From Athea News May 2017
A Very Important Month
Domhnall de Barra
The month of May is one of the most important in the old Irish calendar. May 1st is one of the quarterly days and is associated with many customs and traditions. As in much of northern Europe, May Day in Ireland, was a celebration and welcome of the summer. Here, it is rooted in the pre-Christian festival of Bealtaine. Bealtaine embraces the summer, bidding farewell to the dark winter half of the year. Flowers, dancing and bonfires featured strongly in the festivities. People also sought protection for themselves, their homes and livestock against supernatural forces. On May eve it was customary to sprinkle holy water on the land, crops and animals to ward off those with the “evil eye” who, it was believed, had the power4 from the devil to take the produce for themselves. “Pisheógs” was the name given to those who practiced the black arts. Pisheog is translated as “superstition” and I suppose much of what went on was in the mind of people who lived in fear of a particular individual. You wouldn’t hear much about it now but, when I was a lad, it was rife in the locality. We all knew of certain families who were supposed to have the power and we lived in fear of them. My mother was a strong believer and could recall many an event to back it up. My father, on the other hand, was more sceptical and used to make fun of her fears until something happened to put a question or two in his mind. He had his own lorry and one day he did a job of shifting stones for a family who were suspected of practicing pisheógs. Although they had only a small holding their barns were always full of hay and they had many more cattle than the land could sustain. My father had no fears about working for them despite my mother’s warnings. From the day he took the load of stones things started to go wrong. The lorry kept breaking down for no apparent reason, work dried up and he found himself unable to make any money. This went on for a few weeks until one day my mother decided to clean out the cab of the lorry. There was an old cushion on the driver’s seat, cloth covering a honeycomb sponge. When she lifted it up she found an egg underneath. She took the egg, doused it in holy water and threw it down the mountain as far as she could. She also gave the lorry a good dousing for good measure. From that day on things were back to normal, the lorry stopped breaking down and there was plenty of work to be done. Maybe it was all a big co-incidence but who knows? A neighbouring farmer had such bad luck that he almost was wiped out. Milk would go sour, calves would die and the hay would rot in the stack and the shed. One of the men who worked there told me that when they were drawing in the hay there would be eggs found in the cocks. They also found a salmon and pieces of bacon. Eventually they had to bring in a priest who said a special Mass on the farm and again their luck changed and they never again looked back. These are just a couple of incidents but there are people in this parish with many more tales to tell. To this day people will spread the holy water about on May Eve, just in case somebody is still practicing.
Since medieval times in Ireland, there has been a strong association with the devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary during the month of May. Much of the traditions associated with May have been incorporated into the Marian processions found throughout the country. To this day “The Queen of the May” sung by Fr. Sidney McKeon, is broadcast on Radio 1 on May 1st. Flowers also played a big part in the May customs. The flowers were placed on the doorsteps of houses and on windowsills. They were believed to offer luck to the house and offer protection from pisheogs and bad fairies. It was believed that the fairies could not enter the home as they could not pass such sweet smelling flowers. May was also a time of celebration with many festivals. Many towns and villages had May bushes which were decorated and in village centres a Maypole was often erected. This had brightly coloured ribbons attached to it and young people danced around the pole. The festivities were often accompanied by the lighting of bonfires, another very old tradition.
In summary, May Day in Ireland was a festival to welcome the summer and to protect the family and livelihood of the farm from supernatural forces. It was a festival celebrated with flowers, fires and dancing and had strong links to the same holiday celebrated throughout northern Europe.
Irish Examiner 1841-1989, Wednesday, 23 January, 1924; Page: 6
LATE REV. FR. O'SHEA, P.P., ATHEA.THE FUNERAL.
Limerick. Tuesday.—The obsequies of the late Rev.W OShea, P.P., Athea, took place to-day in the parish church, and were attended by a large congregation. High Mass was presided over by Right Rev. Monsignor O D ? P.P. V.G. Rathkeale. Vicar Capitula of the Diocese. Celbrant Rev. J Wallace C.C Shanagolden; Deacon Rev. P Woulfe C.C. Kilmallock; Sub deacon Rev. J Carroll C. C. St John’s Limerick; Master of Ceremonies. Rev T McNamara C.C. Do. Chanter, Rev. P Thornhill, C.C., and Rev Hayes , C.C., Choir, Rev ? Keane, Bishop Elect of Limerick. Very Rev canon P Lee , P P VG, Newcastlewest; Rev Canon J Cregan P P , VF, Abeyfeale, Rev Canon Fitzgerald P P Shanagolden. Rev Canon? P P. Adare. Rev Canon O Dea, PP Newmarket-on Fergus. Fr Reeves P P. Ardagh. Fr. Culhane P P Bulgaden. Fr Murphy P P Kilcolman. Fr Fitzgerald P P Effin. Fr Robertson, CSSR. Fr Reidy P P , Askeaton. Fr O Dwyer P P, Templeglantine. Fr R J Ambrose PP, Glenroe. Fr Conway PP Castlemahon, Fr D leader Copswood. Fr O Donnell P P, Pallaskenry. Fr McNamara CSSR. Fr Dwane Adm.St. Michael’s. Fr O Shea PP Cappagh. Fr Connolly Adm. St John’s. Rev Fr Breen PP, Bruree, Fr Reeves P P Balylanders. Fr M Keane P P Newtownsandes. Rev D O Riordan CC, Athea. Rev M Hayes CC Newcastle West. Fr Behan CC Newtownsandes. Fr Hannan ? St Michael’s. Fr O Sullivan CC Athea. Fr Hogan president St Munchin’s College. Fr, ? CC, Patrickswell. Fr Moriarty CC Effin. Fr Colman St Munchan’s College. Fr Dolan, do. Fr Wall, do. Fr Lynch, do. Fr Quinlan, do.Fr Thornhill St Michael’s. Fr Fitzpatrick, do. Fr D O Brien DD Diocesan ?. Fr O Brien CC Coolcapagh. Fr carr CC Abbeyfeale. Fr Wall CC Foynes. Fr ? CC Glenroe. Fr Liston Palliskenry. Fr Leahy CC ?. Fr Moloney CC parteen. Fr J Moloney CC Ardagh. Fr McNamara CC Ballygran. Rev Brother from Glin. Chief mourners were William and John ?O Shea, Kildimo (nephews)Mrs Ryan ? Corcomore,( Niece). Agnes, james, William and Delia Ryan. Mrs Naughton, Corcomore (Grandnieces and grandnephews). Patrick O Shea, John O Shea, Patrick O Shea, Kildimo. Patrick McMahon and John McMahon cousins.
