The eighth edition of An Caislean was launched at the annual
Castleconnell Craft Fair on the October Bank Holiday weekend
in the Castle Oaks House Hotel.
Known as the Ahane and Montpelier Parish Annual, and gives
a detailed account of the history of the parish. This prize
winning annual - the millennium issue published in 2000
came first in Ireland in the competition for parish magazines
- has an excellent selection of articles, poems, features,
well over 120 photographs, and many other items of interest
from all parts of the parish.
This year for the first time, the committee introduced a
colour centre spread of the parish churches. These excellent
photographs were taken by An Caisleán photographer
The cover is graced by the magnificent picture of the stained
glass window in the the sanctuary of Castleconnell Church
also taken by Steve.
An Caisleán joint editor, Joe Carroll said;
this year we have tried to keep a varied and interesting
collection of articles, features, photographs, new and old,
and other items of interest.
The committee would like to extend their grateful
thanks to everyone who gave us articles, stories, poems,
photos and other material, not only from Castleconnell,
Ahane and Montpelier, but also from places beyond the parish;
thanks to everybody who helped in any way with this publication.
We thank the secretaries and PROs of the local clubs
and organisations - the teachers and the children in the
parish schools for their involvement. A special word of
thanks to our advertisers whose support every year is greatly
appreciated. Indeed, without our advertisers this parish
annual would not be possible, said Joe.
An Caisleán has very interesting stories such as
that from first time contributor Michael Thornhill, who
gives an excellent account of his early years in Castleconnell
and Ahane; he was one year old when his parents went to
live in the fisheries in Castleconnell in 1934. After some
years they moved again, this time to Woodstown, near Annacotty
where his father was caretaker on the farm. We used
to look forward to cutting and saving the hay and bringing
the trams into the barn using a horse and float. Our local
village was Annacotty. If we got a six pence or a three
penny we would treat ourselves to red lemonade, or an ice-cream
or blackjack at Ryans, our favourite shop. Occasionally
we would visit the Rara Avis (Black Swan) pub or Quiltys
pub with my father.
Michael emigrated to England in 1947 and became a Christian
brother. He remained in the Brothers until he was nearly
50 years old.
Joe Carroll writes about old names and places in these
times of round abouts, fly-overs, toll roads, slip roads
and dual carriageways.
He writes about how many of our old place names have disappeared,
or have been dropped in favour of more fashionable and trendy
It has been traditional among the farming community
to put names on their fields, by doing so, it makes it easier
for them to identify working areas of their farm, such names
as The five Acres, The River Field, The Quarry Field, or
Joe also tells about two old fields that now accommodate
housing estates - they are The Plots at Stradbally, now
St Flannans terrace, and The Paddock at the Spa, now
He stresses that unlike fields, streets, roads and lanes
are more likely to resist change, especially the well established
names such as Main Street, Castle street, Forge Road and
In this article Joe continues with a mime of information
on old names of boreens, lanes and roads in the parish of
Castleconnell, Ahane and Montpelier.
Betty Bonner takes us back to the days when she first came
to OBriens Bridge in the late 1920s, where her father,
Patrick opened and ran Bonners public house in the shannonside
She tells us that her father was from Donegal and mother
from Kerry, about her growing up in OBriens
Bridge, about the time women didnt go into bars, she
remembers pubs then had what was called a snug.
Jimmy Ryan remembers Nurse Kelly from Knocksentry, Lisnagry,
in a tribute entitled The Florence Nightingale of Our Time.
He tells how the nursing midwife travelled on a bicycle
at all hours of the day and night to minister to mothers
at the birth of their babies, how she went way beyond her
call of duty doing chores like lighting fires, cooking a
meal for the family and played the mopthers role of
getting the family ready for school, as well as looking
after the mother and new baby.
Sean Hartigan writes a fine tribute to Fanny Coffey, who
died during the year. Fanny who a was very popular member
of the community, was a contributor to An Caisleán.
She was also involved with many of the organisations in
the parish, particularly ICA and Care of the Aged committee
for which she was a tireless worker.
There are some excellent pictures in this issue of Enrights
Fishing Tackle Shop taken in the early 1900s situated across
from the church where Lees Grocery Shop now stands.
There is also a picture of the Shannon Hotel where dignitaries
from all parts of the world stayed when they visited the
village to fish in the 1900s - and a picture as it is today
- The Shannon Inn.
There are pictures of old buildings in the village. Great
credit to An Caisleán committee and all the contributors
for a very interesting and entertaining read.
The hard-working committee who produced this magnificent
journal are joint editors, Joe Carroll and Irene Hynes;
secretary, Mary Dillon; treasurer, Pat Skehan; phototgraphs,
Steve Reidy; schools, Peggy Duffy; clubs and organisations,
Mary Dillon; advertising, Pat Skehan.
This book is on sale in business houses in Castleconnell,
Lisnagry PO, OBriens Bridge and Annacotty, costing
Courtesy of the Limerick Leader