Friday, 30 March 2012

Friday Miscellany:Sunshine and 1971 girls

Yesterday March 29 2012 was a balmy summer day in Listowel. The temperatures reached an incredible 20 degrees.

As we walked in the beautiful new pathway around the park we met these two running shirtless.

Two  convent girls were clearing up litter.

Flowers were blooming in the crevices in the stone walls.

The level of water in the river was even lower than on Saturday.

Daisies in March!


Next: A trip down memory lane for some local ladies.

Sr. Patricia's class in Listowel girls primary school 1971

Front: Mary O’Flaherty, Siobhán O’Shea, Kay Sayers, Bridget O’Brien, Kathleen Curtin, Geraldine Kenny, Breda Sugrue R.I.P. Deirdre Sullivan

Middle: Theresa Conway, Kathleen Curtin, Margaret Doyle, Isobel O’Dowd, Joan Loughnane, Anne Costello, Margaret Canavan, Bernadette Costello

Back: Marie Scanlon, Margo Kennedy, Cora Stack, Marie O’Sullivan, Marie Stack, Veronica Corridan, Eileen Kennelly and Bernadette Walsh

Thank you very much to all who helped with the naming the girls.


For people who love everything and anything to do with The Titanic, Joanne Dillon found this comprehensive website.


Finally not such good news from the U.K.

Kerry Foods plant in Durham faces closure with 350 job losses

A food firm is planning to close a factory in Durham with the loss of up to 350 jobs.

Irish-based Kerry Foods said competition from rival manufacturers had forced it to consider transferring work to other UK plants.

The company is known for its Mattessons, Richmond and Wall's brands of sausages.
A spokesman for the union Usdaw said staff had been left "stunned" by the "absolutely disastrous" news.
In a statement the company said formal, 90-day consultation had started with the workforce, adding that the cut meat sector had become "highly competitive" in the past year.
It went on: "While we have made significant adjustments to our cost base and have sought to win new business, to date we have not identified a plan or a strategy to restore profitability to a sustainable level.
'Shocked and angry"
"Unless an alternative plan can be identified, we may have no option but to consider the closure of the Durham factory and transfer of production to other Kerry sites."
Joanne Thomas, Usdaw's North East divisional officer, said: "This is absolutely disastrous news for everyone who works at Kerry Foods, for their families and for the whole community. Any closure could destroy the incomes of entire families.
"There has been no prior warning that closure was being considered, or even a suggestion that the future of the site could be in doubt, so our members are understandably extremely shocked, angry and distressed.
"We will examine the company's business case for the proposed closure in detail but our overriding objective will be to keep the site open and to save jobs."
The factory is one of Durham's largest private sector employers.
Last year Kerry Group reported an increase in annual pre-tax profits of almost 11% at 449m euros (£376m), up from 405m euros the previous year.


P.S. Random bit of silly news

San Marino has had to amend its entry to the Eurovision Song Contest after it was deemed to violate a trademark. The song which was originally called ‘Facebook Uh, Oh, Oh (A Satirical Song)’ is now called ‘The Social Network Song (OH OH – Uh – OH OH)’.


PPS.  The is not a Kerry joke from today's Irish Independent !

NDEPENDENT TD Michael Healy-Rae says too much money is being spent on road signs -- because local people know exactly where they're going.
The Kerry South TD -- who has been pictured canvassing on the back of a donkey -- asked Transport Minister Leo Varadkar why the National Roads Authority (NRA) "is spending money on unnecessary road signs at present".
"Persons living on local roads, pulling out on to national primary routes, are now seeing signs directing them to their nearest town or village, which they are perfectly capable of finding without having the NRA putting up signs to direct them as to where they are to go," Mr Healy-Rae said.
Mr Varadkar pointed out that road signs are generally not for locals, who know where they are going.
"Rather they exist to serve visitors to an area, who would not have such knowledge," Mr Varadkar said.
"In particular, in areas such as Kerry they are an important aid to tourists, and adequate and appropriate signposting allows them to travel independently without the stress of getting lost."
Mr Healy-Rae tabled a Dail question on the issue, which perplexed officials in Mr Varadkar's department. And the minister's reply illustrated this.
"Obviously signage is for people travelling to and through a region," Sean O'Neill of the NRA said.
"We're glad to know locals know where they're going -- and we'd assume they do -- but signs are for people who are going to and passing through the area."
In 2006, the NRA started work on upgrading all signs on the entire 5,500km of national roads around the country.
Mr O'Neill last night said the work on the new signs was ongoing, and would be complete by late 2013 or early 2014.
The NRA has spent €35m on the work to date, and it is expected to cost a total of €40m by completion.
Mr Healy-Rae last night insisted he was talking about roads with only three or four homes on it, which may be cul-de-sacs only local people would use and would not attract tourists.
"You'd have to know where I'm talking about to know that no road signs are needed," he added last night.
- Fiach Kelly Political Correspondent

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Babe Jo and Corkmen

The lady on the left is Babe Jo Wilmot who was a well known character in Listowel in 1950s onwards. Here she is in Ballybunion with 2 friends.

