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Poetry


Trimmings Of The Rosary
by
Father Hartigan

He was born at O'Connell Town, Yass, New South Wales on 13th October 1878. His parents came from Lisseycasey, County Clare, Ireland. and he was the fourth of nine children. He was ordained in 1908 and in 1916 he was appointed Parish priest of Barrigan. Here he wrote one of his earliest poems, "The Parting Rosary" concerning a young local lad who was killed in the Great War during August,1916.
He was one of the first curates in the region to own a motor car. It's said that in 1914, he took the last rites to Jack Riley of Bringenbong - The Man From Snowy River.
His first poetry was published in local journals from 1906 and in 1921, believing that his poems were of no merit, Father Hartigan, produced 'Around the Boree Log and other Verses' under the pseudonym of John O'Brien.
Father Hartigan passed from this world in 1952. He was Australian of Irish descent and in the following poem, you'll grasp far better than this writer could ever convey, the tradition of gathering the "childer" to say the rosary. (Irish Culture and Customs)



Ah, the memories that find me now my hair is turning grey,
Drifting in like painted butterflies from paddocks far away;
Dripping dainty wings in fancy-and the pictures, fading fast,
Stand again in rose and purple in the album of the past.

There's the old slab dwelling dreaming by the wistful, watchful trees,
Where the coolabahs are listening to the stories of the breeze;
There's a homely welcome beaming from its big, bright friendly eyes,
With the Sugarloaf behind it blackened in against the skies;

There's the same dear happy circle round the boree's cheery blaze
With a little Irish Mother telling tales of other days.
She had one sweet, holy custom which I never can forget,
And a gentle benediction crowns her memory for it yet;

I can see that little mother still and hear her as she pleads,
"Now it's getting on to bed-time; all you childer get your beads."
There were no steel-bound conventions in that old slab dwelling free;
Only this-each night she lined us up to say the Rosary;

E'en the stranger there, who stayed the night upon his journey, knew
He must join the little circle, ay, and take his decade too.
I believe she darkly plotted, when a sinner hove in sight
Who was known to say no prayer at all, to make him stay the night.

Then we'd softly gather round her, and we'd speak in accents low,
And pray like Sainted Dominic so many years ago;
And the little Irish mother's face was radiant, for she knew
That "where two or three are gathered" He is gathered with them too.

O'er the paters and the aves how her reverent head would bend!
How she'd kiss the cross devoutly when she counted to the end!
And the visitor would rise at once, and brush his knees-and then
He'd look very, very foolish as he took the boards again.

She had other prayers to keep him. They were long, long prayers in truth;
And we used to call them "Trimmin's" in my disrespectful youth.
She would pray for kith and kin, and all the friends she'd ever known,
Yes, and everyone of us could boast a "trimmin'" all his own.

She would pray for all our little needs, and every shade of care
That might darken o'er The Sugarloaf, she'd meet it with a prayer.
She would pray for this one's "sore complaint,' or that one's "hurled hand,"
Or that someone else might make a deal and get "that bit of land";

Or that Dad might sell the cattle well, and season's good might rule,
So that little John, the weakly one, might go away to school.
There were trimmin's, too, that came and went but ne'er she closed without
Adding one for something special "none of you must speak about."

Gentle was that little mother, and her wit would sparkle free,
But she'd murder him who looked around while at the Rosary:
And if perchance you lost your beads, disaster waited you,
For the only one she'd pardon was "himself"-because she knew

He was hopeless, and 'twas sinful what excuses he'd invent,
So she let him have his fingers, and he cracked them as he went,
And, bedad, he wasn't certain if he'd counted five or ten,
Yet he'd face the crisis bravely, and would start around again;

But she tallied all the decades, and she'd block him on the spot,
With a "Glory, Daddah, Glory!" and he'd "Glory" like a shot.
She would portion out the decades to the company at large;
But when she reached the trimmin's she would put herself in charge;

And it oft was cause for wonder how she never once forgot,
But could keep them in their order till she went right through the lot.
For that little Irish mother's prayers embraced the country wide;
If a neighbour met with trouble, or was taken ill, or died,

We could count upon a trimmin'-till, in fact, it got that way
That the Rosary was but trimmin's to the trimmin's we would say.
Then "himself" would start keownrawning-for the public good, we thought-
"Sure you'll have us here till mornin'. Yerra, cut them trimmin's short!"

But she'd take him very gently, till he softened by degrees-
"Well, then, let us get it over. Come now, all hands to their knees."
So the little Irish mother kept her trimmin's to the last,
Ever growing as the shadows o'er the old selection passed;

And she lit our drab existence with her simple faith and love,
And I know the angels lingered near to bear her prayers above,
For her children trod the path she trod, nor did they later spurn
To impress her wholesome maxims on their children in their turn.

Ay, and every "sore complaint" came right, and every "hurled hand";
And we made a deal from time to time, and got "that bit of land";
And Dad did sell the cattle well; and little John, her pride,
Was he who said the Mass in black the morning that she died;

So her gentle spirit triumphed-for 'twas this, without a doubt,
Was the very special trimmin' that she kept so dark about.
But the years have crowded past us, and the fledglings all have flown,
And the nest beneath The Sugarloaf no longer is their own;

For a hand has written "finis" and the book is closed for good-
There's a stately red-tiled mansion where the old slab dwelling stood;
There the stranger has her "evenings," and the formal supper's spread,
But I wonder has she "trimmin's" now, or is the Rosary said?

