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Tag: Paddy Fitzgibbon Page 1 of 2

Welcome Visitors

Kayaks on The Feale in May 2023


A Return Visit

With Patrice O’Callaghan in The Listowel Arms are Wolfgang and Anita Mertens from Germany. They were last in Listowel 49 years ago. Wolfgang is a Bryan MacMahon scholar. He knows more about The Master and has more of his works than most Listowel people.

I’ll tell you all about Wolfgang and Anita’s Writers Week experience tomorrow. Today I want to tell you the great story Wolfgang told me. It illustrates the kind of people they are.

Wolfgang has had a long love affair with Ireland and Anglo Irish literature.

He came to Ireland as a very young man in 1966 and he and his friend were hitch hiking all round the country.

They found themselves in a place called Kate’s Bridge in Co. Down on a Sunday morning. Cars were passing them east and west going to one religious service or other. No one was stopping.

They had almost given up hope when, in late afternoon, a car stopped. It was being driven by a local man called Danny Doran. Danny had seen then in the morning when he had a car full of his family and no room for hitchhikers. He picked them up and took them to his house.

Danny was a carpenter. He lived in a small house with his wife and 10 children. There was a bedroom for Danny and his wife, one bedroom for boys and one for girls. The weary German hikers were only too happy to bunk in with the boys. In the following days Danny gave then a tour of the area and a lifelong friendship was forged.

Years later Danny’s daughter, Susan, was on a camping trip with her friend on the continent and she decided to visit Wolfgang and Anita.

Susan was an inexperienced camper and she had brought one of her father’s heavy mallets to hammer in the tent pegs. Wolfgang told her that she was foolish to be carrying around something so heavy. He took her big mallet and gave her a light hammer, promising that if he ever came to Ireland he would return her father’s mallet.

Fifty seven years later, he had the mallet with him in his camper van when he was in Listowel last week and he intended taking in Co. Down on his 7 week tour around Ireland.


Out and About with Camera

I call it out and about, Billy Keane called it “on the prowl”.

Three generations, grandfather, father and son/grandson on Saturday May 20 2023. Billy was on his way to the match.

We won’t mention any results, football or rugby.


Astonishing Craftsmanship

Thank you Ashley Fitzgerald of Listowel Credit Union for taking these photographs of details on the fabulous Paddy Fitzgibbon Celtic Artwork piece that is on display in the office.


Exciting new Venue for Writers’ Week 2023

What will be happening here on Friday and Saturday of next week?

Answer; A songwriting workshop for absolute beginners with Fiachra McKeever

I’m told that the bar won’t be open and there will be no alcoholic beverages available.

If you fancy you have a latent Phil Coulter or John Lennon in you, I’m told there is a place or two left.

Listowel Writers Week workshops


Some People at The Kayaking

Sunday May 14 2023

Donal O’Sullivan and John Corridan


A Seat by the River


Getting Ready for Writers’ Week

Our favourite bookseller, Brenda Woulfe, is giving her shopfront a makeover for the festival.

When I met them yesterday Brenda was busy on the phone to the man to disable the alarm and Martin was washing the paintwork in preparation for a makeover.


A Fact

Are you a leftie?

If the answer is yes then here are a few statistics.

Roughly 10% of people are left handed.

Left handed people are statistically more likely to be geniuses or to be insane.

Left handedness is more common among writers and artists. On average they do not live as long as right handed people.

Famous left handed people include John F. Kennedy, Paul McCartney, Bill Clinton, Winston Churchill and Prince William.


Sadness in the midst of Joy

Snow – Killarney – 17-01-2023 Photo: Kathleen Griffin


That 1947 All Ireland Final

Yesterday I shared with you Kathleen Reynolds’ great uncle’s first hand account of a spectator at that match.

Photo from the internet

Here is an extract from Kathy’s email;

The game was attended by 34,500 including my father’s uncle, Mike Fitzmaurice, who had left Moybella South, Lisselton around 1910 for Waterbury, Connecticut.

Notes (Irish Independent & Wikipedia)

The Artane Boys’ Band also travelled to New York to play before the match.

