John Kelliher’s photo of the empty racecourse in September 2020 says it all. The sun is setting on a forgettable summer.
Yes, there will be a race meeting this year, but it will be behind closed doors. We’ll have to be happy with watching the races on telly.
Cowboys and Irishmen
Liam Dillon’s story of his mother’s frightening experience in Listowel’s first cinema prompted many cinematic memories for blog followers.
Mattie Lennon thought of Gene Autry, one of the biggest stars of the Cowboy genre.
Gene Autry was a huge star of the silver screen and on Sept 7 1939 he and his horse, Champion, rode in parade near the theatre Royal. The crowd was estimated at 250,000. Autry was known as The Singing Cowboy. His many films were immensely popular on both sides of the Atlantic.
Mattie remembers a line from the late great Seán MacCarthy
Sean Mc Carthy said that when the first chipper was set up in Listowel two fellows came out of the cinema and bought two bags of chips. One of them said, “I don’t care what anyone says, there’s spuds in them.”
Cyril Kelly remembers the first Listowel cinema as well. Here in his own inimitable style is his reminiscence…
My erstwhile neighbour, Liam Dillon, relayed a story about his mother’s scary visit to the first ‘cinema’ in the town. That reminiscence aroused a memory that I have of my own mother and her recollections of the same picture house, aka cinema, aka fleapit. In her accounts the pictures were shown in Cooney’s, a shed/lean-to/stall behind Nurse Donovan’s Nursing Home (next door to North County House) where all the hair-raising episodes seemed to be confined to the brass beds of the lying-in rooms at the front rather than any six guns blazing to the rear. Dickeen Daly was the anti-hero in my mother’s cinema tales (People may recall Dickeen, caretaker to the old Courthouse).
At any rate, during the showing of a picture, Dickeen’s job was to provide sound effects ….remember, this was the silent movie era. So when a new picture came to Cooneys, Dickeen was at the ready for the first few nights with his rattles and whistles and squeaks, plus pebbles and rocks in empty biscuit tins. But, inevitably, as the week wore on and as Dickeen became overly familiar with the latest western or who-done-it, flickering on the whitewashed wall, his stamina was sorely tested. And as Cooney’s ventilation system was not designed to cope with a packed and hyperventilating audience, the poor sound effects man was known to nod off. With the result, audience screams of Dickeen! Dickeen! rang out when the gunfight was at its most ferocious, when the fusillade should have been ear splitting. But by the time Dickeen was roused, and the biscuit tin and the rocks and the pebbles were primed, the soundtrack was merely providing rolling thunder and teeming rain for the victim’s burial on Boothill.
Sic transit gloria mundi.
North Kerry man is new CEO of Lee Strand
Gearóid Linnane takes the next step in his very successful career as he takes up the role of CEO of Lee Strand
Burning in Ballybunion
The 1920’s was a terrible time in Kerry with shootings, reprisals, burnings and brother pitted against brother in a bitter fight that has left scars that are only barely healed today.
John Keane shared this photograph of the RIC barracks in Ballybunion which was burned to the ground.