St Mary’s Oct 12

ADULT EDUCATION: St. Mary’s Adult Education Centre held a very successful Registration Day at the centre on 9th September last for the forthcoming 2013-14 educational year. A total of 255 people have now registered for classes and sessions in many diverse areas

ADULT EDUCATION: St. Mary’s Adult Education Centre held a very successful Registration Day at the centre on 9th September last for the forthcoming 2013-14 educational year. A total of 255 people have now registered for classes and sessions in many diverse areas

All the courses are approved by the Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board who also provide tutors and Guidance Counselling. Course sessions are provided for a very economical fee of €2 per session (€5 for Aqua Aerobics) The Centre looks forward to a very successful year, and is planning an expansion of services for 2014-15 and also to working with our stakeholders and partners to provide a comprehensive Adult Education service to the community. (Board of Directors and Management Committee, St Mary’s Adult Education Centre).

DENIS WRITES AGAIN: Just a brief reminder about the launch of “Reflection on Limerick’ by parish writer, Denis O’Shaughnessy, which will take place on Friday, October 25, 2013 at St Mary’s Clubhouse out in Grove Island. He has issued an open invitation to anyone who wishes to attend.

ST MARY’S RFC: Celebrating their 70th birthday this very year, things are off to a very good start as they succeeded in beating Waterpark 20-12 in the Munster Junior League 1 last weekend. Well done to them!

CHORAL CONCERT THIS FRIDAY: There will be a Choral Concert on this Friday, October 11, 2013 in St Mary’s Cathedral from 7.00 to 9.30pm. The Musical Director is Malcolm Green and the MC is Nigel Mercier.

STIX BRIGHT ‘N BEAUTIFUL: The very popular chipper and snooker emporium on Nicholas Street, ‘Stix,’ has just got a brand new makeover by means of a delightful brightly coloured paint job. It most certainly has added to the facade and has done an amount to embellish that commercially beleaguered street of easily twenty years now. I have noticed also that one of the vacant buildings just before you approach Tracey’s supermarket has recently been interiorly rubbish relieved. Hopefully, this will augur well for the street and perhaps some of the other vacant buildings will follow suit. As it stands the two pubs on that street seem to be doing alright, as is the Polish Shop (where PJ Ryan’s used to be), Bygone’s Antiques, Spotless Cleaners, Al Ryan Printers, Press 22 Photography, (overhead where Julia O’Brien’s Shop once stood), and that is all I can think of at this point in time.

SHANNON U/14 SUCCESS IN ITALY: Well done to the U/14 Shannon team who won the Turin tournament in Italy last weekend. This brave feat must surely augur well for this long established rugby club as in ten years time U/14s will be seniors.

SHANNON RFC PRESIDENTS WALK: The “Presidents Walk” is on Sunday 27th October starting in the Club House at 12 pm. The routes are the same as last year at 5k and 10k. A percentage of the money collected will go to local charities. Afterwards back in the clubhouse, food and beverages will be served, music and prizes. Last year was a great success so let’s try and make it even better this time. Should you wish to obtain a sponsorship card please contact any member of the Executive Committee. All contact details can be found on in the contact section. We would urge everyone to support this great event. It is raising important funds for your club and community.

SHANNON RFC SCRAP METAL CHALLENGE SUNDAY: Shannon RFC in association with United Metals is hosting a Scrap Metal day on Sunday 20th October in Coonagh from 11am to 6pm. All scrap metal welcome (no fridges, gas bottles or beer kegs please). Scrap Cars also accepted and will be collected. Contact Morgan on 086-1735545. Raise funds for your club’s development fund.

We would ask everyone to please take care, slow down and observe the speed limit through Coonagh Village on the way to and from the matches and training. We always like to hear from our members near and far. If you have a story, any interesting historical information or an article about the club that you would like to share we would love to hear it. Any submissions for consideration can be sent to Thought of the Week; “Work hard, stay positive.” My thanks to Siofra Scanlan, PRO Shannon RFC for providing the above comprehensive notes.

