‘How’s it going Horse?’. ‘Conas Tí, A Bhuachaill?’. ‘Ya Ol’ Bollix, I haven’t seen ya in ages’ – I have been on the receiving end of each of these, at least once.
But they all pale in impact once one has heard of the expression once used in Buailtín (Ballyferriter).
I cannot remember when I first heard of the poem by Colm Breathnach. Some link led me there, and ever since the page has been open on my phone, played every now and then, when the spirit requires a boost.
Yesterday, we had a great day in Galway – Kennys Books, then lunch in Cava Bodega, finished with a quick visit to Charlie Byrne’s where I spotted An Fear Marbh by Colm Breathnach. When I read the list of poems in the book, there was no option.
I have dipped in once or twice since.
Oíche Mhaith, A Bhastaird. Good Night, Ya Bastard.
I think I am becoming a convert to the short novel.
Chess was read in two sittings over Christmas and remains on the brain. It almost made it into my #7DayBookChallenge on Twitter
This morning, as the lobster fisherman went about his business in Brandon Bay, Without Blood, all 87 short pages were enjoyed.
I was not expecting to be thinking of Terence MacSwiney and enduring pain – but I was.
My bookshelves are not absolutely full – but they are not far off.
At my current pace of reading, it is quite possible that I have more unread books than I will read in the remainder of my lifetime – without even considering library visits.
It looks like full capacity may be approaching.
Last weekend, we were in Ennis. This child’s sweetshop was actually Scéal Eile, Lahinch Bookshop and Bookstop Ennis. I was disappointed to see that Scéal Eile have removed a section of their older history books for online sales only. That was one of the joys of my irregular visits, and I am not yet a full convert to online book purchases. I cannot recall an impulsive unplanned online book purchase, preferring to touch and read which had led to many of those books as yet unread.
‘It wasn’t that I was ungrateful to America because America had been good to me, and still is, but even the very bird prefers the area where it was hatched’
Last July, heading for a weekend on the Dingle peninsula, I detoured at Cordal and took time-out, a few minutes of me-time in Kilmurry Cemetery. There, for the first time, I met with John O’Donoghue who had died 35 years earlier, about the time that I was receiving my Leaving Certificate results.
I have seen many nicknames on headstones on my rambles through cemeteries. The term ‘The Yank’ struck. Maybe it was because I had not long finished the book by another returned Yank, Tomás Ó Cinnéide. Maybe it sparked a memory of the tales told of Kruger.
As possibly the only returned emigrant in the area, use of ‘John O’Donoghue’ was likely to cause confusion in the area, whereas there was, most likely, just one ‘Yank’.
This morning, I spotted a tweet about a recently released book by Sinéad Moynihan on the ‘Returned Yank’ that will probably be requested of my local library in the near future.
It brought back that minute on two standing with John O’Donoghue on a lovely quiet Kerry morning.
Quite a few blog posts hereabouts have been accompanied by the expression that ‘it is a bad day when one does not learn something new’.
Last week, I learned something completely new. Upto then, I would have thought that it could not have been true. It was so ‘not a bad day’.
Those of you who regularly pass by these pages are probably aware of my interest in Commonwealth War Graves – the inscriptions; the dates; the distances travelled; the alias; the location; and, the neighbours in the graveyard.
I had understood that such headstones were erected to those who had died in the World Wars or slightly after as a consequence of action in a World War.
This book was recently taken down from an attic in Ennis where it resided for probably close to 50 years. It is assumed that it belonged to the man who built the house but he was educated in Partry, Co. Mayo where he was born in 1918.
The web educates that fifth edition of the book was published in 1910. There is nothing to say whether this copy is a first or later edition.
