Maurice J Reidy, ‘Moss Tommy’ (1917-1988)




Maurice J Reidy


This page is dedicated to the work of the late poet, Maurice J Reidy, affectionately known as Moss Tommy, who lived at Kilcusnin, Cordal, Castleisland, Co Kerry.  He was a writer, a farmer, a racehorse breeder and a sportsman who excelled in athletics.  He was also, according to his friend and neighbour, Mike Healy, a prophet.


Moss Tommy was in tune with the environment, and published a number of collections of poetry which reflect this including, in 1983, Mirror of Truth, in which his work was described as in the tradition of the great nature poets Wordsworth, Hopkins and Frost.


Moss Tommy died at Kilcusnin on 15 May 1988.  He bequeathed a body of unpublished poetry and papers to Mike Healy with the expressed desire that his work be introduced into the education system.


Recently, Mike Healy contacted Castleisland District Heritage for assistance in this respect.  With the help of Marina O’Connor, retired Principal of the Boys’ National School, Castleisland, and the support and interest of its new Principal Pádraig Corcoran, Mike Healy (in the company of Marina O’Connor and members of Castleisland District Heritage) paid a visit to the school on Friday 29 September 2023 to introduce one of Moss Tommy’s poems, The Spider and the Fly.


Fifth and sixth class students enjoyed hearing Mike’s stories about the poet, and a number of them enjoyed reciting the poem.  Their teacher, Maurice Lynch, tasked the children with illustrating the poem and the results were colourful and creative, as shown below.


It is hoped that students will gain from seeing nature through Moss Tommy’s writing, particularly at a time when technology calls away time and attention from the world about them.


More can be learned about the poet on this website, via the links below.



Poetry by Maurice J Reidy


The Spider and the Fly


A little spider, tired and weak,
Went to his web and soon did sleep,
For him the spinning was no harm,
But from the web came loud alarm
’Twas from a fly, now in distress
Sent out this lonely S-O-S.
And to the scene in rapid stride
For chance might lose his lovely bride,
The spider dressed in coat of armour
Did hug and greet the newly charmer,
And to his parlour for a rest,
He took along the welcome guest.
For such presumption in the fly
Was very hard to satisfy,
So flies beware where spiders sleep,
It’s wiser look before you leap