Apr 6

Maureen Sparling

Reporter:

Maureen Sparling

GLAOCH!: Yes, the ‘Call’ is out re Abbey Fishermen’s ‘Gathering.’ Read article in these notes and please do your best to spread the word.

GLAOCH!: Yes, the ‘Call’ is out re Abbey Fishermen’s ‘Gathering.’ Read article in these notes and please do your best to spread the word.

SHANNON BEAT GARRYOWEN: 16-12, that was the final score, in a fantastic game of rugby that saw our parish stalwarts ward off the might of Garryowen out in Thomond Park on Good Friday night! The half-time score was 13-7. Not having been featured on TV and without any commentary on radio 95FM, I relied on the precious ‘tweets’ that kept on filtering through during the game. Some went like this: ‘Nobility of heart and mind, that’s what we had this evening.’ ‘Huge win by Shannon – well deserved!’ ‘Unreal pressure in the pack by Shannon,’ ‘Shannon are the salt of the earth.’ ‘Great play by Mike Darcy!’ ‘Almost over the line by Shannon but held up.’

All the while this match was in progress yet another sporting interest held my attention on the night, that of Munster versus Glasgow Warriors, and for sure it was warriors they proved to be on that fateful night for the boys in red! With the score reading something like 44-24, in the 81st minute, didn’t the opposition all practically walk to gain yet another try. Oh, by that time it was all too much...time for the reliable old ‘Late Late Show!’


PRESIDENT’S NIGHT: Shannon will host a President’s Night at 8.00pm out in Thomond Park on this Friday night, April 5, 2013. Tickets are €25 per person. Music by the Night Owls and Johnny Fortune. To reserve a seat contact: 087-6524958.

CRIOSTÓIR REGALES: Believe it or not, the heading for this piece had been on my computer for many days before attending our parish native’s talk on Tuesday night week last, and today as I return to my computer to type up my piece, I feel so justified in having chosen that same heading.

On an evening that presented near Siberian weather conditions, a luminous full moon lit our near freezing way to the Library in the Granary to welcome Ireland’s most prolific writer, Criostóir O’Flynn, to our city. What initially appeared like a rather small gathering, eventually emerged into a sizeable and may I say a rather select group, as we took our seats to hear what our superb wordsmith had to say. His friend for all of seventy years, our former Mayor and sean-Gaelgóir, (comh maith le Criostóir féin), Frank Prendergast, introduced the visiting writer, endorsing what at least some of us may had been already aware of, Criostóir’s exhaustive literary pedigree. First of all, it always helps when the person delivering a talk has a very natural style of approach to his or her audience. In this our native writer, who actually spanned three parishes during his sojourn in Limerick, St Marys as a baby, St Munchin’s as a growing boy and a teenager, and Our Lady of the Rosary as a married man, is gifted. He is not seen to be moving from one foot to the other wandering where the next thought might come from, but stands with both feet firmly on the ground with his mind in gear before his mouth speaks.

For almost two hours the much respected writer regaled all present with many of the problems he encountered with the clergy in particular, in an era when the Church was practically written into our Constitution. Thinking back now, weren’t we the most submissive of people as a nation, far from being stupid, we instinctively knew from the moment we learned to speak, you simply did not question. Having said all that, our writer, Criostóir, emerged as a very well rounded character. He could afford to be bitter, yet he isn’t. During the telling of the humps and bumps along what was oft a stony path to literary perfection, he actually proved most entertaining and thankfully, possesses a fine sense of humour. The one part that struck me as quite hilarious but for all that, believable, was the time he was taken to task by Mother O’Flynn, and he a married man at that stage. It seems, she had heard from the neighbours (who else I ask myself, for between them and the ‘pub philosophers’ everyone’s character was racked with a fine tooth comb!), that her son, the writer, had been penning ‘unsavoury’ material! They had seen it in ‘the paper.’ Having dutifully explained to the Mammy the reasoning behind this unjust assumption, Mrs O’Flynn was ready to batter the shower responsible up in Dublin with whatever she might have been able to lay he hands on! For sure, he could have gone on for two more hours and would have continued to be listenable to. To the best of my knowledge, no one budged during his talk. However, the pity of it all was that many Limerick people missed out on what proved to be a wonderful evening of nostalgia as portrayed by a gifted orator, an octogenarian of razor sharp mind, who most certainly has a literary reservoir of knowledge to impart. It did occur to me during his talk that possibly the acting world has been lost to his presence. He may just have acquitted himself admirably in that same artena. Criostóir did make known his wish to come to the city again. The Library staff, consisting of two very efficient and accommodating ladies on the night, were on hand to distribute wine or water on the night, neither of which beverage was consumed at any great rate, if at all. We are most grateful to Criostóir for making his way down from Dun Laoghaire and we greatly look forward to his coming down our way again. Perhaps our Year of Culture, 2014, will wake up some of the organisers, who will be paid for doing the job they are given, to the positive gem of a native writer we have in Criostóir, and afford him the prime spot he so richly deserves during that year.

Now to the all important business of acquiring the author’s books. If you wish to procure the book entitled, “Old Church Street,” just send €15, or “Meeting Mrs Zebedee,” send €12.50 to the author at, 47, Páirc Arnold, Glenageary, Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin, and you will receive your long awaited literary treasure.

TRIBUTE TO ‘TOM AND PASCHAL’: There is a very fine tribute in ‘Ireland’s Own,’ (5-4-’13) to the late and great comedian, Tom O’Donnell, by Eileen Casey. It is sub-titled, ‘The Passing of a Legendary Comic Genius.’ However, as this publication is pre-dated, it may be difficult to procure a copy at this stage but you can try.

OLD LIMERICK JOURNALS €5: It was mentioned on local radio recently that quite a number of past editions of the ‘Old Limerick Journal,’ are now available at Istabraq Hall in City Hall at the much reduced price of only €5, half the original price. This affords a person a great chance of a ‘top-up’ of a different kind and in so doing augment their collection of a first class production of priceless local history that might otherwise have been lost to posterity.


ABC QUIZ: Athlunkard Boat Club is about to host our 2nd annual Table quiz on the 11th of April in The Strand Hotel. Registration starts at 7:30 and the event begins at 8:00. Tables are €40 each, with teams of four. Last year was a great success with plenty of spot prizes on the night and we are sure this year will be even better than last. All are welcome! Contact club captain Roger Kiely @ 087 4122325 or athlunkardbccaptain@gmail.com or contact club facebook page’ Athlunkard Boat Club’ to book tables in advance. 

ÁRD SCOIL MHUIRE LUNCHTIME CONCERT: There will be a Lunchtime Concert in St Mary’s Cathedral on this coming Wednesday, April 10, 2013. It will begin at 1.15pm and concludes at 2.00pm. Admission is free but a donation to the Retiring Collection would be greatly appreciated as this will go to fund the Companions of St Mary’s Cathedral Music. The Leaving Cert students of Árd Scoil Mhuire will perform at this concert.


HOLY FAMILY PARISH SING: Fr Pat Hogan celebrated Mass of the Lord’s Supper with the choir of the Holy Family Parish Church, Southill on television on Thursday evening last at 7.00 pm. This cleric’s delivery as ever, was as appealing as it was simple. The soloists were first class and were well substantiated by a magnificent choir whose attire was exceptionally well chosen, the colours being black and lavender, which amply suited the week that was in it. Well done to all from that parish who had anything to do with the accomplishing of such a major task. It made a person proud to be from Limerick.


LIMERICK CITY CDP: Invites you to join us for the Launch of its evaluation report and new logo ‘Value of Community Development Projects in Limerick City: A Social and Personal Impact’ in the Exhibition Area, Limerick City Council, City Hall, Merchants Quay on Friday, April 12, 2013 at 12:30pm. Minister Jan O’ Sullivan TD will launch the Report and Logo. Please RSVP to Katherine Kirby by Friday 5th April 2013 Email: katherine.kirby@ololcsg.ie. Refreshments will be served.


