I posted this photo a while back with names supplied by Jer Kennelly. The photo was much commented on and a few of the names were corrected. I asked Junior Griffin to take a look. He did better than that. He gave me the names and the back story so here you have it, in Junior's own words.
Starting this on Thurs. afternoon but God only knows when I will complete it.
Firstly, re the list for photo that Jer sent you, he has a lot of the names correct but not all. I list as follows;
Seated, left to right; Angela O'Flaherty (maiden name Hayes), A.N.Other but definitely not Kathleen Clifford, Maureen O' Connor (Buckley), Kathleen O'Regan.
Middle row, standing; Eileen O'Mahony (O'Connor), Kathleen O'Brien (Murphy), Mikey O'Connor, Pat Walsh, Junior Griffin, Sean Lynch, Dick Kiely, Willie Barrett,Tim Shanahan, John O'Mahoney,Tom O'Connell (a brother of Ned's who worked in McKenna's), Michael Crowley, Margaret Crowley(Stack). Note; behind the Crowley's are three faces. I would be almost certain that the face looking over Ml. Crowley's right shoulder is Kathy O'Connor, Mikey's wife; other 2 unknown
Back row; Michael O'Neill, Brendan Daly, Kathleen Daly, Tom O'Connor, Mickey O'Mahoney, John Daly
Just a small follow up on our first social held in the Hotel on January 8th, 1962.
It all originated from a Ring of Kerry staff tour that I was asked to organise on the last weekend of August. With 10 shillings left over and a chat with Michael O'Neill down in Waterville on the day of our trip the social seed was planted.
I don't remember who we booked the hotel with but I remember well on New Years Day, which was one week before the social date, the four of our committee, Michael O'Neill , Brendan Daly, Dick Kiely and myself being summoned to the Square by John Joe Kenny, the butcher , where the Veterinary Centre is now based . I can't place whether we were working then on new Year's Day or not but being a Monday it would have been a half day.
At his door John Joe met us. "Lads," he said, "ye will have to call off that do next week. I won't be able to supply the turkeys. Put it off for a week." We were literally stuck to the ground and there was no chatting back with John Joe.
I remember well the four of us standing on a snow clad Square and wondering what in the name of God would we do, with tickets printed and at that stage many sold. We decided to go to the Hotel to see could we change the date.
We met the manageress who was a Miss Olivia Featherston, a native of County Roscommon and who, not too long after that, was to marry Tommy Murphy of William Street.
We asked her was it possible to change our social date for a week. She queried why and we told her that Mr. Kenny could not supply the turkeys. She looked at us and exclaimed, "you are not serious".
She said it was I engaged the fowl from Mr Kenny and he had no right what so ever to consult ye. If Mr Kenny cannot supply me with what I want I have many other contacts who would be only too delighted to supply my order.
To make my story short, our social went ahead as booked on Jan. 8th, and John Joe did supply the turkeys. Miss Featherston certainly put John Joe in his place.
That year, of course, the hotel was called "The White Horse Inn" and was owned by renowned singer Josef Locke. The name of the hotel called after one of his great numbers.
Mr Locke was on tour at that time but to our luck he returned the evening of our social and went on stage during the night for us and sang several of his well known numbers including Blaze Away, Hear my Song, Goodbye and The Drinking Song amongst others. It really made our night for us and indeed it was the talk of the town for a long time afterwards that Josef Locke sang at McKenna's social.
For me personally it was a wonderful thrill as I have always been a great fan of Josef Locke.
Early on in his career it was the operatic scene that Locke had in his mind.
After the death of Enrico Caruso in the 1920's two of the world's most acclaimed tenor's of that era were Italy's Beniamino Gigli and our own John McCormack.
In the 1940's Gigli was in concert in Covent Garden, London and his under study was none other than Josef Locke, such was the esteem that Locke was held in around that time.
