THE RE-AWAKENING OF ATHLUNKARD STREET:
It is great to see a bit of life beginning to surface on Athlunkard Street once again. The Triple Crown Bar and the two adjoining vacant shops have been painted in quite attractive eye-catching colours. At this moment in time it appears that the Triple Crown will be the operative premises, now perhaps, the other two premises may follow. We will wait and see. No matter which, it is a move in the right direction on a street that has an amount of potential.
EXPLORING THE AQUATIC ENVIRONS OF CORBALLY:
Returning to the most wonderful site that has been created by Ann Liston of Corbally. Here you will find a veritable Feast of Nature, a site where you will be only too delighted to spend some quality time. Ann is to be congratulated on her tireless work and initiative in affording us such an amount of pleasure. As the weeks go by and for sure this is the season to do so, I will take snatches from that Nugget of Nature and bring them to my readers. The list from which to choose is exhaustive: Mill Road, Corbally Baths, Red Path, Caisleán na Corann, (Castle of the Weir), the Huts, Corbally Mill, St. Thomas’s Island, Abbey Regatta, Abbey Fishermen, River poems (beautiful I must say), Birds in the area (you will be surprised at how many, 38 I think), Limerick Bridges, Mill Road News. Incidentally, on this site you will be pleasured by a magnificent painting of Thomas’s Island by Geraldine O’Brien.
VERDANT PLACE IMPROVEMENTS:
Massive improvements are now nearing completion on Verdant Place, close to Verdant Crescent, with major protection from any future flooding with generous capping atop the original wall by the riverside. I am given to understand that there will be a pathway on both sides for pedestrians and for vehicles it will be a one-way, not sure which way at this stage. Business, however, at the nearby Community Café is going full steam ahead with people flocking there on a daily basis, a sure sign that the food must be consistently good, which of course, it is. Well done to Christy and his welcoming hard-working staff!
FRANCIS LEDWIDGE BOOK AND STAMPS:
By now most people will have become aware that this is the centenary of the death of the popular poet, Francis Ledwidge. I will be paying my own small tribute in this column at the end of this month, which is the anniversary of his death. In the meantime, for anyone who is interested in the said poet, a delightful new publication has just been produced by Veritas Press and costs just below €10. This very weekend a stamp has also come on the scene to remember the talented poet, a war hero who died all too soon.
CRIOSTÓIR’S SUMMER IN KILKEE:
Limerick and indeed Parish native, bi-lingual writer of over sixty publications, Criostóir Ó’Flynn, has just issued the third edition on that marvelous collection of poetry entitled, “Summer in Kilkee.” The first edition of this poetry collection was back in 1983, the second in the early 2000s. It is a new and enlarged edition this time and I must admit, it befits the contents, which incidentally, costs only €6.50, a wealth of Kilkee lore is contained between the two covers. This week I will treat my readers to a piece entitled ‘The Place and the Poet’ which appears upon opening the front cover. The front cover features Criostóir’s youngest son, Ciarán, winkle-picking, or some such adventure, out by the famous Pollock Holes, his reflection perfectly mirrored in the pure clear waters that are known to be over that way. The bright uplifting blue colour of that picture is nothing short of spectacular!
THE PLACE AND THE POET:
“Kilkee is situated in County Clare on the west coast of Ireland. Like most place-names in Ireland, Kilkee is a phonetic English rendering of the original Irish name, Cill Chaoidhe, meaning the church or cell of Chaoi. Kilkee was a little fishing village until early in the nineteenth century when the wealthy merchants of Limerick City began to build seaside lodges there. Even before the advent of the railway made it accessible to day-trippers from Limerick, Kilkee had become so famous as to attract visitors like Alfred Lord Tennyson, who spent several periods there when the guest of his County Limerick friend and fellow poet, Sir Aubrey de Vere, and Charlotte Bronté, who spent part of her honeymoon there. The twentieth century saw Kilkee develop into a holiday resort which, because of its natural attractions and unspoilt environment, continues to be perennially popular with native and foreign visitors alike.”
