Friday, 21 December 2018

Christmas 2018

A Few Images from Listowel at Christmas 2018

I will be taking a break from blogging for my Christmas holidays. I wish every one who reads the blog a very happy Christmas and a big festive thank you to everyone who has contributed, helped and encouraged me in 2018.

I haven't quite gone away, you know. You can hear my "Thoughts" at 7.30 a.m and at 12.00 ish on Radio Kerry during Christmas Week.

Thursday, 20 December 2018

Santa, Carol Singing and the launch of A Book and cd of Kerry Songs of the Revolution

A Christmas Photo from 2016


Carol Singing

Photo: Scoil Realt na Maidine

Boys entertaining shoppers at Garvey's Super Valu Listowel last week.


A Story that tells how Times have changed in a Picture

Extra public phonebooks being installed in Dublin for the Eucharistic Congress of 1932

"All's changed, changed utterly"


Their Memory Will Endure

On Saturday evening, December 15 2018, I attended another launch of an extraordinary Kerry book. This is a project compiled by Gabriel Fitzmaurice and Pádraig Ó Concubhair.  We got a book and a cd for €20 . In the book and on the cd we have songs commemorating events of the wars in Kerry from 1916 to 1924. This was a particularly violent divisive and bloody time in our county's history, a period that is not much talked of nowadays, probably because of the very bitter rifts that occurred in communities and even in families

Here are some of the people who attended the launch which was done by Dr. Declan Downey.

 Gabriel was kept busy signing books. Padraig couldn't be present.

Vincent Carmody, David Browne and Gabriel Fitzmaurice

As you can see there were many well known faces among the attendance.

Karen Trench is one of the singers featured on the cd.

David Browne introduced Declan Downey who officially launched the package.

This man rendered his ballad in a mellow mature voice.

Gabriel Fitzmaurice is himself a well known balladeer. For this project he took on the mantle of that great collector of Kerry ballads, Bryan MacMahon.


A Nebraska Parish with  a Listowel Connection

We're a bit late with this one but it's worth celebrating.

St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church in Omaha celebrated 100 years in 2017. Marie Neligan alerted me to the connection with her Listowel family.

"Founded in 1917 as a mission of St. Patrick Parish in Elkhorn, the parish’s first pastor, Father David Neligan, celebrated St. John’s first Mass on Christmas in its original church – a former Baptist church, purchased and moved to the parish site by an early parishioner, John Zeis Sr." 

Source: The Catholic Voice

Fr. David was born in Listowel. He was Marie's uncle. Here is what she told me about him;

The first pastor at this church Fr, David Neligan, born and raised in Listowel said the first mass at this church when it opened on Christmas Day 1917. David was my uncle and was ordained at All Hallows’ on June 23rd 1912 and assigned to Omaha, Nebraska. He was buried there at the tender age of 33.

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

John R.'s window, Ballybunion cove, NKRO remembered and Aghadoe, Co. Kerry

On John R.'s Christmas Window


Druids or Starlings

Last week I posted this photo which I took while walking along the clifftop in Ballybunion. This is what I wrote:

Druid's Lair is located on the Cliff Path Walk north of the town, overlooking a sheer drop to the rocks below. This area is steeped in folklore and legend, with magnificent views of the Wild Atlantic Way in the distance. Deep in the pages of Ballybunion’s history is a story of Druid worship, when this turbulent epoch saw human sacrifices made to the Celtic god Mananann.

It is said that centuries ago, on May mornings as the dawn broke, sacrificial offerings were made to honour the Celtic god. This involved placing a victim at the abyss near the Scolt facing the Shannon Estuary. Specially-chosen executioners commenced the gruesome ceremony by striking blows to the victim's head; a garrote was then used to complete the sacrifice, and the body was cast over the cliffs into the raging tide below.

Today the area is quiet and peaceful, allowing visitors to enjoy the walk along the cliffs, blissfully unaware of the blood-thirsty history behind the name Scoilt Na Dhrida! 
I was contacted by Jim MacMahon who told me that he knew this place as Scolt na Droid, a reference to the starlings that gather there to this day.
So I went back to No starlings. I consulted Danny Houlihan's book and discovered that had got its information from there. I contacted Danny and he says that indeed this place is known as Starlings' Cove today but he heard about the old mythological name from a family whose ancestors lived in Ballybunion before the Famine. So Ballybunion people, Scolt na Dhrida or Scolt na Droid or maybe Druid, take your pics.


Do You Remember the Year of The Gathering?

There we were at The Seanchaí at the very first meeting of North Kerry Reaching Out, an organisation set up to entice emigrants back for a visit.


In Aghadoe

Recently I went to Aghadoe to visit the grave of a recently departed very dear friend. It's a very beautiful part of Killarney that is fairly new to me.

This looks like the remains of an old tower or keep. The sign below sheds no light on its history.

In the graveyard is the ruins of an old albbey and as we have seen in  any other such churches around Kerry people are now buried within the walls of the church.

While I was in the churchyard I explored a little and I found over the hedge is the newer lawn cemetery. I had not encountered a private cemetery like this one before. It's very uniform and military looking.



Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Listowel, A Printer's Legacy is launched and a few photos from Christmas in Killarney 2018

Christmassy Listowel 2018



Killarney on a quiet Sunday morning

This ice cream shop is next door to the cinema.

Killarney always looks clean and well kept. The road sweeper was out early on Sunday morning.

The Great Southern

The Friary

Christmas trees and wreaths for sale after mass


Work up an Appetite for the Turkey


Listowel, a Printer's Legacy Launch

On December 9 2018 we launched Vincent Carmody's latest book. Here are some of the people who were there.

Old friends, Paddy Keane, Liam Grimes and Jimmy OQuigley

Vincent and Kathleen Carmody

Carmodys and friends

Friends, Norah Canty and Mary Broderick at the launch

Arthur Caball met up with Eugene and Tadhgh Moriarty

At the top table, Seán Kelly, Kay Caball and Bryan MacMahon

Gabriel Fitzmaurice sang us a few ballads which were  written by Bryan MacMahon, printed by Bob Cuthbertson and sold on the streets for a penny or two. Many of the ballads are included in the book.

Scions of two great Listowel families, Bryan MacMahon and Billy Keane


Bishop Ray in Knockanure

Ray Browne, Bishop of Kerry paid a visit to Knockanure on Dec 16 2018 and he met a few local ladies.

Mary O'Carroll

Mary Fitzgerald