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 listowelconnection@gmail.com

Category: Ballybunion Page 1 of 8

St. Ita

Ballybunion Golf Course January 16 2022; Photo; Catherine Moylan

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I don’t know much about this photo except that Bryan MacMahon and John B. Keane and others are on the back of Stuart Stack’s truck. Any help with identifying the others and telling us when where and why this photo was taken would be great.

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Local Lore and Legend

Newmarket man, Raymond O’Sullivan is a great man for local lore. Here is his Facebook post about St. Ita.

St. Ita, the patron saint of Killeedy and Co. Limerick, is also called ‘The Foster Mother of the Saints of Ireland’. Among her many illustrious foster children was none other than St. Brendan, the Navigator, who was brought to Killeedy when he was one year old and stayed until he was six.Her çult remains strong in the hill country along the Cork, Kerry, Limerick borderlands. One unusual feature of the cult is letting the Christmas decorations up until after her feastday on the 15th of January. Not sure if it is out of laziness or devotion to her that I continue to observe this custom. Probably a bit of both. We got married on her feastday, and, when unsure of the anniversary date over the years, a discreet inquiry about St. Ita’s ‘pattern’ got me out of many a potentially perilous situation.

Shrine to St Ita in Killeedy, Co. Limerick

Stained glass window of St. Ita in The Oratory in Gougane Barra

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Your Help Sought

I am trying to trace any (relatives) or people that may know of/ be related to my Grandfather, John Sylvester Horan.

My hubby is doing my family tree My mum, ( who died in 1990) was orphaned when she was 9 yrs. She told me that she was led to believe her father was a bigamist but, I have found through ancestry that he was in fact a widower when he left for Liverpool. I only know that his 1st wife was called Sarah.

John was born in 1886 in Listowel. I know this is a massive long shot, but maybe someone may know something.

Thank you so much, Patricia Jones…South Wales x

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Telling Stories

This little piggy….

Aoife and I had great old chats on her recent visit. I can’t wait to share all the family secrets with her.

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The one who came back to say thanks

John O’Leary contacted Listowel Connection to thank his former teacher in Rossmacowen Primary School, Miss Enright of Bridge Road. He remembered her with gratitude. We tracked down the Sheila Enright in question and John’s gratitude and kind words will be conveyed to her.

This is from John’s latest letter;

Hi Mary,

I can not  thank you enough for all your time and effort in tracing my primary school teacher, Sheila. I moved into the fourth class as Sheila arrived at our school. Sheila was kind and always showed interest in your progress, caring, taking time to explain the subject, never telling you off. It was a time of learning. The classroom was always welcoming with displays and all the flowers on the window board and on her desk. There was the open fire with all the bottles of drinks for lunch time, as from Oct to March we all brought a sod of turf for the fire and at lunch time we went up through the fields to collect wood for the fire. My last years in primary school were so memorable. Thanks to Sheila or, as we would say, Miss Enright.

John

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Danny Hannon R.I.P.

Ballybunion photo by Sharon of Simple Snaps by Sharon

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Golf in Wartime

Ger Greaney found this one and posted it on Facebook.

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Our Very Own Penny Black

A story from the 1983 Presentation Schools’ Magazine

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+ Danny Hannon R.I.P.+

A Power is passing from the earth
To breathless Nature’s dark abyss;
But when the Mighty pass away
What is it more than this,


That Man, who is from God sent forth,
Doth yet again to God return?—
Such ebb and flow must ever be;
Then wherefore should we mourn?

We will not see the like of Danny Hannon again. We are so lucky that we did see not only his like but we saw the man himself.

Danny was a Colossus of the Arts. He was top and tail of artistic Listowel.

1957

The most important person in Danny’s life was his dear dear wife, Eileen. They were inseparable.

Danny and Eileen in 2018, a picture of enduring love

Danny and Eileen were great supporters of local enterprises. Here they are with Noreen O’Connell in Craftshop na Mear.

Meeting the Hannon family on the street was always a treat.

Danny was always happy in the company of his friends. Whether in The Listowel Arms or Lynch’s, Danny loved to hold court.

This is the last photo I took of Danny Hannon. In the midst of a pandemic he had ventured from his home the short walk to the church.

Danny loved to travel. In his lifetime he travelled the world with his Lartigue Players.

In his declining years, when his health had deteriorated, Danny had everything he needed within easy reach of his home in The Square.

Danny left his mark on many many aspects of Listowel life. He was a builder, an auctioneer and a bookseller as well as a founder of The Lartigue Little Theatre, a founder of the George Fitzmaurice Appreciation Society, Listowel Writers’ Week’s first artistic director, supporter of St. John’s, Kerry Writers’ Museum and everything to do with Kerry writing and drama.

Danny with some of his Lartigue friends

Danny in his happy place, at his home in The Square with his beloved family on the occasion of his lifetime achievement award from Listowel Writers Week.

Danny’s funeral mass was celebrated in St. Mary’s Listowel on January 19 2022. We had songs from his beloved Listowel Folk Group who gave him his greatest triumph in John B. after Ten, poetry, prayers and laughter. The chief celebrant was Danny’s old schoolfellow and lifelong friend, Fr. Seamus Linnane.

Danny Hannon gave the eulogy at John B. Keane’s funeral. Fittingly Billy Keane returned the favour at Danny’s. He turned St. Mary’s into a theatre and the congregation into an audience. There were memories, anecdotes and even some audience participation as Danny was applauded off the stage in his beloved Listowel Town Square for the final time on January 19 2022.

May the sod rest lightly on his gentle soul.

