This blog is a personal take on Listowel, Co. Kerry. I am writing for anyone anywhere with a Listowel connection but especially for sons and daughters of Listowel who find themselves far from home. Contact me at listowelconnection@gmail.com

Tag: Moyvane Page 1 of 5

Elephants in Town, Abbeyfeale Altar, Duffy’s Circus and Moyvane

Photo; Bridget O’Connor

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Altar in Abbeyfeale Church on April 20 2020



A parishioner grabbed this photo of his local church from the church’s webcam. It looks to me like they have tried to get as much a they can into the webcam shot. It means a lot to people who never missed Holy Week or Easter ceremonies.

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Circus Elephants in Market Street

Photo; John Hannon

I found this old photo to accompany this great poem from John Fitzgerald. Here is his email

Hi Mary,



It’s a long while since I made a submission, so I’m not sure if this is the way to reconnect.



Although I’ve lived in Dublin for the last 55 years, the circus lives forever in my mind. 



Our house in William Street backed onto the market and my dad used provide hay and water for the animals so as well as the performance I got to spend time watching the big top go up and be taken down.



Kind regards,



John Fitzgerald.

John Duffy, the Circus

Out from the pastures in early Spring
On trucks and on trailers, the loading begins 

The tents and the tigers, the bright colored ring 

John Duffy, the circus is callin’

Travellin’ the highways and tourin’ the towns

 Ringmaster, jugglers, the cats and the clowns 

The posters are printed so word gets around 

John Duffy, the circus is callin’

They drive the long nights without any sleep 

Wire walkers, tight ropers, all hands to the wheel

 Each dawn a’peggin’ the circle of steel
John Duffy, the circus is callin’

They ring round our market, wagons galore 

Tractors and trailers, the canvas and more 

With riggin’ and cages, ropes by the score 

John Duffy, the circus is callin’

Four beats to a bar, the sledges ring
Four men of iron their music to sing
The canvas is spread,” the heave-ho” begins 

John Duffy, the circus is callin’

Its haul down the ropes, and let the tent rise 

Like clockwork they know, each cog to prise 

They heave and they haul ‘til the tent is full size 

John Duffy, the circus is callin’

The brass band of old is pipe music new 

Monkeys are scarce and the elephants few
The trapeze has nets and the safe rope has too 

John Duffy, the circus is callin’

The circus, alas, is not that of old
The magic, the music, the laughs and the roars 

See a child’s face when the sparkle’s gone cold 

John Duffy will soon not be callin’

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Murhur, Newtownsandes, Moyvane

The parish was originally called Murhur. The name Moyvane was adopted by the village when a plebiscite was held by the Parish Priest, Father Dan O’Sullivan. Moyvane is the name of a townland about two miles south-west of the village, and the official name of the place is still Newtownsandes. The Roman Catholic Parish was formed in 1829, in the immediate aftermath of the Catholic Emancipation. The first parish church was built in 1837, and a date stone built into a wall in the village near the original entrance to the church and the school marks this date.

A new parish church, the Church of the Assumption, was built when Father O’Sullivan was still the parish priest. It replaced an older parish church built around 1833, and the new church was dedicated on 25 August 1956.

*old church and presbytery newtownsandes*

(info fromCathleen Mulvihill on Glin historical Society ‘s Facebook page)

Moyvane Concert, Woman’s Way Cover 1969 and a Poem from Australia



Photo: Christopher Bourke, Malow Camera Club

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Dioscesan News 


Letter from Frances Rowland


While we will not be able to participate physically in Mass this weekend, we will be able to pray the Mass with the celebrations being held online. If you wish to look at the Mass being broadcast over the internet, here are some of the churches in the diocese where Mass is being broadcast. 

http://www.stbrendansparishtralee.net/            Saturdays 6.30pm, Sundays 10 am, 11.15am, 12.30pm,

Weekdays 9.30 am

http://listowelparish.com/                          Saturdays 6.15pm, Sundays 9am and  11.30am

Weekdays 10.30 am

http://www.killarneyparish.com/            Saturdays 6.15pm, Sundays 8am, 10.30am, 12 noon,

Weekdays 10.30 am and 6.15pm

https://naomhmuire.wordpress.com/   Saturdays 8pm, Sundays 11.30am

https://www.churchservices.tv/castleisland       Saturdays 6.15pm, Sundays 11.30am, Weekdays 11am

It is only in the gravest circumstances that Masses are cancelled. Being unable to go to Mass this weekend will make us more conscious of the gift of being able to attend Mass usually and realise the importance of the Eucharist in our lives. We can revive the practice of Spiritual Communion as we unite ourselves, from our homes, with the sacrifice being offered. We can also be in spiritual communion with all those throughout the world who are not able to attend Mass for different reasons.

We unite as sisters and brothers of Jesus Christ, standing together in the hope he brings.

With kind regards,

Frances

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Moyvane Concert


Elizabeth Brosnan took some great photos at the recent concert featuring Liam O’Connor and family band, Brian Kennedy and local dancers which was held in Moyvane church to raise funds for the upkeep of the church.

