This blog is a personal take on Listowel, Co. Kerry. I am writing for anyone anywhere with a Listowel connection but especially for sons and daughters of Listowel who find themselves far from home. Contact me at listowelconnection@gmail.com

Tag: Michael Guerin Page 1 of 2

Remembrance Day 2019, names of soldiers in Listowel 1922 and Katurk Memories

Turf lorry passes by St. Mary’s Listowel on Sunday November 10 2019.

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People I met in The Square on Sunday




Three lovely ladies, Ingrid O’Connor and her daughters were in The Square after 11.30 mass.

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Remembrance Sunday 2019

The men and woman who organised the remembrance ceremony.

Jim Halpin who has done most to remember the fallen soldiers from North Kerry.

Taking the salute

Raising the tricolour


For me the two most spine chilling moments of the remembrance are firstly the reading out of the names of the fallen. These are local names familiar to us all, ancestors of local people who made the greatest sacrifice. The second moving moment is when that bugler plays the last post, bidding farewell to those who served.

 
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Listowel Army personnel from The Military Archives Census 1922

Listowel (Kerry)

Patrick

Daly

19

Listowel (Kerry)

Patk

Dirran

19

Listowel (Kerry)

Timothy

Enright

18

Listowel (Kerry)

John

Flaherty

28

Listowel (Kerry)

John

Fahy

25

Listowel (Kerry)

Patk

Finn

25

Listowel (Kerry)

John

Flaherty

20

Listowel (Kerry)

William

Flahive

22

Listowel (Kerry)

Stephen

Gurtrie

19

Listowel (Kerry)

Maurice

Granville

52

Listowel (Kerry)

Stephen

Gaughan

22

Listowel (Kerry)

Ned

Hanafin

19

Listowel (Kerry)

John

Hanafin

21

Listowel (Kerry)

Dan

Hunt

30

Listowel (Kerry)

Jeremiah

Hunt

24

Listowel (Kerry)

Martin

Hayes

26

Listowel (Kerry)

Con

Hickey

20

Listowel (Kerry)

Joe

Hynes

22

Listowel (Kerry)

Martin

Hynes

22

Listowel (Kerry)

Martin

Howe

18

Listowel (Kerry)

Michael

Hayes

19

Listowel (Kerry)

Thomas

Haugh

20

6

Listowel (Kerry)

Michael

Hanrahan

23

6

Listowel (Kerry)

Michael

Horan

18

6

Listowel (Kerry)

Bartley

Hernon

30

6

Listowel (Kerry)

Peter

Kenrick

21

6

Listowel (Kerry)

Jas

Kenny

19

6

Listowel (Kerry)

Patk

Kelly

22

6

Listowel (Kerry)

Timothy

Kelly

21

6

Listowel (Kerry)

John

King

21

6

Listowel (Kerry)

John

Murphy

32

8

Listowel (Kerry)

John J

McGarry

19

8

Listowel (Kerry)

John

Moriarty

20

8

Listowel (Kerry)

Patk

Murphy

19

8

Listowel (Kerry)

Michael

Murphy

19

8

Listowel (Kerry)

Francis

Moore

20

8

Listowel (Kerry)

Pat

Morrissey

23

8

Listowel (Kerry)

Thomas

Naughton

19

8

Listowel (Kerry)

Michael

O’Grady

25

8

Listowel (Kerry)

John

Halloran

23

8

Listowel (Kerry)

John

Sullivan

19

10

Listowel (Kerry)

Daniel

Shanahan

22

10

Listowel (Kerry)

Thos

Stack

22

10

Listowel (Kerry)

John

Walsh

21

10

Listowel (Kerry)

John

Walsh

21

10

Listowel (Kerry)

Coleman

Walsh

24

10

Listowel (Kerry)

Christy

Whelan

19

10

Listowel (Kerry)

Michael

Ward

20

10

Listowel (Kerry)

James

McMahon

23

10

Listowel (Kerry)

