Apr 13

SHANNON VERSUS YOUNG MUNSTER: We are hoping that our parish rugby team, Shannon, will reverse their misfortune of last week against Garryowen, when they meet Young Munster on this Saturday in another encounter of the AIL League. Well done to the U/19 team who beat a very strong team, Bruff, last weekend! I will have an update on the President’s Night out at Thomond Park when it comes to hand.

SHANNON VERSUS YOUNG MUNSTER: We are hoping that our parish rugby team, Shannon, will reverse their misfortune of last week against Garryowen, when they meet Young Munster on this Saturday in another encounter of the AIL League. Well done to the U/19 team who beat a very strong team, Bruff, last weekend! I will have an update on the President’s Night out at Thomond Park when it comes to hand.

SENIORS FORUM: As part of the Limerick Life-Long Learning Festival, the newly established Limerick Seniors Forum hosted a coffee morning recently at the Absolute Hotel. The main thrust of the meeting, it seems, was that of learning new skills. As the saying goes, “You are never too old to learn!” Limerick Seniors Forum plans to host a number of training and up-skilling workshops over the coming months. The next meeting will take place on Tuesday, April 16, 2013, at 11.30am in the exhibition area of City Hall.

For further information you can contact their website: www.limerickseniorsforum.ie or their Facebook page, Limerick-Seniors-Forum. You can also email limerickseniorsforum@gmail.com or contact Eleanor Cowan Hughes or Claire Gallery in PAUL Partnership on 061-419388.

EASTER DUES: Easter Dues envelopes can still be handed in to the special at the back of the church on weekends or placed in the collection basket. They can also be placed in the letterbox of the Parish Office at anytime, which is the priest’s house behind the church. The number of the Parish Office is 061-416300.

GERALD GRIFFIN 1803: The great writer and native of our Parish, Gerald Griffin, was born in 1803. And though having written tomes of outstanding literature, our one abiding memory of him will be the old favourites, “The Collegians” (which recounts the story of the Colleen Bawn), and his poem, “Eileen Aroon,” the former which became more popular as the opera entitled, “The Lily of Killarney,” and the latter, which was eventually set to music. More on his fairly short life which was fraught with a certain amount of ill-health in the weeks and months to come. Only the other evening I resurrected a copy of “The Collegians” from my collection of local writers. The Introduction was written by Padraic Colum, and there are four or five fine sketches by Jack B Yeats, to supplement the story.

ABBEY FISHERMEN ‘GATHERING’: As mentioned in previous notes, the Abbey Fishermen’s ‘Gathering’ will take place on the May Bank Holiday Weekend. Registration will take place at the King’s Island Community Centre from 8-10pm. On Saturday morning there will be a tour of the Parish and in the afternoon a boat trip to the Power House out in Ardnacrusha as well as a History lecture on the Abbey Fishermen. That afternoon from 2.00-4.00pm yet another event takes place at the Absolute Hotel, where our Parish writer, Mae Leonard, will be reading. On Sunday evening there will be a social at St Mary’s RFC out in Grove Island from 8.00pm ‘til late. All events are completely FREE!

HELP WELCOMED: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.)

ADULT EDUCATION MEETING: There will be a meeting of the Adult Education group on Friday, April 19, 2013. All interested people are welcome to attend. For verification of time and venue contact Marian at 086-0772177.

REMEMBERING ARTHUR LYSAGHT: With that well-planned wonderful Abbey Fisherman’s ‘Gathering’ in the offing, I’ve decided to explore the poems of the late Arthur Lysaght, late of 4, Athlunkard Street and latterly of Lee Estate. His is the type of poetry I have a lot of time and indeed, respect for. Many, if not all his topics are of local content and possess more than the ability to reach the people, which is in actual fact what poetry should do, be enjoyment to the people and certainly not a mystery. His poetry is possessed of a purely natural rhyme, did not need to be taught. My own thought is that writers cannot really be taught, possibly improved upon, but definitely, not taught. You either have it or haven’t it! Arthur had it in abundance. In the poem I have chosen this week, he is imagining (as poets are wont to do) of the aftermath of our famous old Abbey Regatta. The boats are conversing! What? Yes, the poet gives them an imaginary life and the result is oh, so enjoyable, particularly to those who have managed to retain some semblance of simplicity in this fast moving world of ours. I hope to have more of the late Arthur’s delightful poems in my notes next week and again the week after in honour of the Abbey Fishermen’s ‘Gathering.”


The boats are in their moorings,

With the tide’s flow they sway;

They’ve played hard on the river

And earned their rest today.

I mind how they gather closely,

As a group of old friends meet;

They’ve met in friendly rivalry

And given us a treat,

And I fancy they’re conversing

As they move to and fro;

Are they talking about people

As the last spectators go?

