This blog is a personal take on Listowel, Co. Kerry. I am writing for anyone anywhere with a Listowel connection but especially for sons and daughters of Listowel who find themselves far from home. Contact me at listowelconnection@gmail.com

Tag: Cork Page 1 of 6

Craftshop the Méar, Scoil Realt na Maidine



The River Lee, Cork in January 2020

Photo: Chris Grayson



<<<<<<<<



Feeling Nostalgic


Today Im back in 2013 in Craftshop na Méar in Church Street. Happy Days!

We used to have this mascot pig in the window. The shop owner, Robert Corridan, brought him all the way from the U.S. where he used to be blue and was the mascot for one of Robert’s favourite restaurants,  The Blue Pig. The late Dan Green, who was a great supporter of the shop, named him Crubeen.

Mary Boyer and Una Hayes were looking after the shop on this day, which, judging by the stock, was near Christmas time. The beautiful crochet work on the top left is the work of Brigitta who now runs Scribes.

Maureen Connolly is sitting by the range working on one of her crochet rugs Beside her in his bawneen is Dinny.

One day as we were having a Christmas event, Alice Taylor dropped in to listen to the songs and stories.

<<<<<<<<<



Scoil Realt na Midine 1960



Tralee, The Phone Box and some Cork Street Art

Kingfisher

Photo: Chris Grayson

<<<<<<<<



Tralee


These are some of the Rose dresses on display in Kerry County Museum until October.

These are some of the Rose bushes in the nearby Tralee Park. As you can see the new gardener   and his team are getting to grips with the sadly neglected rose beds. He has a huge task on his hands but the park is coming back to life again and, hopefully it will soon be restored to its former glory.

<<<<<<<<



The phone box

Mattie Lennon

A public phone in Foley’s Bar in Castle

The US presidency is a Tudor monarchy plus telephones.(Anthony Burgess)

The day of the familiar Irish phone box is drawing to a close. Earlier this year the powers-that-be decided to reduce the number of post boxes from 4,850 to 2,699. Since usage of the public phone has fallen by 80% in the past five years, how long before the total demise of the phone box? The Kiosk, especially in rural areas, provided a valuable link with the outside world. But, in the words of Clinical Psychologist, Marie Murray, “ What of their psychological significance rather than their utilitarian worth? What role did they play in the lives of people? What privacy did they afford, away from the home telephone for those lucky enough to have a telephone in the house but unfortunate enough to have no privacy using that instrument at home?”Dr. Murray goes on to say that phone boxes , “ will become but quaint memories of an older generation regaling their grandchildren with tales of trysts at the local telephone box or romance conducted through whispered confidences in that semi-private box in the middle of the village or at the end of the road . . . ”

In the days when one went through the Operator there was the story of the Cavan man who phoned his friend looking for the loan of a tenner only to be told, “It’s a bad auld line, I can’t hear you.” When the request was repeated it was, once again, met with,“ I can’t hear you”. At this stage the Operator cut in with, “I can hear him perfectly”. The answer was ready, “You give him the loan of the tenner, so.”

The first “public” phone in our area was in the Post Office in Lacken where most of the calls were to the Priest, the Guards, the Doctor, the Vet or The A.I. man (or “the collar-and-tie-bull” as he was known.) The Post Office was also a shop which opened late so nocturnal communications pertaining to illicit relationships could sometimes be conducted, albeit in whispered tones. (Or so I’m told.)

Lacken eventually got a Phone-Box and conversations could be carried out in a stentorian voice without fear of “ear-wigging.” Some “coins” used were not Legal Tender (or even legal.) Washers of a certain diameter and “push-outs” from galvanised junction-boxes, used by electricians, would suffice. (Or so I’m told.)

By “tapping out” the numbers on the top of the cradle (1,9 and 0 were free) one could get through to any number. (Or so I’m told.)

When Decimal-Currency was introduced in 1971 it took a while to have the Phones adapted. The new Decimal 1P coin was exactly the same size as the old sixpence and worked very well. (Or so I’m told.)

Another favourite trick was to block the return-chute with a piece of rolled up twine and to return for the proceeds when a number of people had pressed “Button B” without getting any refund. (Or so I’m told.)

Nowadays when I hear the Dublin joke, “What do Northside girls use for protection? A Phone-box”, it reminds me that at times in rural Ireland the Phone-box was often utilised for erotic pelvic activity while parallel with the perpendicular. (Or so I’m told.)

