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Tag: Maurice O’Mahony

Art Exhibition Continues, Listowel Badminton Club in 1924 and Coolard Memories

 Photo of Ballybunion on a March night in 2016 is by Jason of Ballybunion Prints


Exhibition Continues

The Red Door Gallery is located in The Square Newcastlewest. It is a beautiful Arts space. The current exhibition is the varied and intriguing Colourful Spirits show. Below are a few last photos I took at the official opening on March 3 2016. It is well worth a visit.

 Billy Keane with some of the pictures.

 Two Billy Keanes: the younger Billy ( on the right) is a talented singer.

This fascinating artwork started life as a photograph.


Listowel Badminton Club in 1924

(Junior Griffin)

In its early years
Listowel Badminton Club was a mens club only and Eddie Faley, Mortimer Galvin,
J. Farrell and others were members at that time.  Ladies applied to be admitted but to no
avail.  It is said that Eddie Faley
considered the females to be “A bloody nuisance”.

However he was
prevailed upon to admit the ladies and grudgingly condescended,  and in his first ever mixed doubles game his
partner was one Aileen Cronin, and lo and behold, she became his life partner
for many years to follow.

Indeed, it leads
one to ponder on the seemingly unending number of romances that have blossomed
through Badminton, and one feels that that the figure of Cupid should be
depicted with a racquet and shuttlecock and not with the customary bow and

Listowel is very
fortunate that yet another dance ticket  was found in an old Library Book giving
details of yet another dance ball but more importantly for the benefit of
historians, the officers and committee of that time was listed.

This dance, known
as a wireless ball coupled with a fancy dress parade, was held also in the
Gymnasium on Saturday March 1st 1924 .

The committee
listed are as follows;

President; Mr
Seamus Wilmot;

Hon Sec; Mr. P.V.

Hon. Treas; Mr.
R.I. Cuthbertson

Committee; Messer’s
C.Tackberry, M.Hannon, T.Moore, J.Farrell, M.Naylor, J.O’Sullivan, J.Medell,
J.Walsh and T.P. Cotter.

It is interesting
to note the data on this card such as the admission price where the men had to
pay an old shilling more than the ladies, 8/6 pence compared to 7/6 pence.

There is  nice line stating that “Mr. Dunne’s Orchestra is
personally conducted”

The back page
gives information on the Wireless Concert. (To the young people of today a
wireless is now known as a Radio).

It states that “Subscribers
will be entertained to a programme Broadcasted from the following stations;
London; Paris; Bournemouth; Manchester and Glasgow.

Detailed Programme can be
seen in the Irish Independent of Saturday March 1st.

The set is fitted with the
latest and most up-to-date-Loud Speaker”

With the IT
technology that is available today the world has certainly come a long

way since those
updated loud speakers of 1924.

It is interesting
to note that whilst Listowel had a wireless on March 1st, some days
later, on March 6th, 1924, that Pope Pius XI had a wireless
installed in Rome for the first time.

One wonders did he
have some contact in Listowel who told him about this new form of
communication, and did he, per chance, purchase it from McKenna’s of Listowel?

Who Knows?


The Old Order Changeth Yielding Place to the New

March 4 2016


Maurice O’Mahony, Principal of Coolard Primary School

Maurice O’Mahony launched his memoir and history of the school where he has been principal since 1973. When he took to the stage in St. John’s on March 5 2016 the tale he had to tell was an extraordinary one.

Maurice came to the school in 1973, aged 20 years. He must have been one of the youngest principals in the country at the time. When he came, Coolard had no running water, no electricity and no telephone. It must have felt more like 1873.

Maurice is still at the helm today and the school has all the modern trappings, internet, white boards, SNAs, a secretary etc., etc.

When the principal of his old school, Ballydonoghue rang him one day to ask him for the names of all the teachers who had taught in Coolard, he undertook a search and discovered that, while all the pupils names were recorded, some of the teachers’ names were in danger of being forgotten. Thus began the long years of research to gather together as comprehensive a history of the school as possible. The culmination of that research is a magnificent magnum opus which will be treasured by local historians and everyone who has a link with the school.

The school has been through many trials and strifes and has seen much success, Thankfully we rarely hear about school boycotts nowadays but Coolard had one in its history and it lasted for 15 months. It is not as famous as the boycott in Drimoleague which is still not talked about to this day. It had at its heart though the same cause, i.e. the appointment of a principal.  You can read all about Coolard’s strike in Maurice’s book.

The local community has resisted any efforts to amalgamate their school with the other Primary school in the parish and under Maurice’s stewardship it has gone from strength to strength.

I’d advise you to go out and buy yourself a copy of A History of Coolard School 1846 to 2016. It will soon be a collector’s item. An interesting feature of the book is that it contains the name of every pupil who was ever on the roll there.


Fuinneoga Gleoite

Listowel Florist


Tae Lane Store


Another successful performance

photo: Listowel Drama Group

Listowel Drama Group cast and crew with adjudicator at the North Cork Drama festival where high praise was given to their  stellar performance again last night.

Final run last night March 14 2016 in Hollycross in North Tipperary.


Flying the Flag for the best of Irish Food

In London they celebrated St. Patrick’s Day early, on Sunday March 13 2016. Chef John Relihan was there cooking up the best of Irish beef on the best of Irish turf.

Easons, Nana’s birthday, advertising in the 1950s and more from the Coolard Book Launch

Now and Then


Another Listowel blogger

Jackie Halpin is studying to be a primary school teacher. She is blogging her journey towards her dream HERE


Family Time

Recently I celebrated another birthday en famille. Here is a little flavour of the day.

