A CHARACTER CALLED’SNIPE
: “Well, so it was on this occasion. ‘Snipe’ had entered the angling competition, being known to fish now and then, but not to be as staunch as more than 50% of the entrants of the competition. As the day wore on there were calls as they were passing, with the staunches not taken much heed to what was being caught unless it was anyway a decent size or who had caught it; themselves being entranced with the good of the day and theirs being the hook to line the prize catch.
As seven o’clock approached everyone that had been fishing could be seen coming in from all angles of the parish heading towards the fete, bringing with them the catch of the day to be weighed at the weighing stand. The weighing of the catch was usually completed by half past seven or thereabouts. By quarter to eight all the fish had been weighed, ranging from half a pound of trout to the biggest catch, a noble thirty-two pound of spring salmon. With all this happening there was no sign of ‘Snipe’. Some said they had seen him around the mouth of the Abbey, and others had seen him around the Long Shore and more having no recall of him bringing a fish of any sort. Well, it so happened that just moments before the presentation of the trophy ‘Snipe’ was sighted rowing his way towards the Baths. There was no surprise in seeing ‘Snipe’ in whether he’d have a catch or not was yet to be known, yet with ‘Snipe’ ’twas the mystery and the surprise of what’s to be.” (Unfortunately, no author has been credited for this hilarious piece which forms part of a collection entitled, ‘A Day in the Life.’ I will provide you with a very interesting conclusion to this typical Limerick and indeed, Parish story)
WORDSMITH WW GLEESON:
We have been so very lucky over many decades to have in our midst quite a few interested people who take to heart and commit to the pen, the preservation of our past. At the present time we have of course, Denis O'Shaughnessy, Mae Leonard and Criostóir O'Flynn, Des Fitzgerald, (who once lived in the Castle Barracks), Finbar Crowe, and the late Arthur Lysaght (a real favourite poet of mine) and his late brother, Paddy, too, whose slim volume of poetry I possess. It is entitled, “A Torrent of Versatile Verse.” All of these writers are so accurate in their accounting of times past. The same goes for Finbar, whose very fine writings can be found in many of the ‘Old Limerick Journals.’ I will never know why he hasn’t committed his many interesting pieces to one solid compilation. This man from Corbally but not native to the parish writes some excellent verse also. His ready wit, (and how I appreciate people with a sense of humour!) is clearly obvious in his quite exceptional article on Quilligan’s Pub over there before you start up the Irish-town, but now of course has different owners. In past decades we had wonderful story-tellers, such as, the late Abbey Fisherman, Jack Clancy, Martin O'Farrell and the redoubtable, WW Gleeson. Perhaps there were more prolific parish writers before my time, of whom I am not aware. Of the latter, I am quoting in this week's notes the tail end of an excellent piece which was included in the Golden Jubilee book of 1982, entitled, 'St Mary's Parish Church...How it all Began'.
ARCHITECTURAL GEM: 'This Hiberno-Romanesque architectural gem - to aptly describe it - is a worthy successor to those who have gone before it and reflects the greatest credit on the architects and everyone concerned on its construction, especially the local stone masons. It would be impossible in this Golden Jubilee book to give a detailed description of it. But it is safe to say that in the beauty of its lines, the symmetry of its proportions, the excellence of its interior and general workmanship it would be hard to beat. A feature of the church is the tower, 110 feet high, surmounted by a gilt cross that can be seen for miles on all sides of the city. The 32 and a half cwt bell has on it: 'Sounding the praises of God and His Mother Mary.' All round, the church is a valuable addition to the architectural beauties of our city, but above all, it is an eloquent expression in stone of the faith of the people of St Mary's parish.' In a footnote the writer informs us: 'The church, which cost 47,000 pounds to build and furnish, was, in the words of Hannan, 'completely free of all debt by September, 1934. Praised be the Lord' (WW GLEESON formerly of Exchange Street.)
SPIRITED ENTHUSIASTIC WRITER:
My! but this man did not write in a hurry, did he? And, I'd say, neither did he have to rack his brain too much to bring us such an excellent description of our church, as it was simply part of him. Reading Willie's piece, would certainly make a person take more notice of a building we casually pass every day of the week, wouldn't it? Just remembered, our late Parish Clerk, Willie Bartlett, who remained in that position for all of 52 years, also wrote quite an amount of very interesting articles from the archives and also from the Old Registers.
LEPRECHAUNS ON KILKEE BEACH:
Over the years the Limerick-based rugby team, the over 40s who come forward from various clubs, have raised an amount of money for good causes when they have teamed up with a rival team. This year the match will be dedicated to the memory of two friends, Jack Kenneally and Shay Moloney, two talented rugby players who played for Ennis RFC. Both teenagers drowned earlier this year. The match will take place on Saturday, August, 11, 2018 beginning at 2.30pm. Please give generously and have fun!
FREE HARP CONCERT:
The National Youth Harp Orchestra of Great Britain, conducted by Luisa-Marie Cordell, will give a free Concert at St Mary’s Cathedral on Tuesday, August 7 beginning at 8.00pm. There will, however, be a Retiring Collection where a person can give whatever they will.
KILKEE BEFORE THE FAMINE:
As many Limerick people embark on what hopefully promises to be a cracking Summer weather-wise, in the delightful environs of Kilkee, it is no harm to cast the eye back to a time when this peaceful unspoiled seaside town had its own unique style of diversions. So here goes.
“Kilkee’s name was to a great extent founded on the impressions experienced by visitors who were in indifferent health. Some examples were even quoted of crippled people who had been able to lay aside their crutches after spending some time in Kilkee. In fine weather the individuals were brought on couches to the Strand in order to get full benefit of the invigorating sea air, while some individuals suffering from spinal complaints were laid on a broad board which was carried by two persons into the water where the individuals were gently dipped. The town was so fortunate in possessing two spas within a mile’s radius and it was a time when spa water was very highly regarded, no doubt it attracted many visitors. After a plunge into the sea on a fine day, what was to be done next?”
“Many people opted for an excursion or a day’s touring, perhaps to Carrigaholt, the Bridges of Ross, Dunlicky, Baltard, or even the Cliffs of Moher. From 10.00 o’clock on, the cars were beginning to stream out of Kilkee in various directions, often travelling together in large groups, with perhaps a piper to provide the music. For many, the actual distance was to a large extent, immaterial. There was the enjoyment of the sunshine, then there was a picnic by the Cliffside for lunch and afterwards, if there was a group, music and dancing which might continue until dusk. One aspect of the return journey, however, gave rise to some complaints. Quite frequently, the car found it was barred by a string of worsted tied across the road, a device used by the people of the nearby house and its people in order to obtain money from the visitors.” (Extract from a book entitled, ‘Kilkee before the Famine,’ by Ignatius Murphy. I do hope at least some readers will have enjoyed the foregoing piece as much as I have enjoyed bringing it to you.)