Listowel Connection

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 listowelconnection@gmail.com

The Bog

Road works on Church Street 2022

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It’s that Time of Year

A picture is worth a thousand words. These pictures which Mary O’Donnell took in the bog last week tell the story of our forefathers. Handcut turf drying in the May sunshine is a sight that spans the decades.

The turf is harvested with skills and tools passed on from generation to generation. It’s a link with our ancestors, a beloved tradition that is fiercely defended whenever it comes under threat.

In the first picture you will observe the wind turbines on the right, the past and the future side by side.

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Tara Griffin Shares Some ads

There is a great swell of nostalgia on a Facebook group named Listowel and North Kerry do you know.

A recent contributor to this site is Tara Griffin, the late Bert’s daughter. She is sorting through her father’s archive of photographs and memorabilia. Look at the above great Listowel advertisements from a match programme.

Listowel where everyone is a poet.

For a bus to Duagh

A plane to New York

A slow boat to China

Or a train to Cork

Consult Michael Kennelly

I presume the Fountain Café was Holy Chutes with “the finest chips to pass your lips”.

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Old Ballybunion

A while ago, Glin Historical Society shared some lovely old photos of Ballybunion is the days of changing huts and donkey rides.

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Jimmy Hickey, Dancing Master

Photo shared on Facebook, Listowel and North Kerry,do you know

Siamsa Tire have shared a great video of Jimmy Hickey.

Here is the link;

Jimmy Hickey, Dancing Master

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A Brian Bilson Poem for you

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Shops and People

The Friday Market in the new covered area in Listowel Town Square

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Lovely Buildings on Church Street

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Pres Yearbook 2006

Zuzanna, One of the First Polish Girls in Pres.

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A Coursing programme from 1968

shared online by Brian Canty

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Artist at Work

This artist, Jean Cauthen, is a frequent resident at Olive Stack’s Gallery. You can purchase this picture she is painting en plein air or any other of her local scenes at the gallery.

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KAHS in Listowel

New Kingdom Bar, Upper Church Street. Photo taken on May 17 2022. Equal billing given to Liverpool and Kerry, different codes evoking loyalty from Kingdom customers.

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Society of St.Vincent de Paul

As I arrived in the shop last week, some of the lovely ladies who volunteer here were receiving a visit from their regional manager.

She must have been mightily impressed by this shop which is always beautifully laid out, well stocked and with the loveliest of shop assistants.

I made a bad job of photographing the window which was all dressed for Sustainability Week

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Basketball Memories from Pres Yearbook 2003

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Kerry Archeological and Historical Society in Listowel

Members of KAHS on the steps of Listowel Castle

Vincent Carmody, pictured here with Simone Langemann and Jimmy Deenihan was in action again introducing us to the wealth of writing talent on the streets of Listowel.

Jimmy Deenihan, chair of the society, gave some of the history of Listowel castle.

Kay Caball told us about the origins of Listowel Town Square and the the grand family that was the Kerry Fitzmaurice until their downfall.

She promises to tell it all again on the Friday morning walk during Writers’ Week.

Date for the diary…June 3 2022, meet at The Listowel Arms at 10.00 a.m. Even if you hate walking you’ll manage this one as it will have more talking and singing than walking.

We finished our day in Listowel with a trip to the Lartigue Museum and Jimmy told us a bit of the history of the train.

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Some Handsome local Shops

Listowel people take a great pride in their streetscape. I am fascinated by the attention paid to the facade of the whole building not just the shop front.

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Listowel Moments

Upper Willian Street, May 2022

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Lovely Listowel Shop Fronts

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The Bohemian Players

One of the boards in Kerry Writers’ Museum exhibition, Raise the Curtain; The Story of Amateur Drama in Kerry, tells the story of The Bohemian Players.

This travelling drama troupe was based in Castlegregory. They travelled the length and breadth of the country with their entertainment offerings.

These descendants of medieval strolling players were much loved in the Ireland of the 1940s, 50s and 60s before the advent of television.

They came to town, set up shop and offered a new play every night. East Lynne and The Colleen Lawn were favourites. There were talent shows and raffles as well. The show usually ended with a comic sketch so the audience went home laughing.

I met these lovely people at the launch of Raise the Curtain. They are Bridie and David Costello. David’s father Robert owned The Bohemian Players and David’s mother was the leading actress.

David is a family historian and he has carefully kept memorabilia of his parents’ company.

