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Tag: Manchester Martyrs

Pandora, Class of 78 reunion, the tea chest and Manchester Martyrs Memorial

Early Evening in Ballybunion


Manchester Martyrs Memorial in St. Michael’s Graveyard, Listowel

I posted these photographs a while ago and wondered why these men were being commemorated in Listowel.

Dave O’Sullivan found the answer in the papers. Apparently these men were widely commemorated in Ireland on the anniversary of their deaths. The unveiling of the monument in Listowel was banned.

Here are a few accounts from the papers of the time.

This memorial in Rath cemetery, Tralee, came later


Reunion Planned

Conor Keane has been in touch . Here is what he has to say;

A reunion of the victorious St Michael’s senior football teams of 1978 will take place jointly with the St Michael’s Class of 1978 Reunion. 
In 1978 St Michael’s College Listowel won the Kerry College’s Senior Football Championship, securing the coveted O’Sullivan Cup for only the second time in the school’s history. The team also won Munster College’s Senior Football Championship Corn an Rúnaí for smaller schools. 
We have arranged the reunion night on Thursday 27th Dec 2018commencing at 7 pm in St Michaels College, Listowel where we will be welcomed by the current principal John Mulvihill and his deputy principal Liam Hassett. This will be an opportunity to revisit our old classrooms, browse through some old photographs and bring us through the new extension.
After this, we will adjourn to the Listowel Arms Hotel at approximately 8 pm for a friendly get together, a catch-up, a buffet and a few beverages. The charge for the event in the Listowel Arms will be €25 a head. There are some rooms available in the hotel for those who
wish to stay over.

 Front row from left: John O’Flaherty, Gerard Buckley, Gerard Enright, Mike McGuire, Conor Keane, Chris Larkin, John Bambury, Fr Patrick Horgan.

Middle : John Kennelly, Thomas Mulvihill, Johnny Horgan, Kevin O’Donovan, Eddie Relihan, Johnny Stack, Martin Stack, Denis Kennelly.

Back : Pat Shanahan, Kevin Lucey, John Lyons, Edward Kissane, John Favier, Thomas McElligott, John Keane.

St Michael’s College Listowel: Kerry College’s Senior Football Champions 1978 and Munster College’s Senior Football Champions Corn an Rúnaí 1978

Class of 78

Front row: Gerard Somers, Joseph Tarrant, Gerard Daughton, Patsy Ryan, Johnny Stack, Dan Sheehan, Fr Horgan ( RIP), Pat Flavin, Thomas Horgan ( RIP), John O’Sullivan, Conor Keane, Mike McGuire.

2nd row: Mike Callanan, George O’Connell, Thomas Stack, Seamus Given, Bernard O’Connell, Thomas McElligott, Declan O’Connor, John Kennelly, Jim Furlong, Barry McAuliffe, Jimmy Ryan, Tony Carroll, Bernard O Keeffe, Denis Carroll
3rd row: Michael Byrne, Tom Molyneaux, Richard O’Shea,Pat O’Brien, David Dillon, Denis Brosnan, Michael Curtin, Seán Healy, Mick Lynch, John Beary
At back: Joseph Carmody, PJ Larkin, Richard Cantillon, Thomas Mulvihill, Pius Horgan, John Lyons, John Horgan, Eoin Rochford, Kevin O’Donovan.


The Tea Chest

I remember the tea chest well. In fact I still have one in which I store logs. The following account of varied and popular uses of tea chests I found in Patrick O’Sullivan’s great book, A Year in Kerry

There was a time when the tea came not in bags but in foil lined tea-chests- the delicious aroma from those large chests is one of the most enduring memories of childhood Christmasses. An added bonus was the tea chests versatility as a storage unit when empty.  It could be used to store turf, logs, clothes, or china and, in not a few instances it served the function of a playpen, restraining an adventurous infant and keeping it out of danger’s way when not in the cradle. There’s many a grand lady and gentleman walking the roads this day and but for their memories being so short, they’d remember that they were reared in a tay-chest,” observed an old relative on the matter.