Dominic

Flaherty

24

10

Listowel (Kerry)

Patk

Sullivan

26

12

Listowel (Kerry)

John

Hickey

18

12

Listowel (Kerry)

Joseph

Grady

18

12

Listowel (Kerry)

William

Archer

18

14

Listowel (Kerry)

John

Ayers

24

14

Listowel (Kerry)

Denis

Bentley

20

14

Listowel (Kerry)

James

Blake

18

14

Listowel (Kerry)

John

Brady

22

14

Listowel (Kerry)

Michael

Bolton

21

14

Listowel (Kerry)

Edmond

Burns

21

14

Listowel (Kerry)

John

Curly

20

14

Listowel (Kerry)

Thomas

Collins

26

14

Listowel (Kerry)

Thomas

Cashel

35

14

Listowel (Kerry)

Thos

Connelly

21

16

Listowel (Kerry)

Austin

Cullinan

22

16

Listowel (Kerry)

Joseph

Condon

19

16

Listowel (Kerry)

Dan

Corry

33

16

Listowel (Kerry)

Patk

Curran

20

16

Listowel (Kerry)

Michael

Cantillon

26

16

Listowel (Kerry)

Michael

Collins

22

16

Listowel (Kerry)

Patk

Curran

20

16

Listowel (Kerry)

Timothy

Donovan

22

16

Listowel (Kerry)

Thomas

Daly

50

16

Listowel (Kerry)

Austin

Kelly

22

18

Listowel (Kerry)

John

Kennedy

21

18

Listowel (Kerry)

John

Lennane

20

18

Listowel (Kerry)

John

Lynch

30

18

Listowel (Kerry)

Mat

Lynch

20

18

Listowel (Kerry)

Lawrence

Larkin

24

18

Listowel (Kerry)

James

Lynch

21

18

Listowel (Kerry)

Joe

Lafferty

20

18

Listowel (Kerry)

Dan

Lynch

22

18

Listowel (Kerry)

Tom

Lynch

21

18

Listowel (Kerry)

George

Mahony

18

20

Listowel (Kerry)

Eugene

McNamara

23

20

Listowel (Kerry)

John

McNamara

19

20

Listowel (Kerry)

John

Moroney

22

20

Listowel (Kerry)

McPhilbin

20

Listowel (Kerry)

William

McNamara

29

20

Listowel (Kerry)

Frank

Mangan

21

20

Listowel (Kerry)

John

Moore

60

20

Listowel (Kerry)

Thomas

Moore

28

20

Listowel (Kerry)

Patk

McGrath

26

20

Listowel (Kerry)

John

O’Grady

23

22

Listowel (Kerry)

Michael

Sullivan

18

22

Listowel (Kerry)

James

Pope

18

22

Listowel (Kerry)

John

Perkins

20

22

Listowel (Kerry)

Patk

Purse

17

22

Listowel (Kerry)

Joseph

Pendergast

23

22

Listowel (Kerry)

Michael

Quirke

18

22

Listowel (Kerry)

John

Ryan

28

22

Listowel (Kerry)

Frank

Roche

22

22

Listowel (Kerry)

Michael

Ryan

18

22

Listowel (Kerry)

T P

Shea

23

24

Listowel (Kerry)

John

O’Connor

32

24

Listowel (Kerry)

Roger

O’Connor

22

24

Listowel (Kerry)

Denis

Sullivan

19

24

Listowel (Kerry)

Michael

O’Connor

18

24

Listowel (Kerry)

Patk

O’Grady

22

24

Listowel (Kerry)

Dan

O’Brien

22

24

Listowel (Kerry)

Brian

O’Grady

26

24

Listowel (Kerry)

John

O’Connell

26

24

Listowel (Kerry)

John

O’Keeffe

21

24

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Kanturk, My Home Town




We, Kanturk natives, are lucky to have a Facebook page dedicated to Kanturk Memories where people share photos and memories.

