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

Category: Ballylongford Page 2 of 5

Getting Back to Normal

Chris Grayson in The Gap of Dunloe


What’s in a Name

This Damien Stack, pictured in The Kerryman, is the much travelled man who has visited 193 different countries and has left reviews of 176 of them on Tripadviser.

I wrote about him last week and many people thought that the man referred to was the better known locally, Damien Stack, proprietor of The Arcade. I felt, myself, that it wasn’t our Damien. I thought it was another namesake, Damien Stack, the sports journalist.

Who knew that there was a third famous Damien Stack, the man of the moment?



Tralee, last week had all the flags out to welcome teams and supporters to the weekend games.


Something to look forward to

A Message from the good folk at Ballylongford Mill

We’ve been busy preparing for our first event for 2022 at the Mill, the Irish Traditional Trades Fair on the weekend of 30-31 July.

This will be a much expanded version of our Blacksmithing Fair from last year, there’s been an amazing response and so far there are 33 different traditional trades and craftspeople who are either confirmed or interested in attending.
It’ll be a family friendly weekend with old fashioned fairground games for the kids, there will be talks and demonstrations by the exhibitors, food and entertainment and lots of traditional crafts for sale. 

It’s going to be quite a unique event, there’s no other event in Ireland that brings so many different traditional trades and crafts together in one place, and we’re hoping it will bring several thousand people into the village over the weekend.  
In addition, there’s an amazing folk band called the Black Irish Band coming over from the States for the weekend to play in the Mill and at the Fair who are seriously very, very good.

It will be the first of an ongoing annual event that will help to put Bally on the map as a 

a place that runs interesting, historical themed events, and start getting visitors back into the village.

We’ve just set up a Facebook page for the Trades Fair, this is the link for anyone who wants to like and follow the page, which would be very much appreciated, and there will be regular updates on both pages as the event draws nearer.


A 1915 Chancer

Dave O’Sullivan found us this gem.


You’re Banned

Photo; Éamon ÓMurchú in Mount Usher Gardens


Some strange Bans

My source


A Listowel ICA Play

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


Asdee Drama Group 1959


Remember this shop?

Used to be on Church Street, Listowel


Shannonside Annual 1958

Uh, oh!



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.


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

Portmagee; Photo by Armel Whyte on Facebook


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.


Remember Bingo?

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

A sad legacy of Covid 19.


From Shannonside Annual 1956


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.


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


Poignant Memory


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.


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.


The Man with the Cap

From Shannonside Annual 1956


Autumn and a Story about a Storyteller

Listowel Town Square in October 2021



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


Poem about Listowel


A Ballylongford Tale by Brendan Kennelly

from Shannonside Annual 1956


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.


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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