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 email@example.com
Muskerry Local History Society meeting in February 2024
This artefact was brought by an American Irish man, Michael Loehr. It is a prison ring. It was made from a nail by his ancestor, a republican prisoner. Prison jewellery and ornaments are prized within families. This ring was taken to the US and now brought back home by a descendant.
Another republican artefact was brought by Bert Ahern. This flag draped the coffin of his ancestor. The name and details were embroidered on to the flag after his burial by 2 neighbours of Jeremiah. The flag is kept in the family and is put on coffins of Ahern descendants to this day. This was in keeping with a request by a sister of the dead man. She was anxious that he would never be forgotten and his senseless death at the hands of men who had fought by his side a few short years earlier would not be in vain.
Early Days of the Folk Group
You hear them at mass on Saturday evenings. Well, this is where it started. Matt Mooney (fourth from left in the back row) sent us this treasure.
Research is underway on putting names to faces. Check back here soon. I hope to have all the names.
New Kerry Logo
We’ll be seeing more of this
Looking Forward to This
My Eurovision “fact” was not, in fact, true. Sweden has also won seven Eurovision competitions. Wikipedia needs to update its facts and I need to fact check better,
A kind blog follower gently corrected my misinformation. Thank you.
Photo; Irish Mirror
If Bambi wins we’ll regain our record.
Every tweet the American people send is archived in The Library of Congress.
Doran’s Corner and Courthouse Road in February 2024
Live Aid, The Musical
I hadn’t thought about Live Aid for years until I mentioned it last week in the context of the old Pres. yearbook. And then, just like that, mention of it is everywhere.
Bob Geldof and his wife were among a slew of celebrities at the press night for a new musical based on the story of Live Aid.
Geldof, 72, who was lead singer of the Boomtown Rats, appeared alongside his wife Jeanne Marine at the Old Vic, which is where the production is being staged. Just For One Day tells the story of the Live Aid concerts in London and Philadelphia on July 13th, 1985, which were organised by Geldof and fellow musician Midge Ure to raise money for the Ethiopian famine. The plot of the production, which takes its name from a line in David Bowie’s song Heroes, combines a behind-the-scenes look at how Band Aid and Live Aid came together with a love story inspired by real events. The stage adaption of Just For One Day, written by British author John O’Farrell, premiered on January 26th and will run until March 30th.
It is directed by Luke Sheppard and features music by Bob Dylan, The Who, U2, The Police, The Pretenders, The Cars, Status Quo, Bryan Adams and Diana Ross.
Way back then…
Thanks to Ger Greaney for the memory.
For the young people who never heard of this malarkey, I’ll explain.
It was Valentine’s day 56 years ago. The programme was The Late Late show. Gay Byrne had a married couple from the audience to play a “game” where the husband is asked questions about their honeymoon and then the wife is asked the same questions.
This account is from The Journal…
During the game, played with audience participation, a man was asked what colour nightie his wife wore on their wedding night. He replied that it was ‘transparent’, eliciting huge guffaws from the audience.
When asked the same question, his wife answered that she could not remember and that maybe she had worn none at all, a response which was to cause huge controversy.
Until the arrival of The Late Late Show, matters of such personal intimacy were virtually unheard of as topics of public discourse. Furthermore, the fact that the comment by Mr Fox on his wife’s ‘transparent’ nightie caused no public outrage manifests the gendered nature of Irish culture of the time.
In 1960s Ireland it was not entirely condemnable for a man to make comments, albeit unintentionally, of a sexual nature. Mrs Fox’s comments, however, were deemed unacceptable utterances from a woman, moreover a woman who on first encounter had appeared wholesome and content.
Fast forward to 2024 and we have Love Island.
At the last meeting of Muskerry Local History Society we were treated to an interesting talk by Liam Hayes on Lighting without Electricity.
Liam took us from the candle, once only a source of light, now a romantic accessory or refuge in a power cut.
Before electricity there were three powers, divine power, horse power and candle power. All of that changed in 1946 when rural electrification came to the countryside. It was 1958 before it came to Clonmult where Liam lived. The ESB brought the power to the gate and the householder had to have it installed in the house at a cost per light switch and per plug socket. Most people took one switch and one socket.
We had tilly lamps for the house and storm lanterns for the yard.
Top right is a carbide lamp from 1900 and bottom right is a bicycle lamp.
