Listowel Connection









Old Church in Knockanure was a ruin according to Charles Smith in 1756.

O Donovan letters 1841 describes the old Knockanure church on the hill situated about three miles east of Listowel as a well preserved ruin.


The Dominicans had a Friary nearby in Barrett's land where there is a well called friars well. They Dominicans came to Knockanure after they were banished from Tralee c1652, they left Knockanure c 1804 to take up parish duties, among names mentioned were Fr Edmond Stack died 1781Fr Bartholomew Shine came to Knockanure 1791 and made PP of Brosna and died in 1827.


Knockanure was part of Listowel Parish from 1803 to 1829.



Lewis tells us that there was a thatched Chapel in Knockanure in 1837 it was replaced in 1865 by a stone and slate church. It was a plain church with a single chamber and three rows of seats and a small gallery at the back to accommodate abut 12 families.

The church was entered by a small side porch. Windows in stained glass at the back of the altar were erected by the young ladies of the parish c1908, the church was sold and demolished in 1968.


The building of the present flat roofed church with glass ends in Knockanure started in 1963, it was to cost £12,000 but soon ran to over £20,000.Michael Scott and Partners were the architects, who promised a maintenance free building, it has a litany of defects since it was built costing thousands. The Church was dedicated on the 21st of April 1964.

The woodcarving of the Last Supper coat £700 in 1964and was executed by Oisin Kelly. The Stations of the Cross in Tapestry were designed and executed by Leslie McWeeney


In 1824 Knockanure had two schools one attached to the Church and another run by Michael O Mahony. The National School opened in 1851 and another school now the Community Centre was built in 1874and closed in 1966 with the opening of the present flat roofed school


LEWIS Directory 1830s

KNOCKANURE, a parish, in the barony of IRAGHTICONNOR, county of KERRY and province of MUNSTER 4 miles (E. by N) from Listowel, on the river Feale; containing 1246 inhabitants. This parish which is situated on the confines of the county of Limerick, comprises 5995 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act; about one-half consists of good arable land, and the remainder of coarse mountain pasture and bog.


It is in the diocese of Ardfert and Aghadoe; the rectory, which in 1607 was granted by Jas. I. to Sir James Fullerton, is now impropriate in Anthony Stoughton, Esq.; the vicarage forms part of the union of Aghavillin, also called the union of Listowel. Of the tithes, amounting to £78. 9s. 3d., two-thirds are payable to the impropriator, and the remainder to the vicar.

In the Roman Catholic divisions it is part of the union or district of Newtownsandes; the chapel at Knockanure is a small thatched building, to which a school is attached : in this and in a private school about 80 children are educated. The ruins of the old church still exist in the burial-ground.

Knockanure village is located within the Newtownsandes Electoral

Division. Between 1996-2002 the

population declined by 49 persons.

There are 16 dwelling in the Village housing just under 50 people


Stations of the Cross in Knockanure Church made by Leslie Mary MacWeeney (b.1936)

Born in Dublin, Leslie MacWeeney studied at the National College of Art under Seán Keating and Maurice MacGonigal (q.v.). She was awarded a scholarship to the École des Beaux Arts, Paris, where she studied under Professor Souverbis. MacWeeney has been included in many group shows, making her debut at the RHA in 1957, and participating in (and helping to organise) the IELA (1954-1963), the Oireachtas (1955, 1962) and the WCSI (1963). Each time her address was given as Kilteragh Lodge, Foxrock, Co. Dublin. She was also included in the 1959 and 1961 Paris Biennales, and more recently in the Irish Women Artists exhibition, organised jointly by the National Gallery of Ireland and the Douglas Hyde Gallery in 1987. In the catalogue to this latter exhibition, Dorothy Walker gave high praise to MacWeeney's wall hangings of the Stations of the Cross, which now hang in the Corpus Christi Church, Knockanure, Co. Kerry. Walker deemed this series to be "one of the most important works of religious art in the sixties" and found in them "no false note, nothing maudlin, nothing trite, but a powerful emotional content" (pp.56-57). MacWeeney has also had solo shows at the Clog Gallery, Dublin (1957), and the Ankrum Gallery, Los Angeles (1961), and several shows at the Dawson Gallery, Dublin. Her work is in the collections of the Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon, TCD, the Thomas Haverty Trust, and the Santa Barbra Museum of Art, California.


In 1821,Kerry population was 216,185 and continued to increase until 1841 to 293,880. The population was 238,254 in 1851 and decreased to 149, 171 in 1926. The population was 139,616 in 2006.

Kerry is mostly Catholic. In 1861, 96.7% of the population were Catholic with 3.1% of the Church of Ireland, 0.10% Presbyterians and 0.1% Methodists. In 1911, 97.26% were Roman Catholic with 2.33% Church of Ireland, 0.17% Presbyterians and 0.17% Methodists.


Bishop James Moore born in 1832 at Keylod Moyvane son of Patrick Moore and Alice Dunne appointed Bishop of Ballarat, Australia in 1884 he died in 1904



JUBILEE: To celebrate its Golden Jubilee of Moyvane Church of the Assumption the Parish Liturgy Group have organised a Parish Mission from 18th March to 25th March.

A new heating system and the re-wiring of Moyvane Church is due to take place from 11th to 23rd February

Feb 16-06

Knockanure N.S. was opened in 1966.


2012; MOORE: The Irish Literary and Historical Society in San Francisco have Dr. Ronan Kelly, Dublin scholar and author, as guest speaker on January 28th. He will talk about Thomas Moore, subject of his recent book, discussing the

lesser-known aspects of Moore’s life, including his travels in the U.S., his scandalous early verses, and the strange episode of a duel with a critic over a bad review.








The small North Kerry village of Knockanure is located

approximately 9km north east of the town of Listowel,

2km south of Moyvane and 2km from the Limerick



Knockanure is a crossroads settlement offering only a

minimal level of services.


The local Catholic Church, primary school and public

house are located within the centre of the village. The

nearest shop is located in Moyvane.


