Friday, 24 January 2020


Slea Head

Photo credit; Graham Davies on This is Kerry


If today you are complaining about your job, take a look at this turfcutter. Bord na Mona employed men on a casual basis to harvest the turf. They were paid, not by the day or the hour, but by the amount of turf they cut. I don't know if this man was in Lyreacrompane. I doubt he was as most of the photos seem to come from the bigger bogs in the midlands where there were villages of Nissan huts set up during the turf cutting season and the men (there were no women allowed) slept and ate in these huts and spend every waking hour turf cutting.

Men of the Travelling Community used to come to Lyreacrompane for the turf season and these men were a significant cohort of the Lyre workforce.

This photo, also from the great Bord na Mona Archives shows a mountain of turf in the Phoenix Park Dublin sometime during the war. Turf was exported to Britain, as there was as s shortage of coal due to the war.

Tralee, Coming Home from Oz. Race in the 1990's and old Killarney

Listowel Town Square before the reconfiguration


Tralee, Co. Kerry

These Sculptures are in the Town Park Tralee.

This door in Day Place is on a house thought to have been lived in by Daniel O'Connell.

Ogham Stone at Rath Cemetery

 This is one of many old mills in Tralee. The metal structure at the top was a pulley which lowered the bags of milled flour on to the waiting carts.

This is a Tralee church, unfortunately closed on the day I visited but I am assured it's well worth a visit.


Barman's Race
One day during the 1990's we had great fun in Listowel Town Square at a fundraiser for People in Need. These photos were taken by Tom Fitzgerald and they show some well know bar people taking part in the Barman's race.


Coming "Home" for Good

Weather events in Australia have added to the factors that are constantly turning the thought of our emigrants in Australia towards home. Coming back is not always as easy as you might think.

The following article from Stephen Palmer's Irish Abroad site is well worth reading.

After 14 years in Oz and with dual citizenship, I decided to give living in Ireland a go in May 2016 and ended up staying.
I see so much misinformation on this page that I thought I would share some real experiences from my moveboth positive and negative:
  1. Decide what is important to you and what is not important to you. Having lived abroad, if you decide to stay there you will be giving up some things, if you decide to move home, you will always have to give up some things. What will you regret on your deathbed?
  2. The weather is shit. It always was, and it always will be. Accept it and buy some decent rain gear.
  3. There are some annoying things about living in Ireland, just like there are annoying things in every country. Likewise, when you move countries, there are things to sort out and paperwork to do. It doesn’t just magically get sorted because you are an Irish citizen returning.
  4. Some things haven’t changed; there is still a certain amount of cronyism, and who you know, e.g. it is ridiculous how much power things like county councils have over planning permission. It can still be a case of who you know, not what you know.
  5. There is serious under-regulation in certain things… e.g. there appears to be no regulation of real estate agents who act like total cowboys. It can be seriously frustrating. You WILL find yourself saying “did this country learn nothing from the recession?” many times.
  6. Car Insurance is genuinely ridiculous, expensive and challenging for newcomers to the country and returning expats.

  7. No, you are not being unfairly treated as a returning expat when it comes to buying a property. They are not “out to get you” or make it impossible to return. The rules are the same – usually 20% deposit, 3.5 times salary, you need to be 6 months in your role and made permanent after a probation period.
    This is the exact same for people who never left the country, so it is not just because you are a returning expat. I keep reading people on here talking about unfair it is, but those rules are the same for everyone, and the controls are there for a reason given how lax the banks were in the past.
    If buying is a priority, make sure you come back with the deposit saved. And expect that you will have to show bank statements etc. from abroad.
  8. Salaries in Dublin are lower than in Sydney or London. Fact. And outside Dublin are much lower again. Of course you can’t get the same roles or career opportunities in the West of Ireland as you can in Sydney or New York, so be realistic.
    If you work in the corporate world, and your career is important to you, then chances are the opportunities are mostly in Dublin.
  9. Rents are ridiculous in Dublin (especially relative to salaries), but still very low in other parts of the country.
  10. Buying property is very affordable relative to other major cities, and relative to rent.
    But be realistic – the recession is over, and prices in Dublin are rising. I see so many people on here comparing the costs of buying in Dublin to small towns in Australia or the US. You are not comparing apples to apples.
    Personally, I could never afford to buy a house in Sydney even though my salary was twice what it is in Dublin.
    Here, I bought a 3-bed house in a lovely location for what I could have bought a 1-bed apartment in Sydney. Don’t compare the cost of a house in rural QLD with a house in Dublin.
  11. If you want to pay similar prices to country towns in other countries, you can absolutely do the same here. There are some bargains to be found, but you won’t find the same career opportunities, or you may have to commute – that is not any different to other countries.
    Also, don’t look at a house for sale online an hour outside Dublin and expect it to take an hour during rush hour. Like buying property anywhere, you will have to figure out your priorities – size of house and garden, vs location and commute.
  12. People here are lovely. Moving back from Sydney I found people so much nicer, more open and more welcoming here, and that has continued to be the case.
  13. Dublin is a much more cosmopolitan and diverse city than it was when I lived here 15 years ago. Some things have changed, and some haven’t. Don’t expect it to be the same, but embrace all the wonderful changes if you decide to move back.
  14. There is a much stronger sense of culture here than there was in Oz, and I love that.

