BRIAN'S POETIC BRAINSTORM:
While taking the Boardwalk (Clancy Strand) trip into town recently, I was delighted to spot a typed copy of a poem by one of Limerick's Literary Lights, Brian Slattery. And I immediately thought, what a wonderful initiative! The poem was entitled, “By the River.” Well done to Brian on this novel idea! And, how very apt the poem!
RUGBY IN THE RAIN:
I came across a very interesting piece recently. It was letter penned to the then Editor of the 'Limerick Leader' many, many decades ago. As I am now typing I see that Munster is playing against Connacht out in a salubrious Thomond Park. Incidentally, I came upon a telling picture also in Vinny Ryan's ( of Shannon) book about the history of Limerick rugby, where there were sheep grazing in Thomond Park! For sure the words of the song, 'Hard Times Come Again No More' is apt. Now to that letter.
BRAVING THE ELEMENTS:
The letter was headed: Why the Hurry? Dear Sir, With wind-swept rains, which lashed Thomond Park , and on a muddy pitch with grass six inches high, the semi-final of the Charity Cup took place yesterday. Only those who braved the elements and sought refuge in a cold stand, throughout which the wind in eerie, banshee-like wails, echoed, have any idea what the thirty players, referee and touch judges endured for eighty agonising minutes. It was appalling. Could the game not have been postponed until such time as weather conditions improve generally?
Seeing that the proceeds are for local charities, as the name of the Cup implies, would it not have been wiser to wait a little longer for a better day – and gate? Thanking you Mr. Editor for insertion. I remain, Sincerely yours, 'All wrapped up.'
Among the numerous requests I received for my books over the years, and particularly during the past year, I found one man's contact very interesting indeed. Domiciled in England, he had originally grown up in the High Road, Thomondgate. He told me when he was around six or seven, he remembered Thomond Park as being a farm and was owned by a Mr. Foley until it was purchased by the Board of Munster Rugby. Then slight improvements began to take place with the help of volunteers, including himself as a young boy busy rolling wheel-barrows of earth. And I judge this to have taken place around 1935, as the man who relayed that snippet of information to me was born in 1928 and he claims to having been involved, (a young volunteer) at six or seven. What is it they say about 'from tiny acorn'? Yes indeed, what a giant 'oak tree' has grown! Can even be grown indoors, I understand. A one-time farm now the mecca for rugby followers all over the world.
CASTLE TO OPEN:
Great news this week is the re-opening if King John's Castle! With renewed vim and vigour the said venue seems set to introduce various activities and people are urged to patronise this, our sparkling gem for tourists and locals alike. With this re-opening it seems things are really getting back to near normal and it is ever so welcome. No doubt as with many other openings, we will relish it all the more.
ROOFING AT TANYARD:
It looks as if the vacant in houses what we all knew as the Tanyard growing up, is to get a new lease of life. New roofing is already in the offing by the look of things. This is a wonderful move indeed, as the renewal of these bungalows will go a long way in housing needy people. Everyone deserves a roof over their head. And talking of the said Tanyard, I could write many a little story as to its presence during our young days. We had the finest of swings, a circular sandpit, and even a library. Yes, a real library! Deprived, we were not. We spent all our spare time down there, where Summer leisure time was spent.
OUR SENIOR CHOIR:
St Mary's Choir was founded by Fr John Condon, PP, in 1973. It started off as a male voice choir. Several weeks later a ladies choir was formed and the following Christmas both choirs came together to sing on Christmas Day and it was so successful that they decided to form one choir. And so, as they are fast approaching their 50th year, it is some achievement and great credit is due to the past choir directors, the organists also, but most of all to this magnificent musical group fortheir consistency and loyal committment to weekly practice and being present every Sunday, in season. We greatly look forward to their eventual return. Hopefully, we will once again relish their various renditions at the Christmas Carol Service.
THE SWALLOWS RETURN:
Reverting to my piece in last week's insertion, I recently came upon some very interesting facts as to the swallows return. First of all, they are quite easy to identify as they have long pointed wings and a deeply forked tail. They rear two and often three broods in one season. An adult swallow spends most of his time in the air, using its aerobatic prowess to chase down flying insects. In September they perch usually on telephone lines preparing for their return to warmer climes.
BOUND FOR AFRICA:
Having left Ireland behind they manage roughly 200 miles every day, travelling through western France, across the Pyranees, down through eastern Spain and into Morocco. Then they enter the most difficult part of their journey, the barren part of the Sahara desert. Then in late February they begin their return, often nesting in the very same sheds, barns etc that they had nested in the previous year., having flown about 9000 miles! I find this quite fascinating and all the more reason to take care of them and all birds while they are among us. For those who love Nature, there is a few minutes slot every Saturday morning at 9.20. It is ever so informative and enjoyable.