A Tribute to Thomas O’Connor

Thomas O’Connor, Glouria (9/09/1959 – 6/07/2016)

tom-o%27connorMy father was an extraordinary man. He led an extraordinary life and had extraordinary ways. He will be missed in a way greater than any words can explain. Since his death on July 6th, our lives have been met with unintelligible loss.
My father will forever be missed.

Thomas Kieran O’Connor was born in Glouria, Lisselton to parents, Patrick and Mary (nee Walsh, Lenamore, Ballylongford) in 1959. A native of Glouria, his love was always for the land and the outdoors. More than nature and the freedom of fresh air, Tom loved his family more than life itself.
Tom grew up with his brother, Connie (RIP) and sisters, Maureen and Eileen. Two other siblings, Jim and Margaret, died in infancy. He attended Coolard National School and then went on to Listowel Technical School for a short time. At a young age Tom went to work, milking cows at Fitzgerald’s, later roofing and then began his role in Kerry Group which lasted for thirty-two years up until he took ill in 2013.
Tom was a hard-working man and always enjoyed the craic with his many friends. It was something he missed when he was on leave and appreciated the kindness and continued presence of his treasured colleagues who visited our home or met up in The Kingdom for a pint or “The Eggstand” as he famously christened it.
Tom always worked the family farm in Glouria and was a man who always favoured a Zetor. He had a 1978 Zetor Crystal 8011 with which he drew bales and brought home the turf from Dirha bog on many occasions. His famous tractor was his old 20 diesel Ferguson on which he had great enjoyment, complete with his straw hat, spreading manure. His most recent and comfortable Zetor 7441 brought him peace as, on some of his lowest days, he went out for a leisurely drive in the locality.

A lover of the simple things in life, Tom always took great satisfaction in what he had and, whether it was a streak of bacon or a Mint Aero, he was content.
Tom met his life-long partner, Jane in 1979 and after a seven-year romance, married in October 1986. They were the definition of best friends and gave marriage true meaning. In both sickness and in health they were inseparable. Patrick was born in 1988, Deirdre in 1995 and twins, Maria and Margaret in 1996. To say Tom was a family man is an understatement. He did all of the things that great fathers do. The light of his life were his grandchildren, Jack and Mollie. Having to spend a lot of time at home, they were a great source of strength to battle his illness. He had an exceptional love for them and they in turn adored him. He loved his faithful friend, Missy also, even though he swore he would never get a dog!
Tom carried himself in a way that others admired. Defeat wasn’t in his vocabulary, never a pessimist, always the optimist. He continued to live life the way he always did. He was ever witty and even humorous as he would make light of a situation with his one-liners. He found a strength that his family admired. His illness will not be what we will dwell on, as it is not what defined him. He always defied the odds. He was small in stature but a giant in every way imaginable. He was brave, exceptional and daring. Most of all he was nothing less than heroic.

Our father was taken from us at the young age of fifty six. The light of our lives is gone. The centre of our world no more. His shoes by the stove, the tractor in the farmyard, an empty bed and a little less laughter. We are grateful for the time shared and the memories will forever live on. We are left with an unconscionable feeling of emptiness and a huge void that nobody will ever fill.

We are proud of our father and glad he has found peace.
(Maria O’Connor on behalf of the O’Connor family)


Walk a little slower Daddy,
said the child so small,
I’m following in your footsteps
and I don’t want to fall,
sometimes your steps are very fast,
sometimes they are hard to see,
so walk a little slower, Daddy,
for you are leading me.
Someday when I am all grown up,
you are what I want to be,
then I will have a little child
who will want to follow me.
I would want to lead just right
and know that I was true,
so walk a little slower, Daddy,
for I must follow you!


The BPM / Maurice Walsh Creative Writing Competition 2016 – Joint Third Place


By Hilda Shanahan Francis, Ballybunnion

“As the rain falls on all fields” Bible
Some where
Some day
A bud slowly opens and the dice is thrown.
Will you taste the red seed of the pomegranate?
Or the bitter seed of the lemon
Will the bud of love open
The bud of romance
The bud of friendship
And as hamlet says
The friends thou hast, and their adoption tried
Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel.
The bud of courage
The bud of evil
The bud of youth
The tragedy of Erasmus students
Bus crash
Between Barcelona and Valencia
The bud blossoms
And you have found it all
Love, friendship the vibrancy of life
Alas soon –to soon
The blossom withers
Will you face the challenge?
Or run away
To destiny
But the bud that opens
As the bud opens
Afar, afar.
Is it a whisper or a roar you hear?
Only you have the answer
Taste the bud
The cup
The trophy of life
It is yours to take

Ballydonoghue’s Kerry Minors 1940-2013 By Jim Finnerty, Glouria

Ballydonoghue’s Kerry Minors 1940-2013 By Jim Finnerty, Glouria

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

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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.)

