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Tag: Armistice Day 2018

WW1 remembered, some Lithuanian cooking and a Few Photos from Young Adult Bookfest 2018

Photo: Chris Grayson


Remembering WW1

Below is an example of some of the many heartbreaking lines written by the poets of The Great War

Then in the lull of midnight, gentle arms
Lifted him slowly down the slopes of death,
Lest he should hear again the mad alarms
Of battle, dying moans, & painful breath.

And where the earth was soft for flowers, we made
A grave for him that he might better rest.

Francis Ledwidge

On Sunday November 11 2018, Tom Dillon, war historian, gave an excellent illustrated lecture on Kerry and the Great war. He concentrated on the local men who fought.

Tom is extremely knowledgeable about all aspects of the war and he imparts his knowledge in an accessible and entertaining way. He told us stories which brought the men to life and he enlivened his account with little anecdotes that kept his audience hanging on his every word.

He told us about Armistice commemorations that went on in Kerry until the 1960s. He told us of an act of neighbourliness that saved a man’s life amid the carnage in Messines. Another story concerned a Kerry soldier who saved a German officer’s life with a blood donation.  We learned about two brothers who died within 24 hours of each other . This meant that a Kerry mother received the dreaded telegram on two consecutive days. A Clieveragh family sent seven sons to the front and miraculously all seven returned. The family attributed this miracle to their mother’s prayers.

Tom showed us photos and pictures of Fr. Gleeson blessing the troops and saying mass for them. Tom showed us how the German trenches differed from the Allied ones. The German ones were superior. But when it came to the war graves the Allies took the prize. We are all familiar with the War graveyards with the rows and rows of uniform gravestones only differing in the inscription the families were allowed to add at their own expense. Tom showed us a poignant one of these inscriptions, “If love could have saved him, he would have lived.”

The German authorities buried their dead in mass graves. One such grave holds the remains of as many as 25,000 soldiers.

The lecture shone a light on “the world’s worst wound”. where everyone was an unknown soldier. It was enlightening to listen to Tom make them known.

The lecture was accompanied by memorabilia lent by Kerry Library and local families, including  the Hennessy medal which has only recently been unearthed (literally) in Lixnaw.

This is the Death Penny that was issued to the next of kin of everyone who died as a consequence of war. These plaques which were much bigger than a penny were issued right up to the 1950s to the surviving relatives of men and women who died as a result of war. They had the name of the dead soldier but no rank. It was believed that everyone was equal before God. It was the same thinking that led the war graves people to decree that every soldier’s grave, regardless of his rank would be exactly the same. There is a great sadness in this sameness. It makes them into an army again, robbing them of individuality and keeping them from their families, even in death.

The glories of our blood and state
  Are shadows, not substantial things;
There is no armour against Fate;
  Death lays his icy hand on kings:
        Sceptre and Crown          
        Must tumble down,
  And in the dust be equal made
With the poor crookèd scythe and spade.

From Death the Leveller by James Shirley

This is a Princess Mary Christmas box. In 1914 every soldier and sailor got one of these. They were paid for by donations from the British public.

The funding was used to manufacture small boxes made of silver for officers and brass for all others.[4] Each was decorated with an image of Mary and other military and imperial symbols and typically filled with an ounce of tobacco, a packet of cigarettes in a yellow monogrammed wrapper, a cigarette lighter, and a Christmas card and photograph from Princess Mary.[6] Some contained sweets, chocolates,[7] and lemon drops. (Wikipedia)

It is estimated the 2.5 million of these boxes were distributed.

Remember the story about the German officer who had a rare blood group and whose life was saved by a blood donation from a Kerry soldier. He gave him his pipe as a reward.

Brian and Martin were among the attendees at the talk.

These people are relatives of the men who fought. They helped Tom with his research and were there to hear the stories on November 11 2018, one hundred years after the ending of the war.


Listowel Food Fair 2018

I started the day with brunch in Café Hanna and then it was off to Scribes where Brigitta was giving an excellent demonstration of Lithuanian cuisine.

 A good crowd had gathered in Scribes to see Brigitta’s first ever cookery demonstration. She aced it. Considering that English is not her first language and she was dealing with a subject which she always thinks about in her native language she did a brilliant job.

 Brigitta showed us how to make cheese an easy peasy way and she made some dishes using the cheese. I loved the mixed veg salad she made . All of the dishes were very dairy rich and pork is very popular as the meat ingredient in Lithuanian cooking.

 She had lots of support from family and friends.

Some local ladies enjoying the demo.


Young Adult Bookfest 2018

Catherine Moylan is the new chair of Listowel Writers’ Week. This was her first big gig. She did the meeting and greeting and warming up the audience like a pro. She echoed what we were all feeling when she said she wished there had been days like this when she was a pupil at Pres. Listowel

Bernard Casey is very successful comedian. The young people loved him. He made several appearances during the day and got a rousing cheer every time.

Gary Cunningham loves Listowel and Listowel loves him. All he has to do is tell his life story  and he has audiences eating out of him hand.

Gary gained many new fans among the pupils and the teachers.

