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Tag: Infant of Prague

Listowel, San Diego, Prague

Upper William Street, January 2023


It Started with a Poem

Richard Moriarty of San Diego is a blog follower. His friend, Judy Alexander sometimes helps him by typing the occasional poem to send to us here.

She sent me this last week

On the occasion of her 100th birthday, Friday, January 23, 2023, dedicated to Eileen Moriarty,

 born in Ballydonogue and living now in Dublin

( The birthday was on Friday Jan 20th. but a typo in the first email led me astray and then it took a bit longer for the ladies to get the tributes together and for Dave O’Sullivan to help me convert the pdf image they sent to one I could use here. Apologies Eileen, birthday girl, and all her family for missing the big day)




























By Richard G. Moriarty of

Ballydonohue  Listowell

and San Diego California


I wrote back to ask if Richard had a photo or a story or something to give us a better picture of his mother. It is not everyday someone reaches this big milestone birthday.

Richard hasn’t mastered technology at all and Judy and his wife, Molly, are not too adept at it either but they put a lot of effort into sending us the following.


I am Molly Moriarty, married to Richard, son of Eileen Moriarty.  I am very glad to be able to wish my mother-in-law a happy 100th year birthday.  I met Richard and Eileen in 1980 when visiting Ireland and having just met Richard was invited to their home for a Sunday dinner.  I was immediately welcomed and the dinner was delicious.  After all these years I have realized how important family is to Eileen.  She is very interested in all things around her and always seems to know all the news.  I soon learned that if I wanted to know what was going on, just have a seat, and soon I would be better informed than watching the news.  She always looked far younger than she really is and is a beautiful lady.  Her faith has always buoyed her up as she has had more than her share of troubles.  I feel I could not say the same, and I truly respect her courage and strength and think of her as a role model.   There is so much in 100 years of telling that only a book could do her justice.  With that in mind, I feel proud to know her and, again,  wish her a happy 100th birthday.

Lovingly, Molly



One of my treasured memories of my Mom I guess would be when I was about seven years of age growing up in LISSELTON.   A good- natured local man entrusted me with a fullsize RALEIGH BICYCLE! Him, not knowing I wasn’t qualified to operate such an advanced piece of equipment and I wasn’t going to make him any the wiser. I was doing great on the straightway but when I came to Lyre Cross the stopping power just wasn’t there. With Johnny Cash it was the mud the blood and the beer, but with me it was the mud the blood the gravel and the Furze bushes. Now what to do?  My wails became more pronounced with each trickle of blood oozing from the scalp and even more so at the sight of the two gravel embedded kneecaps. But that wasn’t the worst of it, oh no, not even the road rash to the KEESTER. The worst would be the Mom. As I laid there in that stream that autumn evening, I could hear her, “Why are you doing this to me, who do you think you are, haven’t I enough to contend with besides you coming in here with this?”  But, not “Oh my God what happened to you (son)?” Between sobs and sniffles hiccups and heaves, “Mom, I was helpin’ Mrs. Foley fill her water barrels over at the river, and I fell off the donkey cart onto the BIG stones (YERRI)!”  “Sure. You’re always tryin’ to help people.”  Growing up in rural Ireland in the ‘60’s, where each household had eight or nine children, you had to think fast, REAL fast.  For the next two weeks the Mom was my primary doctor, night nurse, neurologist, and just like all moms, whatever roles needed to be filled.  The upshot of it all I made a LHOUBAWN of the ROTHAR but for two whole weeks I got loads of TLC and lots of TCP. Thank heaven for moms.

JANUARY 20, 2023



Richard G. Moriarty


As a friend of the family, I’ve heard many fond reminisces about Eileen Moriarty, although I never met
her. She is a true woman of her times, a farmer’s wife and mother of eight children. She could (and did)
awaken in the middle of the night to help birth a calf, and still manage to put a hot breakfast on the
table for her husband and children, pack their lunches, and see them off to the fields and school before
she headed out to do laundry, tend her veggie patch and all the other chores women of her time did
that made them super heroes to their families. Then it was back to the kitchen to prepare another
home-cooked meal. I’m sure her prayer was to manage a full night’s sleep without being called out to
help another farm animal.
Eileen is a woman of faith which, along with her stoic nature, has seen her through the tragedies that
are a part of living. She has always been a beautiful woman, taking pride in her appearance and her
representation of her family. There must be a portrait in the attic, growing old instead of her. This week
she received congratulations from President Higgins for reaching one hundred years of age. Well
deserved congratulations! Eileen lives at home now in Dublin with her daughter Margaret. God bless
them both, and happy birthday to Eileen!

Greetings from Judy Alexander of San
Diego, CA USA


The Real Child of Prague Statue

Kathleen Griffin sent these to us.

Infant of Prague
Infant of Prague statue

The Infant of Prague statue is located in the Church of Our Lady of Victories of the Discalced Carmelites, in Malá Strana, Prague, Czech Republic (Czechia).  The statue is only about 19” tall and has an extensive wardrobe of garments!  Photographed by Kathleen Griffin on 10th Sept., 2019.

The icon we are familiar with here bears very little resemblance to the real thing. It is a tradition in some countries to dress statues in actual clothes. This seems to be what happens here.

