Feb 2

Maureen Sparling


Maureen Sparling

CIVIC TRUST PUB QUIZ: Pub Quiz will take place at The Library Bar at 7.30pm on Wednesday. February 6, 2013. Entry €10, team table €40. To book table contact 061-313399 or email: info@limerickcivictrust.ie.

CIVIC TRUST PUB QUIZ: Pub Quiz will take place at The Library Bar at 7.30pm on Wednesday. February 6, 2013. Entry €10, team table €40. To book table contact 061-313399 or email: info@limerickcivictrust.ie.

TIM IS TOP POET: Congratulations to Limerick native award-winning poet, Tim Cunningham! Born in 1942 but domiciled in England for many decades, Tim has won the prestigious award, namely, the Patrick and Patricia fellowship in poetry. From time to time Tim’s very fine poetry has appeared in the pages of the ‘Limerick Leader’ and judging by the consistent quality of his work, he is well deserving of this literary accolade. We wish him luck and continued success in the literary arena! I met Tim for the first time at a very special launch on 12-12-12, see below.

MICHAEL PHAYER REMEMBERS ABC: “At Cork regatta in 1950, we rowed a maiden eight, coxed by Jim Crowe, which sank on the Marina. Two years later, at the same course, we raced a four. Lamb Howard, the St Michael’s cox, hit a buoy during the race and their boat began to sink. Our cox, Jimmy Clancy, wanted to stop and help them out but Buller Lynch refused to stop rowing, so we left them swimming and carried on to the finish. I remember the night Shannon rugby club went senior in the 1953-54 season. It caused a Shannon- Garryowen split in Athlunkard with the likes of Stephie Clancy and Bryan O’Connor in the Shannon camp and Tom Earlie, Mel Reid, and Morgan Costelloe in the Garryowen camp. In 1957 I rowed in the senior Union Cup crew but we were beaten by Queens in the final. I retired from rowing in 1958 and went on the committee.
I got involved in organising music sessions and socials in the club. Joe McAuliffe was our piano player at the time. My son, Kevin, rowed with the club’s novice squad in the 1980s, while my grandson, James Phayer-Sweeney, rowed through the 1990s. I was elected president of the club in 1999-2000 season and presided over the opening of the new boathouse in 1999.

Singing has always been part of my life and while representing the club at the funeral mass of Paddy Dooley in 2008, the celebrant, who was a brother-in-law of Paddy’s, asked me to sing the mass. It was a privilege to do so as Paddy, who was a great rowing man up to the time of his death, had stroked the Irish eight 2009 when the club named a new boat after me. This was a very special occasion for us and one for which we are truly grateful.” (This is the conclusion of a wonderfully written article by Michael Phayer. It forms part of that great book, “The Story of Athlunkard Boat Club,” that is available at our local Credit Union on Athlunkard Street, the Mall Bar, Corbally Bar and at Tracy’s on Nicholas Street at the cost of only €10. You can also call 087-671822. We wish Michael well!)

TÁ CRIOSTÓIR AG TEACHT: Yes indeed, we can look forward to a visit from our native parish bi-lingual writer, Criostóir O’Flynn, on March 26, 2013, when he will give a talk on his life and works at the Library in the Granary at 8.00pm. Criostóir’s latest book entitled, “Old Church Street,’ can be obtained by sending €15 to 47, Páirc Arnold, Glenageary, Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin. For those interested in Bible matters, an even more book has been published. It is entitled, “Meet Mrs Zebedee.” At this point in time I’m not sure where it is for sale but one thing for sure, it is for sale.

