Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Writers Week chairs, Fr. O'Connor of Knockanure and a few holiday snaps

Some past chairpeople of Listowel Writers Week who attended the Writers Week 2014 programme launch; David Browne, Michael Lynch, Seán Lyons, Nora Relihan and Madeleine O'Sullivan.


Yes we can!


Knockanure church commemoration April 25 2014

Bishop Browne and Fr. Lucid

Bishop Browne planted 2 yew trees watched by Fr. Moore


A Better Class of holiday snap!

John Stack took these stunningly beautiful photos on his recent trip to Italy and Switzerland.


Below is an extract from a school folklore project:

Fr O'Connor was my granduncle. He was a powerful strong man. Lord Adare was building a castle one time the gave the contract to a Englishman, but he told him the Irish were to get work. The contractor brought a great big strong man from England with him, and any one that could bar stones with him got work .  Labour men brought a letter from FR. O Connor of Shanagolden looking for work but they could not bar stones with the English man so they were sent away. Fr. O Connor gave a letter to a poor man and he went to Lord Adare to get work. He was barring stones with the strong man and he was sent away because he couldn`t  keep up with him .

 " For Fr. O Connor's sake give me work" said the poor man. 
"If Fr. O Connor were here himself  I'd give him work" said the foreman. 

When Fr. O Connor heard it, he got an old suit of clothes and he put them on and carried his letter to Adare looking for work. He started working with the strong man. When the bar was full Fr. O Connor said " Is that all you`re going to carry?" 
The strong man said "The load maybe be too heavy when you get to the top with it." 

With that Fr. O Connor put on a few more stones on the load. When they were going to start he gave a little shake and broke the Englishman's back. Everyone got work after that. 
He died in Shanagolden and some friends were there when he dying and he said to them "If the parishioners want to keep me don`t go against them. 
The parishioners buried him in Knockanure graveyard beside the wall.
 (This story was told by C. Shine a Carpenter at Newtownsands)


Cheeky robin….great photo from Timothy John MacSweeney.


The Diaspora

I met Graham and Terence Healey in the parish office. They were searching for Healey relatives. They had come all the way from New South Wales in Australia to visit the home of their Healy and Linnane ancestors. They had a great story to tell. More later……

Keith and Chris Stack from New Zealand were in The Horseshoe with Damien tracing their North Kerry Stack roots.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Thatching and Listowel Writers' Week 2014 programme launch


One of the many old crafts that was in danger of dying out is undergoing a bit of a revival lately, as we come to our senses and realize that, if we we don't pass on these old crafts, something very beautiful is in danger of being lost forever.

This is what Seamus Heaney wrote about his thatcher

"Bespoke for weeks, he turned up some morning

Unexpectedly, his bicycle slung

With a light ladder and a bag of knives.

He eyed the old rigging, poked at the eaves."

Adare is a beautiful village with many thatched houses giving it an olde world elegance.

I took these photos in Adare a while ago and then last week I saw the one below on Broadsheet.

Photographed in Adare by Sheila Larkin.


practitioner of this great craft is Sé O'Donoghue of Da Capo Godsmiths in Dublin. He got the job of making a replica of Brian Boru's crown for a great charity 

The crown was made from old unwanted pieces of jewelry donated to the cause by people at home and abroad. The cause is breast cancer research. Alison McCormick is a cancer survivor and was inspired to set up the project by her oncologist,the aptly named John Crown. The charity is CCRT, Cancer Clinical Research Trust.
The crown was unveiled on April 25 2014, is on display in Dublin Castle until April 26 2014  and will go on tour shortly .

There is a Listowel connection with the crown. Bernie Carmody of this parish helped out with the collection of the gold for the crown and she helped her friend Alison with the big launch in Dublin Castle


Some people at Writers' Week  2014 programme launch


Those were the days!

Aidan OMurchú found this great poster lately. 


