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Tag: Rochelle Griffin

Harmonie Festival 1999, Listowel politics in 1910 and 1916 commemorative installations

The Bend for Home

This is the road out of town for Tralee or Limerick. The Millennium arch is on the left and the cars are on the Big Bridge.


Jimmy Hickey brings international honour to Listowel in 1999

The high point of Jimmy Hickey’s career as a dancer and dancing teacher was the winning of this magnificent trophy in 1999.

Here is the story

The HARMONIE FESTIVAL is a festival of
peace, friendship and international understanding.

It takes
place in Germany every six years. There are competitions for traditional
singing, dancing and music. Participation is by invitation only. To this day the
organisers are inviting Jimmy to come back, despite receiving hundreds of
applications from other Irish dancing schools to participate. I think he might
be thinking of having one last go at it. I hope he does. The next Harmonie is
in 2017.

Winning group Harmonie festival 1999

Back Ted Kenny, Mary Doyle, Michelle Mulvihill, Donncha
Quill, Jimmy Hickey, dancing master, Mary Ellen Quill and Ellen Quill


 Sarah O’Mahoney,
Fiona Twomey, Una Nolan, Lorraine O’Brien, Seán Browne, musician, Margaret
Prendeville, Jean O’Connor, Marion O’Connell and Helena O’Connell.

Harmonie Festival, Lindenholzhausen 1999

42 nations from all over the world each with their own
cultural dance.

Arriving back in Shannon with the trophy.

When the Kerry dancers went
first there was no competition, just exhibition and just five countries took part. When it developed into a competition Jimmy
Hickey’s dancers took first prize in 1999 and 2005. This was a huge honour,
which deserved wider recognition at home. They represented their country in an
international competition, competing against 42 other countries and came home with this unique and valuable trophy.
It depicts the town, Lindenholzhausen, where the competition took place. It has the symbol of the
competition and symbols representing the traditions of music and dance that
were celebrated.  Each dance group contributed one judge to the panel, so they
were judged by an international jury of their peers.


Kerry Evening Star 1902-1914, Thursday, January 13, 1910; 

An account of a fairly lively political meeting in Listowel in 1910

The famous George Sandes.  Mr. Flavin,  living in Listowel,

could not stand his conduct,  so he took off his coat, fought him

fearlessly and well, and beat him all along the line. He hunted him

from every public Board in the county, and from the Bench he disgraced

him, until finally he hunted him to his dishonoured grave, he having

died a broken-hearted brute.

 Again they found Mr. Flavin , when there was confusion in the Irish Party, he proved himself loyal

to the authority of the chair. They found him in Meath assisting

another honest Irishman, Michael Davitt. (Cheers). They all remembered

the testimony of Michl. Davitt to honest Michael Flavin—that if he had

the giving away of his seat in the morning, the one man he would

select as a fearless fighter, as an honest man, was Michael Joseph

Flavin. (Cheers). 

Fourteen years ago Mr. Flavin was selected by a

Convention In North Kerry, and he got a mandate then from this

constituency telling him to bear the Home Rule flag in the English

House of Commons, and Rev. Speaker asked them had he not proved

himself an honest man since then, practically attending to his duties,

fruitfully doing them and doing them well. (Cheers). 

He had given the

best years of his life in the service of his country, regardless of

the consequence to his health. They found him once brought to death’s

door by the strife and turmoil of the battle, and now he would ask

them was that the man they should change for this gentleman from

London town?—(cries of of “Never”)—a man they had never heard in

politics up to the present time, and who heard of now, Rev. Chairman

had no doubt, for a sinister purpose. (“BOO for Neville Stack.”) They

were passing through a critical crisis, perhaps one of the most

critical that had ever arisen in their country’s history. Home Rule,

the desire of every Irishman, was now within measurable distance of

them. The Cabinet Ministers were proclaiming from the platforms all

through England that if returned to power they had committed

themselves to the granting of a full measure of Home Rule to Ireland.


While the hands of the Irish people were stretched out for

that long denied measure of justice to this country, the right of

Irishmen to make their own laws had in their own Parliament,  Joe

Chamberlain issuing his manifesto the other day to the electors of

Birmingham, appealing to their prejudices as Englishmen, not to vote

for the Liberals, because if they were returned to power they would

give Home Rule to Ireland. (Cries of “Shame.”) While their hands were

stretched out, they had the Unionists of Ireland subscribing twenty

thousand pounds for the purpose of scattering foul literature and to

defray the expenses of every foul-mouthed ruffian that was willing to

go across to villify their country. They had seen where the Tories had

opened the war chest and had given generously of it to every renegade

Irishman who was prepared to go across and fight a constituency in

Ireland, and Rev. Chairman had no doubt that this Mr. Thos. Neville

Stack was there for that purpose.

