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N.I. Orphans and Races 2014

Wrong is wrong even when everybody is doing it.
Right is right even when nobody is doing it.

I was reminded of this maxim recently when I read the following story in Irish Central:

Photo: The National Museum of Australia

Young orphans who were sent from Northern Ireland to institutions in Australia were “painted black” for the apparent entertainment of their fellow ship passengers, a victim has revealed in testimony.

“Our faces were painted black to make us look like [Indigenous Australians],” he said, as part of the on-board attractions for paying passengers on the same ship.
Northern Ireland is in the midst of a historical inquiry into widespread physical and sexual abuse of children in both state and church run homes, reported to be the largest public investigation into institutional abuse.
The most recent sessions of the inquiry have centered on 130 children who were shipped to Australia between 1946 and 1956.
The inquiry, chaired by former judge Sir Anthony Hart, heard testimony on Tuesday at Banbridge Court House in County Down from a man, now in his 70s, who in 1953 was sent to Australia from the Catholic-run Termonbacca home in Co. Derry.
The man requested to remain anonymous before giving his testimony. According to The Guardian, tears streamed down his face as he recalled the abuse he and other orphans endured during the journey to Australia, including being painted black. 
He said that as a result of the abuse he experienced in Northern Ireland and then Australia, "I had no idea how to parent my children, or even how to cuddle and love them. I really don't know what love is."
Another victim, a veteran of the Australian Air Force, said that the abuse and conditions at the Bindoon home in Australia were even worse than what he experienced in Termonbacca.
"After Bindoon, Termonbacca turned out to be a holiday camp,” he said.
To date, 66 people who were shipped off to Australia during this dark decade in Northern Ireland’s history have given evidence and testimony.

Then and Now


Project for a car restorer

Spotted in town a while ago


More photos from Races 2014

Signs and Wonders and a few more from this year's Races

Some Listowel Signs


A few more from race week

If you haven't seen your photo yet, maybe it's here


Last rain out of Listowel station



This cat is Tripod. Tadhg Horan saved his life but he couldn't save his leg. Tripod has adapted well to his disability. He lives in the lap of luxury with his friends in The Veterinary Centre in The Square.

Ladies Day at Listowel Races 2014

A Great Day for local photographers and people watchers

Style spotting starts on the way to the course.

This vendor's sign intrigued me. Are horses wearing jewellery now?

His neighbour was selling hats. Trade was slow. We didn't have the weather for these.

Judges, Pippa O'Connor and Daithí ÓSé had a hard job. They chose the very well turned out, Mary Houlihan as the best on the day.

I wandered around with my camera spotting some other stylish ladies. So, in no particular order, here are some more very well dressed ladies.


I met lots of local people on Ladies' Day, some of whom, like myself,  did not dress up to compete but made a bit of an effort anyway.

More style from Listowel Races 2014 , including the hats

Milliner, Aoife Hannon exudes style everywhere she goes. This outfit by Orla O'Connor and Aoife Hannon would win Best Dressed Lady prize for me any day.

(photo; Fab Fillies)


Like Mother:  Like daughter.  Style is in the genes.

Fashion designer, Orla O'Connor with her very stylish mother, Joan.

Imelda Murphy and her daughter at Saturday's Races.



These are just a few examples of some of the very varied head wear on display on Friday.

Mary Houlihan, who won the prize for the Best Dressed Lady, posed for a photo with the Listowel born milliner who made the hat to accompany the winning outfit. The milliner is Maria Stack. Maria was having a brilliant week of it. I spotted her in the winners' enclosure with winning horse, AskVic on Saturday.


Back to the hats….


Part of the pleasure of racing is meeting up with friends and socializing. This year we had the perfect weather for it. Nobody wanted to stay indoors. Here are a few of the many people I met on the racecourse.

Listowel Tidy Towns Recycle Upcycle and Vintage event at Listowel Races

On Saturday September 20 2014 Listowel Tidy Towns Committee organized an innovative and uplifting event at Listowel Harvest Festival of Racing.

Although there were winners and prizes, it was not so much a competition as a celebration.  It celebrated family, rural life and the craft and skill of the needlewoman and the tailor. There was love here, hard work, an appreciation of fine work and fine design but most of all there was family history and beautiful materials and designs that have stood the test of time.

Every outfit had a story and the stories were as fascinating as the garments and accessories.

Members of Listowel Tidy Towns Committee with prizes.

