Called to see Séamus and Dolores McConville at their
home in Ballyard for a late supper and a chat. Home by 12.40.
Tuesday, February 12.
Phone call from teacher Tom Crowley asking if I would spend a couple of days with the first and second year students in the Presentation Convent to give them some talks on the archaeology of the area. I suggested he ask Isabel Bennett. Isabel rang me later and agreed to take it on so we’re going to meet Tom at Coláiste Íde tomorrow afternoon where he teaches basketball to the students. Meeting of the Brendan Festival committee in Benners Hotel tonight.
Present were: Peter Callery, John Greaney Snr, John Greaney Jnr, Brendan Greaney, Finbar Ó Sé, Fergus Flaherty, John Moriarty, John Sheehy, Áine Leahy, Jed Bowler, Steve McDonogh and Billy Granville.
It was decided to stage the festival around the weekend of June 30 with a big currach race as the focus. I vacated the chair and Peter Callery took it over. John Sheehy is Secretary and John Greaney Jnr is vice-chair. Home by 12.30.
Wednesday, February 13.
After last night’s meeting Fergus Flaherty told me that the local branch of Comhaltas are trying to arrange a seminar in Dingle to look at the relevance of patriot Thomas Ashe’s death in the Ireland of today. They hope to invite Prof. John A. Murphy and Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams to speak at the event.
Letter from Roibeárd Ó Cathasaigh inviting me to a meeting in the Community Centre in Lispole on Saturday to discuss plans for the 100th anniversary commemoration of the birth of Thomas Ashe.
Thursday, February 14.
Did an interview at with Micheál de Mordha at the Raidio na Gaeltachta studio about being the new president of the KAHS.
Phone call from Dick Hogan of The Irish Times who is covering the Kerry Baby trial in Tralee to say he would like to do an article on the KAHS after the trial. We’ll see.
Friday, February 15.
Bitterly cold these days and hard easterly wind but no snow, apart from the top of Mt Brandon. A long time since we had such a cold spell.
Discussed the idea of building a replica of the Brendan Boat with Aloysius Kavanagh today. It could be featured as a centre piece of a pageant during the Brendan festival every summer and then housed as a paying exhibit the rest of the season. It may be possible to interest Anco in the idea. They could build it. Plenty of experienced boat builders in the area who used to work in the now almost disused Dingle boatyard. A St Brendan pageant could be a big attraction.
Saturday, February 16.
Met Áine Ní Shé and her sister Nóirín at Kilmalkeader. Áine is training to be a teacher at Mary 1 College in Limerick and is doing a project on local antiquities so gave her some info on the church and the monuments in the graveyard.
Went to a meeting in Lispole to plan celebrations for the Thomas Ashe Centenary where a committee was formed. Fr. Houlihan is chair, me vice-chair, secretary Marie Griffin, assistant secretary Fr. Doherty, treasurer Micheál Ó Moráin, assistant treasurer Gabriel Ó Cathasaigh, two PROs Roibeárd Ó Cathasaigh and Jed Bowler. Tom Fitzgerald is the president. Fergus O’Flaherty declined any position.
It was decided to put a plaque on the patriot’s old house in Kinard. President Hillary to be invited to unveil it.
Other plans include a booklet, a seminar, a stamp and exhibition and to hold the commemorations in late July.
Sunday, February 17.
Went to 9am Mass. Very few attending. Very few attend the early Masses on Sundays now since the Saturday night Masses came in. Back to Kilmalkeader after breakfast and spent another hour with Áine Ní Shé talking about local monuments but it rained most of the time.
Went to funeral of Dr O’Sullivan of the Mall. His daughter, Nuala, was a friend of ours when when we lived in Beirut in 1974.
After lunch drove over the Conor Pass to see the frozen waterfall below Pedlars Lake and the big icicles hanging off the rocks along the road.
Tuesday, February 19.
Another meeting of the Brendan Festival committee in Benner’s tonight. During a discussion on fund-raising it was proposed to hold a church door collection. I opposed the idea on the grounds that there are already too many church door collections. The proposal went to a vote and was carried. The date for the collection is April 12.
Pancakes for tea tonight.
Thursday, February 21.
The country was shocked tonight to learn of the sudden death of Archbishop Dermot Ryan who was replaced as Archbishop of Dublin by Bishop Kevin McNamara of Kerry recently. Archbishop Ryan had gone to Rome to become the head of all church mission work. We (KAHS) met him in Rome last October shortly after we presented Pope John Paul with a model of the Brendan Boat and a model of a naomhóg.
‘I believe you sailed into the Pope’s harbour this morning’ he remarked.