Friday, 16 March 2018

Pres Listowel 75 and Listowel schedule for St. Patrick's Day 2018

Will it Snow on St. Patrick's Day?

Photo: Elizabeth Brosnan

The weathermen tell us that it may not snow but it will be very very cold. No change there then!


A Modern Take on an Old Story

Thanks Neil Brosnan for sharing this


Down Memory Lane

If you have photos or memories that you would be like to contribute to this book please drop them into the school. The book will only be as good as you, our friends and past pupils make it.

Check out our Facebook page,  PresListowel 75


Dont Forget

Mass from St. Mary's broadcast live on RTE1 at 11.00, followed by parade and the conclusion of Rith with a message from Uachtarán na hEireann read by Micheál O Muircheartaigh, followed by a ceilí in The Seanchaí...all on March 17 2018

News next week from Pittsburg where a Listowel born lady will be grand marshall. Watch this space!

Thursday, 15 March 2018

St. Patrick's Day 2018 in Detroit, a local treasure and Volunteers needed

Listowel Parish Mass on RTE 1 on St. Patrick's Day

Note the time change from 11.30 to 11.00


A Treasure from The Kerry Museum 

This brooch was found in Tullahennel near Ballylongford, Co.Kerry by Mrs Sheila Edgeworth whilst clearing out her ashes from the range at her home. It had been unwittingly thrown into the fire the night before concealed in a sod of turf. It miraclously surived. c.600AD


Detroit Parade 2018

I had a relative on the ground in Detroit last Sunday, March 11 2018, when they were celebrating St. Patrick and Irishness. Here in pictures is his report;

I googled him and here is what I learned.

Blessed Solanus Casey (November 25, 1870 – July 31, 1957) – born Bernard Francis Casey[1] – was an American Roman Catholic priest and a professed member of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin.[2][3] He was known during his lifetime as a wonderworker, for his great faith, and for his abilities as a spiritual counselor - but especially, for his great attention to the sick, for whom he celebrated special Masses. The friar was much sought-after and came to be revered in Detroit where he resided. He was also a noted lover of the violin, a trait he shared with his eponym, Saint Francis Solanus.[4][5]
His cause for beatification commenced over a decade after his death, and he received the title of Venerable in mid-1995. As a miraculous healing attributed to him was approved by Pope Francis in mid-2017, he was beatified in Detroit at Ford Field on November 18, 2017.[    Wikipedia

There is a Mayo flag everywhere.


A Great Way to Get to Know People and to Help your community


+ R.I.P. Stephen Hawking....One of the brightest stars in the Cosmos +

Picture shared on the internet by Melbourne artist Mitchell Toy

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Memories of snow, of Lixnaw children and a Listowel couple

Dandy Lodge March 4 2018


The Snow in 1947

Printed in The Irish Times March 1 2018


Remembering the MacSweeneys

Seeing Billy MacSweeney's old photo of his mother with her parents, Vincent Carmody was taken back to his days as an altar boy in the convent chapel in the 1950s. There was a tradition of altar serving in Vincent's family. His father and his brothers had served mass and now Vincent and his brothers did the same.

Vincent remembers Ned Gleeson and as wife as always arriving first into the convent chapel. They always occupied a seat near the top right hand side.

It was part of Vincent's duties to hold the paten at communion time. Given his later interest in local history, Vincent marvels that he was so close at the altar rails to a man who played a very momentous part in Listowel's history. Ned Gleeson from the window of The Listowel Arms gave the address of welcome to Charles Steward Parnell when the great man came to town in 1891.


Lixnaw Convent School 1914


Yarn bombing in  The Square for International Women's Day 2018

Photos by Elizabeth Brosnan

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

ballads, Black and Tans and Browne's Bookmakers changes hands

The very modern shopfront of Mobi4U in Main Street


Vincent Carmody remembers Listowel Ballads and Balladmakers

(This is the final Instalment)

While I was doing research for the book Listowel and the G.A.A. in the early 1980’s, I asked Greenville native and well-known balladeer Sean McCarthy to write a piece, he did so, and included in it wrote a lovely poem of younger days, when he recalled playing a game with a homemade ball of cloth and string.

