Friday, 31 January 2014

Emigration then and now, Dr. Eamon OSullivan and lost records from Tullamore National School.

The following is an extract from an Irish Times article in its excellent Generation Emigration series. It is written by Anya O'Sullivan. It will strike a chord with many of my blog followers.

Although being at home filled me with a very specific sort of sadness, leaving Ireland left me just as broken hearted, in a very different way. It is as if I am having a tempestuous love affair with my country. I cannot, and do not want to, break away from her. Yet, she leaves me broken hearted each time I visit, and each time I must leave. She is my home. My quiet, my strength and my blood. She is my sense of longing when I am away, and my sense of belonging upon my return. It pains me deeply to see such waves of our young folk flocking to other nations, for the opportunities they cannot find in Ireland. It is absurd that the key figures responsible for the country’s descent into the financial dregs, have not been held accountable for their actions. Like they were in Iceland, for example. The bright young minds Irish families took such time nourishing, and encouraging, are not feeding the development of our own nation. We are mainly abroad, contributing to the greater good of a different economy. We are the generation of Skype relationships with our families and friends. The long distance flights, the jet lag, the tearful goodbyes. They are all intrinsic parts of our lives.
I am back in the sweltering Brisbane heat now. The Australian summer is in full swing. When I look out my window all I can see are blue skies. But, there is something missing. An ache in my heart that no communication via technology will cure. A hug from my Mum, a spontaneous visit from a friend, a train ride to see my niece and nephews. It’s the little things you miss.
Ireland, you may not be in a position to give me everything I want from life right now. But, I hope to be back. Please, sort out your economic situation so those of us migrants that want to return home, can.


This is what brought many of our forefathers to the US particularly Oregon and Idaho in the 19th. century.

(Source: Erin go Bragh Facebook page)

There is an interesting study on the Irish in London here:

Long shot!

Weeshie Fogathy posted the following letter on his Terrace Talk page; Maybe one of listowelconnection blog followers could help.

Dear Mr Fogarty,

I am leading a research project on the history of occupational therapy in Ireland at the University of Limerick (I think that you might have spoken to my colleague, Dr Katie Robinson, briefly a year or so ago). A couple of years ago one of my PhD students, Brid Dunne, “stumbled” across the work of Eamonn O’Sullivan (whose early contribution to the development of occupational therapy was previously unknown in contemporary Irish occupational therapy). Since then we have being undertaking research on Dr O’Sullivan’s work (this includes an analysis of his book as well as archival research in the St Finan’s archive in Tralee Library). We are of course familiar with your book (which sits on my desk) and with the material in the Croke Park archive. I am contacting you at this point as we are wondering if there are any other sources that we should contact/examine in order to gain greater insights into Dr Sullivan’s life and his influences. For example, we are especially interested in the fact that one of the international pioneers of occupational therapy, Dr William Rush Dunton (who continues to be revered in American occupational therapy, unlike O’Sullivan who has been forgotten) wrote the forward to his book. We have no idea how they met/knew each other. We assume that they might have met at international psychiatric conferences and/or perhaps when O’Sullivan and the Kerry team visited the US. We would also like to know about some of Dr O’Sullivan’s other early influences which led him to develop one of the first occupational therapy departments in Ireland. We are wondering, for example, if you have contact with any members of his family (we know that one of his sons was/is living in the UK). We would greatly appreciate any suggestions you might have.

You may be interested to know that we have given several presentations (both national and international) on Dr O’Sullivan’s contribution to occupational therapy and hope that in the future the full extent of his pioneering input to our profession will be acknowledged and appreciated.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards,



Another long shot…..

Would anyone have any idea of the whereabouts of the old roll books from Tullamore National School? This is Tullamore outside Listowel and the records we are looking for date back to the mid 1870s. The man behind the enquiry has looked in all the obvious places e.g. Dept of Education, County Library, nearby schools….


