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 3

1959 Donkey Derby

Sunrise on Galway Bay by Éamon ÓMurchú

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Donkey Derbies

Donkeys in Race Week 1959

I saved the following poem years ago. Unfortunately I never noted the name of the poet. If you wrote it or you know who did, will you let me know and I’ll credit them.

Listowel Donkey Derby 1959

The weather being fine, being fifty nine and the races drawing nigh

To win the donkey derby sure our hopes were very high.

So we called on all the donkeys that might win cup or bowl

And we started preparations for the derby in Listowel.

The donkeys came in dozens, some were fast and some were slow,

But sure that’s the way you’ll find them no matter where you go

But we put them through their paces and we raced them past the pole

And twas all in preparation for the derby in Listowel.

We had Nixes grey and Driscolls bay, she showed a little blemish

John Joe brought our camera in case of a photo finish

When Lady Barney won the second race, Dan Riordan scratched his pole

And t’was all in preparation for the derby in Listowel.

Nedeen Buckley came with Sad Dust and Nellies Morning Dew

This was a kind of challenge race and t’was left between the two

Then Margaret came on Forge Road Lad, He’s the sire of a foal

And t’was all in preparation for the derby in Listowel.

When Shanahan’s Stamps came winning home, the crowd they gave a roar

They heard it back in Coolagown and down through Ennismore

Bob Stack got so excited, he ran up the winning pole

And t’was all in preparation for the derby in Listowel.

Scortlea’s Hope when going well, won many a thrilling race

He ran his best to half a length and that was no disgrace

But when Casey down from Dromerin,  said he couldn’t run with goats

Sure his feeding was substandard, it was small Kilarda oats.

When Phil arrived on Gurtinard Lad,  Sean’s donkey gave a wink

He started like a bullet and gave him no time to think

Our jockeys rode like professionals both fearless and bold

And there’s one thing I can vouch for; a race was never sold.

The crowd grew larger every night, they came from far and near

Elsey , Kit and Minnie came the winners home to cheer

We had Bertha , Paul and Bridie, sure they played their usual role

And t’was all in preparation for the derby in Listowel.

Eileen came with Kathleen and Bridge came running fast

Sure Mary nearly broke her neck in case she might be last

Ginette was there from London oh my heart she nearly stole

And t’was all in preparation for the Derby in Listowel.

So then when the fun was over and we picked our chosen few

We raced them down Church Street where we met our Waterloo

But such is life, there is always strife in trying to reach your goal

Still our hopes are high for another try at the derby in Listowel.

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Ferry at Rest

Breda Ferris took this photo of the Tarbert ferry. This is what she wrote about it when she posted it on Facebook;

‘Shannon Breeze’ Ferry leaves Tarbert and sails to Kilimer without any passengers. It is a terrific service when you consider the cost of doing this. Wonder should they have a booking service only during winter. Would surely save some money

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John Lawlor’s Tragic Death in 1921

(From Glin Historical Society)

Kerrys fight for Freedom 

John Lawlor was born on May 3rd 1903. His father was Listowel’s parish clerk and the family lived in Convent street. He was a member of the Irish Volunteers and at the time of his death was studying for the priesthood.

In November 1920 John’s father refused to ring the bells of Listowel church to mark armistice day and he was subsequently threatened and lived in fear of the RIC and Black and Tans.

A month later John was home on holiday from his clerical studies from All Hallows College, Dublin. On New year’s Eve as he was going to church he was accosted by a group of Black and Tans on William Street and brutally assaulted. This unprovoked attack was in response to his father’s refusal to comply with the request to commemorate Armistice Day. 

John Lawlor died from his injuries on New Year’s Day was was buried in Listowel cemetery. He was 17 years old.

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Ballydonoghue Bardic Festival 2022

BBF 2022, our local bardic festival will take place this year

– March 24th to 27th.

The committee are currently making plans today for workshops.

Closing date for entries to the writing competitions is February 28 2022.

For full details of the festival click on this link.

Ballydonoghue Bardic Festival 2022

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Christmas is coming

Mike the Pies, Upper William Street, Listowel in November 2021

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A Street with Four Names

As well as Main Street, An Príomhsráid and Sráid Mhór this area of town is also known as The Small Square.

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It’s Nearly December

so I’m allowed to start including Christmassy things.

This essay is by a Cork writer, Declan Hassett in his book, All our Yesterdays.

(Apologies for the repetition. I’m getting used to this snipping. Apologies as well for the blue background. No idea!)

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A Christmas shop window display

When it comes to decorating, Danny Russell is in his element. His window this year is impressive, as always.

Naughty or nice?

The old tradition was that children had to be “good for goodness sake’ or Santa would leave them a lump of coal instead of a present at Christmas.

Danny is keeping the tradition alive, just adding to coal’s bad press these days.

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Lovely to have a child in the house for the Toy Show

….even if the child is way too young to have a clue what’s going on.

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One for the Diary

A note from John Murphy about tonight’s programme

That radio doc Fergal (Keane) and I were working on will be broadcast on Radio 4 next Tuesday at 5pm (repeat on Dec 5th at 17:30).

Also to be found here afterwards: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m00120wz

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Just a Thought

My reflections in the Just a Thought slot on Radio Kerry for last week are at this link

Just a Thought

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Ballybunion, Pres. Basketball and 1970 Fleadh Committee

Illumination by Michael O’Connor

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From an Old Pres. Album

I can see a few faces I definitely know. Please help me to name them all.

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Poem from a Local Poet

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Concluding the Bryan MacMahon article from Shannonside Annual 1956

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Fleadh Cheoil Committee 1970

Betty Stack has given us all the names for this old photo. Thank you, Betty.

Front Row: Mairead Walsh, Eamon Hartnett, Jackie Walsh, Michael Dowling, Geraldine Hartnett, Joan Curtin, Maria O’Gorman
Middle Row:
Pat McAuliffe, Michael Stack, T. Dillon, Maureen Nolan, Betty Stack, Patricia Cronin, Helen Leahy, Peggy Gleeson, Patsy Kennedy, Jack Molyneaux, Christy Stack
Back Row: Ben Landy, PJ Kirby, ? , Mossie Molyneaux, Timmy Brosnan, Sean Broderick, Ian Nugent, Paul Nolan, Vincent O’Sullivan, Joe Gleeson, Peter O’Sullivan

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Anseo, The Races and Blacksmithing

Howth photographed by Éamon ÓMurchú

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Anseo

Anseo is an initiative by Kerry County Council and others to help the entertainment industry and to bring a bit of entertainment to our streets that have been so quiet for so long.

This is the scene at the Anseo concert in Listowel on Saturday Sept 18 2021.

Afternoon Show 1.00 – 3.30pm

Eoghan Duignan, John Browne & Brendan O’Sullivan 

Tim O’ Shea & Afro Trad Ireland 

Liam O’Connor & Family 

Evening Show 6.00 – 8.30pm

Seamus Begley & Donogh Hennessy 

Sephira 

Peter Staunton and Super Ceili 

This is the line up. As you can see it features the best musicians and brilliant music. So why was the venue almost empty?

Answer; People didn’t know about it.

“I would have been there if I’d known,” is what I am hearing on every side since.

I know the First Communion was on and the storytelling festival but maybe it should have been part of the craic for these events.

These four ladies couldn’t resist breaking into a set.

I’m told that the evening concert was sold out.

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After the Races

A poem for the week that’s in it.

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At the Storytelling Festival

The O’Connor family from Cork with local storyteller, Godfrey Coppinger at the international Storytelling Festival at Kerry Writers Museum on Sept 19 2021

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Ladies Day, Sept 24 2021 at Listowel Races

I missed the Races this year but my friend deputised for me and took a some photos for you. Here are a few of Bridget O’Connor’s photos from Friday.

Chloe Daly and Graham
Patricia Collins
Celia Holman Lee and Orla Diffley
Lisa Griffin and her daughter
Claire, Elaine and Katsy with Elaine’s baby at her first Harvest Festival of Racing

(more tomorrow)

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Ballylongford Blacksmithing Festival

I was in Ballylongford on Saturday September 25 2021 for this very new , very different festival. The blacksmiths looked nothing like blacksmiths I remember from my childhood and their open air forges were fuelled by gas.

These smiths were not farriers but decorative workers in molten metal. I saw no leather aprons and face shields here and there seemed to be a certain kind of hippy style to these modern day smiths. They made beautiful things and it was great to see them at work.

I will have more photos for you during the week.

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Ladies’ Day at Listowel Races

Friday was always a day I loved to be on The Island. Sadly I won’t be there this year. So I’m going to relive happier times before we ever heard of Covid.

I am going to bring you a few photos of local people enjoying themselves in Septembers past.

Bishop Ray Browne came one year in the company of a some members of our parish council.

Collette and Seamus Stack are regulars at the races.

Simon and Lilly O’Flynn

Helen Kenny, Joan Kenny and Helen’s sister, Maisie

Sarah and Monica Quille with Madeleine O’Sullivan and Eilish Wren

Billy and Ursula O’Conor with Judy and Owen MacMahon

Maura Carmody and family

Noelle Hegarty and Bridie O’Rourke

Joan and Orla O’Connor

My friends John and Bridget O’Connor

Eileen Worts and Joe Broderick

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Sights I hope to see again in September 2022

Pat Power and his marionettes outside Footprints

Traveller children in The Feale calling “Throw me down something.”

Race cards will cost a bit more than €3

Youngsters dressed up to the nines doing what youngsters do.

My friends Maria and Anne and maybe even a man with a daft hat.

Famous people like Jerry Hannon and Dáithí ÓSé

Interesting headwear

More famous people

Vintage Day.

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