Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Hatching continued, Kennelly Travel and a Cork shop has the last laugh.

Phew! Is she Gone?

That was some storm. I haven't been out so no photos except those on Twitter

Eerily quiet Dawson Street Dublin on October 16 2017.


Behan's and The Horseshoe


A Flea and a Fly flew into a Fleadh

I love it when people are trawling through the Kennelly photo archive and come across something Listowel related and share it.
I don't know who these boys are or a date for the photo but I'm presuming it was a fancy dress parade prior to Listowel's hosting of Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann.


Cobwebs in the mist

A few spider facts for you;
If a thread of steel could be made as fine as a spider's silk, the steel would be less strong.
Spiders webs have been used in Indonesia to catch fish.
A baby spider is born with the ability to spin a web. He doesn't have to be taught.


Hatching  by John B. Keane  (part 2...continued from yesterday)

The reluctant hatcher was presented with a saucer of hoochpaste but showed no interest at first. It didn’t look very appetizing so the woman of the house spoon fed her until she began to cluck appreciatively and cock her head high for more. I never saw any creature of the female gender take so quickly to booze. In less than three minutes the saucer was empty and she was sleeping as soundly as a drunken apostate during a long sermon.
“She’ll die surely.” Said the woman of the house.
“She won’t nor die,” said himself who knew from long experience that a person could be dead drunk without being dead. How right he was! She slept for several hours without moving, contributing throughout every moment of her repose to the hatching process beneath her craw. When she awakened she tried to rise but failed. She fell asleep again. The next awakening was different. She staggered around the kitchen until she arrived at the door where she was assailed by that arch enemy of all forms of drunkenness; fresh air. It revived her instantly but a second saucer of hoochmeal was prepared and presented to her before she  could sober up. Afterwards she fell asleep for a whole day.
After a fortnight the eggs were hatched. There emerged twelve of tha handsomest chicks you ever saw.

The hatcher died soon afterwards of liver disease but she had nobly served her purpose and if some may crib about forcing her into alcoholism, I say to these to come and have a gander at the chicks she hatched. They grew up into outstanding specimens of their breed, seven hens and five cocks.One hen who wandered too far from the fowl run was carried off by a fox but tte other eleven survived and I know for a fact that not a solitary one of that fine clutch put a taste of booze to their beaks to the day they departed for the heavenly henhouse in the sky. So we see some more good uses to which whiskey may be put as if there weren’t enough already


Only in Cork

The shop is Scally's in Clonakilty and the photo appeared on Reddit.

Monday, 16 October 2017

A Hatching Hen, an Irish wake, Aughrim and a Mystery Building

Bailey and Co. in Main Street


Hatching     (an essay by John B. Keane0

I remember once there was a somewhat contrary hatching hen appointed to sit on a clutch of eggs which weren’t her own. She was a Sussex Blue and the eggs were laid by a Rhode Island Red. Maybe this is why she was so reluctant to remain sitting on the eggs. Did hens have a way of knowing one egg from another? I suspect they did.

Certain hens will hatch anything from pheasant to duck eggs but there are no two birds alike as the cock said to the drake. Let us return, however, to our own bird and her reluctance to hatch the eggs of a stranger. There she would settle, trancelike, as only hens can, when suddenly for no apparent reason she would make for the door. She would be recaptured instantly and reminded firmly of her obligations. No sooner would she be reseated than she would desert once more. She exasperated the entire household whose every member took a turn keeping an eye on her.

“There’s only one cure for the hoor,” announced an old woman who happened to call one evening for the loan of a cup of sugar.
“What’s that?” we all asked.
“The bottle,” said she. We waited for an elaboration. None came. We asked again.
“What bottle?” said she,”but the hot stuff.”
Of course we all knew what the hot stuff was. Wasn’t the man of the house and his cronies greatly addicted to it without any great harm!
“It will rest the creature,” said the old woman, “ and it will keep her off her feet.”
Up in “The Room” was a bottle of the very hot stuff in question, as hot, according to himself, as ever was brewed.

“Mix it,” said the old woman, “with a saucer of Indian meal and you’ll end up with a nice paste that she will find palatable.

(Tune in tomorrow to find out how the hen took to the gargle)


Irish Wake Linen

This picture is from 1962 and is in included in The National Treasures collection. The person who contributed it was the daughter of the woman whose job it was to lay people out for the wake when wakes were held in people's homes. The linen was hand made  especially for the purpose.


After Aughrim

I learned this poem in school. I came upon it recently in an old school book. Aughrim was the bloodiest battle ever on Irish soil. It was fought in 1691. 7,000 lives were lost .