Michael O’Hehir broadcast a radio commentary from New York. O’Hehir noticed that broadcasting delays would bring the radio link down five minutes before the final had ended. He later recalled his plea:'”If there’s anybody along the way there listening in,  just give us five minutes more, and I kept begging for five minutes more” The link stayed open.

Kerry — D O’Keeffe; D Lyne (capt), J Keohane, P Brosnan; J Lyne, W Casey, E Walsh; E Dowling, E O’Connor; E O’Sullivan, D Kavanagh, B Garvey; F O’Keeffe, T O’Connor, O Kennedy.

Subs: W O’Donnell for Dowling, M Finucane for Walsh, T Brosnan for O’Donnell, G Teehan for Kennedy

Score 2-11 to 2-7


There was a North Kerry man on the team.

The last surviving member of that Kerry team, Ballydonoghue man , Mick Finucane passed away in 2016;

Here is a fine tribute to Mick by his friend, Brendan Hegarty, published in 2016 at the time of his death.

Brendan Hegarty 2016

Tribute to Mick Finucane

To not have engaged with Mick is to not have lived and anyone he touched is the better for it. Non-drinker and non-smoker but socialiser extraordinaire. I was having a chat of an evening with him and one of the nuggets I picked up was that from 16 years of age, his weight never budged from 12 stone. Now I don’t know a lot about boxing but he could pack some punch and they say he was also gifted of a sturdy lowish centre of gravity, canvassing a good few laddos in his day, though never raised a hand outside the ring nor never had the bad word.

A few of his comrades in London would have recalled in later years how he brightened up many a dark day in hard times and his role as a public relations man was no accident as he was the type that nobody could refuse. He even had Tony O’Reilly arranging taxis for him from the airport on arrival. I’d often say that North Kerry were talkers and South Kerry more grafters, so John Murphy chose wisely with Mick as his front man and boy could he tell yarns of those rather interesting times.

I also recall a fella disputing an umpiring decision Mick once made, well about 40 years ago to be more precise, he told Mick “he’d hit him only he was an old man” and to which those in the know might have commented that it was a wise decision, a lucky escape if there was ever one for the would be assailant and he didn’t even have to run away. As a friend of his my own father, Jackie got fierce mileage out of this one as Mick used affectionately refer to him as “Auld Hegarty”. I could tell hundreds of more good wans from Lisselton Cross and Urlee. The one thing that always puzzles me is how the Barra Road didn’t throw up more silverware, even in later years there was so many football houses, individual families where you have a handful of top class footballers, maybe soccer was part of it but I recall evenings that you’d have maybe 30 or 40 lads chasing a football. Finucane’s yard was littered with balls and you’d see Mick and the boys taking a kick in between chores, soloing in from milking the cows or a carefully gauged point between a telegraph pole and a shed, between feeding calves.

The stories he would tell himself would be the basis of many a subsequent literary work and I myself penned “What they think of Mick Finucane in Donegal’. It was after that chat with him that I went to the local and my smile had em asking what it was all about. When I told em I had just been chatting to the oldest holder of an AI medal they started on their mobiles, checking out the story, etc, doubting Thomses! Anyway we storied ’till the not so small hours after that as a few more congregated and we regaled his life and times.

By the way the ’47 final was played in The Polo Grounds because Croker was a building site. He would say after that an admirer commented that “she couldn’t understand a word he said but she loved the sound of his voice” so everything about him inspired of scope, more of scope that contradiction.

So all we can say is thanks for the music Mick, RIP.


People I met in Town

I met Paud Pelican and Mary Hanlon at Listowel Credit Union


A School in Mourning

I visited Scoil Réalta na Maidine to photograph their beautiful piece of Paddy Fitzgibbon’s artwork.

I was jolted back to harsh reality by the lovely shrine underneath.

On the week that Paddy Fitzgibbon passed away, the boy’s school lost someone dear, a beloved member of the school community, pupil,

Pádraig Beasley.

Padraig Beasley R.I.P. with his school principal Kieran Quirke and Padraig’s mother Maeve

Padraig’s family have strong links with the school. His mother, Maeve is a teacher there and his grandfather, Cathal is a past principal.

