by Pat Brosnan


Much Regretted Death


The tragic death, in a recent traffic accident, of Jimmy Joy of Abbeyfeale, while he was attending to some farm livestock at Ballaugh, cast a gloom over the Christmas festivities in West Limerick last week. Jimmy, who was originally a native of Duagh parish, had lived in Abbeyfeale area for several years where he and his wife Anna brought up their two children John and Ciara who are both Veterinary Surgeons – John in Donegal and Ciara who has a practice in New Zealand.  Jimmy’s wife Anna (nee Scanlon) is a native of Knocknagorna and it was only around Easter of last year that the Scanlon family had a previous bereavement when their mother died.  Jimmy had been employed at the Kostal factory, Abbeyfeale where he was highly regarded by his employers and among his workmates.  The removal took place from Hartnett’s Funeral Home, Abbeyfeale on Sunday evening to the Church of the Assumption, Abbeyfeale and a vast amount of people from all parts of West Limerick, North Kerry and much further afield called to pay their respects and sympathise with the bereaved family.  At the Requiem Mass on Monday there was also a packed congregation in the Church and a large attendance at the funeral afterwards to Springmount Cemetery, Duagh.  Jimmy will be very much missed by all his family members, relatives, friends, neighbours and co-workers at Kostal. Sympathy is extended to his wife Anna, son, daughter, the Scanlon family and other relatives. ‘May his soul rest in peace.’


Death of Dan Keane

The death of Dan (Monie) Keane of Coilagurteen, Moyvane which occurred during the week at age 92 has brought to an end the long and colourful life of this unique North Kerry man. It is no exaggeration to state that Dan Keane was a legend in his lifetime. He was a versatile writer, a people’s poet in the best sense of the word and just like his great friend late Paddy Faley of Glenbawn who lived to be around the same age a brilliant and humorous storyteller who very often composed his own great yarns which brought such a lot of laughs and humour to his many audiences down through the years, not alone in his native North Kerry and nearby West Limerick but all over the country where Dan had friends and admirers wherever he visited. As well as all these talents he was also a ballad maker of high renown, the holder of several County, Munster and All-Ireland titles in newly composed ballads.

My own acquaintance with Dan Keane goes back to the  ‘40’s and ‘50’s at one time we both worked as stokers with Kerry County Council machinery stone crushers and steamrollers and he also worked on farms in Knocknagoshel area in his younger days. It was around this time that he had a talent for composing verses. Then of course we both worked with the New Ireland Assurance Company and the Irish National Insurance, Dan continued in the insurance business all during his working life until his retirement, while more of us launched into other fields.   During all these many years Dan and myself remained good friends as we had so many shared interests and this friendship extended as well to the many times we were in competition with each other in poetry and new ballads. It was also Dan who introduced me to adjudicate in various competitions, Féile Cheoil, Readorí , Community Games talent competitions, Listowel Harvest Festival talent competition, Wrenboy and other poetry and Ballad competitions. For several years we adjudicated the Listowel Writers week’s Children’s poetry competition together which had been submitted those many years ago by various schools in North Kerry and West Limerick. This always meant for me a day with Dan at his home in Coilagurteen going through the children’s poems and passing our judgement on them, sometimes a difficult task enough but always a pleasant one. On one occasion Dan came to our house to do the adjudications.  We travelled to several different parts of the country together through the years whether it was a Fleadh Cheoil, a poetry recital, a bus tour guide with visitors from another country or other events.  In all of these travels and outings with Dan Keane he was always great company and his wit and humour shone out through every phase of his life.  He was associated with so many organisations in the life of North Kerry  from Listowel Writers Week , Pioneer activities of which he was a lifelong member, to local and national radio and so many other things that were so many that it would be difficult to recount. He also wrote a number of books. One of his own poems “The healthier People” and two others “The Place names of North Kerry Town lands” and another “The Town lands of West Limerick”. It was only a short time before Christmas that his final book was launched at the Heritage Centre, Listowel “A Kerryman’s Book of Limericks” which was Dan’s final contribution to the literature of North Kerry. There have been many great writers, poets, ballad makers and storytellers throughout North Kerry and West Limerick in our time and even long before our time but Dan Keane will certainly be remembered as one of the greatest of them all – a man who had a mind of his own and was not carried away or influenced by modern trends. A man who was a true patriot in every best sense of the word, a man who never compromised on his basic nationalist and republican ideas of a new and better Ireland which was brought to light so well in his poems and ballads.  Even in his room in the local Nursing Home where he was cared for in his final years Dan still kept up his writing until the end. Dan Keane was a person whom it was good to know and whom some of us were proud to call our friend.

There was a huge attendance at the removal from Lyons Funeral Home, Derry, Listowel on Friday evening to Moyvane Parish Church and a big congregation at the Requiem Mass on Saturday at which many tributes were paid to Dan. As well as the beautiful Mass and religious ceremony a selection of Dan’s own composed ballads were sung during the Mass and some of his poetry also recited. A total of nine priests from various parts of North Kerry celebrated the Mass. Again at Ardnavoher Cemetery Gale Bridge six musicians played a selection of traditional music and other songs of Dan’s composition were sung as he was laid to rest.

Sympathy is extended to his sons, daughters-in-law, grandsons, granddaughters, nephews, nieces and his other relatives. ‘Ar dheis Dé go raibh a Anam Dilis’.


Congratulations to Tom

Congratulations to our newspaper correspondent colleague Tom Aherne, Carrigkerry who won the Short Story Competition in the 2012 entry in Old Moore’s Almanac. This was a high profile competition in this National Publication for which no doubt there must have been a big number of entries from all over the country and the fact that Tom’s Story was chosen as the winning entry illustrates his ability as a versatile and prolific writer who can equal or even surpass some of the greatest in the country. Well done to Tom and may he continue to have more success in his writings.  

Hard Times Ahead

If some of the grim forecasts in the Sunday newspapers are anything to go by the year ahead will be a difficult and trying time for our citizens. There were predictions of the free travel for our senior citizens getting the chop, increases in the cost of school transport, already Primary School children are being charged which up to now was unheard of. The present Fine Gael/Labour Government are in power for less than a year and let us look at the hardship they have already inflicted on our citizens.