Half-Forgotten Words and Phrases Compiled by Jim Finnerty, Glouria

Half-Forgotten Words and Phrases Compiled by Jim Finnerty, Glouria

047Shank’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

Animals of World War 1

One feature of World War 1 that the Lisselton soldiers would have been familiar with was the use of animals. Both sides used animals and birds in the war effort. Indeed the supply of horses was one of the first steps America took to get involved in the war, long before formally becoming an ally.Approximately nine million people died during the war, but it is estimated that over eight million horses, mules and donkeys died in the war on both sides.The early days of the campaigns saw the old fashioned cavalry charges, as was the case at the Battle of Mons in August 1914. But as trench warfare became the norm, and activity went below ground and slowed up, horses and mules were used for transport. By the time the battle of the Somme was fought in 1916, horses were so important for moving material that one horse, “Jimmy the Horse”, was promoted to sergeant after he had been killed in action!

The demotion to carrier status from cavalry status was not popular among the soldiers who had prided themselves as elite horsemen. Having to dismount and dig trenches was demoralising and added to the misery of the war, which already included sleep deprivation and loneliness. The humble donkey made his contribution too. In Gallipoli, where James Carr of Kilgarvan and PatrickWalsh of Tullamore lost their lives, and where Michael Enright of Dromerin served and was wounded, “Duffy the Donkey” became a hero when he was used to transport wounded soldiers from the bloody battlefield. As the allies withdrew from Gallipoli, five hundred mules were killed as they could not be transported quickly enough and would not be left behind alive for the benefit of the Turks. Similarly, Canadian horses were sold off for meat in France after the war because of the difficulty of shipping them back home.

Pigeons were used to carry messages during the war, and stories abound about their effectiveness. Their speed was said to be up to sixty miles an hour. German snipers were ordered to shoot these pigeons out of the sky. It is related that one such bird was wounded in the air with an important message from one trench to another but arrived alive and was responsible for saving soldiers’ lives. Falcons were later sent into action to obstruct the enemy pigeons.

Cats were also used during the war to detect gas in the trenches but also to help to distress the troops, while dogs were trained to carry messages. Some dogs were sent out with explosives attached into the enemy lines. Dogs also were promoted to officer status after deeds of valour, as was the case of a Canadian dog which held a higher rank than his owner!
Perhaps the most amazing use of animals was the use of glow-worms. The tiny beings were gathered in bottles and were utilised to light up the dark trenches in the absence of other sources of light. Books and letters could be read and maps deciphered with the help of these worms.
Towards the end of the war in 1918, when the Germans were retreating and the Allies could leave their trenches, the cavalry regained their old status in some areas and horses galloped again in the traditional charge. Success was not still guaranteed, for example one hundred horses were killed in Clateau-Cambresis (check spelling) just as the war was ending.

The role of animals to World War 1 was not recognised until quite recently when a monument was erected in London to mark their contribution. The film and play “Warhorse” has helped also to highlight the importance of animals in the four years of the war that did not end all wars.

If There’s One Thing…! Cranky Dick speaks his mind again

If There’s One Thing…! Cranky Dick speaks his mind again

If there’s one thing that irritates my bladder it’s when I hear young fellas talking about cooking and baking! Instead of hearing lusty young stallions talking about women below at the Cross, all I hear is one saying to the other “Oh, I use a sprinkle of farta-varta when I marinate the Spanish onions and it gives a lovely flavour to the sirloin!” I saw a fella on the tv the other evening winning the chef of the year competition with a concoction that looked like a doc leaf on a fresh cowdung! In the name of God and the baby in the manger without pyjamas, what kind of talk is that for young men to be going on with! Did your grandfather ever marinate the mangles! Did he carmelise the kale! Sure cooking is women’s work anyway!

