SHANNON BEAT DOLPHIN: What a cracking encounter between Shannon and Dolphin out at our sporting venue out in Coonagh on Saturday afternoon last. Up against a superior team league-wise, our parish side exhibited a grit and determination that saw them emerge as very worthy winners by a margin of just three points: the final score being 31-29. The tweets coming in before and during the match were most interesting to follow, such as: ‘Nearly time for kick-off here at a sunny but breezy Coonagh, up Shannon!’ ‘Great start by Shannon, nearly to the line.’ ‘Great defence by Shannon and good pressure gives them scrum on half ’, ‘Great defence work by Shannon causing Dolphin to make mistakes.’ ‘Harsh decision against Shannon gives Dolphin another penalty and its over again.’ ‘Tadgh Bennett penalty wins it with last kick!’ You know after all this time I think I’m finally beginning to understand this rugby stuff which has surrounded me since my youth.
DEATH OF A LEGEND: This week saw the death of what is colloquially called a most colourful character, Mick Crowe, who wore many hats socially, so eclectic was his involvement in the local scene. He was a local councillor and as was mentioned on local radio, he could well have gone for the Dáil and might well have been a force to be reckoned with there. By all accounts he was a ball-hopper as well as being a highly intelligent man; well rounded one might say. He had parish connections in effect that he played for Shannon and also ran a pub, the Dalcassian, on Nicholas Street up there near the Castle. In actual fact, I think one might get a glimpse of that same pub in Seán Curtin’s book Volume 13 just out. While operating in that vicinity Mick was responsible for initiating a collection, something to do with a slight ‘tariff’ on the pint in order to get electricity installed in the Widows’ Alms Houses and you may be sure he pitched in himself too. Yes, among his various other interests he had such an amount of goodness at heart. In fact on the day of this major improvement, lighting-wise, it was arranged that the inhabitants of those houses take a trip on a bus out to Shannon or some such place and what a surprise awaited them on their return.
We in the Parish extend our heartfelt sympathy to his wife, Lily, his sons. Michael, David, Niall and Barry; his daughters, Ann, Karen and Hilary; sister, Betty, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, grandchildren, great-grandson, cousins, relatives and friends.
TIME CHANGE: This weekend sees the clocks go back one hour. During this period of less daylight we see the lights going on much earlier and the possibility of fires being lit to get us over that dull impasse before returning once again to the Spring when we look forward to packing the little suitcase once again to take off to Kilkee or wherever suits your fancy or simply taking a leisurely trip out to Clancy Strand or down to the excellently seated O’Callaghan Strand.
LAUNCH THIS FRIDAY: As most people reading this column will realise by now, the launch of Denis O’Shaughnessy’s new publication entitled, “Reflections on Limerick,’ will take place on this Friday night, October 25, 2013, at 8.00pm out at St Mary’s RFC clubhouse at 8.00pm. Everyone is invited to what promises to be a most convivial gathering. I have glanced at the said book in Eason’s and all I can say is, it is truly magnificent and will prove a keepsake if ever there was one. The price is €14.90 and well worth the money.
SPECTACULAR VOLUME 13: Seán Curtin can really do no wrong book-wise, can he? We tend to forget from one Winter to the next but suddenly you spot Seán’s new edition of “A Stroll Down Memory Lane,” in town and you just can’t resist purchasing it. I spotted it in Quay Books in Arthur’s Quay this past week and was so glad to see that despite its usual superb production, it has happily retained the old price of just €15. To say it is a knockout is very definitely putting it mildly. An annual joy to locals one and all, the front cover boasts a truly spectacular painting of the Chairing of Spring Rice, right outside the old Town hall on Rutland Street. The back cover features a brilliant picture of Joseph ‘Fiddler’ Dunne, which will evoke many memories for our citizens. The respectful dedication is to remember many local well-known citizens who have passed away since the last edition appeared.