ATHEA JOURNAL Dec. 2014
Pork faceory in Athea described by Thady Hunt. The first Co-Op opened in Athea in 1895, just six years after Dromcollogher Creamery. In 1940s there were 312 suppliers at Athea creamery. The dairymaid then was earning £2 for a seven day week. The pork factory was able to send its consignment to Smithfield Market arriving there 24 hours after leaving Abbeyfeale. Due to the economic and the second World War, the factory had to close.
Tom Ahern has several articles again this year, including” Around the Fireside, Remembering Song and Storytelling”. “A Changing World” where he recalls how locals entertained themselves, he recalls Mrs Cullen’s Powers, Pipe Smoking, D.D.T. Flower Bags and their use, Butter Box, old methods of farming and reflects on the present where the banks were given77 billon Euro, 20,000 unemployed in Limerick, while the banks use machines to transact business. Tom has another article on Carnival Dances and Marque Romances on page 104.
All the Athea organisations and societies give an account of their activities and illustrated by pictures.
The magazine has a host of pictures from Betty O Connors album, Kathleen Mullanes pictures, Sean Hanrahan collection, which is on page 64 and 94. Photos from London by Mike Hayes, Sinead Broder pictures are on p86. Lizzie Murphy pictures in p88.
Peg Prendeville also contributed photos and wrote articles including, The joys of reading, Christmas thoughts and Maggies story, she being 97 years on p 106.
Ann Denihan recalls a two hour walk around Glasnevin Cemetery.
History of Guinea- Mc Kenna Family I told.
An Address to Canon Cregan Sept. 27th 1912 is written in full, it was signed by many parishioners from Athea.
Bill Hunt born Athea 1924 is remembered in p 50.
Jim Woulfe who fought in Spain and died from wounds received 5th sept. 1937, is recalled by Lorcan and Shane MacCurtain.
David O Riordan, gives us comical tales in p63 and gives us story of Ellen Hanley and some pictures from the past.
GAA Subscription list and affiliated members from the past are listed.
The Goolds and Galways in Athea, information from late Maighread McGrath.
Tom Fitzgerald recalls a little bit of history, some men from the great war in page 77.
Pat Boone who was 80 in 2014, his story recalled by Patrick Fitzgerald.
Lastly George Langan continues his family Tree, The Langan connection on page 95.
Hello and Welcome to Athea’s Fairy Mountain
A long, long time ago when Athea was just named, a small, busy fairy was flying home to fairy valley when she heard a really loud sob.
Curious Lú stopped and looked around to where the sound had come from. She flew from tree to tree and up a huge mountain (well a huge mountain to a little fairy!). In among the trees she could see a giant! Unsure whether to approach him or not Lú did feel sorry for him when he started to sob again. Carefully she flew over and stopped beside his huge foot. A tear dropped from his eye and only just missed Lú but causing a tidal wave of water which almost drowned her!
She flew up to his face and asked him what was wrong. He looked up, surprised to hear such a little voice. He blinked his eyes a couple of times and finally focused on Lú. She smiled politely and offered him her handkerchief.
“What are you?” he asked.
“I’m a fairy, what are you?”
“A Giant” he smiled. “You’re tiny!
“And you’re huge!” Lú laughed and she got a fright when the giant laughed too and his laugh echoed all around them both.
“I have been so sad” the Giant sadly explained, wiping away a tear with Lú’s tiny handkerchief and soaking it!
With a little encouragement from Lú, he told her all about how his mother had died and whilst carrying her to the graveyard her body had fallen apart and her bones had been scattered throughout the parish. Lú felt so very sad for him. Sitting on his finger she hugged her tiny knees and thought. She so wanted to make him feel better.