(The pre Christian Eve)

The following photo and account are from Raymond O’Sullivan on Facebook

Pandora was the first human woman in the world, according to Greek mythology. She was created by the god Zeus as a ‘punishment’ for men who had stolen fire from Hephaestos, the blacksmith of the gods. Zeus gave her a sealed jar as a wedding present with strict instructions that it was not to be opened, knowing well that she would not be able to resist the temptation.. To his delight her curiosity eventually got the better of her and she opened the jar, releasing on the world all the evils imaginable: sickness, death, poverty, pain, misery, sadness, …….
The comparison with Eve in the Judeo-Christian tradition is compelling. She takes the blame for leading Adam astray, the expulsion from paradise in the Garden of Eden and all the trouble and strife in the world ever since.
So misogyny is nothing new, it goes back a long, long way. Very much in focus these days with the #me too movement, the need for gender quotas in universities (of all places), and the waving of a young girl’s underwear around the courtroom in a rape trial. How to counteract something so deeply ingrained in the human psyche is a vexed question. It is an uphill battle, but, when all the evils had escaped, the last thing out of Pandora’s jar was Hope.

Christmas at The Listowel Arms, Manchester Martyr’s memorial and some Listowel children

The Big Bridge


Christmas decorations at The Listowel Arms


Manchester Martyrs

I am still getting correspondence about the Manchester Martyrs and their commemorative memorials.

Mark Holan sent us this;

Regarding your photos of the Manchester Martyr memorial at St. Michael’s Graveyard:

The Kerry Independent, 19 November 1883, page 3, contained a small story under the headline “Anniversary of the Manchester Martyrs.” It noted the 16th anniversary of the trios’ execution would be celebrated “Sunday next” in different parts of the county.

“In Listowel, the proceedings will be on the extensive scale, and a beautiful cutstone Celtic cross, the workmanship of Messrs. Healy Brothers staff will be unveiled in the graveyard.  … The mode of proceeding adopted by the patriots of to-day is different from that of ’67, but equally potent. We hope that the celebrations in Listowel will not only be participated in by the people of the North Kerry, but all others who can possibly attend. Already we understand a move has been made by a number of nationalists of Tralee to attend in Listowel as there will be no public celebrated (celebration) in this town.”

The Kerry Sentinel, 23 November 1883, page 3, reported that the Waterford and Limerick Railway company “have kindly consented to run an excursion train from Tralee” for the event. “It is anticipated the demonstration will be one of the largest held in Listowel for a number of years.” 

The Sentinel, 27 November, page 3 reported that Saturday evening before the event, authorities “proclaimed” the gathering … “the reason set forth for the suppression of the meeting was that if permitted to be held it would be dangerous to the public peace. … “however, the anniversary was allowed to be held without interference of the authorities. … “

The 12-foot-high limestone Celtic cross “is a finely executed piece of workmanship, delicately chiseled, and of strikingly graceful proportions. … the cross was unveiled in the midst of torrents of rain, those present standing with uncovered heads.” P.J. Murphy of Cork delivered the oration, which is quoted in detail.

The group left the graveyard quite satisfied they had “outwitted the authorities,” but the ceremony took place before the arrival of the Tralee excursion train with “a very large contingent.” Extra police drafted from the outlying area, numbering over 100 men, marched to the center of William Street and distributed themselves throughout the town, including the train station and graveyard, according to the Sentinel. While there appears to a some shoving between police and nationalists, there was no large scale violent confrontation.


Local Children Photographed by John Lynch

For years John Lynch has been filming local events like the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Corpus Christi Procession and other local events.

Earlier this year he took a few screen grabs of some local children at St. Patrick’s Day parades in 2003 to  2007.

If you see yourself I hope it gives you a smile.


Sixty First Wedding Anniversary

John and Lilly Lenehan of Florida and Moyvane, whose happy marriage is a inspiration to us all are still going strong.

Susperstitions, St. Michael’s graveyard and a local woman’s role in the DDay landings

Listowel Town Square in Winter



(From the Dúchas collection)

Lore of Certain Days

Collector, Katherine Thornton-

 Informant, Mrs Nellie Thornton, Ballincloher, Lixnaw

The pattern day some people go to the Blessed Well to get ailments cured, such as stomach complaint, bone disease, and several others.

