A Reader’s Poem

Ann Robinson emailed us from  her home in Lancaster, in the north west of England – not too far from the Lake District.  Her mother Bridget  (now a 93 year old ‘cocooner’) at 18 emigrated from her father Tom Keane’s family farm in Dungeel just outside Killorglin for the UK where she has lived for the past 75 years.

Her memories and poem are below.

Editors note: This poem contains an old stereotypical view of travellers, not shared by Storied Kerry. However, we consider such stereotypes of minorities as a part of Kerry’s story as our culture moves towards inclusivity (admittedly we are not there yet). Rather than omit the poem, we see its inclusion as part of a dialogue, which would naturally also include the travellers’ perspective. We plan to publish a response to this kind of material. A traveller’s poem on Puck would complete that response and we are open to storytellers approaching us on the website. We will also be forging our own links with the travelling community and other minority communities – and their storytellers, as the site develops.


We were going “back to Puck”. 

Five children clutching pennies   

Just read the piece by Tommy Martin on Kerry and what it means to him. Lovely writing, I could identify with much of it. I may not be in Kerry but my heart continues to pull me back there.Thanks very much for sharing these thoughts. I spent many happy times in Kerry, in my childhood, on my grandparents farm, in Dungeel. I come back “home” when I can. I was due to be there at the end of June, sadly this will not happen this summer, but as soon as I can I’ll make my way there.

At the end of the war,  as an 18 year old, my mum left Kerry to go to the UK to train as a nurse.   She met my dad, who is English.When they married, he said, somewhat tongue in cheek, the English always took the best out of Ireland.   This was in tribute to my mother.  My dad was a teacher and used to take the family to Kerry every summer, staying on my grandparents farm. This was from the 1950’s to the 1970’s. For the children Puck Fair was the highlight of summer. And thinking about it now, possibly for my dad too. Falvey’s pub was where my grandfather would meet his friends on a fair day. When my dad got a break from the family, he would go in there for a quiet pint.                 Over the years he became friendly with the proprietor J.D. Falvey, and during Puck he would work behind the bar with him. One day in 1995  I was boiling eggs , and for some reason thought about my dad and Puck Fair. By the time the eggs were softly boiled I had a poem in memory of a happy childhood, and my dad.                                                                     

Back to Puck

The tinkers caravans on the Killarney road,
as far as the eye could see.
We were going “back to Puck”.
Five children clutching pennies
It was our summer Christmas.
A wild mountain goat reluctantly crowned king.
A tinker woman asking a penny for the child,
Hidden out of sight, under her tartan woollen shawl,
Later to be seen drinking cider from the bottle neck
With her drunken man.
Bird’s Bazaar, fair ground lights,
Sounds and smells lingering in the cool night air.
Wet slippy streets of cow dung to trample through,
Squeezing through the laughing crowd.
Trying to find my father in Falvey’s bar,
Catching his tender eyes across the crowded room,
Now reflecting he will take me “back to Puck” no more

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