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Tag: Michael Healy Rae

Holy Well in Coolard, The Ball Alley, the Vincent de Paul shop and Michael Healy Rae in Woulfe’s

Sunday Morning Walk

Childers’ Park, Listowel Co. Kerry November 18 2018


Well in Coolard  (Dúchas Collection)

There is a holy well in Coolard and many people visited it on certain days. The same prayers are said at every well and whilst saying it they make nine rounds. When people visit the well they take a bottle of the water home with them and some moss. The water of the above well cures sore throats and rheumatism. The water of the well is never used for any domestic purpose. There was a scarcity of water and the people took the water from the blessed well. They couldn’t get it to boil.

Rinn Tuirc School collection 10 5 1938.

St Bartholomew’s Well, Coolard, Lisselton

Collector Nancy Hanrahan-Informant- Michael Hanrahan, Age 60

The blessed well is situated in a thick wood near Coolard. The well is shallow and a stream of fresh water flows from it. Many people in the district visit the well three times a year, to pay rounds. They go around the well nine times and they say three rosaries. If they have not the rosaries finished when going around, they kneel by the well and finish them. When they are going home they leave money or holy pictures or pieces of cloth on the tree beside the well. Anyone having sores washes them in the water. They also take three sips of the water and also some water with them. The people living near the well use the water for household purposes. It is said that the well was situated farther up on the wood once. A woman washed clothes in it. Then it moved down to where it is at the present time.

Holy Wells 17 – 11- ’38


Woodford Pottery Nativity

I love my Woodford Pottery crib. I will light a tea light in it every evening from now to Christmas.


The Ball Alley

Listowel men of a certain age remember the ball alley with great fondness. There have been essays and poems written about the exploits of Listowel’s handballers. I don’t know if the Sheehy brothers who are commemorated on this seat were among the champions but they would have certainly enjoyed being reminded of the days when the ball alley was the centre of young men’s social calendar.

Some years ago in a project undertaken by the young people of Xistance Youth Café the walls of the now disused alley were decorated with graffiti. Over time the pictures have taken a battering from the weather but most are still intact and looking beautiful.

These Pictures are on the side walls. The end wall has had to be replastered.


Second Time Around

One of my favourite Listowel shops is Second Time Around, the St. Vincent de Paul shop on Upper William Street. It is always staffed by smiling friendly volunteers and there are always great bargains to be had from the stock donated by some really kind  (and stylish) donors.

On Wednesday week when I called in I met these two lovely ladies, Ingrid and EileenR looking after the shop.


A Booksigning at  Woulfe’s

Michael Healy Rae signing John Hartnett’s copy of his book, Time to Talk

Michael with John and the shop staff, Fiona, Mary and Brenda


Lyre Postman Retires

(Photo and text from Joe Harrington on Facebook)

Our Postman, Seán O’Connell, on his last day as Lyreacrompane Postman delivering the mail to Norrie Connell, Carrigcannon on Friday November 30 2018. Seán has been the postman in the Lyreacrompane district for 38 years! Happy retirement Seán.

Central Hotel, the next Sonny Bill, Looking after the potatoes in Asdee and a Meitheal to launch Storied Kerry

William Street Upper


Maid of Erin, Main Street

This building in Listowel’s Main Street has one of Pat MacAulliffe’s best known works on its shopfront. Hardly a day goes by without some tourist stopping to photograph this symbol of Listowel.

Below are some of the details on this intrinsically Irish stucco.

Irish wolfhound

Shamrocks and celtic knot work surround the slogan which translates as Ireland forever.

A round tower

Under the rising sun the bare chested maid is resting on an Irish harp, the official symbol of Ireland. The rising sun at “Fáinne Geal an Lae” is an often used republican symbol of the dawn of a new day for Ireland. A warrior woman as in Dark Rosaleen or Caitlín Ní Houlicháin is also a frequently employed symbol for a free Ireland.


Do You Remember Sonny Bill?

If your answer to the above question is no, move right along, please. Nothing to see here.

If the answer is yes, Sonny Bill was that beautiful horse that they had at my home place in Kanturk and who was eventually sold on to an English buyer. He is now enjoying a stellar career across the Irish Sea.

This beautiful foal, seen above running with his mother, is Sonny Bill’s last full brother. Sadly, their dad has passed away so there is a great weight of expectation on these young shoulders. 

