Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Athea is avenged and the Irish Hospitals Sweepstake remembered

A Stonechat

Photo: Graham Davies


Lord Listowel's Needlework

I apologise that I have no date for this snippet


Revenge for Athea

This crucifix stands near the gate of Athea's graveyard in an area called Templeathea. The temple in the name refers to a church which once stood on this site. This church was burned during Cromwell's time in Ireland and all the local people who had sought refuge within were burned. 

I had an account of this atrocity on this blog a while back. In response, my friend, Nicholas, sent me this.

"Your mention of Cromwell, in your Athea piece reminded me exhumation from Westminster Cathedral of the mortal remains of three one-time heroes of Old England.
I came across the following account of the post-Restoration  digging up from their  graves in Westminster Cathedral, posthumous beheading and ghoulish abuse and hanging of the bodies of the following three enemies of the murdered King Charles 1st. Couldn’t happen to more deserving fellows!
Cromwell, Ireton and Bradshaw hanged from the Grave. 
From a manuscript entitled “An Abstract of the Reign of King Charles the First”
“…and the 30th of January, being that day twelve years from the death of the King, the odious carcases of O. Cromwell, Major Gen. Ireton, and Bradshaw, were drawn in sledges to Tyburne, when they hung by the neck from morning till 4 in the afternoon. 
Cromwell in green searcloth, very fresh embalmed. Ireton, having been buried long, hung like a dried rat, yet corrupted about the fundament. Bradshaw in his winding sheet, the fingers of his right hand and his nose perisht, having wet the sheet through. The rest very perfect, insomuch that I knew his face when the hangman, after cutting off his head, held it up. Of his toes I had five or six in my hand, which the prentices had cut off.
Their bodies were thrown into a hole under the gallows, and their heads were set up on the south end of Westminster-hall.
Cromwell died September 3rd 1658; Ireton, November 9, 1651; Bradshaw, October 31, 1659.”

Athea was avenged!!


Do you remember the Sweep?

If someone was being a bit "flash with the cash" in my day, people would say " He must have won The Sweep. But what was the sweep.

Joe Harrington sparked my interest in this precursor to the National Lottery when he sent us the below sweep ticket.

 The sweep was a raffle run in conjunction with major horse races. It was ostensibly set up to raise funds for Irish hospitals but like so many of these "charities" it became mired in controversy amid accounts of directors of the lottery creaming off huge expenses and even salaries and the hospitals getting a meagre percentage of the funds raised. Tickets were sold through agents, most of them in the U.S and Canada.

This was the iconic image of the "nurses" drawing the winners from huge draw drums and the tickets being verified by an army officer.

Joe also found the hilarious account in a book called Insane and Unseemly by John Saville.


A Novel Proposal

On Ballybunion beach in January 2018.....artist Mario Prez

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Athea people and Countess Markievicz and Rith in Listowel on St. Patrick's Day

Fabulous picture of Fungi, the Dingle dolphin by the people behind Fungie Forever


Signs of Spring

Bulbs are sending up green shoots, a reassurance that this cold snap will end.


Athea and Countess Markievicz

Last week I mentioned how I thought the good people of Athea were kind and friendly. A blog follower responded with this;

"Every word is true about Athea- especially the people of Athea. Years ago, I had interactions with the then attendant at the Mortuary in Limerick Regional Hospital- as it was then known. This man dealt with all remains deceased persons, whether they died peacefully in their beds at a good age, or died tragically- in many circumstances. 

He was extremely helpful to all grieving relatives and was much respected and liked. He told me once that he 'loved' to see a crowd from Athea coming to the mortuary, as they were the grandest and 'dacentest' people in the county. In their loss and grief, they came armed with a gift for the attendant (a bottle of whiskey) which no-one else ever bothered to do. Athea people are a special type- they have big hearts and appreciate a kindness.

Another story about Athea in the long-ago: Countess Markievicz (after whom a local Athea housing estate is named) visited Con Colbert's Athea and was giving a speech when she was interrupted by by an old man, probably unused to see a woman in such a prominent position. He called out, "Can you bake a plain cake of bread, Ma'am?"  The Countess replied instantly,  "I can,"  and I can drive a four-in-hand!" A four-in-hand, as you equestrians will know, is a carriage drawn by four horses with the driver controlling and directing all four with a set of reins- an operation requiring special skill and strength, and beyond many men,  I believe.  That settled the old man's hash pretty quickly!"



This good man whom I featured a while back is Fr. Bowen and not Bohan as I stated.


The late Bryan MacMahon and Brendan O'Carroll


Rith go Lios Tuathail

Rith is a national festival which runs every second year as part of Seachtain na Gaeilge,
March 11 to March 17 2018.

A 1,500km. course has been mapped out and it will be run in relays from Belfast to Listowel in 2018.

A special hand carved baton carrying a secret message of support for the Irish language will be carried as far as Listowel and the message will be read out from the stage at the viewing of the St. Patrick's Day parade. The reading of the message will be followed by a street party.


As if that wasn't enough excitement for St. Patrick's Day, the mass on RTE will be broadcast from St. Mary's, Listowel. It will be sung, in Irish, by Listowel Folk Group, pictured below at their annual Christmas party.

Monday, 29 January 2018

Athea, Tralee and Ballybunion and Kilflynn and Kanturk

Deer in Killarney National Park in January 2018

Photo; Mary Mac on This is Kerry


Tralee in 1967

Photo: RTE archive


Ballybunion in Winter 2018

My family were visiting last weekend. We took a trip to Ballybunion on a bitingly cold Saturday, January 20 2018

We practically had the beach to ourselves.

