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: Duagh Page 2 of 3

Lovely Listowel Memories

Listowel Town Square in November 2022

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Round the Block

A Poem by John Fitzgerald

Let us go then, you and I

Round the Block, beneath the sky

Like two prisoners on a street

Back in time when young boys meet

Past busy lanes, bustling shops

Penny sweets and summer shots

Munched in silence when alone

Thinking of those friends now gone.

Up William Street, left and right

Pubs, clothes shops will catch the eye

Smell of commerce everywhere

Traffic vying to get you there

Coffee shops and restaurants

Fancy names when hunger taunts

“Hot dinners” there once in vogue

Pizzas, burgers now to choose.

At the Sheriff’s, Charles Street

Corner boys a vantage keep

Swapping tales and street reviews

Up to date with daily news

Live the painters, the wood grainers

Eagle eyes, true colour changers

Cut stone houses there to see

I know you and you know me.

Leaving Charles Street for Forge Lane

Halfway Round the Block we’ve come

Blacksmiths two and cobblers one

Artists each and everyone 

Short the street but great the craft

Lineage of a class apart

As we head down to Church Street

Last leg of the Block we reach.

Linking Church Street to the Square

Young and old pass everywhere

Shopfronts of an older day

Proudly boast an ancient way

Harp and Lion in God we trust

“Spes in Deo” is put first

Latin, French and Irish mix

In bold relief, in plaster rich.

As we walk we talk a lot

Writers, stories priming thought

Bryan, the Master and John B.

Raise the bar for all to see

Characters, an endless list

Can lift mood at a twist

Each time ventured Round the Block

Transformed but no memory lost.

Threaded beads of incident

To be found in every sense

Raise your head, they put you down

That’s what happens in my town

Lower it and they raise you up

That is what is called support

As the bell strikes in the Square

Our walk is timed to finish there.

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Hollywood Memories

Charles McCarthy spotted this in the Towers Hotel

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Traditional Holly and Ivy Decorations

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Well Deserved Honour for Duagh Broadcaster

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Christmas is Coming

Christmas is coming

And the goose is getting fat.

Please put a penny in the old man’s hat.

If you haven’t got a penny a ha’penny will do.

If you haven’t got a ha’penny

God bless you.

November 16 2022

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Raceweek, Duagh and Mallow

Photo; Chris Grayson at St. Mary of the Angels, Beaufort

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St. Bridgid’s, Duagh

Beautifully detailed colourful window behind the high altar

The windows and stations of the cross were donated by local families and emigrants.

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Betty McGrath’s, September 2021

Few people loved race week as much as Betty McGrath. She loved the style, the excitement but most of all the days out with her beloved family and friends. This year, 2021, Betty’s daughter Grace has pulled out all the stops to dress a window that Betty would be proud of.

Sadly, Betty passed away before Raceweek 2021.

May her kind soul rest in peace.

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Clock Home, Mallow

Sept 2021

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Snámhaí Sásta

Friday Sept 10 2021 was International Suicide Awareness Day and this lady, June Curtin, is working hard to raise awareness of the tragedy that is suicide. .

June joined the Ballybunion Dippers sea swimming group in an event to highlight the therapeutic benefits of sea swimming.

The very well supported event was a huge success.

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Culture Weekend

Last weekend, Sept 17 to 19 2021 was a great weekend in town for it included an International Storytelling Festival, Poetry Town events and a free concert.

Oh and Listowel Races opened on Sunday too.

Friday evening was the opening night of the storytelling festival. Two very sketchy “nurses” were on hand to make sure Covid regulations were observed.

This storyteller is Colum Sandes and his story was graced with music and mimicry.

Maria Gillen was the bean an tí. She kept the show rolling, singing songs and telling stories.

Maria with Jimmy Deenihan who was dividing his time between the Poetry Town events and the storytelling.

Our own Frances Kennedy was one of the star turns. For me she also had the best line of the night. She said we were all so tired of Covid restrictions that “a straw would pull us out the door now”.

The audience loved Gabriel Fitzmaurice heart-warming anecdotes and poems.

On Sunday morning a crowd regrouped at Kerry Writers’ Museum for some very interesting story walks.

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Listowel Community Orchard

A beautiful spot down by the Feale is the community orchard. The pears are nearly ripe. The horse chestnut tree is laden with conkers. There are herbs galore for all to pick and use. It’s the perfect spot for a picnic.

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In Duagh

I like to call to Duagh church and grounds to reconnect with Fr. Pat Moore. He is still very much there in spirit.

“Somedays I just sits.”

I sat on the bench dedicated to Fr. Pat’s memory.

I sat and looked at the church where he ministered and the house and parish centre where he lived, worked and prayed.

On a sunny September day in 2021, it was a haven of peace and birdsong. Fr. Pat’s spirit is there among the people who loved him.

