Friday, 28 June 2019

New Potatoes, A Book launch remembered and train Station memorials

A Cottage Window

This is one of the lovely traditional sash windows in Sheahan's Thatched House in Finuge.


The Humble Spud

(Photo and text from Raymond O'Sullivan on Facebook)

Midsummer’s Day and the first of my own new potatoes. Modern potatoes mature much earlier than their antecedents which were not ready until around Lá Lughnassa, 1st August. In the time of our grandparents and great grandparents, when potatoes were the staple diet of the Irish people, it was a very fortunate family who had enough to last from one harvest to another. By the middle of June the potatoe pit would be empty or whatever was left uneatable. ‘The bitter 6 weeks’ they called the period from Midsummer’s Day to the 1st August. ‘Iúil an Ghorta’, hungry July, that’s what they called it, when all they had to eat was kale, cabbage and onion dip (if they were lucky). I count my blessings on this Mid Summer’s Day. 


Launch of Robert Pierse's Book

Robert Pierse lunched his memoir, Under the Bed, on the same evening as President Michael D. Higgins and Sabina Higgins came to town. So I was late to the party. There was a great crowd gathered in the back bar of the Arms and a lively and entertaining launch was in full swing. I took a few pictures and then forgot all about them. Here they are at last.

Eibhlín Pierse and friend

Old friends, Kay Caball and Danny Hannon

Section of the large crowd

Billy Keane who launched the book, Cyril Kelly who read from it and Jeremy Murphy who edited it.


Train Station Memorials

In Cork

In Portlaoise

Thursday, 27 June 2019

Loughlin Dolan, Jumbos, Coffee Morning for Ballydonoghue Bardic Festival and Kilflynn Fairy Festival

Teeing off at the Munster Championship Pitch and Putt in The Town Park, June 2019


Listowel's Jumbo's does it again

In Listowel, Jumbo's is a brand as big as McDonalds. It is a local institution. Every Listowel person and people who visit Listowel have a special Jumbo's memory. Good food, friendly loyal staff, social responsibility and efficient service are the hallmarks of this business. I'm delighted to see it in line for another award.

A Kerry business has been shortlisted for a national award for their social media activity.
Jumbos Family Restaurant, Listowel is one of seven nominations for the Facebook Small Business 16+ staff category in the 2019 Social Media Awards.
The ceremony will be held in Dublin’s Liberty Hall Theatre on July 25th.

(Story and picture from Radio Kerry on Facebook)


Loughlin Dolan Remembered

Above if the plaque on the wall at Listowel Garda Station commemorating the mutiny of 1920.

Two of the relatives of Loughlin Dolan, one of the mutineers, came to Listowel to see the plaque and to find out more about him.
Loughlin was born into a farming family in Lusmagh, Kings County, Co Offally in 1889. He served as RIC officer in various places in Kerry ending up in Listowel. After the mutiny he stayed for several years before he was reposted to Cavan. He never went to Cavan however but emigrated to Liverpool. From there we went to Australia. It is not clear if he was on the run or if his mental health had deteriorated but he eventually was found in the Australian bush where he had lived the live of a hermit for three years.

Loughlin Dolan

It's now nearly 100 years since the infamous mutiny in Listowel Barracks. It's an incident in a very troubled time in Ireland which has been variously denied and glorified, depending on which side you are on. This is my take on what happened.
In a nutshell in1920 North Kerry was a republican stronghold. The RiC in Listowel were a band of Irishmen, doing a job who now found themselves in direct conflict with their friends and fellow Irishmen. Col Smyth, a decorated English soldier was sent to commandeer Listowel barracks as a military headquarters for the region and the police officers therein were to act as agents of the military and lead them to the ringleaders of the republican dissent.
Fourteen of the police officers, led by Jeremiah Mee laid down their arms and refused to obey. North Kerry was now under martial Law but without the local knowledge of the RIC men there was nothing left for the military to do but to rely on The Black and Tans and their brutal tactics led to much bloodshed and destruction.
After the mutiny the mutineers were dispersed to various other police stations but four were left in Listowel.
One of these four was a man called Loughlin Dolan.

