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: Elizabeth Ahern

More cartoons, The Joys of Being Cocooned, a poem and a fact

Millenium Arch and Bridge Road, Listowel in March 2020

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Love in a Time of Pestilence


“Let us live that they may say of us, when things were at their worst, we were at our best.”

I have to take a minute today to thank all the people who have been so nice to me in my cocoon.

 I have the very best neighbours in the world.

As well as doing my shopping, I get the newspaper delivered to my door, a care package for my birthday, a bottle of wine when my cellar was running low and I feared wine may not qualify as essential supplies, and a surprise lunch from Lizzie’s Little Kitchen. This is in addition to the usual jobs the Moylan family do for me, like mowing my lawn, spraying my weeds and providing

over -the- wall chats.

My pharmacist, Oonagh Hartnett made a special delivery of my medication.

I was blown away by this gesture from my friends, Liz and Jim Dunn.

Below is my present from my beloved goddaughter, Elizabeth Ahern. The inscription on the lovely Eileen Moylan bracelet says “Storms make the oak grow deeper roots.”

The oak is the symbol of the Ahern clan, my birth family.

I have become an expert on many social media platforms like Zoom, Hangouts and Houseparty. I video conference with my family and friends on these. My children ring me every day. I have never talked to them so much since they were children and lived with me. I play Pictionary with Cliona on  Houseparty and  I’ve even joined a quiz with Orla Kennelly and her friends. I’ve been to a Zoom birthday party.

I may yet make a TikTok!

The postman has brought me some gems to treasure.

One of the pleasant side effects of this lockdown is the daily contact with my family and friends. My phone has never rung so often.

Photos keep me abreast of what is happening with my family.

My daughter in law, Carine, is making me some facemarks.

I’m baking the recipes my friends share on Facebook. Thank you, Maria Sham, for this one.

I didn’t get to taste this one my sister in law made for Easter.

I’m reading and puzzling.

I light a candle for the front line soldiers and victims of this deadly virus.

Of course I am very grateful to all the blog followers who have offered me thanks and encouragement. I am especially thankful to everyone who is helping me out with content.

I know it’s not over yet, not by a long way, but I’m registering my thanks at this juncture.

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A Picture Paints…….

Mike captioned this one Escape from the Nursing Home

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 A Covid Rhyme


Today we have a new poet on the block. This is Daniel Murphy’s Banjaxed Limerick.

Banjaxed Limerick #19

There once was a Canon named Caoimhin

Who, wanting no Face Masks in Heaven,

Announced that ’Due to Viral Strife

Not Coviding thy Neighbor’s Wife  

Is now our Commandment Eleven.’



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I Know for a Fact


The French company Bich changed its name to Bic to stop people in English speaking countries calling it Bitch.


HOYS, Mumming and broadband in Ballyduff

Gurtinard Wood; Early Autumn Morning

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HOYS



The Horse of the Year Show is called Hoys by everyone in the know. It is the pinnacle of achievement for a show horse. I was there last week at the NEC in Birmingham to watch the lovely Sonny Bill make his debut in the big arena, under lights.

These are the old owners: my brother Pat and his daughter Elizabeth with the new owner, Jane Collins. Jane is an MEP but she took annual leave to watch her new Irish hunter perform.

This is the big moment when Sonny Bill made his entrance into the big time. It’s a long way now from hunting with The Duhallows in fields around Kanturk and Kilbrin.

Jane and her daughter, Rebecca had organised VIP seats for the visitors.

There were 22 horses in his class and the judges placed Sonny Bill 8th. This was a very satisfactory outcome for his first time in the big time. I’ll let you in on a secret. Sonny was wearing hair extensions in his tail. It’s all about appearance in showing….a kind of beauty pageant for horses.

Elizabeth was delighted with her rosette from HOYS. Sonny is still showing in her name even though he is no longer hers.

Pat and Elizabeth with Sonny Bill’s new English friends.

Sue Walker and her husband Nigel run the yard where Sonny is liveried. Here Elizabeth is showing them the horse she intends buying next.  They approved.

Hoys is a huge show with 250 retail stands. Unfortunately most of these were equine. There were some really entertaining shows in the arena. One of these was the Clydesdales.

This man was selling  a Mojo. He had them for horses and humans and they are meant to cure all aches and pains. A few of our party fell for his patter. If there is a huge improvement in horse or man I’ll let you know.

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Listowel Square with St. John’s



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Have you ever Heard of Mumming?


At the moment I am continuing my research on Jimmy Hickey’s life in dancing. One of the unusual things that came up was mumming. Jimmy Hickey and his dancers attended the Welsh Eisteddfod on several occasions. The only other representatives of Irish traditions was a group of Wexford mummers.

This is Sheila O’Connell’s photo of the Wexford boys. Sheila was one of Jimmy Hickey’s Sliabh Luachra dancers.

Mumming is an ancient Irish folk dance. The dancers hold sticks in their hands and clash the sticks as they perform the figures of the dance. The tradition is a bit like our wren boys and was often performed at Christmas time. John Kinsella, who hails from Co. Wexford remembers his father mumming.