The Ragged Ball,
Yes, I remember the lazy days, and the love light in your eye,
The scent of heather on the breeze that graced the summer sky,
The dusty lane, with twisted names, soft twilight stealing through,
Leaping tall, for the ragged ball, in a meadow kissed by dew.

The smell of pandy on the wind, as the night came closing down,
A maple tree, where birds sang free, bedecked in crimson gown,
The ragged ball, by the turf shed wall, it’s playing life near done,
With cloth and string, it will rise again, to soar in the morning sun.

Yes, I remember the drowsy eves, when youth was on the wing,
A thrush at play in the mown hay, a church bell’s lonely ring,
The haughty pose, of a wild red rose, that burst into autumn flame,
And the hillside green, where we picked the team to play the football game.

In his piece for the book, Sean recalled memories of an uncle, his mother’s brother, James (Salmon) Roche. Salmon, by which he was known, was fondly remembered for his witty sayings and was well regarded as a local balladeer, unfortunately with the passage of time most of which have lost. The following are some of Sean’s memories of his uncle.

My father’s (Ned McCarthy) livestock, consisting of one hungry goat, didn’t escape the Salmon’s caustic pen either:

Arise up Ned McCarthy and sell that hungry goat,
Then buy yourself a fancy cap and a yellow swagger coat;
Brave Sandes Bog is on the march from Sweeney’s to Gurtreen,
To cheer the men from field and glen, the gallant Greenville team.

Joe Stack’s cow and his lazy hens figured in the Salmon’s odes too, to the delight of the ramblers.

Come on Joe Stack, get off your back, the boys are set to play,
Forget about your pregnant cow and your hen that will not lay,
The Greenville team are on the green, so strap the ass and car,
And we’ll drink a toast to victory in the snug of Scanlon’s bar.

Then there was his ode to Tadeen (Finucane) who hated referees and regaled them from the sidelines.

Tade Finucane, he roared out, “I will shoot the referee,
The Boro goalie fouled poor Moss, sure ‘twas plain to see,
Come on my Greenville Grenadiers and play it nice and cool,
And kick their arse on this sacred grass and to hell with Queensbury rules.

Salmon’s first verse of his 1937 tribute to Boro and An Gleann final reads.

As I sit and write this poem, my thoughts they steal away,
To a night in June in ’37 for an hour I let them stray,
An hour of thrills, an hour of spills, a battle for the crown,
The vanquished were the Boro and the victors were the Gleann.

There were others too that put pen to paper, much of which has been lost. The work of two more, Sean Ashe and Patrick O Connor from Kilsynan, thankfully, were at the time either published in local newspapers or on Ballad sheets.
A Convent Street man, Sean Ashe, was a local reporter for the then, Kerry Champion newspaper, Sean loved his native street, An Gleann, and has left some lovely pieces written in memory of the street and the footballers who represented the street in the local town league, his street memory, of 12 verses was called, ‘The place we call, The Gleann’, here we recall the first two,

I now retrace the path of years
And see a picture bright.
No faltering step or memory lapse
Can dim that pleasing sight.
No wind of change can disarrange
The thoughts I first penned down
Of happy days and boyhood ways
In the place we call ‘The Gleann’

Ah! There’s the lengthy line of homes
Along the riverside
Across the roadway many more
Line up with equal pride
The white washed wall of one and all
And the thatch of light-hued brown
Bring picturesqueness to the scene
In the place we call ‘The Gleann’

Two of Ashe’s football ballads would be regarded as classics. The first of 8 verses, his recall of the 1935 Town League final, between Boro Rovers and The Gleann, is sung to the air of “She lives beside the Anner”

The world and his wife were there to see the contest played
The ploughman left his horses and the tradesman left his trade
Excitement spread, like lightning flash through every house in town
The night the Boro’ Rovers met in combat with The Gleann.

