Noel Keane often dreamt of owning a horse when he was a young fellow as he looked out over the mouth of the Shannon from his Kilelton base. His father had been a bookmaker who knew the breeding and ability of horses minutely especially those with a national hunt background and this knowledge and love of horses was passed down to Noel. Noel’s foray into ownership was in the late 1970s when he purchased ‘Yer Man’, a handy sized three-year old bay-coloured horse from Pat Casserly who was training horses at the time in Mullingar in Co Westmeath. Pat’s uncle was Tommy Murphy who lived in Listowel and Pat was a highly successful amateur rider in his day and when he turned to training horses, he was equally successful turning out a steady stream of winners with his most successful charge being ‘Shúil Donn’ who won the Munster National in Limerick.
Pat trained him for a year and a half during which time he ran him in a number of point to points. ‘Yer Man’ finished down the field in his first point to point in Co Meath which disappointed Noel but he improved after that winning three of them before setting foot on a licensed racetrack. The traditional format for national hunt horses on race tracks is to run initially in bumpers, before beginning a career hurdling or jumping over fences. Bumper races are flat races run under National Hunt racing rules in Britain and Ireland with the main idea being that jump horses can gain racing experience on flat conditions of equal length. ‘Yer Man’ ran in a number of these and happened to be second on five separate occasions. “I wondered if he ever would get his head in front, he had ability but a lack of speed over two miles was impeding his attempts at winning. We then decided to run him over three miles and he was second again!”
Andrew McNamara in Croom, Co Limerick was training him at this stage and the natural progression in his horse racing career was to put him over hurdles. The decision was made to run him at Noel’s local meeting, the harvest festival in Listowel in September 1980. Again his luck was out as he was beaten a whisker in a photo finish by ‘Jo Bo’ in the ‘TJ Cross Maiden Hurdle’ and denied the locals of a North Kerry victory. Noel original intention was to purchase a horse that would jump fences and given that ‘Yer Man’ showed real promise in schooling sessions over fences, trainer and owner decided to leave his hurdling career behind and move quickly on to fences.
Jumping fences proved to be ‘Yer Man’s’ forte, he attacked them with relish and became an extremely reliable and safe jumper. Andrew often commented that “you could put a child on his back and they would come back safely after a race”. He ran in Thurles where Noel said that he “won a good race over two and a half miles, which would have been well short of his optimal distance but his class won it for him” 1982 was a good year for him as he won easily in Clonmel, again over two and a half miles and this allowed him to get into the Topham Chase race in Aintree Liverpool in April 1982. This is a Grade 3 National Hunt handicap chase which is open to horses aged five years or older and is run over a distance of two miles and five and a half furlongs. The ‘Topham’ is run over the Grand National fences and “Andrew thought that ‘Yer Man’ would be ideal for the race given that he was such a super jumper. Privately, Andrew wanted to use this race as prep for his main aim, the Grand National in 1983” ‘Yer Man’ stayed on well to finish fourth over a totally inadequate trip.
Andrew was very happy with the run given that he had no real training over the unique fences and proclaimed that “we are on for next year!” The bonus for being placed in the Topham was that he was automatically qualified for the following year’s Grand National. After a summer break, ‘Yer Man’ came back to give Noel one of his highlights from owing the horse when winning the ‘Central Hotel Handicap Chase’ on the Friday of Listowel race week which helped lift the gloom locally of Kerry losing the five in a row in the football. As a prep run for the 1983 Grand National, ‘Yer Man’ ran and won a chase in Tramore with the renowned commentator Ted Walsh as jockey.
