Holly at the Bridge


Adventures on Returning Home in November 2016

Recently I went back to my roots for the sad occasion of the funeral of my Aunty Nun, Sr. Perpetua Hickey of The Convent of Mercy, Charleville, Co. Cork.  She wasn’t really my aunt at all. Her sister was married to my uncle, but all my life she was known to me as she was to all her nieces and nephews as Aunty Nun.

The Mercy sisters in Charleville are lucky in that they still live in their convent in the centre of town. Unlike so many sisters nowadays, they live in familiar surroundings among people they have lived with all their adult lives.

The wake in the convent chapel was like taking a step back in time.

The coffin of Sr. Perpetua was shouldered by relatives and friends the short distance from the convent that was her home to the nearby parish church.


Never a Dull Moment

I love to go home to Kanturk. My old home is a warm welcoming place always full of bustle, friends, family and incident.

One incident from this visit will not be forgotten in a hurry.

I was stung by a Kanturk wasp  on November 26 2016!!!!!

On a more pleasant note I got to see Duhallow Hunt gather for their meet in Kanturk and on Day 2 of my visit I got to see the farrier at work on EPA’s new acquisition who is called after Conor Murray. In case you are new to my blog, the Aherns naming convention sees all their horses named after rugby players.

That is my brother in his element, among fellow horse lovers.

These beautiful hounds waited patiently some distance away as the hunt got mounted and ready.

Their handlers know every one of these hounds by name .

They only leave their waiting spot when instructed to do so.

Here they are, heading out on the Greenfield Rd. ahead of the hunt.

It was a perfect day for riding out, cold, crisp and dry.


The Farrier

The forge is a thing of the past. The farrier or blacksmith now comes to you. Luckily, while I was still at home, C.J. called to shoe Conor. The horse behaved impeccably for his first experience with the farrier. 

“Thank you, Pat”


Kitchener… a friend’s account of him from the archives

Northern Star (Lismore, NSW ):

Wed. 5th July 1916




Mr. Michael Byrnes, who is now on a visit to Manly, was a schoolmate

of Kitchener’s

” It- is over 55 years ago,” says ‘Mr. Byrnes, since Lord Kitchener

went to the old National School at Kilflinn, Sweet County Kerry, which

I attended. It was half-way between Listowel and Tralee, and his

father, .(Colonel Kitchener), had a farm called Crotta Domain. My

recollections of the boy Kitchener are very distinct, although it is

so many yours ago. We were neighbours and playmates together, and

always ‘the best of chums. We were just about the same age, both

under 10 years, and we were both literature lovers and rambled about

the beautiful countryside in each other’s company. Although there

was nothing very remarkable about the boy in the way of cleverness

at school, yet I’vealways vividly remembered him through the long

years. No doubt he had a personality; He was a very strange boy in

many ways, very reserved, and studious. 

He preferred being by himself very often, not that he was stuck up in

any shape or form, and although not many of his schoolmates shared his

confidences, he was liked and respected by the. whole of them, and

enjoyed a popularity which was strange considering his studious moods

and attitude of aloofness. He never cared for footall or hurling, but

was passionately fond of horses. He was always happy on horseback, and

loved to follow the hounds. The sight of the huntsmen and the, dogs

and the sound of the horn, always woke him out of his usual

seriousness, and he used to get very excited and enthusiastic when the

meets were on.

At school he was not by any means a dull boy,  I said before, he

didn’t, to our minds at least, show any signs of cleverness. The

masters, however, thought a lot of him, and he always managed to get

through his lessons without difficulty.

Every summer we boys used to spend a month at a Strand, a little

watering place on the sea.Young Kitchener always came with us?  we

all stayed with uncles and aunts of mine. With all of my family he was

a great favourite and the womenfolk particularly were fond of the 

gentlemanly, quiet lad. Strange to say, he had  a dread of deep water

a big wave would always drive him back to shore, and he would never go

in any depth. The remarkable thing was that he was utterly fearless

in every other direction. Looking back on his extraordinarily boyish

fear of the deep sea, it appears uncannily, pathetic now that he has

found a lonely grave in the depths of the ocean.

There are some stories of the late Lord Kitchener that convey the

idea that he was official and unapproachable, but my experience of him

to me, on that memorable morning of his visit to Sydney,’ showed that

he was possessed of indeed very human qualities. 


What I’m Reading

Best :Loved Poems; This is an absolutely lovely book and perfect for a present for a lover of literature and pictures and perfect for a lover of Kerry.

The poems are introduced and curated by Gabriel Fitzmaurice and the photographs are by John Reidy,

The collection includes one of my favourite poems; 

Though there are Torturers by Michael Coady

Though there are torturers,

 There are also musicians


Though the image of God

 is everywhere defiled,

A man in West Clare,

Is playing the concertina