 He was supposed to contest that

division of North Kerry. He did not do it with a hope of winning,

unless he was an unmitigated fool, because he had as much chance of

winning as Rev. Chairman’s dog, Macnab. (Cheers and laughter). But if

by any chance he was returned, what would that mean? It would mean one

more voice in the wilderness, away from the Irish Party in a position

to do no good, but a lot of mischief. (Cheers). 

He would give them an

idea of what a humbug this gentleman was. He had gone to Mr. Redmond

and had stated he was willing to submit himself to the Convention. He

had not turned up, because he knew he would not get a man to propose

him, and if he did he would not get a seconder. (Cheers). Then he

issued his manifesto telling Mr. Redmond that the Convention would be

packed, and that it was a bogus one—which was a lie—and that he would

go forward and fight as an independent Nationalist “morryeah,” laughed

Rev. Chairman, amidst cheers and laughter. He was to his (Rev.

Chairman’s) mind an independent humbug, and when the fight was over

and the battle won, and he thought he could trust the sons of the

patriotic fathers in North Kerry, the first district in Ireland that

struck a blow for Home Rule and the extinction of landlordism in 1872;

when the day came for the counting of the votes, that they would prove

themselves worthy sons of those patriotic fathers, and give to this

London Stageen such a whipping in the race that never again would he

have the hardihood of entering for the North Kerry “Cup.” (Loud and

prolonged cheering).

Mr. Flavin, who next addressed the meeting and was received with

applause, expressed his confidence in the support he would get if Mr.

Neville Stack had the impudence to force the electors. He (Mr. Flavin)

had no doubt about winning, but one he would like to have made clear,

and that was on the day of the polling, many of his supporters might

say, “Well what is the use voting  he is bound to win easily, and

voting won’t make any difference.” Well they should no give way to

such apathy, but  come up and record their votes  so that factionism

for all time should be  blotted off the map of at leaat North Kerry.

(Loud cheers).

A warm vote of thanks was passed to the Rev. Chairman to which he

suitably replied terminated the proceedings.


Listowel’s permanent 1916 memorial

David Toomey told me all about this when I met him at work in the park last week. The tarmac bit is in the shape of a Tara Brooch. It’s going to have commemorative plaques of the 1916 signatories in the circle of the brooch. All round the edge will be two rows of box hedge in different colours of green. It looks promising. I’ll keep you updated as it takes shape.


Dublin City Marathon

Kerry Crusaders were well represented at the Dublin Marathon this year. (photo:Tommy Commane)

This year too a special medal to acknowledge their participation in 25 marathons was presented to the Kerr family. They run with their son Aaron who uses a wheelchair. Two Listowel sisters, Rochelle and Tena Griffin, are part of the team of people who help them push the chair for some of the way


Moyvane 1916 Garden of Remembrance

Highlights of the ceremony to open the 1916 Garden of Remembrance and the village Vintage festival and dog show 2016


Revival; August 13 2016

Revival…..Before the Concert in Listowel Town Square

The brave men behind the Revival Music festival took a big risk. It was a big undertaking involving massive organisation but they pulled it off. Above are just some of the lads involved.

I visited the Square early to see what it was all about. The place was bustling with people putting it all in place.

Tickets were selling like hot cakes to the fair weather fans who waited until the last minute in case it rained.

It looked a bit like Heineken were sponsoring the square.

A sign told us that the whole town was lending support to the venture.

Ellish Stack, Listowel’s queen of social media marketing was having a look round and taking a few snaps to publicise the event.

This man needed a bit of help to park his crepe van. There was plenty of muscle on hand to get things set up.

The bar was already commissioned and serving.

The teacher in me was a bit upset by the typo but I’m not above making a few myself so I’m saying nothing.

No poking allowed here.  Umbrellas to be left at the entrance.

As Billy Keane is wont to say, “Liquid in: liquid out”. This inevitability was catered for as well.

A few musicians were warming up on the stage.

I met Maura MacConnell and her grandchildren who were not going, her daughter Claire who was, and Tríona Diggins who was undecided.


