It was the latest shot to be fired in leader Xi Jinping’s war against religion that has seen repression, especially against Christianity and Islam, amped up to levels not seen since the dark days of Mao Zedong which culminated in the bloody, murderous and disastrous Cultural Revolution from 1966 until the dictator’s 1976 death.


The Volunteer: A Former IRA Man's True Story by Shane Paul O'Doherty, Strategic Book Publishing & Rights Agency, £9.50.


Ex-IRA bomber who got 30 life sentences has words of advice for young dissidents


He was from a middle-class family in Londonderry, joined the IRA at 15 and received 30 life sentences for a letter bombing campaign but went on to renounce terrorism and seek forgiveness from his victims. Now, Shane Paul O'Doherty has this advice for young dissidents: you lose a universe by taking life, and don't gain a single speck of territory


We live in an age of disruption. Companies that were once stalwarts are overtaken by small, plucky upstarts. Our personal lives can also be disrupted. We lose a job or a business fails.


Listowel Army Census 1922







TITLE:    Letter from Hector Graham, County Kerry, requesting government employment


SCOPE & CONTENT: Letter from Hector Graham, Tarbert, County Kerry, half pay lieutenant of 60th regiment of foot, to Charles Grant, Chief Secretary, Dublin Castle, requesting government employment. Refers to his long military service, his wounds from that time, and also the need to support his large family, 14 January 1821. Also letter from Graham, Bushy Park, [postmark Tarbert], to Grant, concerning his recent application for a commission in the Ballylongford yeomanry, County Kerry, alongside the commission of the peace, 'to enable me to assist in keeping this part of the country quiet'. Renews his application for employment, 16 November 1821.


EXTENT: 2 items; 4pp-DATE(S): 14 Jan 1821-16 Nov 1821


Posted by durrushistory in assisted female emigration, australia, sydney              




Irish Female Emigration to New South Wales 1832, ‘The Committee for Promoting the Emigration of Single Women ‘, Cork to Sydney, Free Passage and some Australian Themes.


In November 1984, my friend John Miller was elected to the House of Representatives from Washington State’s first congressional district. John was a Republican and the House was controlled by Democrats, so as a freshman member from the minority party, his committee assignments were not scintillating.


SULLIVAN; Nimmo was scathing on Captain O'Sullivan, a Landlord and road contractor on the road works around Glengarriff. He paid his workers who were his tenants in vouchers redeemable against rent.




Yale Presents an Archive of 170,000 Photographs Documenting the Great Depression






The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), who led the research, says: “The new data from Scotland means this is the first time the genetic map of the UK and the Republic of Ireland can be seen in its entirety.”


From Listowel Connection Sept 2019


The Convent bell, was operated by the pulling of an attached rope, this was located close  the Sacristy, which was at the back of the Sanctuary. The ringing of this  bell was mostly the preserve and duty of the Sacristan, Sr. Aloysius.




For one year, back in the mid 1950s, (c 1956), I was an Altar Server. My mother decreed that, as my father, his two brothers and my two older brothers had donned the surplice and the soutane of the Convent Chapel, then I would have to follow in their footsteps. So, when arrangements were made, I had to undergo a crash course in the old form of the Latin Mass.  For this I was coached by Tony Dillon, a senior altar server at the Convent. When I was deemed proficient I then had to go before Sr. Aloysius for the oral exam, The Latin, was learned off like a parrot without any knowledge of what it meant, even today 60 years on, much is still remembered, 'Introibo ad Altare Dei', Mae Culpa, Mae Maxima Culpa etc etc. Practical training followed before been allowed to doing any serving.




I enjoyed my year and a memory of it came back to me some years ago, on this occasion I had spoken to a group on Kathy Buckley's time in the White House, at a question and answers after the talk, I was asked if there was anyone in life that I had met and afterwards regretted that I had not spoken to them of their earlier life. I thought and said yes. An elderly couple used attend daily morning mass at the Convent Chapel in my time as a server, their names, Ned and Anne Gleeson, Anne was blind and she would link Ned as they went, they were daily communicants and many a morning I held the paten under their chins as they received, years later as I developed a love of local history I found out that Ned Gleeson was the man who delivered the Listowel Town Commissioners address of welcome to Charles Steward Parnell, on his famous visit to Listowel in 1891. In racing parlance, that would have been a story, straight from the horse's mouth.