 The children, aged 4 to 10, made their own pizzas.

The boys enjoyed this part of the proceedings just as much as the girls. Maybe we have two Jamie Olivers in the making.

There is extra satisfaction in eating a meal you have cooked yourself.

The girls made Nana a birthday cake as well . I thoroughly enjoyed being the centre of attention for a day.

A sign of the times. the pavement artists added a few hash tags to their creations.


Advertising in the 1950s  ( Shannonside Annuals)


Knitting in time of War


Coolard Book Launch

Past pupils, friends and relatives lined up in St. John’s on Saturday March 5 2016 to have their book signed by the author, local historian and teacher Maurice O’Mahony.


Castleisland People, Your help is needed

Members of the Michael O’Donohoe Memorial Heritage Project Committee have issued an appeal for historic or old photographs which may help to illustrate the wide-ranging research findings now coming to light.

Committee members will facilitate the collection of photographs and the information behind them on St. Patrick’s Day from 12-30pm at Tomo Burke’s old shop beside Hannon’s Fashion Shop at Lower Main Street.

Committee chairman, Johnnie Roche also feels that there is a story or two in the number of Castleisland natives who have made an impact in several countries abroad in the world of business and industry.

Landmark contributions in the continents of Africa, America and Australia stand out but others may well feature if a flow of information on the topic can be triggered. Any such information would also be welcome on St. Patrick’s Day.

The photograph here was stuck to a card and the names were printed on that card but someone had cut off all but the tip of the first line of the caption. From that scrap of information it seems that the people in the picture were members of a choir. Alice O’Shea, standing on the left of the picture, had a shop where Mrs. Quin’s Charity Shop is now. Fashion historians may be able to put a more accurate date on it than a 30s/40s guess.    

(Story from Maine Valley Post via Find My Kerry Ancestors)


Festival Success for Blithe Spirit and Listowel Drama Group

Kerry Drama Festival

2nd overall in the Kerry Drama Festival 

Imelda Dowling Garvey Best Actress of the FestivalClare Drama Festival
Best actress of the festival: Imelda Dowling Garvey.
Best Production
Best Young Actress Anna Sheehan

Well done all.

Signs and Flowers, a bespoke Tara brooch and the launch of Coolard School’s history

Some Listowel Signs and Flowers


The Demon Drink

Tralee Chronicle and Killarney Echo 1843-1881, Tuesday, 04 November,
1873; Page: 2

Our Listowel Correspondent writes yesterday :—On the evening of the
last fair in Listowel, a poor man who lived near Athea in the County
Limerick. Left the town in his donkey’s cart in a drunken state for
his home . I understand that he was accompanied by a neighbour, who
unluckily had indulged  freely on that day. When about two miles from
the  town on their way home, it was seen that the unfortunate man was
in a hopeless state of intoxication, and it became necessary to tie
him to the shaft of the car. In this manner they proceeded slowly for
some miles, until they were  met on the road at a place called
Knockanure by some parties, who saw that something was wrong. On
coming up and stirring the drunken man, they found he was quite stiff.
He was immediately taken into the next house, but all attempts to
restore him to consciousness were fruitless  , and it was soon seen
that the poor fellow was quite dead.


Tara Brooch Fit for a High King

One of the most beautiful  treasures in the National Museum is The Tara Brooch which dates from around 700A.D. It was found on the beach in Bettystown in 1850 and according to Wikipaedia has nothing to do with Tara at all. 

So where is the Listowel connection? Eileen Moylan of Listowel, Macroom and Claddagh Design fame was recently commissioned to make a modern day replica solid silver “Tara” brooch. She takes us step by step through the smithing process in her blog here: 

Claddagh Design

Eileen’s splendid finished diamond and emerald brooch

The cut pieces of silver which will make up the brooch

Adding the precious stones

Nearly there, engraving and polishing to be done yet.

And just to remind you again of the truly beautiful finished brooch


Dick Spring in Listowel

Denis Carroll posted this photo of Michael Guerin campaigning with Dick Spring back in the day. The photo appears to be taken at St. Patrick’s Hall and the young people are members of Listowel Youth Club.


There Must be Some Mistake

I spotted these in Tescos. The exact same product, bag ties, reduced to €1.63 or €5. Take your pick.


Launch of Maurice O’Mahony’s History of Coolard National School

On Saturday last, March 5 2016 I made my way, along with half of North Kerry it seems, to St. John’s Listowel for the launch of a very important local history book.

Coolard Primary School is 170 years in existence and Maurice O’Mahony has been principal there for the last 43 of them. Nine years ago he undertook the mammoth task of compiling the history of the school. It was a labour of love but also of blood, sweat and tears and long hours of research, writing curating, proof reading and editing. It was worth all the effort for Maurice’s book is indeed a treasure and an invaluable record of a place that has played an important role in the life of Ballydonoghue parish and its children for many years now.

When I arrived at St. John’s I was warmly greeted by three of today’s múinteoirí.

The author was already busy signing copies of his book.

The hall was filling up with friends of the school.

( more about the launch tomorrow….)


Blithe Spirit

photo: Eoin O’Hagan

Father and Daughter ready for the stage. Pa Sheahan and Anna Sheahan who play Charles Condomine and his maid Edith in Listowel Drama Group‘s version of Noel Coward’s “Blithe Spirit”, pose for a family photo before going on stage at the 69th Clare Drama Festival March 2016

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