Patterns And Races - 28th Aug. 1948


Patterns And Races: Text Version

28th August 1948


For some weeks past, you will have noticed accounts of Patterns in the local papers. I was in Castletown Mac Eniry, on August 15th, for Castletown's annual Lady Day pattern. A great crowd assembled to do the traditional rounds at Lady's Well, where a handsome grotto with statue, and a neat enclosing wall, speak of the regard in which the people still hold this ancient place of prayer. In the evening there were two hurling matches -– or should I say a hurling match and a half –- for half way through the Castletown- Bruree contest the rain poured down, and the game had to be abandoned. The Broadford Pipers were in attendance in the field, and, until the skies opened, the 'skirl and cronan' of the bagpipes alternated with the clash of ash.


There was another pattern of which I should have told you earlier, for it coincided with a great parish effort, to raise funds for church repairs, etc. This was at Ballylanders, where, as in Castletown Mac Eniry, there is a famous pattern on Lady Day:

Don't talk of Flanders but Ballylanders,

Where Pattern Day brings back a thrill;

'Tis grand and striving, and great reviving

Of customs that are living still,

With joy unbounded, where music sounded,

And young and old in thousands thronged,

With human feeling fond memories stealing;

And some for absent friends they longed.

Oh leave me dreaming where history teeming

Keeps yet in vogue some customs old,

Tradition speaking, and young minds seeking

A story brighter than of gold,

Old times renewing, again we're doing

The Pilgrim acts of other days,

In blessed places there are still the traces

Where Saints had lived in humble ways.'


These are but two verses from a long ballad, about the event, which I received from 'N.F.W.' per W. J. Crawford. Castletown, Ballylanders, Borrigone and Killeedy, in Limerick, and I don't know how many other places up and down the country, deserve credit for having preserved the pattern. What of Molua? I remember, some years ago, seeing many trap-loads of people from West Limerick going regularly to do the rounds at Molua Well. Now, no one passes our way. And what of Trinity Well at Dromin? And what of all the other once frequented patterns?


May I pause here to remind you of an old friend of ours who is no more - –'Rambling Thady'. You who have read his notes over the years, with many a hearty laugh, will, surely avail yourselves of the opportunity now offered to pay a little tribute to him, by subscribing to the fund which has been opened for his wife and young family. It is a very deserving cause, and I know you will not forget it. But please don't put it on the long finger –- an rud a theigheann I bhfad teigheann se I bhfuaire.


A kindly Wicklow reader of the Limerick Leader sent a generous contribution. He wrote glowingly of 'Rambling Thady' 'whose weekly articles in that paper' he says, 'gave me for years past, much pleasure and entertainment, by their humour, kindness and Christian benevolence towards every worthy, living person, and thing, and every good and charitable cause.'

'I hope', my correspondent continues, 'your appeal for funds for his family will reach a rich reward from all who, knew him, and especially from the generations of pupils whose first footsteps in education he guided, and whose characters he moulded during his forty or more years wielding of the ferule. Ar dheis De go raibh a anam.'


I shall be glad to receive any subscriptions, large or small, towards this most deserving cause. Send them to me, c/o the 'Limerick Leader' office, or to any of the following: Very Rev. J. Moloney, P.P. Effin; Rev. M.J. McCarthy, C.C. Effin; his Worship, the Mayor of Limerick; Mr. J. Canty, Chairman, Co. Council, Ballyvolane, Bruff; Mr. D. Doyle, Co. Librarian, Limerick; Mr. Padraig O'Cearbhaill, T. G. Vocational School, Kilfinane; Mr. Micheal O'Conchubhair, Rathkeale; Mr. C. Randles, N.T. Kilmallock; Mr. D. T. Dwane, Redgate, Limerick; Mr. D. O' hArgain, N.T. Bruree; Mr. T. J. Fitzgerald, The Hall, Effin, Kilmallock.

Please don't forget; all contributions will be later acknowledged in 'Leader'.


Recently, I made and broke a promise in these columns. Some weeks ago I said I'd resume, publication of my songs and ballads of Limerick in the following week-end issue, but mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa, I did not. To explain why I didn't would involve me in too much writing, so, instead of explanations, I'll proceed with this week's song, which comes from the prize-winning collection of Miss Brigid Corr, Foynes, and which is called 'The Limerick Races'. (I have dozens of songs yet to publish, and new ones still to come.)


'I'm a simple Irish boy, and wish to see some fun,

To satisfy my mind, to Limerick I did come,

Oh! What a lovely place and what a handsome city,

Where the boys are all so free, and the s all so pretty.

In the merry month of June when I began my rambles,

Everything was there, both jaunting cars and gambols,

I marched along a road, it was lined with smiling faces,

All driving off, ding-dong to go and see the Races.

I ran along the road to make no more delay, sir,

Until I reached the course, sir, where everything was sir,

I went up to the stand, and in the upper storey,

The band struck up a tune, called 'Garryowen and Glory',

There were fiddlers playing jigs,

Lads and lassies dancing,

And the jockeys on their nags

Around the course were prancing,

Some were drinking punch, others shouted gaily,

Hurrah, boys for the shamrock green, and a splinter

Of shillelagh.

There were bookies by the score-

'Oh, what will win the race sir?'

And one of these sporting chaps came

Up to me and says, sir-

Says he 'I'll bet you fifty pounds,

I'll put it down this minute-

Ah, then, ten to one', says I 'it's the foremost horse will win it.'

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