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: Listowel Writers Week Page 1 of 11

Vote for Ard Chúram

David Kissane’s picture of The Hill in Lacca, Lisselton in May 2024

Tim McCrohan’s Visit

Tim McCrohan visited Listowel on his honeymoon in 1983 and he got a Céad Mile Fáilte from Dr. Johnny Walsh.

He writes;

Hello Mary, 

Yes…so THANKFUL you were able to forward my message on to her (Eleanor). As I previously wrote, when we visited Listowel to search for some family gravesites during our honeymoon back in 1983, we met with Dr. Walsh (who had cared for my uncle when he resided at a local nursing home in 1955.) Because we were in the U.S. and had no other family there to bury him when he passed, my dad had sent Dr. Walsh monies to bury his uncle after he passed away in 1955. My dad had never been able to visit the town where his own father was born, so when we honeymooned in Ireland, we took a day trip to see if we could locate the gravesite or even the Dr who took care of my uncle.  It was a long shot, as the last contact our family had with the Dr was almost 30 years previous. To our surprise, we did locate Dr. Walsh’s office who, when we introduced ourselves, closed his practice and took us around the town. (I share my uncle’s (who he cared for and buried) same name (Timothy McCrohan), so he immediately recognized it when I introduced myself.)  During the visit throughout the town, he said our family home was at 15 Main Street. They would have lived there in the late 1850s/1870s. At the time of our visit, it was then the DJ Larkin Building, next to the Spinning Wheel Restaurant.  He also took us by the Kennedy Nursing Home (or what was formerly known as, “Greenlawn” Nursing home back in the late 1940’s/1950’s.) which was owned/operated by Dr. Walsh. According to his daughter, Eleanor (Walsh) Belcher, (who we subsequently connected with via your site) he set up the nursing home in 1948.  She would, on occasion, visit there with him when she was a young girl, so she felt it was likely she may have even met my uncle during one of those visits when he resided there in 1955. I’ve attached a few pics of our visit back then of the Kennedy Nursing Home (Church Street), Dr. John Walsh’s office (26, The Square) and the DJ Larkin Building (15 Main Street) (upper loft would have been our family’s residence back in the 1850/60’s). As I previously relayed to you, Dr. Walsh knew exactly where my uncle had been laid to rest (because he took care of the entire burial for our family) so he took us to see it.  What a wonderful surprise it was to meet Dr. Walsh, visit my Uncle’s gravesite, and to see and learn about the town of Listowel.  We were so grateful! 

I’ve been thoroughly enjoying reading all the various blogs from your site, which gives me great insight to the town my family was from. 

Thank you again!

(Another McCrohan story tomorrow)

Forget Bilocation. You’ll need Trilocation

There is so much on in Listowel on the June Holiday Weekend 2024 that visitors will be spoilt for choice.

Of course there is The Races.

Then this;

St. John’s has a packed programme of events for young and old.

And, of course, Writers’ Week

Your Vital Vote

AIB is giving away big money to local charities all over Ireland. Charities get a one off chance to apply so it is important that we pull out all the stops to get them as much as we can on the first (and only) time of asking.

Ard Churam is a vital local service, keeping our valued older people cared for. Because many of the older people who use the service were born before the digital age, it is really important that we, who are more tech savvy, get them this sorely needed cash.

The charity number is really important. The name of the charity, Ard Churam is in Irish so be careful auto correct doesn’t change it to Are Charm.

Registered Charity Number| 20068417

Here is the link:

Ard Churam

Very Proud Nana

This is Cora in her Munster kit for her trip to The Aviva in Dublin for the All Ireland final of the schools’ soccer 5’s on Wednesday.

Last week she won Sciath na Scol camogie with her school, Gaelscoil Uí Riordáin.

A Fact

Mount Everest sank one inch due to the 2015 earthquake in Nepal.

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Signs and Wonders

Red Sky at Night, taken from my front door

Wrong in so many Ways

This is Mick Wallace’s lone poster in a town where every other candidate has respected the agreement to keep Listowel free of posters.