Lú knew that this giant was a good, kind giant who had been trying to do the right thing. She was an excellent judge of character. Suddenly, she had a splendid idea. In order to make him feel better, Lú made a promise to the giant.
That very night that she would invite nine of her very best fairy friends and they would make the mountain their home in honour of his mother. The giant was so delighted he almost squashed Lú as he clapped his hands together with joy! His face broke into a huge smile and Lú knew she had made the right decision.
ATHEA Tidy Towns Committee new Fairy Trail located behind the Memorial Hall and Giants Garden in Athea, will be home to 10 fairies who will each have their own fairy door and a purpose which will be displayed on a plaque beside their door along the trail. There will also be a worry tree called ‘Croga’ who will take away any worries you may have by placing your hand on the plaque attached to the tree. At the end of the trail there will be a Fairy Post Box where you can post any messages to the fairies.
PRESIDENT: From Knockdown News, Athea News site
Thanks to my good friend George Langan for the following interesting bit of news. George says “ Wasn’t there a sense of pride on hearing President Michael D. Higgins mention one of our own fighting Irish when addressing the House of Commons last week. I refer to no other than Tom Kettle MP whose grandmother was one of the McCoy’s from Ballyhahill. I don’t know who drew up Michael D’s speech, maybe he had an input into it himself, he being an avid historian but it was moving to say the least. In addition I would like to add a few extra words quoting the great patriot himself who lost his life at the battle of the Somme in September 1916. Five days before he was mortally wounded he wrote the following lines in a letter home to his little daughter in Ireland, describing the soldiers going into battle he said ‘ Not for flag, nor King, nor Emperor, but for a dream born in a herdsman’s hut and for the secret scripture of the poor.’ and as Michael D alluded to – ‘Kettle died as an Irish patriot, a British soldier and a true European.
THE RED DOOR BIC : Phil Hogan TD, Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government performed the official opening of the Red Door Business Incubation Centre (BIC) recently. The centre is located in the Red Door Building, The Square, Newcastle West – where the 1st and 2nd floors have been suitably converted. The project, which is open to applicants from West Limerick, was initiated by Newcastle West and District Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with LIT and West Limerick Resources, and will offer successful applicants a chance to participate in the LIT Enterprise Start Programme, which will provide full training and business advice to potential entrepreneurs. The programme will be run over 6 weeks and offers a real market-place perspective on what is involved in creating a sustainable commercial enterprise. On completion of the programme, participants may be given the opportunity to continue developing their business concept on a full time basis – with the support of the Limerick Enterprise Acceleration Platform (LEAP) which is a year long programme. If you are interested, or if you know anyone interested in starting their own business, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or ring the chamber office at 069-77751. An information evening will be held in Leens Hotel, Abbeyfeale, on Wednesday, December 4 from 5-7pm on how to develop business ideas.
During the war years my late brother Sean, who was a carpenter, worked with a firm of builders in London who, after a night’s bombing by the Germans in the city, the demolition gangs would check the damage and demolish houses or severe. It was a dangerous enough job with a constant risk of a collapsed building. But there was good
severe. It was a dangerous enough job with a constant risk of a collapsed building. But there was good money to be made and Sean availed of it and he and his wife Bridie returned home after the war and built a new house in Ballymacelligott parish. In 1959 they emigrated with their family to New York in one of the big ocean liners where they spent the rest of their lives. Sean used to tell us about his time in bomb-wrecked London during the war when one went in at night to a café or restaurant and asked for chicken, which apparently was very scarce in London at the time. The restaurant waiter or café attendant would shake their heads a bit sadly and reply; “sorry mate, but we have no more chicken, the only thing we have left in that line tonight would be some rook pie if you would care to have it.” So they did cook some Irish crows in hungry and war-torn London which somehow does not make horsemeat look so bad after all.
By Carrig Side-23/01/13
Last year 2012 saw the Saint Kieran’s G.A.A. Club celebrate its fortieth anniversary. How the years have flown by from the birth of the club that saw the parishes of Ardagh/Carrigkerry and Coolcappa/Kilcolman, unite under the one banner. Many of the people that were involved in the formation of the club have now departed to the lofty playing fields of Heaven. It was a very exciting time for the officers, players, and supporters who all enjoyed wonderful times around Limerick and North Kerry. Carnivals and festivals were held at in most villages, and towns and Saint Kieran’s football team were probably the most invited team to play in them at the time. The club enjoyed a big following of committed supporters who filled many a sideline, and helped to finance many a fund raising project. There was a great buzz when the Saint’s were playing the likes of Moyvane, Tarbert Finuge, Athea, Askeaton Glin and Ballyhahill, in a tournament match. The matches were played mainly on Friday and Sunday nights, once the cows were milked and the players present for duty. It was probably the second match of the day for most of the players, who would have played a divisional board or county fixture in the afternoon. The matches usually ended in fading light leading to many questionable decisions. The rope keeping back the crowds along the side lines was never sufficient, and it gradually ended at ground level as the tempo of the match and the exchanges hotted up. Friendships were stretched as well as jerseys, and a bout of fisticuffs often erupted. I am sure some supporters enjoyed this side of things as much as the high standard of football being played. The weather was far better back then, and it was the midgets that caused most problems for the people. The language was most colourful and many referees were the butt of the comments, often calling their parentage into question. Rural Ireland was well populated and jobs were plentiful and the majority of the youth had folding notes in their hip pockets. Society cared for people and communities were alive and vibrant with activity. People were economical with their recourses and moved slower to better themselves, and debt was seldom mentioned. How times have changed in rural Ireland as we enter 2013 in the midst of a recession that has seen our people having to emigrate to escape a future of poverty. In recent years we have seen factories, and businesses close and unemployment soar. Our villages have lost shops, pubs, post offices, service stations, creameries, banks, and now Gardai barracks. The fabric of our rural society has been torn apart, and nobody is listening. The local G.A.A. Clubs still survive but they too are under pressure due to falling numbers, and increased costs. The club offers people an outlet for their time and talents, and a sense of belonging to their own area. All clubs could do with extra members to help run their affairs, and a place is available for all to get involved. Plans are now being put in place for the New Year and positions are available so why not give it a go. We thank the Saint Kieran’s club for the wonderful memories they have provided over the past forty years, and we wish them well in the coming year.