The top picture is Frances O'Keeffe and her daughter, Edel. Edel's outfit was customized by Frances from a dress given to her many years ago by local woman, Suzie Moore R.I.P.

Suzie was a matron in a London hospital. The hospital was to receive a visit from Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth and Suzie was to be presented to her. She had a beautiful dress made especially for the occasion. The material was a rich silver brocade and hundreds of pearls were hand sewn on to the neckline. It was such a beautiful thing that Suzie, when she returned to Listowel in her retirement, brought the dress with her and gave it to her friend, Frances O'Keeffe. She knew that Frances was a dressmaker and was the person most likely to appreciate this beautiful creation.

 Frances kept the dress all these years. It was far too beautiful to cut up but there never was really an occasion for it and besides, it was far too big for Frances or for Edel. When she heard about this event at The Races, Frances realized that it was time to take out Suzie's dress and customize it to fit Edel.

Edel wore the dress with the lovely pillbox hat that her mother wore on her wedding day and she also carried Frances' beaded clutch bag. The outfit was stunning and turned many heads on the day. It was a lovely tribute to a well known Listowel lady, Suzie Moore, and a tribute to Frances' appreciation of fine materials and classic design. 

Like so many outfits on the day, it was also a celebration of family.


Mary Moylan wore a fifties style outfit. She made the hat herself from the remnants of an old hat and some flowers she took from an artificial bouquet. Her pearls were left to her by her grandmother. Her shoes gloves and bag were once worn by her mother.

She used these accessories to accompany her vintage style boat neck top and dusky pink skirt. Mary's timeless style was a hit with the judges and photographers.


And the winner is….

This is Leona de Staic in an outfit up styled by her grandmother, Betty Stack

Here is the great "back story".

The bridesmaid in the above photo is Maria Stack. The dress she is wearing was made by the bride, Eleanor. Eleanor is Leona's mother. So now, the dress has got a new lease of life and even swept first prize in the up styling competition. Maria provided the dress and the dried out bouquet. Her mother, Betty, restyled it into a more modern style to fit her granddaughter, Leona. The bouquet went to make the headpiece.


What a stylish family!

This is Cáit Ní Airtnéide and her granddaughter, both wearing clothes from Cáit's wardrobe. Cáit came second in the competition with this dress which she bought as a young farmer's wife, to wear to her first creamery social. The hat she bought years ago for her son's wedding .

Cáit with some of  her very glamorous family

The bag came from Muckross Weavers. The style and quality make it timeless.

Emer Prendeville bought her lovely dress for her first Writers' Week event.
Kieran Moloney introduced the recycling event on behalf of Listowel Tidy Towns Committee.

This lady, on her second visit to Listowel Races bought her outfit in a vintage store in New York.

Her shoes were the most eye-catching in the competition.

Mary Hanlon and Frances Kennedy posed with this lover of vintage wear who was one of the runners up.

Orlagh Winters, judge and compere,  loved this outfit.

Imelda Murphy made her headpiece out of shoulder pads to which she sewed pearls, beads and other pretty notions.

This hat was made from an old top. Some people never throw anything out. The difference between hoarders like me and people like this handy talented needlewoman is that they can restyle the kept things into a beautiful new creation.

Maria Stack wore an old dress she had in her wardrobe and, of course, she made her own hat.

Martina Leahy sourced her outfit on the internet for Listowel's Military Weekend.

There was an Imelda May feel to this one.

This young lady got a present of a sewing machine for her birthday and used it to customize her mother's old skirt. She teamed it with a modern top and jacket. Swit swoo!

There was a competition for men too. These are the finalists.

This man won with a very smart conventional navy suit with red accessories.

Meanwhile the business of racing and betting went on outside the tent.

Homecoming heroes, A trip to the Island, Listowel Races 2014

Just like The Good Old Days

John Kelliher has this and more great photos of the homecoming on his page here;

It was a joyous return to The Kingdom for the 2 teams. In Killarney, the hugely talented Tomás ÓSé and Donnchadh Walsh show that they are not just footballers. Enjoy this!


Walking to the Races 2014

These men were selling Kerry favours to those going to the match or even to some who intended watching it  on TV.

Across the Square you could buy fast food, a flag or a republican poster.

 I encountered a past pupil of mine doing a steady trade in gourmet take away food. Her business is called Lizzie's Little Kitchen and you can sample her wares at the Friday Listowel market. A touch of London catering in our home town!

Given the fine weather, Moloney's was doing a steady trade in ice cream. Lotto and newspapers were popular buys as well.

