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Tag: Black and Tans

Music in Ballybunion and a few family photos

Gurtinard Wood, April 2019


Music in a Ballybunion Cave on Easter Saturday 2019

The weather was glorious. The beach was thronged. The town was alive with runners and walkers taking part in the annual run.

There was a mild sandstorm blowing on the beach.

And there in a cave a group of musicians and singers were entertaining a good crowd of delighted and surprised onlookers.

A section of the audience

Singers and musicians


Black and Tan recruiting poster

Bernard O’Connell found this one.



Easter is a time for family

When you really really want to go to Funderland but there is a minimum height restriction on some of the rides…..

Unfortunately she didn’t measure up but there were lots of rides for smallies too.

My brother Pat with his latest pride and joy

ballads, Black and Tans and Browne’s Bookmakers changes hands

The very modern shopfront of Mobi4U in Main Street


Vincent Carmody remembers Listowel Ballads and Balladmakers

(This is the final Instalment)

While I was doing research for the book Listowel and the G.A.A. in the
early 1980’s, I asked Greenville native and well-known balladeer Sean McCarthy
to write a piece, he did so, and included in it wrote a lovely poem of younger
days, when he recalled playing a game with a homemade ball of cloth and string.

The Ragged Ball,

Yes, I remember the lazy days, and the love light in your eye,

The scent of heather on the breeze that graced the summer sky,

The dusty lane, with twisted names, soft twilight stealing through,

Leaping tall, for the ragged ball, in a meadow kissed by dew.

The smell of pandy on the wind, as the night came closing down,

A maple tree, where birds sang free, bedecked in crimson gown,

The ragged ball, by the turf shed wall, it’s playing life near done,

With cloth and string, it will rise again, to soar in the morning sun.

Yes, I remember the drowsy eves, when youth was on the wing,

A thrush at play in the mown hay, a church bell’s lonely ring,

The haughty pose, of a wild red rose, that burst into autumn flame,

And the hillside green, where we picked the team to play the football

In his piece for the book, Sean recalled memories of an uncle, his
mother’s brother, James (Salmon) Roche. Salmon, by which he was known, was
fondly remembered for his witty sayings and was well regarded as a local
balladeer, unfortunately with the passage of time most of which have lost. The
following are some of Sean’s memories of his uncle.

My father’s (Ned McCarthy) livestock, consisting of one hungry goat,
didn’t escape the Salmon’s caustic pen either:

Arise up Ned McCarthy and sell that hungry goat,

Then buy yourself a fancy cap and a yellow swagger coat;

Brave Sandes Bog is on the march from Sweeney’s to Gurtreen,

To cheer the men from field and glen, the gallant Greenville team.

Joe Stack’s cow and his lazy hens figured in the Salmon’s odes too, to
the delight of the ramblers.

Come on Joe Stack, get off your back, the boys are set to play,

Forget about your pregnant cow and your hen that will not lay,

The Greenville team are on the green, so strap the ass and car,

And we’ll drink a toast to victory in the snug of Scanlon’s bar.

Then there was his ode to Tadeen (Finucane) who hated referees and
regaled them from the sidelines.

Tade Finucane, he roared out, “I will shoot the referee,

The Boro goalie fouled poor Moss, sure ‘twas plain to see,

Come on my Greenville Grenadiers and play it nice and cool,

And kick their arse on this sacred grass and to hell with Queensbury

Salmon’s first verse of his 1937 tribute to Boro and An Gleann final

As I sit and write this poem, my thoughts they steal away,

To a night in June in ’37 for an hour I let them stray,

An hour of thrills, an hour of spills, a battle for the crown,

The vanquished were the Boro and the victors were the Gleann.


There were others too that put pen to paper, much of which has been
lost. The work of two more, Sean Ashe and Patrick O Connor from Kilsynan, thankfully,
were at the time either published in local newspapers or on Ballad sheets.


A Convent Street man, Sean Ashe, was a local reporter for the then,
Kerry Champion newspaper, Sean loved his native street, An Gleann, and has left
some lovely pieces written in memory of the street and the footballers who
represented the street in the local town league, his street memory, of 12
verses was called, ‘The place we call, The Gleann’, here we recall the first

I now retrace the path of years

And see a picture bright.

No faltering step or memory lapse

Can dim that pleasing sight.

No wind of change can disarrange

The thoughts I first penned down

Of happy days and boyhood ways

In the place we call ‘The Gleann’

Ah! There’s the lengthy line of homes

Along the riverside

Across the roadway many more

Line up with equal pride

The white washed wall of one and all

And the thatch of light-hued brown

Bring picturesqueness to the scene

In the place we call ‘The Gleann’

Two of Ashe’s football ballads would be regarded as classics. The first of
8 verses, his recall of the 1935 Town League final, between Boro Rovers and The
Gleann, is sung to the air of “She lives beside the Anner”

The world and his wife were there to see the contest played

The ploughman left his horses and the tradesman left his trade

Excitement spread, like lightning flash through every house in town

The night the Boro’ Rovers met in combat with The Gleann.

The father and the mother, yes, the husband wife and child

Were there in great profusion and went mad careering wild

Said the young wife to her husband “Sure I’ll pawn my shawl and gown”

And I’ll bet my last brown penny on the fortunes of The Gleann.

 In 1953, again between Boro
Rovers and The Gleann, Ashe had a beautiful 5 verse tribute, the first two
verses went.

T’was the thirteenth of August and the year was fifty-three

And the bustle and excitement filled expectant hearts with glee

So, we all stepped off together to the field above the town

To see those faultless finalists, Boro’ Rovers and The Gleann

The game began at nick of time, the ref was Jackie Lyne

The whistle held in master hands was an inspiring sign

It was a hectic struggle and to history ‘twill go down

An eventful, epic final twixt the Boro and the Gleann.

