Do you recognize any of the signs in yourself?

Being Irish means………….Describing someone with longstanding, persistent and untreated psychosis as “a character”.Saying “There’s definitely no recession here!” every time you see more than … 5 people in a pubSaying “Ah but he’s very good to his mother” about some utter lunaticTK Red lemonade and white pudding. Not together of courseYour ma or da greeting you with the phrase “d’ya know who’s dead?”That mini heart attack you get if you go out and forget to turn off the immersionYou’re not drinking??? Are you on antibiotics?Wallpaper on your school booksBeing Grand!!Boil everything in a huge pot for 3 hoursBeing absolutely terrified of a wooden spoon.Learning a language for 12 years and not being fluentFlat 7UP heals all illnessesCalling Joe Duffy instead of the Guards


Very poignant picture of Ellis Island in 1912


This is Irish Olympic gymnast, Kieran Behan. Kieran failed to qualify for the final but his story so far is one of triumph over adversity.

The New York Times traced Behan’s inspirational story from his childhood up until today. Behan remembers first being enamored by gymnastics at the age of six while watching them on the Summer Olympic Games. At age 8, he began taking lessons and showed great promise as a tumbler.

However, at age 10, all that promise was seriously threatened when a benign tumor was found on Behan’s leg. During the surgery, Behan’s doctor left a tourniquet on too long and tied too tight, causing nerve damage in the aspiring gymnast’s left leg.

Coupled with the bleak outlook, Behan remembers cruel schoolchildren taunting him at the time.

“They’d say, ‘Oh, look at the cripple,’ and that was so hard for me because, already, I was doing gymnastics and I was short, and I was doing a girls’ sport,” said Behan.

“So a lot of times, I would sit at the kitchen window and watch all the kids running around the park and playing football, and I’d get pretty emotional. All I wanted to do was be an ordinary kid again.”

Despite all the adversity, Behan made an astounding comeback. Fifteen months after the botched surgery, Behan was getting back to normal.

However, only about 8 months after Behan was back in the swing of things at gymnastics, he encountered was has been described to be a “freak accident.”

Behan smacked the back of his head on the metal horizontal bar during a routine and tumbled to the ground in a lump, resulting in traumatic brain injury and severe damage to the vestibular canal of his inner ear.

The damage affected Behan so greatly that the slightest movement could trigger him to blackout, which he did perhaps thousands of times following the accident.

Behan’s mother Bernie Behan remembers her son struggling to turn his head, feed himself and walk without stumbling and looking as if he were dead drunk.


One olympic sport many Listowel people enjoy watching is badminton. Chloe Magee is through to the second round.

Traditionally badminton in Ireland was a “Protestant” game. Maybe it is because there were so many Church of Ireland families in Listowel that it really caught on here. In my time in town the continuance of badminton is down to two man; Junior Griffin and Roly Chute.

Junior tells this story of a Listowel connection with Irish badminton at the highest level going back a few years.

A family called Peard lived in the house on the right of St. Mary’s in The Square. This is the house that was later demolished to extend the church. The Peard family lived in Listowel from 1932 to 1938 and were very involved with the local badminton club. Fred Peard went on to be one of Ireland’s best players. In his book “Sixty Years of Irish Badminton” he alludes to his time in Listowel and to partners he remembers playing with. One of these was a Gus Stack who was his teacher in St. Michael’s. Another was a Mrs. Macauley. Fred Peard went on to become M.D. of Guinness Ireland. He  still  maintains his interest in badminton.


Another poem from Kathleen Forrestal

Martin’s Daly’s Cart

Our front door was open to one and all,

The other houses were the same.

Children played their games outside,

Cowboys and Indians,

Spinning a top.

Rolling a bicycle tyre,

Mammies and Daddies,

Sometimes we made mud pies,

Hide and seek,

Rough and tumble with the boys,

Waiting for the Martin’s cart.

Martin drove a hay cart up along Charles Street,

Children jumped on it and dangled their feet.

At Dowd’s crossing, we’d hear him yell “Whoa”!

We’d open the railway gates to allow him through.

Up the boreen past fields of hay,

On through the glaise to collect his load,

And back to the waiting children on the road.

Not much room left on the cart,

Boys hanging at the edges as cart jostled hedges.

And then we’d hear Martin roar,

“Clear off the cart or ye’ll come no more”.

I can hear you yet Martin Daly

On your horse and hay cart,

I can see you in my mind’s eye.


News is breaking this morning of the passing of the very popular writer, Maeve Binchy.

+ May she rest in peace +