THE BELLES OF ST MARYâ€™S: As I mentioned in these Notes last week, a few of our Class of â€™58 would be meeting on Saturday last. Well, we did just that and it was a real cracker of a day, with one or two not having seen each other for possibly over 50 years. Mae Leonard travelled down from Naas and of course we were thrilled that Helen Gannon (of Peter Street) and Terry Gilligan (of Peter Cell), were still in Limerick and in a position to grace us with their friendly presence. As it so happened, a little matter that was brought about because of the service at the Absolute Hotel, led to a nostalgic conversation concerning our school-days. Our freshly-baked scones, butter, cream and jam, were served on a charcoal coloured slate. Yes indeed, a rectangular slate. So we had about ten or more slates on our already packed table with coffee etc. Anyway, it was the sight of that very item that aroused a conversation concerning our baby class and also our memories of middles class. We were way back then issued with a slate and a piece of chalk, which was our initial introduction to learning our numbers and that progressed in the next class to learning how to add two and two, and the story goes on ad infinitum! Oh, it was a most exhilarating get together indeed. Anyone who is interested in connecting up with us a few times a year can just contact me at the above email address. You might be very happy that you did so. You donâ€™t necessarily need to have belonged to our class. See picture on these pages.
LOCAL BOOKS: You will recall recently that I mentioned an article about a famous sportsman, Pa Healy, which appeared in â€˜A Spot So Fair,â€™ by parish writer, Denis Oâ€™Shaughnessy. Well I noticed that quite a few of this writerâ€™s books are in Quay Books at Arthurâ€™s Quay and Iâ€™m almost sure you will also be able to procure then at Celtic Bookshop on Rutland Street,
ADULT EDUCATION REGISTRATION: Our Adult Education classes will be resuming very soon. The Centre is situated on the Island Road a few steps away from the pedestrian crossing. Registration for classes will take place on Monday, September 9, 2013 between 10am and 4pm. Everyone is welcome to come along and explore the classes on offer. You are bound to find one that will suit you.
OARSMAN MIKE KIELY REFLECTS: Continuing on from last week. â€œThere have been some big influences on me during my time at the club. People such as Christy Madigan, Willie Henn, Tom Mulqueen, Jack Meehan and Louis Murnane, made a big impact on me and became great friends. Itâ€™s been great to have been involved in a sport where making friends is an ongoing process.
The publication of this book has been one of two big ambitions of mine for some time. The other would be to see the club win another long overdue Irish Championship. When I look at how the club has progressed in recent years, I think that day wonâ€™t be too far away. The club these days is a hive of activity. Our recruitment policy in conjunction with GaelcholÃ¡iste Luimnigh and St Maryâ€™s Girls Secondary School is now beginning to bear fruit and will definitely drive the club forward in the years ahead. Gone are the days when a couple of cars would be sufficient to transport crews to regattas. We now depend on full size coaches and trips to overseas regattas have become a regular feature of our rowing season. We are very fortunate with the calibre of people who have joined Athlunkard in recent years. There is a huge sense of pride and passion evident in the club and Iâ€™m sure that those great Athlunkard people who have gone to their eternal reward must be looking down on us with broad smiles. Our proud history has been written and now begins a new chapter. Well rowed Athlunkard and long may the crimson and blue rule the waters of the Abbey Riverâ€ (Extract from Mikeâ€™s Reflections which is on p7 of a wonderful book of rowing history and pictures, compiled by Mike Kiely and Denis Oâ€™Shaughnessy. â€œThe Story of Athlunkard Boat Clubâ€ costs only â‚¬10 and can be easily procured from the Club President, Martin Oâ€™Connor at the old Alms Houses on Nicholas Street. And if you think Mike Kiely is proud of the club, then Martin is moreso).
COLLEEN BAWN PARISH CONNECTION: Many people reading these Notes will be more than familiar with the story of the Colleen Bawn, the trial of whose murder at age 16, took place in the building which is now occupied by Gaelscoil SÃ¡irsÃ©il on Bridge Street. John Scanlan of Ballycahane near Croom was arrested in 1819 and charged with the murder of Ellie Hanley, in collusion with another not yet in custody, in March of 1920. And despite the fact that Scanlan was defended by the great Liberator, Daniel Oâ€™Connell, he was convicted and publicly executed on March 16, 1820, at Gallowâ€™s Green out near Singland.
It must be almost twenty years now since I visited the grave of Ellen Hanley in Burrane Churchyard near Moneypoint about nine miles or so beyond Kilrush, near to where he body was washed ashore. Her name is not etched on the tombstone. Her remains were interred in the burial plot of one Peter Oâ€™Connell, the local man reputed to have found the body washed up on the nearby strand. Now to the Parish connection; Peter Oâ€™Connell is an ancestor of our popular Parish writer, Mae Leonard. And one may ask, does the apple ever really fall far from the proverbial family tree? Peter Oâ€™Connell, on Maeâ€™s motherâ€™s side, was a lexicographer and the man responsible for compiling an Irish dictionary. I may include more on this gifted humanitarian in later weeks. At this point in time, I just canâ€™t believe we are already one month into Autumn already.