The poster is big and the image is sinister looking. It arrogantly presumes that everyone will recognise the surname.

This particular corner of town has a lovely little wildflower bed.

There amidst the poppies, the daisies and the marsh marigolds is this.

I have recently visited Ballincollig where they don’t have a no postering agreement and every possible vantage point is polluted with images of candidates.

Cora under one of the poles on Carriganarra Road. Every pole has two, three or even four posters.

An Old Sign

This old sign was shared on a Newmarket Memories Group on Facebook. The distances measured in miles and half miles are a throwback to another era.

Local People lead Great Free Walking Tours at Writers’ Week 2024

More from Monday’s Schools’ Show

The talent on the stage at the two Listowel themed concerts on Monday, May 20 2024 was exceptional and heart warming.

Here are just a few of the talented artists from the participating schools.

These girls introduced the show and set the tone for a spectacular variety of entertainment.

It was lovely to hear the young people singing all the local songs. This young girl gave us a superb rendition of Bryan MacMahon’s My Silver River Feale.

These are just a few of the many talented singers who regaled us.

A Fact

“Lucy Lockett lost her pocket

Kitty Fisher found it….”

How could someone lose her pocket?

Answer; In the 17th and 18th century, a pocket was actually a piece of material fashioned into a pouch that ladies wore tied with cords around their waists. These ‘pockets’ were accessed through slits in skirts and petticoats. Because they carried everything in them, the strings sometimes came undone and the pocket was mislaid.

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Sticks and Stones-and Teabags

Three Cornered Leek, May 2024

Gabhlóg

If you’ve ever wondered what the gabhlóg in Baile Gabhlóg (Ballygologue) was. Here is your answer from Folklore.ie

Gabhlóg/Gabhaileog – A Forked Stick

Here’s another little Irish word still found in the rural speech of many older people in Wexford (and other counties too). It’s a handy little thing called a gabhlóg/gabhaileog which would be used for holding down briars when cutting them with a billhook or also used to prop up a clothes line. Pronounced ‘goulyogue’ I once heard a story of it being used by a man to describe a PYE TV. He didn’t know the brand of the TV but remembered it was a P, a “Gabhlóg’ and an E. 

I heard it used in other counties too and the image here is of my nighbour Ken Hemmingway showing me this one day. Interesting to point out, here in Wexford many of these old Gaelic words are found right across the rural communities, native Gaelic, Anglo-Normans and Plantation families and everything in between. In fact I find many of the 16th/17th century Plantation families hung onto these old words and sayings more than their Gaelic neighbours. Just an observation as sometimes you get purists with notions about language and who “owns it” and I always like to knock them on their head a bit. Great little word.

Text: Michael Fortune

Remembering Seán McCarthy

Remember Christian and her Ph.D on Thade ‘s hen. Well back home in the U.S Christan is looking through the treasures she bought on her recent trip to Ireland. This is one such gem.

She photographed the reference to Listowel for us.

Seán MacCarthy’s song is included.

You have to Laugh

Mary McAulliffe shared this one on Facebook. I know he is running as an independent but surely someone would have told him before he put them up.

The Marathon

A Fact

A New York tea merchant invented the tea bag …by accident. His name was Thomas Sullivan (Irish? Don’t know)

This is how it came about.

Thomas sent tea samples to his customers in little silk bags. His customers thought that they were to immerse bag and all into the pot to make the tea. When Sullivan heard this, smart boy that he was, he realised he was on to something. He replaced the silk with the cheaper gauze and went into commercial production of teabags in the 1920s. They didn’t become really popular until the 1950s.

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An Aviator and a Dunce

Bridge Road

The Dandy Lodge

November 2023

Martin Chute’s mural on the gable of the Pitch and Putt clubhouse

Wrong Way Corrigan

From the Capuchin archive

Douglas ‘Wrong Way’ Corrigan, Dublin, 1938

An image of Douglas Corrigan (1907-1995) at a reception in Dublin on 24 July 1938. As noted in the original caption, Corrigan (left) is shown with James Montgomery (1870-1943) who was the Irish film censor from 1923 to 1940.

