Friday, 30 November 2018

Placenames from Dúchas collection, a 1994 quilt for charity and The Haunting Soldier in Dublin

In Gurtinard Wood I was thrilled to see a little bird at home. No bats about though.


Duagh from the Dúchas collection

Photo; Caoimhín Ó Danachair


Place Names

Informant, Mrs K. Quilter
Collector-Maureen Lynch- Informant- Muiris Ó Loinsig
The name is still used by the local inhabitants and probably means the Glen of the Quern. It is beside this glen the “brittlen” woman used to be heard.
In the farm of Pat Trant Jnr, Behins, there was a blessed well. This was known to the older people as Tobar Uí Leidhin. There was an old midwife living in Behins named Moll Barry. One May morning she went to the well for a can of water. She had hardly reached the well when she was lifted off the ground and the next place she found herself was below at the monument in Lixnaw, spirited away by the good people.

Beside the well there was a graveyard. A glen beside it is still known as Gleann Dóighte.
Beside our house is a place called Pike, on the main road between Listowel and Castleisland. Old Ned Prendiville use to say that there were two gates here and everybody who passed the way with cattle or cars had to pay a toll of a halfpenny. There was also a pound there. 
There is a Dispensary at Pike. In this building was the old National school whose first teacher was John O’Connor. O’Connor was not long there when he had to flee the country owing to his connection with the Fenians. Then came my Grandfather old Master Lynch who taught there for six years and who opened the school at Rathea in 1875.
My Grandfather was a native of Knockanure. He used to tell stories about a woman name Joan Grogan of Knockanure. This woman used to be “out” with the good people. One night they were on their way to Castleisland to decide whether a girl there named Brosnan was to be taken away or not. On their way they called in to my grandfather’s aunt the wife of Michéal Ruadh Kirby of Behins and took her snuff box as a joke. Micéal Ruad’s wife met her a few days after at the big fair in Listowel (13th May). Joan asked her did she miss her snuff box on such a morning and she said she did. Micheal Ruadh’s wife told her she heard them laughing in the kitchen that night.
Maureen Lynch
M’athair Muiris Ó Loingsig O.S a d’innis an méid sin dom. Rathea Listowel.


Kerryman 1994

Does anyone know where this is now? Does anyone remember it, the making of it or the handing over of it?


The Haunting Soldier

I went to Dublin to see The Haunting Soldier and I was mightily impressed.

This art installation commemorates all the soldiers who served and suffered in the Great War . The artist was invited to bring the creation to Dublin to remind us of the tens of thousands of Irishmen who soldiered in WW1. Many of them were killed or received life changing injuries.

The statue is forged entirely from scrap metal, bits and pieces of nuts, bolts, cogs, springs, horse shoes, chains etc., etc.

My two friends, Assumpta and Peggy, posed with two people with a Listowel connection who were also in St. Stephen's Green to see the Soldier.


Ard Churam Concert in St. Mary's, Listowel

A super variety concert with the very best of music, singing and recitation was enjoyed by a packed church in Listowel on Friday evening, November 23th. 2018

Owen MacMahon was our host for the evening. No better man for the job. He entertained us with anecdotes, jokes and poems as he provided continuity between the acts.

Finbar Mawe welcomed us on behalf of Ard Churam. He told us about the ambitious plan to build a dementia unit, following the success of Ard Churam which is soon to be working six days per week.

Karen Trench's Silver River Feale was a highlight of a show full of highlights. We also heard Seán Ahern, Kim Healy, the excellent Ballydonoghue Comhaltas group as well as a group from Listowel Comhaltas and a junior choir from The Kerry School of Music.

It was a night for meeting old friends.

The Ard Churam choir were the stars of the show. They were a credit to their musical director, Mary Culloty O'Sullivan. Mary, a world class soprano.  also sang for us . Heavenly!

Mike Moriarty said a few words on behalf of Ard Churam.

John Kelliher who did a great job of photographing the proceedings has posted a video of the performances on Youtube

Ard Churam Concent in St. Marys

It comes in at the end of Owen's joke so I'll fill you in. The wife of the great Seanchaí, Eamon Kelly once said that he wore his hat at all times only taking it off in the church and in bed. "And he slept in both places." she said.