The Old Church in Knockanure   (info from Jer. Kennelly)

The old Church in Knockanure was a ruin according to Charles Smith in 1756.
O Donovan letters 1841 describes the old Knockanure church on the hill situated about three miles east of Listowel as a well preserved ruin.

The Dominicans had a Friary nearby in Barrett's land where there is a well called friars well. The Dominicans came to Knockanure after they were banished from Tralee c1652, they left Knockanure c 1804 to take up parish duties. Among names mentioned were Fr Edmond Stack died 1781,
Fr Bartholomew Shine came to Knockanure 1791 and made PP of Brosna and died in 1827.

Knockanure was part of Listowel Parish from 1803 to 1829.

Lewis tells us that there was a thatched Chapel in Knockanure in 1837. It was replaced in 1865 by a stone and slate church. It was a plain church with a single chamber and three rows of seats and a small gallery at the back to accommodate about 12 families.
The church was entered by a small side porch. Windows in stained glass at the back of the altar were erected by the young ladies of the parish c1908. The church was sold and demolished in 1968.

The building of the present flat roofed church with glass ends in Knockanure started in 1963, it was to cost £12,000 but soon ran to over £20,000.Michael Scott and Partners were the architects, who promised a maintenance free building. It has a litany of defects since it was built costing thousands. The Church was dedicated on the 21st of April 1964.
The woodcarving of the Last Supper cost £700 in 1964 and was executed by Oisin Kelly. The Stations of the Cross in Tapestry were designed and executed by Leslie McWeeney.

In 1824 Knockanure had two schools, one attached to the Church and another run by Michael O Mahony. The National School opened in 1851 and another school now the Community Centre was built in 1874 and closed in 1966 with the opening of the present flat roofed school.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Knockanure, Pres. Class of 1994 reunion and Mary John B. on TV

Knockanure, Corpus Christi Church is 50 years old

This photograph from The Kennelly Archive was taken on April 21 1964 at the opening and blessing of the new Corpus Christi Church in Knockanure. The flat roofed building was a triumph for one of Ireland's best known architects, Michael Scott. It was regarded as a break with traditional church architecture and a modern fit- for -purpose design. The minimalist nature of the furnishings and the absence of the usual embellishments was not to everyone's taste at first but over time people have grown to love their iconic place of worship.

The following photos and accounts were collected and shared with us by Jer. Kennelly.  Jer. has done future generations of Knockanure people a great service by photographing and collecting so much of their history. He took more photos of the celebrations on Friday night which he has shared with us and I will post later in in the week.

Above is the old church.

The Old Church in Knockanure predates any Dominican arrival. However, the evidence in most of these refuge sites is that the friars lived like secular clergy and worked in the churches near to the houses of refuge. The administration appears to have turned a blind eye to secular clergy. Their particular interest was in breaking the religious orders. The main reason for this is that the religious orders were international organisations and open to continental influences contrary to the policies in Westminster. In Creggs, Milltown, Donore, Castlewellan, Sixmilebridge, Ballingaul, Longwood, Swords, Malahde, Thomastown, Killyon, Rathcabban, Boula, Mount Mary, Castlelyons & Kilcommac the friars were living and dressing as secular priests at that time - there is no reasonable explanation as to why Knockanure alone would be the only one that was different. Their poverty would have necessitated work in the area and, whilst it is possible that they never worked in the chapel at Knockanure they would certainly have worked in other chapels in the area as incumbents.
The arrival in Knockanure was probably at the invitation of the Stack family but sadly there are no documents to tell us anything about what was happening or how the friars arrived there or why Knocknure was chosen. The friars were also in possession of a house near Spa but the likelihood is that the bishop of Ardfert wanted help in more remote places of his diocese during those troubled times. The redundant friars of Tralee would have been a welcome help in the years between the Puritan era and the rebuilding of Catholic dioceses in the early 19th century. Sadly much of this story remains a series of speculations as records do not exist and living memory is long gone by now!

the altar: Corpus Christi Knockanure

church interior; Corpus Christi, Knockanure

the stations of the cross in Knockanure church.

local people at the church

people leaving the church

Knockanure church


Raise a Glass to our class

The class of "94 in Presentation Secondary School, Listowel are about to reunite to celebrate and recall 20 years on.  If you are one of these girls expect a call from some old classmate and put Sept 13 2014 in your diary.

