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Tag: Rita ann Higgins

Christmas Craft Fair, some photos, a poem and a sugar tax in 1901

May you have a happy, safe and thankful Thanksgiving all U.S. friends of Listowel


Christmas is coming

And the goose is getting fat,

Please put a penny in the old man’s hat

If you haven’t got a penny

A ha’penny will do

If you haven’t got a ha’penny

God bless you.


Sive Revival

In a week that saw Mickey McConnell’s Lidl and Aldi exceed 6 million views, John B’s ‘Sive’ launched in John B’s bar in the Gaiety Theatre. 

The Druid Production will run from the 26th Jan to the 3rd of March 2018


Today’s November poem from Irish Stories of Love and Hope is from Rita Ann Higgins.

Our Mothers Die on
Days Like This

Rita Anne
Higgins  (Irish Stories of Loss and Hope)

Where there isn’t
a puff

And the walk from
the bus stop

To the front door

Isn’t worth the

cup of sweet tea

She can never have

Because doctor

Told her face to

It was the sugar
or the clay

The choice was

The choice was no

He knew it, she
knew it.

When the heavy
bill on the hall floor

With the final
notice reminded her

Once and for all
she must turn out the lights,

Her Angelus bell
rang and rang.


Photos from a Craft fair

I was at a craft fair in The Seanchaí, Listowel on Sunday November 12 2017. I photographed some of the lovely fare on offer.

Stephen Pearce, Louis Mulcahy, Nicholas Mosse and a slew of others have made their fortune as potters with a distinctive style. In Listowel we have our very own local potter with a beautiful product and a distinctive style.

Pat Murphy’s Woodford Pottery is based in Woodford, Listowel. His pieces are available in black,  dark blue and green. They make an ideal present for anyone who loves Listowel and likes to have a piece of home close by at all times.

AND by comparison with the big names mentioned above they are very reasonably priced. Pat is a one man operation so he obviously doesn’t produce huge quantities. My advice is get to him before the world discovers him.

Woodford Pottery

Beautiful hand knitter nativity by Ella O’Sullivan

Eileen O’Sullivan makes these and other ceramic pieces to order.

Listowel’s best knitter and tea cosy designer is Frances O’Keeffe.  Her charming creations are still available at Craftshop na Méar and at local craft fairs.  


A Sugar Tax… 1901!

My friend, Nicholas wrote us the following;

” I came across this little piece in the British Parliamentary Papers. It concerns a sugar tax proposed in c1901. The fuller debate is fascinating as it goes into the ramifications of all types of sugar and associated products- honey  seems to have been exempt from the intended tax.

Extracted from The Debate on the proposed Sugar Tax in the House of Commons on 29th April 1901:

‘… MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)

said that as an Irish Member he desired to enter his protest against this tax because it pressed severely upon the poorest classes of the population. He had listened with amazement to the doctrine laid down by the Hon. Baronet opposite, who said that he welcomed this tax because it would tend to discourage the unwholesome custom of using jam and marmalade and sugar, instead of porridge and milk.

‘In many parts of the country the poor people could not get milk. The working classes of Ireland were unable to give milk to their children because they could not afford it, and consequently they had to fall back upon jam and marmalade. There was no more necessary food than sugar for young children if they could not get plenty of milk and butter. Milk contained a good deal of sugar, and if they could not get the natural sugar contained in milk they were driven to buy sugar, and to supply it in that shape. 

A tax upon sugar was a tax upon one of the prime necessities of life, and that was a departure from the traditional policy of this country for the last fifty years, which was to remove all taxes from all the necessary articles of food. If they agreed to tax sugar he could not see why they should not tax corn…’ 

I think O tempora O mores! is appropriate in the light of the current sugar tax proposals, and the complete change in  Irish nutritional circumstances and health standards.” 


New Windows for the Gardaí

Maybe they are getting the fancy new ones with the Garda logo in them

Writers’ Week, monks and Anne Enright

This photo from John Pierse is from a 1970s Writers’ Week.

This is President Hillary when he came to officially open the week. This year the week will be again opened by our president.

Jackie MacGillicuddy and John B.  do a bit of garden furniture relocation during another Writers’ Week.

Last year Writers Week celebrated its 40th. anniversary with a gala programme. This year’s looks just as good, if not better. 

There is another anniversary but this time a sad one. Hard to believe that it is 10 years since John B.’s passing.

Here are a few lovely photos from the recent Dublin launch of the festival.

Here are Lisa, Máire and Eilís , the girls in the office. When you ring up the festival office these are the lovely ladies who will charm you into coming not just for a day but for the whole festival. These three work very hard and are excellent at what they do. They are invariably good humored, gracious and helpful.  They are one of the festivals many blessings.

Liam Mulcahy, DeLourdes McGrath and Rose Wall

Marty among the books

Author of The City of Bohane and recent winner of The Sunday Times Short Story Award, Kevin Barry, Brian MacMahon and Michael Lynch

John Boland and Rita Ann Higgins with Frank Hayes of Kerry Group which sponsors the novel of the year  competition and Seán Lyons, chair of Writers’ Week.

The short listed novels this year are;

The Dead Eight    by Carlo Gebler

The City of Bohane by Kevin Barry

The Forgotten Waltz   by Anne Enright

The Cold Eye of Heaven by Christine Dwyer Hickey

Solace    by Belinda McKeon

The prize is worth €15,000

I intend reading all five before the final announcement. So far I’ve read The Forgotten Waltz and loved it. But I’ve also read several other really good books this year and they are not on the short list so maybe my taste and that of the judges is at odds.  No On Canaan’s Side, no Sealed Letter?

For all the lowdown on the festival, who’s coming and what’s on visit


This striking photograph from the Facebook page of The Lake Hotel, Killarney shows monks on the shore of Loch Leine. They were gathered in Killarney recently for a weekend of mindfulness.


Just heard on the radio that Anne Enright’s Forgotten Waltz has been short listed for The Orange prize. What a coup for Writers’ Week.

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