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Tag: Choctaw Nation

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.

an Old Ad, Mother’s Letter, John B. Keane Memorial and a trip to East Cork

Early Morning run

This is Chris Grayson running in the Gap of Dunloe.   “Heaven Reflects Killarney”


The Misunderstood Woman

Since I published an extract from an old Home Ec book on advice about how to treat a husband, people have been coming up with other evidence of life for the poor downtrodden woman in the early part of the twentieth century. Vincent Doyle sent me this ad.

There’s only one answer to that line…..NO, she won’t.


On Your Fortieth Birthday

In 1999 on her daughter’s fortieth birthday, a Moyvane mother of fourteen children wrote the following letter.  A blog follower thought you might like to read it. The writer of the letter is now dead but her words live on.

On your 40th Birthday 1999.

Dear Daughter.

In September 1953, with no portfolios of interviews but with God’s grace and blessing, Dad and I together procured the most rewarding prestigious profession, that of starting with the first step up of the fourteen step ladder of life, eight female and six male steps. There is a saying “Life is not a bed of roses” there were a few thorns but don’t we all need a little pinch sometimes to urge us on.

While climbing that ladder, there was always joy, merriment, happiness and love galore.

We found you on the 7th step with the same joy as the previous and following ones. Each finding was a miracle, to stay awake at night waiting and listening for every breath was like watching the stars.

On the 13th step God decided that that little one was not for this world and in his mercy took him back again, that was around my 40th birthday. In March 1975 we reached the top step.

At the summit now for quite a few years we feel like shouting to the world with jubilation. Every one of you has made us proud.  If we had to relive our lives we would have fourteen more if they were all like you lot.

The pinch of the thorn in your case was the Dad and I took you by the little 4 year old hands; you dressed in a little check suit and hat to match and walked you into hospital, Dad and I having tuberculosis and you having contracted it too. That sting didn’t last long because on our first visit you were so full of fun, jumping on the bed, almost hitting the ceiling with your newfound first boyfriend, we knew you were cured already and so cured us.

When household chores were a must you always played your part. Your favourite chore was keeping a blazing welcoming fire, how you managed it back ways I still can’t figure out. Of course you had a fascination for heat, you managed to get the Renault radiator to boil at Moll’s Gap and got your siblings to draw the water with their shoes. On a boat trip to England you did some stoking too or so I’m told. 

We could write a library full of books in praise our family, but who would read them. Everybody knows we are cute movers when it comes to choosing partners too.




John B. Keane Memorial

Had he lived, John B. Keane would have been 89 last week.

Isn’t this a perfectly imagined piece of outdoor artwork by Patrick Tarrant?

Come and see it in Listowel’s Garden of Europe. It’s well worth a visit this summer.


My trip to East Cork

East Cork plays second fiddle to West Cork as a tourist destination but having spent a great few days there last week, I can tell you it has lots to recommend it.

I stayed with my good friends, Charles and Aileen Scanlon on their farm outside Midleton. I struck a busy week on the farm as it was silage making time.

These cows were grazing in a leisurely way in a paddock beside the house.

Charles took a short break from mowing to pose for me.

I spent a few hours in Roches Point. This view is across the bay to Cobh. Roches Point was the last scrap of Irish soil the emigrant saw as he left from Queenstown.

This is me beside the beautiful monument in Midleton. This memorial commemorates the generous contribution of the Choctaw Nation to famine relief in Ireland during the Great Famine of 1845 to 1852.


New Stamps

Ireland is celebrated among collectors for its interesting and beautifully deigned postage Stamps. Above are the latest issue.


A Popular Staff Member Retires from The Listowel Arms

John Kelliher took this photo of staff members with Bridie O’Carroll at a party to mark her retirement from The Listowel Arms Hotel.

Mario Perez celebrates the Choctaw Nation

Photo: Ita Hannon


A washboard

This was once the latest in laundry technology. Who needs a gym when one has one of these to work out on.


