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

A Trip to Ballincollig

Listowel Garda Styatio in Sept. 2023


Keeping an Eye on Things

Molly at home


Celebrating 40

Gaelscoil Uí Riordáin in Ballincollig is celebrating 40 years since its humble beginnings in an old supermarket. The school has has the same principal, Gabriel ÓCathasaigh, since its inception.

It is part of the contract for new school buildings that the contractor set aside a percentage for art. The art project funded from this percentage is Abhainn an Feasa, the Salon river in ceramic tiles depicting stories along the river and its banks.

Cora is in 6th class. She posed for me with some of the magnificent artwork on display when I visited.

The significance of the robin harks back to the poet from whom the school takes its name. Seán ÓRiordáin’s famous anthology is titled Eirbeall Spideoige. (The Robin’s Tail)

The reason Cora was out of uniform was because she had just returned from playing a Sciath na Scol football game. This is a very competitive school league in hurling and football. Gaelscoil Uí Riordáin is defending its titles in both disciplines. They would dearly love to celebrate their 40th with wins.


My Annual Leave

It’s race week. Those of us of a certain vintage never work during race week. I’m hoping to go to the island with my houseguests and If I do I’ll take a few photos for you.

Wish me luck!


Listowel’s Back Lanes

Listowel Credit Union building in Sept 2023


A Stroll Through a Back Lane

In these days of modernisation and urban renewal it is great to see so much of Listowel’s history preserved in the back lanes.

The stone walls were built by Listowel craftsmen in a bygone era.

We can’t hold back the march of progress. For me the stone walls hold far more charm and history.


St. Michael’s Graveyard


Progress Report on the John B. Keane Mural

Martin was painting the first letters of the quotation on Sept 10 2023

Sept 13 2023, Martin Chute, muralist and Pat Nolan, wall owner at Listowel’s newest mural in the Creative Walls initiative by

This John B. Keane quotation from his song, Sweet Listowel, will be very well received by everyone with a Listowel connection.

Here is the full song from Listowel Emmets website


Sweet Listowel

A song by John B. Keane as promised to Eric

Oh sweet Listowel I’ve loved you all my days

Your towering spires and shining streets and squares

Where sings the Feale it’s everlasting lays

And whispers to you in it’s evening prayers


Of all fair towns few have so sweet a soul

Or gentle folk compassionate and true

Where’er I go I’ll love you sweet Listowel

And doff my distant cap each day to you

Down by the Feale the willows dip their wands

From magic bowers where soft the night wind sighs

How oft I’ve roved along your moonlit lands

Where late love blooms and first love never dies


Of all fair towns few have so sweet a soul

Or gentle folk compassionate and true

Where’er I go I’ll love you sweet Listowel

And doff my distant cap each day to you.

(A link to one of the best singers of this song…Louis O’Carroll R.I.P. recorded and produced by Denis Carroll of Fealegood Productions ….

Sweet Listowel by John B. Keane)


A Story about Marriage

From the School’s Folklore Collection, Boy’s National School, Listowel

There was three sisters in one house and no one would marry the old one. The two young sisters got married and she was culled. There was one man and he said she would make a good wife so they got married and those days they used ride side saddle after being married behind the husband.

They all raced to be at the house the first and he rode too fast. There was a big ditch near the house. The horse would not leap the ditch. He came off and he told her to come off too. So he pulled out his gun and shot the horse. She asked him why so did he do that. “That’s what I do to anyone that wouldn’t be said by me” said he.

So at the wedding the three were drinking in the room. The three wives were playing cards in the kitchen. The three husbands were having a conversation on which of the wives would come to them at their first call.First girl that married her husband was to be called. The man that was married second was to be called second.

The first one that was called said she was dealing out the cards. The second one when she called she said she would when she have these five cards played. The man who shot his horse when he called her, she ran to him and he won the price of his horse back.This wife always answered his call when he called her.


COLLECTOR Joseph Cahill

Address Curraghatoosane, Co. Kerry

INFORMANT John Carmody

Age 81


A Fact

The tern canter to describe the easy comfortable speed of a horse is thought to have come from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. It described the slow measured pace of the pilgrims as they made their way to Canterbury.



Charles Street Mural

Courthouse Road


The Mural

London has Banksy; Listowel has Martin Chute. Martin is much more of a purist. His public artworks are done, not with spray cans and stencils but with brushes and masking tape.

I am privileged to watch this artist at work and to see this masterpiece take shape before my eyes.

Saturday September 9 2023


Listowel in Bloom

Every road facing window at Scoil Realta na Maidine is adorned with flowers.


Irish Nurses in England

There is a long tradition of Irish girls going to England to train as nurses. Jer Kennelly found this photo and account for us.

Jan 26 1957 New York Advocate

The Gulson Hospital Coventry employs a total of 191 nurses, 18 nursing auxiliaries and 24 nursing cadets. Of these 50 are Irish. ——————————–

Some names      

T. Kennelly. (Kerry); Nuala M. McNamara, (Limerick); Helen A. O’Malley, (Mayo); Ellen McCarthy, (Kerry); Mary A- Keane, (do. and Johanna C. Cunningham, (Kerry); Julia Johnson, (Laois)

I would love to hear from any local lady who has memories of nursing training in Britain.


