St Mary’s Sept 28

Services in Limerick City Parish: This Sunday 29 is the “Gathering” of the United Diocese of Limerick and Killaloe and as such, there will be no main services in St.Mary’s Cathedral or St.Michael’s Church. Instead a united diocesan service will be celebrated at Villiers School, meeting at 10.30 am and commencing at 11 am. However, to provide for those who may not be aware, Morning Prayer will be said in St. Mary’s Cathedral at the usual time of 11.15 am. Holy Communion will also be said in St.Michael’s Church at 8.30am as Sunday is the festival of St.Michael and All Angels.

Services in Limerick City Parish: This Sunday 29 is the “Gathering” of the United Diocese of Limerick and Killaloe and as such, there will be no main services in St.Mary’s Cathedral or St.Michael’s Church. Instead a united diocesan service will be celebrated at Villiers School, meeting at 10.30 am and commencing at 11 am. However, to provide for those who may not be aware, Morning Prayer will be said in St. Mary’s Cathedral at the usual time of 11.15 am. Holy Communion will also be said in St.Michael’s Church at 8.30am as Sunday is the festival of St.Michael and All Angels.

OUR PARISH IN POOR TIMES: “Fr Brahan was asked to explain the other small branches of industry to which the people had recourse for their support, to which he gave the rather illuminating reply, ‘By what is vulgarly called huckstering, selling meat and offal and fruit and various descriptions of articles.’ He could not take it on himself to decidedly say if he considered the labouring class was getting better or worse in its general conditions. ‘The variations,’ Fr Brahan explained, so many and fluctuations occur so often, they appear to depend so much on temporary causes, I can scarcely say. On the entire, I should rather say they are stationary. I can refer to periods in my recollection when they were worse; and in my recollections they were better when there was more employment arising from temporary causes. I remember some melancholy cases where persons ejected from farms in the country were driven in that way in search of employment into the town. The particular cases to which I allude occurred fifteen or seventeen years ago, but cases of the same class, though not so grievous in their complexion, frequently occur, they occur still, though not in such numbers as they did.” (Next week takes in the fever epidemic. Written by D.M.)

LUNCHTIME CONCERT: Anyone who favours organ playing will definitely have a treat in store on this coming Wednesday, October 2, 2013. At the Lunchtime Concert which begins at 1.15pm and concludes at 2.00pm, the resident organist, Peter Barley, will play music by J S Bach and Cesar Franck. Admission to the Concert is free; however, a donation to the Retiring Collection would be greatly appreciated and this will go to aid the Friends of St Mary’s Cathedral Music. At this point in time, I would like to publicly express my gratitude to the ever efficient Secretary at St Mary’s Cathedral, Peggy Carey, who never fails to email me on all the goings on within the confines of that ancient edifice. I welcome notes from any denomination, if it concerns our parish.

MEALS ON WHEELS: A Daily Service of Meals on Wheels, Monday to Friday, mornings and afternoons is currently provided by St Mary’s AID. Enquiries regarding this service should be made to John Gilligan at St Mary’s AID. Telephone 061-318106.

CARE AND REPAIR: A free home repair service is available to people in the area of St Mary’s who are over 65 years of age. For more information or to get the job done, phone Warren at 061-318106.

SPRATT’S CROCERY SHOP: The small grocery shop is as rare as extra cash these days but there is one gem situated on the island Road as you approach the church. This very year they are celebrating their centenary. I hope to have a much better account of their beginnings up to 2013 in my notes in a few weeks time. Tell me, where can you get sticks for the fire, bacon and cabbage, detergent, bottle gas, newspapers, an array of sweets, ice-cream, cigs, do your weekly Lotto and much, much more? At Spratt’s of course, where every possible needful, you can source!

CREDIT UNION: Our local Parish Credit Union is situated on Athlunkard Street and has remained a vital part of our lives since its humble beginnings at an office on Nicholas Street since 1965. In an article by the then PRO, Peter R. Donnelly, it is recounted: “St Mary’s Credit Union owes its beginnings to Fr Shinnors, then a curate in the parish, who set up a study group in 1964 to consider the advantages, mechanics and potential value of a Credit Union to the community. The Credit Union idea was then still comparatively new in Ireland and the Study Group had a lot of work to do to lay the foundations for the vigorous organisation we have today (1985). It was not until New Year’s Eve, 1965 that the Credit Union opened for business. There were only a handful of members. The office was on Nicholas Street and was open only on Friday nights from 7.30-9.00. By January 15, 1965, there were 100 members. Mrs Madden of Old Park Road, organised a team of ladies who assembled every Monday night to post Friday’s transactions on the members’ record cards and right well they carried out this exacting but essential task. Other clerical work was done by the Directors with the assistance of the Tellers.

The Credit Union grew steadily. At the end of the first year there were 342 members with shares amounting to £7034, of which £4827 was out on loan. When the Nicholas Street Office had to be vacated, business was transferred for a short period to Gerald Griffin Street School and it was clear that more permanent accommodation was required by the end of 1967. After only two years in operation the Credit Union had purchased 42 Athlunkard Street, renovated it and converted it for use as a permanent office. In the meantime the Dáil had passed the Credit Union Act and St Mary’s registered under that Act as a Co-operative Society.”(Written by PRO, Peter R Donnelly. I will continue this article next week.)

