Wednesday, 31 July 2019

John B.'s Headstone, Summer Visitors and Cyril Kelly on being a pupil of The Master

Chapel at Teampall Bán, Listowel


There are so Many Lovely Songs to Sing


Summer Visitors

Whenever I have visitors I make sure they don't leave without visiting the Garden of Europe.

My boyeens are not boyeens any more. They were back in Listowel with their parents last weekend. They were on their way to Coláiste Bhréanainn in Ballybunion.

Breeda Ahern and Sheila Crowley also made the trip over the border from Co. Cork.


A Trip to the Library

Recently I have been writing a lot about the Carnegie Library and it put Cyril Kelly in mind of trips there in his youth.

Here is a charming essay in Cyril's uniquely  evocative style recalling a charismatic teacher;


This was the man who led us, both literally and metaphorically, from the classroom every day. This was The Master, our Pied Piper, who was forever bugling a beguiling tune, a tune sparkling with grace notes of the imagination. He’d have us on the white steed behind Niamh, her golden fleece romping in our faces. Transformed by his telling we had mutated into forty spellbound Oisíns. Knockanore was disappearing in our wake. The briny tang of the ocean was in our nostrils, bidding us to keep a westward course, forbidding us to glance back at our broken hearted father, Fionn. We were heading for the land of eternal youth, Tír na nÓg.
On the very next antidotal day, we’d be traipsing after him, into the graveyard beside the school. The narrow paths, with no beginning and no end criss-crossed the place like some zoomorphic motif. We were on a mission to see who would be the first to spot a headstone which was decorated with a Celtic design. The diligent boys leading the line were in danger of overtaking the laggards at the tail who were hissing that, in the dark recesses of the slightly open tomb, they had seen, staring back at them, a yella skull. 
But, on very special days, we crossed the road to the Carnegie Library. Master McMahon told us that it was the most magical building in the whole town. Even the whole world, if it came to that. He told us that we were so lucky because Andrew Carnegie, the richest man on earth, had bought all of these books for us. We were amazed because none of us knew Andrew and we felt sure that he didn’t know any of us. As a matter of fact, not one of us knew anyone who bought books, either for us or for anyone else. Master McMahon said that the Librarian, Maisie Gleeson, was minding the books for Carnegie and, especially for the boys in 3rdclass.
On our first day in the library, we all had to line up on tippy-toes at Maisie’s desk to scratch our names with nervous N-nibs on green cards. Maisie eyed us all over her spectacles, welcoming each one of us ominously by name, telling us that she knew our mothers and woe-be-tide anyone who didn’t behave themselves, particularly any boy who did not take good care of Andrew’s books.
If you have a book, boys, Master McMahon’s voice was echoing around us. If you have a book, boys, you have an exciting friend.
Drumming his fingers along a shelf, humming to himself, he flicked one of the books from its place, tumbling it into his arms. Turning towards us, he held it like a trophy in the air. 
The Clue of The Twisted Candle. Nancy Drew, boys. She’s a beauty. Blonde, like Niamh Cinn Óir. Solves exciting mysteries for her father.
The Master took his time to scan our expectant faces.
Here, Mickey, proffering the book to Mikey Looby whose father was a detective. Why don’t you sit down there at that table. Read the first few chapters. See what Nancy Drew is up to this time.
Turning to the shelves again, The Master threw back over his shoulder; Sure if I know anything, Mikey, you’ll probably solve the mystery before she does. Mikey, clasping the book in his arms, stumbled to the nearest chair, thirty nine pairs of envious eyes fastened to him. Sure it’s in the blood, Mikey boy. It’s in the blood.
Selecting another book, The Master faced us once more. This time he called on Dan Driscoll.
I saw you driving your father’s pony and cart to the fair last week. Three of the loveliest pink plump bonavs you had. And what a fine looking pony Dan Driscoll has, boys.
Well, here in my hand I’m holding Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey. This man is a fantastic story teller. He’ll take you to the frontier lands of America. I promise that you’ll see and smell the rolling plains of Wyoming more clearly than if you were in the Plaza cinema down the street. You’ll ride with cowboys, you’ll hear the neighing not of ponies but of palominos. You’ll meet deadly gunmen, boys, noble Red Indians. And on the headstones in Boothill, boys, you won’t find any Celtic designs. 
And there, in the vastness of the library, The Master’s youthful tenor voice startled the silence; Take me back to the Black Hills/ The Black Hills of Dakota/ To the beautiful Indian country that I love. By the time he was finished he was besieged by a posse of outstretched hands and beseeching cries of Sir! Sir! Sir! Every one of us was demented to get our paws on that book, any book.

Archeloogy Open Day at the new Bypass

A nice little crowd came along yesterday to see what was to see at the site of the old cottage at Curraghatoosane.

Resurfacing Courthouse Road

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Carmody's Corner, Listowel, Athea, Patrick O'Mahony and Entente Florale in Listowel

The tennis clubhouse looking flowery for the Entente Florale judges.


Carmody's Corner

These wooden wall plaques are on the Charles Street gable of Carmody's


Summer Visitors

Bikers at John R.'s


Athea's Heritage Trail

I enjoyed a lovely sunny afternoon in Athea, discovering its new attractions. These are soon to be shared with the world on Nationwide.