Thank you, Kathleen, for those images of The Infant of Prague in Prague. The little statue surely is magnificent.


Listowel, The Celtic Art Capital of Ireland

We pride ourselves here on being the literary first town in Ireland. The more I look into Celtic Art in town the more I am convinced that Listowel is at the forefront of this art form as well.

This magnificent piece is in Listowel Credit Union office . It is the work of the late Paddy Fitzgibbon.

Dave O’Sullivan found the relevant article in The Kerryman of May 28 2008.

I’ve enlarged the text a bit. I hope you can read it. There is nothing that I know of anywhere in the world to match this for artistry. The influence of the Book of Kells is obvious.

There is another Fitzgibbon piece in Scoil Realta na Maidine. I’ll bring you that tomorrow.


Jimmy Hickey

I love to run into my friend, Jimmy Hickey, when I am in town. I met him last week at the St. Vincent de Paul Day Centre where he was collecting meals to deliver to people in North Kerry. Jimmy told me that people get a delicious meal from this Meals on Wheels service and he is only too happy to help with the delivery.

Jimmy told me that he had lost a friend over the Christmas holidays.

Poet, Anne Hartigan and Jimmy have been good friends since they first met at Listowel Writers’ Week in 1996.

Jimmy gave a talk on the history of Irish dancing. He had some of his dancers on hand to demonstrate the steps. Jimmy invited the audience to dance with the local dancers. Jimmy was dancing with the poet, Anne Drysdale, who enjoyed herself so much she wrote a poem about it. Another poet present was Anne Hartigan. She admired Jimmy’s dancing and proposed that he compose a dance to which she would write a poem.

The dance and the poem were duly composed and Jimmy and Anne practiced their performance in Ballygrennan, with Anne reciting and Jimmy dancing on an old half door.

“My feet were the music to her poetry.”

Later that year the Kerryman’s Association in Dublin were organizing a big £100 a ticket fundraiser. They asked Jimmy and Anne to perform their unique dance to poetry.
There were 1,000 people in attendance and Dan Collins was the M.C.

The audience were spellbound by the rhythmic taps of the dancer to the cadence of Anne Hartigan’s poems, What Way the Wind Blows which Jimmy choreographed in jig time and Little Lord of Death which he danced in reel time.

Jimmy wrote out the steps in the old Gaelic notation with seimhiús and síne fadas. 

This unique performance was greatly appreciated by the audience.

As far as Jimmy knows this has never been done before or since.

Jimmy and Anne remained friends. When she passed away on December 29 2022, her family informed Jimmy and he flew to Dublin for her funeral.

Thus closed an extraordinary chapter in Jimmy’s very colourful life.

May Anne le Marquand Hartigan rest in peace.


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.


Old Days and Old Ways

Christmas Day 2022 in Ballybunion. Photo; John Kelliher


Statue of The Infant of Prague

Statue of the Infant of Prague in St. Mary’s Listowel.

Marie Neligan posted on Facebook;

“I have had about three statues of the infant in Prague in my lifetime. I have a tiny one on the window ledge of my kitchen sink. Tonight, the statue fell all by itself and the head fell off. This is exactly what happened to the other two. There is an Irish superstition about this but I can’t remember what it is. Anyone out there remember?”

Apparently the statue, a well known bringer of a fine day only works its magic if the head has been severed from the body. But it is important that the head is separated from the body by accident and not by any human agency. So Marie has that invaluable meteorological genius in its most potent form.

My friend, Anne Moloney R.I.P. lent me her statue in order to ensure fine weather for my daughter’s wedding. Here he is sitting in a puddle outside my back door on the wedding morning. Too late I discovered that you have to put him under a bush for him to bring sunshine.

Then this post appeared on a Millstreet site…

Frank Reen with daughter Mairéad and the Infant of Prague statue that Frank’s father displayed when he began as a Chemist in 1938.

Picture – Sean Radley

We Irish people have a strange affection for this quirky little statue of baby Jesus in drag wearing a crown bigger than his head and carrying an orb.


Football Club is Family

David Clifford and his son, Ogie, after his club’s victory in the Club Junior semi final. Photo; Hogan Stand

When your daddy is a superstar, you have to be part of the story.


“The Tech” in the 1950s

These lovely old photos were posted to Facebook a while ago by Mike Hannon. I have no names but I’m sure someone will recognise people.


St. Mary’s Well

From the schools folklore collection

Long ago there was a blessed well in North Kerry near Ballyduff. It was called Mary’s Well. If any person had any pain he would go to the well and he would come home cured. The Fame of this well went through the county and they came from all parts to be cured. This went on for years and nobody ever came back from Mary’s well without being cured. Even the blind and sore-eyed people used go to be cured.

But this famous well did not always hold. There was a girl near the place who was going to be married and one day a half blind old woman came to her door looking for alms. She said, “I have nothing to give an old blind hag like you”. And the old woman said, “That the marriage ring may never go on you until you be as blind as myself”. Next morning when the girl got up she could not open her eyes and she went to Mary’s Well.

When she reached the well whom did she see but the old woman whom she refused the day before and she abused her and called her an old hag and she tried to pull her from the well but both of them fell into the well and got drowned and the well vanished and was never again seen and where the well was once there is now a stream.

Story collected by Cáit Breathnach of Tullamore School. Kilconly


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