The above treasure is of a carnival in 1941. Goggin’s was one of the local mineral water companies.

I’m taking a trip down that Memory Lane tomorrow evening, November 15 2019 for my Ahern family are organising a Kanturk launch of A minute of Your Time in the Edel Quinn Hall at 7.30. I’m looking forward to meeting up with old friends and cousins. My cousin, Eugene Brosnan is going to play the music and my super caterer, sister in law is looking after the nibbles.. If you are in the area, drop in. It should be a good one.

Ungardening, Lough Boora, Walking in Circles and The Lartigue

Róisín in The wildflower meadow in Ballincollig Regional Park

Ungardening is the new craze…..happy days! You just sow the seeds and let Nature take its course. No need to mow or weed or thin or dead head or any of that backbreaking gardening that people have been doing for ages. If Capability Brown were alive today he’d be ungardening.

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Lough Boora Visit


During a recent visit to the Kildare branch of my family, I spent a lovely morning in Lough Boora. This visitor centre is located just outside Tullamore. It used to be a Bord na Mona bog. It is now a cycleway/walkway, sculpture park, wildlife reserve and biodiversity area. It’s well worth a visit if you are ever in the midlands.

These trees are thousands of years old. When they drained the bog, there they were, growing just like this.

Don O’Boyle is the sculptor who made this beautiful and practical bog oak bridge.


This sculpture installation is the Sky train. The local people called This bog train a sky train because when it ran through the bog it appeared to go up to the sky.

Everywhere around there is a mixture of the natural and the man made.

A  crow rests on a heap of discarded stones.

This sculpture represents the four provinces of Ireland.

This one is a kind of optical illusion. The logs appear to go all the way through until you look round the side and see that there is a seat inside a very narrow doorway…ingenious.

This sculpture is made from old pieces of scrapped machines. I thought it was a dragon but it is actually a skimming stone.

I have given you just a small taste of Lough Boora. It’s a great place, very peaceful and energising.

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Today’s Fun Fact


from The Second Book of General Ignorance

People who are lost, walk, not in straight lines, but in circles. A scientific experiment in 2009 proved that people, when deprived of visual clues, walk round in circles. Volunteers were set down in a particularly empty part of the Sahara. When the sun or moon was out, they walked in straight lines but as soon as they were left in complete darkness they walked round in circles. Another group of volunteers were blindfolded and they too walked round in circles, the diameter of the circle being smaller, at about 20 metres. 

The research proved that people have no instinctive sense of direction. We rely on visual clues.

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The Lartigue


I visited The Lartigue for the first time this year last week. I was in luck because it was Michael Guerin’s day for volunteering. Michael is really really knowledgeable about the history of The Lartigue so I’ll be telling you more in future posts.

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When You live in the Literary Capital of Ireland



even ordinary things become rhymes.

Mike Moriarty tells me that the local boys had a rhyme for this:

Post no bills

Play no balls

Kiss no girls

Behind these walls.

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Revival 2019




Revival 2019 was a resounding success. People who know more about these things than I know (that wouldn’t be hard!) tell me that it was the best run festival they were ever at. They are still marvelling at the “real” toilets.

I joined the happy crew of local people and children outside the fence on Friday night. We enjoyed a great free concert.

Everyone loved Sharon Shannon. She kept the whole show going on Friday. People who came indifferent left as firm fans.

Whether whistling, singing, or telling yarns, Finbarr Furey was brilliant. His set went down a treat and he genuinely loved being back in Listowel where he won his first Fleadh Cheoil prize on the uileann pipes many moons ago

Mundy and Sinead O’Connor were on past my bedtime but I’m told they were well received as well.

