Tuesday, 12 September 2017


Listowel Races are on at the moment and tips are flying around like confetti. People are congregating on street corners exchanging information and whispering in to mobile phones. Racing papers are being perused and cards marked. A massive gambling epidemic seems to have infected the whole town.
An elderly woman in Supervalu was counting her change while contemplating whether to purchase a fresh chicken for the dinner or invest the lot on a hot tip she had been given in the 5.30 race.
What do you think I should do?” she asked.
Save your money.” I advised her. “Buy the chicken.”
You could be right.” she agreed, “Sure a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”
She picked up the chicken and headed for the check-out while I continued with my bit of shopping, happy to have been of help.
It was only later that I learned that the “hot tip” had romped in at odds of 16/1.
Perhaps I should avoid the woman with the chicken for the next few days for fear she might be a tad annoyed with me. She certainly won't be inviting me to dinner any time soon!
There are a lot of visitors in town for the races. They say there isn't a bed to be got in Listowel, and so Abbeyfeale is getting the overflow. 
Someone has also started a rumour that porter supplies might be running low in North Kerry. Nobody knows who started this fake news but the finger of suspicion points to a popular Abbeyfeale publican who shall remain nameless (for now)
Traffic through the town is particularly heavy, and motorists trying to turn right on to Main Street at Joy's Corner are having their work cut out for them. Perhaps traffic lights might be employed here at peak periods, or even some class of roundabout. The gardai are doing their best but a long term solution is needed at this very busy junction.
Local hotels and guest houses are fully booked, and bars are reported to be busy in the evenings. 
However, race-week in Abbeyfeale has slowly changed over the years. Many of the older regulars who used travel down and stay for the week have stopped coming. The sing-songs, the dancing and the craic is gone. And even the big poker sessions are no more.
Time catches up with everything eventually.
I was coming out of Mass on Sunday (yes I still go – sometimes) when a fellow from Ballaugh came up and whispered in my ear; “Kilcarry Bridge for the Kerry National”
He was gone before I could say anything.
I walked on down the street and who should I have the misfortune to meet only the woman with the chicken, and she was not best pleased
You cost me a pile of money the last evening!” she said, accusingly.
Kilcarry Bridge for the Kerry National?” I suggested as a peace offering
Would you ever feck off!” she said. “I wouldn't trust you to tip the time of day!” And with that, she flounced off up the street, leaving me to think that the spirit of forgiveness is sadly lacking in Abbeyfeale during Listowel race week.

OBITUARY; My former neighbour on Abbeyfeale Hill, Julian McCarthy, passed away during the week.
Jule Ann, as we called her, lived with her widowed mother in a little cottage just over the road from us. She was a familiar figure as she came in on her way to town every day to see if we wanted any messages. She was always very obliging and helpful in her own quiet and modest way. May she rest in peace.
Our sympathy is extended to her bereaved daughter Sheila McAuliffe (Kanturk), sister Betty Reidy (Abbeyfeale Hill), son-in-law Ben, grandchildren Sharon, Aisha, Erin and the late Keith, nephews, nieces, relatives and friends.

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