BAND REGALES AND CHOIR DELIGHTS: Last Sunday dawned with a brightness that seemed to augur well for what might be about to exhibit itself sporting-wise upon our city before dusk would descend. However, down in our Parish of St Mary’s events being celebrated were of a very different nature. In celebration of the Feast of the Assumption of Our Blessed Mother, August 15th, the Shrine devotions were taking place on that afternoon. In honour of this day of Parish celebration, our Senior Choir made a very welcome return, possibly travelling back from their various holiday homes to be present as one voice for the special day. Seán Ó’Shea was in his usual powerful singing voice form as he delighted the congregation with his excellent rendition of the ‘Avé Maria’ and another well-known hymn. Judging by the volume, I’d say that most, if not all the choir members were present. Their singing of that age old hymn, ‘Hail Queen of Heaven,’ certainly evoked memories for many of packed churches, confraternities and novenas of decades past. Band Leader and classical flautist, Derek Mulcahy, played the hauntingly beautiful Máori Folk Song, ‘Pokarekare Ana,’ a tune that never fails to please. Well done to our Choir Director, Jim Graham, an exceptionally talented man of music who seems to have been there since time began (within our parish anyway), and Organist, Brendan Frawley, who has solid parish connections. Of course we can never neglect to mention the lady who solidifies the entire musical operation and seems ever eager to do so quietly, Peg Reville. Chief celebrant of the Concelebrated Mass was Fr John O’Byrne and he was joined by Fr Heffernan, visiting from England, and our PP, Canon Donough O’Malley. And visiting to play with the Band, Br Bonaventure who had travelled up from Waterford was also on the altar. Following the Mass, members of St Mary’s Fife and Drum Band made a circle on the green outside the church and there they regaled the onlookers for quite some time as the sun shone down. The quality of their musicianship hardly needs mention as it never fails to arouse a joy unsurpassed within the confines of our community. However, what always attracts me is the striking impeccable state of how they are always turned out, simply gorgeous. I happened to be within view of where they were seated in church and I must admit it was a most eye-catching scene, the gold braiding brilliantly complementing the attractive navy colour of the uniform. While they played on the green I had a good chat with nonagenarian, Joe Gilligan, who looked so well, sporting his pledge badge together with his prized scout badge. Joe’s name will always remain synonymous with the Scouting Movement in Limerick and particularly with scouting in our parish. Joe still helps out in our church every Sunday assisting in taking up the collection baskets and he still drives as well. All in all, it was a wonderful beginning to what we had hoped would turn out quite a memorable day for the sporting fraternity in Limerick and in particular for our Parish for its own reasons. There is a lot to be said for tradition.
SHRINE DEVOTIONS: Brilliant sunshine shone down on our 59th Parish Shrine devotions which got underway at 3pm on Sunday last. A larger than usual crowd attended and all in all it seemed to be very well organised event. Preparations this year included the repainting of the statue which is now back to its former light blue colour. Yet another improvement has been the placement of a larger and much, much brighter halo atop the statue. This very bright halo remains lighting until 12 midnight. Well done to all the workers from St Mary’s AID up the road for their meticulous attention to the upkeep of the shrine over the past few years. We must, however, never forget the two hard-working men, Paddy Ryan and Frankie Duggan, together with Theresa Ryan(Delahunty) and her son, Michael, who have always been there, willing to lend a helping hand as volunteers when help was hard to find.
NOTES ARE WELCOME: As I have often already mentioned in this column several times, Notes are very welcome to be emailed to the above address by Monday late, of any week to be included in the weekend City edition. Clubs matters, sports or otherwise, educational matters (schools please take note), literary pieces, interesting facts or anything else that lies in with the Parish ambience are more than welcome and be assured, they will be published. I am quite surprised from time to time when I meet people from way outside the Parish who comment to me on the content of same, and I find this most encouraging indeed. However good and all as that may be, your contribution could greatly enhance the contents. If you wish to have your names mentioned then I will do so, if not, then that wish will be respected.
MUNCHIN’S REUNION: Bishop of Limerick, Brendan Leahy, will say Mass at 2.00pm on Wednesday, August 28, 2013, in St Munchin’s College Chapel to celebrate the College having been in operation in the Corbally area for all of 50 years. The Principal, David Quilter, is inviting all past and present pupils, as well as their families to attend what definitely promises to be a wonderful day of celebration. Learning of this upcoming celebratory event recently, reminded me of our Secondary School days when we were urged to bring in newspapers, lots of newspapers, in fact bags of newspapers. It was a sort of badge of honour to be seen to have more than others in the class or in the school, for that matter! To this day I will never know why we were urged to bring in all the left-over newspapers but it had something to do with the building of the new College out in Corbally. Perhaps it had something to do with ‘lagging,’ something akin to the stuff they put in attics nowadays to keep the heat in. Maybe someone reading this piece would be good enough to enlighten me. One thing is for sure, if the College ever falls to pieces, a wealth of Limerick’s news stories of the 50s will emerge, but then maybe it had nothing to do with the actual building. Oh what happy and simple days they were, saving newspapers for the building of a college!
POLLY’S POETIC PROWESS: Well, she never lost it, my poetic friend from over bridge, Polly Fitzpatrick. In last weekend’s newspaper Polly was featured in a picture taken outside the ‘Limerick Leader,’ together with her spirited poem, entitled, ‘Our Limerick Hurlers 2013.’ An extra added talent that this gifted poet possesses is her ability to spill out at will, her compositions from memory. The last time I met Polly a few months ago on Chapel Lane off Cruises Street, we had a right good meeting of minds and it took ages before we finally separated to go about our Market shopping, seeing that it was of a Saturday. Not wishing to overdo things, I will conclude with a ‘limerick’ to sum up this Literary Limerick Lady.
Our Polly’s a poet of note,
And many’s the ballad she wrote,
She’s happy and cheerful
And not one bit tearful,
As she steers Limerick’s Literary boat!
MAE GOT DRENCHED WET: It was good to hear our native Parish writer, Mae Leonard, surface once again on ‘Sunday Miscellany’ on the day of our visit to Croke Park for the hurling semi-final of our minor and senior team. Mae’s offering just happened to be of a hurling nature as she cycled all the way to Caherconlish in an effort to impress the future mother-in-law. She had even gone to the trouble of making a dress all by herself for the special occasion. Her ‘future’ (Joe by name), you see was a budding hurling star. However, as ill-luck would have it, a cloudburst let loose from above and brilliantly succeeded in making a mess of Mae’s lovely new dress, colours ran like fury until the dress ended up a totally colour! The consequence of this dire situation was that our future writer skirted, and like the wicked witch of the West she pedalled furiously back into her beloved home town, far from the prying eyes of the future mother-in-law! If ever Mae was to be seen it would, in her estimation, be looking her very best and definitely not dripping wet.
All going well, I will be meeting Mae and many more of the Class of ’58 plus a few more as we converge at the Absolute Hotel on this coming Saturday afternoon. We happily meet periodically at this venue. Sure we need like minds in order to confer about the stiff joints etc!
SUNFLOWERS AND CABBAGES: As I’ve often mentioned previously in these Notes, one of the really positive things which have been accomplished recently by Civic Trust is the creation of the magnificent Community Garden opposite the entrance to Villier’s Square. I noticed that over the past few weeks that the beautiful sunflowers have grown to their full size and the cabbages are very healthy looking also. All we need now is a slab of bacon from Kieran, the local butcher in order to make a grand dinner altogether. This beautiful garden is a joyful sight to people in the local area and its well done to the workers at Civic Trust for creating and maintaining this quite exceptional garden which was up to recently a wasted, derelict space.
OARSMAN MIKE KIELY REFLECTS: “The Story of Athlunkard Boat Club” was compiled by its Hon Secretary, Mike Kiely and local writer and past oarsman, Denis O’Shaughnessy. As part of his Reflections on p7, Mike Kiely states: “The big turnabout in our rowing fortunes, I believe, came with the boathouse fire of August, 1995. This kick-started a campaign to put in place a rowing facility that would stand the test of time and replace the substandard structures we had been used to. The response from the people at the time was immense and resulted in not alone the opening of a modern rowing facility but, within relatively a short space of time, led to €100,000 being invested in new rowing equipment. I often think that we should erect another statue in the club grounds to whoever started that fire.” (Continued next week.)
THE RAIN IN KILKEE: Which of us has not experienced being cooped up in a barely adequate caravan (size-wise), in our beloved aquatic gem, also known as Kilkee. As the rain batters its watery pent up store relentlessly on the roof, giving an opaque appearance to the little windows, and you have all but exhausted the game of ‘Xs’ and ‘Os’ as well as the old reliable, ‘Beggar me Neighbour,’ and yes, you can’t find any more empty pages for drawing and there’s a fight over the crayons, the nerves of the ‘inhabitants’ combine to create a fairly fragile state of affairs. In my choice of poem by native Parish writer, Criostóir O’Flynn, this week, we revert to that stranger of late months, rain. In his collection entitled, ‘Kilkee,’ the poet has such an eclectic array of topics that are all about that little town on the edge of the Atlantic. He is a highly intelligent writer but for all that his topics and his exploration of same are so accessible, so intelligible to the ordinary reader, such as myself and many more people whom I know that really appreciate his vast array of works, whether it be poetry, short stories or drama. I love his description of the mother’s observation towards the end of this honest to God poem; ‘her view the spattering roofs of other cells.’ His use of the word ‘cells’ is so evocative of the scene many of us have disconsolately and despondently endured at some time of our lives in that delightful, yet oh so moody spot, and believe it or not you wouldn’t want to have missed it, as the experience affords one a far greater appreciation of our much improved abodes of later years.
The rain in Spain falls mainly
In Kilkee, or so it seems today.
Like fine-meshed nets the sky-spray
Sweeps down, gusting greyly
From West End to East across the bay.
This is what my Granny Connolly
In Limerick used to call a nice
soft day, thank God. We must try
To regard rain as nurture for the forty
Shades of green on Erin’s Isle.
Philosophers and poets can calmly
Make hay while the rain falls.
Even the farmers know it can’t all
Be sunshine, though they’d rather
Regulated rain coming on tap-calls.
Drumming on the roof of the mobile home
Where a mother is cooped, her brood
Bored, her view the spattering roofs
Of other cells, rain is a spoil-sport
Sun-drowning spit of demon with cloven hoof.