CASTLE ALERT: I feel it is important to let you know that anyone intending to visit our beautifully refurbished Castle, that it closes before 3.30pm, the reason being that the tour takes at least two hours to explore and enjoy. So, don’t be disappointed. For sure, it is proving a winner.
COMIC BOOK A TREAT:
“Influence my soul, oh Muse, with fierce desire
To draw the picture, with a touch of fire…
Unlock the past, and summon back to life
The acts and actors of the noble strife.”
The forgoing four lines were written by Michael Hogan, the Bard of Thomond, and were wisely chosen by artist, Hugh McMahon, to culminate his outstanding collection of eight ‘Limerick Folk Tales.’ The comic book which is of the highest quality material, printing-wise, has familiar tales such as; ‘St Patrick in Limerick,’ ‘The Italian Bellmaker,’ ‘Seán an Scuab,’ and a lesser known tale called, ‘The Limerick Cobbler.’ The stories are told in simple language and could definitely be enjoyed not only by the young but also the not so young. I sat up in bed one night and read it from cover to cover and I enjoyed it immensely. Earlier that day my six year old grand-daughter began to read it to me and for the most part did very well indeed. I must admit the one about the cobbler was new to me. When my grand-child read that word she asked me what it was? The illustrations are superb and you can readily engage with the story being related as you read the script. We view no less than six church steeples or towers in this very fine local literary effort, the first of its kind I would say. We see a perfect drawing of St Munchin’s Church (which is actually older than our church), and the Treaty Stone on one page alone and on the page opposite we see yet another perfect depiction of the Old St Munchin’s Church, which is the one that augments the story of ‘The Curse of St Munchin.’ In fact just about every well-known landmark within our city has been captured excellently in this delightful comic book, including that very fine clock down the Docks. The greatest advantage of this publication, and believe there are no disadvantages, is the imparting of our local folklore to the younger generation in simple, easy to understand form, so that the stories extend into future generations. One thing is for sure, this young man definitely knows his local history. Well done to Hugh! The book costs a mere €4 and can be procured by contacting the following email: firstname.lastname@example.org
HOGAN’S GHOST STORY: This being the month of November, I will pay my bi-annual visit to our poet of the 19th century, Michael Hogan, who of course was born at the beginning of that month. I honestly forgot to mention him in last week’s notes; November came upon us so fast I think I was taken unawares. But since we have only recently celebrated Halloween and all that scary stuff that goes with it I’ve decided to quote a few lines from the greatest ghost story of all time, that of, ‘Drunken Thady and the Bishop’s Lady,’ which happens to be the one and only poem he is identified with despite having filled a book of 499 pages of poems in very small print.
“He saw her face grim, large and pale,
Her red eyes sparkled through her veil;
Her scarlet cloak –half immaterial --
Flew wildly round her person aerial.
With oaths, he tried to catch her form,
‘Twere easier far to catch a storm;
Before his eyes she held him there,
His hands felt nothing more than air;
Her grasp pressed on him cold as steel;
He saw her form but could not feel.”
Has there ever been a poem as evocative of ghostly fright as this one? I think not. It is literary brilliance personified. I will be inserting a piece on or by Michael Hogan for the next three weeks.
