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Tag: Drowning of Garda Michael kennelly

New Chair of Listowel Writers Week and The last photos from Ladies day 2015

Stag in Killarney National Park       (Jim McSweeney)


Elizabeth Dunn, Newly elected Chairperson of Listowel Writers’ Week

The reason that this essay is accompanied by a photo of both Liz and Jim Dunn is because Jim, through his work on the Athea mural is well known to my blog followers. Liz is his talented and hard working wife. In taking on the role of Chairperson of Writers’ Week, Liz is cementing her love of Ireland and her love of literature as she (and Jim) continue to contribute to the cultural life of their adopted home.

Who is Liz Dunne?

Here is the answer in her own words

Seventeen years
ago Jim and I were house hunting for our retirement home in France. We had
taken our daughters on holiday there on a regular basis and the lifestyle,
language and culture appealed to us greatly; as did the slim possibility of
meeting past pupils from our former lives as teachers.

Today, I sit at
my desk being congratulated on my election as Chairperson of Listowel Writers’
Week for 2016. How on earth did THAT happen?

My background is
that of teaching; my first and only choice of career (apart from a brief desire
to be a ballet dancer or vet).

In search of
‘free’ accommodation, I took posts in independent schools in the U.K. As many
such schools provide boarding facilities for their pupils, most of my teaching
posts involved being ‘in loco parentis’ and residential. As a result, I lived a
kind of ‘Downton Abbey’ existence in many beautiful locations with gardeners,
handymen, cooks, cleaners, matrons and assistant staff. The only downside,
forgive the pun, was that my accommodation was ’ in lieu’ of the very demanding
job of looking after the children morning, noon and night on both weekdays and
at weekends. This of course involved annual agonising over dormitory
arrangements, staff rotas, evening and weekend activities and the inevitable
mountain of paperwork now involved. I could regale you with tales of my charges
and their many adventures but in this day and age I have to protect the
innocent (and the not so innocent) and I can’t afford to be sued!! I did toy
with the idea of creating a board game to enlighten those who think working in
a ’posh’ school is a wheeze, nothing could be further from the truth but I
loved it.

As the thought of
retirement loomed, Jim and I realised that our ‘Downton Abbey’ style of
accommodation was drawing to a close and that, never having owned a house, it
was time to start house hunting in France. Friends who had already purchased a
home here encouraged us to visit Ireland before we disappeared to France for

We docked at
Rosslare on a grim February evening with a grumpy teenager and little idea of
where we actually were; not helped by the weather conditions that meant we
couldn’t actually see where we were!

Jim suffered
Guinness poisoning on the first night and the weather (like the teenager’s
mood) showed little improvement over the long weekend. On our last day we
ventured into Abbeyfeale and casually looked into the window of Jerry Flynn,
saw a cottage, went to look at it, fell in love, put in an offer, had the offer
rejected, realised we were dealing with a different currency so upped the offer
and won ownership of our ’forever’ home (I did all this whilst Jim still
suffered. It wasn’t until three months later that he actually set foot inside
the house!)

In 2009 with both
of us facing yet another mountain of paperwork and stress as we each faced yet
another school inspection, we decided enough was enough and decided to retire
to Ireland permanently.

Going from a very
busy life to the quiet of the Irish countryside was marvellous for us both but
it wasn’t long before I needed an outlet. We had left family behind in the UK
and our beloved daughters had both moved to Switzerland. I needed to be needed.

Suffice to say
that the annual invitation for volunteers by Listowel Writers’ Week that
October tempted me, filled the void and the rest, as they say, is history.


Ladies Day at Listowel 2015

The style at Listowel Races on Ladies Day 2015 was such that I had to drip feed it in here over time. Here are a few last photos I took later on on the day.

It is in the nature of a day at the races, that one wanders about mixing and mingling with different sets of friends. Inevitable that means that I have taken some people more than once in different combinations. It does not denote any favoritism on my part.


The late Garda Kennelly of Moyvane

A few weeks ago I told you about the tragic drowning while on duty of  Garda Michael Kennelly of Knochanure in 1934.

Garda Michael Kennelly is featured in the
‘Gardai 1930’ photo, seated extreme left. He hailed from Newtownsandes
(now Moyvane) Co. Kerry and lived in Aillebrack with his wife Alice
McHale-Kennelly. He was killed ‘on duty’ in January 1934 when he and
his colleague Sergeant Forde, were returning to Maam Garda Station
after escorting a female patient to Ballinasloe Mental Hospital. On
driving through Galway the hackney car in which they were travelling
left the road and entered the River Corrib at Woodquay. Garda Kennelly
was drowned along with the others in the car.    (Clifden 2000)


Newly refurbished and ramped Plaza


Listowel’s newest shopkeeper

In the centre of this photo is Katie Heaton, flanked by her grandmother and father. Katie opened her new shop, Kerry Wool, in Main Street Listowel on Monday October 12 2015. The shop will sell knitting and sewing supplies as well as hand knit garments. In opening this shop, Katie is following in the footsteps of her grandmother, who has years of experience in the knitting yarn and craft business.

