Laune Rangers – 1909
The Co. Senior Football Championship did not commence until October. Killorglin, captained by Danny O Lyons, defeated Dingle Gascons in the first round. At the end of the year, it was decided to amalgamate the 1909/1910 Championships.
JP O Sullivan died suddenly on Wed. 13th January.
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Co. Senior Football Championship
Ten teams played in the Co. Senior Football Championship, Laune Rangers, Dingle Gascons, Ballybunion, Ballylongford, Dingle St. Brendan’s, Cahersiveen, Killarney Crokes, Valentia, Tralee Mitchels and Lispole.
Rd. 1 on Sun. 10th Oct. at Tralee: Killorglin 2-4; Dingle Gascons 0-2.
Both teams had met earlier in the year in the previous year’s championship and the boys by the Laune had to retire beaten by a large score. Since then, the Rangers had improved immensely and, on Sunday, it was gratifying for the followers to see them wipe out the previous defeat in such a pronounced manner. The Dingle team, however, it must be said, was placed at a great disadvantage, being short twelve of its regular players, whose places were filled by youths between the ages of 16 and 18. Nevertheless, they made a plucky fight and the match throughout was fast. The Rangers, however, were heavier and better trained and succeeded in annexing the match.
Killorglin: Danny O Lyons (capt.), Dan Hayes (Ardmoniel), John P. O Riordan (The Square), Mossy Counihan (Langford St.), Paddy Kennelly (Groyne), Mike Joy (Bansha), Eddie Kennelly (Groyne), Paddy Joy (Bansha), William Joy, John O Connor, Danny J. Clifford (Market St.), Tom O Connor, Paddy Foley (Iveragh Road), Denis Doyle, John Paul McCarthy (Langford St.), Jerry Hartnett (Meanus), Denny O Reilly.
Ref: Alex J. Smith (Valentia).
As the 1909 Championship was much prolonged, due mainly to the non-co-operation of the G.S. & W.R Railway Company, the Co. Board decided to amalgamate the 1909 and 1910 Football Championships, which were played on the following year.
Tournament/Challenge Football Games
On St. Patrick’s Day two most interesting matches were played at Killorglin in aid of the Killorglin Total Abstinence Society’s Brass Band. The weather was glorious, the sun shining in all its brightness and warmth, though, when one looked at the snow on the mountains not far distant, it made one feel cold. However, a large crowd witnessed the contests, indeed, far larger than had been expected, as it was thought that, as there were no special trains running, very few would travel. But it proved otherwise and, amongst the crowd, it was very remarkable to see the large number of pensioners that was present. It seemed, indeed, as if they were young again, they took such a keen interest in the matches. At 2.30pm the matches started and the first resulted in a draw, Valentia 1-3, Tralee Mitchels 1-3. Dan Hayes, Laune Rangers, acted as referee.
The second match proved most exciting. The Brass Band Committee had offered a set of medals for a competition between the local teams. A great deal of interest was centred in it and the crowd, if anything, was larger than it had been during the other match. As a good number wanted to catch the train, it was thought best to play only twenty minutes at each side. At first the Glenbeigh team seemed to be getting the better of the fight, and so it appeared until halftime was called, when the Cromane men had scored one point and Glenbeigh nil. Even with the change they seemed better than their opponents and when, at the sound of the whistle, the referee, Jeremiah Hayes, announced the score, it was greeted with cheers.
Cromane Sarsfield’s 0-2; Glenbeigh Rovers 0-1.
Sun. 27th June at Killorglin: Irish Brigade (Meanus) beat Brian Boru’s (Tuogh).
Callinfercy Faugh-a-Beallaghs beat Glenbeigh Rovers.
Sun. 5th Sept. at Glenbeigh: Cromane Sarsfield’s beat Glenbeigh Rovers.
Callinfercy Faugh-a Beallaghs beat The Invincibles.
Semi-final on Sun. 24th Oct. at Killorglin: Callinfercy Faugh-a-Beallaghs beat Cromane Sarsfield’s.
