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Category: Ballybunion Page 1 of 21


Just like that they’re 18.

Was it not yesterday my boyeens were on their Kerry holidays, making memories with their Nana.

Making pancakes in Kerry on a bygone Shrove Tuesday

Sean and Killian on a trip to Kennedy’s Pat Farm, always a highlight of holidays in Kerry.

Tempus Fugit!

Tomorrow is St. Brigit’s Day

Photo: Moss Joe Browne…St. Brigid’s well in Knapogue Ballyduff.

According to Ballyduff Past and Present on Facebook, this well is known as Tobar a Leighis and is the only holy well in Kerry dedicated to St. Brigid. The saint visited there when she was in Kerry. The water from this well is thought to heal the mind as well as the body.

St. Brigid’s window in St. John’s Tralee

St. Brigid window in Ballybunion

O’Connell’s Avenue Neighbours

Facebook threw up this memory, a Maria Sham photograph of her old neighbours which she shared with us in 2016.

A False “Fact”…Sorry!

Image source; Barn owl from Wikipedia

When a retired eye surgeon tells me that my fact about owl’s eyes is incorrect, I have to sit up and pay attention.

Firstly let me tell you where I sourced the fact. I heard it on Countdown. It wasn’t from Susie Dent who is often the source of word related facts but from Colin Murray who was celebrating some kind of Things you never Knew day. I actually thought it was a bit strange so I googled it.

“You know how we (humans) have eyeballs? Well, owls don’t. They have eye tubes or cylinders, rod-shaped eyes that do not move in their sockets as eyeballs do. Instead, owls have to move their bodies or heads in order to look around.”

So I felt safe enough until I heard from a real expert. Patrick Corridan, formerly of The Square knows a thing or two about eyes. He has just retired after a long career as an eye surgeon in the UK. Here is what he says…

“Just a small point about the owl. He does have eyeballs. Quite big ones in fact but he doesn’t have the muscles around his eyes to move them like humans can. Hence the big neck rotation ability.”

In fairness I think we are all on the same page here. The owl’s eyes do not have moving eyeballs like you or me. They have what looks like an eyeball but is in fact a completely different seeing mechanism.

In fairness to Patrick, he didn’t write just to contradict my fact. He wrote a lovely complimentary comment, which is much appreciated.

Today’s Fact

A cat can make up to 100 vocal sounds. I think I heard half of them last night when some local moggies were on the prowl.

Feral cats make less sounds than domesticated ones, which suggests that pet cats have adapted their purrs, hisses, growls and meows to make their feelings clearer to us.


After the Frost

Market Street in January 2024

A Rescue Dog

Cork Cogan’s rescue dog, Reggie, out for a frosty walk in Ballincollig last week.


Young people will have no idea what these are. Mending threads were to be found in every house once upon a time. These were for mending stockings.

Mending stockings!

Deserted Playground in January

From the Archives

Kerry Sentinel Wednesday, 19 June, 1895

BALLYBUNION. Important AUCTION of Licensed/House Property. Situated at BALLYBUNION, TO BE SOLD AT THE Listowel Arms, Hotel, On TUESDAY, 25th JUNE, INST., At the hour of ONE O’Clock.

MES. ELLEN KENNELLY, Market Street, Listowel, has instructed Subscribers to put up and Sell by Public Auction us above, her Right, Title and Interest in the TWO LICENSED HOUSES, situate in the Main Street, Ballybunion, in as large and ample a manner as same is held by Lease from and under George Hewson, Esq., for a term of 999 years from the 29th of September, 1883, at the small Yearly Ground Rent of £6 15s. The frontage to the public street is 54feet, keeping the same width from front to rere for 86 feet.


The above valuable property consists of Two Large, Roomy, Licensed Houses, situate in the main street of the Town, both let to most respectable tenants, who keep the property in first-class repair and condition, and pay their rents satisfactorily. The are tenancies are yearly. Mr. Shortis  Annual Rent (payable half-yearly), .£26- 0 -0. Mr. Scanlon’s Annual Rent (pay 1st every month), … £20- 0 -0

The business situation of the premises cannot be excelled. The Tenants have most attractive houses, do a thriving business, and entertain lodgers during the Summer months, having already made good business connections, and have large interest in their holdings.

Ballybunion, as a seaside resort, is progressing rapidly. During the season the principle complaint is scarcity of Lodges, and every other year suitable buildings are rising to meet the requirements of the many who resort this well-known and appreciated health resort. The Lartigue Railway System has done wonders for its progress, in connection as it is, with the Limerick and Kerry Line at Listowel in 40 minutes.