This is Sheila O’Connell of Ballydesmond in her traditional Irish costume chatting to one of the mummers. Sheila is wearing the traditional hat worn by the mummers. That black one was the leader’s hat. The rest of the dancers wore green and gold and their hats were a bit like a bishop’s mitre.

 The mummers were also accomplished musicians. Here they are giving an impromptu performance while cooling off in the river.

This is Mary Doyle R.I.P. cooling off as she listens to the music. She is wearing a tr.aditional Welsh bonnet which many of the Irish contingent bought as souvenirs.

This is Jimmy Hickey and the Sliabh Luachra dancers. The box player is a very young Liam O’Connor

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The March of Time


These photos are from the Ballyduff Facebook page. The first is rural electrification in the 1950s. The second photo is the laying of fibre optic broadband cable in 2016.




Sonny Bill – An update from his new home; August 20 2016

The Road to the Horse of the Year Show


My birth surname is Ahern. In Irish it is Eachtigheirn, from each + tiarna which translates literally as “Lord of the Horse”. This family association with horses is definitely manifest in my brother, Pat, and his daughter, my niece, Elizabeth. They are at their happiest in the company of horses.

Elizabeth breakfasting with her beloved horses

They love all animals and there are always some cats and dogs about the place.

Everyone’s favourite….Freddy Ahern

Dinny

The late Rosie

Screech’s kitten

But it is horses who are their first and last love.

Elizabeth hunting with the Duhallows.

Whenever I visit home there is often a horse peering over some door, or a farrier, vet or horse physio visiting.

The farrier is a regular visitor. Above he is shoeing Sonny Bill in summer 2014.

 Pat leading a horse to pasture

Another fellow peeps out, curious to see what is going on.

An early picture of Pat, on the left, on horseback

Pat and Elizabeth, under their brand EPA have had some moderate success buying and selling horses. They are a good partnership at training horses in the early stages of their careers in the ring.

Far and away their greatest success so far has come with their show horse, Sonny Bill.

Sonny Bill learning to follow without a lead rein

Getting him used to traffic noise he will encounter on the road

From day one Sonny Bill loved to work and learn new skills.

Elizabeth and Pat bought this horse as a foal from Breda Stud where both his mother and father live. Pat and Elizabeth spotted his potential from an early age and put  a lot of work into him to bring him to a certain stage. He now needed  expert help to get him ready for showing.

Enter Matt and Joanna Jones. 

On one of the wettest days of summer 2015 Sonny Bill, ridden by Joanna Jones, began his showing career at The Kingdom County Fair in Tralee. He didn’t win on his first day out but it was to be the only day showing in 2015 when he didn’t come home with a rosette.

Due to ill health, Joanna couldn’t ride him for the rest of 2015.

He formed a new partnership with Felicity Ward.

 Winning in New Castle West

Felicity and Sonny Bill at the RDS

Second in the RDS, Summer 2015

It’s 2016 and Joanna is well again. She and Sonny Bill win all round them.

The only stop to his gallop was the Dublin Horse Show, where he had a Michael Conlon moment when the judges overlooked his obvious merits  for a prize.

 By then he was already sold to his new forever home in the U.K.

Now comes the 21st century fairytale part. This is a story of social media and internet dating as Sonny Bill finds a new lady who loves him as much as (or maybe a teensy bit more than) Elizabeth does.

Before Sonny Bill,  EPA had a successful horse, Mr. Riordan, whom they sold to a U.K buyer. He was sold again, this time to Sue Walker. Another avid horse woman, Jane Collins, who has her horses in Walker’s yard,  was looking for a horse and Sue put her touch with Elizabeth.  Sue had seen Sonny Bill on the internet and she thought he would be just the one for Jane. .Jane Collins and Elizabeth Ahern became cyber friends on Facebook and there she followed the exploits of Sonny Bill  and all his winning ways. She fell in  love with Sonny Bill and determined to buy him. Nigel, Sue Walker’s husband came to Ireland to make sure Sonny was everything he appeared to be on line. The deal was done.

In true internet dating fashion, Jane never met Sonny Bill in the flesh until he was bought and in the U.K. Then it was love at first sight.

Long story short;  Sonny Bill travelled to his new home in the U.K. immediately after the RDS.

On Saturday last, August 20 2016, at Ashbourne Show in Derbyshire, on only his second outing since settling in Britain, Sonny Bill won his class and was declared Standing Hunter Champion of the show. This qualifies him for The Horse of the Year Show in October of this year.

In this competition Sonny Bill will be ridden by Katie Jerram. She is one of Britain’s top riders. The picture of her above is from the June issue of Woman and Home illustrating an article about the three riders who ride the queen’s horses.

Katie Jerram on Sonny Bill at Ashbourne Show

Everyone in the family is delighted for everyone involved in this success story.

We’re all on our way to Birmingham for The Horse of the Year Show 2016 and who knows………..?

My grandniece, Jessica, on Sonny Bill

Horseshoes are thought to bring good luck, aren’t they?

(photo credits: Jim MacSweeney, Willie Nunan, Tony Quinlivan, Rebecca Collins, Elizabeth Ahern and myself)

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