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Susperstitions, St. Michael's graveyard and a local woman's role in the DDay landings

Listowel Town Square in Winter


(From the Dúchas collection)

Lore of Certain Days
Collector, Katherine Thornton-
 Informant, Mrs Nellie Thornton, Ballincloher, Lixnaw

The pattern day some people go to the Blessed Well to get ailments cured, such as stomach complaint, bone disease, and several others.
Old people sat (sat= planted crops) Monday for wealth, Tuesday for health, Wednesday the luckiest day of all, Thursday for crosses, Friday for losses, and Saturdays no luck at all. 
Some people change houses on Tuesday and not any other day, because if they changed on Monday they would be changing for the week. 
People say April the 30th or the first week in May is the best time for planting crops. The old people say rain on Friday, rain on Sunday,

“There is a well situated in Mrs. David Dillon's farm…”
There is a well situated in Mrs. David Dillons farm at this day the well goes by the name of Tobair na Giolláin. The people say the English of it is the well of the flies. At first the well was situated near a hedge in the field but one morning a woman rinsed clothes in it and when the people came to the well it was dried up but it sprang up about four perches from the place. The people are still taking water out of it but the old people always said it was a blessed well.


In St. Michael's Graveyard


A War Story with a Local Twist

This story comes to us from the pen of Billy McSweeney

In my Grandparents time, Kerry people understood that they were cut off from the rest of Ireland by a series of mountains; they realized that they were isolated and had to look after themselves. Life was harder in Kerry than in the Golden Vale or on the central plains of Ireland. The mothers of Kerry especially, knew that they had to look to every advantage to help their children and prized education highly to that end. In the mid-19thcentury the people of Listowel welcomed enthusiastically the establishment of St Michael’s College for Boys and the Presentation Convent Secondary schools for Girls, not forgetting the Technical School. The people who read this blog are most likely familiar with the Census’ 1901 and 1911 and will have noticed that many homes in Listowel housed not only Boarders but also welcomed Scholars who came from the villages and isolated farms scattered around North Kerry. These boys and girls spent 5-6 years in the Listowel schools to be educated for ‘life’.
The upshot of this was that from Listowel we sent out many young adults who were a credit to their teachers to take their places in many organizations and many whose names became nationally known for their talents and abilities, especially in the Arts.
Let me tell you about one such young girl, Maureen Flavin, who was born in Knocknagoshel, Co Kerry. When the time came for Maureen to go on from National school she was welcomed into the Mulvihill home in Upper Church Street who themselves had a young girl, Ginny, of the same age. Maureen and Ginny became fast friends and stayed so for life. 
When Maureen finished school in 1930 she wanted a job; couldn’t get one in Kerry because of the times that were in it, so she answered an ad in the National Papers for an Assnt. Postmistress in Black Sod, in North Mayo. Her references and qualifications were suitable and in due course, as she says to her own surprise she was offered the job. This was to set Maureen on a course where she would be an integral part of one of the most momentous actions of the age. Mrs Sweeney, the Black Sod Postmistress, was married to Ted who was the Lighthouse Keeper, both operating from the Lighthouse building in Black Sod. They had a son, also Ted, who Maureen fell in love with and married in due course. They in turn had three boys and a girl and life took up a normal rhythm for the family; that is until 3rd June 1944.
The WW2 was in full swing at this stage with Gen. Eisenhower as the Allied Supreme Commander and Gen. Rommel the German Commander in Normandy. Rommel knew that an Allied invasion was prepared and imminent. Conventional Meteorological sources at the time for the US and German military said that the coming days would bring very inclement weather so that the invasion would have to be postponed. Eisenhower postponed the action and Rommel left Normandy for a weekend in Berlin based on the same information. The British Chief Meteorologist had however visited Black Sod some years previously and knew the value of Black Sod as the most westerly station in Europe and when a break in the weather was reported by Black Sod on 3rdJune he persuaded Eisenhower that 6thand 7thJune would be clear and to ignore the same conventional Met advice used by both the US and the Germans. Ted compiled the reports for the Irish Met Office and Maureen transmitted them. Maureen remembers receiving a telephone call a short time later from a lady with a ‘very posh English accent’ asking for confirmation of her report. Ted was called to the phone and he confirmed the readings, The rest, as they say, is history. 
Ted Sweeney died in 2001.  Maureen is still alive.
There must be a few morals in this story

It's Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas
McKenna's Window


Manchester Martyrs

Since I posted these photos I have had lots of people contact me about this topic. The "martyrs" were Allen Larkin and O'Brien, two from Cork and one from Offally .