Ah, those little Irish mothers passing from us one by one!
Who will write the noble story of the good that they have done ?
All their children may be scattered, and their fortunes windwards hurled,
But the Trimmin's on the Rosary will bless them round the world.



THE RAFFLE
 “The Raffle” was a card game (usually 41) played in various houses during the run up to Christmas. The first prize would be a turkey. Food might be served and people would often bring their own drink. There might also be a bit of set-dancing towards the end of the night. It was a great social occasion in the locality. The Raffle alluded to below by Sean O’h-Airtneide would have taken place in the early 60’s. People would have been known to each other, either by their first names or by their nicknames. Most of those mentioned have now gone to their eternal reward. May they Rest In Peace.

Come listen awhile and I’ll make you smile.
The raffle will soon begin.
A welcome to all who answered the call
And three cheers for Mikey Din.

The turkey cock might go to Ballaugh.
He might go back to Banard.
Or safe and sound he might go to the Pound.
And what about Bogmount Yard?

I met postboy Lynch and Pats Larry, The Inch,
And a crowd from Garravaun.
Paddy Grady came down with a white half a crown,
And a welcome for Mattie Dillane.

Nell Patie’s son took part in the fun.
Hannie Connell is ran off her feet.
Big Mossie Ger isn’t able to stir.
Jim Fitz is at home from the beet.

Donovan’s Kiteen is like sweet sixteen.
She is out in every set.
I met Dan-a-Ray and he looking for tay
On this night we will never forget.

Ned Leahy and Pat came hether the lot.
Mary Colbert will give us a song.
Michael Kelly from Tour and our own Mossie Moore
Will be jigging the whole night long.

Mossie Jack Dave sang a bit of a stave.
Denis Crowley is afraid he’ll be late.
I saw Moss Ward coming in to the yard
With the Walshes, Mary and Kate.

Coming up from the well I saw Dinny John Ell
And also Jer Luke and Batt.
Foxy Patsy was there, coming home from the fair.
He is always eager to chat

Larry Curtin is grand with the pipes in his hand.
Paddy Ellen came after the cows.
And twelve or thirteen came from Knockadereen
To dance and to sing and carouse.

I met Johnny Joy. I met Patie Boy.
The Hill crowd showed up to a man.
And Paddy Morart was there from the start.

Give him something to bury the wran.

Miss Woulfe was there and she hadn’t a care.
She was dancing the Highland Fling.
I saw Con Walker too, with his heart so true
And he talking to Purry Ring.

I noticed Pop Wall peeping in to the hall,
And a good many more from the town.
Nell Foley ran up to try out her luck.
Mind, or she’ll run us all down!

I saw Madie Roche outside in the porch.
Dinny Connell is here with Jim Browne.
I met Sean and Seaneen and their uncle Mickeen
And they all after coming from town.

Paddy Barry was there with his back to a chair.
I met a good few from Listowel.
Pearse from Athea is so jolly and gay.
Nick Browne after drawing his dole.

It was up on the stand Paty Dee shook my hand.
I will come when the office is shut.
I hope we’ll have moon so that Maurice The Gorsoon
Will be able to come down the short cut.

 I met Willie Joe, a star long ago.
Paddy Moore we persuaded to play.
And the great Mossie Mike jumped off of his bike
And danced ‘til the break of day.

Bob Fitz came in and so did Bill Flynn.
Mike Leahy so rangy and tall.
Mikey Denis went out for a bottle of stout
And then took a seat by the wall.

I met John Joe Mack who is great for the crack.
He must have heard the report.
Bridgie Dalton will come at the roll of the drum
Herself and Mary Anne Sport.

Sean Lemass left his car at the cross.
We are happy to see him so well.
We’ll give him his tea when Ireland is free.
Good luck to Francie and Nell.

My bit of a song is getting too long,
But Christmas is near at hand.
Tisn’t easy to know where the turkey will go.
God Bless our native land.

                                                       Sean O’h-Airtneide




THE OLD HILL ROAD

Last night as I lay sleeping,
I dreamed of days of yore,
And strolled along the old Hill Road
In memory once more.

Up beyond Jack Fealey’s cottage
I walked the winding road,
And familiar footsteps took me
To Frank Foley’s famed abode.

Geraniums on the window sill,
A welcome at the gate.
The kettle boiling merrily
On the Stanley Number Eight.

Frank sitting in his favourite chair
With pipe now well aglow,
While Josie primes the Tilly lamp
And pulls the blind down low.

“Bring in a gábháil of turf,” she says
“And close the hen house door,”
They kneel and say the Rosary
Upon the flagstone floor

She recites the Glorious Mysteries
And trimmings at the end.
She prays for all her children
And for family, foe and friend.

The door latch slowly rises.
Johnnie King steps into sight.
“Let out the fire” laughs Josie
“Or else he’ll stay all night!”

Pat ‘Morart’ removes his cycle clips.
He’ll drink a glass of stout.
And talk about a troubled world
Of famine, flood and drought.
 
A welcome for the brothers too,
Jack Joe and Mikey Jer.
Back from the beet in Alscot
With wild stories to confer.


Then Joseph with the creamery cart
For Meenaheela bound
Collects the flowing tank of milk
And goes the Low Road round.

