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New Lyreacrompane & District Journal
The 11th issue of the Lyreacrompane & District
Journal with 40,000 words and 140 photos continues to bring the
story of Lyreacrompane, past and present, to a wide readership. We
are delighted that we did not have to seek advertising, in these
difficult times, from local businesses to fund this issue as we
had sufficient resources from sales of the last Journal We wish
thank all those who contributed articles and old photos. In this
issue the articles are wide-ranging as usual including accounts of
old forges and rural shops, the Lyre NS reunion, an account of the
War of Independence by a Duagh volunteer, the strange occurrences
on the Local Election canvas, the story of the Irish Rambling
House, an article written by John B thirty five years ago, an
account of what Bill Clinton said to the editor! and further
researched material on Lucy Ann Thompson, the agent of the
landlord of Lyreacrompane. We hope people will make a special
effort to ensure it gets to our exiles. If anyone has difficulty
securing a copy they can call 068 48353”.
Articles and photos etc. for Journal No 12 should be sent to
In particular we are hopeful that Lyre exiles will use the net to
Journals, including some
back issues, can
be ordered from the following address
- The Lyreacrompane &
- c/o Kay O’Leary
- Lyreacrompane Co. Kerry.
The price of the
Lyreacrompane & District Journal incl. P&P is as follows;
Britain £12 Stg, USA $18, Australia $23, New Zealand $25
Article from the Lyreacrompane & District Journal
Gunshots in Dromada – Protest in
Researched by Joe Harrington
Thomas Fitzgerald, of Lyracrumpane, was charged in custody with,
on the 30th September 1913, at Dromadamore, unlawfully firing gun
shots into the dwelling house of Patrick Moloney with intent to
kill. Sergent Duignan, Lyre, deposed to arresting the prisoner on
the above charge, but as he had not, after making due enquiries,
ascertained any information to connect him with the offence. Mr A
Walsh, DI asked his worships to discharge the prisoner which they
Three weeks after this incident a public meeting “of very large
dimensions” was held in Duagh. According to the Kerry Sentinel of
October 25, 1913, its purpose was to condemn “an outrage of a most
unusual and, at the same time, diabolical character which was
perpetrated at Lyrecrum-pane.” The outrage, which aroused so much
horror and indignation, was as described above, the firing of a
shot through the window of Patrick Moloney’s house. Patrick was a
Rural District Councillor and his house was being used by Rev. Fr.
J Beasley, P.P., to say Mass in the absence of a chapel in the
area. The Glen Schoolhouse, which had been used for Mass, had
closed as a school two years previously and Lyre’s new church
would not be open until the following year - 1914.
The public meeting was organised by the Duagh Branch of the
Ancient Order of Hibernians (the fourth largest branch in the
country). After last Mass the whole congregation marched in
procession to a specially built platform at the top of the village
which was bedecked with national emblems. They were led by the
“splendid” Fife and Drum band of the Ancient Order which was
conducted by instructor, Mr. Salmon.
The Kerry Sentinel lists about one hundred notables on or around
the platform apart from the general public. These included Rural
District Council members F.C. O’Keefe, J.J. Sheehy, P Moloney and
T. Relihan. National Teachers present were T. Molyneaux (Lyre), J.
Mahony, Ed Stack, J. McCarthy and J Carey. The paper went on to
relate how the arrival of Rev Fr Beasley “was the signal for a
long continued round of applause by the people who insisted in
repeating it again and again”. Amidst enthusiastic cheers Fr
Beasley addressed the gathering as follows.
“My dear people, I thank you for inviting me here today… to
preside over this large and important meeting… in order to protest
against an outrage that has shocked and pained the people of the
parish. If there is one thing more than another for which Irish
men are remarkable and for which they may be pardoned in taking a
legitimate pride it is for being kind and neighbourly (hear,
hear). You all know how much our kind hearted friend, Mr Moloney,
is respected for these qualities that go to make a good Irishman.
He is popular without seeking popularity (cheers for Mr Moloney).
“It is an outrage, not against him alone, but against the whole
community, especially against the good people of that part of the
parish where it was committed (hear, hear). The outrage is blacker
and more painful from a religious point of view. Here is a house
which should be particularly sacred to every Catholic who loves
his Faith. In it Sunday Mass was celebrated for the people of the
district… The Mass is the great sacrifice of the New Law, the
bedrock of our faith. It was the love for the Mass that made the
Catholics of our country face privations and persecutions of every
kind in the Penal days (hear, hear). They gathered around the
priest at sacred spots in the mountains and glens and while he
offered up the Holy Sacrifice they knelt down in humble adoration
around the altar.
“What would those who have gone before us say if they were alive
today of an outrage at a house in the mountains of a parish in
which Mass was celebrated for the people? Could they imagine how
anyone could be so lost, so dead to the fear of God and to the
reverence due to Him, as to commit such a crime? If such an
outrage was committed in France at the bidding of a French
infidel, what would be your horror? How much worse is it not when
committed at home by persons who style themselves Christians?
“My dear people, we would be unworthy descendents of our catholic
forefathers… if we did not condemn and repudiate this outrage in
the strongest language at our command (hear, hear). While we
deplore and condemn it, let us be merciful, let us hope and pray
that who ever has given way to the temptation of the devil as to
perpetrate it will repent and resolve never again to be guilty of
such a cowardly and disgraceful deed (cheers).
“We are on the eve of a great triumph for our country, victory is
almost in view, the government of the country will be soon, please
God, in the hands of the people of Ireland (loud cheers). Let us
show our fitness for it, and that we are worthy of it, by our
respect for God, for our neighbours, and for everything that would
be to the credit of our race at home and abroad (loud cheers).