MUSIC AT LIBRARY: The Music Library is located in its own dedicated space within the Granary Library. The collection consists of music CDs, cassettes, music related books and scores. If you have already joined the library and are an adult or a secondary school student, you can borrow from the Music Library using your existing card. To join, all you need to do is bring valid I.D. and proof of your current address (e.g. driving licence, utility bill, bank statement etc) with you to the library. Secondary school students must have their application form signed by a parent/guardian. Membership is valid for one year and needs to be renewed annually. 
Members can borrow a maximum of 3 music CDs or DVDs and up to 6 books at a time and keep them for a period of two weeks. These can be renewed for longer if not required by another library user. Items can be renewed by telephone or online. To renew online you must have a pin number. To get a pin number just ask a member of staff at the library desk. There is wide variety of music genres, including, Classical, Jazz, Soul, Opera, Comedy, Celtic/Trad/Folk etc. Music biographies are grouped together and colour coded according to the genre. Each genre is alphabetically arranged by the surname of the person the biography is about. The ‘Learn to play an Instrument’ books are arranged by instrument type. A selection of music scores in a variety of genres, e.g. Classical, Opera, Choral, Popular Music and Musicals, is also available. These can be borrowed in the same way as books. The library at the Granary is open on Mondays and Tuesdays from 10.00am – 5.30pm; Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 10.00am – 8.00pm; Saturdays 10.00am – 1.00pm (except Bank Holiday weekends). Closed on Bank Holidays. I will bring the remaining info on the Granary Music in my notes next week.
“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.” Bob Marley “After silence that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.

SIOBHÁN ON ABBEY FISHERMEN: You will recall that in my notes last week I covered the Siobhán English book entitled, Come Stroll With Me in Limerick,” in a fairly outline form. However, I intend to treat of a few more local inclusions which she has made in some future notes. Now during her extensive ‘Stroll’ the author happened to wander into the interior of our pride and joy, that magnificent edifice which is visible from so many angles of the city, St Mary’s Cathedral. While inside there, among several more aspects she depicts the beautifully carved bench which is dedicated to the memory of local historian and writer, the late Jackie Clancy (1907-1986), who hailed from the Abbey. Siobhán states; “It is well worth noting the two prominent memorials to the Barrington family, who were responsible for the founding of Barrington’s Hospital in the city. A more recent memorial is a beautiful bench in remembrance of Jackie Clancy, a member of that illustrious group, the Abbey Fishermen.” This very attractive piece of woodwork was carved by a master craftsman, Jimmy Clancy, his son. Into the wooden bench are ingrained or carved the following words: “Come, follow me and I will make you a fisher of men,” and also, “Well done thou good and faithful servant.”

Now Jimmy Clancy, in my estimation is one of Limerick’s finest historians. He is a pure natural but for all that, he is extremely humble. No need for studying books on local history, Jimmy has it all stored well, back in the recesses of his mind, ready to be extracted when and if anyone brings up a matter of local interest. He is as thorough as he is knowledgeable, but as most people who know Jimmy realise that one would not want to be in a hurry or have a stew simmering at home, as when you return it might be non existent. Meet himself and Frances on a days stroll in Kilkee and you just might have to forget about your swim at the Pollock Holes. The tide could well be in full by the time you get there! In all honesty, he is so interesting, you are slow to depart from his presence or his vast knowledge, for that matter.

CURTIN’S PARISH PICS: Continuing on from last week’s pictorial tour of Seán Curtin’s wonderful nostalgically historical book, “A Stroll Down Memory Lane,” we next come to a truly delightful picture of a float for St Patrick’s Day of Geary’s, late of Merchant’s Quay, being made ready for the event by Glentworth employees, Tommy Deegan and Edward Ryan back in 1960. We then arrive at p82 where we are treated to a wonderful picture of mainly ladies with a few gents as they stand for a photo take at River lane, Sandmall, a very long time ago. The party took place in Theresa Dundon’s house at St Francis Abbey. Delia Hockedy is seen in this picture playing the fiddle. Oh, the memories that such a picture evokes! On p89 there is a very old picture of Nicholas Street which includes the Exchange. We see a shawlie or two, together with a few chickens and hens walking around just like the humans. On p101, we are reminded yet again of the big freeze of 1963. Here we see a Mrs Quillinan of Mill Road, Corbally with her young son, Maurice, complete with hooded duffle coat, snow boots and gloves. Now, as far as I can see I have covered all the pictures of our locale as presented to us in picture form by Seán. As I finish my most enjoyable perusal of this delightful annual picture book, I am just wondering whether Seán ever considered an exhibition of the very best of his twelve year stint? But then where would there be a venue large enough and suitable enough to house so many pictures? One is left wondering but hopeful all the same.

