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

Category: Listowel Writers Week Page 2 of 8


Listowel Castle, June 2022


Great weekend in The Tinteán

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

Photo: Facebook


The Black Valley

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


Pres Secondary School staff 1991


Last few from Writers Week 2022

A few photos from early June 2022

Alice and Mary


Plaza Cinema

Bridge to Listowel Racecourse over flooded Feale in June 2022


William or Patrick?

William Street, Listowel, in Irish is rendered as Sráid and Phiarsaigh, just one of many street naming puzzles in Listowel.


Plaza Cinema

Here are the rest of the great old film posters that Norma O’Connor sent us.

If any one has a story relating to any of these films, we’d love to hear it. First date maybe, disastrous date or the best night of your life.

Norma sent us the schedule for some of these films in The Plaza, Church Street, Listowel.

The Law and Order with Ronald Reagan showed on 3/06/1956

A girl in every port – 6/09/1954

Lost in Alaska – 13/02/1955

Run for Cover – 06/11/1956

The Virgin Queen – 19/11/1956

Suddenly – 27/11/1955

Malta Story – 14/02/1955


Listowel Writers’ Week 2022; Friday Walk

One of the really enjoyable events for patrons of Writers’ Week is the daily morning walks.

Vincent Carmody made these rambles around town a feature and he is still the most knowledgeable walking guide.

I have learned from a master and now I am delighted to guide a Morning Walk. This year it was on Friday, June 3.

My walk is much like my blog, totally random and with a lot of help from my friends.

This is the 2022 team. Kay Caball is the historian, Seán Stack with a lot of help from Mary Fagan is in charge of sound, Clíona McKenna reads a bit and acts as my assistant and prompter, Paddy McElligott is in charge of all the tenor numbers, Mary Moylan is the musician and singer extraordinaire and Éamon ÓMurchú reads eloquently from the work of Joseph O’Connor.

Because I am otherwise engaged, I don’t get to take too many photos but I got a few.

Kay Caball regaling the walkers with tales of The Fitzmaurices and their adventures.

With some walkers before we set off from The Listowel Arms.

I met this lady on Opening Night and she told me she’d come even though she isn’t too keen on walking. I assured her that calling this event a walk is a grave misnomer.

This is me in full flight, telling a tale or two.


A Poem About How it Is


Lovely Listowel

The Silent Valley, Co. Down. Photo; Éamon ÓMurchú


Flowers in The Square in June 2022


More People from Writers’ Week 2022

Bernie Carmody and Eilish Wren were very happy to be working hard at Writers’ Week 2022.

My daughter took this picture of myself and Rose McGinty. It was great to see Rose back in Listowel after a tough old time health wise.

Charlie Nolan was out and about during Writers Week as well.

Three happy men and a beautiful lady. These are my fellow chroniclers and keepers of the flame, Charlie Nolan, John Lynch and Billy Keane. The lovely lady is John’s daughter, Deirdre.


New Shop in Town

I think it sells vaping stuff, CBD oil and lots of other odds and ends.


St. Mary’s Parish, Listowel

This book which was put together by the late Listowel priest, Fr. Kieran O’Shea has some great historical information about the parishes of Kerry.

Here is what it says about Listowel.

(more tomorrow)


Globe in Cobh

Garry and Anne Wilson who own Belvelly Castle were the people responsible for bringing the huge art installation which is The Gaia Globe to St. Coleman’s Cathedral in Cobh.

My family went to see it on its last weekend in town and their verdict, “Awesome”.


Fr. Anthony Gaughan

This house in the Silent Valley in Co. Down is renovated in the style of an old time cottage with open fire and old furniture. Photo by Éamon ÓMurchú


McKenna’s Yard staff

Photo Mike Hannon


A Poet at a Book Launch

Gabriel Fitzmaurice and Fr. Anthony Gaughan in St. Jiohn’s at Writers’ Week 2022
queueing for a signing
Eamonn and Marion are great supporters of Fr. Gaughan

The setting was a coincidence. The picture of the Blessed Virgin was on stage as a prop for the lunchtime play, The Six Marys.

Fr. Gaughan, Catherine Moylan, Martin Moore and a lady who writes bilingual books


Maureen Flavin Sweeney Commemorated in Knockanure

Ted and Maureen Sweeney

Maureen Flavin was born in Knockanure 99 years ago. She married Mayoman, Ted Sweeney.

The Sweeney family, Ted, his mother Margaret and sister Frances, together with Maureen, had been reporting on the hour, twenty-four hours a day, to the Meteorological Service in Dublin for the length of World War II. This hourly reporting continued until an automatic meteorological station was brought into operation in Belmullet in 1956.

On her 21st birthday, June 3 1944 the barometer at the remote weather station at Blacksod showed pressure was dropping rapidly, indicating a major Atlantic storm was due to arrive and blow right across western Europe. Based on Maureen’s readings, US general Dwight D Eisenhower postponed the D-Day landing by 24 hours. And so a woman from Knockanure changed the course of the war.

She was honoured in her home place on Sunday June 19 2022. She was not well enough to attend but I’m sure her relatives brought her back photos and recordings of the event.