Old people sat (sat= planted crops) Monday for wealth, Tuesday for health, Wednesday the luckiest day of all, Thursday for crosses, Friday for losses, and Saturdays no luck at all. 

Some people change houses on Tuesday and not any other day, because if they changed on Monday they would be changing for the week. 

People say April the 30th or the first week in May is the best time for planting crops. The old people say rain on Friday, rain on Sunday,

“There is a well situated in Mrs. David Dillon’s farm…”

There is a well situated in Mrs. David Dillons farm at this day the well goes by the name of Tobair na Giolláin. The people say the English of it is the well of the flies. At first the well was situated near a hedge in the field but one morning a woman rinsed clothes in it and when the people came to the well it was dried up but it sprang up about four perches from the place. The people are still taking water out of it but the old people always said it was a blessed well.


In St. Michael’s Graveyard


A War Story with a Local Twist

This story comes to us from the pen of Billy McSweeney

In my Grandparents time, Kerry people understood that they were cut off from the rest of Ireland by a series of mountains; they realized that they were isolated and had to look after themselves. Life was harder in Kerry than in the Golden Vale or on the central plains of Ireland. The mothers of Kerry especially, knew that they had to look to every advantage to help their children and prized education highly to that end. In the mid-19thcentury the people of Listowel welcomed enthusiastically the establishment of St Michael’s College for Boys and the Presentation Convent Secondary schools for Girls, not forgetting the Technical School. The people who read this blog are most likely familiar with the Census’ 1901 and 1911 and will have noticed that many homes in Listowel housed not only Boarders but also welcomed Scholars who came from the villages and isolated farms scattered around North Kerry. These boys and girls spent 5-6 years in the Listowel schools to be educated for ‘life’.

The upshot of this was that from Listowel we sent out many young adults who were a credit to their teachers to take their places in many organizations and many whose names became nationally known for their talents and abilities, especially in the Arts.

Let me tell you about one such young girl, Maureen Flavin, who was born in Knocknagoshel, Co Kerry. When the time came for Maureen to go on from National school she was welcomed into the Mulvihill home in Upper Church Street who themselves had a young girl, Ginny, of the same age. Maureen and Ginny became fast friends and stayed so for life. 

When Maureen finished school in 1930 she wanted a job; couldn’t get one in Kerry because of the times that were in it, so she answered an ad in the National Papers for an Assnt. Postmistress in Black Sod, in North Mayo. Her references and qualifications were suitable and in due course, as she says to her own surprise she was offered the job. This was to set Maureen on a course where she would be an integral part of one of the most momentous actions of the age. Mrs Sweeney, the Black Sod Postmistress, was married to Ted who was the Lighthouse Keeper, both operating from the Lighthouse building in Black Sod. They had a son, also Ted, who Maureen fell in love with and married in due course. They in turn had three boys and a girl and life took up a normal rhythm for the family; that is until 3rd June 1944.

The WW2 was in full swing at this stage with Gen. Eisenhower as the Allied Supreme Commander and Gen. Rommel the German Commander in Normandy. Rommel knew that an Allied invasion was prepared and imminent. Conventional Meteorological sources at the time for the US and German military said that the coming days would bring very inclement weather so that the invasion would have to be postponed. Eisenhower postponed the action and Rommel left Normandy for a weekend in Berlin based on the same information. The British Chief Meteorologist had however visited Black Sod some years previously and knew the value of Black Sod as the most westerly station in Europe and when a break in the weather was reported by Black Sod on 3rdJune he persuaded Eisenhower that 6thand 7thJune would be clear and to ignore the same conventional Met advice used by both the US and the Germans. Ted compiled the reports for the Irish Met Office and Maureen transmitted them. Maureen remembers receiving a telephone call a short time later from a lady with a ‘very posh English accent’ asking for confirmation of her report. Ted was called to the phone and he confirmed the readings, The rest, as they say, is history. 

Ted Sweeney died in 2001.  Maureen is still alive.

There must be a few morals in this story


It’s Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas

McKenna’s Window


Manchester Martyrs

Since I posted these photos I have had lots of people contact me about this topic. The “martyrs” were Allen Larkin and O’Brien, two from Cork and one from Offally .

