St Mary’s Sept 7

WELL DONE ATHLUNKARD BC: A group of 26 club members have just returned from an end of season tour of Oxford where they competed at the City of Oxford Royal Regatta. Our ladies squad made it to the semi-final stage of their event while the men’s eight reached the final of their event, losing out by half a length. Both squads were rowing above their grades and did the club proud. Congratulations to Ewan Gallagher (a local lad from Lee Estate ) who kept the flag flying with a great win in the junior sculls. This was our third consecutive year competing across the channel and all who travelled were a credit to their club and city. This is the time of year when the club likes to concentrate on recruiting new members to rowing. Current conditions on the Abbey River are perfect for introducing new people to the sport and boys and girls aged 13 years and upwards are invited to attend the club on Mondays at 7pm to get a taste of what rowing is all about. For further details and any queries, contact club captain Roger Kiely on 087-4122325.

WELL DONE ATHLUNKARD BC: A group of 26 club members have just returned from an end of season tour of Oxford where they competed at the City of Oxford Royal Regatta. Our ladies squad made it to the semi-final stage of their event while the men’s eight reached the final of their event, losing out by half a length. Both squads were rowing above their grades and did the club proud. Congratulations to Ewan Gallagher (a local lad from Lee Estate ) who kept the flag flying with a great win in the junior sculls. This was our third consecutive year competing across the channel and all who travelled were a credit to their club and city. This is the time of year when the club likes to concentrate on recruiting new members to rowing. Current conditions on the Abbey River are perfect for introducing new people to the sport and boys and girls aged 13 years and upwards are invited to attend the club on Mondays at 7pm to get a taste of what rowing is all about. For further details and any queries, contact club captain Roger Kiely on 087-4122325.

The club has recently taken delivery of two new racing boats. A boat naming ceremony will take place on Friday September 6 at 8pm to officially launch the above boats. It has been a long standing tradition to name boats after members who have served the club with distinction and we are now pleased to bestow this honour on Maxine & Claire Murphy and Tom Mulqueen, who have been very instrumental in promoting and preserving the sport of rowing in Athlunkard over a long period of time. All are welcome to attend the ceremony and show their appreciation for these outstanding club members.

SPECIAL DAY AT CATHEDRAL: St Mary’s Cathedral Patronal Eucharist Sunday, September 8 at 11.15am: You are warmly invited to celebrate with us – whether you are an occasional member of our congregation or a member of another church – do come along to The Mother Church of the Diocese and celebrate the birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Dean Sandra.

ADULT EDUCATION REGISTRATION: The Adult Education Centre is situated on the Island Road near the pedestrian crossing. Registration for classes will take place on Monday, September 9th, beginning at 10am. Anyone aged 18 and upwards is welcome to come along and register for a class.

COMMUNITY GROUP TO RESIGN: “St. Mary’s Park Community Group is to resign en-bloc after treatment they received by Limerick city council, the group believe that the council have reneged on a memorandum of understanding between the residents and the council. The memorandum of understanding was agreed over a year ago to alleviate resident’s fears and improve communication between both the residents and officials in City Hall. As part of memorandum the community group agreed that all houses were due to be demolished as part of the Regeneration programme for the area, however, City Hall has now done a u-turn and decided to refurbish some houses, this is a complete and utter waste of tax payers money, the houses in St. Marys Park are manufactured from mass concrete and were condemned over 10 years by relevant professionals. The fact of the matter is these houses in St. Marys Park are over eighty years old, thus making the estate the oldest council estate in Limerick city and the residents are expected to live in condemned properties, thus breaking health and safety regulations.”

“St. Marys Park Community Group has no confidence in the current Regeneration process and believes that the process has gone backwards since Limerick City Council has taken charge”

“There needs to be a focus now by Limerick City Council to deliver only new properties to St. Marys Park forthwith, adhere to the agreed memorandum of understanding and stop messing the people of St. Marys Park around,” concluded a spokesperson.

ÁRD SCOIL MHUIRE MUSIC: The Lunchtime Concert on Wednesday, September 18 at St Mary’s Cathedral will feature Organist, Peter Barley who will play movements from Handel’s Water Music and a set of variations by renowned organist and composer, Arthur Willis. This concert will be in aid of Árd Scoil Mhuire music department. It begins at 1.15 and finishes at 2pm. Admission is free but a donation to the Retiring Collection would be greatly appreciated as this will go to this very worthy cause.

THE LAST ROSE OF SUMMER: An evening of opera and musical classics at St Mary’s Cathedral with Roisin Walsh, Owen Gilhooly and special guests accompanied by Colette Davis Thursday September 12 at 8pm. Tickets €20 / €18 available from the UCH Box Office. Tel: 061 - 331549 or visit www.uch.ie. Tickets can be purchased on the night at the Cathedral.

ROYAL SCHOOL OF CHURCH MUSIC: Saturday September 14: 9.30am - 12.30pm in St Mary’s Cathedral. Come and meet the RSCM (Royal School of Church Music) Director Andrew Reid and Peter Barley our Cathedral Organist and Choir Director. An opportunity to meet the director in your local area, share ideas, look at resources, and to sing.

ABBEY FISHERMEN SPECIAL REPRINT: The precious memoirs of the late Jackie Clancy, entitled, ‘My Life on the River’ has been published for the second time and is available at the Celtic Bookshop and at O’Mahony’s Bookshop. Those who were lucky enough to secure a copy of these precious memoirs, which come with some unique pencil drawings, will consider it a keepsake. However, anyone who did not purchase it first time round and who wish to get it, would want to move quickly, as it may be your last chance.