“The eyes of the world are on us at present, we are still on our
trial, let us show that we are not what the enemies of our country
represent us to be, but that we are patriotic, just,
straight-forward, honourable men (cheers). It is righteous men who
shall make our land a nation once again (cheers). Let us feel a
pride in our native county, the good old Kingdom, and when Home
Rule comes let us be able to prove that amidst all the flags that
shall be unfurled the flag of Kerry shall be unstained and
unsullied” (prolonged cheers).
Mr F.C. O’Keefe, President of the Duagh Ancient Order of
Hibernians, then proposed the following resolution :- “That we,
the people of Duagh, in public meeting assembled, desire to
express in the strongest possible manner our condemnation and
abhorrence of the outrage committed at a house in the parish at
which the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is celebrated on Sundays for
the parishioners and which is occupied by a gentleman who has
earned and enjoys the respect of those around him; that we are
sure the conduct of the miscreant or miscreants has met with no
sympathy and we trust this district will never again be disgraces
by such a foul deed? (hear, hear).
Mr O’Keeffe paid tribute to Mr Moloney into whose house the shots
were fired and said that “Personally and from a Nationalist point
of view there was no better or truer Irishman.” He wound up what
was described as an eloquent speech by assuring the respected Rev
FR. Beasley that he had the full and practical sympathy of the
whole community with him (loud applause).
Mr James O’Sullivan, Trien, also condemned the outrage at “black”
Lyre. Mr J.J. Sheehy seconded the resolution which was passed
Mr W.L. Fitzgerald, Listowel UDC, who had a prominent place in the
platform, addressed the crowd. “I am reminded of the part our
clergy played when the cloud of sorrow was hanging over the land
in Wexford, when Father Murphy let his gallant pikemen who :-
Fought like tigers brought to bay,
And Wexford proved her promise well,
In many a bloody fray (loud cheers).
“Fr Murphy,” continued Mr Fitzgerald, “was the guide, philosopher
and friend of his people and thus gained their undying affection
and the reception which you extended here to Fr Beasley today and
the enthusiasm which pervades this assemblage of all that is good
and noble in the parish are signal signs of the deep regard and
affection in which you hold your beloved pastor”. (loud cheers for
Fr Beasley brought the meeting to a close by thanking the Ancient
Order of Hibernians. “The Hibernians are undoubtedly a power in
the country and a terror to the enemies of Ireland (cheers). In
using their deservedly great power to check and stamp out crime,
no matter from what quarter it comes, they are only following the
traditions of their order (cheers).
“Gentlemen, in that way they are serving the best interests of
Ireland (hear, hear) and helping us to prove that no race or
people are better fitted to govern themselves than the people of
Ireland (loud and long continued applause).”
When the assembly dispersed the band returned to the AOH hall
where, the Sentinel reported,” a most pleasant evening was spent
by the members and invited friends.”
Article from the Lyreacrompane & District Journal
The Spur I recall
Even though I lived across the river I'm not sure what the word
Spur means. Even in the various dictionaries there seems to be
divergence of views but it appears that the word Spur means a
piece of land projecting from a mountain.
Spur means many things to many people, but as one from across the
river I remember it as a vibrant place, its neat houses inhabited
by hospitable people. Sadly, those days are but a distant memory.
To day an eerie silence broken only by the gentle flow of the
Clahane river pervades the scene, and one is forcibly reminded of
happier times when the place was so alive.
It might be a friendly wave from Tom Naughton and his wife Mary
Doody or perhaps a chat at the gate with Jack Costelloe. Strolling
on you will exchange greetings with Maggie Walshe and Nora
Kelliher. A few paces on you’re sure to meet Kateen Lynch and
Johnny Mac. On your travels through Spur one thing is inevitable
and that’s a meeting with its most colourful character Paddy
Kirby, affectionately called "Keerby. We will have more about "Keerby
"and the other residents as the story progresses.
To have grown up in a care free environment on the banks of the
Spur river listening to the lark soaring overhead and the cuckoo
on a distant branch was great. The tranquillity to be felt and
enjoyed there would enrich anybody's spirit.
Love on it’s banks.
It was on its verdant banks as a pre-teenager I found romance. A
group from Clahane used Spur as a short-cut to and from Lyre
school. Among them was Joe Quille. Joe and I were classmates from
day one all the way through school. I suppose at that age
attention to our books should have been our primary objective, and
it was, but we found time too for youthful romance. This often
came at a price and more than once Joe and some of the other boys
were caught in the girl's playground which earned them three or
four slaps from the very stern Master O’Sullivan. On another
occasion Billy Buckley, our classmate, became the innocent victim.
Billy often acted as "Postman" delivering notes in class from Joe
and Tom Barry to myself and Kathleen Moriarty RIP. On this
particular day the Master pounced and intercepted “The Postman”
and the “post " There was hell to pay with the unfortunate Billy
being an innocent victim of our love affairs.
The teacher's that followed Master O’Sullivan, Michael Lynch,
Rathea, and Leo Stack, Duagh, were more tolerant of "young love,"
And while their mission was to make us learn, they would turn a
"blind eye” to any extra curriculum activities.
Eventually came the end of our school days. A joyous occasion to
be sure, yet tinged with sadness too, for the friends made during
your school days will always be cherished.
In a very short time after our school days were over, Joe and I
resumed our affair. He had gone to work in Tralee, but on visits
home we would often meet at another Spur landmark, ‘Neddy's
Steps’. In another era Neddy O’Connor lived at the edge of one of
Mikey Nash's fields by the river. He had the use of only one hand,
but it was he who put the stepping stones in the river where they
remain to this day despite the best efforts of the floods of the
Clahane river. The stones weighed up to eight hundred weight.