Martina Dolan, who has been searching for information on her relative sent me these accounts from Australian newspapers of the mystery surrounding Loughlin's turning up unexpectedly and his refusal or inability to say who he was and why he was living like he was. Unfortunately after he recovered he left the hostel before his brother could get to him and there the trail goes cold.

It would be interesting to hear from the relatives of the other mutineers to see what happened to them after that fateful event.

Loughlin Dolan's the handsome young
Irishman who hid himself for three
years in the hills near Strathatbyn and
was discovered three weeks ago unconconscious and emaciated has now recovered much of his lost vigor.
Dolan. is recuperating and doing light
work in an institution in an Adelaide
He still refuses to say why he be
came a hermit, but one statement he
made yesterday to a visitor may throw
some light on the mystery.
Today Louglin Dolan believes that,
unless .something is done for him, he
is doomed to an early death. Examined
by a doctor,since he forsook the isolation
bush pronounced physically sound, -he persists that he
is suffering from an ailment which, if
not checked, wili kill him. Is this
strange dread born off reality or delusion?
 Is it the solution of Dolan's
astounding three years of isolation?
Yesterday morning he was whistling
happily as he trudged along 'behind a
horse ' attached to a single furrow
plough. The flowing hair and beard
which obscured his features before he
entered the institution have vanished:
be is a stone heavier, his skin is fresh
and clean, and his eyes sparkling with
the brightness of health.
He showed no trace of that timidity
that governed his speech and actions
three weeks ago. He was eager to
-How do you like sleeping inside?'
''All right now, but I didn't take
kindly to a bed at first.'
'What are you going to do about the
'It depends on my health.'
'But the doctor has said you are fit
and well.'
'I know, but I am not satisfied. I
will not be satisfied until there has been
a blood test.'
'Would not the disease you are afraid
of have done its work during your three
years' stay in the hills?'
 'No; it will take five years to lull
'It will not kill you. You are physi
cally well. The doctor said so.'
The young Irishman shook his head.
''I know they think it is imagination,'he said,
 'but it is not. It is in the
blood. -I -wish to God it wasn't.'
Any attempts to brush aside the pos
sibility of his being mistaken were met
with refusal. He discussed the matter
quietly and rationally, and his man
manner was not that of a man suffering

