Creedon’s Atlas of Ireland to Take In Sliabh Luachra on Sunday Evening

“Couldn’t resist replacing the missing letter N, when filming in the mystical Sliabh Luachra” said John Creedon who will include Sliabh Luachra musicians, Bryan O’Leary (left) and Eoin Stan O’Sullivan among others on his Creedon’s Atlas of Ireland opening programme on RTÉ1 on this Sunday evening at 6:30pm.
The Mike O’Donnell created portraits of the Sliabh Luachra icons being mounted on the wall of the former Charlie Horan’s Bar / O’Connor’s Bar at No.60, Main Street, Castleisland this morning. ©Photograph: John Reidy
The portrait and the artist: Mike O’Donnell and the portrait of the late Con Houlihan which he presented to the library in Castleisland in 2012. ©Photograph: John Reidy

John Creedon has become the saviour of the meaningful, musical place-names and town-land addresses which are in grave danger of being wiped off the maps of Ireland again.

You’re far more likely to be asked for your Postcode these days than for your postal address.

The Postcode has its advantages, of course, in cases of emergency but its sponsors and its widespread use is the biggest threat since the anglicisation of Ireland process began away back in the mid 1300s.

Fr. Kieran O’Shea’s Book

The place-names commission undertook a school-by-school, county-by-county survey almost 20 years ago and Castleisland Community College played an active role in it.

Castleisland had its traditional town-land addresses compiled and preserved for posterity by Fr. Kieran O’Shea in his ‘Castleisland Church and People’ which he published in 1981.

And he did a similar collection and preservation job in Knocknagoshel a decade later when he was PP there in 1991.

Anthony Cronin’s Question

At a gathering during the unveiling of the monument to Con Houlihan in January of 2004, Anthony Cronin asked a gaggle of locals if they could tell him the exact address of Con’s birthplace.

We all failed with varying degrees of inaccuracy and some were only fields away in their estimates. Others were technically right – but Anthony demanded answers that were on the button.

“Ye’re all wrong. Con’s is the only house in the sub-town-land of Reineen,” he said after placing his pint glass right on the centre of the beer mat which he had lined up perfectly with the edge of the high counter in Sheila Prendiville’s Bar and Grocery.

A Thin Finger of Land

Prompted by Anthony’s probing, we later discovered that Reineen actually extends as a thin finger of land back through the fields to Laccabawn.

Back to John Creedon, and his Atlas of Ireland tour 2021 and his visit with his crew and guest Ardal O’Hanlon.

Filming was done in Scartaglen during the summer – with all its letters in place and in the general area which encompassed the essence of Sliabh Luachra on the Kerry and Cork sides.

Emma O’Leary, Eoin Stan O’Sullivan, Bryan O’Leary, Maura O’Connor and Timmy O’Connor will present a fine Cork, Kerry, Limerick mix on Sunday evening’s opening programme in the series.

Another Sliabh Luachra Topic

On another Sliabh Luachra associated topic. Work of a culturally local nature on the front of Charlie Horan’s / O’Connor’s Bar on Castleisland’s Main Street this Saturday morning certainly generated lots of interest from passers-by.

Hand drawn images of: Con Houlihan, Patrick O’Keeffe, Jerry McCarthy, Paddy Cronin and Dan Herlihy – the work of well known artist Michael O’Donnell now adorn the wall of the former traditional music haven.

Because of the Hour of the Morning

There’s no doubt that the musicians honoured today would all have played in the pub at one time or another and Con and Charlie Lenihan would have raised a glass or two to launch issues of The Taxpayers’ News – which was put together in Charlie’s place next-door.

And it was also the pub, operating as The Rambling House in which the first low murmurings of the Patrick O’Keeffe Traditional Music Festival were barely heard because of the hour of the morning.

Pub Opening Ruled Out

It’s not that the place is going to open again as a public house. This was ruled out, in as much as one can rule anything out these days, by the building’s owner John P. O’Connor as he watched the work progress this morning.

“We’ve had many enquiries from people willing to take the space but most were businesses which would be in competition with shop already established here. We’ll still talk to people interested in the space,” said Mr. O’Connor.

‘Wait ’til I’m Gone’

“The portraits, I meant to do for a while but with the restriction it had to be put aside. I wanted to put Con Houlihan’s portrait on the wall and I told him about it, but he told me to wait until he’s gone,” he said.

The portraits, printed onto wall panel sized sheets of corriboard, are the work of Tralee native Mike O’Donnell – a renowned court illustrator and artist.

O’Donnell’s last brush with Castleisland came about when he presented a portrait of Con Houlihan to the library here in 2012.

The work was accepted on behalf of the people of Castleisland by the then Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan, TD.

RTÉ1,Sunday, March 7th at 6.30pm

You’ll find John Creedon’s new series of tours of Ireland’s parishes, town-lands and sub-town-lands on Creedon’s Atlas of Ireland on RTÉ1, this Sunday evening, March 7th at 6.30pm.

His book on the same topic: That Place We Call Home: A journey through the place names of Ireland, was released before last Christmas and is out in paperback this week.

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