FOR SURE THERE IS AN ISLE: Waking up to floods upon floods within our parish confines last week most certainly copper-fastened for me the idea of us being ‘an isle,’ for sure we are. We are indeed surrounded by water, oft a necessary friend, oft a deadly enemy! We are known for singing our Parish anthem at times with gusto and often with deep emotion and particularly at local events such as the launch of a book. The last time I heard this much-loved anthem sung, was out in the St Mary’s RFC Clubhouse, when our fine baritone, JB Neiland, lead all present in the singing of same, at the launch of Denis O’Shaughnessy’s latest publication entitled, ‘Reflections on Limerick.’ I suppose it is no harm to begin the New Year two weeks on by quoting a few lines of that great, great song. For sure it is always acceptable and an evergreen that I have little doubt will still be around and sung by Shannon packs and followers, as well as at various literary gatherings in fifty years time.
There is an Isle
A bonnie Isle
Stands proudly from
Stands proudly from the sea
And dearer far than all this world
Is that dear Isle
Is that dear Isle to me
It is not that alone it stands
Where all around is fresh and fair
But because, it is my native land
And my home, my home is there
But because, it is my native land
And my home, my home is there.
If you pay a short visit to You Tube you will be delightfully surprised by the powerful rendition of our Parish anthem, by that erudite man of cultured acumen and a vital member of the highly rated choirs, Ancór and also Limerick Choral Union, Mairtín Ó’Briain.
MARKET’S FIELD 1884: In 1884 the first Gaelic sports held under the rules of the G.A.A. and I.C.A. in Limerick took place at the Market’s Field. The event concluded on October 2 with the first great band contest ever held in the city.
EPIPHANY CAROL SERVICE: in St Mary’s Cathedral Sunday next 12th January 2014 at 7pm. This special carol service is to mark the important feast of the Epiphany (the visit of the Wise Men to the baby Jesus). The Cathedral choir will sing Epiphany music and carols, and there will be Epiphany hymns and carols for all to sing. Choir items include music by Mendelssohn, Paul Edwards and Peter Dyke. There will be a collection in aid of the maintenance of this historic Cathedral.
COLLEEN BAWN ON THE WAY: The popular Dublin acting company, Druid, are presently touring Sligo, Belfast, Galway and Dublin with their award-winning production of Dion Boucicoult’s ‘Colleen Bawn,’ and will be staging that play of extreme local interest at the Lime Tree theatre in Limerick from January 4-8, 2014. Contact 061-774774. Tickets €25 and €20.
BACK IN 1884: Shannon RFC was founded back in 1884 by five brave sportsmen in the Shamrock Bar out by the Old Corbally road possibly bordering on Park. Well, just as a matter of interest and to enter into the ambience of what our city was like commercially way back then, I found the following interesting account in some old notebook of mine as I was actually looking for something else but then they say that the looking for one thing is the finding of another.
We has 28 boot and shoe makers, 20 butter makers, 32 flour dealers, 11 flour merchants, 150 Spirit Dealers and grocers, 15 pawnbrokers, 2 rope and twine makers, 10 saddlers and harness makers, 1 sausage and skin manufacturer and 18 tobacconists. It is interesting to note that Cahill’s on Wickam Street is the only one of the latter remaining. There was a hatter on Patrick Street by the name of Thomas Vaneesbeck and there were O’Farrells on the North Strand who were fishermen, boat builders and coach builders.
SHANNON’S BIG WIN 1960: “It was not until 1960 that Shannon won our first Munster Senior Cup, defeating UCC, 6pts to 3 in a pulsating replay at Thomond Park, having drawn 8-8 the previous week at Musgrave Park in Cork.
Over the years, since the club’s inception, Shannon have had numerous temporary grounds, among them the field at the Island Bank, Gilligan’s field, Johnny Cusack’s field and Egan’s Field on the Mill Rd. in Corbally. The first purchased grounds were 14 acres of land at Fir Hill, Gortatogher, (better known as Athlunkard) just two miles from Limerick city. However, a few years ago, it was determined that this was not big enough, so it was sold to Corbally Utd. soccer club in favour of our current more spacious grounds at Coonagh off the Ennis Road. We currently have 3 training pitches there, floodlights and newly built dressing rooms, and are developing two more pitches. While still a Junior Club, Shannon became co-tenants with Bohemians RFC at the Munster RFU-owned grounds at famed Thomond Park. In 1967, we completed our own Club Pavilion there. In 1978, the Pavilion was extended to the size it is today. There is talk currently of a further extension as the needs of a successful club in this professional age expand rapidly.
Our honours list is well documented on another page on this site, culminating in the unlikely-to-be-surpassed (unless we do it ourselves) achievement of 4-in-a-row All Ireland League titles. Since then we have won seven successive Munster Senior Cups (1999/2000, 2000/2001, 2001/2002, 2002/2003, 2003/2004, 2004/2005 and 2005/2006.), and again captured the AIL in 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2009 to bring the total to 9. In between, we also won the All Ireland Cup in 2008. There have, however, also been some notable individual achievements by Shannon Male and Female players on the representative scene.” (Andrew Mcnamara)
INVITATION: The United Dioceses of Limerick and Killaloe invite you to St Mary’s Cathedral, Limerick on Sunday January 19 at 7pm. Choral Evensong and Installation of:-
The Reverend Susan Watterson as Archdeacon of Limerick, Ardfert and Aghadoe
The Reverend Canon Marie Rowley-Brooke as Treasurer
The Reverend George Flynn as Prebendary of Inniscattery
The Reverend Michael Johnston as Prebendary of St Munchin’s and Tulloh.
JOURNAL: The most recent edition of the Old Limerick Journal is now in the shops. As I haven’t yet purchased a copy yet I cannot comment on its contents, but a picture of the late curator of the Jim Kemmy Museum graces the cover, a man who had kept the Journal vibrant since the death of Jim Kemmy in the 90s.
CULTURE CLASH: At certain times, words are superfluous but could it just be that famous or infamous Curse of St Munchin?
SUBMISSIONS ARE WELCOME: Now that we have well and truly begun a new year, it is timely for me to remind all local people that they are very welcome to submit items of local interest to be include in these weekly notes. This might be most interesting to sports’ clubs, schools, scouts, literary minded people and those of archival bent. Pictures, which must be accompanied by a caption, are also most welcome. Submissions should reach the above email address by Tuesday noon at the very latest to be included in this column on the weekend City edition of the newspaper, which is usually in the shops at dawn on Thursday.
THE THOLSEL: “Originally built in 1449, it was the city’s earliest town hall. In 1750 the building was converted into the County Gaol, its most famous prisoner being Francis Arthur, a member of a noted family of entrepreneurs, after whom Arthur’s Quay, Patrick Street and Francis Street is named. According to Lenihan in his history, Arthur was interred here after being charged with plotting the overthrow of the government during the rebellious years of the 1790s and was sentenced to transportation for life to Botany Bay. He was eventually found innocent , the main witness, Maume, having perjured himself throughout the trial. After its closure as a jail in the early 1800s, the building was used as a civil court.
There were serious objections from conservationists to the demolition of the Tholsel’s facade, several letters appearing in the Leader. One sardonic missive, signed “Progress” (29-8-1934) suggested that while the Corporation were at it they should demolish King John’s Castle as well because the high walls prevented the air and sun from entering into the workingmen’s dwellings inside them. “The Treaty Stone should be removed, it is a menace to modern day traffic, and as all Irish statesmen are united in wishing to coax the Six Counties to join us, it is only like showing a red rag to a bull to flaunt in front of Orangemen on visits here,” the letter concluded.
Tholsel: a town hall, a courthouse, a town gate, a prison, a market house, a council chamber, a custom house, a guild hall, and a place where tolls were collected. From the old English, Toll (tax), Sael (hall).
The above is but one of the several intriguing articles which forms part of, “Reflections on Limerick” the excellent publication by Parish writer and literary archivist, Denis O’Shaughnessy. This most interesting piece is further enriched by a marvellous picture of what remained of the Tholsel in the 1930s. In the background of this picture there is a picture of the Kilkenny Tholsel, still preserved, with the same type of architecture as that of the Mary Street edifice. Such an amount of Trojan work has gone into the creation of this book and the writer, a former, ‘Limerick Leader’ employee, deserves our debt of gratitude for giving of his valuable time to the business of preserving our past and the best way we can do this is by purchasing this very fine treasure. It costs only €14.90 and it is available all over Limerick but more particularly at our local Credit Union, the Post Office, Treacy’s on Nicholas Street and at Grove Island.
MIKE FITZPATRICK: As I put the finishing touches to my notes this week I hear the ‘breaking news’ on local radio that the interim Chief of City of Culture 2014, is to be Mike Fitzpatrick. Well done to Mike! It would seem that swift action has been taken in the wake of this woeful state of affairs and all I can say is thank God for that and from here on in let us just praise the bridges as we cross them. It certainly is a time for forgetting the past, all one week of it, and looking to a brighter, future for Limerick’s Year of Culture 2014!
SYMPATHY: Many older people within our parish confines were saddened upon hearing of the death of a dear soul, Brigid Quinlivan, from Athlunkard Street. Brigid lived quietly with her sister, Ciss, and moved about her business efficiently almost until the time when the Lord decided to call her. I will remember her as a person who was charitable to all in her speech and always bore a lovely smile when greeting you. We extend our heartfelt sympathy to Ciss, her relatives and loyal and caring friends. May she rest in peace.
SEAN-FHOCAL: “Glaonn gach coileach go dána ar a atrainn féin.”Every cock crows boldly in his own farmyard.” “Aithníonn ciaróg ciaróg eile.” “A beetle recognises another beetle.”