Well might they speak of harsh Hell’s Gate,

Ascent of Curraghgower Fall;

The pole that jammed below the cot,

The thud against the wall.

Some show the signs of battles fought

Along the riverside;

In triumph or in failure,

They show their scars with pride.

Arthur Lysaght

CHURCH OF IRELAND CONTACTS: Clergy on duty - Contact Numbers: Dean Sandra Pragnell 338697 Phone (087-2658592) E-mail: sandrapragnell@eircom.net (day off Monday). The Curate (Jane Galbraith) 302038 (Phone) 085-1450804 E-mailgalbraithjane@gmail.com (Day off Wednesday.

BARD’S WIDOW: The following piece is taken from the ‘Limerick Chronicle’ 28-2-1903. “Mrs Hogan, widow of the Bard of Thomond, died yesterday at an advanced age. She succeeded her husband on his death, which took place some years ago as Caretaker of the Island Bank, being appointed to the office by the Corporation. The funeral will leave St Michael’s R.C. Church at 3.00pm tomorrow to Mount St Laurence Cemetery.”

QUOTE: “Nothing on earth can cure the inertia of Ireland. It weighs down like the weeping clouds on the damp heavy earth, and there’s no lifting it, nor disburthening of men of this intolerable weight.” (Written in the latter part of the 19th century) Canon Sheehan.

MUSIC: “Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and charm and gaiety and life to everything.” Plato “Music expresses that which cannot be said, and which it is impossible to be silent.” Victor Hugo “Without music, life would be a mistake.” Nietzsche “Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy.” Beethoven

MICHAEL HOGAN: It has been my custom over the past years in these notes to honour the memory of our highly talented poet, Michael Hogan, the famous Bard of Thomond, during the month of his birth in November and that of his death, in April. And although he was born in St Munchin’s parish, he lived for quite some time in Nicholas Street, somewhere opposite the Old Exchange, following his marriage in St Marys Church on June 6, 1858 to Anne Lynch. They did not produce any offspring. This week, and for the following two weeks, I will be making use of a piece from a book entitled, “Modern Irish Poets” by W J Paul, which was published in 1894 (five years before the Bard’s death in a basement flat on Rutland Street, close to the old Town Hall). The book was published by the Belfast Steam Printing Co and the information arrived via Trinity Library. Note the Bard’s date of birth in this piece. The birth cert issued to ‘Friends of the Bard,’ from St Munchin’s Church, in 2005 was given as 4-11-1826. And, as we are all aware, in his autobiography written in his own hand-writing, the Bard states that he was born in early November, 1832, the date held on to by many older Limerick citizens to this very day. Now, as I mentioned in former years, if it were a lady we were dealing with, one would be forgiven for making oneself a little younger, but it was a hard-nosed man, albeit an aesthetic type, that we are dealing with here. So, as I see it, no one really knows. Where did W J Paul get his info? In actual fact, there are three different dates as to Hogan’s date of birth floating around for the past century.

NO EARLY SCHOOLING: “ Michael Hogan ‘Bard of Thomond,’ was born in Thomondgate, Limerick, on October 31, 1828. His father was a wheelwright and a very handy man he was. He was also an excellent musician. He could play the flute and the violin; and the instruments on which he played were the workmanship of his own hands. When a child, young Michael used to enjoy immensely the evenings when his father played for the amusement of the family and neighbours who frequented his friendly hearth, to listen to the fine Irish airs discoursed so tenderly on the violin, many of which, the Bard declares, have not been heard of since the death of his father.

In the early part of his career Mr Hogan received no school education. He was what he now terms, ‘a wild youth,’ and when sent to school he immediately set about lampooning the scholars, and even the teachers, and was instantly turned home. He was not long, however, of learning to read and write. He would get a lead pencil and paper and copy the headings of books, or a word of large print from the advertising columns of a newspaper without knowing what the words were – merely imitating the copy. By being told the words, and the letters composing them, in a short time he learned to read and print – not write. The practice of printing he continued, and ever afterwards he could print faster than he could write.

Mr Hogan’s first published poems appeared in the ‘Celt.’ He afterwards wrote for the ‘Irishman,’ ‘Nation,’ ‘Munster News,’ and recently for the ‘Limerick Leader.’ In 1861 he collected a little volume of his works, entitled, “Lays and Legends of Thomond,” which was published in Dublin and in 1867 a larger collection under the same title. This volume created a favourable impression on the minds of the public, and established the Bard’s claim to recognition and public favour as a true born son of song. It was enthusiastically received, and was bought up quickly.” (Continued next week and as I foresee, I may have need to stretch into the first week of May.)

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