St Mary’s

Maureen Sparling


Maureen Sparling

YOUNG READERS: Once again some members of this year’s First Communion class read some prayers of the Faithful at the Vigil Mass at 7.30 pm on Saturday evening last. All without exception read their piece clearly and with perfect diction. Well done to them one and all and also well done to the teacher who prepared the boys and girls for what must have been for them quire a task but however, a feat that they will long remember.

YOUNG READERS: Once again some members of this year’s First Communion class read some prayers of the Faithful at the Vigil Mass at 7.30 pm on Saturday evening last. All without exception read their piece clearly and with perfect diction. Well done to them one and all and also well done to the teacher who prepared the boys and girls for what must have been for them quire a task but however, a feat that they will long remember.

MUNSTER MAGIC: What a brilliant result at Thomond Park on Sunday last, 29 – 6 to Munster! Things can only get better. I didn’t have the match on TV and whatever thoughts I had of catching up on the radio relay of the match on 95 FM, flew completely out of my mind, when upon putting the finishing touches to my weekly notes, which I had all but completed the Friday previous, I touched a button (don’t ask me which one but it didn’t say ‘delete’!) and presto, everything disappeared before my very eyes, easily 2000 words gone in flash! I was dumbstruck and a little livid for about a minute and then I decided there are worse problems for people today and I started all over again. Then at 3.00 pm I suddenly realised I had missed Len’s normally brilliant commentary and switched on the radio just in time to hear the news and heard the result. With tries galore they seem to have reached their present pinnacle as rugby life goes anyway. So, Munster’s result was instrumental in softening the blow of what might have turned out to be a woeful Sunday for me. There’s a saying that goes, ‘be careful what you wish for.’ Well when at the computer one must be careful what one touches.

EUCHARIST FOR LPC: Sunday, February 3, 2013, is the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord - there will be a united all-age Eucharist for the LCP (Limerick City Parish) at St Mary’s Cathedral at 10.30am - please note the change of time. There will also be the usual 8.30am at St Michaels that day and Evening Prayer at 7pm in the Cathedral.  NB No 10am service in St Michael’s that day.

A HEALING SERVICE: will be held in St Mary’s Cathedral at 7pm on Sunday 10th February, the Sunday before Lent. The Church of Ireland takes seriously the ministry of healing, and this service offers the opportunity for people to receive the laying on of hands, either for themselves or they can receive this on behalf of someone else. All are welcome!

SHANNON RFC TABLE QUIZ : Shannon RFC are hosting a table quiz on Friday January 25th at 8pm in O’Driscolls Bar, Corbally. Anyone interested in reserving a table (four to a table/€40) please contact Richie Ryan 087-6745320  or Tadhg Crowe  087-6524358 . It will be a great night and lots of prizes to be won so come along and support the club. 

MICHAEL PHAYER REMEMBERS: “I joined Athlunkard Boat Club in 1948 at the age of 16. The man responsible for encouraging me to row was Tim Daly who was manager of Saxone Shoes and a relation of Willie Henn’s. Even though a regular at training, I was not allowed into the eight or four until I was 18. I spent my first two years in a tub (2 seater training boat) usually coxed by Bryan O’Connor, captain of the 1913 and 1923 senior eights championship winning crews. Bryan would pull the boat in during the spin, take out his pipe and recall stories of his life and time in Athlunkard. It would often be dark by the time we arrived back at the club. Jack Cowhey was president at the time with Jackie Price as captain and Jimmy Clancy as vice-captain. I eventually got into an eight in 1950 having served my two year apprenticeship. In 1951 the club acquired a fine eight from Cambridge at the cost of £150. Cambridge had beaten Oxford in this boat in the Boat race of 1938. We went on to row in that boat for another seven years. 
In 1954 I rowed bow in the maiden eight. Two weeks before the Limerick Head of the River, Willie Henn was both captain and stroke of the boat put me in the seven seat. On the night of the race Morgan Costelloe, who was a member of the 1913 Union Cup winning crew, put his hand on my shoulder and offered me plenty of encouragement. We were racing against St Mick’s senior eight and Shannon junior eight, A clash with St Mick’s at the start resulted in Mickey Downey’s oar being broken so we had to row with seven oars. We still won the race beating St Mick’s by four lengths. A head of the River dance was held that night at the Stella Ballroom with music by Bud Clancy. Mayor of Limerick, John Carew, presented us with the trophies at the dance.” ( First part of a story of some truly wonderful memories by Michael Phayer which is included in the recently published book, “The Story of Athlunkard Boat Club,” which is on sale at Treacy’s on Nicholas Street, the Mall Bar, Corbally Bar and at our local Credit Union on Athlunkard Street for only €10. Contact is 087-671822. Second half, next week.)