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The Light of Other Days


Mattie Lennon sent us this screen grab of the cover of Woman’s Way from November  1969. The cover featured the Housewife of the Year and her family.

The winner of the Calor sponsored competition was Mrs. Ann McStay and she was the first Dublin winner of the title.

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The Diaspora

Around the world there are millions of people whose ancestors came from Ireland. Many of these people were raised on stories of life in Ireland in their forefathers time. They have grown up with a love and appreciation of our Irish songs and dances, our traditions and our gift for poetry,

One such person was the late Australian Bush poet, Martin O’Brien. His ancestors on both sides fled Ireland during the Great Hunger. He knew that his great grandmother on his father’s side was evicted with her 9 children. The mother died and how the children made their way to Australia is unclear.

In this poem Martin echoes the longing of many emigrants to seek out the place of birth of their Irish antecedents. Many long to walk in the footsteps of their forefathers, to reconnect with the land they were forced unwillingly to leave.

THEIR    LAND

I hope one day I’ll leave this land

to go from whence they came,

and travel far across the sea

so there at last my eyes will see

the land from which they came.

I know I never will belong
to my ancestors’ land,
but still I’d like one time to see
(if God should grant that time to me),
the land that was their land.

I want to see the sights they saw
and hear the sounds they heard,
because that land still holds some claim  –
more than just an Irish name  –
some thing unsaid, yet heard.

I want to feel the living soil
they felt beneath their feet;
to watch the sun rise there, and set,
and go to places where they met,
and then to make complete …….

I want to walk some ancient track
where their young feet once lept,
to feel the pain as they had done
when their own exile had begun,
and weep where they once wept.

I know I never will belong
to my ancestors’ land,
but still I’d like some time to see
(if God should grant that time to me)
the land that was their land.

July, 1994.

I found this poem on a great website called  Tinteán

 About Martin O’Brien

Martin grew up on the O’Brien family dairy farm at Mount Burrell in the upper reaches of the Tweed River. After high school at St John’s College, Woodlawn, he spent many years as a seasonal worker – cutting cane and picking fruit – mainly on the Tweed, at Tully (Nth Qld) and in Mildura (Vic). In the off-seasons, he returned home to work on the farm. After the dairy crash in the mid-1960s, the family moved out off dairying into beef cattle production, building up (from their AIS milkers) one of the first herds of Charolais cattle on the Tweed. With increasingly lower beef prices towards the end of the 1970s, Martin was only able to work part-time on the farm, and obtained local off-farm work – mainly in sawmills. Tragically, on Christmas Eve 2013, Martin was killed in a tractor accident on the family farm.

He is a poet in the vernacular Bush Ballad tradition and was a finalist in the 1996 Poet Laureate Award at the Tamworth Music Festival.

Martin was deeply interested in his Irish heritage (on both his Mother’s and Father’s side of his family). These two poems are from Martin’s unpublished ‘Irish Collection

Newcastlewest, an invitation to a launch,Michael Hartnett and returning to the land of one’s ancestors

Stag with a fine Harem of Wives

Chris Grayson took this photo in Killarney National Park.

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An Invitation for You



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My Trip to Newcastlewest


This is Shirley O’Regan, poet and broadcaster, in the Limerick West fm studio where she interviewed me about my book, A Minute of Your Time.

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I took a stroll around Newcastlewest and here are a few photos from the town square.

This is the inscription on the below sculpture. My half remembered Latin seems to tell me that this is a monument to honour the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Assumption erected in 1950 by the parishioners of Newcastlewest.

The figure is clearly a milkmaid and in her hand she has a pair of butter paddles.

The bronze coin on the pavement also confirms that she is indeed a milkmaid as does the presence of milk churns on the plinth.

This would appear to depict a cow as well.

At the other end of the leisure space in The Square is a monument to local poet, the late Michael Hartnett.

Its a brilliant statue capturing the essence of this thoughtful genius.

Even on the dirty wet day of my visit, Newcastlewest square looked magnificent.

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Someone’s Coming  Home


“My G Grandmother Mary Stack born 1832 is from Kilbaha, Her mother is Ellen Shanahan, Stack, Gregory. My G and GG came from Newtown Sandes, John Walsh born 1806 and his son Patrick born about 1830 came to the states about 1850 to Paris Ky.

 I am looking forward to visiting your lovely city in late March or early April in 2020 with my son. We will be in Kerry and other locations for 7 to 10 days. I have done extensive searches for family from your lovely county for many years. So now it is time to visit and see it for myself. My name is Robert Patrick Walsh Fister, My son Tony, Robert Anthony is bringing me to Ireland as a gift, I am excited for sure.

Bob F “

Moyvane, Lixnaw, Wartime Rationing and Roddy Doyle in Listowel

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Moyvane, Then and Now

The creamery now and then

Crows on Main St. then and now

from https://moyvane.com

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Lixnaw and the Fitzmaurice clan

Kerryman 1957

If you would like to learn more…

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Been There, Done That




With all the talk of food shortages if the U.K. crashes out of Europe, I thought it might be timely to look back to a time when there were food shortages in Ireland.