Semi-final on Sun. 14th Nov. at Killorglin: Steelroe v Irish Brigade (Meanus).
A trial game, to help select the county team for the 1908 All-Ireland Final versus Dublin, was held in Killorglin on Sun. 25th April, Killorglin 2-1; Killarney 1-1.
The match was most interesting, but the weather turned out the very opposite. The field, owing to the rain, was in such a condition as would suggest topsy-turveydom more than anything else. Admission was three pence and the game commenced at 2.30pm and a very interesting game ensued, in which dash and spirit were shown on both sides. It looked for a while that the ‘Clear Air’ boys would prevail but when the final whistle was blown, it was the boys by the Laune that had profited. Ref: J. Moriarty.
James Nolan, Cill Coinnigh, was Uachtarán CLG.
At the Annual Congress, which was held on 1st March in the Mansion House, Dublin, it was decided to hold the Congress on Easter Sunday in the future. It was further decided to get rid of the outside posts and, accordingly, reduce the scoring area.
The Munster Convention was held in Tipperary on 21st Feb. The following officers were elected: Chairman – James Harrington (Corcaigh), Secretary – Pat McGrath (Tiobrad Árainn), Treasurer – Dan Fraher (Port Láirge).
The Annual Convention of the Kerry Co. Board was held on Sun. 23rd May in the GAA Rooms, Tralee. Ten clubs were represented. Killorglin was represented by Tadhg Mangan. The following officers were elected: Chairman – Austin Stack, Tralee (proposed by Michael Griffin, Listowel, and seconded by Tadhg Mangan, Killorglin), Vice-Chairmen – Alex J. Smith, Valentia, and P.J. Houlihan, Dingle, Secretary – Frank Griffin, Tralee (He relocated to Dublin later in the year and at the Co. Board meeting on Sat. 6th Nov. he was replaced by Michael Griffin, Listowel). Treasurer – John Moran, Listowel; Delegate to Central Council – Austin Stack, Delegates to Munster Council – Frank Cronin (He resigned later in the year and was replaced by Jeremiah Moriarty, Dingle) and James McDonnell (Tralee). During the meeting, Tadhg Mangan referred to the fact that the majority of matches had been played in Tralee. He suggested that the playing of matches in other places would be productive of good results to the national game through the county. He said that they had a good, enclosed field in Killorglin. He said that he did not wish to imply that there were any abuses but he thought that, even at the risk of incurring a little expense or inconvenience, other towns should be considered when the venues came to be selected.
The news of the tragic death of James Patrick (JP) O Sullivan, while attending a coursing meeting at Castlemartyr on Wed. 13th January, caused a painful shock to his numerous friends, not only in Kerry but throughout Ireland. Prior to and during the coursing meeting J.P. was moving about amongst his many friends apparently in the best of health. However, about one o’clock, while standing near some cars talking to a couple of friends, he fell helplessly to the ground. The local P.P., Rev. Father Murphy, and some doctors were quickly on the scene but it was seen that medical assistance was useless as the unfortunate man had died almost immediately. He had been the victim some years previously of a severe attack of rheumatic fever, the effects of which on his heart had, no doubt, a strong influence in bringing about his untimely end at a time when he had been in the prime of his life.
J.P., as he was familiarly called, was one of the best known sportsmen in Ireland. Always of a kindly good-natured disposition, he had made innumerable friends. Under any circumstances, he seemed to possess the faculty of good humour and he was deemed one of those members of society who might reasonably be termed a good fellow. He was, in his time, one of the best athletes in the country, winning the All-round GAA Championship of Ireland in 1891. He was, also, the captain of the famous Laune Rangers. In later years he had been granted a handicapper’s licence by the GAA and, at the meetings under his control, his fairness and good judgement won him many additions to his list of admirers.
The remains arrived at Farranfore on Thursday afternoon at about four o’clock, where an enormous crowd of sorrowing friends had gathered. They were conveyed to the beautiful little church in Firies, where they were deposited before the High Altar. Mass was celebrated the following morning for the repose of the soul of the deceased and, by the time the Angelus bell tolled, the village was crowded with people from all parts. Hundreds travelled from Tralee, Killarney and other centres to pay a last tribute of respect to one who was not alone a credit to Kerry but to Ireland. The funeral, which was about three miles in length, started promptly for Churchtown, the family burial place.
