Windmills on top of Stacks Mountain
Do you know who you are? Does your great, great grandfather come from Lyreacrompane or nearby?
Lyreacrompane Lies in the Stack Mountain range in north Kerry. It is centrally located being approximately ten miles from the town of Castleisland, Listowel and Tralee (Co. Kerry) and Abbeyfeale (Co. Limerick). The Stacks Mountains have a mixture of gentle and steep slopes. It's highest point is Grusline at 355 metres. To the east of the Stacks stand the Glanaruddery Mountains.
The river Smearlagh is the longest river in the district and is renowned for it's salmon and trout flows through most of the town lands of Lyreacrompane before entering the River Feale.
The smaller rivers Crompane, Dromaddamore and Glashoreag all rise in the uplands and tumble down hill until they unite with the Smearlagh. It then wanders through most of the Lyreacrompane district before uniting with the Feale River at Inchmagilleragh.
Lyreacrompane has great natural resource; it's Bog lands, which help to contribute to the yearly income of the local community. Many forms of Wildlife can be found in the bog. The House of Commons printed a report on Irish Bogs in 1814; in it reference was first made to the Lyreacrompane Bogs.
Many people earned their living by working in the bog. It provided food for their families. Lyre Locomotive LM12 was the name of the train that went around the bog. It picked up the turf as it went around. Then it tipped the turf into the trailers. When Bord na Móna closed, the train was transferred to Barna. Sometimes the turf was crushed and sent to hospitals.
The meaning of Lyreacrompane Ladhar an Chrompáin - A Ladhar is a fistful and is also a fork formed by two rivers or streams. The old people used to make bread with a ladhar of flour. Everyones ladhar is different. Crompán is a hillock or a piece of land. So Lyreacrompane means a fistful of land between two rivers, the river Smearla and the river Spur.
In 1918 the old church fell down. It was damaged in the war and was rebuilt in 1956. Lots of local men were involved in the rebuilding of the church. It is dedicated to the sacred heart. There was and still is a footbridge from near Carrigcannon to the church. People used to walk to mass. There are three poles holding up the bridge.
A famous matchmaker called Dan Paddy Andy was born in Renagown, Lyreacrompane in December 1899.He ran a local dance hall in Renagown.It is said that he made at least 10 matches each year. He used to do a bit of farming but he made more money from matchmaking. when he got paid he bit the coins to make sure they were real!
He made his first match in 1933. A girl's father would decide when it was time for his daughter to get married and he would come to Dan and tell him what sort of a man he wanted his daughter to marry.
Dan would find a suitable man and question him and then he would question the girl separately. The girl had to have a dowry to bring with her to her husbands house when she got married. A dowry was a sum of money or cows etc to the value of a certain amount.
The couple only met for the first time on their wedding day and the reception was held in the brides parents house.
Dan Paddy Andy was known as 'the man with the triple name' or 'the wild man from the mountains'. He died in 1965 at the age of 65 and he died in the same room he was born in.
In memory of Dan a statue was erected near Roche's pub. A plaque with two rings was unveiled to symbolise his matchmaking. Every year since then a festival known as the Dan Paddy Andy Festival is held in Lyreacrompae with lots of music, singing, storytelling and dancing.
Lyreacrompane was John B Keane's favourite place and he came to stay here every summer. He stayed with the Sheehy's who were his cousins.
The first time he visited he was only in first class. He cried when he was coming here but he cried even more going home because he wanted to stay.
It was in this natural and rugged landscape that John B. Keane (playwright and novelist) spent the summers of his youth and referred to the Stacks Mountains as “Too small to be called mountains and too big to be called hills”.
It was home to many of the characters who later inspired his plays and stories. One of those characters was Dan Paddy Andy O’Sullivan (Man of the Triple Name), the last of the great Irish Matchmakers, who is commemorated here annually at the Dan Paddy Andy Festival with music, song, dance and storytelling. The annual festival takes place over the August bank-holiday weekend
John B Keane loved the freedom, the peace and the language of Lyre. When he visited Lyre in his young days, there was no television so he spent his time with the Sheehy's at the Ivy Bridge listening to stories and tales.
Many of these stories he wrote about later.
John B's son Billy told us one of his stories. There was a little girl from Lyre whose father died when she was very young. Her family were poor so she had to go to work in Listowel.
She was lonely and hungry and when she was on her way home to Lyre at Christmas she met a man named Sean with fair hair and blue eyes. He gave her food and asked her if she could dance.
He whistled the tune 'the blackbird' and she danced happily. When she got home she told her mother about the stranger she had met. Her mom questioned her and then told her that she had met her father. This was a story told in Lyre many years ago and it was supposed to be based on a true story.
One of John B's stories 'The Field' was made into a film and a play and this story is actually about a field near Lyre.
Lyreacrompane is a wonderful location for nature lovers where fishing, walking, cycling and photography can be enjoyed amidst the heather clad mountains and rushing mountain streams.
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