Thursday, 30 April 2015

Daughters and Mothers, Turf in times of War and some emigrants

Robin  in April (Timothy John MacSweeney)


More from Behans of Bunaghara

Andy Ross sent me the obituary of his gr. gr.grandaunt.  This is what he wrote:

"Here's a obituary for John Behan's other daughter, Agnes Behan Murphy, our great great grandmother's sister.

Referring to John Behan as a "pioneer Syracuse salt manufacturer" is a bit misleading in that he, along with many fellow Irish immigrants at the time in our city, was more likely a hard working laborer.

I can only imagine how he and his fellow Kerry relatives handled the long brutal winters we're known for in Syracuse - nationally, we consistently rank at the very top percentile for snow accumulation (this past winter was particular frigid with temps not going above freezing the whole month of February)."


A Long Shot

A follower of the blog is anxious to make contact with an old friend. Details are a bit sketchy but maybe someone might recognize her. She is Margaret or Peggy O'Shea from Listowel who worked in the UK in the 1950s. She has  4 children, two of whom are named Conor and Rose…Any ideas?


The Daughterhood

 Billy Keane introduced Róisín Ingle and Natasha Fennell to us at WIM in Ballybunion on Saturday April 18 last. Róisín, who famously has a very dependent relationship with her mother and Natasha have written a book from the stories of some Irish women and their varying relationships with their mother. The book is called The Daughterhood. Billy has a very close relationship with his own mother. His love and admiration for her is apparent in much of what he writes and says.

Aisling and Carmel from Easons were working at the event.

Mother and daughter; Keelin and Vourneen Kissane

Mother and daughter; Anne and Mary Cogan with Róisín Ingle.


Old Post Office


This is a photo from the internet of the old post office undergoing roof repairs.


Black Gold

During WW2 there was a dire shortage of fuel to keep the home fires burning here and in Britain. Look at this from Bord na Mona Heartland

This is an Irish version of one of the posters from 1943. Turf cutting in Ireland was in decline by the early 1930s. Turf cutting competitions were set up, to encourage people to go back turf cutting. The easy availability of coal meant that people cut less turf.

The stark warning says; Cut turf now or be cold next winter.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Presentation Convent For Sale,Turf and Rockchapel chapel

Sundown in Ballybunion


Turf in times of war

This poster dates from 1946 and was aimed at Industry. It warned them to make sure they had enough turf supplies for their needs. The sentence about full development of our turf resources, was the coming of the ACT which changed the TDB into Bord na Móna and led to the First Development Programme after the War.


As it was then, as it is now

Listowel's Presentation Convent is on the market again. Maybe there is a sentimental Listowel emigrant with deep pockets out there who would love to restore it to its former glory. It would make a lovely boutique hotel with its own wedding chapel.


Out and about with my camera

Fine weather last week had us all out enjoying the sunshine.



Many of us pass through this North Cork Village on our way to Cork. I stopped last week and took a few photos of their lovely chapel.

A bench in her native church is a fitting memorial to an emigrant, Sr. Nora Curtin.

In a little cabinet at the back o the church they had a display of photographs of sons and daughters of the parish who had entered the religious life.


Julie is coming to Writers' Week

This is Julie Nugent. She will be coming to Listowel Writers' Week 2015: May 27 to May 30. Julie will be picking up the Irish Post prize for her short story After the Party.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Documentary photography,My Uncle Bernie and WIM 2015

The Square, Listowel


This is The Clock House in Kanturk. This building is now home to the Credit Union but it looks pretty much the same as it did in my young days in 1950s and 60s.
My story today concerns a Kanturk man of whom I am very proud.

My Uncle Bernie

Bernie Brosnan of Ballintubber, Kanturk was my mother's brother. He was a man who had a huge influence on my life, taking the place of my father who died when I was 7. The reason I am remembering him and writing about him today is because I was reminded of him when I wrote last week about the O'Sullivan family who brought a touch of USA glamour to 1960s Kanturk.

