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Tag: Clinton

Prague, Ballybunion and Hollywood

Blossoms in Spring 2021

Won’t be long now.


Child of Prague Statue

This icon has generated more than its fair share of interest since I shared it on Listowel Connection.

I have no idea why we have a little statue in St. Mary’s. It’s on a high shelf so I’d say the head will survive.

Infant of Prague story ……Wikipedia

The exact origin of the Infant Jesus statue is not known, but historical sources point to a 19‑inch (48 cm) sculpture of the Holy Child with a bird in his right hand currently located in the Cistercian monastery of Santa María de la Valbonna in Asturias, Spain, which was carved around the year 1340. Many other Infant Jesus sculptures were also carved by famous masters throughout Europe in the Middle Ages. Often found in early medieval work, the significance of the bird symbolizes either a soul or the Holy Spirit. The sculptures of the Holy Child were dressed in imperial regalia reflecting the aristocratic fashion of that period.[7]

One legend says that a monk in a desolated monastery somewhere between Córdoba and Seville had a vision of a little boy, telling him to pray. The monk had spent several hours praying and then he made a figure of the child.[8]

The House of Habsburg began ruling the Kingdom of Bohemia in 1526; the kingdom developed close ties with Spain. The statue first appeared in 1556, when María Maximiliana Manriquez de Lara y Mendoza brought the image to Bohemia upon her marriage to Czech nobleman Vratislav of Pernstyn.[9] An old legend in the Lobkowicz family reports that María’s mother, Doña Isabella, had been given the statue by Teresa of Ávila herself.[10] María received the family heirloom as a wedding present. In 1587, she gave it to her daughter, Polyxena of Lobkowicz as a wedding present.

In 1628, Princess Polyxena von Lobkowicz donated the statue to the impoverished Discalced Carmelite friars (White Friars).[9] Upon presenting it, the Princess Polyxena is reported to have said: “Venerable Fathers, I bring you my dearest possession. Honour this image and you shall never be poor.”[11]

The statue was placed in the oratory of the monastery of Our Lady of Victory, Prague, where special devotions to Jesus were offered before it twice a day. The Carmelite novices professed their vow of poverty in the presence of the Divine Infant.[8] Upon hearing of the Carmelites’ devotions and needs, the Emperor Ferdinand II of the House of Habsburg sent along 2,000 florins and a monthly stipend for their support…..

during an apostolic visit to the Czech Republic in September 2009, visited the Church of Our Lady Victorious in Prague and donated a golden crown with eight shells with numerous pearls and garnets, which is at present worn by the statue.[31] Since that year, the 1924 “cushion crown” of the image is now permanently kept in the Carmelite museum on display behind the church while the garnet crown donated by Benedict is the one that is permanently worn by the statue.

Several costly embroidered vestments have been donated by benefactors. Among those donated are those from Empress Maria Theresa and Emperor Ferdinand I of Austria, which are preserved to this day. A notable garment in the collection is an ermine cloak placed on the statue the first Sunday after Easter, which is the anniversary day of the coronation of the statue by the Archbishop of Prague Ernst Adalbert von Harrach on 4 April 1655.[11] In 1713 the clothing began to be changed according to the liturgical norms. Other valuable garments worn by the image are vestments studded with various gemstones, embroidered with gold, and silk fabrics as well as handmade lace customised purposely for the statue.

  • Green – Ordinary Time
  • Purple – Lent, Candlemas and Advent
  • Red or gold – Christmas and Easter
  • Royal blue – Immaculate Conception / Feast of Assumption.

The image ordinarily follows the liturgical colors[16] used by Catholic priests, as a representation of its priesthood.


Display in Eason Listowel

Three men and their books…give me Neven any day!


Clinton in Ballybunion

Photo; Bert Griffin


An Cailín Ciúin

Having missed it earlier, I finally got to see the movie of Claire Keegan’s Foster. It was shown in St. John’s in a new co laboration with the Film Club while we are without a cinema proper in Listowel.

“What happened?” was the question asked of Cáit at the end of the film.

What happened was so deep and layered that it took me the guts of a week to process it all.

An Cailín Ciúin is not an Irish language film or even an English language one. The story is told in universal symbols that transcend language.

Water, water from a well in particular, is a symbol of renewal, of purity and of cleansing. Then there is bathing and a constant sweeping and washing in the cow house.

Food is important, fresh food and milk …the milk of human kindness.

Clothes are very much a symbol of who we are, a statement. It did not escape me that Eibhlín wore a trousers, unusual in a woman of that era.

This is story about love, about secrets, about death and grieving, about community, about family and particularly about parenting. It is about running away and running towards. it is ultimately a story about the redemptive power of love.

I loved the film. It should win an Oscar.


Oh Sweet Irony!

I photographed this letter in one of last weekend’s newspapers.


Hope Guatemala, Coffeys of Newbridge and a Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

Hope Guatemala—The Listowel Connection

Do you know the way there are some people you hardly know existed and the next thing you are seeing them everywhere?  I’m like that with this young Listowel man, Seán McGillicuddy.

Seán runs McGillicuddy’s Toy and Souvenir shop in Lower William St. This is the family shop, previously run by Seán’s dad, Jackie. When I came to Listowel first this was Santa’s favourite shop.  I met Seán at the BOI Enterprise Town  expo in the Community Centre but before that I had met this upstanding young man in The Listowel Arms at the craft fair during Listowel Food Fair.

When I met him wearing his Hope Guatemala hat, Seán was promoting the work of his favourite charity.

Seán began his involvement with Hope Guatemala by helping out with fundraising, running in their charity run and attending concerts. As he got to know more about the work of the charity, he decided to visit. Hope Guatemala is helping poor tenant farmers to break free of the yoke of their absentee landlords by acquiring land and helping the farmers to farm it for themselves and bring their own crops to market. They build water storage facilities to bring water to communities who would otherwise have to walk miles to access drinking water.  They are involved in education, in feeding programmes and in generally helping the poorest of the poor.

Seán was particularly impressed by the hopefulness and generosity of the Guatemalan people, and their eagerness, given half a chance, to help themselves.  He resolved to do whatever he could to raise funds to help them and to raise awareness of their plight. He wrote a play, Gan Imní, which is a bilingual show connecting myths and legends of Guatemala to myths and legends of Ireland and particularly that of the Worry Doll. The idea is that you tell your worries to your worry doll and you leave them with her so you can go about your daily tasks unencumbered by these worries. The play was staged in Dingle.


 That was Then, This is Now….The Newbridge Connection

Coffeys of Newbridge is an old fashioned pub, very popular with the old stock of Newbridge. It is also popular with Kerry football supporters returning from trips to Croke Park. John B. Keane called there often and became a family friend, while he was biding time until the traffic thinned out. 

His photo hangs in the bar.

Billy Keane went there recently on his book tour and the Johnson, Keane and Coffey children recreated the photo of their fathers.


When Bill Clinton Came to Listowel ….nearly

It was 1998 and the town was buzzing with excitement in anticipation of the arrival of the president of the U.S. in our midst. Junior Griffin was there with his camera to capture the red letter day in the town’s history. Bill was to drop into John B.s for a pint on his way to play a round of golf at Ballybunion.

But the best laid plans of mice and men gang oft agley.

Some spoilsports decided to set up a protest. The president’s security staff decided to abort the planned stop in John B.s  The rest is history.


In The Holy Land

Mary Sobieralski went to the Holy Land with the diocesan pilgrimage and she shared a few of her photos.

Sr. Eileen near the Sea of Galilee.

Mary with pilgrims.

Bishop Ray was also on the pilgrimage

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