By Pat Brosnan
According to recent media reports An Bord Pleanála has made a final decision regarding the removal of a statue of “Christ the King” from its former site at Killarney Community Hospital where it had been for 70 years and relocating it in a different site at ground level. Apparently the statue, which had been on the roof of the hospital since it was donated by founding order, was removed by workmen from the H.S.E. on the pretext that the moving of the statue was necessary on the basis of Health and Safety grounds. Very few of the local community in Killarney believed this silly yarn that the statue, where it stood for 70 years, was in any way a threat to either Health or Safety and many of the local democratically elected Councillors opposed its removal. However, recently in a very close decision An Bord Pleanála decided with the casting vote of the Chairman to uphold the right of the H.S.E. to move the statue. It also appears that the H.S.E. spent €10,000 in defending its decision to relocate the statue. Surely this amount of taxpayers’ money could have been better spent on some real Health or Safety measure for which the H.S.E should be responsible rather than an airy fairy project such as the moving of a religious traditional symbol that in no way posed a threat of any kind. The local Town Council in Killarney apparently had not approved the relocation of the Statue and it would seem that in spite of all the local opposition the H.S.E. went ahead and removed it. This in my opinion displayed utter contempt for the feelings of the Catholic population and the views of the vast majority of the people of Killarney town and its elected representatives. But then, of course, it would seem that people in Killarney and indeed elsewhere if this relocation is a more sinister part of H.S.E. policy which in some people’s opinion is hell-bent in removing crosses and other religious symbols from medical facilities around the country. This would also seem to be the opinion of a Killarney Town Councillor who, speaking in a personal capacity, was quoted in the media when he was calling for the Statue to be restored to its original site on the roof of the local Community Hospital. The same Town Councillor has also been quoted for having criticised the local Clergy for what he claims was “a deafening silence” ahead of the Bord Pleanála decision in recent weeks to rubber stamp the relocation of the “Christ the King” statue . Of course going back to March 2010 by all accounts concerns about this matter were raised by Bishop Bill Murphy of the Diocese of Kerry when, in a high profile public statement, he condemned as a “retrograde step” moves to remove the statue as well as other religious objects from Killarney Community Hospital and St Columbanus’ Home. The Town Councillor in his personal criticism said that he was disappointed with the Clergy to say the least. He is quoted as saying that they should have shown their hand and been to the forefront in their opposition to moving the Statue. He said that he was no Holy Joe but that we should show respect for the little bit of faith we have. In response to the criticism Bishop Bill Murphy is reported as having stated that his position in relation to the Statue removal was clearly stated in March 2010 and remained the same. He added that he was saddened to learn that the H.S.E. had decided to remove Catholic symbols from St Columbanus’ Home and the Sacred Heart Statue over the entrance to the District Hospital. He said that the patients in both Hospitals are elderly and such symbols of their faith were a source of comfort and consolation to them. He further stated that this was a retrograde step and one that will not benefit patients or staff. Bishop Murphy finally asked where does the H.S.E. go from there; will Christmas Cribs be banned from Hospitals? will patients be deprived of the Celebration of Mass? These are very pertinent questions that all of us might well ask as these activities do not just affect the H.S.E. Hospitals in Killarney alone, but this sort of agenda by the H.S.E. and indeed by other public institutions to downgrade and belittle religion particularly that of the Catholic majority is in evidence all over the State. Some of these State Agencies including the H.S.E. are in such a mad gallop to display their equal rights and tolerance towards all Religions and none that they are passing each other out in their eagerness to get rid of Catholic Religious Symbols and indeed this policy is encouraged by our couple of different Government Ministers and some Politicians who want to jump on the fake tolerance band wagon. We all respect, or at least should respect, each other’s beliefs and religions, that is a basic tenet of civilised society, but certainly this should not mean the tearing down of the majority religion’s most sacred symbols, even Cromwell failed in his attempts to do this. Would Irish Catholics who go to work in a Moslem country expect the local natives to get rid of their Religious Statues and symbols in the name of equality and religious tolerance. Not indeed likely. Even those of us who worked in England where there are many different religious groups, would we have expected Anglican or Church of England to remove their religious symbols from their hospitals or schools in case they insulted members of a minority religion, and English people as we all know and must admit are most tolerant when it comes to religious beliefs. What then one might ask is the motive of the H.S.E. for removing religious symbols from our Hospitals and State Nursing Homes, cannot be regarded as anything other than a stupid obsession with equality which is way out of touch with the ordinary people of the country. Likewise the Department of Education and its attempts at downgrading Catholic teaching in the country’s schools. What one might ask are these Government Agencies playing at? We the ordinary plain people of our country would certainly appreciate an answer.