To survive, Greenfield taught music. She got her big break in 1851 when she gave a private performance for a rich Buffalo socialite and her friends. Dubbed “the Black Swan” by Buffalo journalists, she was soon sought after and supported by wealthy white and Black patrons who arranged for, publicized, and supported her performances. In a time of publicly-sanctioned segregation, she performed for mixed audiences.




As her fame grew she embarked on a national tour. Soon, Greenfield was performing in front of audiences of thousands. At places like the New York Harmonic Society, which prohibited Black people from attending, people prevented from seeing her nearly rioted. In response, Greenfield would sometimes perform the same program at both white and Black venues.


Remembering a popular teacher and a great servant of the GAA who died in Nigeria.


Who was Frank Sheehy?


The question is answered by Vincent Carmody




Frank was born in 1905 to John J.(b 1870) and Annie Sheehy.(b 1874) His father served as a drapery assistant in the Listowel and his mother was a native of Tipperary. Frank was the youngest of 4 children, with a brother John (b 1898), Margaret(b 1899) and Ellen ( b 1901).




He received his primary education at the Boys' National School, only 3 doors up the street from his home,. After this he attended St Michael’s College where he was a classmate of Seamus Wilmot among others.


 Having achieved an M.A. at University College Dublin he then applied for and was accepted to attend at St. Patrick's Training College 1932-1934 to complete his studies to become a National Teacher. Among his colleagues at this time was the redoubtable Sean O Síocháin, later to become a long time General Secretary to the Gaelic Athletic Association. OSíocháin, in a tribute to Frank in 1981 wrote, ‘I first made his acquaintance in 1932/1934 as a student teacher in the Primary School attached to St. Patrick’s Teacher Training College, in Drumcondra, Dublin, where Frank had established himself as one of the great primary teachers of his time. In the following years, through the thirties and into the forties, we worked in after-school hours for the Comhar Dramaíochta, in the production and promotion of plays in Irish, he as runaí and I as a junior actor and sometimes Bainisteoir Stáitse. His high efficiency, his drive and his sense of humour streamlined many a situation for amateur actors which, otherwise might have been chaotic. During the forties, as Principal of an Endowed Primary School in Oldcastle, Co. Meath, gave him a distinction enjoyed by few in Primary Education, while his period in that part of Co. Meath, which coincided with that of the incomparable Paul Russell as Garda Sergeant, transformed the town and the district into a mini-Kingdom all their own’.




He returned to his native town in the early 1950s and quickly immersed himself in the local club and county GAA scene. He became Chairman of the county board in 1953 and many would say that he indeed was the spark that ignited the Kerry Senior team to regain the Sam Maguire, the first since 1946. That year he also organised the golden jubilee of the county’s first All Ireland success in 1953 and he was also instrumental in initiating the scheme that allowed Kerry All Ireland medal holders the right to apply for two tickets whenever the county reached the final.




He was appointed as principal of the senior boys’ school on his return to Listowel, a position he held until 1960. He served as Munster Council President from 1956-1958 and was narrowly beaten for the Presidency of the GAA by Dr.J.J.Stuart.






In 1961 he went to Nigeria, Africa, to take up a position of Professor of Educational Science at a training college in Asaba. He died there in 1962.


Listowel sports field is named ‘Pairc Mhic Shithigh’ in his honour.










‘Pray for me’: The last letter of an RIC officer executed by the IRA


Ronan McGreevy




The poignant last letter of former Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) officer who was executed by the IRA for being a spy has been released as part of the Brigade Activity Reports.


James Kane, a fisheries protection officer in Co Kerry, was executed on June 16th 1921 on suspicion that he gave his former RIC colleagues details of eight IRA men who were  involved in the shooting dead of the constabulary’s divisional commander.


Detective Inspector Tobias O’Sullivan was shot dead on January 20th, 1921 outside Listowel barracks in Co Kerry. Some time later men from the 6th Battalion, Kerry North Brigade, kidnapped Kane. They did so on instruction from IRA General Headquarters (GHQ) and interrogated him.


