BOTTOM TOP DOGS: The Bottom Dog Theatre group has replaced the highly successful Island Theatre Company for the past five years and it seems they are anything but living up to their name. No indeed, this theatre group have had the female actress, Joanne Ryan, short listed for a top award for her part in a play based on a true story entitled, “The Burning of Bridget Cleary,” which also included the outstanding and gifted versatile actor, Myles Breen, who had need to take on the guise of an old bedraggled man. And no matter how seemingly popular television has become, live theatre will always remain the far more enjoyable form of entertainment. I recall attending this particular play which recalls an event that occurred at around the turn of the last century only a few miles from Limerick. To the ordinary theatre goer such as myself it appeared to be a most difficult play to act out; first of all their being only two characters, who had to recall to mind reams upon reams of dialogue, and secondly the serious nature of that same dialogue. Oh, it was so well acted on the part of both actors, Joanne and Myles, who had need to become very angry more than once as far as I can recall . The venue was one I had not been to before, that of a basement area in a club venue in the vicinity of Pery Square or Barrington Street. The simple ambience brought me back to the days when we attended the plays put on by the St Mary’s scouts and which were performed in the scout hall; brilliant, brilliant altogether. Well done to Joanne and hopes are high that she succeeds in winning the award! Also, well done to Myles who provided this actress with the ideal balance to her part and to Liam O’Brien, who was responsible for the entire production.
BAPTISMS: We warmly welcome into our parish fold the following two babies who were baptised in 2013: Deanna Kavanagh and Ellie-Mae O’Callaghan.
SHANNON 130 YEARS OLD: Continuing from last week: “The following players have worn the green jersey for Ireland: Women Internationals: Joss Hanrahan, Olivia Brown, Jean Lonergan, Rosie Foley, Fona Steed, Rachel Tucker, Anne-Marie McAllister, Joy Neville, Amanda Greensmith and Denise Treacy. Men Internationals: Brian O’Brien, Brendan Foley, Colm Tucker, Gerry McLoughlin, Mick Moylett, Mick Galwey, Mick Fitzgibbon, Anthony Foley, Eddie Halvey, Alan Quinlan, John Hayes, Peter Stringer, Marcus Horan, Trevor Hogan, Jerry Flannery,Tony Buckley, Donnacha Ryan, Ian Dowling, Niall Ronan and Felix Jones. Of that bunch, Gerry McLoughlin, Colm Tucker and Mick Galwey have represented the Lions on tour. Three Shannon players played on that famous Munster side that defeated the touring All Blacks (12-0) on 31st October 1978 in Thomond Park. They are, Brendan Foley, Colm Tucker and Gerry McLoughlin. Mick Galwey captained the Munster side that lost so narrowly in the European Cup Finals of 2000 and 2002 (going out at the semi-final stage in 2001).
Anthony Foley, who’s family members (father Brendan and sister Rosie), represented Shannon, Munster and Ireland with distinction, is Munster’s most capped player and having played more European Cup games than any other player since the tournament began, topped it all off in May of 2006 when he led Munster to that wonderful European Cup final victory in Cardiff over Biarritz. Brian O’Brien who retired from his position as Manager of the Irish Senior Squad a few years ago. Niall O’Donovan has had a very successful tenure as forwards coach of the Irish team. 2008 saw Munster return to Cardiff to recapture the European Cup, this time at the expense of Europes aristocrats, Toulouse. Heavily involved in this success was Donncha Ryan as well as some of the afore-mentioned (Foley, Hayes, Quinlan, Horan, Stringer, Buckley) as well as Ian Dowling.
A great milestone in the history of the club was the celebration of our Centenary in 1984. In a long and illustrious history Shannon have won everything that has to be won in the game. However, that does not diminish the hunger for success that is the hallmark of Shannon teams at every level. Here’s to another 100 years at one of the most famous and legendary rugby clubs not just in this country, but the world over.” (Andrew Mcnamara)
MAE ON MUNCHIN: Strange but true, I had already inserted the little ‘limerick’ on the said Munchin which appears below several days prior to hearing Mae’s piece on ‘Sunday Miscellany’ on Sunday last. By now most local people are familiar with that telling legend, true or not, but one thing is for sure, it has stuck fast, like a limpet to a stone. It is so much a part of our psyche that anything and everything that goes awry in our fair city is apt to be automatically blamed on it. It was good to hear our native writer once again paying tribute to her roots on national radio. The famous or infamous curse goes as follows:
“As long as the waters of the Shannon flow between the rocks of Curraghgour, a Limerickman shall never prosper in Limerick, but there forever shall the stranger flourish.”
