John Riordan, Abbeyfeale submitted this picture of his dad James at the Memorial to Korean Veterans in Washington DC. His dad along with two other sisters went to the States in their younger days. But his dad was the only one who stayed.
Bill Dineen and family bringing home the hay in Ballylanders in August 1954. This photo was sent in by David Dineen
Caoilfhionn O’Dwyer, Lisnagry, with her dad Senan O’Dwyer looking on, enjoying the surfing and winter sun at Lahinch beach in mid-January
Michael Walsh lands the first plane in Dineen's meadow, Ballylanders in May 1951. This image was sent in by David Dineen
Kellie Ann O'Brien sent this picture of her grandfather Tony dressed as a woman at the Abbey Regatta
Kellie Ann O’Brien sent us Snapshots of her grandfather Tony and granduncle Dan Gallagher of Bishops Street. This was taken at Doonass
This photo was sent in by Dermot Cregg, Love Lane Charleville of the Central Hotel, Kilmallock. The hotel was owned by Patrick Lyons at the time. The man on the path behind the cart is Patrick, in the 1920s
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Liam O'Brien writes,
I'd like to congratulate Aine Fitzgerald on her lovely piece in last week's Limerick Leader about the famous clash in 1996 between Limerick and Clare: "The point that will forever be remembered".
Back in the mid-2000s your paper carried an article of mine, a personal reflection also based on that famous occasion.
I give you a slightly edited version of my original article which I dedicate to the loving memory of my dear brother Owen who was with me on that great day back in June 1996.
In days like this shall we live forever.
LIMERICK V CLARE 1996: CIARAN'S GIFT FROM THE GODS
(by Liam O'Brien)
An idyllic summer's day on Sunday, June 16, 1996 was the backdrop to our preparation at home in Friarstown for the big game at the Gaelic Grounds. Hats and shirts in our county's colours of green and white were being passed around as well as those precious match tickets. This Munster hurling derby game between our beloved Limerick and our fellow Dalcassian neighbours in Clare was a sell-out game. The blessed green and white flag was cable-tied to the branch of the cherry blossom tree which hung over our front wall, a sight that was replicated all over the city and county.
Another big game beckoned, another day of judgement by the Gods of Hurling ….
The mood on Shannon-side in the weeks leading up to this knock-out Munster semi-final game was one of quiet confidence. Though Limerick, under the guidance of manager Tom Ryan had made history by steamrolling Cork in their own back yard three weeks previously, we were now facing the All-Ireland champions, Clare. This was the team that had shocked the hurling world when they beat us in the 1995 Munster final in Thurles and had gone on to win the Liam MacCarthy cup for the first time in over 80 years. This was a highly motivated group driven by the passionate Ger Loughnane, who had banished the curse of Biddy Earlie and at last brought success to the Banner County. We realised the enormity of the task facing us, which was very much in keeping with the Guinness sponsorship slogan of that summer's championship: “Nobody said it was going to be easy” . However, we knew we had more than a good chance with such great players on the Limerick team as Gary Kirby, Davy Clarke, Mike Houlihan and Steve McDonogh; and of course not forgetting one Ciarán Carey!
My Dad drove me into town around midday along with my brother Owen and our good neighbour Roger Gavin. He dropped us off near Sexton St CBS as the rest of our family (including my Dad) had made alternative arrangements to go to the game. So off the three of us went, on our merry way through a sun drenched and atmospheric Limerick city. Even at that early stage there was a large amount of supporters crossing over the broad majestic Shannon at Sarsfield Bridge. All of us making our way out the Ennis Road; the very same way as people had done for many generations before us, to follow our national game. This was a really big occasion and it was already obvious there was going to be a huge crowd at it. It was an absolutely scorching day but thankfully we had donned our straw hats (quite popular at the time!) to cover our heads from the excessive heat. Bottles and cans of cold drinks and ice-creams were consumed with great gusto by all and sundry that day in their attempt to find a cooling comfort from the mid-summer sizzle.
Then finally, we reached our destination amongst a throng of expectant and excited people; all going to worship on a Sunday at that famous old stadium and Limerick's very own Colosseum, Páirc na nGael.
So through the turnstiles we went and on finding the stadium already half full, we made our way through the ever growing masses on the old embankment and took our position at the corner of the City End. It was there we saw people, having failed to secure tickets frantically climbing up ropes to gain entry, as we waited with bated breath for the Clash of the Ash. This day was living proof of the legacy of the great Mick Mackey and his Limerick compatriots who had helped to shape and develop the modern game of hurling back in the 1930s, these were not just men - but Gods!
Who then today would the Gods smile upon?
When both teams raced onto the pitch, the Gaelic Grounds became a cauldron of excitement, passion, noise and colour. From the time the referee threw in the sliothar, until well after the game was over, the air was heavy with a type of frenzied electricity that hung over us in an invisible, yet impenetrable cloud.
Right from the start both teams went at it hammer and tongs; and you could still hear the sounds of battle, so unique to this ancient game, cutting through the thick air and noisy din of the crowd. This was not a day for the faint hearted.
A fine goal scored by Gary Kirby in front of us at the City End seemed to tilt things slightly in our favour in the first half; but the men in saffron and blue battled back, as the likes of Anthony Daly, Seanie McMahon and the ever animated Davy Fitzgerald were not going to lie down so easily. Come the second half and Clare looked to be tipping the scales back again, with the brilliant Jamsie O’Connor picking off some lovely points. As the game entered its final, decisive phase Clare led Limerick by the narrowest of margins. With only a few minutes remaining, the youthful Barry Foley entered the fray and levelled the game with a brilliant point. The heat-fanned tension was unbearable as 45,000 pairs of eyes followed the sliothar up and down the field watched from above by Mackey and his celestial cohorts.