J. P’s brother, P.P. O Sullivan, Brookhill, wrote the following letter to the Editor of the Kerry Sentinel on 1st February: “Dear Sir, – I have received resolutions of sympathy and condolence with myself and my family on the sad death of my brother, J.P. O Sullivan, from many of the public bodies and GAA branches in the county with whom my brother, since his early manhood, was such a thorough favourite and so highly regarded.
You will kindly permit me without delay, and without waiting for their several meetings, to acknowledge and thank the members of the following bodies for their resolutions duly forwarded to me: Kenmare Rural Council, Kenmare Hurling Club, Killarney Urban and Rural Council, Cahersiveen Rural Council, Laune Rangers old and new, Killorglin Young Men’s Society, The Secretaries Public Meeting Killorglin, the Killorglin Gaelic League, the Tralee Race Committee, the Farranfore Race Committee, the Cork Cycling and Athletic Club, the Tralee Rural Council, the Kerry County Council, the Kilmoyley Hurling and Football Club and the Kerry Teachers’ Association.”
A special meeting of the Kerry Co. Board GAA was held in the GAA Rooms, Tralee on Sat. 16th Jan. Austin Stack, Chairman, presided. Also in attendance were Jacques McDonnell (Tralee), Batt O Connor and Jeremiah Moriarty (Dingle), T.P. Kennedy (Lispole), John Moran, Hon. Treas. (Listowel), Michael O Sullivan (Ardfert) and Frank J. Cronin, Hon. Sec. The Chairman said they all knew the melancholy object for which they had come together that day. Since their last meeting, death had deprived them of one of their most esteemed members, as well as one of the truest and best sportsmen in the country, Mr. J.P. O Sullivan. For nigh a score of years his name had been prominently associated with the GAA and he had earned a reputation for himself as an athlete and a Gael, which was certainly merited and which should long endure. They all knew how, under his captaincy, the famous Laune Rangers of Killorglin qualified for the All-Ireland Final, their opponents being the Dublin Young Irelands. His prowess on the football field, and the fact that he won the GAA All-round Athletic Championship, had made his name illustrious in athletic circles throughout Ireland. His brother Gaels in Kerry would long miss his kind and genial presence, and would long regret the sad event, which deprived them of a sturdy Gael, a trusty friend. He (chairman) accordingly decided to propose the following resolution:- ‘That we, the members of the Kerry Co. Board of the GAA, deeply regret the sudden demise of Mr. J.P. O Sullivan, an esteemed fellow-member, and that we tender to his family our most sincere sympathy in their sad affliction. That copies of this resolution be forwarded to the family of deceased and to the Press.’ John Moran seconded the resolution, which was passed in silence. All present decided to be associated with the vote of condolence after which the meeting adjourned.
T.P. Foley, Glencar, penned the following lines in lament of J.P. O Sullivan:
“The wild winds moan, the wild winds sigh,
As to thy grave a friend draws nigh.
The very birds, on wing on high,
Seem to lament thy fall.
Snapped in the strength of manhood’s bloom,
Thine early death but points the doom
That, in the end, perhaps too soon,
Must come to one and all.
Ah, me! What mem’ries fill my breast,
How sorely is my heart oppressed,
The gentle word or kindly jest,
No more the smile will start.
Naught but a sodden lowly mound,
Naught but a sobbing lonely sound,
Naught for a sighing wail around,
From friends with broken heart.
But one short year what changes wrought,
Undreamt of, unforeseen, unthought,
So God ordains, and mortal lot
Must needs to him incline.
Swept in the pride of manhood’s years,
Borne to the tomb ‘mid wails and tears,
Death’s cruel arm no mortal fears,
It knows nor place nor time.
How short thy years were passing by,
Like summer clouds across the sky,
Bringing pleasure, sweetness, joy,
But joy, too, has its end.
