Going Nowhere

Cork bus shelter during Covid 19 pandemic.

Photo: John Tangney 


Please Know that you have Made a Difference

Recently Darkness into Light Listowel posted this image and the below text on their Facebook page.

Dear Reader, 
We the committee of Darkness into Light Listowel, wish to inform you that our committee has disbanded.
We have worked tirelessly for the past 8 years to raise much needed awareness & funds to help Pieta House in the prevention of suicide. We have done this from a heartfelt place as many of our members and community have lost loved ones to suicide.
We have raised a total of €180,559.00 over the past 8 years. For this we want to thank each and everyone of you for your generosity and support.
We have struggled for some time over making this decision. As we felt the walks and engagement through them opened up conversation in mental health. However our committee are unhappy with the top management of Pieta House. 
Our aim from the beginning was break the stigma and to be instrumental in saving lives as well as supporting those bereaved by suicide We hope that we have helped in some small way to achieve those aims. Again, our sincere gratitude to all of you who have volunteered over the past 8 years and to everyone who contributed in anyway to achieve this. 
It is with regret and great sadness that we are informing you of our decision. 

Here is my reply to that news;

It was never ever just about the money, folks. Your local committee and volunteers did so much more for our community than just raising money.

You galvanised the local community into enjoyable and engaging events. You brought us together with a common purpose. You brought us fun. You made us proud of ourselves and our combined efforts.

More, so much more than that, you raised awareness of the devastation of mental illnesses and particularly of suicide and self harm.  If you have saved even one life or brought consolation to even one family in your 8 years with us, you will have done a great job.

You gave us HOPE

I walked with families who have been left devastated and heartbroken by suicide. They saw a huge community outpouring of support and consolation. You gave us a way of saying “We are there for you.” when we had no idea how to say it.

Darkness into Light Listowel has left us a legacy that will live forever. Be proud of yourselves and what you have done. Listowel is proud of you.


 Lower Church Street 2017


Ladies in Lourdes

Sometimes an old photograph brings memories flooding back for many people. That is how it was with this photo of a North Kerry pilgrimage to Lourdes in the 1950s. In addition to all the names we already have, Eileen Herman has written from the U.S. to tell us that she recognises some of the women. These are not Listowel women. They are from Brosna where Eileen grew up.

The Brosna ladies are Mrs Katie Moriarty and her two daughters, Josie and Elsie. Elsie Moriarty is at the end right hand side on the back row. Her sister Josie is fourth from right in the back row and her mother is next to her on the left.


Oh, to be a Fly on the Wall

This old photo of John B. Keane, Eamon Kelly and Niall Tóibín appeared on Facebook recently.




Prodigal son detail in the Denny stained glass window in St. John’s Tralee.

When I shared this image recently it prompted Frances Kennedy to send us this poem by Fr. Kevin McNamara of Moyvane


Innocent Pastimes

John O’Connell’s Memoir, continued

 John O’Connell, our storyteller and his beloved wife, Noreen, our scribe

We played Pitch and Toss on the road at Hickey’s gate. There would be a fine gang there on a Sunday evening.  

Searching for and finding birds nests was another great pastime. We each had our  own secret nests and kept an eye on the growing gearrcachs (nestlings) being fed by their mothers.  We always had a canary  or a finch fed on seeds, groundsel or a hard-boiled egg. Finches were sweet singers. There were plenty of linnets and yellow hammers and gold finches, bull finches  and a little bird with a red bit in the centre of his head that we called “Jackie the Cap” as there was plenty seeds from the hay. The corncrake could be heard running along the meadow. I caught one in a rabbit lúb ( loop) once. 

Kishanes or kissanes, (Noreen tells me the word is “Ciseáin” in Irish   as these little fish were scooped up in a little home-made  wicker  basket, a ciseán) were plentiful in the glaise, I often  had  one in a jam crock of water with a bit of moss in it. 

When the hay was cut you could find up to 5 bee hives in the meadow. They were black bees which died out. I put a hive into a biscuit tin and every day for a full month I enjoyed sucking honey from the golden comb. I told no one about it. One night it poured rain and my hive was flooded and my lovely bees drowned. 

I fished for brown trout in the Gale river with a make-shift rod, made from a long stick with a line attached and a piece of gut on that with the hook attached. The “black widow” was a great fly to lure a trout. Sometimes I used worms too.

( I asked Charlie Nolan, my local ornithologist, what a Jackie the Cap might be. He thinks maybe a redpoll. If the ‘cap” had been black , Charlie says it could be a black cap. a bird with a black top on its head and kind of a two tone dark greyish body normally you would see it in the cold frosty winter days and it comes to bird feeders especially likes apples. )