( A little bird told me that she attended the All Ireland Final of 1951, the last time Mayo won)


The New Kingdom

The New Kingdom Bar was been repainted. I love the new look.

This is one of the very stately upstairs sash windows.


A Poignant Book Launch at Writers’ Week 2022

This book launch had a few elements of a wake about it. Like any good wake it had an element of hooley about it too.

We had songs and stories and we laughed and cried with the chief mourner.

Mary Kennelly gathered into this book a collection of poems she wrote chronicling her feelings as she observed two beloved uncles fade into the grey of dementia.

This wasn’t just another political duty for Norma Foley. Norma is a friend of Mary’s and like everyone who contributed to the success of this book launch was there a friend who empathised with Mary, knowing the toll this illness takes on families.

The book was published as a thank you to the two nursing homes, Aras Mhuire in Listowel and Fatima House in Tralee, where Mary’s two uncles, Fr. John and Brendan were cared for. All proceeds from the sale of the anthology go to these two places.

Brendan Kennelly who loved words, lost his words at the end. He returned, “helpless as a baby” to his Kerry family who eventually, in death, returned him to his worldwide family, an audience, who loved his words.

Mary Kennelly signing my book at Writers’ Week 2022.



Listowel Courthouse in June 2022


More of David Kissane’s St. Michael’s Memories

Left to Right 

Front :   Kieran Fitzgerald, Maurice O ‘Sullivan, Mick O’Connell, Tom Lyons, David Kissane .

Middle:  John Hynes, Tadhg Moriarty, P J Browne, Timmy Shanahan , Jimmy Deenihan, Pat Stack .

Rear :  Eamon O’ Carroll, Maurice O’Connor, Pat Stack, Tommy O ‘Flaherty, John O’ Connell , Jerry Kiernan, Pat Quilter .

Tim Kennelly was also on that team but was missing on the day of the photo.

Morning has broken…continued

The Teachers

… the last month of St Michael’s College engaged us. In comes Mr Pat Joe Given to bestow Greek on us. I can still count in Greek…heis, duo, treis, tessares. pente, hex, hepta, octo, ennea, deka…and later he would return to impart the last of the English course. He was a quiet teacher who never lost his cool and had that distant gaze between notes that could turn a passing blackbird or thrush into a poem. “Lord Jim” by Joseph Conrad left a huge impression and the quotes learned by heart have stuck a lifetime: “Each blade of grass has its place on the earth from where it draws its life, its strength; so is man rooted to the land he loves from where he draws his faith together with his life…” 

Likewise the Romantic poets filled us with blue, crystalline dreams and Jane Austin’s “Pride and Prejudice” challenged our understanding of the female psyche. Mr Given had been a boxer and we tried to imagine him in the ring delivering a left uppercut and found it difficult to equate that with the gentler man who carried us through the magic of the English course. Then our former English teacher, Mr John Molyneaux came in with his Latin nouns and interesting stories and Caesar’s exciting Gallic wars. Johnny O’Flaherty took us through the green fields of the Gaeilge and into the minds of the Irish rural characters created by the Ó Céileachairs and the enigmatic Liam Ó Flaithearta. Johnny had the composure, self-assurance and into-class march of a military leader and a keen sense of humour. I was to spend a life teaching Gaeilge afterwards, partly due to the class experience he exuded.

The college president, Fr Danny Long reminded us of “man’s inhumanity to man” during the religion classes with his chopping hand-guillotine mannerism and was relentless with any student who lost concentration! As were all the teachers!

Then comes the other “M”, Mr John Molyneaux Junior with that twinkle in his eye and his unique sense of humour. “Fierce battles” in history were his speciality – every battle he imparted to us was “a fierce battle” – and his favourite exam questions were the “causes, course and results” of the Geraldine War or any other war he had to wage. It was not by accident that I pursued history to MA level because he led me along the enchanted way to the secrets of the story of humanity.

Mr Paddy Rochford brought us to Leaving Cert maths and reminded us that idle chat was just “cluck, cluck, cluck”! He took over the role of de facto career guidance teacher when there was no such role in the school (or in many schools at the time). 

to be continued


June 1 2022 at The Listowel Arms

Eamonn Dillon introduced me to this man and now I’ve forgotten his name.I remember though that he was at Writers’ Week representing Fáilte Ireland. Eamonn is a great fan of Listowel Connection and he told this man all about our little community here in this corner of the internet. He took great interest. Time will tell if it translates into action.

Eddie and Helen Moylan, proud parents of Catherine, chair of Listowel Writers Week and Eileen of Claddagh Design who created the beautiful bespoke Presentation piece for the Lifetime Achievement Award winner.

Moira Murrell

Local ladies out for a walk, observing all the carry on at the hotel.


The Brazen Head

This is a photo from the internet of The Brazen Head pub in Dublin. It claims to be Ireland’s oldest pub. It has a Listowel Connection. One of Michael O’Connor’s beautiful illuminations is on the wall. In fact he did that art work twice as the first one was water damaged in situ.



Anne and Kevin won their competition in Sunday’s Well. I am never too old to be proud of my children’s achievements.


Just a Thought

Last week it was my turn to fill the twice daily Just a Thought slot on Radio Kerry.

The reflections are here; Just a Thought


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