Here is the story;

The Manchester Martyrs— William Philip Allen, Michael Larkin, and Michael O'Brien—were three men executed for the murder of a police officer in Manchester, England, in 1867, during an incident that became known as the Manchester Outrages. The three were members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, also known as the Fenians, an organisation dedicated to ending British rule in Ireland, and were among a group of 30–40 Fenians who attacked a horse-drawn police van transporting two arrested leaders of the Brotherhood, Thomas J. Kelly and Timothy Deasy, to Belle Vue Gaol. Police Sergeant Charles Brett, travelling inside with the keys, was shot and killed as the attackers attempted to force the van open by blowing the lock. Kelly and Deasy were released after another prisoner in the van took the keys from Brett's body and passed them to the group outside through a ventilation grill; the pair were never recaptured, despite an extensive search.
Two others were also charged and found guilty of Brett's murder, Thomas Maguire and Edward O'Meagher Condon, but their death sentences were overturned—O'Meagher Condon's through the intercession of the United States government (he was an American citizen), and Maguire's because the evidence given against him was considered unsatisfactory. Allen, Larkin, and O'Brien were publicly hanged on a temporary structure built on the wall of Salford Gaol, on 23 November 1867, in front of a crowd of 8,000–10,000.
Brett was the first Manchester City Police officer to be killed on duty, and he is memorialised in a monument in St Ann's Church. Allen, Larkin, and O'Brien are also memorialised, both in Manchester – where the Irish community made up more than 10 percent of the population – and in Ireland, where they were regarded by many as inspirational heroes.   
Source: Wikipedia 

There are monuments to these three all over Ireland and there is one in Manchester. Commemorative ceremonies were held for years on the anniversary of their execution.
Thank you to all the people who contacted me on this one and look out for Dave O'Sullivan's contribution next week. He trawled the papers for us and found out lots more about the Listowel monument

This impressive one is in Kilrush, Co Clare

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Newmarket, WW1 Stories, Field Names and Christmas in Listowel

Olive Stack's Christmas tribute to her hometown


Tree in Listowel Town Square in November 2018


Pals Brigades

This is one of the recruiting posters from World War 1.  This and other similar posters played on man's desire to be one of the gang. This policy of putting men from the same area together worked in that it cemented friendships between men who shared common memories and loyalties. It also formed a bond born out of shared experiences in the battlefield.

At his excellent lecture on Kerry and the Great War in Kerry Writers' Museum on Sunday November 11 2018 Tom Dillon told us several stories of men risking life and limb to save a friend from home.
Denis Baily of Tralee won the Military Cross for bravery. At the Battle of the Somme in 1916, he went out, under fire, to rescue a fellow Tralee soldier, Patrick Collingwood.

Paddy Kennelly from Ballybunion lay dying on the battlefield in Messines in 1917.  The soldiers were under orders not to stop to help the wounded or they would be shot. Mickeen Cullens, a neighbour of Kennelly's recognised him, defied orders and hoisted the wounded soldier up on his shoulders and brought him to safety. Both men survived the war and remained friends back home.


Newmarket Co. Cork

Just outside Newmarket, Co. Cork there is a lovely place called The Island Wood. Raymond O'Sullivan took this photo there.

