Friday, 28 February 2014

Zentangled Art. Jim Stynes and Stack Clan win Gathering Award

This is Zentangled Art. I took a class on this in Craftshop na Méar on Saturday and found it positively addictive.

Maria was our very patient teacher. She managed to bring out artistic talent in everyone. This art form is most accessible even to to an artistic klutz like me. I'd recommend it.

Here are a few photos I took of some of the other participants in the class;

Patsy O'Connell

Bernie Carmody

Ruth O'Quigley

Eileen Fitzgerald

Anne Moloney

Carine Schweitzer


Jim Stynes R.I.P.

(Photo by Paul Rovere)

Dublin-born Australian Rules player Jim Stynes, who died in 2012 after a long battle with cancer, is to be commemorated with a bronze statue outside the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
When he died, the 45-year-old was honoured with a state funeral in Victoria, where he spent his life after leaving Ireland aged 18 in 1984.
In a statement, MCC president Paul Sheahan said: "It is fitting that 30 years after the Gaelic footballer was recruited from Dublin, we announce Jim Stynes' induction into the Australia Post Avenue of Legends series.
"A true gentleman of the game, Stynes is an exceptional individual whose achievements as a non-Australian born player remain unmatched.
"There is no doubt that he is one of the most extraordinary and inspiring figures in the history of Australian sport." 
Before he left Ireland, Stynes won an All-Ireland minor football winners' medal with his native county in 1984.
The captain of that team, Paul Clarke, attended the funeral, along with GAA President Christy Cooney.
Stynes holds the AFL record for the greatest number of consecutive games at 244 - over 11 years.
He played a total of 264 matches for the Melbourne Demons after making his senior debut in 1987.
But his stature went beyond his on-field deeds as he took over as Melbourne chairman in mid-2008 when the oldest AFL club was in dire financial straits and steered them to financial stability.
He was awarded an Order of Australia in 2007 and was Victorian of the Year in 2003.
Stynes is the fifth sportsperson, after cricketers Shane Warne and Neil Harvey, and footballers Norm Smith and John Coleman, to feature in the Australia Post Avenue of Legends.
(Source; Rte News)


Congratulations to Damien and everyone involved in organizing The Stack Clan Gathering 2013. They won in the category of Best Family Gathering at the recent Gathering Awards ceremony. Another great Stack festival is planned for 2014. There is no stopping them now.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Convent girls in 1954 and the Millennium Arch

Convent girls with Sr. Dympna in the early 1950s

The following is from the letter from Marie Shaw which accompanied this great photo of her class in Listowel sixty years ago.

Back Row: Eleanor Leahy, Eileen Barrett, ? McCarthy, Celia Carroll, Rose Healy-Fitzmaurice, ?Walsh, Marie Neligan (me), Doreen Stack, Nora O'Keefe, ? Enright.

Middle Row: Kathleen Fitzgerald, ? Noonan (not certain about that name)Margaret Sheehan Mary McElligott, Phyllis Horgan, Kathleen Dunworth, ? Beasley, ? O'Keefe, Maeve Moloney, ?Murphy, Dympna Hillard.

Front Row: Nora Barry, Margaret Horgan, Eileen? Lynch, Noreen Mahoney, Geraldine Reidy (an american girl visiting Listowel), Patricia Hartnett,Marie Buckley, Terry Buckley and of course Sr. Dympa

I'm wondering if there is anyone else still around who remembers this.


Does anyone recognize herself, her mother or maybe her grandmother in the photo? I'd love to know where they all are now.


garda patrolling the beach in Tramore in 1922


These are appearing on footpaths all over town.  They are covering the newly installed water meters.


My three lovely grandaughters praying at their grandad's grave last week.


This is our Millennium Arch in all its glory in 2009. I don't suppose it would be cost effective to rebuild it .  Another landmark gone!

