Photo: Jim MacSweeney, Mallow Camera Club


The Bad old Days

You’ve heard of shotgun marriages. Now I have for you a shotgun non marriage.



It’s a Long way from Silale in Lithuania  to Listowel in Co. Kerry


Brigita Formaliene
is the new proprietor of Scribes Café in Church Street, Listowel, a long
way from her native Lithuania.

Patrick McCrea sent this photo of a typical winter scene in Lithuania. This is his 

ice-bound local river.

Brigita has swapped the below zero temperatures of her native land for the milder Irish winters. 

She has one
brother who now lives in Tralee. She lost her father recently and her mother
lives in Lithuania.

grandmother had a huge influence on the young girl. While her mother was
working and during school holidays the young Brigita spend all her time with
her Nana. She was a seamstress and she lived in the centre of the little
village near Brigita’s home. Her’s was a sort of Lithuanian rambling house.
There were always parties and celebrations going on. Nana’s house was next to
the church and on feastdays and other religious occasions Brigita’s Nana threw
parties for the priests and the people. These parties had to be catered for and
from about age ten Brigita was cooking and baking and she grew to love making
cakes and pastries. Her grandmother was a skilled needlewoman and Brigita too
has a gifted pair of hands. She can produce the most delicate crochet work or
knitted garments .

Brigita with her Nana on her wedding day

Since she was a
little girl, Brigita wanted to be a teacher. So, after school she went on to
teacher training college. Part of her course involved work experience in a
school and it was then that Brigita realized that teaching was not for her.

Brigita admits
that some of her most monumental life changing decisions were made in a flash.
She decided to leave college and go to the USA to perfect her English. She
spent a year in the U.S. working as an au pair.

She returned to
Lithuania with fluent English and the idea of teaching English as a foreign

She met and fell
in love with Almantas. After a whirlwind romance they were married. Soon they
had their lovely daughter, Mileta, and then it was a case of  “Where will we go
now?’ They decided on Norway. Almantas found work and they were happy there but
soon Brigita returned home to Lithuania.

The young family
was anxious to be together. Brigita’s friend, Aurelia, was living in Ireland
and working in Scribes in Listowel and she persuaded the young couple to try

When the Formaliene
family came to Kerry first, they lived in Firies and Brigita found work in a crèche.

Aurelia introduced
them to Namir Karim. Namir and Brigita soon became friends. They discovered
that they shared a love of food and baking. Brigita’s idea of a nice day off is
to spend it in the kitchen baking.

Brigita’s family today, her husband Almantas and their daughters Melita and Emma

Brigita left her
job in Firies and  started work  in Scribes in 2015. She loved the work and she
grew to love the Listowel people. Soon she had relocated to Lixnaw and was
working in Scribes  regularly .

Before Christmas
2017 Namir decided to leave Listowel, to concentrate on his businesses in
Ballybunion. Again, Brigita did not take too much time to mull over her next
move. She would take over the lease on Scribes. Her family helped her to
redecorate and soon she was open for business in her very own restaurant.

Scribes offers  a small menu of good food. People will be  queueing up to taste her delicious red velvet
cake or her apple tart and home made custard. Her friend makes a  traditional Lithuanian honey cake
that is to die for.

Maybe Brigita’s
wanderlust has been satisfied now and she will settle to business in lovely

This week’s Scribes speciality is Cinnamon Swirl Pancakes served with almond flakes and scoop of vanilla ice-cream ! They were mouthwateringly delicious.

Brigita lives in
Lixnaw with her husband and their two daughters, Melita and Emma.


Stained Glass Windows

I love a good stained glass window. The ones above are in Duagh.

As I’ve recounted here before the newest such window in Kerry is in St. John’s Tralee. Now I’ve discovered a brilliant post online with great text and great close photos of the Tom Denny window.

Roaringwater Journal

This is St. John in his camel hair coat

This is the father hugging his prodigal son. The theme of the window is reconciliation.

If you have any interest in Tralee or in stained glass art do click on the link above.


A Little Highlighted Problem

Shane MacAulliffe is in Zanzibar and he posted this local issue on his Facebook page

90% of Zanzibar’s seaweed farmers are women. Their incomes have fallen dramatically in recent years for two reasons. One is that they cannot compete with the cheaper grown seaweed in Asia and also the rising sea temperatures have caused seaweed to die. Once one of Zanzibar’s most important exports, seaweed is shipped to Asia and Europe where it is used in cosmetics.


Just a Thought

Thank you to all the people who listened to my Just a Thoughts on Radio Kerry last week. Just in case you missed them and would like to hear them, here is the link

Just a Thought ; Week beginning Jan 15 2018