The village is located within the Newtownsandes Electoral

Division. In the intercensal period 1996-2002 the

population declined by 49 persons or 4.7%. The

preliminary figures for the 2002-2006 censal period,

however, recorded an increase of 33 persons or 3.3% over

the 2002-2006. No population statistics are available for

the plan area and for the purposes of this plan the

population has been calculated using the results of a house

count and the estimated household size of 2.94 as

specified in the Kerry County Development Plan 2003-

2009. There are 17 dwelling units within the proposed

boundary and this equates to a population of 47 persons.


There is no waste water treatment plant serving the village

and development is serviced via individual septic tanks/

waste water treatment systems. The lack of waste water

infrastructure will place significant restrictions on the

level of residential growth that can be accommodated over

the plan period.


Urban Form

Knockanure has a compact settlement form which has

been reinforced by a recent development of 6 semidetached

dwellings located in the village centre. The

settlement pattern in the village has altered very little in

recent decades. The old church was located to the north of

the crossroads and this was replaced in the 1960s with a

new church located to the south. The original settlement

comprised a church and a small number of dwellings.

Recent development has occurred in linear pattern at the

fringes of the village. Significant areas of land adjacent to

the village centre remain undeveloped. It is considered

that streetscape development in the centre of the village in

conjunction with measures to ameliorate the impact of

fragmented building lines, would create a stronger and

more attractive urban form.

Built and Natural Heritage

There are no National Monuments and one Recorded

Protected Structure within the plan area, namely;

Reg. No, 21301101 Corpus Christi Catholic Church.

There are no designated environmental protection areas

within, or in the vicinity, of the plan area.

Vehicular and Pedestrian Traffic

The car park serving the village church is sufficient to

meet parking requirements over the period of the plan. In

general the level of pavement provision is satisfactory but

a new pavement is required between the church and the

village centre.


There is little local employment in the vicinity of the plan

area. It is envisaged that residents will continue to

commute to Listowel or other urban centers within

commuting distance.

Growth and Residential Development

In the absence of detailed population projections the level

of housing demand can be loosely calculated using the

number of permissions granted in the period preceding

the plan. In the case of Knockanure, planning permission

has been granted for 9 houses, 8 of these were part of



BIRTHDAY: Happy birthday on January 22nd to local historian John Murphy. Best wishes also to Kitty Shine of Moyvane who has reached her 90th birthday.




Fr Mathew in Newtownsandes.


Fr Mathew came to Newtownsandes on Sunday 10 of Oct 1841. The Kerry Examiner gave a list of people who donated Money to Moyvane(Newtownsandes) New Church on the day of Fr Mathew visit:


Rev T Mathew gave £25.25. P Cheevers Listowel £4. Knight of Glin £1. R.Q Sleemon Glin £1. Rev TL McDonnell Listowel £2. A Murry Listowel £1. James O Halloran Colnaleen Listowel 50p. Rev Lyddy PP Abbyfeale £1. Rev D Leahy Glin 50p. Rev. B. M. Maher P.P. Glin £1. William o Leary Glin £1. Miss Sergent.



British Papers

Report on Ireland Extracts from Newspapers in the British Library; Cork Examiner 13th Oct. 1841, Fr Mathew arrives in Newtownsandes; Portsmouth Evening News 6th Nov. 1886,

a man named Carmody robbed, police have names of three men; Glasgow Herald 8th July 1885, Scotch bankrupt, Newtownsandes; Perry’s Bankrupt Gazette 1 Dec.1838, Newtownsandes; Cork Examiner 2nd Aug 1843, Great Repeal Demonstration in Glin, Newtownsandes, Ballylongford, headed by Fr Long and Fr McCarthy and six carriages; Buck’s Herald 26th March 1870, Mr Vesy Foster Fitzgerald received threatening letter, on Friday two strangers called to his house; London Standard of 10th April 1845, railway line Newtownsandes to Tralee, no engineering difficulties; Nottingham Evening Post 20th Jan. 1934, grim tragedy in Ireland, Newtownsandes; Freeman’s Journal of 24th March 1862 Mr Sandes gives field to priest for Church; F J of 31st march 1880 , Irish National Land League Report; F J. of 25th Feb. 1886, article on Landlordism in Kerry, stories of Rack rent and oppression; F J. of 20th Feb 1899, The movement for unity, appointment to carry out the objects; F J. 2nd Sept. 1856, PP Newtownsandes deacon in attendance, Dr Ryan Limerick, Dr Murphy Cloyne, Dr Kenny of Ross, also bishop of Kilfenora; F J. of 10th Dec.1853, List of subscribers to fund from Newtownsandes; F J. 22nd Feb. 1887, State Prosecutors, Newtownsandes event 25th Oct. 1886, Mr Dillon spoke for himself, none of the transgressors were present; F J. 8th Jan 1846, State of the Country, Newtownsandes; F J. 11th Jan. 1882, Political Prisoners Fund, Fr Burke PP Newtownsandes; F J. of 2nd March 1883, O Connell Memorial Church fund Newtownsandes, Fr Casey Abbeyfeale and others; Freeman’s Journal of 26th Sept. 1895, Agricultural Co-Operative Society , Newtownsandes; Pall Mall Gazette 16th Nov. 1886, Can Irish Rents be Paid.





Note John Sheehy born 1800 son of Pat and Rebecca Cronin Sheehy [ Farmers] John was tried in 1822 for Insurrection got 7yrs transportation . His brother Roger Sheehy was Married to Catherine Greney, Roger worked for his cousin John Sheehy of Screehan.


July 2006; NED Kelly Exhibition continues at the James Joyce House 15 Usher's Island, Dublin 8. Enquiries to 01 672 8008. A book on Ned Kelly was written in Australia by James Jerome Kennelly who had first hand information on the Kelly's, James Jerome Kennelly had granduncles in Gortaclahane, Pallas and Knockanure.


