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

Tag: football

Molly’s House, Kerry footballers in Clonakity, Weathering a Storm and a Law against Selling Fresh Bread

 Molly’s House, Ballylongford

This picturesque house is in Ballylongford. Photos by Breda Ferris


Kerry Footballers helping The Rebels

Photo and article by Kieran MacCarthy from The Southern Star

In his two county senior football championship games in Clonakilty colours, Kerry import Dara Ó Sé has scored a combined 1-14.

Man-of-the-match with 0-8 (2f) in the win against Carrigaline, the former An Ghaeltacht footballer from Ballydavid in West Kerry followed up with 1-6 (4f, 1-0 pen) in the loss to Ballincollig – he has made an immediate difference with his adopted club.

Another Kerryman, Joe Grimes from Listowel, has also slotted straight into the Clon starting team, lining out in midfield in their opening two Cork Premier SFC matches.


‘They are two great players to have on the team. Aside from their talent alone they bring a lot of professionalism to the set-up. It’s outside ways of thinking as well,’ Clon senior footballer Martin Scally told the Star Sport Podcast recently.

‘I know there used to be a saying in Clon before that Clon needed imports to win the county – you look at Paddy Barrett back in ’96, a Limerick man, and there was Noel Griffin from Clare in 2009. Clon has always had a good, proud tradition of football but there were always one or two imports to help push us over the line.’

There is a strong Kerry connection with Clonakilty GAA

Club too. Ó Sé and Grimes, both gardaí now based in West Cork, aren’t the first Kerry men to play football with Clon. Instead, they’re following in some very famous footsteps.

‘Clon has always had Kerry players on their teams. At first it was because of the nearby Darrara Agricultural College going back to 1905. Students stayed in the college, didn’t go home for weekends and so many played for Clon, if the college didn’t have its own team in the championship,’ Carbery chairman and local GAA historian Tom Lyons explained.

Clon’s three most famous Kerry imports are Pat Griffin, Tom Moriarty and Kevin Dillon.

Griffin, a Garda, arrived in Clonakilty in the early 1970s and made an immediate impact with the club. He came with a noted pedigree, having won two All-Ireland senior football titles with the Kingdom (1969 and 1970) and he also captained Kerry to the 1968 All-Ireland final. With Clon, he won a South West junior football medal in 1977 – and that’s the last time the club won the junior title. Griffin, who passed away last year, then got involved in coaching, both at underage with Clonakilty and with adult teams in various clubs around West Cork.


Before Griffin, Kerryman Tom Moriarty landed in Clonakilty in 1948 as a bank clerk, having won an All-Ireland minor medal with Kerry in ’46. He captained Clon in 1952 when they won their seventh county senior title in a marathon campaign packed with draws. He then played a few seasons for Cork, and won Munster and national league titles in ’52 before Kerry came calling again for his services in ’54.

A north Kerry man from Duagh, Kevin Dillon captained Clonakilty in the 1968 county senior final when they lost a replay to Carbery. He then won a South West junior medal in 1977, but before that he also lined out for the Cork footballers for a number of seasons in the mid to late 1960s.

All three Kerrymen – Griffin, Dillon and Quirke – settled in Clonakilty and had sons who played senior for Clon.


This tree is in Muckross. It is scrawled with the names of boys and girls for years now.

Is this practice romantic or destructive?


We had a Great Time at the Launch of the Late Fr. Pat Moore’s book

We had songs, stories and drama. Great memories!


Incredible as it may seem…..

In January 1918 in the town of Listowel, Co. Kerry, two shopkeepers were prosecuted for “displaying for sale bread that was less than 12 hours baked”.

Dave O’Sullivan discovered this fact when looking up old newspapers about a totally different matter.

He also found out why it was illegal to sell fresh bread. Bread was sold by weight and freshly baked bread was heavier than “settled” bread.

