When I was growing up in Co. Cork all the local men of standing in the parish belonged to the Sacred Heart Confraternity. It was a kind of Freemasons for Catholics, all male, secretive and dedicated to "doing good works". Once a month they had their meeting/prayer service/retreat on a Sunday evening. the church was divided into sections with a banner at the end of the seat where that section sat. I dont know what went on at these services but if it was anything like the sister society for women, The Sodality of Our Lady, it was just praying. The Sodality had a bit of a uniform...a blue cape which we made ourselves and we wore a veil.
The below photographs come from a Limerick website :
Jubilee of The Confraternity 1928
Confraternity procession 1930
Confraternity banners on display in the Limerick City Museum
Fr. Connolly's address to the confraternity in Limerick in 1951
Photo by Patrick Casey, London
In conjunction with the Rás there is a charity cycle taking place ahead of the actual race. These men and women are raising money for research into Breast Cancer. They hit town before the racing cyclists and they got a great reception.
Everywhere you looked there were cyclists, bicycles or cycling paraphenalia.
It warmed my heart to see Listowel cycling families out in force. I met the McCarron family, so many of whom have spent many happy hours on bikes.
Emigration is a topic that is never too far away from this blog. The Irish Times have a great blog called Generation Emigration. The following is a comment from Mari Fleming.
"Successful migrants integrate with the society in which they find themselves; they do not, these days, cluster together in ghettos maintaining a semblance of the culture of their original homeland. Witness the unsuccessful 'multiculturalism' in the UK, where communities of South Asians apply the cultural norms of India, Bangladesh or Pakistan, and never assimilate to the host culture. 7/7 was the result.
Irish culture is not different enough from UK, Continental European, North American, Australian or New Zealand culture for any Irish person to have any difficulty assimilating - seeking out other members of the so-called 'diaspora' in these places is really not necessary or helpful at all. In fact, in the US, I went out of my way to avoid the descendants of previous Irish diasporas, who had stuck together in Irish ghettos and transmitted a romanticised, nationalistic image of Ireland through the generations. One of these 'Irish' once commented to me that I was 'not really Irish' as I didn't speak with a sing-song accent and I worked in IT!
Moving to another country for work in this globalised, connected world should be looked at as an opportunity for personal and professional development - not as an unfortunate wrench from an ideal way of life in the homeland - as the Irish Times seems to insist it is. The myth of the Irish Diaspora is about as relevant these days as the myth of the wandering Tribes of Israel." <<<
For all of those people who love cycling, here is a great post from an Australian cycling blog.
The Beauty of cycling
Every so often, I’ll ride a recreational group ride. I love the camaraderie of cyclists, the talk, the last minute pumps of air, the clicking in, and the easy drifting out as a peloton. “I miss riding in a group,” I’ll think to myself.
The magic ends by mile 10. The group will surge, gap, and separate, only to regroup at every stop sign. I’ll hear fifteen repeated screams of “HOLE!” for every minor road imperfection. And then no mention of the actual hole. Some guy in front will set a PB for his 30 second pull. Wheels overlap, brakes are tapped, and some guy in the back will go across the yellow line and speed past the peloton for no apparent reason. A breakaway?!
I curse under my breath, remembering why I always ride with only a few friends. Doesn’t anyone else realize how dangerous this ride is? How bad it is for our reputation on the road? There are clear rules of ride etiquette, safety, and common sense. Does anyone here know the rules? Who is in charge?
But no one is in charge, and the chaotic group has no idea of how to ride together. As a bike lawyer, I get the complaints from irritated drivers, concerned police, controversy-seeking journalists, and injured cyclists. It needs to get better, but the obstacles are real:
First, everyone is an expert these days. The internet and a power meter do not replace 50,000 miles of experience, but try telling that to a fit forty year-old, new to cycling, on a $5000 bike. Or, god forbid, a triathlete. No one wants to be told what to do.
Second, the more experienced riders just want to drop the others and not be bothered. It is all about the workout, the ego boost, or riding with a subset of friends. But a group ride is neither a race nor cycling Darwinism. As riders get better, they seek to distinguish themselves by riding faster on more trendy bikes; but as riders get better they need to realize two things: 1) there is always someone faster, and 2) they have obligations as leaders. Cycling is not a never ending ladder, each step aspiring upwards, casting aspersions down. It is a club, and we should want to expand and improve our membership.
Third, different rides are advertised by average speed, but speed is only one part of the equation. This approach makes speed the sole metric for judging a cyclist, and creates the false impression that a fit rider is a good one. Almost anyone can be somewhat fast on a bike, but few learn to be elegant, graceful cyclists.