A Philip Cunningham, Templemore, son of Augustus Cunningham, Clonmel, who died Feb 2004 is I believe a descendent of the 98 leader of the same name who left Moyvane, married a Clonmel woman named Black, ran a pub there and worked as a mason before he died for the cause in Sydney.




Bishops Moyvane- Knockanure.

Archbishop Edward Carmody, Born 1934, son of Michael Carmody and Mary Stack., ordained in Carlow in 1957. Appointed Bishop of Tyler in 1992, appointed Archbishop of Corpus Christi Texas 2000.

Archbishop E. J. Fitzmaurice, born in Leitrim, Moyvane in 1881 son of Willian Fitzmaurice and Johanna Costelloe, ordained in 1904, appointed Bishop of Wilmington Del. Appointed titular archbishop in 1960, died in 1962.

Bishop John E. Fitzmaurice uncle of above born in 1840, ordained in 1862,appointed Bishop of Erie in 1899 he died in 1920.

Bishop James Moore born in 1832 at Keylod Moyvane son of Patrick Moore and Alice Dunne appointed Bishop of Ballarat, Australia in 1884 he died in 1904

Bishop Collins CSSR born Moyvane in 1921 son of Michael Collins and Catherine O'Connor, Bishop of Mircena Brazil.


Knockanure Teachers

Samuel Lewis in 1830 reports Knockanure had a small Thatched Church with a School attached, Griffith Valuation 1850 John Byrne had school valuation 10 shillings,

Michael Mulvihill had school c 1834, Also hedge school at Trien and at Connors Gortdromagowna,

1868 to 1873 teachers Casey, Keane & Molyneaux,

Boys school records burnt when school went on fire,


1874 to 1917 Maurice Casey, to 1923 Jer Carroll, to 1903 Elizabeth O Mahony, to 1918 Tim Sullivan, Later Hartnett for a short time, to 1919 Joan Flaherty, to 1923 Mary Mc Mahon, to 1928 Tom Callaghan, to 1933 Julia Flaherty, to 1953 Paddy Callaghan, to 1957 Miss J J Horan, to 1968 Miss M O Callaghan, to 1969 Cormac O Leary, to 1965 Kate Finucane, to 1972 Mairead O Callaghan, to 1990 Mary O Carroll,

Moyvane Murhur Teachers


John Shanahan, Margaret Lawlor, Elizabeth & Alice Madden, Tom Enright, David White, Pat Shine, Elizabeth McCarthy c1863, Denis Connor, John Rourke, Jim Barry came 1880, Tom Carr, Dan Mulvihill,

Girls' School

Joan Hederman to 1889, Bridget Shine to 1880, Joan Fitzmaurice to 1885, Lizzie Gleeson to 1926, Nora Scanlon to 1934, Elizabeth Nolan to 1946, Bridie Barrett to 1958, Mary B O Connell to 1964, Mary O Carroll to 1964,

Boys School

Some teachers: Robert Jones c1901, Dan Mulvihill & John O Rourke to 1904, Maurice O Claochlaighe to 1941, Joe Moriarty to 1930, Kathleen Mulvihill to 1945,Tim Buckley to 1941, Tom o Connell to 1944, Mary Shine to 1939, Sean Barrett to 1954, Padraig O Sullivan to c193?, Cormac O Leary to 1953, Mary B O Callaghan to 1971, Noel O Connell to 1961,


Tom O Callaghan 1929 to 1944, Mary B Dineen 1929 to 1945, Mary Collins to c1951, Dorothy O Sullivan to 1964,

Aughrim School c1850 under The Church Education Society & Rev R Fitzgerald,

Samuel Lewis in 1830 reports: Near Newtownsandes Large School House erected at the expense of Fr J Long PP. The Board of Education allows £12 per year to support the School.



Knockanure Branch of Macra na Feirme was Established in 1955.

President: Fr. J Galvin C.C

Vice-President: Joe Sweeney ,Pat Kennelly .

Chairman: John Leahy .

Treasurer; James o Connor

Secretary: Tom Flavin

Committee: Ned Sheehy, John Murphy, Jerry Clancy, Jerry Enright, Maurice Stack, Willie o Connor, J. Hanrahan, Tim Scanlon, Jackie Goulding, James Ahern. Members: Sean Nolan, Jim Connor, Sean Broderick, Tom Kennelly, Denis Murphy, Rich Shanahan, Hugh Goulding, Christy Goulding, R. Stack.

The first meeting held on the 27th of December 1955.Mr S Geaney VS Castleisland attended and Mr. N. Horan chairman of the county executive of Macra.

The church building fund was in progress at this time also.

Mr. J McNamara gave a lecture to the class on January 21st 1956 on his visit to Denmark. Described their methods and answered questions. They

Hoped at their next meeting to get a film show on farming methods,. Later replies from film operators stated that E.S.B. must be installed before they could show films. The department of agriculture asked farmers to dress cattle against warbles and to castrate or slaughter all male calves not intended for breeding immediately.

A public meeting also called to encourage the come to the parish.

Macra social in Killarney on Dec 18th 1956 at ten schillings per ticket.

The branch also enquired the cost of Mr Walsh's hall in Listowel for a dance the fee was £22. On the 30th November 1957 the branch held a dance in Moyvane they also decided to give £3 to the church building fund. Emmet Leahy also joined the club in 1956.

In Oct 23rd 1957 Dr Michael Brosnan asked the branch to do some thing for the Kerryman's hostel in London. It was decided to hold a church gate collection for them.




Sande s NTS


Moyvane Farm (H2165)

At the time of Griffith's Valuation, William Sandes was leasing a property to Stephen Sandes at Moyvane North, valued at £3 5s, on a holdings of 150 acres. It is described as a farmhouse.


Moyvane House (H2166)

William L. Vesey-Fitzgerald Foster was leasing this property from the TCD estate at the time of Griffith's Valuation, when it was valued at £3 15s. In 1837 Lewis mentions the principal residence in Murher parish as the property of Baron Fitzgerald but occupied by Mr. Enright. In 1814, Leet refers to it as the residence of John Sandes. Bary notes that it was earlier associated with the Sandes family. It is no longer extant.