Later Racing Career Once the excitement of 1983 had died down, plans immediately switched to the 1984 Grand National. In the early part of the national hunt season, ‘Yer Man’ was targeted at the Kerry Grand National in Listowel. £5,000 had been added to this race’s prize money thereby making it the richest race in Munster. ‘Yer Man’, who was favourite, made a valiant attempt to become the first local winner of this prestigious race as he finished second (again!) beaten four lengths by ‘Royal Appointment’ who was trained by Tommy Carberry. On his previous visit, Tommy had suffered a career ending fall but luck came his way by winning the Guinness Kerry Grand National with his first runner. Royal Appointment was owned by Mrs Paddy White whose husband managed the Mount Brandon and the Grand Hotel in Tralee for many years. Noel remembers that ‘Yer Man’ ran an excellent race and he felt that “he would have gone very close to winning it except for making an uncharacteristic jumping error three fences from the finish which ensured that he hadn’t enough time to recover to reel in ‘Royal Appointment’”. Onwards to Aintree but this time the racing ground had gone completely against the horse. ‘Yer Man’ liked the ground to be really soft, even bottomless so that his staying power could come to the fore. Alas, this wasn’t to be the case and he finished seventeenth at the price of 25/1 but did have the honour of completing safely over the Grand National fences three times in a row, a feat which very few horses achieve. His jockey, Val O’Connell – now a course inspector with the turf club and father of current professional jockey Brian O’Connell – was the jockey for each of these three efforts and considers it one of the highlights of his jockey career and one which gave him the greatest thrill. The plan was to try again for the elusive win in 1985. Andrew and Noel felt the horse had improved with age and were looking forward to having another crack at winning. This time the ground came up ideal for ‘Yer Man’ but unfortunately, he was not present on the day due to having died suddenly from colic. Noel was extremely disappointed with his passing, so disappointed that he could not face purchasing another horse.
The Glory Day
And so dawned the day of the Grand National, 9thApril 1983, the 141st renewal of the greatest steeplechase in the world. Given the scale and profile which the race has today, it is surprising to realise that at that time, it was in danger of losing its lustre. The BBC commentator, Julian Wilson commented that “it was the year in which everyone, both public and professionals alike were asked is the Grand National really worth keeping alive?” However the drama and excitement involved in the race won back the public interest and 1983 is seen as one of the seminal moments in its long history in restoring the race to its previous glory.
‘Yer Man’, now eight years old, had travelled over well to Aintree as he had a real cool unflappable temperament. Noel, Carmel and the two boys Jerry and Kissane travelled over from Shannon as his wonderful neighbours, the Walsh’s, had kindly offered to milk the cows for them. Andrew McNamara had another good horse running in Aintree and had told Noel to “back this horse as he had run well in the Arkle Chase in Cheltenham in March and it would cover your expenses”. However, Noel was not to be steered from the apple of his eye and he had his few bob at 100/1 on the horse the English papers had dubbed “a no hoper”. He wasn’t the only one as most of Ballylongford and the surrounding areas had placed a bet on him attracted by the price and it being a local horse. “Tom Sheehy even brought money from home to place on the horse in the betting ring in Aintree!” For months afterwards strangers would stop Noel in the street telling him that we backed your horse.
