This blog is a personal take on Listowel, Co. Kerry. I am writing for anyone anywhere with a Listowel connection but especially for sons and daughters of Listowel who find themselves far from home. Contact me at listowelconnection@gmail.com

Tag: Anne Cogan

Easter 2023

The Big Bridge on an April Sunday in 2023

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Then and Now

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My Easter Visitors

Grandchildren grow into teenagers and have their one interests and commitments so finding time for Nana is now a bit more difficult. Cora and her Mammy brought Molly for a welcome visit.

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Easter

First I must tee this up with a story.

A. C. Bradley is probably the most renowned Shakespeare scholar ever. He was required reading when I was in college and he was the absolute authority on Shakespeare’s tragedies. An anonymous student wrote the following;

I dreamt last night that Shakespeare’s ghost

Sat for a civil service post.

The English paper for that year

Had several questions on King Lear

Which Shakespeare answered very badly

Because he hadn’t read his Bradley.

Now I’m going to do a bit of Bradleying myself as I interpret for an artist I never met and read something into a work that the creator may not have intended.

This simple artistic installation on Olive Stack’s window says Easter to me. The stone is rolled back and the tomb is empty. Jesus is risen.

Thank you.

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Winner alright

Remember this:

Dave O’Sullivan, our super newspaper researcher found this;

Are any of them still with us and do they remember their win?

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A Fact

China has a population of over a billion. It has only 200 family names.

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More from Opening Night Writers’ Week 2022

Listowel Arms Home, Listowel Town Square in June 2022

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More People at Opening Night, Writers’ Week 2022

These two lovely ladies were out in support of their friend, Catherine

Because it was so long since we had been out at an in -person event, Catherine Moylan, on Opening Night asked us to introduce ourselves to the people sitting next to us. I was sitting beside these lovely ladies who , like myself, have worked at the chalk face.

Eilish Wren
Con and Catherine Kirby

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My Trip to Cork

The Cork branch of my family are very sport orientated. On my recent trip, for the first time since she was a teenager, I watched Anne play a tennis match She was taking part in an open competition in Sundays Well.

Sunday’s Well is a bit more posh and aware of its history than her own club, Lakewood. Lakewood is the old John A Woods Sports and leisure Club. No boating here but soccer and pitch and putt as well as tennis.

Anne and her partner, Kevin won their match, beating the top seeds. I took the photo after their tough match when Anne was not looking her most rested!

Poor Cora sustained an ankle injury at her soccer academy and is hobbling in a boot for a while.

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From Pres. Yearbook 1991

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You Have to Laugh

This lady bought a robotic lawnmower. It is scheduled to mow the lawn at a given time every day, hail, rain or shine. She took pity on it on the first wet day.

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Memories, Memories

David Kissane Remembers happy days in St. Michael’s.

David Kissane pictured recently after he had won a silver medal in the British Masters 3K walk in Derby.

Thoughts of one of the Class of ’72 in St Michael’s, Listowel

                                            By David Kissane

It all happened on the way to the toilet. An outdoor toilet. Well it was 1972 in an out-of-the-way place on a North Kerry hill. It was one of those early May mornings. Crisp air on my face as I went out the back door. A look up at the hill to the north to say hallo to the spring of my life. So far. A promising sky. Hedges of fuchsia with baby blossoms between the hill and me. Blackbirds and thrushes and robins making their music all around. A cow lowing in Neleen Brennan’s field to the left with Ballybunion clearly outlined against the shining Atlantic Ocean to the west. Down the hill to the south, the world and St Michael’s College were waiting.

My mother had turned on the radio as I went out the door and the words of Cat Stevens wafted out of our Pye radio into the Lacca air after me: 

                                   “Morning has broken

                                   Like the first morning

                                   Blackbird has spoken

                                   Like the first bird

                                   Praise for the singing 

                                   Praise for the morning

                                   Praise for the springing

                                   Fresh from the word…”

And fifty years later on, this very week I am still awed by the song. I didn’t know at the time that it was a hymn published in 1931 and adorned later by a traditional Scottish air. That May morning it chased me out and tackled the brain and heart. It was to become for me the anthem of 1972. The year of our Leaving Cert in St Michael’s College, Listowel.

Come walk in my shoes for a few paragraphs and recall your own last days of Leaving Cert. See what your journey back will do for you. 

Later that morning I would cycle down the steep hill past Neleen Brennan’s house that once housed a World War 1 soldier who was blown to pieces in an orchard in France after only a fortnight of the war, past Ned Kennelly’s on my right and then down the lethal Fahas bends, where I had once lost control of a bike and spent a week picking furze bush thorns out of bodily nooks and crannies, past Roger Kissane’s house, turn left at the “bridge” over a small stream that drained a hillside and over to Gunn’s Cross and right turn down Gunn’s Hill, past my old primary school on the left, 1815 steeple and graveyard on the right and on to Lisselton Cross. Two morning miles that I had covered out and back for five years of my second-level schooling. Then on board the yellow school bus after a short chatty wait in Jeremiah Behan’s shop door and off then the long route to Listowel, Convent girls, College boys and Vocational School boys and girls coming on board at various stops. Gerard Neville from Inch would join me in the seat as he had done for years. Down the narrow road to Dromerin and Jerry Riordan and neighbours would join the bus near his parents’ shop. Over the River Gale then and eventually to our destinations.

Walk up town to the college. Check out the Convent girls going the opposite way. Say hallo to the Tech students on the left. See who was coming out of Roly Chute’s shop on the corner. Chat and news from the newsicians. Turn right into the college lawn with the budding apple trees in front of the three-storey building. One storey underground. In the door. Up the marble stairs. Sit down. Open books. Leaving Cert a month away. The year of our lives.

More tomorrow….