Sarah Crossan is Laureate na nÓg. She involved the audience in her show with poetry and rapping blending in and out of one another. Sarah is a great believer that poetry is a performance art.

The other poet who is part of Sarah’s travelling show is Colm Keegan. as well as performing they met with a focus group of local young people.

Máire Logue took a quick minute to pose for me with Colm. The great success of the day is due in no small part to the organisational abilities of this extraordinary lady.


A Legend with a very proud Listowel Connection

Johnny Sexton helped Ireland to win against The All Blacks in the Aviva in Dublin on Saturday, November 17 2018. This is the first time EVER that an Irish rugby team beat the New Zealand team in Ireland in front of an adoring home crowd.

A Holy Well, Doors, Dingle men and More Photos from Armistice Day Centenary in Listowel

Beautiful Holly Tree

Photo: Charlie Nolan



Recently a man who is a great friend of this blog suggested that I should photograph some Listowel doors. He has been struck by the huge variety of doors in our town so, on his suggestion I’ve photographed a few.


Dingle Farmers

This great photo is in the Dublin City Library collection


Holy Well

Holy wells are often associated with cures. Our local St. Batts well is also thought to cure ailments of the eyes.

(From the Dúchas folklore collection)

Tobar na nAmhrán

“Tobar na n-amhrán is situated in the Ballinagarde Estate Co. Limerick”

Informant- Thomas Sheehan, Occupation farmer

Tobar na nAmhrán

curing many ailments but it is specially dedicated to the curing of sore eyes.

It is said that a blind monk in France dreamt of this well in Ballinagarde and that if he rubbed the waters of the well to his eyes he would be cured.

He made his way to Ballinagarde Well and when he bathed his eyes there his sight was restored.

A blind tramp was also restored his sight at this well. He too had travelled a long distance to the well.

The Monk and the tramp when they found that their eyesight was restored sang songs on thanksgiving to Our Blessed Lady.

Hence the well is known as Tobar na n-Amhrán or the Well of the Songs. 

Thomas Sheehan (Farmer)

Ballinagarde, Ballyneety.

Co. Limerick.


More from Armistice Day 2018 in Listowel

The opening part of the commemorative ceremony was the memorial mass in St. Mary’s.

 The flag bearers musicians and dignitaries crossed the Square to the memorial plaque by St. John’s

Here the wreath laying part of the ceremony took place.

A good crowd had gathered in the cold and wet to be part of the remembering.

Some faces in the crowd.


Another Beauty Parlour on Church Street

Church Street, Listowel where there once were so many public houses now has more hairdressers, beauticians and pharmacies than any other street in town. 

What does that say about us?

Listowel Children in the 1960s, A Holy Well and Armistice Day Centenary Commemorations in Listowel

The River Feale behind the Listowel Arms; Photo: Charlie Nolan


Old Pals

“Fond memory brings the light of other days around me.”

Bernard O’Connell who lived in Upper William Street Listowel and now lives in Canada posted to Facebook this picture of his childhood friends.


A Holy Well

From the schools folklore collection at Dúchas

Tarbert School collection. Nora Scanlon, Dooncaha.

Our Holy Wells

There is a well in Tarmons known as St. Senan’s. It is in the corner of Buckley’s field in Ballintubber.

This well is not deep and a stream flows out of it. Always in the month of May people pay rounds at this well on every Saturday of the month.

This is how people pay rounds. People pick up seven pebbles out of the stream and then kneel down at the well and start reciting the Rosary. Then they start at the right hand side of the well and walk slowly all round reciting a decade of the Rosary while going round. At the end of each decade they throw one pebble away. Then when the seventh round is paid they kneel down and finish the Rosary. Then they take three drinks out of the well and wash their faces at the stream. Then they usually tie a piece of cloth on an overhanging bush. It is said that according as the cloth wears away the disease wears off the patient.

It is called St. Senan’s well because it was St. Senan who blessed its waters. From the well you can see the ruins of seven churches and round tower in Scattery built by St. Senan.

There are no fish in the well and the water is not used for household purposes. Once a woman went to fill her kettle at the well. She forgot to bring a vessel with which to fill her kettle. She left her kettle at the well and went back for a saucepan. When she returned the well had disappeared and the bush with it. It went from the top of the hill to the side where it is now.


A Thought

As Asphalt and concrete

 Replace bushes and trees,

As highways and buildings 

Replace marshes and woods

What will replace the song of the birds?

Tony Chen


Only in Ireland

Photo; Random Cork Stuff


People at the Armistice Day Centenary Commemoration in Listowel

On a cold showery Sunday a good crowd turned up to commemorate the men who endured appalling hardship in the most awful of wars. Cold and rain were nothing compared to weeks spent in wet trenches with rats for company.

Carmel Gornall was there with her brother and two sisters in law.

Carmel’s sisters in law had grandfathers who served in The Great war.

Great to see Jim Halpin brave the cold to be part of it. Jim has done more than most in North Kerry to make sure that the names of the brave men who fought will be remembered.