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Kitchener (1901)

A correspondent of Mr. T. P. O’Connor’s weekly writes as follows regarding the present Commander-in-Chief of the forces in South Africa.

Let me set you right about Lord Kitchener’s natal spot, regarding which I happen to know a good deal, having myself been born within a couple of miles of it. He was born at Gunsborough Cottage, which was lent to his father, Lieutenant-Colonel Kitchener, by the father of the well-known ci-devant Irish M. P., Mr. Peirce Mahony, of Kilmorna. Gunsborough is within three miles of Listowel, the capital of North Kerry. He was baptised at the little Protestant Church hard by now in ruins, I believe by the late Rev. Robert Sandes, a representative of the family of which the late Mr. George Sandes, of Grenville, Listowel, was a well known member. The Kitcheners subsequently went to live at Crotto House, which Colonel Kitchener afterwards sold to Mr. Thomas Beale Brown, a near relative of Sir Michael Hicks-Beach. The true history of the whole vexed question of the connection of the Kitchener family with Kerry was told during the late Soudan campaign in the columns of the Irish Times by Major Kiggell, of Cahnra, Glin, County Limerick, whose son, Major Lancelot Kiggell, is now on Lord Kitchener’s staff.

New Zealand Tablet, 25 July 1901, 

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Church Street Tattoo Shop

The tattoo shop has gone from pink to blue. It is probably more in keeping with the dark vibe coming from the shop.

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Getting in the Mood

Flavin’s window is getting us in the mood.

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Emigration and Returning

In Listowel Tidy Town’s herb and fruit garden

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A West Kerry Wake

Béal Bán by Éanon ÓMurchú

Snuff, tobacco, porter, port and tea…a great child’s account of a wake in the west Kerry Gaeltacht in the last century.

An Tórramh

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Duagh Priests…A Massive Contribution

Jer Kennelly has done Trojan work in documenting the worldwide contribution of North Kerry born priests. He has trawled through countless old newspaper obituaries in his search to see that these great men are not forgotten. I have been bringing you just some of the many life stories he has unearthed.

When I found myself in Duagh recently I took notice of all the priest’s burial places just to the left of the church. They tell a story of emigration and sacrifice and the global reach of a small village.

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The Castle Hotel, Ballybunion

Photo from Glin Historical Society on Facebook

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Carroll’s of Course

Carroll’s Hardware in The Square is being repainted. It is going back to a more heritage yellow colour and the sign writing by the master, Martin Chute, is clear crisp and traditional.

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Fair Days, Turf and Lovely Cluain Doire

Photo; Chris Grayson

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Bord na Mona in Kerry

“This is a tipper at Barna Bog, Co. Kerry. The caption states the photo was taken by Mr. E. Switzer in April 1948. However Barna didn’t officially start producing turf until 1950, so is it Barna or Lyrecrumpane? Switzer worked for BnM in the early days, he was reputed to have lost an eye in the first World War and the family had a shop in Grafton Street.” From Bord na Mona Living History.

This country has a long history with turf and peat harvesting. Bord na Mona have now pivoted into wind energy and sustainable living. Maybe in time all that history will be preserved and housed in a visitor attraction for future generations to see how we lived once.

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Cluain Doire in Cahirdown, Listowel

Cluain Doire, meaning Oak Meadows, is a beautifully landscaped small estate just off Cahirdown. All the trees that line the road into the estate are surrounded by colourful planting in circles around their bases.

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One Hundred Years Ago

Fair Days were very important one hundred years ago. The above notice is from the Cork Examiner and the following account is in the schools’ folklore collection

The fairs nearest to the people of locality are those at Abbeyfeale and Listowel. The buyers never transact business in the country. The only country fair which the old people can remember is Port fair. Port is the name of the townland and it is in the parish of Abbeyfeale. The fairs were held four times there. These are the dates; the second of May, the 15th of July, the 13th of October and the 15th of December. Cows horses, calves, and bonhams were sold there. There is a castle situated near where the fair used to be held. It is called Port castle and the ruins can still be seen.

The fairs held in Listowel are held in the street and in the square. A penny each is paid for pigs and sixpence for every cow.

When an animal is sold “luck” is given in money and is called “luck money”.

When a bargain is made the parties concerned show their agreement by hitting the animal on the back. When an animal is sold the halter is kept.

COLLECTOR

Séamus Ó Roileacháin

INFORMANT

Séafradh Ó Conchubhair

Address

Foildarrig, Co. Kerry

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Best Weekend of the summer so far

Glorious sunshine, crowded beach, amazing sunsets, Ballybunion was heavenly.

On Saturday June 17 2021 Ballybunion hosted its first triathlon. A huge willing band of volunteers, rescue services personnel and gardaí ensured that everything ran smoothly.

Thank you Lil MacSweeney and Carine Schweitzer for the photos.

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