Every year I promise myself I will wait until Christmas to fully enjoy this pictorial treat but of course that is quite impossible when one actually gets the book into their hands. And so I compromised by affording it a cursory leaf-through, leaving the explanatory captions until Christmas. Naturally the Parish features a few times. First we have a very fine picture of old Nicholas Street taken from around the Castle and looking down. Taken in 1979, this picture captures the Tudor Lounge and Hinchy’s Butcher’s. There are two nostalgic pictures of the Old Abbey Regatta (this one is fantastic) and also the Corbally Regatta back in 1977. The former is of the crowd watching from the Curraghgower Boat Club (still vibrant with the likes of veteran boatman, Anthony O’Farrell in attendance there most times and the head man, John Griffin, originally from Old Church Street, who keeps the wheels in motion, so to speak). There is a fine picture of Tom Tubridy in uniform taken in Creagh Lane. Tom was a member of the nearby St Mary’s fife and Drum Band. This picture stroll also features a quite unusual picture of the old Tholsel (Danish for Town hall), which I certainly hadn’t seen before. There is a beautiful picture of First Communicant, Theresa Kirby from St Mary’s Park. This volume also features a very fine picture of our now sadly demolished St Mary’s convent and one side of Convent Street under demolition also. Generally, outside the Parish, there were many pictures which delighted me. To be honest, this article could completely fill my two columns but a few must suffice. The picture of the ‘Limerick Leader’ staff of 1964 is quite outstanding. The foyer of Cruise’s Hotel is sad in its recall of what a piece of true luxury we boasted of in Limerick during the hardest of times. My prize, however, for the best picture of all must go to the one which features on p100. It seems there was quite an encounter between St Mary’s and St Munchin’s , a football final back in 1953. Someone very talented chalked a sketch on a blackboard and placed it in the window of Creagh Lane school. It features a donkey and cart taking fans to the football grounds (wonder where?). It is priceless. The second picture on that page features the perfectly printed names of the winning team, as it turned out, St Mary’s, a goal to two points.The goal scorer was Frankie Timmons, who went on to star with Caledonians in their FAI winning year of ‘70/’71. For sure Seán has done more than his share of research as nothing has been left to chance. This could well have been the most difficult part of the production of what has turned out to be yet another winner. Well done, Seán!
CATHEDRAL TOWER NEWS: On Bank Holiday Saturday 26th October we will welcome ringers from all over Ireland as we host the Annual Autumn Ringing Festival. Mt. St. Alphonsus will be open from 11am to 1pm and St Mary’s from 2.30pm for the tower bells and 5pm for the mini-bells. Dinner for all will be in Finnegan’s later that evening.
LUNCHTIME CONCERT: There will be yet another concert at St Mary’s Cathedral on Wednesday, October 30, 2013, beginning at 1.15 and finishing at 2.00pm. Performing on the day will be: Una Barry (soprano) Irina Dernova (piano) - music by Purcell, Fauré, Chausson, Mozart, Wagner, Richard Strauss, Rachmaninov and Britten. Admission is free but a donation to the Retirement Collection would be very welcome indeed as the proceeds of same will go to aid the Companions of St Mary’s Cathedral Music.
CONGRATULATIONS: To The Reverend Jane Galbraith on her appointment as Associate Priest in the Tralee and Dingle Group of Parishes with effect from 1st December 2013.
OUR PARISH IN POOR TIMES: Fr Brahan was asked, ‘are there any means taken to cleanse that part of the town by the Corporation in any manner worthy of the body? To which he replied; ‘The Corporation have flagged the streets.’ ‘Are there any means taken to cleanse the lanes?’ he was further asked. ‘I have endeavoured,’ Fr Brahan replied, ‘to force on the attention of the Corporation the state of the lanes, but they have been so occupied since they have been in office, by the thousand and one grievances that existed previously that they have not had time to attend to that, I suppose. ‘They certainly are,’ was Fr Brahan’s reply, when asked if the lanes were in need of cleansing. ‘I am surprised,’ he added, ‘we have not fever more extensively.’ (Apologies for missing last week as this column was full to capacity. Two more weeks to go on this very engaging article by D.M. I find the language and the turn of phrase most interesting indeed. Note his charitable attitude towards the then Corporation Body.)