The Tailteann Games date back to the Bronze Age. The Tailteann Games were held to honour a goddess from the country’s pagan days. They were named for the Goddess Tailtiu, who was the daughter of the King of Spain who later married the High King of Ireland.
What a AMAZING performance by former Kerry and Ballyduff hurler Jack Goulding who scored 3-11 as London Beat Wicklow by 3-20 to 1-20 in Division 2b. Goulding a Real DASHING and a massive loss to The Kingdom -BE
On my night at Muskerry Local History lecture I heard from Mary Oleary.
Her artefact was a certificate of indenture. Mary’s ancestor was apprenticed to a plumber at age 15 in 1891.
This apprenticeship sounded a bit like slavery to me. The master owned the poor lad body and soul. He was not allowed to frequent public houses or any entertainment. He couldn’t swear or court a young lady. He was to dress respectably at all times. He got no money until his third year and then it was only four shillings. The apprenticeship lasted 7 years. Mary’s ancestor survived the period of his indenture and went on to eventually set up his own gas and plumbing business.
Jerry Twomey from Kilgarven told us about his own experience of hand cutting turf using tools and skills handed down through his family.
Turf cutting usually began on or around St. Patrick’s Day. The first job was to soak the handles of the sleáns and pikes. After the winter the wooden handles would be dried out and loose. Soaking them swells the wood and means they are easier to use.
The top scraw was cut off with a hay knife. This was cut horizontally. It was a hard job and in Jerry’s family it was always done by his dad. V trenches were dug for drainage and then the work of turf cutting began. His dad also cut the first sod as this one was fibrous and needed a strong man to cut through it. The pike man stood in the trench and threw the sods to the spreaders. Children were often given the job of spreading the sods as they could carry the sods one by one away from the bank. The second sod was not quite so fibrous, so a less able man could be put on the sleán.
The best black turf was at the bottom.
Turf cutting is an age old tradition that connects us to our forefathers.
Listowel Lady on Today
Beautiful, talented broadcaster, Elaine Kinsella joined Dáithí on the orange couch to present the Today programme for two days last week.
She did a great job, relaxed and engaged…a natural.
A Paddy Drury ditty remembered by Brigid O’Brien in San Francisco
Oh sweet Knockanure may the heavens still bless you That dear little spot where the dead do resort You can stand in her Abbey on a bright Autumn morning And see the ships sailing to many a port You can see Co. Clare and the fair town of Ennis And the tide at Duneen as it do rise and fall Travel the wide world over for a burying plantation Knockanure Church you’re the pride of them all.
My Grandfather< Jack Casey of Lower Athea taught me that as a kid!
The Kildare branch of the family, Tony and Mary McKenna, went to see Sive. They enjoyed the show but they preferred more traditional John B. Keane versions.
More Success in the U.S. for a Young Listowel Lady
( Thank you Mary Ursula O’Rourke for alerting me to this story)
Irish Central, November 2023
Dr. Elizabeth Stack has accepted an offer to become the new Executive Director of the American Irish Historical Society (AIHS) in New York.
The AIHS announced the news on X, formerly Twitter, on Tuesday, November 21 and said that Stack will begin her new position on February 1.
Stack, a native of Listowel in Co Kerry who moved to New York in 2009, had been named to the interim board of directors.
was appointed the Executive Director at the Irish American Heritage Museum in Albany, New York in 2018.
Announcing her appointment at the time, the Museum said that Stack would be responsible for all aspects of the Museum’s operations.
Stack previously taught Irish American History and was an Associate Director of the Institute of Irish Studies at Fordham University, where she completed her Ph.D. She also has a master’s degree in Anglo-Irish Relations in the 20th Century from University College Dublin.
When she was appointed as the Irish American Heritage Museum’s Executive Director just over five years ago, Stack said: “I have learned that because emigration is part of the Irish story, and immigration part of the American, there is a reciprocity that exists between both countries that exceeds familial ties or time of arrival. “
Visiting the Horses
Some of the EPA horses warm and cozy in their stables in Kanturk.
Mr. Jiggs, who is 24 years old prefers the outdoors, despite the wet underfoot conditions.
Chabal, Jiggsy’s best friend and constant companion pushed the 24 year old aside so he could be front and centre in the picture.
A giraffe has exactly the same number of bones (seven) in his neck as a human. The giraffe’s bones are just longer.