Here she is again much later when she had become Babe Jo Collins. She is pictured during Writrers' Week, which was founded by her more famous brother, Seamus Wilmot, registrar of  UCC. With her are Eamon Keane and Frank Lewis.


For a short time in the 1980's when Cork was on the crest of a wave, Corkmen exiled in Kerry at the time decided to form a Kerry Corkmen's Association.  It looks like Cork had won a lot of the GAA silverware that year so quiz buffs will be able to date it. The people I know in the photo are Gabriel McCarthy, Martin McCarthy, Fr. Jack Fitzgerald, Paddy Guiney and Eddie Moylan. Some of the other faces look familiar but no name will come to me. Sorry lads!

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Lartigue then and now

This is a picture of a steam train on the streets of Cork in 1962.

Listowel had its very own steam train, pictured below. Click on the link below and read all about the restoration project of this unique mode of transport.



I took a trip on  the modern Lartigue monorail recently.

On the left is the restored engine and on the right the museum and visitor centre.

The locomotive is kept in pristine condition by a committee of hard working volunteers.

No automated points here. Every job has to be done manually. I was fascinated to watch these local men happily do the manual work done by their Listowel fathers before them.


Green shoots of recovery?  Maybe.

Coco Kids opening shortly.

 Random Irish news;

Elephant on the loose in Blackpool, Cork

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

My weekend

Last weekend Listowel was bathed in sunshine and temperatures reached 20 degrees. I had my son and his family visiting.

On Saturday a crowd gathered outside Jimmy Deenihan's office to protest about a plethora of issues, e.g. closure of rural schools, bed closures, the bogs, household charges etc.etc.


I headed off to the park and later for a walk along the riverbank with my visitors.

I have rarely seen the water level in The Feale so low.

As we walked we spotted this lovely heron under the bridge. We met John Pierse who told us that, when he was a child, he heard local people call a crane a Johnny McRory. I hope I have the name right. I wonder if this was just a Listowel thing or do other places have this name for this elegant bird.

There are 2 new ducks in the river. Here you can see one of the old pair keeping a close eye on the newcomers.


Remember yesterday's picture of the chinese beach. What a contrast to my picture of Ballybunion on Sunday morning.

My beloved boyeens loved having the place practically to themselves. They built a big castle complete with a moat. Oh to be 6 again!


Very poignant images from the funeral of Jim Stynes, literally and figuratively a giant in Australian. 

Monday, 26 March 2012

Crowds and posters

Yesterday was the first day of summertime and if yesterday's weather is a portent of what's to come this summer, we are in for a scorcher.
I had visitors for the weekend and we were able to go to the beach and even go in the water for the first time this year. More of that tomorrow. Today I have some crowd scenes for you.

Closing of the Eucharistic Congress in Dublin in 1932

Michael Collins addressing a rally of his supporters in Cork.

A typical day at the beach in China

Tom Doodle addressing the crowd in Listowel's Main Street in 1951.


Some posters I snapped in town this week

I don't agree with this piece of civil disobedience but the movement is certainly very visible.

This sounds interesting if you are a sports fan.

Currently on stage in St. John's


Something to set you thinking.

A new website is being launched  to urge people to take a 'staycation' rather than going abroad.

While acknowledging that many people cannot afford to take a holiday at all , the site aims to encourage those who can, to holiday in Ireland. states that if one in four people who took a holiday abroad in 2009 stayed at home instead, €235m would have been generated here. 


Friday, 23 March 2012

Kelliher photo; Tea Dance and Writers' Week 1975

Remember this photo!

Several people recognized Moss Kelliher. I got the following email from Sharon Monahan

I recognize this man as Moss Kelliher he is Moss Kelliher Snr son ( lofty's Dad ) , This is my Uncle and Grandfather both called Moss !!
Keep up the good work 
Sharon Kelliher Monahan

Another Kelliher source tells us the trip to Killarney was an outing taken while the boys were at home from England where they were working.


The following photos were shared by Kay O'Leary. They were taken in The Listowel Arms on St. Patrick's Day where young and old had a ball at the NKRO tea dance.


These are photos from John Pierse of Writers' Week 1975

Have fun identifying people here.


Would anyone be able to help with this email query from Australia?

My name is Robert ( Bob ) Pierse and I'm Australian.
My Great Grandfather John Pierse arrived in Australia from Ireland about 1851/52
following his sister Winifred who came as a famine orphan in 1850.
A Doctor William Pierse also came to Australia and we think is their brother.
Their parents were David Pierse and Ellen Sullivan. Ellen was still alive in Listowel when they left.
I'm hoping you can give us some information on this side of the Pierse family.
Kind Regards,
Bob Pierse

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Some old cars; Confirmation Day in town

A feature of this year's Listowel parade was a number of old ( I'm reluctant to say "vintage" since they did  not seem that old to me) cars.

Here are a selection for car lovers


Could we have done with this fellow? He was photographed in 1963 in Dublin.


The above chart is really interesting. It shows the trends in Irish emigration this century.


Yesterday the bishop was in town. The confirmandi made a great job of decorating the church.

I was touched by the simplicity of the children's reasons for choosing their confirmation names.

The posters and artwork were the best I have ever seen in the church. Well done all!