Kerryman 1994, Christmas candles, a Christmas poem and a Generous Mill owner in Famine time Listowel

Canon’s Height

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Kerryman  Christmas 1994

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Christmas candles


From Patrick O’Sullivan’s A Year in Kerry

In olden days the Christmas candle was the big white one pounder. Anything smaller was regarded with something bordering on contempt., unworthy of the title “Christmas” candle. They were unfavourably described as “little traithníns of things”. Tháithnín being the Irish for a wisp of straw or a blade of grass. When the electric candle arrived in the mid sixties the newcomer was dismissed as being nothing like a rale candle at all.” I vividly remember all those “rale candles” shining in the windows of the farmhouses as we made our way to midnight mass on Christmas Eve, the nip of frost in the air and the sky “alive with stars.”

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A Christmastime Thought


Maura Brennan Esmonde is one of the faithful blog followers we lost during 2018. Maura was always one to send a joke or a quote or an uplifting or thoughtful poem.

Here is the first poem she sent me for Christmas 2013. In her memory I’m posting it today

TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS,
HE LIVED ALL ALONE,
IN A ONE BEDROOM HOUSE MADE OF
PLASTER AND STONE.

I HAD COME DOWN THE CHIMNEY
WITH PRESENTS TO GIVE,
AND TO SEE JUST WHO
IN THIS HOME DID LIVE.

I LOOKED ALL ABOUT,
A STRANGE SIGHT I DID SEE,
NO TINSEL, NO PRESENTS,
NOT EVEN A TREE.

NO STOCKING BY MANTLE,
JUST BOOTS FILLED WITH SAND,
ON THE WALL HUNG PICTURES
OF FAR DISTANT LANDS.

WITH MEDALS AND BADGES,
AWARDS OF ALL KINDS,
A SOBER THOUGHT
CAME THROUGH MY MIND.

FOR THIS HOUSE WAS DIFFERENT,
IT WAS DARK AND DREARY,
I FOUND THE HOME OF A SOLDIER,
ONCE I COULD SEE CLEARLY.

THE SOLDIER LAY SLEEPING,
SILENT, ALONE,
CURLED UP ON THE FLOOR
IN THIS ONE BEDROOM HOME.

THE FACE WAS SO GENTLE,
THE ROOM IN SUCH DISORDER,
NOT HOW I PICTURED
A CANADIAN or U S SOLDIER.

WAS THIS THE HERO
OF WHOM I’D JUST READ?
CURLED UP ON A PONCHO,
THE FLOOR FOR A BED?

I REALIZED THE FAMILIES
THAT I SAW THIS NIGHT,
OWED THEIR LIVES TO THESE SOLDIERS
WHO WERE WILLING TO FIGHT.

SOON ROUND THE WORLD,
THE CHILDREN WOULD PLAY,
AND GROWNUPS WOULD CELEBRATE
A BRIGHT CHRISTMAS DAY.

THEY ALL ENJOYED FREEDOM
EACH MONTH OF THE YEAR,
BECAUSE OF THE SOLDIERS,
LIKE THE ONE LYING HERE.

I COULDN’T HELP WONDER
HOW MANY LAY ALONE,
ON A COLD CHRISTMAS EVE
IN A LAND FAR FROM HOME.

THE VERY THOUGHT
BROUGHT A TEAR TO MY EYE,
I DROPPED TO MY KNEES
AND STARTED TO CRY.

THE SOLDIER AWAKENED
AND I HEARD A ROUGH VOICE,
“SANTA DON’T CRY,
THIS LIFE IS MY CHOICE;

I FIGHT FOR FREEDOM,
I DON’T ASK FOR MORE,
MY LIFE IS MY GOD,
MY COUNTRY, MY CORPS.”

THE SOLDIER ROLLED OVER
AND DRIFTED TO SLEEP,
I COULDN’T CONTROL IT,
I CONTINUED TO WEEP.

I KEPT WATCH FOR HOURS,
SO SILENT AND STILL
AND WE BOTH SHIVERED
FROM THE COLD NIGHT’S CHILL.

I DIDN’T WANT TO LEAVE
ON THAT COLD, DARK, NIGHT,
THIS GUARDIAN OF HONOR
SO WILLING TO FIGHT.