Padraig passed away on Jan 6 2023. Go dtuga Dia suaimhneas síoraí dó.




Upper william Street in January 2023


All Ireland Football Final 1947

The All Ireland Final of 1947 was famously played in The Polo Grounds in New York. Kerry played Cavan and Kerry lost.

Why am I venturing into a realm I know nothing about?

Kathy Reynolds has been in touch and she sent us this letter from her great uncle who actually attended the match.

” The game was attended by 34,500 including my father’s uncle, Mike Fitzmaurice, who had left Moybella South, Lisselton around 1910 for Waterbury, Connecticut. This is his account of the day, written on 6th October 1947 to his brother, Paddy, in Ballybunion.”

Isn’t it great to have a hoarder in the family?

What beautiful writing?

Back to the match;

In 1947 the All Ireland Senior Football Final between Cavan and Kerry was played outside Ireland at the Polo Grounds in New York to mark the centenary of the Great Famine and to acknowledge the large Irish American community.

Pádraig Ó Caoimh (Paddy O’Keeffe) General Secretary of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) oversaw the staging of the unique event and of the radio broadcast back to Ireland. Radio Éireann commentator Michael O’Hehir went to provide commentary for listeners back home in Ireland. For the broadcast, a landline from the Polo Grounds connected to a transatlantic cable which then fed through to transmitters in Dublin, Athlone and Cork.

The lines had to be paid for in New York in advance and were booked up to 5 pm on the day of the game. This would give enough time for the match to be concluded and 30 mins for wrapping up after the match had finished. (Source RTE Archive)

To cut a long story short the match ran over time because RTE forgot to factor in the time spent introducing dignatories and other fal dals before the match. Terrified that he would be cut off before the end of the game, Michael O Hehir appealed on air to be allowed an extra 5 minutes He was given the extra time.


Celtic Artwork in Scoil Realta na Maidine

This is the beautiful piece of artwork donated by Paddy Fitzgibbon to Scoil Realta na Maidine.

The piece here is hung lower so more accessible than the one in the Credit Union. I took a close up of a few letters so that you can see this absolute gem of Celtic artwork.

This work is executed with copper wire and pins. I am totally in awe.



Usually in this weather I don’t venture too far from home.

Certain trips have to be made though.

I travelled to Cork via Tralee and Killarney. My usual route, through my home territory of Rockchapel and Newmarket is a bit more challenging in frosty weather.

The new Macroom bypass is great. We won’t know ourselves when it is completed.

On this road I love to make a pit stop in Glenflesk.



Listowel, San Diego, Prague

Upper William Street, January 2023


It Started with a Poem

Richard Moriarty of San Diego is a blog follower. His friend, Judy Alexander sometimes helps him by typing the occasional poem to send to us here.

She sent me this last week

On the occasion of her 100th birthday, Friday, January 23, 2023, dedicated to Eileen Moriarty,

 born in Ballydonogue and living now in Dublin

( The birthday was on Friday Jan 20th. but a typo in the first email led me astray and then it took a bit longer for the ladies to get the tributes together and for Dave O’Sullivan to help me convert the pdf image they sent to one I could use here. Apologies Eileen, birthday girl, and all her family for missing the big day)




























By Richard G. Moriarty of

Ballydonohue  Listowell

and San Diego California


I wrote back to ask if Richard had a photo or a story or something to give us a better picture of his mother. It is not everyday someone reaches this big milestone birthday.

Richard hasn’t mastered technology at all and Judy and his wife, Molly, are not too adept at it either but they put a lot of effort into sending us the following.


I am Molly Moriarty, married to Richard, son of Eileen Moriarty.  I am very glad to be able to wish my mother-in-law a happy 100th year birthday.  I met Richard and Eileen in 1980 when visiting Ireland and having just met Richard was invited to their home for a Sunday dinner.  I was immediately welcomed and the dinner was delicious.  After all these years I have realized how important family is to Eileen.  She is very interested in all things around her and always seems to know all the news.  I soon learned that if I wanted to know what was going on, just have a seat, and soon I would be better informed than watching the news.  She always looked far younger than she really is and is a beautiful lady.  Her faith has always buoyed her up as she has had more than her share of troubles.  I feel I could not say the same, and I truly respect her courage and strength and think of her as a role model.   There is so much in 100 years of telling that only a book could do her justice.  With that in mind, I feel proud to know her and, again,  wish her a happy 100th birthday.

