Friday, 23 February 2018

Garden of Europe, a poem and Eamon Keane remembered the Carnegie Library when it was playhouse

Carrigafoyle castle near Ballylongford, Co. Kerry

Photo by Ita Hannon

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A Poem to raise a smile

The optimist fell ten stories
And at each window bar
He shouted to the folks inside;
"I'm doing all right so far."

(Author unknown)

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Path to the river

This path runs beside the Garden of Europe and leads to the River Feale.



This stand of trees is relatively recent, certainly within the last 20 years.



This seat will be surrounded by wild garlic in a few weeks.

The Garden of Europe is looking very bare these days.

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When is a Library not a Library?



This building at Upper Church Street, Listowel was at one time used as a classroom. But Vincent Carmody reminds us that it was also once used as a playhouse.

Here is a quotation from Eamon Keane's introduction to Vincent's Not Kerry Camera;


"I looked across at the old Library Hall last week and saw again, in my minds eye, Horatio, the old yellow poster on the billboard outside:  
For one week only- Anew McMaster and Full Supporting Company, In a Season of Plays Mostly by William Shakespeare'

As an entranced fifteen year old I had seen Mac as Oedipus (by Euripides) along with Patrick Magee and Donal Wherry playing in the same hall to a spellbound audience of locals, mountainy men and well- read countrymen. Some even sat on the window -sills, so packed was the auditorium"

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Weren't Healyracing a credit to Listowel on the telly?



I took this photo a few years ago of Cathy Healy and her beloved dad, Liam.
He would have been so so proud of her and of all his family on Nationwide.
In case you missed it, here's the link to the programme on RTE player

Nationwide from Castleisland and Listowel

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Cranes as Symbols of Recovery

Upper Church Street late February 2018



Doran's Pharmacy is getting there.


The view from Courthouse Road

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Johnny Barrett film in St. Johns, Love in an Oil Can and some old ads


St. Michael's Graveyard, Listowel



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A Love Poem


Today's love poem is about the practical side of love.

Atlas      by UA Fanthorpe
There is a kind of love called maintenance
Which stores the WD40 and knows when to use it;
Which checks the insurance, and doesn’t forget
The milkman; which remembers to plant bulbs;
Which answers letters; which knows the way
The money goes; which deals with dentists
And Road Fund Tax and meeting trains,
And postcards to the lonely; which upholds
The permanently rickety elaborate
Structures of living, which is Atlas.
And maintenance is the sensible side of love,
Which knows what time and weather are doing
To my brickwork; insulates my faulty wiring;
Laughs at my dryrotten jokes; remembers
My need for gloss and grouting; which keeps
My suspect edifice upright in air,
As Atlas did the sky.
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Johnny Barrett remembered in film

The late Johnny Barrett of Dromina in North Cork was a local legend. He had a one man band doing weddings and socials in my part of the world when I was a young girl. In later life, Johnny turned to entertaining in old folks homes and day centres. His unexpected death in 2008 left many of his loyal fans bereft.

He is the subject of a film in St. John's on Friday evening.

Fri 23rd
On The Road With Johnny Barrett
A film presentation on one of the best known entertainers in the south west.  Join Johnny on the road to Lisdoonvarna, Killarney, Charleville and Nenagh.  With Kay and George Devlin – Irish and international ballroom dancing champions, Irish dancers and musicians.
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Upper Church Street, Listowel in February 2018


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Newspaper advertisements in the 1980s






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Another library story

Today's library remembrance comes from Vincent Carmody.


The Library has special memories for me, the large upstairs room, the full length of the building, housed our babies class, when we went to school first. 

On a personal note, I often think how amazing our particular senses are to us, many times in the past, even as late as last year, I have had occasion to climb the beautiful original stairs to the upper floor, every time I have done so, the same type of smell and empty sound the building emits comes flooding back, identical to the smell and sound of nearly 70 years ago. 