After a prolonged period of interrogation he was executed on June 16th, 1921. His body was left by the side of the road with a note, “Convicted spy. Let others beware. IRA.”


Before he died Kane composed a letter to his family which is in the newly-released Brigade Activity Reports files of 1 Kerry Brigade. The letter is addressed to his children, one of whom is said to have cried out as the coffin was lowered into the ground, “Daddy, daddy”.


It beings: “My dear children, I am condemned (to) die. I had the priest today, thank God. I give you all my blessing and pray God may protect you all. Pray for me and get some masses said for me.”


Kane goes on to list the financial provisions he has made for the family and the money he owes to people locally.


It is clear that his children will be left as orphans as he requests that he be buried next to his “loving wife if possible”.


He concluded: “Don’t go to too much expense at the funeral and have no drink or public wake. I am told my body will be got near home. I got the greatest kindness from those in charge of men.


“Good bye now and God bless you and God bless Ireland. Pray for us constantly and give my love to all my friends and neighbours and thank them for all their kindness.”


The stay-at-home mother’s pregnancy was considered high risk because she was over 40 and had suffered previous miscarriages. As a result, her doctor ordered blood tests on the baby early on and monitored the pregnancy closely.


She started to bleed during the pregnancy and was diagnosed in spring 2013 with a subchorionic hematoma, a blood clot in the fetal membrane. The only thing doctors can do for that condition is prescribe bed rest. If the blood clot ruptures, it can result in a spontaneous miscarriage.


DEATH NORA Bennis, who regularly made headlines for her outspoken views and passed away this week aged 78, has been laid to rest in her native Limerick.


Married to the late Gerry Bennis from the famous hurling family from Patrickswell, she was a very energetic and forceful voice in a wide range of areas from women working at home to abortion and sex education.


The staunch pro-life campaigner had plenty of followers and secured more than 18,000 first preference votes when she contested the 1994 European elections in the then Munster constituency.


Her funeral took place this Thursday at Our Lady of the Rosary Church, Ennis Road, adjacent to her family home at Revington Park. She was to be buried in St Mary’s (New) Cemetery, Patrickswell.


Nora was daughter of Paul Shinners, a veteran of the Easter Rising. As a political activist, she regularly hit the headlines including when leading a boycott of a sex shop which she described as “filth” when it opened on Ellen Street many years ago. See details in Limerick leader Eugene Phelan,14 Feb 2019.


From Listowel Connection


Down Memory Lane to the Ball Alley




A man called Enda Timoney is compiling a history of handball in Ireland. His research brought him to Listowel Connection and Junior Griffin's account of hand balling in Listowel in the 1940s and 50s.




Here is another memory from Junior;




"By all means Mr. Timoney can use my few words, in fact I would feel honoured. I think it is great that he is contemplating  writing a history on the handball alleys.  There was a time when we literally had nothing in our pockets and handball was our main sporting outlet as it really cost us nothing.


In fact as young boys during the war years some of us in the Bridge Road made a bit of money out of the handball.


On a Sunday morning the alley was packed with many young, and not too young, men awaiting their game of handball.  No emigration.  A few of us budding  entrepreneurs from the Bridge Road would have picked up one old penny somewhere, when there was 240 pence to the old pound, and we would make our way to  lovely old lady named Mrs Dowling about a mile outside Listowel and buy apples from her and then go back to the alley and sell our apples. Our aim was to make a profit of 3 old pence, 2 pence for the Sunday matinee and the one penny left would buy us 2 squares of the old Cleeves slab toffee. Our week was made, we wanted nothing else. The two squares were joined together and we would break them by hitting them against the metal leg of our seat in the local cinema. More than likely a square, or maybe both, would hit the ground, but the word hygiene was not on our dictionary in those days. What a lovely, carefree life it was.




The end of the war changed all that, as most of the hand ball young men of that era emigrated to different corners of the world. As I got older I played a lot of handball myself and gave many years as secretary of the local club.. The game of handball meant a lot to us in those days and I honestly believe that as young boys and then as young men it kept us out of harm’s way as the game of handball was such a brilliant game to play."




