by Pat Brosnan


Loneliness of Exile

With emigration now at its peak again and young well educated and talented boys and girls one of our biggest exports, the situation crises when the question of how it affects those who are directly involved, the families and the emigrants themselves. In former times it was mostly the young who took the emigrant ship and left the parents at home to keep the fires burning and looking forward to the time when their family members would visit them for a holiday or perhaps return home for good when they had earned and saved enough money to do so.  Of course there was a lot of loneliness involved when this was happening, the sadness of the parents and the call of the homeland for the young people who were doing the best they could to make their way and settle in a new and often alien environment. In those days some of the countries to which the young people emigrated were for distant places to where none of the fast modern transport that is available today was in evidence. If people wanted to come home from New York for instance it meant a voyage of seven days in a ship, from California it took twice as long.  From Australia it took six weeks and with those long trips home for the exiles they were only able to come on visits very rarely and another factor of course was the high cost of those trips home. Even England in those now far off days was distant enough. For the Irish abroad the loneliness of exile was constantly with them and for many who emigrated in those days the prospect of seeing home again became a remote possibility and for some it remained just a dream.

But in this latest phase of emigration from our country since the advent of this present recession the whole pattern has changed.  Where in the old days it was the sons and daughters who left home leaving the heartbroken parents behind it is the reverse that is now occurring. The fathers and even sometimes the mothers of young families who have been made redundant and cannot find alternative employment here and who do not like the idea of trying to manage on the dole or Social Welfare handouts have joined the emigration trail leaving the wife and children, or in more rare cases the husband and children to manage as best they can at home.  These are very brave and caring people who endure not alone the loneliness of exile but also the constant worry of the loved ones they have left behind. From personal experience some of us are fully aware of the heartbreak of watching children crying when the father or mother is leaving them to go to work in another country. This is all very sad but unfortunately that is the way that things are and if the austerity that we are now experiencing is likely to continue that is the way that things are likely to be. During the late period of the last century and into the early years of the present one when the country was comparatively prosperous there was also a trickle of emigration among young people. But these were people who wanted to work abroad for the experience and not because of any economic necessity and was very different from present circumstances when unemployment is rife and there are no jobs available even for capable able-bodied people or the well-educated and qualified.  Perhaps the young people who are now forced to emigrate may no longer have the same nostalgia attachment for the homeland that we had in our time when we were away or perhaps they do not feel the same loneliness as exiles that previous generations felt when they were absent from home. No doubt this country has become far more materialistic and less sensitive since we joined the European Union and perhaps this type of culture has its adverse offshoots on the Irish who go abroad as well. In former times we used to hear many songs and ballads bemoaning emigration and the loneliness and hardships of the exiles. But strangely enough many or at least some of the finest of these songs on emigration and exile were written by composers who had little or no practical first hand knowledge of what it feels to be an exile if they never worked abroad themselves. However this did not detract from the sentiments expressed in these songs some of which are very old but others of much more modern origin.  These songs on emigration were all part of our National Heritage as most generations down the years had its quota of Irish people who went to work and live in foreign lands. At the present time the country’s greatest asset is its young talented people are leaving in their thousands and the saddest about it is that nobody particularly those in authority appears to be in any way concerned. The pace of emigration has not yet reached its peak but if and when it does our country will be much the poorer because of it.


Late Margaret White

The death occurred during the past week of Margaret (Peg) White (nee Woulfe) of Templeglantine. Deceased was a native of Keale Cross, Athea and a member of a highly regarded local family. She had lived in Templeglantine after being married to her husband Tom who together raised a lovely family.  Peg was a sister of the late Willie Woulfe who lived in the family home at Keale Cross and where his wife and family are resident. In her younger days Peg was a regular visitor to her aunt and cousins, the Dalton family and the other cousins in Knocknagorna. On Monday evening of last week a large number of people called to the home of Peg’s daughter to pay their respects and offer their sympathy to the family. The Requiem Mass and funeral on the following day were also well attended. Sympathy is extended to her husband Tom, her sons, daughter and other relatives. ‘May her soul rest in peace.


Charity Cycle

There was a good turnout on Sunday for the Limerick-Kerry Cycle in aid of the Brothers of Charity Services in Listowel and Newcastle West. Thankfully the weather was dry even though it was rather cool and windy. Well done to all the cyclists who took part in the event of this worthy cause.


Knockanure Robbery

People living in nearby Knockanure are reported to be living in fear since the elderly man was robbed of a substantial sum of money by a con-man posing as a Garda. People in the locality there have been warned to be very vigilant as to who they will admit to their homes or give any details or information about themselves. Any strangers calling should be asked to produce identity before being admitted and unless this is forth coming they should be treated as being suspect and not given any access to people’s homes.


Ceol Luimnigh Concert

A very enjoyable concert was held for the residents of Rathfredagh Cheshire Nursing Home by the Ceol Luimnigh Traditional Group on Friday night. As usual it was sponsored by the Newcastle West Red Cross Branch and it was a great night of music, dancing, songs, storytelling and poetry recitals. The staff was thanked for the lovely meal which was served to all the entertainers and guests during the interval. The following performers took part:- Tom O’Donoghue, Martin Keyes, Martin Enright, Ede Hession, Aisling Cahill, Dylan Cahill, Pat Sheahan, Irene Quaid, Mary O’Keeffe, Catherine Harnett, Micheal Scanlon, Patsy Noonan, Pat Dalton, Pat Brosnan, Sheila Walsh, Mary Noonan, Marie Cahill and Josie O’Keeffe. MC: – Pat Dalton.


The Rebels Again

While it was generally expected, Cork’s win over Mayo on Sunday once again proves that the rebels, whether in football or hurling, are always a side to watch and that can never be underestimated. It will be interesting to see how the Cork hurlers will now perform against Kilkenny and if the rebels can achieve the League double against the cats.