Local history lovers and retired military men turned out in numbers to remember.


One to Watch

 Bánú nó Slánú:  Thursday TG4  9.30p.m.

This documentary looks at the small town way of life that is dying a death in Ireland, as illustrated by a visit to once thriving towns in Kerry and Leitrim. Ballylongford in north Kerry has seen its mill, creamery and many businesses close over the last 30 years. In 2017, no new children started in the national school for the first time in living memory and its post office is now under threat.  One of the last small farmers in the village, Donal O’Connor, who’s in his 70s, sums things up: “I’m the last of the family. There are no small farmers anymore.”  Kiltyclogher in north Leitrim made the headlines when it launched a media campaign to attract people to move to the village. Six  families made the move, helping to save the local school  – but one year on, how does the future look? Did the newcomers stay? And have they done enough?

(Photo and text from Irish Times TV Guide)

Feale, Childhood Friends, Rose of Tralee 2019, a holy well and Armistice Day Ceremony in Listowel

River Feale, November 3 2018


Childhood Friends on Facebook

Bernard O’Connell of Listowel and Canada posted this great old picture on Facebook.

far left Mary Brosnan, Katrina Lyons, Myself, Noreen Holyoake, Mary Lyons, Mary Carmody, Maura Moriarity


Big Year next year for the Rose Festival

(Photo and text from

NEXT year is a very special one for the Rose of Tralee International Festival as it celebrates its 60th anniversary.

It’s already been announced that there will be no regional finals and centres will put forward a Rose every two years (apart from Kerry, Cork and Dublin) resulting in just 32 Roses coming to Tralee next year for the festival.

Now, in another change, it’s been decided that the Festival will move back a few days. It will start on Friday, August 23 and the  2019 Rose of Tralee will be announced on Tuesday, August 27.

For the past number of years the Festival has started slightly later than mid-August (this year it began on August 17), but next year will bring it closer to what it used to be years ago, with the winner announced closer to the end of the month.


Holy Well in Tarbert

from the Dúchas folklore collection

There was a blessed well in Jim Woulfe’s field and one day they washed clothes in it and that night the well changed out to Tom O’Connor field which was two fields away. People used go there on Sundays and especially Sundays of May. Some people used go there to get cured from some disease they had and they would leave a piece of cloth of the bushes round the well. There used also around the well three times to every rosary they would say. It is called Sundays Well. If you were to be cured at some wells you would see a fish.
Eileen Shine
Gortdromasillahy, Co. Kerry


Armistice Day Centenary in Listowel

On Sunday Nov. 11 2018 the Listowel History Society organised a moving commemorative ceremony to honour all the North Kerry men who served in WW1. In the church, after an evocative memorial mass, local school children read out the names of men from their area who had died in the Great War.

I dont know if other people saw something very poignant in the sight of this drummer boy. 

Drummer boys were part of armies as far back as history goes. They were originally tasked with ensuring soldiers marched in time. By the time of WW1 these young boys (they were not actually soldiers as they were usually under 18) were more like regimental mascots. But young and all as they were, they went into battle alongside their regiment and many of them died.


Wreath laying Ceremony at the war memorial stone.

Sunday November 11 2018

Wreaths were laid.

The tricolour was lowered and then raised again.

The bugler played the last post.  We stood for two minutes silence and we played the National Anthem.

And we remembered.

John Stack shared with us this photo of those who were part of the Armistice Day Ceremony in Listowel on Sunday, November 11 2018


The Ball Alley Today

A blank canvas

Killarney House, the ball alley , Pilgrim Hill and Armistice Day 2018 in Listowel

Dahlia blooming in October


Beautiful Killarney House and Gardens

If you haven’t already visited Killarney House, do put it on your bucket list. it’s a really excellent visitor attraction with something for the historian, the gardener, the art lover and now for the children as well.


Upgrading the Ballalley

Charlie Nolan was in the area when they started work on the ball alley. He took this photo before they plastered over the last of the graffiti.


Holy Well near Pilgrim Hill

From the Dúchas folklore collection

Old Ruins, Kilmorna . Collector- Máire Bean Uí Catháin,

Informant Kathleen Brosnan(1) Gallán standing alone 3 1/2″ by 3″ by 1 1/2″ situated in the property of Mrs. Nora Brosnan, Lacca East, east of Kilmorna. It was an old burial-place.

The hill, on which this stone is situated, is called Pilgrim Hill.
According to the old people engineers, who visited the place fifty years ago, said it was the second oldest Church yard registered in Rome.
There is a well in the recently called an tobar mór and it was regarded by the old people as being a “blessed well”.
Beside the well there was a big mound of earth.


North Kerry’s WW1 dead remembered

After a very moving mass of remembrance this wreath (crafted by Amazing Blooms, Listowel) was laid at the memorial stone in Listowel Town Square.

Listowel’s memorial plaque to the fallen is located at the rear of St. John’s Arts Centre in The Square.

Colour Party leaving St. Mary’s church after mass prior to marching across The Square for the wreath laying ceremony.

Pipers and drummer lead the dignitaries across The Square.

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