Worrying Times




by Domhnall de Barra




We live in a fast-changing world that sometimes is hard to keep up with as every day brings something new. Advances in technology have enhanced our lives and given us new gadgets that make life that bit easier. International travel has improved and the world has become a much smaller place. I remember when I was in my teens hearing of a neighbour going to Australia. The only way to go was by passenger ship and the journey took 6 weeks to complete. Going to England by train and boat took over 24 hours, roughly the same time it now takes to fly to Australia. We can use skype and facetime to talk to friends and relations anywhere on the globe and watch them on the screens of our phones and tablets. If we need to find out about anything we just have to “google” it and the answer is there. Likewise with online shopping which gives us  a huge choice of goods to choose from.




I recently had to replace two EGR valves in my Land Rover. The cost of the two in Ireland was €900. By searching the net I got them in Germany and they were delivered to my door at a total cost of €103. Now, that was some saving but we also need to be careful. The internet has given new opportunities to criminals who can pose as genuine traders and take all the money out of our bank accounts. We are fast approaching a time when paper money will be just a memory. Even now it is difficult to buy anything with notes over a couple of thousand. It will make it more difficult to launder money and will affect the black economy. We just have to adjust to these changes no matter how much we want to stop the world so that we can get off. Since the end of the 2nd World War we have had a more peaceful time but that is now in danger with the behaviour of the US, Russia and China in particular. I am old enough to remember the cold war between Russia and the USA and how close we came to a nuclear war that would have spelled the end of the world for us. There was an arms race with both nations trying to build bigger and better bombs and missiles. At one stage, Russian warships were heading for Cuba to launch an attack on the US but president Kennedy held his nerve and, at the last minute, they turned back. Common sense prevailed and eventually a treaty was arranged where both nations agreed to curtail their nuclear activity and the arms race was over. Now Trump says he wants to pull out of that arrangement and go back to building up the supply of arms.  Putin of course will follow suit and we will be back to the bad old days. Make no mistake, these two leaders are dangerous men who lose no opportunity to boost their already inflated egos and are quite capable of pressing the button that will end in total destruction. Let us hope that wiser heads will prevail and these lunatics will not be allowed to bring the world to the brink again. I was hoping to say that we have moved on as a nation and that we are now more open to diversity than ever before.




The divorce and gay marriage referendums have shown that the people are more enlightened and I thought our politicians were too until I saw an article in one of the Sunday papers recently about plans the department of justice had to award some money to Joanne Hayes, the woman from Kerry who was wrongly accused of murdering her baby in 1984.  She was treated badly by agents of the state who sought to make the crime fit a theory they had and they went so far as to persuade members of the Hayes family, simple country people, to admit to a crime they did not commit. I met Joanne during the trial in Dublin. I was playing in a place called Kitty O’Shea’s on Grand Canal Street at the time and she came in with her solicitor Patrick Mann one night. Patrick came from Abbeyfeale originally so we got chatting and he introduced me to Joanne who came across as a very shy, timid individual who was no more capable of murdering her own baby than I was. The trial fell apart when forensic evidence proved that the baby in question was not Joanne’s at all. The damage, however, had been done and she and her family have had to live with that ever since. A couple of Taoisigh and ministers for justice apologised over the years but, even though it was obvious that the police work in the case left much to be desired, nobody was held to account and no compensation was paid. Now the payment mooted comes with strings attached. A confidentiality clause will have to be signed also  a waiver from taking any future action against the state. The payment is not an admission of liability on the government’s part and is not deemed to be compensation. It is the same old story; protect the institution at all costs. This is what happened when priests were found guilty by their bishops of sexual crimes against minors in their diocese. Instead of reporting them to the Gardaí immediately they were just moved on to different areas to continue with their abuses. Victims of crime were less important than the institution and now our politicians are acting in the very same manner. It is time to call a halt. Joanne Hayes should be paid compensation and the government should hold its hands up and admit that she and her family were treated very badly, without any conditions whatsoever. Forget about confidentiality clauses and the likes and don’t add insult to injury. That family have suffered enough..




On a brighter note. Valentine’s Day is almost upon us so the sales of flowers, chocolates and wine will soar. It is nice to get a gift but the best gift of all is love.