Among those thanked in the Preface is an tAthair Pearar Ó Laoghaire, who died in 1920 and is buried in Castlelyons where Thomas Kent was reinterred in 2016. Seán Ó Catháin and Diarmaid Ó Foghludha are also thanked and, if I found the correct men, they died in 1937 and 1924 respectively, and were involved in Irish education.
sJames Griffin of Main Street in Dingle has his name written in the book. The 1911 Census reveals that there was only one James Griffin in Main Street, Dingle, the then youngest of ten children living with shopkeeper Michael and his wife, Kate. Their house was at 33 Main Street.
Having gone up and down the street on Google, very few premises have numbers on their doors. Even fewer appear to have the building number on their website or on weblistings. My best guess is that the south side (Foxy John’s; Benners) have odd numbers and the north side (Currans; St James’ Church) have the even numbers.
Number 33 would appear to be in or around McKenna’s . My mind supposes that young James Griffin, as one who had no problem with writing his name in many locations, was more interested in playing around the corner on Dykegate Street rather than perfecting the art of Irish Composition. The fact that at 4 his parents did not consider him able to speak either Irish or English, adds to that image.
I can understand how the book travelled from Partry to Ennis and why it resided in an attic for 50 years but am intrigued as to who Pat Carroll was; was he the second of three owners of the book; where was he living.
How the book got from Dingle to Partry is another riddle remaining unsolved.
I don’t think I have ever before enjoyed a book so much without reading it.
Today’s listing from Stair na hÉireann advised that on this day in 1916, Séan Ó Ríordáin was born.
This prompted a reminder to self to finish the grouping of the very many photographs and start uploading here. I have spent a while this afternoon putting together the different aspects relating to Seán Ó Ríordáin that I have encountered in the past few years – as well as a bit of a distraction on YouTube.
SEE ALL HERE
Touch history while you can
I remember, about 25 years ago, speaking with J and N whose job involved visiting a Nursing Home in Mid-Cork once or twice a week. They mentioned that one of the residents had been involved at the Kilmichael Ambush.
At that time, I knew next to nothing of Kilmichael; Cadet Cecil Guthrie; or the effect the ambush and the death of Terence MacSwiney had in heightening tensions so that when the British Army were ambushed at Dillon’s Cross on the night of 11th December, 1920, it led to the Burning of Cork.
If I had the knowledge and interest then, the chance to hear first-hand of that period may have been available – an opportunity that passed by.
From even further back than 25 years, I remember seeing Michael O’Riordan on the television, particularly in and around election times. I remember him speaking on behalf of the Communist Party of Ireland.
I had no knowledge of his involvement in the Spanish Civil War; or, his book, The Connolly Column which led Christy Moore to write Viva La Quinta Brigada – a book that POF kindly gifted to me and which has come down off the shelf and onto the ‘For Reading’ pile.
Indeed, I had little knowledge as to the Spanish Civil War. That interest was piqued many years later, some years after Michael O’Riordan had passed away aged 90.
I would like to think that I would have sought out an opportunity to listen first hand to his experiences in Spain – but that possible chance to touch history had passed unaware.
Last Saturday, I spotted a wreath on Pope’s Quay in the distinctive Republican colours. Very many thanks to Pat Cadogan.
I stood, with my 11 year old, and we again remembered – leaving a small memento.
Sunday, I watched again the Cathal O’Shannon documentary ‘Even the Olives are Bleeding’ and a documentary on Michael O’Riordan where it is suggested that the first communist in Ireland might have been St. Finnbarr.
All of which is a reminder to self to grasp those opportunities and experiences that might be passing by……..
Some time ago, I learned of the origins of the placename and expression “Irishtown” from author/playwright, Cónal Creedon.
Cónal published his Second City Trilogy under the name Irishtown Press which demanded of me to ask the question. When I did ask, I learned.
Cork was originally a walled city based around North and South Main Streets. There were gates at either end with bridges over the river – North Gate Bridge (Griffith Bridge) and South Gate Bridge.
The native Irish were not permitted or able to reside within the walled city and so created a community outside – not too far away, but outside.