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

4th class Convent 1932 and Sive at The Abbey

Convent Girls 1932  4th Class 

Front L-R; Mary Granille, Greenville, Convent Street; Peg Fitzmaurice, William Street, now Barney H; Kathleen Stokes, Charles Street, later Ballybunion; Ann Flavin , Church Street, Bookshop; Second Row; Anna Collins Church Street, Lawlee; Evelyn Leahy; Mairead Connell, Small Square ?; Joan Carroll deceased Wm St. Shop; ? Walsh O Connell's Ave and Nan Connor do; ? Enright Ballybunion Road; Peggy Dell, Charles St.,;-----------------; ? Galvin, Small Sq, Harness?; Nuala McMahon first cousin of Mairead Connell above; ?Barrett Ennismore spotted dress; Mai Chute, Charles Street; ? Sweeney, Greenville; Peg Galvin, Greenville. 

Third Row; Kathleen Bartisell; Eileen Horgan of top of Church St.; Eileen Adams, Charles st. in shadow; ? Galvin partly hidden , Billy Galvins sister; -------------------; ---------------------------White top; Mary Allen ? O Connell's Ave, flowery dress; ------------Boxy dress--; ? Kelliher in white; ? Fitzmaurice , Banemore, now Daughton, marred Stacks Mountain; ? Sullivan Innismore white Dress; Peg Godfrey, Red cottages, Painter; ? Connell from Top of Wm, St. Mai Stack, Duagh/ Moysa?Good student; 

Back row; Eileen O Connor ?; --------------- Pig tails; ? McCarthy sister of writer; ? Connor ?; Brid Mahony, O Connell’sAve; ? Cronin lived at back of Breens Ch. St.; Mary Doyle, Tannavalla; -------------/?, Friend of Maura Walsh ?; Maura Walsh , Market Gate.; Agatha Murphy, butcher, Black dress; ? Fitzmaurice; Peg Dooling, Woodford, Head sister Cherry Orchard, Dublin; Mairead McGrath; Nano Sullivan from Hill, Ballygrennan, b 1920; -----?Larkin 

These are the names as posted by Jer. Kennelly. Can anyone do any better?


Ballylongford in the past


Sive at The Abbey

Critics are unanimous in their praise of the current Abbey production of John B. Keane's play.
The play, however and its playwright has had a troubled relationship with the national theatre. Sive was rejected by The Abbey in 1958.
Listowel Drama Group had achieved success in the All Ireland Amateur Drama Festival in Athlone in 1954 with a one act play, George Fitzmaurice's The Magic Glasses.
Brendan Carroll was a very experienced producer and he realized that in Sive he had the makings of an overall winner in Athlone.
The play was a resounding success at the regional stages of the competition and it came as no surprise when it won outright in the final in 1959.
It was the beginning of a very successful career as a writer for John B. and as a actress for Nora Relihan.

Listowel Drama Group in a photo taken outside Dáil Eireann where they were guests of local T.D. Dan Moloney, shortly after they had won the Esso trophy in 1959.
 Margaret Dillon who gave us this photo played Sive. She is standing beside John B. in the photo. Nora Relihan is the lady in sunglasses.

Here are all the names again as provided by Kay Caball:

Front Row From Left:

Jeffrey O’Connnor (Cahirciveen,  Sheila Keane’s Husband)
Brendan Carroll   (Carroll Henigan, William St)
Margaret Dillon     (She played Sive)
John B. Keane        
Cecile Cotter  (‘Tasty Cotter’s’ sister – Scully’s Corner used to be called Cotter’s Corner)
Nora Relihan
Dan Moloney T.D., (grandfather of our mayor, Jimmy Moloney)

Second Row Left to Right
John Cahill,  (Main St.,)
Hilary Neilsen, (Bridge Road)
Siobhan Cahill (Main St.)
Bill Kearney  (Lr. William St. – where Nora Canty’s is now)
Harry Geraghty  (Bank of Ireland or maybe National Bank?)
Eamon Keane 
Mrs. Peggie Walsh  ( The Square)