Thursday, 30 January 2014

Whiteboys in Moyvane

Ah, happy days! This one from the National Archives shows haymaking in an Irish meadow, probably 1950s or 60s


Whiteboys in Moyvane

Hanging at the cross where the streets meet in Newtownsands.

Told by Con Shine (carpenter).

Written by J.B. Connell (NT Moyvane)

My father remembers the White boys. There was a landlord in Kilbaha called Wall. There was another in Moyvane named Sandes. Sandes knew the names of all the white boys in the district. So did Wall. The white boys trusted Sandes. But they were afraid that Wall would tell all the names. So they decided to do away with Wall. Wall was afraid of them. He made up his mind to take a house in Glin and went the Kerry line to Glin . But he came back by Newtownsands way. The white boys watched him they attacked his house that night and the firing went on till morning.

 In the morning they set fire to the house and Wall was burned to death. 200 soldiers came from Limerick the following day. They were to kill everybody they met. But Sands met them over on the Tarbert road near Johnny Nash's and told them not touch anybody that he would have all the white boys arrested that he knew them all. The soldiers did no harm then.

 They went to Kilbaha and the first they met were my father and my uncle Johnny, threshing in the haggard. Sands said they are two honest boys, they're a widow's sons they never did harm to anybody. And so they did nothing to them. My father was about 18 at the time. 

Sands gave the names of all the white boys and they were arrested and tried in Tralee. Three of them were sentenced to be hanged one of them was ordered to be brought to Newtown to be hanged. His name was Neill (Nayle). He was the ringleader he was hanged in Newtown by the soldiers. They drove 2 poles in the ground below at the cross and put another pole across. They then put him standing in a horses car, put a rope around his neck then pulled away the car and left him hanging there. He was hanging there all day. The soldiers use to come often and give him a swing for sport and leave him swing away for himself. All the doors were shut that day. You would not see a head out the door.

In the evening they took him down and carried him to Tralee in a car. But they lost him above at Shea`s height Clountubrid. They turned back and found him again and carried him to Tralee.

The other two were hanged in Tralee. one of them was Mulvihill. I do not know who the other man was. Wall lived in Kilbaha where the road turns up to Kennelly`s house.

Note Michael Mulvihill was tried in Tralee 3rd March 1809. He set fire to Walls House. He was executed on 29th July 1809 .

Danny McMahon claimed that Wall was not at home when his house was attacked.

(The Whiteboys (IrishBuachaillí Bána) were a secret Irish agrarian organisation in 18th-century Ireland which used violent tactics to defend tenant farmer land rights for subsistence farming. Their name derives from the white smocks the members wore in their nightly raids,  They sought to address rack-rents, tithe collection, excessive priests' dues, evictions and other oppressive acts. As a result they targeted landlords and tithe collectors. Over time, Whiteboyism became a general term for rural violence connected to secret societies. Because of this generalisation, the historical record for the Whiteboys as a specific organisation is unclear. There were three major outbreaks of Whiteboyism: 1761–64; 1770–76; and 1784–86…..Wikipedia)


Jer. Kennelly found this story tin the Catholic Press of Nov. 1896

Michael Prendergast, one of the Fedamore jockeys, recently received serious injuries while riding Castlequarter in the Island Plate at Listowel meeting, and died the next day. Prendergast was removed to the residence of Mr. Michael O'Connor, where he was attended by Drs. O'Connor and Clancy, but he never regained consciousness. In addition to his wife, Fathers Courtney, Eric and Finlay, and a Sister of Mercy were in constant attendance on deceased. He had only been married about two months ago, and was but 21 years of age. He had ridden many winners for the Fedamore stable.

What a sad story!

The following story comes from a great website called, Irish Central

The Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum of Hamden, CT will present a program on the Orphan Train Riders, a group of an estimated 273,000 children, many of whom were Irish, who were transported from New York City to live with families in rural America during the 19th century.

