This is an old photo of Kilocrim Wren Boys from Vincent Carmody's North Kerry Camera. I'm including it here to introduce a request. A student from UL has contacted me to look for an account of winners of the Wren Boy competition at The Harvest Festival down through the years. She is doing a project on the Brosna Ceilí Band. Apparently this band was formed originally to take part in the Wren Boy Competition.
A picture paints a thousand words In 1903 this Bengali woman carried a British merchant literally on her back. Look at her thin little frame, her bare feet and the pannier tied around her head. Both people in this photo accepted the situation as their lot in life.
Kay Caball points out an inscription on a headstone to Julie Evans a descendant of one of the "orphan girls. The photo was taken during the filming of the recently aired episode of Tar Abhaile" Kay Caball, formerly Kay Moloney of Listowel has announced some great news on her blog:
"I am delighted to tell you that I finally finished my book on the 117 Kerry Girls who went to Australia in 1849/1850 and it will be published by The History Press Ireland in Spring 2014.
The Kerry Girls: Between the Famine & The Crown
The Story of 117 Kerry Girls sent to Australia on the Earl Grey Scheme
This is the true story of 117 Kerry girls sent out to Australia in 1849/1850 from Workhouses in Dingle (20), Kenmare (25), Killarney (35) and Listowel (37), under the auspices of the Earl Grey ‘Orphan’ scheme. The majority of these Kerry teenage girls were not in fact ‘Orphans’ as many had one parent alive. Their emigration has become known as the ‘Earl Grey scheme’ after its principal architect, Earl Grey, Secretary of State for the Colonies in Lord John Russell’s Whig government at the time of the Great Irish Famine
The Imperial government saw it as an opportunity on the one hand to clear out some of the overcrowded Irish workhouses and on the other, to provide much needed female labour and potential marriage partners for colonial settlers. In the two years that the scheme was in place, over 4000 Irish girls were sent to the other side of the world.
This book seeks to bring to the notice of the public both here and in Australia, the circumstances that lead initially to the Kerry girls confinement in the workhouses, their ‘selection’ and shipping to New South Wales and Adelaide, their subsequent apprenticeship, marriage and life in the colony. While it is not a ‘Famine’ book, it sets out the terrible circumstances that they left behind in Kerry and the mixed reception afforded to these ‘useless trollops’ following their arrival. We ask if their emigration was an opportunity or a tragedy? Did they become pawns in a political struggle between Imperial and Colonial interests?
It is estimated in Australia that there are 277,173 descendants of these 117 girls. The Chapters are interspersed with remarkable pen pictures of a number of the girls, provided by their descendants. These pen pictures show the human side, the different personalities and their reaction to the changed conditions of their lives. If you haven't seen the story of Bridget Ryan, one of these girls, on the recent TAR ABHAILE documentary, you can access it on TG4 Player. It is highlighted on the boxes on right and Bridget's story is on Episode 3. Link
My research into the project over the past two years, included identifying the girls from the four workhouses and matching these with shipping and baptismal records. Further research took place through the individual Minutes of the Boards of Guardians of the workhouses, Tralee/Kerry 1848/1850 newspapers, Australian 1848- 1851 newspapers, British Parliamentary Records etc., etc."
Gabrielle, Mary and Hannah took a minute to pose for the camera. They are very busy these days in St. Vincent de Pau's Second Time Around shop. You can also buy new handmade goods in aid of the St. Vincent de Paul Society in Craftshop na Méar at 53 church St.
It was great to see one of Listowel's royalty, Mary Keane, back to her old self again after her recent hip replacement. She will cut the ribbon to officially open Craftshop na Méar tomorrow Weds Dec. 10 2013 at 1.30 p.m.
<<<<<<<< The North Kerry Line by Alan O'Rourke "Many lovely things are gone That seemed sheer miracle to the multitude."…Yeats This book will make a great Christmas present for anyone with any interest in railways and particularly The North Kerry Line. I attended the launch recently and I have only now got round to posting some photos.
