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Tag: Tarbert comprehensive school

Willie Whack, Tarbert Comp, Cats will be Cats and the Friday crew in the St. V de P. shop

Locking Horns in The National Park

Photo: Chris Grayson


Willie Whack

John B. Keane in The Limerick Leader

One venerable reader of our column on communications was none other than my great friend, Willie Whack Gleeson, dean of Limerick’s typesetters and a great man to utilise big words as well as small.

He is a man to whom I am greatly indebted this many a day for his priceless insight into the character and background of his fellow Limerickmen.

“Sir,” he opens in characteristic fashion, “in recent contribution of yours to the Leader, you referred to the use of long words by yahoos, gombeen men, TDs and long-winded buffoons.”

“If I had my way, I would apply the following as a fair reading test for all drunken motorists and self-styled intellectuals and comprise city and county councils.”

“Promulgating your esoteric cogitations or articulating your superficial sentimentalities and amicable, philosophical or psychological observations demonstrate a clarified consciousness, a compact comprehensibleness, no coalescent conglomerations of prejudical garrulity, jejune bafflement and assinine affectations. Let your extemporaneous verbal evaporations and expectations have lucidity, intelligibility and veracious vivacity without rodomontade or Therspian bombast. Sedulously avoid all polysyllabic profundity, pompous propensity, psittaceous vacuity, ventriloquial verbosity, and vaniloquent vapidity.”

Shun double-entendre, obnoxious jocosity and pestiferous profanity, observable of apparent.”

“In brief, say what you mean, J.B. Don’t use big words.

Yours till Niagra Falls

Willie W. Gleeson”

How does one react to a letter like this from a man, who as far as I am aware, was never once intoxicated by the exuberance of his own verbosity nor given to inflated or fustian tumidity?

I imagine the sensible thing to do would be to have a shave a haircut, and if practicable, a shampoo, after which a refreshing bathe in the milk of ass mares is to be recommended.

American papers, please copy.


Sometimes at race meetings, I stand aside to watch the passing scene.

At the dog tracks, it’s different.

One is at once caught up in the proceedings such is the nature of the sport.

Recently at a well-known race meeting, I stood near to the owners’ and trainers’ bar.

From time to time, men and women with binoculars draped across their shoulders came and went.

Occasionally the doorkeeper would extend his hand to stop people who did not show proof of ownership.

Some of these were somewhat disgruntled and argued their cases heatedly.

Sometimes the doorman would reconsider his decision and admit them.

With others, he was adamant.

He held them firmly at bay; a cross look on his face, his shoulders belligerently squared under his white coat of office.

There was one particularly noisy exchange during which a couple of young bucks attempted to push the doorman aside.

They moved off, however, when the doorman threatened to call the Guards.

Next to arrive was a North Kerry publican with a party of friends.

None of the group had ever owned or trained an ass not to mention a horse.

The publican in question shook hands with the doorman and entered the bar.

Then, with the magnanimous gesture, he indicated to the remainder of his party that it was alright for them to enter.

The doorman made no attempt to stop them

Immediately after the last of the party had entered a decent-looking man with a pair of binoculars was held at bay by the doorman.

Puzzled, he retreated and sought another bar.

Nothing like this applies at dog tracks nor at football matches have you a special bar for players and trainers. I am tempted to ask who are owners and trainers above everybody else that they should be given a special bar?

I saw some of them in a special enclosure in the stand, and there was nothing about them to indicate that they were different from other race-goers.

This story first appeared in The Leader on October 2, 1976.


Down Memory Lane in Tarbert

This photo from the opening of Tarbert Comprehensive School was posted  on Facebook by 

The Swanky Bar

Click on the link and you will find some of the people named in the comments.


Bird watching

This predatory cat waited for ages but that bird knew better than to come down from the tree.


My Friday friends in St. Vincent de Paul shop

Helping the customers on Friday October 4 2019 were Nancy, Liz, Bina and Eileen.

Church St, Tennis in 1987 and 1955 and Tarbert footballers

Pride Comes Before a Fall

Paddy Power on Twitter at 6.31 on Feb 2 2019:

“Anyone know a company that can take a few big billboards down within 8 minutes?

Asking for a friend. “

Smug arrogance is never a nice trait. I hope Paddy Power has learned a lesson.


Signs of Spring


Now and Then on Church Street

Oyster ( a mobile phone shop) and Glamour (now relocated to the Square) are now a sweet shop and Kerry Wool Shop.