Fourth, riding a bike well requires technique training. Good swimmers, for example, constantly work on form and drills; so should cyclists. Anyone remember the C.O.N.I. Manual or Eddie Borysewich’s book? They are out-of-print, but their traditional approach to bike technique should not be lost. More emphasis was given on fluid pedaling and bike handling.
Before the internet, before custom bikes, and before Lance, it was done better. Learning to ride was an apprenticeship. The goal was to become a member of the peloton, not merely a guy who is sort of fast on a bike. Membership was the point, not to be the local Cat. 5 champ. You were invited to go on group ride if you showed a interest and a willingness to learn. You were uninvited if you did not. You learned the skills from directly from the leader, who took an interest in riding next to you on your first rides (and not next to his friends, like better riders do today). Here is some of what you learned:
- To ride for months each year in the small ring.
- To take your cycling shorts off immediately after a ride.
- To start with a humble bike, probably used.
- To pull without surging.
- To run rotating pace line drills and flick others through.
- To form an echelon.
- To ride through the top of a climb.
- To hold your line in a corner.
- To stand up smoothly and not throw your bike back.
- To give the person ahead of you on a climb a little more room to stand up.
- To respect the yellow line rule.
- To point out significant road problems.
- To brake less, especially in a pace line.
- To follow the wheel in front and not overlap.
The ride leader and his lieutenants were serious about their roles, because the safety of the group depended on you, the weakest link. If you did not follow the rules, you were chastised. Harshly. If you did, you became a member of something spectacular. The Peloton.
The sad reality of summer 2013 so far
Farmers queue for hay at the creamery. The line of farmers waiting to buy hay from France stretched all the way down The avenue on one day last week.
Yesterday May 21 2013 we all shut up shop for a couple of hours.
The band played on
And we all became green clad cycling groupies.
I was there with my camera and I will bring you the whole story in the next few days. But for today I will just share the local story as shot by a real photographer, John Kelliher.
Eugene Moriarty and his dad and our own local postmistress on the podium with the yellow jersey winner.
A friend took this lovely photo of the cherry tree lined drive near Killarney House.
Eily Walshe from Ballybunion is looking for help with this branch of her family tree. She thinks that one of this family was a state solicitor or judge.
1. Ellen Walsh was born 1855 in Meenanare, Duagh (twin sister of Sean Rua Walsh of Knockaclare) She married Daniel Brown, son of John Brown, in 1879 in Lixnaw her parish church as the family had moved to Knckaclare. She lived in Listowel with Daniel her husband. Daniel also had a brother Robert and I believe they were from Listowel.
The Ballyduff chicks are getting big. The 7 chicks are of 3 different breeds. Isn't mother hen lovely too?
One of the beautiful North Kerry walks at any time of year is that along by Bromore Cliffs in Ballybunion. My Facebook friend in Ballybunion Sea Angling took these lovely photos of primroses, daisies, seapinks and vetch last week. We, in North Kerry are so, so blessed.
19th century travel writers write about Ireland " A hundred beggars gathered as usual around the carriage. What was new to me were the small wooden bowls on long sticks which they passed into the carriage like collection bags to reach the solicited pennies more comfortably." Listowel 1828 as described by Hermann Von Puckler-Muskau. I read this in an article by Manchán Magan who is descended from the O'Rahilly family of The Square Listowel. Manchán is himself a travel writer and was warning any keyboard warriors who might be tempted to post a bad review on Tripadviser to consider how it might look in 200 years time. Philip Nemnich wrote this about The Liberties area of Dublin in1806
"The condition of the houses and streets is indescribably revolting; both assail the nostrils and the eye in the most obnoxious manner by their filth. But what exceeds all this are the people who inhabit them. More hideous creatures are hardly imaginable either in phsyiognomy or dress, which I do not dare to describe."'
Manchán says that these accounts were "not meant to belittle us, but to express outrage at what the English had done to us." They make for difficult reading even from a distance of 200 years.
The very poignant cover of Harpers Weekly 1850; Mother Ireland sheltering her hungry children as she waves a banner that says "Help us, we are starving." The coffin ships carrying the "lucky" ones are steaming away from the shore and in the background we can see the ghostly figure of death hovering over the hoards of misfortunate souls waiting for rescue. I notice that the harp is cast aside. It is said that during The Famine "even the birds were silent."
In the Limerick Workhouse in 1906, the weekly diet for an Infirm Male was:
For breakfast each day:
8oz Bread and 1 pint Tea.
