The Pride Of Kilcorney

From where she first looked on the bright lamp of day
The Pride of Kilcorney she lives far away
She lived in the house by the silver tongued rill
Babbling down from the high fields by Mushera Hill
With shoulder length wavy raven hair and chestnut brown eyes
Such beauty that to songs and stories gives rise
One young man in Kilcorney for lost love does grieve
That she will return to Kilcorney he no longer believe
She left Kilcorney some eight years ago
And he has not heard from her for five years or so
Rumor has it in Australia she is a mother and wife
And quite happy and content in her new way of life
A young man in Kilcorney thinks of her every day
But then such is life as some are known to say.

by Francis Duggan

Millstreet Station

As the train pulls out of the station
There’s another crashing through my heart
Across a sea of every kind of nation
I feel the sleepers pulling us apart
Through darkened Streets, I followed my feet
And I made my way through the dark.

Now she’s gone I have to learn to function
It’s like the blind leading the blind
Like two roads meeting at a junction
One was hers the other was mine
Down Claragh Road the wind did now
As it tore her from my sight

As the days turn into weeks,
I see reflections of a face i used to know
All the tears that rolled down our cheeks,
are still there but covered by the snow.

As the train pulls into Millstreet station
I feel myself moving to a beat
Like an island amid so many nations
I take her hand and hold onto these two weeks

by B. King

John Twomey The Poet Of Ivale

When i was a boy he was in his physical prime
But this is going back many decades in time
With words he was one who did have a way
And many of his poems and songs are living today

Beyond the green borders of the Duhallow countryside
John Twomey The Poet Of Ivale was known far and wide
In song and verse Duhallow and it’s people by him glorified
To know of a poet of his stature to many was a sense of pride
[read more …] “John Twomey The Poet Of Ivale”

John Joe Daly

In Millstreet in Duhallow when i was a young boy
John Joe Daly told the stories of Ireland’s tears and joy
He told stories of the black and tans and civil war and of Tubrid Well
He was an old pipe smoking bloke with yarns in galore for to tell

He told of how Paddy McCarthy a warrior rebel of renown
Died on a bleak night in November in Millview Lane in Millstreet Town
Out numbered by the black and tans he died under gunfire
Stories of such acts of bravery others to take up arms does inspire
[read more …] “John Joe Daly”

Clara The Old Hill

Clara the old hill that ever looks down
On Duhallow and Sliabh Luachra and Millstreet Town
Inspired long deceased writers over decades of time
To idolize it in their stories and rhyme

Long before the first people to Hibernia came
Clara the old hill was without a name
Bracken and heather on it’s face did grow
Just like the Clara today that we know

In the prime of Summer in sunny July
When larks over Clara do sing in the sky
People climb the old hill whortleberries to eat
The tiny blue berries to the taste buds a treat
[read more …] “Clara The Old Hill”

Summer In Lisnaboy

Good memories live in me as a source of joy
Of the happy times i spend in green Lisnaboy
On Summer school holidays in the farm of aunt Mary and uncle Dan
Going back some six decades in time quite a span

In the sunlit meadows of a sunlit day
In July and August i helped them with the hay
With the sweet scents of Nature wafting in the breeze
And the young birds chirping on the bushes and trees
[read more …] “Summer In Lisnaboy”

I Loved Claraghatlea Then

The Winters were cold and windy and wet
And the fields often gray with frost something i remember yet
And cattle in the farmyard sheds often bellowing for silage or hay
In the place i was raised in from here far away

But i loved Claraghatlea then and i always will
That green old Town-land in view of Clara Hill
Where i would be a stranger to many today
But love of place until death with me will stay
[read more …] “I Loved Claraghatlea Then”

The Strong Boy Of The Schoolyard

Far north of this countryside near Warrnambool
In the mid to late fifties in Millstreet Town i went to primary school
Years later one who would prove himself a man among men
Humphrey Kelleher was the strong boy of the schoolyard back then

