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Tag: Tom Doodle

Carrigafoyle, Dried up River Feale, Chute Family Painters and Tom Doodle Remembered

Carrigafoyle Castle in July 2018

Photo; Ita Hannon


My Silver River Feale

I took a walk with Molly along the River Walk a few weeks ago and I was shocked to see how the drought had affected our local stream. I’m glad to report that all is changed now.

These extraordinary pictures show how the Feale looks in July 2018.

 The River Walk

This is the river by the bridge to the racecourse. If you were to “throw me down something’ now it would be very easy to find.


Signs of the Times


Ballyduff, Moyvane and Listowel according to the Green Guide of 1965


Painting Listowel

It’ not just Fred. I have to give credit to Frances and Roly Chute for some lovely paintwork in Listowel. It’s a family thing.


Tom Doodle

Recently we celebrated what would have been John B. Keane’s 90th birthday with a walk led by Vincent Carmody to places connected with the great playwright in Listowel.

We stopped at the statue to remember the great Doodle rally that was held in that very spot during the general election campaign of 1951

Here we are on Saturday July 21 2018.

This was the scene in The Small Square on the night Doodle arrived to give his election address.

“Use your noodle, vote for Doodle” was his catchy slogan.

We had in our midst people who were hearing the story for the first time but we also had people like Jimmy OQuigley who remembered the night because he was there  and Paddy Keane who grew up in Listowel hearing the story of the great night repeated often.

Aidan OMurchú also grew up in Listowel where the Doodle Rally was relived in song and story at an annual reunion ball of the Independent Cologeous Party.

This last photo is from Paul Murphy whose father was a card carrying member of the famous party.

Church Street, Jimmy Deenihan, Listowel Visual Arts Week and Sea Bathing in Ballybunion

Sunrise on top of Carrauntoohill  at 5.18 am

Photographer Seán ÓLoideáin


Church Street, Listowel in Summer 2018

Lots of painting and preparations for new tenants going on here.

The Harp and Lion, one of Listowel’s most iconic buildings. What a pity the lovely artistry of the sign is covered over.


Meeting a Hero

We see Jimmy Deenihan on the streets of Listowel every day so we don’t regard him as a celebrity but when this lady ran into him in the Small Square recently she became a bit star struck. If you know her, tell her her photo is here. I forgot to give her my card.


More from Visual Arts Week

It felt so cosmopolitan to have artists and art at every hand’s turn in Listowel.

I met this artist painting St. Mary’s as viewed fro St. John’s

In the Seanchaí Jim Dunn was among many Kerry artists whose work was on display.

Jim Dunn and the esteemed Killarney artist, Dermot McCarthy

Some artistic window displays


Photos from Paul Murphy

This is what Paul writes about them;

“One in a field my dad with side face and Danny Kelleher sitting down far left, the other i think is a Tom Doodle get together, I only know John b far right and dad third right.  Hopefully somebody on FB  or your great blog could help.”


An Artist’s View of Ballybunion Last Week

Photo; Mike O’Donnell

Tom Doodle and other Listowel Characters and U. S. Success or John Daniel Guiney

These four men were our entertainers on Vincent Carmody’s morning walk on June 1 2017 as part of Listowel Writers’ Week 2017. They are John Looney, Seán Moriarty, Vincent Carmody and Sonny Egan.

Our starting point as usual was the hotel. Here our young soundman, John, met up with some English visitors, the Hewitts with a different Hannon connection. These people have fallen in love with Listowel and are now frequent visitors.

Mark Hewitt is a member of a rock band and he  brought the band with him on this visit. One of their number has just written a book whose title I love. It’s called;

Rock, Paper, Slippers.

Sonny came in character as the bellman or town crier.

Rose Wall greeted us and saw us on our way.

And we’re off.

First stop was the home of the O’Rahilly family …arguably the brainiest family in Ireland at one time.

Then on to The Small Square and tales of Tom Sommers and other local characters.

Vincent had an appreciative audience despite the cold and intermittent rain.

Then out from the Freezer’s pub came none other than Tom Doodle. Click HERE to hear the story from Vincent Carmody.

Doodle distributed his election literature and canvassed for votes promising among other unlikely actions to  give leprechauns the vote and to give free treatment for sore heads.

Use your noodle

Vote for Doodle

Doodle on the ball

Next stop the dáil.

Doodle ran into an old friend, Paddy Fitzgibbon, and posed for a photo with him.

Then on to William Street and tales of D.C. Hennessey and another cry from the bellman.

We admired the Horseshoe Bar and Vincent pointed out the plasterwork of Pat MacAulliffe and the detail on the wall for which he had used bicycle bells as moulds.