Three Years in Bush
Why Loughlin Dolan lived in the Adelaid hills for three years, 
existing on rabbits, water, and apples, is
known only to himself.. He refuses to
say. He is recovering his strength,
and intends to go to work.
An uncle of the Irish immigrant
and a brother reside in Western Aus
tralia. Dolan loved a girl in London,
but will not even hint that that was
the reason for cutting himself off from
the outside world.
One of the strangest stories revealed
for many years in Australia-is. that of the
life during, the past three-years of Loughlin
Dolan, the Irish immiigrant whlo was found
in the bush "at Bull' Creek on Sunday
Dolan talks willingly to those whom he
is convinced are his friends. He has a
cultured voice, and has-evidently been well
educated, but he is shy and sensitive and
shuns idle curiosity. He is 
tall and handsome and his curly reddish
beard is streaked with grey, but he is
weak through lack of food. Normally he
Is a powerful man. He is unaffected and
Why he took to the hills is a mystery
and a subject upon which he steadfastly
refuses to talk.'
 In a conversation today
Dolan' said, that now he knew he was
among friends he was glad he had been
found. He was deeply grateful for what
Sgt.G A: Heinemann, of Strathalbyn, had
done for' him.
"You have been a good friend to me,"
he said sincerely. He did not profess to
have liked his life n the bush..but it was
his own choice. 
"It has a grim fight,"' he said. and
it was evident that had he  not'"been en
dowed with a hardy constitution he could
not have lived through the many hard
ships he underwent. Out in the open-in
all weathers, ill-clad with a scanty covering of bags and with rabbits and water as
his diet was his life for three years. It
is probable that in a few weeks' time he
will regain his health and strength.
"Wait unitil you see me shaved and well
again," he said.. '"I will be a different
man. I can work and will be anxious to
work" as soon as I am well."'
Dolan said he was brought up on a farm
in Ireland, and was used to farming work
and could also drive a motor car. About
eight months, before he came to Australi
he was in Liverpool and worked as a gar
dener at a college. His sweetheart was in London, and they intended to make a
home in Australia.
Be had an unIcle who had been a farmer
in Western Australia for 40 years, and his
brother had been there 14.
LOUGHLIN DOLAN--As he was when
he arrived in Australia three years ago.
Intended to go to them. He had about
£200 before he left Liverpool and brought
that with him to Adelaide.
It was on his arrival here that he made
for the bush for some reason which he
will not disclose,but he says he has been
worrying and fretting while he has been
there. He made no attempt to go to
Western Australia although the he
travelled on and called at Freemantle . That
he is not troubled over money matters is
indicated by the fact that he had more
than £70 tied in a small bag round his
waist when he was found This.has been
taken charge of on his behalf by friends
at an institution where he is now being
cared for.
He is much concened about his rela
tives in the West, and also in England and
Ireland. He has made no attempt to
communicate with any. of them while he
has been in hiding, and he realises that
they will have been worrying, about him.
He said he was anxious for someone to
write to them on his behalf.
For three years he has been absolutely
out of touch with the world. While he
has seen many people he has carefully
kept out of sight. He had-no newspapers
or anything to read, and did not do any
writing during that .time. He evinced
great interest in'European affairs, and was
glad to know that in his native country’s
matters were somewhat peaceful.
"I Will soon pick up the news of what
has happened during the last thiee years
by talking to friends,"' he said. "
Concerning his: life in the bush he had
not much to tell. He did not travel far
from the spot where he was found. He
lbathed regularly, and lived in a most
primitive manner.'
"I always liked to, be on the move,' he
said, *"and I did not build a permanent
shelter. I was afraid someone might find
me. Sometimes, in the.winter, I lept in
water I had  apples.occasionally,
but 1 never caught anything but rabbits.
I never knew what month it was;, but I
always knew the. seasons... The climate
here is-beautiful, and I have found the
people very kind."
Regarding his future, Dolan has no
plans, but he is definite in his.desire to
Sgt. Heinemnann said the country in
which Dolan had been living was rocky
scrub, in which a man would find no ditffi
culty in hiding, but would probably find
it hard to live.
"You would not stay there two hours."
he said. Dolan told the sergeant that life was hard 
he had had nothing to eat for a fortnight,
as the rabbits were scarce and he was getting
When he was found he could not walk and it required
 Three men to carry hiim.
The sergeant provided hlim with some
clothes, for which he was grateful. At
the hospital Dolan said the nurses had
been kind to him. He had had a good
night's rest and a good breakfast. He
expected he would be well again in a few


Coffee Morning


Ted is Back

Well done to the people behind the Kilflynn Enchanted Fairy Festival who defied the vandals to rebuild Ted. The festival is a lovely event for children and the young at heart. It's on this weekend starting on June 29 at 7.00 p.m. Killflynn will be buzzing.

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Friday Market, Commemorative Seats, Ard Churan Concert and Revival 2019 line up

Ballybunion Sunset 2019

Photo; Jason at Ballybunion Prints Beach


Music in The Square at the Friday market


Commemorative Seats in Listowel Town Park

Donating a seat seems to have replaced planting a tree as a means of remembering a lost loved one. Here are the two new seats in the park.


Ard Churam Concert

On Thursday May 30 we were treated to a great night of music by the people behind Ard Churam fundraising.

