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: Presentation Secondary School Listowel Page 1 of 7

Littor Memories

Taken on a rainy day in Mount Usher Gardens by Éamon ÓMurchú


In Gurtenard Wood in Winter 2021


Staff of Presentation Secondary School in 1986


Tom Linnane’s memories of Fireside stories in Littor Long Ago

(From Shannonside Annual 1956)


Tae Lane


November, The Month when we Remember

Cyril Kelly’s poem remembers his parents, a devoted couple. and his mother’s inconsolable grief when, without warning, she lost her “heart’s best treasure”.


John L. Sullivan, Kanturk Fair and an old Pres. Staff Photo

Phot; Jim MacSweeney in Killarney National Park


Old Telephone Exchange in October 2021


From Shannonside Annual 1956

John L’s Irish connection was with Abbeydorney from where his parents emigrated to Boston.


Kanturk 1900

In these days of calls to reduce the national herd by 30%, I was amused to see this old picture of Strand Street in my native Kanturk on the mother and father of all fair days in 1900


A Nostalgic Poem from a Local Poet


Some Presentation Secondary School staff

Sometime in the 1970s or ’80s is my best guess.


1956 Advertisement, The Land and an Old Pres. Photo

Photo: Breda Ferris


From Shannonside Annual of 1956


Once a Tidy Towner……

Breda McGrath is not fond of having her photo taken. So she didn’t pose but I snapped her doing her level best to make sure we win that gold medal again. Breda is just one of the many volunteers who work round the clock keeping Listowel looking beautiful.


A Very Strange Happening in 1842

Boston Pilot 9 July 1842

The Wandering Quakers. These silly fanatics arrived in Listowel from this town on Tuesday evening last, and formed their encampment in the extensive area in the rear of one of the houses in the square, under the shelter of which they sat in pious silence the greater part of the next day in expectation of obtaining followers, or at least hearers, and of being internally moved by the spirit to preach, sing or pray. Finding, however, after a great trial of their patience that, all their expectations were in vain, they rose and retired to Adam’s Hotel where they did justice to the good things of this carnal world, making atonement in the flesh for all that was wanting in the spirit. The next day the holy’ tribe set out on their peregrinations, after having excited the surprise and laughter of the good folks of Listowel. — Kerry Examiner.


Photo by Éamon ÓMurchú of farm implements at Newbridge House

The Land

John McGrath

I stand in fields where my forefathers stood once

And feel the dreams of those who’ve gone before me.

I tramp through damp and half-remembered pastures,

The folds and features of the land that bore me

All around.  Above the sound of lark’s song,

Below the spring of earth beneath my feet,

The green and gold of April in the hedgerow,

The purple haze where sky and heather meet.

Where mighty men have thought to mark their passing

The furze creeps back to mock the spade and plough,

Those futile epitaphs of generations

In Folk Museums condemned to moulder now.

Where men have raised a fence or tilled a furrow

The land, as if to scorn their simple gains,

Erases each proud trace until tomorrow.

The men have gone; the land alone remains.


A Passover Meal in Pres. Listowel

I could guess a few names but I’d probably be wrong so I’m hoping someone will help us out.


West Side Story 1990 and A Poignant Poem

What a Shot!

Leaping fish by Criostóir Grayson


Beautiful Church Street Home


West Side Story 1990

The operetta undertaken by Presentation Secondary School Listowel in 1990 was West Side Story.

As well as excellent actors, dancers and singers, some of the principals were also excellent writers. Dave O’Sullivan found the following essays by some of the cast published in The Kerryman.


A Poem for You


By John McGrath

I broke my father’s spade today.

Bent the blade against a sullen stone

and felt the final fracture. 

Saw the gaping wound and knew

that wood and steel no longer bound

his hand to mine, this line

between us lost beyond recall.

Caressed the silken shaft

of polished ash, where

fingers’ grip and hip

and sinewed thigh combined

with wit and skill

to break reluctant soil.

I broke my father’s spade and thought on Time,

the sullen stone that one day breaks us all.



Stop Press, Stop Press…..Listowel is going to be Gorgeous

I just got the most marvellous email from Maeve Queally.

