Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Our time has come

Do you all recognise this timepiece? It hangs outside Mai Fitz's on William Street. It should not be today's picture because I should have thought of taking a photo at our meeting on Monday night. I was so excited by the sight of the huge attendance that I forgot to fish out the camera and record the occasion. Apologies. Kerry's Eye did take a photo or two so I'll see if they will share.

The meeting was a great success.The over capacity crowd was very enthusiastic and ready for the challenge of preserving our history.
I'll outline the format of the night for those who couldn't make it. Ger Greaney, our hard working chairman, introduced the project and gave a bit of the background to its beginnings. Cara Trant then gave a presentation on the pilot project in Loughrea. She showed us all that it could be done. We can learn from any mistakes our Galway pioneers made and we can build on the model they have outlined for the work.

 Ger was next up. He had diligently traced the history of one lesser known but mildly famous Listowel family. He was greatly helped in this research by all the hard work that had been done and is now shared on line by Robert Corridan. This family is the Stack family, formerly of 53 Church St. Michael Stack is a state senator for Philadelphia but his family originated in Listowel, Co. Kerry. Seven of the children from this family alone emigrated to the U.S. and have all done well in their adopted homes. Ger traced this family using on line records and he painted a fantastic picture for us of what could be done. Of course it will not be so easy to trace people less in the public eye.

It never ceases to fascinate me what can be found online. Only yesterday I found a marriage record for my great grandfather from 1839. This record had been kindly uploaded by another member of my extended family who was researching through church records for another ancestor.

Back to Monday night. With everyone fired with enthusiasm for looking back, we came to the highlight of the night, Vincent Carmody's slide show of pictures of North Kerry. Vincent presented to us a varied and interesting insight into North Kerry in the past. We saw a beached plane on Beale strand and what looked like half of North Kerry under its wing. We saw a photo of a fleet of naval warships sailing up the Shannon estuary. This sparked one of the audience to recount his mother's memories of the same sailors on a paper chase training exercise. He told us that the sailors had stayed in Tarbert for 6 months and had assimilated well into the local community. I heard on the radio yesterday that our own Irish soldiers are likewise bonding with the people of Tibnin today. We marvelled at progress as we saw a picture of the first car to be registered in Limerick as well as one of Mrs. Raymond in full regalia heading to town in her ass and cart. Many people in the audience recognised friends and relations, and in one or two cases themselves, in the photos.

A lively question and answer session ensued. Everyone agreed that it was a very enjoyable night. The next question is, Where to from here? All suggestions will be brought to the attention of the committee.

BTW I have not forgotten the bandsroom. Vincent is on it and will give me something to post on it shortly.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Will this Seanchaí have a new story to tell?

This is where the public meeting of North Kerrry Reaching Out will take place on tomorrow evening at 8.00 p.m. If the word on the street is anything to go by we should have a good attendance. There is a huge interest locally in researching the family tree.
Hopefully we will attract some very talented people and in no time at all we will have our website up and running. Then we can get down to the task of getting the news and the folklore of North Kerry on line. Ideally every village should have its own website.  Moyvane is the shining example of best practice in this regard.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Buddy, can you spare me a dime?

Listowel has its own optional toll booth. It's usually manned by a local charity. Yesterday was the turn of Exist@ance Youth café. Sorry, I could not find a link to the youth café. Located in Upper William Street,  the café looks after our young people and provides a centre for them to socialise in. It also organises many useful trips and projects.
The collectors stand on the traffic island in The Small Square and from there collect from passing motorists and pedestrians. I hope the young people did very well and made enough to keep them going for another while.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Fixed it

I think that I have fixed my bug so all of you who told me that you had written nice comments can now do so again please.

I include a picture of Scoil Realt na Maidine, Listowel for the delight of of the followers who are past pupils of this establishment. Isn't it looking well?

Nightime in Listowel

My blog is going viral! I thought I had better give you all something else to ponder on before you lose interest in it. This photo is The Listowel Arms as it looks with the floodlights on in August 2011. Isn't it beautiful? the Arms has recently got a facelift, a new colour and new signage. We were all so used to the black and white facade that it took a while to adjust. Now it looks elegant and stately in its little niche in The Square.

You can read a little about the history of  the hotel and follow a link to its own website.

BTW can any of you tell me why some people's comments are not appearing on the site?
A big thank you to everyone who commented and who tried to comment but failed. You are all welcome here.
I welcome any comments at

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Listowel Connection

This is the scene today in Listowel. Minister for Heritage, Tourism and The Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan officially launched an exhibition of photographs and memorabilia related to the work of Listowel's famous stucco artist, Pat McAuliffe. This is appropriate for my first post on this blog because it marries the old and the new.
What I intend to do with this blog is to post news from Listowel along with some of my photos and every now and again to post some old stories, anecdotes and anything else I find interesting.

For whom am I blogging?
Mainly the Listowel diaspora but really for anyone with an interest in Listowel.

While on the subject of the diaspora I have to here plug our new community organisation, North Kerry Reaching Out. This is a local history, genealogy and tourism venture. We hope to reach out to people everywhere with any link to North Kerry. We will help people as best we can to research their family tree. We hope to set up a website with lots of local news and lore and then.... we hope to organise A Week of Welcomes when some of our new friends would come to North Kerry and we would lay on a programme of entertainment for them.