Friday, 30 May 2014

Loomed bracelets and fairies in Athea

On this day

Amelia Erhart is helped from her plane in Derry on May 31 1932 (Old Ireland Photographs)


Rainbow Looming

I'm reliably informed that this is a global phenomenon. Everywhere across the western world children and teenagers are making these bracelets from plastic bands. All the cool kids in Ireland, the US, Europe and Australia are going around with their arms adorned with these plastic lovelies. And I'm a cool kid too thanks to my grandchildren.

Sean on his loom. Beside him is his huge supply of bands.

Making the bracelet is a skill easily acquired and very satisfying.

Killian does not bother with a loom. He achieves the same result using only his fingers.

Making a bracelet using the finger method

Busy Boys

Bracelet man.


Boys taking a well earned rest in Fitzgerald's Park

Otter sculpture


An Slua Sí

Recently my grandchildren have brought me to a new understanding of the fair folk and their habits. My daughter's house is strewn with pixie dust and one never knows when one might encounter a fairy. Fairies are careful to avoid human contact because if a human sees them, they lose some of their fairy power. I have this on good authority. I have never seen a fairy but I might do on Monday next because I will go to Athea where the good people of the Tidy Town committee are set to welcome 10 fairies to town. They have set up a welcoming housing estate for the fairies and the banners are out.

Watch out for pictures here and some more fairy related lore over the next few days.


Writers' Week pics next week

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Writers' Week, Dan Keane and Maureen Beasley and a return to the sky garden

Three of Listowel's great unsung heroes of The Arts; Jet Stack R.I.P., Maureen BeasleyR.I.P. and Jimmy Hickey. These three have played their parts in preserving folk traditions in music, verse and dance and have all done North Kerry and its literary heritage a great service.

Another of the great stalwarts of the North Kerry literary tradition is Dan Keane. He has left us a legacy of poems, ballads and stories and some great memories.

This poem by Dan is a tribute to his friend, Jet Stack:

Mr. Garrett Stack 

If you are out to learn dancing
Take a tip from me,
Go through Listowel and Greenville
Until you reach Scartlea,

Go all the way to Scartlea Cross
Then count two houses back,
There you will find the maestro
That’s Mr. Garrett Stack.

That is his Baptismal title
But he’s never used it yet,
He is no way sanctimonious
He is always known as “Jet”,

He will make you very welcome
With tea and home cooked ham,
And if he is scarce in sugar,
He will give you plenty jam.

He will quickly come to dancing,
It will only take a while,
To show you reels and figures,
In every kind of style,

He will show you steps and polkas,
Like jewels from days of yore,
And he will even demonstrate
He is tasty on the floor.

Now if you ever doubt me
I have witnesses to prove,
That even first class dancers,
He can tutor and improve,

He is not the slightest selfish,
His glory’s greatest crown,
Is his patriotic willingness,
To hand his dancing down.

He is also a musician
And in case you might not know it,
He is good at prose and poetry
A writer and a poet.

He is witty and good humoured,
And a joke he's good to crack,
So don’t forget three cheers for “Jet”,
That’s Mr. Garrett Stack.

By Dan Keane

I think the lines "His glory's greatest crown is his patriotic willingness to hand his dancing down." sum up what Writers' Week is all about….handing on the torch to the next generation of writers. Who knows? a future John B. or Bryan might be in our midst here on the streets of Listowel this week.


Another old photo from Writers' Week of times gone by


Mardyke Garden

Do you remember that I went to Fitzgerald's Park last week to view the Diarmuid Gavin sky garden? This garden cost over a million euros. Well, it took just one week for the children of Cork to wreck it.

Children taking turns climbing on the giant stainless steel spheres.

The plants in this section never stood a chance.

These paths through the garden were lined with blue stepping stones last week.

Yet again, the café couldn't cope with demand.

The lovely rose beds of old are gone. The colorful roses are replaced by dull drab green plants.

Dead and damaged plants abound.

Dotted throughout the park are lovely gems, like this Oisín Kelly dancer.

In defense of Cork's children let me say that there was no sign to say that this garden was to be looked at and admired, not treated like a playground. Those big silver sphere's are far too tempting and they do look like the sort of thing you might see in a playground. I don't know if the garden can be saved and replanted.  As it stands, it's a disaster.


D Day is near…. Saturday May 31 2014

Eileen Moylan of Claddagh will launch her beautiful creation in Craftshop na Méar at 7.00 p.m.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Ballybunion Church and M.S. Busking Day 2014

Nightime in Ballybunion photographed by fisherman, Mike Enright….Perfect!


Ballybunion Church  Nearly there….


Mural, mural on the wall…..

Olive Stack's mural always fascinates me as I sit in the waiting area in Bank of Ireland The Square.


Annual M.S. Busking Day Friday May 27 2014

Laura collecting outside Glamorous

Jimmy Hannon and the hard working musicians who entertained the crowd all day.

Bridie receives a donation from a previous chairman of the local M.S. branch.

A group of charity cyclists posed for photos with the collectors.

Gary and family.

Liam and Tom cheerfully collecting.

Comfort stop for the cyclists.

Noelle and Bridie do their bit.
Below are a selection of collectors and friends.

No one was safe , even election candidates and Co.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Cork Museum, Craftshop na Méar goes to the bank

It's beginning to look a lot like summer.


A few more treasures in Cork Museum

While I was in Cork Museum I photographed a few of the treasures on display.

I forgot to make a note of who these likely lads were. Cyclists perhaps?

Match programme from 1956

Wartime ration books

 Handwritten Irish Dictionery

Cork silver

Cork glass

Butter making tools

Rules for butter makers.

Cork delft


National Enterprise Week

Last week was National small enterprise week and Craftshop na Méar got to go to Bank of Ireland to promote the shop.


Oh Mary we crown thee with blossoms today…….

In Knockanure they celebrated Mary as Queen of the May on May 18 2014 and Jer. was there;

Queen of the May


Ballybunion at Night   (photo by Mike Enright)