CAROL SERVICE THIS SUNDAY: The annual liturgical Procession by Candlelight with Readings and Carols for Advent will take place in St Mary’s Cathedral on Sunday, December 1, 2013 at 7.00 pm.
The hauntingly beautiful, ‘O Come, O Come Emmanuel,’ will herald what promises to be a most fitting beginning to the Christmas season, with this wonderful evening of sacred music sung by a superior choir.
This year the repertoire will include music by Byrd, Rheinberger and George Guest together with traditional hymns and carols. Mulled Wine and Mince Pies will be served after the Service.
I must admit that this particular Cathedral Service is bound to leave its mark on all attendees as it puts everyone in the festive mood and one that exhibits the real meaning of what Christmas is really all about.
An added bonus in our Cathedral of late years is the underground heating system which is proving most comforting indeed and on a cold night in December that is indeed most welcome because no matter how good the line-up might be of an evening, coldness definitely distracts from what should be a most enjoyable evening.
COME AND SING CAROLS: Will take place at St Mary’s Cathedral on Saturday next, December 7, 2013 at 5.30pm.Admission is free but a donation to the Retiring Collection would be greatly appreciated as this will go to aid Limerick City Parish.
CRAFT FAIR AT HUNT: This year the Hunt Museum venue will host the Christmas Craft Fair this weekend on Saturday and Sunday.
This is the annual highlight in our city heralding the news that the festive season has definitely arrived. As in former years this promises to be a wonderful two days of local people displaying their various crafts and it affords many of us to avail of the opportunity to purchase a quality Christmas gift. As far as I know admission is free.
RNLI CHRISTMAS CARDS, CALENDARS: Will be on sale on Saturday, November 30, and Sunday, December 1, 2013 at the Jetland Shopping Centre, Ennis Road, Limerick, opposite the entrance to Dunnes Stores. Again, your support will be very welcome and much appreciated.
ARTIST JIM O’FARRELL: Local cards depicting local scenes city and county by Jim O’Farrell are on sale in various bookshops and various other venues. These cards with an envelope are of a very good quality and as I mentioned in last week’s notes, we should support our own.
ABC OFFICERS ELECTED: The following officers have been recently elected at Athlunkard Boat Club: President: Billy Meehan; Vice-President: David Murnane; Hon. Secretary: Mike Kiely; Hon. Treasurer: Parricia Lonergan; Captain: Roger Kiely; Vice-Captains: Gary Griffin & Gary Devereaux; P.R.O.: Anna Gloster; Welfare Officer: Dom O’Farrell; Committee: Darren Cunningham, Martin O’Connor, Dave McKeown, Sarah O’Farrell, Ciarain Mulcahy & Aoife Willis.
SUCCESSFUL ROWING CHAMPIONSHIPS: The Irish Indoor Rowing Championships took place at the UL Arena on Saturday November 23 and it proved to be a very successful outing for the oars people of Athlunkard Boat Club.
Erika O’ Connor got the club off to a great start with a win in the women’s junior 16 event. Gavin O’Dwyer took the silver medal in the men’s junior 16 race and followed up shortly afterwards with a very convincing win in the junior 16 sprint race.
The women’s junior 16 & junior 18 squads put in some very good performances but the highlight of the day had to be the men’s team events where the club won both races entered.
The junior 16 team of Steven Murnane, James McCarthy, Anthony O’Farrell & Eoin Turner gave a super performance to win gold while the junior 18 team of Conor Meehan, Ger McNamara, Gavin O’Dwyer & Ewan Gallagher pulled out all the stops in a nail biting finish to claim victory with just 4 seconds to spare over strong opposition from Cork and Galway. Overall, a very good day’s racing and congratulations to all concerned. (See picture on this page).
THE POET HOGAN: The Bard of Thomond died in a cellar dwelling which he occupied with his wife, Nannie, on Rutland Street, close to the old Town Hall on April 20th, 1899. They had no offspring.
In 2005, an elegant life-size bronze statue was erected to the memory of Michel Hogan outside King John’s Castle, a spot he would have traversed many a time on his way out to Thomondgate, the place of his birth. It is also close to where the famed Bishop’s Palace stands and where the fictional ‘Bishop’s Lady’ resided.
Oh what a literary genius the city of Limerick has produced, yet he was a man who had the handicap of blindness thrust upon him from his middle years.
For any living person, that would indeed have been a cross to bear but for a writer of the calibre of Michael Hogan, it must have been close to a life sentence, plus the fact that there was no electricity at that time and he would have worked either by candlelight or gaslight.