Ireland in the forties money was scarce and entertainment was homemade, rambling House, Storytelling, music making and dancing were pastimes. Hunting the wren took place on St Stephen’s Day , the money collected was used to provide food and drink for a wren party which was held in the new year. Often people who never went with the Wrenboys could attend the party if they paid a small fee.
St Stephen’s Day 1943 the Park Wrenboys went out in the wren, they included, brothers Peter, Joe and Darby O Connor, Thade Ahern captain,Jim McAuliffe and Dick Collins musicians, Pat Shea, Bill Shine,Tom Paul Stack.Con Joe Scanlon, Tom Fitzgerald, Mick Flaherty and Batt Crosby Harnett.
There were two issues with the party, it was decided that no outsiders were to join the party which annoyed some also where to purchase provisions some in favour of going to Athea more wanted to purchase in Abbeyfeale.
JDB Harnett of Abbeyfeale eventually got the contract of supplying a half and a quarter tierce barrels of porter, raspberry wine, bread, jam and other provisions.
Joiners who were aggrieved decided to steal the porter, involved were Batt and Paddy O Connor, Ned Scanlon, Tom Fitzgerald of Park, Con Barry, Edward Fitzgerald, D J M Harnett, Paddy Mom Fitzgerald Knocknasna. Secrecy of their plans was important as Batt and Darby O Connor were brothers of wrenboys Darby, Joe and Peter O Connor.
The Party was to be held in the Yanks house and provision were to be minded by Batt Crosbie O Connor as the Yanks house was not as secure. But the robbers had knowledge of where the porter was kept.
Raid on the Porter took place on night of 13th January 1944, Batt and Paddy O Connor, Ned Scanlon and Tom Fitzgerald went to Moss O Connor’s house where the met the Knocknasna men and took the Jennets car from Moss to transport the booty, to reduce sound of wheels they wrapped the in cloth. The gang then went to Batt Crosby O Connors house to steal the wren party supplies. First the lifted the door from its hinges and Paddy Mon Fitzgerald took the barrel of porter on his shoulder and the rest of them collected the rest of the supplies. They hid the quarter tierce and groceries at Dagger Fitzgeralds house an the half tierce was buried in the yard of Paddy Mon Fitzgerald’s, they buried an old dog belonging to Nell Scollard over the barrel to mask their deed. The Jennets car was left at Barber Fitzgerald’s Gate. When Batt Crosby O Connor found that he was raided, he reported the event to the Garda and they responded with policemen coming from Abbeyfeale and Newcastle West to investigate, Sergeant Normile, assisted by Guard, Darcy, Magill, Connolly, Lynch and King. The school pupils in Knocknasna had an easy day as Davey the Master sent much of his time observing Garda activities from the school window. Many locals were questioned, including George Mattis, Pat O Shea, Paddy O Connor and Paddy Mon Fitzgerald. Batt O Connor was questioned but he had some items hid in hay he was taking to his cattle, 48 years later the jam jars were found under a tree.
Daithin Sheehan told some friends that he knew who stole the Porter, he and his wife was also arrested and questioned all to o avail. Searches in Park Bog and Leahy’s Bog at Beenaneaspig also yielded nothing.
When things got quiet again the joiners went to Paddy the Dagger Fitzgeralds house for the quarter tierce, it was empty, Paddy said it leaked. The Knocknasna gang found their half tierce and divided it among, Con Barry, Edward Fitzgerald, D J Moss Harnett and the Mon Fitzgerald, celebrating with them included Mick Collins, Tade Johnny Broderick and Billy Joe Broderick . Billy Joe lost his share when his bucket spilled crossing a ditch. Tade Johnny drank his portion the following night under palm trees. The quarter tierce barrel was dumped in Mons Fitzgeralds’s quarry and eventually went back to JDB Harnett, publican of the Corner House Abbeyfeale. The half tierce was abandoned on Tim Mattis Mountain and Mick Dan Ahern found it and Mick Woulfe from Knocknagorna took it to the barracks in Athea. Pat O Connor named his greyhound Park Porter and ran him at Athea Coursing.
Mary Brosnan Friend To All
The death has taken place of Mary Brosnan nee Normoyle of Knocknagorna, Athea at Saint Ita's Hospital, Newcastle West on Thursday November 12th 2009 after an illness bravely borne. A native of Glenastar, Carrigkerry, Mary moved to Knocknagorna, when she was only 5 years old and apart from a period of time spent working in England lived her life there. Mary was known for her kindness, generosity and hospitality and she had a warm welcome for all who called to her home. She was a homemaker and devoted to her family and was held in high esteem by all who knew her.