MASS TIMES AND EXPOSITION: 10am Mass is celebrated in our church every weekday morning. Mass and Novena for the Sick takes place on Saturday morning and this is followed by Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament and Confession. There is Exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament from 9.00 - 10.00 am on Saturday mornings. There is the Vigil Mass at 7.30 pm on Saturday evening. On Sunday, Masses are at 9.30 and 11.00 am. The parents Folk Choir, led by Helen Flanagan, sing at the Vigil Mass on Saturdays at 7.30pm. Our Senior Choir sing at the 11am Mass every Sunday where the Director is Jim Graham and the organist is Brendan Frawley.

OUR PARISH IN POOR TIMES: Now that Autumn is well and truly upon us though the weather is quite clement yet, thankfully, I thought it might be timely to have something interesting to read on the longer evenings. This article will go on for quite a few weeks as I see it and the heading will be the same every week. Before I begin I will give you a foretaste of the time scale you will be reading about in a wonderful article penned by one, D.M. ‘In the census of 1831 the then Parish priest, Fr Brahan, recalled that up to 150 or 160 people were living in one house at the top of Bridge Street.’ Compare that set of conditions to today’s standards when there is near consternation if a child does not have a bedroom of their own, possibly with a TV thrown in as a pre-requisite. That having been said, these people way back then survived simply because that is how we are made, to fight life particularly when there are obstacles in our way; in fact at such times people have to fight all the better. Enough of my ramblings; now for the real account of an article that was written around the middle of the 19th century. God bless the writer!

“St Mary’s Parish today is one of Limerick’s most progressive and expanding parishes, with its housing and other conditions well up to the standard of the remainder of the extended city. And the stranger visiting the parish for the first time would never suspect for a moment that little more than a century ago, St Mary’s was the poorest parish in the city, afflicted by more than its share of miseries and misfortunes of that unhappy period. This and many more interesting if not alarming facts are disclosed in the evidence given by Rev John Brahan, then Parish Priest of St Mary’s when he was witness before the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the State of the Law and the Practice in respect to the Occupation of Land in Ireland. The Commission held a sitting in Limerick on the 26th August, 1811, and one of the witnesses examined was Fr Brahan. When asked at the outset if he was much acquainted with the rural district around Limerick , Fr Brahan replied, ‘I cannot say that I am. I suppose the reason I have been asked to attend the commissioners is because I happen to be Parish Priest of the poorest parish in the city and also because I happen to be connected with some public institutions in Limerick and with a loan fund.’(More of this very interesting article next week).

HELEN RETURNS TRIUMPHANT: You will have noticed, I’m sure that over the past few months I have written about a school mate, Helen Gannon (Phillips) originally from Peter Street and now domiciled for many decades with her husband, PJ and family in St Louis, USA. Well, it seems all these insertions were indeed justified because having attended the various Comhaltas Fleadhs, particularly the main one which was held in Derry, Helen’s pupils have returned to the USA with no less than 49 All Ireland medals and trophies to their credit. Well done to them all and especially to Helen for her patient and expert teaching. And I understand that this same Comhaltas enthusiast visited the grave of the Colleen Bawn down in Burrane cemetery in Killimer, Co Clare, before returning to the United States. Of course, in case anyone is thinking of ever making that trip, you will not be looking for the name of Ellie Hanley or the Colleen Bawn on the tombstone as she is actually buried in the grave of the humanitarian and lexicographer, Peter O’Connell, who just happens to be an ancestor of our well known Parish writer, Mae Leonard (Clancy), on her mother Nellie’s side.

DEATH OF SÉAMUS HEANEY: The nation came to a concerted standstill over the past few days upon hearing of the unexpected death of the renowned Poet Laureate and Nobel Prize winner, Séamus Heaney. Every radio station has afforded the late poet due respect and the most oft read poem I’ve heard is the one which I take the liberty of quoting below. Heretofore, I had not been familiar with the late poet’s works. Limerick was represented at the Concelebrated Requiem Mass by Mark Patrick Hedderman, of Glenstall Abbey, while earlier on national radio, the outstanding Clare born writer, Edna O’Brien, expressed her obvious regret at his sudden passing and like many others of recent days, was quick to extol so many aspects of his rather relaxed and easily accessible personality as well of course, his rich literary acumen. When a person passes away they never fail to leave their mark on someone. This rather unassuming man it would seem has left his mark on everyone. May he rest in peace.

Mid-Term Break

I sat all morning in the college sick bay

Counting bells knelling classes to a close.

At two o’clock our neighbours drove me home.

In the porch I met my father crying--

He had always taken funerals in his stride--

And Big Jim Evans saying it was a hard blow.

The baby cooed and laughed and rocked the pram

When I came in, and I was embarrassed

By old men standing up to shake my hand

And tell me they were ‘sorry for my trouble,’

Whispers informed strangers I was the eldest,

Away at school, as my mother held my hand

In hers and coughed out angry tearless sighs.

At ten o’clock the ambulance arrived

With the corpse, stanched and bandaged by the nurses.

Next morning I went up into the room. Snowdrops

And candles soothed the bedside; I saw him

For the first time in six weeks. Paler now,

Wearing a poppy bruise on his left temple,

He lay in the four foot box as in his cot.

No gaudy scars, the bumper knocked him clear.

A four foot box, a foot for every year.

Seamus Heaney

SEAN-FHOCAL: “Is iomaí fear fada a bhíonn lag ina lár.” “Many a tall man has a weak middle.” “Is maith an scathán cara dílis.” “A true friend is a good mirror.”