As I’ve said "Neddy’s Steps" was sometimes the meeting place
between Joe and I. Later it was romance on the double, with my
sister Mamie and Joe's brother Christy joining us. They were
eventually married and sadly in 1984 Christy was bereaved by the
death of his beloved Mamie R.I.P.
Joe and I were married in Duagh on February 11th, 1965 and to
think it all began on the verdant banks of Spur all those years
ago. This coming February we will, DV, be celebrating our 42nd.
wedding anniversary, as will my brother Jerry who married Tersea
Lynch, Maugha the same day.
I am supposed to be writing the story of Spur, but as you have
noted Spur and romance have been intrinsically linked. Coming from
Clahane, the first house you met was Tom Naughton and his wife
Mary Doody. They had three daughters and a son. Nearby was Ellie
Mary and her husband Timmy Archer. Their daughter Margaret is now
living in Limerick City with her husband Mattie Morris and their
family. Jack Costelloe was Ellie Mary's step father. He was
married to Mary Leary who came from Ardrahan, Ardfert. Both
Naughtons and Jack Costelloes houses were thatched and were always
in pristine condition - a credit to the occupiers. Thatching then
was quite an art and no better men to do an expert job than Tom
Naughton and Jack Costelloe. On and across the river was the "New
House". Lizzie Costelloe (nee Walshe.) lived here with her two
daughters Maggie and Nora, and her grand daughters Peggie Walshe
and Kitty Kelliher. Both Peggie and Kitty now live in Listowel.
The "New House” and indeed Elly Marys were great places for music
and often a dance, particularly on a Sunday afternoon. Even though
the Gramophone was invented by Emile Berliner, a German immigrant
living in Washington in September 1887, it was still in its
infancy around Lyre and in Ireland generally in the 1930s and 40s.
Anyway the gramophone was the main source of entertainment in
those far off days at the "New House "and Elly Marys. Were these
good people to return now how they would marvel at all the
different gadgets we have - the CD and cassette player, the mini
disc player, the DVD recorder , the MP3 and of course the personal
computer in all its variations.
The next port of call would be to Kateen Lynch who lived at the "Joinings"
where the Clahane river meets Gloshneore with her husband John
McElligott, "Johnny Mac". Johnny originally came from Kilflynn.
Kateen and Johnny were people that it was a privilege to know.
Kateen never called my brother Jerry anything only "Darby" .If I
or Mamie were visiting she'd ask where is Darby? And she would
have a good reason for the question. In her garden she had a
bountiful supply of gooseberries and crab apples and she
suspected, often with good reason that Jerry was on a raiding
mission. Hence the question –“where is Darby?”. But herself and
Johnny were people whose likes we shall not look upon again.
Keerby’s ghost stories
The story of Spur would not be complete without the one and only
Paddy Kirby, who with his wife Hannie and a lovely family lived in
a house opposite the well in Dillane's Inch. The stories and yarns
about Paddy are legion, and he was a good man to tell a yarn
himself often embellished as only Paddy could. Our house was,
invariably, the meeting place in the long winter nights and Paddy
was one of the many neighbours that would drop in. Stories were
told about ghosts, fairies, piseogs and haunted houses. We heard
about Jackie the Lantern and how he made people go astray in
fields at night. People related how they went in a gap at night
and could not find their way out, even though they knew the fields
We listened to these stories from Paddy and from others. We were
young at the time and to say we were scared would be putting it
mildly. When we would be going to bed Mamie would insist on
looking under the bed. I'm not sure what she expected to find
there but to tell the truth I was just as scared. There was no
electricity in those times and the darkness added to the fear.
Looking back then on this sentimental journey through Spur and its
great people reminds us that to know them was a unique privilege.
They enriched our lives. In spite of the hardships of the era, the
low prices for produce, the lack of amenities, the sheer volume of
hard work, they were satisfied with their lot. The rearing of
their families and their unshakeable faith were their priorities.
Articles from the Lyreacrompane & District Journal
WHEN RADIO CAME TO LYRE
BY JOE QUILLE
Technology is constantly up dating to bring the latest in home
entertainment to a consumer society ever eager to have the most
novel, trendiest, and latest gadgets on the market. In over a
hundred years since Marconi received the first Trans-Atlantic
radio transmission in 1901, we have come via the wireless,
gramophone, television, video, cassette recorder, compact disc,
DVD. to the personal computer in all its variations.
In an Island Nation embarking as an independent state the most
beneficial medium in terms of news, information, sport, culture
and education has undoubtedly been radio since the establishment
of 2RN. (Radio Eireann in l926).
The earliest form of radio was the crystal set, which was around
in the 1920s, but there were not many in Ireland. In the early
1930’s about 60% of homes in the USA owned radios. A subsequent
development of a technique called "Frequency Modulation" (FM)
which virtually eliminated "static" interference from electrical
machinery and thundrey weather made radio more popular with the
In Ireland with the completion of the Shannon Scheme at
Ardnacrusha in the early 1930's most of the towns and villages had
the benefits of first time electricity. However it would be
another 20 years before places like Lyre would come to appreciate
the benefits of electricity under the ESB Rural Electrification
Scheme in the 1950's.
THE WET BATTERY
The interim radio solution was the wireless, so called because
with no electricity in the countryside there was no electric
cables and plugs to power the radio. Power was provided by a
combined "dry" and "wet" battery source connected to the wireless
set. The dry battery carrying 120 volts was either a Winner or
Drydex and measuring 9”x 6”x 3" and was connected permanently to
the set. The wet battery was an upright clear glass container
approximately 8" high x 4" square which was filled with acid. A
black and red terminal on the top made the positive and negative
connections to power the wireless in tandem with the dry battery.