 Beautiful Ballybunion

On April 1 2017 I took a walk in the sunshine along Ballybunion beach and along the cliff walk. Very often when material for the blog is drying up and I feel that its all getting a bit repetitive, something happens to restore my faith and give me the impetus to carry on. Such an encounter happened to me as I left my car. A lady I didn’t know approached me and introduced herself as a blog follower. She told me that her uncle had written a memoir of his childhood and growing up in Asdee in the 1940s. She promised me a copy of the book. 

She was as good as her word.

 I grew up in the 1950s so many aspects of our upbringing were the same. I look forward to bringing you more reminiscences from Asdee…A Rural Miscellany. 

Thank you, Anne Marie Collins

As I made my way to the beach I saw that Mario Perez, Ballybunion’s beach artist, was at work.

Mario cut a solitary figure as he painstakingly created yet another work of art.

I approached him and Mario kindly took time out to let me photograph him and to explain what his latest artistic creation was celebrating.

The event he was commemorating was the generous act of the Choctaw Nation to help alleviate the suffering of the Irish people during the Famine.

Here is an account from Irish Central;

On March 23, 1847, the Indians of
the Choctaw nation took up an amazing collection. They raised $170 for Irish
Famine relief, an incredible sum at the time worth in the tens of thousands of
dollars today.

They had an incredible history of
deprivation themselves, forced off their lands in 1831 and made embark on a 500
mile trek to Oklahoma called “The Trail of Tears.” Ironically the man who
forced them off their lands was Andrew Jackson, the son of Irish immigrants.

On September 27, 1830, the Treaty of
Dancing Rabbit Creek was signed. It represented one of the largest transfers of
land that was signed between the U.S. Government and Native Americans without
being instigated by warfare. By the treaty, the Choctaws signed away their
remaining traditional homelands, opening them up for European-American
settlement. The tribes were then sent on a forced march

As historian Edward O’Donnell wrote
“Of the 21,000 Choctaws who started the journey, more than half perished from
exposure, malnutrition, and disease. This despite the fact that during the War
of 1812 the Choctaws had been allies of then-General Jackson in his campaign
against the British in New Orleans.’

Now sixteen years later they met in
their new tribal land and sent the money to a U.S. famine relief organization
for Ireland. It was the most extraordinary gift of all to famine relief in
Ireland. The Choctaws sent the money at the height of the Famine, “Black 47,”
when close to a million Irish were starving to death.

Thanks to the work of Irish
activists such as Don Mullan and Choctaw leader Gary White Deer the Choctaw
gift has been recognized in Ireland.

In 1990, a number of Choctaw leaders
took part in the first annual Famine walk at Doolough in Mayo recreating a
desperate walk by locals to a local landlord in 1848.

In 1992 Irish commemoration leaders
took part in the 500 mile trek from Oklahoma to Mississippi. The Choctaw made
Ireland’s president Mary Robinson an honorary chief. They did the same for Don

Even better, both groups became
determined to help famine sufferers, mostly in Africa and the Third World, and
have done so ever since.

The gift is remembered in Ireland. The plaque on Dublin’s
Mansion House that honors the Choctaw contribution reads: “Their humanity
calls us to remember the millions of human beings throughout our world today
who die of hunger and hunger-related illness in a world of plenty.”

When I came home I checked in with Mario’s Facebook page and here is his finished sand picture. It represents the seal of the Choctaw Nation. It took Mario six hours to craft this perfect piece.


When the Pope Came

Photo from a Facebook page devoted to photos of old Dublin


John B. Keane Memorial in the Garden of Europe


Easter 2017 at Scoil Realta na Maidine

They had a big weekend of fundraising at the boys school. I took a good few photos of the marathon and half marathon runners and walkers. I’ll post them next week.

Meanwhile Ned O’Sullivan spotted his young self in some photos on display in the school.

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