This blog is a personal take on Listowel, Co. Kerry. I am writing for anyone anywhere with a Listowel connection but especially for sons and daughters of Listowel who find themselves far from home. Contact me at email@example.com
My mother never learned to drive. After my father died, she bought a donkey and from then until I was old enough to drive a car, a donkey was her means of transport when anything that could not be brought from town on her bicycle needed to be bought.
I always used to pay a visit to the donkey sanctuary when my grandchildren came for holidays. Now, like all other visitor attractions the sanctuary suffered a loss of income during Covid. So, if you have children to entertain during mid term, consider a trip to the donkey sanctuary.
Ball Alley Art
Recent work in the ball alley celebrates Irish culture. In these two pictures our love affair with the horse and with horse racing in particular is honoured.
A Bun Fight
There is a restaurant chain in the U.S. called Five Guys. Police were once called to the Florida branch of the chain because a fist fight had broken out there. They arrested five guys.
I spotted this on a recent stroll through Ballybunion. It looks like an ATM that is not associated with any bank. Anyone know the story?
Last weekend two of Ireland’s literary giants passed away.
Máire Mhac an tSaoi had a very small poetic output compared to Brendan Kennelly. She also wrote exclusively in Irish which meant that her poems were accessible to a limited audience.
Her work is well known by school children who identify with the teenage angst of her poem of first love with a local boy “Mac feirmeora ó iarthar tíre”, she had a crush on during a summer in the Gaeltacht of West Kerry.
She wrote a lovely sad little poem, a picture of a parent putting on the first shoe, “seoidín den leathar” , a step to freedom or the first shackles.
Probably her best known poem, Cuireadh do Mhuire, is a Christmas classic.
Guím leaba i measc na naomh di.
Brendan Kennelly R.I.P. was a prolific, popular, well known and loved poet and academic.
Throughout his long life he “walked with kings but kept the common touch”.
He never forgot his Kerry roots. He loved his large Kerry family, his Kerry friends and Kerry landscapes and values.
This prince of the Kingdom was a very proud Ballylongford man but he had many many Listowel connections and it was in this little corner of the world he saw out his days surrounded by his loving, caring and very proud family. It is they who will most feel his loss. His brothers, his sister and all his family will miss him greatly.
I took these photos in 2015 at the unveiling of the bust to Brendan Kennelly in Ballylongford.
This is 2017 when Brendan was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by Listowel Writers’ Week.
These photos were also taken in 2017 at Opening Night Listowel Writers’ Week. In it Brendan is chatting to Eileen Moylan of Claddagh Design who designed and crafted the beautiful award piece depicting scenes from his two home towns, Ballylongford and Dublin.
Éamon Ó Murchú & Brendan Kennelly (Photo taken many years ago)
Today’s Incredible Fact
A Disney themed café in Birmingham was once closed down temporarily because a customer spotted a mouse.
The café is inside the world’s biggest Primark. It is famous for serving mouse shaped pancakes and there are posters of Mickey and Minnie all over the shop.
But when a real living mouse was spotted, it brought business to a sharp halt for a while.
Listening to the Radio
In Ireland in the 1950s the main source of inanimate entertainment was the radio. Many houses had a set like this. This is a PYE. Our one was a Phillips. I remember waking up to the sounds of O’Donnell Abú. This was the signature tune of Radio Eireann. We never listened to any other channel.
After The News we had sponsored programmes. These were short music or magazine programmes sponsored by big business e’g. ODearest Mattresses, Batchelors or The Irish Hospitals Sweepstake.
The Waltons programme on Saturdays ….”If you feel like singing, do sing an Irish song” and Dear Frankie’s “This problem may not be yours today but it could be someday” became phrases familiar to every Irishman.
Public Art in Ballybunion
Have you noticed that, as you walk around any town nowadays there is so much to delight the eye. I took these photos on a recent stroll around Ballybunion.
In the Ball Alley
This is just one of the many lovely pictures in the ball alley now. It says home; doesn’t it?
Winter, summer, old, new, commercial and residential, Listowel in all its loveliness.
This house on Church Street was once the home the Wilmot family. Séamus Wilmot went on to become registrar of The National University of Ireland. This house was also the home of the legendary Babe Joe Wilmot.
Correction: Martin Moore tells me that this was not the Wilmot home. It was further down the street. This was the home of sisters, Aggie and Peg Mulvihill. Apologies for misleading you.
The Central Hotel/ Maid of Erin was sold recently. The facade of this premises is one of the most iconic in Listowel. It features one of the best known and loved examples of the stucco work of Pat McAuliffe.
Living the Champagne Lifestyle
Caitlin Carmody is the daughter of Kevin and Christina and granddaughter of Vincent and Kathleen.
Caitlin is studying Physical Therapy in the University of Illinois in Champaign, Illinois.
Caitlin is also a part time model and her recent photoshoot with photographer Roland Lim is featured in Imirage magazine.
Caitlin is the cover girl.
Here are just a few of the photos of this stunning beauty with a very strong Listowel connection.
Killarney Story with a Kanturk Connection
Killarney Today had this story about father and son, Pat and Luke O’Neill who each scored a goal for Killarney Celtic in a recent match.
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and the tree once grew in Kanturk.
I can see a few faces I definitely know. Please help me to name them all.
Poem from a Local Poet
Concluding the Bryan MacMahon article from Shannonside Annual 1956
Fleadh Cheoil Committee 1970
Betty Stack has given us all the names for this old photo. Thank you, Betty.
Front Row: Mairead Walsh, Eamon Hartnett, Jackie Walsh, Michael Dowling, Geraldine Hartnett, Joan Curtin, Maria O’Gorman Middle Row: Pat McAuliffe, Michael Stack, T. Dillon, Maureen Nolan, Betty Stack, Patricia Cronin, Helen Leahy, Peggy Gleeson, Patsy Kennedy, Jack Molyneaux, Christy Stack Back Row: Ben Landy, PJ Kirby, ? , Mossie Molyneaux, Timmy Brosnan, Sean Broderick, Ian Nugent, Paul Nolan, Vincent O’Sullivan, Joe Gleeson, Peter O’Sullivan