A metal carrying handle enabled the owner to walk home with the
battery because it would have been too dangerous to carry on a
bicycle because of the acid.
In the week coming up to the Sunday the wireless was used
sparingly, switched on only for the news and weather forecast for
fear the charge would run out during an important match. This was
a time when Kerry contested five of the six All- Ireland finals
between 1936 and 1942 winning four.
THE SUNDAY GAME.
My first recollection of an All Ireland final was at the home of
Sonny Doran's with my brothers and our neighbours the Moriarty’s.
It was the 1946 final between Roscommon and Kerry and what
memories that game and the subsequent replay which Kerry won would
evoke. Players who then were household names includes the
fair-haired Jimmy Murray and his brother Phelim, Bill Carlos,
Fallen Nerney and Kevin Lough for Roscommon. Paddy Bawn, Paddy
Kennedy, Joe Keohane and Gegga O’Connor for the Kingdom.
Another house we frequented for the match on Sunday was Pat
Gleason’s (now Falvey’s). One of the abiding memories I have of
that era is the kindness shown to us at all times by Pat Gleeson
and Sonny and Dan Doran, gentlemen one and all.
Everybody was looking forward to the 1947 football final between
Kerry and Cavan. It was being broadcast live on a Sunday evening
from the Polo Grounds in New York and would feature all the big
names in football. Micheál O’Hehir's memorable commentary made
radio the new image of the age and established the medium of sport
and entertainment. Born of Clare parents, he grew up in Dublin and
this gave rise to the perception (rightly or wrongly) that when it
came to football he was biased against Kerry. None however could
question his ability to communicate the atmosphere, tension and
excitement of the big match day.
That 1947 final from the Polo Grounds would feature all the big
names, Paddy Kennedy, Danno Keeffe, Eddie Walsh and Eddie Dowling
of Kerry. John Joe Reilly, PJ Duke, Simon Deignan, Mick Higgins
and the incompar- able Peter Donoghue of Cavan.
In those days Trans-Atlantic Broadcasts were somewhat unusual and
even mysterious. In fact, this lent enhancement to the whole day.
But there were problems too. The line which carried the broadcast
across the Atlantic to Radio Eireann had been booked to 5PM New
York time and now it was just a minute to 5 and there was still a
good five minutes left in the game. Writing about it afterwards
Micheál said "A dreadful thought crossed my mind. “What if
somebody in a control room in New York just checked a piece of
paper which said the Irish booking ends at five o clock and
disconnected". Micheál begged on air for "five minuets more" and
kept going as Cavan went on to win 2-11 to 2-7. He did not know
whether his pleas were being answered. However, they were, and the
closing stages of that historic match were heard by thousands of
listeners in Ireland, including the Quille and Moriarty brothers
courtesy of our gracious host Pat Gleeson.
A House of Politics
Another great radio house in those days was Jerry Longs. Jerry,
who would subsequently become my Father-in-law, was an avid Fianna
Fail man being Chairman of the Lyre Cumann and woe-be-tide you if
you harboured any flirtation with the opposition. It sure was a
great place to be on the night of an election count. The two big
names in politics at the time were Thomas McEllistrim and Dan
Spring. Both of course would be elected, but who would top the
poll would be the question, invariably, it would be Tommy Mac and
the celebrations led by Jerry himself would be memorable.
Different houses in many parts of the locality had the reputation
of being great radio houses where the neighbours gathered for the
Sunday Game or other specific programmes such as Ballad Makers
Saturday Night or Take the Floor.
In the village of Clahane which comprised five houses -Sheehys,
Quilles, Moriartys, Dillons and Sullivans. The first radio was at
Sheehys and I can still recall many of the programmes which we
looked forward to every week. Every Thursday night Paddy Crosbie
in his inimitable Dublin accent introduced pupils from his ‘School
around the Corner’. When a young lad in relating his funny
incident told how his Father had shot the horse in the hole. Paddy
couldn't be sure whether he was referring to a hole in the ground
or part of the horse's anatomy and couldn't contain himself. It
was spontaneity at its best.
Question time with Joe Linnane was a popular programme keeping
quiz buffs on their toes. Every Saturday evening John O’Donovan’s
back and forth typewriter carriage musically introduced "Dear Sir
or Madam" in which listeners wrote in their comments on various
topics, anything from the price of a postage stamp, the sighting
of the first cuckoo, to the state of the nation. A fiver was
awarded for the best letter each week which was read out on the
The Transistor Radio
A major advance on radio technology came with the development of
the Transistor - a semiconductor device with three or more
electrodes. It was invented at Bell Telephone Laboratories in
America by John Bardeen and William Shockley Transistors. They've
had a tremendous impact on the electronics industry and are made
in thousands of millions each year
My First Job
The transistor was launched in the early 50s and that was the time
I got my first job as an apprentice to the bar and grocery trade
at Hickeys Edward St Tralee. It was at this time that my love
affair with Radio really blossomed thanks mainly to Radio
Luxembourg (the Station of the Stars). Every Sunday night there
was the Top Twenty sponsored by Silvkrin Shampoo. It was a time
when the pubs closed early on Sundays- sometimes as early as three
on Sunday afternoon. Technically you had to travel three miles
from your residence on Sunday before you were legally entitled to
a drink. In other words the man or woman living next door to
Hickeys could not legally drink in their local. Sometimes my job
on Sunday would be at the corner of Edward St. on the look out for
the Gardai. The law was a crazy one sure enough but I or my
colleagues were not complaining as we were as free as a bird very
early on Sunday afternoon. The law subsequently changed to seven
o’clock and then to eight on Sundays. I would invariably go to the
pictures in the Ashe Memorial Hall or perhaps to a concert in the
C.Y.M.S. In any event I would be back to base at 10 Edward St. in
oceans of time for the "top twenty" at 11pm on Radio Luxembourg.