Our teacher was Mrs Pidge Scanlon (Bean Uí Scanláin, Eleanor Scanlon's mother) from Scanlon's pub on Market Street. She was (to me anyway) a very kind woman, as my story will tell.

 Mrs Scanlon, over the years, had built up a very sizeable collection of toys. Among these were a lot of little tin soldiers and cowboys and Indians. These she would keep on display on the many window sills, facing on to the street. On many a day, when she would have her back turned, I would stuff as many of these as I could manage, into my pockets and take them home. When at home I would take them out and start playing with them. Invariably, my mother would see them, ask me where they came from, and when I would say the school, she would put them back in my bag the following morning, warning me to hand them back to Mrs Scanlon.  This happened on many occasions, and I would hand them up. Mrs Scanlon would never say a word, only take them and put them back on the windows. Years later, she had retired, and had filled me a drink in the pub, I reminded her of the robberies and asked, why did you never give out or beat me. She put my drink on the counter, looked at me and said, "To tell the truth, I was very fond of your father and mother." 

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Listowel Schoolboys in the 1980s, Love in a Box and Library Road in February 2018

Old Church Towel in Upper Church Street, Listowel






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Scoil Realta na Maidine Boys in the 1980s

Joan Carey found this old supplement to The Kerryman. I've photographed it in sections so you can be naming these men who are now in their thirties and forties.









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This poem by Erin Fornoff was posted last week on Twitter to mark Valentines day. I like it.



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Library Road, Listowel



Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Mid Term Break with na cailíní and Healyracing on Nationwide

Portmagee

Ita Hannon is a super photographer. This is her picture of Portmagee last week.

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Mid Term Break

My little granddaughters made a welcome trip to The Kingdom during their spring break. If you have grandchildren who come to visit, enjoy them while they are small. All too soon they become busy with their own activities and there is less time for Kerry visits.


Aisling, Cora and Róisín are growing up fast.


When they are in Nana's house they do Nana type activities like knitting and baking.


Aisling loved my old beater. She thought it was much better than a whisk for making pancakes. The above picture is of Aisling making pancakes for Shrove Tuesday and when she returned home she made her parents cupcakes for Valentine's Day. (picture below)




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Healyracing on telly



I have a cohort of Listowel people who have always welcomed me to Listowel and treated me like one of their own. They have shared stories and photographs with me and extended extraordinary kindnesses to me when I felt in need of "local" family. One of the first among these was the late Liam Healy. We shared a love of charity shops. While in search of a rare or beautiful pen, Liam would always take time to chat. He was a great man for stories, none more fascinating than his own life story, which was filled with tragedy but also with hope and success which came with making the most of talent and hard work.
There was never any mistaking that the most important people in Liam's life were his family. He was enormously proud of all of them and there was no man more delighted to have them all around him and involved in the business he grew from humble beginnings in Listowel.
I am delighted that Liam's memory is going to be kept alive with a Nationwide programme on tomorrow evening, February 21 at 7.00p.m. on RTE 1.

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A Specialist for everything


Do you remember when we had a jack of all trades mechanic who could do everything your car might need to be done to it?

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Listowel's Lizzie Lyons on TV3



Lizzie of Lizzie's Little Kitchen, Listowel, is forging a career for herself as a TV chef. Her easy relaxed style and clear instructions are endearing her to her Sunday morning TV audience. She has a great future ahead of her in the cooking business.

Monday, 19 February 2018

A Robin, Listowel's Carnegie Library Remembered and signs of Spring at last


Ode to a robin


Chris Grayson photographed this robin as it breakfasted on a meal worm.

Dick Carmody wrote his robin a poem.

The Robin……           
            …….companion for a reluctant gardener.

Reluctantly I kneel to tend my garden, derived of some pride, devoid of great pleasure
Painstakingly I toil to keep apace of mother nature, as weeds compete with work rate
Then I am suddenly less aware on my ownliness, a companion ever present at my side
The Robin makes his predictable welcome appearance to distract from my discomfort.