While Norrie with her bucket
Draws spring water from the well.
Josie strolls along with her,
And what tall tales they will tell!

Davie cycles home from work,
A tradesman of great skill.
Very soon he’ll walk the greyhound
Back the road and down the hill.

And Lizzie churning butter,
Keeps an eye upon the hens.
The Kerry cow is grazing
In the haggart by the fence

Jamesie standing at the gap
With Mocka by his side.
The jack-ass caught and tackled
And to the gatepost tied.

Katie Maurice walking back the road.
Jule Ann is going to town.
Sergeant Normoyle on his daily stroll
Greets you with a friendly frown.

Jack Lynch, the local postman
Calls in to drink his tea
And letters from America
Are read with eager glee.

Kit and May in California
Jim and Maurice in New York
With Bernard in the Channel Isles
And Eily out in Cork.


Maggie back in Headley’s Bridge
And Timmy down in Strand.
Katie home from Canada.
Mikey living close at hand


 Mollie in Dromtrasna
Likes to visit now and then.
(Son, Jackie, is the poet
And fine verses he will pen.)

Jerry, shot in ambush,
Was a rebel to the core.
He sailed for Orange County
And saw The Hill no more.

Pattie Foley in from Yonkers
To Rineanna did arrive.
We took a car to meet him
Which Mattie Gaire did drive.

Jackie Curtin at Dromtrasna School.
Jamsie Simon in his shop.
On the platform at the crossroads
The polka dances never stop.

Dan Din went down the country.
Jackeen Foley moved away.
Bainsean Healy has the turf cut.
Dan O‘Donnell drawing hay.

 Dónaleen Pats gets television,
And we all go down to see.
Soon his niece will visit Grógeen.
As a fair Rose of Tralee.

Mikey Noble on his tractor.
He will mow the meadows bare.
Dónaleen Mike tunes up his fiddle
And plays out a lively air.

Foxy Maurice with the stallion
For O’ Rourke’s yard he is bound.
While Tom and Patty Aeneas
Walk the fields and check the ground.

Moss Cahill trains a lively colt.
Johnnie Brouder shooting grouse.
Bird Kelly on his bicycle.
Paddy Barry at the house.

Mikey Lenihan drives his hackney car
To the station and to Mass.
(If Canon Lynch says the twelve o’clock,
An hour at least will pass!)

Johnnie Collins cutting rushes,
Tom Moloney at the height.
Peter Healy in his lorry.
Sean Flynn’s mule is standing quiet

Past Reidy’s house and Kearney’s,
Down by Scannell’s Cross we’ll go.
We will meet with Pattie Dálaigh,
With Small Danny and Will Joe.

To Joy’s then for a pint of stout
And Motty’s for a sweet.
While Gerry Moloney’s butcher’s stall
Sells every kind of meat.

Famed Larry Ellen bakes the bread
With Hector and Dickeen
Liz Doody’s penny ices
Are the finest ever seen!

Jackie Maurice trains the greyhounds.
Tomásheen Thady digs the drains.
Thomas Foley in the tug-of-war.
Nicholos Cotter flies the planes.

Mikey Reidy is a thatcher.
Dr Seanó does the rounds.
Jack Moloney makes the harness.
Cattle graze beyond the bounds.

Mount Castle lights are shining bright
High above the county line.
And the wind from Ballybunion
Means tomorrow will be fine.

And then my slumber ended
And my eyes were filled with tears.
I remembered all those faces
That had passed me through the years.

Though many now are dead and gone
I can recall them still.
Please God one day we’ll meet again
In our Heaven on The Hill.

                                                                                  Raymond Fennelly


  ........................................................................

FR CASEY'S JUVENILE TEAM 1970

To the sportsfield in Croom we motored one day
To see our young juvenile footballers play.
The ref blew his whistle. We tossed up a coin,
Then scored a great win over brave Caherline.

Noel Ward the goalkeeper did not let us down.
From lovely Dromtrasna came sturdy Sean Browne.
Our full back Tom Connell was like a stone wall,
And young Denis Murphy went high for the ball.

The play oscillated. They fought neck and neck.
We cheered for Sean Carroll who lived near The Tech.
John Mara was brilliant that wonderful day.
Jim Lyons and Noel Morrissey fought all the way.

God bless Pat O'Callaghan, the boy from Ballaugh.
Patsy Harnett has taught him to sidestep and block.
We had Frankie McCarthy from New Street Freeway.
Centre forward Pat Mann was the star of the day.

James Grey the full forward made openings galore.
Bill Murphy, John Joe Foley combined for to score.
We cheered Christy Sullivan, an active young boy.
But the find of the season was brave Denis Joy.

The pace was exhausting, as you can assume.
Excitement was mounting that evening in Croom.
Denis Murphy shot a goal with the hour almost gone.
A solo ftom Callaghan brought a point from Pat Mann.

What beautiful football our lads did reveal.
The juvenile heroes from sweet Abbeyfeale.
Our thanks to James Collins, our hero so fine.
Well done Abbeyfeale and hard luck Caherline.

Bill Murphy had a greyhound to rank with the best.
Ballydonnell Sam was the hero of many a test.
Jack Foley's Just Fawn was the talk of The Hill.
Tom Connell's Rebel Abbey gave us many a thrill.

