The Big Bridge at Night

Photos by Deirdre Lyons on November 4 2016


You’ll Love This!

Danny Hannon gave me a VHS tape of the official opening of The Garden of Europe but I couldn’t do anything with it so that I could share it with you. Then I surmised that if a tape existed,  someone must have videoed the event. As luck would have it, I ran into Charlie Nolan on my morning walk and sure enough, it was he who did the job. True to his word he dropped me in a dvd of the big day.  You will love seeing the faces of your old friends, sadly some of them now passed and gone.

I did not attend the opening so I never knew that I missed one of the best speeches I have ever heard by a Listowel man. Paddy Fitzgibbon’s speech at the opening of the Garden of Europe in 1995 is a gem. 

Official Opening of The Garden of Europe May 1995

Danny told me that the original intention was to have a piece of sculpture from each of the 12 countries in their respective gardens. Germany was the only country that responded to that request so that is why we have Schiller and the Holocaust memorial today.


Launch of The Best of Billy Keane in The Listowel Arms, Saturday November 5 2016

Gabriel Fitzmaurice was our MC. Joanna O’ Flynn performed the launch and Mickey McConnell and Fergal Keane provided the entertainment.

Me with the author

Billy signs a book for Liz Dunne, chair of Listowel Writers’ Week, watched by Gabriel Fitzmaurice and Jim Dunne.

Lainey and John Keane, Gabriel Fitzmaurice, Joanna O’Flynn and Elaine Keane


From Laois to Kerry

(Book review from The Irish Catholic)

From Laois to Kerry by Michael Christopher Keane 

(Beechgrove, Ovens, Cork 

€20 + P&P; contact:

J. Anthony Gaughan

This little book falls into two parts. The first deals with the
Laois origins and continuing presence in Kerry of the Moores, Kellys, Dowlings,
Lawlors, Dorans, Dees, and McEvoys. The second part records the remarkable
lives of their transplanter and landlord Patrick Crosbie and his successor Sir
Pierce Crosbie,

The above surnames are among the most popular family names in
North Kerry at present.  The ancestors of those people once resided in
what is now known as Co Laois.  This is an account of why and how they
were transplanted to Kerry by Patrick Crosbie in 1607-9.

The surnames belonged to members of the Seven Septs (clans) of
the O’Moore territory.  In the early seventeenth century they opposed
attempts by the English to pacify the midlands.  Eventually they were
vanquished and their leader, Owny Rory O’Moore, was killed in battle. 

The authorities in London decided to expel the Seven Septs from
their ancestral lands and replace them with loyalist settlers.  Land was
available in Kerry following the ethnic cleansing of Munster during the
Elizabethan-Desmond war.  Patrick Crosbie, who already had extensive
landholdings, was given a grant of some 25,000 acres in North Kerry and
undertook to settle the O’Moore Septs as tenant farmers on his new acquisition.

Michael Keane, himself a descendant of one of the Septs, traces
the continuing strong presence of the Laois Sept descendants in Kerry through
the centuries down to the present day. 

He also records that some members of the Seven Septs were able
to avoid the transplantation by taking refuge in forests and other inaccessible
places.  In addition some of the original transplantees, despite a
sentence of death being imposed on those who returned, found their way back to
their ancestral lands.  Hence the prevalence of their surnames also in Co
Laois today.

In part II the author provides detailed profiles of Patrick
Crosbie (d. 1610) and his son Sir Pierce Crosbie (1590 -1646).  Patrick
Crosbie also known as Patrick MacCrossan belonged to a family who were rhymers
to the O’Moore chiefs.  This, Keane points out, is the generally accepted
view of post-1922 historians.  In so doing he makes some insightful
comments on the claims of historical revisionism. 

Patrick Crosbie was better than most other people at weaving his
way through the corrupt and Machiavellian politics of his time.  From the
1580s onwards he was a trusted English ally for which he received grants of
extensive landholdings in Queens County (now Laois) and Kerry.


Sir Pierce Crosbie inherited
Tarbert along with extensive land and properties in North Kerry and Laois
following the death of his father in 1610.  He was close to the royal
court, where he acted first as cupbearer and then gentleman to the king’s
chambers.  A member of the Irish Parliament and of the Privy Council, he
was also a distinguished military commander and was involved in successful
campaigns on the continent.  After crossing swords with Thomas Wentworth,
the Lord Deputy, he found himself in jail.  However, following Wentworth’s
execution for treason, he soon regained his standing at the royal court. 

Despite the dominance of the
Protestant religion and the advantages of subscribing to it, Pierce appears to
have remained a Catholic throughout his life and had a prominent role in the
Catholic Confederacy in his later years. When he died in 1646, the Crosbie
legacy in Kerry was assured.  By virtue of their extensive landholdings
the family was to dominate the local politics and society of the county for the
next three hundred years.

This study of the Crosbies
and their tenants from Co Laois is a valuable contribution to the local history
of North Kerry, and will be of particular interest to those bearing the
surnames of the Seven Septs of the O’Moore county.


Humans of Listowel

Agnes Heaphy and Elaine Foran, two Listowel ladies I met while I was praying for the dead in John Paul ll graveyard recently.