A regular Church attender was Mary and religion meant a lot to her, and she made numerous visits to Knock and had a special devotion to Saint Anthony, Our Lady and The Eucharist. Mary liked to sing the traditional songs, winning competitions and being featured on radio. West Limerick radio and Kerry radio were compulsive listening for Mary with Athea's Mike Enright a special favourite on Sunday nights. Mary was married to Pat for 49 years and they were a very united couple and proud parents of Seanie, Sheila, Breda and Tina. The large crowds that attended her removal and burial showed how popular the family are thought of.
The removal from Kelly's Funeral Home to Saint Bartholomew's Church took place on Friday evening last as the wind blew and the rain fell heavily. Father Paddy Bowen PP Athea a distant relative of Mary's was Chief Celebrant of the Requiem Mass on Saturday assisted by Canon Patrick O'Kelly and Athea native Father Dennis Mullane. Father Paddy delivered a thought-provoking homily recalling Mary's life of kindly deeds and devotion to her family and community. Family members assisted with the readings, gifts and prayers of the faithful. Margaret Carroll's lovely music and hymns were most appropriate and uplifting for the occasion. Breda Brosnan, on behalf of the family, thanked all the people who helped them since Mary's illness. Comhaltas members from various groups formed a guard of honour as the cortege passed on its way to Holy Cross Cemetery.
The sun shone brightly during the burial as if to welcome Mary home. It was a peaceful scene overlooking the village she served so well. Donie Lyons delivered a few poignant tunes on the flute as the assembled crowd bid a final farewell to their departed friend. Pat thanked everyone who attended from near and far for the funeral which was a great source of comfort for the family. Daughter Tina sang "The Gypsy Rover" one of Mary's favourite songs, in a final tribute to her mother, whose presence on this earth since 1934 brightened up and enriched so many lives.
We extend sympathy to Pat, son Seanie, daughters Sheila, Breda and Tina, grandchildren other relatives and friends. May the Holy Cross sod rest lightly on Mary's breast.
I will conclude with a few verses of Pat's award winning song "The Lights of Carrigkerry".
The Lights of Carrigkerry
By Pat Brosnan
Far away across the sea there's a place that's calling me,
As I gaze around this city grand and bright,
For here on this foreign shore, sure my heart feels sad and sore,
And for Limerick's hills and vales I long tonight.
I'll go back across the sea and contented I will be,
Then I never more will cross the ocean foam,
Sure ‘tis there my soul would rest in that spot I love the best,
Where the lights of Carrigkerry call me home.
In this fair land o'er the main, there is plenty wealth to gain,
There are pleasures too and friendships true and kind,
Yet I'd bid them all goodbye if today my plane would fly,
To that misty isle that's always on my mind.
I'll go back across the sea etc.
There is one who's waiting there, with blue eyes and dark brown hair,
Who was lonely when she saw me go away,
But to me she still is dear and the time is now drawing near,
When once more I will be coming home to stay.
I'll go back across the sea etc.
Soon my exile will be o'er and my thoughts with joy and soar,
When by Carrig's streams I'll wander free from care,
There old friends will welcome me, when again my eyes will see,
That most charming gem of Limerick grand and fair.
I'll go back across the sea and contented I will be,
Then I never more will cross the ocean foam,
Sure ‘tis there my soul would rest in that spot I love the best,
Where the lights of Carrigkerry call me home.
by Domhnall de Barra
Just the other day I was walking up the village and as I passed each building I realised how many businesses have closed in a short portion of the street in a relatively short time. When I came to the village as a young man you could do a lot of business from Collins’ shop and pub up to the Moyvane road. Liston’s (Tommy Willie’s) was an old fashioned public house on the corner of the lane. It has long since closed down. Next door was Irwin’s, later to become Brownie’s, a pub noted for the quality of it’s pint and a great place for a session or a sing-song. Ita was quite a character and there are many good yarns still told about her. I remember going into the pub with a couple of friends from Knocknaboul (we were in our late teens) and asking Ita for three bottles of stout. She put the bottles on the counter and turned away. After a while I asked her for glasses to which she replied “God blast ye, ‘twas far away from glasses ye were reared”. That put us in our place alright! Just along the street was Mick Lynch’s Pub. Mick had come from Chicago and was great company. He usually had music at the weekends. The Post Office was next, run by Edsie and Peg O’Connor. In those days all the telephone calls went through this exchange during the day but at night they would be switched to Listowel at 10 pm. If you happened to be on the phone at that time the line just went dead. Next door, Mick Moran had a butcher’s shop. He did his butchering out the back and did a good trade. He wouldn’t be allowed to do it now. Stapleton’s was next. They did groceries in a small way but their main business was a newsagency. It used to be packed after Mass on Sundays. Danaher’s was next. This was a fine shop with a big yard mainly for meal and flour. Paddy Quaid used to drive a big Nuffield tractor and trailer to Cork every week for the bags of meal and flour. It was quite a journey in those days and he brought a big load with him. At the top of the village we had the Creamery. This was a hive of activity in the mornings with horses and donkeys drawing carts with milk tanks queuing up down the village. It was the lifeblood of the place as the farmers coming to the creamery would do business in the local shops. Some of them were even prone to take a pint or two before departing for home. The creamery was also a great meeting place where the news of the parish, deaths, births, marriages, football matches etc. were discussed and the world put to rights! Mick Dalton and Patie Sullivan were in the “front line” and there would be great banter with some very witty retorts.
