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Maurice Walsh Remembered

Killarney; Photo, Chris Grayson

More from St. Patrick’s Day Parade 2024

West Munster English


“Shiner”, a black eye. Seen on days after a social or a wedding in the west.

” Spacer”, Someone out there or not altogether with it.

 “Spot”, to lend money.

“Stocious”, See “scuttered”.

“Stop the Lights”, a phrase of affirmation, taken from an old RTE quiz

show with Bunny Carr.

“A trot”, is a dance.

” The Merries”, the amusements or after you close your eyes on a Saturday night.

“Twinchy”, See “Doonchie”.

 “Wan”, is a woman.

“A Wiz”‘ an action in a toilet or against a suitable wall.

 “A soft day”, miserable weather.

“After a few scoops”. after a feed of drink.

” Fien “, someone you can’t remember his name.

” Fine piece of stuff “. someone attractive.

 “Grand altogether”. Status quo.

” Hardy man”, a tough cookie.

” Locked”. after a little too many aperitifs.

“Shyster”, someone dodgy.

Then there are a number of local sayings that would make you wonder how they ever started.

“Horse over” ,pIease pass over.

“Missile abroad”, Lets get out of here.

A “show” or a “fright” means a lot of.

“Sham”, is a term of endearment.

And on and on the list is endless.

  Stephen Twohig remembers…Years ago I was lucky enough to be working with a fellow Corkman by the name of Ed Cregan, brother of the local city politician and of the famed fish shops “Dinos”. We were both co pilots and would get together whenever we could. He now spends his time between Cork and Florida.. While both flying for the same Delta Connection commuter one had always to listen on your second radio to the Delta frequency in case they needed to get hold of you. Wherever we were if we heard each other, no matter if I was in Canada and Ed was in New York we would always switch to the second radio and say just one word.

 “Bollox”. There would be a pause and from hundreds of miles away would come back “Langer”! It was our own inside joke and I’m sure there were people all around the Northeast saying,” What was that?”

Meanwhile miles away we were smiling to ourselves, in our own world, far away but a little closer to home.

Maurice Walsh: Revenue official and author of The Quiet Man

Text from the Revenue website and photo I took in Kerry Writers’ Museum

The man behind the story of the film “The Quiet Man” was Maurice Walsh, a Civil Servant and Excise Officer in Revenue, who worked for both the British and Irish administrations. The Oscar winning film, starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara, hit the silver screen in 1952, seventy-one years ago. Arguably, it put Cong, Co. Mayo on the map.

Maurice Walsh was born near Listowel, County Kerry in 1879. He received his early education in the local national school, later moving to St Michael’s College, Listowel. After his schooling, the twenty-two-year-old embarked on a career in the Civil Service. He spent a short period in Limerick and in the north of England, before heading to Speyside in the Scottish Highlands, where he took up duties in the distilleries at Moray and Banff. In 1909, he moved back to Ireland, with postings at Ballaghaderreen and Tullamore. He returned to Speyside in Scotland in 1919 and lived in the village of Forres.

Maurice transferred back to Ireland in 1922 when the Irish Free State was formed and took up duty in a Dublin distillery at Chapelizod. He had begun writing short stories in 1908, but it was on his return to Ireland in 1922 that he began writing about his time in Scotland. By 1926 he had his first novel “The Key Above The Door”, set in Moray and the Isle of Skye. Although not an initial success, over the years the book went on to sell a quarter of a million copies. Two more novels followed in quick succession: “While Rivers Run” and “The Small Dark Man”. Maurice’s fame came in 1932 when he wrote a historical work about the Ulster Rebellion, led by Hugh O’Neill and Hugh O’Donnell. The book was called “Blackcock’s Feather”. At this time, he was editor of the Excise Officers’ journal “Cáiniris” and played a major role in the Excise Officer’s Union “Comhaltas Cána”, becoming its General Secretary and later its President.

In 1933, when the Government announced a public service pay cut, civil servants who had transferred from the British Administration to the Irish Free State could opt to retire on full pension. Although Maurice had completed only 33 of his 40 years of service, he opted to retire.

Once retired, Maurice continued writing, and he wrote short stories for various publications in Ireland, England, and the USA. One such story was told in a book titled “The Quiet Man”. It was first published in the Saturday Evening Post on 11 February 1933. It wasn’t long until Hollywood came knocking on his door, enquiring about turning the book into a film. Maurice had just moved house from Inchicore to Blackrock, Co Dublin. The Quiet Man was made into a film in 1952 by John Ford, one of the greatest ever film producers.

Maurice died on 18th February 1964 and was buried at Esker cemetery in Lucan, near to where he had worked many years earlier as an Excise Officer in Chapelizod.

Fishing flies prop at KWM; Maurice was a keen fisherman.

The Maurice Walsh mural in Charles Street

And the Winners are…..

Chris Dennehy and Bobby Cogan won the men’s doubles, Division 2 competition at the Carrigaline Open. The tennis competition was sponsored by Kerry.

A Fact

In Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela, lightening occurs for 10 hours a night for 140 to 160 days a year.