The event page on Facebook is here:


Didn't she do well?

Mary Keane was a star for a week last week as she made two appearances on the silver screen.
Anne Cassin (pictured above) made a lovely Nationwide episode based on interviews with Mary and old footage with her beloved John B.
Mary and Billy were Ryan Tubridy's guests on
The Late Late Show on Friday night.

Two lovely programme segments with a lovely lady as her chatty engaging personality which we all enjoy in John B. Keane's was shared for a while with a wider audience.

The plays of John B. Keane are enjoying a revival at the moment with Sive just finished its run and Moll beginning a run in The Gaiety on May 27 2014


Next Weekend sorted

Friday, 25 April 2014

Ballybunion, Writers Week launch, mixed media VEC class and Pres' night at the dogs

Ballybunion from the air;

Ballybunion Castle from the air in a photo on Irish Air Corps Facebook page.


People at the launch of the Writers Week 2014 programme

David Browne with the O'Flynn family

Anthony Garvey, Dick Carmody and Gabriel Fitzmaurice

Seán MacCarthy perusing the programme

Eilís Wren


Anne Keane, Elaine Keane, Mairead O'Sullivan and Brenda Woulfe

Brenda with Michael Lynch and Nora Relihan


Sewing Bee

I made a second visit to The Family Centre to see the mixed media class in progress. Priscilla Sweeney teaches this class and the students are working on some beautiful crafty projects.

Sewing projects, patchwork, felting and  stained glass were just some of the skills I saw.

We're going to the dogs

The staff and pupils at Presentation Secondary School are planning a big night out on Friday May 2. We are all heading off to the Kingdom Greyhound track in Tralee for a night of fun and dog racing. There will be something for everyone on the night, with bouncy castle, face painting and lots of spot prizes. First race is at 7.50p.m. Tickets €10 from the school or at the turnstile on the night.


From The Examiner archive Patrick's Bridge and Patrick Street, Cork in 1956

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Presentation Secondary School website and Writers Week 2014 programme launch

Easter Chicks

These Easter chicks posed in some old china cups, days after their birth on a farm in Ballyduff. They are a promise of new growth and hope for good things to come.


This is a group of pupils from Presentation Secondary School Listowel. It was taken during their recent celebrations for Seachtain na Gaeilge.

The school has just launched its new website :

Presentation Secondary School Listowel


Fortune hunters……..not!

Jer. Kennelly found this one in an old newspaper.

Published: July 28, 1906,
The New York Times
Cleveland Ohio 27th July 1906.
John Mangan a retired policeman aged 72 born Glin County Limerick, has refused to seek estate of $6 million. Two babies were born the same day under the elder Mangan’s roof, John the policeman and Mary was born to a sister of Mr Mangan, she later became Lady Bateman. In 1849 Mr Mangan sold his estate to the father of Lord Kitchener and then went to America, the parents died in 1851 and the children were sent to charitable institutions. What became of Mangan’s money is unknown. Mary the cousin of John Mangan Policeman married Sir Thomas Bateman in London. Sir Thomas died six years ago and Lady Mary died intestate leaving $6 million. John Mangan said that at his age of 72 he is not wildly ambitious.


Some photos from the launch of Writers' week's 2014 programme

Máire helping to pour the wine

Seán Lyons, Writers' Week chair with danny Hannon

The very talented Muileata Fileata

Norella Moriairty and Máire Logue

Annette Jerry and Noel

Vincent and Kay


My friend found this on a Facebook page posted by a man called Scott Kelleher. The caption merely said that he found it "at work".