One of these O'Sullivan brothers brought a camera from America and he became what I am now, a documentary photographer. He constantly had the camera with him and he snapped anything that caught his eye in his travels around town.

Bernie Brosnan was an agricultural contractor. In those days few farmers had their own tractors or farm machinery and they would hire Bernie to do that aspect of their farm work.

Bernie had one of the first combine harvesters in North Cork. Before that the harvest was saved using two machines, a reaper and binder and a thresher. The first combine harvester had to be drawn by a tractor. Bernie was a great engineer and inventer.  He had a home made windmill generating electricity for his house long before rural electrification reached Ballintubber. Now he put his inventive powers to work in making this harvester self propelled, in order to free up the tractor. He was helped in this endeavour by his great friends, the Foley brothers who had a garage on the Newmarket Rd.

For several months one winter they worked on fitting an engine to the harvester  and getting it to work without  the need for the tractor. However, when the big reveal came and the harvester was to be tried out for the first time, they found that the harvester with the engine on board was too tall to fit through the door of the garage. The tyres had to be deflated and the harvester towed out with the tractor and then reinflated once outdoors. The self propelled combine harvester was talked about in farming circles for months after that and we, in the family, heard the the story of the great reveal told over and over again by my very proud uncle.

My uncle is long dead and I had forgotten these exploits of that summer in the 1960s until the O'Sullivan photo archive came to light and I discovered that Michael O'Sullivan's uncle had recorded my uncle and that legendary day in photos that will keep the story alive forever.

The proud man on the right of this last photo is Bernie Brosnan and the man driving the harvester is Neily Foley; two man before their time. In the background of the photo is Neily Foley's car and Bernie's tractor is just visible on the left.  Great photos! Happy Days!


More from WIM 2015

Tom Clonan

Dick Spring

As well as Tom Clonan and Dick Spring, Norah Casey and Olivia O'Leary were among the many big names in attendance in Ballybunion on April 18 2015.

Local people were out in force to enjoy listening to these celebrities on our doorstep. Above are Rose Wall, Eilis Wren and Madeleine O'Sullivan.

Monday, 27 April 2015

Dromin Well, some old advertisements and Tullamore National School

(photo: Timothy John MacSweeney, wildlife photographer)



(photo; Ballybunion Prints)

Scairbhín is the time of year from mid April to mid May when the weather vacillates between balmy and baltic. The old people used to say, 'Don't shed a clout 'til the may is out." The may in this case referred to the flower of the blackthorn bush often referred to as "the flower of the may".


Count Your Blessings

Our ancestors lived through tough times. We are so lucky to live in a prosperous Ireland.

Dublin tenement 1940s

Blitzed London street

Our poor misfortunate ancestors evicted from their homes


Dromin Well

Our amateur folklorists in 1937 took upon themselves to research stories of holy wells. One girl heard a story about Dromin well outside Listowel. According to the story, a girl called Depra, who was deaf and dumb was brought by her parents to the well and left there for three days. When her parents returned after the three days they found "to their joy" that their daughter could hear and speak. She told them that during their absence a beautiful lady had appeared to her and told her to drink from the spring. Depra did as she was told and immediately she was cured. She could hear and speak. The beautiful lady smiled sweetly and disappeared.


1916 /2016

( photo: 1916 Commemoration)

In the aftermath  of the 1916, several booklets were published. This collection is in the Capuchin Archive.


Some Great Old advertisements

Kay Caball of Kerry Ancestors lend me this recently.

I bring you today some ads from this publication, most of them for businesses long gone from the town.


Who, Why, When?

Antony Hegarty (formerly of Tullamore) sent me this photograph from New York. It was published in The Ballydonoghue Parish Magazine. Antony is anxious to find out the provenance of the photo. Does anyone know who is in the photo and what was the occasion?