Number Ones such as Mein Papa (Eddie Calvert) I See The Moon
(Stargazers) Secret Love (Doris Day) Three Coins In The Fountain
(Frank Sinatra) Softly Softly (Ruby Murray) and Slim Whitman (Rose
Marie) the list is endless.
As well as the ‘Top Twenty’ there was Jack Jackson’s (Record
Roundup) on Saturday nights, Pete Murray’s Irish Hour and the
Scottish Hour presented by Keith Fordyce which introduced us to
the legendary Jimmy Shand, Will Starr and Jim Cameron as well as
Robert Wilson and the White Heather Group. It was to my mind the
golden era of radio and a current song by Alan Jackson (Thank God
for the Radio) says it all.
Many of the leading Irish Companies spearheading the growth of
home industry in the early sixties acted as commercial sponsors of
daily "soaps" The most notable of these being Fry Cadburys
sponsorship of the long running "Kennedys of Castlerosse"
Some of these Companies have long since ceased trading. Names such
as Irel Coffee, Prescotts, Imco, Urney Chocolates and Donnelly's
Sausages to name a few. For thousands of Irish people at home and
abroad no programme tugged at the heartstrings more than the
Walton’s programme which went out on Saturday's at 2.30pm,with the
inimitable Leo Maguire. The theme of the programme was If you feel
like singing Do sing an Irish song. Who could forget the memorable
singing voices of Bridie Gallagher, Mary McGonigle, Charlie McGee,
Willie Brady and Joe Lynch who in later years would achieve
lasting fame as "Dinny in Glenroe"? Joe Lynch's rendering of "The
Bold Thady Quille" would also be my signature tune on my radio
programmes in Limerick in later years.
AT THE MICROPHONE.
Given my passion for radio it was I suppose inevitable that I
would get involved on a personal level. In Limerick in the 70s and
80s was a gentleman called John Frawley who was widely
acknowledged as the Father of local or pirate radio and during
that period he operated a very successful station called Radio
Luimini and in Sept 1982 I made my debut with a programme, called
‘Midweek Music’, every Wednesday 3 till 6. This programme ran
until the station had to close in 1988 to make way for legal
were to come on stream. The then Minister in charge of
Communications was a gentleman called Ray Burke
who had to leave politics in later years in total disgrace (Sinn
Some years later, and still a pirate broadcaster, I had a job in
another radio station thanks to the editor of this journal Joe
Harrington in association with Joe's popular Rambling House
programme. The station studio was five stories up and as the
programmes were going out at night the lift in the building closed
at 5.30 Joe would collect me at home with literally minutes to go
before going on air as I would be doing the first hour. Joe, being
a far fitter man than I would race up those stairs, all five
stories, leaving me gasping in his wake, and by the time I'd reach
the top Joe would have my signature tune ‘The Bold Thady Quille’
playing. Joe would take care of the phone and after an hour we
would reverse roles, Joe broadcasting the Rambling House programme
which he had recorded out the County during the previous week. We
had some great moments; it might be Paddy Faley's ‘Minding The
House’, Kitty Carrigs ‘Brownbread’ the singing of Peggy Sweeney or
the late great John Carrig with the “Knocknagoshel Man in Croke
We also had hilarious moments on the phone. On one occasion a
gentlemen called in and wanted to sing a song. Nothing unusual in
that, just transfer the call to Joe at the desk. What was amusing
about this one was that one of our more eccentric listeners had
cycled four or five miles to the local village parked the bike at
the telephone kiosk went in and rang us up, and there and then,
oblivious I'm sure to the funny looks he was getting from passers
by, he sang all ten verses or whatever and bid us goodnight,
another satisfied listener. Oh the joys of local radio.
Mayor Goes Rambling.
Another unforgettable night was the night Joe was elected Mayor of
Limerick. Those of us from Lyreacrompane were justifiably proud of
the honour that was bestowed on one of our own. But instead of
celebrating this momentous event, Joe being the consummate
professional insisted the show must go on, collected me within a
half an hour of his Mayoral victory and we headed off for
‘Buttercup Farm’ outside Croom to record a Rambling House
programme. Needless to say it was a night to remember with the
spotlight very much on the new Mayor. We arrived there that night
in a van but subsequent Rambling House trips would be in the
Mayoral Limousine; a luxury that one could easily get used to.
After the good times things became more mundane but still
enjoyable as we moved on to Radio Galtee where once again I was
able to resume with Mid Week Music on Wednesday with programmes
also on Mondays and Fridays.
Internal differences forced the closure of that station Sept 2004
and in January 2005 I teamed up with Limerick Country FM. At the
time of writing this station has ceased broadcasting. It has
applied for a licence and to comply with the broadcasting
regulations the station closed following a farewell bash at the
Woodlands in Adare, and I was deeply touched by a standing ovation
which I got from the crowded hall. It was a nice gesture and was
perhaps a vindication of the music I have been playing, for in the
words of a very popular Frank Sinatra song ‘I did it My Way’. So
it has been a most enjoyable journey since those Tralee days, the
top twenty, Radio Luxembourg, and of course the start of that
journey to the match on Sunday courtesy of Pat Gleeson and Sonny
and Dan Doran and the election drama at Jerry Long's. God be good
to them all. Mary Hopkins in her hit song says it all "Those Were
the Days My Friend”.