In my day, men ate food like hairy bacon and greyhound cabbage with pandy and lashings of salt and butter…but they never talked about it! Whose idea was it to turn young men into lady-boys with their “I did a really nice dish last night with a lovely bit of stuff I bought over the net and I made added the wow factor with a dash of urinated kagasaki”.
Jesus, it’s enough to give one the runs!
Talking about the runs, when I was a young caffler above in the Hill, there was a neighbouring woman called Nora and her husband Patsy. Patsy had the grass of one cow and the water for a hundred! Now, it was the custom for Nora to make gruel for her Patsy once a week. What’s gruel I hear the young fellas asking! Well, gruel was a man’s food, and we didn’t go around boasting about making it. No, we ate it and farted and that was that! Gruel was yella meal boiled with milk and a dash of…there I am talking about cooking and I won’t do that now!
Anyway, around the time of night that Din Joe was finishing his dancing show “Take The Floor” on the radio, Patsy would say, looking out the dark sash window as if talking to nobody in particular, “I’d like a bit of gruel”. Nora would oblige. Anything for a bit of peace, and sure women are great that way. He would ate it down and put it inside his shirt and let out a few burps to show it was winding its way to the nether regions. One particular winter, after a few gruel sessions, Nora began to notice that Patsy would get an oul gleam in his eye and get a rosy colour in his cheeks and become very frisky. She knew that men as they got older got notions that went against a woman’s logic. And she, being a woman, decided to do something about it.
Things rested so until the next night, about a week later, when “Take The Floor” finished. Patsy looked out the dark sash window and declared to the world that he would like a bit of gruel. Nora smiled (be careful when a woman smiles…she is sucking your blood) and rose without a word to do as her husband requested. (Be careful when a woman does as you ask, it comes at a heavy price!)
The poor oul husband smiled to himself at his power in the world. His heart lifted when he thought of the gruel going down like sweet súlach and then a bit of the other thing later. A double thrill that made him believe in a male God in heaven and a woman’s place on earth.
So she got the ingredients from the press under the dresser and scooped a crúiscín of fresh milk from the white enamel bucket that was covered with an old pillow case. She got the muller and put it on the coals and did her female magic. As the concoction began to simmer, she turned to Patsy as he finished picking a ball of hardened snot from his left nostril and said “You’d better have an oul look at the heifer out in the cow-house. I’d say her time is up”.

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Reluctantly he put on his turned-down Wellingtons and lit the carbide lamp and headed out. He was putty in her hands. She had the power of the food. The minute he was gone, the real woman set to work. What did the bitch do but take down the tin of Andrews from behind the tea canister in the dresser and put in three big spoons of it in the gruel. Now if you don’t know what Andrews is, ask your granny. She did it with a light in her eye like Eve after eating God’s apple in the Garden. You can’t be up to women! They get a great thrill out of avoiding sex!
When Patsy came in and settled down to the gruel and emitted the kind of sound that a young bog-pony makes when he smells a mare of any description a mile away in the prevailing wind. He took a big spoon of it. He let it slide down his throat, allowing it to percolate the hinterland at will with a lateral thrill. He sensed that it had a richer texture than ever. It seemed full of jizz. He put it down to the expectations he had for later, and hadn’t he noticed a curious light in her eye as she served him the gruel in the blue bowl. “T’anam on diabhal,” he thought to himself, “she still has that oul grá for me and she isn’t having any herself. She is giving it all to me!”
He finished the rest of the gruel and scraped the arse of the muller in a manly way just to get her going more. He had that Fifteenth of August feeling from his youth as he took out his false teeth and put them safely into the old snuff box that his beloved grandmother used to get her thrills from.
Well, when they got to bed, he felt his expectations building up as he let his galloses drop and soon he felt the pounding of her heart against his bare chest. He had built up a head of steam and was ploughing a good furrow when suddenly he felt a small but foreign rumbling in the pit of his stomach. He ignored it for a while in his state of fiery desire, but then quite suddenly it became a bubbling volcano! Well as quick as you could say gruel, he pulled up his drawers and shot out of the bed like a rocket and hit the west haggard firing on all cylinders! Oul John across the fields said the next day that he heard a fierce thunder that night, but saw no lightening! Neighbours say still that there was a fierce growth of grass in that west haggard the following spring. Patsy’s drawers were never found.
When he came back in, a good tamaillín afterwards, Nora could see that he was the colour of new milk from head to toe. “What’s after happening you at all?” she inquired with a light in her eye that he did not see, and she lying naked on the bed to rub salt in the wound.
“Oh, Nora, I’m afraid my passion for you is too great” he said in a vain attempt to restore his manhood. He buried his head in the bolster as a confused fog enveloped him and he couldn’t make hog, dog nor devil of this life. He fell into a deep sleep where he subconsciously rethought the nature and role of man.
Every night after that Nora would purr like a puisín with a longing, mar dhea, in her thieving eye, while “Take The Floor” was on the old Pye Radio. Then, as the programme ended and the dancing died away, she would almost moan “Would you like a bit of gruel…you know!”
But poor oul Patsy would remember the volcanic rumbling and the quick run out and the long stay abroad and the burning in his tóin and say, in a low voice, “No, a ghrá, I’d sooner say the rosary!”
Of course, some of the boyos now are trying to impress the women with food. Forget it lads. Grub is for eating. Don’t make a religion of the bloody thing. You’ll all end up in the west haggard!
By the way I was going to tell you last year about the craic we used to have at the carnivals. Well, one night in Ballyduff…what! The deadline is gone! Them hoors of ghosts in the Magazine are cutting me off again! If I could stuff them with Nora’s gruel, that would sort them out. That would send the rips out to the west haggard and…