• Tommy Hourigan, Raheen, Limerick

Article from the Grange Parish Book suggested for reading this week (week 21)


John Bourke - Poet and Storyteller

This week (week 21) we feature a book article by Pa O'Connell of Lower Grange on the well-known and highly regarded poet and storyteller of times long past from the New Line, Grange - John Bourke was his name.

John lived on the New Line in Lower Grange for many years, in the house that is now occupied by Denis O’Brien-May and family.

Many years ago, the celebrated author, playwright and columnist, John B Keane, wrote about John Bourke in his much-read weekly column Out In The Open in the Limerick Leader edition of July 10th, 1971. This particular John B column reappeared in the Limerick Leader edition of July 11th, 2015. Literary praise of anybody by John B Keane was praise indeed.

The following is an extract from the said Limerick Leader Column:

"I am indebted to John Burke, the Grange Poet, for many fine verses and many fine stories down the years. John was at the Regional Hospital in Limerick recently where he went under a successful operation. When I last met him, he told me the following true story.

Some years ago there was an old man called Jackie Kiely in an East Limerick village. He had a small shop and in this shop, amongst other things, he sold crubeens. He did a thriving crubeens business, and he would buy sacks of these from Limerick City van men.

Living a few miles away from Jackie’s shop was a mother and two sons. The sons were a bit on the backward side, but backward as they were, they had a great 'meas' in crubeens. One evening the mother sent the older of the two, whose name was Tom, to the shop of Jackie Kiely for a stone of crubeens.

When Tom arrived at Jackie Kiely’s, the shop was locked, and there was a notice on the window to say that he had gone to a hurling game and would not be back until late. Tom was undecided as to whether he would wait for Jackie’s return or not. If the shop was stocked with crubeens all would be fine but if not it would be a wasted journey.

Sitting on a low wall near the house was an old man smoking a pipe. Tom approached and bade him the time of day which the old man returned as soon as he could take the pipe from his mouth. 'Tell me, sir', said Tom, 'do you know if Jackie Kiely has pigs’ feet?' 'That I couldn’t tell you', said the old man. 'I never saw him with his boots off in my whole life.'"

Pa O'Connell's article, John Bourke - Poet and Storyteller, may be read in full HERE.

Next week (week 22) we will suggest another article for reading.

Kind Regards to All.

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