Janet's thread

A weblog, mostly about knitting but other topics appear

Reading Too Good To Miss March 25, 2017



Dundrum History, cont. June 18, 2010

Filed under: First World War,Local history — Janet @ 9:02 am

I seem to be on a local history sidetrack.  Yesterday en route back from our visit with our friends we met a man crossing the Dundrum by-pass just near the library.  He looked familiar, we exchanged pleasantries, and then scurried across the road – the pedestrian crossing green light doesn’t give us oldies much time – when we’re only half way across the green turns to yellow.  When we were safe on the other side the man asked me if I had found any more books on Irish history.   Ah – you were the man I met at the Taney Church fete last Saturday.  You were at the book stall and helped me look for books on local history.  Alas I answered his question, only the book by Geraldine Mitchell.  He looked blank.  Further I added, she wrote Deeds Not Words The Life and Work of Muriel Gahan.

Again that drew a blank and we moved on.  We talked about the local history books about Dundrum written by J. (James) Nolan.  I told him I had been looking at those books in the library and that my copies were in much better condition.  (My copies are in Seattle.)   He wondered how I was interested in this topic since I wasn’t native to these parts.  People seem to know immediately that I am a foreigner so to speak – and it is the speaking that gives me away.  So I explained that we were here in Dundrum over 40 years.  Ah he said, a “blow-in”.  Now if there’s one term that really irritates me it’s to be called a “blow-in” – it makes me feel very unwelcome.  He proceeded to apologize profusely and go on to say that one could be a “blow-in” even if born just a few streets away.  Anyway, I digress. 

He proceeded to tell me about a relation who had served in the First World War as a member of an ambulance crew and over a period of 2 years had written home regularly, home being  Dundrum I was lead to believe.  The family has preserved these letters and a book has been written about them.  The book is at the printer now and will only be available privately.  Alas, an elusive and tantalizing source of local history.

Incidentally I also noticed the book that the man was carrying – Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson, a book about Afghanistan.  The conversation could have shifted far across the world if only Ian had not gone on ahead,  I felt it was high time I caught up with him before he disappeared altogether and I missed my luncheon date.


Local History, A Little Bit More – Dundrum Library June 17, 2010

Filed under: Art works,Artists,Birds,Ireland,Knitting,Libraries,Local history — Janet @ 9:54 pm

Having written about St. Nahi’s Church here in Dundrum and referred to the Dundrum Library just behind it, I’ll add some information today about the library.  I discovered a book with lovely paintings and informative text about some of the features in our Dundrum/Stillorgan/Rathfarnham area.  The paintings are by Olivia Hayes and the text by the late Christoper Ryan.  On the cover is a painting of our Main Street here in Dundrum – the terrace of red brick houses is very distinctive.

The library in Dundrum is one of the many Carnegie libraries scattered around Ireland, and to be found in other countries as well. 

According to the Christopher Ryan’s text, Andrew Carnegie was born in Scotland in 1835.  He emigrated to the U.S. where his first job was as a bobbin winder in a cotton factory.  By the time he was age 50 he had his own steel works and was becoming increasingly wealthy.  During the last 18 years of his life, Carnegie sponsored the building 2,811 libraries – 660 of these were in the British Isles.  There are several in the greater Dublin area.  The Dundrum Library was opened in August 1914 by the then Lord Chancellor. 

In the early years the library was also used as an entertainment centre.  The upper floor had a stage and a kitchen and was a popular venue for concerts , plays, dances, and sales-of-work.

When we came to Dundrum in the late 1960’s the library was closed and if I remember correctly it did not open until the late ’70’s.  It is now an excellent community resource, no longer for plays and entertainment, but it houses an excellent collection of books and reference material.  And it also has computers for community use.  It also hosts activity groups for different interests in the community – e.g. a reading group, a Scrabble Club, Cupla Focla – an Irish conversation group.  And I think I also read about a knitting group meeting there.

As to my knitting – here’s a photo labelled Still Life – Knitting, Watering Can, and Cat

  the knitting is my current work-in-progress, another blanket

In this spell of very nice weather I have to provide a chair for my cat to be beside me in the garden – and another chair for my cup of tea

The bird life in the garden these days is wonderful.  I have watched a number of birds gathering material for nest building in nearby shrubs or trees.

This isn’t the best of photos but this is a very friendly robin who hovered around us as we had coffee this morning in the garden of friends.  I wouldn’t have known it was a robin except that our hostess told us so – it was newly fledged so it did not have the characteristic red breast.  It reminded me of what I would imagine a baby thrush to look like with a brownish speckled breast.


St. Nahi’s – Local History June 15, 2010

Filed under: Local history — Janet @ 9:36 am

St. Nahi’s is a small church here in Dundrum/Churchtown, Dublin, Ireland.  It is located on a very ancient site where it is thought there was a monastic settlement as early as the 7th century. 