Here is what he wrote on his Facebook page to accompany the photo;

Strabo, the Greek geographer, philosopher and historian who lived around the time of Christ, believed that in Ireland the limits of the habitable earth should be fixed. He described the natives as wholly savage and leading a wretched existence because of the cold. Other Classical writers also describe it as a cold and miserable place and go even further to to accuse us of cannibalism, endocannibalism (the ritual eating of relatives), incest and all forms of fornication. Opinions reflecting Classical prejudices to anyone living outside their narrow sphere, no doubt. It is clear that none of them ever set foot on our green and misty isle and definitely never stood on the bank of the Poll Fada on a sunny mid- November morning


Shannon Mouth (Dúchas Collection)


Field Names

Our ancestors had a name for every field. Maybe families still retain these names. Do farmers invent names for fields anymore?

Here is a contribution from a child in Ballylongford to the folklore commission and now preserved in the Dúchas Collection.

There are many names given to the different fields in our farm, such as, the “Well’s Field,” so called because there was a blessed well there one time. This well moved from where it was first, owing to a woman who washed clothes in it one time.

The Three Cornered Field, so called because there are three corners in it.

The Pound Meadow, this gets its name from cattle who were being pounded in it at night, long ago.

The New Field, is so called because it was a garden before, and now, cattle are being pounded there.

The Parkeen, this gets its name because it is a small field.

Griffin’s Field, this gets it name from a family of Griffins who once lived there. This family left the place and it is now owned by my father.

The Fort Field, is so called because there was a fort there at one time. The ring of the fort is all that now remains to be seen, as the trees were cut down long ago.

The Long Field is so called because it is the longest field in our farm.

The Gate Field, this field is so called because there is a gate going in to it from the public road.

The Hill Field, is so called because it is a very hilly field.

These were told to me by my father who lives in the townland of Ahanagran about two miles from Ballylongford.
Collector Teresa Holly- Informant Patrick Holly, Relation parent, Age 60 Address- Aghanagran Middle, Co. Kerry, Location- Aghanagran Upper.


Christmas in Listowel

This year once more the local traders have a Christmas website up and running. It's worth while checking back every so often to see what's happening and what's on offer.

This is the Christmas supplement that came last week with Kerry's Eye. The eagle eyed will spot yours truly in the picture on the cover.

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Manchester Martys' Memorial, Food Fair, The Great Hunger in Listowel and Sheep may Safely Graze

Wintry Tree In Listowel Town Square in November 2018


At the Window of the Kerry Writers' Centre


Memorial in St. Michael's Graveyard

I wonder why there is a memorial to these men in Listowel.


Last Few from the Listowel Food Fair Craft Fair 2018

Anne Egan and her daughter, Katie at her table brimful of lovely handknits.

Brigita was at the fair with her family and friends.

There were several award winning cheesemakers at the fair.

There was a great deal of produce to tempt the sweet toothed.

This French beekeeper who has his hives in Duagh had some lovely wax products as well as honey on his stall, all displayed on wooden shelves made by himself.


Listowel during the Famine

This account of the Famine in Listowel was contributed by a W. Keane to the schools' Folklore collection and is now in the Dúchas collection.

 The old mill by the river in Listowel (once N.K.M. factory) was built out of the stones of the part of Listowel knocked by Sir Charles [?] in 1600. The time of the famine the mill was full of corn and soldiers were placed on guard to mind it. Leonard was the man in charge of the mill. They used the bags of wheat inside and there were soldiers outside the door and the people used to go down to get the wheat and they used be fighting the soldiers. Finally the wheat went bad and had to be thrown out in the River Feale. 
Cars used go out every day from the workhouse in Listowel to collect dead bodies & they used be carried to Gale Churchyard. But as Gale church was too far from Listowel they got a field near the town on the road to Ballybunion now known as Teampulleenbawn where they buried the bodies in pits or else with coffins with sliding bottoms, & used the coffins all over again. There were auxiliary workhouses: St.Michael's College, Listowel, was an hospital; Stalls in Clieveragh known now as "The Barn" was a workhouse & "The Model Farm" on the Ballybunion Rd. "The Model Farm" is so green amid a stretch of poor land. The people say that it was the sweat of the paupers carrying manure on their backs that made it green. You'd get £33 for a pig.


Sheep in Firies

I recently spent a tamall at the home of an old friend in Firies. What a beautiful corner of the Kingdom. These sheep were grazing in the field near my friend's house. The scene was almost biblical in its peaceful beauty.