Smith indicates that Lancelot Sandes was granted an estate in Kerry in 1667 under the Acts of Settlement. The estate of Charles L. Sandes was one of the principal lessors in the parish of Aghavallen, barony of Iraghticonnor, at the time of Griffith's Valuation. The Ordnance Survey Name Books noted in the 1830s that he held lands from the Trinity College estates.William Sandes held several townlands in the parishes of Kilnaughtin, Knockanure and Murher, in the same barony. In 1863,1864 and 1865, over 2000 acres of William Sandes estate was offered for sale in the Landed Estates Court. The estate of Thomas Sandes, of Sallowglen, Tarbert, amounted to over 7000 acres in the 1870s. At the time of Griffith's Valuation Charles Lancelot Sandes also held some land in the parish of Morgans, barony of Connello Lower, county Limerick. In the 1870s his son Charles Sandes of Carrigafoyle Castle and Bayview, Clontarf, county Dublin, owned 1,208 acres in county Limerick and 227 acres in county Kerry.



History: Pierce C Mahony who had an Estate in Kilmorna took the title The O Mahony of Kerry in 1912 he lost his seat in Parliament in 1892 to Michael Davit his grandfather also called Pierce Mahony was born 1792.


History: A report in The Kerryman of July 23rd 1932 tells us that Kilmorna man Jack Murphy was back from Chicago, Jack was the son of Michael Murphy of Kilmorna Lodge. 100 people attended Jacks Party. Step Dancers at the party were Mr Madigan of Trien and Miss Murphy of Timpleglantine. Mick Taylor Flute, Tim Mc Mahon Violin and Billy Doyle Mandolin supplied the music.



2002; Martin H Kennelly who became Mayor of Chicago in 1947 was born 115 years ago his father a Kerryman died when Martin was a child.


History: Bishop Moriarty visited Newtownsandes on August 4th 1856 and recorded his observations in his diary.


2000; The oldest man in the Parish Born 1903 has passed away James Moore one the most Senior Pioneers in the Country .James was son of William and Margaret Flaherty of Kilmorna.




Admiral David L. McDonald, USN

Chief of Naval Operations

Washington, D.C.


Dear Admiral McDonald,


Eighteen people asked me to write this letter to you.


Last year at Christmas time, my wife, three boys and I were in France, on our way from Paris to Nice. For five wretched days everything had gone wrong. Our hotels were “tourist traps,” our rented car broke down; we were all restless and irritable in the crowded car. On Christmas Eve, when we checked into our hotel in Nice, there was no Christmas spirit in our hearts.


It was raining and cold when we went out to eat. We found a drab little restaurant shoddily decorated for the holiday. Only five tables were occupied. There were two German couples, two French families, and an American sailor, by himself. In the corner a piano player listlessly played Christmas music.


I was too tired and miserable to leave. I noticed that the other customers were eating in stony silence. The only person who seemed happy was the American sailor. While eating, he was writing a letter, and a half-smile lighted his face.


My wife ordered our meal in French. The waiter brought us the wrong thing. I scolded my wife for being stupid. The boys defended her, and I felt even worse.


Then, at the table with the French family on our left, the father slapped one of his children for some minor infraction, and the boy began to cry.


On our right, the German wife began berating her husband.


All of us were interrupted by an unpleasant blast of cold air. Through the front door came an old flower woman. She wore a dripping, tattered overcoat, and shuffled in on wet, rundown shoes. She went from one table to the other.


“Flowers, monsieur? Only one franc.”


No one bought any.


Wearily she sat down at a table between the sailor and us. To the waiter she said, “A bowl of soup. I haven’t sold a flower all afternoon.” To the piano player she said hoarsely, “Can you imagine, Joseph, soup on Christmas Eve?”


He pointed to his empty “tipping plate.”


The young sailor finished his meal and got up to leave. Putting on his coat, he walked over to the flower woman’s table.


“Happy Christmas,” he said, smiling and picking out two corsages. “How much are they?”


“Two francs, monsieur.”


Pressing one of the small corsages flat, he put it into the letter he had written, then handed the woman a 20-franc note.


“I don’t have change, Monsieur,” she said. “I’ll get some from the waiter.”


“No, ma’am,” said the sailor, leaning over and kissing the ancient cheek. “This is my Christmas present to you.”


Then he came to our table, holding the other corsage in front of him. “Sir,” he said to me, “may I have permission to present these flowers to your beautiful daughter?”


In one quick motion he gave my wife the corsage, wished us a Merry Christmas and departed.


Everyone had stopped eating. Everyone had been watching the sailor. Everyone was silent.


A few seconds later Christmas exploded throughout the restaurant like a bomb.


The old flower woman jumped up, waving the 20-franc note, shouted to the piano player, “Joseph, my Christmas present! And you shall have half so you can have a feast too.”


The piano player began to belt out Good King Wencelaus, beating the keys with magic hands.


My wife waved her corsage in time to the music. She appeared 20 years younger. She began to sing, and our three sons joined her, bellowing with enthusiasm.


“Gut! Gut!” shouted the Germans. They began singing in German.


The waiter embraced the flower woman. Waving their arms, they sang in French.


The Frenchman who had slapped the boy beat rhythm with his fork against a bottle. The lad climbed on his lap, singing in a youthful soprano.


A few hours earlier 18 persons had been spending a miserable evening. It ended up being the happiest, the very best Christmas Eve, they had ever experienced.


This, Admiral McDonald, is what I am writing you about. As the top man in the Navy, you should know about the very special gift that the U.S. Navy gave to my family, to me and to the other people in that French restaurant. Because your young sailor had Christmas spirit in his soul, he released the love and joy that had been smothered within us by anger and disappointment. He gave us Christmas.


Thank you, Sir, very much.