Given that he was a resolute stayer, the plan was to hunt him around at the back of the field for the first circuit and keep out of as much trouble as possible. Noel’s first desire was to enjoy the experience but as they went out to the far point of the course for the first time, he was getting a little anxious as he couldn’t pinpoint the horse on the televisions in the stands. “I wasn’t sure if he had fallen as I couldn’t see him anywhere” However, the distinctive colours of orange with black circles, picked by his wife Carmel, suddenly appeared and a wave of relief passed through Noel’s veins. ‘Yer Man’ jumped well over the water jump and “he had a marvellous leap at the tricky Canal Turn” where the horses have to negotiate the fence and turn 90 degrees in the process. On the second circuit ‘Yer Man’ gradually crept closer and closer to the leaders. By Beecher’s Brook, second time round, he was eighth. At the Canal Turn, he was sixth. Five fences from home he was fifth and as he approached the final turn with three fences to jump, he was vying for third with ‘Greasepaint’, a horse who had was to finished second in two Grand Nationals back to back. At the second last, ‘Yer Man’ was bang there in the mix as the ultimate winner ‘Corbiere’ just led over from ‘Yer Man and ‘Greasepaint’ as Noel said to himself “By God he is not too far off”. However, ‘Yer Man’ was an out and out stayer – the great commentator, Michéal O’Hehir said that “he could keep running for seven or eight miles” – but he lacked a finishing turn of foot and from the last fence on, the winner and second outpaced him to the line. Consequently, the gallant ‘Yer Man’ finished third at the huge price of 80/1 beating into fourth ‘Hello Dandy’ who would win the Grand National the following year and beating the fifth placed ‘Grittar’ who had won the Grand National the previous year. Therefore, ‘Yer Man’ was more than holding his own in exalted company. Owner, trainer and jockey were elated with the performance. Andrew thought “we had a winner coming to the second last fence” and Noel wondered how “an ordinary fellow from Kerry could have such a marvellous achievement in his first foray into ownership”. He remembers the pure excitement afterwards in the parade ring and kissing Carmel while “Tommy Broderick from Broderick’s pharmacy in Listowel shouting ‘Up Bally!’” They flew back into Shannon on Sunday but sleep was at a premium as there were big celebrations in Ballylongford as crowds congregated around Danny Carroll’s pub which was a real horsey public house.
In the days and months after the race, Noel replayed the race on the video and to this day he still treasures hearing the dulcet tones of the recently departed Peter O’Sullevan commentating as the race nears completion – “coming to the final fence, ‘Corbiere’ in the lead from ‘Greasepaint’ with ‘Yer Man’ very close up third” As Noel says about ‘Yer Man’ – “a horse of a lifetime and I had the privilege of owning him!”
The seed for love of All Ireland Football Finals was sown in our house with my mother telling us stories about how she stood on an orange box on the Canal End watching Kerry against Down along with 90,000 others in 1960. My earliest visual memory is of watching the 1975 All Ireland at home in the kitchen in Killomeroe. The magic of the unexpected win of the young country boys over the Dubs meant I was hooked. We heard a few days after that match that Connie (Nolan) broke the chair when he ‘landed’ after John Egan scored the first goal. My mother used to record the radio broadcasts on tape and if Kerry won we would enjoy our homemade aural version of the Sunday Game for a few weeks afterwards.
I got the opportunity to travel to my first All Ireland as a teenager in 1984 when I travelled with fellow parishioner Bríd McElligott (Gunsboro) and my sister Anne. I was in Jeremiah Behan’s shop the day before the match and mentioned that we were going to the match by train and weren’t too sure where to go when we got there. “Don’t worry”, said Jerry, ”just follow the crowd.” And we literally did that. Our tickets were for the Canal End and we got all sorts of survival advice for the terrace – get in early, don’t stand behind a barrier in case of a crush, stand in front for back support. We took all advice and were in Croke Park for about a quarter past twelve and had our pick of the terrace. Kerry won (of course!) and the way back to the train station required better navigational skills and we requested directions on a number of occasions. It ended well as Bríd was offered twenty pounds for her crepe cap which she gladly sold before we boarded the train.
1985 and 1986 were also train journeys, passed with interest in the brown legs of Kerry’s half forward Timmy O’Dowd and curiosity as to where he got his tan and other crucial footballing facts! The Sunday Independent with its Bendix Washing Machine advert was the root of this interest. More Canal End experiences followed with early arrival stocked with food and drinks in a rucksack having learnt from the first outing that the start of the minor match to the end of the senior match is a long time.