Lovingly, Molly



One of my treasured memories of my Mom I guess would be when I was about seven years of age growing up in LISSELTON.   A good- natured local man entrusted me with a fullsize RALEIGH BICYCLE! Him, not knowing I wasn’t qualified to operate such an advanced piece of equipment and I wasn’t going to make him any the wiser. I was doing great on the straightway but when I came to Lyre Cross the stopping power just wasn’t there. With Johnny Cash it was the mud the blood and the beer, but with me it was the mud the blood the gravel and the Furze bushes. Now what to do?  My wails became more pronounced with each trickle of blood oozing from the scalp and even more so at the sight of the two gravel embedded kneecaps. But that wasn’t the worst of it, oh no, not even the road rash to the KEESTER. The worst would be the Mom. As I laid there in that stream that autumn evening, I could hear her, “Why are you doing this to me, who do you think you are, haven’t I enough to contend with besides you coming in here with this?”  But, not “Oh my God what happened to you (son)?” Between sobs and sniffles hiccups and heaves, “Mom, I was helpin’ Mrs. Foley fill her water barrels over at the river, and I fell off the donkey cart onto the BIG stones (YERRI)!”  “Sure. You’re always tryin’ to help people.”  Growing up in rural Ireland in the ‘60’s, where each household had eight or nine children, you had to think fast, REAL fast.  For the next two weeks the Mom was my primary doctor, night nurse, neurologist, and just like all moms, whatever roles needed to be filled.  The upshot of it all I made a LHOUBAWN of the ROTHAR but for two whole weeks I got loads of TLC and lots of TCP. Thank heaven for moms.

JANUARY 20, 2023



Richard G. Moriarty


As a friend of the family, I’ve heard many fond reminisces about Eileen Moriarty, although I never met
her. She is a true woman of her times, a farmer’s wife and mother of eight children. She could (and did)
awaken in the middle of the night to help birth a calf, and still manage to put a hot breakfast on the
table for her husband and children, pack their lunches, and see them off to the fields and school before
she headed out to do laundry, tend her veggie patch and all the other chores women of her time did
that made them super heroes to their families. Then it was back to the kitchen to prepare another
home-cooked meal. I’m sure her prayer was to manage a full night’s sleep without being called out to
help another farm animal.
Eileen is a woman of faith which, along with her stoic nature, has seen her through the tragedies that
are a part of living. She has always been a beautiful woman, taking pride in her appearance and her
representation of her family. There must be a portrait in the attic, growing old instead of her. This week
she received congratulations from President Higgins for reaching one hundred years of age. Well
deserved congratulations! Eileen lives at home now in Dublin with her daughter Margaret. God bless
them both, and happy birthday to Eileen!

Greetings from Judy Alexander of San
Diego, CA USA


The Real Child of Prague Statue

Kathleen Griffin sent these to us.

Infant of Prague
Infant of Prague statue

The Infant of Prague statue is located in the Church of Our Lady of Victories of the Discalced Carmelites, in Malá Strana, Prague, Czech Republic (Czechia).  The statue is only about 19” tall and has an extensive wardrobe of garments!  Photographed by Kathleen Griffin on 10th Sept., 2019.

The icon we are familiar with here bears very little resemblance to the real thing. It is a tradition in some countries to dress statues in actual clothes. This seems to be what happens here.

Thank you, Kathleen, for those images of The Infant of Prague in Prague. The little statue surely is magnificent.


Listowel, The Celtic Art Capital of Ireland

We pride ourselves here on being the literary first town in Ireland. The more I look into Celtic Art in town the more I am convinced that Listowel is at the forefront of this art form as well.

This magnificent piece is in Listowel Credit Union office . It is the work of the late Paddy Fitzgibbon.

Dave O’Sullivan found the relevant article in The Kerryman of May 28 2008.

