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: The Astor

1951 dance, The National Children’s Literary Festival and some visitors to Listowel

Do you remember this photo from last week which some people thought might be a teachers’ dance? Not so, says my better informed correspondent.

Beta (Whelan) O’Brien writes as follows:

“…. it was a Fianna Fail Dance held in the Astor Cinema/ballroom in 1951   We have identified most of the group.

Front Row:  Bridie Murphy Greenville ?  Mary Whelan  Joan Curtin  Betty Leahy  Doreen OConnor

Second Row: Mr Scannell ? Margaret Whelan  Mrs Hannan  Peggy and John OConnor

Third Row: Mrs Halpin  Ella Corridan   Lil Walsh   Miss Stack NT  last in row not identified

Fourth Row:  Mrs JK OConnor   Mrs Louis Murphy  Teresa and Eddie Hanrahan Ballylongford   Eilish OSullivan ?

Back Row:  **  **   John Joe Mc Elligott ? Peggy Hickey   Marie OHara Mc Auliffe   Phil Quigley Chute”

Thank your , Beta.


Visitors in town last week


Do you remember this?

Limerick 1970s and 80s  (Photo; Limerick Life)


Kerry for the holidays

My grandchildren love to spend time in Listowel.

The playground in the town park is one of their favourite haunts.

All three girls absolutely love books. They are all members of three libraries. They were thrilled skinny to be involved in the launch of the super National Children’s Literary Festival which will run in conjunction with Listowel Writers’ Week 2014.

“The National Children’s Literary Festival at Listowel Writers’ Week will run in conjunction with the main Festival and is jam-packed with events for children of all ages and their families. It will feature an alternative cultural school tour, “authors in schools” day, workshops, picnics, book clinics and most importantly, Chocolate! Starring at the Festival will be celebrated children’s authors John BoyneAlan EarlySiobhán ParkinsonSarah WebbSteve SimpsonClaire Hennessy and 12 year-old author, Joe Prendergast.

A recent initiative, Operation Education: A Teen Focused Arts Festival for Transition and 5th Year Students, is now entering its second year.  One of its objectives is to introduce the students to a poet who will be on their Leaving Cert course as well as stimulating and enthusing students with a varied programme of events.”

The full programme is available at


We live in a digital age

Daddy was left behind in Cork. The family didn’t “phone” home. They Facetimed him on the iPad. In the background of my picture you can just see a flowerpot that was left to me by my grandmother. I wonder what she would make of what’s going on on the couch…


Ladies who attended a bracelet making workshop in Craftshop na Méar on Saturday April 26 2014

Teachers’ Dance in The Astor in 1940s and Writers’ Week 2014 programme launch

I don’t have an exact  date but people who know such things think that this photo was taken at a teachers’ dance in The Astor about 60 years ago.

In the photo, in no particular order, are, John and Peg O’Connor,, Mary Whelan, Joan Curtin, Betty Leahy, Doreen O’Connor, Mrs. Hannon, Margaret Whelan, Mrs Halpin, Mrs corridan, Lil walshe, mrs. O’Connor, Luaí OMurchú, Barney Hanley, Micheál Flavin,Finbar MacAuliffe, John Joe McElligott, ?Hickey, ? Foley



Anne’s Vintage Tearooms is all old china and tablecloths. The food is good too.

Shwopping is a new one on me but it sounds fun.

This is outside a pub on the main street.


Last week I attended the marvelous Scoil Realta na Maidine’s Salute to Spring

The souvenir ptogramme was very attractive.

Members of Kerry Choral Union on the altar steps in St. Mary’s Listowel


Good Friday tradition in west Kerry

“Nuair a bhíonn sé ag
déanamh síos ar lag trágha, Aoine an Chéasta, bíonn gach aon tráigh agus
cladach i nDún Chaoin lán de mhnáibh agus de ghearrachailíbh agus de gharsúin,
ag bain bháirneach agus ag priocadh miongán. Bíonn bior ag gach duine aca chun
na mbáirneach a bhaint….cuireann siad na báirnigh mhóra bhuidhe, méithe
annsan ag beirbhiú ar an dteine in oigheann nó corcán.. bíonn a ndóthain mór,
agus a thuille ‘na theannta, d’annlann na trágha acu, Aoine an Chéasta.
[Seán Ó
Dálaigh, Timcheall Chinn Sléibhe]

“Good Friday will be next
Friday and we have a custom here to go to the strand for sea grass and other
things that’s growing on the rocks. All the women and children go to the strand
that day. it is an old custom I think. The women of long ago here used
everything that’s growing on the strand. They are very healthy mind you….Old
men and women say that you should not be in the strand when the sun is gone
down entirely. I am sure they used be afraid of fairies.”
[Eibhlís Ní
Shúilleabháin, Letters From the Great Blasket]


This lovely photo appeared on The Listowel Arms website at the weekend. 


Me, Eilís Wren and Kay Caball in The Square Listowel on April 17 2014 on our way to the programme launch for Writers’ Week 2014.

Actress, Aisling O’Sullivan launched the programme in The Seanchaí. I took lots of photos which I will share with you over the coming days.


Great Easter for Kanturk 

Joy is unconfined in my hometown, Kanturk this weekend. The local rugby club had a huge win over Instonians in Belfast on Saturday and so will play senior rugby next year, a huge achievement and well feted in this sport – mad town.


Local horse, Rebel Fitz put the icing on the cake of victories with a great win in The Powers Gold Cup at Fairyhouse.

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