Humphrey as a young teenager full of youthful elan
As a boy tall and sturdy and as strong as a man
Not gentle or shy but not a bully in any way
Yet any boy who tested his might had some price for to pay
[read more …] “The Strong Boy Of The Schoolyard”

In Johnny Hickey’s Grove

A long time ago and from here far away
In Johnny Hickey’s grove in Inchaleigh children’s games we did play
As primary school-goers long before our lives prime
This is going back the years more than six decades in time

Only memories of them with me now do stay
The friends of my childhood where are they today?
Since we all had to follow our lives destiny
Though i often do wonder where today they might be

[read more …] “In Johnny Hickey’s Grove”

Paddy O’Keeffe’s Bog

One fine Summer’s evening when passing by Togher
I stood, and enraptured, I gazed all around.
The peaceable scenes of my long vanished childhood
No more on the slopes of this mountain I found.
The sheep and the cattle that grazed on the hillside
Recalling to memory the plains of Royal Meath
Had now disappeared and their places were taken
By men who were digging for ‘gold’ underneath.

Those bogs which for centuries lay sorely neglected
Were now utilised by each true Irishman
To make his dear Motherland more independent
Of England’s support since this cruel war began.
From town and from city they rallied to Togher
Such scenes of industry I ne’er saw before
For hundreds and thousands in shirt-sleeves were digging
And when they had done, they went looking for more.

To make the acquaintance of all those young workmen
I walked right along till I met Paddy Keeffe.
Oh, Paddy was beaming and smiling all over
And graciously told me that I had his leave
To travel, if weather and time would permit me,
The turf-covered heights of his far-flung domain
And see for myself how each workman was faring,
Find out all about him and, of course, get his name.

[read more …] “Paddy O’Keeffe’s Bog”

Bernard didn’t win the T.S. Eliot Prize

We hoped he would, he didn’t expect it himself, but in the end Bernard O’Donoghue didn’t win the top poetry prize in this part of the world for his book The Seasons of Cullen Church. The T.S.Eliot prize for 2016 went to Jacob Polley for his book Jackself. But the T. S. Eliot Prize Shortlist Readings took place on the eve of the prize. It was an evening of poetry, dinner and music, and all nominated poets attended. The audio of Bernard’s introduction and reading from the night have been published online, and you can listen to it below:

At the awards ceremony itself, the Chair of the Judges, Ruth Padel, had this to say of Bernard’s book:

“Bernard O’Donoghue’s The Seasons of Cullen Church combines an elegantly wry tone, deceptively easy flow, intimacy with the reader which seems effortless but is actually very original, with scholarly love of poetry down the ages. Many poems think with Dante, Virgil, Old English; many lines give you one more beat than you’d expect and, when you re-read, disclose one more layer of meaning too: very suddenly – just as, he says, the swifts arrive in Cullen, like unexplained gifts on Christmas morning.” [from tseliot.com]

Alas, despite not winning, Bernard’s profile has
once again been elevated, and his nomination has seen him profiled in the Irish national newspapers, as well as [read more …] “Bernard didn’t win the T.S. Eliot Prize”

A January Night In Millstreet Town

Children walking home in a light drizzle in Millstreet an evening this January. Photo Aleksandra Cashman

Few cars on the quiet street do pass up and down
On a cold Winter night in old Millstreet Town
The pub doors are locked not a human in sight
On what is a typical January weekday night

On one of the moonlit trees in the Town Park nearby
The silence is pierced by a barn owl’s shrill cry
In the depths of Winter and Spring nowhere near
For it and it’s kind a hungry time of year

In the moonlit sky quite a beautiful sight
Myriads and myriads of stars twinkling bright
The cold chill of frost in the freshening breeze
In weather temperatures below zero degrees

[read more …] “A January Night In Millstreet Town”

Bernard is nominated for the T.S. Eliot Prize

The very best of luck to Bernard O’Donoghue who has been nominated for the 2016 T.S. Eliot poetry prize for his new collection of poems The Seasons of Cullen Church. “This collection of expert lyric poems movingly animates the characters of his childhood in County Cork; it confirm O’Donoghue’s place as one of the most approachable and agile voices in contemporary Irish and British poetry.”

