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

Author: Listowel Connection Page 1 of 482

Coffee, The Man’s Shop and Some People I met in the Park

Wake up and Smell the Coffee

 There I was bowling along, listening to Pat Kenny and Prof. Luke O’Neill on Thursday May 6 2021, when Pat told us that studies had discovered that people who had lost their sense of smell due to Covid 19 had it restored by smelling Turkish coffee. They also told us that your sense of taste is very closely bound up with your sense of smell so if you have lost both due to Covid it’s worth a try at restoring them by smelling the coffee.


The Mans Shop

Ned O’Sullivan shared this photo of his family shop William Street. It was taken in 1963.


Out and About with Camera

It was lovely to run into friends I haven’t seen in ages.  We are all missing the attentions of professional hairdressers.


Jim and Liz Dunn were making a rare foray into Listowel. I was pleased to note that they are in good spirits, part vaccinated and looking forward to resuming their very busy lives.

Seán Treacy was sporting an impressive head of curls.


Lovely New Coffee (and lots more) Shop in Ballybunion

They even have a little creche for your dog while you are indoors.


*Look out for News of a moving house nature tomorrow*

Things we used to do and a Story of a Lixnaw Robin Hood

Glentenassig photo: Martin Moore


Bobby Darin used to sing a song about “the things we used to do”. 

I’ve been reminiscing a lot lately about things I used to do.

Every night I sit here by my window (window)
Staring at the lonely avenue (avenue)
Watching lovers holdin’ hands and laughin’ 
Thinkin’ ’bout the things we used to do….

During Covid 19 I have missed the folks at home and trips to the shows to support their horses.

Shows like this one in Clonakilty are a highlight of the summer.

Meeting the horses at home is another summer activity.

Dublin Horse Show, cancelled now for two years, will surely return in 2022.

This is my brother welcoming the newest addition to the yard. She is named Cashew. The naming policy has gone nuts. It used to be rugby players. I’m looking forward to seeing the newest smallest sweetest nut very soon.


Remember when we had great walking tours?



Lartigue Drawbridge 

A lovely picture of one of the Lartigue monorail’s unique drawbridges.


St. Mary’s is open for Worship again


Seáinín Cois na Tine, a Bold Raparee

From Clandouglas School in The Schools’ Folklore Collection

This story was told to John Reidy who lives in Ballyhennessy and is a postman about 45 years of age, by an old man named William Hennessy who lived in same place and was born there. Old William lived up to last year and was 105 years old when he died. John Reidy told it to me about a month ago.

Seáinín complained of the cold in the hottest weather and loved to sit as near the fire as possible, hence his name. He (died) was hanged about the same time that old William Hennessy was born, but stories of his daring are told up to the present day.
He belonged to the poorer class and championed them when needs were, in the way of stealing cattle from the wealthy people and distributing the meat among the poor, hiding the tallow in kegs in the local bogs. 

One night a landlord named Supple who lived in Ballyhennessy gave a great party to his Protestant friends and fellow landlords and he asked each guest to come heavily armed to the party lest they would be waylaid by Seáinín. Seáinín heard it in the meantime and decided to keep out of the way. 

The Banquet started and as each guest sat to the table he hung his firearms on the back of the chair. Every thing went on right royally for a long time and when the feast was at its height, Seáinín suddenly burst through the window glass and all, holding a loaded pistol in each hand. He shouted “the first man who moves will be shot”. Nobody stirred knowing he meant what he said, and he ordered each man to empty what money he had in his pockets into a bag which hung at Seáinín’s side for the purpose. They did so and he decamped, afterwards distributing the money among the poor of the place. 

Then the police were on his track and in a house in Dungurrow east of Ballyhennessy they came upon him. He was heavily armed and succeeded in killing 3 police but the woman of the house who happened to be very powerful and strong, fearing that her home would be burned down for harbouring a Raparee, stole behind him and pinned his arms to his sides. In this way he was captured taken out, and hanged from the nearest tree. 

