30 September 2017

A walk along ‘Poor Man’s Kilkee’
instead of a walk on the beach

The jetty on Harvey’s Quay is known as ‘Poor Man’s Kilkee’ (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2017)

Patrick Comerford

The rain throughout the week and this weekend means I never gout for a walk on the beach.

But even though I never managed to get to Ballybunion in Co Kerry or Kilkee in Co Clare, the two beach resorts beloved of people in Limerick, I managed to take time in Limerick on Thursday [28 September 2017] to take a walk in the rain by what is known affectionately to people in Limerick as ‘Poor-Man’s Kilkee.’

Each summer, as thousands of people left Limerick City for their annual holidays in Kilkee, an area jutting into the River Shannon become known as ‘Poor-Man’s Kilkee’ because of its popularity among families who for could not afford the train fare to go to Kilkee and so would go on to the mudflats at low tide and swim in the Shannon.

This jetty, jutting out of Harvey’s Quay, was built as part of Wellesley Pier on Harvey’s Quay, below Sarsfield Bridge.

This jetty and pier were built around 1820, forming a lock at Sarsfield Bridge. They were built with rough-hewn large limestone blocks, with a rounded outer edge extending to the deck of the pier at different lengths, and lawn grass to the remainder of the decks.

The jetty, completely enclosed by steel railings around 2000, contains a circular arrangement of eight cut limestones that form part of the former swivel bridge.

The Limerick Boat Club building occupies most of the main pier, with two iron canons at the south end of main section, while the jetty is now a public outdoor space with benches. The area is a landmark on the riverscape of Limerick, and provides a recreational use along the River Shannon.

Walking along the boardwalk by the River Shannoln in Limerick o(Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2017)

Harvey’s Quay began as two separate Quays named after the men who built and developed this part of Limerick in the 1820s. Reuben Harvey and James Fisher were both Quakers or members of the Society of Friends.

The original Harvey’s Quay was located between Bedford Row and Lower Cecil Street. Harvey’s Quay is named after Reuben Harvey, who built that portion of the quay on a section of land leased to his father, Joseph Massey Harvey, by Lord Pery in 1791.

The additional section from Bedford Row to Sarsfield Bridge was then known as Fisher’s Quay, originally built by James Fisher in 1791. The two quays were eventually merged and by the mid-20th century, and this stretch is now known only as Harvey’s Quay. It continues on into Howley’s Quay and Bishop’s Quay.

Joseph Massey Harvey (1764-1834), was a prominent Cork Quaker who moved to Limerick with his wife and children in 1786 to work at the Fisher Flour Mills, owned by James Fisher. Joseph and his wife built Summerville on a section of land that was later known as ‘Quaker Fields.’

The Quaker burial ground at Ballinacurra (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2017)

Joseph Massey donated a portion of his lands at the ‘Quaker Fields’ on the Ballinacurra side for use as a Quaker burial ground, and he and his wife were buried there with many of their children.

Their son, Rueben Harvey (1789-1866), lived on Pery Square. His youngest brother was the Irish botanist William Henry Harvey (1811-1866), Colonial Treasurer in Cape Town. He became an Anglican and Charles Darwin praised his work as a botanist.

Further along the quays, Bishop’s Quay is named after William Cecil Pery, the Church of Ireland Bishop of Limerick, whose garden backed onto the quay.

Howley’s Quay is named after William Howley (1790-1867), Steamboat Quay was the mooring point for steam powered ships, Honan’s Quay named after Matthew Honan, a Limerick merchant, and Arthur’s Quay was built by the Arthur family , whose members also gave their names to Patrick Street, Francis Street and Ellen Street.

The new boardwalk takes advantage of the views of the River Shannon, and there are a number of sculptures along the boardwalk. But there are for talking about another day.

the garden of Bishop William Cecil Pery’s house (left) backed onto Bishop’s Quay (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2017)

Ministry embracing social media
with launch of a new website

Today’s edition of the ‘Limerick Leader’ [Saturday 30 September 2017] publishes this quarter-page news report by Norma Prendiville [p 4]:

Ministry embracing social media with launch of a new website

Bishop Kenneth Kearon with Canon Patrick Comerford at the launch of the website

Norma Prendiville

Patrick Comerford is determined to bring the Church of Ireland in Limerick up to speed in terms of news media.

And he is spearheading a first in diocesan terms with a new website designed to help priests and lay ministers, the first such diocesan [initiative.]

The new website, in a blog format, was launched by the Bishop of Limerick and Killaloe, the Right Revd Kenneth Kearon and the first posting suggests readings and hymns that could be used at Harvest Festival ceremonies in different parishes.

Already, Canon Comerford says, he has received a couple of hundred hits since the website went up and he is very pleased with the response.

“It is not just a website out there in the ether. It is helpful,” says the priest in charge of the Rathkeale and Kilnaughtin group of parishes.

The website, he explains, is part of his work as director of continuing education in this diocese.

And he would be happy if other dioceses were to copy the template and example set by Limerick and Killaloe. There is resource material on the general Church of Ireland website, Canon Comerford explains, but it comes along with a lot of other material on other matters and can be difficult to access. This is straight to the point and even includes photographs that can be used by other ministers to illustrate their own newsletters.

However, for the former journalist and confirmed blogger, this is only the beginning. He plans to hold a training day for ministers and readers next month where the focus will be on using social media as well as traditional media. The topics, he explains, will include working with local radio stations, newspapers and the diocesan magazine as well as how to use social media, including Facebook, Twitter, Blogs and websites, in the parish. Producing parish newsletters and handouts will also be part of the agenda.

“I am bringing my social media interest and skills into helping and enabling the priests and readers of the diocese,” he says simply.

For him the day of the crumpled A4 newsletter to be picked up at the back of the church is gone. Using new media is about “finding people where they are rather than where we want to be,” he believes.

It reaches out beyond the congregations attending services to a wider congregation and keeps them in touch with the church, he argues.

Age is not a barrier. “I am 65 and I am finding my age group, which is the average of most people attending services, are all using social media, whether texting or Facebook.”

He puts his own sermons online on his personal patrickcomerford.com blog and also uses social media to remind people about services and the response he gets come from a wider number of people than those attending Sunday service.

Moreover, the majority are using their mobile phones for this. So for example, a text can alert them to a sermon by Patrick and they can then read it for themselves.

The new website is https://cmelimerick.blogspot.ie/ and for more information Canon Comerford can be contacted at cme@limerick.anglican.org

His own blog, which contains a lot of material on local Limerick is at www.patrickcomerford.com