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Tag: Ardfert


Photo: Jim MacSweeney, Mallow Camera Club



I spent a very pleasant time exploring Tarbert on Saturday last.

I met Kim Heffernan who recognised a fellow Listowel woman and came to welcome me to Tarbert. Kim is a great supporter of Listowel Connection.

Coolahan is a Tarbert family name and Tarbert people are justifiably proud of their town’s long association with this family.


Mystery Solved

By our very own sleuth, Jim Ryan

I’ll post in a minute the link to the site Jim found explaining the reason behind putting animal heads on gentlemen’s, often in military uniform, bodies in portraiture.

Distinguished men were often painted wearing their medals and the pictures displayed with pride in drawing rooms.

It was only a matter of time before some animal lovers thought it only fair that animals who had given distinguished service to their country should receive the same treatment. The Dickin medal was the distinguished service medal awarded to animals and in these portraits many of the animals are depicted wearing it.

The medal was awarded 54 times between 1943 and 1949 – to 32 pigeons, 18 dogs, 3 horses, and a ship’s cat – to acknowledge actions of gallantry or devotion during the Second World War and subsequent conflicts. It is often referred to as the animal’s Victoria Cross. (Wikipedia)

This trend caught on and family pets and others were immortalised in portraits. They were portrayed as other members of the family in their best clothes.

This makes fascinating reading;

Animal Heads on Human bodies

Here is an example;

Rip is a mixed Terrier who would help the air raid warden and his team sniff out people hidden under the debris during the Blitz. He saved over 100 people and received a medal for bravery in 1945.


Ardfert at Easter

Here are some lovers of everything vintage at their annual get together in Ardfert on Easter Sunday.


Listowel’s Reimagined Town Square

Work in the outdoor seating and performance area has resumed. I have it from the horse’s mouth that the canopies are due to be installed starting on Sunday.

Yesterday, April 21 2022 in Listowel Town Square


The Rose Hotel, Tralee, Writers Week Children’s Festival and Casement commemorated.

Sunset in Ballybunion May 14 2016


The Rose Hotel, Fels Point

I was dying to see how this hotel looked after its recent refurbishment. It is the new home of The Rose of Tralee Festival. It lived up to the hype. It is sumptuously furnished with lots of comfy couches and armchairs, the loos are the first thing in luxury and the food in the newly extended dining room and bar was excellent and very good value for money. The young staff were very friendly and helpful. Any of them could audition for the job of Rose escort and I’d give him the gig. Yes, on the  night I visited, they were all male.

 My friends, Mary Jo and Bridget, agreed to pose in the spacious bright foyer.

They made me pose beside the photograph of this year’s Rose.


Treat in store for the Children

The National Children’s Literary Festival at Writers’ Week have a super programme planned for the first days of June.

Listowel children can be among the first to meet PJ Lynch as he takes up his new role as Laureate na nÓg.

photo: CBI 

All the information and online booking is Here


Ardfert remembers Casement

Ardfert school was represented at The Kingdom County Fair. They had on display a genuine gun recovered from the ill fated Aud. The pupils had designed a commemorative medal to celebrate the 1916 centenary.

They had a “Casement” in the dock  to promote their medals.

They brought along a mural which used to hang in a local pub.


Gardaí at the Fair


Extract from a Letter to the Editor 

Tralee Chronicle  Friday, 09 August, 1861

DEAR SIR,— Having seen in one of your late papers the preliminary

notice for sale  of the Duagh Estate, in this county, I send you a few

notes relative to the history of it, and or the family to which it

belongs, which may interest some of your readers.

This ancient estate was originally a portion of the lands granted by

M’Arthy, Prince of Desmond, to Raymond le Gros. I, shall not trace the

family of Raymond farther back than to say, that he was the son of

William Fitzgerald a Norman nobleman who lived in Wales, and whose

ancestors had come to England with William the Conqueror; under whom

they had acquired great military fame and large possessions. There is

a curious book in Trinity College, Dublin, Written by one Father O

Daly tracing this race back through the Dukes of Tuscany and all the

way to the Pius Eneas of Troy.— However, I shall be satisfied with a

more moderate pedigree and begin with the Invasion of Ireland.

Ireland was in an anomalous state at the time of this Invasion. While

it was the seat of much learning, and of the more refined arts. It was

also the haunt of savage customs, and revengeful habits. Like all

countries where feudal  customs prevailed, knowledge  belonged to the

few, great power to the chieftains; but the many were in. subjection

and ignorance. More widely beautiful than now, with Its waving

forests, wide-flowing rivers and spacious harbours, It was a bright

gem of the sea ; but torn up with domestic feuds and defective In its

political system, It was likely to become an easy prey to a powerful

Invader, well skilled in the military arts. Divided amongst a number

of petty chieftains, frequently at variance with each other, their

very animosity constituted a great part of the strength of the foe.

On Ireland in this state, Henry the Second, then Monarch of England,

cast his wily and ambitious eye, and soon found the pioneers of his

conquest in Norman adventurers, who were glad to get the opportunity

of relieving their broken fortunes or obtaining military glory and

large possessions by the Invasion of so fair a region.

