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Tag: Bord na Mona Page 2 of 5

St. Mary’s at Christmas 2018, Cork Mural and Bord na Mona and Listowel Pantomine

Butler Centre, formerly National Bank, in January 2019


St. Mary’s Listowel at Christmas

Our parish crib looked particularly lovely this year with its new backdrop.

I was in Cork for Christmas.  I was in the city centre on Sunday December 23rd, two days before Christmas. While my hosts were doing some last minute shopping I decided to pop into a church to say a prayer.  BUT “all the doors were closed and shuttered”.

St. Augustine’s was locked as well.

While I was wandering the streets at a loose end, I came across this fascinating mural.

Fascinated, I took a closer look and here are some of the quirky details for you.


The End of an Era

This is a train carrying milled peat through a Bord na Mona bog in the midlands. In 2018 we saw the beginning of the end of Bord na Mona as we know it.

Many Irish men and a few women earned a good living on the peat bogs in an Ireland when times were hard.

Before the Bord na Mona workers’ villages were built, workers lived in Nissen huts and hostels in fairly primitive conditions. These men often didn’t go home even for `Christmas Day so  they celebrated the big day together in the hostel.

From 1942 to 1944 any men who stayed on for the winter were brought into Edenderry and Newbridge Hostels for special Christmas events. They usually arrived on the 24th and stayed until December 27th. St Stephen’s Day activities were usually football games and other sporting events. In 1945, due to falling numbers the event was confined to Newbridge. This photo comes from Newbridge Hostel in 1944.

Source: Bord na Mona Living History


Goodie Two Shoes

This year’s Pantomine was great gas.  It was an excellent night’s entertainment. Well done everyone!

 Just a few photos I took on opening night.

BnaM Peat Machine, Listowel Food Fair 2018, Bromore, more from the Y A Bookfest 2018 and R.I.P. Weeshie

Wintry Tree by the Feale


Bord na Mona Sod Turning Machine

As we approach the end of the fossil fuel era, people are looking back at our relationship with peat and particularly with sod turf. The above picture from Tony McKenna is a 1960s sod turf turner. This machine made light work of that backbreaking job of turning every individual sod in order to dry it all round. It is pictured at work on a Bord na Mona bog, probably in the midlands.


Craft Fair at Listowel Food Fair 2018

The craft and food fair in The Listowel Arms on Sunday November 11 2018 was a great place to visit.

This family took shelter in their car while they enjoyed their crepes .

Margaret and Mary did a great morning’s shopping at the fair.

Lovely Brona was offering us samples of the locally produced chocolate which bears her name.

After meeting these two bee keepers I’m beginning to think that beekeepers are among my favourite people. These two lovely men gave me a free sample of their organic honey and they gave me some seed bombs. These are “bombs’ made up of wildflower seeds which I will scatter in the wild for the bees and other pollinators to feed on.  It’s lovely to meet lovely people who are passionate about what they do.

Next door to my beekeepers was the lovely Orla with her mouthwatering cakes. The neighbours were getting on famously. They gave her honey and she gave them a Christmas pudding.

You meet such lovely people at craft fairs!

Maurice Hannon had enlisted the help of family to man his stall. He is your man for the gluten free Christmas baking. You will find Maurice at the Friday Market in The Square.

lisa and Rena were there promoting Lisa’s book, The Local Food Project. This project came about when Lisa got a wake up call when she purchased a sandwich at a local convenience store and discovered, to her horror,  that it had 40 listed ingredients. These ingredients came from all over the world. Lisa resolved there and then to try to eat just local food. I’m in the process of reading the book and it sure is food for thought. I highly recommend it. You may not go the whole hog but I guarantee you’ll look more closely at what you are eating.

If you are beginning to think that there was a lot of confectionery at the fair, you would be right.

As well as buns and cakes there was also natural gut friendly foods like Kefir.


A Visitor’s Photos

Patty and John Faley took these photos on their visit to Listowel and North Kerry.

Here the visitors to Bromore encounter, Bart, Mike Flahive’s horse.

Patty Faley took these photos on her trip to Bromore Cliffs.


Young Adult Bookfest 2018

Taking part in the panel discussion were Kieran Donaghy and Paddy Smyth.

Kieran discovered at 23 that he was dyslexic. This eventually explained to him why he struggled in school and found exams so difficult.

Journalist and Listowel native, Edaein O’Connell, also told us about her unusual career path to where she is today, in her dream job, writing for Image magazine.

Paddy Smyth has a huge online following. This is where he tells his story. You may also remember him from First Dates Ireland. He allowed himself to be persuaded that it would be good for his image. It certainly gained him a whole new audience.

 Then it was lunchtime and Super Valu, Lizzy’sand Cup and Kettle brought the mountain to Mohammed.


The One and Only Weeshie

There is a saying that when an old man dies a library burns down.  Certainly Weeshie Fogarty’s passing is like the loss of a library.  Weeshie was a repository of knowledge and lore and he was generous in sharing it. He walked with kings yet kept the common touch. I have enjoyed all the memories and stories that have poured into social, broadcast and print media since he died.