Among the theses in the book are: “a schoolboy beaten so hard by his teacher that his bare feet jiggle on the floorboards, a wife disinherited when her husband dies suddenly, and medieval tales which echo to how we live now.”

It is Bernard’s second time nominated for the T.S. Eliot prize. In 2011 he was nominated for Farmers Cross. The winner will be announced on January 16th. Here is one poem from the book called The Will:

When they discovered that my grandfather
was going, unexpectedly, to die young
of meningitis, they naturally set about
ensuring that his wife would not inherit
the farm. They assembled a group of solid men –
as they might have for the threshing: his brother
who lived south on the mountain;
a shrewd solicitor; and a man from Doon
with a good hand who often testified to wills.

[read more …] “Bernard is nominated for the T.S. Eliot Prize”

It Hardly Matters To Me Now

It hardly matters to me now if i was dunce of the primary school
Far north of the coastal countryside by Warrnambool
Or if in my life’s twilight years i cannot boast of a uni degree
Since time it does seem it has caught up on me

Since the years have left me wrinkled looking, bare headed and gray
And clearly i have known of a far better day
And though i am not one who has known of life’s success
I am not going into old age in a state of unhappiness

Though some things in life we would rather forget
No point in growing older with feelings of regret
Of mistakes we made and opportunities lost
Some of our lessons in life come to us at a cost
[read more …] “It Hardly Matters To Me Now”

A Christmas Childhood

One side of the potato-pits was white with frost –
How wonderful that was, how wonderful!
And when we put our ears to the paling-post
The music that came out was magical.

The light between the ricks of hay and straw
Was a hole in Heaven’s gable. An apple tree
With its December-glinting fruit we saw –
O you, Eve, were the world that tempted me

To eat the knowledge that grew in clay
And death the germ within it! Now and then
I can remember something of the gay
Garden that was childhood’s. Again
[read more …] “A Christmas Childhood”

The Mushera Christmas Morning Climbers

Photo: Christmas Day 2002 on top of Mushera. This year’s Annual Christmas Morning Climb of Mushera takes place on Christmas Day Morning Sunday 25 December at 10.30 am.This year the proceeds go to Reach Out Cancer Support Group.

People from Aubane and other parts of Millstreet Parish on the morning of Christmas Day
Climb to the summit of Mushera Mountain quite a daunting task one has to say
For those who sponsor them for their favorite charity for this credit in heaps they are due
To climb Mushera in the depths of Winter to a cause one would have to be true

On Christmas morning no matter what the weather they scale the heights of Mushera hill
It may be frosty, raining or snowing or the gale force winds blowing a cold chill
The Mushera Christmas morning climbers some of them years ago were young
For their courage they are well worth admiring and their praises deserve to be sung
[read more …] “The Mushera Christmas Morning Climbers”

Lovely Katie of Lackabawn

You gentle muses I pray excuse me
You kind infusion come grant once more
To praise a maiden, sweet and engaging
She’s lovely Katie that I adore

If you’ll not aid me my heart will fail me
A sketch unpleasing I must have drawn
For oh I am eager my heart to please her
She’s lovely Venus of Lackabawn

One frosty morning when passing northwards
By Millstreet’s Border I chanced to meet
My darling Venus I mean Young Katie
And she coming early up from the street

[read more …] “Lovely Katie of Lackabawn”

Millstreet Did Not Go To The World Out There

Millstreet did not go to the World out there so the World out there came to Millstreet
In the Duhallow Town today people of many different nationalities you will meet
People of many cultures and creeds of Countries Worldwide and of skin colors black, white and brown
Live in view of old Clara Hill in and near to Millstreet Town

Millstreet did not go to the World out there it was a monocultural place
But change to it came from afar in latter years at a quick pace
And change for the better one might say as it brought with it people of the World out there
And change happening in view of Clara Hill as has been happening everywhere

[read more …] “Millstreet Did Not Go To The World Out There”