In the above photo Bridie and David are listening to David’s account of his family travelling show. This account is in the oral history part of Kerry Writers’ Museum.

David showed me this marvellous piece of history. It’s his fathers ledger from 1949. It lists the takings for the week and the wages paid to the actors.

You will note that they worked 7 nights of the week. The Costellos themselves took no wages. Of course there were other expenses like food and maintenance, fuel for the lorry, costumes, props and running repairs.

It was a precarious enough living but performing was in their blood and their arrival was eagerly awaited in towns up and down the country.

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Pound Lane Children

Picture and caption from Bernard O’Connell

The Mid 60’s Poundlane Gang

From far left Agnes Sullivan, Donal Sullivan, Ben Holyoake, Joe Holyoake, Its me, Katrina Lyons,Martina Lyons, Mary Lyons, Mary Brosnan, Noreen Holyoake, RIP Mary Carmody, Kevin Donovan, Noelle Donovan

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I Love a 99

Here I am at the door of Mahony’s of The Square enjoying my first ice cream of the season.

The ice cream was delicious.

This was a training day before the real launch of this new venture, opening on June 1 2022.

I think they will do really well. We miss Dominick Moloney’s cones. Now we have a great replacement.

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All Ireland Rosary Rally

In Listowel Town Square on Saturday May 14 2022

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Only in Listowel

Yesterday I brought you the story of a morning in the life of Jimmy Moloney, Mayor of Kerry and thespian.

On Sat. May 7 2022, at Kerry Writers Museum Jimmy spoke at the launch of Raise the Curtain , an exhibition celebrating amateur drama in Kerry.

Minutes later, he reprised his recent role as Mike Glavin in The Lartigue’s Sive.

In the audience was Gabriel Fitzmaurice, poet.

Gabriel celebrated the occasion in a poem which he sent to Jimmy.

Jimmy and Gabriel kindly shared it with us in Listowel Connection.

Only in Listowel, “the Literary Capital of the World” would you have an occasion where a mayor goes from performing mayoral duties to acting in a play and in the audience a poet is writing a poem about it.

Two photos from the same event ; Jim and Frankie MacMahon with poets, Seamus Barra OSuilleabháin and Gabriel Fitzmaurice.

Éamon ÓMurchú, Owen MacMahon and Gabriel Fitzmaurice at the statue of Bryan MacMahon.

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Amateur Drama

Photo, Kieran Cogan, Mallow Camera Club

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Do you Remember these calendars?

Photo: Mike Hannon

Time was when every business worth its salt gave their customers a wall calendar. It was a great way of keeping your shop or agency in the forefront of people’s minds.

I lived in a house where we had a kitchen and a back kitchen and a storehouse attached. Each of these rooms had at least one calendar in it. I remember consulting the calendar for the phone number. We co ordinated it with Old Moore to mark in fair days.

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Scoil Realt na Maidine staff

Photos and caption shared by Mike Hannon

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The Mayor of Kerry Plays Two Roles

On Saturday May 7 2022, Jimmy Moloney, Mayor of Kerry was in Kerry Writers’ Museum for the opening of the exhibition honouring Kerry’s amateur dramatic heritage.

The Moloney family connection with amateur drama goes back a long way.

Jimmy’s grandmother, Mrs. Margaret Moloney, here on the right, was chairperson of Listowel Drama Group and took part in many of their productions.

With her in this picture, shared with us by Kay Caball, are Cecile Cotter, Harry Geraghty and Rex Coolican.

Jimmy’s grandfather, Dan Moloney T.D. greeted the cast of the first production of John B. Keane’s Sive in Dáil Eireann after they had won the first All Ireland Drama festival.

Margaret Dillon who played the part of Sive sent us this picture a few years ago.

Dan Moloney T.D is on the right.

Jimmy Moloney in his role as Mayor of Kerry at the opening of the exhibition.

Then after a short interval look at what emerged from the “dressing room”.

The usually dapper Jimmy, in a jacket that looks like he slept in it a few times, in his role as Mike Glavin in John B. Keane’s Sive.

Denis O’Mahoney’s Lartigue Players gave us an entertaining sample of the best of Kerry amateur drama today.

The cast of the award winning first production of the play by The Listowel Players.

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Top Storey

I love it when the streetscape takes your eye above shop level.

O’Donovan’s in Church Street has impressive upstairs window surrounds.

Lizzy’s Little Kitchen has decorated the upper stories of her premises in keeping with the downstairs decor.

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