Red-breasted, he sits proud upon the boundary wall to watch my laboured movement
Takes pride in that he fanned the fire in Bethlehem’s stable to keep the Baby warm
And how the flames had burned his then colourless breast to testify his zealousness
Or was it when he pulled the thorn from Jesus’ brow on his way to cross on Calvary
And now carries his blood-stained feathers as if to show his favoured ranking.

At arms length he follows my every move, often playing hide and seek with me     
Standing tall or sometimes with head erect, motionless he stares me eye to eye 
I could believe him God-sent, no other bird in sight in hedgerow or on leafless tree
Or is it just that he sees me as his meal-ticket, as I gather and discard the fallen leaves
Exposing tasty morsels in the unfrozen ground to help him cope with winter’s worst.

I move along, hunched on bended knee, he follows cautiously close behind, beside 
Sometimes out of sight, I seek him out again and know I will not be disappointed
For sure enough he’s back again here, there and everywhere, not taken for granted
Now gardening is less of a chore as I’m gifted a companion, my new forever friend.





© Dick Carmody                                                                                November, 2013.



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Listowel's Library used to be housed in this elegant building. This is how it looked on Saturday February 17 2018. My friend, Helen, is crossing the road in the foreground.


Recent posts about the old library prompted memories for some blog followers.
Michael O'Sullivan sent us this clarification;

Hello Mary,
Everybody blamed the Black and Tans for burning the library in the bridge road in March 1921. But with access to the military witness statements in recent years it was revealed that the Listowel volunteers burned it as they feared the British were going to use it as a base. The great house a mile away in Tanavalla suffered the same fate in 1920,
Regards,
Michael O’ Sullivan

Mention of the library brought Cyril Kelly back to his boyhood and a memorable visit to the library with his inspirational teacher, Bryan MacMahon. Cyril shares with us this essay which was broadcast on `Sunday Miscellany;


CARNEGIE LIBRARY   by Cyril Kelly

This was the man who led us, both literally and metaphorically, from the classroom every day. This was The Master, our Pied Piper, who was forever bugling a beguiling tune, a tune sparkling with grace notes of the imagination. He’d have us on the white steed behind Niamh, her golden fleece romping in our faces. Transformed by his telling we had mutated into forty spellbound Oisíns. Knockanore was disappearing in our wake. The briny tang of the ocean was in our nostrils, bidding us to keep a westward course, forbidding us to glance back at our broken hearted father, Fionn. We were heading for the land of eternal youth, Tír na nÓg.
On the very next antidotal day, we’d be traipsing after him, into the graveyard beside the school. The narrow paths, with no beginning and no end criss-crossed the place like some zoomorphic motif. We were on a mission to see who would be the first to spot a headstone which was decorated with a Celtic design. The diligent boys leading the line were in danger of overtaking the laggards at the tail who were hissing that, in the dark recesses of the slightly open tomb, they had seen, staring back at them, a yella skull.
But, on very special days, we crossed the road to the Carnegie Library. Master McMahon told us that it was the most magical building in the whole town. Even the whole world, if it came to that. He told us that we were so lucky because Andrew Carnegie, the richest man on earth, had bought all of these books for us. We were amazed because none of us knew Andrew and we felt sure that he didn’t know any of us. As a matter of fact, not one of us knew anyone who bought books, either for us or for anyone else. Master McMahon said that the Librarian, Maisie Gleeson, was minding the books for Carnegie and, especially for the boys in 3rd class.
On our first day in the library, we all had to line up on tippy-toes at Maisie’s desk to scratch our names with nervous N-nibs on green cards. Maisie eyed us all over her spectacles, welcoming each one of us ominously by name, telling us that she knew our mothers and woe-be-tide anyone who didn’t behave themselves, particularly any boy who did not take good care of Andrew’s books.
If you have a book, boys, Master McMahon’s voice was echoing around us. If you have a book, boys, you have an exciting friend.
Drumming his fingers along a shelf, humming to himself, he flicked one of the books from its place, tumbling it into his arms. Turning towards us, he held it like a trophy in the air.
The Clue of The Twisted Candle. Nancy Drew, boys. She’s a beauty. Blonde, like Niamh Cinn Óir. Solves exciting mysteries for her father.
The Master took his time to scan our expectant faces.
Here, Mickey, proffering the book to Mikey Looby whose father was a detective. Why don’t you sit down there at that table. Read the first few chapters. See what Nancy Drew is up to this time.
Turning to the shelves again, The Master threw back over his shoulder; Sure if I know anything, Mikey, you’ll probably solve the mystery before she does. Mikey, clasping the book in his arms, stumbled to the nearest chair, thirty nine pairs of envious eyes fastened to him. Sure it’s in the blood, Mikey boy. It’s in the blood.
Selecting another book, The Master faced us once more. This time he called on Dan Driscoll.
I saw you driving your father’s pony and cart to the fair last week. Three of the lovliest pink plump bonavs you had. And what a fine looking pony Dan Driscoll has, boys.
Well, here in my hand I’m holding Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey. This man is a fantastic story teller. He’ll take you to the frontier lands of America. I promise that you’ll see and smell the rolling plains of Wyoming more clearly than if you were in the Plaza cinema down the street. You’ll ride with cowboys, you’ll hear the neighing not of ponies but of palominos. You’ll meet deadly gunmen, boys, noble Red Indians. And on the headstones in Boothill, boys, you won’t find any Celtic designs. And there, in the vastness of the library, The Master’s youthful tenor voice startled the silence; Take me back to the Black Hills/ The Black Hills of Dakota/ To the beautiful Indian country that I love. By the time he was finished he was besieged by a posse of outstretched hands and beseeching cries of SirSirSir. Every one of us was demented to get our paws on that book, any book.