Kerryman North Edition, Thursday, July 21, 2005; Section: Kerryman Tralee


A very fit Micheál steps back from the chalkface


ON Monday Micheal O Ruaric retires as Vice Principal of Clounalour CBS — after 45 years of teaching, the bulk of which have been spent with the Tralee Christian Brothers.


It will come as a surprise to many to learn that Micheal is 65. He looks fresh and fit and his tall frame gives him the appearance of a younger man. And he probably would have liked to carry on. Because of the surplus of teachers, however, he like many others has to retire because he has reached the retiring age.


Micheal O Ruairc’s fame extends far beyond the classroom, although it was there that he was happiest and made many friends. A whole generation of boys who passed through the school will recall him. But to those who never sat in his classroom he was known as a prominent GAA man and a member of a number of cultural organisations in the town.


Appropriately, we tracked him down this week at Clounalour CBS where a football league final was being played in bright sunshine.


He presented the cup to the jubilant winners and made a speech. His wit appealed to the boys and they cheered him. Being with the youngsters will be something he will miss in retirement.


“I will miss being with young people,” he said. “I found teaching a very rewarding and satisfying job; one was surrounded by laughter to a certain extent.”


Micheal O Ruairc was born in Ardfert. Shortly afterwards his father was transferred to Farranfore where the family spent four years. They later moved to Tralee and spent some time living in James’ Street, before moving to Ballymullen.




Micheal was educated at Edward Street CBS and trained as a National Teacher in the De La Salle College, Waterford, from 1928 to 1930.


His first teaching post was at St Joseph’s Orphanage, Tralee, where he spent three months. He spent a short time sub-teaching at Rathmorrel NS, Ballyheigue. Here he was deputising for Mr Harry Connor, father of Fr. Fergal O’Connor.


In September, 1931, he was temporarily appointed to the teaching staff of Edward Street CBS. In January of the following year he was appointed permanently to the staff. At that time the monthly salary for a National Teacher was £12. Seven years later it had increased to £17.


“Teachers were not well paid in those day,” said Micheal. “Money, however, had value. It was a simple world in those days. We had peace and stability, we had just recovered from the recession after the First world War.” He recalled making a trip to Lourdes from Liverpool in 1938 and spending four nights in a good hotel. The total cost was £9!


As a youngster growing up in Tralee Micheal inevitably became interested in football. “We had to make our own fun in those days,” he said. “It was the era of the silent films and there was no great attraction in going to the cinema. There was a great emphasis in sport in those days and hurling and football were very popular. Young lads from the town spent a lot of time in the country in those days. Ballymullen was not actually joined to the town then.”


Micheal’s football career really began when he played for Edward Street CBS. In 1927 he won O’Sullivan Cup and Dunloe Cup medals with the school. He also played on the Munster Colleges team.


He was a member of the John Mitchel’s team from 1929 to 1939, during which time he won two county championship medals. He played for Kerry in the All-Ireland semi-finals of 1929 and ‘30. He was a member of the Munster team which was defeated by Leinster in the 1930 Railway cup final.


Micheal was chosen on the team for the 1930 semi-final in an unusual way. He was sitting in the stand watching a junior game when the then Secretary of the County Board, Jack McCarthy, approached him and said that some of the Dublin-based Kerry players had failed to turn up. Micheal was one of the last minute replacements!


“I borrowed a pair of boots from one of the junior players who was about my own size,” he recalled. “This kind of situation wouldn’t arise in modern times,” he said. “It just shows what a supreme GAA county Kerry was at the time. There was always a large selection of players.” Incidentally, he was a substitute on the 1930 team that defeated Monaghan in the final.


Reminiscing on his football contemporaries, Micheal listed off a galaxy of talent. John Joe Sheehy, Paul Russell, Con Brosnan, Bob Stack, Jackie Ryan, “a delightful footballer for a big man,” Miko Doyle, “one of the greats,” the Landers brothers ... the list seemed endless.


Micheal, who lives with his sister, Madeline, in Ballymullen, says that he has not given any thought as to how he will spend his retirement. “I would be going on annual holidays at this time of year anyway, so I have not really thought about it,” he said.


