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: Vincent Carmody Page 1 of 16

NKRO, Pavilion in Ballybunion, A Young Danny O’Mahoney and Listowel Streets

This sculpture stands in Listowel Town Square. It represents the river Feale and the fort or lios which gives its name to the town. It was designed by local artist, Tony OCallaghan. Tony was a teacher in Scoil Realta na Maidine. He was a skilled artist in copper. He was also a town councillor.


NKRO Back in the Day

Local historians at one of the early meetings of NKRO

Vincent Carmody, Cara Trant, Joe Harrington, Mary Cogan, Ger Greaney and Kay O’Leary


A Long Shot

Every now and again someone who is browsing the internet finds their way to Listowel Connection. Sometimes they contact me to see if I know any more about who or what they are searching for. Sometimes I can help or I know someone who can.

But this one has me stumped. The below message was left as a comment on an old post about showbands. The commenter did not leave a name or any means of knowing who it is.

I’m printing it here in the hope that the person who posted the comment or someone who knows them will be in touch.

“I’m an old friend of the late Buddy Dalton from 1962 when he played with his Dad in Ballybunnion We were Mc Faddens Stage Show and showed there all that summer 1963 I would love to get his C.D don’t know where to look If you can help please it would mean the world to me Thank you”


Bumpers at the Pavilion in Ballybunion

I love the nun and child in the centre car. This photo will bring back happy memories for many. It was shared on a Ballyduff Facebook page.

I came across this photo of Danny O’Mahoney on the same page. He hasn’t changed a bit.


Stay 2 Metres Apart Please

Hopefully these will soon be replaced and we can draw a little nearer to one another. When the story of the pandemic, Covid 19, in Listowel is written, these photos will tell their own story.

Typhus Cork, The Cuckoo, Maurice McGrath and the origin of Street Leagues in Listowel

Photo: Liam Downes from the internet


Another Time, another Pestilence


First Cuckoo

 Photo and caption from David Kissane on Facebook

Welcome to Kilmoyley! This is possibly the first cuckoo in the Ardfert Kilmoyley region for 2020, photographed yesterday by Hubert Servignat who lives a short distance away. Tá an samhradh ag teacht!

Cuckoo (Neil Brosnan) 

I blame the parents more than the youngsters

Those most deceitful of our refugees.

Planners and plotters, ingrained imposters,

Covertly winging from far overseas.  

‘Shush,’ snaps the dunnock from under the sedge, 

The marsh warbler’s song cut short in his throat

Mute pipits cringe at the still meadow’s edge

As high up above resounds the next note. 

Tunefully perfect, evolved to enthrall

Proclaiming his realm; his objectives clear

Shamelessly calling from dawn to nightfall

Stark confirmation that summer is here. 

Have we ever heard this cuckoo before?

Will he return here – once, twice, or no more?  


Maurice McGrath

Vincent wrote this article two years ago on the occasion of the North Kerry Final.

The 1920s hurling team with Maurice McGrath

I cannot recall all the names, however I can name some, I wanted to show this one as it is the only one with Maurice McGrath

Back row,

 (1) Jim Henderson – (3) Brendan .McEnery- (5) J.J. Kenny – (6) Stanlish Kerins – (7) Tony Chute – (8) Maurice McGrath – (9) Brendan Nunan – (10) Brud Roche.

Middle Row,

(5) Ml (Ginger) Kelly- (6) Wm. (Jacques) Guerin – (7) Tommy (Tucker) Stack) (8) Martin Holly.


includes, Maurice McAuliffe, Bob Slemon, Jim Joe Buckley, Jack Harmon.

(Jim Henderson  was a Guard in Listowel and retired to Ballybunion, he was from Kilkenny, I think he was an uncle to the great Henderson’s of the  Kilkenny teams of the late 60s ,70s and 80s.)

Vincent came up with a few more names;

Back row, 

(2) John Nolan – (4) Paddy Allen – 

Middle Row,

partly covered, (1) Joe O’Carroll – (3) Eddie Flaherty – (4) Nelson McAuliffe – (6) Should read, Ned (Spud) Murphy ((not Wm Guerin) 


(1) Matt (Curly) Walsh – (2)  Moss McAuliffe – (3) Dandy Leahy (laying sideways)  – (4) Bob Slemon – figure in white ? (6) Jack Brown – (7) Jim Kenny  (with cap) (8) ?


The cup was bought for £15 by  Maurice McGrath and presented by him for National school league competition 

Following 1927,  the cup went AWOL, and remained so until 1987 when Vincent Carmody went searching and finally found it 60 years on from 1927. It is now a treasured piece of the Emmets historical archive.

Greenville, 1927, first school league winners of McGrath cup. Cup held by John Sayers.