At Galvin’s Vincent pointed out the beautiful mosaic name  over the door.

We mosied on to Market Street and on to the home of Cathy Buckley in Upper William Street.

We had another rhyme from the bellman  and the sad story  of Bob Cuthbertson.

We paused at the corner of William Street and Charles Street and Vincent pointed out to us a strange Listowel phenomenon. The Irish version of the street names is not a translation of the English names. The English street names were given by Lord Listowel who called the streets after his sons, William and Charles. in 1966 a wave of nationalism swept through Listowel and a plebiscite was held to change the street names to the names of the signatories of the Proclamation of 1916.

Changing the name of a street has all sorts of implications, particularly for businesses who have to change their business address. The outcome was a hung vote so what was decided in the end was that each street would have 2 names, one in Irish and one in English and they are totally unrelated to one another. So, for instance, Charles Street is, in Irish, Connolly Street/ Sráid Uí Chonghaile.

The bellman stopped us again and Vincent pointed out the detail in the plasterwork of The Emporium, one of the finest examples of the work of Pat MacAulliffe.


Success in the U.S. for Listowel Golfer

(Photo and text from Newsday on the internet)

John Daniel Guiney with Long
Island Golf Association president Marty Winkelman, left, and tournament
director John McGrath after he won the Long Island Open at 4 under par with a
final round of two-under 68 at Westhampton Country Club on June 8, 2017. Photo
Credit: Long Island Golf Association

Westhampton Country Club’s waterfront winds, slick greens, tall
fescue and Old World bunkers presented a different, disorienting challenge to
just about all of Long Island’s top golfers. To John Daniel Guiney, those
elements represented something else entirely. He is from Ballybunion, Ireland
and he felt right at home.

Big time. Coming up that 18th hole, it’s like you’re in Britain
or something, like you’re playing on a links golf course. It’s just a great
setting,” Guiney, a first-year PGA apprentice at Piping Rock Club, said after
he won the Long Island Open at 4 under par with a final round of two-under 68.
He beat Poxabogue teaching pro Rob Corcoran (67) by two shots in the 54-hole
championship while no one else beat par.

It took patience and resourcefulness —
hallmark demands of links golf — to take the $9,000 first prize on the vintage
Seth Raynor layout. The check and the whole week made the 32-year-old winner
even happier that he entered the tournament at the last minute and that he
moved to Long Island a few months ago.

Guiney played college
golf at Rollins, then remained in Florida to play minitours. He became friends
with peers such as Keegan Bradley and Jim Renner, caddied for the latter on the
PGA Tour, then pursued his own pro golf career in Europe for four years

“I ended up quitting tournament golf for the last year and a
half. I kind of ran out of money,” he said. “That happens. I was like what am I
going to do? I have an economics background but I don’t want to do that. I want
to stay in golf.”

What he did was place a call to an old friend from Ballybunion,
Piping Rock head pro Sean Quinlivan, who offered him the apprentice spot.
Guiney (pronounced GUY-knee) does a lot of caddying and works in the pro shop
two days a week, he said, “Just learning the ropes.” At Quinlivan’s suggestion,
he signed up for a Long Island Open qualifier just before the deadline. “And lo
and behold, here we are,” he said.

 He was only one shot ahead of Corcoran after the latter eagled
the par-5 14th hole. Quiney, playing in the final twosome with Tam O’Shanter
head pro Mark Brown, hooked his tee shot on 14 into high grass. He punched out
into a terrible lie (“It looked like it was in a deer hoof print,” he said) but
then hit to within 15 feet and made birdie. He followed with another birdie on
15 and finished with three pars.

“Very steady, very patient,” Brown said of the champion. “He’s
got a good all-around game. Very good, I’d say.”

Election Posters, A Ration Book, Moyvane Men and a Doodle Frolic

Imogen in Ballybunion February 8 2016

Photo: Mike Enright


I Knew It

Election Posters on Charles Street and everywhere. Now we have a new candidate, Danny Healy Rae, we can expect even more canvassing and postering.


WW2 Ration book

(Photo and text by Vincent Carmody)

Ration books were issued to people during the war years ( the emergency) and some years later. Rationing food and other goods was required to overcome the shortages of imports into the country. I have spoken to people, born in the late 1930’s, who were amazed when they saw banana’s for the first time in the early 1950s. 
The ration book photographed was issued to my cousin, Johnny Buckley, he of 26 William Street, in 1948.



Photo and text: Vincent Carmody

The group photo is from the very early 1959’s, this was taken outside Kennelly’s Cloth Hall, and includes, all true Poundlaners, the aforementioned, Johnny Buckley, John Kennelly, Joe O’Sullivan, Matt Kennelly, Maurice Kennelly and Tommy Sheahan.

