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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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
Anseo is an initiative by Kerry County Council and others to help the entertainment industry and to bring a bit of entertainment to our streets that have been so quiet for so long.
This is the scene at the Anseo concert in Listowel on Saturday Sept 18 2021.
Afternoon Show 1.00 – 3.30pm
Eoghan Duignan, John Browne & Brendan O’Sullivan
Tim O’ Shea & Afro Trad Ireland
Liam O’Connor & Family
Evening Show 6.00 – 8.30pm
Seamus Begley & Donogh Hennessy
Peter Staunton and Super Ceili
This is the line up. As you can see it features the best musicians and brilliant music. So why was the venue almost empty?
Answer; People didn’t know about it.
“I would have been there if I’d known,” is what I am hearing on every side since.
I know the First Communion was on and the storytelling festival but maybe it should have been part of the craic for these events.
These four ladies couldn’t resist breaking into a set.
I’m told that the evening concert was sold out.
After the Races
A poem for the week that’s in it.
At the Storytelling Festival
The O’Connor family from Cork with local storyteller, Godfrey Coppinger at the international Storytelling Festival at Kerry Writers Museum on Sept 19 2021
Ladies Day, Sept 24 2021 at Listowel Races
I missed the Races this year but my friend deputised for me and took a some photos for you. Here are a few of Bridget O’Connor’s photos from Friday.
Ballylongford Blacksmithing Festival
I was in Ballylongford on Saturday September 25 2021 for this very new , very different festival. The blacksmiths looked nothing like blacksmiths I remember from my childhood and their open air forges were fuelled by gas.
These smiths were not farriers but decorative workers in molten metal. I saw no leather aprons and face shields here and there seemed to be a certain kind of hippy style to these modern day smiths. They made beautiful things and it was great to see them at work.
This is an intriuging and fascinating craft, drawing pictures in the sand. The annual festival in Ballybunion on the weekend of Sept 10 to 12th was as brilliant as ever. I took a few photos but Pixie O’Gorman and Wild Atlantic Way posted these much better ones on the internet.
A Hawney Legacy
This is Hawney Way in Ballybunion. If you walk down this passageway you will come to this lovely little children’s picnic area. It is laid out with tables, in the centre of each is a draughts or chess grid and benches.
Some of the tables are sponsored by local people.
Tidy Town’s Vintage Day
One of the highlights of Listowel Harvest Festival of Racing every year was Tidy Town’s upcycle, recycle vintage day. Below are some of the organising committee.
Every year this competition turned up some fascinating stories. The outfits themselves were often stunning but the accompanying stories never failed to entertain us.
Frances O’Keeffe and her daughter, Edel
Edel is wearing a dress her mother restyled from a dress given to her by her friend, Suzie Moore.
Suzie was a matron in a London hospital. The queen was due to visit and Suzie felt that she needed something special for this meeting with her majesty. She had a dress especially made.
When she retired to Listowel she brought the dress with her and she gave it to her friend Frances. She knew that Frances would appreciate the material she had chosen so carefully and paid so much for. Frances never found an opportunity to use the material over the years . When she heard of this up cycling event she knew that this was just the ticket for Suzie’s dress. She remodelled it to fit Edel. Edel wore it with the pill box hat her mother wore at her own wedding and the pearl encrusted bag she carried.
Mary O’Halloran and Maria Stack are great supporters of Listowel Races. They usually pull out all the stops for Ladies Day and Vintage Day.
One year, Maria carried this vintage bag that she had bought in a charity shop.
When she got the bag home she found inside the original price tag.
And she found a ticket to the Empire State Building. Surely this bag was bought by someone as part of her trousseau and she honeymooned in New York.
A Listowel Dance in 1960
Philomena Moriarty kept this souvenir of her very first dance and she shared it on Facebook. The Super Ballroom was later rebranded as the Las Vegas.
Listowel Poetry Town 2021
As part of the Poetry Town initiative, Listowel got its very own Poet Laureate, Dairena Ní Chinnéide.
Part of her job was to write a Listowel poem. Dairena was great value for money.. She wrote two.
Jim Halpin has been in touch. He is undertaking a project to research Fort Shannon, Ballylongford. Jim is particularly interested in the families and friends of the soldiers. He would appreciate if anyone has stories to share of how the soldiers integrated with the local community, marrying local girls and taking part in local clubs and sports. Jim is concentrating on the valuable contribution to local life in Ballylongford made by the soldiers at the fort. If you have photos or stories send them to me and I’ll make sure Jim gets them.
Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann in Listowel
There are a few familiar faces in the crowd in this old newspaper cutting
A Klondyke Millionaire with a Listowel connection
New Zealand Tablet, 11 February 1898
Mr Patrick Galvin, one of Klondyke’s millionaires, has arrived in Listowel, whence he emigrated over twenty years ago to America, and where he experienced varying fortunes until he struck for Klondyke, where he became immensely rich. He refused £200,000 for some land he owns there and sold one of his claims for £20,000 before starting for Ireland. His account of the journey from the new gold country is most interesting. Mr Galvin, who was accompanied by his wife, travelled by the Dalton trail and had to tramp 374 miles, and Mrs Galvin had to walk 150 miles during the journey. When starting from Klondyke they had eleven pack horses, and at the journey’s end they had but four. The provisions too, ran scarce, and they had to subsist on flour and water for a considerable time.
I was at a Wedding
My niece, Christine and her new husband held their wedding reception in Blackwater Castle.
This is me with my lovely niece on her big day.
This is a highlight of my Kanturk family weddings, Jerome Ryan singing Kanturk, my Home Town and whoever of the Kanturk crowd are nearby “helping” him out with the chorus.
A blog follower found this in an old NZ newspaper and I shared it with you.
Bartholomew Dowling, the writer of “Life’s Wreck,” was born at Listowel. County Kerry, about the year 1822. While still a child his parents emigrated to Canada, where his father died. Later the mother and children returned and settled in County Limerick, He wrote several poems for the Nation after its foundation. In 1848 he proceeded to California, where, after spending some time as a miner, he lived on a farm at Crucita Valley. In 1858 he was appointed editor of the San Francisco Monitor. In 1863 he met with an accident while driving, and soon afterwards died from its effects in St. Mary’s Hospital, San Francisco. Dowling’s best, and best known poem is probably “The Irish brigade at Fontenoy.”
I mentioned that I couldn’t find the poem and then ….
Another blog follower found it. Here it is in all its blood curdling war mongering glory;
BATTLE OF FONTENOY
by: Bartholomew Dowling (1823-1863)
our camp-fires rose a murmur
At the dawning of the day,
And the tread of many footsteps
Spoke the advent of the fray;
And as we took our places,
Few and stern were our words,
While some were tightening horse-girths,
And some were girding swords.
The trumpet-blast has sounded
Our footmen to array–
The willing steed has bounded,
Impatient for the fray–
The green flag is unfolded,
While rose the cry of joy–
“Heaven speed dear Ireland’s banner
To-day at Fontenoy!”
We looked upon that banner,
And the memory arose
Of our homes and perish’d kindred
Where the Lee or Shannon flows;
We look’d upon that banner,
And we swore to God on high,
To smite to-day the Saxon’s might–
To conquer or to die.
Loud swells the charging trumpet–
‘Tis a voice from our own land–
God of battles! God of vengeance!
Guide to-day the patriot’s brand;
There are stains to wash away,
There are memories to destroy,
In the best blood of the Briton
To-day at Fontenoy.
Plunge deep the fiery rowels
In a thousand reeking flanks–
Down, chivalry of Ireland,
Down on the British ranks!
Now shall their serried columns
Beneath our sabres reel–
Through the ranks, then, with the war-horse–
Through their bosoms with the steel.
With one shout for good King Louis,
And the fair land of the vine,
Like the wrathful Alpine tempest,
We swept upon their line–
Then rang along the battle-field
Triumphant our hurrah,
And we smote them down, still cheering,
“Erin, shanthagal go bragh.”
As prized as is the blessing
From an aged father’s lip–
As welcome as the haven
To the tempest-driven ship–
As dear as to the lover
The smile of gentle maid–
Is this day of long-sought vengeance
To the swords of the Brigade.
See their shatter’d forces flying,
A broken, routed line–
See, England, what brave laurels
For your brow to-day we twine.
Oh, thrice bless’d the hour that witness’d
The Briton turn to flee
From the chivalry of Erin
And France’s “fleur de lis.”
As we lay beside our camp-fires,
When the sun had pass’d away,
And thought upon our brethren
Who had perished in the fray,
We prayed to God to grant us,
And then we’d die with joy,
One day upon our own dear land
Like this of Fontenoy.
“Battle of Fontenoy” is reprinted from Historic Poems and Ballads. Ed. Rupert S. Holland. Philadelphia: George W. Jacobs & Co., 1912.