Following advice from John McCormack, however, who felt that Locke's voice was more suited to the lighter repertoire rather than the operatic career he had in mind, McCormack urged Locke to find an agent, thus he found the noted impresario, Jack Hylton, who booked him but could not fit his full name on the bill, thus Joseph McLaughlin became Josef Locke, and the rest, they say, is history.
That year, 1962, saw the Arms Hotel change hands and I can't exactly remember the reason but our second social was held in Tralee, the hotel was unavailable for a period of time but we did return to the renamed Arms Hotel for many years to come.
Ah yes, many happy days (and nights).
( to be continued tomorrow)
Presidential candidates and their spouses 1990 <<<<<<<< Some photos I took at the Corpus Christi procession this year.
<<<<<<<< Warning: the following is in French. It is an interview with my 7 year old grandson who, last week, was "expat of the week " among French children in Cork. Indulge a proud Nana or simply ignore.
Du haut de ses 7 ans, Seán est un petit garçon qui apprécie les plaisirs de la vie. Il aime beaucoup faire la fête et rigoler. Même s'il prend beaucoup de plaisir à vivre en Irlande, son pays natal, c’est en France qu'il s’amuse le plus. Il attend donc les grandes vacances avec impatience
L’année scolaire en Irlande Né en Irlande, Seán a une maman française et un papa irlandais. Il vit à Cork depuis qu'il est né. C'est aussi là qu'il va à l'école. Aujourd'hui, c'était : "la Journée sur l’Inde", car il y a une petite fille d’origine indienne dans sa classe. Il a découvert des danses indiennes, mais aussi des chansons et de la nourriture de l’Inde. "C’était bien,"dit-il en souriant. D’ailleurs, Seán apprécie l’école. Il trouve les maths assez facile, par contre il pense que la langue irlandaise est fort compliquée car "les mots sont très différents." Il est très content de savoir "parler deux langues, comme ça tu peux parler avec beaucoup plus de gens."
Seán aime s’amuser et bouger Quand il rentre de l'école, il y a une nounou qui s'occupe de lui et de son frère jusqu'à ce que sa maman rentre du travail. Seán est un garçon bien actif. Après les devoirs, il fait beaucoup de sport. Il va jouer au football et prend des cours de tennis. Il aime aussi beaucoup nager. Même son anniversaire, il le fête dans un lieu où l’on bouge et s’amuse. Il se souvient que sa maman les a emmené à Chuckies. Il pouvait faire du rodéo sur un "bull et si tu tombes, tu perds ton tour." Il y a là plein de jeux pour se distraire et s'amuser.
Les vacances en France, c’est la fête Seán attend les vacances avec beaucoup d'impatience. Avec son frère jumeau et ses parents, ils vont les passer en France. Rien que d’y penser, c’est déjà la fête. Le voyage est assez long car ils prennent le bateau entre Cork et la Bretagne, mais qu’importe. Il y a "beaucoup de gens. On a une cabine, il y a un restaurant, un cinéma et aussi un spectacle de magie." Et puis en France, "on peut se coucher plus tard. On va à la plage, on joue et il y a les cousins." Et en plus, "je peux manger des moules et des crevettes." nous dit-il ravi. Seán ajoute : "Il y a trop de pluie en Irlande". Il n’y a pas assez de plages à son goût. Car son rêve secret, "c’est de voir beaucoup de plages dans le monde. En Amérique, parce qu’il fait plus chaud qu’ici."
Propos recueillis par Isabelle Barth, expatjunior.com/cork
Safe Tractor Driving Skills Course for youths aged between 14-16 years will be held in Listowel Mart on Tuesday June 25,2013 between 10am and 4pm. The Course costs 30 euro or 15 euro if your family is in receipt of social welfare payments or an employment scheme such as CE, RSS, TUS etcetera. For more information or to book a place for your son or daughter please contact North and East Kerry Development reception on 068 23429 before Wednesday June 19.
Yesterday was Fathers' Day. In honour of the day I bring you this photo of Jim Cogan and family and this "thought for the day".
