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: Pres. Listowel 1988

Valentine’s Day, Lupercalia and the horse

St. Valentine’s Day and Lupercalia

It is well known that if a wolf’s howl is heard near populated areas, a storm is on the way. I learned this from Brendan McWilliams. Apparently the wolf can predict the weather and will seek shelter in a barn or a shed when he senses the impending storm.

What is less well known is that it is thanks to the wolf that we celebrate Valentine’s Day.

According to legend, Romulus and Remus, founders of the city of Rome were suckled by a she wolf in a cave that came to be called the Lupercal. The Romans in due course held a festival of fertility in mid February each year, participants gathered near the Lupercal and the rituals were called Lupercalia.

With the advent of Christianity, Lupercalian celebrations tamed down a lot and became associated with the feast of St. Valentine on February 14. By medieval times the festival had taken on a gentler, more romantic theme. Nowadays it seems to me that it’s just another excuse to sell overpriced cards, roses and chocolates.


More from 1988


This picture is of a  Tralee scene

The caption on this one is Kerry Creamery


Horses’ tales  

(extract from Dick Carmody’s In the Shadow of the School)

Breaking in and the
training of farm horses required an experienced and skilful horseman. As with
many tasks relating to farming, there was always one or more recognised experts
locally who would take spirited and untrained animals through all the stages of
roping, harnessing and carting to becoming a sober manageable and contented
animal that could be entrusted to any member of the family. There were
exceptions, whose reputations would soon become known throughout the locality
and might not be so easily disposed of at the next horse fair.

For horse breeding purposes, most farmerss depended on the
services of a visiting stallion to place their breeding mares in foal. This arrangement took place on
fair days in Sheehan’s yard at the top of William Street in Listowel. Though
well educated in farm animal husbandry from a very young age, for this
particular event we were kept a safe distance. The expected arrival of a young
foal in about 11 months was now eagerly awaited.


Are ye right chief with Ruby Walsh winning for Willie Mullins at Thurles yesterday.

Old friends, more from 1988 and McKenna’s Social

Whenever I am out and about with my husband, it is my custom to ask people who approach us, to pose for a photo with Jim. I included many of these photographs in my book but I didn’t put in any of people who had passed away for fear of upsetting anybody. Now I realize that I was wrong. People like to remember familiar faces which we no longer see. Here are 3 such photos that I came across lately. The man in the wheelchair in all three is Jim Cogan.

Michael Cody R.I.P. formerly of Ballybunion Rd. and St Michael’s College

Dan Browne R.I.P. well loved butcher and local businessman

Mrs. O’Loughlin R.I. P. formerly of Church St.,  Jim’s first landlady when he came to Listowel.


A few more snippets from my 1988 Pres Secondary School Yearbook


This is how the cinema looks now with the new extension nearly finished.


Posters for upcoming events


Jer. had a much

better copy of that McKenna’s Social photo and he has a few but not all of the names.

Front (left to Right): Junior Griffin (standing), Angela Flaherty (Nee Hayes), Kathleen Clifford??, Mrs Burke??, Kitty McCarthy??, Michael Crowley?? & Mrs Crowley (standing).

Middle (L-R): Mrs Mickey Mahony, Mrs O’Connor??, Mikey O’Connor, Pat Walsh, Sean Lynch, Dick Kiely, Willie Barrett, Tim Shanahan, Johnny Mahony, A N Other, A N Other, A N Other, A N Other.

Back (L-R): Michael O’Neill, Brendan Daly, Maureen O’Connor, Tom O’Connor, Mickey Mahony, John Daly.

Old cards, Magdalen Laundry and 1988 schoolgirls

Do you remember my collection of holy pictures last week? 

Kathy Taylor wrote to tell me that in the U.S. they give these holy pictures at funerals as a memorial of the loved one who has passed on. She sent me these examples. I love St. Patrick.


Jer found this very damaged and faded copy of a photograph of John B. Keane’s class in 1935. John B. is 4th from left at the back.  I suppose it is too damaged even for Photoshop?


Gloucester St. Magdalens (photo Limerick Museum)

Advert from 1913…….so sad in the light of what we know now.

Another advert. below….date not given.


Those were the days….Ballybunion in the 1980s


Mary Sobieralski and Sr. Consolata reading the 1988 Pres. Yearbook.

Here, as promised, are a few photos from the magazine.

If you recognize yourself and you would like to tell us where you are now, with a recent photo, I’d love to hear from you.


Of interest to illegal Irish people in the U.S.

Immigration Reform

In the current climate of immigration reform taking place in Washington, DC and the estimated 25,000 – 30,000 undocumented Irish among the 12 million supposedly living in the U.S., Irish Outreach San Diego is one of the many Irish groups in the U.S. on the front lines supporting immigration reform that may change the plight of the undocumented.

Introducing Shannon N. Barnes, Esq.

Immigration Attorney

Fragomen is the world’s leading provider of immigration services, including a dedicated Ireland practice group to handle immigration counseling and services for Irish citizens and companies. Fragomen has been structured specifically for all aspects of individual, family-based and corporate immigration services.

More information about Fragomen and its service offerings is available at

Shannon N. Barnes

Attorney at Law

Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP

11238 El Camino Real, Suite 100

San Diego, CA 92130


Local success story

Congratulations to Gerard Barrett on winning an IFTA for his short film, Pilgrim Hill; a rising star surely.

