Monday, 21 May 2018

Industrial Schools, Castle Hotel, Ballybunion, Abbeyfeale, a Craft Fair and a Sand Art Festival in Ballybunion

Chris Grayson's robin


Numbers in Reformatory Schools 1939


Old Ballybunion

The Castle Hotel;  a photo posted on Facebook by Ballybunion Prints



After my recent trip to Abbeyfeale I received this email from a loyal blog follower;

Welcome to Abbeyfeale, Mary!
This year marks the Golden Jubilee of the new Church in Abbeyfeale. Celebrations are planned and a commemorative magazine is in preparation.
The traditional Stations of the Cross are really eye-catching and artistic. No wonder, for they were donated to the Church in recent years when the Sisters of Mercy closed their Convent across the road form the Church.
Originally, the Stations of the Cross were a gift to the Convent in 1900 from a local man who made good in the USA.

The following report in the Freeman's Journal of 1 September 1900 gives the history of the generous gift:

Mr. John M. Nolan, a wealthy citizen of Lowell, U.S.A., who emigrated from Abbeyfeale some years ago, has just presented the Sisters of the Mercy Convent, Abbeyfeale, with the Stations of the Cross for their chapel, the order being executed in Paris at an estimated cost of £250. 

The carving and tinting of the figures is most elaborately and artistically executed.

·  ·  Sat 1 Sep 1900 

·  ·  Page 4 

I wonder what  the 1900 amount of  £250  would represent in today's money?
The Stations are priceless in many ways,  and the Sisters were most generous and far-sighted 
to ensure that such a treasure will always be  part of the heritage and the daily religious faith experience in Abbeyfeale Church.
They will also be a  beautiful and  commemorative tribute to the good work of the Sisters of Mercy in Abbeyfeale.
There are but two Sisters residing in Abbeyfeale now- once there was a host of them  in the thriving Convent Community.
The times and the changes! 



I was at a craft Fair in The Seanchaí on the May weekend

Maria Leahy was minding her father's stall. He makes these hand made replica wagons at his home in Buttevant. Hours of patient hard work goes into every one. They are all made to a unique design.

Frances O'Keeffe is still making her gorgeous tea cozy creations.


Friends Reunited

Childhood friends in Listowel, Jean, Hilary and Eileen met up for a chat and a catchup.


Sand Art in Ballybunion on Saturday May 19 2018

This is a marvellous new festival. I wasn't there myself so the photos are from various Ballybunion photographers 

These are just some of the creations by sand artists from different parts of Ireland.

Friday, 18 May 2018

A Tribute to a mother, visiting artists, a Potato Party in Athea and Eugene Moriarty cycles in his 21st Rás Tailteann

Photo taken at The Gap of Dunloe  by Chris Grayson


A Strong Lady Remembered by a Loving Son

Last Sunday, May 13 2018 was Mothers' Day in the U.S. and Noel Roche wrote this tribute to his lovely Listowel mother. R.I.P. Madge Roche.

Pregnant 21 times, 3 Miscarriages, Gave birth to 18 Children, Lost 3 Children at young ages. Raised the remaining 15 [ of which I'm the youngest] and took care of my invalid father who came down with Rheumatoid Arthritis shortly after I was born.  He spent the rest of his life in a wheelchair [ I never saw him walk]. She did all of this without washing machine, dishwasher or hot water and I NEVER heard her complain Ever. We did not have a lot but she made sure we always had enough. That my friends was a Mother...That was My Mother...The Greatest Woman I ever knew. So to You Margaret [Madge] Roche I say.
Happy Mother,s Day in Heaven.


Visiting Artists in Olive Stack's Gallery

These ceramicists are best friends from Belgium and Germany. They are creating beautiful things in Olive Stack's Gallery. Below are some of their creations.They are breathtakingly beautiful.


Michael and Breda Moore with their son, Martin before Martin's talk to Listowel Historical Society on St. Michael'l's Graveyard


Foreign Experts who Developed Bord na Móna

( photo and story from Bord na Mona Living History)

Immediately after the Second World War, Bord na Móna recruited some foreign peat experts to help with the development of the industry.
Dr. John Hennig, who was appointed as records office in 1946, had left Germany because of the Nazi regime and had a remarkable grasp of foreign languages. He helped acquire the ever increasing flow of foreign peat handbooks, scientific papers and patents that became available when the war ended and indexed, translated and made them available not only to Bord na Móna staff but to Irish industry in general.
Kotri Hangelaid had been general director of the Estonian State Turf Company before the war and had been responsible for the large briquetting plant at Tootsi which was built in 1937. He carried out milled peat research for us when he was appointed as a peat technician based in the Experimental Station in Newbridge. In 1951 he reported on the suitability of Oweninny, Co. Mayo for milled peat production. He also translated Russian publications.
Konrad Petersen worked in the peat moss industry in Latvia before the war, after the war ended he ended up as a refugee in Sweden where he met Bord na Móna Managing Director, Todd Andrews. Andrews offered him a job which he accepted. On arrival in Ireland Petersen was appointed manager of the Kilberry moss peat factory in Kildare where he spent the rest of his working life. Peterson is second from left in the photo.
These are just some of the foreign workers who contributed to the development of Bord na Móna.


Potato Party in Athea 100 years ago

You've heard of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. If the caption on this photo is true it would appear that Athea has a similar society 100 years ago


Beidh an Rás ag teacht go Lios Tuathail

Photo; John Kelliher

This is Eugene Moriarty with his family at the An Post Race finish in Market Street in 2013.

Eugene is still cycling and on Tuesday next he will ride into town with the Rás Tailteann.
Eugene will be riding in this race for his 21st time. This is a remarkable achievement in
 a gruelling sport.

Rás Tailtean is due in Listowel in the afternoon of Tuesday May 22 2018. This is stage 3 of the 8 day race. When they arrive in town the cyclists will have been cycling all day from their early morning start in Tipperary.

They will overnight in town and they will set out again at 8.00a.m. on Wednesday.

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Tralee path, The Lartigue, Industrial Schools and another old one

Cherry blossom on a path by the library in Tralee


The Butler Centre

This beautiful building in the corner of The Square was once a tannery. Then it was a bank. Now it is in a far more fragrant recreation as a language school and beautiful venue for meetings, weddings etc.

I am researching this and other buildings in Listowel Town Square for my gig at this year's

 Listowel Writers' Week

Why don't you check out the full programme at the link above?


Lartigue at 130

I popped in to the lovely Lartigue museum as they were celebrating 130 years since the service first ran. Read all about it here 

The good people at the Lartigue Museum have amassed their own National Treasures and they are on display in the museum. If you love to take a trip back in time or if you have visitors to entertain, be sure to visit this summer.

Volunteers and visitors.

 John and Mary and their friends from Listowel Writing Group gave readings of their work on the day. They are with Judy and Jimmy in my photo.

As I headed back to town I met some reenactors. They are not real soldiers but when they offered to take a selfie with me I didn't feel I could refuse.


Halo has Moved

Elaine has moved to a bigger premises on Upper William Street and she has expanded her range. She also now serves  coffee to take away or drink in the store or in the sun.

When I called in she was serving one of her faithful customers, Ruth O'Quigley


Reasons for Commital to Industrial School in 1939


Guerin's Londis
Photo from the John Hannon Archive

Garvey's Super Valu is here now.