  15. You can also jump on a plane and be immersed in a completely different culture anywhere in Europe in a couple of hours. You can get cheap flights and accommodation and have an amazing long weekend for cheap as chips.
  16. If you lived abroad for a number of years, you can’t just return and expect the same as people who never left and have paid tax the whole time. Yes, you will have to do some paperwork and may not be entitled to the dole. Yes, if you raised your children abroad, they may not be entitled to free 3rd level education. That is the price we all paid for leaving and seeking opportunities elsewhere, so accept it instead of feeling hard done by and entitled.
  17. The major lesson for me, back to point number 1I have no regrets about moving home. For me, family and a sense of belonging couldn’t be replaced in Sydney, and with my eye on those things, all the negatives outlined above were worth it.
  18. You have the choice to focus on all the negatives or look for the positives.
  19. Nothing is forever. Give yourself options and get your citizenship etc sorted in case you ever want to move back.
I am sure I have missed lots of things as this was just a brain dump. But hopefully, it paints an even picture of the real pro’s and con’s, based on real experience.


Killarney Street

This is an old postcard picture of a Killarney street

Thursday, 23 January 2020

Glenteenassig, Europe on William St. and Listowel Primary Care Centre and Knockane


Photo Credit:  Gosia Wysocka on This is Kerry


Clounmacon GAA


Polish Restaurant

Sometimes I regret not putting dates on photos. Listowel people will recognise this as Lower William Street and the premises that is now Lizzy's little Kitchen. For a short time this restaurant was a Polish restaurant called Europe.


Entrance to new Primary Care Centre


Hidden Treasure

This is from the Dúchas folklore schools collection. I'm including the original manuscript because the handwriting is so beautiful.

This is what it says in case you are finding it hard to read. Cnochán is Knockane.

There is a hill in the townland of Listowel and it is called the Cnocán. This is a fairly large hill and it covers about two acres of ground. It is composed of a mixture of sand and clay. It is supposed to have been drawn in bags by the Danes. The hill is situated midway between two Rivers - the Feale and the Gale and according to local legend the Danes drew the sand from both rivers on their backs. At the south end of this hill which is about twenty feet high there is a beautiful well continually overflowing with clear water and which never runs dry even in the most prolonged periods of drought. But the most remarkable thing about this hill, is that it was raised up in the middle of a flat boggy plain and was supposed to command a view of the River Feale and the River Gale.
B. Holyoake
Listowel, Co. Kerry
Michael Holyoake
Listowel, Co. Kerry

Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Craftshop the Méar, Scoil Realt na Maidine

The River Lee, Cork in January 2020

Photo: Chris Grayson


Feeling Nostalgic

Today Im back in 2013 in Craftshop na Méar in Church Street. Happy Days!

We used to have this mascot pig in the window. The shop owner, Robert Corridan, brought him all the way from the U.S. where he used to be blue and was the mascot for one of Robert's favourite restaurants,  The Blue Pig. The late Dan Green, who was a great supporter of the shop, named him Crubeen.

Mary Boyer and Una Hayes were looking after the shop on this day, which, judging by the stock, was near Christmas time. The beautiful crochet work on the top left is the work of Brigitta who now runs Scribes.

Maureen Connolly is sitting by the range working on one of her crochet rugs Beside her in his bawneen is Dinny.

One day as we were having a Christmas event, Alice Taylor dropped in to listen to the songs and stories.


Scoil Realt na Midine 1960

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Jack Ashe, and Devon Castle and Irish Food in the Sixties

Our Roving Photographer was in my Home by the Lee

Chris Grayson is a brilliant photographer. He has taken some exceptional photographs of wildlife in Killarney National Park but this photo was taken in Cork. You can see the County Hall in the background so I'm guessing he was on the terrace behind The Kingsley. 

Lovely photograph!


Jack Ashe

This old photograph from the 1940s was one of a batch discovered by the relatives of a Galway photographer and sent to the late Bryan MacMahon after the photographer's death. Margaret Dillon identified some of these for us. This dapper man was local journalist, Jack Ashe.  He wrote under the pen name Nash. He is pictured here on Market Street not far from his home near Convent Cross where his sister ran a sweet shop. His niece, Mary, ran the very popular and much missed Lawlor's cake shop on Church Street.


