Long Tailed Tit

Photo by Pauline Doran , finalist in Irish Wildlife Trust’s Photography Competition.


Observing the Pieties

The following poem by the late Gary MacMahon was given to me by his brother, Owen. It is a great run through of all the old traditional practices in Kerry long ago. Thankfully many of these customs are still preserved here.

Observing the Pieties

Garry MacMahon

I confess I’m a creature of habit, as down life’s road I go

Observing annual rituals is a must for me, and so

Before the crib at Christmas Eve I kneel with all the clan

And on the feast of Stephen go to Dingle for the wran.

Then for sweet St. Brigid’s Day a straw cross I have made

To hang upon the threshold whereon it will be laid.

In the house of my Redeemer I chant a hymn of praise

My throat criss crossed with candles on the feast day of St. Blaise.

Shrove Tuesday I eat pancakes dipped in honey from the hive

And thank the Lord that yet I live and another year survived,

And when the long gospel is read before the end of Lent

Home I take the blessed palm and breathe its sacred scent.

On Good Friday I buy hot cross buns and before the day is past

Gather cockles from the sea shore and keep the old black fast

And then on Easter morn I rise to see the dancing sun come forth

Not forgetting Patrick’s Day between, as the shamrock I still sport.

The coming of the swallow, the awakening of the earth

The promise of a primrose I await with bated breath,

And lest ill luck should follow me and give me cause to grieve

I never bring whitethorn to the house upon May Eve.

June bonfires once I lighted on the feastday of St. John

A custom all but vanished as relentless time moves on.

July sees me hit for Milltown and Willie Clancy in the County Clare

In Marrinan’s pub I pay my sub and a song or two sing there.

And then its Munster Final time and the piper must be paid

To Thurles, Cork, Killarney the pilgrimage is made.

Again I fetch my fishing rod before the season’s out

Take the time to wet a line and coax elusive trout.

To the Pattern of the Virgin, from thence on to Puck Fair

The Races of Listowel come next and I’m certain to be there.

Dew drenched fields provide me with mushrooms gleaming white

While plump and juicy blackberries for my sore eyes are a sight.

When comes November of the souls and all the leaves are shed

Will you light a candle then for me as I do for the dead?

You’ve heard an old man’s story, each word I swear is true,

Be blessed thrice, take this advice I now implore of you

Don’t turn your back on dúchas or on history’s learned lore

And pass it on before it’s gone and lost forever more.


Working Hard on our Behalf

I met these hard working tidy towners on Tuesday May 7 2019. They were still working hard when I came out of my meeting.


Slow Mail in Moyvane in 1894

Kerry Sentinel Saturday, January 13, 1894; Page: 3


A move has been made by the inhabitants of Newtown and the surrounding district with a view of inducing the Post Office Officials to accelerate the postal service between Listowel and Newtown. At present letters posted in Listowel for Newton have first to go to Limerick, then to Tarbert, and from thence by foot to Newtown. The roundabout could be easily avoided by running a mail car direct from Listowel to Newtown, and it is to be hoped that the Post Office may recognise the benefits which the adoption of the change would effect, and the desirability of connecting Listowel more immediately with the surrounding districts.


Reynard, Up Close

This brave fellow stopped to pose for me  at my old home in Kanturk last week.


Kildare Town Library

I was in Kildare for the weekend and I took the opportunity to deliver some Listowel Writers’ Week brochures to the libraries round about. This is me delivering to the Kildare Town librarian, Orla.  Orla loved the programme and resolved there and then do to her best to come to the festival.  She is really knowledgeable about books and loves reading. Her library runs four book clubs!


Listowel Town Square, May 13 2019

Upgrade works have started. Should only take a few days.

Vicar Joe photobombed my picture.