Church Street, Listowel, May 2021


In The Magic Hour

On June 18 2021, Listowel’s handball alley will come to life again with a projected interpretive dance display and interview session at dusk, 9.30p.m..

For many it will bring back the old days and the magic of the handball competitions that were the lifeblood of this place.

Here are some more of Junior Griffin’s memories.

In the days when there were 240 old pence to the pound, we would secure and old penny in some way.

After early morning mass on Sunday we would pay a visit to a lovely lady, Mrs Dowling. She lived about a mile or so out in Woodford and she had an orchard. She would sell us 8 or 10 apples for our penny and we would get back to the alley as fast as possible to sell the apples. The aim was to make four old pence. Anything more than that was a bonus and would ensure the price of the apples for the following Sunday.

When the magical four pence was made, our hearts were aglow. It meant 2 pence for the Sunday matinee and 2 pence worth of Cleeve’s slab toffee “in the fist”.

For the 2 pence 4 squares of slab toffee was purchased from Miss Eily Sheehy (sister of Frank Sheehy) of Upper Church Street. She had a little cutter for the purpose and cut off 4 squares in one piece.

Off we went across the road to the Plaza for the film. We used to break the toffee into four pieces by banging it off the metal chair legs. Inevitably some pieces of toffee would fall to the floor. The word hygiene was not in our vocabulary at that time. A quick wipe off the short pants and into the mouth as soon as possible. Our week was made. we really wanted nothing else….

Hear Junior tell this story in his own words and listen to Charlie Nolan relive the good old days in the recordings made by Coiscéim as part of this project.

In Your Own Words

By chance I passed by the ball alley on my walk on Saturday and there was a sight that would gladden Junior’s heart. A lovely lad who told me his name is Ethan Tritschler was practising badminton.

Remember the name. He looked to me like a very promising young player.


The Carnival

Do you remember when we used to have carnival? they were a highlight of the urban Ireland summer social calendar. This one was in Kanturk in 1956 but everywhere had them, complete with Carnival Queen and ladies in waiting.


Hannah Mulvihill, An Exceptional Lady

Hannah with me at the launch of my book, A Minute of Your Time in St. John’s in 2019

Hannah Mulvihill

Hannah Mulvihill has been volunteering with St. Vincent de Paul, Listowel Conference since 2004. Hannah worked at Imperial Stag for 31 years. She was made redundant when the company went into liquidation. For the first time in her life she had time on her hands. 

She was shopping one day in Super Valu when she was approached by Betty Quille. She said that Hannah’s name had been mentioned at a recent meeting of St. Vincent de Paul as someone who may like to volunteer. She attended the weekly meeting the very next week and she joined straight away. She became involved in the St. Vincent de Paul shop on William Street and she has made many friends there over the years.

Hannah has seen many changes in SVP over the past years. Last year, 2020,  has been the most challenging. She is glad that the Meals on Wheels service continued uninterrupted. Two ladies, Val and Martina, who work part-time  prepare and cook the lunches and have them ready to be delivered by a team of very dedicated volunteers. Hannah is very thankful to this dedicated group who worked continuously throughout the pandemic.

The shop on Upper William Street, unfortunately, had to close but is thankfully now re-opened. It has a large stock of lovely clothes, shoes, accessories, bags, bedding, pictures, jewellery. and much more. Much of the stock is new or good as new. It would be well worth anyone’s while to drop in and maybe bag yourself a bargain.

Hannah comes from a family of ten. She is well used to putting a shoulder to the wheel. Growing up in the forties and fifties was difficult. Hannah went to London after her Inter Cert. There she hoped to get a job and so ease the burden for her parents. She travelled to London with her aunt who was returning after a trip home. She lived with her aunt until she got married.

Her first Monday in London, Hannah was at home on her own and decided to set  off and explore her new surroundings. She came upon a branch of Barclays Bank and decided to go in to enquire about applying for a job. They were most helpful. They didn’t have an application form but they promised to ask head office to send her one. The form arrived. Hannah filled it in and sent it back by return post. She was called for interview and was successful. She was offered training. After her training she went to work in Barclay’s Wimbledon Hill branch. Hannah also worked at Kenco Coffee Company for a few years. She met her husband, Martin at a dance in The Hibernian Club, Fulham, Broadway and they were married in 1966. They came back to Listowel in 1973.

Hannah and Martin have one daughter, three grandchildren and two great grandsons in Canada.


Best Listowel News of the Weekend

Picture tells its own story on June 12 2021. Photo credit: Listowel Pitch and Putt Club