BARNARDOS: Barnardos Ireland’s leading children’s charity are currently recruiting for Breakfast Club Volunteers for two mornings per week, Monday to Friday from 8am to 10am, in two primary schools in Limerick - St Mary’s National School, Bishop Street, Limerick and Southill Junior School, O’Malley Park, Limerick. Tasks involved: preparation of breakfast; setting up dining area; serving breakfast to children; clean and tidy up after breakfast; support children with activities/games. If interested in this volunteer role please contact Suzanne on 01-7080431 or email email@example.com for more information. Barnardos supports children whose well-being is under threat, by working with them, their families and communities and by campaigning for the rights of children. Barnardos was established in 1962 and is Ireland’s leading independent children’s charity.
AA MEETINGS: Anyone who has trouble alcohol are very welcome to attend the meetings at the back of St Mary’s church on any Tuesday or Thursday at 8.30pm.
ORNATE GATE AND GUGU’S HILL: Spell the last two words whichever way you wish; could be goo-goo’s I suppose, because it is purely a made up term by some youngsters I think. Anyway what has me mentioning it at all is an article I came across recently in a book entitled, ‘A Secret Map of Ireland,’ by Rosita Boland. In this book every county in Ireland is afforded a chapter. Yes of course we are in there. The writer explains how when she arrived in our beautiful city she contacted Liam Burke, Press 22, and also Denis Leonard, the then Director of Civic Trust. Denis, in true civic form afforded the writer a half day out of his busy schedule in order to show her around the city. Among other places he led her into the grounds of St Mary’s Cathedral where he showed her the lovely verse which was imprinted into the wall as you walk on the cobblestones into the interior of the Cathedral in respect of a very old lady who had tended that patch for most of her life up to practically the time she passed away. The verse is recounted in the book. They also visited Prince Milo’s grave.
The late Denis fully acquainted the writer with the heart shaped stone set into the old Convent wall just to the left of the green common gate as you exit Villier’s Square and start down the hill to Verdant Crescent. It is quite intriguing really and definitely lends itself to a vast scope imagination-wise. All sorts of stories could be concocted as to how it got there. Yet another curiosity our late Civic Trust Director led her to was the ever present intricacies that make up that delightful entrance gate to Athlunkard Boat Club. The writer really goes into great detail on this one. Now there are references to a few more of Limerick’s secret treasures in this book, but that’s enough for now. For sure she met the perfect man on the day she arrived in our city.
VINNY RYAN SHANNON RFC: “Vincent Ryan is currently Shannon RFC’s Junior Vice President (2012) and has recently been confirmed with a Bachelor of Arts in History, Politics, Sociology and Social Studies from the University of Limerick. As part of his course, he conducted his thesis on The Origins and Ethos of Limerick Rugby. It offers a comprehensive and in-depth description of the history of Rugby in Limerick and will fascinate rugby followers of all Clubs.” Vinny is now the club historian and well becoming he is to that position too.
CLEAN STREETS: It was most encouraging to our city’s image to have received a clean bill of health, litter-wise, recently. Of interest to us locally was Nicholas Street, the Sandmall and the area surrounding King John’s Castle, all of which received praise. However, not surprisingly, that large derelict area of waste-ground at the end of Castle Street was one of only a few downfalls to our image around the city. But, hopefully, that will all be mended soon if Civic Trust succeed in gaining planning permission to construct a Garden to honour our great sports heroes and heroins. Without doubt, that is a most interesting proposition.
NOYE’S FLUDDE: In connection with this Opera Project auditions have been held for the various solo roles. Most solo places are now filled, and we have heard some very talented young singers. However, it is not too late for children to audition for the chorus - boys and girls aged 11 to 18/19. There are also one or two solo places for younger boys (aged 10/11-13) left. These boy soloists need to have treble (unchanged) voices. For further information please contact Janet Bray at Villiers School telephone 061 - 451 447 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
THAT MUNCHIN CURSE:
Munchin put a curse on us all,
The old, young, the fat and the tall,
For, we dare not succeed,
And be forever in need,
And let the stranger our best efforts maul.