At the head of these was Earl Pembroke, well known by the name of

Strongbow, and his General in Chief  was Raymond, surnamed Ramond le

Gros, either from his corpulence, or, more probably from his massive

frame and strength- Le Gros in the Norman, answering to ?  more in

Irish and big in English

Whatever the derivation of this nickname may be, Raymond seems to

have been well suited to the position in which he was placed and to

have combined the qualities of a noble disposition with those which

constitute the characteristic of a great General; for not only was he

famous for his Intrepidity, but he also possessed those, feelings of

humanity which ever accompany true courage.

A remarkable Instance of this was exhibited  in the opposition given

by him to the cruel council of. Hervey M’ Maurice  in the treatment of

the prisoners taken in a battle with the Irish, near Waterford

Raymond having landed with the thirty Knights, and bring joined by

Hervey  M’Maurice with a small troop, they made up a hurried  camp for

their defence. The citizens of Waterford, being troubled at  their

contiguity to their city, attacked them with three thousand men,

headed some Irish Princes. The Normans made a sally[j1]  out of their

little fort against  their opponents, but, finding the multitude they

had to contend with, made a hasty retreat to their entrenchments.

Being too hotly, pressed by their pursuers, they turned on them, when

the powerful and daring Raymond thrust the first of his antagonists

through the body, and, shouting his war cry, made a furious onset

Inspired by the bravery of their leader, the little band fought with

such resolution that they put their enemies to flight, and, after

great carnage, took several of the chief citizens of Waterford

prisoners. A council of war being held on these, Raymond spoke in

their defence, and strongly recommended humane measures. They are not

to be looked on now,” said he, ” as foes, but as our fellow-men, but

as men who have been subdued, who have been vanquished, who have been

conquered. Their fate being adverse, In fighting for the defence Of

their country noble Indeed, was their occupation.” In vain, however,

was his counsel. That of Hervey who at that time possessed much power

and Influence, prevailed and seventy of the noblest citizens of

Waterford having their limbs first broken, were hurled from the rocks

into the sea……..


A Blast from the Past

Holidays, Holy Well in Ardfert and that flood of 1828


Do you remember when going on your holidays meant going a few miles out the road to your cousins? Those were the best holidays except, maybe,  for the times when your cousins came over from England for a bit and brought with them a few hand-me downs. 

Those lucky enough to have visiting American cousins were the really lucky ones. Americans were rich and often has gadgets like cameras. I grew up in a house with no camera. Most of the photos of us as children were taken by American relatives. 

When cousins came you got taken places, often only to visit other relatives but that was the height of excitement in  the 1950s. Cousins from abroad loved jobs like saving hay, a trip to the bog or the well, bringing in the cows or having a go at pulping mangolds. This stuff was all new to them and they thought it was all “great gas’. Because they enjoyed it so much, it didn’t seem like drudgery any more.

I was reminded of all of this when I got some holiday snaps from my peripatetic friends at Christmas.

While I was at home in rain soaked Ireland other people were sharing their holiday snaps from exotic destinations.

My sister in law was in Vietnam

My niece went to Venice.

My friend, Mary Sobieralski, was in Cologne.


Women pray at a holy well in Ardfert  sometime in the 1930s

Photo; Ireland The Old Country

One thing that fascinates me about this photo is the very colorful shawls on the two women on the left. These are more like table coverings and not at all like anything I have ever seen before worn by Kerry women.


Listowel Drama

Sive marked a pinnacle of successful drama for Listowel folk.

Below is Liam O Hainnín’s photo of the sleeve of his L.P. of the play.

Listowel Drama Group are taking to the road again. Next March in Holycross in Tipperary a wider audience will get a chance to see the brilliant production of Blythe Spirit we all enjoyed so much last year.


Apropos My Flooding in Abbeyfeale Story

I posted this last week: 

Irish Examiner 1841-1999, Saturday, 25 January, 1941; Page: 10


The most destructive flood in the Feale for a century was recalled by
the death of Mrs. Nano Stack, of Moynsha, Abbeyfeale, which took place
in her 90th year, after some weeks illness. About the middle of the
fifties of the last century. Mrs. Stack, when a child of about six
years old, was save  by her brother, the late Dl. O’Connor , Church
Street, Abbeyfeale, who took her in his arms, and climbing a wall of
their house at Islandanny, which the big Feale flood had isolated,
remained  so until the flood subsided. This flood, which occurred in
August, broke down the Feale Valley with tremendous depth and force,
and swept to their death eleven persons.

and it drew this response from Nicky Leonard:

Hi, Mary,  I have read your very interesting  account of the narrow escape, at Islandanny.  of Mrs. Nano Stack from the great Feale  flood.

I had previously come across the following report  in the Spectator of 1858; it probably refers to the same great flood. How factual the account of the deaths and destruction at Abbeyfeale is, I am not certain. The last paragraph is particularly apt  in the light of the current Great Floods.
Best wishes,  Nicky Leonard: 

From The Spectator of 25 September 1858:

“…there have been very serious floods in Limerick, Kerry, and Cork. At Abbeyfeale, in the river Feale, five persons were drowned, bridges, houses, and a great deal of property destroyed. 

In Cork and Connemara alike walls were swept down; vessels carried from their moorings; stacks of corn, hay, oats floated off; potato fields submerged; horses drowned. 

The destructive effects of this sudden rising of the waters in the south of Ireland will be painfully felt in many a village and homestead.”

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