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: Ballylongford Page 1 of 4

You’re Banned

Photo; Éamon ÓMurchú in Mount Usher Gardens

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Some strange Bans

My source

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A Listowel ICA Play

A group of Listowel ICA members taking part in a drama sometime in the 1980s.

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Asdee Drama Group 1959

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Remember this shop?

Used to be on Church Street, Listowel

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Shannonside Annual 1958

Uh, oh!

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Epitaph

by Merrit Malloy

When I die
Give what’s left of me away
To children
And old men that wait to die.
And if you need to cry,
Cry for your brother
Walking the street beside you.
And when you need me,
Put your arms
Around anyone
And give them
What you need to give to me.

I want to leave you something,
Something better
Than words
Or sounds.

Look for me
In the people I’ve known
Or loved,
And if you cannot give me away,
At least let me live on your eyes
And not on your mind.

You can love me most
By letting
Hands touch hands,
By letting
Bodies touch bodies,
And by letting go
Of children
That need to be free.

Love doesn’t die,
People do.
So, when all that’s left of me
Is love,
Give me away.

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Brendan Kennelly Essay, The Plaza and Jim Halpin’s Memories

Portmagee; Photo by Armel Whyte on Facebook

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Showing Molly around

Molly was very lucky with the weather for her Kerry holiday. Here we are on the path by The Garden of Europe on a lovely Autumn day in 2021.

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Remember Bingo?

Hard to believe that it’s two years since the last Bingo session.

A sad legacy of Covid 19.

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From Shannonside Annual 1956

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Memories of a former Tenant

I included this photo on my blog last week and I also uploaded it to Facebook. There it evoked these happy memories from Jim Halpin.

David Carrolls; where I started my fishing and shooting business from when we moved from our house at the Dirha Cottages back in 1982. lovely Lady Betty Anne Marian Mc Auliffe and Bob Downey behind the counter backed up by Lisa , Kevin and Anne.

I always remember the 2nd last fleadh cheoil that came to Listowel, tents and pegs, sleeping bags, gas cleaned out the week before the event. I think we took more money that week than we would take in a month. The good old days. With the Cows Lawn black with tents there was never a spot of trouble. Great music and craic. Tim O Connor, our postman and we hiding Tim’s post bag trolly. Charlie the manaquin out side the door. Patrick John Jones from Glin [not his real name] who would come to town every Friday and depending on the uniform would arrive into the shop giving out about it.

Christmas, Halloween the big window display with kids having their eyes glued to it.

Great to see it being used again. Great job, well done folks. People would comment of how friendly the Carroll family were and it being a pleasure to shop there and how the family appreciated the business.

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Life’s a Beach, Love at Midnight, Indian Elections and Molly in Kerry

Evening on Portmarnock Beach in October 2021 Photo; Éamon ÓMurchú
Beautiful image of dawn on Béal Bán strand in October 2021..Photo; Éamon ÓMurchú

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Poignant Memory

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Elections in India….Two facts

The indian Electoral Commission ruled that, in the period after the vote when exit polls are banned, it was also against the law to predict election results using tarot cards or astrologers.

In 2019 Prime minister Narendra Modi’s party won the election. In an effort to appeal to more ascetic followers, Modi was photographed meditating in a cave.. It later turned out that the ‘cave’ was man made, supplied full breakfast, lunch and dinner to its occupants and came with its own phone line, electricity and a bell for summoning a servant.

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She’s Back

It’s two years since Molly has been to Listowel for a holiday. I had to introduce her to all the changes in town. She pretended interest.

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The Man with the Cap

From Shannonside Annual 1956

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Autumn and a Story about a Storyteller

Listowel Town Square in October 2021

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Conkers

They’re nearly ripe. These ones are in the Community Garden by the river.

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Poem about Listowel

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A Ballylongford Tale by Brendan Kennelly

from Shannonside Annual 1956

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A Lovely Memory of a Proud Kerry Man

Letter printed in The Irish Times, October 20 2021. The writer, Gerard Neville, comes from InchWest Listowel. He is now living and teaching in Littleton Thurles, Co Tipperary.