We must forever keep in mind the bleak times in which he lived and because of that all the more credit is due to his ingenuity and perseverance which resulted in his having a hard-back book of almost 500 pages published. The print is so small that it leads one to think that had it been in the present day printing mode its contents could well have filled four books.
Many tributes were paid to the Munster poet following his death, including a poem which I may have already referred to in these notes which was penned by a near neighbour, and another gifted poet, TJ Dunbar, who lived at Lansdowne Terrace, a bit beyond St Munchin’s Church.
I have a precious collection of this poet’s works entitled, “A Garland of Verse” and also many poems written in the poet’s own handwriting, that is copperplate penmanship at its most excellent.
I will conclude my short tribute to the famous Bard of Thomond this November by quoting from someone calling himself ‘Hibernicus,’ who sent an eight verse poem to the ‘Limerick Leader’ following the poet’s death, a man so rich in mind and poor in body.
“Hushed are the halls and silent the streets
Of the olden city by the Shannon side,
And the muffled drum but sadly beats
For the mourning queen bewails her highest pride.
Let Thomond mourn her honoured Bard
And Limerick, famed, resound his praise,
Let Munster join in her accord
And Erin sing his charming lays.”
CHRISTMAS STALL: St Mary’s Cathedral ‘Come and Sing’ at 5.30pm: December 7, 2013. Stalls will operate from 2.00-5.30 pm.
We are planning a Christmas stall for December 7 as there will be visitors coming to sing at 5.30pm; so from 2pm we will be open. We already have a number of gifts and good donated items to raffle in aid of Limerick City Parish. Can you help? We would welcome Christmas decorations (including some olive wood from the Holy Land, seasonal baking and preserves, gift items, anything that looks Christmassy and sparkling. Or seasonal table decorations)
Can you help us brighten up a dark corner of the cathedral and enjoy the occasion, and help our city Parish? Any questions - contact the Dean. At 087-2658592: Email: email@example.com.
JIMMY CLANCY: Master wood carver, Jimmy Clancy, with his wife, Frances, featured with a few more, including our Mayor, Kathleen Leddin, last weekend.
Parish people are very proud of Jimmy, who can also boast (but doesn’t) of being an accomplished and natural historian. I’d safely say there is no one in Limerick who is capable of tripping him up in that line.
The article dealt with the restoration of his expert creation; a very special table which was commissioned by Tomás McDiarmada, back in September of 1978 and was completed in April of the following year.
It is of course the magnificent full length table around which convene the Mayor and his seventeen City Councilors each and every Monday around 4pm I think, in an effort to debate pressing city matters and where they set out plans for the portrayal of our city in its very best light. He has served his city well.
What interesting tales that table could tell of what goes on behind closed doors. Incidentally, a picture of Jimmy’s father appears as part of a very fine article on the Abbey Fisherman which forms part of Denis O’Shaughnessy’s recent publication entitled, ‘Reflections on Limerick.’
WELL DONE LIAM: The late Cardinal Newman, among his many outstanding writings penned a piece which he titled, ‘A Gentleman.’ In it he puts forward in very simple language various definitions of same.
One is, ‘a person who never inflicts pain,’ while another states, ‘he makes light of favours while he does them and seems to be receiving when he is conferring.’
There are eight more. Yet, to meet a true gentleman in action all you have to do is have dealings, be they ever so slight with the photographer, Liam Burke, who operates his photographic business out of Press 22, on Nicholas Street, which was the once popular sweet shop known to us all as Julia O’Brien’s.
It now appears that Liam’s photographic prowess has been recognised much further afield as I read in this very newspaper last week, that he has been honoured by Concern at a Charity Ball for his work with the aid agency over the past 25 years. Well done to Liam!
BAPTISMS: We warmly welcome into our parish fold the following babies who have been recently baptised: Tamera McCormack-Reddan, Finn Kenehan, Ali O’Callaghan, Chloe O’Donoghue, Lorcan Walsh, Ella-Mae Wallace, Evie Lysaght-Healy, Glen Blackhall, Layla Curran, Blake Campbell, Reece Campbell, Cathal Feeney, Christian Hickey, James Moore, Alex Duggan, Jaydine Casey-Braddish, Isabel McNally.
DEATH OF SHANNON STALWART: Many parish people and in particular the members of Shannon RFC were saddened this week upon hearing of the death of Christopher (Christy) Keogh, in Brooklyn, New York.