The Fairy Trail has been completely upgraded and decorated with cute little painted stone installations.

The bug hotel even has a few bugs at the door to welcome guests.

I met some lovely local people.

I met these lovely folk at the garden centre pet farm. They had brought food for the donkeys.

Mrs. Duck was there too.


Patrick O'Mahony   Dancer

From the INEC facebook page, Meet the dancers

Meet the Riverdance dancers! PATRICK O’MAHONY
Patrick is a native of Rusheen, Ballylongford, Co Kerry. He began his dance training at age two with Rinceoiri Na Riochta. His first of many titles came in 1993, and he became All-Ireland champion in 1995. Moving to the U.S state of Virginia in 2004, he spent eight years dancing with Irish Thunder in Busch Gardens, Williamsburg. Back in Europe, he toured extensively with Gaelforce and performed in the Breandan De Gallai productions Noctu and the Rite of Spring. Patrick joined Riverdance in 2012, and was a principal dancer in Heartbeat of Home in 2015. Riverdance returns to the INEC Killarney for a limited run from Sept 12-16th. Tickets


Archaelogical site Open Day Today, Tuesday July 30 2019

( Source; Tralee Today)

ARCHAEOLOGISTS working on behalf of Kerry County Council have uncovered a number of archaeological sites on the route of the N69 Listowel Bypass, including burnt mounds (prehistoric cooking sites) and charcoal-production pits at Coolnaleen Lower and the remains of a 19th-Century dwelling at Curraghatoosane.
A team of archaeologists from Archaeological Management Solutions (AMS) employed a variety of techniques to determine the presence of previously unknown archaeological remains along the bypass route.
These included a geophysical survey followed by the excavation of exploratory test trenches and then open-area excavations.
The site at Curraghatoosane is located just off the R553 Ballybunion Road to the west of Listowel Town. Here, the remains of a 19th-century building are clearly visible and comprise wall foundations, cobbled surfaces and the remains of a fireplace.
On Tuesday, 30 July, there will be an open day during which the public are invited to visit this site. Archaeologists from AMS will be on hand to discuss the findings and answer questions. The site will be open to the public between 3pm and 6pm.
Access to the site will be signposted from the Sive Walk. Access will be via the R553 Ballybunion Road. There is no parking available at the site so visitors are encouraged to visit by foot. Appropriate footwear is recommended.
Funding for the project is provided by Transport Infrastructure Ireland and the excavation is carried out in accordance with National Monuments Act Directions issued by the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.


Another Jostle Stone

At Church Street

Monday, 29 July 2019

Frederick Chute R.i.P., Facebook Friends and Saturday's Guided Walk

Bobby Cogan and Molly on a trip to Teampall Bán


Frederick Chute R.I.P.

In response to my request for information on the people commemorated on the new park benches I got a lovely letter from Judith Cannon

"A friend told me to look online at Listowel Connections, and I saw that you would like some information on the new benches installed at the Town Park.  I had a new bench recently installed in memory of my husband, Frederick (he didnt like to be called Fred, because that was his cousin's name, the painter - RIP).
You have an excellent photo of Frederick's new bench on your Listowel Connections website.

I think the new bench is lovely and it overlooks the River Feale, which Frederick loved.  He grew up in Church Street (no 57) Listowel,   and Betty Chute was his mother.  Arthur Chute, was his father.
I have done a little story about his life, which I will attach to this email, so if you need any information it will be on there, or I am happy to answer any questions about him.  He loved Listowel, and enjoyed the football and hurling and used to go to matches with Pat Whelan and Eric Browne. He played football in his younger days for Listowel and North Kerry. His best friend and lifelong friend, was Jimmy O'Quigley, and they went to Primary School together as well as getting up to all sorts of mischief in later life!

Frederick passed away in 2018 and his ashes were interred at his parents' grave at the graveyard in Listowel as well as some of his ashes scattered in Ballybunion beach, one of his very favourite places."

I will post Judith's story of Frederick's life shortly.


Making Friends the Facebook Way


Another Saturday, Another Walk

Guided Walking Tours of Listowel start off from The Kerry Writers' Museum every Saturday until the end of August 2019 at 11.00a.m.  Last Saturday, July 27 2019 I was the volunteer guide.

This is the lovely group I escorted around our lovely town. There were Listowel people, returned Listowel emigrants, Canadian people, English people, Irish people and Californian people and we even had a newly engaged couple.

You'd never know who you'd run into on a walk around Listowel. Billy Keane took time out from his very busy schedule to talk to the group.

Jimmy Hickey danced for us on the junction of Charles Street and Colbert Street, where his father once ran a shoemaking business, making shoes for the clergy and for the gentry. Jimmy promises to tell me all for a future blog and Jimmy is a man of his word.

A Donegal visitor sang The Rose of Tralee for us.


A Few More Entente Florale Photos

Going a step beyond! The "dawn raiders" doing their very best to make sure Listowel gets gold.

The adjudicators went to John Paul 2 graveyard. I'm sure they loved this wild flower grave.

This is the community fruit and nut orchard.

I posted this last week without saying where it was and people are anxious to know. This lovely door is in The New Kingdom on Church Street.


Molly checking out the bug hotel

more herbs

Our riverside picnic area

The Big Bridge

1916 commemorative garden