As a parting shot he said: “I have pleasant memories of the brothers and the lay teachers I worked with over the years, particularly the present teachers who made me a generous presentation at a farewell dinner in the Tralee Bay Hotel. He may have retired from teaching, but I think we are far from seeing the last of Micheal O Ruairc.


Miss Sandes in Wicklow


On a recent visit to Belfast, while flicking through a volume in a second-hand bookshop, I found myself looking at photographs of pre-World War I British army camps in Co Wicklow. The book, Enlisted, was the autobiography of Elise Sandes, a Kerrywoman who established a network of soldiers’ homes, and an organisation which survives to the present day.




Sandes was born in Tralee in 1851, and had a happy and conventionally religious upbringing.


FLORA SANDES; She was demobilised in October 1922, and found the transition to civilian life more difficult than becoming a solider: “It was like losing everything at one fell swoop, and trying to find bearings again in another life.”



J. McKenna's Memoirs


Louise McKenna


Attachments21:15 (15 minutes ago)


to me Hi Jer, I attach an invitation to the launch of the memoirs at the Seanchaí next Wed.




Galway Books and famous boxer, died 1818 and old art Listowel teacher.




If you’re looking for some thoughtful, non-polemical insights about some of the craziness you see going on at college campuses, this episode is for you.








Listowel Racecourse and river 2018






Last Sunday through the rain they walked.




Approximately 10,000 people gathered for the largest Catholic procession in England since Pope John Paul II's visit to Britain in 1982. This was the culminating act of the 2018 Eucharistic Congress then taking place in Liverpool.


This was a Eucharistic procession with a difference though.




Prescription; “In 2015, the number of opioids prescribed was enough so that every American could be medicated around the clock for 3 weeks,” she said. “In addition to the number of prescriptions, the average day’s supply of prescription opioids increased from 2006 to 2015, from 13.3 days in 2006 to 17.7 days in 2015.”


– Joan Grogan.


In the townland of upper Athea near the boundary between Limerick & Kerry, Joan Grogan was born in a small house. As a girl she did not seem to be in any way different to others. She was gay and lively.


When a young woman she with other girls and boys were on their way to a wake. It was after night fall and the party came to a stream which they should cross.


DEATH of Sr. Augusta died aged 102 years March 2018


End of an Era? In ATHEA




By Domhnall de Barra




So sorry to hear that Rose in Brouder’s Shop is closing down this week. It is another nail in the coffin of the small shop in our community and a sign of the changing times in rural Ireland. There aren’t many places left where you can go in and buy your groceries over the counter and I’m afraid we are heading for the time when the “counter” will be but a memory. Talking of memories, the news brought to mind a time when I was young and the place was littered with shops, even out the country. There were a few in my area and they evoke different memories. Johanna (Pats) Woulfe had a shop just over the Cratloe road. It could be seen out our back window and I was often sent there as a child. I remember the smell of paraffin, or lamp oil as we called it, as you walked in the door. The barrel was kept it in a little shed by the house  and it had a little tap on it. We would take our can, an oblong shape with a flat top and an opening with a screw on cork, and she would fill the can with a gallon of oil with the assistance of a funnel. For some reason there was always a bit of spillage; hence the smell of oil. For a youngster it was not easy to carry home as the can was heavy and a couple of ditches had to be negotiated as we always took the short cut through the fields. Oil was a vital commodity for the lamps which were the only source of light before electricity. Another item she kept was common soap. This came in a long block and Johanna would cut off as much as you wanted. It was terribly hard but was very good for the washing of clothes when used with a washboard.  Another item in great demand was tobacco. In those days most of the men smoked pipes and bought their tobacco in quarter or half quarter pounds. Like the soap it also came in a  block and the desired amount would be cut off. This then had to be prepared before it could be put into the pipe for smoking. A sharp penknife was essential to pare the tobacco in narrow strips into the palm of the hand. When there was a sufficient amount for a fill the penknife was put away and the slices were crushed between two palms until they were almost turned to dust. The filling of the pipe was also a trade in itself. Too loose and the flame would run through it and too tight and it would be impossible to draw the air through it. The old lads were experts at it and didn’t mind how long it took for the perfect fill. “Bendigo” was the most popular and sometimes the only tobacco available until the arrival of brands like “Clarke’s Perfect Plug”. Everything in the shop came in sacks, chests or boxes and had to be weighed and wrapped for the customer. The wrapping was usually brown paper tied with string that hung from a reel suspended from the ceiling.  Things like sweets would be wrapped in what we called a “tóisín” (spelling probably wrong). It was a sheet of paper twisted into a cone shape with a twist at the bottom to seal it.  Sweets could be bought by the penny worth. You could get three Bell’s toffee  or six “Milseán Uí Gráda” or one “Peggy’s Leg” (a candy bar). It sounds cheap but in those days pennies were hard to come by. My grandmother would send me for ten Woodbines, a box of matches and a bar for myself and I would get a halfpenny change out of a shilling; happy days!