Above is a wartime ration book. Certain foodstuffs and other stuff like fuel were in short supply so the government issued books of coupons to people. Coupons could be exchanged for these rationed goods.

A little known fact is that the health of British children improved during the period when rationing was in force. When I see the list of goods that will be in short supply after a hard Brexit, I think we might see the same unintended consequence.

Another fact that is not widely known is that food was also rationed in Germany. This poster from 1916 illustrates, in cartoon form, the range of foodstuffs rationed there.

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Fighting Words




Kate Kennelly, Kerry Co Council Arts Officer, Roddy Doyle and Jimmy Deenihan.

Roddy Doyle was in Kerry Writers’ Museum on Tuesday, September 24 2019 to promote Fighting Words, an organisation that he co founded to promote creative writing among young people. Fighting Words workshops have been running in Listowel since 2017. The workshops are held outside of a school setting, are free of charge and facilitated by adults who are not necessarily teachers. All you need to be a volunteer is a love of stories and a desire to help young people to write them.

If you would like to volunteer, contact Cara at Kerry Writers’ Museum.

Bernie and friends at Fighting Words Launch

Observing the Pieties, Tidy Town Folk and a Fox Photo on my Trip to Kanturk and a library in Kildare

Long Tailed Tit

Photo by Pauline Doran , finalist in Irish Wildlife Trust’s Photography Competition.

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Observing the Pieties

The following poem by the late Gary MacMahon was given to me by his brother, Owen. It is a great run through of all the old traditional practices in Kerry long ago. Thankfully many of these customs are still preserved here.


Observing the Pieties

Garry MacMahon

I confess I’m a creature of habit, as down life’s road I go

Observing annual rituals is a must for me, and so

Before the crib at Christmas Eve I kneel with all the clan

And on the feast of Stephen go to Dingle for the wran.

Then for sweet St. Brigid’s Day a straw cross I have made

To hang upon the threshold whereon it will be laid.

In the house of my Redeemer I chant a hymn of praise

My throat criss crossed with candles on the feast day of St. Blaise.

Shrove Tuesday I eat pancakes dipped in honey from the hive

And thank the Lord that yet I live and another year survived,

And when the long gospel is read before the end of Lent

Home I take the blessed palm and breathe its sacred scent.

On Good Friday I buy hot cross buns and before the day is past

Gather cockles from the sea shore and keep the old black fast

And then on Easter morn I rise to see the dancing sun come forth

Not forgetting Patrick’s Day between, as the shamrock I still sport.

The coming of the swallow, the awakening of the earth

The promise of a primrose I await with bated breath,

And lest ill luck should follow me and give me cause to grieve

I never bring whitethorn to the house upon May Eve.

June bonfires once I lighted on the feastday of St. John

A custom all but vanished as relentless time moves on.

July sees me hit for Milltown and Willie Clancy in the County Clare

In Marrinan’s pub I pay my sub and a song or two sing there.

And then its Munster Final time and the piper must be paid

To Thurles, Cork, Killarney the pilgrimage is made.

Again I fetch my fishing rod before the season’s out

Take the time to wet a line and coax elusive trout.

To the Pattern of the Virgin, from thence on to Puck Fair

The Races of Listowel come next and I’m certain to be there.

Dew drenched fields provide me with mushrooms gleaming white

While plump and juicy blackberries for my sore eyes are a sight.

When comes November of the souls and all the leaves are shed

Will you light a candle then for me as I do for the dead?

You’ve heard an old man’s story, each word I swear is true,

Be blessed thrice, take this advice I now implore of you

Don’t turn your back on dúchas or on history’s learned lore

And pass it on before it’s gone and lost forever more.

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Working Hard on our Behalf





I met these hard working tidy towners on Tuesday May 7 2019. They were still working hard when I came out of my meeting.


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Slow Mail in Moyvane in 1894


Kerry Sentinel Saturday, January 13, 1894; Page: 3

MAIL SERVICE BETWEEN LISTOWEL AND NEWTOWN.

A move has been made by the inhabitants of Newtown and the surrounding district with a view of inducing the Post Office Officials to accelerate the postal service between Listowel and Newtown. At present letters posted in Listowel for Newton have first to go to Limerick, then to Tarbert, and from thence by foot to Newtown. The roundabout could be easily avoided by running a mail car direct from Listowel to Newtown, and it is to be hoped that the Post Office may recognise the benefits which the adoption of the change would effect, and the desirability of connecting Listowel more immediately with the surrounding districts.


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Reynard, Up Close




This brave fellow stopped to pose for me  at my old home in Kanturk last week.



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Kildare Town Library




I was in Kildare for the weekend and I took the opportunity to deliver some Listowel Writers’ Week brochures to the libraries round about. This is me delivering to the Kildare Town librarian, Orla.  Orla loved the programme and resolved there and then do to her best to come to the festival.  She is really knowledgeable about books and loves reading. Her library runs four book clubs!

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Listowel Town Square, May 13 2019



Upgrade works have started. Should only take a few days.




Vicar Joe photobombed my picture.

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