SIOBHÁN’S BRILLIANT BOOK: having purchased a book entitled, “Come Stroll With Me in Limerick,” by Siobhán English, at Christmas time, I finally got to take in hand to properly grasp its contents last Saturday during a train trip to Dublin. Oh, what a brilliant production it is! The well researched written content is further enhanced by the appearance of a multitude of excellent coloured pictures, which were actually taken by the young author herself. They are stupendous and do so much to augment an already perfect book, contents-wise. Very wisely, the author has included in this essential book for all Limerick people, the city and the county places of note. And although all matters of interest are covered concerning vital areas of interest, it is not overly detailed, so as to bog down the ordinary reader such as myself. It is truly a magnificent book to hold. There is a picture of the young County Limerick teacher on the back cover and having already seen her picture on the ‘Limerick Leader’ i liked her straight await but then, some people are like that. They have a welcoming bearing about them. Naturally I honed in on the local content first of all. Chapter two is called, ‘A Walk in King’s Island’. The idea of a walk appealed to me greatly as many of us pass by the landmarks mentioned in this chapter every day of the week in our goings and comings, but hardly ever stop to give thought as to why these landmarks are so important. The chapter opens with four lines from our Parish Anthem, ‘The isle,’ smart girl indeed! A full 38 pages is given over to this chapter alone. Speckled throughout the chapter are some excellent pictures, too numerous to mention in these short notes. We see a leafy Merchant’s Quay, Curraghgour Boat Club, King John’s Castle and St Mary’s Cathedral fronted by the majestic River Shannon, the Bottle Bank etc on merchant’s Quay, made attractive by a recent project on behalf of Civic Trust, Fanning’s Castle, our Bandroom, the old Exchange, City Walls on the Island Road, the Sallyports, an outside stained-glass window of the Cathedral fronting on to St Augustine Place, the Masonic Lodge opposite the steps and door entrance to King John’s Castle. The author informs us that where the Masonic lodge now stands was actually the original entrance to our castle. Our Bard’s statue got in as well and many, many more excellent pictures. And even though she has drawn from a vast bibliography, Siobhán has made her own of many of the stories of our ancient past and has projected her literary work of wonder in a very intelligent manner so as it can be readily understood by all.

I can only imagine the amount of hours, burning the midnight oil and all that, that went in to the compilation of this literary and historical work of pure brilliance and yet it costs only €15! Well done Siobhán!

CURTIN’S PARISH PICS: Continuing on from last week’s pictorial tour of Seán Curtin’s wonderful nostalgically historical book, “A Stroll Down Memory Lane,” we next come to a truly delightful picture of a float for St Patrick’s Day of Geary’s, late of Merchant’s Quay, being made ready for the event by Glentworth employees, Tommy Deegan and Edward Ryan back in 1960. We then arrive at p82 where we are treated to a wonderful picture of mainly ladies with a few gents as they stand for a photo take at River lane, Sandmall, a very long time ago. The party took place in Theresa Dundon’s house at St Francis Abbey. Delia Hockedy is seen in this picture playing the fiddle. Oh, the memories that such a picture evokes! On p89 there is a very old picture of Nicholas Street which includes the Exchange. We see a shawlie or two together with a few chickens and hens walking around just like the humans. On p101, we are reminded yet again of the big freeze of 1963. Here we see a Mrs Quillinan of Mill Road, Corbally with her young son, Maurice, complete with hooded duffle coat, snow boots and gloves. Now, as far as I can see I have covered all our locale as it is presented to us in picture form by Seán. As I finish my most enjoyable perusal of this delightful annual picture book, I am just wondering whether Seán ever considered an exhibition of the very best of his twelve year stint? But then where would there be a venue large enough and suitable enough to house so many pictures? One is left wondering but hopeful all the same.