Writer and photographer Tom Riley, who has been speaking publicly about the topic for 20 years and has written two books on the subject, will discuss the history of the Orphan Trains at the event, which is to be held at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan 30.

Riley told the Connecticut Post-Chronicle that while few records were kept regarding the trains, some estimate that between 400,000 and 600,00 were relocated between 1854 and 1929.

“Life in the 19th century in New York City could be a brutal for a child,” he said. “New York City was a magnet to immigrants in search of a job, but it was also a haven for alcoholics, drug addicts, thieves and murderers. The loss of a job, addiction, injury or death of a parent on the job and the absence of a social safety net often meant it was children who suffered the most.”

He said that on any given day 12,000 to 15,000 orphaned and homeless children were sleeping in alleyways, cardboard boxes, or sewer pipes throughout the city.

In 1832, a group of women concerned that young girls were being forced into prostitution formed the American Female Guardian Society. The group soon started taking in both boys and girls and later established 12 industrial schools where children were taught a trade and skills to support themselves.

“They did this work for 21 years before Charles Loring Brace came to New York City and was appalled at what he saw,” Riley said.

Riley came upon the history of the Orphan Trains by accident while researching a book on the home for children where he grew up. In a hayloft, he discovered 26 boxes of records dating back as far as 1832.

Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum, which is home to the world’s largest collection of visual art, artifacts and printed materials relating to the Irish Famine, is located at Quinnipiac University, 3011 Whitney Ave in Hamden, CT.  

The free presentation is open to the public, but registration is required.To register, call 203-582-6500 or visit

Read more: 
Follow us: @IrishCentral on Twitter | IrishCentral on Facebook


Something light to finish with

Sign outside The Star and Garter in Church St. yesterday,  Jan 29 2014

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Presentation Convent, Craftshop na Méar and the year of the horse

Presentation Convent Chapel, Listowel in May 2007


The personal diaries of The Knight of Glin are online here;

They make very interesting reading.


Attentive students hard at work in Craftshop na Méar's Wet Felting workshop on Saturday January 25 2014. The next workshop  on working with beads is booked out.
Check in here for news of upcoming events at this really lovely little space in Church Street, Listowel



Harcourt Street station 1900  (Photo Erin go Bragh Facebook page)


This Chinese year is The Year of the Horse.

This is Gary, the oldest horse I know. He lives in happy retirement with my family in Kanturk, Co. Cork.
(photo by Jim MacSweeney)

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

The Lartigue, old Ballybunion and an open air cinema in Sydney

The Song of The Lartigue

This song (according to information recorded from Moss Hannon by Fr. Anthony Gaughan)  was written by James Leslie.  He was a comedian with the Charles and Leslie Company which ran a cinema in Listowel during WW1.

Of railways let anyone speak,
Of The Grand Trunk or Western Union,
Sure there isn’t one like The Lartigue,
That runs into famed Ballybunion.

It’s built on a plan of its own,
And they say ‘twas invented in France, Sir,
But, however the truth isn’t known
Which leaves us to make out the answer.

Oh, ‘tis nice to jump into a car,
When Jack Reidy is driving the train, sir,
But be careful you stop where you are,
And maybe you wont fall out against her.

Then Paddy Boyle comes on the way,
For a taste of a chat with the neighbours,
And if you ask him how long she will stay,
“Til the old engine’s done cutting queer capers.”

The old train’s held together with rope,
And the tackling they say, wont endure, sir,
Sure they balance the people with soap
And sometime with bags of manure, sir.

If you travelled it once in your life,
Though for six months before you were seedy,
And come back the next year with your wife,
You’ll be welcomed again by Con Reidy.


There’s only one wheel on the line,
And the track, like the story is single,
Sure there isn’t a railway so fine,

Not excepting the Tralee and Dingle

Listowel's legendary monorail has many stories and anecdotes recorded about it. Fr. Gaughan has one in Listowel and Its Vicinity. An upright piano was consigned to Ballybunion. To balance it, 2 calves were taken in the opposite car. When the train reached Ballybunion, the piano was unloaded and one of the calves was taken across to the other side in its place to balance the cargo. 