Behind the Garda Barracks

At a guess I'd say it's old stables from the days when when the guards rode horses . If anyone knows what it really is I'd welcome the information.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Daithí OSé, Listowel a "pauperised town" in 1831, Mill Lane and a poem by Alice Taylor

Chris Grayson was in Barrow


Before He was Famous

From The Kerryman archives...August  2001


Poverty in 1831

(Extract from a debate in The houses of Parliament discovered recently by a blog follower)

…..The electoral division of Listowel as defined by the a commissioner consisted of the town and parish of Listowel, the parish of Finuge, including a small portion of the parish of Dysert. Mr Hawley, in the course of his observations called Listowel a “pauperized town” and such, Mr. Collis was sorry to say, was the case. In confirmation of that statement, `Mr. Collis held a document which was put into his hand previous to his coming into the room, by his friend Rev. E.M. Denny.

This document detailed the state of poverty in the town of Listowel and its minuter districts during the trying and scarce summer just past- a period of famine he might call it. It appeared from that document that in one locality, Glounafous, consisting of 236 houses, 1175 paupers had received relief through the medium of the charity meal while 4,000 paupers in the town and the immediate vicinage, had daily obtained relief. He found that the entire of the parish consisted of 4,300 acres, which, with Finuge gave an area of say 6,000 acres for the electoral division of Listowel. The population in 1831 was about 4,900 souls, considerably exceeding the adjoining parishes: although these parishes contained a much greater amount of surface, equaling Listowel in quality of soil. This position Mr. Collis illustrated forcibly by interesting statistical details, contrasting the quality of the soil and population.

Mr. Collis went on to show that the population of the town of Listowel alone exceeded in 1831 that of the parish of Knockanure and Lisselton, and nearly equaled Killeheny, Galey and Murhur. Of the entire parish of Listowel the preponderating proportion was in the town of Listowel. Of these residents in the town the majority were paupers migrating from other districts- very generally from the surrounding parishes. He was, he thought, justified in assuming that in the district proposed for the electoral division a relative proportion of the lands to the population would be one acre to one individual.

Mr. Hawley; You calculate according to Irish acres?
Mr. Collis said the comparison still held. Finuge, a poor district was added to Listowel; but the addition would rather prove an incumbrance than a means of lessening the burden that threatened to press upon Listowel. Finuge was a miserable parish. Galey with its population of 2,900 souls and surface of 1,300 acres, had no pauper population. The average in that parish would be as four acres to one inhabitant – in Murhur two to one. In the other parishes to which he referred the proportion was equally favourable; while in Listowel with its dense and pauper population the proportion was as one acre to one individual.


Fresh Flowers by Alice Taylor


Mill Lane in October 2017


International Soccer in Listowel

It was the occasion of the official opening of the new soccer pitch at Tannavalla. Aiden O'Connor, who was chair of Listowel Celtic at the time came into the secondary school to tell the girls about the game and to introduce the two local lads who were to play on that evening.

Guess what year?

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Arch, National Treasures, an Alice Taylor poem and Chutes' Stores

Bridge Road through the arch, October 2017


I Remember, I Remember

From Facebook


National Treasures

If you have kept something as a souvenir of a different time in Ireland, now is the time to share it with the nation. RTE have initiated this great project to collect images of stuff that tell us something about who we are and what life was like in Ireland in the twentieth century. Mostly what they want is stuff that was valued or treasured in our lifetime but mostly now has no value whatsoever except as a reminder of something that defined us. Here are few examples;

John F. Kennedy and his wife Jackie were our golden couple in the 1960s. They were our very own Charles and Diana and the Kardashians all rolled into one. Many homes had their image somewhere on show. This wall plate was typical. Note the closeness of the couple, man slightly overshadowing his good looking young wife, all square jawed and squeaky clean. The  Irishness of his lineage is emphasised in the shamrock shaped cut outs in the ribbon plate.

This was a milk formula that was very popular in the Ireland of my youth. Every home had one of these tins for keeping odds and ends in. We had one for saved bits of twine. Mothers would run a mile now if they saw Full Cream baby food. As for the image of the baby in the oversized crown....words fail me.

Remember saving stamps? They featured an acorn and the selling point was, Be a squirrel and save up your pennies as the squirrel saves nuts for a time of want.


Poem by Alice Taylor


Refurbishment underway here

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

An Irish Coffee Afternoon Dublin and Jason's Ballybunion

St. John's, Listowel in Autumn 2017


I'm Only a Plasterer

My good friend, Mary Sobieralski gave me a present of her collection of John B. Keane books. I'm enjoying dipping into these literary treasures. Here is a piece of reminiscence of John B.'s about a phenomenon that is now only alive in memory.

It was Writers Week. John B. doesn't give this essay a date so I'm presuming some time in the 1970's. In those days Irish Distillers used to host an Irish Coffee Afternoon. "There's many a steady man rolled home after one." according to John B.

Anyway on this occasion John. B. was on his way to the reception accompanied by some visiting literary types, "sonorous poets, doughty novelists and peering playwrights."

John B. takes up the story;

"As I neared the entrance I was saluted by two friends of mine. Neither had any connection with the world of literature. One had once put down a floor for me and it remains as good as the day he put it down. The other was also a member of the building fraternity. I knew from their dispositions that they wished to gain access to the celebrations inside. Certain that the sponsors would have no objection, I invited them in."