The Houses and Premises will be put up for Auction singly.  in the first instance, each subject to half existing ground rent, £3 -7s. 6d., the vendor reserving the right to sell both in ONE LOT, should the biddings for the entire exceed those offered for the Two Lots, separately. For further particulars and conditions of sale apply to MRS. ELLEN KENNELLY, Market Street, Listowel; MESSRS. JONAS BLACKALL & SONS, Solicitors, 93, George St., Limerick; or to McELLIGOTT & SONS, Auctioneers, Listowel.

A Fact

The founders of the Mattel toy company named two dolls after their children…Barbie and Ken.


An Emmet and an emmet

Mary Dowling’s photo of a mirror image of a Whooper Swan along a frozen section of the river Feale.

An emmett and an Emmet

Kerryman photo of an Emmet. The football club, Listowel Emmets, is named after Robert Emmet.

Bold Robert Emmett

Song by Wolfe Tones

The struggle is over, the boys are defeated
Old Ireland surrounded by sadness and gloom
Oh, we were defeated and shamefuI I y treated
And I, Robert Emmet, awaiting my doom

Bold Robert Emmet, the darling of Erin
Bold Robert Emmet will die with a smile
Farewell, companions both loyal and daring
I lay down my life for the Emerald Isle

Oh, hung, drawn and quartered
Sure that was me sentence
But soon I will show them, no coward am I
My crime is the love of the
Land I was born in
A hero I’ve lived and a hero I’ll die

My barque lay at anchor, awaiting to take me
Far over the billows to a land of the free
I must see my sweetheart I
Know she will cheer me
And with her I will sail far over the sea

Oh, bold Robert Emmet, the darling of Erin
Bold Robert Emmet will die with a smile
Farewell, companions both loyal and daring
I lay down my life for the Emerald Isle

Oh, I was arrested and cast into prison
And tried as a traitor, a rebel, a spy
But no-one can call me a knave or a coward
A hero I’ve lived and a hero I’ll die

Goodbye to old Ireland
Me parents and sweethearts
Companions in arms, to forget you must try
I am proud of the honour, ’twas only my duty
A hero I’ve lived and a hero I’ll die.

Mick O’Callaghan contacted me after the Emmett/ Emmet discourse. It would appear that it is all not at all clearcut and the spellings Emmett and Emmet are interchangeable.

We used to call this fellow a pismire.

There is a restaurant in New York called Emmetts.

The Listowel football club is definitely Emmets.

A Poem

Found this in Listowel Library

A Sad Story from the Archives

Kerry Weekly Reporter Saturday, 06 August, 1904


Yesterday while a number of visitors to Ballybunion were bathing a Dublin gentleman was drowned. A boat put off to the rescue, but was capsized and the occupants were in danger of being drowned also. The Rev. C. E. Fry, (Protestant Minister), and his son put , off in a boat to their rescue. Mr. Fry and his son were also thrown out of their boat, but were provided with life belts, and after considerable  difficulty and with great gallantry succeeded in rescuing those in danger. Great excitement prevailed. Heavy seas were running at the time, and a tragedy was averted by the pluck Of Mr. Fry and his son.


The name of the drowned man is John Mullins, a merchant tailor, who came to Listowel to assist John Kennelly in his business. Both went bathing, and Mullins was swept off his feet and carried off. John Coughlan and John Galvin were with Rev . Mr. Fry and his son in the boat.  District Inspector Horrigan , Captain H. McElligott. and Sergeant Oates were also engaged in the work of rescue.

A Fact

The eruption of Krakatoa in 1883 was the loudest sound in recorded history. It was heard 4,800 km away.


It was the Best of Times: It was the worst of Times

There’s winning and there’s learning.

Yesterday was a learning day for Listowel Emmetts.

St. Patrick’s, Arva; o.13

Listowel Emmetts; 0.10

Eason Listowel showing their support for their former work colleague ahead of yesterday’s match.

Changes on Upper Church Street

Refurbishment work is underway these days at the old ESB shop.

From the Archives

From this newspaper article it would appear that people could apply for a contract to maintain a stretch of road or a bridge and they would be paid for the work.

Tralee Mercury Wednesday, 03 February, 1836


1 Daniel Madden and Timothy Carr, for repairing the bridge of the Commons on that part of the road from the sea at Ballybunion to Ballylongford, on the lands of the Commons, contracted for by James Leonard, securities, Thomas Lynch and Denis Harty.

2 John Foley and John Casey, for rebuilding the bridge of Bromore, on the road from the Cashion Ferry to Tarbert, on the townland of Bromore, contracted for by James Leonard, securities Thomas Lynch and Denis Harty.