Like all things earthly, life goes on,
And deals us our allotted span,
And man must part from fellow man
And friend must part from friend.
Ah, may thy soul find peace above,
In heavenly joy, in heavenly love,
Where spirits guileless as the dove
Rejoice on God’s pure light.
And when the storm of life is o’er,
May we, too, reach that happy shore
Where friends do meet to part no more,
After life’s fitful fight.”
A large and representative meeting was held in Killorglin on Monday night 5th April for the purpose of raising funds for the erection of a suitable memorial to J.P. O Sullivan, whose death had been mourned by all only a few months earlier. Many suggestions were made as to the form of the proposed memorial should take and finally it was decided to write to Mr. Patrick Murphy, contractor, Tralee, for his opinion and the probable cost of erecting. It was also decided to co-opt members from the GAA Clubs in Tralee, Killarney, Dingle, Valentia, Cahersiveen etc. A more important meeting was scheduled for the following week. Communications on the subject were to be sent to William O Brien or Tadhg Mangan.
At the meeting of the J.P. O Sullivan Memorial Committee, held on Mon. 12th April, J. Sheehan presided and there were also present – William O Brien R.D.C., Seamus Coffey N.T., Michael O Donoghue N.T., John Coffey N.T., John Fitzpatrick N.T., Liam McSweeney N.T., Tadhg Mangan, E. Collins M.P.S.I., Jeremiah Sheehan, Patsy Sheehan, Ned Sheehan, M. Clifford, D. Corkery and William Crowley. The following officers were elected: President – J. Sheehan, Hon. Secretaries – William O Brien and Tadhg Mangan, Treasurer – William Crowley. It was decided to ask the County Board to pass a resolution asking club subscriptions for the project and the Secretaries were ordered to write to Mr. Patrick Murphy asking him to furnish the Committee with a general idea of the approximate estimate of cost of a suitable memorial. It was the unanimous wish of the Committee that members be co-opted from the other towns and the following were co-opted: Thomas Slattery, Maurice Moynihan, P.F. Crowley, Frank J. Cronin (Tralee), Michael Griffin (Listowel) and Austin Stack (Tralee), F. O Donoghue, C. Foley, J. Thompson and P.D. Foley (Killarney), Tom Baker (Dingle), D. Flavin C.U.D.C., W.L. Fitzgerald U.D.C., John Moran, J. Walsh and T.F. Cotter (Listowel), John O Sullivan, J.B. Fitzgerald and Pat McGillycuddy N.T. (Cahersiveen), P. O Driscoll, J. O Driscoll and J. O Riordan N.T. (Valentia), Michael D. O Sullivan, Roger O Donoghue and George Aldwell (Kenmare), N.J. Coffey (Sneem), W. O Sullivan, E. Enright and P. McCarthy (Ballybunion), A. Murphy, A. O Shea and J. O Connor (Milltown), J. Sheehan M.D., T. Evans D.C. and J. O Shea (Glenbeigh), John O Reilly, P. Foley and D. Nolan (Cork).