There is a phenomenon in Irish called, 'tionlacan na n-óinsí" where a woman conveys her visitor home only to realize that she needs someone to convey her back to her house and so the visitor has to return again and the process starts over again. Such a tale is told of a man who bought a cow at Listowel Fair and borrowed another to balance her on the way home to Ballybunion on the monorail. But in order to bring the Listowel cow back he had to borrow another to balance her. This story is highly unlikely but it makes a good Lartigue story.


WW2 poster issues a health warning to the forces. I found the photo on a Twitter feed from "Limerick 1914"


These 2 old photos of Ballybunion were taken approximately 30 years apart.


Kay Caball does a great job on her Find my Kerry Ancestors site. Her recent blogpost on gaps in the baptismal records is well worth a read for family historians.


Meanwhile on the other side of the world…….

Julie Evans wrote this in her recent email.

Last night Glyn and I went to the Open Air Cinema on Sydney Harbour. It operates through the summer with about 2000 seats. An area of Harbour foreshore at Mrs Macquarie’s Point, adjacent to the Royal Botanic Gardens, is set up with tables to eat and drink and cinema seating. The screen is actually on pylons in the Harbour and rises from a horizontal position just before the movie starts.

Doesn't it sound like a great idea for a very different night out?


Hartney photographers photos of Ballybunion give you an idea of how wild it's been around these parts in the past while. 

Flood damage has closed Listowel Family Resource Centre.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Flood and wind , Duagh and Queen Elizabeth's Irish book

We had some really bad weather at the weekend. Here is John Curtin's photo of The River Feale.

Mike Enright took this atmospheric photo of storm clouds gathering over the Cashen.


UL posted this photo on their Facebook page. It is Dr. Anthony Maher of Duagh receiving his Ph. D.


The Queen's Irish

Here is one of the many treasures in Marsh's Library. It is the 16th century Irish primer of Elizabeth 1.


Paddy Drury epitaph

Liam Enright sent me this one.

“Here lie the bones
of Paddy Drury
owing their size
to Guinness' brewery."


This man is a frequent visitor to Listowel. He is Dick Cotter, grandson of Timothy (Tasty) Cotter who was a local rate collector and carpenter and once ran a shop at Scully's Corner. Dick retains many happy memories of summers spent in Bridge Road with his grandmother and his aunt Cecilia. Dick is a keen family historian and is on a search for his Shanahan connections or for some clue as to why the Cotters came to Kerry and particularly to Listowel in the first place.

John Kelliher was in St. John's at the Johnny Carroll Dessie O'Halloran concert

Joe Murphy and Dessie O'Halloran

Johnny Carroll 


Apropos our discussion about various kinds of oil lamp, Junior Griffin pointed me to an article in The Kerry Badminton Association's 75 Years centenary book. In an article by the late Paddy Sugrue,  President of Kerry Badminton association in 1982/83, Paddy gives an account of the setting up of his local club, Drangan in Co. Tipperary.

"We didn't have electricity in the village then and four Tilly lamps gave us sufficient light to play. Later we added two more lamps. Such was the foundation of Drangan badminton club in Co. Tipperary. What loyal and enthusiastic members we had in those days. After a few months we decided to enter for The Brady Cup in Clonmel. We were drawn against Collins' Hall A team. They were minus 8 and we were plus 8. Innocents abroad…we didn't win a game.


Friday, 24 January 2014

Bord na Mona

Here are some photos from Fr. Browne. They come from Bord na Mona Heartland

"A crew feeding the collector at Clonsast in the early 1940s. This was a much despised job as the collector kept coming and it was hard work to keep ahead of it. Sometimes one employee would jam the equipment in order to get a rest. The big problem was if the driver of the collector was on a bonus, he kept going as fast as possible. The men worked from 7.00a.m, to 5.00 p.m."