Johanna’s wasn’t the only shop around. There was one at the cross in Knocknasna owned by Jess Horan and there were two more, one each side of Cratloe creamery. Tommy and Peggy Leahy had one on the Athea side and  Birdie Collins had one on the Abbeyfeale side. Collins’ shop closed when I was still young but Willy Healy, who worked at the creamery and was also a blacksmith, opened a shop just back the Abbeyfeale road at the crossroads. It was  handy for people to do a bit of shopping  when they went to the creamery but money seldom changed hands. A book was kept and accounts were settled at the end of the month when the creamery cheque came in. I can’t see Lidl, Aldi, Super Valu or Tesco operating a scheme like that!.




Things were beginning to change from the ’sixties on and, with more transport available, people began to do more shopping in towns. The closing of rural creameries was the last straw and one by one the small rural shops disappeared  as they could not compete and found it difficult to make a living without the morning trade from the milk suppliers.  I suppose it is easy for me to look back nostalgically at those days but time marches on and nothing stands still. Are we better off for all the progress or has the demise of the small shop taken away a valuable social as well as commercial outlet? The small shop was the centre of the community.




It is my fervent hope that Brouder’s shop won’t stay closed  for long and that somebody will take it over. If not, our village will be all the poorer. Like the saying goes: “you’ll never miss the water ‘til the well runs dry”.




Paddy is going






The field work diaries of Conrad Arensberg and Solon Kimball in Clare 1930-36; stories for the present?




Dr Anne Byrne of NUI Galway will tell the story of the Harvard anthropologists Conrad Arensberg and Solon Kimball who came to Ireland in the 1930s to study rural communities in County Clare.




Writing about the Survey in 2001, Anne received a gift of five original social anthropology field work diaries. Sharing the gift again, she invites re/readings and new conversations on the unpublished diaries and archives querying their contemporary relevance.




Extracts from the diaries on farm and family life will be examined in this talk and you are invited to contribute your thoughts and ideas as we listen to the first hand observations of rural family life and farm work in Ireland in the 1930s.




The diaries and survey letters record the original voices of men, women, farm families, shopkeepers, priests, publicans and politicians with whom the anthropologists conferred. Arensberg’s diaries of his time in west Clare, namely Luogh, record the preoccupations of people, their work on the land, rearing, selling and buying cattle, conventions of marriage and inheritance, the dominance of religion and politics in conversation, the scarcity of money and the significance of ‘influence’ for procuring work.




Anne Byrne is a sociologist in NUI Galway (Political Science and Sociology) interested in how biographical stories and narratives of the past and present illuminate everyday struggles and moments of resilience in ordinary lives. With CLASP press in Clare Library, in 2001 she and Ricca Edmondson and Tony Varley, published a long essay on ‘Arensberg and Kimball and Anthropological Research in Ireland’ as part of the republication of the facsimile third edition of Family and Community in Ireland. Recent socio-biographical publications include with Colm Byrne, 2017, ‘Family Stories and Secret Keepers: Who is Maíre Bastable?’ in Sara Anne Buckley and Pat Dolan (eds) Family Histories of the Irish Revolution, Four Courts Press; 2017, ‘Epistolary research relations: correspondences in anthropological research - Arensberg, Kimball and the Harvard-Irish Survey 1930- 1936’ in O’Giollain, D. (ed), Irish Ethnologies, Notre Dame University Press; 2014, ‘Single Women in Story and Society’ In Inglis, T. (ed) Are the Irish Different? Manchester University Press; with Tanya Kovacic, 2014, ‘Those Letters Keep Me Going: tracing resilience processes in US soldier to sweet heart war correspondences, 1942-1945’ in Reid, H., and West, L., (eds) Constructing narratives of continuity and change: a transdisciplinary approach to researching learning lives, Routledge.