Prayer I Picked up in Baile Mhuirne


A Muslim Fact

This is the tallest building in the world. It is The Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

Ramadan is a month -long period of fasting, prayers and good works observed by Muslim people. They fast between the hours of sunrise and sunset.

Residents of this building who live above the 80th floor have to wait 2 to 3 minutes longer than people on the ground to end their daily fast.



Veterinary Centre, The Square


Crann na Scéalta

Have you wondered what the story is as you passed this marvellous sculpture on your way through Ballyvourney?

Here, before they bypass it, is the story.

The tree stands in the grounds of Scoil Abán Naofa.It was a tree that had grown so tall that it was beginning to block the light from the school’s windows as well as posing a threat to life should it ever fall in a storm.

The tree is a Monterey Cypress and it was planted by a local schoolboy Seán Jerh OCeilleachair over 100 years ago. It seemed a shame to just chop it down so they set up a committee locally to see what they could do to preserve it.

They brought in a tree sculptor.

“Sculptor John Hayes has been inspired by the stories that pupils in the school have gathered together and will feature a wide compendium of local heroes and legends in Crann na Scéalta/The Tree of Stories. These include Naomh Gobnait who found the nine white deer she had been shown in a vision in a grove above the village of Baile Mhúirne and, following the message she had been given, founded an abbey there. They also include the story of Nurse Singleton, a legendary figure in the parish from the last century and who is being included, according to Sam Morton of the Tree Committee, as a tribute to local health workers who provided vital care during the Pandemic.” (The Corkman)

These and lots more stories and legends are preserved forever in this gloriously original form.


Progress on the Martin Chute Mural

September 8 2023 was exceptionally warm and humid. It was evening time when I went to Pat Nolan’s gable to check up on progress. I did not expect the artist to be there but Martin was back at his task.

This man is painting this huge work from ladders!

Not content with distracting him myself I invited a passer by, Mary Broderick, to pose with him. Mary loves Martin’s work.

Martin is a master of reusing and recycling. Don’t you love his paint pot?


Guide to Listowel in the 1960’s


A Fact

In most American states, a wedding ring cannot be counted as an asset in bankruptcy proceedings. A creditor cannot seize a wedding ring no matter how much the debtor owes.


Listowel, Then and Now

Listowel Fire Station at evening in September 2023


Listowel Food Fair 2023

November 9th to 13th November 2023



Lovely Listowel is greatly enhanced in September 2023 by beautiful floral displays.


The Last of the Concerts (for now)

Kerry Sentinel, Saturday, 17 March, 1906; Page: 4

Grand Entertainment at Ballylongford

LECTURE AND CONCERT. On Friday night last a highly interesting entertainment consisting of a lecture on the Irish Brigade, illustrated with lantern slides by Mr Thos F O’Sullivan, Listowel, concert of Irish music was held in Ballylongford and was well attended.

The Rev Fr. Pierce, P.P, presided, and was supported by the Rev Fr. Enright, Sacramento, and the Rev J Dillon, C.C, Ballylongford. At the conclusion of the address, a hearty vote of thanks was tendered to the lecturer on the proposition of Fr Enright, seconded by Fr. Dillon.

The concert opened with the children’s chorus “Erin the Tear,” which was harmoniously rendered. ” An incident of ’98” by  Misses Bride Shanahan and Bessie Fitzmaurice was warmly received. Hour hath Come by the same young ladies, with Miss Maggie Carmody, was a decidedly attractive and humorous item and richly deserved the applause bestowed on it. Miss Collins and Miss Carmody were responsible for the training of the children in these contributions, which certainly reflected credit on them.

Miss Shanahan sang ” Carrigdhoun,” and was warmly applauded while Mr Jas Leahy’s recitation, ” Fontenoy,” was extremely  popular. The duet ” Molly Bawn,” by Miss O Grady and Mr R Jones was much appreciated, and the Irish step-dancing of Messrs Hanrahan and Ahern evoked well deserved applause. In addition, Messrs ? Cotter and O Shaughnessy, Listowel, contributed largely to the success of the entertainment, which from start to finish was interesting, attractive and instructive. We understand a somewhat similar entertainment will be shortly held in Ballylongford when the lecture will be delivered by the Rev Fr. Enright, Sacramento.


Another Gold

Representing Listowel Tidy Towns in Clonakilty on Monday last, Jimmy Moloney, Julie Gleeson and Breda McGrath picked up a well deserved 13th gold medal. In early October we’ll know the national result.


Baile Mhúirne

This lovely little linear village on the road to Cork is soon to be bypassed. I dropped into the church on my way past last week.

Eucharistic adoration was in progress so I couldn’t do too much wandering around. The church was beautifully kept but obviously built in poorer times, with little enough stained glass and no mosaic work.


1960’s Guide

Two businesses now the stuff of memory


A Fact

In 1492 Pope Innocent VII was dying. On the advice of his physicians he drank the blood of three young donors. He was convinced that this would keep him young and healthy. It didn’t. He died shortly after.


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