Back Row, Left to Right
John Flaherty  (Charles St)
Margaret Moloney (Gurtinard, grandmother of the current mayor of Listowel, Jimmy Moloney)
Kevin Donovan (Upper William St)
Seamus Ryle  (Nora Relihan’s brother)
Ina Leahy  (Leahys, Market St)
Dr. Johnny Walsh
Peg Schuster  (John B’s sister)

Sive is a hard hitting nuanced tragedy about country life in Ireland in the early part of the twentieth century. The character of Mena, one of the play's villains, is a masterpiece. Forced by poverty to marry a man she does not love and forced by circumstances to share her home with a wicked taunting old hag and a child whose presence is a constant reminder to her of her own childless state, she is a deeply unhappy character.

I believe that she saw marriage to the repulsive but wealthy Seán Dota as an opportunity for Sive to have a comfortable home and luxury for the rest of her life. Mena herself would have jumped at such a chance in her day. She is the product of an age when marriage was a contract about money and status and love was a bonus. Sive has grown up with a different value system and sees love and marriage as intrinsically linked.

The singing tinkers, who alternatively bless and curse the Glavin house, are a remnant of  the wandering poets who lost their patrons with The Flight of the Earls and were then forced to live by their wits. They add a sinister dimension to the plot.

The theme of the play is a common one in drama; Romeo and Juliet, West Side Story but in Sive John B. held a mirror up to Irish society at the time and rural Ireland saw characters they recognised from real life. In many cases they saw themselves.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

A picture paints a thousand words.

 Left to right; Helen Walsh, Grainne Keane Stack, Danny Hannon, Jed Chute, Norella Moriarty, Noreen O Mahoney in The Square during Writers Week 2010.


Knockanure girls….no year


John McGrath


Lovely photo of three of the four surviving MacMahon brothers, Bryan, Owen and Jim


The Feale Rangers team who went on to win their first league title


Rivals on the racetrack; friends in the weigh room.

Another good one from Pat Healy: Davy Russell, Ruby Walsh and A.P McCoy enjoy a chat and a cuppa.


Jesse Owens of the US salutes his country's flag on the podium after winning gold at the 1936 Olympics which were held in Nazi Germany.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Hen Party in 2010, tram, car, bus and a BnM hostel and a Brocken Spectre at The Cliffs of Moher.

Famous Kerrymen

Joseph Patrick Brennan (10 September 1889 – 4 May 1968) was an Irish Clann na Poblachta politician and medical doctor.

Dr J.P. Brennan, He was born in 1889 in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, U.S. He was the son of Patrick Brennan and Julia O’Connor who married in Boston in 1888. He moved back from the US to his mother’s native Knocknagoshel, County Kerry at around the age of six years. His father had received communication from his brothers in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia regarding the Gold Rush and decided to join them in Australia and made his fortune with his brothers in the drapery business. The Brennan Building still stands today in Hannan Street, Kalgoorlie.

On his father’s return to Ireland in either 1908 or 1912 he brought an estate called Delbrook Park in Dublin.

He was educated at Blackrock College and Rockwell College. He qualified as a doctor in 1917. He married Anne Elizabeth Bulloch in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1914. He entered the British Army in 1917 as a Medical officer serving in Egypt and Turkey.

He returned to Ireland around 1918 and became a General practitioner in Blackrock, County Dublin. He also became Coroner for South County Dublin. Brennan was also involved in the Republican movement sometime in 1918. He was Head of Medical Services during the Irish Civil War. During the civil war, a group of insurgents that included Brennan occupied part of the Gresham Hotel in O’Connell Street and were holding out against the Free State army. Their position became untenable and the group decided to surrender. The surrender was underway but Cathal Brugha refused to surrender himself came out brandishing a revolver and was shot by the Free State troops. Brennan attended his wounds but Brugha died two days later.