Merry Christmas,

Bill Lederer


From War Letters by Andrew Carroll



Desert Shrub, Guayule, May Be Fuel Of The Future

ScienceDaily (Mar. 7, 2009) — Superb natural latex from a desert shrub called guayule (why-YOU-lee) makes high-quality gloves, medical devices, and other in-demand natural rubber products.





But guayule may also prove to be an economical, environmentally friendly source of another valuable resource—energy. That's according to Agricultural Research Service (ARS) chemist Colleen M. McMahan at the agency's Western Regional Research Center in Albany, Calif.


Bioenergy can be made from ground-up guayule stems and branches, left after their white, rubber-rich latex has been removed, McMahan noted. The leftovers—a soft, light brown sawdust-like material called bagasse—provide 8,000 to 9,000 Btu per pound, about the same as charcoal.


McMahan's collaborators include ARS chemist Kevin M. Holtman at the Albany center, who has already made small amounts of ethanol from guayule, and chemical engineer Akwasi Boateng at the ARS Eastern Regional Research Center in Wyndmoor, Pa. Boateng is looking into converting guayule bagasse into bio-oil or synthetic gas.


Guayule offers many biofuel benefits. It isn't a food or feed crop, so using it for energy production won't compete with those uses. Guayule shrubs can be harvested for the first time as early as two years after planting, and are ready to harvest again in about another year and a half.


Guayule's bagasse and latex are available year round. The only other biofuel feedstock available continuously right now is garbage (municipal solid waste).


In addition, guayule thrives in hot, dry ecosystems where many other biofuel crops wouldn't grow well. The hardy shrub requires less fertilizer than other crops currently produced in the desert Southwest. Even though a few herbicides are needed while the plants are getting established, once that happens, there's no need for more—or for chemicals that target harmful insects, fungi, or worms called nematodes.


Pope Benedict XVI addresses the Roman Curia in the Regia Hill at the Vatican

(AP Dear Cardinals,


Brother Bishops and Priests,

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

It gives me great pleasure to be here with you, dear Members of the College

of Cardinals and Representatives of the Roman Curia and the Governatorato,

for this traditional gathering. I extend a cordial greeting to each one of

you, beginning with Cardinal Angelo Sodano, whom I thank for his sentiments

of devotion and communion and for the warm good wishes that he expressed to

me on behalf of all of you. Prope est jam Dominus, venite, adoremus! As one

family let us contemplate the mystery of Emmanuel, God-with-us, as the

Cardinal Dean has said. I gladly reciprocate his good wishes and I would

like to thank all of you most sincerely, including the Papal Representatives

all over the world, for the able and generous contribution that each of you

makes to the Vicar of Christ and to the Church.

Excita, Domine, potentiam tuam, et veni. Repeatedly during the season of

Advent the Church’s liturgy prays in these or similar words. They are

invocations that were probably formulated as the Roman Empire was in

decline. The disintegration of the key principles of law and of the

fundamental moral attitudes underpinning them burst open the dams which

until that time had protected peaceful coexistence among peoples. The sun

was setting over an entire world. Frequent natural disasters further

increased this sense of insecurity. There was no power in sight that could

put a stop to this decline. All the more insistent, then, was the invocation

of the power of God: the plea that he might come and protect his people from

all these threats.

Excita, Domine, potentiam tuam, et veni. Today too, we have many reasons to

associate ourselves with this Advent prayer of the Church. For all its new

hopes and possibilities, our world is at the same time troubled by the sense

that moral consensus is collapsing, consensus without which juridical and

political structures cannot function. Consequently the forces mobilized for

the defence of such structures seem doomed to failure.


– the prayer recalls the cry addressed to the Lord who was sleeping in the

disciples’ storm-tossed boat as it was close to sinking. When his powerful

word had calmed the storm, he rebuked the disciples for their little faith

(cf. Mt 8:26 et par.). He wanted to say: it was your faith that was

sleeping. He will say the same thing to us. Our faith too is often asleep.

Let us ask him, then, to wake us from the sleep of a faith grown tired, and

to restore to that faith the power to move mountains – that is, to order

justly the affairs of the world.

Excita, Domine, potentiam tuam, et veni: amid the great tribulations to

which we have been exposed during the past year, this Advent prayer has

frequently been in my mind and on my lips. We had begun the Year for Priests

with great joy and, thank God, we were also able to conclude it with great

gratitude, despite the fact that it unfolded so differently from the way we

had expected. Among us priests and among the lay faithful, especially the

young, there was a renewed awareness of what a great gift the Lord has

entrusted to us in the priesthood of the Catholic Church. We realized afresh

how beautiful it is that human beings are fully authorized to pronounce in

God’s name the word of forgiveness, and are thus able to change the world,

to change life; we realized how beautiful it is that human beings may utter

the words of consecration, through which the Lord draws a part of the world

into himself, and so transforms it at one point in its very substance; we

realized how beautiful it is to be able, with the Lord’s strength, to be

close to people in their joys and sufferings, in the important moments of

their lives and in their dark times; how beautiful it is to have as one’s

life task not this or that, but simply human life itself – helping people to

open themselves to God and to live from God. We were all the more dismayed,

then, when in this year of all years and to a degree we could not have

imagined, we came to know of abuse of minors committed by priests who twist

the sacrament into its antithesis, and under the mantle of the sacred

profoundly wound human persons in their childhood, damaging them for a whole


In this context, a vision of Saint Hildegard of Bingen came to my mind, a

vision which describes in a shocking way what we have lived through this

past year. “In the year of our Lord’s incarnation 1170, I had been lying on

my sick-bed for a long time when, fully conscious in body and in mind, I had

a vision of a woman of such beauty that the human mind is unable to

comprehend. She stretched in height from earth to heaven. Her face shone

with exceeding brightness and her gaze was fixed on heaven. She was dressed

in a dazzling robe of white silk and draped in a cloak, adorned with stones

of great price. On her feet she wore shoes of onyx. But her face was stained

with dust, her robe was ripped down the right side, her cloak had lost its

sheen of beauty and her shoes had been blackened. And she herself, in a

voice loud with sorrow, was calling to the heights of heaven, saying, ‘Hear,

heaven, how my face is sullied; mourn, earth, that my robe is torn; tremble,

abyss, because my shoes are blackened!’