College attendance in St Patrick’s Training College, Drumcondra and ten years teaching in Dublin brought opportunities to go to the All Ireland annually. The early nineties passed in general with neutral attendance but valuable skills in ticket-sourcing gained. I had a ticket for Hill 16 in 1992 when Clare played Dublin in the semi-final. I had perfected my terrace occupation by this time – in early, confident to be behind a barrier, rucksack full, bladder empty! The Hill is special when Dublin are playing. Near me was a lone Clare supporter who was fully decked out in his county colours, armed with a flag and was attempting to let the Dubs know that they did not own the Hill. From his vantage point he could nearly see down the tunnel between the Canal and the Hogan where the teams came out. When Clare came out onto the field the blue and yellow colours shot into the air and covered both stands and the Canal End and Croke Park was a sea of blue and yellow and the roar indicated that Clare footballers had not been in Croke Park in a while. The man from Clare beside me roared like he had been personally appointed by the county board to do his bit for the team with pride in Clare oozing out of his every pore. He waved his flag wildly while shouting “Come on The Banner, Come on The Banner. Ah Ha! Ah Ha! Where are all the Dubs today? Ah Ha! Come on The Banner!” to which a Dub from up behind us calmly replied “they’re down in Clare robbin’ yer houses!” Don’t remember much about the match after that apart from a Dublin win.
Our turn came again in 1997 and I stuck a green and gold flag on the classroom window of our school on the Navan Road on Dublin’s northside with the words “We’re back!” across it. The principal was a Mayo man and enjoyed the banter. One pupil on seeing the flag remarked to the principal “Sur (sic) someone’s up for Meath”. First lesson that day – county colours.
Moving to early in the new millennium going to the All Ireland became a three day event courtesy of the Celtic Tiger mentality. Friends flying up from Kerry and staying in five star hotels, meals out the night before and taxis galore. Boy how things have slowed down – I’m back to the flask and the sandwiches. Where is that rucksack I used to have?
And now my teenage daughters are hooked and Timmy O’Dowd has become David Moran, John Egan is James O’Donoghue and on we go for another generation with the help of God!
This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Ballydonoghue’s most famous son, Maurice Walsh (1879-1964). Despite the fact that Maurice was the author of fourteen novels along with collections of stories and other works, he is best remembered as the author of “The Quiet Man”, which was the foundation for the iconic 1952 John Ford film with John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara.
But “The Quiet Man” began life as a mere short story in The Saturday Evening Post in the USA on February 11th, 1933 with Shawn Kelvin as the main character. (That was when John Ford first saw it.) Two years later, the story appeared in a collection of stories called “The Green Rushes” and Walsh by then had changed the main character’s name to Paddy Bawn Enright, a real man who worked on the Walsh farm in Ballydonoghue. When the film was released, the name was changed again to Seán Thornton, played by John Wayne.
But Ballydonoghue can feel a little hard done by in the saga of the history of the film. Tourists throng to Cong in Mayo where the film was made, but very few come to Ballydonoghue where Maurice Walsh’s house still stands with a plaque to commemorate the prolific author. Cong initiated a “Quiet Man Festival” some years ago, but our parish has never had such a festival. The local inspiration for the film seems to have been an event at Listowel fair, where a bully refused to pay his sister’s fortune, and where a fight took place between a local farmer, Quiet Jack McElligott and a jobber who tried to cheat him. These events are hardly ever connected with the “Quiet Man”. And what about Paddy Bawn Enright, the real Quiet Man? Shouldn’t tourists be directed to his home townland, to the “small farm on the first warm shoulder of Knockanore Hill” as Walsh described it in the original story! Add to this the fact that the bulk of Walsh’s work is now out of print and that characters like Thomasheen James O’Doran (based on World War 1 veteran Tom O’Gorman from Asdee who worked for the Walsh family) are likely to vanish from the community memory, it looks like a massive Ballydonoghue contribution to literature and to cinematography could vanish forever!
It has to be said that The Maurice Walsh Memorial Committee did excellent work over the years to highlight the career of Maurice Walsh and was responsible in conjunction with Listowel Writers’ Week for the erection of a monument at Lisselton Cross, but references to this monument are scanty on any website devoted to our Maurice.