For dinner on a Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday:
8oz Bread, 4oz Meat & Soup.
For dinner on Monday, Wednesday, Saturday:
3lb potatoes, 1 pint of milk.
For dinner on Friday:
8oz Bread and 1 pint of milk.
For supper each day:
8oz Bread, 1pint of coffee.
NKRO posted this recent photo of Mary Keane with friends, Joan Stack, Maura McConnell, Myra O'Shea and Frank McNerney enjoying a cuppa in John B.'s <<<<<
Tomorrow is a big day in town as An Rás finishes in Market Street around 2.00p.m. In preparation for the event, shopkeepers and school children have been decorating the town.
The bunting is up all over town
The above are on the window of Sean Moriarty's house in Charles Street.
These cute little chicks hatched out in Ballyduff yesterday.
Some more photos of local people enjoying Vintage Monday 2013.
Turf cutting in the war years
Turf was a very valuable commodity during the war. Lorry loads of turf were transported from rural bogs to fuel fires in Dublin. This photo from Bord na Mona Heartland shows some of the scores of men saving turf by hand in a midland bog.
Out of this world in Ballybunion, Co.Kerry
The countdown has begun. An Post Rás, Stage 3 will finish in Listowel on Tuesday next May 21st. 2013. There are 2 local riders taking part in this years tour, Eugene Moriarty and John McCarthy. They compete against 180 riders from 9 countries.
The finish will be in Market Street, outside Spar. The Convent School band will play and there will be a festive atmosphere. The weather forecast is not great but mura fearr, nára measa (if it gets no better, may it get no worse)
Jer Kennelly took his camera to the County Fair in Tralee on Sunday May 12 2013 and he sent us this lovely series of photos
I met these 3 lovely ladies in the St. Vincent de Paul shop on Thursday last. Tina, Helen and Eileen do great work. Take a bow, ladies.
The very next day I was in the shop again and I took this photo of Pat Dea who is their invaluable helper in the watch and clock department. He was returning a clock that he had restored to working order.
Pictured with Pat are volunteers, Eileen O'Sullivan, Mary Sobieralski and Hannah Mulvihill.
Here we go again
Roadworks on the Tralee to Listowel Road on May 9 2013. It's all good news though, as this time I was diverted onto a stretch of the new road. The journey to Tralee from Listowel is getting shorter and more enjoyable.
Bridge Street, Newcastlewest 1900
Sunday last, May 12 2013 was Mothers' Day in the U.S. Sean Carlson, whose mother hails from Moyvane, wrote this lovely article in USA Today;
My grandmother gave birth to 16 children over the course of 24 years.
Growing up, my grandmother talked about becoming a teacher.
Instead, she gave instruction in a different way: a living example of love and perseverance.
When I was twelve, my mom and I often shared a cup of tea when I arrived home from school, just as if she were still living in Ireland. Listening to her recount memories of her childhood there, I told her that someday I would write her story. "What story?" she said. "If there is a story to share, it belongs to my mother, your grandmother, Nell."
Her mother, my grandmother, Nell Sheehan, lived her entire life in the rural southwest of Ireland. In a different time and a different place over the course of 24 years, from age 23 until 47 she gave birth to 16 children -- eight daughters, eight sons, no twins. My mom was the 15th.
Motherhood may have been her calling but growing up, my grandmother had done well in school and talked about becoming a teacher. That option ended with her marriage, as such jobs were scarce and available either to single women or male heads of households, but not allowed to be hoarded by two workers in the one family. Instead, she gave instruction in a different way: a living example of love and perseverance.
Although unable to pursue the possibility of a career outside the farmhouse where she settled, she insisted that her daughters receive an education or other chances for advancement. The local primary school, a simple building with two classrooms, stood within walking distance at the top of the lane. The boys often stopped attending on account of the farm work. Most of the girls, however, continued their education. Their mother wanted her daughters to have opportunities in their lives.
By encouraging them to spend time away, the irony was that she destined her girls for elsewhere. With bleak economic prospects at the time, little choice remained for them to stay. One after another, they left home -- almost all of them for the United Kingdom or the United States. Every night, their mother prayed for their protection.
Despite the distance, the mother-child relationship stayed strong through the letters they wrote: accounts of life in new lands, photographs of grandchildren born abroad. In this way, my mom learned about many of her sisters and brothers. Her mother held the notepaper close to her chest, near to her heart, savoring the words as if the sender were present with her there on the page as well. Then, she read them aloud to her husband and those still at home.