Tar Abhaile

Julie and Glyn Evans

Mary Cogan, Kay Caball and Evelyn O'Rourke

"Don't forget , TG4 , This Monday night. A night of Genealogy with North Kerry Reaching Out. This week's programme of the "Tar Abhaile " series comes from Listowel and other locations around North Kerry and West Limerick.
The first descendant who features this weekend is Julie Evans, a teacher from Sydney Australia who discovers the mystery behind how her grandmother's grandmother, Bridget Ryan, ended up leaving Listowel Workhouse in 1849 and on a ship to Australia as a 16-year old girl as part of the Famine Orphan Girl Scheme. 
The second is Angie Mihalicz, a retired teacher from Beauval, Saskatchewan, Northern Canada who comes back to discover what she can about her grandfather's father, Peter McGrath and his mother Ellen, who emigrated to Canada at the height of The Famine and after a long search finally gets to stand on the land of her ancestors.

This programme is a repeat.

Friday, 24 April 2015

Adare, The passing of a Knockanure born nun and WIM 2015

What more could you want? A cuppa in the sunshine at The Seanchaí



A visitor to Woodland House took these photos.


Death in the U.S. of Knockanure born nun

Sr Elena,( Phil) Goulding

Death of Sister Goulding of Knockanure.

Sister Elena Goulding, OSF, 81, died in Assisi House in Aston, Pennsylvania, on April 7. 2015.  She had been a professed member of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia for 63 years. Sister Elena (Bridget Philomena Goulding) was born in Knockanure, County Kerry, Ireland. She earned a B.A. in English from Neumann University in Aston, Pennsylvania, and an M.A. in Education from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. She ministered primarily in education, prison ministry, and eldercare. 
In the Archdiocese of Baltimore, she taught at Immaculate Conception School, Towson; St. Stephen School, Bradshaw; Fr. Charles Hall Middle School, and St. Frances Academy and served as a prison chaplain at the Women's Detention Center. She also ministered in Delaware; Washington, DC; South Carolina; and Ireland. 
Sister Elena is survived by two sisters: Mary Clancy and Patricia Danaher; two brothers: Christy Goulding and Michael Goulding; her nieces and nephews, and by her Franciscan family. 


Crisis hits Tralee in 1920

From the front page of the MONTREAL GAZETTE (Canada) Friday the 5th of november 1920 ,,,,,,,,
the headline reads ,,,
"TRALEE IS PARALYZED".... Town near starvation , condition is desperate. The town of Tralee in Ireland is fast approaching starvation, in consequence of recent police order forbidding the carrying on of business - until two missing policemen are returned by the townspeople ; the report began Trade is paralyzed , the banks and bakeries even being closed , and the condition of the people is becoming desperate , An additional military order forbids the holding of fairs and markets or assemblies of any kind within a 3 mile limit of the town.     (source; Historical Tralee)

Women in Media 2015 

Moya Doherty, Chairman RTE, Miriam O'Callaghan , Prime Time etc., Dearbhail MacDonald, Associate editor Irish Independent, Correspondent on legal matters etc., Dee Forbes, European Head of the Discovery Chanel and Katie Hannon, Prime Time.

I was in Ballybunion on Saturday April 18 for WIM 2015. There was a starstudded lineup of influential  Irish women collected there. The message I brought from the event was that we women have the competence and we are gradually finding the confidence.

One of the speakers, (I think it was Dee Forbes) told us that a woman looks at a job spec. and says," I can do 1, 2 and 3 but I can't do 4 and 5, I can't apply. A man looking at the same ad says," I can't do 1,2 or 3 but I can do 4 and 5. I'll apply.

Mary Harney opened the symposium. Here she is with Ballydonoghue women in media, the backbone of the great annual Ballydonoghue Parish Magazine.

Joan O'Connor of Kilcooley's is the driving force behind this super event.


Munster Fleadh for Listowel

Denis Carroll posted this old one on Facebook to herald the news that the fleadh is to return in 2016, not Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann this time but the Munster fleadh.


They're Open

This lovely couple, Sonata and Vilijus Ogorodnikas have come all the way from Lituania to lovely Listowel. Yesterday, they sealed their arrival with the opening of their new business at 18 Church St. It's all about beauty, hair nails and skin. If they can make us look half as beautiful as they look themselves we will be doing okay. I wish them success.