A Corner of The Square in 2022
The green area is the designated car parking spaces for electric cars while they are on charge.
Our Lidl store is going to get an upgrade. The shiny new store will be on the site of the old one so we’ll have to do without for a while.
Lidl have purchased the nearby derelict Dowd’s cottage. This will be demolished and that site will become part of the new superstore.
Alice Walsh shared this great old photo recently on Facebook. It was taken at Raceweek 1961 at the opening of Walsh’s Super Ballroom.
In the centre of the image surrounded by Mick Delahunty band members is a beloved visitor to Listowel Races, an eccentric tipster known as Prince Monolulu.
He wasn’t a prince and his name wasn’t Monolulu and he wasn’t an African chief as he claimed.
In Listowel in the 1950s and 60s a black man was a rare enough sight. A very tall black man dressed like an Ethiopian chief with a monstrous ostrich plume on his head and a lion’s tooth around his neck was bound to attract attention.
He was a regular on racetracks in Britain. When not at the races he was a “Lion tamer, fire eater, street dentist, preacher, tribal chief, boxer, prisoner of war, and entertainer.”
“He was married six times.”
When Spion Kop won the 1920 Derby at odds of 100-6 (about 16-1) Monolulu won a reputed £8,000 (worth around £400,000 in today’s money).
This was all part of the myth that surrounded this man. But like most “facts’ about this character we have to take everything with a pinch of salt.
Monolulu was American. He came to England and soon discovered that a life as a showman could be quite a good living in the early 20th century.
He plied his trade on racecourses until his death in 1965 on Valentine’s Day. The story goes that he choked on a strawberry cream from a box of Black Magic. Like everything else about him, this too sounds a tad implausible.
On his trips to Listowel he would visit The Island armed with a handful of sealed envelopes. “I got a horse to beat the favourite.,” was his cry. He sold you the tip sealed in an envelope and urged you not to share it so as not to upset the odds.
He must have been successful as he came back year after year. He was part of the colour that was Listowel Harvest Festival of Racing.
Another of Alice Walsh’s photos shows Monolulu on the stage.
Writers’ Week Committee 2012
Doesn’t feel like 10 years.
I took this photo of some of today’s Writers’ Week people at the launch of the Amateur Drama Exhibition in Kerry Writers’ Museum on May 7 2022.