Bridie Sheehy RIP
Bridie Sheehy, who passed away
this year, was associated with the Lyreacrompane and District Journal
from the very first issue in 1990. Bridie was great at digging
out old photos in particular and contributed to the Journal in many
ways. The photo below shows Bridie with John Reidy of the
Kerryman and her son JJ at the launch of a Journal at the Four
Elms. We extend sincere sympathy to her family
The following tribute to Bridie
appeared in the Kerryman July 20.
Lyre loses one
of its most beloved friends.
It is with great sadness that the community of
Lyreacrompane are accepting the loss this week of one of their most
beloved friends, Bridie Sheehy, who died aged 73 in Cork University
Hospital on Wednesday.
A formidable intellect and wit and a gifted
craftswoman, Ms Sheehy (nee Barry) held a special place in the
hearts of her neighbours. To her family her husband John Joe Snr who
passed away in 1997, Hanna Mai, Mike, John Joe Jnr, Kieran (who
tragically died in a road accident in 2001) and Noreen she was the
centre of the world. Ms Sheehy played no small part in the long
tradition of The Kerryman as well in providing this paper with all the
weekly events in Lyreacrompane through her colourful notes - a job
she took over from John Joe Snr upon his passing. As with
everything she did she wrote the notes with absolute dedication
Born to Michael and Nora Barry in Pallas,
Lyreacrompane, she was one of four children - Robert (who predeceased
her) and Tom and Hanna. In a tight community Ms Sheehy didn't have to
look far for love, marrying her next-door neighbour, John Joe, in the
The couple were well matched - both of them
adept at crafts and with a shared humour that endeared them to all
around. Indeed it was their skill at craftwork and farming that is
perhaps most remarkable to their children today. The Sheehy household
were largely self-sufficient through their mother's vast
repertoire of practical skills - vegetables were grown, butter was
churned, pigs were slaughtered and cured and the family's clothing
was straight from her knitting needle and sewing machine.
Indeed at one time all the children of Lyreacrompane National School
wore her jumpers and there was great demand among the women folk of
the area for her dress-making skills.
Music too played a big part in her life and all
were amazed at a recent get-together with American cousins in
Ardfert when Ms Sheehy took up the accordion for the first time in
many years, playing note perfect through many tunes.
She shared her deep love of music with John Joe,
a renowned songwriter. This love of the culture was also firmly
informed by her own knowledge of the Irish language. A one- time
student Lyreacrompane headmaster, Maistir O’Suilleabhain from
Ballyferriter, she wore her fainne with pride.
These are just some of the many traits and
attributes fondly remembered by her family and friends. She is sadly
missed. Ar dheis De go raibh a hanam.
Articles from previous Lyreacrompane & District Journals.
Evictions and notices of evictions were the order of the day back in
the 1880’s. Representatives of the law and the landlords marched
through the land from end to end and thousands of families were left
homeless. The emigrant ship took many to foreign shores but others
resolutely refused to go while many of them lacked the means to pay
for the voyage. All of this reign of terror was taken place even
thou Mr. Gladstone had introduced the Land Act which in his opinion
was to settle the land question in Ireland.
It was at this time that the Land League was pointing out the desire
of the Irish people to own their own land. For promoting this idea
they were declared communists by the Tory Party.
In 1877 the number of families evicted in Kerry was 18.
In 1881 – 192. In 1883 – 403. In 1884 – 410.
Thirty-two thousand pounds – extra police tax was paid out for the
County of Kerry between the years 1884 – 1887 while the population
in the same period through evictions and emigration had decreased.
In 1883 the evictions in Kerry were more numerous than those of the
rest of Ireland put together. This was the era in which the
moonlighters were most active but Kerry had not always been a county
of rebellious fame. Going back ten years moonlighting was unheard of
in the county.
It was in this setting that evictions in Lyreacrompane took place.
In 1881 the agent for the Lyreacrompane Landlord John Hurly was Lucy
Anne Thompson. She was not satisfied with the rents the tenants were
paying and she decided to increase them. When the tenants refused to
pay the increase they were ruthlessly thrown on the roadside and
depended on their neighbours for shelter and support.
At a Land League meeting held in Duagh in 1881, Rev. B. Scanlon,
President informed the gathering that the bulk of tenantry on most
of the properties in the parish were under ejectment or had
proceedings against them for the recovery of rent. Rev. Scanlon also
stated “that in every portion of the County where Ms. Thompson holds
sway the unfortunate tenants were in the same sad conditions as they
were in Lyre”. Fr. Scanlon was the National Convention delegate for
the Duagh Land League.
In March 1881 Julia Nolan wanted to assign her holding and cattle to
her son John on the occasion of his marriage. The landlord objected.
After the passing of the Land Law Ireland Act in 1881, she applied
to have a fair rent fixed. The Landlord resisted the application on
the ground that she had parted with possession. In February 1884 she
executed a formal deed of assignment to her son John. He then
applied to have a fair rent fixed. The Landlord again resisted.
In April 1881 Mr. W. Hartnett, sub-sheriff, accompanied by a force
of police evicted Mary Gallivan, Knockanbrack. Mr. George Sandes was
her Landlord. Mrs. Gallivan, a widow had gone to Mr. Sandes to get
him to acknowledge her son Michael as the tenant of the farm. Mr.
Sandes would not acknowledge a change of tenancy unless Michael
Gallivan paid £200 and agree to an increase of £10 a year on the
rent. The Gallivans were unable to meet the demand and Mr. Sandes
had them evicted.
