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: Festivals Page 2 of 17

Art, Memoir and Poetry

River Feale, June 2024

One Hundred to One

The three men on the stage at The Plaza on the Sunday of Listowel Writers’ Week 2024 were Martin Dyar, festival curator, Tom Shortt, director of Prison Education and Pat Sheedy, recovering gambling addict and author.

While half the readers of Listowel were in Kerry Writers Museum for the launch of Autumn Blooms, an anthology of work by local writers, Paddy Gavin, Cyril Kelly and John Fitzgerald, I joined the small audience for Pat Sheedy’s cautionary tale of his life in gambling.

Pat’s story is one of fall and redemption. It tells of the saving power of education for a man who had reached his lowest ebb.

I recommend this book to anyone interested in human nature, who likes a good story well told.

A Poem to Make you Laugh ( or maybe even inspire you)

Listowel, The world Centre of Modern Celtic Art

St Patrick’s Breastplate by Michael O’Connor

Stephen Rynne did a great job marketing Listowel to those of us attending the International Day of Celtic Art. His presentation was recorded. I hope it will be available soon on youtube. It was marvellous.

Small detail of the calligraphy and illumination on this beautiful artwork, now on display in Kerry Writers’ Museum, Listowel.

Just a Thought

A link to my latest contributions to Just a Thought on Radio Kerry

Just a Thought

Back from The Land Down Under

Niamh and Deirdre looking happy to be home to Listowel

A Fact

King Charles 111 is only the second British monarch ever to be featured on banknotes. His mother Queen Elizabeth 11 was the first.


Art and Literature

Civic Plaza, Listowel in June 2024


Cashell Solicitors, I’m told

I Love Listowel Library

The library has to be the best free facility in town, lovely building, lovely staff, well stocked shelves and always a surprise in store.

Today’s surprise; Colm Tóibín’s latest book had no waiting list. I have it for 10 days. Yippee!

Last week when I was in the library I met these lovely people who were on a mission of appreciation to one of their favourite places.

They are the Pathways Level 3 learners from Kerry College, Listowel Campus. The course co ordinator is Rena Liston.

Holding the plant they brought as a thank you to library staff is Maria and fellow librarian, Susan, is in front.

All is Slowly Being Revealed

The pages my friends are reading are the first proofs of my new book. It will be called Moments of Reflection. Just now it is in the capable hands of Paul Shannon at Listowel Printing Works. He is doing a splendid job.

It will be a while yet, but I’ll keep you posted.

2 Day International Day of Celtic Art

The International Day of Celtic Art 2024 is actually 2 days. Coming from a town where Writers’ Week is 4 days we can hardly quibble with that.

I think I may have had the link wrong yesterday so here again is the link for registration.


I think it’s all free. They didn’t ask me for any money anyway.

The lady in the above photo is Susan Corr, Ireland’s leading conservator. I took this photo of Susan in The Brendan Kennelly room in Listowel Writers’ Museum on the day she returned the Michael O’Connor pieces after conservation.

This is not the piece in the picture. It’s another of O’Connor’s magnificent letters.

Here is the schedule for the 2 days this weekend.

June 2024

Sat Jun 812:00pm – 1:00pm 

ZOOM SUPPORT1:00pm – 1:20pm 

— WELCOME & INTRODUCTIONS —1:20pm – 1:40pm 

Donncha MacGabhan (How long did it take to make the Book of Kells?)1:40pm – 2:00pm 

Catherine Crowe (Celtic Art and Enameling)2:00pm – 2:20pm 

Stephen Walker (Naming Knots; challenging symbolism and meaning in the marketing of modern Celtic art)2:20pm – 2:40pm 

— BREAK —2:40pm – 3:00pm 

Ruth Black (Celtic Ecclesiastical Embroideries)3:00pm – 3:20pm 

Stephen Rynne (Celtic Art Podcast Discussion & Launch) 3:20pm – 3:40pm 

Steven Lawes (Fibonacci Celtica)3:40pm – 4:00pm 

Hamish Douglas Burgess (Creating a Celtic art whisky label – an interesting story with many twists and turns.)4:00pm – 4:20pm 

— WRAP-UP —Sun Jun 94:00pm – 5:00pm 

ZOOM SUPPORT5:00pm – 5:20pm 

— WELCOME & INTRODUCTIONS —5:20pm – 5:40pm 

Alix Sandra Huntley-Speirs (Finding the Music in Celtic Art: The Journey to Findlaystone)5:40pm – 6:00pm 

Jeff Fitzpatrick Adams (Irish Celtic Illuminations)6:00pm – 6:20pm 

Aidan Breen (Chasing Early Irish Saints & Celtic Bangles)6:20pm – 6:40pm 

— BREAK —6:40pm – 7:00pm 

Susan Corr (Conservation of Michael O’Connor artwork) 7:00pm – 7:20pm 

Stephen Rynne (Listowel, The World Capital of Modern Celtic Art)

7:20pm – 7:40pm 

David MacGovern (Monakie Rock Art)7:40pm – 8:00pm 

Nicola Dixon8:00pm – 8:20pm 


Susan Corr, as you can see, will talk about her conservation work on Sunday at 7.00 pm

Stephen will give his not to be missed presentation about Listowel on Sunday at 7.20

A Fact

Running hell for leather, the first woman to record a sub 5 minute mile was Diane Leather. The British runner recorded this time in 1954


Listowel, World Centre of Modern Celtic Art

June 2024

Listowel Centre Stage at the Day of Celebration of Celtic Art

International Day of Celtic ArtIDCA Online Conference

SPEAKER: Stephen Rynne

TOPIC: Celtic Arts Podcast Discussion & Launch

TOPIC: Listowel, The World Capital of Modern Celtic Art

Stephen lives in the West of Ireland where he raises his three children after being widowed in 2012. He has an Honours BSc. from Oxford Brookes University in England and he has been caring for his son who has Epidermolysis Bullosa and Autism since his birth.