Photo; Ger Holland, official Writers' Week photographer

The undisputed stars on the night were the members of the Ard Churam choir and their coach, soprano Mary Culloty O'Sullivan. Cyril Kelly took us down memory lane and reality television star, Fr. Ray Kelly sang songs from his album. The concert was a great success and helped greatly in raising funds for the planned dementia care day centre.

Mairead Slemon and Rachel Guerin congratulate Aine Guerin on a great night's work.

Mary and Peter  McGrath were enjoying the music.

 Vourneen Kissane and Margaret Reidy were there too.

Sr. Consolata met her old friend, Jackie McGillicuddy who was singing with the choir.


Courthouse Plaza

Courthouse Road leads to a lovely plaza area with three public buildings surrounding asome newly planted raised beds.

This is the back of Áras an Phiarsaigh.

Áras an Phiarsaigh

Listowel Courthouse

Listowel branch of Kerry Library


Revival 2019

Saturdays' headline act, The Coronas has been confirmed. This promises to the best Revival yet. Tickets are selling out quickly .

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Yarnbombing in Kildare, Bird Lore from 1937 and a Listowel Fashion Designer

Listowel Presbytery

Recent repair work at the presbytery entrance revealed a lovely stone wall under the plaster.


Yarn Bombing in Kildare

People who know me know that I love a spot of knitting and crochet. I was thrilled to get to see this huge yarn bombing project in Newbridge as part of Kildare's June Fest.

It's lovely to see this neglected craft getting an airing outdoors for everyone to enjoy. But there is a small practical part of me says that's it's a shame to expose these lovingly created artworks to be destroyed by the elements.


Sign of the Times

A huge display of paper diaries at half price in Eason in June 2019


Some Bird Lore from the Dúchas Collection

When people are trapping singing birds they often make a crib. This they do by getting smallchips of wood. they place two chips about a foot from each other, then they get two more the same size and place them on top of the other two about ten or eleven inches apart, then they get two so smaller ones and place them on top of the other two and a smaller distance away and so on till they reach the top with smaller sticks and a smaller distance away. Then they get cord and tie all the corners of the crib up along till they reach the top. then then they get a long cord and tie a stick on to it. They raise up the crib place the stick under it and get a few crumbs of bread and put them under the crib. then if a bird comes the person pulls the cord and if the bird is under the crib it flaps down and the bird is caught inside.

When people are taking the hatch out of a hen they dip the hen into cold water.
Another way for taking the hatch out of a hen is to stick a feather up its nose.
People often "strike" birds with a knife and fork. Once we had a canary in my house and it used never sing unless my mother took out the machine to  sew.

This was collected by W. Keane, Ashe St. Listowel and told by Mrs Keane, Aged 36, of Ashe Street, Listowel for the schools folklore collection of 1937/38

( I am fascinated by the idea of taking the hatch out of a hen. By the way, does a hen have a nose?)


Couture with a Listowel Connection

This is a page from last Sundays' Sunday Independent Life magazine. The feature is about Create, which is Brown Thomas' showcase of Irish design, which will open in Brown Thomas Dublin in July.

From 70 prospective candidates, Brown Thomas chose 30 designers who met the very high standards required and each of those 30 had to produce a 25 piece collection. As well as fashion there are creations in lots of other fields of design as well.

The picture above is from Anna Guerin's first collection "The Duellist". It is a double breasted lambswool coat in pinstripe Donegal tweed which is woven sustainably.

Anna is the daughter of Michael and Áine Guerin of Listowel and she is no stranger to award winning in fashion design and tailoring. She has been working in this field for a while now. This is her first individual collection and when I spoke to her a few weeks ago she has lots more creative ideas in the pipeline.

The above coat looks to me like a garment that would be perfect on Kate Middleton. I hope it catches her eye. We know how much she loves good Irish design and she loves tweed.


Just a Thought

Here is the link to my Thoughts from last week on Radio Kerry

Just a Thought