This lovely tree grows in Listowel Pitch and Putt course in the town’s park.
What a great amenity this park is. The people of Listowel are truly blessed.
Listowel’s Lartigue Railway is celebrating 130 years since it First Ran
To coincide with Listowel History Festival, the good people of Lartigue Museum held a remembrance ceremony to commemorate 130 years since this unique train first ran between Listowel and Ballybunion. Steve Kelly was the official photographer and these lovely photos and lots more are available to purchase from him.
Some of the volunteers with Jimmy Deenihan. Jimmy has always held this project dear and has supported it in every way he can, including donating the proceeds of his memoir.
Local historian, Michael Guerin, who spearheaded the effort to preserve everything to do with The Lartigue and the mainline railway in Listowel. He played a huge part in the restoration project and making sure that this valuable part of Listowel’s history is never forgotten.
The beautifully constructed replica locomotive and carriages. A trip on this train should be on every Listowel person’s bucket list.
As part of the commemoration, the local writing group read some of their compositions. Mary McElligott very kindly shared her poem with us.
Closing my eyes to the whistle,
A door, bangs towards the back,
My train’s moving off slowly,
To a tune, yes a clickety clack.
It’s five o clock in the morning,
I dream as I sit half asleep,
I start to think of all travellers,
Worldwide, as they smile or they weep.
People travel for reasons,
After weekends, returning for work,
Commuting, often long journeys,
From Tralee, Belfast or Cork.
People travel for reasons,
To Dublin ‘Up for that test’,
No one suspects that they’re worried,
As they hold that fear in their chest.
On trains, before, people chatted,
Some people talking nonstop.
Now they’re all on their I Phones,
Or clicking away, on laptops.
Ear phones are strung from both ears,
As music, goes direct to the brain.
Sadly, I can’t change their channel,
As I suffer their ‘beat’ on my train.
I continue to doze and reflect,
On the men who laid all these tracks,
Of lives lost stretching our travels,
Duffy’s Cut and those graves with no marks.
As Amtrak worked near Philadelphia,
They unearthed a history untold,
Irish workers off on their travels,
What happened, a story unfolds?
It is thought, their conditions were dreadful,
As they slaved and starved and got sick,
Cholera swept through the encampment,
Halting them there, on that trip.
Buried, their deaths unreported,
Their families, in Ireland not knowing,
Tracks lead away from their graveside,
As the wheels of that train kept on going.
I can remember Tubrid School as a child,
The tracks ran directly out back.
C.I.E. ran a train for the races
Oh the excitement to see a train on that track.
Listowel, didn’t have trains anymore,
Obsolete, long replaced by a bus
But that week, that journey re enacted,
Oh the style, all the glamour and fuss.
I reflect and remember the stories,
Of the Lartigue and how people would go
To Ballybunnion, their ‘city’ stopover
And how uphill, their train went so slow.
People would get out to push then,
To give the old engine some help.
When passengers returned to their seating,
I can imagine how they must have felt.
Two calves were put in a side car,
Required to balance one cow,
The calves travelling back, separated,
Or if together, offset by a sow.
Great thought went into each journey,
As it hung, in the balance that way.
Just think of the fun for those travellers,
But sure that was all back in the day.
Oh to fly Ryan Air to Dublin,
We’d be there in the blink of an eye,
Fasten seat belts on for the landing,
Not near Millstreet, ready to cry.
I decline an offer for coffee,
As catering, pass through the car.
I keep onto my money for Dublin,
Sure at this stage it’s not very far.
Once more I reflect on a journey,
Where trains travel into a hole,
Clipped under carriage for safety,
Transporting to all of us, coal.
But one image I have are those journeys,
Those travellers that never came back,
Packed into those trucks in huge numbers,
To a tune, yes a clickety clack.
Unknowing, they travelled for days,
With children often lost in the crowd,
Tracks leading into cold stations,
Soldiers, shouting out loud.
Their Religion marked them for travelling,
Tracks lead right through the gates
But St Peter wasn’t there waiting,
No Satan stood with his mates.
Auschwitz, Sobibor and Belsen,
Some of the names that we know,
Thousands and thousands of people,
Across Europe, all on the go.
Why did this ever happen,
How could one man pull along,
All his people and thousands of soldier?
How could they all get it so wrong?
As trains travel all the world over,
We hope that never again,
Will the horrors of history be repeated,
For wars that no one will win.
I think back to a time and I smile,
My son on his knees by the door,
Thomas the Tank running on batteries,
His tracks laid all over the floor.
How safe he was ‘on his travels’,
His world at home with his mom.
Why did those years go so quickly?
In a flash, life has moved on.
Our lives start off as a journey,
We roll on, keeping on track.
We may get derailed at some junctions
But the trick is to never look back.
We hope that we travel on safely,
With a ticket to get through the gate,
So book early online and then you’ll be fine
As tomorrow it may be too late.
Living History at Listowel Military Festival
On Bridge Road on Sunday May 6 2018, the flags flew and the sentry boxes were up.
These three were manning the gate.
This is the last year that the Listowel Spitfire will be in Listowel before it travels to a more permanent home in a museum.
Dan Shine, an old FCA man, brought his grandchildren to see history exhibits.
These are some of the reenactors who were there.
Pres Girls 1950/51
We’re still looking for old photos and memories of Presentation Secondary School. Please hand them into the school or send them by email or post. The forthcoming publication will only be as good as you make it.