Photo by Donal Murphy of Mallow Camera Club from their People at Work project
The Stack’s Mountains by John B. Keane (continued)
I returned every year to the
Stacks’ Mountains for those long summer holidays until I reached the age of
fifteen. I still frequently return to the warm secure home where I was reared
when Hitler was shrieking his head off in Berlin and innocent Irishmen were
dying in distant places like Tobruck and Alamain, men from The Stacks at that,
long before their time, in useless carnage, carefree boys whose only weapon
until that timewere the hayfork and the turf slean, who wanted only the right
to work and play and find a place at the table.
I had already written a short
book about the matchmaker Dan Paddy Andy O’Sullivan but if his name crops up
now and again, don’t hold it against me. Dan was to The Stacks’ Mountain what
bark is to a tree. Any cur síos about the Stack’s Mountain would be incomplete
without Dan Paddy Andy. Dan would, no doubt, have been the most famous name in
the area. The wealthiest is a man in England who doesn’t like having his name
The Second World War was the
best time to be in The Stacks Mountain. There was no man nor boy who didn’t
have a shilling in his pocket. There was an insatiable demand for turf and
Lyreacrompane was the home of it. Man, woman and child took to the bogs across
the summers and, for the first time in the history of that much abused, much
deprived community every person who wasn’t disabled or sick had a pound or two
Buyers would come from
Tralee, Castleisland, Abbeyfeale and Listowel on the lookout for likely
roadside ricks to fill the wagons waiting at the railway depots in the
aforementioned towns. Those who journed to the towns with horse, ass, mule and
pony rails were often met a mile outside with buyers with orders to fill. In addition, Kerry County Council initiated a turf cutting campaign in order to
supply cheap fuel to the many institutions under its care. This even ensured
jobs for townies if they wanted them.
In The Stacks there were no
villages but there were several shops such as Lyre Post Ofice, Doran’s, Nolan’s
and McElligott’s and, of course, there was Dan Paddy Andy’s famous dance hall
at the crossroads of Renagown. There were three or four visiting butchers and
fish mongers and occasional travelling salesmen. Mostly Pakistani with huge
trunks of wispy undergarments, scarves and frocks perched precariously on the
carriers of ancient bicycles. I remember two of these quite well.
There was Likey Nicey Tie and
Likey Nicey Knickeys. The latter often indicated that he was prepared to exchange his wares for the favours of the
country ladies. As far as I know he never did any business in this fashion. In
our youthful ignorance we would stalk them as far as the cross of Renagown
shouting “Likey Nicey Tie”, Likey Nicey Knickeys and, most heinous of all,
“Likey Pig’s Bum.”
We had been informed by
hobside knowalls that these dark coloured salesmen would be damned if they ate
any kind of pig’s meat but doubly damned if it was the rear of the pig. We
didn’t know any better. We were young and backward and wouldn’t know prejudice
from the prod of a thorn.
Continuing his winning ways
If you don’t know who Sonny Bill is or why a show horse with only the most tenuous of Listowel connections is featuring today, just go ahead to the next item or, if you have an hour to spare, look him up on the blog and you will get the whole story.
For anyone wondering how my favourite horse is doing in his new home, well, its all good news. He has started his 2017 showing season with two wins, one show champion win and one reserve, (meaning second overall for best in show). The photos were sent from the U.K. by Rebecca Collins.
When is a fountain not a fountain?
A while ago I posted this photo of Castleisland’s fountain. As we can see it is not actually a fountain in the traditional sense but it’s a Kerry fountain. Margaret Dillon took the time to remind me that there was also such a fountain in Listowel at Ballygologue cross. Listowel’s fountain was also a water pump.
In Castleisland’s case I wonder if the pillar behind the pump has anything to do with the water supply. Could it be some sort of folly?