During the fifties Christy played for that famous Nicholas Street team of very happy memory, that of Artesians, which was ably managed by Josie Keogh.
He also played for Shannon where his rugby sporting prowess was instantly recognised and his vital input very much appreciated.
We extend our heartfelt sympathy to his sister, Dolores Morgan, his brother-in-law, nephews, relatives and friends and his rugby colleagues who still remember his as a very nice chap. Christy emigrated to the USA in his early years. Requiem Mass will take place in our parish church on this very Friday at 11.00am.
OUR SENIOR CHOIR IS 40: St Mary’s Choir was founded by Fr John Condon, PP, in 1973. It started off as a male voice choir. Several weeks later a ladies choir was formed and the following Christmas both choirs came together to sing on Christmas Day and it was so successful that they decided to form one choir and have been singing together now for nine years.
The first conductor was Mrs Eithne Hughes and it was her idea to do a series of concerts during 1973 and 1974. The choir travelled outside Limerick for many of the concerts and they were very successful.
Sr Claudine took over as conductor when Mrs Hughes left Limerick, and again after some time Sr Claudine was transferred to Donegal and once more the choir was looking for a conductor.
They found him in the ranks of the choir - the late beloved Éamonn Madden. He did tremendous work with the choir and during his term with them they entered competition for the first time and won the trophy for the best Limerick choir.
He also conducted the choir for a live television Mass from Donnybrook in December, 1976. St Mary’s had the honour of being the first choir from Limerick to do so. Éamonn was taken from us and his death was not only a dreadful loss to St Mary’s Choir but to all musical circles in Limerick.
Mr Leonard Sheridan, B. Mus. took over as conductor in 1979 and stayed with the choir for nearly two years. During that time the choir were invited to sing in Galway Cathedral, which was a wonderful experience for all concerned.
Our present conductor is Mrs Deirdre Clancy who is a well known soprano and is also Musical Director of the Cecilians.
She has done wonderful things with the Choir since she took over and St Mary’s are very lucky to have someone of her musical talent as conductor.
Our very talented young organist is Miss Jean McDonough, who has been a tremendous help to the choir. The choir have rehearsal every week in the Community Centre and sing at the 11.00 am Mass every Sunday.
There are forty-two members in the choir now and they hope that their singing at Mass gives as much pleasure to the congregation as they get from doing so. All choir members thank Fr Condon for his idea of forming the choir way back in 1973 and thank him for his help and encouragement at all times.” (From the ‘Golden Jubilee’ book 1982. No name attached).
The choir can be assured that the congregation enjoyed their musical offering back then and continue to do so. Their magnificent rendition of “The Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves” is comparable to many of the highly rated choirs from at home and abroad. Their rendition of “The Pilgrim’s Chorus” is also delightful to listen to. Another all time favourite of mine and indeed not an easy piece to sing well is “Evening Prayer”.
Occasionally we are afforded the supreme pleasure of listening to the soloists, Sinéad Fitzpatrick and Andréa McMahon (O’Rourke). Andréa’s soulful rendition of the ‘Lorica of St Patrick’ (‘The Deer’s Cry) is heavenly and never fails to please.
Our thanks to the Choir Director, Jim Graham, the organist, Brendan Frawley, and of course our loyal choir members, not forgetting the lady who manages very well to keep the musical ship afloat, the Secretary, Peg Reville. We look forward to the Carol Service which will take place on Sunday, December 15, at 7.30pm. Note change of time and day from former years.
CATHEDRAL IN IRELAND’S OWN: There is an excellent article on vital aspects of the history St Mary’s Cathedral in ‘Ireland’s Own,’ dated 29-11-13, written by Charlotte Murphy.
It is a two-page article that concludes with the following short paragraph: ‘There is so much more to see and savour in St Mary’s in an area of Limerick which has experienced over a thousand years of human life, in all of its pain and triumph. This is an extraordinary building which endlessly repays time spent here in study and contemplation.’
HORSE ON PHONE: Recently there was a discussion on dreams and talking in ones sleep on 95fm which terminated with the following joke.
A man had been calling out a lady’s name while sleeping. The following morning his wife questioned him as to who Susanna was? ‘A horse I must remember to back,’ he replied and went off to work. When he returned that evening he was met at the door with his suitcases all packed. ‘What’s this?’ he enquired of his wife. ‘Oh,’ she replied in matter-of-fact manner, ‘Your horse phoned while you were out!’