I’ve enlarged the text a bit. I hope you can read it. There is nothing that I know of anywhere in the world to match this for artistry. The influence of the Book of Kells is obvious.

There is another Fitzgibbon piece in Scoil Realta na Maidine. I’ll bring you that tomorrow.


Jimmy Hickey

I love to run into my friend, Jimmy Hickey, when I am in town. I met him last week at the St. Vincent de Paul Day Centre where he was collecting meals to deliver to people in North Kerry. Jimmy told me that people get a delicious meal from this Meals on Wheels service and he is only too happy to help with the delivery.

Jimmy told me that he had lost a friend over the Christmas holidays.

Poet, Anne Hartigan and Jimmy have been good friends since they first met at Listowel Writers’ Week in 1996.

Jimmy gave a talk on the history of Irish dancing. He had some of his dancers on hand to demonstrate the steps. Jimmy invited the audience to dance with the local dancers. Jimmy was dancing with the poet, Anne Drysdale, who enjoyed herself so much she wrote a poem about it. Another poet present was Anne Hartigan. She admired Jimmy’s dancing and proposed that he compose a dance to which she would write a poem.

The dance and the poem were duly composed and Jimmy and Anne practiced their performance in Ballygrennan, with Anne reciting and Jimmy dancing on an old half door.

“My feet were the music to her poetry.”

Later that year the Kerryman’s Association in Dublin were organizing a big £100 a ticket fundraiser. They asked Jimmy and Anne to perform their unique dance to poetry.
There were 1,000 people in attendance and Dan Collins was the M.C.

The audience were spellbound by the rhythmic taps of the dancer to the cadence of Anne Hartigan’s poems, What Way the Wind Blows which Jimmy choreographed in jig time and Little Lord of Death which he danced in reel time.

Jimmy wrote out the steps in the old Gaelic notation with seimhiús and síne fadas. 

This unique performance was greatly appreciated by the audience.

As far as Jimmy knows this has never been done before or since.

Jimmy and Anne remained friends. When she passed away on December 29 2022, her family informed Jimmy and he flew to Dublin for her funeral.

Thus closed an extraordinary chapter in Jimmy’s very colourful life.

May Anne le Marquand Hartigan rest in peace.


Obituary to Paddy Fitzgibbon

+ R.I.P. Paddy Fitzgibbon+

Paddy Fizgibbon R.I.P. and his wife Carmel with Mary Keane R.I.P. at the unveiling of the Tarrant sculpture to John B. Keane in The Garden of Europe in 2008


The March of Time

A few years ago Paddy Fitzgibbon sent us this picture of his bookshelf with the above caption. I think it is a fitting memorial to open my tribute with.

Paddy was an extraordinary man. I have never in my lifetime met a man of such intellect, such wit and such diverse talents.

He was a scholar, a reader, a writer, a photographer, an artist, a garden designer, a linguist and of course a lawyer. He was also a husband, a father and a friend. He will be missed by many.

I didn’t know Paddy in his professional capacity as the Fitzgibbon in Pierse and Fitzgibbon. This example of the beautiful artwork that was his signature style is on display in his former workplace.

This witty photograph is typical of the man who rarely saw the world as dull and ordinary as you or I see it.

Paddy snapped this full nest a few years ago and in his usual insightful way captioned it “The Supreme Court”.

Isn’t this the best ever photograph of Charlie Nolan? Paddy caught Charlie, a keen photographer, in a setting so dear to his heart, beside his beloved River Feale where he enjoyed so many happy hours.

Closer to home, he called this one “Florist in Dromin”

I will never forget his exhibition of photographs in St. John’s a few years back. Every image raised a smile. The pictures were of weird and wonderful signs and names that he spotted on his travels. The pictures had little commercial value but that was Paddy’s way. He framed them and exhibited them to entertain us. It was just one of his many contributions to our enjoyment of the town he loved so well.

Paddy is on the far right of Junior Griffin’s photograph with Mervyn Taylor T.D. and other Jewish dignitaries at the Holocaust Memorial at the official opening of The Garden of Europe in 1995.