Hanging Out at the Tennis Courts

Photos; Danny Gordon

Listowel’s young people have always hung out at the tennis club. These youngsters in 1987 are watching a game in progress. Cyril Kelly remembers 1955 when the game wasn’t’t the only attraction on the courts.

Cyril’s essay was broadcast on Sunday Miscellany in 2018


Every year, when the Wimbledon circus rolls round, still vivid recollections came churning up from deep in the corduroy folds of memory. Far from the sophistication of strawberries and cream, these memories have a mossy redolence rising from Feale river stones, smells of fehlerstrom, buachalán buí and crusty cow pats, all the embalmed odours of the Cows Lawn, that commonage on the edge of town where the Listowel Lawn Tennis Club had its two grass courts, plus a dilapidated railway carriage which went by the exotic moniker of The Pavilion. The tennis club was like an exclusive compound of the Raj; it was enclosed by a chicken wire fence which separated the lower caste, namely urchins like myself, from daughters of merchants, bankers and ne’er-do-wells. Unfortunately, in such a setting, togged out in durable brown corduroy jacket and short corduroy pants made by my redoubtable milliner mother, pubescent infatuation was incapable of negotiating an invulnerable passage through the layers and feverish strata of puppy love. 

In the nineteen fifties, mothers possessed an infallibility which was every bit as dogmatic as  that of Pope Pius XII. And if a boy had the temerity to question this God given right, such a heresy could always be dealt with by use of the wooden spoon, an implement of enlightenment which was often administered with ecclesiastical zeal. So, if a mother decreed that the local tennis club was off-limits, needless to mention, an explanation was neither asked fornor offered….. The ball alley was fine, and fishing for white trout was also deemed a healthy pastime, but the tennis court, where gorgeous young ones in tennis whites might be loitering, was, for mysterious maternal reasons, not granted an imprimatur. 

Therefore, on this particular evening, as I stood at the perimeter fence of the local den of iniquity, clad in my corduroy get up, I felt the giddy pleasure of the miscreant. My eager little heart was going pit-a-pat, pit-a-pat as I stood there, my face meshed to the chicken wire while I watched Patricia, the Maria Sharapova of the day. A year older than myself, Patricia had that prepossessing, pouting beauty which playfully clawed young boys’ hearts, toyed with them, and then, with feline disdain for their wellbeing, cast them aside. 

Imagine that same eager little heart when, out of the blue, Patricia called me into the enclosure and thrust one of her friend’s tennis racquets at me. 

Now, she called over her shoulder as she swaggered to the other side of the net. Love all

And tossing the white fluffy ball into the air, left hand tapering gracefully aloft for a split second, right hand coiled behind her, blonde hair uncurling loosely onto her shoulders, she was, for one unearthly moment, a veritable Venus, poised on the opposite baseline. But then, with what seemed like satanic intent, she unleashed a swerving serve that flashed past my despairing lunge. Fifteen love, she piped that precious word once more as she sashayed to the other side and served again. 

How I scurried around, like a manic mongrel, trying to return her shots which were whizzing past me. Unwilling to cry halt, I persisted until, panting and perspiring, they invited me into The Pavillion. As Patricia towelled her temples daintily, her Pekinese bitch snooped around me, sniffing my sandals disdainfully. 

I like your style, Patricia said and suppressed laughter tittered from her friends. Standing there awkwardly, I admitted that it was my first time playing tennis. 

I don’t mean your tennis, she scoffed, pointing. I mean your trendy trousers

Amid an eruption of laughter, I looked down and noticed, for the first time, the chocolate brown bands of corduroy where my pragmatic mother had let down the legs of last years faded pants. 

I never ventured near the tennis court for the rest of that season. 

And this year again, as I set my television aversion aside and tune in for Wimbledon, I know that as I watch some  poor bewildered bloke scrambling to retrieve a viciously sliced backhand cross-court lob, I will suddenly be waylaid once more by  the memory of those mortifying moments from the summer of fifty five, when the Sixth Commandment, with all it forbade and all it decreed, sat severely aloof on the umpire’s chair. 


Footballers of Tarbert Comp.

David Kissane who trained this team posted the photo and caption on Facebook

Thirty years ago…The Tarbert Comprehensive School senior ladies Gaelic football team who won three county championships, two Munster championships and contested two All Ireland finals in the late 1980s. A privilege to have been your manager, ladies.

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