Two different views of the same beach, An Clochar in Corca Dhuibhne. Photo: Éamon ÓMurchú


Moran’s Hotel

I’ve had a few suggestions as to who the girls in Luaí ÓMurchú’s photo might be but no more definite than the leading three.

Miriam Kiely who lived in that part of town remembers her neighbours on the street well.

The building with the upstairs bay window was Moran’s Hotel, then Quirke’s and now Fitzpatrick’s. Various different catering enterprises operated in this premises.

Miriam remembers that the gardaí used to come there for their meals. The hotel is located opposite the guards’ barracks and back in the day the gardaí used to live in the barracks. Listowel often had a cohort of handsome young gardaí who made quite a stir as they made their way across to Moran’s every day for their dinner.

On First Holy Communion Day, the girls got their communion breakfast in the convent and the boys from the nearby Scoil Réalt na Maidine went to Moran’s for their repast.

For many years Morans did the catering on The Island for Listowel Races.

Eileen Moran married Joe Quirke. They bought Chute’s chip shop and added a fast food outlet to their catering offerings.

Miriam also has a theory about the car in the picture. She thinks it may have belonged to a Moriarty, a bookie. She remembers many trips to Ballybunion in Moriarty’s car and it looked very like this one.


More from the Michael O’Connor Collection

Some more of the intricate, detailed works of art, painstakingly drawn and illustrated by the late Michael O’Connor of The Square.

I’m looking forward to seeing these marvellous works in reality. Hopefully they will soon return to their artist creator’s home in Kerry Writers’ Museum.


A Poem by John McGrath

from his anthology, Blue Sky Day

A Time For Dancing

Our lives proceed in rhythms of their own,

Sometimes in waves that dash from stone to stone,

Sometimes a soothing, softly murmuring flow,

A ride to cherish, be it quick or slow.

A river by a highway, river-paced,

Not rushing by as if by demons chased,

With time for wine and dancing in the night

Or fiddle fit to put the moon to flight –

But lest you perish in the deafening din,

Life trades her fiddle for a violin,

Soft lights, sweet music and a moon that lingers,

Eyes that are smiling just for you, and fingers

To soothe your soul just like the murmuring stream.

A time for dancing and a time to dream.


The Last of the Islanders

This photograph was republished in The Irish Examiner this week. It shows the boat carrying the men of The Great Blasket to their new homes in the mainland in 1953.

An Blascaod Mór was like a little independent republic for many years. Despite the many many hardships and deprivations, its people loved the island and they grew strong and resilient there. A corpus of literary work in size out of all proportion to the little scrap of land, grew out of that sparse but contented lifestyle.

Eventually the islanders relented and could take the harsh life no longer when the illness and death of a beloved local boy was the last straw for them. The death occurred during a storm when they couldn’t cross the sound. This proved a test too far. The islanders were getting old and less well able to take the hardship any longer.

They sent this famous telegram to De Valera “Storm bound, distress, send food, nothing to eat.”

The government heard their plea for help and they were uprooted from the only life they knew and relocated inland. The picture tells its own story. These men are being rescued but they look far from happy.