3 Same for repairing the bridge of Lisloughtin, on the road from Ballylongford to Tarbert, on the townland of Lisloughtin, contracted for by John Casey, securities John Foley and Richard Kissane,

4 Garrett Stack and Michael Mulvahil, for repairing 331 perches of the road from the sea at Ballybunion to Ballylongford and Tarbert, between Garrett Stack’s house at Tullihinel and the old cross road at the bog of Ahanagran,  contracted for by John Finnerty, securities John Fenoughty and Michael Grady at 6s per.

5 John Fitzmaurice and James Kissane, for repairing 191 perches of the road from the Cashion Ferry to Ballylongford and Listowel, between the bridge of Gortagurrane and the bridge of Moybella,

Contracted for by John Fitzmaurice, securities James Kissane and James Kissane, at 5d. per.

6 Wm. Sweeny and Patrick Breen. for repairing 436 perches of, the road from the Cashion Ferry to Ballylongford and Listowel, between the Cashion Ferry and the bridge of Gurtagurrane, contracted for  by Patrick Breen, securities Eyre M. Stack, and Thomas Stack, at 6s per, £130-16-0.

7 Daniel Madden and Timothy Carr, for repairing 330 perches of the road from the sea at Ballybunion to Ballylongford, between the bridge of Ahafona and the cross of Lyre, contracted for by Daniel Madden, securities Wm. Collins and Michael Kissane, at.3s 9d ….

8 William Connor, for keeping in repair 1716 perches of the road from Listowel, to the Sea at Ballybunion between the Cross of Scortleigh and the Bridge of Ballylouglin, his half years salary. ….

 9 Dennis Golden, for keeping in repair 1593 perches of the road from Ballylongford to Abbeyfeale between the cross of Leitrim and the cross of Gortaglanna, his half years salary

10 James M’Elligott, for keeping in repair 725 perches of the road from Ballylongford to the Harbour of  Carrigafoyle between the cross of Ballylongford and the West Bounds of Carrigafoyle, his half years salary.

Teampall Bán

Photos by John Pierse R.I.P.

The Men That Don’t Fit In


There’s a race of men that don’t fit in,

    A race that can’t stay still;

So they break the hearts of kith and kin,

    And they roam the world at will.

They range the field and they rove the flood,

    And they climb the mountain’s crest;

Theirs is the curse of the gypsy blood,

    And they don’t know how to rest.

If they just went straight they might go far;

    They are strong and brave and true;

But they’re always tired of the things that are,

    And they want the strange and new.

They say: “Could I find my proper groove,

    What a deep mark I would make!”

So they chop and change, and each fresh move

    Is only a fresh mistake. 

And each forgets, as he strips and runs

    With a brilliant, fitful pace,

It’s the steady, quiet, plodding ones

    Who win in the lifelong race.

And each forgets that his youth has fled,

    Forgets that his prime is past,

Till he stands one day, with a hope that’s dead,

    In the glare of the truth at last. 

He has failed, he has failed; he has missed his chance;

    He has just done things by half.

Life’s been a jolly good joke on him,

    And now is the time to laugh.

Ha, ha! He is one of the Legion Lost;

    He was never meant to win;

He’s a rolling stone, and it’s bred in the bone;

    He’s a man who won’t fit in.

Little Known Fact

David Clifford, football maestro, is a lovely singer.

His party piece is The Night Visiting Song


Dan Keane, Poet

Ballybunion, Sunday October 22 2023


Old Telephone Exchange


Seeking a Listowel Connection

A request for help from Tom Gould in the US…

Hello Mary!

I hope you may be able to point me in the right direction.

My wife , who is a Delaney, had a grandfather born in 1895 in Listowel
by the name of Jeremiah Brandon. He left for the US , we believe,
somewhere between 1912-1918 ( ? )  and ended up in the New York/New
Jersey area/ He died July 1958.

We are making a trek to Ireland in July 2024 . My wife Noreen would
love to find to see if there are any relatives of Jeremiah still in
the area of Listowel.

If you have any great thoughts , or can point me in the direction of
any databases that may help us track down any relatives, we will be
most grateful.



A Much Loved Local Poet

Dan Keane R.I.P. was a great scholar and preserver of local lore and stories. Here is the foreword Bryan MacMahon wrote for Dan’s book The Heather is Purple.


Emmets Abú

Flags, bunting and this window display at Scully’s Corner, all telling the world that next weekend is a big one for Listowel Emmets…

Sunday 29th October throw in 2pm Austin Stack Park for the County Final.


A Fact

Fleas can jump more than 200 times their body length and can accelerate 50 times faster than a space shuttle.

(I waited until after our French travels were over for that one.)


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