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

Billy MacSweeney Remembers, Leahy’s Corner, and a Listowel Connection to Ireland’s Fittest Family

A nun and a church…images of Listowel Town Square


Leahy’s Corner

Before it was Leahy’s it was O’Callaghan’s and it was the first slated house in The Square, Vincent Carmody told me.

Now a trip down memory lane, memories evoked by photos of Leahy’s Corner.


Billy MacSweeney Remembers the Listowel of his Youth

“Ag dul siar ar m’aistear le solas mo chroí”

This corner of The Square is known locally as Leahy’s Corner. Billy MacSweeney remembers it well as it was when he was a boy growing up in Listowel

When I was a boy it was normal for the children of the town to wander throughout not only the countryside but also the town. I was an 
inveterate wanderer. Listowel was a very safe place to grow up – safe 
that is from everything but climbing and falling out of trees, falling 
into the river Feale when fishing or being poisoned by the things we dug 
up or picked from the hedgerows to eat. We also had to beware of the 
bull in Foley’s field along the banks of the river when heading for the 
‘Diving Board’, the ‘Rocks’ or the ‘Falls’ to enjoy the swimming. We 
accepted that if we did something wrong we were punished by a ‘clip 
around the ear’ from the nearest adult and this was accepted as right 
and proper by all other parents of the area. You learned never to 
complain at home because if you did another ‘clip’ was administered 
immediately by your parents. You thus learned right from wrong.   A real 
Huckleberry Finn existence!

We would ‘attach’ ourselves to adults when they were doing interesting 
things. In particular I remember Jack Leahy who lived at the corner of 
the ‘Big Square’. Jack had a horse and cart that he used to collect 
gravel from the banks of the Feale for local builders. He had to ford 
the river with the horse and cart to access the bends in the river where 
the gravel collected. I used jump up next to Jack and go with him on 
these adventures and he always had a spare shovel on board so that I 
could give a hand. What fascinated me in the evenings is that he would 
unhitch the horse from the cart in front of his shop and lead the horse 
through the front door at the side of the shop, through the hallway, 
into the stable at the back. I remember Jack as a caring and gentle man. 
Ar dheis De go raibh a anam or ‘ Ar ḋeis Dé go raiḃ a anam,  as it was then.


Cousins at a wedding

I met Junior Griffin at the hotel on the day after a family wedding. He was saying goodbye to his Sharry nephews, Michael and Paul.  Michael is based in Coventry and Paul is in Singapore. To my delight they revealed that they are fans of Listowel connection.

Griffins and Sharrys in Listowel Town Square on Sunday October15 2018


Listowel’s Fittest Family?

Roibeard Pierse and family are taking part in the TV Show Ireland’s Fittest Family.

All of Listowel is behind this brave young crew.


Winter Chills, Lyreacrompane, Sr. Aidan Quinlan, Sive at the Everyman and afternoon tea in The Arms


An International Award for Listowel Documentary Maker. A Poem of a Still Born baby

1 Comment

  1. SlimWallet

    Thanks , I feel famous now I’ve been in your blog !!
    Keep up the good work !

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