Friday, 29 September 2017

Pat Leane, Vintage Day 2017 and O'Quigley's Ladies and Gents Hairdressers

Chris Grayson


Old Dublin

Source; Old photos of Dublin on Facebook


Pat Leane, Olympic Athlete

At Listowel Races I met the lovely Helen Lyons and her charming mother. Helen's mother is sister of the great Australian athlete, Pat Leane

I'm  reproducing below the piece I included in the blog a few year's ago , when John and Monica Summers alerted me to this unsung hero.

Next up is an Olympic story with a Listowel (more correctly Finuge ) connection.
The following information was sent to me by John and Monica Summers,
who live in Sydney, Australia but who have a Whelan connection with Finuge. 
(Sorry about the format. It's a digitized old newspaper...March 14 1952) 

Pat Leane's  family was from Finuge and there are still members of the family living there including Nell Leane who was born in Australia, fell in love and moved to Finuge in the 1950s. 


Rugged Pat Leane has impressive records for almost everything on the athletic field. He has hopes of Helsinki
TWENTY - TWO - YEAR - OLD' six-footer Pat- Leane, of Oakleigh, 13 stone of Irish pluck,must be Victoria's most versatile amateur athlete.
Australian Olympic selectors have so far overlooked him, but happy-go-lucky, curly-haired Pat hasn't given up hope yet.
He's going to make one last do-or-die bid to crash his way into the Helsinki team this month. And rugged Pat can do it if anyone can.
Tomorrow he will be in the last stage of the stiff Victorian decathlon championship - the perfect outlet for his varied and out-standing talents.
Title-holder Leane's best total so far has been 5,886points. But he's training hard daily, and is sure he can reach the Olympic standard of 7,000 points, provided he is not hampered by adverse weather
or track conditions.
Talk to the star and youfind him almost excessivelymodest, but his list of bestperformances easily qualifyhim as the State's leadingcne-man athletic team.Here they are:
High Jump: 6ft. 5¿in.
Broad Jump: 24ft. 23in.
Hop, Step, and Jump:
44ft. 6in.
Pole Vault: 10ft. 9in.100 Yards: 10.1sec.220 Yards: 23.3sec.
440 Yards: 51.7sec.
Javelin Throw: 165ft.Shot Put: 38ft.
Discus Throw: 128ft. 6in.120 Yards Hurdles: 16.9
1,500 Metres: 5.20
Pat has already proved him-self Australia's best broad andhigh jumper this season, andrecently became the only ath
lete to better the Olympic stan-dard of 6ft. 4in. for the highjump.
When he's not concernedwith improving his athleticform, schoolteacher Pat is also well up in the football world. A brilliant centre half-forward, he played with Association club Oakleigh in 1947-48-49, and Golden Point, Ballarat, in '50
For recreation he plays a keen game of tennis,and in his spare time plays the piano!
A natural athlete, Pat began picking up sport trophies as a12-year-old at De La Salle College, Malvern. He was good at football, cricket, and handball,and school champion in the 100and 220 yards, high and broad jumps, and shot put.
He had some early tips from De La Salle honorary coach. BobWright, and now gets a little advice occasionally from "Pop"Gordon, well-known University coach. Mostly, however, he trains by himself, and figures out his own schedules.
"It's more fun that way," he says.
Experts believe he has such terrific potential that If he had been coached consistently
Over the last 10 years he would now be in top international class in any one of his strong events. But Pat, undisturbed, likes to have a go at everything,although he prefers jumping.
For his decathlon training Pat Is building up stamina with two six-minute miles once
 a week, and improving technique on five other days.
Pat's future is uncertain. His burning ambition is to represent Australia at the Olympic Games. But if he doesn't go to Helsinki, his athletic career may be cut short.
Pat's engaged to a Ballarat girl, and a tempting offer has been made for him to play
professional football with North Melbourne.
He makes no attempt to disguise his love for athletics, but professional football would help him establish a home. It would also immediately disqualify him as an amateur.
Pat's' parents hail fromCounty Kerry, and they'remighty proud of their son.

"But," says Pat with a
probably they reckon he'd be a world-beater at
the good old Irish game of hurley.
"that's one game at which I'd draw the line -it's too tough!"
- Alan Trengove


A Few More Photos from Vintage Day 2017


O'Quigley's Repainted

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Listowel Races in the 1950s, Recycle Fashion Day 2017 and Thomas Ashe

Photo; Chris Grayson


Listowel Races as they used to be

Vincent Carmody relives the race meetings and harvest festivals of the 1950s.