And she continued: ‘I lay hidden in the heart of the Father until the Son of

Man, who was conceived and born in virginity, poured out his blood. With

that same blood as his dowry, he made me his betrothed.

For my Bridegroom’s wounds remain fresh and open as long as the wounds of

men’s sins continue to gape. And Christ’s wounds remain open because of the

sins of priests. They tear my robe, since they are violators of the Law, the

Gospel and their own priesthood; they darken my cloak by neglecting, in

every way, the precepts which they are meant to uphold; my shoes too are

blackened, since priests do not keep to the straight paths of justice, which

are hard and rugged, or set good examples to those beneath them.

Nevertheless, in some of them I find the splendour of truth.’

And I heard a voice from heaven which said: ‘This image represents the

Church. For this reason, O you who see all this and who listen to the word

of lament, proclaim it to the priests who are destined to offer guidance and

instruction to God’s people and to whom, as to the apostles, it was said: go

into all the world and preach the Gospel to the whole creation’ (Mk 16:15)”

(Letter to Werner von Kirchheim and his Priestly Community: PL 197, 269ff.).

In the vision of Saint Hildegard, the face of the Church is stained with

dust, and this is how we have seen it. Her garment is torn – by the sins of

priests. The way she saw and expressed it is the way we have experienced it

this year. We must accept this humiliation as an exhortation to truth and a

call to renewal. Only the truth saves. We must ask ourselves what we can do

to repair as much as possible the injustice that has occurred. We must ask

ourselves what was wrong in our proclamation, in our whole way of living the

Christian life, to allow such a thing to happen. We must discover a new

resoluteness in faith and in doing good. We must be capable of doing

penance. We must be determined to make every possible effort in priestly

formation to prevent anything of the kind from happening again. This is also

the moment to offer heartfelt thanks to all those who work to help victims

and to restore their trust in the Church, their capacity to believe her

message. In my meetings with victims of this sin, I have also always found

people who, with great dedication, stand alongside those who suffer and have

been damaged. This is also the occasion to thank the many good priests who

act as channels of the Lord’s goodness in humility and fidelity and, amid

the devastations, bear witness to the unforfeited beauty of the priesthood.

We are well aware of the particular gravity of this sin committed by priests

and of our corresponding responsibility. But neither can we remain silent

regarding the context of these times in which these events have come to

light. There is a market in child pornography that seems in some way to be

considered more and more normal by society. The psychological destruction of

children, in which human persons are reduced to articles of merchandise, is

a terrifying sign of the times. From Bishops of developing countries I hear

again and again how sexual tourism threatens an entire generation and

damages its freedom and its human dignity. The Book of Revelation includes

among the great sins of Babylon – the symbol of the world’s great

irreligious cities – the fact that it trades with bodies and souls and

treats them as commodities (cf. Rev 18:13). In this context, the problem of

drugs also rears its head, and with increasing force extends its octopus

tentacles around the entire world – an eloquent expression of the tyranny of

mammon which perverts mankind. No pleasure is ever enough, and the excess of

deceiving intoxication becomes a violence that tears whole regions apart –

and all this in the name of a fatal misunderstanding of freedom which

actually undermines man’s freedom and ultimately destroys it.

In order to resist these forces, we must turn our attention to their

ideological foundations. In the 1970s, paedophilia was theorized as

something fully in conformity with man and even with children. This,

however, was part of a fundamental perversion of the concept of ethos. It

was maintained – even within the realm of Catholic theology – that there is

no such thing as evil in itself or good in itself. There is only a “better

than” and a “worse than”. Nothing is good or bad in itself. Everything

depends on the circumstances and on the end in view. Anything can be good or

also bad, depending upon purposes and circumstances. Morality is replaced by

a calculus of consequences, and in the process it ceases to exist. The

effects of such theories are evident today. Against them, Pope John Paul II,

in his 1993 Encyclical Letter Veritatis Splendor, indicated with prophetic

force in the great rational tradition of Christian ethos the essential and

permanent foundations of moral action. Today, attention must be focussed

anew on this text as a path in the formation of conscience. It is our

responsibility to make these criteria audible and intelligible once more for

people today as paths of true humanity, in the context of our paramount

concern for mankind.

As my second point, I should like to say a word about the Synod of the

Churches of the Middle East. This began with my journey to Cyprus, where I

was able to consign the Instrumentum Laboris of the Synod to the Bishops of

those countries who were assembled there. The hospitality of the Orthodox

Church was unforgettable, and we experienced it with great gratitude. Even

if full communion is not yet granted to us, we have nevertheless established

with joy that the basic form of the ancient Church unites us profoundly with

one another: the sacramental office of Bishops as the bearer of apostolic

tradition, the reading of Scripture according to the hermeneutic of the

Regula fidei, the understanding of Scripture in its manifold unity centred

on Christ, developed under divine inspiration, and finally, our faith in the

central place of the Eucharist in the Church’s life. Thus we experienced a

living encounter with the riches of the rites of the ancient Church that are

also found within the Catholic Church. We celebrated the liturgy with

Maronites and with Melchites, we celebrated in the Latin rite, we

experienced moments of ecumenical prayer with the Orthodox, and we witnessed

impressive manifestations of the rich Christian culture of the Christian

East. But we also saw the problem of the divided country. The wrongs and the

deep wounds of the past were all too evident, but so too was the desire for

the peace and communion that had existed before. Everyone knows that

violence does not bring progress – indeed, it gave rise to the present

situation. Only in a spirit of compromise and mutual understanding can unity

be re-established. To prepare the people for this attitude of peace is an

essential task of pastoral ministry.