Weeshie interviewed me in his “In Conversation with….” slot on Radio Kerry. He was a gentleman and a consummate professional. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.

On the subject of media, why not tune in to my Just a Thought slot on Radio Kerry at 7.30 ish and 12.00 noon  ish every weekday next week., starting November  26 2018

Schoolboys in 1988, Irish links with Russia in the 1950s and Listowel links to The Masters

Sunset by Denis Carroll


Scoil Realt na Maidine 1988

 Patrick Godfrey found this photo of his third class with Mrs. O’Sullivan


Successful Walk in Aid of Listowel Hospice on Good Friday 2018


Still Time to Get a ticket


“Reds Under the Beds” at Bord na Mona in 1956

This story comes from one of my new favourite blogs 

Bord na Mona Living History

In August 1956 Bord na Móna was involved in a bit of controversy over a two week visit to Ireland by a delegation of Soviet peat experts including the Minister for Peat Stations, Mr Alexei Bausin. The Soviet visit was in response to a trip by Bord na Móna officials to Russia earlier that year. 

At the time Pope Pius XI warned that no assistance be given to Communism in any enterprise whatever and there was a certain amount of hysteria about the so called Red Menace. Because of that, various Catholic groups were against it and there were lots of letters to the papers denouncing the visit. 

One of the main protests was the placing of a picket on our head office in Dublin by Firinne, a Dublin Catholic Action Group. The picket carried banners on some of which the slogans were: “Do Reds dominate the Bord?” “Bord na Móna Trademark – Hammer and Sickle” and “Bord Traitors to the Church of Silence.” Leaflets were also given out that asked “What Irish Catholic worthy of the name will not denounce the bureaucratic action of Bord na Móna in bringing to Ireland a delegation of Soviet experts on fuel?” 

The visitors were informed that the picket was actually a welcoming committee. 

In response Bord na Móna pointed out that the visit was a reciprocal one, Irish technicians had previously visited Russian peat installations and that the visiting Russians were engineers. 

Overall the visit went well and the Russians were impressed with the technical expertise and machine improvements achieved by Bord na Móna since the Second World War. This led to many other visits between both countries over the years and ten years later a delegation of Soviet peat experts were brought to an All-Ireland Hurling Final and not a protestor in sight.


Listowel Connection to The Masters

There has been lots of notice given to the GAA jerseys at last weekend’s Masters Golf Tournament.

According to Aiden O’Connor the man in the Kerry Jersey watching the winner Patrick Reed sink his putt is Timmy Leahy from Ballygologue.

This photo of his television screen was taken by Gerard Leahy.

Icon of the Holy Family in Listowel, New Road Signs and a Turf Powered Steam Engine

Denis Carroll in Ballybunion


Icon of The Holy Family in Listowel

This icon will be with us in Listowel Parish church from this afternoon, Monday April 9 2018 until Wednesday.

What is The Icon of the Holy Family?

The icon of the Holy Family was specially commissioned by WMOF2018 (World Meeting of Families), written by iconographer Mihai Cucu, and assisted by the Redemptoristine Sisters of the Monastery of St Alphonsus, Iona Road, Dublin, as part of their ongoing prayer for families.  The Icon was unveiled and anointed on the 21st August 2017, during the launch of the one-year programme of preparation at the National Novena in Knock, Ireland. 

Everyone is invited to come and view the icon while it is in town. It doesn’t matter if you are a believer, a non believer, an art lover or just plain curious, I think you should come and take a look . 

If you have never been to St. Mary’s before of if you have and have never looked around you at the magnificent mosaic work and stained glass, take this opportunity to really look at this artistic treasure, St. Marys. It has been left to us by our forbears and beautifully preserved and enhanced by generations of Listowel priests and parishioners.

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Republican Funeral in 1918

A visitor to Dingle library during Easter took a photograph of this picture for us. Tomás Ruiséal died of a bayonet wound received during a confrontation with the army in Co. Clare.


A Word of Caution


New Traffic signs

These new Slow Zone signs are appearing in housing estates all over town. I have no idea why they have put them so high up on the poles.


A Steam engine Powered by turf

This was a short lived and ultimately unsuccessful experiment. I read the story on

Bord na Mona Living History

When O. Bulleid joined CIE from British Railways in 1949 he decided to build a turf-burning locomotive.

Trials were made with a stationary engine using pulverised turf and these trials were observed by HMS Miller of Bord na Móna. CIE then converted a 1903 locomotive to burn turf and extensive steaming trials were carried out in 1951 and 1952. The engine was tried out on a main line in 1954 but broke down in Cork and had to be towed back to Inchicore. It was also too large to turn on any CIE turntable.

In 1955 the locomotive was tested using semi-briquettes. During a trial run in 1957 sparks from the locomotive set the leading coach of the test train on fire. It never hauled a fare-paying passenger but some use was made of it between Houston Station and the North Wall on goods trains. By that time the replacement of steam with diesel was well advanced and the locomotive was scrapped in 1965 when Todd Andrews was Chairman of CIE.


Labour Then

This photo of Listowel men, Seán McCarthy and Michael Guerin with John Joe O’Sullivan and Dick Spring appeared in this week’s Tralee Advertiser.