The Original Story
To help bring the original story back home to where it belonged, the following are the opening paragraphs of “The Quiet Man” as it first appeared in The Saturday Evening Post in the USA in 1933:
‘Shawn Kelvin, a blight young man of twenty, went to the States to seek his fortune. And fifteen years later he returned to his native Kerry, his blithness sobered and his youth dried to the core. And whether he had made his fortune or whether he had not nobody could be knowing for certain. For he was a quiet man, not given to talking about himself and the things he had done. A quiet man, under middle size, with strong shoulders and deep-set blue eyes, below brows darker than his dark hair – that was Shawn Kelvin. One shoulder had a habit of hunching slightly higher than the other, and some folks said it came from a habit he had of shielding his eyes in the glare of an open-hearth furnace in a place called Pittsburgh, while others said it used to be a way he had of guarding his chin that time he was a sort of sparring-partner punching bag at a boxing camp.
Shawn Kelvin came home and found he was the last of the Kelvins and that the farm of his forefathers had added its few acres to the ranch of Big Liam O’Grady of
Moyvalla. Shawn took no action to recover his land, though O’Grady had got it meanly. He had had enough of fighting, and all he wanted now was peace. He quietly went among the old and kindly friends and quietly looked about him for the place and peace he wanted, and when the time came quietly produced the money for a neat, handy small farm on the first warm shoulder of Knockanore Hill below the rolling curves of heather. It was not a big place, but it was in good heart and it got all the sun that was going. And best of all, it suited Shawn to the top notch of contentment, for it held the peace that tuned to his quietness, and it commanded the widest view in all Ireland, vale and mountain and the lifting green plain of the Atlantic Sea…’
(The Magazine asks that readers submit their favourite Maurice Walsh story for the 31st edition to help keep the work of our famous writer alive.)
1940 : Mick Finucane : Munster final, Kerry 1-3 Clare 1-2 but beaten in All Ireland semi-final
1941: Eddie Dowling : first round Munster chp, Kerry beat Cork. Munster final – Kerry 7-5 Waterford 2-1. All Ireland semi-final, Kerry beaten by Roscommon
1949 : Tom Keane : first round Munster chp, Kerry 1-10 Clare 1-6. Munster final, Kerry 0-7 Cork 0-5
1957 : Jer D O’Connor : first round Munster chp, Kerry 3-8 Tipperary 1-11. Munster final, Kerry 1-5 Cork 0-5. All Ireland semi-final, beaten.
1958 : Jer D O’Connor : first round Munster chp, Kerry 3-5 Clare 2-3. Munster semi-final, Kerry 3-6 Cork 1-6. Munster final, Kerry 3-11 Waterford 0-4
1963 : Billy Nolan : first round Munster chp, Kerry 4-20 Limerick 1-0. Munster final, Kerry 0-8 Cork 0-8. Replay, Kerry 0-11 Cork 0-9. All Ireland semi final, ……………………………………………………………………………………….All Ireland final, Kerry 1-10 Westmeath 0-2 (Captain, Tommy O’Hanlon, Tarbert)
1965: Tony Flavin : first round Munster chp, Kerry 1-15 Tipperary 0-4. Munster final, Kerry 3-11 Cork 1-15. All Ireland final, Derry 2-8 Kerry 2-4
1967 : Eamon Kissane and Johnny Bunyan : First round Munster chp, Kerry 4-10 Tipperary 3-11. Munster final, Cork 2-8 Kerry 0-2
1969 : Tom Barry: first round Munster chp, Kerry 3-14 Tipperary 0-3. Munster final, Cork 3-11 Kerry 1-11
1970: Jer Browne : first round Munster chp, Kerry 2-12 Waterford 0-5. Munster final, Kerry 4-9 Cork 1-11. All Ireland semi-final, Kerry won. All Ireland final, Kerry 2-5 Galway 1-8. Replay, Kerry 1-10 Galway 1-11
1973 : Stephen O’Carroll (Causeway) : Munster semi-final, Kerry 0 – 13 Tipperary 2 – 7. Replay, Kerry 0 – 14 Tipperary 0 – 5. Munster final, Kerry 3 – 5 Cork 1 – 13.