PRAYER MINISTRY: Maranatha Prayer Ministry invites you for the Healing Retreat through the Ministry of Fr. Charles Benoit Reche, C.F.R. and Frances Hogan, Catholic Biblical Scholar with Rosary, Mass, Word of God, Individual Eucharistic Blessing, Confession, Eucharistic Adoration. Music by Maranatha Gospel Choir on Sunday next, 20th October, 2013 at 2.30pm to 7.30pm at St. Pauls Church, Dooradoyle, Limerick. Tea after. All welcome. Event televised by EWTN to 300 million people worldwide.

CASTLE BARRACKS: Recently, a woman who lived in the Castle Barracks passed away. It seems that many of the old neighbours and their connections paid their respects and also chatted together, not having met for decades. Because of this meeting once again, it is envisaged that a ‘gathering’ style event will take place before Christmas, possibly in the Absolute. As soon as I receive further updated I will place them in these notes. In the meantime, it’s well done to Timmy Spratt of the Grocery Shop on the Island Road for his enthusiasm in this matter. His grand-mother was known as a marvellous worker in her day when she lived in the Castle Barracks, the original entrepreneur, there is absolutely no denying that fact. And, does the apple fall far from the tree, I’d say not; because the way that little shop on the Island Road operates and advertises its wares is nothing short of admirable. Just wait until the cold icy spell sets in and you’re searching in vain for sticks to start the fire (the what? Oh yes the fire is well and truly back in favour of the CH!), you will always find your bundle of sticks at Spratt’s shop.

PLANT SALE AND AUTUMN FAIR: Limerick City Parish is holding a Plant Sale and Autumn Fair in Villiers School, N.C.Rd., on Saturday 19th of October from 2pm to 4pm. A super Raffle will take place and raffle ticket will be on sale on the day. The stalls this year will include Cakes, Jams & Preserves, Bric-a-brac, Books, Plants, Fruit & Vegetables, Handbags, Waffles, Teas/coffees, Lucky Dip and a Bottle Stall. Your support would be most welcome.

OUR PARISH IN POOR TIMES: In the parish then, according to Fr Brahan, there were very many instances of several families living in the same house. “In the census of 1831,” he told the Commission, “I was engaged in taking the numbers and I recollect to have found about 150 or 160 persons in one house; the house is now at the head of Bridge Street. Fever, the witness continued, was rather of common occurrence, though not so frequent as in some years apart. Streets had been opened through the parish and giving ventilation had warded off infection,’ he added. The house to which he had alluded as containing so many individuals still subsisted, he explained, but he could not then say whether there were still so many in it. Fr Brahan also the Commission that there had been considerable improvement in the labouring class and their housing ‘in consequence of the temperance movement.’ The movement also induced people to leave those houses in which they were congregated in such large numbers and to expend any money they had in erecting cottages in the suburbs of the town. Many people had built such cottages and the people had shown strong disposition to take them and had often taken them before they were finished. ‘The temperance movement,’ Fr Brahan also explained, ‘had also created a considerable improvement in their morals.’ (More from this article by D.M. in next week’s notes).

ST MARY’S RFC 1943: “In 1949 the club contested the final of the Munster Junior Cup, travelling to Cork to tackle Cork Constitution and going down bravely by 11pts – 3pts. Some well known stalwarts that day were: Michael Doran, Colm McGrath, Christy Duhig, Boots Cleary, ‘Whacker’ Cleary, Jim Rael, Eddie Harris. The first Junior trophy came to the club in 1955 in the form of the Transfield Cup, the Captain on this day was Joe Naughton. The Juvenile Cup was also won that season, the team being led by Tony Colbert, and the following year the Juvenile league was won under the Captaincy of Jimmy McCarthy. He dedicated men who down through the years gave their time willingly to the cause of St. Mary’s are legion and in 1968 they were amongst the huge crowd who thronged Thomond Park to witness ‘Saints’ finest hour when they won the Munster Junior Cup for the first time, beating Waterford City in the final. The team lined out as follows: A. McNamara, C. Kerley. T. Rice, M. Kerley, E. Rice, E. Price, P. McNamara, J. O’Dwyer, P. Manning, P. Ryan, B. Foley, C. Kelly, J. Cosgrove, J. Daly, F. Ryan (Captain). Others who played in previous rounds were: M. Hogan, J. Rice, M. O’Connell, J. McCarthy, N. Ryan, P. Hastings, the team was coached by Mick Hayes.” (Tim Kerley, PRO. Continued next week. This is the 70th year of their foundation.)