During the Synod itself, our gaze was extended over the whole of the Middle

East, where the followers of different religions – as well as a variety of

traditions and distinct rites – live together. As far as Christians are

concerned, there are Pre-Chalcedonian as well as Chalcedonian churches;

there are churches in communion with Rome and others that are outside that

communion; in both cases, multiple rites exist alongside one another. In the

turmoil of recent years, the tradition of peaceful coexistence has been

shattered and tensions and divisions have grown, with the result that we

witness with increasing alarm acts of violence in which there is no longer

any respect for what the other holds sacred, in which on the contrary the

most elementary rules of humanity collapse. In the present situation,

Christians are the most oppressed and tormented minority. For centuries they

lived peacefully together with their Jewish and Muslim neighbours. During

the Synod we listened to wise words from the Counsellor of the Mufti of the

Republic of Lebanon against acts of violence targeting Christians. He said:

when Christians are wounded, we ourselves are wounded. Unfortunately,

though, this and similar voices of reason, for which we are profoundly

grateful, are too weak. Here too we come up against an unholy alliance

between greed for profit and ideological blindness. On the basis of the

spirit of faith and its rationality, the Synod developed a grand concept of

dialogue, forgiveness and mutual acceptance, a concept that we now want to

proclaim to the world. The human being is one, and humanity is one. Whatever

damage is done to another in any one place, ends up by damaging everyone.

Thus the words and ideas of the Synod must be a clarion call, addressed to

all people with political or religious responsibility, to put a stop to

Christianophobia; to rise up in defence of refugees and all who are

suffering, and to revitalize the spirit of reconciliation. In the final

analysis, healing can only come from deep faith in God’s reconciling love.

Strengthening this faith, nourishing it and causing it to shine forth is the

Church’s principal task at this hour.

I would willingly speak in some detail of my unforgettable journey to the

United Kingdom, but I will limit myself to two points that are connected

with the theme of the responsibility of Christians at this time and with the

Church’s task to proclaim the Gospel. My thoughts go first of all to the

encounter with the world of culture in Westminster Hall, an encounter in

which awareness of shared responsibility at this moment in history created

great attention which, in the final analysis, was directed to the question

of truth and faith itself. It was evident to all that the Church has to make

her own contribution to this debate. Alexis de Tocqueville, in his day,

observed that democracy in America had become possible and had worked

because there existed a fundamental moral consensus which, transcending

individual denominations, united everyone. Only if there is such a consensus

on the essentials can constitutions and law function. This fundamental

consensus derived from the Christian heritage is at risk wherever its place,

the place of moral reasoning, is taken by the purely instrumental

rationality of which I spoke earlier. In reality, this makes reason blind to

what is essential. To resist this eclipse of reason and to preserve its

capacity for seeing the essential, for seeing God and man, for seeing what

is good and what is true, is the common interest that must unite all people

of good will. The very future of the world is at stake.

Finally I should like to recall once more the beatification of Cardinal John

Henry Newman. Why was he beatified? What does he have to say to us? Many

responses could be given to these questions, which were explored in the

context of the beatification. I would like to highlight just two aspects

which belong together and which, in the final analysis, express the same

thing. The first is that we must learn from Newman’s three conversions,

because they were steps along a spiritual path that concerns us all. Here I

would like to emphasize just the first conversion: to faith in the living

God. Until that moment, Newman thought like the average men of his time and

indeed like the average men of today, who do not simply exclude the

existence of God, but consider it as something uncertain, something with no

essential role to play in their lives. What appeared genuinely real to him,

as to the men of his and our day, is the empirical, matter that can be

grasped. This is the “reality” according to which one finds one’s bearings.

The “real” is what can be grasped, it is the things that can be calculated

and taken in one’s hand. In his conversion, Newman recognized that it is

exactly the other way round: that God and the soul, man’s spiritual

identity, constitute what is genuinely real, what counts. These are much

more real than objects that can be grasped. This conversion was a Copernican

revolution. What had previously seemed unreal and secondary was now revealed

to be the genuinely decisive element. Where such a conversion takes place,

it is not just a person’s theory that changes: the fundamental shape of life

changes. We are all in constant need of such conversion: then we are on the

right path.

The driving force that impelled Newman along the path of conversion was

conscience. But what does this mean? In modern thinking, the word

“conscience” signifies that for moral and religious questions, it is the

subjective dimension, the individual, that constitutes the final authority

for decision. The world is divided into the realms of the objective and the

subjective. To the objective realm belong things that can be calculated and

verified by experiment. Religion and morals fall outside the scope of these

methods and are therefore considered to lie within the subjective realm.

Here, it is said, there are in the final analysis no objective criteria. The

ultimate instance that can decide here is therefore the subject alone, and

precisely this is what the word “conscience” expresses: in this realm only

the individual, with his intuitions and experiences, can decide. Newman’s

understanding of conscience is diametrically opposed to this. For him,

“conscience” means man’s capacity for truth: the capacity to recognize

precisely in the decision-making areas of his life – religion and morals – a

truth, the truth. At the same time, conscience – man’s capacity to recognize

truth – thereby imposes on him the obligation to set out along the path

towards truth, to seek it and to submit to it wherever he finds it.

Conscience is both capacity for truth and obedience to the truth which

manifests itself to anyone who seeks it with an open heart. The path of

Newman’s conversions is a path of conscience – not a path of self-asserting

subjectivity but, on the contrary, a path of obedience to the truth that was

gradually opening up to him. His third conversion, to Catholicism, required

him to give up almost everything that was dear and precious to him:

possessions, profession, academic rank, family ties and many friends. The

sacrifice demanded of him by obedience to the truth, by his conscience, went

further still. Newman had always been aware of having a mission for England.

