Tag: garry mcmahon

The record holds

Another victory for Kerry yesterday. A few were in touch to say that Dad’s record was nearly broken. Paul Geaney came close, but not close enough. Ciarraí abú.

 2014: Paul Geaney scores 50 seconds after throw in


1962: Garry McMahon scores 34 seconds after throw in


Facebook: an Effin joke?

The Guardian (among others) has reported on how Facebook is refusing to allow residents of Effin, Co. Limerick.

Anne Marie Kennedy, who works at the University of Limerick, said yesterday that she, along with several more friends, have been trying to insert the village name into the “home” section of their Facebook profiles in recent months. But they have not been successful.

Kennedy also tried to set up a Facebook page entitled, “Please get my hometown Effin recognised”. But it too was blocked by the social networking site.

“It came back with an error message saying ‘offensive’,” she said.

It seems an appropriate time to post a recording of An Effin Man, by my late father Garry McMahon.

It’s a wonderful place as I’m sure you will find

And if you can’t see that you’re just Effin blind.

A Down day from the archives

Today’s “From the Archives” in the Irish Times reproduces a match report for the 1960 All Ireland football final between Down (2-12) and Kerry (0-8).

GAELIC ATHLETIC history was made at Croke Park, yesterday, when the all-conquering champions from Kerry, with nineteen championships to inspire them, were well and truly beaten by a faster, a fitter, and far more uniform side from Down, who played very sound football and often beat Kerry at their own high fielding game.

Unfortunately it was a bad day for Kerry, perhaps not helped by my late father leaving the field due to injury, but as he sang himself:

We savour Kerry victories, we salute a gallant foe
And when we lose, there’s no excuse, we pick up our bags and go

He went on to score the fastest goal ever scored in an All Ireland footbal final in 1962 (Pathé newsreel).

A Kerry Christmas Childhood

Reproduced below is a nostalgic remembrance of childhood Christmases by my late father and which you might enjoy at this time of year. This was first published in the Sunday Independent on 21 December 2003.

Now I cannot help remembering those happy days gone by,
As Christmas time approaches and the festive season’s nigh,
I wallow in nostalgia when I think of long ago
And the tide that waits for no man as the years they ebb and flow.
We townies scoured the countryside for the holly berried red,
And stripped from tombs green ivy in the graveyard of the dead,
To decorate each picture frame a-hanging on the wall,
And fill the house with greenery and brighten winter’s pall.
Putting up the decorations was for us a pleasant chore,
And the crib down from the attic took centre stage once more.
From the box atop the dresser the figures were retrieved
To be placed upon a bed of straw on that blessed Christmas Eve.
For the candles, red crepe paper round the jam jars filled with sand
To be placed in every window and provide a light so grand,
To guide the Holy Family who had no room at the inn,
And provide for them a beacon and a fáilte mór within.
The candles were ignited upon the stroke of seven,
The youngest got the privilege to light our way to heaven,
And then the rosary was said as we all got on our knees,
Remembering those who’d gone before and the foreign missionaries.
Ah, we’d all be scrubbed like new pins in the bath before the fire,
And dressed in our pyjamas, of tall tales we’d never tire,
Of Cúchullain and Ferdia, the FiannaRed Branch Knights
Banshees and Jack O the LanternSam McGee and the Northern Lights.
And we’d sing the songs of Ireland, of Knockanure and Black and Tans,
And the Boys of Barr na Sráide who hunted for the wran.
Mam and Dad, they warned us, as they gave each a goodnight kiss,
If we didn’t go to sleep at once then Santa we would miss.
And that magic Christmas morning so beloved of girls and boys,
When we woke to find our dreams fulfilled and all our asked-for toys.
But Mam was up before us, the turkey to prepare,
To peel the spuds and boil the ham and supply the festal fare.
She’d accept with pride the compliments from my father and the rest,
“Of all the birds I’ve cooked,” she’d say, “this year’s was the best.”
The trifle and plum pudding – oh, the memories never fade,
And then we’d wash the whole lot down with Nash’s lemonade.
St. Stephen’s Day brought Wren Boys with their loud knock on the door,
To bodhrán beat and music sweet they danced upon the floor.
We terror-stricken children fled in fear before the batch
And we screamed at our pursuers as they rattled at the latch.
Like a bicycle whose brakes have failed goes headlong down the hill,
Too fast the years have disappeared, come back they never will,
And our clan is scattered round the world, from home we had to part,
Still we treasure precious memories forever in our heart.
So God be with our parents dear, we remember you with pride,
And the golden days of childhood and that happy Christmas tide.