Some hard working local ladies served us mulled wine.
Representing Kenny and Loughnane families long association with the line were Mark Loughnane and Joan and P.J. Kenny.
Liam O'Mahony who did trogan work to get this project off the ground chats to our mayor, Jimmy Moloney.
Doreen and Daisy helped with selling the books.
Jimmy Moloney welcomed the arrival of the book, a written account of an important piece of North Kerry History.
This is Michael Guerin. Michael has dedicated long hours to making this launch happen. First of all he saved the venue we were in, the Lartigue Museum from destruction. He researched and preserved valuable Lartigue and Railway memorabilia and memories. He was responsible for the lovely old interviews we heard on the night to the accompaniment of old footage of the line. He it was who told me all about the book and the night and so he is the reason I am bringing it to you.
This is Alan O'Rourke who wrote the book. He loves Ireland and he loves railways.
Jimmy Deenihan did the official launch.
Among the anecdotes from the book that Alan told us was this account of an accident in The Newcastlewest station.
As you probably realize, trains like to run on flat terrain and even the smallest hill posed a problem for a heavy locomotive and carriages. En route between Newcastlewest and Listowel the train had to pass through Barnagh. Sometimes it climbed this incline with difficulty. But "on November 25th. 1947, a Limerick-Listowel empty stock special and 16 wagons stalled on Barnagh Bank at around 10.40 p.m." The driver decided to divide the train. He decoupled 5 carriages but slipped before he could remount the train. The runaway train hurtled down the line towards Newcastle, tearing down gates and rattling crookery in the dressers of houses near the line. It eventually came to a halt in the stationmaster's garden having demolished train, track, platform and numerous gates on the way. Luckily no one was killed. This was a miracle as, at that time, it was the custom for courting couples to hang out in a carriage that was left overnight in NCW. As luck would have it, there was a good film on in the cinema and lovers chose that venue instead.
This and lots of other stories are recounted in the book as well as more technical stuff for the Roy Croppers of this world.
The book is in shops for €15…a bargain for this collector's item.
The girls' school band lead out the Santa Parade yesterday Dec 8 2013
The last voyage of The Dronningen
This is Mike Flahive's account of a shipwreck off the Kerry coast by Bromore in 1882.
The Dronningen left Glasgow fully laden with one thousand tons of gas-coal on the 11th of November 1882. She was a barque with her home in Christiania now known as Oslow in Norway. Originally intended for immigration it was decked out in first class style. Under the command of Captain Carl Anderson and with a crew of sixteen she was bound for New York. The Dronnin Gen was towed by a tug boat to Greenock, one of the loveliest harbours in Britain, the tug left her to anchor at the tail of the bar off Greenock.
On the 13th she left Greenock and sailed firstly to the west then southerly down the Firth of Clyde with a cold but helpful easterly wind in her sails. The Dronnin Gen was running under only fore and aft rigged sails and an outer jib until she reached the broader sweep of the Clyde Estuary, there the crew of sixteen broke out the square sails of the fore and main mast and heeling hard to starboard she went south at a fair pace. Capt. Anderson steered his ship through the sheltered waters of the Clyde Estuary leaving the snow covered mountains and then Arran and Goatfell astern.
At Ailsa Crag, that odd round island he veered west until the Mull of Kintyre came abeam. The weather now had changed, milder, the hard cold easterlies were gone, replaced by a freshening Southwesterly. Captain Anderson kept his ship close to the offshore wind passing just a few miles off Rathlin Island and later Malin Head, from there he ordered a course of west, twenty five south for New York.
Around five hundred miles off Achill Island in Longitude 13 degrees 30' West, latitude 54 degrees North the fury of a severe hurricane overtook the Dronnin Gen from the northwest. All the day and all night on the 18th November 1882 the hurricane continued in strength with wind speeds of seventy five knots sometimes gusting to one hundred, the ship was now quite unmanageable. Driven before the wind at a rate of twenty four knots, tossing helplessly on a sea of streaky white foam, it suffered terrible damage. One mountainous sea crashed over her taking the three lifeboats, smashing one to pieces against the deck, another burst through the captains quarters on deck forcing him and his crew to go below. Minutes later a solid wall of water over thirty foot high swept across the deck tearing the captains and the first and second mates apartments from their roots clean away over the side.