He is still with his birth family but will be coming to his new home soon at the EPA stable . It’s not really possible to tell if he will be as good as his brother but watch this space and I’ll update you if he begins to realise his potential.


 Looking after the Potato Pit

The following extract is taken from Jim Costelloe’s great rural memoir of Asdee in the 1940’s and ’50s

The potatoes were stored in long pits in the kitchen garden beside the house when I was young. There were Kerrs Pinks and Golden Wonders for human consumption in a small pit, but the long pit was of Aran Banners for the farm animals and the domestic fowl. These pits were covered with straw and rushes to protect the potatoes from the winter frost. With the coming of Spring growth, the potatoes began to sprout and if left untouched they would grow long stalks, get soft and lose their nutrition. To prevent this from happening they would have to be turned. The work was done by hand and it entailed stripping the cover off the pit and rubbing the sprouts off each potato individually before repitting the whole lot.

The job is always done on a day following a night of grey frost. That was always a sunny day with a bit of drying and also, there was generally no threat of rain. Down on one knee handling thousands of potatoes on a frosty date is not the most exciting of jobs. The cold east wind and the damp semi hard ground added to the discomfort. The only exciting thing about it was the stripping of the rushes and straw where we suspected rats were hiding. The scurrying of the rats and our attempts to kill them with pikes  are memories now. How those same rats would destroy a pit of spuds if left unhindered is amazing. Rodine was a rat poison in those days and was very effective.


Storied Kerry

Storied Kerry is a movement you will be hearing lots more about from now on. It is a drive to preserve and celebrate our stories, all our stories and all forms of story telling to all kinds of audiences.

On Saturday last, October 27 2018 Frank Lewis, the founder of Storied Kerry gathered together a Meitheal in Killarney to get this show on the road.

This man is Rory Darcy, a school principal, a philosopher, a story teller and, as we discovered later, a marathon runner.  Rory welcomed us to his school, St. Oliver’s national School, Ballycasheen, Killarney.  St. Oliver’s has pupils from many different countries on its rolls. It welcomes and celebrates them all. There were flags of all the countries behind Rory as he spoke to us and he told us of an initiative started in St. Oliver’s and now practiced in many Killarney schools were the parents of the children, some of them from refugee centres help out with meals in the school and the children get to talk to and interact with a diverse group of parents as well as fellow pupils.

Behind Rory also there was a fish tank. This tank is a kind of symbol of what St. Oliver’s stands for. There are fish of all shapes, colours and sizes in the tank. There are big bubbles helping to keep them alive. These are big acts of kindness but there are also lots of tiny bubbles, standing for small little acts we do to help each other out. The story of St. Oliver’s was a lovely way to start the day.

The next treat for us was a performance from Siamsa Tíre’s seminal show, Fadó, Fadó. It was pure magic. I’m definitely going to see the full show the next time it’s on in Siamsa.

The dancing and singing told the story of the meitheal oibre who came together to reap the harvest as it was done by our ancestors long ago.

This multitalented performer edged his scythe with a whet stone. He also played the fiddle and sang the most moving rendition of “Ar Bhruach na Carraige Báine” I’ve heard in a long time.

This man brought the corn to thresh.

This implement is called a flail and it was used to beat the corn from the ears.

Every action was accompanied by dancing and the rhythmic music of the farm work as well as more traditional music played on the fiddle, the accordion and Uileann pipes.

A familiar face in the front row.

( more from Storied Kerry tomorrow)

A Boeing 747 sails up the Shannon, Vintage Cars and The Living History Display 2016

A baby Robin

Photo: Chris Grayson


May 6 2016 and a Boeing 767 sails by on The River Shannon

Photos; Ita Hannon

This is a story straight out of Ripley’s Believe it or Not. This Boeing 767 that you see in Ita’s photos as it passes beside Beal is on its way to Enniscrone in Co. Sligo.

A funeral director called David McGowan of Ballina. Co. Mayo has decided to turn his hand to a new venture…glamping  (posh camping to you and me).

He was not happy to have pods like everyone else. He decided to invite people to pay him to sleep in a converted aeroplane.

The idea was quirky and strange and certainly had novelty appeal. But a few obstacles stood in the way of its coming to fruition.

Buying the plane was easy peasy. It was a snip at €20,000. A Boeing 767 has never been sold to a private individual before. But the plane was in Shannon and was not air worthy.

David considered bringing it by road to Sligo.

The plane is 159-foot long, weighs about 70 tonnes and has a 140-foot wing span.

To bring it by road he would have had to lift 126 ESB wires and 26 sets of traffic lights. These and a few other logistical issues meant that this plan bit the dust.

Plan B was then implemented. A barge was brought from Liverpool and the cargo floated at the next high tide.

I found all of this information on the internet and I saw on RTE News that it has now arrived safely in Enniscrone.

Interestingly, other means of transport like buses, trains and taxis are also to be converted into novel glamps for this holiday park with a difference. The theme of the park will be Transport.

As the seanfhocal goes; Is ait an mac an saol. It’s a funny old world.


Vintage Cars at The Listowel Military Tattoo 2016


My Trip to The Living History Park

These two were very welcoming to visitors to the Living History Display at Listowel Military Tattoo 2016.

There is a great history lesson to be learned from this kind of experience.

This early Irish settler was weaving a primitive cord.

These men had all kinds of military stuff for sale and they appeared to be knowledgeable about their wares.

Everywhere fraternising was going on between all kinds of age old enemies.

A vendor with a sense of humour

Boys and their toys!

A feast fit for king.

This lady was knitting without needles.

This man, like so many in the park, seemed to fit perfectly the character he chose.


All the Fun of the Fair

I was in Tralee on Sunday May 8 2016 for The annual Kingdom County Fair. I had a great day and I took lots of photos which I shall share in the next few days.

I was late and Chabal was finished his show jumping and was back in his box when I met up with the homies. He came third and gained his first few points for qualification for Dublin. Everyone happy.

This is my niece, Elizabeth Ahern who part owns the horse with her dad and Brian Coleman who rides Chabal at the shows and events.

Above are some vintage tractors which were on display.

Tractors have grown a lot bigger over the years.

I have no idea what this machine is for, turning silage maybe?

Michael Healy Rae was even later than me . He officially opened the show at 1.15p.m. Unlike me I’m sure that he came at the time he was told to come.

Then and now, What the papers said about Sive in 1959 and a new shop opening soon

Then and Now

Lighting Options 2007

All Regions Internet shop 2016


Sive in the Papers in 1959

Journalists flocked to Listowel in 1959 to meet the real people who brought glory to the town by winning the All Ireland Drama prize with a play by an unknown local playwright.


Where to get What if?

A while back I wrote about this book and its author. People since have asked me where they can get the book.

Sarah Murphy is a girl who believes in doing it for herself. She wrote, illustrated and published the book herself and you can buy it directly from her online in her Etsy shop  HERE.

It costs €9.99 plus postage.


You Heard it Here First

Bailey & Co. is the new shop being planned for Listowel by one of the town’s most stylish entrepreneurs, Danny Russell.

Danny has been slowly renovating the old Chutes Bar and now he knows what he wants to do with it. Bailey & Co. which is planned for August 2016 will be a (very) high end fashion destination. It will sell beautiful occasion wear for mother of the bride, bridesmaid, mother of the communicant or confirmandi, deb.,  racegoer, posh wedding guest or any occasion when a really special outfit is called for. Style advice will be available and Danny is recruiting a staff of kind, patient shop assistants.

Good news for the curvier ladies is that he will devote a whole floor to really stylish clothes in sizes 22 to 30.

Bailey & Co. will also stock underwear, millinery and accessories.

Danny has experience in the fashion industry as a stylist and he ran a model agency in the past. All of us who visit his hair salon, Changes or his Kerry Wig Clinic know that Danny has no airs and graces. He has that special knack of making everyone feel special. I wish him well in this new venture.

Watch this space for updates.


History is Made

photo: Irish Examiner on Facebook

“29 TDs in the outgoing Dáil had family members who had a place in our lower house of parliament.

But siblings are rarer. In Irish history, there have been 26 sets of brothers and sisters, and 10 of them sat in Dáil Eireann at the same time.

What Michael and Danny Healy-Rae just achieved, however, is unprecedented. There has never before been a pair of siblings elected to the same Dáil, in the same constituency.” (The

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