© Garry McMahon

Garry McMahon weekend at the West Limerick Singing Club

The West Limerick Singing Club has been meeting on the first Thursday of every month since 2002, at the Ramble Inn in Abbeyfeale. My late father, Garry, was a regular attendee at the Club and, a long-time ballad singer and maker himself, loved this committed group of ballad enthusiasts.

The Club is paying Garry a tremendous tribute this weekend by hosting the Garry McMahon singing weekend, from Friday 6 to Sunday 8 November. Events include:

  • an official opening by Donncha Ó Dualaing, followed by singing sessions in the Ramble Inn and Leens Hotel on Friday evening;
  • ballad signing and storytelling workshops throughout Saturday;
  • singing sessions in local bars on Saturday evening;
  • a performance of Aifreann na Ríocht (composed by Garry) at 12 noon mass on Sunday; and
  • a concert featuring Garry’s songs and stories.

Many renowned local and national singers and storytellers are expected on the weekend, which will stand not only as a tribute to Garry but also to the strength of the West Limerick Singing Club.

The Kingdom’s Green and Gold

I won’t pour salt  on the wounds of Cork supporters by further celebrating Kerry’s win in the All Ireland final on 20 September last (a topic already adequately addressed and which continues to appear in the papers).

However, this year’s All Ireland came with an additional thrill thanks to RTÉ’s Up For the Match, broadcast the night before, which featured a performance and dramatic enactment of Dúchas, or The Kingdom’s Green and Gold, a ballad written by my late father Garry, founder of  Patrick G. McMahon Solicitors and two-time All Ireland medal winner for Kerry (1959 Kerry 3-7 Galway 1-4; 1962 Kerry 1-12 Roscommon 1-6). You can see Garry score the fatest goal ever scored in an All Ireland final in this Pathé newsreel of the 1962 final (generally said to be around 34 seconds into play but the exact number of seconds appears to vary!).

The show is available to view here on the RTÉ Player until 10 October 2009. A recording of the song by Garry is available for download here.

You say tradition counts for naught when two teams take the field,
I fear you are mistaken, lad, but the years will make you yield,
And when your hair’s as grey as mine, and time has made you old,
Then you’ll invoke the truth I spoke of the Kingdom’s green and gold.

You cannot box or bottle it, nor grasp it in your hand,
But pride of race and love of place inspire a love of land
Time honoured is our birthright, we’ll never break the mould,
It’s deep within the soul of us, who wear the green and gold.

Grey lakes and mountains soaring high, Mount Brandon‘s holy hill,
The little church at Gallarus, our language living still,
The Skellig Rock, stout football stock, they can’t be bought or sold,
For our county’s fame, we play the game in the Kingdom’s green and gold.

And when the battle’s fiercest and the fortunes ebb and flow,
We’re still alive, we can survive, we never will let go,
For the spirit of our fathers and of stories yet untold,
Will lead us on to victory, in the Kingdom’s green and gold.

We savour Kerry victories, we salute a gallant foe
And when we lose, there’s no excuse, we pick up our bags and go,
So raise your glass each lad and lass to our warriors brave and bold,
Who again aspire to the Sam Maguire in the Kingdom’s green and gold.

© Garry McMahon