Everyone’s favourite Dolphin
It’s a while since I included a photo from Fungie Forever
Iknow well how hard it is to write well every time. Billy Keane succeeds more often than most. Here below, in its entirety, is his excellent piece on Brosna. It was printed in the Irish Independent.
The old village slopes down from The Square as if
it’s falling off the steep hill. It has been reported by folklorists that bikes
ridden by lightweights have often taken flight
Over it all is the high mountain.
The mighty Blackwater starts the long journey to the sea as a bubbling-over
pot, here in the wild highlands of the North Kerry Mount Eagle. Mighty rivers
have small beginnings. Great teams can come from small places.
There was a time when the derelict
buildings almost outnumbered the habitable dwellings in the village square.
Paint flaked away like some sort of artist’s metaphor for death and decay.
Cawing crows were the only sign of life on quiet nights when the lonesome wind
whistled the lament for a village.
Brosna was dead, they said. The
young people were leaving and the old were dying out. The doomsters and
defeatists were wrong. Brosna lives. Sure aren’t they the All-Ireland Junior
The kids called it the Tangerine
Dream, and the proof of it all is that dreams really do come true when you
Just to give you some sort of an
idea of the type of people we are dealing with here, it might be no harm to
tell you the story of Con Carey, the man who was buried twice.
Con was a hard-working bachelor who
was buried without the customary honours such as a shave and a wash and the
fitting out of a good suit. And so it was that the 12 apostles of Brosna dug up
Con and gave him a good send-off. Con was washed and shaved and togged out
beautifully for his last journey.
Prayers were said, toasts were made
and Con was reburied. Mairead Heffernan and Liam O’Brien produced a poignant
hour-long epitaph of sheer listening joy on Con for the treasure store that is
known as the Documentary on One.
I met a few of the 12 apostles over
the years and I can honestly say Our Lord would have picked them on his team
any day. So you see then there was context here. And principle and a desire to
do the right thing.
All-Irelands aren’t won in places
where the people give in. Brosna was painted up and local committees gathered
together to reclaim their village.
My grandmother was born in Brosna
and she died in childbirth. My grandfather used to bring my mother over to
Brosna in his horse and trap from Knocknagoshel for weekends and she was
treated like a sister by the Lanes of Meenavoughane, which sound like the name
of a slide, but these are real people.
Brosna is in the heart of Sliabh
Luachra, which takes in parts of the three counties of Kerry, Limerick and
Cork. Sliabh Luachra is famous for lively polkas and slides faster than fast
jigs. The organic cadences and rhythms of the music mirror the lively, airy
nature of her people.
There was fight there too and a
calmness. Brosna were three points down with two minutes to go against The Rock
of Tyrone in the semi-final but came out of that hard place. There were three
well-worked scores, coolly taken, in the last three plays to send the game to a
replay which they won.
By the way, Brosna say they never
encountered anything like the generosity in defeat of The Rock players and the
graciousness of their supporters.
So Brosna went up to Croke Park.
Old men and old ladies were there in the hallowed stadium for the first time.
There were more scares against the gallant exiles, John Mitchels of Liverpool.
The ball was cleared off the Brosna line with seconds left. They can never take
this away from ye Brosna, no matter what.
Congratulations too to our
neighbours and friends from Ardfert, who won their third All-Ireland. A truly
incredible achievement. And hard luck on Austin Stacks, the team that came from
a terrible defeat in 2013 to win local and Munster titles.
There were bonfires at the border
of Fealesbridge and at Patsy’s Cross on the old butter road to Cork. The Brosna
team walked over the River Feale as they took the cup in to Kerry. It’s all
recorded in a five-and-a-half-hour video shot by the genius Paidi Herlihy. I
suppose you can’t get enough of a good thing, and all receipts go to Brosna
They marched down the hill from the
GAA field to the village with pikes blazing. The Cullen Pipe Band from Cork led
the way. Mountcollins of Limerick gave their lit-up pitch for free. All of
Sliabh Luachra danced to the Brosna Slide. There were 3,000 people in the
village on the rainy night they brought the cup back home. I know, I know.
Wouldn’t you just love if it was your club?
Our old friend Jimmy Keane was the
manager. He never gave up on Brosna. One man with passion is worth more than
100 accountants. We need doers, not don’ters.
The battle now is to keep this
mostly young team together. Brosna has always suffered from emigration, and
maybe the momentum and confidence from Croke Park can somehow feed an economic
It’s been a good while now since
the eagles flew the mountain, but down below on the hill, the new Brosna
soared. The glory of the day brings hope and sustenance to a living village
that refused to give up.
Irish Stamps 1922
Below are some more recent stamps commemorating the Battle of Kinsale in 1601
Date for the Diary
Great weekend in store
It will take place here. If you love Olivia O’Leary, Róisín Ingle, Katie Hannon or Mary Harney don’t miss this opportunity to hear them live on your doorstep.
A Little Bit o’ Lidl
It was all high visibility jackets, hard hats, drilling and banging when I visited Lidl Listowel yesterday.
The story is that the shop is undergoing a complete refurb. Lidl Listowel will close for 5 weeks from April 26 2015 and when it opens again we won’t know it. It will have a completely new look.