Listowel Bank of Ireland Enterprise Event

Some of the Bank of Ireland staff with a Garda at the community centre on Saturday November 26 2016


Planting the 1916 Commemorative Garden


Refurbishment Work Underway here


A Priest and Soldier in WW11

Kerry Reporter Saturday, June 20, 1931; 

OBITUARY Death and Funeral of Rev. Francis Breen, B.D., C.C., Killorglin.

Clergy and laity throughout the Diocese  of Kerry, and, in particular,

the people of Killarney,  his native town, have learned with very deep

regret of the death of the Rev. Fr. Francis Breen, B.D., C.C.,

Killorglin, following so closely on the death of his lamented brother,

Father Jos Breen, C.C., Kenmare.

Enjoying rugged health from his boyhood, Father Frank Breen excelled

in every form of Gaelic sport. But handball and Gaelic football were

the games he loved best, his prowess in each earning him the respect

of doughty rivals among his Maynooth contemporaries. Even malaria of

the malign type, contracted during his service as Army Chaplain in

Mesopotamia, and beaten off almost miraculously by the prompt action

of an Irish army doctor, seemed to have made little impression on a

wonderfully healthy constitution. Yet it may well be that this fell

disease left some weakness which made him, in spite of his

characteristic grit and determination, an easy prey to the sharp

attack of pneumonia which look him off.

he was born in 1884 at 15, High Street (now O Rahilly Street),

Killarney. Passing through the Presentation Convent and Presentation

Monastery Schools, he entered St. Brendan’s Seminary, Killarney, where

he achieved distinction in the Intermediate examinations.

He entered Maynooth College in 1901. for the Diocese of Kerry, and in

1907 was ordained priest in that famous College, at the same time

securing the degree of Bachelor of Divinity. He passed into the

Dunboyne establishment of the College, where, with some other

distinguished Kerry priests, he took part in the fight for “essential

Irish ‘ in the University. Having finished his Maynooth course, he

offered his services temporarily to Cardinal Bourne. Archbishop of

Westminster, and soon after the Great War began, he was requested to

act as chaplain to a vessel which was engaged to carry five hundred

wounded Australian officers through waters infested with mines and

submarines back to their native, land. This was in 1916 and about the

time he reached Australia, the rebellion of Easter Week had taken

place, and he found himself regarded as an oracle by the Irish in

Australia, who were eager to learn the history and the explanation of

the rising. He was received with special warmth by Archbishop Mannix

of Melbourne, his old President in Maynooth College, and later was

invited to accept a Mission under the Southern Cross. But his recent

experience with the wounded soldiers made him long to serve the Irish

Catholic soldiers in the Great War, and he decided to return and

volunteer for duty as Army Chaplain. His experiences as chaplain

served merely to make him a more rabid Irishman and Catholic. He was

sent Mesopotamia, making the acquaintance of Basra, Bagdad, and the

one time Garden of Eden, now a desert and a swamp. He reached the very

farthest limits of the army’s advance, at Samara and Tekrit enduring

many hardships the dreadful temperature being chief and most

intolerable—having many interesting adventures, and not a few

hair-breadth escapes. From Mesopotamia, he passed to the Holy Land,

Syria and Egypt.

When the Armistice came, he gladly returned to Kerry, and gladly

resumed the ecclesiastical garb, laying aside the khaki at the

earliest opportunity. Under Bishops O’Sullivan and O’Brien he served

as Curate in Prior. Beaufort, Glenflesk, Glenbeigh. and Killorglin.

Before going to Westminster he had had a short experience ofmissionary life in Glengarriff and Lixnaw. In 1920, under the British

regime, he took a very active part in setting up the Sinn Fein Courts,

and so as far as in him lay in those troubled times, he helped to put

an end to the use of the revolver for settling private disputes. He

was appointed one of the local magistrates in Beaufort,

( This eminent man seems to have lead a very interesting and well travelled life. In case you missed it I highlighted the reference to Lixnaw as a missionary parish.)


Memories, Memories

These marble eggs resting on an old weighing scales in the window of an antique shop in Church Street reminded me of my mother’s nest eggs. These were cheap china egg shaped things that my mother used to put in the nest boxes of the hens to show them where to lay. It was always a great nuisance if hens were ‘laying out” in a hedge or a ditch. Hens are a bit thick and they sometimes did not realise that they were in much more danger from the fox or the weasel in the great outdoors than indoors in the hen house. So, to coax them inside these old dirty nest eggs were put in the box. I recently heard of someone using golf balls for this purpose. As I say, hens are a bit thick.

When I was young, every house had this ware. I think we had a willow patterned meat plate just like this one.

We had these too but I dont remember jam coming in them. They had been kept and reused from former times.

We had one of these in green. These enamel bread bins are making a bit of a comeback lately, even though they are not really very practical. No one has that much bread in stock in these days of smaller families.


Humans of Listowel

Anne Dillon, Mary O’Connor and Bridget Maguire at the recent reunion of retired teachers at Presentation Secondary School. Listowel


R.I.P. Sr. Mary Perpetua Hickey

To paraphrase Wordsworth

 She lived unknown and few could know

When Kathy ceased to be.

Kathy was Sr. Mary Perpetua for all of her adult life. She passed away on Saturday morning November 26 2016, aged 97 and with her went the last link with the adults in my childhood. She is the last of the old stock, a  link to a different era.

She grew up, one of twelve children of a very devout hard working family in Millstreet, Co Cork. She entered the Mercy order in the days when a vocation was an honour to receive. She was blindly obedient to the vows she took at her profession and never questioned the wisdom of cruel rules that  kept her apart from her family for years, missing the funerals of both her parents.

Thank God she lived through Vatican 2 and a relaxation of the tough regime. She loved music and dancing and one of the biggest nights of her life was when my brother and his family took her to a Daniel O’Donnell concert in Millstreet. She couldn’t steel herself to approach the stage to meet him at the end as she was afraid that she would faint from the excitement. On her Golden Jubilee her friends in the convent organised for Daniel to send her a card. Daniel went one better. He sent the card and he rang her at the convent. She was dumbfounded…literally. She couldn’t utter a word.

Kathy Hickey, Sr. Perpetua, was a charismatic character, a humble, innocent soul. She never uttered a bad word about anyone and no-one had a bad word to say about her.

 She was my “Aunty Nun”. I’m honoured to have known her.