Friday, 30 June 2017

Presentation Secondary School at 75, the foundation of the convent and a few local people

Listowel Garda Station


This is Fr. Martin Hagerty whom I often meet on his daily walk through Gurtinard Wood. Fr. Martin is retired but helps out in the parish. His active lifestyle in retirement is an example to us all.


Pres at 75

Presentation Secondary School, Listowel is 75 years old and plans are afoot to celebrate. A book encompassing the history, life and times of the school is planned. If you are a past pupil or former staff member and you have a memory or a  photograph you would like to share we'd love to have it. We are particularly interested in hearing from older past pupils.

Above are just a few of the steering committee pictured with two present pupils at the launch of the celebrations.


Presentation Education In Listowel....the beginning

(Jer. Kennelly has been trawling through the papers for us and I will be bringing you some of the nuggets that he has dug up.)

Kerry Weekly Reporter; Saturday, July 14, 1883


A very interesting ceremony took place in Listowel on the occasion of laying the foundation of the new Convent Schools. The good Sisters have long felt the want of more extending accommodation for the number of children daily increasing who flock to receive the benefit of the grand religious and intellectual teaching for which the Presentation Order is so famous. 

Sometime last year a committee was formed to collect funds to enable the Sisters to build additional schools, and their efforts have been so far successful. But it is not alone in the district that material help has been sent for the goodwork. The exiled people of the old schools, not unmindful of the advantages conferred on them by their early teachers, have handsomely subscribed. Contributions have been received from America, from residents in the crowded cities of the Atlantic sea-board, as well as from the towns and cities on the golden slopes of the Pacific.   Kerry girls dwelling in far away Australia, under the shadow of the Southern Cross, have been as generous as their American friends.

The Very Rev. Canon Davis, P.P., performed the ceremony of laying the first stone of the intended new schools in the presence of all the Sisters and about 500 of the school children, who marched in procession, headed by a beautiful emblematic banner, painted specially for the occasion.

Amongst those present were—J. Stack, T.C., J. Maguire;, P. S. Griffin, T.C., W. Forde, etc.

The building, which is to be 100 feet long, and 30 feet high, with an entrance porch and high enclosed playground walls, has been designed by Mr. James Scanlon, of Dublin, and will be a fine specimen of the architecture of its class.

The contract has been entrusted to Mr William M'Mahon, a local builder, whose character for executing such works, stands very high. The banner borne by the children was painted by Mr J. Moynihan of this town, and its superior finish reflects great credit on the artist, and was specially admired. It bore the following inscription in gold letters: — . Stretch forth, 0 Lord, Thy hand in Benediction Upon all this work and all who in it aid, While under shade of thy sweet heart's protection, The foundation stone upon this day is laid.


Listowel Ladies

I met Marie Galvin and Helen Kenny in The Square on their way to their Bridge Club

I met these lovely ladies helping out in the St. Vincent de Paul shop.


Words of Wisdom from my Calendar

We could all take a lesson from the weather. 
It pays no attention to criticism.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

National Children's Literary Festival and some Cygnets

Doorway to the past

Entrance to The SeanchaĆ­ where Listowel's literary history comes to life. The SeachaĆ­ summer programme is HERE


National Children's Literary Festival 2017

This Listowel Community Centre. This was the venue for all of the children's events at Listowel Writers Week.

Nicola Colton was the artist chosen to design the cover for the children's events brochure 2017. She was thrilled to see her characters brought to life by Miriam Slemon and the teenagers of KDYS.

The teenagers in Xistance decorated the hall for the various events. They did a great job.

Holly Webb was one of the main attractions for the children. She is a hugely popular author and North Kerry children obviously love her. They came out in droves to attend her workshop and reading.


Friends Reunited

Writers Week is a great time for meeting up with old friends. I happened on Fr. Anthony Gaughan renewing acquaintance with old friends, Georgie and John Molyneaux.


Sign at Christy's The Well



Chris Grayson took this last week.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

The Bog, The Children, the nuns and Ryan Tubridy at Writers' Week

It's That Time of Year

Photo by Jason of Ballybunion Prints Beach

Not everyone can lie all day on the beach. For some people the fine weather means one thing...a trip to the bog.

 Bog cotton photographed by Maire Logue

Turbery and turbines photographed by Maire Logue

Some people are a little further along with the turf harvest. The Hartnett family of Upper William Street have their turf home and stowed.


The early days of Presentation Presence in Listowel

The cross gave its name to the first convent here. It was known as The Convent of the Holy Cross.

Here is a newspaper account of the death of one of the founding sisters

Irish Examiner , Friday, October 21, 1864


NOT only the religious and Catholic laity of the diocese of Kerry, but the large circle, besides, by whom she was known and venerated, will feel with regret that the blank left in her community by the death of Reverend Mother Teresa Kelly on Wednesday last, will be long before it ceases to be suffered from. A long life of activity, intelligence and holiness, under trying circumstances, endeared her to all who know her personally or by report.

Upwards of fifty years ago Miss Kelly entered the Presentation Convent, Killarney, and soon after passing through an edifying novitiate was appointed superioress. In this important office she distinguished herself by bar prudence and zeal alike; her charity knew no limit, and yet she never involved her community in embarrassments. During her term of office in Killarney, the first of the monks of La Trappe, whose abbey is now so well known at Mount Melleray, near Cappoquin, came to this country from France. They were penniless, and depended for support on the charity of the people. The first of those who stretched out the hand to help them was Rev. Mother Teresa, her influence procured them a house to live in, and her pecuniary aid to their establishment in Ireland was important. Visitors to the Abbey of Mount Melleray may hear of a lady who is publicly prayed for by the monks as a great benefactress to their order, well-known to the older brothers, this lady is Mother Teresa. All, but a few old monks on crutches, have died, of the brothers who came over from France, and as silence is one of the chief disciplines of La Trappe, few of the present community know the name of the lady for whom the public prayers are offered.

Having filled with honour the office, of superioress at Killarney for several years, Mother Teresa, with a few sisters, left the community to found a convent at Milltown, a small town at the bend of Dingle Bay. Under her able government, this undertaking prospered, and the schools attached were filled with the children of the peasantry and townspeople. Here Mother Teresa remained until she had passed her fiftieth year. At this period of life few men or women undertake new and important works, but Mother Teresa, hearing of the great want of educational establishments in North Kerry, consented to break her attachments to the convent she had founded and made prosperous, and begin anew in Listowel. She founded the convent of Holy Cross in that town onwards of twenty years ago, with three assistant sisters. Of her acts of charity during the famine, years no praise could be too loud. She was the chief reliance of priests and people in that district during that dreary period. Her small community gradually gained accessions, and on the day of her death she had the happiness to see it one of the most prosperous and beloved of the Presentation Convents.

Many priests on the foreign and home missions owe the means which enabled them to prosecute their studies to this holy woman, and would regret her loss were they not assured that she has passed to a place where the virtues she practised and the peace she loved and taught here are eternal.


The National Children's Literary Festival at Writers' Week

Here are some of the marvellous events which the lucky children enjoyed.

RTE Juniors held a very popular workshop.

Here are the RTE Junior stars with Norella and Maria of Listowel Writers' Week.

Singer/ Songwriter, Enda Reilly held two songwriting events, one as Gaeilge and one in English.

Kenny the Clown made balloon animals for the children.

Children's author, Sarah Webb was omnipresent during the festival.

Ryan Tubridy and P.J. Lynch told the children about how they came to work together on the popular children's book, Patrick and the President. They signed and posed for photos and were gracious and patient with all their young admirers.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Tae Lane, Lord Listowel and the convent and the National Children's Literary Festival 2017

The Horseshoe, Tae lane


Free Wee Library

This one is in Ladysbridge, Co Cork. This community book sharing initiative is popping up all over the place. The only rule is take a book, leave a book.


Where it all began for the Presentation Presence in Listowel

Kerry Evening Post 1813-1917, Saturday, April 14, 1855; Page: 3

The Tralee Chronicle announces, with the following flourish of commendation with what he calls -LIBERALITY OF A PROTESTANT NOBLEMAN.—The Earl of Listowel has made a grant to the Nuns of the Presentation Convent in Listowel of the land on which their Convent is erected. His Lordship  accompanied this generous gift, in which he was joined by, his gallant son, Lord Ennismore, with a most complimentary assurance of his appreciation of the services of these devoted Ladies in the moral and industrial education of the town. In addition to the gift which was unsolicited, the nuns having only asked for a lease of the land—the noble Earl directed that the deeds of conveyance should be drawn up at his own expense.


National Children's Literary Festival 2017

 Integral part of Listowel Writers' Week for many years now is the children's festival which runs concurrently with the adult literary events. This year's festival was jam packed with workshops, fun events and book promotions.

This is the great book doctor. She finds out your reading symptoms and she prescribes a course of reading for you. My grandchildren love this annual checkup and they consult their reading list often, especially if a book token comes their way.

Maria Leahy, on the left is one of the hard working volunteers who help manage this festival. On the right is the author, E.R. Murray.

This year the treasure hunt took the children around the world. They had to stop at various "countries"  and answer questions based on books they had just read.

Miriam and her band of volunteers from KDYS made these beautiful fun props which set the atmosphere in the town park.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Last of my Graham Norton Photos, Kennedy Home then and Now and my Favourite Ascot Photo.

Make someone happy,
Make just one someone happy
And you will be happy too.

Richard Pierse made me very happy on June 3 2017. There I was manning the gate at the Graham Norton event when along came this young man. He lives in Nicaragua and he keeps in touch with his Listowel hometown via Listowel Connection. I love to hear a story like that. Richard is just one of many people who appreciate what I do but I think he must be the most remote of my blog followers. If anyone else wants to get in touch and tell me where they read the blog maybe I could put up a map and track the reach of Listowel connection.

Jennifer Scanlon made someone happy too. Here she is racing to the rescue of her friend detained at the gate. Everyone had to have a paper ticket to get past us.


Audience on its way to Graham Norton

Eventually the wait was over. No Garda outriders to alert us this time. Graham Norton slipped into Childers' Park  almost unbeknownst.

He posed for a few snaps and then took his place on stage for his interview. Nice man.


Bachelors' Walk

Do you remember this show? I know he has done loads of work since, but I thought of this when I saw Simon Delaney turn up as Phil, the unlikely Irish jeweller, in Coronation Street.


Then and Now

Upper Church St. the old Kennedy Home is now a  Family Centre.


Healy Racing of Listowel and the World of Horse Racing

Horse trainer, Aidan O'Brien is at the top of his game. He recently won the accolade for champion trainer at Royal Ascot 2017. He was presented with his prize by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, herself a knowledgeable horse owner and horse racing enthusiast. Healyracing captured the moment. The photo tells a story of respect and understanding. If I were Aidan O'Brien, I'd be hanging this one.