He was Vice President of the Irish Christian Front which held its inaugural meeting at the Mansion House, Dublin on 22 August 1936. The Irish Independent invited the formation of a committee to make a decision to support pro-Franco citizens of Spain in their war effort. Support was also given by the Catholic Church.
Brennan was a founding member of Clann na Poblachta. He was first elected to Dáil Éireann at the 1948 general election as a Clann na Poblachta Teachta Dála (TD) for the Dún Laoghaire and Rathdown constituency.1 He stood as a Labour Party candidate at the 1951 general election but was not re-elected. He also stood unsuccessfully as a Labour Party candidate at the 1954 general election.2
He presided over the International Congress of Catholic Doctors which took place at University College Dublin in 1954. He was President of the Irish Bridge Union in 1955. He was elected as the first President of the Medico Legal Society of Ireland in 1956.

He died in 1968 at the age of 78 and is buried at Deansgrange Cemetery in Dublin.


Anyone know who these 'hens' are at a party in the Square in 2010?


This is the Blessingtom tram photographed in Templeogue. South Dublin Libraries are looking for information on the car.


This is what a Dublin bus looked like on 1988


Fashion Forward or Fashion mistake?

Dan Linehan's picture of former Kerry football player, Paul Galvin, at Ronan O'Gara's black tie testimonial in London recently


Bord na Mona hostel at Clonsast

The following is an extract from John Kearns account of life in Clonsast  (source : Scéal na Mona)

As soon as the season commenced each year there was a substantial influx of "imported" workers from various parts of Ireland, but mainly from the West ­ from such places as Kiltimagh; Faugh-Finney, Castlebar and Connemara. These workers were brought by rail to Portarlington Railway Station where they were collected by the TDB lorry and brought to the reception office at Clonsast. With the numbers of Joyces, O'Malleys and McDonaghs confusion was inevitable, but to eliminate this each worker received a control or Works' number. This made him identifiable at least on pay day and I was fortunate in being able to memorise all of their control numbers.
Each worker was given Hostel Accommodation on the basis of 17 shillings and 6 pence [87.5p] per week, which included breakfast sandwiches for lunch, and an evening meal, all of which were deductible from the wages. There was a shop attached to the Hostel, where the workers, if they had any money, could buy cigarettes, tobacco, minerals, sweets, toilet requirements and tea cakes - there was no alcohol. Before they could work however they had to purchase rubber boots, tools, etc., hip boots cost 15 shillings [75P] knee rubber boots cost 10 shillings and 6 pence [52.5p] and shovels cost 4 shillings and 6 pence [22.5p]. In many instances the net pay after deduction for these items, together with deductions for Unemployment and National Health Insurance, was very small indeed. All pay was by cheque, which could be cashed in the Hostel shop - it was therefore not unusual to draw cheques for as little as 10 pence [4p], which of course caused problems in bank reconciliation in the office.
As soon as the cut turf was partially dry, local workers, with the help of their wives and families, and casual workers, would undertake the back-breaking, skin splitting, fingernail breaking task of "footing" the sods. This too was a piece rate operation, paying in the region of 15 shillings [75p] per plot of a given dimension. It was therefore possible for these employees to earn what was considered "good money" when the weather was suitable. I too tried doing that job during my holidays, but I have no doubt it once again cost more for my sandwiches than what I earned -also I had to get up at 6:00 AM to catch the locomotives and be taken to the bog location when the footing took place - an experience I was loath to try again. Unfortunately mechanisation for this operation was yet to be invented.

Carine Schweitzer took this lovely postcard photo in Ballybunion on Sunday Feb 23 2014 as a lone rider and horse enjoyed the calm after the storm.


This is a phenomenon known as a Brocken Spectre at The Cliffs of Moher. The photo was posted on the Facebok page of The Wild Atlantic Way.