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“My heart’s best treasure is no more”

+R.I.P.+

He was my North, my South, my East and West,

My working week and my Sunday rest,

My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song….

My beloved husband, Jim, passed away peacefully on Sunday June 23 2013. I am going to post here the eulogy our daughter, Anne, delivered at the funeral and then I will take a break from blogging for a while.  Jim and I were a team and it’s hard to carry on with the best man down.

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What can I say to you about
my lovely father, Jim Cogan?

 He grew up in Cork, the son of an English
mother and Cork father, the second youngest of 4.  Jim’s mother was a convert to Catholicism and
had all the zeal of a convert.  The
family was a religious one.  After
school, Jim entered the SMA order.  They
had a church near his home in Cork.  For
a while, Jim was happy in the order and he made many lifelong friends during
his time in Galway, Dromantine and UCC. 
But religious life was not for him and he had the courage to leave 6
months before ordination.  Jim had many
fond memories of his time with the SMA. 
It was always part of who he was.

Jim got his first temporary
teaching job in Scoil Mhuire, Kanturk where he met Mary, the love of his life.  That was his first step towards the Kerry
border.  In the Summer of ’73, he saw an
ad. in the paper for a Science Teacher’s job in St. Michael’s, Listowel – a
place he couldn’t even find on the map.  
He made his first trip here for his interview with Father Diarmuid
O’Suilleabáin.  Those were different
times.  The interview took place in the
principal’s house.  Interview over, Jim
was told he had the job and Father O’Sullivan asked him to stay for tea which
he cooked for him himself.  So began
Jim’s long association with Listowel.   

Father O’Sullivan recognized the
counsellor in Jim and he retrained as a Guidance Counsellor.  Subsequent principals & colleagues in St.
Michaels did everything they could to make life easier for Jim.  In his time in school, Jim touched many
lives.  Only Mary knew the enormous
effort it took on cold wet mornings to get himself to work, but with
characteristic determination, Jim pushed himself to give his best effort
always.  It gave him enormous pleasure to
get an email from a past pupil and he loved to hear that a man he had helped
had done well and gone on to be happy in life.

Jim was hopeless at
remembering names.  When he and Mary were
out walking, if she saw someone whose name he should know approaching, she
would say ‘Let me take your photograph with… announcing the name loudly and
clearly.  All that photograph taking was
only a ruse.  Jim became the most
photographed person in Listowel.

Jim was at the head of every
technology curve.  He was one of the
first with a home computer, and an electronic organizer.  He embraced the ebook which changed his
life.  He inspired the rest of the family
towards technology which is a lasting and fruitful influence on us all.  Mary, who is famous in our family for once
turning over a CD to play the other side, is now the unofficial Listowel blogger
thanks to Jim.

Jim was always fascinated by
new inventions and gadgets and he shared that passion with his late brother,
John.  As soon as his disability began to
affect his everyday life, John stepped in to invent and adapt simple things to
help with everyday tasks.

As his disability increased,
so did his determination to find new technologies to help him overcome these
disabilities.  Everyone who knew him was
familiar with his mastery of hands-free devices.  He was an expert on voice-recognition
software and few things gave him more pleasure than the discovery of a new
piece of software that enabled him to do something for himself.  A friend of ours tells a story of the day
that she and her young son visited our house while Jim was on his
computer.  When they got home, Padraig,
aged four at the time, sat in front of his computer and issued the commands
‘Wake up’ ‘Mouse Up’ ‘Mouse Down’ and was so disappointed when his mouse
wouldn’t obey as Jim’s did.

My father was a ladies
man.  Most of Jim’s best friends were
women.  Apart from Mary, some other women
had a special place in his heart.  What
would he have done without Joan, Helen, Breeda & Eileen?  His advancing disabilities brought even more
ladies into his life.  Jim had PA’s,
home-help, Cathy Corps and the twilight service, and the Community Care
team.  These all enabled him to live at
home to the end.  His final days were
spent in the Bons, Tralee where he was given exceptional care and attention by
all the friends he had made over a very long association with that
hospital.  It gives us, his family, great
consolation that he was able to be at home with Mary for so long and his last
days were in familiar surroundings among friends.

Faced with battle after
battle in his 65 years of life, Jim Cogan’s quiet courage and resillience is an
inspiration to us all.  Coming to
Listowel, and particularly Cherrytree Dr. was to be one of the better moves of
his life. But by far the best move he ever made was in marrying Mary Ahern from
Kanturk.  He drew love and strength from
their relationship, and she was his very own Listowel Connection for over 40
years. I know that he would want me to thank her for absolutely everything.

In Listowel, he found himself
among a supportive community of neighbours, friends and colleagues. Throughout
his life Jim had a wonderful capacity for making and keeping friends. He was a
wonderful father and grandfather.  He was
very proud of us and we are very proud of him. Thank you.

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Among the many messages of condolence was this lovely one from Jim’s old friend, Bernard Lynch

“I am so sorry to hear the sad news of Jim’s passing. If Jim is not with God, then there is no God. Ever since I first met him in 1965 I found him to be one of the most transparently credible human beings I have ever known.



In Jim’s eyes the difference of social position, of intellect, of culture, which different people exhibit, and on which they so fantastically pin their pride, was so small as practically to vanish. For him, as I knew him, all that remained was the common fact that here we are, each of us pent into peculiar difficulties, with which we must struggle by using whatever fortitude and goodness we can summon up. He was more lovingly aware than most of the depths of worth that lay hidden in each person’s life.

To paraphrase Yeats

                                Rich memories, nothing but memories

                                But in the grave all, all, shall be renewed

                                The certainty that I shall see that man

                                Leaning or standing or walking

                                As in the first loveliness of his youth

                                And with the burning fervour of his youthful eyes

                                Has left me muttering like a fool….”

  

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