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Community News

Updated 16/10/2020



As the families stayed in lodges, the demand for hotel accommodation was not very great. Nevertheless, in the mid-30s there were three hotels in the town of Kilkee, each of which charged 25/- per week. The first of these, originally a low thatched house, had been opened about 1820 by Catty FitzGerald, and for forty years, until her retirement, she continued to cater for her clients simply but effectively. This hotel was situated on Francis Street, and nearby on the same street, was the Conyngham [sic] Arms. The third hotel, owned by Mrs Shannon, was originally in the same area, but in the early 1840s she moved to the West End and renamed her hotel the West End Hotel. Mrs Shannon was also proprietress [sic] of the local Post and Stamp Office. Early summer 1843, saw the opening of Moore’s Hotel (on the site of the present Hydro hotel) and this was henceforth regarded as the premier luxurious holiday dwelling. Of course, this has now been converted to apartments that have the added attraction of  its dwellers being privy to that glorious outgoing and incoming incandescent tide. Relaxation personified! I recall that in the 50s the tennis court fronting this hotel was all the go. We used often to just stand and observe the participants dressed in the proverbial white shorts and tops, just like we still see on TV nowadays.
Shannon RFC was founded back in 1884 by five brave sportsmen in the Shamrock Bar out by the Old Corbally road possibly bordering on Park.. Well, just as a matter of interest and to enter into the ambience of what our city was like commercially way back then, I came across the following. We had 28 boot and shoe makers, 20 butter makers, 32 flour dealers, 11 flour merchants, 150 Spirit Dealers and grocers, 15 pawnbrokers, 2 rope and twine makers, 10 saddlers and harness makers, 1 sausage and skin manufacturer and 18 tobacconists. It is interesting to note that Cahill's on Wickam Street is the only one of the latter remaining. There was a hatter on Patrick Street by the name of Thomas Vaneesbeck and there were O'Farrells on the North Strand who were fishermen, boat builders and coach builders.
The silver Abbey river
Round St. Mary's does a tour;
How oft she gave her bounty
To the labours of the poor!
She leaves her mother Shannon
By turning left "above",
And steady flows by Sandy
Down past the Sally Grove.
She flows on by Athlunkard,
'Fort of the little ships',
And mirrors Bishop O'Dwyer Bridge
As underneath she slips.
Here I sometimes think, she pauses,
Maybe, it's my own whim -
I think she checks in homage -
To the Abbey Fishermen.
Arthur Lysaght
Some beautiful sentiments penned by our late Parish Poet. Arthur Lysaght, who grew up at 4, Athlunkard Street. I greatly favour his literary style, ever so rhythmic and restive, qas well as being informative. As it so happens one of his pieces features in a story in my forthcoming publication, the 13th, entitled, “A New Day Dawns.”
During my few days sojourn in 'My Hasienda by the Sea' the alluring ever-present aquatic gem that is Kilkee, I once again referred to that magical literary treasure, “Two Months in Kilkee” (1836) by the Cork native, Mary John Knott. Seems to me the treasures one finds between the pages of this little hard-back keep-sake (re-issued by Clasp in 1997), one never forgets. For example, the likes of a cow being paraded around the village to the various dwellings on the day prior to being killed, the purpose being that the would-be customer might choose the part that she or he desired. Yet another little nugget that Miss Knott recorded was that of the sheep being taken over to Bishop's Island for grazing! As a matter of interest, I happen to have a sketch of this Island by Artist, Patrick Collins, in my forthcoming publication.

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