John B Keane: We’ll have to bide our time for momentous events in Tournafulla

AGAIN this week a card from Tournafulla with the name place ‘Tournafulla’ written on it, and this time, instead of one question mark, there are two question marks behind it. What can be the meaning of it?

AGAIN this week a card from Tournafulla with the name place ‘Tournafulla’ written on it, and this time, instead of one question mark, there are two question marks behind it. What can be the meaning of it?

This is the third time in six weeks that I have received such a card. Like I said, on the other cards there was only one question mark. Does the fact that there are now two mean that soon there will be a disclosure, or does it mean that there is to be a momentous happening in Tournafulla soon?

All we can do is bide our time. From long experience, I can safely say that Tournafulla will be able for it. As Jerome Murphy, the Listowel businessman and auctioneer, once said: “The best of Christian martyrs came out of Tournafulla and the fall of the lift was in there even before it was in Ballyguiltenane.”

There are many in Ballyguiltenane who will not support this, but there are enough sportsmen there, and always were, who would agree to a detached investigation by outside bodies.

Some years ago, when I wrote in these very columns that Listowel was a great place for martyrs in the good old days, I received a letter a few days later, which asked: “Martyrs to what? Martyrs to drink?”

Quick wit

SINCE I wrote last week about the late balladeer, Paddy Drury, of the Bog Lane, Knockanure, quite a number of letters have come to hand. In 1924. Paddy was sitting with a friend in the office of a well-known public house in William Street, Listowel.

This was a pub much frequented by schoolmasters and scholars, and when two of the former called the pub early on Saturday to discuss the affairs of the world and endeavour to straighten these affairs out, they were greatly excited with ill temper to discover that the office was occupied by Paddy Drury. At the time some schoolmasters had a poor opinion of Paddy’s efforts at balladeering, while others, it must be said in all fairness, held him in high esteem.

One of the schoolmasters in question held a poor opinion Drury.

“By Gor,” he said, “tis a great change in the world to see Paddy Drury in the office.”

Drury overheard and stuck out his head.

“That’s right,” he said, “and if you minded your books like I did you might be in an office, too.”

The last day

THERE have been many prophecies about the ending of the world, and from time to time I have quoted a few in these columns. Some people are convinced that it will happen during a year when there will be long hooves on asses, but Joe Quaid, to whom I spoke recently, disagrees entirely.

“This is baloney pure and simple,” said Joe. “It was forecast in Duagh years ago,” went on Joe, “that the end of the world will come when hens everywhere will lay out. It won’t happen in my time, nor in your time, but it will happen in due course, as sure as geese are fond of ganders.”

Willie Finucane, who is well-known to readers, has a different story. WIllie maintains that the animal world will give the first sign.

“Something simple,” said Willie, “like a bull breaking loose in Athea, or a helfer sitting down reading a newspaper.”

Goat butcher

PEOPLE are eager to find out how Joe Quaid fared in the winter months of his Athea boyhood when there were no salmon. In chapter three of his forthcoming book. “Hook, Line and Sinker,” he tells all. In Athea at the time there was a goat butcher called Pats Danagher. Pats had a heart of gold and would give a quarter of a goat on tick to anyone who needed it.

“Your word is good,” Pats used to say, “if you never paid itself.”

He used to travel as far as “Annascaul and the Willows” in West Kerry and further south to Glencar and Glenbeigh in search of goats. In addition to being a goat butcher he was a goat jobber.

West Limerick goats were softer, naturally, since they were born and reared on good land, but they did not have the sweetness of taste that the South and West Kerry goats had. Neither could you make a soup out of their venison. They didn’t have the bone of their mountainy brothers.

Goatmeat was cooked as a roast with bacon, lard and chopped onions to render a tasty gravy. Joe Quaid declares in his book that the finished product would make your mouth water.

Pats used to kill on Saturday afternoons only and the first customer into his shop for a hind quarter of goat was given the tail made an excellent dip, and was reputed to be good for the blood.

Unfortunately, there is now no goat butcher in West Limerick. Goatmeat was a good staple diet, and the old people still talk about wonderful meals of Razoo, which was the popular name for roast goat and onions. The goats had to be under a year in age, otherwise the meat was tough and only fit for dogs.

Young pucks, oddly enough were far tenderer than she goats, and the reason Joe Quaid gives for this is that she goats tend to worry more than pucks. Pucks are also more selective in the type of herbs they eat.

Also, they eat old socks and boots or shoes, which are believed to be great bone builders, for goats at any rate. Discarded Garda Siochana coats, for some reason, were very popular with goats in those days, and you could always tell a goat who had eaten a few by the fine back on him.

For very good reasons, I’m sure, goats never eat rubber articles, and a goat would always turn down a fine wellington or wader in favour of a leather sandal or slipper.

They had a great liking, too, for old corsets and shifts, but of all diets going, their favourite was the old straw mattress, now no longer in use.

We can be sure then, from Joe Quaid’s and other accounts, that goatmeat was as good, if not better, than beef or mutton. It was also far cheaper, and with a butcher as generous as Pats Danagher around no-one went hungry.

Jack Faulkner

LAST week Jack Faulkner came to Listowel for a day.

“I put in for the free light,” he told me, “and they said I would have to wait ‘till I be seventy.”

“‘Tis the same for everyone,” I told him.

“Maybe so,” said Jack, “but there will be electric poles growing over me by that time.”