It Has Been A While Since I Walked By Finnow

It has been a while since i walked by Finnow
And in a rushy field heard the soft lowing of a cow
After sundown in the twilight of the day
In the prime of the Spring on an evening in May

It has been a while near the Town of Millstreet
That i walked in the field where the waterways meet
And heard dark brown water bird dipper with breast white as snow
Singing his scratchy song where the river rapids did flow

[read more …] “It Has Been A While Since I Walked By Finnow”

A Stranger In Ballydaly

Since from there I have been quite a long time away
I would be a stranger to many in Ballydaly today
By the Boggeragh Ranges far inland from Hibernia’s shore
In the Parish of Millstreet on the road to Rathmore

At the end of the Autumn with Winter quite near
It is cool and wet in Ballydaly in November of the year
Clara, Gortavehy and Caherbarnagh half cloaked in the gray fogs of rain
And brown storm water flowing in every roadside and field drain

The people of Ballydaly as I recall have a charm of their own
Where today I would be a stranger to many where I once was well known
But this is going back some three decades ago
And time as we know becomes everyone’s foe

[read more …] “A Stranger In Ballydaly”

“Millstreet” by Julia A.Sullivan

millstreet-a-general-view-1909
A General View of Millstreet – from the Lawrence Collection (approx 1910)

Millstreet, quaint and quiet village
Nestling mid your emerald hills
Though I see you but in memory
How my heart with rapture thrills.

Gentle stream & busy mill-wheel
Smile beneath the summer sky
Church & convent calm & peaceful
Welcome still the passer by

Friends the nearest, friends the dearest
I can see them now at will
And the sunshine of their kindness
So abiding with me still

[read more …] ““Millstreet” by Julia A.Sullivan”

John Kelleher Better Known As Jack The Mule

He worked for farmers and for town people shlauned peat for winter fuel
The mighty man John Kelleher better known as Jack The Mule
One of Duhallow’s best workmen on his day
Though his working efforts seldom matched by pay

A tall broad shouldered man he was as strong as two
Without much effort the hardest work he could do
Yet to himself he was not a good friend
Most of his hard earned wages on alcohol he did spend

That he was not one to mess with was obviously quite clear
The mighty Jack he was a man to fear
He never once was beaten in a brawl
And he left many a big Duhallow bully feeling small
[read more …] “John Kelleher Better Known As Jack The Mule”

The Clock Tower

Stone upon stone the bell tower rises outside my window,
a protestant ruin of the village church. You belonged
to Drishane Castle. You belonged to the people.
The ringer gently bowed to the lintel, climbed
narrow stone steps spiraling, to call worshipers to holy communion.
Years later, Tidy Towns filled your belfry with a white-faced clock.
I raise the linen shade, wake to your dial, Black Roman numerals
go round and round. You move through my tea and egg.
I notice the time as I am off to the shop for the Guardian
and lamb. You are my companion as I play with poems
and read Passing Through. I stroll in the deep grass,
rubbing old tombstones, no longer legible.
You move through my days until you wane in the light
of the evening and fade at the unfairness of fate.

“The Clock Tower” is by Sandra Ann Winters


Bio: Sandra Ann Winters is the winner of the 2011 Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Competition, and a Pushcart nominee, having won numerous poetry awards and commendations in the United States. She is the author of a full-length poetry collection The Place Where I Left You (Salmon Poetry 2014), and [read more …] “The Clock Tower”

Denis O’Mahony

toclarDenis O’Mahony the Inchaleigh mountain climber the man who has climbed to the summit of many a hill
In his early to his mid sixties as is said time does not stand still
He has a passion for hill climbing the steep heights he does not fear
He has been climbing mountains for many a year

One of the O’Mahonys of Clara he first climbed Clara mountain as a young boy
He has climbed many higher peaks since then the challenge of the climb he enjoy
The man who does love climbing mountains though his best days in the forever gone
But age does not weary brave Denis the man who does keep climbing on

[read more …] “Denis O’Mahony”

I Left Duhallow, but Duhallow Followed

I left Duhallow but Duhallow followed
And the Boggeragh hills are never far away
In Finnow pools the trout for flies are jumping
And I see the cross on Clara every day.