World Cup Winner 2014: the listowel connection and Namir Karim of Iraq and Kerry

We knew him when he was only a lad

Mario Goetze who scored the winning goal for Germany in the 2014 World Cup final played in Listowel in 2008 in an under-16 international against Ireland.

You read about his Listowel connection right here first in April 2013.


From Iraq to Kerry with love

This is your blogger with my friend, Namir Karim. The photograph was taken in Craftshop na Méar in Church St. 

Namir has 2 businesses in town, Scribes and the craftshop and I can attest from personal experience that he is one of the kindest and most generous people you will meet in a day’s walk.

This is Namir with his lovely daughter, Rosa, who manages the craftshop. Rosa is blessed with a beautiful singing voice and her parents’ outgoing and cheerful personality. Namir also has a son, Peter who is destined to go places in this life. I’ll write about him at a future date.

This is why Namir is in the news. On Ryan Tubridy’s show on 2FM on the 10th July 2014 (you can listen back on the RTE Player) Namir told his fascinating story. With Namir and Ryan in the photo is Namir’s wife, Kay.


Namir’s story in brief

 There are very few Iraqi people in Ireland.  But Namir is well used to belonging to a minority.  He comes from one of the few Christian families in his native Iraq. As he told Ryan, Iraq has about 20 different religious sects in all. We are familiar with the majority Shia and their enemies, the Sunni, but there are several smaller faiths as well, including a very small scattering of Christians.

Namir was doing his compulsory military service in 1991 when all hell broke loose in his troubled country. Iraq, under Sadam Hussein, invaded Kuwait. The U.S. entered the war. Namir along with his fellow soldiers were given a week’s leave in exchange for a donation of a pint of blood. Iraq was expecting massive amounts of casualties and so was stockpiling blood. During his week’s leave, Namir fled with his family to the north of the country and to relative safety.

A year earlier Namir had met the love of his life, an Irish nurse called Kay Carr from Ballydonoghue. Namir’s mother had suffered a stroke and was in hospital in Bagdad. The family heard of an Irish hospital/hospice  which had a very good reputation and they were anxious to move their very ill mother there. This hospital was staffed entirely by Irish nurses. While his mother was here, Kay and Namir met and fell in love. Namir described Kay as ‘the most caring person in that hospital”. The lovers had to be careful as any association between a soldier and a foreigner would be treated with suspicion.

To cut a long story short, Kay returned to Kerry. Her contract had ended and she was free to leave. She and Namir vowed to meet again when the war was over.

When the war ended in September 1991, Kay could not believe her ears when she got a phone call from a very relieved and now free Namir.  Kay had heard nothing from him since she left Iraq and she feared that he was killed in conflict. She was overwhelmed with relief to hear that he was alive and still in love with her and willing to come to Ireland and make a new life with  her.

Namir remembers that the film Not Without my Daughter was showing in all the cinemas at the time. This did not paint the best picture of an Iraqi son in law.

The Carrs however welcomed Namir into their family. Kay and Namir married and started a family of their own.  Namir’s first business was a a shop at Fealesbridge. Since then he has had a succession of different businesses. Now he enjoys his time in Scribes and Craftshop na Méar. He is very much part of the Kerry community now.

Namir’s Iraqi family were into different kinds of craft and Namir, when he takes a break from the café, loves to make candles, paint pictures and to try his hand at new crafts. He is in his element in Craftshop na Méar or chatting to the Knitwits knitting group in Scribes. His beloved late mother was a knitter.

Namir Karim is a lovely man with a great back story. Ryan Tubridy said he thought that there was the makings of a book or a film in the story.

What about George Clooney to play Namir?


Listowel Heritage Trail

These signs are popping up around town. They are signposts for Listowel’s Heritage Trail, a walking tour of the town with stops at various landmarks. You can collect your map in The Seanchaí and off you go. Number 4 is St. Michael’s Graveyard.


The Boomtown Rats in the 1970s  (Eric Luke)


An Utterly confusing road sign

Kenmare  (Photo; Irish Central)

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