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Lighting the candle

During Christmas, placing a light in the window of one’s home is
a tradition in parts of the west candleof Ireland, including Kinvara.  In the old days the cottage door was also left unlocked throughout the night and a member of the family watched in prayer.   The tradition arose from the story of the flight of the Holy Family into Egypt, following which,  Joseph, Mary and Jesus wandered without shelter for fourteen days and nights.

Candles are placed in the windows to mark the event and offer  safe refuge.

W.A. Record 20th December 1919 p20 abridged

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Kinvara politics – 1917

The Register 18th June, 1917

Kinvara Photo: EO'D
Photo: EO’D

Kinvara – Politics, as they go, are still matters of conversational interest here. The Sinn Fein movement is mentioned by some with sympathy for motive and contempt for methods and organisation. The rising came as a surprise, if not a shock, to some persons, but there were, or are, scattered sympathisers or objectors to the more drastic of the methods of repression among the middle as well as the working classes. For among those who paid the inevitable penalty of revolt in time or war were some leaders of ripe scholarship and, in other respects, stainless lives; “Poets of the Insurrection” as they were called, whose mistakes of judgment, policy and method are lightly regarded by those of emotional temperament to whom disinterestedness primarily appeals. Discontent now turns on the recent check to Home Rule as expressed in the Government of Ireland Act 1914. There is a feeling that the political system – Union Government – is still the source of any economic maladjustment and that the country will at once flower under the working of autonomy.
the Hon. P.McM.Glynn K.C. Minister for Home and Territories.

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Ireland – 1916

Catholic Press 11th September, 1919 p.6

Photo: EO'D
Photo: EO’D

This fine verse, which appeared in the “Bulletin” of the 19th ult. was, says the editor, censored while a Labour Government was in power in the Commonwealth. An appeal was made from the Censor to Ministers. Hugh Mahon came into conflict with his colleagues over it; but permission to publish it was still refused.

Ireland – 1916

All I revered was this my Island, she
Whom through the granite years I wept and loved;
All that I wished, to make my Island free
Of blood from mine a universe removed;
To seat here where the younger nations sit,
Her soul stripped clean of ancient sorrowings,
To dream my dream of Brian and the Kings,
To clothe my dream in flesh and worship it.
For this I bound the falcon to my side
In sinless sinning! For these things I died!

Right of the stronger, when the Norman came,
Rogued me and ravished me and buffeted,
Blackened and scotched my heart with steel and flame,
Cinctured with thorns my felon-shaven head.
The needy Frank and Gascon venturer,
Glutted from Senlac, hot for gear and gold,
Parcelled my land in march and baron-hold,
Hoarse-laughing at the comely shame of her,
Tortured but could not tame my plaintless pride.
This I remember, and for this I died!

Bruised and unbroken, swathed in sweat and rags,
Sobbing, yet valiant, shattered but unspent,
Housed in the bogland, hiding in the crags,
Dying a dog’s death, grim and well-content,
My poet soul out-daring dearth and death
Bondman of every motley creed and crew
Drank at the bitter cup of cycles, knew
The “spacious days of great Elizabeth”
If this I should forget, Christ and the Bride
Forget me also! For this, too, I died!

I was the spoil of all the centuries,
And am forgotten. Later wrongs outweigh
Mine, for the grief of men looks overseas,
And Belgium was the spoil of yesterday.
Can Time’s effluxion make injustice just?
Men’s memories are facile to forget
Poland’s Gethsemane and bloody sweat,
And the long grief that stamped my heart to dust!
O age-sought recompense by men denied,
By this I seek you, and for this I died!

Scotland I know, and how her valour’s crown,
Hard-won, scarce-held by scarp and mountain sleep,
Shone on her helm the hardy decades down,
Guarding the freedom that I could not keep;
And by the crown she linked at last with hers,
As by the nationhood I loved as she,
I swore it on my cross-hilt wistfully
My sons should be my land’s real worshippers.
And this my oath, sworn by the Crucified,
I held and hold to – and therefor I died!

Shall mercy spring from dull hearts trebly stoned?
Shall alien blood and alien creed allot
Betrayal where no fealty is owned,
Disloyalty where loyalty is not?
My blood upon the roadway reddens yet,
The iron of the years is in my soul,
The pen of Fate is set upon the scroll,
I am what you have made! Can I forget?
These things I cherish; is it marvel, then,
I died for them, as I shall die again!