What a change in this small part of the village. From Collins’ up to the top, on the right hand side, there is only one business now operating. This is Kathleen Ambose’s hair salon operating out of Tommy Liston’s.
Congratulations to Seamus Hunt, Newcastle West who recently received the Limerick Person of the Month Award. Seamus a famous traditional player of the pipes, has been a community activist in Newcastle West for the past 50 years. He was the Chairman of Newcastle West Community Council for the past 14 years up until this year and has dedicated much of his time to promoting and overseeing many local projects during all that time. The presentation of the Award took place at the Clarion Hotel. Seamus is a native of Ballyagran.
“My name is William (Liam) Harnett. My Grandfather William Harnett was from Abbeyfeale, he was a sergeant in the police, I reckon he would have left Abbeyfeale around 1890. My father Christopher Harnett was
born in 1901 in Tipperary and I was born in Fiddown Co. Kilkenny and am now living in Dublin.”
By Pat Brosnan
A new Céilí Band has recently been formed in North Kerry and will be based in the Listowel area. It is being named The Lartigue Céilí Band in memory of the famous Monorail train that at one time carried passengers from Listowel to Ballybunion and back. There are musicians from various areas of North Kerry and West Limerick who have joined up with it and the band leader is Gearoid Keating from Abbeyfeale whose mother Eileen (nee Dalton) is a native of Toureendonnell. Gearoid’s near relatives who once lived in Knocknagorna had a great traditional musical talent which Gearoid and his sister Roisin inherited. Gearoid’s grandfather Micheál Dalton and his granduncle Sean Dalton both played Senior Football with Limerick. His father David Keating has been very much involved with the GAA as a player and official. Gearoid has won a number of All Ireland Comhaltas titles on the Banjo. The other members of the new Céilí Band are :- Sean Guerin- Accordion, James Duggan-Fiddle, James Dillon- Concert Flute, John McElligott-Drums, Mairead Curran-Piano, Rosin Ryan- Fiddle, Katie Lucey-Fiddle, Gretta Curtin- Concertina and Colleen O’Shea- Concert Flute.
by Domhnall De Barra under News
Negation of Local Democracy
Last week’s announcement by the Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan concerning the Amalgamation of Local Authorities in some instances and the demolition of other Statuary Bodies such as certain Urban Councils is not alone a short sighted and negative proposal which would be a measure with far reaching consequences for the system of local Government we have had since the foundation of the State and to a limited degree at any rate and even before the country became independent in the early 1920’s. These new proposals if carried through will have a damaging and harmful effect on local democracy at a time when it was never more needed. Any commitment of local democracy at the grass roots such as contained in these negative new proposals cannot be for the better in whatever shape or form these may be presented. While we are all aware and must acknowledge that there have been abuses of the system regarding expenses by certain councillors at various times but this does not mean that the whole system of local Government needs to be torn apart considering that this, the present system, has had a long tradition and has served this country well. Any change in these basic structures of Local Government will have a devastating and demoralising effect on those who have served their local constituents and the country so well and who, even if they were again re-elected, would have to service a much wider area to the extent that they could no longer provide the same individual attention to the people who elected them. Apart from the saving of a few million Euro, which in the present financial climate are mere peanuts in the overall context, when the billions that have been spent in shoring up the banks and paying out the shareholders are taken into consideration. The disruption that will be caused if those proposals are implemented cannot be overestimated at a time when what is really needed is more local democracy not less that is being proposed. People who are standing up and objecting to this dimunition of local Councils and grass roots democratic representation are perfectly right and this will be proved in future years when such a blunder will become evident and it has become too late to restore local democracy. So if we the ordinary people of this State do not resist this needless and pointless imposition on our democratic representation at this juncture, next year or the following years might be too late to restore the situation. We need only look to England for a good example of local democracy. There they have the City Councils, the Shire or County Councils, the Rural District Councils and in every community in the country there are the Local Parish Councils, all statutory bodies elected by the people and financed by the State. At least that’s the way that things were in England at the time that some of us lived and worked there, democracy right down to the grassroots in every corner of the land. Whether or not this has changed in the intervening years since the time that we lived there one is not sure about, but this is unlikely. We do know, of course, that in towns and villages throughout the country there are many elected community or Parish councils doing some great work on a voluntary basis sometimes with the help of State Schemes such as FAS. While these do not have a statutory basis unlike their counterparts in England they deserve much more recognition from the State than they have been getting, for only the self-funding efforts of these local voluntary councils a great deal of work and improvements that have been carried out at local level would have been left undone. No doubt the Minister and the Government will make every effort to have the proposals passed without any reference to the people by way of a referendum of any kind and whether or not the majority are in favour of the changes. It will be interesting to see the reaction of some of these councillors of all parties who are at present holding on to office by the skin of their teeth and who would be very likely to lose their seats if the new set up becomes a reality. Perhaps all these changes will have come into force by the time the next local elections are held in 2014. These elections will be a good yardstick of how this Government’s dilution of local democracy among many other sensitive blunders will be going down with the electors. We shall have to wait and see.
