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

Christmas Market

Listowel 2022

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Listowel in Times Past

remembered by Cyril Kelly

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Christmas Market, Saturday November 26 2022

I was a bit early and the festivities hadn’t started in earnest when I was in the Square. My little visitor had fallen asleep so we were at home before the switching on of the lights which was done this year by Paul Manning. We missed Santa and the school band as well so my photos do not do the event justice.

This is Paul Manning at the festivities in The Square. Unfortunately on the way home, Paul lost the hat he is wearing here. The hat was adorned with 2 badges which are of sentimental value to Paul. If you found it, you could hand it in to John B.s, St. John’s , The Garda Station or Doran’s. Indeed if you hand it in anywhere in town they’ll get it back to Paul.

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Folklore

On Friday I was back in Listowel Library for Tom Dillon’s entertaining talk on folklore. The talk was based on some of the local stories in the national folklore collection.

I was struck that some things that happened during the recent Covid crisis are things that only we know. Not everything is reported in the paper. I resolved to tell my family that Nick and the team at Listowel Garden Centre gave me a present of a plant and a bar of chocolate one day during lockdown. The gift came out of the blue. It meant a lot as did all the other kindnesses I received. I will pass the stories on to the next generation. That’s folklore.

Many stories were collected by schoolchildren in copies like these in the great initiative in 1936/37. Is it time to do it again?

Here is an extract from that great treasure trove;

My great grandfather whose name was Daniel Mangan from Bedford owned a house in William Street but it belongs to a man by the name of Corbet now and he fixes [?] cycles. When the house was owned by my great grandfather it was a latin school and it was taught by a man named Mac Namara My grand father whos name was Pat Mangan was taught Latin there. Mr. Mac Namara aied [?]named man.

They had slates to write on with slate pencils. The black board was a big slate. They had a few stools and planks across two or three boxes.

There was a hedge school in Ballydonohue. It was taught by a man named Relihan. One day they were attacked by English soldiers and Relihan was hanged.
Told by Mrs. Keane, Ashe Street, Listowel.
Written by W. Keane, Ashe Street, Listowel.

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What an Improvement

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Exemplary Fire Fighters

Photo; The Kerryman online

Proud to see our own John Curtin and John Kelliher rewarded for their long service to the fire service.

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Christmas in Listowel Started

Presentation Primary School band of yesteryear

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Some Christmas Windows 2022

This year’s theme is The Grinch.

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My Weekend Visitors

Clíona and Aoife picked a good weekend to visit. Lots going on. Aoife slept through most of it though.

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A Christmas Belief

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A Lifetime in Pitch nd Putt Rewarded

The late Tony O’Callaghan was a very talented artist. He produced a huge body of work in his lifetime and many a Listowel home treasures one of his pieces. The one above was presented to John Joe Kenny by Listowel Pitch and Putt Club to acknowledge his years of service to the club.

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Christmas Memories

John Tangney somewhere in Eastern Europe

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Christmas Past

Bord na Mona workers Christmas 1944. These turfmen, and they were all men, came from all over Ireland in the 1940s and 50s to harvest turf in the midland bogs. The work was backbreakingly hard, cold, wet and inhospitable. They were accommodated in hostels where they stayed for the season.

From 1942 to 1944 any men who stayed on for the winter were brought into Edenderry and Newbridge Hostels for special Christmas events. They usually arrived on the 24th and stayed until December 27th. St Stephen’s Day activities were usually football games and other sporting events. In 1945, due to falling numbers the event was confined to Newbridge. This photo comes from Newbridge Hostel in 1944.” Bord na Mona Archive

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All Ireland Winners

Tim Kennelly, Tony McAuliffe and Gary MacMahon

R.I.P. All Ireland Football medal winners from Listowel

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Cold Turkey by Cyril Kelly

Christmas in Church Street in the 1950s

WARNING :

If You are in any way squeamish, DONT read this great Christmas essay by Cyril Kelly.

I warned you. If you read it despite my warning, you may be sorry.

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Happy Times in School

I have no date for this but it is a Staff versus Pupils End of Term Match. These were always great fun. R.I.P. Cliff, in school uniform.

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Listowel , Sound Town

Today fm has declared Listowel Ireland’s Soundest Town 2022. They hit town on Saturday to kick off the start of the Christmas Season in Listowel.

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Remembering Neodata

Feale Monument, Listowel Town Square in November 2022

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Remember Neodata?

This is a photo taken before the demolition of the prefab.

Neodata was long gone by then.

In 2016 Liz Galvin sent us this photo of Neodata staff. It brought back happy memories for many then. I hope it will again.

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Poem of the Year

Catherine, Martin, Simone and Paula in Dublin for An Post Irish Book Awards on November 23 2022.

Listowel Writers’ Week sponsors the poetry competition at this event.

These were the very talented short listed poets.

……and the winner i………s Martina Dalton.

Here is her poem. (By the way, it was the one I voted for.)

POEM: WEDDING DRESS

Scalloped leaves entrap a sprig of white

Forget-me-not.

Silk-wound stems repeat themselves

like vows, around a missing throat.

Hexagons of net, like they’ve been honed

by microscopic bees.

A circle smudged in pink,

where confetti must have caught.

Trapped forever in the past.

Where the bodice meets the skirt,

a row of tiny beads join hands.

Lace stretched to bursting round a heart.

A row of sixteen satin covered discs,

miss their counterparts, wait eagerly

to slip each lined up loop.

Pronovias of Barcelona, stitched in gold.

Double edged the snow white hem,

stained now, where it hit the floor.

The buttons at the cuff

never needing to be opened,

so small my hands had been.

A satin band now torn,

where I wound it tightly round my wrist

for our first dance.

Held up to the light, the net in pleats

forms ghostly ribs, delicate

against the plain white cotton of my bed.

Like it’s being lifted from a photograph

I hold it by its shoulders.

Fold it from the outside in.

White pencilled squiggles gather messy

on the floor. Each wrinkle of the train,

like tip of tide on sand.

Perfume, catches in my throat.

The overwhelming scent,

of Celebration, Love in white,

Faded rose.

Published – Irish Independent/New Irish Writing – 30th July 2022

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Christmas Times

I never heard of that custom. According to Tomás O Murchadh it was observed across the border in Abbeyfeale.

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Big Day for Listowel Gardaí

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Another Christmas Craft Fair

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Then and Now

2016
2022

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Comings and Goings

Galvin’s Flats, Listowel Town Square, November 2022

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A Relic of Another Time in Ireland

This is the Royal Cypher of Edward V11. This means that this lovely old Listowel Pillar box is over 100 years old.

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We’re Sound Out

We always knew it. Now the world knows it. Listowel is Ireland’s soundest town. The gang behind the submission to Today fm celebrated the win in Mike the Pies.

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New Kids in Town

Bobby and Carine’s friends, Dulce and Sylvestre have relocated to Kerry. For Dulce it’s a return to The Kingdom, for Sylvestre it’s a first. They are settling in to their new home in Causeway.

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Then and Now

Presentation Secondary School staff, thirty years apart

1992
2022

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From the RTE Archive

A Christmas edition of Play the Game, Derek Davis, Daniel O’Donnell, John O’Connor? and Joe McCarthy

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Candles at Christmas

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Community Centre Fire

Nov 23 2022

All looks peaceful in this corner of Childers’ Park on Nov 23 2022. But in the darkness of early morning a fire broke out in the roof space of our community centre.

Fire tenders were quickly on the scene but extensive internal damage had been done.

Hasty message on the door tells its own story.

The community will rally round and I have no doubt the centre will be back in action in as short a time as possible.

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