Also during Seáinín’s time, when he heard of a notice to quit being served on a tenant farmer by the Landlord he used to send a threatening notice to the L.Lord warning him that he would be shot if the eviction took place. In this way he often saved an unfortunate family from being flung on the roadside

Margaret Shanahan
John Reidy
Ballyhennessy, Co. Kerry

Visitors in Times Past, Our Man in Washington and a Holy Well in Lixnaw


Photo; Bridget O’Connor


I miss visitors. One of the great joys of my life is the visits of family and friends and introducing them to our lovely town and its attractions.

My visitors love nothing better than a walk on the beach in summer or winter.

When in Listowel, do as the locals do and attend a book signing.

You’d never know who you’d meet on a walk with Nana. This was our first sighting of a drone when, one day, we met Brendan Landy with his new piece of kit.

Fun in Tralee town park with the girlies

Sadly we’ll have to wait another year to take visitors on The Lartigue.

Tony and Mary McKenna from Kildare are regular visitors. I haven’t seen them in over a year.

Oh to walk again with the Listowel Writers’ Week regulars


Schools’ Folklore Collection, Clandouglas School

St. Michael’s Well

This is situated in the lowland of Ballinageragh about a quarter of a mile from Lixnaw village. The well or the bed of it is deep and is surrounded by high mounds of Earth. Worn steps lead down to the well which runs dry in warm summers. It has no visible outlet though a dyke of water runs along the south side about 15 yards distant from the well. The mounds of earth are said to be the remains of an early church which was dedicated to St. Michael who is patron of the Parish of the present Roman Catholic Church there. His feast day is celebrated on 29th September and in the last generation that day was held as a parish holiday, no work was done, and the people dressed in their best assembled in Ballinageragh after hearing mass in the village church. 

Ballinageragh is a little village in itself, bounded on the western side by the marshes which lie along the River Brick. The name is supposed to mean

the townland of the Berries (sloes are plentiful there)} 

 or the townland of the marshes. Others say a pattern was held there on the 29th Sep. Plays of all kinds, tinkers, thimble men, “Maggie Sticks,” Pie shops and SHEBEENS (Irish: síbín) were general features of the pattern. Pipers also attended, McCarthy the Piper (R.I.P) being the last piper to attend there. Roadside dances were carried on to the strains of music, and that night he retired to the house of a neighbouring farmer and dancing music were carried on to the small hours of the morning.The waters of the well are believed to cure toothache, sore eyes and general complaints including nervousness, mental trouble. An elderly woman, Mrs Dan Quilter, Gurthenare (Gortinare – Gortaneare) Lixnaw, Co Kerry, still living who had mental trouble paid several rounds at the well and was finally cured. She then put up a statue of St. Michael on a slab over the well in thanksgiving for her cure. Some years after she got another attack of this same disease but it did not last long. 

The round at the well is paid as follows. Kneel in front of the well and start one round of the beads

Then stand up and walk round the well three times, finishing the fifth decade in front of well. Then start another round of the beads and walk three times round the well and finish 5th decade in front of well. The third round of the beads is started in the same way and finished in front of well. This means 3 Rosaries and 9 rounds of the well. You then wash affected part in the water of the well getting the water in some vessels. Some of the water is also taken home in a bottle.

There is a tradition that you should leave 3 tokens at the well after you; it may be 3 hairpins, 3 matches, 3 strings, etc. for fear the Saint would not know you were there until he would see the tokens, one for each “round”.
M. Shanahan
Clandouglas N.S. Lixnaw Co Kerry
Information got from Mc Tom Lawlor aged 70
Irribeg Lixnaw Co Kerry


They’ve brought Donie in

Photo posted on Twitter by fellow Irishman, CNN’s John King

We’re used to CNN and Cahirciveen’s Donie O’Sullivan out and about interviewing conspiracy theorists and Trump supporters. We also knew that he spent time at CNN behind a computer screen fact checking stories.

