Road from the library

Ballybunion, A visitor’s Angle

Text and photos from Raymond O’Sullivan on Facebook

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” – Henry DavidThoreau.

This is a ‘mantra’ that I repeat continuously to my charges on school history tours.  Looking is a passive, surface-level act; seeing is an active process of interpretation.  But, due to aggressive modern ‘landscaping’, they would be forgiven for not noticing that the iconic castle overlooking the beaches in Ballybunion was built on the site of a much earlier coastal promontory fort. 

These forts, generally assigned to the Iron Age, consist of promontories connected to the mainland by a narrow neck of land and defended elsewhere by steep cliffs. On the landward side they are defended by earthen banks and fosses.

In Ballybunion the path from the beach seems to pass through the fosse between the two outer banks, before bursting through the inner of the two into the castle green itself. There is a much eroded third bank nearer the castle. The few that have been investigated show that they were not permanent occupation sites. Probably only used in times of trouble. Check it out the next time you’re in BallyB.

The castle was built in the early 16th century by a branch of the Geraldines. They placed a Bonzan family there as caretakers. Bonzan-Bunyan, Bunion- this family gave its name to the place.

Flowers in Tralee

A Poem


There is little joy in growing old, some maturing people say

As they get stressed with the ageing process, trying to cope

With health, death of partners, accommodation

And who will look after their daily needs as they age

Their household and personal requirements

Finances, health issues, nursing home facilities

Or maybe they want to keep their own independence

Will family members pop in and assist with household chores

Will they be able to cook and mind the house

With assistance from home help and meals on wheels

What family member has space in their home where they can live for a while

Will they be able to get respite care when they need it.

Decisions, decisions, mostly out of older peoples’ control

They are really difficult decisions to be decided

Which put a strain on family relations

This can result in arguments and bitter feuds

Which are sometimes nasty and deeply wounding

Often caused by some simple silly remark

Or misrepresentation of some retort

Which should be ignored by sensible  people involved

Sadly, this does not happen on a regular basis

Forgiveness is often forgotten about

I am sorry, I regret what I said or why can’t people say

Sorry I misunderstood what you said or did

Instead of prolonged shouting and arguments

Followed by legal advisers and costly court cases

These bitter family feuds can go on for years and years

Causing more stress, anxiety and tears

This is so sad when a family member dies

And some other members refuse to attend

Wakes, reposing, masses, funerals or cremation services

Tensions are unfortunately unnecessarily risen

There are stern stressed looking countenances

When feuding members meet socially or on the street

Scowling and frowning and attempting avoidance

Eyes down, looking in the other direction

With every facial and body muscle tensed and stressed out

When a simple hello how are you?

Or warm embrace or a hug or handshake

                                                      Could soothe and resolve the nastiest of rows.

In my life I have seen family members excluded from wills

Court cases ensuing, arguments, fights and injuries

Even death and murder most foul

Caused by not getting a few acres of land

A bit of financial endowment or house in a will

And mental and physical stress continues to the grave and beyond.

Mick O Callaghan. June 2024

I love the chorus line of Ken Dodds song  ‘Tears’ written in 1930 that goes ‘Let’s forgive and forget
Turn our tears of regret ,Once more to tears of happiness’

Or as the American journalist, author and world peace advocate, Norman Cousins [1915-1990] said ‘Life is an adventure in forgiveness’.

’What a great country we would have if we could have more forgiveness and less tears and regrets.

A Definition

from The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce

barometer n. an ingenious instrument which indicates what kind of weather we are having.

A Fact

In 1908 the morse code signal …—… became the worldwide standard for help.