Thursday, 28 April 2016

The Banner County

“The custom of carrying banners goes back a long way in County Clare. There is little doubt but that the Dál gCais carried banners at the battle of Clontarf in 1014 or that the Clare Dragoons carried banners at Fontenot in 1745 and in the many battles fought by the Clare Regiments on the continent during the eighteenth century.”

We went on a day trip recently to re-visit one of our favourite counties, as there are so many  antiquities dotted around the countryside we still have not viewed them all. The one thing I learnt a long time ago, when looking for interesting vistas or ancient sites, is that when touring you need to slow down, drive carefully and be adventurous. The best type of narrow roads to take are those with a thin strip of grass growing up the middle as very often you will see something interesting.

This is how we found ourselves outside (1) Smithstown Castle and on another narrow road we saw a fingerboard pointing towards the (2) Blakemount Holy Well.
This tempted Mrs H to go and find it - now doubt she will reveal all soon on her own blog.
It was on yet another narrow road, that I managed to photograph  (3) a double donut shaped erratic which had been dumped there by the last Ice Age.
Photo number (4) A Sham was found on a tourist road on the outskirts of Kilfenora, it is not an ancient monument and was only constructed recently by a local resident.
Photo (5) was taken with my new camera along the road from Callan to Ballyvaughan - said as Bally vocken not vawn.

2. Stile to Blakemount Holy Well.

a 'double donut' shaped erratic.

A Sham.

5 Along the road from Callan to Ballyvaughan.

Our circuitous route took us from Gort in Co.Galway along the R460 towards a small town of Corrofin or is it Coroffin or perhaps Caroffin or even Corofin ? 
I mentioned to  Mrs H on our way in that I wondered which spelling was correct because every imaginable spelling could be seen on signposts and billboards. I also wondered if the local business people had found a new method of attracting trade or perhaps their signwriters  were drunk?

Well now guess what I read last night on a news channel..

“Local groups have formed in the towns of Lahinch, Ennistymon, and Corofin, with each group set write to Clare County Council later this week, to officially begin the legal process of changing the towns’ names. The local authority has confirmed it is the appropriate agency to deal with this issue and that a local vote, similar to that held in Dingle in 2006, may also be required.

This situation arose more than five years ago when Transport Infrastructure Ireland, formally the NRA, contracted Clare County Council to update signage on the N67 tourism route.

At this time the official legal spelling of the towns, which was derived from documentation written before the formation of the state, was used to replace the traditional local spellings which had appeared on all signage for the past 100 years.”

My online research says this :The origin of Name: Corofin takes its name from the Irish ‘Coradh Finne’ which means ‘The Weir of Finnia’.

So there we have it:Transport Infrastructure/National Roads Authority and Clare County Council please take note!

Monday, 25 April 2016

Bell Harbour Monasterevin, Co. Kildare

St. Evin brought a number of monks with him from his native Munster. This gained the settlement the name Rosglos-na-Moinneach (the green wood of the Munstermen). Saint Evin was politically astute; today he would be called a spin-doctor. He secured special status for the Monasterevin area placing it outside the common law, making it a sanctuary. His famous bell was used for swearing oaths and was much in demand by tribes of the region for guaranteeing peace treaties.
It is from this accoutrement that the canal harbour on the Barrowline was given the name of Bell Harbour.
Bell Harbour

The lift bridge, I was hoping to see the bridge lifted
there were no boats moving that day.

In the second basin are a broadbeam boat and a
narrowboat. Traditionally the Irish canals are much wider than
than those found in the UK and to see a narrowboat moored in the basin
suggests that this boat was imported from the UK.

The first basin up from the lift bridge has two modern plastic cruisers moored within.

A modern estate of luxury flats were built on the gardens that surrounded
this old house.

The Barrowline links the Grand Canal to River Barrow, which is one of Irelands three sister rivers, the Nore and the Suir that rise within a few miles of each other and then meander through the countryside to join up and flow out at Waterford City.

For further information about Irelands canals please view

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

A Spring Return

As many of my followers are aware I had a mild TIA - transient ischemic attack,  a few days ago. This put me into hospital for four days and my route there was because my pipe fell out of my hand three times in succession, for each time that I picked it up from the floor and stood up, down it would go again. I became aware that all was not right with me so I trotted down to the studio to sit with her Ladyship and eventually brokered the subject that perhaps a trip to my GP would be a good thing to do.

Arrangements were made and we were given appointment for 4pm that day, not too long to wait, although in the surgery that time spent in the waiting room seemed horrendous - I am not good at waiting, not good at all; you might even think of me as being an impatient patient :)

My BP was extremely high as stated in comments on my recent blog, that being the case my lady GP told us to go directly to A&E at the nearest hospital which was about six miles away. We did as we were told, the waiting room only had two spare chairs and eventually I was seen by a Doctor and returned back to the waiting room, with a warning given to my wife that if I turned a funny colour or started acting oddly to ring the bell. We sat there until eleven pm when I was put on a trolley and given loads of caring attention. I slept fretfully, her Ladyship was given a comfortable chair and at eight thirty a.m I told her to drive home and get some rest.

The rest of my time there was spent in having a multitude of tests done,  he majority of which showed that I was healthy, apart from some clogging in carotid arteries - they supply blood to the brain. That sounded serious and the ward doctor explained to me that there were two procedures that would correct the situation; thus I returned home without having to consider any options because if you choose Life then either method is acceptable and I do choose life.

Today I had an appointment with the vascular specialist who with a big smile on his face told me that the clogging in my arteries was only slight, with a natural age related thickening and that he would not be performing any procedures on me.  He then said he would see me in six months time to do a  re-check and providing all was well he would not see me again.

I am delighted and with a spring in my step we left the hospital in glorious sunshine, revitalised.

Sunday, 17 April 2016


We all look at each other and I am sure that when doing so we try to imagine what our fore - fathers and mothers must have looked like.
Can we detect our own likeness in their faces?
Are there traits that we have inherited?
Here is one strand of my own ancestry that I recently discovered.

My Great Grandparents Jabez Finche and Elizabeth nee DORAN
who produced seven sons, each at approximately three yearly intervals.

Great Grandfather Jabez Finche (born 1853) with four of his seven sons.
So L to R Arthur b1878, William my Grandfather b1881, Ernest b1883
and John Henry the eldest son b1875.
As to where the other three sons were we shall need a crystal ball, 
however, their names were Frederick b1886, Robert b1889 and Samuel b1892

My Grandparents Emily (nee Byford) and William Finch
and the photo was taken in 1928.

As far as I know all of the photographs were taken in the English Midlands.

If anyone recognises their relations in the above photo's or has any information please leave a comment marked PERSONAL if you do not want your name or the information to be published. Thank you.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Sunday Afternoon

A book lies open on my lap and I turn the pages slowly. 
My enquiring wife asks “Are you reading ?”

“ No" I said and then added “Well yes,for actually I am dreaming into a book”

We have just returned from Ena’s at the Mill where we had a very satisfying  lunch.

I sat heavily into my favourite armchair and relaxed….. picked up the book called ‘Charlie Chaplin’s Wishbone and other stories’ by Aidan Mathews.

To be totally honest the text merged so well with my dreams, that I new not whether I was awake or asleep…

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

A Monumental Day

The Grand Parade to Derrycloney

On Sunday, I and hundreds of others, attended what can best be described as a monumental occasion in Mountmellick, the unveiling of the 1916-2016 centenary monument situated on the outskirts of this town at the Derrycloney cross roads. Historically, Mountmellick used to be considered as the Manchester of the Irish midlands. It was the industrial centre of Ireland, with a wide range of manufacturing processes being carried out in the town and serviced by both a canal and a railway. Sadly nothing of it’s industrial past remains apart from a ruined mill on it’s southern end. The canal was filled in to become a road, the railway station is now a private home complete with a platform and a signal board.

Civic pride in it’s past history still exists, the erection of the new monument is a witness to that and the part which it’s citizens played in freeing twenty-six of the thirty-two counties from under British rule. The momentum was generated by the actions of the fearless men and women of 1916 in Dublin. Those brave souls descended upon Dublin from all parts of Ireland and more than a few also came by boat from across the Irish Sea.

The monument project, part of the Laois 1916 centenary celebrations, was part-funded by Laois County Council through the Ireland 2016 funding. A small committee was formed in the town to raise further funds and they were assisted by many other organisations and individuals from the town, as well as people from other areas.

The central stone is a piece of South Kilkenny Blue Limestone weighing 1.45 tonne and has a crystalline structure. This is the type of stone that the ancient Irish used as standing stones and in stone circles, so this new monument links in very neatly with Ireland’s prehistory.

Cumann na mBan (Women's League) was formed in April 1913.
In 1913, a number of women decided to hold a meeting in Wynne's Hotel for the purpose of discussing the possibility of forming an organization for women who would work in conjunction with the recently formed Irish Volunteers. On April 4, 1914 Cumann na mBan was launched at a meeting held in the Pillar Room in the Mansion House. The first branch was named the Ard Chraobh, which held their meetings in Brunswick Street, before and after the 1916 Easter Rising.
In 1926 the Cumann Na mBan introduced the Easter Lily as symbol of remembrance for those who died during or were executed after the Easter Rising.
The Easter Lily

IUNVA Post 27 Portlaoise a site for all Veterans of the United Nations.  
The Irish United Nations Veterans Association(IUNVA) was formed at a meeting in Dublin on February 10th 1990, when an interim committee was formed.  The Association has the approval of the Minister of Defence, and is non-denominational, non-political and non-sectarian. Membership is available to any Irish resident who has successfully completed a tour of duty with a UN Force or Organisation, whether he or she is serving or retired. 

As veterans of U.N. operations world-wide IUNVA will continue to support our soldiers, Gardai and civilian personnel who serve in often dangerous and difficult circumstances. We hope that our country will also keep our traditions of service to peace in being.

We have contributed to over 50 years of peacekeeping with courage and tenacity. Our casualties have been many. Our dead are commemorated at Arbour Hill, and at other locations; but we must also remember the many who have been scarred, both physically and psychologically by their service overseas. We must continue to help these veterans and their families. That is why we were formed - let us not forget them.

Yours in peace,
Maj. Gen. (Retd.) V.F. Savino © with reference to

We were very fortunate with weather and it was an occasion that will remain in the hearts and minds of all who attended. For myself, I would like to thank the Chair Mountmellick Monument Committee Brian Furlong for his kindness in reserving a chair for me in the marquee.

Noelle Geoghan representing Cumman na mBan

Badge of Cumman na mBan

Ruadhán MacEoin, the keynote speaker

Cathaoirleach Catherine Fitzgerald, Laois County Council

IUNVA Post 27 Portlaoise

Bill Lawlor MC of the event

Brian Furlong, chairman of the committee

Eugene Nolan played the whistle

The future generation looks on.