1974 : Stephen O’Carroll : Munster semi-final, Kerry 4 – 18 Waterford 0 – 0.
Munster final, Kerry 1 – 6 Cork 0 – 13
1975 : Robert Bunyan (captain) and PJ Houlihan
Munster semi-final, Kerry 6-23 Tipperary 0-5. Munster final, Kerry 3-7 Cork 1-11. All Ireland final, Kerry 1-10 Tyrone 0-4
1976 : Robert Bunyan and PJ Houlihan : first round Munster chp, Kerry 4-18 New York 1-3. Munster semi-final, Kerry 3-10 Waterford 3-7. Munster final, Cork 0-10 Kerry 1-5
1977 : Nix Riordan : Munster semi-final, Kerry 2-8 Limerick 2-7. Munster final, Cork 1-7 Kerry 1-3 1978 : Nix Riordan : Munster semi-final, Kerry 1-13 Tipperary 1-7. Munster final, Kerry 1-4 Cork 0-6. All Ireland semi-final, beaten……………………………………………….
1979 : Pa Foley (Tarbert) : Munster semi-final, Kerry 1 – 11 Clare 0 – 7. Munster final, Kerry 3 – 6 Cork 2 – 9. Replay, Kerry 1 – 11 Cork 1 – 5. All Ireland semi-final, won. All Ireland final, Dublin 0 – 10 Kerry 1 – 6
1980 : Micheál Kissane and Dinno Dowling : first round Munster chp, Kerry 5-15 Waterford 0-3. Munster semi-final, Kerry 4-8 Tipperary 3-9. Munster final, Kerry 1-12 Cork 1-10. Beat Meath in All Ireland semi final. All Ireland final, Kerry 3-12 Derry 0-11
1981 : Kieran Walsh and Micheál Kissane : first round Munster chp, Kerry 1-10 Clare 0-3. Semi-final, Kerry 3-15 Limerick 3-4. Munster final, Kerry 1-5 Cork 0-9
1982 : Jim O’Donnell : Munster final, Kerry 1-11 Cork 0-5. All Ireland semi-final, won.
All Ireland final, Kerry 1-5 Dublin 1-11
1985 : John Mulvihill : first round Munster chp, Kerry 3-6 Clare 1-5. Semi-final, Kerry 3-15 Limerick 3-4. Munster final, Cork 1-8 Kerry 0-4. Special league medal when Kerry beat Tipperary 1-8 to 0-2
1988 : Liam O’Flaherty : first round Munster chp, Kerry 1-15 Limerick 1-1. Munster semi-final, Kerry 2-16 Waterford 1-3. Munster final, Kerry 1-8 Cork 0-10. All Ireland final, Kerry 2-5 Dublin 0-5
1989 : William O’Donnell : first round Munster chp, Kerry 2-11 Waterford 0-6. Munster final, Kerry 2-10 Cork 2-9. All Ireland semi-final, beaten
1990 : first round Munster chp, Kerry 2-13 Tipperary 2-5. Munster semi-final, Kerry 6-11 Clare 0-9. Munster final, Kerry 2-11 Cork 0-3. All Ireland final, Meath 2-11 Kerry 2-9
2003 : Martin O’Mahony : first round Munster chp, Kerry 2-13 Tipperary 1-7. Second round, Kerry 3-10 Limerick 2-5. Third round, Kerry 0-21 Waterford 1-9. Fourth round, Kerry 1-11 Cork 2-12. Fifth round, Kerry 1-10 Clare 0-4. Munster final, Kerry 1-14 Cork 0-10. All Ireland semi-final, Kerry 2-10 Laois 2-15
2004 : Colin O’Mahony : first round Munster chp, Kerry 1-10 Clare 0-4. Munster semi-final, Kerry 1-13 Tipperary 1-5. Munster final, Kerry 0-9 Cork 0-9. Replay, Kerry 0-13 Cork 1-7. All Ireland semi-final, Kerry 1-10 Limerick 1-8. All Ireland final, Kerry 0-10 Tipperary 0-12
2005 : Colin O’Mahony : first round Munster chp, Kerry 2-16 Limerick 1-7. Munster semi-final, Kerry 1-17 Clare 2-6. Munster final, Cork 3-8 Kerry 1-11. All Ireland qtr final, Kerry 0-14 Laois 1-4. All Ireland semi-final, Kerry 0-14 Mayo 1-12.
