St Patrick’s Day 2023

Canon Declan O’Connor and his neighbours enjoying the 2023 St. Patrick’s Day parade in Listowel Town Square


Another String to his Bow

Dave O’Sullivan found us this in The Kerryman archive from 1961. These beautiful signs were designed by the great Michael O’Connor.

Would anyone know of the whereabouts of one of these or does anyone have a better photograph of one?


The Civil War and the Lartigue

Story from Mark Holan’s Irish American Blog

Civil War Toll on The Lartigue

Mark Holan

Anti-government forces in the Irish Civil War attacked the Listowel and Ballybunion Railway several times in early 1923. Damage to the rolling stock and stations of the 9-mile monorail between the two Kerry towns, and the impracticalities of operating such a unique line in the newly consolidated Irish rail system, forced its permanent closure in October 1924.

Passengers and mail on the LBR had been targeted by Irish republican forces during the Irish War of Independence, 1919-1921. In January 1923, during the civil war, armed men forced the Ballybunion stationmaster to open the line’s office, goods store, and waiting room, which they doused with petrol and paraffin oil and set on fire. Within an hour a similar attack occurred at the Lisselton station, about halfway between the two terminuses.

Such destruction is generally attributed to the IRA forces opposed to the Irish Free State. These “irregulars” also cut down about 1,700 yards of telegraph wire and six poles between Listowel and Ballybunion, matching attacks along other Irish rail routes.

Nicknamed the Lartigue after inventor Charles Lartigue, the monorail was “suspended indefinitely” in early February 1923 due to the sabotage. Nearly 40 employees lost their jobs, impacting about 100 family members and ancillary businesses.

With the train out of service, a char-a-banc and motor car service began operating between the two towns, but it also came under attack in March.Once the civil war ended later that spring, the Lartigue was repaired in time for the busy summer season at Ballybunion, a seaside resort. By mid-July, the Freeman’s Journal reported the Lartigue “has already, particularly on Sundays, been taxed to almost its fullest capacity in the conveyance of visitors.”

Like the Lartigue, however, the national newspaper also would have its run ended in 1924.


Then and Now

2007 and 2023


Friends Reunited

Mary Sheehy met this lady twenty years ago on a pilgrimage to Lourdes. They met last week by chance in The Flying Saucer café, Listowel.


A Poignant Poem of Family Love

The Week After St Patrick’s

John McGrath

The week after St Patrick’s, my mother

pressed his suit and packed his case,

drove him to the station for the early train

from Ballyhaunis to the crowded boat,

then on to Manchester and solitude

until All Souls came slowly round again.

I don’t remember ever saying Goodbye.

At seventeen I took the train myself

and saw first-hand my father’s box-room life,

the Woodbines by his shabby single bed.

I don’t remember ever saying Hello,

just sat beside this stranger in the gloom

and talked of home and life, and all the while

I wanted to be gone, get on with mine.

Westerns and The Western kept him sane,

newspapers from home until the time

to take the train came slowly round once more.

Lost in Louis L’Amour, he seldom heard

the toilet’s ugly flush, the gurgling bath

next door. Zane Grey dulled the traffic’s

angry roar outside his grimy window.

Back home the year before he died we spoke

at last as equals, smoked our cigarettes,

his a Woodbine still, and mine a tipped.

My mother would have killed us if she’d known.

The phone call came as winter turned to spring.

I stood beside him, touched his face of ice

and knew our last Hello had been Goodbye.