CURRAGHOUR CRUISING LYRICAL: The Curraghgour Boat club, so called because of its proximity to the Curraghgour Falls, was established in 1877 and was originally known as St John’s due to the fact that many young men from that area came down there and were probably part of the original set up way back then. In calm waters the Vikings sailed up our majestic River Shannon many a century ago and indeed delighted in doing so. A port of whatever sort was like gold to the would- be settlers in times past and Limerick with its inherent vast Shannon waters, proved a veritable haven for the likes of them. As life goes though, everyone’s heaven on earth is their own and on the right day, these waters can be a veritable haven to young canoeists, both male and female. It is refreshing to observe them enter these waters with their colourful canoe and all the necessary paraphernalia needed to navigate the rough aquatic terrain. They are in heaven as they intrepidly paddle against the grain, or so it appears to the casual uninformed onlooker. Well, to mark that unique date 12-12-12, a superb artist, Annemarie Bourke, created twelve local scenes which she later donated to UL. To accompany this venture, the artist also had a hard-back book published, twelve only, hence the distinction of same, which included the twelve paintings. To further enhance this artistic effort Annemarie put out a call on radio and newspaper for poets and writers to submit a work or two to the project. I was very glad that she chose my poem as well as five other poets from quite a vast entry. My poem was entitled, “Shimmering Shannon...Our Life-Blood.” The other five poets were, Evelyn Casey, John Liddy, John Bourke, Ron McKnight and Tim Cunningham. Now the interesting thing I found was that of the six poems included in this special publication, four referred to the Curraghgour. None were aware of what the other might have submitted or even to have submitted at all. I suppose it proves that that loyalty and sense of place has been ingrained in our literary mind, or as one might say, it is part of our psyche. Granted, I have known John Liddy for many a year now and I was indeed pleased to meet Tim Cunningham for the very first time at the launch, he being domiciled in England. I liked his poem in particular but then I appreciate his style of writing anyway. Tim’s works have often been featured in the ‘ Limerick Leader’ down through the years and in particular by that very fine journalist, Aidan Corr, who ran the ‘Talk of the Town’ for many years.

WHITE HOUSE BY CANDLELIGHT: Each of the six poems is complemented by one of the paintings from the twelve paintings which the artist donated to UL. My poem just happened to be accompanied by a truly lavish painting of the White House on a typical Poetry evening, and captured that doyen of all MCs, Barney Sheehan, complete with dickie bow and dress suit, for the most part anyway. The colours in this true-to-life painting are positively luscious. Brightly burning candles protrude from tall bottles and suffuse into the dusky ambience. With a drink before them, the listeners are obviously captivated by the poets as they endeavour to nourish the minds of all present. This particular painting would be my favourite together with the painting of the interior of St. Mary’s Cathedral, which portrays the altar and one or two of the ecstatic stained-glass windows.
The launch was held on 12-12-12 in the salubrious Plassey House, which is situated in the environs of the verdant grounds of UL. Former President of UL and indeed the Corkman who began it all back in the early 70s, performed the launch, and thankfully I say, for one so extremely intelligent, he possesses a captivating sense of humour. On the night, each of the poets was presented with a book which was individually signed to the poet by the artist, Annemarie. A priceless treasure and a definite keepsake if ever there was one. One of these precious books has been donated to UL and will be on view to all visiting dignitaries, so they, like others, will be able to sample the literary works of at least six Limerick poets. Well done to our very talented artist, Annemarie, who by donating her twelve wonderful painting of our beautiful city to UL, has ensured a place for posterity to cherish our Limerick heritage for many a century to come.

SEAN FHOCAL: C “Ní féidir as sean-fhocal a sharú.’ ‘A proverb cannot be refuted.’ “Is maith an scathán cara dílís.’ A true friend is a good mirror.’