Santa is Coming

The Curragh; Photo by Éamon OMurchú


Canon’s Height

This is the entrance to Listowel Town Square from the Tralee side. Some of the old names have been lost but older residents of the town know that this is Canon’s Height leading to the Custom Gap, so called because on fair days Lord Listowel’s agents exacted a toll from people entering the Square to see cattle or produce. The Square was the market place on market day. Once, on a walking tour with Vincent Carmody, I learned that the corner on the right of the picture was also know as Collopy’s Corner as the building on the corner was a hotel owned by a family called Collopy.


Santa is back on The Lartigue


Another Listowel Writer

Noel Grimes who now lives in Killarney is another Listowel historian and writer. He has produced this book detailing the devastation wreaked on the people of Killarney by The Great Hunger. There were 7 burial sites in Killarney and at one stage the cathedral was used as a workhouse.


A Faithful Restoration

This house on William Street is so beautifully restored I just love to stop and admire it. It’s hard to see in my photo but there are two parallel bars across the lower window that I remember from my childhood as serving to keep cattle from damaging the window on a fair day. Some shops had bars that could be removed and erected on the morning of the fair when the cattle were bought and sold on the street.



In Killarney and Sneem

Jane Darby took this photo in Rosslare when her girls went for a midnight swim.


Barbara’s Tour Hits Killarney

The next morning, we made our way through Limerick City to Adare.   We stopped off at the quaint village of Adare.  From there, we headed to Killarney.   Once we got to Killarney, we hopped on the jaunting car for a tour of Killarney National Park.   

While on the tour, we drove by the racetrack and found out the Killarney Races was on.   

We had the evening free and what do I do, I head to the races!  I bet on 4 races and won one race winning 42 Euro on a 2.50 Euro bet.  Not bad for one race. 

I treated myself to a steak dinner back in Killarney at The Laurels Pub and Restaurant-highly recommended by my cousin, David Toolan.

    Day 4, a day to remember with glorious sunshine to do one of the most scenic drives in Ireland, Ring of Kerry.  We stopped at Scardiff  Inn or lunch with stunning views of the ocean.  Of course, we visited Sneem and walked around and shopped some more.   

Next stop, Kissane Sheep Farm, no relation at all, a memorable sheepdog performance.  That evening, we had dinner at The Killarney Plaza Hotel where we were staying and a show called, Gaelic Roots at The Avenues.  


The Two Men in Her Life

The giving away tradition is a lovely one. Eddie Moylan gave away his youngest daughter on Saturday, August 20 2022 in a moving wedding ceremony celebrated by Fr. Donal O’Connor.

Mary Moylan and Dave Murphy soon to be Mr. and Mrs. Murphy.


A Sign of Hope

This Church Street premises has lain idle for years now. It’s great to see that the new owners are carefully removing the old owners’ name letter by letter to be restored later.


A Fact to Maker You Laugh

People who laugh a lot are healthier than people who dont. Laughing lowers stress hormones and strengthens the immune system.

Six year olds laugh an average of 300 times a day. Adults laugh an average of 15 to 100 times.


Muckross, Church Street, Listowel Races in Days Gone By and David Toomey, Endurance Runner

Boats at rest on the Lower Lake, Killarney


Animals in The National Park

I love seeing this old form of transport in Killarney National Park

These are the famous herd of Kerry cows.

 Here is Cora with Molly as they wait patiently for Daddy to return with the picnic.


Mullally’s of Church Street 

Armel White alerted me to this. As painters stripped the paint prior to repainting Murphy’s, they revealed the name of the former owners, Mullally, bringing back many memories to Listowel people.


 Charles’ Street in 2003


Listowel Races in the Light of Other Days

We won’t be seeing any of these scenes this September. Here are a few old photos just to remind you of better times.


David Toomey…Man of Iron

David Twomey is Listowel’s very talented town gardener. In Valeria O’Sullivan’s picture from last weekend he is taking part in a gruelling ultra marathon.

David Toomey, on Drung Hill, Mountain Stage, Kells, Co Kerry, undertaking a 200km non stop endurance race – The Kerry Way Ultra Marathon, a daunting 40 hour, 200km, non stop race, which traverses the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks and Iveragh Peninsula, on Ireland’s longest trail route in Ireland. All athletes adhered to social distancing, HSE and Sport Ireland Covid19 guidelines.

Photos:Valerie O’Sullivan

Unfortunately, David suffered a foot injury towards the closing stages and was unable to finish.

Beidh lá eile ag an bPaorach (He’ll live to fight another day)

Tralee, Coming Home from Oz. Race in the 1990’s and old Killarney

Listowel Town Square before the reconfiguration


Tralee, Co. Kerry

These Sculptures are in the Town Park Tralee.

This door in Day Place is on a house thought to have been lived in by Daniel O’Connell.

Ogham Stone at Rath Cemetery

 This is one of many old mills in Tralee. The metal structure at the top was a pulley which lowered the bags of milled flour on to the waiting carts.

This is a Tralee church, unfortunately closed on the day I visited but I am assured it’s well worth a visit.


