BAND PLAY IN NEW YORK
“Way back in 1922 a proposal that St. Mary’s Fife and Drum Band visit New York to take part in the St. Patrick’s Day fell through. It took 70 years before that dream was finally realized when in 1992 the Band paraded to great acclaim in the Big Apple. St. Mary’s Prize Band, this year celebrating over ten decades of uninterrupted music, are now making up for that 70 year void, as they made another trip recently where they met many friends and acquaintances forged from their previous visit there. The highlight of the tour was the privilege of playing at the recently constructed Famine Site in New York’s lower Manhattan. It was the first time that the Band had played at this re-creation of an abandoned Irish field and stone cottage, complete with stones taken from every county in Ireland. The site, officially opened by President Mary McAleese, has proved a great success and has been acclaimed for its authenticity. A special license had to be obtained to play there and an appreciative audience heard the Band play Irish airs.” (From “St. Mary's Prize Band, Celebrating 125 years 1885 – 2010)
BISHOP'S INVITATION 1979
On page 99 of their Celebrating 125 years marvelous book, we find a copy of an originally typed letter which was sent on behalf of late Most Reverend Dr. Newman, the contents of which issued an invitation to the St. Mary's Fife and Drum Band, to play at the upcoming event, that of the the arrival in Limerick of our Holy Father, Pope John 11 (ibid), on October 1st. It stated that other bands would also be participating. The said letter was dated August 16, 1979. This letter was kept in the safe hands of the then highly efficient Secretary, Colm McGrath.
SHARON'S NEW PUBLICATION
A brand new publication entitled, “100 Women of Limerick” has been published by our accomplished local historian, Sharon Slater. Listening to her account of the said book on local radio recently, it promises to be an most inspiring read and can be accessed in local shops and through other means, I'm Sure. Wishing Sharon all the very best of luck with this very welcome book!
National Learning Network
Our Parish Office is situated to the rear of the church and to the right in a two-storey house. This may be of interest to new-comers to the parish. It is open three days a week, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 3pm to 5pm. The contact number is 061 410300.
BARD IN FOCUS
In November, 2005, a statue was erected to the memory of our finest poet ever, Michael Hogan, the famous Bard of Thomond, and has since remained untouched by even a hint of vandalism. This momentous occasion was marked by the joyful ringing out of bells from the belfry of St Mary’s Cathedral and also the presence of St Mary’s Prize Band as they marched along Nicholas Street in full regalia. A massive gathering turned out in response to the public invitation which was placed in the ‘Limerick Leader'. Having recently come upon some writings which were penned by a great local historian of his day, A. J. O'Halloran, I have decided to bring you a snatch from his account of the poet’s very interesting life.And yes, our Bard did have a local parish connection, as he was married in our church and lived near Dick Devanne's for a period of time following that event.
BUILT HIS OWN COTTAGE
"Looking across the river from the Island Bank towards Thomondgate, one may see the pleasant tree-fringed garden that Michael Hogan, the Bard of Thomond, won from the Shannon foreshore. By almost incredible toil, and with his own hands, he carried and placed in position thousands of tons of stone and other materials to make the embankments. This work was spread over a period of seven years. At the head of the garden the Bard built a house which he called Thomond Cottage, and where he hoped to spend his days within sight of the scenes he loved, and from which he drew his inspiration. But - to use his own words - 'Domestic ingratitude and deceit, mercantile trickery, and legal treachery and fraud ' drove him from the home he had built, from the garden he had made, from the glorious mountain and river scenery in which he revelled, and sent him to spend his later years cooped up amidst uncongenial surroundings in the heart of the city." (Extract from, "The Glamour of Limerick," by A J O'Halloran 1926, teh pb being Whelan's, which still stands.).