( And the frocks on Irish Oscars night?…….very disappointing; mostly balck)

Charity shopping, Abbeyfeale walk and hacking

On this day Jan 30

in 1972 British paratroopers killed 13 people on a civil rights march in Derry.


Great pictures if windsurfers on the internet these days as an Atlantic storm hits the west coast.


I Love Charity Shops

Here are Listowel’s charity shops

You never know what treasures you might find in one of these. The secret is to be patient and call often. Since most things cost only a few euros, there is nearly always something worthwhile to bring home.

The people who work in charity shops are invariably the nicest shop assistants you will encounter anywhere. I have witnessed them putting up with verbal abuse, haggling and downright rudeness and they still smile through and forgive. Don’t get me wrong. This is not the norm and charity shop customers are usually a friendly lot who like to chat and reminisce as they rummage for a bargain.

My favourite of these local treasure chests is “Second Time Round”.

On Thursday last it did not disappoint. There among the books from a house clearance I found this.

Who do you think was volunteering in the shop only Sr. Consolata?

Sr. Consolata was the principal of Pres. Secondary School in 1988 and she kindly posed for me with the precious souvenir.

All her friends in the St. Vincent de Paul shop gathered round her for the trip down memory lane.

When I got home I spent a happy couple of hours reading my treasure. I will bring you a few snippets over the next few days.

This is the back cover with a clever drawing by Kathy O’Rourke.  I wonder where she is now?



On a frosty evening fifty years ago the last regular passenger train wended its way through West Limerick and North Kerry as it made its final journey from Limerick to Tralee. All along the route people came out to bid farewell. It was Saturday 2nd February 1963.

Coincidentally in 2013 the 2nd of February also falls on a Saturday and to commemorate the last train a walk will set out from Abbeyfeale Station along the Great Southern Trail(GST) at 2.15pm this Saturday. The route to Duagh Village is approximately four miles long and as portion of the route is on the public road all participants are advised to wear visibility vests.

Refreshments will be provided at Jim’s Bar, Duagh and return transport to Abbeyfeale will be provided. Those travelling from the Tralee/Listowel direction may consider the 1pm CIÉ bus from Tralee(1.30pm from Listowel) to Abbeyfeale; there is a return CIÉ service to Listowel/Tralee at 4.45pm directly from Duagh.

Beidh fáilte romhat ar an lá! With Lá Fhéile Bríde welcoming springtime on the previous day it’s a good opportunity to take advantage of the lengthening days by getting out and about.

The old railway from Abbeyfeale to the Co. Kerry border is now a magnificent cycleway thanks to the recent works by Limerick Co Co and their contractors and funded by the Department of Transport. A preliminary inspection of the first 2km in Co. Kerry by GST and CIÉ personnel took place last week. Due to the difficult overgrown terrain which was encountered this portion of Saturday’s route is only suited to those with Wellingtons, gloves, eye protection and working clothing. All other participants should exit onto the public road at the County Boundary.   


Kian Egan and his mother in the green room at RTE before his appearance on The Late Late Show and his fake fight with Bressie.


If you want to make your own St. Bridget’s cross for Feb Jer has made a helpful video to show you how


The ruined Cloth Hall in Ypres January 1916…..Let us never forget these killing fields.


Cyber Crime ___Be Warned

Earlier this week I fell victim to a hacker. I’m going to share what I have learned with you in the hope of stopping this kind of sneaky crime.

It began for me with  a direct message on Twitter but it can be an email. The message said “I have a lovely photo of you. Click on the link below to view it.” Like a fool, I clicked.

The next message said ” You have been timed out of Twitter, log in again to see this page..”

Like a fool, I logged in again.  And, just like that, I gave my username and password to the hacker.

To cut a long story short, people in my contacts folder started getting messages from my account asking them to click on links to lose weight, win iPads or view what nasty things people were saying about them on line.

Worse was to come. I got an email from Paypal saying 3 unsuccessful login attempts had been made to my account. By now I had already changed my Twitter and my gmail password. The email invited me to follow certain “security” steps to protect my account or Paypal would deactivate my account within 24 hours.

Luckily, I had a different password on my Paypal account from day one. I now had my sensible head on and I recognized the Paypal email as the work of the hacker even though it looked very genuine. Had I followed the link in the email I would have given the hacker access to my Paypal account as well.

Despite my changing my password twice more during  the day the rogue tweets kept coming from my account until, eventually, Jimmy Moloney saved the day.

Confession time: I have too much technology. I had an app on my iPhone and my iPad for Twitter and these were still logged in. I had given the hacker permission through these apps to log into to my account and post as me. Jimmy told me how to revoke this permission and the tweets stopped.

Lessons learned

Never ever click on a link in a message , even if the writer is using flattery, curiosity, threats or any kind of emotional blackmail to lure you to click.

Never use the same password in more than one place, particularly Paypal

Be suspicious of every message even if it appears to come from your best friend.

Treat Twitter and Facebook with great caution.

(Footnote; Apologies to everyone who was insulted, annoyed or discommoded in any way during my day in hacking hell. Thanks to Jimmy Moloney, Chloe Walshe, Bobby Cogan and Máire Logue who kept me sane during the crisis.)


Good news from Listowel Cycling

An Post Rás stage 3 starting in NENAGH to finish in LISTOWEL on Tuesday 21st May , leaving Weds. 22nd heading for GLENGARRIFF

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén