St. Bridget’s Day, February 1st.
The story is told that, one night, Brigid went to sit with a dying man. He was a chieftain, and members of his household hoped Brigid would speak to him of Christ, and perhaps convert him before he died. However the man was very ill and couldn’t listen to such talk. So Brigid prayed for him instead. As she sat by his bedside, she picked up some of the rushes scattered on the floor. (This was typical of the time, rushes were warm and kept the floor clean). She began to weave rushes into a Cross, and as she did the Chieftain asked her about it. She wove and spoke of Jesus and prayed for the Chieftain. He came to know Christ that night, was baptised and died in peace.
St Brigid’s Crosses are traditionally made by Irish people around her feast day. Many homes place them over a door lintel or in the thatch of a house.
Batt and Gertie O’Keeffe accepting a trophy.
The Best Storyteller of Them all
I don’t know if the characters in this story by John B. Keane are real or imaginary. If they were real, Listowel certainly bred some great characters back in the day.
The Prophet by
John B. Keane
have appealed so much to my readers as the Prophet Callaghan. He is dead now
with over a score of years but he is fondly remembered by those fortunate
enough to have known him. It’s not because he was such a prodigious drinker of
whiskey and porter that he is remembered; rather it is because he was a dab
hand at quoting from the scriptures and other apocryphal sources.
In fact this is
why they named him The Prophet. His uncanny ability for coming up with apt quotes
at just the right moment first came to light during the war years after he had
cleaned out a pitch and toss school in Listowel’s famous market sheds one rainy
Sunday afternoon. With his winnings of several pounds, a small fortune in those
days, he repaired with his friend, Canavan, to Mickey Dowling’s public house in
Market Street but was refused admission as it was after hours.
It was the same
story in every pub from Pound Lane to the Customs’ Gap. The forces of law and
order, to wit the Garda Síochána were unusually active. The guards would
explain later in their homely way that there had been letters to the barracks
that certain law breaking publicans had been mentioned in dispatches.
As Callaghan went
homeward that night with his friend Canavan, he remarked as he jingled the
silver coins in his pockets “What profiteth it a man if he gain the whole world
and he can’t get a drink after hours?”
night the guards raided a pub in Upper Church Street. This pub was always
regarded as relatively safe as it was so near the guards barracks. Anyway
Canavan and Callaghan were ‘found on’. When asked by the guard to account for
his presence on a licensed premises after hours, Callaghan replied that he was
only following the precepts of Saint Matthew.
“I don’t follow,’
said the sergeant.
“Ask and it shall
be given,” Callaghan quoted, “Seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be
opened, and lo and behold,” Canavan continued, “I knocked and it was opened and
that is the reason I am here.”
I received a lovely email from a new follower in Canada.
I have recently signed up to receive your e-mails and I am glad I did. My father was from Listowel (migrating to Wales with his family in 1921 at 8 years old) and sadly I have only visited once – 20 years ago. So, I am catching up on what I should know by reading your blog.
I felt compelled to write after reading the gift from America story. That brought back memories. My Aunt became a nun at 17 after being a novice for a few years (I don’t know if this is true but we we told that the nuns came around the doors in the late 19th early 20th centuries asking to take girls off the hands of poor families to give them a better life??). She then went to Texas. Every Christmas she would send a box filled with towels and matching face cloths edged with crochet (to make the fabric stronger and therefore last longer), talcum powder and soaps. These were probably items she saved during the year. We loved receiving and opening the boxes. However, my mother was mortified each year when the postman deliver the parcel to our door in Wales as the customs’ note in bold lettering was always the same: Old clothes for the poor!
Keep up the good work,
Barbara Ann Watts
Calgary Alberta Canada
PS The crocheting worked as 50 years later they are still going strong
PPS As you were posting pictures of snowy winters around the world we were experiencing –35C weather!
Dara O’Briain spotted this on the shelf at Knock airport and posted the photo on Twitter.
Looks a bit steep at €40.. certainly not dirt cheap
A Walk by the Feale with camera
Deirdre Lyons took these photos on the river walk as the flood subsided in late January 2018.
More Famous Needlework
Source: Mark Stedman via RollingNews.ie
Women have the vote for 100 years now. To celebrate this Vótáil 100 is having various celebrations and sharing of artefacts.
The above buttons were part of a set of 8 which were embroidered by Countess Markievicx while she was a prisoner in Holloway.
This photograph of former Irish female politicians (with some re-enactors) was carried in various media. I saw it in The Journal.
Lord Listowel loses out on The Golden Thimble
Yesterday I posted this newspaper clipping.
Dave O’Sullivan did a bit of research. He found out that the competition which Lord Listowel entered was held in 1925.
I felt saddened to read that it was an initiative to help the “disabled soldiers embroidery industry.
Does it Matter? by Siegfried Sassoon
Does it matter?—losing your legs?…
For people will always be kind,
And you need not show that you mind
When the others come in after hunting
To gobble their muffins and eggs.
Does it matter?—losing your sight?
There’s such splendid work for the blind;
And people will always be kind,
As you sit on the terrace remembering
And turning your face to the light.
Do they matter?—those dreams from the pit?
You can drink and forget and be glad,
And people won’t say that you’re mad;
For they’ll know you’ve fought for your country
And no one will worry a bit.