Small Square.

Jimmy Hannon has been playing on busking day for years.


Preparing for Writers Week 2017

The ladders are out and painting is underway at several locations.

The welcome banners are hoisted.

Essential maintenance is going on.

Allos was painted recently and it is looking smashing.

Eason's has a new sign and Woulfe's Bookshop has got a complete new look.
We are all ready for Writers' Week which opens tomorrow evening. I'll be busy with that for a while so posts will be sporadic. I'll be taking lots of pictures, so bear with me and all will be revealed in due course


Some More tales from the wedding

Clíona had three of the most gorgeous flower girls ever in her three nieces. Here they are before their moment in the limelight.

Here they are again with their cousins dabbing at the church.

Róisín Cora and Aisling....butter wouldn't melt......

Cliona with her brother, Bobby and his handsome family

My neighbours and great friends, the Moylan family played a big part in our wedding. Above is Mary Moylan who chose and sourced all of the music. On the big day, she sang all the songs accompanied by  Áine Murray. Mary's mother, Helen Moylan made the wedding cakes which were scrumptious.

I'll let you in on a secret. The "cake" you see here is not a cake at all but styrofoam iced to look like a cake. The real cakes were traditional wedding cake, a chocolate biscuit cake and a lemon drizzle cake. This way the real cakes were kept clean and safe and no one had to eat the plastic icing.

These two lovely ladies are Cliona's good friends, Martina and Gillian. They played traditional tunes to accompany the communion reflection which was written and delivered by Sinead O'Neill, sister of the groom.

Sinead is on the right in this photo with her sister Aisling and brother Seán.

At the top table we remembered two men who would have loved to have been with us. We lit a candle to remember Cliona's dad and we brought Fr. Pat Moore's book with us. Before his final illness Fr. Pat was looking forward to doing the wedding. He had baptised Cliona in the Erinville hospital in Cork when she was only three days old and struggling to hold on to life. He told me that he was honoured to be there at the start of her life and it would have given him great pleasure to marry her. Alas it was not to be.

We remembered the words given to Billy Keane as he mourned the passing of his mother; 
When those we love and lose are not where they used to be, they are everywhere we are.


Tomorrow evening May 31 2017 is opening night of Listowel Writers Week 2017. I'll be busy taking lots of photos and helping out with events so I'll be off the radar for a while.  Enjoy Writers Week, The Races or the Seán McCarthy festival. I'll be back soon.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Family Wedding in Listowel

Cliona Cogan on the balcony of  the bridal suite of The Listowel Arms Hotel on her wedding day, May 20 2017. In the background is The River Feale and Listowel Racecourse.

Saturday May 20 2017 was a popular day for weddings. In the U.K. Pippa Middleton, sister of the Duchess of Cambridge married her fiancé, James Matthews,  in Kenmare Alannah McGurk, daughter of Miriam O’Callaghan and her ex-husband  Tom McGurk married former Galway footballer Fiachra Breathnach and in Italy Lottie Ryan, daughter of the late Gerry, married her husband Fabio Aprile for a second time (the first time was a low key civil affair which the couple did in secret). The wedding of the day with a Listowel connection was the McKenna Cogan wedding in St. Mary’s , Listowel.

Let me tell you without fear of contradiction that Listowel is the best place in the world to organize and hold a wedding. St. Mary’s is a beautiful church which can be downsized to accommodate a small ceremony as well as being the ideal venue for a huge wedding. The hotel and all the local wedding suppliers are the cream of the crop.

My Kanturk family posing outside the church for the "real" photographer.

I’ll tell you a bit about the wedding day suppliers we dealt with.
The Listowel Arms Hotel were a delight to deal with from day one. Patrice, Asyia and all the staff were super efficient and obliging . The hotel itself is charming, warm and welcoming.  Asyia took lots of lovely photos which reached us long before the official  ones.  Her photos at the hotel entrance show how intimate, local and compact the place is for a wedding.

The dining room was stunning. The backdrop of the racecourse and river Feale lent an exotic air to the snaps of the top table.

 The food was delicious, the service excellent, the speeches were short and entertaining, the favours of Lily O’Brien chocolates (from Newbridge) and my book (from Listowel) were appreciated by the guests.

Dancing to Kildare band Transmitter went on until the wee hours and, in a lovely local touch, Damien from Jumbos made a late night delivery of some local delicacies beloved of the bride and her friends and mentioned in the groom’s speech.

Weddings nowadays are two day affairs. We all decamped to the Cliff House in Ballybunion for our day 2 and there we had a night of chat, finger food, some music and a few drinks. The happy couple headed for  a London minimoon on Tuesday. Highlights of this included 2 afternoon teas which were gifted to them by wedding guests. Andrea and Alexandra treated them to tea in The Shard. This is “the height of fine dining”. The restaurant where they ate is on the 32 nd floor and the food is as spectacular as the views.  Alex and Andrea are Erasmus friends of Clíona’s and their friendship has stood the test of time and distance.

Many years later here they are in St. Mary's Listowel with Alex's daughter Aoife .

The second teatime experience was  in Harrods. They even got a complimentary chocolate cake for dessert in view of the fact that they were on honeymoon.

A far cry from Jumbo's Listowel!

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Post Wedding Blues

We're only fit for the bed or the fireside after our big day on Saturday. If I recover sufficiently I'll tell all next week...and then it will be Writers Week.......



My mother used to say "There is so much bad in the best of us and so much good in the worst of us that it ill behoves any of us to talk about the rest of us." So I won't pass judgement but I'll share this poem that Sinéad Gleeson shared online

Friday, 19 May 2017

Ballybunion Tidy Towns and more from Fr. Pat Moore's ceremony on the beach

Bogna Kuleszewich in Ballyduff


Ballybunion at Evening

One fine evening last week I took a walk along the cliff overlooking Ballybunion beach.

This seat is close to the Kingdom of God on a lovely evening like this.

The view from the seat

The sun was setting.

Lovely May flowers with the old Mercy convent in the distance

On my way to the beach on the Glen Road I spotted this. Looks like a fairy door.

Dog owners have to clean up after their animal. Horse owners should too.

Ballybunion Tidy Towns do great work and they deserve the support of the local community

The artwork on their recycling area looks good.


May 11 2017 on the beach 

An unplanned duet by Eileen Barrett and Paddy McElligott of the song You're Never Alone is HERE

Dana Mulrooney treated us to a perfect rendition of Around the Chapel Gates in Cooraclare

Paddy Mac Elligott sang Guy Clarke's I wish I was in Austin

The sun set behind the cliff on a near perfect evening, remembering a live well lived.