Monday, 30 April 2018

The influence of Irish in Kerry English and a trip to Castleisland

Chris Howes, Irish Wildlife Photography Competition


The Kerryman Unbuttoned by Redmond O'Hanlon in Shannonside Annual

.....As the years pass one insensibly makes many of these phrases one’s own. There is a gay inconsequence about your Kerryman’s talk. Rabelasian at times, he is impatient of the restraints of a pseudo culture that would seek to shackle his ready tongue. Conscious of the inadequacies of English, he rifles the rich store of our own tongue to add colour and imagery to his talk. Someone is classified as a mean bacach and we have him in focus at once. He will refer with feeling to the shortcomings of a cabóg and we share his impatience with the bosthoon. The average Kerryman is close to the soil and we are one with him there with this difference, that his sense of values gives him pride in his background.

Words, accents, idiom, what a fascinating field for him who delights to listen. In individuality of speech Kerry is perhaps more rewarding to the observer than any other county of the thirty two. Listen to the salty arguments of dealing men in fair and market., to the caustic asides of crusty old lads drowsing over pints in deep cavernous pubs; to the helpers paying the comhar at the threshing; to the passionate vociferations of those followers of the green and gold as their heroes rise with elan to tear balls out of the skies in Croke Park; and listen again wherever Kerrymen foregather to pay the last tribute to their dead.


Then and Now

John Hannon took this photo of Mrs. Mann at the door of her shop in Main Street.

The same corner of town today


I was in Castleisland

There is lots of history on Castleisland's Main Street. I was struck by the irony of the name of the pub on  which I saw the above plaque.

The great Con Houlihan is well remembered.

The above three pictures were on display in a shop window.

I have no idea of the era of the post box.

This landmark building was unoccupied last time I was here. I was delighted to see it back in business.

You all know how much I love a charity shop. I met a lovely lovely lady, Nora, in the Vincent de Paul shop but it was in the NCBI shop that I discovered these.

I do a spot of knitting so I know how much time and effort went into these creations. The green and pink doll are one doll.  You turn her over and you have her alter ego. They call her a topsy turvy doll.

The lady who knits these is Jan Wesley and she is 88 years young. She sells her knitwear in aid of the NCBI, so this shop in Castleisland is well worth a visit. The dolls are a snip at €10 and the tea cozy was €12.


Craftshop back in Town (temporarily)

Until June 3 2018 there will be a craftshop in Galvin's Off licence premised in William Street. Why not pop in and take a look a these Craft Makers wares


Style with  a Listowel Connection

This is Niamh Kenny from Listowel at Punchestown Ladies' Day last week.

This is the piece in Saturday's Irish Times. Niamh and her friend, Mary O'Halloran caught the eye of a journalist. Competing at Ladies Day is part of the fun and enjoyment of a day at the Races for many ladies. It's worth the investment. The prizes are big. As Mary says, "We're gambling on ourselves."

Friday, 27 April 2018

Grugs, Rabbits, Town League 1950 and North Kerry; the Swedish connection and National Poetry Day 2018

Chris Howes, Irish Wildlife Photography Competition


The Kerryman Unbuttoned by Redmond O'Hanlon Part 5 

 ....Early I learned that in Kerry the ‘accounts’ that are so prominent a feature of the social structure of the county are distinct (but not completely so be  remembered) from financial statements or debts unpaid. Ramblers have no affinity with the tinkers but are the Kerryman’s word for loose stones on the road. To be taken up in the bones may baffle any doctor outside of Kerry. The complaint seems endemic to the county-  tribute to its mists maybe and, so far as can be gathered medical treatises are silent on the subject. It is doubtful too if a medical man can state with certainty the location of his grug on which a Kerryman sits betimes.

It was in the townland of Trieneragh near Duagh where the land falls away in eye-soothing sweeps towards the river Feale, that I met a young man who was a specialist in the art of indirect approach. I had made my way slowly towards the road from the inch by the river, burdened with a rifle and a bunch of rabbits when I met him. Eyeing the bag from time to time as we chatted he at length observed reflectively, “If my mother met you now she would ask you for a rabbit.” Adding somewhat unnecessarily that she was terrible fond of rabbit. I thought a brace of graziers but a small fee to pay for this delightful example of Kerry tact. In any event, I had been shooting over my young friends fields......


Town League 1950

This old photograph from Vincent Carmody's Living history popped up again recently on Facebook.
The occasion is the Ashes team for the Listowel town league of 1950.
The players are
Front Row. D.Prendeville, John B., Toddy Enright (holding mascot, Frank Pierse) Jim O Neill, Mick McAuliffe, Jimmy Harris, Mick Cotter.
Back Row. Timmy Walsh, Michael McGuinness, Jim (Roddy) O Sullivan, Mick Barrett, Micheal Quigley, J.Ryan, Jim Deveraugh, Tom Finucane.


Spotted on My Walk

A blackbird, a dry wall and a ruin


A Swedish Influence in North Kerry

A few months ago I had Vincent Carmody's story of Lars Larsson and how his relatives came to St. Michael's graveyard to seek out his grave.

On the foot of this story, Jim MacMahon wrote to tell me how it came about that a Swedish man was buried in Listowel.

Sweden was a big dairying country and companies like Alfa Laval had trained many technicians and engineers.

A far seeing creamery manager in Ballyheigue, a granduncle of Jim MacMahon's, advertised in Sweden for some operatives with technical experience to work in Ballyheigue Creamery. Three of the men who came were our friend Larsson, Nielson and Monson. Larsson was killed in an accident but Nielson and Monson went on to marry local women and their descendants still live in North Kerry or else visit often.