Photo by John Stack
'It's good to be blessed. It's better to be a blessing. ~Author Unknown
So often we do not realize what a blessing we are to others. We might not think we make an impact, but often we do make a huge impact in someone else's life. The following story is just one example. In the faint light of the attic, an old man, tall and stooped, bent his great frame and made his way to a stack of boxes that sat near one of the little half-windows.
Brushing aside a wisp of cobwebs, he tilted the top box toward the light and began to carefully lift out one old photograph album after another and his old journal. Opening the yellowed pages, he glanced over a short reading, and his lips curved in an unconscious smile.
His eyes brightened as he read the words that spoke clear and sweet to his soul as he read the inscription for June 14th . It stood out because it was so brief in comparison to other days. In his own neat handwriting were these words: 'Wasted the whole day fishing with Jimmy. Didn't catch a thing.'
With a deep sigh and a shaking hand, he took up Jimmy's journal and found the boy's entry for the same day. Large scrawling letters, pressed deeply into the paper, read: 'Went fishing with my dad. Best day of my life.'
Update on our 7 little chicks of three different breeds. See how they have grown!
Fungi taken from a Baltimore boat last week
Alas, no more!
They have a lot to answer for.
As an addendum to last week's article about Cyril Kelly and Writers' Week, Martin Sheehy, all the way from Phoenix, Arizona sent this comment:
"Hats off to Cyril Kelly and honour to his late mother-Mai Naylor ( Mrs. Kelly) and her friends from Upper Church St., all of whom brought joy to my boyhood-Babe Jo Wilmot ( Mrs. Collins), Masie Gleason ( Mrs. Sweeney), Maureen Horgan ( RIP), Noreen Horgan ( Mrs. Lynch), Marie Kiely, Moira Madden ( my late mother, Mrs. Sheehy), Josie Madden ( my late aunt, Mrs. Flynn), etc. Before and after Vatican II, with or without Mai's hats, they were and are a memorable crowd. "
This is the social photo from the Mairín MacMahon archive. We think that it is from the 1940s when there was a very strong branch of The Irish Red Cross in Listowel.
Margaret Dillon has very kindly helped with some of the names.
Sitting :......., Mona or Phil Duggan,...,.....Kennelly...., Maureen MacMahon, Clementine Crowley,...,.....,Kit Medell , Mai Kathleen O'Sullivan
1st. Row standing: Man in uniform? Dr. Johnny Walshe, Dr. Buckley, Canon Peter O'Sullivan, Canon Wallace, Fr. Gerard Dillon, ...., .....,Helen Mc Elligott, Marie Stack Grimes, Mr. Leahy.
3rd. Row: Vincent Carmody,...., Hillary Nielson,....., Mrs. Walshe, ........, Christy Keogh, ......, ......., Louis Murphy,.....,......, Anne (Nash) Wixted,.........,.........., ...........
If you are reading this and tecognising yourself or anyone else in the photo please email me and let me know. You'll need your magnifying glass.
Photos from this era or indeed from any era are very popular with blog followers so if you have any hanging around the house do share them with us please.
This is turf season. The photo comes from Fermanangh in 19922 and shows a meitheal of men clamping turf on a huge area of bog.
The following three documents relate to the notorious industrial school in Glin. The first two were written at the time and are self explanatory. The third is an extract from the Ryan report into conditions in orphanges and industrial schools. Glin reformatory was a truly dreadful place.
Valerie O'Sullivan's photo from The Four Peaks Challenge for Focus Ireland.
Anyone who believes that a prophet is never appreciated in his own parish, has not been to Listowel. Listowel likes nothing better than to celebrate its own writers. Any Writers' Week event featuring the work of a local writer is a guaranteed sell out.
