Pat Nolan’s Corner, Charles Street in February 2024

A Poem

Mick O’Callaghan muses on the little trials of life when one shares space with a cat or dog

Feline and canine indiscretions

I must say I love gardening.

I get such mental and stress relief 

From my regular communing with nature 

Gardening is a very relaxing exercise.

When I am planting and weeding, 

While pruning roses with my sharp secateurs

Digging up the fresh earth to the delight of birds

As they forage for any worms around

Which are silly enough to stick a head above ground,

In my raking, hoeing, and forking in fertiliser.

In bending, stretching, and pulling, 

Pushing the wheelbarrow along

My muscles are stretched on a regular basis.

Relaxing too as I sit on my garden bench

Sipping coffee, nibbling fruit or scoffing biscuits

Soaking up the lovely perfumed natural aromas around

From carnations, azaleas, dahlias, and roses

It is all sheer heavenly bliss.

But occasionally I am taken aback. 

While on my knees weeding

 I touch some offending matter 

In the form of feline indiscretion 

The scent and aroma are rather foul .

Disgusting, stomach wrenching stuff

I curse the cats with expletives most foul.

Their owners too, 

Who allow them to relieve their bowels

Onto my hallowed lawns edge

And on my manicured flower beds

I arise from my knees, cursing internally.

I scramble indoors to clean off the offending matter.

Scrubbing my fingers and hands with soap and hot water

With annoyance and anger bubbling up inside me

I now just abandon my gardening for a wee while.

And decide to head for a walk in the Town Park instead

To becalm my rising feline aroused anger.

I don my  runners and progress out the front door

I pass by Sean Lios Houses and arrive in The Park

To begin my circuits before it gets dark 

While strolling, I scent a strange smell

Which follows me around and lingers like hell

In the air around my personal space.

 I bring it home to the hall in my head.

As I cross the threshold, I get a strange feeling

Senior house management greets me strangely,

Commenting on the stinking smell now pervading the house

I am quickly banished outside the front door

To take off my runners and examine them more

Whereupon I note some foreign matter

In the form of stinking rotten dog poo most foul

All clogged between the ridges of my runners.

I take them off and I was banished to the yard. 

And am ordered to do some immediate de-fumigation

So, I take out garden hose, brush, and disinfectant

To clean doggie poo matter 

From the parts of my runners that were canine infected

So now disinfected I’m allowed back into the hall.

I reflect on my day, and I curse humans who have the gall

To let their darling four-legged friends 

Deposit their excrement in public at their will.

I don’t own a cat or dog, never did, never will.

And still here I am, inconvenienced, discommoded.

By the indiscriminate depositing actions 

Of purring feline and barking canine household pets 

Whose owners are not fully aware just yet

Of the toileting habits of their darling pets

And certainly, need more training 

In poo bagging and binning

To avoid poo litter sinning.


Look mom, no hands,

Look mom, no lock.

I was delighted, if a little surprised, to see a young visitor park their bike without a thought to its safety.

Trying to Make a Connection

Here is an email from the postbag. Maybe someone is researching the same family and would like to get in touch.

Hi Mary,

I have done some research on my family name and have traced my great-great grandfather and he had come from Listowel.

I am come from Australia to play in the Over 70 football World Cup in Cardiff Wales in August, and looking at coming to Listowel as well.

His name was William Joseph Pierse born 1815 maybe 1819, died 1861 aged 42 or 47? There are 2 death ages on the same document. 

His father may have been a surgeons tool maker in Listowel maybe David Pierse? 

There is one search at says William was born in 1829? But this made him too young and David Pierse father born 1810 which makes him too young.

Maybe there was two William Pierse from Listowel born 10 years apart.

He, William, became a surgeon, studying at LAC Dublin and came to Australia as a ships surgeon in 1852. 

The ship sank in Port Phillip bay and he stayed and married a passenger Elissa Newman.

From here I can follow the family history and how our name changed to the spelling Pierce in the late 1890’s

Told the Pierse with S was Catholic and getting work for Irish Catholic’s was hard in Australia then.

I have seen that you have had other enquires about the same name maybe you have some more info for me before I come.

Keith Pierce.  Sydney Aust.

An Spideog concluded

David Kissane

Post Torun

The weeks after Torun brought some challenging stories for some who had been involved in those championships. The story of our Kerry walking colleague Pat Murphy and his severe stroke was among the more unfortunate ones. Pat’s courage has seen him walking again at Christmas. 

When the British Masters walk championships got underway in Derby on a warm September Saturday, my opponent from Torun, Ian Torode was not at the starting line. Hopefully he will be in London in February for the indoors. 

And there were more sad stories also. We know we are not getting any younger, but surely we should be allowed to get a bit luckier. This scribbler can account himself among the lucky ones this summer. After a day that began at 6am in July at the national juvenile championships in Tullamore coaching and doing photography, I fell asleep in my van on the way home. No one injured. Luckily. My beloved van wasn’t so lucky and is now recycled. Information suggests that the neck pain and PT playbacks will fade but my advice to any driver is…do not drive when weary. One in five fatal road accidents are due to tiredness. 

                                                        Dancing in the dark

But the post-Torun period brought some new departures. My walking colleague Serena analysed a missing ingredient to my training. She has a keen eye for such things. She got the bright idea that early morning runs would suit her lifestyle. Would I like to join her? I thought it was some kind of joke, because Serena can be very funny. At times!

Anyway, why not, I says. So began a series of dawn walks/jogs/runs. Up at 6am, in the Ardfert Recreation Centre at 6.30am and watch the sun rise. Serena’s friend Sharon started the sessions also, and she was becoming quite a walker/runner when fate led her in another direction. Then Denis joined in for a while, then Martina, then Marian, then Lisa and a few more on occasion. My cynical neighbour called us the ARC Angels! 

But I was hooked. Even when Serena couldn’t attend, especially if she was after getting her hair done or such like, the dawn runs/walks became obligatory in my schedule. It was indeed one of the missing links in my previous training regime. 

And then April became May and the mornings got brighter and the birds sang for us and June became July and I was able to celebrate my 70th birthday with a morning walk. And August became September and mornings had broken like the first mornings, to quote the song. October morphed into November and the mornings became so dark that we couldn’t see each other. Serena said that was no bad thing! It became a Mick Molloy/Martin McEvilly situation. Running in the dark. Dancing in the dark. 

It carried us through the national outdoors, the British Masters, the Dublin Marathon, the cross country season and the 10K national walks. Then December brought some wet pre-dawns as well morning starry skies – the plough in the stars was so near once that I could have ploughed a furrow with it. Now I am instructed to be at the ARC in the morning at 6.30 for the first 2024 session.

It’s been some journey from crossing the Wisla in March to crossing the Spideog today on January 1st. 2024

Let the magic and the madness continue.

He Did It

When a contestant wins at Countdown for 8 consecutive weeks he is declared an octochamp and he is retired from competition until the finals in June.

Jack Harvey, with the very tenuous Listowel connection (see previous post), has achieved that honour. And he didn’t need a conundrum to get him there.

A Fact

During WW2 a complete blackout was observed in the cities and towns of Britain so that German bombers could not easily find their targets in the dark.

However, furnaces from steam trains glowed brightly and could be spotted by enemy navigators. If a train driver heard a plane overhead, he knew that the plan would be to follow the line of light and be led straight to a town or airfield. So train drivers were instructed , if they heard an aircraft, to pull into the nearest siding and leg it away from the train.

These were, of course, goods trains, so no passengers to evacuate.