The father and the mother, yes, the husband wife and child
Were there in great profusion and went mad careering wild
Said the young wife to her husband “Sure I’ll pawn my shawl and gown”
And I’ll bet my last brown penny on the fortunes of The Gleann.

 In 1953, again between Boro Rovers and The Gleann, Ashe had a beautiful 5 verse tribute, the first two verses went.

T’was the thirteenth of August and the year was fifty-three
And the bustle and excitement filled expectant hearts with glee
So, we all stepped off together to the field above the town
To see those faultless finalists, Boro’ Rovers and The Gleann

The game began at nick of time, the ref was Jackie Lyne
The whistle held in master hands was an inspiring sign
It was a hectic struggle and to history ‘twill go down
An eventful, epic final twixt the Boro and the Gleann.

Patrick O Connor from Kilsynan who wrote under the pseudonym of ‘PC’ was a regular contributor of poems/songs/ballads to several local papers in the 1930s. He later contributed material to the Meath Chronicle when he was domiciled in that part of the country.
By profession he was employed as a groom at various stables. He worked in the employ of the world-famous horse trainer Vincent O Brien when he had stables in Collinstown. I included his piece (8 verses) Camogie at Listowel, 1934 in ‘Listowel and the G.A.A.’, the following verse, the first of eight I reproduce here.
Camogie at Listowel (1934)
Listowel v Tralee
Listowel’s Brilliant Victory.

In glorious sheen, the white and green, the colours we hold dear,
Shone brightly through a game of skills, the greatest of the year,
For victory in the balance hung, for fifty minutes strong,
But then Listowel, from goal to goal, to victory swept along,
And as I heard their camans clash, and watched them chase the ball,
Old scenes, old fights, came screaming back, what games I could recall,
My heart was beating loud and fast, my thoughts were gone amok,
I’m normal now, so I’ll review the winners’ dash and pluck.   


The Bad Old Days

This photo from Denis Quille shows the Black and Tans arriving into town. They are motoring down Church St.


End of an Era on William Street

Photo and caption from Healyracing

"Today marks the end of an era for our great friends, The Browne Family with their selling of "Browne Bookmakers Shop" to Boylesports. Pictured outside shop on last day of trading are Mary & Eric with son Berkie and his children Daithi & Darragh. Fair play to ye lads...."


Generosity of the Choctaw Nation acknowledged

This is your blogger at the Choctaw memorial in Midleton. On his St. Patrick's Day visit to the U.S. our taoiseach visited the Choctaw nation in person to say thanks for all their help during Irelands darkest hour, The Great Famine of 1845 to 1852.

Monday, 12 March 2018

The Gallant Greenville team, The Boro team of 1944and Ballybunion

Eason, Church Street

This used to be Listowel Printing Works and before that was Kearney's


Sportsfile Picture captures the joy of Ireland's Win

Keith Earls celebrates with his daughters after Ireland's great win on Saturday.


This is the Boro team who played in the Town League in 1944. Denis Quille sent us the photo.


Vincent Carmody's essay on Listowel's Sporting Ballads and Ballad Makers 

Continuing from where I left off last week.....

Bryan McMahon is widely remembered, locally and nationally, for the writing of very many well-known ballads, of sporting and of a local nationalistic fervour. Among them, The Hounds of Glenoe (his recall of younger days hunting with fellow townsman, Berkie Brown and others they spent days hunting in the hills behind Banemore) A verse is worth recalling,

See Reynard is golden as there he goes roving,
He twists and he turns, he’s the bracken’s old hue,
He pauses to sniff the mad winds of the evening,
Then pointing his cloosheens he fades from the view,
You’ll pay for your crimes now, my tawny marauder’
The hens and the chickens, the turkeys you owe,
For here they come roaring with music full-throated,
North Kerry’s avengers, the hounds of Glenoe.
‘Victory song for Old Kentucky Minstrel’ This was to honour the feat of the greyhound of that name, owned by Ballybunion Bookmaker and Publican, Jim Clarke, winning the famed Waterloo Cup.  It begins;

The Ballybunion Sandhills now, with bonfires are all aflame,
On the green fields of Tipperary, sure, they shout a greyhound’s name,
The coursers of Kilkenny brave, they raise a loud ‘halloo’,
Since Old Kentucky Minstrel won the English Waterloo.

Local ballads, The Town of Listowel, My Silver River Feale, The Valley of Knockanure, The Brow of Piper Hill (this was written in his later years, when he used drive with his wife Kitty out to Smearla Bridge, parking his car, before walking up to the top of Pipers Hill)
In one verse he recalled,

In the evening late, from McCarthy’s gate
I climb to Dillon’s lawn
Below me then in that lovely glen
A picture fair is drawn
O’er the River Feale from Purt to Beale
And home by the ruined mill
A rainbow see, arching fair and free
To engarland Pipers Hill.

Bryan also had a great love of hurling, and among his ballads he wrote two recalling the deeds of famed Tommy Daly of Clare and Cork’s peerless Christy Ring. On the football front he wrote a memory of the 1953 All Ireland Football Final, between Armagh and Kerry, called, ‘Saffron and Green and Gold’.

Garry McMahon inherited his father’s gift of writing ballads and had left a legacy of these before his untimely death.

Even though John B. is remembered locally, nationally and internationally through all his great works, his only football remembrance is one, where he recalls the fete of the Greenville team winning the 1956 Listowel Troy Cup (this was the secondary football competition run by the Listowel football club, known locally as Listowel’s National League in deference to the Town League, which would have been classed as The All Ireland)  John B. would have traditionally played with Church Street- The Ashes,  however when he bought the pub in William Street, he threw his lot and considerable skill with the Greenville team, because, as he often said, the team members were better customers and porter drinkers than the townies.)  

The Gallant Greenville Team, 1956

Come all you true born Irishmen, from here to Healy’s gate
And I’ll sing for you a verse or two as I my tale relate
You may speak about Cuchulann bold or the mighty men from Sneem
But they wouldn’t hold a candle to that gallant Greenville team.

Ha-Ha! said Billeen Sweeney “sure I’ll tackle up my ass
And I’ll put on my new brown suit that I wear going to mass
I’ll hit the road for Listowel town by the morning’s airy beam
And I’ll bring home Berkie’s mutton for that gallant Greenville team”

The dry ball won’t suit ‘em said the pundits from the town
But they pulverised the Ashes and they mesmerised the Gleann
Next came the famous Boro, their fortunes to redeem
But they shrivelled up like autumn leaves before the Greenville team.

“T’was the white trout that done the trick” John L. was heard to say
“We ate ‘em morning, noon and night in the run up to the fray
They hardened up the muscles and they built up the steam
Until no power on earth could beat that gallant Greenville team”


Deirdre Lyons in a cave in Ballybunion


A Poem

Some people shared this on the internet for Mothers' Day, March 11 2018 but it's true for everyday.


by adrian Mitchell
My Mother and Father died some years ago
I loved them very much.
When they died my love for them
Did not vanish or fade away.
It stayed just about the same,
Only a sadder colour.
And I can feel their love for me,
Same as it ever was.

Nowadays, in good times or bad,
I sometimes ask my Mother and Father
To walk beside me or to sit with me
So we can talk together
Or be silent.

They always come to me.
I talk to them and listen to them
And think I hear them talk to me.
It’s very simple –
Nothing to do with spiritualism
Or religion or mumbo jumbo.

It is imaginary.
It is real.
It is love.