Cyril Kelly may not be as well known nationally as John B. Keane and Bryan MacMahon but he is huge in Listowel. Cyril's style is conversational and confessional. He blends nostalgia with bemusement at the pace of change in the world. Growing up in Listowel, family and particularly the joys of living in a mainly female household, the agony and the ecstasy of fatherhood, travel and teaching are among the themes he returns to again and again in his writing. All his anecdotes are told in a carefully crafted, learned yet accessible style. He delights in the well turned phrase; the well chosen adjective; the evocative metaphor. His word pictures are a delight to the eye.
Cyril has another gift even greater than his command of the English language, that is his inimitable speaking voice. His essays are written for the voice....his own. Like Dylan Thomas, another man who wrote for radio, his work is best enjoyed when heard delivered by the writer.
Writers Week 2013 featured two Cyril Kelly events. The first was his reading in St. John's. The second was an event he presented along with local milliner, Aoife Hannon. The happening took place in Tae Lane Store on Church Street and featured hats by Cyril's mother, Mai Naylor and modern headpieces by Aoife Hannon whose star continues to rise among modern established milliners.
Cyril Kelly reminisces about Mai Naylor, Babe Jo Wilmot and her 2 pigs, Hansel and Gretel, milk delivered from cow to doorstep by the man who did the milking and the first Writers' Week. He told us how Vatican 2 dealt a death blow to his mother's milinery trade. Women were no longer required to cover their heads in church.
Aoife Hannon has little to do with cows and pigs. Horses are the animals most dear to the hearts of her customers. Aoife's colorful and beautifully crafted hats are seen on racecourses and at weddings and glamorous social events here and in the U.K.
Hats by both Listowel milliners were on display in the shop and were a great talking point among the many ladies present.
Cyril Kelly, Kelly Browne of Tae Lane Store who organised the event and Aoife Hannon wearing one of her own creations.
Mirian Kiely, Bríd Kelly, Anne Moloney and Kay Caaball
Mai Naylor's grandaughter models one of her grandmother's hats.
Moloneys; Anne, Maeve and Kay
The three Kelly girls pose with their grandmother's hats. Unfortunately there were none of her famous turbans among the hats that Kelly collected for this occasion from local women.
Mai Naylor's three granddaughters in the Tea Lane Store at Writers' Week 2013.
Since it looks like this post will be enjoyed mainly by the ladies, here are a few fashon items from another era.
Dungarvan women in the fashionable attire of the early 20th century
Bathing costumes from the same era
The Bantry Cloak.
Business people in town made a great effort for Writers' Week and The Races
Listowel Garden Centre's display advertising Ladies' Day at the races
One of the best parts of Writers' Week for most local people is the opportunity to meet up with old friends who come home to Listowel for the festival. What better place to meet these friends than at a "local" event. One of these events this year was a tribute by Owen MacMahon to his late father, Bryan. Owen managed masterfully to show us what made Bryan MacMahon 'tick".
Our own local "údar agus oide" was brought to life before our eyes but we also got a glimpse of the great man as father and husband. Owen shared his unique insights into everyday life with a disciplined writer, a man of fixed habits but above all a story teller extraordinaire. Maybe a more fitting title would be " údar, scéalaí agus oide" .
Owen's enormous pride in his father shone through in every anecdote. Bryan MacMahon was a writer deeply rooted in his native place. He respected and honoured his own people: he celebrated them in ballads and stories but he always treated them gently and with a tolerant teacher's understanding of the shortcomings of the human condition.
The singing of Karen Trench, Philip Enright and Sonny Egan added to this gem of a performance; for me the theatrical high point of this year's Writers' Week.
I met a group of old Listowellians, pictured below, reunited as they left St. John's after another vituoso local performance from essayist, Cyril Kelly. Cyril has the gift of turning the minutae of everyday life as he lives it, into charming evocative pieces with universal appeal.
His essays are a delight to read on the page but far far more delightful when read in his distinctive musical voice.
Cyril Kelly reading in St. John's
Vincent Carmody introducing Cyril to the audience.
Cyril gave a second performance on Saturday in Tae Lane Store where he spoke about growing up in the house of a milliner. I'll tell you more about that tomorrow.