Corrigan was a pioneering American aviator who earned the nickname ‘Wrong Way’ after ‘accidentally’ flying across the Atlantic when his original intention was to fly a cross-country route from New York to California. He took off from Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn on 17 July 1938 and bizarrely landed on 18 July at Baldonnel Aerodrome in County Dublin after flying for just over twenty-eight hours. His first reported words after stepping off his plane in Dublin were ‘Just got in from New York. Where am I?’ His only provisions were two chocolate bars, two boxes of fig bars, and a small quantity of water.

In the aftermath of his adventure, Corrigan became something of a celebrity with a ticker-tape parade on his return to New York, a meeting with President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the White House, a Hollywood movie about his life and a best-selling book.

Corrigan insisted that his accidental flight was caused by navigational error and a malfunctioning compass, but almost immediately suggestions were made that it was always his intention to undertake the risky transatlantic crossing. Corrigan was a skilled aviation engineer and experienced pilot who had previously worked on Charles Lindbergh’s aircraft in advance of his first solo nonstop transatlantic flight in May 1927. Despite claims to the contrary, never once in public did Corrigan budge from his story that this historic flight was purely accidental.

The photograph forms part of a file of press images assembled by the editors of ‘The Capuchin Annual’.

The Thomas McAuliffe Window in St. Mary’s

A picture of this generous man from Vincent Carmody’s Snapshots of an Irish Market Town.

(Note to self…If you’re looking for information on any Listowel business from 1850 to 1950, Vincent’s books have a lot more information than Google.)

Christmas in Abbeyfeale

The book gives no clue to the identity of the author. Maybe someone knows Shane?

And the Winner is…..

Listowel Writers’ Week sponsor the prize for best poem at the A Post Irish book awards. An established and very well regarded poet, Mary O’Donnell won for this poem called Vectors in Kabul.

Confession here…I have only a vague idea of what it’s about. Once it gets into the nitty gritty of Maths I’m lost but I think it is a very clever poem.

The irony for me is that, while it is about educating girls in Taliban controlled Kabul, it is also about this Western educated woman failing to understand mathematical concepts but understanding freedom only too well.

A Fact

This is what Christmas was like in rural Ireland in the 1950s and 60s.

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Loving Listowel Library

Market Street in August 2023

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I Love the Library

When I was a child of primary school age I discovered the public library. All through my growing up years summer was for reading. I lived about 2 miles outside the town. I often cycled to and from town twice in a day to exchange my library books. I read all of Enid Blyton, Patricia Lynch, Canon Sheehan and later Georgette Heyer and Agatha Christie.

Now I live within a stone’a throw of the library. Living my childhood dream!

Unlike my childhood one, Listowel Library is a marvellous place. It has books, magazines and papers, local study section, computers and puzzles.

AND it has this marvellous mystery box where people leave their old books for you to pick up for free and you could literally find a treasure there.

I found this rare, long out of date book there. It is Listowel’s Mick McCarthy’s account of his time labouring in London. If Mick writes even half as well as his brother, Seán, this will be brilliant. I can’t wait!

Thank you to the donor and to Listowel Library.

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Main Street, Listowel

Lynch’s Corner where Main Street joins William Street/Sráid an Phiarsaigh

Who are Tim and Sue and where are they now? The date looks like 19?? There’s a story there if we only had a sleuth to find it.

Main Street, like so many other Listowel streets has 2 names. Unlike most it has 2 different Irish versions of its English name, Main Street.

And still local people call it The Small Square

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Resilience in Verse

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Today’s Fact

There is an old English word called trumpery.

The meaning of trumpery is;

Trumpery comes from the Old French tromperie, with its root of tromper, “to deceive.” Definitions of trumpery. ornamental objects of no great value. synonyms: falderol, folderal, frill, gimcrack, gimcrackery, nonsense.

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