Changing face of town,Brian Lenihan and Aodhagán ORahilly, a concert in 1864 and more about Sive

All Over Bar the Shouting


Lovely Listowel

St. John’s in Listowel Town Square in Summer 2007


Then and Now


A Midland Event with a North Kerry Connection

Minister Brian Lenihan opening the rail bridge over the Shannon in 1969. He was Minister for Transport and Power from 2/7/69 to 3/1/73. The priest had blessed the bridge just beforehand. To the priest’s left is BnM MD, Dermot Lawlor and left and just behind Lawlor is BnM Chairman, Aodhagán O’Rahilly. O’Rahilly’s father Michael, known as “The” O’Rahilly” was a member of the GPO garrison and was killed on Easter Friday 1916 while charging a British barricade in Moore Street.

(photos and text: Bord na Mona Heartland)


“I don’t care about Clifton Clowers…”

Who needs Clifton Clowers when we have our own old ploughmen here at home.


Concert in Listowel in 1864

This concert seems to have been a bit of a pot pourri. Poor Mr McCarthy got an awful reception from the audience;

Tralee Chronicle and Killarney Echo
 Tuesday, 15 November, 1864; Page: 3

from a Listowel correspondent

On Thursday evening last, the
celebrated Madame Castaglioni gave one of her pleasing and entertaining
concerts in Listowel.

We have not had any concerts worth
speaking of in Listowel, ever since the Messrs Richardson performed the
beautiful piece of the harmonious Blacksmith on their curious rock band some
few years ago; and now accordingly heard with delight, this visit of a troupe
of clever artists, as the harbinger of a goodly number of future visits of a
similar kind.

The Signors Carletta Zerbini and Le
Petit Louis Napoleon were prime favourites with the audience and really, taken
on the whole, their performance was very creditable. The latter little marvel
of precocity gave “The Dark Girl dressed in Blue” and “Polly Perkins”, with
admirable effect, while the Senora Zerhiai positively enthralled the audience
with the flood of feeling and passionate pathos, which she infused into
Lurline’s” Sweet Spirit Hear My Prayer” and the capital manner in in which she
rendered the Italian air “ Una Voco pocofa”.

 We were particularly delighted with the deft
and skilful manner, in which this accomplished cantairiea introduced the
tremulous quator and thrilling shake into her magnificent voice. At first she
warbles a few notes with bird like clearness and vivacity; then slowly and
majestically her voice falls, and for some seconds becomes pendulous with deep
emotion, then suddenly rising to the full height of her vocal powers, she pours
forth one sustained volume of delicious harmony. With reference to the personal
attractions we may be permitted to state, that when in repose, the countenance
of the Signora Zerbini seems immobile and statuesque, but when under the
inspiration of the spirit of song, every feature is animated and illumed with
the charming glow of eloquent enthusiasm.

The performance of Mr M’Carthy was
unsatisfactory; he seemed restless and fidgety and the slightest interruption
on the part of the audience discomposed his equanimity; In consequence of this
the “Hour of Ireland” was completely expunged from the programme.- M’Carthy who
seems to us to be either very sensitive or very irascible, had commenced his
comicalities, some of which were received with loud laughter by the audience,
whereupon he retreated behind the scenes in high dudgeon and did nor put in an
appearance for the rest of the evening. Mr. M’Carthy misunderstands the
effervescing and joystering disposition of his countrymen. But he should
recollect that a public concert, is not a humdrum Quaker meeting.

After Mr M’Carthy’s disappearance a
scene of considerable confusion took place. In the midst of the tumult “Patsy
the Cottoner”a well known character, rose to address the assembly, and was
received with tremendous cheering and waving of hats by his fellow townsmen.
This important personage who had been a long time absent from Listowel,
formally enjoyed a high reputation, as a village orator and was quite indispensable
at every gathering of the “great unwashed”.

He said,” ladies and gentlemen, I
have a very great cold, so that if I break down, I hope I am quite excusable.
After so long an absence. I have returned to visit my old friends and
acquaintances in Listowel again.” Having delivered himself of those two weighty
sentences, this individual blurted out a comic song of a very doggerel
character, which of course our musical sympathies and affinities do not permit
us record, much less notice approvingly.

Miss Carlotta Zerbini then rose and
said,- “It is unusual for a lady to address an audience, but I must say we have
come here to fulfil our engagement, and not to be insulted,- If therefore you
will have a little patience, we will terminate the performance. Miss Zerbini
concluded accordingly by singing a song. Then the company dispersed, though, it
must be confessed, not without some feeling of disappointment, caused by the
fragmentary nature of the entertainment.


Times Past

A nun in Convent Street in 2007


Listowel Drama Group’s Sive in 1959

What some papers said


A Listowel Dance Card from 1908

Jim Halpin found this when he was renovating his shop in Church St. some years ago. It is in perfect condition. We can only assume that the young lady it was intended for lost it before she ever got to the dance . Jim has kept this treasure safely and you can see it if you visit the Listowel Military and Historical Museum at 24 Church St.


Colourful Spirits in NCW

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