Friday in The Square in February 2024

A Poem

Memories of Childhood.

We had neighbours one time,
That lived under the hill.
In my prayers I remember, 
And think of them still.
And sometimes I think, it was just yesterday. 
But it fact it is really, 
A lifetime away. 

Two brothers, two sisters, 
A dog and a cat, 
There was Katherine and Celia,
And Tomas and Pat.
All single, unmarried, 
Their name is long gone. 
And its sad there was no one, 
To carry it on. 

The sisters kept house, 
It was neat as a pin. 
And a welcome was there,
For whoever went in. 
The brothers they worked, 
On the farm every day. 
And at nightime together, 
They knelt down to pray.
While auld Ringo the dog,
By the fire lay quiet. 
Where himself and the cat, 
Settled in for the night.

Now Pat could play music, 
And Tomas could sing.
At parties in old times
Great joy they did bring.
Celia sang also, and Kate
In her chair, 
Read stories for children, 
From Kitty the Hare.

Old customs, old fashioned, 
Indeed this was true.
And the ways of today’s world,
These folk never knew.
No modern components, back then
In the day,
Their work was all done in the old fashioned way.
And I can remember when nightime would fall,
Their light it then came, from a lamp
On the wall.

With the turf from the bog on an
open hearth fire,
All the cooking was done, that your
heart would desire. 
And a fine soda cake, it was baked as a rule,
And left on the window sill, outside to cool.

To see this house now, it would make
Your heart sore,
For the weeds and the briars grow up
through the floor.
No windows or doors, and the roof has
Caved in,
Never more to be lived in, in this life again. 
A fine happy home, one time back in the day.
Taken over by time, as the years passed away.

God be good to them now, 
There all gone to their rest, 
To the place that the good lord
Reserves for the best.
But my memories of childhood, sometimes 
let me see,
The old ways of life, that one time used to be.
And sometimes I think back, 
And remember them still, 
Our auld neighbours one time, 
That lived under the hill. 

Martin O’Hara   © 12/9/2022

Elizabeth Stack and Mary O’Rourke

News from New York

“On Saturday , at a reading of JB Keane’s hilarious and sometimes poignant  Letters of a Matchmaker, are  Elizabeth Stack PhD  William street Listowel ,  and Mary ORourke  R.N.C  of  Church Street Listowel at the Irish Historical Society NY.

Elizabeth is the new appointed Executive director of the IHS and hosted a wonderful gathering.”

Interesting Artefacts

While visiting family in Ballincollig I attended a great night tripping down memory lane. Ten members of the society each brought an artefact and they got 5 minutes each to tell us about the item they brought.

A good crowd gathered for the meeting, mostly people of my own vintage but I did meet Niamh who had just done her Pre Junior Cert.

First up was Rod McConnell. Even though he is Scottish his family artefact was from Northern Ireland. It was a Repeal card. It dates back to Daniel O’Connell and the move to repeal the Act of Union in 1831.

Rod’s great great grandfather, James Gallagher, worked in a mill owned by the Leslie family. He said they were the same Leslies as the Ballincollig Leslies who lived in Wilton in an estate later owned by the SMA and now Wilton Shopping Centre. I wonder if they are the same Leslies as the Tarbert family of the same name.

Rod’s card had a map of Ireland on one side and some facts about Ireland on the other side.

Ireland had a population of 8.5 million people. It now has about 5.1 million so I don’t think we are “full” .

Ireland had 2.5 million acres of bog according to this 1844 artefact.

A Marian Grotto

Marian grottos are dotted all over the countryside in Ireland. This one is in the carpark of the Bon Secours Hospital in Cork.

A Fact

The population of Ireland is around 5 million. There are 80 million people around the world with Irish passports or Irish roots.