Here is the story;

The Manchester Martyrs— William Philip Allen, Michael Larkin, and Michael O’Brien—were three men executed for the murder of a police officer in Manchester, England, in 1867, during an incident that became known as the Manchester Outrages. The three were members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, also known as the Fenians, an organisation dedicated to ending British rule in Ireland, and were among a group of 30–40 Fenians who attacked a horse-drawn police van transporting two arrested leaders of the Brotherhood, Thomas J. Kelly and Timothy Deasy, to Belle Vue Gaol. Police Sergeant Charles Brett, travelling inside with the keys, was shot and killed as the attackers attempted to force the van open by blowing the lock. Kelly and Deasy were released after another prisoner in the van took the keys from Brett’s body and passed them to the group outside through a ventilation grill; the pair were never recaptured, despite an extensive search.

Two others were also charged and found guilty of Brett’s murder, Thomas Maguire and Edward O’Meagher Condon, but their death sentences were overturned—O’Meagher Condon’s through the intercession of the United States government (he was an American citizen), and Maguire’s because the evidence given against him was considered unsatisfactory. Allen, Larkin, and O’Brien were publicly hanged on a temporary structure built on the wall of Salford Gaol, on 23 November 1867, in front of a crowd of 8,000–10,000.

Brett was the first Manchester City Police officer to be killed on duty, and he is memorialised in a monument in St Ann’s Church. Allen, Larkin, and O’Brien are also memorialised, both in Manchester – where the Irish community made up more than 10 percent of the population – and in Ireland, where they were regarded by many as inspirational heroes.   

Source: Wikipedia 

There are monuments to these three all over Ireland and there is one in Manchester. Commemorative ceremonies were held for years on the anniversary of their execution.

Thank you to all the people who contacted me on this one and look out for Dave O’Sullivan’s contribution next week. He trawled the papers for us and found out lots more about the Listowel monument

This impressive one is in Kilrush, Co Clare

Manchester Martys’ Memorial, Food Fair, The Great Hunger in Listowel and Sheep may Safely Graze

Wintry Tree In Listowel Town Square in November 2018


At the Window of the Kerry Writers’ Centre


Memorial in St. Michael’s Graveyard

I wonder why there is a memorial to these men in Listowel.


Last Few from the Listowel Food Fair Craft Fair 2018

Anne Egan and her daughter, Katie at her table brimful of lovely handknits.

Brigita was at the fair with her family and friends.

There were several award winning cheesemakers at the fair.

There was a great deal of produce to tempt the sweet toothed.

This French beekeeper who has his hives in Duagh had some lovely wax products as well as honey on his stall, all displayed on wooden shelves made by himself.


Listowel during the Famine

This account of the Famine in Listowel was contributed by a W. Keane to the schools’ Folklore collection and is now in the Dúchas collection.

 The old mill by the river in Listowel (once N.K.M. factory) was built out of the stones of the part of Listowel knocked by Sir Charles [?] in 1600. The time of the famine the mill was full of corn and soldiers were placed on guard to mind it. Leonard was the man in charge of the mill. They used the bags of wheat inside and there were soldiers outside the door and the people used to go down to get the wheat and they used be fighting the soldiers. Finally the wheat went bad and had to be thrown out in the River Feale. 

Cars used go out every day from the workhouse in Listowel to collect dead bodies & they used be carried to Gale Churchyard. But as Gale church was too far from Listowel they got a field near the town on the road to Ballybunion now known as Teampulleenbawn where they buried the bodies in pits or else with coffins with sliding bottoms, & used the coffins all over again. There were auxiliary workhouses: St.Michael’s College, Listowel, was an hospital; Stalls in Clieveragh known now as “The Barn” was a workhouse & “The Model Farm” on the Ballybunion Rd. “The Model Farm” is so green amid a stretch of poor land. The people say that it was the sweat of the paupers carrying manure on their backs that made it green. You’d get £33 for a pig.


Sheep in Firies

I recently spent a tamall at the home of an old friend in Firies. What a beautiful corner of the Kingdom. These sheep were grazing in the field near my friend’s house. The scene was almost biblical in its peaceful beauty.

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