“The semi-circular strand extends nearly a mile, and is protected on the seaward side by the rocky Duggerna Reef, making it the safest bathing-place on the western coast. In addition to the beach, there is the natural rock-pools, known as the Pollock Holes, in the Duggerna Reef, in which the water is changed by every tide, and other excellent bathing places around the bay. Kilkee is famous for its crystal-clear water, making it one of Europe’s best centres for skin diving, and also for its bracing air; some years ago German researchers pronounced the air at Kilkee to be the most unpolluted in any part of the world. It is famous for its spectacular cliff scenery and its teeming bird and marine life.” (Criostóir Ó’Flynn)
THAT ADORABLE PUFFIN:
I must admit to being partial to that adorable black and white bird of orange (maybe red) beak and sleepy look. If I spot a postcard of the said bird anywhere I travel I just have to purchase it and at this stage I have quite a few collected, and despite the intrusion of social media and emails etc. I continue to insist on being loyal to what is now termed ‘snail-mail’. I still send cards and letters and have at least one like companion and that is, our native parish writer, Mae Leonard. For sure the cost of posting is a little prohibitive of late, but as the saying goes, ‘we’ll be a long time dead’ someone must have proved that point, wonder who? This particular bird is most prevalent in the environs of Kilkee, particularly over by the rocky cliffs as one takes the five-mile (or even the three-mile) walk.
Just heard on local radio as I was putting the finishing touches to these notes that there will be actually no handling on money in the future as in five years time everything will be done, shopping etc through the means of computer, or advanced style phone. Someone remarked and rightly so, what about the older generation who simply do not wish to go down that road? And if this proposed move does eventually bear fruit (and the speaker was very definite that it will happen), what about church collections, as well as the collectors on our streets for various good causes, and of course the regular individuals who sit all around our city on the main streets with the ‘paper cup’ in front of them? And again, what about the Mint who produce the coins and of course the business that print the paper money? Will they be all out of a job? The list is endless. And I ask myself, why does everything have to move so fast, and again, why the need for such rapid change? Aren’t we grand the way we are? And the thought just struck me, what if there is a blackout and we are all left without a brass penny and deprived of the wherewith to come by it?
As the quizmaster on TV used to say years ago, “I’ve started, so I’ll finish.” And so, in deference to our poet and Bus Conductor of the 50s, Daniel Joseph Macaulay, it is right and correct to conclude with the third and fourth verse of that eight verse poem I began in last week’s notes, this being summer and all, you wouldn’t know where to be rescuing info from, but oh, how I enjoy compiling this weekly column. In last week’s first two verses we saw all the confusion that resulted when the traffic lights first made their appearance. In this week’s two verses the poet compares the confusion and resulting fun to watching Laurel and Hardy or the Three Stooges. We are also told of a lady who came to town in her ‘private ass and cart” and also of the frustration experienced by cyclists, (of which there were many way back then), when encountering the said new traffic system. ‘Twas a case of, “Do I go or do I stay?” and so to the conclusion of that famous poem that was well recorded by the poet of the day ‘in situ,’ back when the Traffic Lights came to town, much to the excitement of the local citizens. Oh yes, I remember it well.
Bud Abbott and Lou Costelloe,
Laurel and Hardy too I’ve seen,
I’ve laughed hearty when I saw ‘em,
or the Stooges on the screen.
But the incidents in Limerick,
better by far than them have been,
To a Guard said one young farmer,
“Must I stop for red or green?”
Then along came an old lady
in her private ass and cart,
Tied the ass on to the light-pole,
securely, so he couldn’t start.
The guard went over in a frenzy,
“take away that blasted ass,
Or I’ll tie you more securely,
behind bars that you’ll not pass.”
Daniel Joseph Macaulay
IRELAND’S OWN: In this week’s issue of “Ireland’s Own” this week dated July 7th, I have a short story entitled, “To Find a Thrifty Wife.”