When a not-too-well-liked person would be retiring it would be said, “They’re holding his retirement do in a phone-box”.

On one occasion, in a neighbouring parish, a female who was presumed to have contracted a “social disease” used the phone and civic-minded local woman immersed it (the phone, not the female caller) in a bucket of Jeye’s Fluid. This caused a malfunction which the P&T engineer couldn’t find a cause for. A local wag said, “you were poxed to get it workin’ agin.”

When Mobiles were getting plentiful and it looked like the humble Phone box would soon be redundant I made a suggestion to Eircom as to the possible utilisation of same . . as Condom-Dispensers. And I even had an idea for cost cutting in the area of signage; by using some of the existing logos and slogans. For instance; wouldn’t the Eircom logo, with very slight modification, look remarkably like a rolled-up condom? And where would you leave slogans like, “Let your fingers do the walking”. Do you think they acknowledged my suggestion? They didn’t even phone me.

<<<<<<<


On a Cork Street


Teampall Bán, Danny O’Mahony, UCC Artist in Residence and Hurling in Cork, Wexford and Kildare

 Ballybunion Castle Green with flags in July 2019

<<<<<<<


Sean and Killian in the Square

On a break from Irish College on Sunday July 28 2019, Sean and Killian returned with me to the scene of so many happy summer photos from their childhood.

<<<<<<<<

Everyone Should Visit Teampall Bán

Lest we ever forget

This peaceful, prayerful spot should be a place of pilgrimage and reflection for everyone.

<<<<<<<<<<<



Danny O’Mahony, UCC Artist in Residence




It has been announced that button accordionist Danny O’Mahony is the new Traditional Artist in Residence at University College Cork for 2019/20. The residency, which is supported by the Arts Council, begins this September, with O’Mahony delivering a series of concerts and workshops over twelve months. The School of Film, Music and Theatre at UCC will host O’Mahony for the duration of the residency. 

O’Mahony grew up in Ballyduff, County Kerry. In 2011, he released his debut album In Retrospect, followed by a duet record with concertina player Mícheál Ó Raghallaigh, As it Happened, in 2012. In 2009, O’Mahony reestablished The Shannon Vale Céilí Band, which has since won the All-Ireland Senior Céilí Band title at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann. O’Mahony also presents a weekly traditional music show on Radio Kerry, called Trip to the Cottage.

Speaking about his new appointment, O’Mahony said:

It is a great privilege to be supported by the Arts Council and University College Cork in being appointed Traditional Artist in Residence for 2019/2020. To engage in this creative and integral position within the Music Department of UCC is an honour. My vision for this residency will be to stimulate new interest in the music and traditions of North Kerry. The creative space and energy within UCC will also provide the ideal platform for my own arts practice.



Source; The Journal of Music online

<<<<<<<





Hurling 2019



My travels at the weekend took me to four hurling mad counties.

In Kent station in Cork they have these Irish Examiner ads up on the walls in the waiting area. They serve as a useful glossary of hurling commentary.

I took the  below photo in Bunclody, Co. Wexford on the day Paul Galvin was announced as Wexford’s new football manager. Galvin, a skilled dual player might be a good fit for a county which seems to love its hurling a little more than its football at the moment.

My journey home took me through Thurles. The tidiest best kept train station I have had the pleasure of stopping a while in was flying Tipperary flags from every available point. Spot the hurler on the platform.  From the logo on his kit back it would appear that he is a Cork hurler.


Dandy Lodge, Peggy Sweeney, The Saltiest Water and a Corner Stone

The Dandy Lodge in Listowel Town Park. Beautiful window boxes in place for the upcoming Entente Florale judging.

<<<<<<<<<<

Harp and Lion

Restoration work has started on this great Listowel icon. I’m looking forward to seeing it restored to its former glory.

<<<<<<<<<

Today’s Pearl of Wisdom from my Charity Shop “Find”

Is the world’s saltiest water in The Dead Sea?

No, it’s not, according to this fascinating book. The saltiest water in the world is in Don Juan Pond in the Dry Valleys of  north eastern Antartica. It’s also known as Lake Don Juan. It’s a tiny lake whose depth is only 6 inches. It’s water is so salty that it doesn’t freeze even though the air around it is -50C.

The water is a whopping 40% salt, more than twice as salty as The Dead Sea. The water in Don Juan didn’t come from the sky. It’s too cold and dry there for rain or snow. The water seeped up through the ground and the upper layer of water evaporated leaving this salty residue behind. The lake was only discovered in 1961.