Barman’s Race

One day during the 1990’s we had great fun in Listowel Town Square at a fundraiser for People in Need. These photos were taken by Tom Fitzgerald and they show some well know bar people taking part in the Barman’s race.


Coming “Home” for Good

Weather events in Australia have added to the factors that are constantly turning the thought of our emigrants in Australia towards home. Coming back is not always as easy as you might think.

The following article from Stephen Palmer’s Irish Abroad site is well worth reading.

Irish Around Oz.

After 14 years in Oz and with dual citizenship, I decided to give living in Ireland a go in May 2016 and ended up staying.

I see so much misinformation on this page that I thought I would share some real experiences from my move; both positive and negative:

  1. Decide what is important to you and what is not important to you. Having lived abroad, if you decide to stay there you will be giving up some things, if you decide to move home, you will always have to give up some things. What will you regret on your deathbed?
  2. The weather is shit. It always was, and it always will be. Accept it and buy some decent rain gear.
  3. There are some annoying things about living in Ireland, just like there are annoying things in every country. Likewise, when you move countries, there are things to sort out and paperwork to do. It doesn’t just magically get sorted because you are an Irish citizen returning.
  4. Some things haven’t changed; there is still a certain amount of cronyism, and who you know, e.g. it is ridiculous how much power things like county councils have over planning permission. It can still be a case of who you know, not what you know.
  5. There is serious under-regulation in certain things… e.g. there appears to be no regulation of real estate agents who act like total cowboys. It can be seriously frustrating. You WILL find yourself saying “did this country learn nothing from the recession?” many times.
  6. Car Insurance is genuinely ridiculous, expensive and challenging for newcomers to the country and returning expats.

  7. No, you are not being unfairly treated as a returning expat when it comes to buying a property. They are not “out to get you” or make it impossible to return. The rules are the same – usually 20% deposit, 3.5 times salary, you need to be 6 months in your role and made permanent after a probation period.

    This is the exact same for people who never left the country, so it is not just because you are a returning expat. I keep reading people on here talking about unfair it is, but those rules are the same for everyone, and the controls are there for a reason given how lax the banks were in the past.

    If buying is a priority, make sure you come back with the deposit saved. And expect that you will have to show bank statements etc. from abroad.

  8. Salaries in Dublin are lower than in Sydney or London. Fact. And outside Dublin are much lower again. Of course you can’t get the same roles or career opportunities in the West of Ireland as you can in Sydney or New York, so be realistic.

    If you work in the corporate world, and your career is important to you, then chances are the opportunities are mostly in Dublin.

  9. Rents are ridiculous in Dublin (especially relative to salaries), but still very low in other parts of the country.
  10. Buying property is very affordable relative to other major cities, and relative to rent.

    But be realistic – the recession is over, and prices in Dublin are rising. I see so many people on here comparing the costs of buying in Dublin to small towns in Australia or the US. You are not comparing apples to apples.

    Personally, I could never afford to buy a house in Sydney even though my salary was twice what it is in Dublin.

    Here, I bought a 3-bed house in a lovely location for what I could have bought a 1-bed apartment in Sydney. Don’t compare the cost of a house in rural QLD with a house in Dublin.

  11. If you want to pay similar prices to country towns in other countries, you can absolutely do the same here. There are some bargains to be found, but you won’t find the same career opportunities, or you may have to commute – that is not any different to other countries.

    Also, don’t look at a house for sale online an hour outside Dublin and expect it to take an hour during rush hour. Like buying property anywhere, you will have to figure out your priorities – size of house and garden, vs location and commute.

  12. People here are lovely. Moving back from Sydney I found people so much nicer, more open and more welcoming here, and that has continued to be the case.
  13. Dublin is a much more cosmopolitan and diverse city than it was when I lived here 15 years ago. Some things have changed, and some haven’t. Don’t expect it to be the same, but embrace all the wonderful changes if you decide to move back.
  14. There is a much stronger sense of culture here than there was in Oz, and I love that.

  15. You can also jump on a plane and be immersed in a completely different culture anywhere in Europe in a couple of hours. You can get cheap flights and accommodation and have an amazing long weekend for cheap as chips.
  16. If you lived abroad for a number of years, you can’t just return and expect the same as people who never left and have paid tax the whole time. Yes, you will have to do some paperwork and may not be entitled to the dole. Yes, if you raised your children abroad, they may not be entitled to free 3rd level education. That is the price we all paid for leaving and seeking opportunities elsewhere, so accept it instead of feeling hard done by and entitled.
  17. The major lesson for me, back to point number 1; I have no regrets about moving home. For me, family and a sense of belonging couldn’t be replaced in Sydney, and with my eye on those things, all the negatives outlined above were worth it.
  18. You have the choice to focus on all the negatives or look for the positives.
  19. Nothing is forever. Give yourself options and get your citizenship etc sorted in case you ever want to move back.

I am sure I have missed lots of things as this was just a brain dump. But hopefully, it paints an even picture of the real pro’s and con’s, based on real experience.


Killarney Street

This is an old postcard picture of a Killarney street

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