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Spring 2018.......at last!



Friday, 16 February 2018

Macra in 1968, Athea and Dairymaster, a Kerry Success Story

A Rook


Photo: Graham Davies

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Macra na Feirme Dance in 1968



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The Giant's Garden, Athea




Athea always looks super neat and tidy thanks to the hard work off its Tidy Town Committee.



Wind turbines on the hills above Athea


This crucifix stands by the graveyard on the site of a old church.

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From little acorns........

This is a mega North Kerry success story.

Causeway is a small village in North Kerry, sixteen kms from Tralee. 
It is nestled in an area rich in dairy and agricultural enterprise.

The village has a population of 257 souls.

This number is boosted everyday with the influx of second level students to Causeway Comprehensive School.


(Photo from the internet)

But there is another complex which sees a huge influx of people into Causeway every day.



(photo from the internet)


Dairymaster in Causeway is the global headquarters of the acknowledged world leader in agricultural technology.

Dairymaster is 50 years old this year, having been set up by Edmond Harty, senior.


Dr. Edmond Harty, son of the founder,  and now CEO of Dairymaster has moved the company to the top of the dairy technology industry.

Edmond is Adjunct Full Professor in the School of Biosystems and Food Engineering at UCD College of Engineering and Architecture.  But it is not for this that he is famous.

Dairymaster harnesses all of today's internet of things, embedded sensors, wearable technology (for cows) and cloud computing to make a dairy farmers job easier.


These cows are wearing their Moomonitors which take millions of readings daily about everything about the cows health and fertility and feeds that information back to the farmer.







A modern milking parlour, photos from Dairymaster's website

And now the latest news is that Dairymaster has teamed up with IT Tralee and Science Foundation Ireland to research a millions of dollar project to improve farmers output while decreasing their work.
Dr. Ednond Harty is a world class entrepreneur and innovator. He is my nomination for Kerryman of the century.
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Down Memory Lane



I recently met up with Jean Kiely and her girlhood friend, Eileen Greaney.  Jean was on a birthday visit to The Kingdom.  She was kind enough to bring me some old photos for our Presentation Secondary 75 commemoration.