The arrival in town in the late 1950s of the well known English racing tipster, Prince Monolulu caused quite a stir. People were taken by the different outfits which he wore on the different days and by his personality. Again. like the woman who gazed into her crystal ball, I am not sure if he gave out too many winners. (this picture appeared in the Irish Examiner this week)

The Harvest Festival Committee, in order to generate interest for the crowds remaining in the town after the day’s racing and to create some fun for the locals, came up with some very interesting simple ideas, these included the  Listowel Donkey Derby, the Munster and All Ireland Wren Boys competition, the All Ireland churn rolling (milk tanks) competition, a walking race from from Tarbert to Listowel and common bicycle race from Ballybunion to Listowel.
Of these the All Ireland Wren Group competition still survives and the finals are played out in The Square on the Friday night of race week, always before a large and  receptive crowd.
For sheer thrill and great fun it was hard to beat the Donkey Derby, which ran over two nights. The donkeys ran down the length of Church Street, which used to be closed to traffic. Heats took place the first night with the semi--finals and final on the following night. Both footpaths would be packed with onlookers, with volunteers stewarding the final 50 yards on both sides.
 Many stories remain of the event, two of which I can attribute to John B Keane. Once when he was asked to describe the event, he described it as “a fantastic flight of asses down the historic Church Street course "  A friend, Thomas Ashe, once told me, that John B, as chief steward, had appointed him as offical starter. On the night of the heats, upwards of 100 donkeys had been brought before the start of the heats to be entered. Thomas, who had only just come down from Dublin for the week, was unaware of the format for running the heats, so he got on a walkie talkie to John B who was positioned at the finish.
"John B.," said Thomas,
"Yes, young Ashe, what's wrong?" said John B.
 "We have upwards of 100 asses here. Do I run 5 heats of 10 asses, or 10 heats of 5 asses?" said Thomas.
 There was a silence for about 10 seconds, when John B came back on and said for a laugh  " Let them all off together and stampede down the street." 
The asses came from far and near, but the best of all was a local one named Listowel Factory. He was owned by Paddy Behane of Bunghara. As an extra to the night’s racing there was a special race in which some of the jockeys riding at the Island would take part.  This race was commentated on by the legendary racing and football commentator, Micheál O'Hehir.
When the crowd surged at the end of an exciting sprint down the street, Micheál was knocked from the top of a tea chest, which he used as his commentary box. That incident, along with one of the jockeys getting injured falling from his ass, put paid to both Micheál and the jockeys taking part in any further Donkey Derbys.
At one stage, someone had a vague idea of moving the Derby to Charles Street.  When publican, Denis Guiney, whose premises was located adjacent to the finishing line at the lower end of Church Street, heard this rumour, he approached the then Chairman, Dr. Johnny Walsh and said, in no uncertain terms, that he would withhold any further contribution to their yearly collection.
That year, he had contributed one shilling and sixpence !!! 
(photos from North Kerry Camera)

Another great addition to the Listowel of those years was the setting up of Radio Listowel, it was broadcast from a room in Michael Kennelly's Travel Agency in Market Street and was linked to loudspeakers in the different streets. Used extensively at Race Week and Christmas time, it was also used by the local Urban Council for any public announcements.

It would not be proper to finish without a mention of Listowel people’s favourite food at Race-Time, that is, Mutton Meat Pies. These were served in broth and sold in many a house in the town, many a stomach was filled and many a sick head was cured by their consumption. O Connor's public house in Upper William Street, known as 'Mike the Pies' got its nick-name from the time that Michael and Kate O'Connor came back from America in 1907, to open their public house, Kate, formally Mulvihill from Ballylongford, realising that country men who were in town all day for Market and Fairday's needed wholesome nourishment, so she came up with the idea of making and serving these famous pies.      

With the arrival of more and more Travelers and their caravans into the town, especially in the 1950s, parking in the Market place became a premium. The remainder then went to the only other available site, on the riverside. This continued until the late 1950s. Then, the Market place was bought by the newly formed Listowel Mart Company. The traditional camping side in the front market gave way to the building of the new mart building and associated pens. From the late 1950s and early 1960s the Travelers’ lifestyle was also evolving. Many were been resettled and their traditional caravan and way of travel was becoming obsolete. In many cases the hirse drawn caravan gave way to more more mobile small pick up trucks. The Listowel riverside encampment of the 1950s is more than likely the last actual image of a way of life that is now a distant memory. This photograph could also be a mirror image of the early pioneers on the American Sante Fe Trail well over 100 years before. (photo from North Kerry Camera 1989).


More from Listowel Races on Saturday Sept 16 2017

Friends, Gillian McElligott and Cliona Cogan meet up on The Island.

 Local ladies enjoy watching the style.

Once a scamp, always a scamp. This man is always a great supporter of this event. He looked just as dapper as usual this year and, as usual, he was flirting with the ladies.

Some local vintage glamour

This Galway couple won Most Stylish Couple on Ladies Day. If there was a category for  stylish couples on Vintage Day they would have won hands down.
 Imelda and Liz were busy organising the event. They did a great job.

 There always seems to be a stag party on the island on the Saturday of race week. This year they brought "the bride", Roberta, who was sporting a recycled wedding dress for reuse and recycle day.

This lady was last year's winner. She is always beautifully styled . Her outfit this year was stunning.

A New York bought dress, a pair of gloves she dyed with beetroot to make them look old and the only hat in the house made up this eye-catching outfit. The judges loved this look and she was a finalist.


A sad telegram in the UCD archives

Much memorabilia related to the death of Thomas Ashe has been released to coincide with the centenary of his death. The below telegram from his parents to deValera must be among the most poignant. it is granting permission for him to be buried in the republican plot in Glasnevin rather than with his family in Kerry.