The following letter, signed by Corkonian, appeared in the Kerry Sentinel on Wed. 15th Sept: “I would very much like to know why something is not being done in the line of erecting a suitable memorial to the memory of the late J.P. O Sullivan. J.P. was a man who was respected throughout Ireland. We, in Cork, looked up to him quite as much as did the Kerry people. We recognised in him not only the great athlete but the great reformer. Very few captains could bring such a well conducted team into the field and manage it with such rare ability. Those amongst us who are old enough to remember the rough and ready character of the game before O Sullivan’s time can well appreciate the reforming spirit that was in him. And this change was accomplished, not by lengthy discussion or argument, but by his own example and the example of the Rangers under him. It was with pain his comrade Gaels learnt of his death and with still greater pain, perhaps, have they looked on the indifference of his own town towards his memory. I received a few copies of the Kerry papers giving an account of the death and funeral, as well as of meetings of various public bodies at which resolutions of sympathy were passed. The issue of the ‘Kerry People’, for Saturday January 23rd, contains the text of a unanimous resolution passed at a special meeting convened in Killorglin under the presidency of Thomas O Donnell M.P. This is how the resolution reads:- ‘That, in order to perpetuate the memory of a worthy departed Gael, we desire that a committee be formed to erect a suitable memorial to the late Mr. J.P. O Sullivan’. Now what has happened to that resolution? I have waited a long time for the formation of the committee, but it would seem as if the whole thing has gone to the wall. I know several persons outside Kerry who are most anxious for the subscription list to open. I cannot understand for the life of me why something is not being done. Needless to say, it is the place of Killorglin to take the lead. I am merely voicing the opinion of several who are disgusted at the apathy shown by O Sullivan’s native place. If he has done so much for the fame of Killorglin, surely Killorglin should honour him in return. I am speaking as an outsider. I knew hardly anything of O Sullivan in private life. I know hardly anything of his immediate relatives. Let none of my readers then imagine that I speak of J.P. as a personal friend. I speak as a Gael, an ardent admirer of a fellow Gael. A local poet has suggested a memorial on the grave. I think the family would prefer that sacred duty left to themselves. At least, one would imagine so. Why not erect a memorial in the Square or some other conspicuous part of the town.”
The ‘Corkonian’ again wrote in the Kerry Sentinel on Wed. 10th Nov: “Owing to absence from home on professional matter for some time, I did not hear until yesterday whether any steps had been taken to erect the memorial I suggested some time ago. Now, I gather that there is mention of an O Sullivan Scholarship Scheme in connection with the Killorglin Intermediate School. Candidly, I do not approve of this scheme. The school appears to be at best but in its infancy. If it is not a success, what becomes of the money contributed, and what show does poor J.P get in the matter? It would seem to be a mild way of asking outsiders to help build up a successful educational establishment in Killorglin. If it is to be carried out, we might well address her in some such semi-prophetic vein as the following:- ‘Arise, A Chill Orglain, and see. Behold the money of the strangers is pouring into thy coffers. No longer shall thy name be little in the land, for thy Intermediate School has placed thee amongst the other great villages of the ‘Island of Saints’. Why not erect a memorial on the same lines as the Fitzgerald one in Mallow? Scholarship Schemes may pass, but stone and mortar are rather durable things.”
The untimely death occurred on 28th Feb. of James J. O Sullivan, Brookhill after a brief illness. He had been the goalkeeper for the Laune Rangers and played in that famous All-Ireland final of 1892. He was a cousin of the ‘Champion’.
Munster Senior Football Final replay on Sun. 7th Nov. at Cork: Cork (Macroom) 0-6; Kerry (Mitchels) 1-6.
Kerry: Paddy Dillon (goal), Killarney, Denny Breen (Castleisland), Maurice McCarthy (Tralee), Tom Costello (capt.) do., Con Healy (do.), Jack McCarthy (Valentia), Jack Lawlor (Tralee), Frank J Cronin (do.), Edward Spillane (Killarney), Con Murphy (do.), Batt O Connor (Dingle), Jack Kennelly (Listowel), Patrick J. Mullane (do.), Dick Fitzgerald (Killarney), Johnny Skinner (do.), Michael J. Quinlan (Tralee), John O Sullivan (do.).
All-Ireland Senior Football Final on Sun. 5th Dec. at Jones’ Road: Kerry 1-9; Louth 0-6.
That was Kerry’s third All-Ireland Senior Football title. The gate receipts were £317-3-6.
Kerry (Mitchels): Tom Costello (capt.), Maurice McCarthy, Frank J. Cronin, Con Healy, John O Sullivan, Tom Rice, Denny Breen, Michael J. Quinlan (all Tralee), Dick Fitzgerald, Con Murphy, Edward Spillane, Johnny Skinner, Paddy Dillon, goals, (all Killarney), Patrick J Mullane, Jack Kennelly (Listowel), Batt Connor (Dingle), Jack McCarthy (Valentia).