The stream from the mountain lake of Gortavehy
Down through the bracken splashes on it’s way
Joined by small rills it swells into a river
Before it reach the flat fields of Liscreagh.

Of the fields of Claraghatlea North where I came from
I once said were a memory in decay
But of them I’ve found a new mental picture
Resplendent in their wildflowers of the May.

I left Duhallow but Duhallow followed
And the green fields and the woodlands I still see
I drive up the high hill through Cullen village
And take the road that leads to Knocknagree. [read more …] “I Left Duhallow, but Duhallow Followed”

The Blackthorn Hare

A-Fox-Chasing-A-Rabbit2On a cold and wild December morn
In a field down under old Blackthorn
In a rushy patch the brown hare slept
As through the field a dog fox crept.

The big red fox’s cunning mate
A vixen waited by the gate
There by the gate she quietly lay
She knew the hare would come this way.

Upwind the fox was drawing near
He did not wish the hare to hear
For him it was a hungry night
And badly did he need a bite.

But the hare awoke and pricked one ear
He sensed danger was somewhere near
Then bolted from his cushy seat
This hare would not be easy meat.

Out of the rushes he did race
The angry fox was quick to chase
He ran the field up to the gate
Where the hidden vixen lay in wait. [read more …] “The Blackthorn Hare”

The Hokey Pokey In Claraghatlea

A Dance in MillstreetIn life there is laughter and sorrow and tears
But good memories do last through the decades of years
The good memories are ours a lifetime to enjoy
And i have good memories of Claraghatlea as a boy

Back in the late fifties a long time ago
The Murphy cousins musicians Jackie and Neily Joe
Had a dancing timber platform in Claraghatlea on a quarter of ground owned by Matty Owen
The old memories in me by time have not been outgrown

On Summer evenings at the timber platform a kilometer west of Millstreet Town
Neily Joe and Jackie Murphy played music until after sundown
To their hearts delight for three hours or more
The men and women of Millstreet west danced around the platform floor [read more …] “The Hokey Pokey In Claraghatlea”

March By The Finnow

RobbirtreeOn a budding birch tree the male robin on song
Near where old Finnow river goes babbling along
Though the wind from the high country by Clara Hill
Does blow with a touch of a wintry chill
In mid March in the earlier days of the Spring
When the early nesting birds are commencing to sing
The swallows not yet back on their breeding ground
And the chill of the Winter it is still around
And the old Finnow River in flood waters of brown
Babbles through the fields and bogs by Millstreet Town
Though in shady places by ditch and hedgerow
The wildflowers of Nature in the blustery winds blow
Where Finnow from the high country the Cails does meet
Just west of the Duhallow Town of Millstreet.

[read more …] “March By The Finnow”

Happy Childhood Memories

Happy childhood memories the best memories of all
And my younger years in Millstreet I will always recall
On evenings in Summer up to the mid Fall
In the Townpark at the West End we played gaelic football
My friends of my youth where might they be today
Like me have the years left them balder and gray
Though some of them in the home Parish did stay
In life one might say we just went our own way
Since those days so many years have come and gone
And time does not wait it just ticks on and on
Many of the friends of my youth I may not see again
Though good memories of them with me does remain
And in fancy I chase the football up and down
With my happy young friends in the Park of the Town.
[read more …] “Happy Childhood Memories”

Pat Duggan

On looking back the Seasons that time does go quickly happens to be so
Pat Duggan left Claraghatlea five decades ago
He went off to New York for a new start in life
Where he married Lisheen born and raised Kathy Looney his soul mate and wife

A religious man to his beliefs quite true
He lived as a good person for to give him his due
He never harmed anyone in any way
In him what was a loss to Millstreet was a gain to the U S of A

One of the eldest of my siblings Pat as i recall
As a young man never played Hurling or Gaelic Football
In a sporting mad Parish where his was a known and well liked face
He was one of those who did seem out of place
[read more …] “Pat Duggan”