The dog from The Square once made a great name.
Above in Ballincollig he motored to fame.
We have football and greyhounds, Listowel's on the way.
So I'll place a few quid down on sound Shannon Spray.

                                                             Le Sean O h-Airtneide
.....................................................................................

TOURNAFULLA JUVENILES 1990

I met a young man on the road to Milleen
Who lauded the boys who are under sixteen.
He said Padraig Naughton has talent for sure,
And Pat Horgan would someday play senior for Tour.

He said “Keep the World Cup and the Rose of Tralee,
A good game of hurling is what I want to see!”
We conquered St Senan's, stepped up a few gears
And were bridging a gap of thirty four years.

Joe Collins, the full back, is fearless and fair.
John Lane learned his hurling around Knockculcare.
Francis Collins outstanding. Through backs he did stroll.
James Wright is our captain. Mark Callaghan keeps goal.

Now here's to Dan Horgan, so stylish and free.
Eamon Doody full forward and Michael Guinee.
Tom Long and Will Daughton were forwards to shine.
There's young Ollie Callaghan defending his line.

Neil Collins impressed when he entered the fray,
But I thought Paudie Naughton the star of the day.
Pat Horgan, sharpshooter, increasing his score.
Sub goalie, Jack Mahony we mentioned before.

Brian Flannery and Diarmuid Collins are skilled in the code.
We have young Mikey Bresnihan from sweet Devon Road.
Tour won the title, realizing a dream.
God bless the young boys on our juvenile team.

Donal Carroll and Noel O'Connor respond to the call.
Young Johnnie Collins can solo the ball.
And Seamus O'Connell I almost forgot.
We'll bring him on when the danger is hot.

I left my young friend on the road to Milleen,
Applauding the deeds of the hurlers in green.
Pat Donovan presented the cup to James Wright.
In the Homestead and Goalpost we'll have a great night!

                                                       Le Seán Ó h-Airtnéide ..................................................................................................................

TEAMPAILL AN GHLEANNTÁIN, 2013



I have been over most of the world,

But hurling is the best game I've seen.

Brave Feohanagh were beaten by Glantine,

The boys in the gold and the green.

...........................

Now here's to the brilliant James Riordan,

Through the Feohanagh backs he did stroll.

The full-back was Anthony Murphy.

Seamus Murphy was guarding the goal.

.............................

Timmy Sexton and Patrick O'Connor

Supported young Patrick Brislane.

James O'Mara is a sterling defender.

Timmy Conroy can swing a camán.

............................................

Gavin Hartnett lined out at full-forward,

A hurler who tried all the way.

Thomas Young, an exciting young talent,

Was always well up with the fray.

....................................

Our captain was Gerry McCarthy.

John Riordan came well to the fore.

Seamus Scanlon and Philip Collins won midfield.

Forget not the sound Jessie Dore.

................................

Jason Lynch was outstanding for Feohanagh.

He was tussling with Patrick Brislane;

But Glantine are the Junior B champions.,

The heroes from famed Inchabawn.



                                                                                                    Seán Ó'h-Airtnéide

...........................................................................................................................
FATHER CASEY’S U/21s, 2009
 

Father Casey’s won their sixth county title,
The boys under twenty one years.
When Maurice Gleeson got hold of the trophy
Mountcollins resounded with cheers.
…………..
Red cards in Mountcollins and Thurles,
But you can’t beat the game of the Gael.
Father Casey’s won’t buckle like Munster,
And Kilkenny will always prevail.
…………………
TJ the full-back is a son of Jim Leahy.
Eoin Joy is out on his own,
Backed up by the brilliant Sean Harnett
And Conor Healy from famed Glenashrone.
…………………
Eoin McEnery and Seanie O’Connell,
These wing-backs are both very sound.
John Riordan and James are first cousins,
Two hurlers who hail from the Pound.
…………………
Forget not Brian Scannell our goalie;
Donagh Kelly and young David Ward.
Derry O’Connor was really outstanding
At Mountcollins, the home of the Bard.
……………….
Three points from young Padraig McEnery;
Billy Quirke was inspiring to see.
Thomas Quilligan was great for Newcastle
And Michael scored a goal from a free.
…………….
Billy Quirke and James Riordan were injured ;
We brought on James Lane and Dan Ward.
Gerard O’Connor gave a run to Sean Flavin.
Brendan Walsh was another trump card.
……………
God bless the young men from the Fealeside,
We’re thrilled that they closed out the deal;
Maurice Gleeson came home with the trophy
To the town that is called Abbeyfeale.

                                                                    Le Sean O’h-Airtneide

..............................................
 AN POST RAS 2011  

(Stage Three. Kilrush to Castleisland)

……………………..
An Post are the great friends of cycling.
They sponsor our bicycle race.
Dunboyne to Portumna on Sunday,
With the visitors dictating the pace.
……………….
Stage Three is Kilrush to Castleisland.
They’ll start in the  south west of Clare.
They’ll burst out of Kilrush on Tuesday,
Flying past the chapel gate in Cooraclare
……………………..
They’ll gallop through Ennis and Cratloe;
A place where they swing the caman.
Limerick, Rathkeale and Newcastle,
And Barnagh before Insebawn.
…………………….
They’ll tear through Abbeyfeale and Kilconlea,
Glounsharoon with a view that’s sublime;
Cragg Caves it will frighten the bravest.
It sure is one hell of a climb!
………………………..
God bless Castleisland and Currow.
For good weather they’re wishful to pray.
The crowds will be cheering their heroes
At the end of a murdering day.

