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 10

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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In Kanturk

A Corner of Listowel Town Square

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Revival

Phot0; John Kelliher
Photo shared by Revival

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A New Business on Church Street

Opening shortly…a hairdresser’s, I’d say

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Lartigue Little Theatre remembered in Kerry Writers’ Museum

I remember the glory days of Danny Hannon’s little theatre. It is commemorated now in this little corner of Kerry Writers’ Museum. This building at No. 24 The Square is very near to where the theatre once operated.

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In Kanturk with Horses

My Kanturk family are horse mad, Well not all of them, my brother Pat and his daughter and my god daughter, Elizabeth. Their horse business is EPA and their horses official names are prefixed by these letters, standing for Elizabeth and Pat Ahern.

An invaluable member of the team is the superb international horsewoman, Felicity Ward. Felicity’s yard is a second home to Pat and Elizabeth. Felicity’s family are also part of the team. The horse below is not owned by EPA. This is Felicity’s star pupil, James O’Callaghan’s Cuba. This international partnership is in France at the moment.

On my recent visit to Kanturk I got to visit the yard and the Ward family. I was mightily impressed.

Felicity and Cuba

The stable at evening

Elizabeth Ahern and Chris Ward

Fred Ward, Pat Ahern, Felicity Ward, Elizabeth Ahern and Chris Ward in their working clothes on a summer evening in 2022. The horse is Murphy. He is in retirement.

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Heritage Week

This is Heritage Week and live events are back.

I participated in a great guided walk on Saturday. I’ll tell you all about it soon but in the meantime I dont want you to miss the following;

Bliain dár Saol (Listowel 1972)In 1972 Ireland and Listowel were in a state of flux. Ireland was about to enter the E.E.C. – the great European community that was to change all our lives. Listowel was in the midst of its own celebrations of community with Tops of the Town, the Fleadh Cheoil, Writers’ Week and the Wren Boys. Local documentary film maker, John Lynch and his collaborator, John Pierse realised that there was something here that deserved to be preserved and immortalised.

Fifty years on Kerry Writers’ Museum will screen the acclaimed documentary during National Heritage Week.  Narrated by legendary actor Eamon Keane, Bliain dár Saol is a masterpiece that celebrates a way of life and a sense of community that is uniquely Irish and uniquely Listowel.

Screenings will take place daily at 2 pm from Monday August 15th to Wednesday August 17th.  Attendance is limited to a maximum capacity of 30 people per day. Book in advance by emailing kerrywritersmuseum@gmail.comor calling us on 068 22212.

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Revival is Revived

In a Field in Kanturk

The lovely Woody

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They’ll be dancing in the streets

The Square Listowel is the place to be this weekend.

Important notice for mass goers…

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Athea in the 1950s

Not that much has changed.

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Jostle stones at an old Gate

In Kildare Town I saw this old sign on a gate. the penalty for leaving this gate open sounded very steep at forty shillings

On either side of the gate were these jostle stones.

Jostle stones were concrete or stone bollards whose purpose was to protect the walls from damage by nudging the carriage wheels into the centre of the path.

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A Fact

In 1492 Pope Innocent VIII drank the blood of three young donors, thinking it would prevent ageing. He died shortly after.

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GAA and More

Listowel Courthouse and Library in July 2022

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Planning Your Weekend?

Two local festivals are back in full swing next weekend. Here are the details.

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The GAA is all about Family

Pic: Kerry GAA Fans Facebook page

There are some families that are steeped in GAA lore. Football is in the DNA of OSés, Griffins, Cliffords etc etc. But Pat Spillane’s farewell speech has to be the most poignant reminder of how much winning an All Ireland medal can mean even to families who have biscuit tins full of them under beds.

“My father never saw us play. The three sons have 19 All-Ireland medals and his two grandsons today, Killian and Adrian, have two more. He would have been a proud man, 21 senior All-Ireland football medals brought in to his house. It’s just a special day. A special day.”

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Stephen Fernane in this week’s Kerryman tells us why he also remembers his father on Ireland final day.

Photo; BBC Sport

Ogie Clifford in the Sam Maguire cup with his father, David, and his uncle, Paudie in Croke Park on Sunday, July 24 2022.

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Summers Past

“…Oh, for the touch of a vanished hand,

Or the sound of a voice that is still….”

This lovely photo is from The Irish Examiner archive. It was taken in a meadow in Wilton in Cork but it could be anywhere in Ireland in the 1950s and 60s.

I remember the gallon of tea and the sandwiches wrapped in waxed paper from a sliced pan.

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Obituary to a Man who Kept Lartigue History Safe

by David Kissane for The Ballydonoghue Parish Magazine

The Ballydonoghue Parish Magazine was saddened by the death recently of one of its original members, Mick Barry of Ballingown. Mick was an advertisement for mental and physical vigour, with a curious mind and a challenging nature.Well into his 90s, he had a long and interesting life, spent mostly on his farm in Ballingown where his father had passed away when Mick was quite young.

He was well rooted in his own townland and parish, and knew every inch and every person in the locality. He fulfilled many roles in his long lifetime, from farmer to enginerer to mechanic to historian to taxi driver to husband to father to grandfather to philosopher to much more.

He was a fear iol-dánach, a man for all seasons of human life. He was a valued companion of his friend John B Keane, a writer who valued the Kerryness of Mick. Mick contributed this Kerryness to his work with Listowel Writers Week and the Ballydonoghue Parish Magazine. His creativity was displayed on many occasions in his membership of the latter, creating the concept of the photo-story where he took an old photo and generated an article about the people in it, the time it was taken and the latent emotive potential around it. In times of doubt and division at a meeting, he could unentangle the algebra of issues and cast light on the possible road ahead.

An hour spent in Mick’s company always became three hours as he had the ability and nous to draw one into the fresh pastures of his tales, memories and histories. He was also, of course a humorous man and a rogue when it suited! A twinkle in his eye at the start of a story meant that his listener was going nowhere fast.

He was inspired by many things in the parish around him, not least the sulphur green and the bottle green and the lime green and the sea green of the Hill that looked down on him sometimes under a cobalt blue sky. He had the sunny side of that Hill as his first vista every morning, drawing a deep energising breath as he indulged his eyes over its raw and changing face for over 90 years. It was under that Hill that he recreated a section of the Lartigue Train to relive the Lartigue experience of the late 1800s and early 1900s, to the amazement and delight of neighbours like Páidín Roche and Joe Kennelly.

To see Mick in the company of his late wife Sheila at a meeting or on a night out was to experience a team of two who worked well together. They added a colour and texture to many a Lisselton night. Together they rinsed the mundane from many a flat ordinary occasion and rendered it special with a half smile, a knowing nod or a ripened word.

The BPM offers its sincere sympathy to the Barry family.

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1991

Listowel Castle, June 2022

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Great weekend in The Tinteán

Nathan Carter rocked Ballybunion on Friday and Saturday nights June 1 and 2 2022

Photo: Facebook

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The Black Valley

Lovely photos of an unspoiled part of The Kingdom shared online by Michael Rodgers.

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Pres Secondary School staff 1991

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Last few from Writers Week 2022

A few photos from early June 2022

Alice and Mary

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