NOTES ARE VERY WELCOME: All you have to do is to send your information to the above email address by Tuesday morning to be included in the weekend city edition of this newspaper. Pictures with appropriate captions are also welcome.
HASELBECK EXHIBITION: There is a very fine exhibition of Franz S Haselbeck’s photographic images of life as recorded by him during the 20th century presently on display at the Hunt Museum. This major exhibition will be open to the public right into the month of February. By now many people will have become familiar with the magnificent book that has been produced by his grand-daughter, Patricia. Of particular local interest are the superb pictures of Ranks flour mill and many more which encompass most reliable pictures of the Docks during its hey-day.
Well done to Patricia who succeeded admirably in honouring her late grand-father’s wishes to have his life’s work compiled and preserved.
FOND FAREWELL TO A LADY: Not a parish lady, yet one with a strong connection with same through her son, John, who has worked at St Mary’s AID for well over a decade, Kathleen O’Regan from Garryowen, passed away recently having entered her 91st year. I had the pleasure of meeting her twice during that lengthy Life span, and the one word that has come through during the Requiem Mass and through various contacts was that she was a lady, a sentiment I most certainly can concur with. Little more need be said as that one word encompasses an amount of inherent attributes.
Numerous loyal neighbours and friends and work contacts of her son, John and those from wider afield in the literary and musical sphere gathered quietly to bid a respectful farewell to a woman who seemed not to age in the usual way people do. She appeared forever young by all accounts. During the Requiem Mass we heard the glorious voice of classical singer, Joan Cunneen, who was accompanied by some fine organ playing, as well as the plaintive offering of Lou McMahon, who sang a most appropriate song, a plaintive piece new to many present, entitled, ‘Sadai,’ meaning, ‘Good-Bye.’ During the Mass a beautiful poem written by the late mystic, John O’Donoghue, was read by a friend and former neighbour, Mary Honan. Before the coffin was borne aloft down the aisle of the church, there was an extreme sense of poignancy as no one moved but all stood entranced by the soulful rendition of that most appropriate song for the very sad occasion, ‘The Voyage,’ which was sung by none other than the writer of that song himself, Johnny Duhan, who had travelled from Galway with his guitar.
Her son, John, delivered an extremely steady yet emotional and heartfelt tribute to his beloved mother, stating her many fine attributes. And despite his justifiable sadness and unmistakable grief, he did manage to inject a slight bit of humour. He told us that her final words to him were, ‘thank you for everything,’ to which he responded in kind. Just like the song says, one way or other, John and his mother had, ‘signed on together and coupled their fate and with no one to guide them, they steered their own course, and in troubled waters and happy times, together they kept afloat,’ the word ‘together’ being the vital one. John’s father had pre-deceased his mother by several years. I’m sure that many people who know John will extend their heartfelt sympathy to him, and to the sister and brother of the deceased, Mary and Christopher Meade, as we do also. Ar dheis De go raibh a anam dílis.
Of humble spirit and fair of face
Kathleen exuded a certain grace,
Tending diligently to her welcoming home
A spot from where she rarely did roam.
JOSEPH PIGOTT RIP: It was with deep regret that we learned of the death of Joseph Piggott, 182, Dooradoyle Park, and formerly of St Augustine Place, at a comparatively young age, but having patiently endured many health problems. Joseph. A former neighbour of mine, was a very quiet and unassuming man, is pre-deceased by his parents, Joe and Evelyn, and more recently by his older brother, Tom, who next month will have been deceased only two years. We extend our heartfelt sympathy to his wife, Celine, his family, Breda, Kieth, Barry and Evelyn, his sisters, Helen and Lily, and also his extended family and friends.
SPOT OF HUMOUR: A man was charged with murder so he bribed a member of the jury to have the jury find him guilty of manslaughter. After being out ten hours the jury returned a verdict of manslaughter. “I’ll be forever in your debt.” The defendant said to the man, “How did you manage it at all?” “Well, I’d a terrible job. The other eleven wanted to acquit you.”