Almost every envelope included a portion of their earnings as well. How difficult it is today to imagine enclosing 20% of a weekly salary. Yet, this is what the children often did for their mother, pleased to think of her being able to buy fresh tomatoes as a treat or perhaps a haircut in town. After the arrival of electricity in the area, her oldest son and daughter-in-law bought her even greater gifts that transformed her life in the home: a washing machine and later a stove.
My mom followed in the footsteps of her siblings. Shortly before turning 17, she went to London with her sister. Whenever she returned home afterwards, traveling by train, car and ferry, her mom greeted her at the front door of the thatched farmhouse, so eager for her arrival. Walking her daughter into her room, she sat on the bed and tapped her hand against the mattress, saying, "tell me all that has happened since you left." My mom would then recount the latest from her sisters and brothers, as well as her experiences away from home.
As her daughters grew up, my grandmother sometimes confided that she looked forward to the day when they would return to live nearby, hopefully raising families of their own near her, able to visit as she aged. Although they didn't come back for good, still they remained close. They may have left, but their mother was with them wherever they went.
A few years ago, I found a cassette recording from a distant cousin in Florida who has since passed away. On one of his visits to Ireland decades earlier, he recorded a conversation with both of my grandparents. As my mom listened to her mother's voice for the first time in more than 30 years, the tears came. Memories flooded back, reminders of the imprint of a mother.
Like every year, they are there on Mother's Day. They are there every day.
Sean Carlson is completing a book about emigration through the lens of his mother's experiences, from Ireland to London and the United States.
( This story will be familiar to so many others. I have heard other versions of it recounted in my knitting group by some of those lucky enough to make their way back home, sadly not before the mothers they left behind had passed on.)
Bill Murphy sent us this photo of his class in Lyreacrompane school in 1953. With the help of his niece, Kate Murphy MacMahon he has found all the names and even a photo of the page in the roll book with his name in Irish. Bill is visiting North Kerry at the moment so maybe he will have a few more photos or memories to share.
This photograph was taken in Dublin sometime in the 1940s. It shows a consingment of tractors on their way to Bord na Mona. In case you are wondering, I have no idea how they got them on and off.
This is a Ferguson machine, turning sod turf. Turning sods by hand, as many of my readers will know, is backbreaking drudgery. This machine revolutionised the turning process, marking one of the steps in the change that saw men replaced by machines on our bogs.
Some more photos from Vintage Day in town.
Car enthusiasts might like this from the Limerick Leader 1913
Back then motoring was hard work.
Nothing like a photograph of a photographer except maybe a photograph of 2 photographers. John Kelliher and Denis Carroll were recording it all on Vintage Monday.
This beautiful baptismal font has been stolen this week from a ruined church in Co. Meath.
Mike O'Donnell's sketch in memory of Donal Walsh R.I.P.
There were a few more local people whom I photographed at the Lartigue opening. I'll include them here as I know that relatives and friends abroad love to see what we at home are up to.
These last pair have brains that are ripe for picking for stories of badminton, Pitch and Putt etc. Junior did us a great job on the ball alley. He is working on other Listowel memories which he will share in due course. At the moment he is in the midst of a busy badminton season, but he assures me that he has stories to tell and he will tell them.
Do you remember this? This is not Listowel but there were people who sold raw milk like this on the streets right up to the seventies.
I found this poster on the Century Ireland site; confirmation that our Monday half day tradition started in 1912. Then it was mandatory, with an inspector enforcing the act.
A few more vehicles from Vintage Monday
This activity, I am told, is called Zorbing. It was very popular with the children.
Last one of the Bombshell Belles and the organising committee of the military weekend.
Reconciliation memorial in Berlin: Lest we get carried away.
War is never a game; brings nothing but pain and suffering.
Micheál O Muircheartaigh addressing the large crowd in Killarney before the walk from darkness into light on Saturday morning in aid of Pieta House.
A group from Presentation Secondary School, Listowel took part. Teacher, Bridget O'Connor, sent me the photo.
On Monday May 6th 2013 we had a Vintage Day in town. The Square was full of old tractors and cars and people who love these things were having a day out.
I was there with my camera and I'll bring you a few of the photos this week.
No, we did not have anything as grand as these Model T's from 1910 but we had these.
Savannah McCarthy is pictured with Katie Taylor who presented her with her award at The Traveller Pride awards ceremony in Dublin on Thursday last. Savannah from Listowel is captain of the Under 17 Irish girls soccer team. Other award winners were John Joe Nevin and Kelly Mongan.
The onward march of technology
This is the first Irish cctv in Dublin airport in 1959.
Remember these? Of course they had a querty keyboard, this one was part of a secretary's protest.