Drowning Tragedy in 1934, Ladies Day 2015 and a new look for Sheahans

An sad old story that unites Kerry and Galway

Those of us of a certain age learned at school Raftery’s sad dirge which tells the story of how 19 people and numerous sheep were drowned in Anac Cuan in Galway Bay. I’m putting it in here in Irish and with an English translation for those of you who would like to take this trip down memory lane. If you never heard of Anac Cuan skip to the end of the poem for the other drowning story with  a Kerry connection


fhaighimse sláinte is fada a bheas trocht ar

mhéid a báthadh as Anach Cuan.

thrua amhrach gach athair is mathair

is páiste atá ag síleadh síl.

A Rí na nGrásta, a cheap neamh is Páthas,

bheag an bhacht dúinn beirt nó triúr?

Ach lá chomh
breá leis gan gaoth gan báiisteach

lán an bháid acu a scuabadh ar siúl.

mhór an t-íonadh os comhair na ndaoine

bhfeiscint sínte ar chúl a gcinn?

is caoineadh a scanradh daoine,

cíoradh is an chreach á roinn.

buachaillí óga ann, tíocht an fhómhair,

ar chróchar is tabhairt go cill.

gurbh é gléas a pósta a bhí dá dtorramh

Is, a
Dhia na Glóire, nór mhór an feall?

sléibhte agus scalladh cléibhe

ar an
áit ar éagadar is milleán crua,

is iomaí críatúr a d’fhág sé ag géar-ghol,

sileadh is ag éagaoin gach maidin Luain.

diabháil eolais a chuir i dtreoir iad

mí-ádh mór a bhí sa gCaisleán Nua.

Is é
críochnú an amhráin gur báthadh mórán

d’fhág ábhar dólás ag Anach Cuan


If my health is spared I’ll
be long relating,

the boat that sailed out from Anac Cuan,

the keening after of mother and father,

the laying out of each corpse was done.

King of Graces, who died to save us,

was a small affair but for one or two,

But a
boat-load bravely on a calm sailing,

storm or rain to be swept to doom.

boat sprang a leak and left all those people,

frightened sheep out adrift on the tide,

beats all telling what fate befell them,

strong men and eight women died.

who could manage a plough or harrow,

to break the fallow or scatter seed,

the women whose fingers could move so nimbly,

spin fine linen or cloth to weave.

boys they were lying where crops were ripening,

the strength of youth they were borne away,

their wedding clothes for their wake they robed them,

King of Glory man’s hope is vain.

burning mountains come tumbling downward,

that place of drowning may curses fall,

many the soul it has left in mourning,

left without hope of a bright day’s dawn.

cause of their fate was no fault of sailing ,

was the boat that failed them the Caislean Nuadh,

left me to make with a heart that’s breaking,

sad lamentation for Anac Cuain.

Corrib Tragedy January 18 1934

the years, the River Corrib has seen many tragic moments because of drowning
accidents. While the Anach Chuain disaster of 1828, was terrible, with the loss
of 19 people, one of the saddest must be the tragedy that occurred during a
cold winter’s night of January 1934.

makes this accident so haunting is the fact that the people who lost their
lives were neither boating or swimming: they were occupants of a motor car who
should not have been in that particular area on that night. What is even sadder
still is that they drowned within ear-shot of a dance that was being held in
the Commercial Boat Club. As young people enjoyed the dancing and music in the
hall, four others struggled for their lives in a submerged car just outside.
Many people say that one cannot escape fate, and this is a story of just that:
it is haunting to say the least as one examines the circumstances that led to
this appalling tragedy.

following account of the accident was published:

Within Sound of Dance – Agonising Search – For Four Bodies in Motor Car –
Pathetic Final Scenes.”

the band played and the dancers danced at the Commercial Boat Club, Galway, on
Thursday night last, a motor car returning from Ballinasloe plunged into the
Corrib at the end of Steamer’s Quay, carrying its four occupants to death in
four feet of water.

No one
heard the splash: no one witnessed the grim tragedy of a mistaken road. All was
over in less time than it takes to write the story. It was not until Saturday
morning, after a diligent search by the Civic Guards, that the car with its
huddle of dead bodies in the back seat was found lying on its left side beneath
the waters.

names of the victims were as follows:

            Sergeant Forde (28) in charge of Maam
station, a native of Tynagh, Co. Galway, married; leaves a widow, a son and a

            Guard Kenneally (32) Maam, a native
of Newtownsands, Co. Kerry, married; leaves a widow and one son.

            Martin Keane P.C. (45) Maam,
shopkeeper and farmer the driver of the car, married; leave a widow, three boys
and two girls.

            Miss Margaret Laffey (25) Carragh,

The purpose of
the ill-fated journey that day was to take a girl, Sarah Laffey, who had been
ill for some time, to a hospital in Ballinasloe. The first leg of the journey
was from Maam to Carragh in Cornamona, where the girl lived. Her sister,
Margaret, decided to accompany her and travelled with them. The party started
on their journey for Ballinasloe about 12:30pm and arrived there at 3:30pm. They
travelled in a 1929 green saloon, Fordor Ford car, the property of Martin Keane
of Maam, who was also the driver.

The drowning tragedy happened on their way back to Galway.

( Source: Alice Kennelly, granddaughter of Garda Michael Kennelly)


Fashion on Ladies day 2015


Another Lovely Paint Job

Sheahan’s Bar and Grocery is rebranding. Fred and Roly Chute were putting the finishing touches to paintwork when I met them on Saturday September 26 2015.


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