John Kelliher’s footage of the funeral as it made its way through the streets of his beloved Listowel is at

Funeral of Danny Hannon

Listowel laid a favourite son to rest in the winter sunshine of Wednesday, January 19 2022.

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Then and Now

Ballybunion; Photograph by Sharon of Simple Snaps by Sharon

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Relocating

Purtill Solicitors has relocated from The Square to Church Street

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1983

In 1983 the secondary school was extending its footprint. another extension is planned soon.

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The Land

by John McGrath

I stand in fields where my forefathers stood once

And feel the dreams of those who’ve gone before me.

I tramp through damp and half-remembered pastures,

The folds and features of the land that bore me

All around.  Above the sound of lark’s song,

Below the spring of earth beneath my feet,

The green and gold of April in the hedgerow,

The purple haze where sky and heather meet.

Where mighty men have thought to mark their passing

The furze creeps back to mock the spade and plough,

Those futile epitaphs of generations

In Folk Museums condemned to moulder now.

Where men have raised a fence or tilled a furrow

The land, as if to scorn their simple gains,

Erases each proud trace until tomorrow.

The men have gone; the land alone remains.

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A Timely Song

Here we come a wassailing

Among the leaves so green

Here we come a wassailing, so fair to be seen…..

So what exactly is wassailing?

  • Singing and drinking, usually associated with Christmas time.
  • Going around orchards at the beginning of a new year, blessing the trees and praying for a fruitful year.
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Listowel Technical School Hurling and Football teams back in the day.

The late Tom Galvin posted this photo on Facebook and Marie Shine supplied some of the names;

Back row, left, 2nd – Tim Hartnett.Ennismore, 6th: Danny Fealey, Ballygologue Road.

2nd Row left: Now Garda Tim Reidy, Lixnaw, 3rd: Roger Connor (Mike The Pies), 5th: Billy Walsh Greenville 7th: Gerry Carey Convent Street 10th: Michael Nagle, Ballybunion Front Row: Right of Tod Nolan (RIP): ? Costello Ballybunion.

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Young Scientists in 1983

Ballybunion; Photo by Simple Snaps by Sharon

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Plough Monday

I bought a great book in Woulfe’s before Christmas. Its an old fashioned Almanac full of wisdom and folk information.

I bet you never heard of Plough Monday. Traditionally it is the first Monday after The Epiphany. this year that was January 10th. It is called Plough Monday because it was the beginning of the agricultural year.

The first tillage task is ploughing.

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New Indian Restaurant

This is the next iteration of this Indian eatery. It seems to change hands often but if you love Indian food you’ll be glad you still have a takeaway to get your fix from in Listowel

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In 1983

Another story from Presentation School Magazine.

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A Poem of Love and Loss

(John McGrath in After Closing)

Missing You

(For James McGrath)

The sheep of Donegal are missing you today.

They bleat your name on rocky hillsides.

The echo of their voices on the Wild Atlantic

resounds all the way to Clifden where

the gulls cry, So do we! So do we!

In Killorglin, a wild goat ruminates

on words you shared in a bright room,

as we looked out on a jagged mountain

that came and went and reappeared

in a magical mist, as light and dark as time. 

Here in Lisselton, sun and rain beat down

on Cnoc an Óir and on the apple trees.

Swallows dart and dive and write your name

against the slate-grey skies.  They miss you too

and we cry, So do we! So do we!

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Changes

Ballybunion Photo by Simple Snaps by Sharon

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A Change in the Weather

Jean Byrne has quietly slipped from our screens. She retired in October 2021 according to a story in RSVP.

“Jean, from Tarbert in Co Kerry, had become a household name since first appearing on our TV screens in 1996.

She became famous for her daring style with her often eye catching outfits causing a storm online.

She also became a firm favourite with viewers after appearing on Celebrity Home of the year in 2019.”

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Confirmation Day 1960

Kathy Reynolds has been in touch to tell us that she has uploaded another tranche of precious old photographs.

This album is called North Kerry People, Episode 4 and it features Confirmation Day in Ballybunion in 1960. The photos were taken by the late Tony Fitzmaurice

Kathy says “By 1963 (maybe) but definitely 1966 children were confirmed in Ballydonoghue Church as I was confirmed there, Ballydonoghue having separated from Ballybunion Parish and got it’s own PP. However I have just learnt that Ballydonoghue lost it’s PP in 2021 and he will not be replaced so it will once again be reliant on priests from surrounding parishes. I wonder if confirmations will once again be held in Ballybunion.”

If you recognise someone in the photos will you contact Kathy , kathymreynolds@icloud.com . She is anxious to put names to the people in the photos.

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Listowel Is Changing

On Friday January 14 2021, I met Andy Smith who was in town overseeing the big changes that are afoot.

The Square will soon see the installation of a series of canopies. These will be permanent structures covering an area that will be used for outdoor dining and performance. This will be the new normal as we embrace our outdoor lifestyle.

This is Bridge Road. The pavement is on the left, the next section will be a cycleway.

I took this photo in the old Neodata site where it is all systems go to join up this new cycleway with the Greenway.

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Presentation School Magazine 1983

In 1983 the school magazine was produced by the secondary and primary schools. I remember the event described here well.

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A Brilliant Teacher Remembered

John O’Leary has been in touch. Here is a part of his email;

Hi Mary,

My name is John O’Leary. For so many years I have been trying to 
find a person who would get me in contact with a relation of a teacher 
who taught me back 1959 in the Beara peninsula. Her name was Sheila 
Enright from Old Bridge Road Listowel, a brilliant teacher.

If you can help John please get in touch.

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