CHILDREN PARTICIPATE ON THE GREEN: Young children benefitted from a multi-agency programme run over the months of July and August in the Garryowen/St. Johnâ€™s and St. Maryâ€™s Parish areas. Limerick City Sports Partnership facilitated this popular series of sessions, with the FAI providing expert coaches each week, and the Community Co-ordinators and local volunteers also very involved in the venture. Children, between the ages of 12 and 14, were provided with coaches from the FAI, and the venues were provided by St. Maryâ€™s Aid and Geraldines AFC each week during the summer school holidays.
Each group were put through their paces by FAI Development Officers in their area twice a week over an eight-week period. The sessions consisted of a warm-up, skills session and finished off each day with a game involving all the participants The young people were very appreciative of the opportunity to play soccer on a regular basis in an organised and controlled environment, and all involved should be complimented for their foresight in providing such a successful programme for the children in these areas.
The venture culminated in a friendly game between the two areas last Wednesday evening at the Geraldines AFC Grounds in Garryowen. The game was played in a very sporting manner, with both teams displaying some very skilful touches. For the record, the St. Maryâ€™s combination just got the better of a slightly younger Garryowen/St. Johnâ€™s outfit on a 5-3 scoreline. The game was attended by family members of both teams, and the occasion was enjoyed by all present.
Once again, well done to former Shannon rugby player, Eddie Price and his co-workers for taking such an interest in the children of various parishes throughout the summer months. â€œMol an Ã³ige agus tiochfaidh sÃ.â€
THE GHOST OF CURRAGHGOUR: There is a ghostly tour that begins at the Absolute Hotel every Friday evening, I understand. Not sure if they take in the famous Curraghgower Boat Club which was established in 1877, but recently I have been reliably informed that a man who works on boats down there has experienced some eerie feelings while in the vicinity of what was once a morgue. Now this man, whom I know from childhood, is just as practical (no way fanciful), as the man I spoke of two weeks ago, who had reason to be passing through our Cathedral in the middle of the night back in the 40s. The said morgue it seems was not a common morgue but was used only by seamen who needed somewhere to deposit the dead seamenâ€™s bodies prior to burial.
BE AWARE OF PRIMARY CARE: The presence of a Primary Care Centre right in the heart of Kingâ€™s Island, also serving Corbally and possibly further afield, has been a precious bonus over the past year or so. Besides two serving Doctors, who are on deck from quite early in the morning, there are so many more essential medical pockets within this vast enclosure. One of which I am certainly aware is the area of Chiropody. It is first class. For only â‚¬10 if you are lucky enough to hold a Medical Card you will be free to avail of help for any foot problem you may have. For diabetics it is a God-send, because as well as other matters concerning the care of the feet, they can have their toenails expertly and carefully cut, for as most people are aware it is not recommended that that people with this condition cut their own toenails. I think it is the first Friday of every month that this expert foot service is available. Everyone you may happen to come across in this fine Medical Centre is the very essence of cordiality and no one is ever inhibited due to their efficient, friendly approach when dealing with the public, most of whom are at that point in time in need of medical care and may be a little fragile and the last thing such a person needs is a sour off-putting presence. The contact number for the Centre is as follows: 0610311811.
RUMOURS ROLLED: â€œThe flying rumours gathered as they rolled,
Scarce any tale was sooner heard than told,
And all that told it added something new,
And all who heard it made enlargements too.â€
LAST FOR KILKEE: For most people who have school-going children, this weekend will spell the final farewell to that delightful unsophisticated spot, Kilkee. Believe it or not I havenâ€™t even spent an hour there this past summer. I have, however, been to Lahinch, and sure it is lovely, with surfers aplenty and all that, but it is just not Kilkee, where half my heart is. This week I have chosen one of the many, many poems I have penned about this spot. Many other poets I am fully aware have written much better poems on the said place but to each his own. Itâ€™s the way things appear to the various minds. But then, as I see it, comparisons are never a good thing. So here goes:
MY HACIENDA BY THE SEA
Time-worn seats hewn by Natureâ€™s hand
Adorn a magical crescent,
Waves dash music to my ears
As I sit and ponder.
Cragged edges, jagged edges
Jut out like myriad shaped noses,
Poised, yet anxious to observe
The mysterious theatre-goers.
Where have they gone, that enthusiastic audience
Who were once suffused in awesome suspense,
Perched on the edge of their purgatorial seats
In rapturous, appreciative outpouring?
Still pondering, I perceive in my mindâ€™s eye,
An actor playing Horatio, as he bids dear Hamlet,
â€œGood-night sweet Prince, and flights of angels
Sing thee to thy rest!â€
And as I grudgingly draw the curtain
On my Amphitheatre by the sea,
I too say, good-night, my dear aquatic Prince,
My solace, my Adonis, forever you will be.
In his earlier years the late and great actor, Richard Harris, regaled many a Limerick audience in this very â€˜outdoor auditoriumâ€™ right up until the early 60s.
LIFEâ€™S JOURNEY: â€œLife is a coach whose wheels move slowly and painfully at the start: but once set moving, when going down the steep decline of life, the years move so swiftly you cannot see the spokes in the wheels, which are the days we number so sadly.â€ Canon Sheehan of Doneraile.
SPOT OF HUMOUR: The boss was interviewing an applicant for a job in a furniture factory. â€œI hope youâ€™re not one of those people,â€ said the boss, â€œwho drop their tools the minute they hear the whistle and walk off.â€ â€œOh no,â€ said the applicant. â€œI always have my tools put away neatly half an hour before the whistle goes.â€