Devon Castle

(From Cathleen Mulvihill to Glin Historical Society on Facebook)

Devon Castle Newcastle West.
The original Fitzgerald castle was granted to the Courtenay family in 1591. The Castle was occupied by David Mahony and his son Peirce Mahony in the mid 18th century. Bence Jones writes that the residence of the Earls of Devon in county Limerick was a house of 9 bays in the castle precincts. This house was occupied by the agent to the Devon estate Slater describes it as Courtenay Castle in 1894 when it was occupied by Charles Curling. In 1910 it was bought by the Curling family who had been agents for the absentee landlords. Burned during the Civil War on 8th August 1922. The Castle remained in the possession of the Curlings until the 1940s.


Forgotten Ireland
From Facebook

Monday, 20 January 2020

Young Scientists in 1983, landlords and Tenants and Extension planned fro Pres. Secondary School

January with the ladies in Ballincollig Regional Park


From the Archives

Young Scientists in Listowel in 1983 pictured in The Kerryman


Some Facts Stranger than Fiction

The oldest bridge in Paris is Pont Neuf meaning new bridge.

The first woman to play golf was Mary Queen of Scots.

Agatha Christie was a keen surfer.


Landlord and Agent

Kay Caball is the acknowledged expert in the area of Kerry ancestors. Her book, Finding Your Kerry Ancestors and her website, My Kerry Ancestors and her blog

Kerry Ancestors blog

are required reading for anyone researching their Kerry roots.

Here is a small section of a series of blogs on Landords and Tenants;

"In Ireland we are very much aware of the importance of ‘the land’.  Who owned the land? Who rented the land? How  did the system work ? These are just some of the questions that my colleague Jim Ryan of Flyleaf Press and Ancestor Network has answered in his definitive article on Irish land records or Rentals in his recent blog.   
Jim has kindly given me permission to reproduce his blog in sections. I will publish these over the next few weeks, finishing with a list of surviving Kerry land records and where to access them as in my book Finding Your Ancestors in Kerry.
Agents.  The practical day-to-day management of estates was usually the work of land agents,  also known as estate agents.  These could be hired by large estates as members of staff, or contracted as  external estate managers.    There were several large land or estate management companies that  could be hired to perform this role.  Some of these external companies managed hundreds of small estates on behalf of their owners.  Agents provided the estate owners with regular rental reports detailing rental income due and received.  These reports were particularly important for ‘absentee landlords’ who did not reside in Ireland.   These were entirely reliant on their agent to manage their estate business and to keep them informed of issues that might affect their income.  Land stewards, sometimes referred to in documents,  were staff who worked under land agents.
Agents were generally reviled by tenants.  A popular contemporary quote was that ‘Landlords were sometimes decent men,  but agents were devils one and all’.   This is not entirely fair as there were many agents who were respected by their tenants,  but a larger proportion performed their function through coercion and threat of eviction.  In their defence, the historical evidence suggests that most were not provided with the funding or authority which might have allowed them to assist their tenants to improve their farming methods or land,  or to facilitate access to markets etc. Further background to the complex roles and circumstances of the land agent can be found in 2 books:    Landlords, tenants, famine:  the business of an Irish land agency in the 1840s.  Desmond Norton. UCD Press 2006. ISBN 978-1-904558-55-2;  and  The Irish Land Agent 1830-60:  the case of Kings County.    Ciaran Reilly, Four Courts Press 2014.  ISBN 978-1-84682-510-1
Chairperson of the Board of Management, Shay Downes with Principal, Eileen Kennelly following the announcement this week of Department approval for two state of the art science labs, specialist rooms and classrooms. Exciting times ahead!

Friday, 17 January 2020

Duagh's Church and Live Crib and Some Facts

Duagh at Christmas

Duagh's Live Crib

Duagh people are proud of their local writer, George Fitzmaurice and have commemorated him in  a mural in the carpark.

A Wall of philosophy and philosophers

In the crib building there were lots of local animals enjoying all the attention.


Facts Stranger than Fiction

Half the food produced in the world is left to rot.

A litre of milk in a supermarket can contain milk from a thousand different cows.

The average meat eating person consumes 8 cows, 36 sheep and 36 pigs in a lifetime.


Roadworks that May Impact You

KN WORKS: Cable installation works will continue on the Piermount Road and R551 (Tarbert Ballylongford Road) on Monday the 20th to Friday the 24th of January and will continue towards the Cross of the Woods. Residents in the area impacted by these works will be notified by the liaison officer. No road closures will be required for these works on the Piermount and R551 Roads. Minor work will take place on the Moyvane Tarmons Road from Monday the 20th to Friday the 24th under traffic lights or a stop and Go traffic management system. Shane  087/9829576.