School friends and old neighbors, Máire MacMahon and Anne Cogan met up during writers' Week 2013.
Joan Regan and Jim Cogan take a stroll before the theatre on Sunday night. They saw King of Carnage, an enjoyable light hearted farce, just the ticket for those suffering from literary overload.
This picture of Ballybunion on Friday June 8 2013 comes from
This is Bromore, Ballybunion last week. For more photos of this stunningly beautiful spot click HERE
What other literary festival boasts a full children's festival programme in tandem with its adult events? The 2013 children's events were as varied as their adult counterparts and they were enjoyed by hundreds of young participants. There was Fossett's Circus. The Big Top also doubled as a venue for all sorts of literary and ghostly goings on. There was Larry Lartigue showing our next generation a window into the past. We had Baby Boogie, always a hit with the smallies, a Teddy Bears picnic as well as all the readings and workshops.
I had first hand experience of 2 events when my grandchildren came to visit on Saturday. Here is 6 year old Aisling at her animation workshop. You can see her finished cartoon here.
This next event was called Bee the Book.
It took place in Garvey's Super Valu on Sunday morning and it was a resounding hit with early readers and pre readers. Book reading is fun!
As always Xistance youth Cafe helped out with the children's programme.
Louise and Chloe are 2 of the hard working members who ensured that everything ran smoothly.
As well as the scheduled programme there are also other attractions in Listowel during the weekend.
There was racing on the Island on Sunday and Monday and all the glamour of a very successful Ladies' Day. I was at the Craft Fair in The Seanchaí instead.
What a wealth of beautiful things!
John Stack's photo of the Feale Rangers team who defeated Mid kerry in the first round of the County Championship 2013. For more information about this photo or to see lots more of John's great North Kerry football photos go to this site:
Ballybunion Sea Angling took this photo looking out from a cave on The Nun's beach. Is there anywhere on earth as lovely as Ballybunion? It is a geographer's paradise. It must have every coastal feature there is.
This is Isobel Barrett of Fairylawn Alpaca manning the desk at the lovely Original Kerry pop up shop. This shop operated in Tea Lane for the duration of Writers' Week and as well as crafts for sale it held workshops and demonstrations daily. I bought one of the beautiful wooden pens you see in the foreground of my picture. These pens are made in Moyvane by an enterprising 18 year old, Donnchadh O'Connor. My pen came in a gorgeous wooden box.
These are examples of Isobel's handmade toys and scarves. She also makes beautiful bags. As well as knitting her own products, Isobel spins her own alpaca yarn.
Here are 2 more snaps I took at Amy Sheehy's launch
Stacks, mother and daughter
Old friends, Mairead O'Sullivan and Grace O'Sullivan aka Mrs. Mairead and Mrs Grace.
This is master painter, Fred Chute passing on his craft to his nephew, Francis.
Under Fred's watchful eye, the next generation of Chute painters is learning how to paint the unique plasterwork of Pat MacAulliffe.
A new feature of this year's Writers' Week was Mike O'Donnell's live sketching of some of the participants. Using skills honed while sketching criminals in The Four Courts, he captured the essence of people like Máire Mhac an tSaoi and Rebecca Miller.
I love Dermot Bolger even though he made me cry every night for a week when he read his poems of grieving for his wife on Book at Bedtime. He was described by Carlo Gebler who interviewed him at Writers' Week as a very generous publisher and writer. He displayed that same generosity to me by inviting me to pose with him for my photograph for the blog. On Dermot's right is committee member, Máire O'Connor.
Carlo Gebler in conversation with Dermot Bolger
This is one of the photos Maura McMahon found among her late Aunty Maureen's treasures. Margaret Dillon who has a great memory for old Listowel faces, helped me with these names. The lady pouring the tea is Maisie Sweeney. The lady with the cup is Maureen MacMahon. In the back are Maureen (OQuigley) Tatten and her husband Derry Tatten. We have drawn a complete blank on the man on the far left as you look at the photo. At the risk of sounding a bit like a garda on Crimecall, the image is very clear. Someone must know him. The other lady is familiar to people as well but no definite identification yet. The photo was probably taken at a Red Cross Social in the 1940s or 50s
This is Denis Carroll's photo from Friday nights's high jinx in John B.'s to mark Billy Keane's adoption into the Stack Clan. You too can be an adopted Stack for a very small fee. Read all about it and their planned Clan Gathering HERE
One of the marvellous aspects of Writers' Week is the variety of activities on offer. Friday May 31 2013 was our day for learning all about the Famine in Listowel. Below is a photo of some of the crowd gathered at the Listowel Arms to take part in a walk led by John Pierse, Michael Guerin and Kay Caball. This walk was to take us to places of interest connected with the Great Famine. We were lucky to be in the company of three "experts" in various aspects of Listowel in Famine times.
I'll share with you a few of the more shocking facts I learned.
In the worst week of famine times, 66 people died in the workhouse in Listowel. Many more died on the roadside, in their houses or in the fields.
The workhouse was so overcrowded that every shed and outhouse was pressed into service as an auxiliary workhouse and many more of these auxiliary workhouses were set up in the locality.
The people were starving, yet the river Feale was teeming with fish.
3,000 people are buried in Teampall Bán graveyard. We know the names of only 3.
There is another Famine Graveyard at Gale.
The 4 Presentation Sisters did extraordinary good work sheltering, feeding and clothing the starving. Their role is often ignored by historians.
The present hospital chapel was part of the dining area of the workhouse.
Prostitutes and their children were segregated from other women and children in the workhouse.
The Famine lasted longer in North Kerry than it did elsewhere. It went on into 1850 and 1851.
walkers approaching the Presentation Convent
in the grounds of the old workhouse
Later on Friday May 31 2013 we continued with our Famine education with a seminar in The Plaza. If we had local experts in the morning, we now had local, national and international experts in an excellent forum, ably chaired by Mike Lynch.
Left to Right: Thomas Keneally, Kay Caball, William Smyth, Mike Murphy and Mike Lynch
The Moloney family out in force to hear one of their own do us all proud as she took her place among Famine scholars.
Between 1845 and 1852 over one million Irish people died. At least 250,000 fled the country. The authors of the Atlas of the Great Irish Famine have done us all a great service in making this truly awful episode in our history more real for us. Their maps have gone some way toward explaining why so many people died and toward explaining what determined if you would die, leave or survive.
We, the descendants of Famine survivors owe it to our brethren to remember them.
Here are some of the people who slaved away behind the scenes at Writers' Week .
This is Edmond Harty of Dairymaster. This weekend he is in Monte Carlo in contention with 49 others for the title International Entrepreneur of the Year. Go néirí an t-adh leis.
Ballybunion Sea Angling was on Bromore Cliffs on June 4 2013
Yipee! We're on the short list
Four Kerry towns have been shortlisted for the 2013 Tourism Town Award.
The award, now in its second year is organised by Failte Ireland, and is designed to recognise Irish towns and villages where the local community goes the extra mile to enhance their appeal to tourists.
Portmagee in south Kerry was the winning town of the inaugural award in 2012.
This year, again, Portmagee is on the shortlist along with Listowel, Kenmare and Tralee.
The 45 towns will be judged under the following headings Sense of Place, Local Involvement, Tourism Products Available and Development and promotion of the town.
The top ten towns will each receive €1,000 with the eventual winner receiving a further €10,000 along with marketing and development supports from Fáilte Ireland. (Radio Kerry)
Knockanure are the North Kerry division 5 league football champions and John Stack took some great photos....ones to show the grandkids in years to come.
Ger Greaney took a photograph of a photograph in a Kerry's Eye from 2000. It shows Ruth and Amy Sheehy with Sara Browne and Leah Dore.