In a temporary lull the crew lashed together and armed with axes made one gallant foray on deck, they hacked at the rigging setting free what canvas they could before again being forced below by the renewed ferocity of the wind. All the time the Dronnin Gen rolled and pitched one minute its gunwhales under water the next crashing into a trough submerging its bow in green seas, while the one thousand tons of coal shifted with each lurch threatening to destroy the ship from the inside. For three days they were without food, cold and wet and deafened by the terrible sounds of tons of water smashing onto the deck, of the coal hammering her insides, of the ship itself and creaking and groaning expecting every moment to be their last and theirs a watery grave.
At 6 oclock that dark Monday night of the 20th Noevember 1882 a lookout saw the beam of Loop Head Lighthouse to the East.All they could do now was pray. The Dronnin Gen missed the storm washed cliff of Loop Head and the Clare coast by less than half a mile, the confusion of seas there opening more seams and putting the weakened crew on the pumps to intolerable pressure to maintain the upper hand.
Captain Anderson knew it would be over soon one way or another, they could not hold out much longer. At half past eleven with a sickening lurch the Dronnin Gen went aground at Faha south of Lick Castle on the North Kerry coast. Driven further ashore all night with each gigantic swell and a rising tide it finally rested at Poultenaw. The captain and crew stayed aboard until they were rescued in the morning by local frmers alerted by a Mr. Hunt from Doon who spotted the tall masts over the cliffs of Bromore. The sailors threw out a rope tied to a strong hauser which the rescuers secured around a large rock and on this hauser the wet and weary crew were finally helped to safety. In true maritime tradition Captain Carl Anderson was last to leave his ship, he brought with him a beautiful young Newfoundland dog and a little pup in his pocket.
Amidst great scenes of joy and bewilderment (as many of the crew only spoke Norwegian) they were taken to nearby farmhouses for dry clothes, food and rest.
They all returned to the wreck on Thursday and Friday at midday at low spring tide to salvage what little belongings were left, the best had all been lost. People gathered from miles around to see this once magnificent tall ship now battered and beaten and filling with sea water. The local athletic youths assisted the captain and crew in their endeavours to recover their property on board.
My grand-father Dan Flahive, then seventeen remembered the captain as a fine blond haired man over six feet tall with a beard. He regaled them with the tale of this last voyage and of others to New York and Quebec and to Murmansk around the North Cape, the land of the midnight sun where there is continuous daylight for ten weeks of the year. The Coast guards of the Cashen took charge of the wreck and the captain and crew departed with the Norwegian consul to Limerick bidding a fond farewell to their rescuers and new found friends from Ballybunion.
On Monday 4th December Robert McCowan as Lloyds agent auctioned off the cargo of coal and any other parts of the ship which could be removed such as ropes, rigging, blocks spars and masts.
Many memementos remain in the locality, the kitchen table in Walsh's of Faha is made from decking of the Dronnin Gen, the purlins in Flahive's house in Bromore withstood that terrible hurricane out in the Atlantic and many more storms since. Horses ploughed fields and pulled traps to Doon chapel shod in shoes made from the anchor chain links at Leahy's Forge in Bromore. On the rocky strand at the waterfall shiny polished lumps of coal may be found, coal once intended to make gas to light the streets of New York.
What was left of the Dronnin Gen was quickly broken up in subsequent storms and now one hundred and eleven years later the only visible trace is a fluke of one of the anchors showing only at very low spring tides, not much but still enough of a reminder to perpetuate the memory of Captain Carl Anderson and his brave crew and the saga of the last voyage of the Dronnin Gen.
Mike Flahive, Chief Coxswain, Ballybunion Sea and Cliff Rescue, 1993
This is Francis, Fred Chute's nephew following in the family business, painting and sign writing.