But in the Catholic theology of his time, his voice could hardly make itself

heard. It was too foreign in the context of the prevailing form of

theological thought and devotion. In January 1863 he wrote in his diary

these distressing words: “As a Protestant, I felt my religion dreary, but

not my life – but, as a Catholic, my life dreary, not my religion”. He had

not yet arrived at the hour when he would be an influential figure. In the

humility and darkness of obedience, he had to wait until his message was

taken up and understood. In support of the claim that Newman’s concept of

conscience matched the modern subjective understanding, people often quote a

letter in which he said – should he have to propose a toast – that he would

drink first to conscience and then to the Pope. But in this statement,

“conscience” does not signify the ultimately binding quality of subjective

intuition. It is an expression of the accessibility and the binding force of

truth: on this its primacy is based. The second toast can be dedicated to

the Pope because it is his task to demand obedience to the truth.

I must refrain from speaking of my remarkable journeys to Malta, Portugal

and Spain. In these it once again became evident that the faith is not a

thing of the past, but an encounter with the God who lives and acts now. He

challenges us and he opposes our indolence, but precisely in this way he

opens the path towards true joy.

Excita, Domine, potentiam tuam, et veni.

We set out from this plea for the presence of God’s power in our time and

from the experience of his apparent absence. If we keep our eyes open as we

look back over the year that is coming to an end, we can see clearly that

God’s power and goodness are also present today in many different ways. So

we all have reason to thank him. Along with thanks to the Lord I renew my

thanks to all my co-workers. May God grant to all of us a holy Christmas and

may he accompany us with his blessings in the coming year.

I entrust these prayerful sentiments to the intercession of the Holy Virgin,

Mother of the Redeemer, and I impart to all of you and to the great family

of the Roman Curia a heartfelt Apostolic Blessing. Happy Christmas!




Catherine Lawless, lectured at Ul claimed she found the great grandmother of Jesus called Ismeria.


According to the legend, Ismeria is the daughter of Nabon of the people of Judea, and of the tribe of King David," wrote Lawless. She married "Santo Liseo," who is described as "a patriarch of the people of God." The legend continues that the couple had a daughter named Anne who married Joachim. After 12 years, Liseo died. Relatives then left Ismeria penniless.



President Mary McAleese launched the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and An

Garda Siochana Christmas and New Year Road Safety Campaign at the National

Rehabilitation Hospital, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin.


This year's campaign focuses on those who have been seriously injured on our

roads, and all families who have suffered the consequences of road

collisions. Shockingly it was revealed at the launch that 22,882 people have

lost their lives on Irish roads since records began in 1959 and that 66,773

people have suffered serious life changing injuries in crashes since serious

injures were first recorded in 1979. The focus on families and those who

have been seriously injured was also acknowledged in the new series of

‘Crashed Lives’ TV advertisements, the true life accounts of road tragedies

which were also launched today.


Over the festive period, there will be a determined focus by An Garda

Siochana on high risk behaviour such as excessive and inappropriate speed,

drink and drug driving and the non wearing of seatbelts.


In her address at the National Rehabilitation Hospital today, the President

said that there was no corner of this island that had not been affected by

road deaths and injury. The effects of each crash ripple outwards like shock

waves, from the individuals involved to family, friends, work colleagues and

the wider community. The President reminded everyone of the dangers faced at

this time of the year when using the roads. She asked everyone to remember

those who have been affected by road tragedy particularly those who have

been killed, the injured survivors and families.


Speaking at the launch, President Mary McAleese said: “We are all here

because we hope that this Christmas road safety campaign will save lives.

Since I spoke here last year, 227 people lost their lives on our roads.

Every single one of them could be and should be alive today. They should be

with their families looking forward to Christmas. Instead, sons and

daughters, mothers and fathers, wives and husbands, friends and colleagues

are carrying a grief that just goes on and on. Every one of them has

something to say about this campaign and it is this – please listen, please

take road safety really seriously, please do not create any more victims.”


“This year, there have been a number of important developments for road

safety, including the recent roll out of the new network of safety cameras.

As with all road safety initiatives, our hope is that there are fewer

families grieving and fewer people who need long term care for injuries

received in road crashes that could be prevented. This is even more

important as we approach the festive season so I would ask all road users to

be road safety aware this Christmas – don’t speed, always wear your

seatbelt, don’t drive if you are feeling tired and never ever drink or drug



Mr. Gay Byrne, Chairman, Road Safety Authority said: “This launch is about

the ‘forgotten victims’ of road collisions and by that I mean those who have

been seriously injured, and their families who are now coming to terms with

life changing injuries. For every death on EU roads, there are at least 8

serious injuries ranging from severe brain damage, lifelong disablement and

spinal cord injuries. Simply put, for these people and their families, life

will never ever be the same.”




(1923 – 2010)


Sonny, as people knew him best, was a kind man with a gentle soul. He loved

life and his family. Up to the day he died, he used to tell my grandmother

that she was the finest woman to ever come out of Abbeyfeale. He loved Mary

more than anything else in the world. He loved his garden, nature and was a

great fisherman.


He would have been well known around the parish as he was the postman to

many houses in his time. He worked very hard in the bog and when the turf

was coming home he would have the boys up at the crack of dawn to bring the

turf down from the bog. He used to have the wheelbarrows lined up at the

side of the road.


His love for football was unreal. He was so passionate about it. My

grandfather was so proud to play for his parish and also played for

Limerick. In his time playing for Athea, he played in three county finals in

1948, 1949 and the most important year, the year they won 1950, he scored

the winning goal that day. He also won a Munster medal with Limerick.


It was so lovely to hear my grandmother tell me about the wonderful man she

married 55 years ago. She said, he was a wonderful husband with a kind

heart, she also said he was a great model father. I guess as their

grandchild I would like to say and pay tribute on behalf of his 6 brothers

and sisters, 13 children, 36 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren that we

were all very lucky to have both Mary and Sonny in our lives. They supported

us all no matter what the circumstances were, my grandfather was a gentleman

to the tips of his toes. It broke all our hearts when he passed away at home

on the 23rd of June 2010. Grandparents are the people that are there for you



My grandparents have inspired and touched each of our lives in a special way

and for that we are eternally grateful to you both.


Lizzie Murphy