Listowel Characters

Listowel Characters is a project that was conceived when we were developing the brand.
We wanted to leverage what we are known for as a town and bring it together in one creative project. Colourful Unique Shopfronts / Signwriting / Literary HeritageTo create a Literary & Visual Treasure Trail
The objective of this project is to work with local and national talent to create a visual narrative of the literary heritage of Listowel. We want to make it accessible to the public and to reinvigorate the streets of the town with bold, colourful and thought-provoking artwork.
Each artist/sign-writer is assigned a wall to work on. The Artist/Signwriter would then choose a quote or excerpt from the works of a North Kerry writer to create a bold, colourful, typographic mural in their chosen style. We worked with Writers’ Week to come up with a shortlist of quotes.
We have secured 3 walls so far and have engaged the following Artists/Signwriters:Martin Chute – Listowel – (He will be commencing his wall in the early Autumn)Garreth Joyce  – from Cork has been assigned the old ESB Wall and it is in progress. His work is experimental and modernCormac Dillion – from Dublin is starting his work on Kays Wall on Charles St next week. His work is in a more traditional style of sign writing.
The project is lead by The Listowel Business & Community Alliance and is being supported by Kerry County Arts and Creative Ireland.
It’s a really exciting project and hopefully will bring tourists into town when the greenway is open next year. If you want to know any more please feel free to get in touch.
Best Regards,Meave

Lads, I’ve looked at the work of all these signwriters and we are so lucky to have them agree to work on the town. The place will be transformed, I tell you. We’ll be the envy of the country. Let’s hope we don’t get notions.

A Song, a Story and a Few Shops

Photo; Chris Grayson somewhere in Cork


From the Pres. Scrapbook

Winner of An Post writing competition


Colourful Listowel

Some Listowel traders have chosen really strong bright colours for their recently painted shopfronts.

This is Betty McGrath’s Listowel Florist on Courthouse Road

Lizzy’s Little Kitchen on Church Street

Sheahan’s Grocery on Upper William Street

Daisy Boo Barista on Church Street


One Hundred Years Ago

As it appears from Duagh School in the schools folklore collection:

The following is a version of a song composed by Timothy Mc Govern in the year 1922, lamenting our betrayal by Mulcahy, Griffith and Collins and also the murder of Jerry Leary and Johnny Linnane by the Black – and – Tans.

The Banks of the Feale


Through the green hills of Kerry my ballads are ringing,

Sinn Féin is my motto and my land “Gránuaile”

The lads and fair lassies my songs will be singing

When I’m laid down to rest on the banks of the Feale.


When I think of the tyrants

the landlords and grabbers

My heart it feels cold and my courage runs down.

Kerry stood first in the red gap of danger

While Murphy encamped on the banks of the Laune.


When Mulcahy and Griffith and Collins betrayed us 

And battered the four courts be 

sure ’twas no fun.

The sassenachs helped them with no one to aid us.

While sharp rang the crack of an Englishman’s gun.


Brave Jerry Leary and Linnane 

from North Kerry

And Buckley, that hero of fame and renown,

With bombs and grenades they were killed in a hurry

While Murphy encamped on the banks of the Laune.


Sad was my heart at the death  of brave Rory

And Buckley and Traynor and Foley likewise

With bombs and grenades we invaded their stronghold,

Our boys were victorious in country and town.


Though we laid down our arms we did not surrender

We’re ready to die for old Ireland again

The gallant Republic has men to defend it

Regardless of prison torture and pain.


Here’s to the man who stood first in the ambush

God bless those brave men whom

the traitors shot down

My curse to the traitors who fought for the strangers

While Murphy encamped on the banks of the Laune.


Éamonn Ó Corradáin


Éamonn Ó Corradáin




Ploughing the Cows Lawn

The man on the right of this picture is the Thomas J. Murphy, victualler who arrived home to Listowel 100 years ago, having spent none months in Ballykinlar Internment Camp. Thomas was known locally as The Colonel.

The picture was sent to us by Tomas’ grandson, Paul Murphy. Paul would love to know who the other men are or what was the occasion of the photograph. Can you help him?


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