The Square during The Festival

Later when I returned to town the concert was in full flow. The Stunning were rocking Listowel Town Square.

Security was tight at the entrance as ticket holders were arriving.

The Stunning were on stage.

I met these two making their way across The Square with their tickets at the ready.

Those listening from outside the fence took any vantage position they could.

Some people had to work.

Some lovely local ladies on their way to hear The Riptide Movement.

I met Noreen and Kay, who were, like myself, out to see what it was all about.


Meanwhile on the Inishowen Peninsula

Tena and Rochelle Griffin were taking part in the Shore to Summit Challenge. They ran four marathons in four days. What a feat! Well done ladies!

Smithy in Moyvane, Dowd’s Road and Listowel Town Park

Photo;Timothy John MacSweeney


Dublin Marathon

Kerry Crusaders were out in force yesterday for the Dublin City Marathon.

Familiar faces in the crowd supporting super marathon fundraiser, Brenda Doody

Listowel sisters Tena and Rochelle Griffin, pictured before the start.

Tena was running on behalf of a charity that is very close to the hearts of her family:

 The Ronald MacDonald House.

(All photos from Facebook)


The Forge

by Seamus Heaney

All I know is a door into the dark.

Outside, old axles and iron hoops rusting;

Inside, the hammered anvil’s short-pitched ring,

The unpredictable fantail of sparks

Or hiss when a new shoe toughens in water.

The anvil must be somewhere in the centre,

Horned as a unicorn, at one end and square,

Set there immoveable: an altar

Where he expends himself in shape and music. 

Sometimes, leather-aproned, hairs in his nose,

He leans out on the jamb, recalls a clatter

Of hoofs where traffic is flashing in rows;

Then grunts and goes in, with a slam and flick

To beat real iron out, to work the bellows. 

I was reminded of this Heaney poem recently when I read a lovely account on Moyvane Village on Facebook of the last blacksmith/ farrier in the village.

The last blacksmith in the village was Maurice O’Connor who was known to locals as “Mossey Cooney”. His Forge was on the Glin Road and it was built around 1850. It was originally owned by McElligotts before Mossey’s father Con O’Connor took it over. Mossey’s uncle Tom also worked in the forge and he owned the famous greyhound Dainty Man who won the first Irish Derby in 1930.

“Three cheers for Tom Connor to give now we must,
That his hammer and anvil might never show rust.
And that we in the future around Newtownsandes
Will see more Coneen Brosnans and more Dainty Mans.”

Below are the photographs that accompanied the post

Gerard Roche with Áine Cronin and Mossy O’Connor

A Smithy in Moyvane….The Rugby World Cup Connection

If Ireland had won The Rugby World Cup, the trophy might have found its way to Kerry to reunite with its exact replica, the Sawtell Cup which has resided with the O’Connors in Moyvane for the past 85 years.

The Sawtell Cup was won by Dainty Man at the first Irish Derby in Clonmel in 1930. It was worth 100 guineas at the time. The cup was created by Carrington and Company in London who also created the original Webb Ellis Trophy in 1906. It is a Victorian version of an original cup fashioned in 1740 by renowned English designer and silversmith Paul de Lamerie.

The Cup is silver gilded in gold, 38 centimetres tall with two cast scroll handles. On one there perches the head of a satyr, on the other the head of a nymph. The terminals are a bearded mask, a lion mask and a vine. The pineapple on the top was for centuries a symbol of welcome, hospitality and celebration, and Dainty Man and his owners and trainer were treated to all three when they returned victorious to Moyvane in 1930.

From:Moyvane Village


A walk in The Park

Listowel Community Centre looking well

Recent storms have brought down some debris.

Local dogs enjoy a swim.


On Saturday morning the local rugby youth were warming up prior to a match.


Dowd’s Road, Listowel

This is the view looking down Dowd’s Road from the John B. Keane Road.

Dowd’s Road is named after the family who lived in this house, now unoccupied and falling into disrepair.

Once upon a time the railway ran along what is now the John B. Keane Road.


As I roved out

Saturday, October 24 2015 was a beautiful Autumn day. I took a walk  by the river Feale and I encountered these 2 filmmakers at work.


We all love a selfie

Even the famous like to be photographed with the famous. Daniel O’Donnell was on the Late Late Show on Friday evening and he posted a photo of himself with fellow guest, Joe Schmidt  on his Facebook account.

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