The sea was rough.

Bobby, Carine and the boys are always happy in this place.

Lovely to see someone who loved the beach commemorated with a seat.

Mario had been busy earlier in the day. His beach art is now a feature of the beach in winter.


Athea, Co. Limerick

This is Athea's Marian Grotto. It is in the grounds of the parish church.

Why are there so many Marian grottos dotted about the land?
Here is why: 1954 was declared a Marian Year by the Pope Pius X11. 

Marian years are decided on and declared exclusively by the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. In Church history, only two Marian years were pronounced, by Pope Pius XII and Pope John Paul II. (Wikipedia)

This was to encourage devotion to the Blessed Virgin. Many girls born in 1954 (and a few boys) were called Marian or Mary.

Marian shrines or grottos were erected in nearly every parish in Ireland. Many of these depicted the Lourdes scene with a statue of Mary in a high alcove in a stony grotto and a statue of Bernadette kneeling before her.

Athea's grotto does not have a Bernadette. Neither does the grotto at O'Connells Avenue, Listowel.

O'Connell's Avenue, Listowel Marian shrine.

There is also a calvary in the grounds of the church in Athea.


Kilflynn Bridge January 27 2018

Photo: Radio Kerry on Facebook

Relentless heavy rain over the past while has caused part of the bridge wall at the entrance to Kilflynn to collapse. Luckily no one was injured. The bridge is closed to traffic. Kilflynn is accessible through Abbeydorney or Lixnaw.


They won!

Ceann Toirc Abú:  Hurlers from my native Kanturk are into an All Ireland club final on Sunday next. Big day for the club; big day for the town.

This is my excuse to post a photo of myself with Kanturk and Cork's goalkeeper, Antony Nash, taken in town in summer 2013.
No, of course I don't know him. I just know people who know people.

Friday, 26 January 2018

Craftshop na Méar, Fast Fashion and recycling and Fr. Gerry Roche R.I.P.

Photo: Pat OMeara, Mallow Camera Club


Memories of Craftshop na Méar

This photograph was taken at our Cois Tine event at Christmas 2013

Alice Taylor happened to be in town that day and she dropped in.

The canon blessed the venture. Here he is greeting his good friend, Anne Moloney.

In the early days, craft classes were a great success.

Some of the lovely local crafts which were sold in Craftshop na Méar


No One Wants your Used Clothes anymore

This headline in an online article by a man called Adam Mintner caught my attention. Because I am a great fan of pre loved clothes and a firm believer in recycling, I read on and my eyes were opened for me.

You buy clothes. You wear them. You give them to the charity shop or pass them on to a friend. But at the end of the cycle when they are too tatty to be of use to anyone, what then?

A global network of traders collect all the useless garments and recycle them in poor countries either to be worn again or turned into stuffing or into a new material to be used again in cheap clothing.

Panipat in India is the centre of the industry that recycles clothes into yarn. There are 200 business in Panipat devoted to recycling clothes!!!!

They make a cloth known as shoddy. The cloth is made from low quality yarn recycled from woolen garments.
In the year 2000 Panipat's shoddy factories made 100,000 blankets a day, 90% of the relief blanket market.

But things have changed since then. Now Chinese factories can produce new polar fleece blankets more cheaply than recycled ones. These Chinese factories are locating in Panipat and replacing the recycled shoddy with a new cheap material.

Here's a shocking statistic; Between 2000 and 2015 global clothing production doubled.

Thanks to the new phenomenon of "Fast Fashion" the tide of second hand clothes is growing as the market to reuse them declines.


On the very same day as I read this article online I read in the newspaper that the chain, Dealz is introducing a clothing range. Most of the garments will cost under €5 and there will be 100s of product lines.


Fr. Gerry Roche of Athea R.I.P.

While I was in Athea last week inspecting the damage done to the mural I strolled up to their lovely church.

On the left of the door is a memorial to a local hero. The whole story is carved in stone,  in this lovely tribute.

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Craftshop na Méar, Pat Shortt and a competition winner

A Relic of Auld Decency

Photo; Lisa Egan, Mallow Camera Club


Craftshop na Méar, a Resumé

This is how Kiely's of Church Street looked.

In November 2013 Namir Karim's craftshop moved in and set out to find a name for the new venture. In the window was a big yellow fibreglass pig who became the mascot for the early days. The name that the crafters settled on was Craftshop na Méar, using a naming method I first heard used by Clare GAA.

(There is a GAA rule that every member must be registered with the Irish version of his name. This proved a bit problematic when they had a player called Mosajee Bhamgee. Some genius came up with the nearest Irish equivalent and he was registered as Muiris Bean Sí)

Namir didn't have an Irish version of his name so na Méar was agreed on as the nearest match. Besides in fitted well with the produce which was to be handcrafts.
A competition was held to name the pig. The late Dan Green, who was a big supporter of the shop, hit on Crubeen, the perfect name.

Namir and his daughter, Roza were very involved in their new venture.

Maureen Connolly, Mary Boyer, Eileen Moylan and Isobel Barrett were among the early crafters.

 The shop stocked a wide variety of produce.

 This photograph was taken at the official opening in 2013

Mary Keane cut the ribbon and she was one of the first customers.

Maureen, Mary Anne, Una, Eileen, Mary and Anne enjoyed the opening ceremony as well.

This photograph was taken on one of the "big days" in the shop as the crafters pose with the award for the widow display at Seachtain na Gaeilge.

I have a few more photos but I'll keep them to tomorrow.



Pat Shortt shared this photo of himself and Jon Kenny taken backstage at an early gig in Limerick


A Prize wining essayist