Clounleharde Schoolhouse Co Limerick.
Listen dear friends while I tell my sad story,
Convicted and sentenced to die in the clay,
There once was time in the height of my glory,
I never dreamt I’d feel as I’m feeling today.
In my early life I was highly regarded,
As my service I gave to many pupils around,
Who in later life were nobly rewarded,
In their high positions from my school in Bricktown.
In those happy days how my proud heart was throbbing,
What joy and what gladness was stirring my soul,
As I watched my fond children their little heads bobbing,
As the teacher called out each name on the roll.
Out there around me I could hear their loud laughter,
And their joyous shouts in their pure innocent play,
I’m sure up in Heaven they are happy hereafter,
Never using that foul four-letter word of today.
Back through those glorious years my mind is now wandering,
When first I set foot here in 1884,
Then rosy-cheeked colleens and gorsoons came rambling,
Barefoot and quite happy through my welcome door.
I recall the great teachers so enthusiastically striving,
To instil the learning and knowledge they had,
Day after day they were constantly driving,
The much desired subjects into each lad and lass.
Mr Kennelly was the first to make his acquaintance
He lived in Dromin a few miles down the road,
Then Mr. Mullane, Messrs. Wallace and Noonan,
And teachers Lucy and Moran here took up their abode.
Miss Connolly from Glenagragra was here in her young days,
Mrs. Barry from Barneigue great honours did bring,
With her husband Martin working always united,
Produced outstanding scholars their praises to sing.
Miss King, Marie Sheahan and Mrs. Collins came next,
So ’tis no wonder I’m feeling dejected today,
When my house is now empty where once all were blest here,
Now my eyes are picked out and I’m left to decay.
Such is the price we must pay for progress,
I am deemed unworthy to teach anymore,
After all my good service to death I am sentenced,
Awaiting execution with the weeds ’round my door.
I have to beg no one’s pardon for I am not guilty,
Maybe the great judges will find their verdict wrong,
When inflation bites and their purses are empty,
And the oil wells run dry and the buses are gone.
Three Wise Men
17 -12 2014
By Peg Prendeville
It was with shock and sadness that we heard of the death last week, after a short illness, of Thomas J. O’Donoghue, poet and editor of the Ballyguiltenane Rural Journal since 1977. One may forget that he was a very fine poet as well as editor. I understand that he had this year’s journal almost ready for printing when he got ill. One of the most treasured items in Glin library, where local history is concerned, is the collection of Journals since 1977. There is such an amount of local history contained in them that it would be hard to replace so in that alone he has left a huge legacy. He and Pat Brosnan and Paddy Faley RIP did not know in 1977 how much they were contributing to local history when they produced their first edition 37 years ago. I wrote the following article four years ago in 2010 but feel that it is fitting to repeat it here. I visited Pat Brosnan in St Ita’s during the week and he also spoke of his sadness at the passing of Tom. The following is the article.
Two important events took place in 1977. My wedding and the birth of the Ballyguiltenane Rural Journal. Thankfully both are still thriving! Yes, it is 33 years since Thomas J O’Donoghue, Pat Brosnan and Paddy Faley got together and conceived the idea of putting together a journal. The idea was a novel one at the time as there were none before them but even more so when one considers that these three men did not live in the one town or even the same townland. Tom is from Drumreask, Glin, Pat from Knocknagorna, Athea and Paddy from Glenbawn, Ballyhahill. What they had in common was a love of reading, a yearning for writing and enthusiasm.
The 1st edition of twelve pages cost 10p and had a drawing by Mr. Sheahan of Ballyguiltenane School on the front and back cover. There were submissions from the three founding members and also from Jimmy Dalton, Scairt, Annie & Michael Kinnane, Glenagragra, James McNamara, Ballygoughlin and Michael Fennell, Glenagragra. Such was the impact of that 1st edition that the next year, 1978, saw an increase to forty two pages, costing 50p including photographs. The founders were helped by Mary Brosnan, Knocknagorna, Mick Lynch, Blaine Bridge and Chicago, Mary Lynch Keogh, Killoughteen, John Joe O’Connor, Athea, J. Dalton, Scairt, Michael Fennell, Annie & Catherine Kinnane from Glenagragra, Liam O’Shaughnessy, Maighread McGrath, Athea, Henry Lyons, Jim Scanlon, James Feury and Paddy Barrett. Since then it has grown to 138 pages in the 2009 edition with poems and articles and photos from over thirty contributors. Fitzsimons Printers continue to print it annually. It is noticeable by its green cover ever year.
It is only since I started working in the local library that I realise the enormous contribution to society these local journals give. There is an amount of local history contained within their pages and they are often a great resource to the children doing projects for school. So much folklore and history would be lost and forgotten but for these and I am not just thinking of the BRJ. I also include Athea, Loughill/Ballyhahill, Castlemahon etc. The photos, too, are a great reminder of people who have passed on and of events, and indeed fashions, of older days which would otherwise have been forgotten about.