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The opening of the new Carnegie Hall and Library, on Thurs. 25th March, due to the munificence of that world-wide known philanthropist, Mr. Andrew Carnegie, was a red-letter day for the people of Killorglin. Killorglin and district turned out en masse, and a large number attended from all parts of the country, to witness the interesting function. The Hall was a picture from an architectural standpoint. It stood, built almost midway between the Courthouse and the Presbyterian Church, and smiled on the sparkling waters of the river Laune. The drawings and design were the work of Mr. R.M. Butler, F.R.I.B.A. of Dawson Chambers, Dublin. The contract was undertaken and completed by Mr. Patrick Murphy, builder and contractor, Tralee. It was a lead to an extent, and the gathering at the formal opening showed in no small way what might be gained by the cohesion of the people of Ireland and expression in thought from all classes. The building itself was handsomely laid out and fitted up, and consisted of a reading-room, book-room, lending hall, librarian’s office, ladies’ room and lavatories on the ground floor, with a splendid lecturing hall on the first floor. Lord Ventry had given the beautiful site on which the hall stood, free. Speakers at the official opening included Father Tom Lawlor P.P and Thomas O Donnell M.P., James Foley C.E., Father O Flynn C.C. and Rev. Mr. Power.
The Killorglin Sports, under the auspices of the GAA, were held on Sun. 8th Aug. in the beautifully appointed sports-field. The committee consisted of President – Rev. Tom Lawlor P.P; Chairman – Rev. M. O Flynn C.C., Committee – Tadhg O Reilly, William Joy, J.J. O Sullivan, M. O Connor, Danny J. Clifford, Moss Counihan, Nick Flynn, Tim O Riordan, Tom Foley, M. O Reilly, Willie Healy, J. Houlihan, P. Flynn, Liam McSweeney and John Fitzpatrick. The day was fine and the crowd was the largest for many years.
‘Laune Ranger’ wrote the following in the Kerryman of Dec. 22nd 1934 under the heading ‘Killorglin, Then and Now’: “Christmas is a season during which we more than any other time look back over the years – a season of retrospection – and Killorglin people occasionally do look back into the years to note progress or decay, advance or retrogression, and think sometimes of those friends who, denied the means of livelihood on their native soil, were forced to find shelter in an alien clime, but the love of the homeland never dies and there is always a yearning for news of the old land. It is not strange then that one such emigrant, unable to come himself, sent his son to get first hand news of the town by the Laune and this son in turn with the love of his father’s homeland a passion after a quarter of a century sent his own son to the same town to find how it progressed. The following letters will convey an idea of how Killorglin has advanced during the period”:
Dear Dad, – Following my letter of a few days ago, I know you are anxious to have a detailed account of your ‘Home Town’ of which you have spoken so much and of its people in whom your heart seems, after the years, so set. The Killorglin of today is indeed a big advance of the little town, which you left twenty-five years ago. It is no longer ‘the little village of thatched houses’ but a thriving and prosperous market-town with its up-to-date railway, postal and telegraph services, its people, merry, bright, good-humoured and prosperous, with the charm and honesty of a loving and kindly race. For the short time I have been here, I can now understand why you’ve been always so keen on my coming along to see and live amongst them myself. I find them a people innocent of guile or deceit – a people whose whole aim in life it seems not only to be ‘Live and let live’, but to ‘Live and assist everybody else to live happily’ and the faith and religious fervour of the community is remarkable.
Because you and Mama were of this stock, I can now understand you better and I understand why the family rosary has been recited in our home every night. Yes, this personal contact with your people is an experience I would not have missed for much.
I was at a funeral a few days ago and this in itself was something new. There must have been some seven hundred people present, and the town itself appeared to wear an air of mourning. Surely this was an indication of friendliness and affection, which many great countries would envy and showed to me a new trait of Irish character. As the people share one another’s joy, so do they share their sorrows.