The source for the following is the Taney Parish website

St Nahi’s Church

St Nahi’s stands on the original site of Dundrum Parish Church where according to official records, a church was built about 800AD probably on the ruins of a still older building. It was dedicated to St Nathy or Nahi – a Saint of the very early Irish Church who is thought to have lived in a monastery at Churchtown about 600AD.  St Nahi’s was rebuilt several times – in 950, 1650 and in 1750.The present restoration was completed in 1910

The present St Nahi’s Church was erected in the middle of the 18th Century.  It was consecrated on 8th June 1760.  It was designed as a simple rectangular box shape.

 photo from Wikipedia

  photo from Wikipedia

Following are some of my photos taken earlier this month.



  St. Naithi’s graveyard (photo from the Taney website)



  view of St. Nahi graveyard from upstairs in the Dundrum Library where I meet once a week with Cupla Focla, the Irish speaking group

  Dundrum Library, to the left is a little lane which runs behind the graveyard

  Dundrum Library


Absent-Minded Knitter May 13, 2010

I knit this sweater a few years ago and I have worn it a lot.  Yesterday I happened to be looking at the cuffs and realised that one sleeve had a cuff knitted knit one, purl one – the cuff on the other sleeve is knit two, purl two.  Does it matter?  I don’t think so since it has gone un-noticed until just now.

Regular readers of this blog know that I like to read memoirs and other works of such ilk.     Here is an excellent one which I finished last night.  Nothing to Do but Stay, My Pioneer Mother, by Carrie Young.  A book I found in the Scandinavian Store on 15th near our home in Seattle.  This book is a collection of essays about Carrine Berg, 1879-1962.  Carrine came to America from Norway at the age of 3.  She grew up in Minnesota and went on to homestead in North Dakota.    She would have been of my grandparents generation.  The essays are fascinating telling of family life in the middle west at that time in history.     Carrine was a very skilled seamstress, and no doubt a knitter as well.  She was anything but absent-minded.  Her story comes through as of a pioneer woman of sturdy stock and one to be greatly admired.                                      

Now to get back to the editing of my own autobiography.


16 Year Old Weaver Arrested October 29, 2009

Filed under: Local history,Postcards,Social history,Suffragettes,Weaving — Janet @ 9:10 am

This morning, reading about the Suffragettes , I found the following information:

In March 1907, a 16-year-old Huddersfield weaver named Dora Thewlis was arrested.  The sensational photograph of the arrest was later turned into a picture postcard – wouldn’t this be a nice one for my collection.      thewlis-postcard-s arrest of 16 year old weaver

And I like the cover picture from a 1974 issue of The Radio Times of 3 of the Suffragettes in later life.

radio-times picture of suffragettes

And here’s another old postcard that I read about today.

gigi_olympics_postcard sent to Strath's great great grandmother in 1922  This is from the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State.  Written in 1922.  And the accompanying blurb is to be found here.


Artwork for today January 23, 2009

Filed under: Local history,Photography,Scotland,Sketching,Social history — Janet @ 3:43 pm



This is the photo from which I was working today in my art class.  It’s an old photo, possibly from Scotland or northern England.  I can’t remember where I found it, but it is a nice line-up of girls who worked in the herring fisheries – the herring girls.

herring-girlsThis was fun to sketch – the result is nothing to brag about but I had a good time.


Little did I know……. April 15, 2008

Filed under: Books,Irish language,Local history,Reading — Janet @ 8:43 am

What a pleasant surprise last night to find that the Leargas programme on RTE 1 was about Tomás MacNiocláis.  (Leargas is a weekly current affairs programme and the content is mostly in Irish, with English sub-titles.)   Last night when the programme started, I remarked that the man looked like the Tomás I know from the Dublin City Book Fairs.  Sure enough, it was one and the same.  I knew that Tomás had passed his 90th birthday but I didn’t know by how much – it turns out his birth year was 1913, the same as my Aunt Alice, still living in Florida.  It was a half hour programme showing snippets from Tomás’ life interwoven with archive film of significant events in Ireland from 1913 on.   It was just so interesting.  I love living history type programmes and this was extra special since I know the person featured in the film.  When I say I knew the person featured in the programme – I really only know him to smile and say hello and ask do you have any interesting books for sale this month.  At his table at the Book Fairs, Tomás features books in Irish – I knew that was his interest and he usually talked with his many customers in Irish.  From my limited knowledge of Irish I could kind of eavesdrop but not really understand what they were talking about.  Little did I know about Tomás’ very interesting life byond the Book Fairs.

In the course of his long life, his work was mainly in the field of education.  But in his younger days he played Gaelic football for County Mayo and was part of a winning team in an all Ireland final against Kerry at Croke Park. 