KDHS lectures are free to members, EUR5 for non-members. New members are welcome. The annual membership fee (July-June) is EUR20.




This essay was published in Irish Stories of Love and Hope, a book published to raise funds for The Irish Hospice






Loss in the Traveller Community




Dictated by Missy Collins




I lost my eldest son 25 years ago. He was killed in England. He was called Kieran, Kieran  Collins. He was 13 at the time. My brother’s son was killed at the same time. He was 15, Michael. It was a month before my eight child was born. I’ll never forget the day; it was the 20th of June; it was a Sunday. He went out the door that morning along with a whole lot of his friends and Michael, his cousin, with him. About three o’clock that day (It was a lovely warm day) I seen the policeman approaching our house. Me and my husband, we asked him what’s wrong and he said, “Have ye got a son called Kieran?”. I says,’yeah”. He says;” Will you come inside?” We were at the front of the house. He told us, he says, ”He’s dead.”




I didn’t know what happened. I remember my husband roaring, but I passed out and ended up in the neighbours house next door. I remember coming’ round after someone giving me brandy on a spoon. My husband was going over to my brother’s house who lived a few streets away and they were roarin after their son being killed. Their youngest, my eldest. We brought them home to Ireland to bury them., the two were buried together. I suppose at that time and I suppose up to this present day, I never really got over it and I never will because, put it this way, it hits me every day of the week but especially at Christmas and birthdays. I still have to go and visit his grave regular. I even came home from England. I have to chat with him. I love to look after the grave.




How did I cope? I was a stronger woman at the time and had other children. I knew I had to keep going for them. Me faith helped me a lot. I went to healing places and shrines and prayed to God to give me strength to look after my family. I could not look at his picture. I loved to, but couldn’t for at least 14 years. Then I eventually started looking at his picture. Doctors wanted to give me sleeping tablets for my nerves, but my mother said, ”Don’t start taking them, Missy because you’ll have to come to terms.” I don’t think I ever came to terms but that my own family and extended family kept me going. My husband never came to terms with it. He couldn’t visit the grave and walked away from it crying. I lost him five years ago. We were very close and the rest of me family were very close to their Daddy. We are not the same since that happened either, the support is gone, the boys were very attached to him and the girls as well. I think all that keeps us going is the graves, both of them are buried together. We go and fix the graves. We’re a very lonely family.


Just to say anyone that loses a family member is never the same again. There’s a part of the family missing. Time heals a bit but you never forget.


e Miseries and Beauties of Ireland


Author: Jonathan Binns


Jonathan Binns, The Miseries and Beauties of Ireland (London 1837). (Available on






Tarbert — Noticeable objects on the Shannon — Mount Trenchard — Droves of fattened pigs detained by the storm — View from near Tarbert House — Trade of Tarbert — State of the people in Lower Conello — Cabins, fuel, and clothing — Emigration — Middlemen — Prices of provisions — Blood of calves — Revengeful feelings of the peasantry, connected with the taking of land — Cabins — Conacre — The golden vein — Rent of land about Tarbert — Fuel — Mr. Maxwell Blacker — Lislactin Abbey — Listowel — Catholic devotees — Irish fights — Lixna Castle — Sir William Petty — Abbey O'Dorney — Tralee — The funeral cry — Ballyseedy — James O'Connell's estate — Castle Island — Arrival at Killarney.




From Limerick I went by steamer down the Shannon as far as Tarbert (situated at the north western corner of the county of Limerick), a distance of thirty-six miles, the fare being three shillings. After leaving the former place, the river gradually expands into a magnificent stream, its banks abounding with modern villas, old castles, and a variety of interesting objects that demand