                                                     Sean O’h-Airtneide
.
............................
TEMPLEGLANTINE - ALL IRELAND CEILI BAND CHAMPIONS 2010 

God Bless the musicians from ‘Glantine.
Their win was a pleasant surprise.
They won the All Ireland in Cavan.
Thadgh O’Maolcatha applauded his boys.
................
The best ceili band in Old Ireland.
The judges they made up their sums.
Willie Larkin played the button accordion.
Pat Buckley was flaking the drums.
...........................
We had Patricia Wright on the fiddle.
Brid Murphy and Eileen Healy also.
John Larkin a star on the banjo
Recalling the days long ago.
...........................
Jackie Healy and Siobhan Ni Conaran
Were a credit to famed Inchabawn.
The woman who plays the piano
Is the talented Aileen Dillane.
........................
At the Devon we feted our heroes,
The best ceili band I have seen.
Three cheers for our Thadgh O’Maolcatha
From the Gaeltacht and South Meenoline.
..................
God Bless the musicians from ‘Glantine.
Myself, I can belt the bodhran.
Like Kilkenny, we also love hurling.
In Gaelic they call it caman.

                                                  Sean O’h-Airtneide.
....................................................................................
 THE FISHERMAN’S SONG
(Abbeyfeale Anglers 1974)

I long to be, down in Pouleen Buidhe
With the sportsmen I once knew.
Moloney you know, is in charge of the dough
And Buckley is helping us too.

We are happy to be in the committee.
Our chairman is Davy Lyons.
And Daly again is in charge of the pen.
I want you to meet the twin Ryans.

I know that our Jacques has got what it takes.
The ‘joinings’ he is going to try.
George Lane said “Please, lets have a breeze.
I’ll fish the ‘spring’ with a fly.”

The ‘lug’ is the ground where Dan Cotter is found.
His ‘blue & silver’ I see.
At roving the bate, Jackie Daly is great.
The Ryans will catch two or three.

I met Billy Mac, a bag on his back.
He’ll sure make the salmon pay.
McMahon and King will be fishing the ‘spring’
They’ll be out at the break of day.

Dan Leahy will be out, fishing for trout,
A smile on his cheerful face.
Sonny and Der are both working well.
Sure they’ve huts all over the place.

I’m waiting to see, my old friend John P
Going down to the waterfall.
He’s mad for the feel of the rod and the reel
And a salmon for Downey’s Stall.

At the end of the day when Jack Fitz will pay
‘Tis there you will see the ‘sluagh’
They’ll talk of their luck and make up their book,
Then sample a jar or two.

I sigh once more for the days of yore
And the friends that I used to know.
I love to reel on the River Feale
And to dream of the used to be   

                                     Le Sean O’h-Airtneide
......................................................


THE PASSING OF TOM O`BRIEN.

A travelling man is dead and gone. He`ll roam the roads no more.
That soul so fine of Tom O`Brien has fled to Heaven`s shore.
For eighty years `mid smiles and tears, he jogged from town to town.
Through Erin`s land, the green and bland, from Cork to County Down.
--------------------
No village street, but his strong feet have trod on Ireland`s ground.
He often camped at Dalton`s Cross, Mountmahon and The Pound.
Salisbury Plain and Flanders were seen by gallant Tom.
He fought the German Army at the Battle of the Somme.
----------------------
He mended cans and pots and pans. The tinsmith`s trade, you know.
And thousands came to bless his name on a day of sleet and snow.
His funeral in Sweet Listowel, no grander e`er was seen.
The travellers came from near and far, his passing for to "caoin"
---------------------------
The cortege from Newcastlewest, through Abbeyfeale did go;
They drank a health at Jimmy Joy`s as oftimes long ago.
May God be good to you, old stock, true hearted friend of mine;
I`ll keep your ass and caravan, and pray for Tom O`Brien.
                                                                  Sean O h-Airtneide.



DROMTRASNA SCHOOL 1936

The schoolhouse at Dromtrasna, I think I see it still.
Banard and Meenaheela, Sweet Bogmount and The Hill
We walked up to Twomey`s Turn, proceeded past the pole.
And when we reached the schoolhouse, the master called the roll.
-------------
Pat Connell was Headmaster. (Mister Doody reigned before.)
Jackie Curtin from Meenkilly taught classes Three and Four.
Mrs Colbert taught the infants. Of her kindness, I can tell.
She saw the Inspector`s motor approach the Blessed Well.
----------------
We prepared for Confirmation, and the visit from the Dean.
In the schoolyard we played hurling when Mick Mackey wore the green.
The Bog Road in the evenings found the Master walking there.
He walked past John Joe Kelly`s to breathe the heavenly air.
---------------------
We walked to school each morning, with our faces all aglow,
And our sods beneath our arms in the days of long ago.
                                                   
  Sean O'h-Airtneide


FATHER W. M. CASEY OF ABBEYFEALE
 Sean O`Choileain (An Seanfhile)

My Irish fellow-countrymen, alas we mourn today.
For death has claimed our hero famed, and his spirit passed away.
Our exiled friends in foreign lands with sorrow heard the tale.
They hoped once more to clasp his hands in dear old Abbeyfale.