In Cork, the native Irish created an enclave close to Shandon. This place became known as Irishtown, the town of the Irish.
I knew of an Irishtown in Dublin, close to Ringsend. Logainm advises that there are 20 such places in the country.
This morning, I had a very pleasant couple of hours around Limerick. As well as seeing the location of the old wall of Irishtown, I discovered that there was also an Englishtown. Upto then, I had assumed that the walled town or city was called Dublin, Cork, Limerick or wherever and the outside area called Irishtown.
Logainm lists 7 Englishtowns in the island of Ireland – but its location for the Limerick one differs from the location of this sign.
Limerick’s Life does provide some interesting history on the bridge between Irishtown and Englishtown.
I repeat, it is a bad day when one does not learn something new.
Well, maybe not a thousand – a thousand is a lot for a ten year old.
To Find Out More List
The three books have provided little bits of knowledge about so many things that I need to find out more (ever connecting).
I have enjoyed a pint in The Blue Bull in Sneem. It was Éamon Kelly who educated that The Blue Bull was a Synge Play.
I will need to return to Gneeveguilla to photograph the plaque to Mick Sullivan who was shot by Black & Tans while Éamon Kelly was in the adjacent school – the list of Civil War and War of Independence memorials ever growing.
There are many traditions that intrigued, sounded lovely or just demanded further exploring – families joined in butter; overnight fasting prior to receiving Holy Communion; family owning a church pew so those standing at back did not have funds to purchase and pay rent on pew; stopping the clock upon a death, as seen in Jean deFlorette; and the giving of a disease to another similar to leaving cloth on a rag tree at a Holy Well.
It also introduced words to me, many appear derived for Irish. These will keep me going for some time. The list is below but any education as to ‘gripe’; ‘hoult’; ‘fakah’;or, ‘roiseters’ would be welcome.
A Visit To The Theatre
This week I spotted that Jack Healy had a play based upon the stories of Éamon Kelly at The Cork Arts Theatre on Camden Quay.
Yesterday lunchtime was a magnificent hour spent listening, smiling, laughing and remembering.
More than halfway through the show, I was reminded as to one of my flysheet notes in The Journeyman. There had been quite a few different stories. Éamon Kelly in The Journeyman was writing of ‘In My Father’s Time’ – ‘We found that a number of stories told one after the other could sound episodic. There had to be a changing relationship between the pieces, and the links had to be carefully thought out to make seamless the fabric, which we hoped would be colourful and entertaining’.
My flysheet note was that the book, unlike The Apprentice which I found much more interesting, was failing to flow. Fair play to Jack Healy. With the benefit of reflection on my hour or so in the auditorium, the different aspects and stories flowed; and, the knitting of the stories was brilliant and of a manner that brought the occasion up to date.
I had heard or read of a few of the stories but the delivery, verbally and with actions, made them a new experience – I laughed even when I knew the punchline.
It is in the Cork Arts Theatre only until tomorrow night but is intended to travel later in the year.
I do recommend.
Frank O’Connor’s books of short stories are all about. They could be at work, bedside, in car, or, best of all, occupying inside pocket. The short stories are visited in coffee shops, on bus or just chilling.
A while back, I was reading ‘The Genius’ and the comment desiring to be remembered in a statue got ingrained upstairs as I could not recall any recent commemorative statue in Cork city to anyone still alive at the time.
The following week, watching the Late Late Show, Sonia O’Sullivan admitted (at 0:18:30) to glancing at the statue by James McLoughlin in Cobh when on early morning runs.
I appear to be on an athletic theme at present so reasons enough to share the statue in Cobh.
Not for the first time, a trip to the cemetery has led to learning and connecting of historical dots of information.
The cemetery in question is at St Bartholomew’s Church in Kinneigh, Co Cork – the location of the only round tower with an hexagonal base, as well as headstone commemorating O’Mahony Mór.
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140 characters is usually enough
That’s How The Light Gets In
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