ST MARY’S RFC 1943: “St Mary’s have always placed under age teams as the top priority in the club, because realising that without a steady flow of youth players coming up through the ranks, you cannot hope to field at Junior level successfully. The proof of this is evident when you look at players such as Brendan Foley, Irish International, Colm Tucker, Irish International and British and Irish Lions, and other Senior players too numerous to mention who have come up through the ranks with St Mary’s. Over the years St Mary’s have always been to the forefront of Limerick Rugby, as the list of successes will tell you. Munster Junior Cup - 1968: Transfield Cup - 1955, 1970: City Junior Cup - 1946, 1947: Juvenile Cup - 1955,1970, 1974,1982: Juvenile League -1947,1956, 1970: Webb Cup - 1974, 1977: U14 Cup – 1970. In the 1973/74 season the club toured Wales with a youth team and a great bond of friendship developed with Haverfordwest RFC, which still exists to the present time. The club committee this season as in the past are as hard working and dedicated as ever with the emphasis as always on projecting the best image of the St. Mary’s Club.” (Written in 1982, by Timmy Kerley, PRO. As you will have observed the trophy listed only goes to a certain year. Hopefully, someone from the Club can supply me with an updated list of their winnings throughout later years. Indeed, I would be much obliged.)
COMICAL THADY: Anyone who has breathed Limerick air for any length of time cannot have escaped the tale of ‘Drunken Thady and the Bishop’s Lady,’ which was penned by Michael Hogan and which remains to this day the one and only poem identifiable to his name despite having filled a 449 page book in very small print with an amount of poems on various topics back in the 19th century. It was printed by the City Printing at 11, Rutland Street in a time when printing was a real chore. I often wonder at the extreme patience of the typesetter etc who had the onerous job of seeing that all was put in order to perfection and if you scrutinise that book, “Lays and Legends of Thomond,” you will not find even one spelling mistake.
Now what leads me to this is the new comic book which was devised by artist Hugh McMahon. I read in the ‘Chronicle’ recently that Hugh has used his talent to create a comic book (what a novel idea) in association with the Blue Box Creative Learning Centre, circling around well-known folklore. For example Sarsfield’s Ride, the Curse of St Munchin, the Limerick Cobbler, Seán a Scuab and the Italian Bellmaker are some of them. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy. If you wish to find out more or to purchase a comic you can contact; firstname.lastname@example.org
CRIOSTOIR IN BOOK: Recently, top local historian, Matthew Potter, produced a book having to do with the history of the five line ‘limerick.’ “The Curious Story of Limerick,” is a friendly easily accessible book which of course is packed full of local ‘limericks.’ It has a magnificent bright and appealing cover and features a superb picture of top Limerick and parish native bi-lingual writer, Criostóir Ó’Flynn. Of course it behoves this writer of over sixty books to date to be featured in this wonderful production as he himself once published a book devoted entirely to the Maigue Poets, who were the original of the species, so to speak, of the birth of the said little ‘limerick.’ Best of luck to Matthew on this excellent production!
TRAVELLING TO KILKEE 150 YEARS ago: In a day and age when we become annoyed at the slightest diversion that will make us deviate from our appointed course, it is quite sobering to learn of how things were 150 years ago when making the 59 mile trip to our favourite holiday destination. The mention of Moore’s omnibus perked up my interest in particular, as the idea for the Little Ark was based on this mode of travel when the parish priest of Kilbaha had travelled in it back in the middle of the 19th century.
“We now extract the following useful information from Mr Hugh Hogan’s Handbook for Kilkee, now being published by Guy & Co Limerick. Modes of conveyance to Kilkee – The mail car from Ennis, taking four passengers, arrives at 10h 45m am and is despatched from the post office at 1h 45pm. A second mail from Limerick via Foynes Railway and Rosa steamer to Kilrush is conveyed by Moore’s omnibus and arrives at Moore’s Hotel at 6.30 pm and is despatched next morning at 8h 30m, thus affording the visitors and inhabitants the opportunity of receiving Dublin newspapers in Kilkee on the day of publication and London papers and letters of the day previous, together with the advantage of communicating with their friends and receiving replies twice a day. The public are indebted for these excellent postal arrangements to Henry James, Esq the very efficient Surveyor, GPO, who has thus afforded such facility of intercourse and valuable accommodation to all who appreciate rapid interchange and unfettered exercise of commercial and social communication.”