Essential tools of the trade
The Harp and Lion is finished. Beautiful!
Vincent Carmody gave me this photo of himself and the late Michael Sheehy of New York. They were posing at the back of Jim O'Sullivan's pub in Woodside. Vincent and Jim have a strong family association with the Irish postal service.
<<<<<<< Please follow the link below and listen to this original Christmas song for a Cork girl. I include it especially for all of those away from home this Christmas and reliving in memory the feel of a real Irish Christmas. Enjoy! Meghan Ali Christmas; Coming Home
John Kelliher's picture of Listowel Celtic's Under 8's
Some local ladies taking a look around Craftshop na Méar.
Encomium for lady with a Listowel connection in 1899 (From The Kentucky Irish American, Louisville August 12, 1899) No death of recent date has caused more profound sorrow in Ireland than that of Mrs. Pierce Mahony, which occurred at her home in Sutton, County Dublin, July 27. Mrs. Mahony belonged to a well-known Kerry family, the Raymonds, and was in every respect an ornament to Irish womanhood. She was a lady of exceeding culture, and her great personal charm was the admiration of all who ever had the privilege of coming within her gracious influence. To the Irish cause she was passionately devoted, and her bereaved husband by her decease loses a lifelong companion who was in complete sympathy with all his aims.
Another one of the newly painted shops. Town is looking really well lately. This premises on Market Street was formerly Cronins.
Charming picture from Dublin Zoo 1932 <<<<<< Sunday is Dec. 8, traditionally a big shopping day in town. If you are "bringing home the Christmas, do drop into Craftshop na Méar for that unique gift.
The Santa Parade starts at 12.30 in The Square. Put December 10 in your diary for the official opening of Craftshop na Méar. and December 16 for our Cois Tine event with the help of our friends in Writers' Week. Stories and song around the fire from 2.00p.m. Small charge will apply.
Sweeping up the dead leaves in Listowel Dec 1 2013.
This is "The Doctor's Sword". There is great story behind this Samurai and it will soon be seen on TV and in film in a documentary filmed by Michael Kelly and a crew from IT Tralee.
This is the doctor, Dr. Aidan McCarthy of Castletownbeare in Co. Cork.
Aidan qualified as a doctor in UCC. Then he joined the R.A.F. and headed off in search of adventure.
He was much decorated and became something of a hero.
I won't spoil the whole story for you but I will tell you that he found himself in prisoner of war camp in Japan in 1945. Interestingly 19 of the 27 doctors captured by the Japanese were Irish. Aidan was later honored with an OBE for his services to his fellow prisoners.
Now the sword. He was in the prisoner of war camp when the atomic bomb fell on Nagasaki. His training as a doctor stood him in good stead and he helped in every way he could by ministering to the injured. He was housed with a family at the time and they gave him a present of Samurai sword as a token of their respect and appreciation of what he had done. He brought this sword to Castletownbere and he told his story to his family and he became a local celebrity.
Years later the family discovered that a Samurai sword in a Japanese family is a family treasure and the inscriptions on it relate to the family (a bit like an old style family bible). They brought the sword to an expert on these things and they discovered the family to whom it belonged. Dr. Aidan's descendants travelled to Japan and finally met up with the family.
Watch the TV documentary on Tv3 on Monday next Dec. 9 at 10.00p.m. and watch out for the film in due course.
In 1904 if your servants were feeling a bit down, this ad had the answer.
The parish bazaar was held on Friday and Saturday last. Denis O'Mahoney is the new "auctioneer". You'd miss Michael Dowling though.
I am thrilled to announce that I am the winner of the Ballydonoghue Parish Magazine Adult Photo Competition 2013. The subject of my photo was my pretty little granddaughter. She was totally oblivious to the camera at the time, as she was busily talking to a butterfly. The magazine will be launched in Tomáisín's in Lisselton on Dec 6th 2013. Always a great night. Anyone with an interest in Lisselton or North Kerry and particularly its history should make sure to buy the magazine. Old copies of the magazine are now collectors' items. This year's one is guaranteed to be treasured as well. It certainly will be in my family.