The Garden of Europe today is a beautiful legacy this marvellous man conceived and, with the help of his friends in The Rotary Club and his hard working and supportive wife, brought into being.


Now to Paddy Fitzgibbon, the playwright, poet and writer.

I have a confession to make. Much of Paddy’s writing was way too scholarly for me. When I think of him I think of the lines from Goldsmith’s Village Schoolmaster

“And still they gazed and still the wonder grew

That one small head could carry all he knew.”

I’m going to repeat here in full an old Listowel Connection post from a few years back….

You would never know what you might encounter on Listowel Connection. This next must be the most unusual item I’ve yet posted. It is a Listowel sequel to a Victorian translation of a poem by an 11th century Persian poet.

This is how Paddy Fitzgibbon introduced his poem to us;

Attached is a sequel to Edward Fitzgerald’s 1859 translation of the Rubaiyat of Omar Kayam. It is written by the entirely fictitious North Kerry poet Tomaisin Og McDoodle, a son of the equally fictitious North Kerry statesman Tom Doodle.

Seán Moriarty as Tom Doodle and Paddy Fitzgibbon during Vincent Carmody’s Writers’ Week Tom Doodle walk in 2017

(First of all let me fill you in on the original. In case you were wondering, no, I didnt know this stuff. I looked it up.

Omar Kayam was a Persian poet and astronomer who lived from 1048 to 1131. During his lifetime he was most famous as a scientist and mathematician. His poetry might never have gained its worldwide acclaim were it not for the English translation by Edward Fitzgerald in 1859. 

Apparently the translation was not over faithful to the original.

A rubaiyat is a poem of four lined stanzas. Fitzgerald translated hundreds of them. These translations are widely available and very popular.

The theme of the Rubaiyat of Omar Kayam is Carpe Diem. It chimes well with mindfulness and other philosophies that are currently having a moment. 

Here is an example


Oh, come with old Khayyam, and leave the Wise To talk; 

one thing is certain, that Life flies;

One thing is certain, and the Rest is Lies;

The Flower that once has blown for ever dies.

Now to our modern day Kerry Rubaiyat. Like the original, it is very long so I’m only giving you a taste. M.C.)

One evening, when the Sun began to sink,

Greatrakes  FitzGodward calmly deigned to think,

Then gulped his wine, to celebrate and wake, 

His sixty- ninth sincere farewell to drink.

The evening of his own wild days grew late,

The storm curls of his brain grew limp and straight;

So, should he hurl invectives at the gods,

Or kneel, and pray, and tintinnabulate ?

FitzGodward  filled another glass; bombast

And blighted folly then combined to  cast

One marching, flashing, laughing glance, that left

The cavalries of misery aghast.


          The solstices of good and evil came 

And went; no one can bridge with praise or blame,

The endless chasm between Is and Ought,

The raftless river between Pride and Shame.


He took to sportsmanship in Cork and Clare,

( His winters shortened by a well – turned hare );

He once fell off a horse, near here or there,

And licked the lattice work of life, but  where?

( Our reformed hero took Holy Orders and soon rose through the ranks to become pope)

Then at theology he made a start,

And tore both schisms and heresies apart;

He thrived, and soon became an expert in

Aortic aspects of the Sacred Heart.

( His conversion was short-lived, He returned to his old ways)

Old Earth still calmly went around the Sun,

And soon Greatrakes returned to sin and fun,

He drained a barrel then, to eulogise

The obsequies of piety undone.

(When we all come to the end this is how Tomaisín sees it.)

“Come now old friend  Khayyám, and while we can

We will proclaim some sort of well laid plan,

Conceived in wine by Zeus or Proust or Faust,

Or someone’s cousin’s father’s Uncle Dan

When, towards our one last hideous latch we’re drawn,

We’ll greet its rusty  hinges with a yawn,

Then whistle a rattling randy tune beside

A wren wrung river, or a lark bossed lawn.

Go ndéana Dia Uilechumhachtach trocaire ar anam uasal dílis ár gcara Paddy Fitzgibbon. Braithfimid uainn é. Cinnte ní bheidh a leithéad arís ann.


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