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Tag: Listowel Races 2019

Listowel Races 2019, Graveyard Prayer and Orphan Train

Raceweek  2019

It was a great week with Listowel bathed in glorious sunshine, huge crowds, great racing, fashion, glorious expectation of another All Ireland Football victory; it was roses roses all the way for race week 2019.

Here are the first of my photos. from Wednesday.  I am slowly sorting myself out after the hectic week.


What I’m Reading

I’m reading this book, Orphan Train and I’m learning about something that I, and I’m sure many American and Irish people didn’t know about.

“The Orphan Train Movement was a supervised welfare program that transported orphaned and homeless children from crowded Eastern cities of the United States to foster homes located largely in rural areas of the Midwest. The orphan trains operated between 1854 and 1929, relocating about 200,000 orphaned, abandoned, abused, or homeless children.

Three charitable institutions, Children’s Village (founded 1851 by 24 philanthropists),[1] the Children’s Aid Society (established 1853 by Charles Loring Brace) and later, the New York Foundling Hospital, endeavored to help these children. The institutions were supported by wealthy donors and operated by professional staff. The three institutions developed a program that placed homeless, orphaned, and abandoned city children, who numbered an estimated 30,000 in New York City alone in the 1850’s, in foster homes throughout the country. The children were transported to their new homes on trains that were labeled “orphan trains” or “baby trains”. This relocation of children ended in the 1920’s with the beginning of organized foster care in America.” (Wikipedia)

Some of these children were Irish. Their families had come to the U.S. seeking a better life or fleeing famine and sometimes they fell on hard times and couldn’t support their children or some of them died and there was no one to care for the children.

The scheme was well intentioned and many children found happy homes but many did not. Some became no better than slaves or indentured servants in their new homes. 

Some who came through this system told of how the train would stop in a town on its journey and prospective “parents” would come out to see what children were on offer. Babies were easy enough to rehome, but older children were often separated from their siblings. There are tales of towns where the children were put up on a stage and a kind of auction held for them. Apparently this is where the term “up for adoption” comes from. If they didn’t find a home in the town they were put back on the train and they tried again in the next town.

Most of the children who were relocated were white. Most had no birth certificate and poor enough knowledge of who they were or where they were from.

The Orphan Train Heritage Society was founded in 1986 to preserve the history of this scheme.



The old people used to have a prayer for every occasion. Some prayers were called urnaí, a kind of charm as well as a prayer. This is one of those. It was said passing a graveyard. The gist of it is; You were once like us. We will one day be like you. May we all flourish in God’s kingdom

Ag dul thar Reilige

Go mbeannaí dhíobh, a fhoireann,

Go mbeannaí dhíobh is Muire,

Bhí sibhse tráth mar sinne,

Beimidne fós mar sibhse,

Go rabhamar uile faoi mhaise ag Rí mhór and Cruinne

Classy’s Bus, Repurposing in 2015 and Main Street Listowel in Sept 2019

Ta Dah! Isn’t it gorgeous ?

Classy’s Bus

On the Friday of Raceweek, Ladies Day there is a complimentary bus service from the Square to The Island. It is customary for ladies who are entering the Best Dressed Lady Competition to wear footwear that is totally unsuitable for walking to the course or for walking any distance anywhere. So the directors of Listowel Races lay on a shuttle bus for the afternoon.

In homage to this, Lynch’s coffee shop set up this window display.


Upcycle recycle in 2015

Today’s Races story is from Listowel Tidy Towns alternative fashion event in 2015. 

This is how I told the story on my blog in September 2015

This fashionista, Anne Leneghan from Cork is looking fabulous in green. Anne and I are old friends and I took the below photos of her on the racecourse before the event.

Anne was wearing a vintage dress in a beautiful green brocade. She had accessorized it with vintage gloves and handbag, both worn originally by Anne’s mother. But the piece de resistance was Anne’s hat which was made for her by her friend, milliner, Maria Stack. The base is a piece cut from the dress when the girls decided to shorten it. The next bit was made from an old handbag and the “feathers” are not feathers at all but some things they sourced from an artificial flower display. Anne’s beautiful vintage earrings are connemara marble and marcasite.

Maria Stack, whose family were so successful at this event in 2014 had suffered a family bereavement. So Maria was here on her own to support her friend, Anne. Maria is always beautifully turned out and a great supporter of Ladies Day and Vintage Fashion Day.

Anne is on stage describing her up cycling and restyling story to Orlagh Winters.

The judges loved her too but she didn’t win. She’ll be back again this year with another fetching outfit and another story.


Lower William Street and The Small Square

Coco Kids, Kerry Folk Tales, Safe Home Ireland, Aoife Hannon, Milliner and Poor Shorn Molly

1916 Memorial garden and The Dandy Lodge in Listowel’s Town Park in August 2019


One Corner of Town is looking Brighter


I’m loving this book. As well as myths and legends it has lots of true stories in the best traditions of folklore. It has the story of Gortaglanna, of the evacuation of The Blasket Islands, Roger Casement and plenty more. I see that one of the authors is due at The Storytelling and Folklore Festival taking place at The Kerry Writers Museum this weekend. Luke Eastwood will be in Kerry Writers’ Museum tonight, Friday September 6 2019 at 8.00.


Thinking of Coming Home

Safe Home Ireland

Safe Home Ireland is an emigrant support service. We provide advice, information and housing assistance to people who are thinking of returning or moving to Ireland.

I know many Irish emigrants in the UK are worried about where they stand after Brexit. This is a good website to visit even if you intend staying in Britain.


Couture Support

Aoife Hannon has a lovely pop up shop in Galvin’s these days. Here she shoes her support for the footballers.


Poor Molly

Molly has been to the groomers and she got a right basser. I hardly recognised my old friend when I met her in Cork recently


Listowel in Races Prep Mode

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