The Sive Walk has been a godsend during lockdown, with many Listowel people discovering it for the first time. It is beautifully maintained by Jim Beasley who lives nearby and photographed by Denis Carroll who has fought hard for its retention.
All photos by Denis Carroll
Phase 2 Plus
We have been catapulted unexpectedly into an accelerated opening up of our economy. Our 5 phase strategy is now a four phase one and lots of businesses are opening today or tomorrow. In preparation Listowel streets have been deep cleaned and shopkeepers have busy over the weekend getting ready for the new normal.
River Feale in the very dry summer of 2020
There is much luxuriant vegetation growing where the river used to be.
Classic Cinema in June 2020
In one of those little ironies that sometimes occur, the last film advertised before the shutdown was No Time to Die.
Pierse and Fitzgibbon
Housed in the same building as the solicitors is HQ Listowel.
I looked it up for you so I would have it right;
“HQ Listowel follows on from the success of HQ Tralee, one of Ireland’s leading regional coworking spaces for productive, creative and collaborative people. For sole-traders, remote workers and growing businesses: HQ Listowel is a place to meet and work alongside other like-minded people.”
Sounds like just the ticket for these remote working times.
HQ is accessed by a door in the lane behind Market Street.
Summer Camps in the 1980s
Carmel Sweeney Gornall was a camp leader at summer camps back in the day. She has shared two photos with us.
1988 Summer camp at Listowel Community Centre
A Sally Switch and A Besom
I had the following emails from Nicholas Leonard apropos of old cures.
Mary, I forgot one vital, if imaginary, but much threatened item in my mother’s ‘medicine cabinet’ – the sally switch! this was for corrective, disciplinary ‘medicine.’ I can’t remember there ever being a sally switch in the house, although one would have been needed at times! My Grandmother always had besoms in her kitchen- these were very handy for brushing the floor or shoo-ing a hen that perched on her half-door. Or, maybe, as part of the ‘corrective medicine’ cabinet! Many people around Listowel will know well what a besom is. Perhaps birch besoms are still made and used around Listowel as there are boglands in the area. It would be great to hear from someone who made and used besoms. In any case, Besom, is a fascinating word with a varied meanings- from brooms, to witches, to a Scottish word for – to be brief – an ‘unworthy woman.’ It is said that the name of the household broom originated from the shrub Genista, also called broom, which was used to make besoms. Besoms can even be bought online! I expect that birch besoms are still made and used by some people around Listowel as there are boglands in the area. It would be great to hear from someone from the North Kerry area who made and used besoms, and maybe still do so. There is a gentleman in the area that makes excellent old-time walking sticks for the Wheelchair Association Shop in Listowel. We have a supply of them that will ‘see us down!’ Maybe besoms will be next for sale there!
My Mother (89 years young and a with photographic memory) tells me that our besoms were made from nice, long strands of fresh heather from the nearby Blackshade Bog. These were tied securely on to a brush handle – usually a nice length of a Hazel stick. This handle allowed overhead cobwebs to be reached, and obviated the necessity for bending to sweep the floor.
There was almost nothing in those days that could not be fashioned for use around the house and yard. Our ancestors were definitely ‘eco-friendly’ and truly valued the bounty of Nature. I knew of one man, noted widely as ‘a thick man,’ who really took thrift to the limits during the ‘last’ war! He was addicted to cigarettes, when he could get them. To save expense he would make the box of matches go twice as far by splitting each match down the middle- even the sulphur heads were divided (two for the price of one) with a single-edge razor blade!
Which topic reminds me of a noted Kerry saying about wastefulness, which referenced a once well-off but profligate Killarney family: “That’s what broke the McCarthys of Looscaunagh- sitting by the fire and lighting matches for the pipe!”
Another thought struck me – about the ‘banning’ of Holy Water- Is Hand Sanitiser the current ‘holy water’; could real Holy Water be adapted to combat viruses, etc.? Surely that would be a real work of mercy – both corporal and spiritual. Double the value- like the matches!