<<<<<<<<


A Reminder of Slower Times


Patrick O’Shea, who had a Listowel mother, was curious to know what this is. He saw if at a junction in Cork and he asked Facebook what it could be. He learned that stones like these were placed at the entrance to lanes and small roads to prevent horse drawn carriages from riding over the corner of the nearby building and wearing it away. The corner stone forced the horse to swing wide into the entrance and to take a straight path into the side road.

<<<<<<<<<<


Peggy Sweeney



When I posted this photo of Peggy and her family a while ago, Mattie Lennon saw it and remembered a lovely piece that he had written about Peggy and her relationship with the great Seán MacCarthy. Mattie sends us the piece here and I’m going to give it to you in two instalments.

Peggy will be singing the songs of Seán MacCarthy at the memorial weekend on the August bank holiday in Finuge…well worth a visit.

What could I say about Peggy?
Nothing but the truth.
I loved her songs and her singing
I heard away back in my youth.
Her songs were food to my Soul
Her voice was a thrill to my ear.
I loved her then as a child,
It was mutual and sincere.

I love her today as a friend
And the memories shared together.
Her songs still lift my soul
Like the lark warbling o’er the heather.
What can I say about Peggy?
Thanks for the joy she has given.
Blest be the dawn of our friendship
When Peggy was only seven. —-
Dan Keane

The above, written in perfect Copperplate, was handed to me by octogenarian Kerry poet Dan Keane when I told him I was writing a piece about Peggy Sweeney.

When I met and talked to the singer herself she spoke in equally glowing terms of Dan. But, then, she struck me as the kind of person who would have great difficulty speaking unkindly of anyone. Any mild criticism of a fellow human being seemed to be invariably followed by. “Ah … he (or she) is alright”.

Peggy was born in Rathea, Co. Kerry, the second youngest of seven children.

My hinted request for a D.O.B. [Date Of Birth] was met with Kerry specificness; “In the second half of the last century”.

When I point out that David Mamet, in his book True and False, claims that nobody with a happy childhood ever went into show business the tumultuous reply is like the Smearla river in flood. I am left in no doubt about her happy childhood, despite the fact that her father died when she was only six. Her grandfather was a very good fiddle player and by the time Peggy was a year-and-a-half old she was able to hum the tunes that he played for her. Her father was a dancing teacher and her mother, a beautiful singer, (who was very much a woman before her time), taught her all her songs.

She emphasizes that she grew up in a house of laughter, song and dance “which brought us all a long way, the day wasn’t half long enough for us and if I had to do it all over again I’d do the very same thing”.

Peggy can, in the words of Thomas Prior, ” … answer to the truth of a song”. When she sings “Rathea In County Kerry” written for her by cousin, Brian Burke, you get an example of that.

When I think of the days that once I spent
In the hills of County Kerry
Those happy days before I went
And took the Holyhead ferry.
Well we danced and we sang
‘Til the morning shone shone,
Though my grief I try to bury
For our lives were free in good company
In Rathea in County Kerry.

A story emanating from the Presentation Convent in Listowel has a two-pronged connection with W.B. Yeats (first it brings to mind his line:” I made my song a coat”). When Sister Austin asked Peggy to recite “The Sally Gardens” the quietly confident child recited a line or two and got stuck; only to then volunteer, ” I can’t recite it Sister … .but I will sing it”.

From an early age she competed. But competition is not her forte and she says: “I had to compete.” Adding modestly, “I won a couple of All-Irelands with the Lixnaw branch of Comltas”.

She competed, as a member of Scor, and left unbeaten in Kerry or Munster and believing that competition destroys the love of singing. “When I reached the age where I didn’t have to compete any more that’s when I really enjoyed singing”. 

More tomorrow.

<<<<<<,


A Poignant Tarbert Story


from Tarbert.ie on Facebook

Tarbert.ie posted this photo with the following caption;

In 1985 a man was waiting for the Ferry in Tarbert when a group of children spotted he had a camera and asked him to take a picture of them…. the result was the below picture! 

He kept it safe over the next almost 35 years and now wants to reunite it with its subjects! 


Jennifer Scanlan saw the photo, recognised her brothers and their friends and solved the mystery;


The children are Derek R.I.P and Thomas OGorman with their friends, brother and sister, Josephine and Thomas.

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.

Page 1 of 6

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén