FUNDRAISING HAMPER: Fundraising hamper for the next car boot sale on March 17, St. Patrick’s Day. We want to boost the income from the car boot sales each month by having something to raffle. We are appealing to all volunteers to fill the hamper we are not asking for expensive items, just something small like you do at Christmas. We thank you in advance, there is a record sheet there when you add something in the hamper just sign your name and your item and it helps us with keeping a record of contents.
OUTSIDE BROADCAST: West Limerick 102FM outside broadcast in SuperValu Askeaton on Saturday, March 16 at 12 noon. PJ Cummins will be live on the day with all the West Limerick 102FM team. The station will be bag packing on the day as a fundraiser for the station.
BRIDGE CLUB: Rathkeale Bridge Club Results: 1st M. Airey, G. Looney; 2nd P. Neville, A. Hanlon; 3rd R. Langford, P. McNamara; 4th P. Curtin, B. Duggan.
CONGRATULATIONS: Congratulations, happy birthday to Vicky Lyons-Mullane, Rathkeale who celebrated her birthday on Saturday in Bloomers Restaurant, Rathkeale with family, relatives and friends. This was a surprise dinner and party for Vicky and afterwards in Rathkeale House Hotel surprise for Mary Duggan, Cois Daoile, Rathkeale, her sister, relatives and friends surprised her on Saturday night with a baby shower as Mary and partner Gus are due soon.
CONFIRMATION DAY: Thank God we had a wonderful celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation on Friday last. May we give good example to all the children who were confirmed. A big thank you to all those who helped in preparation for the sacrament.
DEVOTIONS: Divine Mercy Devotions will be held in St. Mary’s Church on Sunday, April 7. First Holy Communion for the children of the parish in St. Mary’s Church, Rathkeale on Saturday, May 11.
A new Pope for the universal church and a new Bishop for Limerick, let us pray for those who will be chosen to guide us in the way the Lord wants to bring peace, joy and love to our broken world and salvation in the world to come.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Happy birthday to Abbie O’Riordan who celebrated her birthday with family and friends last Sunday.
Happy birthday to Bunny Hennessy who celebrated his birthday recently.
Happy 40th birthday to Brian Mullins who celebrated his birthday on Thursday at home, then at Rathkeale House Hotel on Friday night and then in Killarney for the weekend.
VISIT ELDERLY: Now that the rain and cold has returned please check to see if the elderly are ok, have food, heat, have a cup of tea with them, they get very lonely on their own.
EVENTS COLAISTE NA TROCAIRE MARCH 8:
COMORTAS BEO 2013: Colaiste na Trocaire has qualified for the finals of Comortas Beo 2013. This is a school based project which was first organised in Donegal in 2007 by Foras na Gaeilge, Donegal VEC and Donegal County Council to promote Irish Music events in schools throughout Ireland. There is a cash prize for the school that can organise and realise the best live Music Event in Ireland. The school has to submit details of a live Music event and Ms Jean O’Brien and the committee of our Christmas Concert titled ‘An Irish Christmas’ entered this event. Out of 24 submissions from schools around the country our school has been selected for the final along with five other schools. The final will take place in Letterkenny, Co. Donegal on March 15 in conjunction with Seachtain na Gaeilge. The team of five students will make a presentation showing highlights of this memorable concert followed by an interview with the adjudicators. The panel of judges include Jackie Hayden of Hot Press, Padraig McKenna of 2FM and Mary O’Hagan producer of The Last Word on 2FM. We wish Ms O’Brien and her team every success in the Comortas.
SCHOOL TOUR: This years school tour to Paris is currently taking place, twenty four students and three teachers are enjoying the five day trip which is aimed at exposing the students to French language, culture and Geography. What can be more beautiful than Paris in Springtime!
DARREN SHAN: To mark the 10th anniversary of the JCSP Demonstration Library Project, St. Enda’s Community School JCSP Library’s Outreach held a writing competition for all Junior Cert students. The students were asked to do a piece of creative writing titled ‘Zombie’ for a competition held within the school. The six winners were given an opportunity to meet world famous author Darren Shan and receive a signed copy of his book ‘Som-B’. This event took place last Tuesday, February 26 at the Georgian House Pery Square Limerick. This project is aimed at encouraging students to read widely and what better encouragement can they receive than meeting a live author who has received world wide acclaim. The students were enthralled as Darren read from his work in the wonderful setting of the Georgian House.
SPORTS: Transition Year students are currently involved in a training programme in coaching with Noel Hartigan of Limerick GAA. This course is preparing them to go to the local primary schools where they will be involved in coaching the pupils in a variety of sports.
THE STORY OF THE RATHKEALE BRASS BAND – 131 YEARS IN THE TOWN: Founded in 1882, the band has performed in many cultural and sporting events around the country and beyond. Some of these events in the early days was leading the head of the Pioneer Movement in Ireland Fr. Matthew to a Mass gathering in the town square at a time when Ireland was plagued with alcoholism.