Denis Scanlon was a tenant on the Hurly Estate, which was been
managed by Lucy Anne Thompson. In 1858 Denis Scanlon held his farm
under Lady Locke before John Hurly purchased it at a yearly rent of
£8 5s. The Government valuation was £8 10s. Following the purchase
of the estate by John Hurly, Denis Scanlon’s rent had been increased
to £20 and Ms. Thompson was demanding a further increase of £5 per
In June 1881 a large contingent of police, regiments of soldiers,
cavalry, infantry, ambulance wagons etc. arrived in Listowel. This
formidable army marched from Listowel to Carrigcannon
(Lyreacrompane) putting terror into the inhabitants of the district,
between. They soon arrived at Denis Scanlon’s house. They
immediately asked him to abandon the home of his birth. This he
refused and at once the law went into action. The bailiff’s threw
large stones against the door and eventually gained entry followed
by the sheriff. Scanlon was dragged from his home, the home where
his grandfather was born. His wife and six children were also thrown
out of their home. A neighbour immediately gave them shelter.
In June 1881 two troops of the 20th Hussars and a number of men
belonging to the army corp. arrived in Listowel by special train
from Limerick. A detachment of the 107th Regiment from the local
Barracks under Lieutenant De. Moleyns joined them. They formed into
lines and marched through the streets. In total there was close on
three hundred men under the command of Captain RA Massey R.M. They
arrived in Lyreacrompane to assist the sheriff and some bailiffs to
evict Patrick Quill who lived on the Hurly Property. The military
brought camping equipment with them as they intended staying
overnight at the scene of the eviction. Patrick Quill’s rent under
Lady Locke was £10 12s 6d. Government Valuation - £20 10s. John
Hurly increased it to £43 and Ms. Thompson demanded £10 extra, which
Patrick Quill refused.
On Monday 16th. September 1881 Lucy Anne Thompson evicted Michael
Moloney of Carrigcannon and his eight children from their home. At
one time Michael Moloney’s farm had been a swamp situated in the
centre of a long bog about two miles from the road. He had reclaimed
sixty acres of it and made it into a comfortable farm, drawing on
his back limestone to improve it. The government valuation on the
farm was £8 5s. The rent was £23 3s and Ms. Thompson had asked him
for £16 more. When he did not submit to this unjust demand, he and
his children were thrown out of their home. Neighbours gave Michael
Moloney and his children shelter. His wife had previously died.
Michael Moloney was unprotected by the Land Act, as he was only a
caretaker since April1880.
He had not succeeded in getting his crops off the land before been
evicted but the local Land League took up his case. They appointed a
day on which people of the surrounding district got the opportunity
to demonstrate their adherence to the principles of the League, by
coming out to take Moloney’s crops from the farm. From 10am two
thousand men and women came bringing with them reaping hooks and
heavy farm carts. After four hours work all the crops on the farm
including 3 acres of oats, 1 acre of rye, 2 acres of potatoes, 2
acres of rushes and 20 ton of hay had been taken from the evicted
farm and stored at his brother’s. Refreshments consisting of six
half barrels of Guinness Stout with plenty bread and butter were
provided. In the morning when the people began to assemble at
Moloney’s farm the bailiff who had been staying in the house guarded
by six policemen left for Listowel with four R.I.C. officers.
John Ahern and Mrs. Michael Ahern held a joint farm and Pat Ahern
and Michael Ahern held a lease to a joint farm since March 1859. The
four families were evicted. Under Lady Locke they paid a yearly rent
of £13 10s the Government Valuation was £16. Under John Hurly the
rent was increased to £38 and Ms. Thompson had demanded a further
£10. Having been evicted the families were allowed in as caretakers.
Mary Ahern and her eight children were receiving 15s a week from Mr.
O’Sullivan, Relieving Officer. A report was made to the Listowel
Board of Guardians, by a neighbour, that she had cattle grazing.
This was found to be untrue and her weekly relief was continued.
In 1881 the following evicted tenants applied to the Listowel Board
of Guardians for out door relief – Michael Nolan, Denis Scanlon,
Timothy O’Donoghue, Patrick Quill, Michael Ahern, John Ahern, Mrs. J
Dillane, Michael Dillane, Michael Ahern Snr., Pat Sullivan, each
family was given 2s 3d a week per head. When Pat Quill, Glashnanoon
was called before the Board he stated that he was evicted not
because he refused to pay his rent but because he refused to pay a
rise of rent. On been evicted he had sold his stock. Fr. Scanlon who
was present enquired if he had given any money to Ms. Thompson. He
replied, “Indeed I did not” and Fr. Scanlon declared he was
Garrett Fitzgerald paid Lady Locke £10 12s 6d. The Government
Valuation was £20 10s. John Hurly had increased the rent to £43 and
Ms. Thompson made a demand for an extra £6 per annum.
At that time the Duagh Ladies Land League group which consisted of
one hundred members contacted the central executive in Dublin
through Miss Anna Parnell – sister of Charles Stuart Parnell. They
were requesting help to build a house for Mrs. Dillane who had been
evicted. Mr. Fitzell, treasurer of the men’s League gave a site
adjacent to the house, which Mrs. Dillane had been evicted from. A
sum of money was sent to the group. The Ladies League enlisted the
help of the Men’s League to build the house. On Thursday 12th May
1881 at 10 o’clock in the morning twelve hundred people and about
200 horses and carts arrived on the site. In that vast assemblage
there were masons, carpenters, thatchers and many of them had
brought along stones, mortar, scraws, rushes and reeds.
As the building was been erected the Ladies League arrived on site
carrying green banners with suitable inscriptions to the deafening
cheers of the assembled workers. At five o’clock the house was
built, roofed and thatched. Rev. B. Scanlon arrived with the
Abbeyfeale Brass Band they received a most enthusiastic reception.