THEN THE SOLDIER ROLLED OVER,
WITH A VOICE SOFT AND PURE,
WHISPERED, “CARRY ON SANTA,
IT’S CHRISTMAS DAY, ALL IS SECURE.”

ONE LOOK AT MY WATCH,
AND I KNEW HE WAS RIGHT.
“MERRY CHRISTMAS MY FRIEND,
AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT.”

The poem was written by a marine

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Folklore and Truth



Every so soften I include in a blog post an item from the Dúchas collection of folklore. This lore was collected by school children from their elders. Much of it is old wives tales, superstitions and gossip and really needs to be taken with a pinch of salt.

I posted this item last week;

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.


And then I got this via email.

With regard to the Leonard man at Listowel mentioned above  (Maurice Leonard was the mill-owner) and the wheat denied to the starving people in Famine times, TF Culhane wrote on Page 111 of his book, ‘Home Thoughts from Abroad,’ that the Listowel mill-owner, Maurice Leonard, was remembered as having given ‘six thousand barrels of flour’ to the starving during the Famine years.

I’m happy to put the record straight.

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Thoughts



My most recent week of thoughts for the day is at the link below

Just a Thought; Radio Kerry

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Book launch



On Sunday Dec. 9 2018 at 7.00p.m. in The Listowel Arms, Vincent Carmody will launch another title to add to Listowel’s canon.

Listowel , a Printer’s Legacy is the story of printing in North Kerry from 1870 to 1970

In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries printed posters and pamphlets brought us news of auctions, plays and other entertainments, upcoming fairs and markets and a host of other information.

This book is an important part of our social history. Sunday evening promises to be a great evening with Billy Keane as MC and Gabriel Fitzmaurice, Seán Kelly, Bryan MacMahon and Kay Caball speaking.

I photographed Vincent at his door on Thursday December 6 2018, chatting to a fellow local chronicler, Michael Guerin.


Listowel Children in the 1960s, A Holy Well and Armistice Day Centenary Commemorations in Listowel






The River Feale behind the Listowel Arms; Photo: Charlie Nolan

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Old Pals

“Fond memory brings the light of other days around me.”

Bernard O’Connell who lived in Upper William Street Listowel and now lives in Canada posted to Facebook this picture of his childhood friends.

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A Holy Well



From the schools folklore collection at Dúchas


Tarbert School collection. Nora Scanlon, Dooncaha.

Our Holy Wells

There is a well in Tarmons known as St. Senan’s. It is in the corner of Buckley’s field in Ballintubber.

This well is not deep and a stream flows out of it. Always in the month of May people pay rounds at this well on every Saturday of the month.

This is how people pay rounds. People pick up seven pebbles out of the stream and then kneel down at the well and start reciting the Rosary. Then they start at the right hand side of the well and walk slowly all round reciting a decade of the Rosary while going round. At the end of each decade they throw one pebble away. Then when the seventh round is paid they kneel down and finish the Rosary. Then they take three drinks out of the well and wash their faces at the stream. Then they usually tie a piece of cloth on an overhanging bush. It is said that according as the cloth wears away the disease wears off the patient.

It is called St. Senan’s well because it was St. Senan who blessed its waters. From the well you can see the ruins of seven churches and round tower in Scattery built by St. Senan.

There are no fish in the well and the water is not used for household purposes. Once a woman went to fill her kettle at the well. She forgot to bring a vessel with which to fill her kettle. She left her kettle at the well and went back for a saucepan. When she returned the well had disappeared and the bush with it. It went from the top of the hill to the side where it is now.

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A Thought


As Asphalt and concrete

 Replace bushes and trees,

As highways and buildings 

Replace marshes and woods

What will replace the song of the birds?

Tony Chen

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Only in Ireland


Photo; Random Cork Stuff

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People at the Armistice Day Centenary Commemoration in Listowel




On a cold showery Sunday a good crowd turned up to commemorate the men who endured appalling hardship in the most awful of wars. Cold and rain were nothing compared to weeks spent in wet trenches with rats for company.