NOVEMBER IN KILKEE: It was what one might call, a much delayed visit to that ‘Queen of Watering Places’ due to many commitments within my native city, comprising mainly of events which needed to be attended and perhaps, even written about. And so, last week found me happily ‘landed’ in my favourite place, proven back in 1980, from tests taken from an altitude of between 6,000 and 24,000 feet, to be the cleanest air in all the world, mainly due to the westerly winds blowing in from the Atlantic. Going there, I thought, would afford me the luxury of pursuing my present literary project at hand in an atmosphere which would be entirely free from interruption. As well as that I felt a need of Kilkee’s pure air. To say the least, Kilkee in wintertime is a most interesting experience. The morgue-like quietness is tangible. It’s like having the playground all to yourself which seems great but alas, you have no one to play with! However, as I had more than enough to occupy my time, that hardly mattered. One thing I always find down here is the excellent quality of the water. I could drink pints of it. The weather being varied, I made the most of the good days. As it so happened a playwright weekend was in progress, so I took advantage of an offering or two at Cultúrlann Sweeney (the Library). Even in November, the weekends present their own little buzz, with a skeleton Market, a place I am a vulture for, and possibly less than a dozen extra people. Walking down a people-free O’Curry Street one Saturday in search of the ‘Limerick Leader’ which incidentally, I did not succeed in procuring, I saw that ‘Rosaries’ was open. So in I go, where an array of Christmas cards was on display among all the usual items on sale. Naturally, spotting my favourite ‘Robin’ cards that bore a frosty appearance, I purchased, not sure if they were Irish made but what harm, they were a good bargain and in these strained economic times, we must get our priorities right (even though they seem wrong at times!). Anyway, I thought it was a decent thing to give a bit of custom on a bleak and rain-blasted, cruel November day. It was a pleasure to talk to the owner’s son, who told me he was studying at UL.
DOOMED EDMOND: I met a few of my usual Clare contacts and I even had a few amicable words with Michael Nolan, the former well-known butcher, as he walked to his home, a few hundred yards outside Kilkee. I caught up on a wonderful account of the wreck of the Edmond, which took place back in 1850, a year in which ships were bringing thousands of people from Limerick and Clare off to America. The Edmond left the Limerick Docks on Friday November 15th but did not sail out into the Atlantic until Monday, the 18th. The weather seemed favourable and the captain weighed anchor and the Edmond passed Loop Head and sailed out into the Atlantic. Having sailed for thirty miles all that day, a fierce wind struck and it was then that the catastrophe happened as a result of the ship being blown back. Sykes House was where the ship met its eventual doom. That night this landmark house on the West End, was occupied by the family of Richard Russell, a son of John Norris Russell, a prominent Limerick businessman. He and the servant of the house proved magnanimous in sending for help and in helping many who survived by taking them to the house and offering them sustenance and a place to lay their head.
During my winter sojourn I also caught up with some old tapes I had left below. Prime among these are, without doubt, Derek Moloney, Suzanne Murphy, Olive O’Brien, Dermot Kelly, (as the late John-the-man used to call, the Singing Bank Manager), and the McCormack Singers. The latter’s tape was entitled, “The Light of Other Days,” their very first production when the Musical Director and Founder, was Paddy McCormack, now Dr Patrick McCormack and indeed a committed Kilkee-ite himself too. Outside of the singing being thoroughly enjoyable, the cover picture, which was taken by Tony Doyle, was as captivating as it was interesting, the delightful Curraghgour Falls fronting our insignia, King John’s Castle. Obviously taken in less recent years, it just escaped that frightful glass facade as the tops of the old houses in the Castle Barracks are visible. To hear Moira Gray playing on the Cathedral organ as the accompanist was sheer delight. And talking of choirs, the Kilkee choir at Sunday Mass is wonderful indeed and a choir I would be quick to compare with our own Parish Choir, where possibly the male input is that bit stronger, haven’t quite decided yet. One week their recessional was “Glory, Glory Halleluia” and another week it was the very lovely “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” A very interesting thing is that crayons and pages to colour in are left out during Mass for the children. Next year is the 50th anniversary of the building of this church.
Anyway, the best part of the entire sojourn was the purchase of four fine books written by the late and great writer, Canon Sheehan from Doneraile, Co Cork (1852-1913). The four cost me only €2! And they were purchased in Kilkee. Of course they included that evergreen, entitled, “My New Curate,” which proved for me a welcome relief from pounding on the keyboard of my laptop! Someday I feel they will fetch a respectable price. (The foregoing piece was penned last year and I just happened to rake it out because as you read it I just happen to be down there again at this moment in time, as there were two great one act plays going on last weekend and I couldn’t miss them; maybe next week I will give my comment on both. I must inject that the ‘Limerick Leader’ is always down here on Thursdays nowadays. That’s what you call efficiency.)