The centre of our youthful universe.


Some Moyvane Men

At a GAA social in Moyvane.


More Doodle Mania

They left the talk on how to lay a table and behave at social functions until a bit late in the day.


A Change on Church Street

NCBI have moved up the street from their old location in Bunyans to the premises that used to be Mac Aulliffe’s Gift Shop.

Spring in Listowel, A memory of Tom Doodle and a Listowel teacher out on the Biddy

Spring has Sprung

It lifts my heart to see the flower containers back on the streets after a bad winter….a welcome sight indeed.


Memories of a Different kind of Election Candidate

Tom Doodle was a fictitious character who stood for election in Listowel in the 1950s. So popular was he that when the jape was over John B. and his band of supporters continued to keep his memory alive with an annual “Frolic”. Junior Griffin has some of the souvenir menus from these frolics. Here is the first one for you. It gives a background picture of Doodle’s early life and the menu for the meal that was to be held in 1957 in his honour.


From The Advertiser


Oh the Days of the Kerry Dances…

Liam OHainnín kept this cutting of a crowd gathered in The Square watching Jimmy Hickey’s dancers perform during a Fleadh Cheoil.


Out on The Biddy

St. Bridget’s Day was on Monday, February 1. Traditionally, the Biddy Boys started their rounds on St. Bridget’s eve and they went from house to house “mumming”, i.e. dressed in fabulous costumes and their faces disguised with straw hats, they welcomed spring with music, singing and dancing. 

I was delighted to see a series of photos from that great photographer, Valerie O’Sullivan, which told me that the tradition is still alive.

This is what Valerie wrote to accompany her photos;

Members of Kilgobnet Biddy Group, Beaufort, Co Kerry, calling to Mike McGillycuddy’s House in Shanera.The tradition of the Biddies is one of the oldest and most colourful customs in Ireland, a blend of pagan and christian pageantry, held on the 1st February each year. Heralding the beginning of Springtime and honouring St Bríd the patron saint of the farming community. The Kilgobnet Biddies well spend the next few nights calling to houses and halls playing music and collecting funds for Kilgobnet National School.

When I looked a bit closer at the photos,  there I saw, among the musicians, a familiar face from my days in Presentation Seconday School. Mr. Coffey was out on the Biddy to raise funds for his local school. The man pictured making the hats is his father.

These three photos were taken by John O’Sullivan

Irish Abroad blog has this to say about this tradition;

In many of parts of Ireland ‘Biddy Boys’ (or girls) went from house to house with ‘Biddy’, an effigy of the saint, often a straw doll, collecting money and food for a party in her honour while reciting a rhyme similar to this one:

Here is Brigid dressed in white.
Give her a penny for this dark night.
She is deaf, she is dumb,
For God’s sake, give her some.”

Brian Coffey gave me an account of the Biddy in Beaufort. The tradition was always in the area with rival troupes of Biddy Boys doing the rounds of the houses and the pubs. In the 60s and 70s when it was at its height there was a competition among the Kerry Biddy groups with a plaque and a sum of money as a prize. The prize money as well as the donations collected in the pubs were always given to charity.

Four or five years ago when the tradition was waning, a group decided to revive it as a means of raising funds for the local primary school. It was decided as well as doing the pubs to go back to the old traditional way and to visit houses. 

The Biddy costumes and straw hats are stored from year to year. Every year there is a need for one or two new ones or some old ones need a bit of smartening up with plaited straw or fresh tinsel.

A route is laid out and a troupe of about 20 local singers, musicians and dancers gathered. This year there were 3 troupes in Beaufort, the adults, the 6th class and the 5th class. Many houses had a candle lighting at the door to welcome the Biddy.  The leading man carried a sign announcing who they were. Often, when he knocked on the door he saw that the house was full of neighbours and friends gathered from far and near to welcome the Biddy. Chairs and sofas were moved back and a way cleared for the singing and dancing. Often a singer or musician in the house would join in and if there was room, they might dance a set ora waltz with the people off the house People were generous. Brian told me that it was not unusual to collect €100 in a house.

“It’s not only about the money,” said Brian. It brings the neighbours together in a spirit of community and friendship. On Monday night they called to the Community Centre where a card game was in progress. The cards were set aside as the card players welcomed the Biddy and the singing and dancing continued for a long time.

The night ended up, as per tradition, with a dance at the crossroads. The dancing area was lit by the headlights of several cars and the dancing and music continued into the small hours of the morning.

Take a look at this RTE video to see the craic they have in Kilgobnet on February 1st. Long may the tradition continue!

Keeping the Biddy Tradition alive

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