The very same Amy Sheehy had her own art exhibition in The Seanchaí during Writers' Week 2013 and I was there.
Striking paintings very well received by the capacity audience. Another artist in the canon of Listowel's very talented.
On my way to assist Vincent Carmody on the Thursday walk around places associated with Listowel's literary figures, I encountered none other than the Kerry Group winner from the night before. Gavin Corbett was on his way to the winners' readings. I think he might have been still walking on air. He was accompanied by his wife.
Mike Lynch was in the company of Tom O'Loughlin.
Vincent was ready to lead his literary walking tour of Listowel. Before we set off he posed for me with visitors from the UK, Siobhán and Mark Hewitt. Siobhán is a grandaughter of Mary Hannon of this parish.
He also stood in with Kieran Donaghy and Joanna Keane OFlynn.
"Star" was in Listowel as part of Writers Week's Operation Education. Here he is with teachers and former teachers, Mary Frances, Muireann, Eileen, Breeda and Tony.
Below are members of Listowel Folk Group whose musical interludes added greatly to this year's walking tour.
Here is Vincent addressing the large crowd of walkers at the John B. Keane statue.
At the Maid of Erin these two ladies came out to tell us that they were celebrating one year in business.
In the old mart yard Mike Moriarty sang My Silver River Feale accompanied by John Kinsella.
The crowd outside John B.'s listen to songs by John B. Keane.
Paddy Keane doing his bit.
Mary Frances Behan telling us about the very erudite O'Rahilly family of The Square.
Tony Behan read "The Printer's on the Tack", a ballad written by Bryan MacMahon about his friend, Bob Thackaberry. When we got to Church Street, Tony gave us a masterly reading of John B Keane's The Street.
This year Vincent gave me a powerfully emotive piece to read. It is taken from the book "Hostage to Fortune" and describes an eviction during Famine Times. This is it;
“We lived on Knock Maol. That’s a wild old hill six miles out from Listowel. There were three families of us on the hill, Colberts, Corridans and Connors, and Lord Listowel was our landlord. We had to pay him twenty pounds for our share of the hill; the others had to pay the same. It was too much for them. We never knew anything but hunger and starvation in our house, eatin’ spuds three times a day and easin’ them down with sour milk, when we had it. Everything else, oats, calves and pigs went to pay the rent.”
“Would you believe it? I had never tasted a mouthful of bacon mutton or beef until I joined the Lincolns although I spent all my time feeding pigs, sheep and cattle. The nearest we went to it was the odd time we boiled a sheep’s head for soup or filled its puddings with blood and mashed potatoes for a Sunday dinner.
“ To make a long story short, we failed to keep up with the rent and Lord Listowel gave orders to clear us all out, Colberts, Corridans and Connors alike. They came on Small Christmas Day in January 1863, bailiffs, peelers and soldiers and had us out on the cold bog before dawn. They burned down the houses for fear we’d go back into them when their backs were turned. They took my father and the other grown-up men into the workhouse in Listowel with them. They did that “out of charity” they said, because Lady Listowel wouldn’t sleep the night if the poor creatures were left homeless on the mountain.”
“They left me and my brother, Patsy to look after ourselves. We slept out with the hares a couple o’ nights, eatin’ swedes that had the ice in the heart o’ them an’ then we parted. He went east and I went west towards Tralee. I must ha’ been a sight, after walking twenty miles on my bare feet and an empty belly. I wasn’t hungry for long. A nice fellow in a red jacket and ribbons flyin’ from his cap took me into a baker’s shop, gave me two penny buns to eat and a cup of tea to wash them down. The first tea I ever tasted. He gave me a shilling all for myself and invited me to go with him to where he lived.
Ha! Ha! I have been a soldier of the Queen ever since.
Mairead Sharry is seen here spinning wool from Killarney Woolen Mills at the sheep shearing competitions in Millstreet. She was in Killorglin this weekend demonstrating spinning.
John Kelliher has some great photos of local people at the races on his Facebook page