Willie Keane is a tireless fundraiser for projects in Tanzinia. Recently, accompanied by his son Billy he visited a clinic and school funded by his efforts. Listowel has cause to be proud of this son. Below are some photos from the trip.
Animals at a watering hole.
Billy with some happy children in Arusha
Billy sits among schoolchildren.
The blessing of a classroom funded by workers in Kostal.
Elephants sheltering from the searing heat.
The very colorful Masai people wait to greet Willie and Billy.
Willie sits surrounded by staff at the clinic.
The local village
In Craftshop na Méar the crafters are bonding well with their Church St. Neighbours. Here Patricia, Namir, Kelly and Mary pose with John O'Carroll from next door. Namir and Co. are planning an official opening on December 10. Keep Dec. 16 free as well as something new is planned for then.
<<<<< How about this for Christmas?
The ad. is dated 1904
<<<< Legends of Manchester United at their film premier this week
Dan Doyle, Jerry Kiernan and Raymond Keane, St Michael's 1968 (photo; Dan Doyle)
Junior Griffin wrote to me recently. This is what he said. "Mary, in reading your blog in recent times on Doctor O'Connor who lived in the Square, I'm one, at least, that has cause to be very grateful to the good doctor.Growing up in the Bridge Road I always heard the story that there was no doubt but that he saved my life.
I was born in Nurse O'Donovan's nursing home which was then based in Church Street, which would have been adjacent to the now North County guest house.
It seems that I got a severe dose of the whooping cough when just 3 days old and I'm told there was little chance of me surviving.
Doctor O'Connor was called and his prescription was to feed me on so many spoons of whiskey daily and to keep that up for a week or ten days.
As I'm still around over 70 years later it must have worked. I often thought, should I have been entered in the Guinness Book of Records as the youngest boozer of all times.
However, I must have not liked the taste as that was the last drop of the hot stuff that ever passed my lips.
As I grew up my late mother had another theory on the whiskey. Coming from a farming background, she had the story that when a greyhound pup was born, in order to keep him small the owner fed him with the whiskey. As I turned out to be the smallest of my siblings maybe there was some truth in that story. In the football sense, I would rate myself nothing more than a town league footballer, but like the greyhound I did have the bit of speed. So, who knows!!!.
Until his death in the early 1950's Doctor O'Connor would have visited our home on many ocasions and would have treated me several times after for the flu. and other childhood problems.
But as mentioned above, I do owe my life to him."
Hardy boyo! From the Discover Kerry website comes this photo of a goat on Carrantuathail.
A few more nice ones from the switching on of the Christmas lights
Jean OReilly the familiar face of RTE News for the deaf for 21 years retired recently.
Irish dancing, Munster Championship 1953
From Noreen Keane Brennan on Facebook comes this picture of Listowel publicans at Harp Brewery, Dundalk. No year yet but research is underway.
Some of the names from Brenda Daly on Facebook Cis Browne(Eric's mother),R.I.P. beside her Bridie Carmody from Church Street, behind her Kats Walsh, The Square and beside her Olivia Murphy R.I.P. late of William St., then there's Jetta Barry, William St.,R.I.P. and in the front beside Mai Chute, there's Nora Daly, formerly of the Horseshoe Bar and Mary from Mary B's and a little behind her, is Peggy O' Carroll, wife of the late Jet and Mairead and Eamon's mother.
I had a busy day on Sunday. It was a big day in town with most of the shops offering discounts. In the town park the Community Centre was holding a Craft Fair. Here are a few photos I took on my visit.
These people were there to promote a fundraiser for Ballybunion Sea and Cliff Rescue. Watch out for a great night with celebrity chef in The Listowel Arms.
Catherine Nolan had reed diffusers, jewellery etc.
Carmel and Paddy Fitzgibbon were chatting to Vincent Carmody at his stall.
Imelda Murphy and Noreen O'Connell were catching up.