In Land League days when men arose to Michael Davitt`s call
Prepared to meet his country`s foes with bayonet and with ball.
He proudly raised the green flag high and never yet did quail,
As martial music reached the skies from his band in Abbeyfale.

When O`Grady came with fire and ball and burned the dwellings down.
His hireling crew, they did subdue the county and the town
`Twas Father Casey`s powerful league that soon brought on the sale.
For the bailiffs went without the rent that day in Abbeyfale.

Thank God he lived to see the day his parishioners were free.
For not a landlord there held sway, but were banished o`er the sea.
As St. Patrick drove the serpents grim away from Innisfail,
So Father Casey banished them from dear old Abbeyfale.

He was a kind and loving man, and our hearts are filled with grief.
Mo bhron! He`s gone, that holy man, that fiery Galtee Chief,
Who never yet denied the poor, nor scorned the orphan`s wail,
For they left their blessings at his door in dear old Abbeyfale

When the master called, he did obey and freely gave consent.
So let us all unite today to raise his monument.
For well he knew his time had come, when he heard the banshee`s wale.
But his noble spirit hovers yet, over dear old Abbeyfale.
 


REQUIEM FOR A RIVER .........(Garry McMahon)

There once was a river that flowed fair and free,
With waters of crystal from source to the sea.
Where I fished the wild salmon, the white trout and the eel.
But no more, for they`ve poisoned my own River Feale

From Tour to The Cashen I have waded your streams.
Caressed by your waters, you haunted my dreams.
But your beauty is tarnished, your fate is full sealed
Like an old maiden harlot, a soiled River Feale.

I`ve watched you meander to the green Shannon Shore.
Past the ruins of castles where, in days of yore,
Our fathers protected you with swords of bright steel.
Now our own have despoiled you, my sweet River Feale.

Where the kingfisher flashed like a rainbow on fire,
With the heron and coot and the gadding mayfly.
Her death-dance proclaiming what cannot be revealed,
That pollution has killed you, my own River Feale.

 Will my son see the rings of a June evening rise?
Or cast a dry fly `neath the warm summer skies?
Or watch the browne otter through the dark water steal?
No! They`ve stolen his birthright from the banks of The Feale
.
Come all you polluters, pay heed to my song.
Your effluent discharge has killed for too long.
Give back to the people with rod and with reel,
The waters God gave us. A clean River Feale.


COME HOME TO ABBEYFEALE .......(Sean McCarthy)

The golden corn is high my love, where wild winds whisper free.
But I must take the lonely road that leads down to the sea.
You sleep upon the towering Hill, where twilight shadows steal,
And hear the wild wind whispering; "Come home to Abbeyfeale."

The New York lights are shining love. Her streets are cold and grey.
A man must leave the dying hours, to greet the new born day.
My memory roams wild and free, as I await an alien dawn.
Of Mary B who walked with me to greet the summer morn.

Is the harvest moon still shining bright upon The Feale`s gold stream?
Do stars o`er Meenahaela light up the meadows green?
Do maidens glide the riverside and dance the four-hand reel?
And do lovers stray Dromtrasna way, near my town of Abbeyfeale?

Do you remember Mary B when cold-eyed strangers came?
They came down from the bleeding hills to play their murdering game.
But side by side, with burning pride, we faced their alien steel.
And we raised the flag of freedom high, o`er my town of Abbeyfeale.

Where are they now, that gallant band that fought with awesome skill?
Brave Larry Ellen Harnett, Bomber Foley from The Hill.
Jimmy Joy and Jimeen Collins, I can but name a few.
They made their stand, that freedom grand might hail the morning dew.

Oh, I remember, Mary B, the times when hope ran high.
We walked the lanes with twisted names, the lovelight in our eye.
To marry in the winter time. The church bell`s lovely peal.
And now you lie, `neath a lonely sky, near my town of Abbeyfeale.

The New York dawn is here my love. Her streets are cold and grey.
My feet are on this city street, but my dreams are far away.
Soon I`ll fly the starlit sky, and when twilight shadows steal,
Then you`ll walk with me in my memory, near my town of Abbeyfeale.
 


DEAREST HOME ON THE BANKS OF THE FEALE

Dearest home of my youth, oh how painful, it is to be parted from thee.
There are others who loved you as I do, and do seek for a home o`er the sea.
But no matter where e`er I may wander, my thoughts I will never conceal.
I will always think of you the fonder, dearest home on the Banks of the Feale.

On the cliff by the side of that river, a hundred feet over the strand,
They erected a number of tombstones, where the ruins of the Old Abbey stand.
Where oft our departed forefathers, from the Sassanach Foe had to steal,
To hear Holy Mass on a Sunday, in the churchyard at sweet Abbeyfeale.

And when I`m in the land of the stranger, away far away o`er the foam.
If in safety I wander, or danger, my thoughts will fly back to my home.
And when life`s weary journey is ended, I know that contented I`ll feel,
To be laid in the ruins of that Abbey, in the churchyard in sweet Abbeyfeale.
    


FLORRY`S BARBER SHOP

By Johnny Walsh (Bard of Sliabh Luachra)

Anecdotes softly reverberate of the salmon and the eel
In Florry`s magical barber shop in The Square in Abbeyfeale.
Folklore and rich tradition are once again alive,
Of the plays and works of John B Keane, including brilliant Sive.