Following on from that was the ending of the Great War and the arrival home of the local survivors to the Rathkeale Railway Station. The Band was on hand to welcome them home. One of the most poignant occasions that the Band were asked to play was the unveiling ceremony of a memorial cross in the Rathkeale Graveyard on Sunday, March 30, 1924 to mark the third anniversary of fellow townsman Sean Finn was shot dead during the War of Independence. Thousands of people from all over Munster and beyond assembled in the town that afternoon for a Grand Parade to the Cemetery. The Rathkeale Brass Band lead the march with slow and measured steps and the playing of the dead march it was most touching and impressive. The last time this great Band played on the streets of Rathkeale was May 1, 1954 on a wet Sunday afternoon on the occasion of the opening of the Marian Shrine on the top of Church Street.
Rathkeale without a Brass Band was like Kerry without a football team. However all was not yet lost. In June 1957, teacher/conductor Tadhg O’Shea got a brilliant idea. “What about the youth of the town” he asked? Gathering an energetic Committee around him with Fr Enright as president, they approached the schools, where there was a ready response. That Committee that founded the new boys band were as follows: Rev. Fr Enright president, Jackie Hennessy chairman; Jackie Shier vice chairman; Con Noonan hon. treasurer; Ned Daly hon. secretary; Paddy Lynch, Paddy Roche, John White, Bill Steele and Jimmy McGrane.
So a start was made and within seven months, thirty seven youths, their ages ranging from seven to fifteen years old one member who was 15 years old turned up for tutoring the first night. Drums rolled, trumpets sounded, all instruments went “boom, boom, boom” on the first nights crescendo. So great was the enthusiasm aroused in the town over the Bands achievements that eight other young lads went “into training”. In December 1959 they received an invitation to appear at the big pre-Christmas Grand Concert in the City Theatre, Limerick. Special uniforms were tailored for the occasion, the band played before a packed audience and the end of the session, they received a standing ovation from the huge crowd and thus writing themselves into the history books as Ireland’s youngest band.
This Band faded from the scene around the middle sixties. A smaller Band operated around the seventies but like other Bands before them, they too faded away. The big break through came in the autumn of 1983. A proposal was made at the monthly meeting of the Rathkeale Community Council that the town should have a St. Patrick’s Day parade was greeted with enthusiasm by the members present. Standing between success and failure of this historic parade taken place was the Brass Band. A Committee was set up under the chairmanship of Joe Dunleavy, Michael Brosnan, Ned Daly and Dave Noonan. With communications not as good as we have today, no mobile phones. The old and trusted way of communication “the Bush Telegraph” swung into action immediately. Former members were contacted and they rallied to the cause. Instruments were pulled out of a room in the Community Centre and inspected and were found to be battered and broken. Michael Brosnan used his metal work skills to perfection and ensured that the instruments would be ready for the big occasion.
St. Patrick’s Day 1984 was a cold but dry typical March day. Excitement was building from early morning around the town in anticipation of the event that was about to unfold that afternoon.
Just after mid-day, the Band arrived and took their place at the head of the Parade. Ned Daly, Band Leader double tapped his bass drum to alert his troops to be on the ready. A few minutes later the drums rolled the instruments blazed and the scene was set for what was a momentous afternoon and thus became part of the Rathkeale folklore for years later.
It also herald the beginning of what was a golden era for the Band. A new Band Room was built in 1988 and new uniforms were purchased in 1989. Appearances across the County and beyond were the order of the day, they included the Limerick International Band Parade, Ennis Parade, Ballybunion Batchelor Festival, Rose of Tralee Parade, Killarney Christmas Shopping Event and all the other St. Patrick’s Day Parades around the area as well as the Dublin and Tallaght Parades. Special events such as performing for the two presidents that visited the town, the parade of the Special Olympics Torch through the town in June 2003 and President Clintons visit to Ballybunion in September 1998. Ned Daly’s 80th birthday celebrations in Rathkeale House Hotel in March 1999 and the performing in St. Mary’s Church for Christmas festivities. Trips to London in 1993 and 1996 and to Manchester in 1999 were milestones in the Bands history. All memorable moments of days in the past.
Careers in the music industry were fostered through the Band most notably Mike Guinane who started as a seven year old back in 1958 and went to play with some of the top showbands in the swinging sixties and seventies including the Donie Collins Big Band, Mike Guinane is still a member of the current Band. Another top musician in the country was the late Michael O’Callaghan from Buttevant, first cut his teeth as a ten year old with the Band and later went on to form his own band “The Michael O’Callaghan Big Band” and became a household name in the ballroom circuit.
With recruitment and training well underway each Monday evening under the guidance of Tom O’Keeffe and Dave Noonan, it gives young boys and girls a great opportunity to join the famous Rathkeale Brass Band which has a weight of history behind them.
This article was compiled by Larry Kelly, long-time member of the Band.
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