The 1940s in Turraun, Co. Offaly. This shows the storage shed and wooden creeled wagons. 
This photo was taken by Father Brown of Titanic fame.


A few ads from my 1852 cookery book

I found the following on Pinterest, posted by The Wild Geese.

Not all famine memorials are elaborate monuments in large cities. East of Tralee in the north of Co. Cork, Newmarket is the ancestral home of the McAuliffe clan. While visiting the old clan territory Kieran McAuliffe of Toronto, Canada stumbled on this obscure famine memorial while searching the local cemetery for family stones. Kieran was kind enough to send on two photos of this simple, yet moving memorial.


Listowel Fire Brigade 1959

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Cookery book, polar bear dip

In his travels recently, my friend, Eddie Moylan came across this little booklet. He knew that I would love it. He was right.

Here is the introduction:

A Plain cookery  book for the working classes


My object in writing this little book is to show you  how you may prepare and cook your daily food, so as to obtain from it the greatest amount of nourishment at the least possible expense; and thus, by skill and economy add, at the same time, to your comfort and to your comparatively slender means. The recipes which it contains will afford sufficient variety, from the simple everyday fare to more tasty dishes for the birthday, Christmas day or other festive occasions.

In order to carry out my instructions properly, a few utensils will be necessary. Industry, good health and constant employment, have, in many instances, I trust, enabled those whom I now address to lay by a little sum of money. A portion of this will be well spent in the purchase of the following articles:- A cooking-stove with an oven plasced at the side or under the grate, which should be so planned as to admit of the fire being opened or closed at will; by this contrivance much heat and fuel are  economized; there should also be a boiler at the back of the grate…. Such poor men’s cooking stoves  exist, on a large scale, in all modern built lodging houses. Also a three gallon iron pot with a lid on it, a one gallon saucepan, a two quart ditto, a frying pan, a gridiron and a strong tin baking dish…..

And her his one of the recipes


Polar Bear Dip

I was fascinated by this photo on Liam Murphy's timeline so I asked him to tell me about it. This is what Liam wrote:

This is an account article about  details of the event on Sunday January 12th. At  Pier Village, Long Branch, Monmouth county, New Jersey  south of New York on the Atlantic Coast.
At least 1000 people plunged into the frigid ocean water to raise money for Catholic education. The 8th annual event, that our G-Daughter was one of those participating, hosted by the Ancient Order of Hibernian's, raised at least $100,000 this year.
Organizer Jim Shaw said he expects the totals to reach about the same as last  year, which was $135,000.  This event makes an opportunity  to raise money  for tuition  assistance, for projects going on at  the  schools  - 100 percent of the money raised goes back into the schools.
Shaw estimated that at least 1000 people participated this year and said it looked like there were more plungers then last year. Schools from across the state, including as far away as Trenton and Jersey City participated in the event.


This is a photo from The National Library's collection of two men painting a white line in the middle of the Naas Road in 1958.


Tonight I am reminiscing
I have turned back the years
Removed the locks from both the doors
And forgot about my fears.

Removed the TV from the shelf
And put it out of sight
Replaced it with a radio
Commentating on a fight.

Put the mobile phone on silent
Took the handset off the wall
Tonight-The only interruption
Neighbours foot steps in the hall.

Reached up to the fuse board
Reversed the on off handle
Got an empty bottle from the press
And placed in it a candle.

Replaced the coal and briquettes
With a seasoned wooden log
And a couple sods of well dried turf
Harvest from the local bog.

The lid from off the oven
I will heat until just right
Wrap in a woollen sweater
Place in the bed tonight.

Stare out through the window
Watch the snowflakes as they fall
Pretend its Christmas Eve again
And Santa’s sure to call.

Will I read a passage from the book
Or the rosary instead?
Then go outside – melt a little snow
Before I go to bed.

Seamus Hora
I copied this poem by Seamus Hora from here;