The Monson descendants have a jewellery business.

Monson Irish Jewellery


Did you do Your Leaving Cert in St. Michael's in 1968?

A 50 year reunion celebration is being planned for this class and the organisers are encountering some difficulty in rounding up the last few old boys.

Here is an extract from Ned O'Sullivan's email:

A group of us are planning a reunion weekend on the 7-9 September 2018. It entails a social gathering plus hopefully a nostalgic return to the school, photo exhibition, and some other things finishing with a day at the Races on the Sunday. We have established contact with most past colleagues but we are in the dark about a few. 
It’s possible that some of them read your blog and we would be v thankful if you could put it out there for us. 
Committee members are Michael Moriarty NT., Teddy Murphy, John Moloney n Christy Sheehy. 

Many thanks Mary
Ned O Sullivan. 

Ned has given me his phone number in case anyone of his classmates is reading this and wants to get in touch.


Healys of Convent Street and their Neighbours

Cathy Healy sent the photo to her uncle Pat in England and he confirmed that the young boy is Mike Healy, Cathy's uncle. The lady in the hair rollers is till a mystery.

Common sense says that she would not be going too far from her home in rollers, I'd say she was a neighbour of the Healys and of John Hannon who took the photo, so we're looking for someone from the Gleann area to put a name to a face. Liam Healy R.I.P. would have remembered her name and as Cathy said he'd have the dog's name as well.
We miss them every day.


National Poetry Day 2018

Poetry Ireland decided to celebrate National Poetry Day 2018 on April 26 2018. Listowel Writers' Week went to town on it, literally. They took to the streets and they gave everyone a poem in their pocket and challenged everyone to read at least one poem on Poetry Day.
Here are some of the people they met with a poem.

Would you read a Poem on Poetry Day          by Mary Cogan

with apologies to Dr. Seuss

Would you read it in a shop?
Would you read it with a cop?
Would you read it in a car?
Would you read it with a jar?
Would you read it stuck in traffic?
Would you read if it was graphic?
Would you read with Sinead and Liz
Máire or Maria, gee whiz
Poetry Day brought to my mind
That Writers' Week's not far behind.

Listowel Writers Week and the National Children's Literary Festival run this year from May 30th to June 3rd.

See what's in store here

Listowel Writers' Week 2018 programme

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Kerry Idiom, Cheryl's Closure and Women in Media 2018

Brown Hare by Tracy Marsden...Irish Wildlife photography competition


The Kerryman Unbuttoned  Part 4

Redmond O'Hanlon in Shannonside Annual

Once I had occasion to call on a strong farmer near Finuge. I knew him  but slightly then but well enough to have noted the practical streak that made him a successful farmer. He was away from home when I called and it was with some surprise I learned that he was in the garden. His farm lay between the road and the river and as I ambled towards The Feale, I pictured my farmer working in his glasshouses tending tomatoes or early vegetables or flowers for market. Or I thought thast maybe he goes in for blackcurrants or strawberries or other small fruits in a big way. Possibly he might be pruning or spraying serried lines of Cox’s Orange, Allingham Pippin, or Lane’s Prince Albert or Worcester Pearmain or Bramley Seedling. Why, we might even get to discussing fruit trees in general, I imagined as I hurried along. But it was not to be. I found my farmer merely “rising to” his potatoes and a further stage in my education on Kerry idiom had been reached. For in Kerry the garden is a tillage field and poattoes, root crops and grain are all equally likely to be found there.

Here, I admit, I felt a bit resentful at what was to be an abuse of language. “If this field is a garden,” I countered, “ What do you call the space in front of the house where you grow flowers?” “Flowers,” echoed my Kerry man, “Where do you come from, boy bawn? 'Tis aisy we are in Kerry about flowers.”

Before the farmer’s house one will often find a dry wall. The expression always sets me thinking. Here I was baffled again, for I thought there must be some distinction implied. But so far I have not come across a wet wall. Walls, of course, whether in Kerry or Limerick are a subject in themselves. But here it seemed I was ignorant of even the most elementary principles of wall construction. Built without mortar or cement, as in Galway, one might concede the point, but any examples I have seen were solid examples of the builder’s skill with plumb and trowel.


Another One Bites the Dust

Cheryl's vintage shop has closed its doors.

Across the road is the empty Craftshop na Méar


Remember Pat Slemon's Shoe Shop?

Photo: John Hannon


Women in Media 2018

Katie Hannon of Duagh and RTE was one of the stars of the show. Here she is catching up with her old school pal, Máire Logue who was on a kind of busman's holiday, enjoying our neighbour's festival.

This was the really prestigious panel for the first symposium I attended. These formidable women of the media world are  our own Katie Hannon, prize winning investigate journalist, widely acknowledged as one of the best in the business, Caitríona Perry, news anchor, author and rising star in Irish journalism, the very impressive Susan Daly, editor of the best online journal bar none, The, Deirdre O'Shaughnessey of Cork 96FM fame  and Miriam O'Callaghan. probably Ireland's best known woman in media.

Máire, Lucy and Rose basked in the summer sunshine.

Mary O'Rourke and Nell MacCafferty were representing us, the retired generation.
The years have been kinder to some rather than others.

I knew Chloe Walsh when she was in a brown uniform in Pres. Listowel. She is still the same lovely girl and I was delighted when she approached me after I had failed to recognise her.

John Kelliher took this great photo of a group of Listowel Ladies who attended the grand opening of Women in Media 2018. Katherine Lynch and Miriam O'Callaghan have only a tenuous Listowel connection but Katie Hannon is one of our own, a neighbour's child and we are all dead proud of her.