DENIS SAYS THANKS: Denis O’Shaughnessy would like to thank all those who turned up for the recent launch of his book, “Reflections on Limerick,” at St Mary’s RFC Clubhouse. He said, “It was memorable for me inasmuch as it proved a great gathering of my old friends and neighbours, many of whom had not met for quite some time. I’d like to thank all those who contributed to the success of the launch: singers, musicians, readers, the Mayor, Cllr Kathleen Leddin, and Alan English, editor of the ‘Limerick Leader’ who launched the book. Also St Mary’s RFC for their help and use of their splendid clubhouse which is proving such a boon to the social life of the Parish and beyond.”
Just to let you know that of course Denis’s book is available uptown but you can also procure a copy locally at our local Credit Union, Treacy’s Supermarket on Nicholas Street, and at Super-Value out in Grove Island.
Rugby NEWS: St. Mary’s 34 Muskerry 15 MJL Div. 1
St. Mary’s got off to a poor start last Sunday at home to Muskerry and fell 0-10 behind after 15 mins with the Muskerry pack dominating in the opening exchanges. Saints began to get a grip on the game after this and finally found their rhythm but Muskerry were not helped by two players being sent to the bin before halftime and this let Saints go in at halftime leading 14-10 thanks to tries from Matthew Ryan and Ben Sargent and two converts by Ben Sargent. In the second half it was all Saints with the pack completely dominating there opponents and went on to score three more tries, one a fabulous individual try from Ross Kelly and two from Brian Purcell with two conversions and a penalty from Ben Sargent. After four games in the league Saints are two points clear at the top of the table. Next up is a tough away fixture next Sunday against Clonakilty. There will be a bus leaving the Clubhouse on Sunday morning with a limited number of places available, please contact Christy Mc Namara to book a seat.
The Second XV also find themselves at the top of the table with three from three after wins over Old Crescent, Bruff and Shannon. They now face Galbally on Saturday 9th November under lights in Grove Island at 7.30pm. Lets get down and support the lads.
Congratulations must go go to the Girls under 18 side who recently won the European Town of Sport Cup in Thurles and also to our girls Under 12’s who are unbeaten this season. Training for all girls up to 18 takes place in Grove Island on Mondays and Wednesdays at 5.30 pm. Ladies over 18’s training takes place also on Mondays and Wednesdays in Grove Island at 7.00 pm.
The Under 14 boys St. Mary’s/ Richmond side had a great 34-10 win over Garryowen last Sunday morning.
A mass for the deceased members of the Club takes place this Friday night 9th November in the Clubhouse in Grove Island at 7.30pm with all members, families and friends & supporters welcome with refreshments being served afterwards.
REVEREND JANE GALBRAITH: Congratulations to Rev’d Jane Galbraith on her appointment as associate priest in the Tralee and Dingle group of Parishes with effect from December 1, 2013. Jane has been Curate in Limerick for ten years and during her time with us she has done a lot of work with the youth clubs, visiting the sick, and also took charge of the Parish in the intervening period whilst we were awaiting the appointment of the new dean. she will be missed in limerick but we wish her well on her journey. Keep an eye to these notes as to send-off.
LIMERICK ON TV: Thankfully, both pieces recently portrayed on television concerning our lovely city has been exceptionally positive. The documentary on TG 4 about rugby in general and particularly the famous Munster win over the All Blacks in 1978, was just brilliant. All the contributors acquitted themselves admirably, Frank Prendergast, Gerry Mcloughlin, Alan English and of course our very own Shannon President, Vinny Ryan, who emits such a warm and appealing presence. What a pity he didn’t get a chance to sing! Apologies if I omitted anyone from what proved to be a marvellous portrayal of rugby in Limerick.
Then Nationwide on Monday evening exhibited fashion in Limerick, showing off to its fullest advantage our much sought after College of Art, a building which was formerly the old Magdalen Laundry. Noreen Ellerker of St Mary’s Cathedral displayed a vast acquired knowledge of the history of fashion in Limerick and more importantly she put her knowledge over very well indeed to the television audience of this highly popular programme