Friday, 22 December 2017

A Robin, a smile, new windows at Listowel Garda Station and the Christmas parcel from America remembered

A Kerry robin in a Christmassy setting photographed by Chris Grayson


This Spike Milligan poem is doing the rounds on Twitter.


A Card and a Caption from the National Library's Collection

An example of a 1918 Christmas card An example of a 1918 Christmas card for you today, issued by the Royal Army Medical Corps, [Great] Northern Central Hospital, for a Christmas social evening. The front of the card reads "Keep Smiling in Ardus Fidelus"- some sound advice!”. you today, issued by the Royal Army Medical Corps, [Great] Northern Central Hospital, for a Christmas so
<<<<<<cial evening. The front of the card reads "Keep Smiling in Ardus Fidelus"- some sound advice!”.
Listowel Garda Station, Christmas 2017

Notice the lovely new windows in the same style as the old ones to fit in with Listowel Garda Station's status as a heritage building.


Christmas in Rural Ireland in the 1950s.......The parcel from America

from Jim Costelloe's  Asdee  A Rural Miscellany

I remember when the first sign of the festive season was when the letter from my Aunt Nell in New York arrived with the news that she was posting a “package” to us. The parcel was being sent by “ordinary mail” and would take about 6 weeks to arrive. It was being posted on the same day as the letter which was sent by airmail. When the package arrived there was great excitement as we waited patiently to see what each one had got. The label read “old clothes” and the ritual of opening the parcel kept us in suspense as himself very carefully opened the knots in the twine, so that none of it would be wasted.

He had a habit of keeping everything that might come in useful so the twine was carefully made into a ball and put in his waistcoat pocket. The brown paper which wrapped the parcel was folded and put away before we might see what was in the package. We all got some items of clothing. These were duly allocated by my mother. Some articles were rejected because they were not suitable for wear here and people would know they were American. The anticipation of what would be in that parcel was the start of the excitement of Christmas in my youth.


Meanwhile in Germany 

Philomena Moriarty Kuhn now lives far from her native Listowel. One of the differences this loyal follower of Listowel Connection will experience this year is a white Christmas.


Slán Tamall

I'm signing off for 2017. I'll take a short break to recharge the batteries. 
See you back here in 2018, le cúnamh Dé

Thursday, 21 December 2017

A Poem, Athea, old Cork and generosity personified at Christmas 2017

Swing Low, Sweet Chariot

Forget Elf on the shelf. Chris Grayson's robins are up to morning adventures as well.

Ballylongford in Winter 2017     Photo by Ita Hannon


The Wind         by James Stephens

The wind stood up and gave a shout
He whistled on his fingers and

Kicked the withered leaves about,
And thumped the branches with his hand.

And said that he’d kill, and kill, and kill

And so he will! And so he will!


Athea's Local Chronicler

Domhnall de Barra does his local district a great service by bringing them a regular update soon local happenings in his 

Athea and District News

Here is some of what he has to say in Christmas 2017

The Festive Season 
Domhnall de Barra

Christmas time is upon us again and the buying frenzy has already started. In trying to understand why, I googled Christmas and found a lot of information about the origins of the feast and how it developed over the years. You can do this yourselves so I won’t go into it except  for the following passage:
The celebratory customs associated in various countries with Christmas have a mix of pre-Christian, Christian, and secular themes and origins. Popular modern customs of the holiday include gift giving, completing an Advent calendar or Advent wreathChristmas music and caroling, lighting a Christingle, viewing a Nativity play, an exchange of Christmas cardschurch services, a special meal, and the display of various Christmas decorations, including Christmas treesChristmas lightsnativity scenesgarlandswreathsmistletoe, and holly. In addition, several closely related and often interchangeable figures, known as Santa ClausFather ChristmasSaint Nicholas, and Christkind, are associated with bringing gifts to children during the Christmas season and have their own body of traditions and lore. Because gift-giving and many other aspects of the Christmas festival involve heightened economic activity, the holiday has become a significant event and a key sales period for retailers and businesses. The economic impact of Christmas has grown steadily over the past few centuries in many regions of the world.

That passage sums up  in a few sentences what Christmas is about but it does not tell the whole story. With all the ballyhoo, the real meaning of Christmas can easily get lost. It was created to  celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, an event that is central to Christian beliefs. December 25th may not be the real date of the Lord’s birth but it was chosen because it was the shortest day of the year in the Roman calendar and marked the beginning of the longer days  to come and more light. When people celebrate they often do so by eating together so the Christmas dinner began. It was, and still is, a great family occasion and a time for loving and sharing.....

Cork in 1920


A Heartwarming Story

This is Eunice Perrin of Duagh. Eunice loves to knit and every evening she knits little hats for premature babies as she watches her favourite TV programmes.

I met her in Scribes on Saturday where she was meeting up with another very generous soul. Namir Karim is closing down his craft shop in Church Street and he gifted Eunice twenty balls of knitting yarn for her charity knitting. Maureen Connelly agreed to be the liaison person to deliver the yarn and collect the caps.

Three kind people


Getting Ready for Christmas in Asdee in the 1950s

by Jim Costelloe in his book...Asdee a Rural Miscellany

Whitewashing the dry walls around the house was one of the jobs that had to be done for Christmas. The outer walls of dwelling houses had to be lime washed also. The lime had to be prepared a few days beforehand and I have a memory of rocks of lime in the bottom of a bucket being covered with boiling water as the mixture stewed a combination of steam and lime into the air,  Some blue dye which was also used for bleaching white clothes on washday was also added to make the lime wash brilliant white. The yard and the bohreen near the house were also brushed and a general clean up was done.

There were no commercial;l Christmas decorations for sale in the shops, or, if they were, they were not bought by most rural householders. Holly and ivy were the only decorations I remember with the odd simple crib. We were aware before Christmas of the holly with the “knobs” was as we would have been hunting and searching the fences for plums and sloes during the autumn.


Well deserved Cultural Archive Award for Listowel's Lartigue


The sea gives up its secrets

As Noelle Hegarty was taking her morning walk on Beale strand yesterday, she noticed that the tide  had washed clean the sand that usually covers the old slipway.


A Poem for Christmas 2017

sent to us by Mary McElligott