Christmas crib in Duagh.

photo from 2022

Out of Order

One of the highlights of my trip to Kildare was a visit to the Town Hall Theatre, Kilcullen for a most enjoyable evening of theatre in the company of family and friends.

My daughter Clíona surrounded by her McKenna, O’Neill and Muldoon in-laws in the ample foyer of the theatre.

The play was a fast paced farce full of confusion and misunderstandings and was played to perfection by the local cast.

The part of Miss Worthington was played by Sinead O’Neill who posed for me beside a photo of her late grandfather who was also a member of Kilcullen Drama Group.

The O’Neill’s were out in force to support Sinead.

Mary and Anne O’Neill beside their late father’s photo.

This group has a strong Listowel connection.

There was a period in the 60s and 70s when they staged almost every John B. Keane play.

The group have the most comfortable theatre in which to perform.

This theatre began life as a cinema and it has the marvellous tiered seating and physical closeness associated with a small old style cinema.

The place got a major overhaul in 1999. This huge work was spearheaded by a man called Pat Dunlea. Pat was a garage owner and Volvo dealer. He persuaded Volvo to sponsor the seats.

These are the most comfortable theatre seats you’ll ever sit in.

Seated comfortably, we were treated to a head spinning, laugh a minute adult pantomime.

The action took place in Buswell’s Hotel in Dublin.

In the interval, “Buswell’s staff ” served us tea in china cups.

Another nice touch was the cast came to meet and greet, pose for photos and chat in the foyer after the show.

If you are ever in that neck of the woods and these people are performing be sure to go along. They were just the tonic for a cold evening in Winter.

Christmas at The Claus House

Home Alone

A Christmas poem from Mary McElligott

‘What will I do Mrs Claus?”

Santa rubbed his head.

He really was exhausted.

His legs felt like lead.

His head was pounding, throbbing.

He was frozen to the bone.

Mrs Claus was too busy cleaning,

To listen to him moan.

He was like this every year,

I suppose you’d say, stressed.

She’d listen, support and encourage,

Take out his long sleeved vest.

Christmas Eve was looming,

Three more sleeps to go.

Was it his age? She wondered,

Gosh, t’was hard to know.

Mrs Claus was high dusting,

Changing sheets and beds.

Five hundred elves was no joke,

The last time she counted heads.

One hundred stayed all year

But in October that count went up,

Hard work for Mrs. Claus,

To get it all set up.

She cooked and cleaned their dorms.

She worked out their Rota,

24/7 their job,

Hard, juggling that quota.

She loved it though, being busy,

Loved caring for the elves,

They were like their children,

When they didn’t have any themselves.

Some poor elves were homesick,

In the North Pole for a whole twelve weeks.

She often saw tears flowing,

Down their little cheeks.

She had one big job to sort.

She did it through the year.

It was she who got the elves their gifts,

Brought them their Christmas cheer.

She made several trips down south.

There was a great service from The Pole

But her favorite place to go,

Was a place called Listowel.

It was so tidy and clean,

So pretty, down by the park

And even more beautiful at night,

With with all those blue lights in the dark.

She’d buy all their gifts,

Hats, scarves and gloves for the elves.

She’d pack them in huge cases,

Leaving a bit of space for a few bits for themselves.

She loved Christmas Eve,

Santa gone, the elves in bed.

She’d open up her cases,

Deliver gifts as she’d quietly tread,

Up and down, between the beds,

One hundred in each dorm,

Over and back until the cases were empty,

Finishing up near dawn.

They all get a Christmas bonus,

50 Euros and of course, some sweets,

After all it was Christmas

And you’d have to give them treats.

She’d only just be gone tombed,

When Santa would land in, FROZEN..

She’d leave out coke and cake,

Waiting for him, dozing.

‘How was it Santa?’ she’d ask,

‘Everything go all right with the reindeer?’

“Absolutely perfect Mrs Claus,

Thanks to you. Merry Christmas, my dear.”

A Fact

From Schools’ Folklore collection

Garret Stack went to confession Christmas Eve and he was to go to communion Christmas morning and the clock stopped during the night and he got up and went away thinking it was very late and when he was near Newtown he met a priest and he knew him and that priest was dead and he came down the road and went into Mc. Cabe’s and it was only one o’clock and he stayed there until morning.

Written by Con Shine, Kilbaha, told by his father John Shine.