Patrick O Connor from Kilsynan who wrote under the pseudonym of ‘PC’ was
a regular contributor of poems/songs/ballads to several local papers in the
1930s. He later contributed material to the Meath Chronicle when he was
domiciled in that part of the country.

By profession he was employed as a groom at various stables. He worked
in the employ of the world-famous horse trainer Vincent O Brien when he had
stables in Collinstown. I included his piece (8 verses) Camogie at Listowel,
1934 in ‘Listowel and the G.A.A.’, the following verse, the first of eight I
reproduce here.

Camogie at Listowel (1934)

Listowel v Tralee

Listowel’s Brilliant Victory.

In glorious sheen, the white and green, the colours we hold dear,

Shone brightly through a game of skills, the greatest of the year,

For victory in the balance hung, for fifty minutes strong,

But then Listowel, from goal to goal, to victory swept along,

And as I heard their camans clash, and watched them chase the ball,

Old scenes, old fights, came screaming back, what games I could recall,

My heart was beating loud and fast, my thoughts were gone amok,

I’m normal now, so I’ll review the winners’ dash and pluck.   


The Bad Old Days

This photo from Denis Quille shows the Black and Tans arriving into town. They are motoring down Church St.


End of an Era on William Street

Photo and caption from Healyracing

“Today marks the end of an era for our great friends, The Browne Family with their selling of “Browne Bookmakers Shop” to Boylesports. Pictured outside shop on last day of trading are Mary & Eric with son Berkie and his children Daithi & Darragh. Fair play to ye lads….”


Generosity of the Choctaw Nation acknowledged

This is your blogger at the Choctaw memorial in Midleton. On his St. Patrick’s Day visit to the U.S. our taoiseach visited the Choctaw nation in person to say thanks for all their help during Irelands darkest hour, The Great Famine of 1845 to 1852.

Presentation Chapel in 2007 and a short history of Pres. sisters in town and a big win in badminton for a Moyvane family

St. Brigid’s Day

Celebrating St Brigid at her Well near the Cashen River between Ballyduff and Ballybunion in North Kerry

(Photo and caption: Diocese of Kerry on Facebook)


Presentation Chapel, Listowel in August 2007

Mairéad O’Sullivan shared some of her really beautiful pictures of the convent chapel with us. Here are the first few.


Hard Times come again no more

Frances Kennedy found this photo on a site called Ireland Long ago. It shows a young woman whose home has been destroyed in a Black and Tan reprisal attack. The atrocity took place in Meelin Co. Cork.

The Black and Tans (they got the name from the colours of their uniforms) were as feared in Ireland in the 1920s as The Taliban. They went around the countryside spreading fear and exerting their own brand of rough justice. This young woman appears broken but unbowed. Hopefully the menfolk of her household had found safety somewhere before this photo was taken.


Presentation Sisters in Listowel

Photos of the convent in 2007 by Mairead O’Sullivan and text from Sr. Éilís Daly

Sr. Eilís with a tree with the names of the sisters who had gone before her up to 2002.

As we celebrate our tradition of Presentation Catholic education in

Listowel, we take inspiration from the lives of the Four Presentation

Sisters who began Catholic education in Listowel in 1844.  On the 7th

of May 1844, Sr. Mary Augustine Stack- a native of Listowel and three

sisters from Milltown, Sr. Mary Teresa Kelly, Sr. Mary Francis

McCarthy and Sr. Mary Francis Brennan founded a convent and school in


During the Famine of 1845-48, the sisters had to close their school.

They opened soup kitchens to feed the starving people. The Famine resulted in

the deaths of many families and of some of the young sisters. Sharing

their meagre resources with the poor, over the course of twelve

months, the sisters supplied 31,000 breakfasts to the starving

children. The Convent Annuals read of the Sisters baking bread to feed

so many, eventually being reduced to rye and black bread. The Sisters

also initiated groups to make garments for the women and shirts for

the men in the workhouse closeby – so that people could earn wages.

A significant event in the life of the early Listowel Presentation

community was the ‘Battle of the Cross’ in 1857.  The Sisters were

ordered to take down the Cross from the gable end of their school by

the Education Board. In spite of dire threats, the sisters refused to

do so, and defied the Board. Eventually the Board yielded.

In 2007 the sisters closed their convent, after 163 years of service

in Listowel. The tradition of Presentation Catholic education is still

alive in Listowel.  Our school is now under the trusteeship of CEIST

which is committed to continuing the great tradition of Presentation

Catholic education in Listowel into the future.


Badminton in the Genes ?

Junior Griffin has a long list of Kerry badminton families. This family must be the most high profile at the moment.

“A pair of very proud parents, Breda and William O’Flaherty of Moyvane with their daughter Niamh and son James who created their own bit of Kerry Badminton history at Killarney on Sunday last, January 29 2017 by both winning Kerry senior singles championships; Niamh at 16 years of age is the youngest ever winner of the ladies senior title and they are the first brother and sister div 1 title holders to do that double since 1996.

For both it was their first senior title. In the mens decider James overcame 10 times title holder Tom Bourke in a three set final that was a pure joy to behold. Indeed, it has been acclaimed as one of the greatest Kerry finals ever.” Junior



Grandparents’ Day

Yesterday, February 1 2017, feast of St. Brigid  was Grandparents Day. My photo shows St. Michael’s boys on their way to mass in the parish church. Pupils and staff from Scoil Realta na Maidine also attended. On behalf of all grandparents, “Thank you, boys.”

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