The people seem well-dressed and I understand most of the material is of home manufacture. The older men coming to Mass or to market are picturesque in their knee breeches and long coats whilst many of the older women wear the hooded cloaks I heard Mama speak of so frequently. Though the younger women wear boots on the streets and at Mass, they do not wear these at home and only put them on some distance from the town on their way to market or church. Many of the men throughout the country wear ‘bawneens’, though the younger men are not frequently seen so dressed.
But to the town itself. The thatched houses are fast disappearing and though progress seems to have assigned these to Mill Road and Briar Lane and the few in Iveragh Road, there is still one standing in Main St., in silent though elegant dignity, nestling in the midst of more modern slated roofed stores, one in Upper Bridge St. and two in Lower Bridge St. The streets themselves are clean with – save in the main thoroughfare – cobble-stone footpaths. There are a few very large stores whilst the number of saloons (they call them pubs here) – forty-three – seems out of all proportion to the size of the town or its population, which is now twelve hundred.
There is no public lighting – the only light being that from shop windows. The new Catholic Church is a beauty, a real work of architecture, a handsome edifice and a worthy tribute to the Parish Priest, Rev. Father Lawlor, whom you met when he was in the States collecting funds for this beautiful edifice, and whom the people love and revere. He seems, in every sense, the leader and father of the people. He has, as well, built six splendid schools in the parish – rather twelve, for there is a separate building in each for boys and girls – so that the education of the district is well catered for and it is pleasant to note the happy faces of the gay, laughing, carefree children, sauntering every morning, stopping now and then to play peg-top and to pitch buttons.
The Wesleyan and Protestant Churches cater for their own flocks but the people are united in friendship and in their love for the little place.
Recently, the National Bank has erected a pretentious building in what, I understand, was the site of the old butter market, thus Commerce gave way to Finance. So the place is much changed since you left, Dad. Tuesday is now Market Day and Killorglin is at its best then. The streets are crowded and everybody seems active. Much business is transacted. Eggs, butter, fowl, potatoes and all dairy and farm produce are offered for sale and, I understand, this is now looked on as the best market-town in the South of Ireland, which I believe, judging from the large number of people on the street and the number of vehicles drawn up on the roads leading to town – the patient little donkey doing his share as well as his stronger friend, the horse.
And, Dad, I saw with wonder the thrifty housewife taking her produce to market – her week’s collection of eggs – in a basket poised on her head. Though you had referred to this in your chats on Ireland, I was still surprised – amazed – when I noticed the perfect ease with which so many achieved this (to me) marvellous feat, whilst chatting merrily to their neighbours as they came along to town. It reminded me so much of the water-carriers of the East.
The Gaelic Athletic Association flourishes and the Laune Rangers are still a force in the county. I’ve met some of your old friends of the famous 1892 team. A few have gone to their reward and a few have had to seek a livelihood under the Stars and Stripes.
I am glad to tell you that much business is done through the medium of the Irish language, which the older people speak generally in their homes. On Market Day especially this was evident and my use of the few phrases you taught me made me welcome with all. They seemed a magic passport to the confidences and friendship of the people.
Though I have not so far had an opportunity of seeing a Killorglin Fair Day, I’ve been told that it is a pleasure in store – that the fair-field is not sufficiently large to hold the stocks offered for sale. Prices are, I am told, generally good and England offers a ready market for all the surplus stock, so that cattle-rearing is an economic proposition even to the small farmer.
The country looks pretty with its green fields, its thick ‘ditches’ and its thatched farmsteads with here and there a pretentious slated dwelling and the people in keeping with the scene of peace, happiness and tranquillity. The river Laune ambles poetically by as charming and interesting a little town as I hoped to see even from your live and vivid descriptions, whilst the ruins of Castle Conway – monument of English domination – stands a relic of the past.
And I must not forget to tell you that I’ve travelled on a side-car. This was an experience, but I enjoyed it immensely as the jarvey kept us entertained with stories of his night exploits with the fairies and good people, and his wit and humour were a treat. Nor must I forget to tell you that I thought the few members of the police force I met were very intelligent, of fine physique and anxious to administer the law amongst their own people with common-sense and dignity.
Your loving son,
(The letter written by this man’s son is reproduced in 1934).