When I was writing about the Parents and Friends Garden Fete, I omitted to mention the star attraction. It was celebrity gardener, Dermot O'Neill. His talks proved very popular and people found him approachable and very free with his advice. He posed for a few photos with his fans as well.
Two great new websites
Since Tuesday last May 7 2013 a marvellous new website is up and running.
Century Ireland is a partnership between RTÉ,the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Boston College, theNational Cultural Institutions and other partners.
Century Ireland will make a range of archival material available to the public in the most accessible way possible, and will accompany this material with expert commentary. Alongside news reports from the time, the site will feature primary sources, academic research, and a wealth of visual imagery. The reach of the Century Ireland online news site will also be complemented with a daily blog and Twitter feed to bring information about the 1913 to 1923 period to the widest possible audience in the most easily accessible way.
Jimmy Deenihan TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht commented:
"Over the course of 2013, and in the decade ahead, we will celebrate a rolling succession of centenaries that mark the most momentous period in modern Irish history. In a mere decade, the social and political landscape in Ireland changed completely. The Century Ireland initiative is important because it takes our history and makes it tangible and accessible for the audience of today. The major stories featured will explain the events that shaped modern Ireland, but the everyday ones will help us imagine what it was really like to live through this decade of change."
Professor Mike Cronin, Boston College commented:
"Century Ireland offers a decade long history of the major and everyday news events from a hundred years ago. Produced by Boston College, delivered by RTÉ and supported by the national cultural institutions, Century Ireland will bring the 1913-23 period to life. A rich mix of digital content, supported by social media, will allow the public to access a range of material and lead them through the decade of centenaries in real time."
Noel Curran, Director General of RTÉ, commented:
“RTÉs involvement in the Century Ireland project is reflective of its commitment to opening up and showcasing some of the wealth of materials available within the RTÉ Archive. Online and mobile engagement nationally and internationally increases every year and we feel confident Century Ireland’s positioning within the RTÉ.ie website will help this project secure the recognition and visits that it truly deserves. It has been a privilege to have worked in partnership with such esteemed organisations to create a national cultural resource of such quality and value.”
If you don't get too bogged down in Century Ireland, take a look at this great new site.
McKennas with the French ambassador and Minister Deenihan
Noelle Hegarty, Bert Griffin and Paula
Norella Moriarty and Bridget Curtin
Oliver O'Neill and Mr. Brodbin.
From The Irish Independent May 6 2013
Members of the Listowel Family Resource Centre Mums and Babies Group at their Wednesday meeting. Front from left: Aisling and Aoibhinn Stack, Stacey and Tommy Murphy, Michelle and Sive Nolan, Marguerite and Seán Wixted-Nolan and Treasa and Ria... The names of the back row are not printed. Sorry girls!
LISA SALMON – 06 MAY 2013
New research suggests having a baby can widen your social circle. So why are 'baby mates' so important - and do such friendships last?
If you're finding it hard looking after a new baby, seek comfort from your new 'baby mates' - chances are you'll have a lot of them.
Research has found that new mums make an average of nine new friends in the year after giving birth, with those new chums usually living nearby and having a new baby themselves.
The study, by organic cotton children's products company Natures Purest, showed strong bonds are created almost instantly amid exchanges of views and tips on subjects such as childcare plans, illness and how to get baby sleeping through the night.
Indeed, half of the 2,000 women questioned said its easier to bond with other women after having a baby.
Nearly half of the new mums made friends with other women at mother and toddler groups, 31% in antenatal classes, and a fifth through other friends.
And almost a third of mums in the survey said they were worried about boring old friends with constant baby talk, which was one of the reasons they formed new friendships with women going through the same experience.
As well as antenatal classes, many mothers-to-be or new mums meet at social gatherings such as Bumps and Babies groups.
Belinda Phipps, chief executive of the NCT parenting charity, says: "What often happens is that when women get pregnant and their old friends aren't going through the same life change, they may find they move apart.
"Women who haven't been through a pregnancy can find it very hard to understand what it's like - they might not be able to share your world, so it's easier to talk to people who've got that shared experience with you."
The survey found that sharing birth experiences was by far the most popular topic of conversation for new mums - 73% would happily regale new friends with stories about their labour.
Some unexpected visitors to Saturday's opening were this year's Kerry contestants in the Kerry Rose of Tralee competition.
We ran into one of the girls again as we made our way to the Square. Our friend, Lorraine Kennedy will be representing Perfect Pairs.
Two of the chief engineers of Saturday's entertainment were Damien Stack and Christy Walshe.