(all photos and story from Vincent Carmody)

Cahirciveen with Family, Boston Listowel Talk, Writers in Town and Diarmuuid and Gráinne


I recently spend a lovely weekend in Cahirciveen with my whole family. Here we are in Kells Bay Gardens on a wet and windy Saturday.

We all did the rope bridge crossing.


Listowel Comes to Boston

If you live anywhere near Boston this will interest you.

If you need to know a bit more about Vincent, here is a recent video from

Vincent Carmody


Writers at Writers’ Week

Movers and shakers of the Irish book world at Listowel Writers’ Week 2019;  Rick O’Shea, Colm Tóibín, John Boyne and Joseph O’Connor.

This year the festival runs from May 27 to May 31.


Obituary to a Priest from a Family of Priests in Australia

Catholic Freeman’s Journal (Sydney, NSW)- Thu 29 Jun 1939

One of the oldest and best known Priests in the Archdiocese of Melbourne Rev. John Joseph Gallivan, died at Northcote early on Friday week in the eighty-third year of his age. On the previous Tuesday morning he attended the Jubilee Mass of Thanksgiving at St. Joseph’s Home, Northcote, and was one of the assistant deacons to his Grace the Archbishop of Melbourne. 

The announcement of his death caused deep regret throughout the Archdiocese, and especially at Northcote and Sunbury, where he had laboured untiringly for many years in the priesthood.

 Born in Listowel. County Kerry, Ireland, on February 8 1856. Father Gallivan entered All Hallows College, Dublin, and was ordained on June 24, 1880.   Had he lived another fortnight he would have celebrated his 59th year as a priest. He arrived In Melbourne on November 1 of the same year, and his first appointment was that of curate at Old Kilmore to Rev. M Farrelly. In May. 1886, he was appointed parish priest at Gisborne. twenty-five years later, Sunbury, with Bula attached, was made a separate parish, with Father Gallivan in charge and he remained there until 1923 completing forty-three years’ service in the Kilmore, Gisborne and Sunbury districts —six years as curate and thirty-seven years as Parish Priest There was great regret in Sunbury when Father Gallivan left there to take charge of St Joseph a Parish, Northcote. This was in April, 1923. 

In 1906 he revisited his native land after an absence of twenty six years. In June, 1930, he celebrated his sacerdotal golden jubilee, and his fellow-priests tendered him a dinner and

presented him with an address. A jubilee concert was held in the Northcote, Town Hall, and  celebrations were also in Sunbury and  Gisborne, where the jubilarian was most enthusiastically


The obsequies of the deceased priest took place at St. Joseph’s Church, Northcote, his Grace Archbishop Mannix presiding and preaching the panegvric.

Among the priests who attended were Rev. P. Galvin. P.P of Katoomba, N.S.W.  Rev D. Galvin, P.P. of Springwood, N.S.W. and Rev M Calvin, P.P.. of Footscray, nephews.


The Fianna in Beale

Local Historical Landmark

In a place near the cliffs three fields from our school there is a mound of earth which is locally called “Darby’s Bed” Leaba Diarmada. It is said that Fionn expected Grania’s hand in marriage but instead of she marrying Fionn she married Dermot. Dermot and Grania had to fly from the wrath of Fionn. They travelled round the cliffs from Ballybunion and they crossed a chasm on a pig’s back. This place is called Léim na Muice. On their travels they rested on a place only three fields from this school and ever since this lump of earth is locally called “Darby’s Bed”. We find on the Sopers’ and Miners’ maps that the right name for this place is “Diarmuid and Grania’s bed”. This place is in the townland of Kilconly.

Michael Lynch, VII, Doon, Ballybunion

June 27 1938

Information from people at home.

Turfcutting, A Tall Tale and Listowel Primary Care Centre

Photo: Bridget O’Connor


Shlawns or Sleáin

This poor man when he was breaking his back cutting turf in some midland bog sometime in the last century never dreamed that one day he would be famous on the internet.

The sight of him working his slean and Kate Ahern from California with a totally different method of turf cutting prompted Vincent Carmody to share a few thoughts with us about his experience of this implement.

“….I was going to to explain to you about the different type of Sleans, however I desisted, as people would say, Carmody thinks he knows everything !!. However,as  I have been involved in helping, cutting, and saving my families and my own turf since the 1950s up to the present day, you might say I have a little experience.  


The type that is used up the country is called a breast slean, is is amenable for a one or two man exercise, with this slean the cutter has more control and can deposit the cut sod up on the bank in one movement. If needed, he could have a second man spreading the cut turf on the bank, With the one used in North Kerry, you had the cutter, who cut the sod which fell forward off the slean, the breancher ?  He was positioned in front of the sleanman, he would pike the sod up on the bank as soon as it fell from the slean, Then, in North Kerry fashion, a third man, overhead on the bank, he was known as the spreader, would spread the turf as far out on the bank as was required by however deep down in the bog hole they were cutting. 

