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: Festivals Page 1 of 11

Remembering Neodata

Feale Monument, Listowel Town Square in November 2022

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Remember Neodata?

This is a photo taken before the demolition of the prefab.

Neodata was long gone by then.

In 2016 Liz Galvin sent us this photo of Neodata staff. It brought back happy memories for many then. I hope it will again.

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Poem of the Year

Catherine, Martin, Simone and Paula in Dublin for An Post Irish Book Awards on November 23 2022.

Listowel Writers’ Week sponsors the poetry competition at this event.

These were the very talented short listed poets.

……and the winner i………s Martina Dalton.

Here is her poem. (By the way, it was the one I voted for.)

POEM: WEDDING DRESS

Scalloped leaves entrap a sprig of white

Forget-me-not.

Silk-wound stems repeat themselves

like vows, around a missing throat.

Hexagons of net, like they’ve been honed

by microscopic bees.

A circle smudged in pink,

where confetti must have caught.

Trapped forever in the past.

Where the bodice meets the skirt,

a row of tiny beads join hands.

Lace stretched to bursting round a heart.

A row of sixteen satin covered discs,

miss their counterparts, wait eagerly

to slip each lined up loop.

Pronovias of Barcelona, stitched in gold.

Double edged the snow white hem,

stained now, where it hit the floor.

The buttons at the cuff

never needing to be opened,

so small my hands had been.

A satin band now torn,

where I wound it tightly round my wrist

for our first dance.

Held up to the light, the net in pleats

forms ghostly ribs, delicate

against the plain white cotton of my bed.

Like it’s being lifted from a photograph

I hold it by its shoulders.

Fold it from the outside in.

White pencilled squiggles gather messy

on the floor. Each wrinkle of the train,

like tip of tide on sand.

Perfume, catches in my throat.

The overwhelming scent,

of Celebration, Love in white,

Faded rose.

Published – Irish Independent/New Irish Writing – 30th July 2022

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Christmas Times

I never heard of that custom. According to Tomás O Murchadh it was observed across the border in Abbeyfeale.

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Big Day for Listowel Gardaí

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Another Christmas Craft Fair

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Then and Now

2016
2022

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Welcome the Greenway

At the Curragh; Photo by Éamon ÓMurchú

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Colourful Restoration

At every stage of the loving restoration of this building, its facade offers us a new aspect to the Church Street streetscape. This premises has been looking neglected for many years. I predict it will be one of the most beautiful shopfronts on the street when it is finished. Thank you everyone involved.

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The News is Out

All over town.

Signs have appeared alerting us all to our new amenity, The long awaited Greenway.

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Writers Week 1973

Matt Mooney sent me this brochure from Writers Week 1973

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Nadd, Co Cork

A rare sight nowadays! I was only too glad to wait as this Fresian crossing took me back a good few years.

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More Sustainable Fashion

Listowel Town Square

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Listowel Tidy Towns’ Sustainable Fashion Event 2022

This event encourages men and women to upcycle and reuse old clothes and accessories.

Unfortunately the men were much more reluctant than the ladies to enter the competition even though a few I saw on the course were sporting clothes that had seen better days

The winner of the competition was a veteran of these competitions and dressed up especially for the occasion.

The winner was Sean Donoghue and the reason he is hugging the judge is because he is well known to her from dressing up competitions.

Any men reading this who may be thinking of coming to the Races on Saturday 2023, start sorting out a vintage outfit. There is a prize of €300 for the taking and there are fabulous goody bags sponsored by local shops, for the finalists. If this year is anything to go by, to enter is to be a finalist.

This snappy dresser was the runner up.

These are all the finalists.

If there was a prize for the most stylish young lady, Maire Enright would have got my vote. This young lady told me she loves to buy clothes in the second hand shop, New2You. It was there she got her dress and her gorgeous fascinator. If she keeps up this good practice, and I think she will, she’ll be winning that 300 euros yet.

When you’re putting together your vintage outfit the shoes and accessories are all part of the look.

Lady’s fan repurposed from a Barbie doll’s dress.

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Listowel Harvest Festival of Racing

It’s a generational thing.

Paud Fitzmaurice was the second in three generations of the Fitzmaurice family to hold the position of Race company accountant.

He followed in the footsteps of his late father David. His son, David succeeded him.

This generation’s David, (aka Classy) pictured at Listowel Races 2022, on the seat that commemorates his late father.

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A Poem for the Season

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Great News from my friends in the Save our Cinema campaign

Here is the latest update;

First the bad news. KCC rejected our submission under the Town & Village Renewal Scheme 2022 to fund a new cinema, military museum and associated community cafe in Listowel. It was not a total surprise even though a lot of work was put into the 25 page proposal including a face-to-face meeting with the Municipal District Officer in Listowel and multiple conversations with the helpful admin people in the Community Department in Tralee. The rejection came in the form of a cursory letter at the end of July.

The Good News. While the above was ongoing a very generous benefactor got in touch and to make a long story short they have pledged €200k (yes, €200 000) with the option of a further €200k subject to some conditions for a new cinema auditorium in the town.

This clearly is huge news and changes everything and it has been difficult to contain our excitement during the fabulous summer we’ve just had. The starting point is that any new cinema has to equal or ideally surpass what one gets a home. So no mouldy carpets, seats not much better that one gets on a budget airline, dank toilets and indifferent customer service. Instead the bar has been set to compare with the 3 screen, 112 seat Electric Cinema in the old television building at White City in London with its comfy and luxurious armchairs (pictured below).

Friends of Listowel Cinema are currently looking at two options on the back of this amazing proposition. One, an existing building in the town and secondly a green field site outside of Listowel. Needless to say both options will have to go through the full planning process and so the timeframe is lengthy unfortunately.

We promise to keep you updated though where appropriate. In the meantime heartfelt thanks to everyone on here for their continued support and on the other social media accounts and in person. We will continue to share exciting movie and cinema news with you every week and in particular now that we are in late autumn after the Races and facing into an uncertain winter.

This Fall also marks the first time in 35 years that the big screen will not light up in Listowel and the end of 25 years of Kieran’s beloved film club. Last but not least the €2 920 that was raised on the GoFundMe campaign will be gifted to the 3 named charities in the coming weeks. The delay is simply because the Classic Movieplex is still for sale on the auctioneers web site and no ‘Sale Agreed’ has yet appeared on the building despite being told to the contrary in early June.

Onwards and upwards.

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Landlords and Shopkeepers

Tawny Owl…Photo: Jim McSweeney

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St. Mary’s, Listowel

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Relic of the Trinity College Estates

Photo and text from Martin Moore on Facebook

This thatched house at Acres was formerly owned by Trinity College, Dublin, who were granted extensive lands in north Kerry in the 17th century .Trinity College were granted extensive lands in north Kerry after the 9 Years War (1594-1603). Most of this was in the Ballylongford/Tarbert areas, but they held lands in Clanmaurice too.

At the same time as the College was granted the lands, there was a transplantation of Gaelic families from Laois & Offaly and it was then that that the Moores, Lawlors, Dowlings, Kellys (etc) came to north Kerry. This suggests that north Kerry had by then been devastated and the local population decimated. In a later transplanting into the area, many families from Clare arrived and you get the Carmodys, Finucanes, McMahons etc.

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Mrs. Crowley, ice cream and a snake

An extract from Keane’s Kingdom in Saturday’s IrishIndependent

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Building Works in Sept 2022

I took these photos in town on Sept 13 2022

Dowlings Bar in The Square
The Ivy Clinic, The Square
Mulvihill’s on Church Street
Old Pharmacy on Church Street

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Getting Ready for The Races

Holidays

In the time honoured tradition of Listowel people, I’m closing for business for Race week. I intend going to The Island and having a break (I’ll bring the camera.)

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Something old, Something New

The Square, Listowel in August 2022

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Brother and Horses

In Bettyville, Kanturk

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Weight Gain

Here is a laugh for today’s young people. Once upon a time, not a hundred years ago for I remember it well, you had to pay to weigh yourself. Scales like these stood in the pharmacy and you put a penny in the slot to operate the weighing scales.

People didn’t have bathroom scales. Many people didn’t have bathrooms. These scales offered a public service. This one appeared recently in a post in my Kanturk Memories group. It stood not in a pharmacy but in a diner style café. The owners , the O’Sullivan family, had returned from the USA and had brought all kinds of new ideas to Kanturk. Their café had banquette seating in booths just like in the movies, it had a juke box and this weighing scales.

When we went to the city; Cork, we loved to weigh ourselves in Woolworths because their scales gave you a little card with your weight on it. Would we want it now?

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Time Flies

These two young men walking with their Nana in Gurtinard last weekend are the same two boys I snapped on Church Street on a visit to Nana in another lifetime. They are Killian and Sean Cogan from Cork. I am the Nana.

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It was Roses, Roses all the way

Our girl is off on her tour around the country and by all accounts, she is wowing them wherever she goes.

I put my money where my mouth is but by the time I got there Edaein was already installed as the favourite. 😍 🤩 🥳

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Revival, the Reunion

It used to be the Races, now it’s Revival. One visitor described Friday evening at Revival as 1000 people in a carpark standing and chatting with old friends and 500 people upfront attending a concert.

Among the former were Seán, Valeria, Richard and Elaine.

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It’s still Heritage Week 2022

You’ve got two more chances to see Bliain dar Saol in Kerry Writers Museum. It’s on today, Tuesday Aug. 16 2022 and Wednesday Aug. 17 2022. Both showings are at 2.30 pm.

I snapped these two local heroes yesterday August 15 2022 on their way to mass.

John Lynch has preserved lots and lots of Listowel memories on film. He made Bliain dar Saol in collaboration with John Pierse. It records a year in Listowel fifty years ago.

Pat Walsh served us well in McKenna’s for years. He was also one of the men who worked so hard to keep the Pitch and Putt course in perfect condition.

Men like these are the salt of the earth.

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