Once inside the friends parted and, many Irish coffees later he met up again with the man who put down the floor. He was enjoying the hospitality, and as "the liquor had lifted all impediments from the flow of free speech" the floorman was now conversing happily with poets and playwrights. John B. joined the company and the conversation fell to matters relating to the writing trade.

 "Then one of the ladies addressed my friend. He had contributed his share to that most convivial of conversations but she felt that he has not declared himself sufficiently with regard to the work in hand. "Pray, what are you writing at the moment?"
Before John B. could explain that the man was a tiler and a plasterer, the floor man replied for himself.
"I'm only a plasterer," he said.
"I'm only a plasterer," repeated the poetess, lost in admiration of what she believed was a new and original title.
"It's autobiographical, of course. I must get a copy when it comes out."
It's probably the best title I have come across in years." said another.

My friend and I decided to keep our counsel. More Irish coffees appeared and from time to time one of the company would repeat the words. "I'm only a plasterer", and exclaim with longing that they would have loved to have conceived such an intriguing caption. Very often titles sell books and my good friend who was responsible for this one assures me that he has no objection if some aspiring author would like to use it."


Old Dublin

Bachelors Walk 1938 from Old Photos of Dublin


Ballybunion by Jason O'Doherty

You can see more of Jason's photos on his Facebook page

Ballybunion Prints Beach


What could the great things be?

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Irish Coinage, Poor Relations, Trees and a VIP guest for Listowel Food Fair

Restaurants in Church Street, Listowel


A quick History of Irish Coinage

In 1926 The Irish Free State set up a committee to design and plan a new Irish coinage. William Butler Yeats who combined a knowledge of poetry, art and Irish history was an inspired choice to chair this committee.

The design chosen to be used on all the coins was the Irish harp,. The Irish harp is a 16 string model. The best example is the Brian Boru harp in Trinity College, Dublin. The reverse of each coin depicted an animal.

On Feb 15 1971 decimal coinage was introduced to Ireland. The new coins were designed by Gabriel Hayes

In January 2002 the latest iteration of coinage happened with the change from the punt to the euro and then today's coins were minted. The biggest innovation of this move was the replacement of some notes by €1 and €2 coins.

Half pennies have gone and pennies were to be phased out with the introduction of "rounding up" in 2015. This does not seen to have caught on and there are still quite a few lower denomination coins hanging about.


Poor Relations by John B. Keane

Part 2

I was in the kitchen of a farmer’s house one time when a poor relation called in search of a substantial sum of money. He required it to pay a fine and compensation for an offence committed while under the influence. If the money was not forthcoming it was certain that he would wind up in jail, which meant in his view that not only himself but his relations would be disgraced in the eyes of the countryside.

“My friend,” said the farmer,” if I had money you would have no need to call because knowing your plight I would hand it over without being asked. Would you believe,’ said the farmer, extracting a large cigarette packet from his pocket, “that this is my last fag. God only knows where the price of the next one is to come from.

So saying he threw the empty box on the floor, placed the cigarette in his mouth, bent over the fire, lifted a coal, blew on it and applied it to the cigarette and was soon puffing contentedly as he calmly awaited the next cue of what to him was a comedy, but to his visitor a tragedy.

“You could sell a cow,” said the poor relation. “You wouldn’t miss one and I swear I’d pay you back before the end of the year.”
“Of course, I could se;ll a cow,” said the farmer,”and if you got into trouble again I could sell another one. Word would spread and anytime a relation was in trouble I could sell a cow but what would I do when the cows were all gone? People would ask me why did I sell all my cows when I asked them for help.”

The poor relation held hid tongue at this rebuff while the farmer shook his head at the injustice of it all.

“I would have nowhere to turn,” he said, with a tear in his eye.

I almost shed a tear myself as I listened. At first I had been sorry for the poor relation. Now I was even sorrier for the farmer. There was a contorted look of sheer weariness on his face. He looked wanly into the fire before he spoke.

“I have nowhere to turn,” he choked as though his cows were sold already. “ I have no well off relations like others. All my relations are poor. They haven’t a penny to put on top of another. You wouldn’t like to see me pauperized, would you? You wouldn’t want to see me with a bag on  my back walking the roads?”

Here the farmer laid a hand on the shoulder of his poor relation. He looked him in the eye for several seconds.

“of course you wouldn’t,” he answered in the poor fellow’s stead, “ because you are not that kind of a man. You know what it’s like to have nothing yourself and you wouldn’t like to see another in the same fix, especially one of your own.

After the poor relation had departed the farmer pulled out a large packet of Gold Flakes fro another pocket, ripped off the protective tissue and extracted a cigarette which he lit from the expiring butt of the first.


Poems are made by fools like me
But Only God can make a tree.


Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

It has been confirmed that this year's Rose of Tralee, Jennifer Byrne will attend on Opening Night of Listowel Food Fair, November 9 2017