Day 51: Starvin’ for Marvin

Situated on the banks of the Roughty River, Kilgarvan is a village of about 160 people near the site of the Battle of Callan, which took place in 1261 between the local Gaelic clans and the Normans. The Normans lost, and their influence in the area was diminished for several hundred years.

Laetitia and her group visited the battlefield site and then went to the Motor Museum, which features vintage and classic cars. Later they visited the ruin of Ardtully Castle, a nineteenth-century manor house that was burned in 1921 by the Irish Republican Army.

The gossip at the pub that day was about a local woman who had trouble finding a suitable man. It became the limerick of the day.

A lady who lived in Kilgarvin
For a manly companion was starvin’
But Padraig wears hose
And Craig picks his nose
So she finally settled for Marvin.

Day 50: Bunyan Trunnion

Ballybunion is a beach community famous for its world-class golf course at the Ballybunion Golf Club, founded in 1893. American President Bill Clinton played there, and a statue in the town commemorates the event. It is a small community with a population of about 1,300, with the usual pubs, amusement arcades, and fast-food stands typical of a beach town. It is host to the International Bachelor Festival that draws bachelors from around the world to Ballybunion every year for a week of events.

Laetitia and her group spent the day exploring the beaches, cliffs, and sea caves in the area. Late that afternoon the happy hour talk was about the Bachelor Festival, and there was a rumor circulating that the event was once attended by Paul Bunyan, the giant lumberjack from North America. Laetitia distilled the conversation in the limerick of the day.

Dreamed a maid from the town Ballybunion
Of wild love with that giant, Paul Bunyan
‘Til a lass from the woods
Who on Paul had the goods
Claimed his trunnion was small as a grunion.

Note: A grunion is a sardine-size Pacific Ocean fish found mostly off the coast of California

Day 49: Knickers Snickers

Listowel, on the River Feale in County Kerry, is a market town of about 23,000 residents. It is a picturesque “heritage” town with a stone bridge of five arches traversing the Feale at the community’s entrance. Listowel Castle is an Anglo-Normal style structure built in the fifteenth century. Two of its original four towers remain, and a heavy curtain wall connects them. The castle has the unusual feature of an arch below the battlements. Laetitia and her group visited the castle and rode on a replica of the original train that operated on the Listowel and Ballybunion Railway, the world’s first monorail railroad. The replica engine looks like the original steam engines that pulled the train, but is in fact diesel powered.

On the walkabout, Laetitia watched an incident that engendered the limerick of the day.

When a gardener lady named Powell
Bent over to work with her trowel
In short skirt without knickers,
It engendered loud snickers
From the neighborhood boys of Listowel.

Day 47: Saint Brendan

Fenit is a small village of around 400 inhabitants in County Kerry on the north side of Tralee Bay. Saint Brendan was born in this vicinity, and there is a bronze monument in the harbor area erected in his honor. According to a ninth century account written by an Irish monk, Brendan crossed the Atlantic Ocean to North America in a wood-framed, leather-covered boat called a coracle. This was, of course, several centuries before Columbus, giving the Irish a claim to have discovered the new world. The account has not been verified, but in the 1970s, a lad named Tim Severin proved that one could indeed cross the Atlantic in that kind of boat. Laetitia wrote the limerick of the day in honor of Saint Brendan.

It is said that St Brendan did sail
O’er the sea in a coracle frail
But unlike the Titanic
He crossed the Atlantic
And lived to return with the tale.