HOSPITALS IN THE PARISH: “The first hospital that we know of in St. Mary’s Parish, was that run by the Brothers of the Cross founded about 1216 A.D. The foundation was just left of Baal’s Bridge, between the Bridge and the Abbey of St. Francis. The hospital owes its origin to the Crusades, and these Brothers were often referred to as Knights Hospitallers as they were caring for those returning from fighting with the Crusades to free the holy places in Palestine. Gradually, they cared for local people as well.

During the various sieges of Limerick, there is regular references to the Alms House or Pest House, which were temporary places of refuge for the wounded or those who had contracted the plague, especially during the Cromwellian siege of 1651. It is well documented that Bishop Terence Albert O’Brien was arrested by the Cromwellian soldiers while he was attending the sick in the Pest House.

Of course we are all more familiar with Barrington’s Hospital on George’s Quay which opened in 1831, and had a very special place in the life of the Parish until its closure on March 31st, 1988. The Barrington Family, of Glenstal, Murroe, Co. Limerick, were responsible for its foundation and it opened with 45 beds. It doubled that number over the years, and its purpose was to care for the poor of the city. The Hospital played a vital role in caring for those struck with cholera in the epidemic of 1832 and 1844. The doctors and nurses were renowned for their dedication to the sick without regard for their own health.

In 1837, Matthew Barrington also built nearby a pawn shop called the ‘Mont de Piete’ after the continental style, with the duel purpose of helping the poor families, with the lower rate of interest than the twenty other licensed pawn-shops in the city at that time, and also that the profits made would go to support poor patients in the hospital. It only survived for ten years and then the building became a police barracks.

Then there was a controversial era in the life of the hospital, when allegations were made against the staff that they were trying to get Catholic patients to convert to the Protestant faith, as most of the staff were of the latter belief. The situation was serious in 1879, when the hospital was in debt and liable to close unless a large annual grant was passed by the Limerick Corporation to maintain it. The parish priest of St. Mary’s, Fr. Daniel Fitzgerald, opposed the granting of public money to a sectarian hospital, claiming that the setting up of a Children’s Ward was for proselytising purposes, and also that grants under the Act being used as a vehicle of payment was only for a Fever Hospital, and that the Sisters of Mercy were not allowed to act as nursing staff. After prolonged legal arguments before a judge, it was agreed to pass the grant and that night bonfires blazed all over the city, people rejoicing that the hospital was saved.

Strange how history was to repeat itself in more recent times when the Department of Health would not continue to finance the Hospital, over 100 years later. The Hospital was to close on the 31st of March, 1988, in spite of widespread support from the citizens to retain it – rationalisation was to win on the day. But even so, Barrington’s has risen once again from the ashes like a phoenix, to be available now as a private clinic for day treatment.

Originally, the priests of St. Mary’s Parish looked after their own parishioners who were patients there and if patients were there from other parishes, the priests from their respective parishes were called in cases of emergencies. This was not a very satisfactory position, so in due course, the priests in St. Mary’s became the official Chaplains, with Sunday Mass in the Hospital. When the Hospital closed in recent years, some memorabilia were donated to St. Mary’s Heritage Centre in the Town House, such as, the early rising bell for nurses, and a plaque with a list of prize-winning nurses of the year and a photo of the Management Committee.” (From “Light on the Past” by the late Canon Brendan Connellan.)

WISE WORDS: Money cannot buy friends but it can get a better class of enemy.