At the entrance to the racecourse, this car was advertising a raffle for a car.

These boys were loving the attention. Their job was to attract attention to a raffle for Bothar. I decided to buy a ticket when my initial fears were allayed. I thought the two billygoats were the prize!

This young musician was trying to make a bob or two to spend on the amusements.

Throw me down something. The level of water in the Feale was low this year so standing below the bridge did not seem too much of a hardship.

These punters are heading towards the track along the path by the river.

This year there was a big drive to stamp out underage drinking.

 Gardaí on duty at the entrance.

I like to take up a position beside the parade ring. It's where all of the action is before and immediately after each race. This year the horses walked on lovely dry cow matting so comfort for horse and groom is greatly improved.

Neighbours on my position at ringside told me that this is Joseph O'Brien "receiving instructions" before the race. He is in the colours of J.P. MacManus.

Aidan O'Brien and J.P. MacManus

This is Tony OHehir, a print sports journalist and son of the famous broadcaster, Micheál O'Hehir

If your horse wins, you get this lovely trophy and you get to stand on the podium and have Pat Healy take your photograph. I have decided if I win the Lotto I'm going to buy a racehorse and live this dream.

 This is the scrum of journalists around Katie Walsh after she won the Kerry National on Wednesday.

This is the horse she rode to victory. Your Business is being led back to the stables for his reward.


Some people I met at the races on Ladies Day

The following photos are all of North Kerry people enjoying themselves on the island on Friday.

Listowel Races 2014 and some style from Ladies Day 2014

At the Races

Recording it all

Winner alright, but exhausted.

Back to the weigh room

Interviewing a winning trainer, Katie Harrington, on Monday. She rode a winner on Wednesday.

studying form

Two of the best known faces on Irish racecourses, JP McManus and Aidan O'Brien. I took the photo before the Kerry National where their star did not shine as brightly as usual.


More style from Ladies' Day 2014

All Ireland football champions 2014, Ladies Day and Class of '94

All Ireland Champions

Against the odds, they did it.


Ladies Day 2014

Here is a taste of some of the style on Ladies at Listowel Races 2014


Pres. Class of 1994

The ladies who made up the Leaving Cert. class in Pres. Listowel in 1994 reunited in The Listowel Arms to relive old times. It was a great night, a credit to all on the organizing committee.

One of the class, Diane Canty made this lovely cake. It tasted as good as it looked.

Una Buckley made the cupcakes decorated with the school crest.

Memories of West Side Story, the musical were relived as well as basketball matches, lunchtime clubs, the debs and much more.
Girls who were part of the class and who have passed away were also remembered.

I met up with my old principal and teaching colleagues, Sr. Consolata, Geraldine O'Connor, Bridget O'Connor and Anne Dillon.


Roly Chute

Busy man, Roly on Church St.


Croke Park 1929     Source; Irish Archeology

Harvest Festival Races 2014 and countdown to an All Ireland Final

Harvest Festival 2014

Some photos from Wednesday September 17 2014, on the Island

 A record crowd of over 27,000 attended. The weather was balmy. Temperatures reached 23degrees as Listowel basked in its 15th. day without rain, heading for the driest September on record. The familiar breeze which whips up from the river is absent this year so conditions for the punters are ideal.

Gone are the days when a row of parked helicopters graced the area behind the carpark….only 2 on Wednesday.

These ladies were fundraising for a Ballybunion Preschool Facility.

 Eleanor and family were picking winners.

 Miriam Kiely, home for the Races, was enjoying the sunshine with her friends,e Mary Sobieralski and Joan Kennelly.

These proud grandparents were introduction their twins to their second visit to Listowel Races. Here they are taking a nap before getting down to business.

The Fitzgerald brothers studying form.

Fergus O'Connor and his wife took the day off to return to Fergus' roots.

Dan and Maureen Hartnett enjoying the sunshine and the racing.

The Nolans came to the races to meet up with friends and enjoy the conviviality of the occasion.


Lower William St. en fete

Stab 3 cards, win a prize

Hook a Duck

Kiddy Ride

Big Wheel

Baby roller coaster

Mini Big Wheel

Another stomach churning ride


Music Bridges The Generation Gap

This lovely photograph is from Kerry Comhaltas webpage. It was taken in Listowel at an open day in The Seanchaí in September 2014.


Garda station has got a face lift


Photos from Ladies' Day 2014 next week
Meanwhile there is the little matter of an All Ireland Final….

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