A lot of people would cut the turf down to the mud. The depth of bogs varied, Shallow bogs might be only 2 sods deep, whereas, in the likes of Lyre or up the midlands, the bank could be, 8, 10 or even more sods deep. “



Listowel Primary Care Centre Update

I took this photo  last week. It looks like the building of this huge facility is nearing completion.

This picture gives you a better idea of where the Primary Care Centre is located.


Away with The Fairies in Rathea

Years ago a man and his wife and daughter who were living in Rathea were coming home from town in a horse and car. Himself and his daughter was sitting in front and his wife was sitting behind. They came on to Pike glasha where the horse took a drink. 

When they were coming up the hill he missed his wife from behind him and he says “God help me my heart is broke from her”. She was in the habit of getting the falling sickness. He knew there was no use in looking for her for he always said that the good people had something to do with her. 

He came home cráite and he told a few of the neighbours that his wife was missing and they came to the house to spend the night with him. About midnight the door opened and in walked his wife with a riding switch in her hand and they all knew that the riding switch didn’t belong to the house nor any of them never see it before. She faced the ladder that was near the dresser and went up a few steps and put the switch on the top of the dresser saying as she did so “Gearoid’s pony won the race tonight”. With that she fell into one of her fits and when she got out of it she said “My cure is over in the holy water stone in the Teampaillin if anyone has courage enough to bring me a drink of water it will cure me. 

The only one that consented to go was her daughter and a neighbouring boy. Away they wint and they couldn’t make out the stone. The daughter wouldn’t come home without the water and she called a neighbour living near the Teampaillin and he came and his dog followed him. The dog happened to run on before them. When they were nearing the stone he was struck and ran away

yelling and they found the stone and got the water. She brought it home and gave it to her mother and she got alright. Some of the water fell on the daughter’s hand she rubbed her hand to her eye and she was blind for the remainder of her life in that eye and the two men that were with her one of them got a sudden death and the other one was crippled for life.

Seán Treannt
Rathea, Co. Kerry
Rathea, Co. Kerry

Wren Boys, Listowel shops and Christmas Things

December 2019


Some Listowel Shops at Christmas 2019


A Christmas Tradition

Wren boys by Vincent Carmody

The wren-boy tradition on St. Stephen’s Day is unfortunately, now nearly a thing of the past. Now, only a few small groups, or individuals carry on a tradition, the origins of which, are lost in the mists of time. In the time of the big batches of wren-boys, under the leadership of their King, these groups would traverse the country roads all day, and as evening and night approached, they would head for the larger urban areas to avail of the richer pickings in the public houses.

The North Kerry area was well catered for, with two large groupings in the Killocrim/Enismore and Dirha West areas, There was also a strong tradition in the Clounmacon side of the parish.

Some time after the wrens-day, it was the custom to organise a wren-dance. When the date was picked, a house offered to host the dance. The dances were all night affairs, with liberal quantities of food and drink provided. 

In the early 1960’s I spent three years in London,  during which, I worked in a pub, The Devonshire Arms, in Kensington, for a year or so. At this time, The Harvest Festival Committee, under Dr. Johnny Walsh, organised the wren-boy competitions in Listowel. Mr Johnny Muldoon, of London, had met Dr Johnny in Listowel and told him that he would organise two dances in his Dance Halls in London, provided that the Listowel committee send over three or four wren-boys to be in attendance. During their stay in London, Dan Maher, who managed the Devonshire, invited the Listowel contingent to the pub. On the particular evening I was serving in the lounge bar. (the pub was a gathering place for many film and TV actors who would have lived nearby). Suddenly Dr.Johnny threw the double door open, and in came the Listowel wren-boys, led by the leader, Jimmy Hennessy. Jimmy, wearing a colourful pants, had only some fur skin over his shoulders and chest and a headpiece with two horns. The others followed, faces blackened, and wearing similar outfits, all beating bodhrans. To say the least, those present did not have an idea what was happening.  To this day, I can hear the remark which one man, Sir Bruce Setan, (he, of Fabian of the Yard) at the counter said to the other, Christopher Trace (of Blue Peter fame), Blimey, they’re coming in from the jungle. They will kill us all.
There was no one killed, and I think that Jimmy Hennessy enjoyed drinking pints of Guinness and pressing the flesh, surrounded by people he usually saw, only in the Plaza and Astor.


My Christmas Things

This is my new favourite Christmas thing, a beautiful Jim Dunn Christmas scene.

My second favourite Christmas thing is my Woodford Pottery crib.

And finally my little Judy Greene nativity

Page 1 of 16

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén