A NEW DAY DAWNS:
Yes indeed, my latest publication has arrived and will soon be on sale at the newsagent in Arthur's Quay Shopping Centre and elsewhere as time progresses. Consisting of over 200 pages, with short stories and poems, which are greatly augmented by several inspiring sketches by our talented local parish Artist, Patrick Collins, it sells at just €12. A copy can be procured by sending €15 to me at King's Island, including your return address. €25 for two copies. A beautiful bookmark accompanies this publication. An ideal seasonal gift!
BOAT RACING MEMORIES:
A Marathon Boat Race took place back in 1951 and the following is a recording of it. “This event proved a very popular venture, and promises to become one of the highlights in Limerick's sporting calendar. The race was followed by a huge crowd from start to finish, but the real excitement started when the crews attempted to pole up the Curraghgower Falls at low tide. It seemed impossible, each crew in turn tried and it was apparent that the long race round the parish had taken a lot out of them. The public certainly enjoyed the fun as boats were overturned and swept back time and again. Cameras were busy and supporters were up to their knees in water to urge their sides on. After a long tussle, in which only two crews finished the result was as follows:- 1st, B. Kinsella, D. Sheehan, W. Lysaght; 2nd, M. Hogan, D. O'Shaughnessy, D. Cowhey.” (With thanks to Ann Liston) I can hear many a reader say, “Them were the days! And for sure, they were.
Of late years Munster rugby and all that goes with it has attracted an eclectic array of fans, including the fair sex in a very big way. We’ve experienced some glorious years out in Thomond Park and elsewhere, the Red Army registering as one to be feared. Last Saturday the spectacular, though emotional scenes at Thomond Park would have delighted the late rugby hero, Anthony the Great. I vividly recall him saying in the past few years that his aim was to return to the days when teams were ‘in dread’ of coming to Thomond Park, never knowing what might happen, the Munster team being obviously perceived as most intimidating to the opposition. He envisaged that a massive throng of spectators once again, and didn’t last Saturday say it all? His proposed vision was well and truly copper-fastened!
Back in the 90s though, yet another rather ‘restive fan’ with his eye on the ball, so to speak, was our local Artist, Patrick Collins, from the parish. Pat staged a most wonderful exhibition at the Bishop’s Palace in 2005, where every rugby member of that year’s team featured, as well as the Artist’s impression of “the 16th’ man!” And yes, Frankie was in that famous line-up, and an excellent portrayal of the late Frankie it was too. (From October Notes of former years) This talented Artist has embellished my last four publications with his creative sketches that my readers have come to love an appreciate.
KILKEE HOTEL 25/- A WEEK:
With the knowledge that nowadays one must pay out in excess of €300 or €400 a week for staying in an ordinary house in Kilkee, even a mobile, it is most interesting to learn that one could stay in one of the three hotels back in the 1830s for just 25/- a week. Now granted, that may have been a fairly hefty sum back then and probably only the rich could afford it. And so to quote from a book entitled, “Before the Famine Struck,” by Fr Aloysius Murphy.
“Most of those who came to Kilkee on their holidays came in family groups and generally stayed for at least a month. Indeed, the town’s prosperity relied heavily on those families who came year after year, mostly from Limerick. In early July or August they boarded the steamer in Limerick, bringing their own servants and perhaps a horse and carriage as well. In a sense it was transplanting of a little Limerick to Kilkee.
In the 1960s there were 30 pubs in Kilkee; now there are ten. There were six hotels, now there's only one. The names of the Hotels were, the Atlantic, Thomond, Strand, Esplanade, Marine, Vic and Hydro. The hotels remained open the whole year round. There were three butcher shops, three drapers shops, three hardware shops, a bakery, a cinema and numerous grocery/souvenirs, and many other retail outlets. (Thanks to native of Kilkee, now half a century living in Limerick, Pat Foley, for this information on Old Kilkee)).
PATRON OF SHOEMAKERS:
“Saint Crispin's Day falls on October 25, and is the feast day of the Christian saints Crispin and Crispinian (also known as Crispinus and Crispianus, though this spelling has fallen out of favour), twins who were martyred c. 286. Shoe=making history is rich in tradition. Saint Crispin is the most commonly recognized patron saint of shoemakers, though there have been others. Since medieval times, October 25, has been celebrated as St. Crispin's Feast Day and the shoemakers’ holiday. In the past, boot and shoemakers closed their shops on this day in celebration and commemoration”