In 2019 he discovered, fell in love and picked up all he can to do with the Celtic Arts, in particular Modern Celtic Art from the late 1800s onward. Having spent years discovering the joys of Celtic Art he has decided to put his discoveries to good use in a podcast called ‘Celtic Arts Podcast’ that launches at the International Day of Celtic Art Conference, 2024



EVENT CALENDAR {According to your own time zone}:


These presentations by Stephen are well worth attending. We are lucky in that they are now available in a livestream online.

Michael O’Connor formerly of No. 24 The Square Listowel is, without doubt, Listowel’s greatest visual artist. Some of his work is displayed in Kerry Writers’ Museum, his former home.

Stephen in his presentation to this year’s international conference will present the work, not only of O’Connor, but also the incomparable work of Listowel artists like Pat Mc Aulliffe and the inimitable Paddy Fitzgibbon.

There is nothing remotely like this anywhere in the world. Listowel is grateful to Stephen for bringing world attention to this under appreciated genius.

Opening Night LWW 2024

Here are a few photos I took on May 29 2024

Matt and Mary are regulars at Arts events in town, particularly if such events are as Gaeilge and involve two of Matt’s passions, music and poetry.

Dick is another amateur poet. Eileen and Dick discovered a connection with me through this blog recently. I posted a picture of Castlemagner church. Dick recognised the beautiful exposed stonework of a church he and Eileen had seen when they attended a wedding in the late 1960s. Fact is often stranger than fiction. Eileen is a great friend of one of my Kanturk cousins and she and Dick attended the wedding of Julie O’Callaghan, who was Eileen’s pal in nurse training, to the late Flor Sullivan (Tourist).

There really are only three degrees of separation.

Friends, Ena, Jean and Áine

Mary Frances and Helena

Jim and Mrs. MacMahon

Con, Catherine and Seán were there to enjoy the occasion.

A Poem

Brian Bilston is an extraordinary poet. He hits the nail on the head every time.

A Fact

Laughing 100 times is equal to 15 minutes of exercise on a stationary bicycle.


After Writers Week 2024

Listowel Arms Hotel, scene of much of the action last weekend.

Listowel Printing works in Tannavalla

I’ll be a frequent visitor here for the next while. Watch this space.

June Weekend 2024

As predicted, there was way too much on last weekend. I got to see a small fraction of Writers’ Week and I never got to The Races.

May 29 2024 started out with an early morning trip to the hospital. This trip took a little longer than planned.

When you’re in a hurry there is always roadworks.

Muskerry Golf Club to the right. My late father in law was once president here.

Pastureland and grazing cattle to the left of me.

Home at last in time to see Uachtarán na hEireann in The Listowel Arms.

When your Friend goes to The Chelsea Flower Show

and the whole village is a flower show.

A Fact

New York city keeps train tracks free of ice by setting them n fire.


An Old Song by a Listowel Man

Fitzpatrick’s, Church Street

A Listowel Balladeer

Tim McCrohan’s grandfather kept faith with his literary roots and penned this ballad.

Tim wrote;

Thought I’d pass along this Irish Ballad which was written by my grandfather, James McCrohan, in 1904. He was born in Coolkeragh township in 1865 to Edmund and Mary (Buckley) McCrohan. The family later lived in Listowel.

We’re not sure if there was a young woman at the time who was his inspiration for the song (because he didn’t marry for the first time until many years later.)

Timothy McCrohan

Tim sent me the sheet music and Dave O’Sullivan extracted the lyrics for us.

My true Irish Maiden


In a lovely thatched cot lives a sweet Irish maid.

In far away Ireland which wide branches shade.

Where the robin sings gaily and mad waters roar

The fond spot I met you my darling, ‘astore’

Oh Kathleen Mavourneen

My own ‘Coleen Rhu’

Your sweet sunny smiles love and bright eyes of blue.

And your golden ringlets I fondled with care

My true Irish maiden there’s none half as fair.


For she is my own Irish maid

With smiles so charming and rare

And bright eyes of blue so faithful and true

I love you my own

My own, I love you.


In the mossy green dell where the woodbines entwine

I looked in your eyes love so true and divine.

And I kissed your fond lips like dew drops so bright

My true Irish maiden my fond heart’s delight.

Oh Cushla mavourneen, my sweet Irish bride

Sure happy I’ll be love with you by my side.

And true as the stars love in heaven’s fair sky

My true Irish maiden I will love till I die.

Róisín Meaney in the library

Make a window in your packed schedule to bring the smallies to the library for this popular local writer’s event.

A Lament

I took this from Maurice O’Mahony’s great book, A History of Coolard National School.

The poem is addressed to Dolly Dowling, who died in the US and whose remains were brought home by air. She is buried in Galey Cemetery. Dolly, whose real name was Nora, was a pupil of Coolard in 1904. Her grandfather, John Neligan, was a principal of the school.

A Kerry Journalist

A Poem

Opening Night

Tonight is opening night of Listowel Writers’ Week 2024. I’ll be there. I read in the programme that there is ban on recording, but I’ll see if I can grab a few pictures for you.

A Fact

There is a satirical publication called The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce. I picked up a copy in the swap box in the library. It is hilarious.

Here is an example of a definition;

Clairvoyant; A person, commonly a woman, who has the power of seeing that which is invisible to her patron – namely, that he is a blockhead.


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