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A Good One

John B. Keane and Aengus Fanning, his friend and editor at The Irish Independent corresponded regularly. Here is an extract from one of John B.s letters.

Dear Aenghus

What father and son were beaten on the same day in Division One National League (football) in Kilkenny?

Kevin Cahalane was beaten by Maurice Fitzgerald in a scrap near the goals and his father was beaten by Alan Kennelly (Brendan’s brother) in a scrap in the stand.

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Radio Eireann, Ballybunion, Ball Alley Art and Brendan Kennelly R.I.P.

In Listowel Town Park, October 2021

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“Le Coinnle na nAingeal”

Last weekend two of Ireland’s literary giants passed away.

Máire Mhac an tSaoi had a very small poetic output compared to Brendan Kennelly. She also wrote exclusively in Irish which meant that her poems were accessible to a limited audience.

Her work is well known by school children who identify with the teenage angst of her poem of first love with a local boy “Mac feirmeora ó iarthar tíre”, she had a crush on during a summer in the Gaeltacht of West Kerry.

She wrote a lovely sad little poem, a picture of a parent putting on the first shoe, “seoidín den leathar” , a step to freedom or the first shackles.

Probably her best known poem, Cuireadh do Mhuire, is a Christmas classic.

Guím leaba i measc na naomh di.

……………………………………

Brendan Kennelly R.I.P. was a prolific, popular, well known and loved poet and academic.

Throughout his long life he “walked with kings but kept the common touch”.

He never forgot his Kerry roots. He loved his large Kerry family, his Kerry friends and Kerry landscapes and values.

This prince of the Kingdom was a very proud Ballylongford man but he had many many Listowel connections and it was in this little corner of the world he saw out his days surrounded by his loving, caring and very proud family. It is they who will most feel his loss. His brothers, his sister and all his family will miss him greatly.

I took these photos in 2015 at the unveiling of the bust to Brendan Kennelly in Ballylongford.

Colm Tóibín, Liz Dunn, Chair of Listowel Writers’ Week, Brendan Kennelly, and Richard Ford

This is 2017 when Brendan was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by Listowel Writers’ Week.

These photos were also taken in 2017 at Opening Night Listowel Writers’ Week. In it Brendan is chatting to Eileen Moylan of Claddagh Design who designed and crafted the beautiful award piece depicting scenes from his two home towns, Ballylongford and Dublin.

Éamon Ó Murchú & Brendan Kennelly (Photo taken many years ago)

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Today’s Incredible Fact

A Disney themed café in Birmingham was once closed down temporarily because a customer spotted a mouse.

The café is inside the world’s biggest Primark. It is famous for serving mouse shaped pancakes and there are posters of Mickey and Minnie all over the shop.

But when a real living mouse was spotted, it brought business to a sharp halt for a while.

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Listening to the Radio

Photo from Vanishing Ireland website

In Ireland in the 1950s the main source of inanimate entertainment was the radio. Many houses had a set like this. This is a PYE. Our one was a Phillips. I remember waking up to the sounds of O’Donnell Abú. This was the signature tune of Radio Eireann. We never listened to any other channel.

After The News we had sponsored programmes. These were short music or magazine programmes sponsored by big business e’g. ODearest Mattresses, Batchelors or The Irish Hospitals Sweepstake.

The Waltons programme on Saturdays ….”If you feel like singing, do sing an Irish song” and Dear Frankie’s “This problem may not be yours today but it could be someday” became phrases familiar to every Irishman.

Memories, memories!

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Making Turf

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Public Art in Ballybunion

Have you noticed that, as you walk around any town nowadays there is so much to delight the eye. I took these photos on a recent stroll around Ballybunion.

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In the Ball Alley

This is just one of the many lovely pictures in the ball alley now. It says home; doesn’t it?

Winter, summer, old, new, commercial and residential, Listowel in all its loveliness.

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