ABBEY FISHERMEN ‘GATHERING’: What promises to be a memorable event will take place on the weekend 3rd to 5th of May.
Friday night 3rd May Kings Island Community Hall. Welcome and registration 8-10 pm. Saturday 4th May Morning walking tour of Abbey and Parish area. Afternoon Boat trip to the power house at Ardnacrusha and a History Lecture about the Fishermen and the Abbey and parish area in the Absolute Hotel. Also,Mae Leonard will do a reading. It is very important that we get as many to attend Friday night as possible as we need to know the numbers for the Saturday events,all of which are free. Sunday night 5th of May is a Social Night in St Mary’s rugby club again free from 8 ‘til late. We intend to have the names of the Abbey Fishermen up around the hall and are looking for a loan of as many photos of them as we can get. We can copy photos and return the originals. We would ask people to get the word out about our ‘gathering’ as we want to make contact with as many descendants as we can. If it’s too late for overseas descendants to come, I would ask them to make contact with us at least. We can be contacted at abbeyfishermen5@gmail.com or they can contact me at: ger.hayes1954@gmail.com or phone 087 6596787.(Ger is the Chairman of the Abbey Fishermen’s ‘Gathering’ Association.)


RESPECT FOR THE PIG: Staying with TV, a series of episodes tracing the history of Pork in our diet has recently begun on TG 4 at 9.30pm on Thursday nights. It is called, ‘Bia Duchais.’ In the first episode, our Parish got a special mention, yes it did! Frank Corr did not let the side down, God be good to him. Said he recalled how the pigs walked through the parish, St Mary’s that is, and how many households realised a fine living from the breeding of the said lovable animal, which by all accounts, has very clean habits. Could have fooled me, I can tell you. Many readers of these notes will recall the many houses on Athlunkard Street on the left going out, where pigs were reared for eventual slaughter. My grandparent’s was one such house. These houses have backs stretching over 100 feet in length. Thankfully, it is the fragrance of the lilac, which was quite profuse may I say, that has remained with me to this very day. And how could such a vital aspect of our parish escape any wide-awake writer? Sure, hasn’t Denis O’Shaughnessy treated of this topic in many of his seven or eight books to date, (another in the offing, oh yes there is!) Isn’t one of his publications entitled, “The Pig Buyer and the Pope” the former being my late uncle, a man of more than ample proportions, Thomas Sheehan. Not sure whether or not Limerick will feature in future episodes but sure can’t we watch and see anyway. One thing for sure, that first programme renewed my longing for pork and the crackling skin with delicious sizzling fat. Yes fat, isn’t that what gives any meat worth its salt, the taste as well as keeping it moist? So, I relented and purchased the said Pork in a week that spells LAMB, fresh spring lamb! However, because of an invitation to dinner elsewhere on Easter Sunday, I had to freeze the joint until sometime later, but that longing still remains.


BARD AND JOHN DALY: This being the month of Michael Hogan, the Bard of Thomond’s death in 1899, I will honour his great memory as best I can during the next three weeks, as I am wont to do every April and November, the month of his birth, for the past nine or so years. In this week’s notes I’ve decided to include a letter sent to the Bard by John Daly, the three times Fenian Mayor of Limerick. The letter is dated, July 14, 1884 and is sent from a prison in Birmingham. It was in truth, the first item to come to hand. “My Dear Bard, I received your letter today, Monday the 14th, and that I was as pleased as pie it is true and how disgusted I was later on being informed that I could not receive the poems which you were so kind as to enclose, you nor nobody else will ever know...use the word disgusted ‘Bard’ because it’s the only word I can think of (being in prison you see we must be mild) and the officials therein will never be able to say that my lips ever uttered a whine. Let me assure you Bard, I would much rather not be here, but being here, I will be true to the milk my mother gave me. What you told me about the Rev Tom astonishes me, he must have cut up terrible rough when Butler ...him and to die in England, ‘twas good enough for him. All you say of those unfortunate bosthoons of farmers is only too true Bard, they are the most selfish pack of hounds in the country, but they have not made £40,000 by the league, Bard the League is a good thing for the ramshullans, who want cheap farms, cheap fame, and cheap drinks.

Good bye Bard. We’ll meet again. As ever, the same J.Daly.” (The above letter is beautifully hand-written and I did my best to decipher it. The dots represent words which were indecipherable to me.) Notice the year, the selfsame year Shannon RFC was founded.