Carmel Gornall was there with her brother and two sisters in law.

Carmel’s sisters in law had grandfathers who served in The Great war.

Great to see Jim Halpin brave the cold to be part of it. Jim has done more than most in North Kerry to make sure that the names of the brave men who fought will be remembered.




Local history lovers and retired military men turned out in numbers to remember.

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One to Watch

 Bánú nó Slánú:  Thursday TG4  9.30p.m.

This documentary looks at the small town way of life that is dying a death in Ireland, as illustrated by a visit to once thriving towns in Kerry and Leitrim. Ballylongford in north Kerry has seen its mill, creamery and many businesses close over the last 30 years. In 2017, no new children started in the national school for the first time in living memory and its post office is now under threat.  One of the last small farmers in the village, Donal O’Connor, who’s in his 70s, sums things up: “I’m the last of the family. There are no small farmers anymore.”  Kiltyclogher in north Leitrim made the headlines when it launched a media campaign to attract people to move to the village. Six  families made the move, helping to save the local school  – but one year on, how does the future look? Did the newcomers stay? And have they done enough?

(Photo and text from Irish Times TV Guide)

Icon of the Holy Family in Listowel, New Road Signs and a Turf Powered Steam Engine

Denis Carroll in Ballybunion

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Icon of The Holy Family in Listowel



This icon will be with us in Listowel Parish church from this afternoon, Monday April 9 2018 until Wednesday.

What is The Icon of the Holy Family?

The icon of the Holy Family was specially commissioned by WMOF2018 (World Meeting of Families), written by iconographer Mihai Cucu, and assisted by the Redemptoristine Sisters of the Monastery of St Alphonsus, Iona Road, Dublin, as part of their ongoing prayer for families.  The Icon was unveiled and anointed on the 21st August 2017, during the launch of the one-year programme of preparation at the National Novena in Knock, Ireland. 

Everyone is invited to come and view the icon while it is in town. It doesn’t matter if you are a believer, a non believer, an art lover or just plain curious, I think you should come and take a look . 

If you have never been to St. Mary’s before of if you have and have never looked around you at the magnificent mosaic work and stained glass, take this opportunity to really look at this artistic treasure, St. Marys. It has been left to us by our forbears and beautifully preserved and enhanced by generations of Listowel priests and parishioners.

Opens in new window

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Republican Funeral in 1918



A visitor to Dingle library during Easter took a photograph of this picture for us. Tomás Ruiséal died of a bayonet wound received during a confrontation with the army in Co. Clare.

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A Word of Caution




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New Traffic signs


These new Slow Zone signs are appearing in housing estates all over town. I have no idea why they have put them so high up on the poles.

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A Steam engine Powered by turf

This was a short lived and ultimately unsuccessful experiment. I read the story on

Bord na Mona Living History

When O. Bulleid joined CIE from British Railways in 1949 he decided to build a turf-burning locomotive.

Trials were made with a stationary engine using pulverised turf and these trials were observed by HMS Miller of Bord na Móna. CIE then converted a 1903 locomotive to burn turf and extensive steaming trials were carried out in 1951 and 1952. The engine was tried out on a main line in 1954 but broke down in Cork and had to be towed back to Inchicore. It was also too large to turn on any CIE turntable.

In 1955 the locomotive was tested using semi-briquettes. During a trial run in 1957 sparks from the locomotive set the leading coach of the test train on fire. It never hauled a fare-paying passenger but some use was made of it between Houston Station and the North Wall on goods trains. By that time the replacement of steam with diesel was well advanced and the locomotive was scrapped in 1965 when Todd Andrews was Chairman of CIE.

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Labour Then



This photo of Listowel men, Seán McCarthy and Michael Guerin with John Joe O’Sullivan and Dick Spring appeared in this week’s Tralee Advertiser.

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