J. Alex. Allen

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Doorus – 1938

Connacht Tribune 23rd July, 1938 p.5

Doorus view Photo; EO'D
Doorus view
Photo; EO’D

As will be seen from our advertising columns, Doorus annual sports will be held in Traught on Sunday, July 31. The committee have secured the services of the Athenry Pipers’ Bank. As this is the Band’s first visit to South Galway they are sure of a hearty cead mile failte, both in Dooras and Kinvara. The sports field is in close proximity to the already famous strand of Traught where tourists from all over the West come every summer to enjoy the beautiful scenery and natural bathing facilities offered there. Given a fine day, the public may be assured of enjoying the day’s outing.

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A Fortnight in Lisdoonvarna – 1887

Supplement to the Cork Examiner 8th October, 1887

Lisdoonvarna - c 1903 Robert French
Lisdoonvarna – c 1903
Robert French

This beautiful and favourite health resort, which deserves to be better known than it really is, has, since the opening of the West Clare Railway, become much more easy of access, as the station at Ennistymon is only seven miles from the Spa. In the old days the long car journey from Ennis, a distance of twenty miles, was very fatiguing and was enough to deter persons of weakly or delicate constitutions from undertaking it at all.

I arrived in the height of the season and only that I took the precaution of telegraphing from Ennis, I could scarcely have got quarters at the comfortable hostelry where I had sojourned on a former occasion. I had the good fortune to fall in with pleasant and companionable society, including a large sprinkling of the softer sex and, If I had not long ago received my baptism of fire from a pair of Southern blue eyes, and so was armour proof against the shafts of the winged god, I certainly should have not returned heart whole.

I found Biddy at the celebrated sulphur well as youthful looking and full of ready repartee as ever, while her faith in the healing virtues of the spring seems to grow stronger as the years roll by. Our time was mainly spent in drinking the waters, climbing the neighbouring hills, or following the courses of the tortuous ravings, which the mountain torrents have worn, here there and everywhere through the beds of shale. The monotony of this style of existence was occasionally broken by excursions through the various places of interest round the Spa, and two of these outings deserve at least more than passing reference.

Ballinalackin Castle Bogman Wikimedia Commons
Ballinalackin Castle
Wikimedia Commons

We arranged on one day to go by Ballinalacken and Black head to Ballyvaughan, and returned by the famous Crokscrew road, a piece of engineering that would do credit to the genius of the first Napoleon. The road from Ballinalacken to Ballyvaughan runs along the Southern shore of Galway Bay. The country to the right forms portion of the Barony of Burren and presents a chain of rocky and barren looking hills. Yet we were assured by our driver that succulent grasses grew in the interstices of the rocks and that splendid sheep were raised on these hills.

The day was beautifully fine, the blue sky being perfectly cloudless, while Galway bay was a calm as an inland lake. Here and there a hare-legged, sunburned child peered out from some fisherman’s cabin; anon a startled hare fled away from a wayside clump of rare ferns. Ivy clad ruins of ancient abbeys and churches formed a prominent feature in the landscape and bore eloquent testimony to the piety and faith of our Celtic ancestors.Of the old castles, Ballinalacken, once a stronghold of a sept of the O’Briens, claimed most attention and reminded me forcibly of Blarney. Altogether it was a day worth living for and although I have spent many pleasant days in various nooks and corners of our Island, the memory of this golden one shall abide with me forever.

A few days before my departure, I visited Galway.  Galway – quaint, old and decaying! Galway still redolent of the days when dark-eyed Spaniards promenaded its streets and quays, intent on selling their precious cargoes of rare wines! I was very much struck with a curious mixture of the ancient and the modern. In one of the principal streets stands a battlemented castle of the date 1473, with curiously carved escutcheons and leering griffins; the basement being devoted to the utilitarian purposes of a tallow-chandler’s shop!

The other places of interest to the visitor or tourist within easy reach of Lisdoonvarna are the Cliffs of Moher, which rise perpendicularly from the ocean to a height of 800 feet; St. Bridget’s well, near Liscannor, the subject of Petrie’s famous picture of “The Blind Girl at the Holy Well”; Corcomroe Abbey and Inchiquin Lake.

When the holiday season comes round again and tired citizens are asking themselves the question, “Where shall we go to?”, I would strongly advise a visit to Lisdoonvarna and West Clare, where pure mountain air, natural scenery, and, to those who may require them, healing springs, cannot fail to please and charm the most fastidious.

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4th December, 1934

Irish Independent 4th December, 1934 p.12loughnane-brothers
Mr. Sean Russell, I.R.A. unveiled a memorial cross, and delivered an oration, near the spot where the mutilated bodies of Patrick and Harry Loughnane (brothers) were found in November, 1920 at Carragaroe, Kinvara.
The brothers were members of the Volunteers, and were taken from home by the Black and Tans; their bodies being discovered in a pond some weeks later. Members of the I.R.A. from many districts, including many old comrades in the Volunteers, paraded to the spot, where they formed a guard of honour, and recited a decade of the Rosary in Irish.