Dan Paddy Andy of matchmaking fame, is restored again to life.
Tales of yore rekindled of sorrow and of strife.
Moss Colbert finds a new love of life as Florry cuts his hair;
Talking of the great John Joe as he gazes at The Square.

"Sure life was brilliant at that time; a little bit of heaven,
As The Kingdom beat the Cavan men in the year of `47.
I remember the Athletic Grounds, I was referee.
With Jacques and Dick of The Railway, we were a formidable three."

Mike Flanagan from Brosna recounts deeds from the past.
Memories and sentiments that for him will always last.
Travelling the countryside with merriment and glee,
Brosna`s veterinary gentleman epitomised hospitality.

Recalling county finals that oft`times caused a stir.
The sing-song and the pageantry of "The Harness" and "Jack Flor."
Peter Healy broods philosophically of many a happy trip.
"I`ll be the happiest man in Ireland when I replace my hip.

I`m off to Croke Park this year. I`m saving up my dough.
I think that Paudie`s mighty men will win two in a row."
Paddy softly smokes his pipe as he walks in the door.
Reminiscing of fond recollections as laughter begins to soar.

"Did you back the one I told you, Flor, or is it really true
That yourself and Paddy Cahill went to the point-to-point in Avondhu?"
Florry smiles happily as he trims another head.
"Sure, you`d think we were in Tir na nOg, resurrected from the dead."

Dick Prendiville talks of music, saying "It was a mighty sight,
Playing polkas and quicksteps with Moss & The Boys at night."
Memories regurgitate of an era now gone past.
Calf fairs in the morning, the anvil and the last.

The blacksmith in his smithy forge, the jobbers in The Square.
Pigs crubeens and duck eggs, pork steak that was so rare.
The poaching and the salmon, the gurgling mountain stream.
Around Christmas time, the treasured hallowed bottle of poteen.

Fr Casey still rules The Square from his monument on high.
A landmark in the Fealeside town as time rolls softly by.
I`m sure if he could come back, one minute for to drop.
The first place he`d love to savour would be Florry`s Barber Shop.

           ABBEYFEALE - COUNTY CHAMPIONS 1947
Remember nineteen-forty-seven, the army were stationed in Croom.
They fielded a powerful selection, all strapping young men in their bloom.
The soldiers were harder than iron, but we met their iron with steal.
We held them, and led them, and beat them. I`m proud of my sweet Abbeyfeale.

When Deignan was beaten by Balbo, we knew that this would be our year.
Jim Riordan and Dan Joe were stalwarts, with Mossie, the young auctioneer.
We beat a fine team from the city; St Patrick`s from old Pennywell.
Our full back was the great Neilus Murphy, a hero who fought `till he fell.

Our captain was brilliant Moss Colbert, a boxer and handballer too.
He lined up his men for the final. The lads in the white and the blue.
Forget not brave Paddy McCarthy, Teddy Sullivan, and young Tommy Mann.
The Cotters they came from Dromtrasna, Nicholas and Jimmy and Dan.

At half back was Eddie McCarthy. We honour this man of great fame.
A brother of Eddie`s played also, and Patrick, I think was his name.
Forget not the Doherty brothers, the twins with the speed and the style.
And swerving, sharpshooting Fitzgibbon, who took the hard knocks with a smile
.
Jimmy Rourke was terrific at midfield. Our goalie was one, Sticker Browne.
`Tis down in Creagh`s Inch they were training, the best team we had in this town.
We will always remember Pa Colbert. The calf-buyer was known far and wide.
Jack Mack played in three county finals. Ned Leahy we think of with pride..
From Meenkilly came Joseph O’Connor who proved very sound at the back.
We fielded a fine centre-forward, unbeatable Christopher Stack.

Tim Cotter is now in the Mission, a priest in the service of God.
His diocese is in the Sahara, along by the shore of Lake Chad.
Sean Riordan is in Arizona. Young Balbo who never did fail.
God grant that he soon will return once more to the home of the Gael.

                                                         Sean O`hAirtneide.(Written in 1955)

 .........................................................................................................................
The late Patrick (Hector) Browne and his wife Pegeen lived in St Ita's Terrace. Hector was a baker by trade. He also collected various poems, recitations, anecdotes, humerous stories, card tricks, magic illusions, etc. He handed on a selection of his collected poems to his good friend and neighbour, Ron Houghton. Below, we publish just a few of these poems from those kindly supplied to us by Ron.

We thank Ron for his contribution, and we publish the following in memory of Hector and Pegeen. May they Rest In Peace.



POOR BUT BLESSED IN THE GOOD OLD DAYS

We met and we married a long time ago.
We worked for long hours when the wages were low.
No TV, no wireless, no baths. Times were hard.
Just a cold water tap and a walk in the yard.

No holidays abroad. No carpets on floors.
We had coal on the fire and we didn't lock doors.
Our children arrived. No pill in those days.
And we brought them all up without any state aid.

They were safe going out to play in the park,
And our old folk were safe going out in the dark.
No valium, no drugs and no L.S.D.
We cured all our ills with a good cup of tea.

No vandals, no mugging. There was nothing to rob.
We felt well off with a couple of bob.
People were happier in those far off days.
Much kinder and caring in so many ways.