They entered the house and played ‘Home sweet Home’. Fr. Scanlon
congratulated the League on their bravery and determination and he
said “that the house would be a monument to the principals of the
Irish Land League”
At a Land League meeting in Duagh the branch unanimously decided
that any person grazing evicted farms would be considered
grass-grabbers and would be expelled from the League. There were
many grass-grabbers in the locality. In fact families and neighbours
were often split because of grass grabbing. It was known to happen
that one brother would take advantage of another brother’s
misfortune by taken the land from which the former had been evicted.
Boycotting was a defence mechanism encouraged by the Land League.
The first farmer in the neighbourhood to be subjected to the system
of boycotting was in Gortaclahane in 1880. Farmers that took evicted
farms were unable to procure servant boys. It was also impossible
for them to sell their butter and milk on market day. A Bellman
would caution intending buyers not to have anything to do with the
grabber or his goods.
In 1887 Brigid Joy, Knockalougha, the mother of seven children, with
a half-acre of land was in receipt of outdoor relief when a
neighbouring farmer objected to her getting the relief. He believed
she was not in want of it as she had children working. Mrs. Joy
denied she had anyone earning but she had to hand over her half-acre
to the objecting farmer.
On a Friday morning in January 1887 three bailiffs from Tralee under
the protection of about thirty policemen called to the farm of Mrs.
Lyons, a widow of Knockalougha. They seized nine head of cattle and
a horse in lieu of rent due to her Landlord Major Leahy Nash of
Tralee, which amounted to £45. On driving the stock to the pound,
the horse was tied by halter to the last car in the procession, upon
which sat four policemen. The cattle were driven in front of the
other cars by the bailiffs. A large crowd of people had gathered
along the way. When they were within two miles of town a man in the
crowd cut the halter by which the horse was tied to the car. Another
athletic young man mounted the horse and galloped off toward
Knocklougha, amidst the shouts and cheers of the crowd and to the
utter astonishment of the policemen. The man who cut the halter was
immediately arrested while two cars of police went in pursuit of the
man on horseback. They failed to get horse or man. Mrs. Lyons
holding consisted of fifty acres. She agreed a settlement with her
landlord to purchase her holding over seventeen years and she paid
him £15 to get her cattle back. Evidently Major Leahy Nash was aware
that this was the best bargain he could possibly make because of the
difficulties that existed with regard to the sale of cattle seized
Returning to Tralee one Friday Night after visiting some evicted
farms in Lyreacrompane an attempt was made on the life of Lucy Anne
Thompson at O’Brennan. A wire paling was put across the road to
upset the vehicle she was been driven in. The horse was badly hurt
and the driver was injured but Ms. Thompson was unharmed.
N.B. Names have been omitted from this article in deference to their
descendants who still live in the locality.
THE FOLLOWING ON THE HURLY PROPERTY WERE SERVED WITH WRITS FOR
POSSESSION IN APRIL 1881
THE ROAD TO LYRE (From Journal 3, 1992)
One hundred and fifty years ago the only road
from Lyreacrompane to Tralee passed through the townland of Maugha.
At that time the road from Knocknagoshel to Tralee had not been
built. The highway from the county capital curved left shortly
after Kildubh, as it does today, and then continued in a north
westerly direction towards the Glashareag river and then along its
northern bank to join the Castleisland-Listowel road. From Kildubh
the way was little more than a track but it is likely that it
existed before the Lyreacrompane part of the Listowel-Castleisland
There are few places in Kerry more isolated
than Maugha yet, tucked away in the hills, the narrow strip of
fertile land along the bank of the river, was capable of
supporting a substantial population. There is some evidence to
suggest that settlements in the area go back to the very earliest
times. In the 40's the County Kerry Field Club was a group of
people interested in archaeology and such things. On Sundays they
left Tralee on their bikes to investigate some site or other. An
account of their excursions is contained in their minute book, and
on Page 508 we find details of a trip to the Maugha area on the
6th of April, 1944:
"... The secretary gave an account of the
outings for the month. The most important of these was to the
Knocknacurra district of Maugha, Lyreacrompane. This was
undertaken to investigate some mystery sites previously visited by
Commander O'Connor but not identified. The sites are on the lands
of Mr. O'Connor, on the north side of the stream that flows
west/east through the valley. The sites were easily identified for
their close similarity to the stone hut sites on the T.......
Mountains. (The Minute Book is in longhand and some words are
difficult to make out).
There are seven groups or villages of these
constructed on the very same pattern - that is a clustered group
in the centre with one or two single sites a little detached, and
a bouille or cattle pen attached to each. See plan Page 389 of
these on Tralee Mountain. There is also in the midst of the hut
sites a stone barrow; with not far distant an oblong site which
might be a killeen or oratory site but for the fact that it is not
orientated as all these ancient buildings are. There seems to be
no story or no tradition about these sites beyond the fact that
people do not like to go too near them at night.
Coming towards the river the party found a
small ....... beside one of these groups and on examination they
were able to establish that one existed beside each group - a
further similarity to the hut sites on Tralee Mountains. Beside
the river is a further oblong pile of stones running east-west -
evidently a further stone barrow.
Close by the river bank are some old workings
or mine shafts. Local tradition says that they were borings for
coal. The secretary brought away a sample from the rubbish heaps
thrown up. This he was instructed to send to Dr. 0'Connor,
National History Museum..."
Perhaps in some future edition this Journal
some local people might throw further light on this interesting
report. Also further information may be forthcoming following the
Castleisland District Archaeological Survey of January 1990.
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