Just in case you have no idea what a Brocken Spectre is, read al;l about it here;

Friday, 21 February 2014

Somethings old, little new

Transport…but not as we know it now

An airport bus on Tara Street Dublin in 1960s

This is the Portrush to Ramore Head train…or is it a tram?…Photos from  Old Pictures of Dublin


This is the first draft of George Harrison's Here Comes the Sun (photo: Historical pictures)


No Sun Here Yet

Gougane Barra last week courtesy of RTE News and Weather


Remember if you really want a claddagh that stands out, the best woman to contact is Eileen Moylan of Listowel, now migrated across the border to The Rebel County.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Saturday Supplement and The Royal Munster Fusiliers in WW1 and Pigott Poetry Prize

Don't Miss This

On Saturday morning next, Feb 22 2014 Radio Kerry will broadcast Frank Lewis' Saturday Supplement  at 9.00 a.m. This programme is inspired by Vincent Carmody's book, Listowel: Snapshots of an Irish Market Town 1850 to 1950.
Vincent's walking tour of the town is something every Listowel person should experience at least once. If you haven't done it, put it on your Bucket List.
Now, Thanks to Frank Lewis and Radio Kerry, you can experience this tour at one remove, by listening to it on the radio.
I am honoured to be part of the tour. I was invited by Vincent to read from Listowel greats like D.C Hennessey, John B. Keane, Joseph O'Connor and Seán Ashe. On Sunday morning, when we recorded the programme, I was in the company of illustrious natives like Jim MacMahon, Kay Caball and Gabriel Fitzmaurice. They all had individual and interesting tales to tell. There also were ordinary people, whose voices we are  less used to hearing on the airwaves like Martin Griffin, Liam Grimes and Diane Nolan. What all these people have in common is that they are North Kerry born and bred. While my love for Listowel is undoubted, my pedigree is not pure. I only made my way to the Kingdom in 1975. But I think people are willing to forget that now and I am proud to take my place among native Listowellians.

Chalk it down: Radio Kerry, Feb. 22 2014 9.00 a.m.

Below are some photographs I took on the day of the recording, Feb. 2nd 2014

The gang are gathered at Jet O'Carroll's, across the road from Galvin's off licence and Vincent is telling the listeners the story of the mosaic shop front.

We called to this house, a few doors up from the post office in Upper William Street. In the front room, for we were expected, a candle burned before an icon of De Valera and the walls were adorned by memorabilia from the White House. This house was once the home of Kathy Buckley who, along with 2 other North Kerry girls, worked in the kitchen at The White House during the reigns of 2 presidents.

Back on the street, Brian MacCaffrey, who was married to Kathy Buckley's niece, told Frank Lewis all about her and her adventures.

Martin Griffin, Brian MacCaffrey and his son, John listen intently while Vincent tells another story.

On Church Street Vincent told us about the place where it was easier to write then not to write. We heard the story of John B.s lovely poem, The Street. Several others of the street's pantheon of writers were also mentioned.

You will not be able to see this on radio but we got to admire the work of Patrick MacAuliffe and The Cement God and the beautiful handiwork of The Chute Family, Listowel painters for 5 generations.  Vincent told us what John B. used to tell visitors who asked him to explain the significance of the inscriptions in three languages.

Gabriel Fitzmaurice sang, recited and told stories to beat the band.

At John B.'s statue in The Small Square I got to read John B.s account of the Tom Doodle adventure. Liam Grimes was actually there on the night of the great Doodle rally.

We finished our tour at the castle where Diane told us the history of the castle and Joan Mulvihill, who had entertained us with song all along the route, sang one final local ballad. I'm delighted that I recorded it for you.

So here it is again:


This recruiting poster is one of many photographs on a website devoted to Irish regiments in WW1.

Eternal Fame? I don't think so.


Who is this?

This is Mark Pigott

What is his Listowel connection?

His family roots are in Listowel.

Why is he in the Listowel news right now?

Wait for it! This man is a very very successful business man in the U.S. His company is called Piccar. Read all about it here

AND he has just endowed Listowel Writers Week with a huge poetry prize. This man is a lover of the arts and a philanthropist. He has decided to share some of his vast wealth with poets. He has decided to do this in the form of a prize at Writers' Week.

This huge prize, along with Kerry Group's  long standing sponsorship of the Book of the Year puts Writers' Week right up there with the big international Arts festivals.