Milkmen and paper boys would whistle and sing.
A night at the pictures was our only fling.
We all got our share of trouble and strife,
But just had to face the patterns of life.

Now I'm alone, I look back through the years.
Forgetting the bad times, the troubles and tears.
I remember the blessings, our home and our love.
That we shared them together, I thank God above.
....................................
JANUARY 8th. WEDNESDAY MORNING

All the hustle and the bustle
Has come quickly to an end,
As the snow and ice take over
From this crazy world's trend.

No one speeding on the highways.
There's no need for traffic lights.
There's a go-slow, not from work-force,
But far greater, powerful heights.

Man may think he's taken over,
But how foolish he must be.
Only God controls the elements
And decides our destiny.

So perhaps 'twill be a lesson
To the Jones's and the Smiths'
That their neighbour is a 'God-send'
When they're snowed-in by the blitz!
....................................

THE GOLD RUSH

Life for them is full of care,
Who have no time to stand and stare,
Or watch a starry sky at night,
Untouched by hand to give its light.
Or see the moonlight disappear
Behind the clouds so dark and drear.
And then again shone out so bright
As if to wish the world good night

How much there is in life to admire
Of God's creations which we never tire.
The hills, the mountains, lakes and sky
With priceless beauty we cannot buy.
Landscapes designed by the Master's Hand.
Why, oh why, don't we stare and stand?
.................................
MY TASK
I've skimped and saved and paid my way.
Decided against spending for many a day.
Ate fish and chips and dreamt of steak.
Baked bread instead of fresh cream cake.

And still with all this drawn-out strife
I would not wish to change my life.
Luxury and riches are not my goal.
There are greater rewards for a weary soul.
...............................
REALITY IN THE SKY
The two-fold sight that met my eyes
As I looked towards the evening skies.
A jet engine streaking its vapourous way
Towards the setting sun at the close of day.
Made me realize as I sat in my car,
How near we've got and yet how far.
It taught me a lesson there and then
Of the equal likeness to God in men.
Side by side in that summer sky
A panorama of wonder for you and I.
..........................
LIFE
I saw a sign of life today,
A snowdrop raised its head,
When all around the snow-clad ground
Each ray of hope seemed dead.
It only goes to show us
The Lord God has his plan
Of raising us to life again
In his promise made to man.
....................
AN APPRECIATION

The Patriot Priest is honoured.
It rings out loud and clear
From the town he once defended
When the landlords brought it fear.

His story is known in every home
Where his picture hangs serene.
His untiring efforts to help the poor
Made his way of life their dream.

How well they loved their 'Sagart Aroon'
Is manifest in The Square,
Where a monument to his memory
Says Father Casey will be always there.

As he keeps an eternal vigil,
His hands in blessing raised
Brought Christian values to the town he loved
In so many, many ways.

To the far off corners of the earth,
Abbeyfeale has sent its share
Of priests and nuns who were truely blessed
By Father Casey's Benediction Prayer.
(From the collected poems of Hector Browne R.I.P.)
....................................................
.....................................................................................................................................................'

 
THE HOMES OF ABBEYFEALE

We came out of the mists of time from an ancient mighty race.
The monks who prayed in the Abbey are all gone without a trace.
We wore famine and oppressor, ran them back along the track.
Now we're free as air to relish life with our ceol agus cainnt and the craic


And a slow stroll down the polleen bui where the salmon take the fly,
To hear the songbirds singing in a bright blue summer sky;
Where the hare and the rabbit scamper, while the hawk and swallow sail,
As we press green grass on the return back to our homes in Abbeyfeale.


Care to walk up from the Áth le hAbhann to the age old market square
With that grand kind-hearted champion on the pedestal standing there;
A prayer book in his left hand, with his right hand raised on high,
Giving blessed benediction to the people passing by.


What a joy to ramble round the park as the evening sun goes down,
And see the street lights shine through the trees from all around the town.
Where sports men and women gather to meet and talk or sup
And sing to celebrate our heroes champions' cup.


There's a welcome in the hillsides, a friendly fáilte in the vales,
With a warm céad míle fáilte in our homeland by the Feale.
We'll light a bonfire of our troubles and watch them blaze away,
As we rise a rousing chorus for the Homes of Abbeyfeale.

Jim Dennison – Mí Iuil 2013.
..................................................................................................
LIMERICK 2014

Limerick were too good for Wexford.
Supporters are over the moon.
We played without Dónal O'Grady,
But he will be back very soon.

We have Shane Dowling and Richie McCarthy.
Seamus Hickey, the talk of the town.
Paudie O'Brien was an excellent captain.
Outstanding was battling Paul Browne.

We have Tom Condon from sweet Knockaderry.
Nickey Quaide has a magic camán.
TJ Ryan is a very good manager,
The hero from Garryspillane

And what about Wayne McNamara?
The half-back from scenic Adare.
James Ryan was unbeaten at midfield.
Tom Ryan is a promising player.

We have Graeme Mulcahy and Gavin O'Mahony,
Backed up by the sound David Breen.
Kevin Downes is another good hurler.
Three cheers for the white and the green!

Now here's to the gallant Seán Tobin.
Declan Hannon hits beautiful shots.
Brian Cody's long reign is all over.
The Treaty will master the Cats!
                                                       Seán Ó h-Airtnéide.