Tomás lives locally so there were a lot of familiar scenes – Castle Street in Dalkey, the sweeping view of the two Sugarloaf mountains and Killiney Bay, Vico Terrace, etc.   Tomás is a member of a Book Group – an Irish language book group – they meet and discuss books in Irish – and there sitting around the table I’m quite certain I spotted my Irish teacher. 

Tomás is a scholar with a deep love of literature and the Irish language.  The programme closed with Tomás reading a poem by William Wordsworth.  I was surprised that the final reading wasn’t in Irish but there you are – maybe they just wanted to show his broader interests beyond the Irish language.


Collecting Postcards aka Deltiology March 28, 2008

Today’s Irish Times had a very interesting article on collecting postcards.  This is one of my hobbies.  I just love the lure of the old photo, or the special message, or the unusual postage stamp, or the reminder of places visited.  There is so much social history in old postcards.   One of the themes that I try to focus on is of course cards relating to craftwork, and especially weaving, spinning, and knitting.

Somewhere in my collection of  the Journal of the Association of Weavers Spinners & Dyers  is an issue with an article about collecting postcards relating to weaving, spinning and dyeing.  I’ll try to find that issue and add to this entry.  In the meantime, here are a few samples from my collection.  I can’t say that I have any postcards relating to dyeing, but I do have quite a few relating to weaving, spinning, and knitting.  At the Dublin City Book Fairs there are usually one or two table holders who have postcards as well as books and I always ask the person if he has any postcards for me.  Usually that question draws a blank but just occasionally in my browsing I find one.  Here is one I found fairly recently.      irish-spinning-wheel-postcard-smaller-size.jpg  A staged rendition but interesting nonetheless.  The caption reads Irish Spinning Wheel and this verse follows  “The Irish people cannot only design beautiful things, but can also execute them with indefatigable industry”  John Ruskin     The postcard is dated June 6 1905 and is postmarked Dublin June 14  05  with a British One Penney red stamp and addressed to a woman in Queensland Australia.

irish-spinning-wheel-1909-smaller-size.jpg  This is from a slightly later date, 1909.  The card is titled Irish Spinning Wheel.  no verse on this one.  It is has a green stamp and is postmarked Jersey SP 22  09 , and is addressed to a woman in Jersey.

old-guernsey-lady-knitting-smaller-size.jpg and finally this more modern one, a reproduction of a watercolour painting titled Old Guernsey Lady Knitting.  The artist was Peter Le Lievre (1812-98) and the painting is in the Guernsey Museum and Art Gallery.

A fellow member of the Online Guild is also a collector and recently she had a query regarding a Dutch postcard of a man spinning on a big wheel.  That postcard was one of the old tinted type – and that man spinning on the big wheel was on a boat.  Why, was the question?  Various answers came from Dutch members of the Guild.   In rereading the messages, I’m not sure that the question was fully answered – cow deck, spinning a thread to be woven to make covers for the cows.  Intriguing.

What intrigued me especially about today’s article was that there is actually a name for people who collect postcards.  We are called deltiologists – I never knew that!


Bitter cold March 23, 2008

Following the surgery on my toes last week I haven’t been able to wander very far.  This has left plenty of time for reading and knitting – I don’t mind that! 

A little while ago, the sockladyspins who lives in the far north of British Columbia had a blog entry about knitting and felting.  I admired her beautiful knitting and commented that I would find it hard to felt the items as I thought they looked lovely the way they were.  But she pointed out that in that bitter cold of the far North where temperatures hit 40 below and cattle have to be fed regardless, a felted hat and mittens would be so much more useful – and she had knit her items extra large on purpose having felting in mind.  The felted results were beautiful too but of course stitch definition gets lost in the process.  Needs must.  What I’m getting round to saying is that this exchange of comments prompted me to read a book which I have had on my unreads shelf for about 6 months.  I have read a lot about the development of the American West but know very little about what happened in Canada. 

the-pioneering-years-smaller-size.jpg  here was my answer – The Pioneer Years 1895-1914, Memories of Settlers Who Opened Up the West, by Barry Broadfoot.  This a Canadian publication, first published in 1976.  And it is a wonderful collection of memoirs about the western part of Canada.  In almost every memoir in this 400 page book the extremes of climate are mentioned – this really emphasized to me the need for warm clothing in that bitter bitter cold of their long winters. 

Knitting and reading this book – that’s what I’ve been doing while resting the sore toes.  I obtained the Canadian publication at the Dublin City Book Fair last November.  I am participating in the March Dublin City Book Fair tomorrow – I hope I can find another Barry Broadfoot book.  (And I’m also hoping I sell enough of my own books to justify purchases of all the other treasures I might find – the anticipation is half the fun.) 

I’ll take my knitting of course while watching potential customers peruse my books.  This is a good opportunity for knitting my yarn remnants into those squares, eventually leading to another blanket.