We offer our deepest sympathy to the families of the following people who have been bereaved recently. Helen Flanagan (nee Murphy) of Assumpta Park and late of Island Road: to her husband Alfie, daughters, sons, sister, Kathleen, grand-children, great-grand-children, her relatives and friends. Also the late Christopher Manning, St. Munchin's Street, St. Mary's Park: late of Moyross and Limerick Docks: to his brother, Michael, sisters, Peggy, Eileen, Chris, and Rose, nephews, nieces, relatives and friends. May they rest in peace.
ST. MARY'S AID
St. Mary's AID is situated in the building that was once known as the Alms Houses and which has been renovated to a very high standard of late years. One could well refer to it as the nerve centre of the local community. Any photocopying you need to have done can be taken care of there; also advice on many matters of a sensitive nature or otherwise, can be accessed within this building, and confidence is guaranteed. A friendly down-to-earth greeting will be afforded to you as you enter at reception. So, if you have any matter of a social welfare nature etc that is bothering you, just give a call to 061-318106. As a matter of interest a very nice walk can now be taken once you've entered the gate to this building on Nicholas Street. It will take you along the back of City Hall within view of the Curraghgour Falls and on to Merchant's Quay and the gate entrance is open on weekends also.
REMEMBERING THE GOOD NUNS
As you go inside the entrance of McAuley House on Old Dominic Street, King's Island, just take a walk down the pathway in front of you and eventually you will happen upon a gateway that will lead you to the burial grounds of many of the nuns that taught us so very well at St. Mary's School. Indeed, many of us would not be where we are today if it wasn't for their teaching which in the case of some was outstanding, prime among them of course was Sr. Paschal. In that most peaceful patch within the confines of our parish, you can remember these good nuns and breathe a prayer for them and thank them for all they have done for us in a most generous way. You will find no epitaph on any of the standard size grave stone but let it be perhaps: They gave of themselves and remained selfless to the end.
CELTIC BOOKSHOP HONOUR LITERARY WEEKEND
Not for the first time Celtic Bookshop in downtown Limerick has come up trumps in honouring the Kate O'Brien Weekend, now renamed, Limerick Literary Weekend. With an outstanding window display depicting publications of as many local writers as is possible, along with a depiction of our prize writer, Kate, in the form of a sculpted lady taking centre stage, so to speak. Among the many writers of local lineage, you will find publications of Kate and more which have been written about her, our Bard, Michael Hogan, Criostóir Ó'Flynn, Denis O'Shaughnessy, Mae Leonard, myself, and many more.
But, this display of local publications is hardly surprising because the proprietors of this delightful literary emporium, Pat and Caroline, have always been loyal to local writers, no matter how large or small their output. Outside of that important aspect, the welcome one receives upon entering this tidy shop, is so gratifying, with the personal touch being prime. Many years ago I wrote a poem in praise of this magical downtown shop, which incidentally, has remained open to the public despite every business all about them closing down. I will now cite that poem to substantiate my point.
An array of books expertly placed,
'Neath a refulgence of lighting perfectly graced,
A feeling good in this ancient spot,
With volumes historical or intriguing plot.
The warmest welcome here is found,
With archival wealth just underground,
An hour or so to browse or ponder,
While 'Hunt' observes astutely yonder.
Family crests and Gaelic charts not a few,
With pamphlets of various counties too,
The window, an eclectic literary feast,
Displaying evergreens and newly released.
When at last you've gleaned this magical spot,
And a worthwhile purchase you have got,
Relaxation beckons if you have the mind,
A freshly-brewed coffee at 'Danny's' you'll find.
AREN'T WOMEN GREAT
International Women's Day will be celebrated at the Hunt Museum on Tuesday. March 8th. One most inviting feature on that day will be a reading or two, perhaps, from our native parish writer and national broadcaster, Mae Leonard, who titles her output, 'Aren't Women Great!' And indeed, who are we to differ? Men would be well advised to comply. In any case, isn't it just great that Mae will make the trip all the way from Naas to substantiate the programme on offer at this highly popular Museum. Unfortunately, I find it quite impossible to attend on that day as I hope to be spending a week or so in the environs of Co. Clare while attending the Annual Doonbeg Drama Festival. We wish Mae all the very best with that function in her beloved and native city of Limerick. And to honour that visit I have chosen to bring my readers an extract from one of her tsunami of recollections; keeping in mind if winter goes can spring be far behind, then welcome to summer.
A DAWN CHORUS
"We left the house early that summer morning and made our way up the Sandmall towards Athlunkard Boat Club. It was so early that the entire City of Limerick was fast asleep. The world seemed to be saying - shhhhhh - tread softly. And when we spoke it was in whispers. Dad carried the long steering paddle and I had the two short oars. An early sparrow twittered sleepily from within thick ivy covering of Quinlivan's house. No one answered his wake-up call. There was a blue haze rising from the river as we negotiated the slippy slipway of the Boat Club. The Abbey River - An Gabhail - was smooth as a mirror.
Dad coaxed the boat inward from its mooring by wiggling the water with the tip of the paddle. A fish jumped, snatched a fly and and plopped back down into the depths of the water. Dad clamped the oarlocks in place, eased himself on to the bow of the boat and held it steady until I took up my position facing him in the centre. On an incoming tide the boat was slid swiftly upstream towards the Shannon. There wasn't a sound in the world except the dip of the oars and the sigh of the boat surging forward.
'Listen,' Dad said, 'it's starting - the Dawn Chorus - shhh, that's a chaffinch.'
And yes, I could hear him clearly above all others - it was a sound like my mother made when she was annoyed with me. A sort-of sharp clucking -- tsk tsk tsk and then a little trill. It might be a bullfinch,' I said. 'no, no,' Dad said emphatically, 'a bullfinch is more a tweet, tweet, tweet.' (Extract from one of Mae's voluminous bank of words at will and how poetic that piece proved to be thus far)
Your love, as rubies, without price
Your patient care, your sacrifice,
Your tender heart, forgiving me
The faults, you even would not see.
Your loyalty in peace and strife
That gives me strength to shape my life.
All these O'Mother Mine, I hold
More precious than the fairest gold!
Aye, in this earth and heaven above
These words breathe all there is of love
COMMUNION BACK TO THE PAST
A most welcome idea has just recently surfaced as to the possibility that Bishop Brendan Leahy may change the distribution of Communion on the tongue only. The proposal was put forward by Ballylanders Independent candidate, John O'Gorman. He proposed this measure on the grounds of reverence for the sacred host. personally, I feel this is a very good idea, but I also feel it may not happen, as it could not change just for the Limerick Diocese, but would have to occur nationwide. I have never actually taken Communion in my hands, and do not intend to change from that practice ever.
FAREWELL TO TERRY
Many people within our parish environs and much further afield will have been taken aback upon learning of the death of Terence (Terry) Sexton, late of Crosbie Row. Terry leaves behind a legacy of being his love of the Arts in general, coupled with a man who was quite unique in many ways, as to garb; he dressed very well always; gait, as he carried himself in stately manner and he was blest with eye-catching impressive height.We express our heartfelt sympathy to his brothers, Tony and Gerard, his sisters, Pat, Therese, and Catherine, brother-in-law, sisters-in-law, nephews, nieces, family and friends. Terry was the eldest son of the late Martin and Elizabeth, and brother of the late Pauline. May he rest in peace.
A slow, yet definite gait bespoke
One certain of Life's mission,
He relished a smoke on the old pipe
In keeping with tradition.
An accomplished artist in his own right
'Though slow to exhibit his works,
Yet, beneath that erect impressive form
An aesthetic mind quietly lurks.
His mode of dress oft quite arresting
Of free spirit his tall bearing,
Well-chosen style verily attesting
To a soul of quiet daring.
And so we bid farewell to Terry
His love of Life was never sparing,
To his loving family remaining to the end
A brother ever caring.
THRIVING NICHOLAS STREET
At first glance one might be quick to deem Nicholas Street as a fairly dull street commercially but not so, if one takes a second look. We know it will never return to the vibrancy of the 40s,50s and 60s but we must admire the good will of the people who have opted to continue doing business on that old street despite the odds which have proved against them from time to time. We now have no less than four pubs, the business opposite the Castle known as the Wild Atlantic. Al Ryan Printers has stood his ground there through thick and thin during the economic downturn and for that he deserves our praise.A Sense of Place stands not too far away from his business and has a definite purpose as life goes. We have the cleaners where Julia O'Brien's shop once stood: then it's on to Stix Emporium, which has proved a firm fixture for many, many years. Next door we have our parish favourite in the person of John Costelloe who runs Bygone's Antique Curiosity Shop which could well be described (when he was one of very few operating on that street during the downturn) as truly a Gem in the Wasteland.
Close to John's business we have the recently opened, Seamless Sewing Studio, while across the road the Polish Shop is holding its own and are friendly to all. Of course the king of them all is Treacy's mini-supermarket which is run by Michael Treacy, the youngest member of that ages old business family when they traded on Castle Parade. Outside of the business side we have the vibrant St Mary's AID, which could well be described as the Nerve Centre of our local community, a place where you will receive help in all matters of a social welfare nature and many other matters also. And wile there are still an amount of derelict sites on that ancient street, one can only hope with the presumed rise in the economy, someone will take pity on them and show courage to invest a bit of money in a venture or two, thus affording the street a necessary and welcome Pick Me Up!