Fiona Keane Stack and Deirdre Lynch were in the same class in school. I met them when they met up while they were out for a walk in St. Michael’s graveyard. Fiona now lives in Boston and the lady next to her is her daughter, Rebecca. Deirdre was accompanied by her dad, the great John Lynch who has recorded so much of Listowel life for future generations.
In the Black Valley
Dan Doyle grew up in The Black Valley.
He writes about this house that means a lot to him:
So it waits. It made it to another summer, the slates are lose and the weather is getting inside but it stands strong defying the tugs on its timbers. It is me as my body gets old but I will fight always. The Black Valley made us that way. So I look at this house and I hope it stands for a long time. It is a symbol of the way I feel about the Valley. Strong winds in the winter may pull it down but the summers sun dictates it will store up more energy to live through the gales that are sure to come. I am with you old house. You and I are tough. They will get us eventually but by god we wont go easy into that dark night.
All Ireland Final Memories
from Brendan Griffin
All-Ireland Sunday – Time to make new memories…
You wake well before the alarm- you’ve been waking regularly throughout the night.
Getting scrubbed up you think through team selection yet again and dare to question some of the choices but then you trust that management knows best.
In the wardrobe, the jerseys hang in chronological order, oldest on the left.
You shortlist it to the classic Adidas from ‘98, the 2000 O’Neills as worn gracefully by Captain Moynihan, the collared beauty that draped majestically over Donaghy stealing the show in 2014, Back to Gold or the new one…The new one is a bit tight for the maturing gentleman, as is the Adidas because you were only 16 when you bought it. 2000 has picked up a few blemishes from numerous previous outings, 2014 has a slight tear from the night you wore it training with the Bs. Back to Gold it is. You pull it over your head and for that split moment you could just as well be in the dressing room in Croke Park.
No appetite for breakfast, it’s too early and and you’re anxious to hit the road and you don’t want to keep the lads waiting. You’ll grab a quick fry in Birdhill or the Barack Obama Plaza. Tickets: check. Cash: check. Cards: check. Padre Pio: check.
The car feels chilly, but it’s not long after dawn and you’re just a bit nervous. The fuel gauge goes to full on starting – you filled it at the shop last night when you were stocking up on a few snacks for the journey. While you were there you met your cousin and some of the neighbours doing the very same thing.
You pick up your expert co-panellists down the road. What will follow is four hours of forensic pre-match analysis interrupted only by the odd phone call about tickets or a nostalgic hark back to bygone adventures in sporting or other contexts. The radio sports news hushes all too, every hour just after the hour.
The villages enroute have hung out all their proudest colours – bunting, flags, sprayed cars, jersey clad mannequins, painted gates, painted tractors, even the fields are green and gold. Good luck signs by the roadside personalise it all, each patch identifying their local heroes. At the county bounds, you privately hope there’ll be another title in the bag upon your return.
There’s still a bit of a morning chill in the air as you cross the carpark in Moneygall. Half the parish is there for the breakfast too. And half every other parish in the county. Even the 44th President has donned the Kerry jersey for the big occasion – he wouldn’t have worn it in ‘82. The nourishment hits the spot and you’re on the road again. You ponder how it must have been a far tougher drive in the days before the M7 as you cruise towards the Pale amidst a fleet of KYs. Through the passenger windows, the faces of utter excitement on the little boys and girls says it all. In Inchicore you pull up behind a ZX Mark II Escort with brilliant green doors, bonnet and boot. The rest is a magnificent sunshine gold and you hazard to think it may well have carried its occupants to the final of ‘75.
You pass the second greatest Kerryman of all time as you make your way up the capital’s main thoroughfare and wonder when they’ll ever commission a statue of the Gooch. Our colours mingle with those of the tribe of our fellow finalists and it’s a delight to behold. They’re all making special memories too. Approaching the crowd outside the Gresham reminds you of approaching the Starlite in Killorglin at 2 o’clock on a Saturday night back in the day. You meet your school friend home from London. He introduces you to his wife and she’s the first Columbian you’ve ever met wearing the ‘86 retro. At Toddy’s counter you spot the friend who’s back from New York and you realise you last met each other at the exact same spot for the previous final. You’re delighted he’s doing so well for himself and the kids in his screensaver are naturally bigger than you remembered. He’s been gone 25 years now but he’s never lost the local twang and he’s booked his flights to allow for a replay, just in case.
All the great and the good of the Kerry football scene are there – you take a second look at the ones wearing jerseys with numbers on the back. If they didn’t wear them on the battlefield themselves, there must be a close relation or else a good story behind how the garment was acquired. Tickets are in high demand, young lads and ladies are looking to swap Nallys for Hills and vice versa, a husband and wife, one in the Cusack and one in the Hogan are looking for two together, anywhere at all. Radio Kerry are downstairs broadcasting the magic of it all to the Kingdom and to the world but you wonder if all the diaspora aren’t here in this building. You fondly remember Liam and Weeshie.
There’s a fierce gathering of the lads and girls in the lounge and they start a few verses of An Puc ar Buile. The usual suspects, the serious heads, depart first for Croke Park. There’s time for one more surely? There’s not. It’s time to head for HQ. You trek northward towards the promised land, the most sacred 3 and a half acres of land on this isle, coveted more than the Bull desired the Widow’s field. This is it. The hour has come and we’re all here together. Those we’ve lost are with us too. It’s the proudest feeling of them all. It’s a pride that binds us, win or lose. It’s a pride that makes us of Kerry. Ciarraí abú!
And Few Pictures from last weekend in Dublin
Photos; Breda Ferris
This pedestrian crossing is in Carlow. It is proposed to install one in Listowel.
It is a rainbow crossing in support of the LGBTQi community
The rainbow is the universal symbol of this community and the message the crossing sends is that local people who identify as LGBT dont have to go to the big cities to gain acceptance.
In rural/ urban Ireland we extend a crossing of welcome to everyone.
Meanwhile in Behan’s Bar in New York
from John Anthony Hegarty