The Millennium Arch leads to The River Feale

Trees by the bridge


Jimmy Hickey’s story continued

The late Mary Doyle with Jimmy Hickey in 1999

One of the many feathers in
Jimmy’s cap is that he danced to poetry in The National Concert Hall in Dublin.
How did this come about?  Like many
things in Jimmy’s life it happened because someone saw him dance and was so
impressed, they invited him to a bigger show.

Listowel Writers Week invited
Jimmy to give a talk and demonstration on The History of Irish Dance  in 1996 

At the end of the talk Jimmy gave a demonstration of some of the dances and he had dancers on hand to show the steps. He then invited the audience to come and dance with them.  They danced the Patsy Haley.  By the way, The Patsy Haley or Shoe the Donkey is a version of an old European dance called the Versa Vienna.

Jimmy’s dancing partner was Welsh poet, Anne Drysdale, and she enjoyed herself so much she wrote a poem commemorating the occasion.

The Leprechaun Dances

The Pure Drop   Listowel May 19

There’s a knowing look on the
face of the woman

With the big blonde hair and
the succulent bosom

As she reaches deep in the
recessed cleft

And hefts her tits to right
and left

In the swift deft fishing for
a silver string

Whence dangles an amulet, a
pretty little thing

In the shape of a perfect
tiny man.

“I am a man of Ireland

Of the holy land of Ireland;

You sir; whoso’er ye be

If ye’ve an ounce of charity

I pray to God ye’ll dance with me

In Ireland.”

She draws him forth from her
deep dark place

And she wipes the fluff off
his fierce little face

He has eyes all lined from
winking and grinning,

A head like a hazelnut, black
hair thinning,

And a serge suit shining at
the pressure points.

Then, whipping the linchpins
out of his joints

She sets him dancing on the
polished floor.

I am etc.”

Like the ring of a hammer on
my hard heart’s door

Is the knocking of his hard
little shoes on the floor

High in the sir he twists and

While my stomach plummets and
my hard heart dances

And the taut serge shines on
his dear little bum

As it hovers out of reach
like a shrink wrapped plum

And the loose change jiggles
in his pocket.

I am etc.”

And now in the night when
sleep comes hard

And the old dog howls in the
empty yard

I can hear the sound of the
dancing man

Like an old tin whistle or a
sad bodhrán

And I make him a promise that
as soon as can be

I will go to Listowel and
I’ll set him free

And I’ll wind him up and
he’ll dance for me

For I’ve seen the place where
he keeps his key…

And I’ll remember it for as long as I live!

Anne Drysdale

Another lady who was present was Anne
Hartigan, poet. She admired Jimmy’s dancing and proposed that he compose a
dance to which she would write a poem. The dance and the poem were composed and
Jimmy and Anne practiced it in Ballygrennan, with Jimmy dancing on an old half

“My feet were the music to
her poetry.”

Later that year the
Kerryman’s association in Dublin were organizing a big £100 a ticket
fundraiser. They asked Jimmy and Anne to perform their unique dance to poetry.
There were 1,000 people in attendance and Dan Collins was the M.C. The audience
were spellbound by the rhythmic taps of the dancer to the cadence of Anne
Hartigan’s poem, What Way the Wind Blows which Jimmy choreographed in jig time
and Little Lord of Death which he danced in reel time. Jimmy wrote out the
steps in the old Gaelic notation of seimhiús and síne fades. 

This unique
performance was greatly appreciated by the audience.

As far as Jimmy knows this
has never been done before or since.


Listowel Knitwits at Holy Smoke

It’s Friday October 22 2016 and Listowel Knitwits are on tour. The party included shopping, an overnight stay in the Silver Springs hotel and the highlight, a meal in Cork’s most talked about new restaurant, Holy Smoke.

 Holy Smoke is the Cork restaurant where chef, John Relihan of Duagh, Allos and Barbacoa is now delighting palates. I met him by chance on Patrick Street as he was returning to his kitchen with produce fresh from Cork’s famous English Market.

 The restaurant is not easy to find. All the young folks know it though as it is situated in a complex with a popular bar and club.

This is the entrance to the complex. Holy Smoke is round the corner in Little Hanover Street.

This is the gang at the door. We were a little older than most of the other clientele. The restaurant specialises in good value meat dishes cooked “low and slow” accompanied by slaws and salads.

One of our Knitwits has a special relationship with John Relihan. Helen OConnor is John’s godmother. Little did she think when he was a pageboy at her wedding that one day she would dine in his restaurant when he was a celebrity chef.

I apologise for the poor quality of the photographs. The lighting was not designed with photographers in mind. The gang had a great night and a great meal and we all enjoyed the V.I.P. treatment.


A Pig and A Nun Walked into a Bar…..

My niece Christine won the prize for best costume at her boyfriend, Andrew’s, Halloween party at the weekend.