Then, this epic game would get the fairytale finish it so richly deserved. Davy Fitz pucked out the sliothar and much to our delight Ciarán Carey was under it, leaping like a salmon to pluck it bravely from the sky, enveloped by men and ash alike. On and on he went, soloing into the opposition half, roared on by the huge home crowd. Nothing would have stopped him that day; even if the Clare hills had repositioned themselves at the heart of the Banner defence he would still have gotten through; there was only going to be one outcome, one hero, one winner! The Gods had spoken.
When he struck the ball and it sailed over the bar there was an explosion the likes of which had not been heard in Limerick since the Free State Army shelled the Strand Barracks during the Civil War in 1922.
Alleluia Ciarán! Brave son of Patrickswell! had carried the day in the same swashbuckling style of the great Mackey himself!
Shortly afterwards the game ended and the deliriously happy Limerick faithful invaded the pitch in their thousands to salute their heroes. Meanwhile, up at the City End, we were involved in our own victory celebrations, dancing and cheering and laughing and singing. A middle aged woman from west Limerick picked up my brother Owen (a fully grown man) and twirled him around like he was but a child, our neighbour Roger nearly lost his hat over the back wall of the terrace; joy unconfined!
It was such a contrast to see the Limerick supporters hugging and kissing each other in an absolute fever of blissful delight while our Munster neighbours were frozen in shock and disappointment. We then departed the dry, dusty stadium walking on air having beaten the reigning champions. The cooling affect of the evening breeze was welcomed by one and all at the end of a quite remarkable sporting day.
Afterwards, we went up to the local pub in Fedamore to celebrate our victory with our neighbours and friends; all of us feeling blessed to have witnessed one of the all-time glorious hurling occasions, with Ciarán’s point one of the greatest single moments in Limerick’s long and proud history. A score that was a gift from the gods on a day that will never be forgotten.
In days like this shall we live forever.
(In Loving Memory of Owen O'Brien (1976-2019)
THE DAY THAT I SAW A KENNEDY
John Garrett shared a memory of seeing Senator Edward Kennedy in Limerick
Senator Edward Kennedy visited Limerick in May 1964. He passed Ballykeeffe Estate where I lived on his way to Limerick city. There he was presented with a silver tea service by Mayor Councillor Mrs Frances Condell. This was a visit made by Senator Kennedy to thank Limerick people for their messages of condolence following his brother’s, the late John F. Kennedy’s assassination just six months earlier. Senator Kennedy said that the visit “filled him with emotion and joy”.
At that time the Limerick Leader reported that “there were scenes of unbridled enthusiasm as thousands lined O’Connell Street and heard the US Senator speaking from Cruises Hotel”.
There was sadness on August 25 2009 when Senator Kennedy lost his battle with brain cancer and passed away.
President Mary McAleese said “Senator Ted Kennedy will be remembered by people in the United States as an outstanding legislator and politician who had a deep connection with the needs of ordinary people. He will be remembered here in Ireland as a hugely important friend to this country during the very difficult times”.
Senator Kennedy’s sister Eunice Kennedy Shriver who died on August 11 2009, just two weeks prior to Senator Kennedy’s passing is the founder of Special Olympics. It is a matter of great pride that Limerick plays such an active part in hosting the Special Olympics.
I have good reason for remembering Senator Kennedy’s visit to Limerick. It was a cloudy day. Crowds surrounded him and my recollection is helped to an extraordinary extent by a wonderful photograph of Senator Kennedy happily shaking hands with friends of the Kennedy family. To the right hand side of that photograph I am sitting on my father’s shoulders. What more could a boy ask for than sitting on the shoulders of a supportive father who sacrificed his own view so that I could hold a clear picture of the day. Remember, these were days when framed pictures of the Pope and the late president of the United States were mounted side by side on walls in many homes throughout Ireland, such was the respect of the Irish people for the Kennedy family.
This photograph has been in our family since that time. I believed it was taken by a Limerick Leader photographer and I made contact with Eugene Phelan in the Limerick Leader Office to see if he could identify the photographer. He was unable to find the photograph but he did send me several others to include in Be Inspired - Images and stories of Limerick's true Leaders ( Volume 2). Ireland’s link with the Kennedy family is still as strong as ever.
The Limerick Leader included the following in its report on June 6, 1964
“Limerick’s welcome to Senator Ted Kennedy will be remembered for many a long day. It exceeded all expectations when several thousand people tightly packed the streets surrounding Cruise’s Hotel and mobbed him in the most friendly manner as his car approached the entrance. It was with tremendous difficulty that he made his way into the hotel, aided by members of the gardaí who certainly did a wonderful job in their efforts to control the huge crowd. For a time the situation looked dangerous as the crowd surged forward, sweeping gardaí, newsmen and cameramen before them. And all this time the gardaí were doing their utmost to make a passageway for Senator Kennedy, members of his party, the Mayor of Limerick, Councillor Mrs Frances Condell and members of the Corporation.
The people went wild with excitement and showed their welcome in a manner that left no doubt in the minds of any that there was a special place in their hearts for the Kennedy family. They cheered and cheered while miniature flags of the United States of America were waved by almost every boy and girl in the record crowd – and there were many. To add to the occasion, a special platform was erected by the Limerick Festival of Sport Committee on which a programme of Irish music, song and dance entertained the joyful crowd”