CURRAGHGOUR CRUISING LYRICAL: The Curraghgour Boat club, so called because of its proximity to the Curraghgour Falls, was established in 1877 and was originally known as St John’s due to the fact that many young men from that area came down there and were probably part of the original set up way back then. In calm waters the Vikings sailed up our majestic River Shannon many a century ago and indeed delighted in doing so. A port of whatever sort was like gold to would- be settlers in times past and Limerick with its inherent vast Shannon waters, proved a veritable haven for the likes of them. As life goes though, everyone’s heaven on earth is their own and on the right day, these waters can be a veritable haven to young canoeists, both male and female. It is refreshing to observe them enter these waters with their colourful canoe and all the necessary paraphernalia needed to navigate the rough aquatic terrain. They are in heaven as they intrepidly paddle against the grain, or so it appears to the casual uninformed onlooker.
Well, to mark that unique date 12-12-12, a superb artist, Annemarie Bourke, created twelve local scenes which she later donated to UL. To accompany this venture, the artist also had a hard-back book published, twelve only, hence the distinction of same, which included the twelve larhe paintings. To further enhance this artistic effort Annemarie put out a call on radio and newspaper for poets and writers to submit a work or two to the project. I was very glad that she chose my poem as well as five other poets from quite a vast entry. My poem was entitled, “Shimmering Shannon...Our Life-Blood.” The other five poets were, Evelyn Casey, John Liddy, John Bourke, Ron McKnight and Tim Cunningham. Now the interesting thing I found was that of the six poems included in this special publication, four referred to the Curraghgour. None were aware of what the other might have submitted or even to have submitted at all. I suppose it proves that that loyalty and sense of place has been ingrained in our literary mind, or as one might say, it is part of our psyche. Granted, I have known John Liddy for many a year now and I was indeed pleased to meet Tim Cunningham for the very first time at the launch, he being domiciled in England. I liked his poem in particular but then I appreciate his style of writing anyway. Tim’s works have often been featured in the ‘ Limerick Leader’ down through the years and in particular by that very fine journalist, Aidan Corr, who ran the ‘Talk of the Town’ for many years.

WHITE HOUSE BY CANDLELIGHT: Each of the six poems is complemented by one of the paintings from the twelve paintings which the artist donated to UL. My poem just happened to be accompanied by a truly lavish painting of the White House Pub on a typical Poetry evening, and captured that doyen of all MCs, Barney Sheehan, complete with dickie bow and dress suit, for the most part anyway. The colours in this true-to-life painting are positively luscious. Brightly burning candles protrude from tall bottles and suffuse into the dusky ambience. With a drink before them, the listeners are obviously captivated by the poets as they endeavour to nourish the minds of all present. This particular painting would be my favourite together with the painting of the interior of St. Mary’s Cathedral, which portrays the altar and one or two of the ecstatic stained-glass windows.
The launch was held on 12-12-12 in the salubrious Plassey House, which is situated in the environs of the verdant grounds of UL. Former President of UL and indeed the Corkman who began it all back in the early 70s, performed the launch, and thankfully I say, for one so extremely intelligent, he possesses a captivating sense of humour. On the night, each of the poets was presented with a book which was individually signed to the poet by the artist, Annemarie. This is a priceless treasure and a definite keepsake if ever there was one. One of these precious books has been donated to UL and will be on view to all visiting dignitaries, so they, like others, will be able to sample the literary works of at least six Limerick poets. Well done to our very talented artist, Annemarie, who by donating her twelve wonderful painting of our beautiful city to UL, has ensured a place for posterity to cherish our Limerick heritage for many centuries to come.

SHANNON RFC TABLE QUIZ : Shannon RFC are hosting a table quiz on Friday January 25th at 8pm in O’Driscolls Bar, Corbally. Anyone interested in reserving a table (four to a table/€40) please contact Richie Ryan 087-6745320  or Tadhg Crowe  087-6524358 . It will be a great night and lots of prizes to be won so come along and support the club. 

SEAN-FHOCAL: “Cuir síoda ar ghabhar agis is gabhar i gconaí é.” “Put silk on a goat and it is still a goat.” “Is minic cuma aingeal ar an Diabhal féin.” “There is often the look of an angel on the devil himself.”