These sisters had slate products and Tilly dolls for sale.
Enterprising pupils from Tarbert Comprehensive TY class were selling Christmas wreaths.
Another happy customer for Vincent; Paddy McElligott.
Mary Fagan was admiring Maria's diverse array of paper products.
Neighbours, Helen, Christy and Noreen were doing a spot of early Christmas shopping.
Nowadays we are reading of the re ignition of an old fiery subject….. the question of Irish language signage. Leo Varadkar, in response to pressure from Irish language lobbyists, is proposing to give placenames as Gaeilge more prominence on signposts than the more familiar English placenames that are in daily use.
Back in 1920 Listowel had its own signage as Gaeilge controversy.Paddy Keane found this account on line.
SIGNBOARDS (IRISH LANGUAGE).
HC Deb 25 November 1920
Mr. ALLEN PARKINSONasked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether he is aware that Miss Kearney, Messrs. John F. M'Guire, John Kean, John Quigley, James Crowley, all of Church Street, Listowel, Patrick Buckley, Jeremiah Foley, Thomas Beechinor, all of William Street, Listowel, Edward Moran, Market Street, Listowel, have within the last fortnight obliterated their names in Irish character on their showboards; whether this was done because of threats made by police constables in case they refused to do so; whether any of these are licensed traders; whether he is aware that Messrs. Timothy D. O'Sullivan, Michael Fitzmaurice, James Lynch, John Relihan, Michael O'Connor and Edward Gleeson, and Mrs. Michael Stack, Mrs. J. J. Keane, all of William Street, Listowel, Miss Katty Stack, Main Street, Listowel, Messrs. Morgan Sheehy, James Bunyan and John Began, and Mrs. Counihan, all of Church Street, Listowel, licensed traders, have, within the same period, also obliterated their names in Irish characters on their show boards; whether all these have, and prior to such obliteration had, their names in English characters over their doors as required by Section 25 of The Licensing Act, 1825; whether this obliteration was done under similar threats; whether, on Friday, the 12th instant, Constables Cahill and Beiman called at the premises of Mr. Flavin, a newsagent and flour and meal merchant, and threatened Mrs. Flavin that unless the name in Irish was taken down within 24 hours the premises would be blown up, and if the same constables on Wednesday night repeated this threat to Mr. Flavin's assistant, giving her until midnight to have the name removed, otherwise the house would be burned; whether in consequence the women and children were afraid to sleep at home that night; whether the same constables made a similar threat to Mrs. John B. Walsh; whether, when Mr. Walsh produced a letter from his solicitor as to the law on the point, they informed him this law was out of date, and that he must have his name in English letters six inches long, under Section 10 of The Licensing Act, 1864; whether there is such a Statute, as alleged by the police; whether there are still several traders having their names in Irish over their shops; and whether any assurance will be given to these that their property will not be destroyed in consequence by the police or other forces of the Crown, and that these traders will not be further molested in reference to this matter?
Sir H. GREENWOOD I am making inquiries into these allegations, and shall be glad if the hon. Member will repeat on Thursday next this question, of which I only received notice yesterday.
Mr. SEXTON asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether he will make further inquiries into the statement that only licence-holders were compelled to withdraw from their signboards their names in Irish; and whether traders may now be assured that they will be free in the future from interference of that character?
Sir H. GREENWOOD In view of the specific allegations in a question put to me to-day by the hon. Member for Wigan (Mr. Allen Parkinson), I am having further inquiry made into this matter.
I am looking forward to Tg4 on Sunday Dec. 1 at 9.30 to revisit a happy time last spring with Julie Evans and the Mahalicz family.
The film crew went to Sydney to film Julie "at home". Here she is Hyde Park Barracks with her cousin Barbara.
Julie at work
Filming at Hyde Park Barracks
The Tg4 programme will also feature this lady. She is Angie Mihalicz from Canada. NKRO found her Irish roots in Asdee.
Angie brought some of her family with her.
The connection with Peter McGrath? They are trying to make a family connection on Peter's family's vast family tree.