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

Ballybunion, Listowel and Kanturk

Ballybunion in early summer 2024

A Friday Laugh

In Kanturk

This premises in Kanturk is now the home of Yumm café but when I was growing up it was the home of Sarah and John O’Connor. This couple were the salt of the earth, Sarah, in particular, was involved in everything in town. She was in the Legion of Mary, Comhaltas, every play and show in the Edel Quinn Hall, the youth club, the bible study group and more.

Importantly, in the days before internet, emails and Zoom, Sarah typed up a twice yearly newsletter that was eagerly anticipated and much appreciated by Kanturk people who lived far from home. England was far in the days before cheap air travel. Sarah gathered all the news of births, marriages and deaths and anything else of interest . She was journalist, typist and post woman.

Whenever I met Sarah away from Kanturk she was always good for the “stand”, a selfless generous saint of a woman. May she rest in peace.

By the way the 1900 over the building signifies that it was a national school, the first in Kanturk.

From 2007

The Farmers Market was busy on Fridays in 2007

Dillon Boyer R.I.P, Pat and the late Mrs Walsh met up with Junior Griffin.

Nettle Soup

Yesterday I told you that it is recommended we eat nettle soup twice a day in May. Yesterday too I met up with my friend, Liz Dunn, and she had a story for us about nettle soup.

Liz and Jim watch Clarkson’s Farm. This TV programme which they watch on Amazon Prime follows Jeremy Clarkson’s adventures on his farm.

One of the workers on Jeremy’s farm is Lucca Allen, son of Rachel Allen. Lucca, one day, made nettle soup for Jeremy and it is now a staple on the menu on Clarkson’s Farm.

A Fact

The San people of southern Africa use a set of tools that dates back 44,000 years.



In Ballybunion




  1. Liz Gillen

    Metaphor piece priceless! Should come with a warning to those of a certain age inclined to getting mixed up.
    Description of Sarah O Connor paints a vivid picture and she has echoes in other towns (like minded people). Indeed you seem to have taken a leaf or more out of her book, Mary!

    • listowelconnection

      Thank you, Liz. when they made Kanturk’s Sarah, they broke the mould. I am honoured to follow in just a small few of her footsteps. M.

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