OPENING HOURS: Our parish Credit Union is open during the following hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday: 10-5pm Friday 10-7.30pm. Wednesday they are closed. The telephone number is 061-410422 Fax 061-317031.

CONVENT DIG: In my notes last week I made mention of the proposed new Memorial Garden in the grounds of the old St Mary’s Convent and as part of the preparation for this it is presumed that an archaeological dig will take place. There was a Dominican Abbey present there at one time and hence that short street was named Old Dominick Street. If I find anymore on the history of that particular Order way back then, I will put it in my notes.

CASTLE PRAISED IN ‘TIMES’: In a recent edition of the ‘Irish Times’ weekend review of August 31, 2013, under the heading, ‘Heritage Hot Spots,’ King John’s Castle received some excellent praise from the writer, Sylvia Thompson. With quite extensive descriptions of its lay-out and a concise guide as how to get there, as well as a full line-up of prices, she left nothing out in her analysis of our 13th century Castle on King’s Island in the heart of medieval Limerick city. She states, ‘It’s a perfect example of 21st century technology interpreting times past.’

THE BISHOP’S PALACE: It almost sounds like a contradiction in terms, the word ‘Bishop’ and ‘Palace’ in close proximity. Likewise, when the poet, Michael lived for a while in Park, where he referred to the grounds where he occupied as belonging to a ‘mitred millionaire.’ As so we are left wondering as to this type of termination when one imagines Christ, possibly the first priest, went around in sandals and certainly did not occupy anything even resembling a grand house, let alone a Palace. A brief history of the Bishops palace which stands in our midst within sight of King John’s Castle forms part of a wonderful and very intelligently put together book by the late Canon Connellan, entitled, “Light on the Past,’ which was published in 2001. Here I quote that piece.

“The Church of Ireland Bishops lived for years in the Bishop’s House in Church Street, in a castled house that may date from the 17th century. From a deed relating to the house dated 1763 indicated that it was inhabited by the Protestant Bishop, and there is an earlier indication of a stone house in that area occupied by Bishop Edward Synge under the Act of Settlement in 1662, thus it may be the oldest occupied building in Limerick; a claim made for some other buildings as well.

The structure of the house is a bit similar to the Town House in St Mary’s Church grounds, which is a Palladian style house, of which there are many to be seen in Scotland, (e.g. at Kirkconnell, Dunfries) built around the same time. The palace was renowned for the famous ‘ghost’ the Bishop’s Lady, supposed to have been seen by ‘Drunken Thady’ in the Bard of Thomond’s epic poem. The Protestant Bishops lived there until they moved up town to the more fashionable quarters of New Town Pery in Henry Street. The house became a tenement which housed many well known families in the early 1900s, until it became derelict, when the Limerick Corporation took off the roof.

In recent years Limerick Civic Trust have restored it to its former glory, and it is now a show piece, greatly admired by locals and visitors to King John’s Castle, which is still awaiting a proper stone facade. Limerick Civic Trust is using the restored building as their headquarters.” Canon Brendan Connellan. Well, as everyone can readily observe the late Denis Leonard, the then Director of Civic Trust, fought valiantly for the complete restoration of this very fine edifice and in so doing he did his city proud. Forever, it will remain a monument to his civic minded memory.


There was Treacy’s for packet and tripe,

We’d devour it with all of our might,

Creamery butter we’d spread,

On Tubridy’s fresh cottage bread,

Then we were full for the night.

QUOTES FROM MAE: “Minnie died before I outgrew her. She was a pal, a curiosity and our street became very quiet with her leaving it.” “We were eating dust for weeks as each night on the dot of seven the uncles came and the kitchen began to take shape.” “Mother played her trump card. Somewhere along the way she had gone to the Town Hall and bought my father a driving licence. You could do that way back then.” (From “My Home is There 2,” a collection of over 70 miscellany pieces by Parish writer, Mae Leonard)

SPOT OF HUMOUR: A slick young salesman was trying to persuade an old man in a remote part of the country to buy a second-hand car. The old man was interested and asked for a trial run in the car. Going down a steep hill the brakes failed and the car crashed into a tree. The old man picked himself up and said. “That’s a great machine all right, son, but how do you stop when there’s no tree around?

Profile of a young Parish oarsman: In 2010, Ewan Gallagher took up rowing with Athlunkard Boat Club. Three years on and Ewan has progressed to become one of the most promising oarsmen in the club. He has amassed a total of twenty two regatta wins in that short period of time. No mean feat for such a young man. His wins have come at regattas throughout Ireland and also include wins at Warrington and Oxford regattas in England. Ewan, from Lee Estate, is the son of Pa and Rachel Gallagher and has two brothers Simon and Robin. He attends Gaelcholaiste Luimnigh and has just completed a very successful junior certificate examination. Ewan’s successes have been achieved in all boats ranging from single sculls to the bigger crew boats and he is part of a very strong junior squad in the club at present. His introduction to rowing came about as a result of an open day that the club hosts annually for students at Gaelcholaiste Luimnigh. He recently competed at the National Rowing Championships in the junior 18 fours and finished a very creditable fourth. Three of that crew are underage for the same event next year. Ewan is currently in training with his club mates for Irish rowing trials which take place in the coming weeks and his ambition is to represent his country at international level. With his track record to date and his commitment to his sport, you wouldn’t bet against him achieving his goal in the not too distant future.