The Good Old Days?
This photo from Facebook tells a good story. Cows are docile animals and can easily be trained to stand still while being milked. They seem always to have a special rapport with women. This young lady is wearing a headscarf. Cows, because of the terrain they graze are often dirty and have a tendency to swish a tail while standing. The wise milkmaid covers her head to avoid having to smell of cow dung until the next wash.
Listowel Writers’ Week Young Adult Bookfest 2019
I took lots of photos on the day. Here are a few more.
Bernard enjoyed a coffee from Kettle and Cup. In case you are wondering Damo shared no local gossip with him.
Marcella, David and Joanna are taking a break from proceedings.
Miriam, Seán and Elma were volunteering.
No, Seán Lyons didn’t accompany Stephanie on the guitar. He interviewed her on stage and he is just being a gentleman here and carrying her guitar for her.
Riobard Pierse took us behind the scenes at Ireland’s Fittest Family. In a witty, self deprecating monologue he revealed all the Pierses did to make sure they did so well on this gruelling reality tv show. The winning formula seems to be clean living, lots of strength and conditioning training, lots of practice at the kind of tasks set by the course builders, a keen competitive streak, ability to work well as a team, and, of course, lots and lots of luck.
Riobard and his daughter with Bernard and Shane
Travellers at Ballyduff
Irish Travellers have their own distinct customs and traditions. They have certain fairs and festivals that they regularly attend. Traditionally on their way to Puck every year, Travellers camped for a while near Ballyduff.
The photos below and the caption were shared on Facebook.
Our thanks to Martin Browne for photos: Included are Charlie Doherty, Paddy O’Brien and Roseanne O’Brien. Irish Travellers were officially recognised as an indigenous ethnic minority by the government in early March 2017.
Death in Sacramento of Roger McElligott
Photo: Vincent Carmody
In October 2011 Roger wrote the following account for Listowel Connection of his family’s emigration from Upper William Street, Listowel to California. It is clear from the story that the McElligott family never forgot their Listowel roots and came back frequently to visit.
I’m publishing Roger’s account of his family’s Listowel connection again at the request of his good friend, Vincent Carmody.
The house his ancestors came from is now known as Mike the Pies .
Roger passed away in his Sacramento home earlier this week. May he rest in peace
The McElligotts of Upper William Street,
Listowel, Co. Kerry, Ireland:
The McElligotts, of 28 Upper William Street, my grandparents, were William McElligott and Mary Dillon and their children: Mary (Mae), Michael, Margaret (Rita), William (my father), Patrick and Emmett. Mae, the oldest, was born in May of 1890.
They operated a pub and a grocery store that shared a tiny triangular vestibule at street level. In the rear area, where there were a stable and workshops, from which they operated general contracting and funeral undertaking businesses. But, even with all that variety, they found the times financially difficult. So, on hearing of the San Francisco earthquake and fire of April, 1906, they decided to emigrate to San Francisco, with the hope that their skills in the construction business could lead them to success in faraway California.
With that, they sold 28 Upper William Street to the O’Connors (Mike-the-Pie) and sailed the Atlantic from Queenstown, now Cobh, County Cork, on the brand new Mauretania, sister ship to the much more famous Lusitania. Mary (Dillon) did not have her heart in it, but along she went with sixteen year old Mae and a younger Rita in tow. The three surviving boys Michael, William and Emmett (Patrick had died in some epidemic.) were left at a boarding school in Ireland: the Cistercian abbey of Mount St. Joseph, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary.
After the crossing and their 3,000 mile train trip across the continent, they may have gone to San Francisco, none of us knows for sure. But, somehow, for reasons long forgotten, they ended up in Sacramento, 90 miles east of San Francisco, where my grandfather did find good employment as the supervisor of construction for large multistory buildings, most of which are still standing. (That speaks well for him.)
My grandfather, William, built a house in Sacramento and, in 1912, when the boys had all finished at the boarding school in Roscrea, he sent for them to make their move to Sacramento. It was decided, by my grandparents, that a chaperone would be in order and they enlisted Jim Taylor, who was husband to Margaret (Peg) Dillon, my grandmother’s sister. Jim and Peg were then living at 54 Charles Street, Listowel. That address was then linked to the Dillon family.
(Peg ended up in Sacramento too, but I don’t know when or how she arrived.)
Jim Taylor lived to be 102 years of age and, to the last, told of the horrors he experienced keeping his three charges in line. If it was half as bad and he told it, he had experienced a tough-tough time on that long-long journey by ship and by rail.
In the living room of the Sacramento house hung a large photo of the Lartigue monorail steaming through a grove of trees. My dad, William Ignatius, loved to tell of the mischief he and his brothers perpetrated against the Lartigue, They would find an incline along the rail and coat it with axle grease, so they could watch the train struggle to gain traction.
Another of the family stories has to do with 28 Upper William Street: That small triangular vestibule was used for what the boys thought was the most fun they could have. British troops would spend evenings in the pub. After they had put away plenty of pints, the boys would tie a trip-wire across the entry door of the vestibule and then would feign a fist fight in the center of the street. When the soldiers came rushing out to intervene, they would pile up like cord wood in the doorway. Those troops must have had short memories or there was a lot of turnover.
But, I once told this story to Bryan MacMahon and he said he found it believable.
I first saw Listowel in 1975, when I was 41 and have been back another seven times to stay at Mount Rivers, attend Writers’ Week, go to the races in September and to just hang around for a few days. With any luck, my wife and I will return soon. It is truly “Lovely Listowel.”
Roger William McElligott
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam