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Just a quick reminder that a big night of the Bard, Michael Hogan, will take place at King John’s Castle from 5.00pm to 7.30pm on Culture Night, September 16th. All are very welcome to attend what promises to be a most entertaining evening with local and visiting performers, headed by the multi-talented, Pat Power from Wexford.


‘’Canon Lee unveiled and blessed the statue while a bugler attached to the St. Mary’s Troop of CBSI sounded the salute and all joined in the singing of the familiar Lourdes hymn. Rev Fr. Gormley, CSSR, said he was delighted to be associated with the history-making ceremony and he thought it fitting that, “St. Mary’s Parish should be first to set the lead to the rest of Limerick. There was no parish that had such a strong love for devotion to the Mother of God as the parish of St. Mary.” Fr. Gormley continued that St. Mary’s Park was the first big housing scheme carried out by the Limerick Corporation 17 or 18 years ago and it was only right and proper that St. Mary’s Park should give the lead to the younger housing schemes.
LABOUR OF LOVE: Alderman Ted Russell, Mayor of Limerick, said that, “This day had put St. Mary’s Park on the map,” and he continued, “It took the Island Field off the map.” He said, “I could well believe that the energetic development committee had many more items on the agenda, and we in the Corporation would give them every possible support to continue their good work. I know that there are people in the Park that are going through difficult times but I know that this work of theirs – an example of what they had that day – was to them a labour of love. 
Each Band played hymnal music during the closing ceremony which was crowned by the recitation of the Rosary by Fr. Houlihan for the intentions of all those who in any way contributed to the erection of the Grotto. A decade of the Rosary was specially recited for the anonymous donor of the Statue. Afterwards Canon Lee recited the Marian Year Prayer and the edifying ceremony closed with the singing of ‘Faith of our Fathers.’ (So concludes this inspiring report from the pen of a ‘Limerick Leader’ reporter back in 1954.  Perhaps someone out there might track  down his identity, because for certain, this man could pen a visual scene like no other. I say ‘man’ because at that time lady reporters were thin on the ground; an interesting fact in itself, isn’t it?)


The following is a Letter to the Editor of the ‘Limerick Leader’ of August 30th, 1954, obviously a person with vision.
‘’While the citizens look with pride and joy on the efforts of the residents of St. Mary’s Park, Ballynanty Beg, Prospect etc. in their task of erecting statues of Our Lady to commemorate the Marian Year, it must be remembered that a large majority of Mary’s sons and daughters in Limerick do not reside in Corporation housing schemes and therefore cannot join in this glorious work. 
Before the Marian Year draws to a close, I would like to make the following suggestion. At the entrance to Clare Street there is a magnificent flower patch, beautifully planted by the Corporation Head Gardener, Mr. Kennedy. What would be more fitting than to erect a statue of Our Lady of Limerick on this site which stands on the principal entrance to our beloved city? A special collection outside the city churches on one or two Sundays would more than cover the cost and perhaps with a little planning the image could be illuminated at night. A stranger approaching our city on a winter’s night and being greeted by this shining figure of the Queen of Heaven , would, no doubt, be assured of a warm Christian welcome that awaited him in our midst.’’ The letter was signed ‘Let Limerick Lead.’


As many people are aware by now, ‘Bygone’s’ window on Nicholas Street can exhibit many a surprise; in fact, one never knows what might appear next. Recently, we saw a most wonderful display celebrating the Celtic team, the proprietor, Cllr John Costelloe being an avid supporter of that team. However, last week, it was the turn of Kilkee to shine in that Nicholas Street window. A sign stating the following was exhibited. “Season 1931 at the Olympia, Palais de Dance. Spacious and brilliantly illuminated Ballroom with superb dance floor, second to none in Ireland. Dancing to spectacular augmented orchestra, conducted by TA Carron, of Café Espana, Spain. Carnival and limelight effects. Refreshments, coffee, teas at modern prices.” Now how’s about that for grandeur! And no doubt you could dance the night away. The window also displays a Geary’s Biscuit sign. Just a memory really, but a very happy one for many locals. Our thanks to John for brightening up many a person’s day.


Well done to the first group of graduates from our parish who have succeeded in completing the CWELL programme in partnership with the staff from the Educational and Health Sciences Faculty at the University of Limerick. They are as follows: Christy Flanagan, Deirdre O’Driscoll, Geraldine Quinlivan, Samantha Roche, Bridget Cropper, Elaine McDonnell, Majella Cosgrove and Anne Kiely.


Has announced details of its 2016 Autumn Lecture Series which will take place in the unique setting of St Mary’s Cathedral, Limerick.   Sponsored by UL’s Kemmy Business School with support from the Limerick City & County Council, the six-part series of public lectures will be delivered by internationally renowned commentators and thought leaders in their field.  The opening lecture on 7th September will be given by Quentin Peel of the Financial Times.  He will be followed by historian and cultural critic Angus Mitchell, professor John O’Brennan, artist Robert Ballagh, Colm O’Gorman of Amnesty International and Dr Ed Walsh.  The central theme for the lectures is ‘Peripherality and Centrality in Ireland and Europe’. Each lecture will commence at 7.30pm and will be moderated by Dr Michele O’Dwyer of Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick.  Tickets cost €12 per lecture - concession and bundle tickets are also available.  David O’Brien, CEO of Limerick Civic Trust, commented. 



“We are delighted with the calibre of speakers we are bringing to Kings Island, Limerick.  There is no doubt that this Lecture Series will be inspiring and, inevitably, thought-provoking.  We are also delighted to have the support of the Kemmy Business School.  We hope that our lecture series will help educate and inspire our community.” Wednesday 7th September, Quentin Peel, Chatham House and Financial Times   Brexit - The Inglorious  Revolution! After a long career at the FT, Quentin Peel is an authority on many aspects of international relations, globalisation, economic development and the media. He has been an eye-witness reporter on the dramas unfolding on the international stage over the past four decades. He excels at relating politics and economics, with a bit of history and geography, to explain the tensions at work, and has interviewed many of the leading players, including Mikhail Gorbachev, Angela Merkel, Jacques Delors, Nelson Mandela and Kofi Annan.  He was a foreign correspondent for the FT in Johannesburg, Brussels, Moscow, Bonn and Berlin, and is now an associate fellow at Chatham House in London, the leading UK think tank for international affairs. Quentin’s wife is from Nenagh and the Peel family has spent their holidays in Tipperary seeking solace and inspiration for more than 30 years.


On a beautiful Sunday afternoon August 28th.  Seventeen swimmers took part in the annual Abbey swim this is the third year it has been held in conjunction with the Limerick Masters and The Currahgaur Boat Club.  This year due to tidal restrictions we had to choose a different course.  The swim this year was from Thomas’s Island to the Currahgaur Boat Club, a short 2 mile. 
This swim is not a race just a swim challenge to those who like to swim outdoors last year we had 6 swimmers this year this year we had 17 some swimming in the Shannon for the first time. We do not advertise this swim as such.  Everyone enjoyed the swim the water temperature was perfect some of the swimmers used it as a sightseeing tour as they took in the lovely scenery along the way Following the swim we adjourned to the Cauldron bar in Nicholas Street where the lady of the provided a great feast of Irish stew sandwiches and soup we would like to thank her for her hospitality. Limerick Masters are spreading there wings around the city with liaisons now with the Currahgaur Boat Club and Castleconnell Boat Club. The Masters would like to thank all those from the boat club who provided boat cover on the day who gave up there time voluntarily on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. Swimmers who took part John Ryan, Maeve Ryan, Liz Ryan, Brian Dillon, Diarmuid Hanrahan, Tom Moloney, Laura  Freeney, Harry Harbison, Tony Hoare, Andrea Newport, Linda Newport,  Mark Dempsey, Barry  Kent ,Rosie  Foley, Jean Sparling, Brian Swift, Dave Beary. (Coach John Dempsey)


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Oh, what a most wonderful day Saturday proved to be in our city, akin to the Granny gathering so it was, though naturally not as large. Around one o’clock Arthur’s Quay came alive to the sound of music from that excellent move, “Gladiator,” which incidentally starred our native great actor, Richard Harris. Aptly, it set the scene for the re-enactment of Patrick Sarsfield ride and all that such entailed, with equine beauties posing and strutting their stuff, with suitably clad soldiers sitting comfortably on their backs.
A little later on. the vast assemblage witnessed an exhibition of artillery and pikes. We saw an excellent demonstration of the latter, together with a vivid account of that pocket of local history so ingrained in our psyche and what’s more, we could hear it all and there was no need to strain. It was one of those gatherings where one met people that one may not have set eyes on for a year or even more. There was great excitement where families with very young children had gathered, and availed of the swords that were on sale for only €3 and various styles of military hats also. Boats bearing colourfully-clad people glided sown the majestic Shannon River and one could easily imagine being in Venice observing the gondolas. Just another place, that’s really all! Conviviality was the order of the day. Well done to all concerned and many thanks to the troupe of performers for making such a giant effort for no monetary gain. We were given to understand that they are based in the enclosure at Arthur’s Quay, formerly the Tourist Office. By the way, a huge thanks to the people I met there who happened to comments on this column.


‘’He was skeptical, he said, but we can see for ourselves what these men have done. They had worked night and day for the past three months, and had turned a dumping ground into a lovely Marian Year Grotto. They had received the wonderful co-operation of the City Manager and members of the Corporation, from a number of firms in the city and from various householders and other individuals in and outside the Parish. They all co-operated with the committee in doing the work nobly and well. That was only number one item on their programme, and unless he was mistaken he would say that in a year or two St. Mary’s Park will be a model among the housing estates in Limerick,’’ he said.
Canon Lee paid a special tribute to Mr. Jack Downey, who, he said, had been prevented through injury from being among them for the past few months. He was with them today and was welcomed back. ‘’It is a proud day for him,’’ continued the Canon, ‘’and I feel that when he arrived this morning he was surprised with the progress that had been made during his absence.’’ The Canon concluded by saying that he was proud of the Parish, proud to be your Parish Priest: you have risen nobly to the occasion, and if I may use the phrase, St. Mary’s Parish is now on the map.’’ (Yet another installment from that excellently written article by a ‘Limerick Leader’ journalist back in the year 1954, and which was included in Sean Curtin’s compilation entitled, ‘’The Marian Year Golden Jubilee.’’ Conclusion next week)



It is good to see that the old PJ Ryan’s shop at the corner of Nicholas Street and St. Francis Place, is open again following a short few months of closure. By the looks of it, the new business in in the vein of Kayaking and historic bicycle tours. We wish the new owners the very best of luck, and don’t forget, there is a Cleaners business directly across the road.



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TOM’S EARLY MORN APPRAISAL: Last Sunday morning dawned in all its magnificence and I was very lucky to spot that golden ball rise from its night’s slumber ready to perform yet again, allowing us the luxury of yet another day’s sunshine whether at home or at the seaside. Upon tuning in to Sunday morning radio, 95fm to be precise, Tom O’Sullivan was eloquent in his praise of our beautiful city as he had observed it in its early morn pristine beauty. Tom went on to liken the early-morn scene to Wordsworth’s poem, “Upon Westminster Bridge,” and it was just so appropriate for that perfect scene one would have experienced on Sunday morning last. As he mentioned, the poet who had written the poem back in the early 1800s may as well have been standing on Sarsfield Bridge when he penned that magnificent poem. Here now is that poem so many of us recall from our school days: it remains one of my all-time favourites and instantly evokes memories of that most enthusiastic teacher of English, Sr. Paschal. Incidentally, Tom read the entire poem beautifully and with the expression it deserves.


Earth has not anything to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:
This City now doth, like a garment, wear
The beauty of the morning: silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill;
Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!
The river glideth at his own sweet will:
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still!



“This chapel is lit by the most modern window in the Cathedral representing the Ascension of Christ, produced by the Harry Clarke Studios. It was dedicated in 1961 by Dr. Michael Ramsay – then Archbishop of York and soon to be enthroned Archbishop of Canterbury. The window also shows St. Catherine and her wheel of torture (lower left), and St. Nicholas, (Father Christmas), giving fruit to children (lower right). Two windows of some artistic merit are to be found below this, one commemorates the Reverend James Dowd, an important local historian, while the one adjacent to it shows St. Luke drawing the Virgin and Child.” (From Cathedral Guide)



“Bishop John Jebb statue is one of the most striking in the Cathedral. Jebb was an ecumenist and a peace-maker. In 1820, while Rector of the nearby church at Abington during a time of unrest, he and his Roman Catholic colleague, Fr. Costello, spoke from the altar of Murroe Church exhorting the people to peace. Abington, thereafter remained a remarkably peaceful area in contrast to the troubled neighbourhood parishes. To the left of the window, high up on the wall, is a Machicolis. This feature usually appears on the outside of a building and was used as a look-out post. This suggests that this part of the present-day building was outside the Cathedral. Eventually, it was roofed and became another chapel.” (From the Cathedral Guide.)


The Community Garden which was created by Civic Trust during the management of local parish man, James Ring, is looking superb altogether. It is situated opposite the entrance to Villiers Houses, and just before you descend ‘Gugu’s Hill.’ As well as being a floral extravaganza, you will have the facility to avail of a little picnic during the remaining summer months with the children or grand-children, as there is a table and bench there also. If you do not find it open then all you have to do is go up to the Bishop’s Palace and ask someone to open the gates.


We extend sympathy to the family and friends both in Limerick and Spain, of Pat Tobin (nee Sheehy) formerly of the Island Road, who passed away recently in Malaga. The Requiem Mass took place in our parish church and the burial was in Ballycannon Cemetery. May she rest in peace.



No indeed, there are others. You will have noticed that over the past few weeks I have been extolling the return of the old vinyl and my appreciation of same. Well, in a recent edition of “Ireland’s Own,” I came upon the following piece in Dan Conway’s Corner.
“I’ve been to several record and LP shops, handled the wonderfully illustrated and note-written sleeves wherein the darkly shining vinyl LP resided until you took it out and placed it carefully, even lovingly, upon the turntable, and sat back in your chair, and, courtesy of the mind of time, travelled all the way back to when Simon and Garfunkel stood looking down from the parapets of their Bridge Over troubled Waters. For once, never mind what’s on television. Watching TV had become a chore and we don’t even know it. Turn on the old record-player or take down a good book. And let go.” This Dan fellow offers sound advice doesn’t he? In the earlier part of that article he also refers to e-books, kindle etc. hence the final reference.


In the past week or so I was very lucky to happen upon a prize, as records go, and yes by the way, in one of the same ‘old haunts!’(I understand there are no less than 24 in the city).  It is entitled, “Backstage” (Gene Pitney), the greatest hits and more, all the original Top Ten Hits plus new recordings of today’s Classic Songs. I think it is a 1977 issue. Anyway, the sleeve of this record with black background, sports a superb picture of that very good-looking singer pulling the collar of his gabardine coat up over his neck with both hands. He was only 66 when he passed away in 2006. Some of the evergreens that appear on this gem of a record are as follows: 24 Hours from Tulsa, We’ve Got Tonight, All By Myself, First Cut is the Deepest, Fool if you Think it’s Over, Let the Heartache Begin, Something’s Got a Hold of my Heart, and many more, there are eighteen in all. And both sides without the slightest scratch!

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