2011 : Diarmuid Behan : Munster quarter-final, Kerry 4-16 Waterford 0-6. Semi-final, Kerry 3-8 Tipperary 2-12
2013 : Darragh O’Shea : first round Munster chp, Kerry 2-10 Cork 2-10. Replay , Kerry 0-10 Cork 3-6. Munster qtr final , Kerry 0-15 Clare 0-9. Munster semi, Kerry 1-15 Waterford 1-6. Munster final, Kerry 0-15 Tipperary 0-10. All Ireland qtr-final, Kerry 1-12, Tyrone 0-17 (after extra time)
(If any reader has any comments or memories of Ballydonoghue’s minor stars, please contact the Magazine.)
Shank’s mare – On foot
Griddle – A circular flat cast iron disc used for baking bread
Brand – Three-legged stool used for putting griddle on
Winds – Cocks of hay
Raker – Farm machine pulled by a horse for clean raking of meadows of hay
Side delivery – Farm machine pulled by a horse, used for turning or the rowing-in of hay
Mangolds – A root fodder for animal feed
Haveler/Tumbler – Machine pulled by a horse for collecting hay for wynd-making
Haycar – A flat-bodied car for drawing wynds of hay
Sleán – A spade-like implement used for turf-cutting
Pulper – Hand operated machine for pulping turnips and mangolds
Thongs/Fongs – Shoes laces made from leather
Tilly-lamp – Paraffin lamp in widespread use before the rural electrification scheme was introduced
Thatch – Straw/reed used for covering houses before slates and tiles became popular
Scallop – made from willow and used to secure thatch to the roof
Common car – Horse or donkey’s car with iron-band wheels
The Púca – A ghost
The Boody Man – A fictitious man used to scare children
Banshee – A wailing cry, usually heard before a death
Wireless – Radio
Time-piece – Clock or watch
Carabunkle – A boil-like lump or sore
Sciortán – Small blood-sucking insect that attaches itself to the most tender part of the body!
Pointers – Triangular-shaped bread made from fine maize meal, better known as “yellow meal”
Pandy – Mashed potatoes
Skillet – Small cast iron pot used in an open fire
Stampey or Boxty – Cake made from potatoes and flour
High Nelly – Bicycle
Ciotóg – Left-handed/footed
The yellow pole – A sign indicating that one is approaching a school
Drain pipes – narrow-legged trousers
Winkle pickers – Pointed-toe shoes popular in the 60s
Hob nails – Boots with soles lined with studs and tips
Panny – A tin cup
Muller – Saucepan
The Stripper – The cow whose milk was used for the house
Gligín – A fool or an idiot
In a pucker – Not knowing what to do
A Balbhán – A person who speaks indistinctly
Half or full tierce – Barrel of porter
Firkin – Nine gallons of porter or ale
A Medium (pronounced Meeghum) – A glass or half pint of porter or ale
A Pony – A wine glass full of porter/half glass of porter
The Convey – Escorting a girl home after a dance
Dexter – Small breed of cow
Dexta – Ford tractor
The New Line – The main road linking Listowel to Ballybunion
The Bonham – Term commonly used for the “ace of hearts” in card-playing
Station Mass – Mass held in each townland of the parish twice a year (spring and autumn stations)
Losset – Wooden implement used in baking
Landrace – Breed of pigs
Rinso – Washing powder
Gruel – Maize meal boiled in milk