Now he’s been promoted and, instead of the warm coat, he is suited and booted in the studio contributing on air.

Well done, Donie,  flying the flag for Kerry in the heart of U.S. media.

Drama, Looking in and out and the Dangers of Reading Comics

A Twilight View from Ballybunion’s Cliff Walk

Photo; Bridget O’Connor


Oh, for a night out at the theatre!

Whether in St. John’s in John B.s or on the street, I can’t wait for drama to return to Listowel

 Mary Moylan took these photos of John B. Keane’s The Chastitute in 2017

A great night in John B.’s at Nora Relihan’s one woman show.


I miss the Graveyard mass, rain and all.


A new poem from John McGrath

I Want To Go On

I want to go on looking in

when they let us out again.

I like what I found there.

Alone I was afraid at first

but then I realised

Searching for what matters

Was what we’re meant to do

How we’re meant to be

Nothing to fear but fear, and me.

Don’t get me wrong

I miss the hugs, the friends,

the buzz of conversation

But I love the contemplation,

So now and then I’ll look back in

when we get out again. 


Down with that sort of thing

Our friend, Mattie Lennon has written to The Irish Independent.

Declan Foley (‘Clergymen not the people to offer insight into sexual love,’ Letters, May 3) points out that the clergy are not qualified to advise on a subject they have no knowledge of.

Was it ever any different? In 1954, as an eight-year-old, I almost became a victim of clerical censorship. 

One Sunday my mother arrived home from mass with news. The curate had warned the congregation against “turning over the pages of the rags of Fleet Street”.

Despite her less than perfect eyesight, my poor mother managed to decipher the small print on the back pages of my Beano and Dandy which showed that they were printed at DC Thompson’s outpost in Fleet Street. 

Dennis the Menace and The Bash Street Kids weren’t actually banned from the house but my father reckoned it was “the thin end of the wedge.” My parents were unanimous in their belief that the young curate was well qualified to set the moral compass for the youth of west Wicklow. And why wouldn’t he – wasn’t his father a guard in Bray?

Mattie Lennon

Blessington, Co Wicklow


Book Launch

Rhyming History: The Irish War of Independence and the Ballads of Atrocity in the Valley of Knockanure by Gabriel Fitzmaurice will be launched in Seanchaí, the Kerry Writers’ Museum, Listowel on Saturday, May 15 at 2 p.m. Everybody is welcome to this historic launch which commemorates the centenary of the tragic events in Knockanure in April and May 1921.

Ballybunion, Old Dalkey, Festivals of Yesteryear and Sign Wars in Canada

Ballybunion’s Cliff Walk at Sunset

Photo: Bridget O’Connor


This is Dalkey, Co. Dublin, but it could be any town in Ireland one time.


I Miss the Buzz of Festivals and Big Days in Town

I loved when festivals brought the thrill of unexpectedly meeting an old acquaintance. 

R.I.P. Jessica.

Once, Jim Dunn, the celebrated Athea muralist, brought his magic to the town square.

Jumbo’s Damien brought the Coca Cola truck and gave us all a memorable Christmas.

When The Rás came through town, didn’t I discover that I knew one of the cyclist’s grandmothers.

Once, Mark Loughnane encouraged me to be part of the entertainment on a St. Patrick’s Day

I miss the thrill of Writers’ Week opening nights and the delight of discovering that I know one of the winners.

I loved meeting people like Stefanie Preissner in real life at Listowel Young Adult Book Fest

And then there was pig racing in Market Street. Memories, memories!

Maybe next year!


Meanwhile in Listowel, Ontario, They’re having fun

Gillian McElligott and Noreen Holyoake alerted me to this one. Maybe Listowel, Co. Kerry could get into the act . It would cheer us all up.

The full story is here on the BBC website;  Listowel Sign War

Basically all the businesses in the town have entered into a faux war of words via jokey advertising signs.

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