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: Greenway

What’s in a Name?

Listowel Pitch and Putt Course

An Oldie and a Goodie

Carol Broderick shared this newspaper photo of some Listowel greats.


I remember when I encountered names in book which I had never met in reality, I just made up my own pronunciation of them. We dont have to do that now as there are so many aids to help us pronounce unfamiliar names correctly.

You don’t want to hear how I used to mangle Yvonne and Penelope.

Here is the first half of Sean Carlson’s essay on the subject of Irish names in The Boston Globe

“What word has the biggest disconnect between spelling and pronunciation?”

The Merriam-Webster account on X, known for snappier and snarkier posts than are usually associated with dictionary publishers, recently managed to provoke some ire from the Irish by answering its own question with “Asking for our friend, Siobhan.”

Ah, Siobhán, a feminine equivalent of my own name, Seán. In the case of Siobhán (pronounced shiv-AWN), the obvious failure with the attempted zinger is that the name is conspicuously absent from Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary, since it is a proper name in the Irish language, not English.

Evan O’Connell, communications director for the French nonprofit Paris Peace Forum, countered Merriam-Webster with a volley of English surnames: “You had Featherstonehaugh, Cholmondeley and Gloucestershire right there.”

Caoilfhionn Gallagher, a lawyer with the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, posted, “Once more for the people at the back: Irish names *are* pronounced the way that they are spelled. In *Irish.*”

Siobhán O’Grady, the chief Ukraine correspondent for The Washington Post, agreed, pointing out that the accent mark known as a “fada” is used to elongate the “a,” in Siobhán (and in Seán, for that matter).

To be fair, most Americans are unfamiliar with the nuances of the Irish language. “Cillian Murphy pronunciation” is a top search request, and “Cillian Murphy speaking Irish” isn’t too far behind. In 2016, Stephen Colbert welcomed Saorise Ronan to the “Late Show” and held up flash cards of Irish first names — Tadhg, Niamh, Oisin, and Caoimhe — for her to read aloud. When they came to Siobhán, Colbert laughinglycalled it “ridiculous.”….

Greenway Milestones

These signs have appeared to help those going or coming on The Greenway.

Proof Reading

Reggie helping Bobby to check if I got his good side.

A Definition

from The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce

Appeal; In law, to put the dice back into the box for another throw.

A Fact

The world’s oldest creature, a mollusc, was 507 years old when scientists killed it by accident.


Big Developments planned for Listowel

Con Dillons in July 2023


Big Changes Planned

According to a story in Kerry’s Eye, Listowel is due a windfall of €900,00 to bring “three transformational projects” to planning stage by 2024.

  1. The re-establishment of Listowel Town Square as the cultural heart and economic centre of Listowel.
  2. Positioning of Listowel as a hub of activity tourism in North Kerry
  3. Establishment of a state of the art enterprise centre space for remote working.

“The Public Realm Plan also aims to enable Listowel Town to transition to a competitive, low carbon, climate -resilient and environmentally sustainable economy.” John Kennelly, Listowel Town Manager.

Three more concrete parts of the plan are

Development of the Neodata site as an outdoor activity hub

Turn the Ball Alley into an outdoor performance space. (This is not part of the plan but I think that maybe when no one is performing there it could be used to revive handball)

Reimagining Kerry Writers’ Museum


Bike Stands

Especially for the folk coming into town via our new greenway, but for local cyclists as well, bike stands are popping up all over.


Memories, Memories

Eleanor Belcher’s story continues…

There were  several families in the Small Square who were part of our ‘gang’ . Gertie Kennelly and I started school together. She cried so much that she was brought home for another year. Her father used to stand outside the shop  and tell me  on my way home from school that all my father had to do was  to say ‘put out your tongue ‘ and ask for £1.  

There were the Sheehy boys across the road who were very much part of our childhood. Jerry was the comic lover. The Galvins, Mercedes and Monty were at the Central Hotel with its ‘Erin go Bragh’  plaster relief. They had two older half brothers who lived in the USA and came home occasionally bringing amazing gifts for Merc and Monty. There was an icecream machine in Galvins and getting a cone from there was a huge treat. 

There were not many cars , Mr Galvin had one similar to Mr McElligott.  The road ran on the opposite side of St John’s church then. We played outside all the time, ball games and ‘picky’ and hopscotch on the footpath.  . Rollerskating became very popular as we got to about seven/ eight and on halfday Mondays we had races along the main road. Maura Fealey was the star.! A picture of us rollerskaters appeared in the Kerryman and was used to illustrate a Kerryman book of photographs to capture the 60s which was published some years ago. 

(Thank you, Dave O’Sullivan for finding the photo. And he found the other one referred to in the caption as well.)


A Familiar Face in a Familiar Place

I ran into Kay Landy in The St. Vincent de Paul shop on Saturday July 22 2023. Kay was a stalwart of that shop and of the local Vincent de Paul society for years. It was lovely to see her looking so well. She was accompanied on Saturday by her daughter, Breda.


A Fact

Greg Norman won the British Open Golf Championship at Tunberry in 1986.


Greenways and Waterways

Greenway Mural at the old Neodata site, May 2023


Progress on the Greenway

This is the Bridge Road entrance


Another Prestigious Prize for a journalist with a Listowel Connection

This is Malachy’s father, David Browne’s Facebook post

“Proud and privileged to witness the announcement of the Pulitzer Prize Award to my son Malachy last Monday in the New York Times offices. His team were acknowledged for their unflinching coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including an eight-month investigation into Ukrainian deaths in the town of Bucha and the Russian unit responsible for the killings.’

Malachy Browne with Donnie O’Sullivan at Listowel Writers’ Week 2022


A Settle Bed

This is a picture of an old farmhouse from On the left of the picture is what was known as a settle bed. The bedclothes were stored underneath the seat and brought out when the bed was dressed for someone for the night. This was a fine cozy bed beside the fire and often used by visitors or travelling workmen.


Listowel’s Newest Amenity

“My heart, tonight, is home again in Ireland

Upon thy banks, my silver river Feale.”

Bryan MacMahon’s words were sung to us by his son, Owen, at the launch of Listowel Kayaking Club on May 14 2023.

The sun shone. The water was resplendent. The birds sang. A small crowd gathered (small, for health and safety reasons) and Jimmy Deenihan presented us with his latest project, a kayaking club. Jimmy and friends have brought this to fruition in jig time.

Jimmy Deenihan

I was delighted to meet this group of my former pupils, all involved in this healthy outdoor activity. Lovely to see these young ladies emerging as leaders in their community.


A Welcome Treat

On my way to town on Friday, I met these lovely young people at the gate of their school, Coláiste na Ríochta. They were inviting me to their Bake Sale in aid of Áras Mhuire.

I took up their invitation and a lovely young man accompanied me to the classroom where selling, eating and chatting was in full swing.

I even met someone I knew. I bought some cakes . They were delicious.

Well done enterprising seniors in Coláiste na Ríochta.


A Coronation Tale

Did we ever think we would see Kay Caball, cousin of Canon Declan, renouned historian and genealogist and a pillar of respectability feature in The Irish Daily Mail?

Don’t panic. Kay was merely telling the tale and it all happened in the eighteenth century.

This is the coronation connection. Lady Fiona Petty Fitzmaurice is Queen Camilla’s best buddy.

The Fitzmaurice connection: Fiona’s husband. is one of the once Lixnaw based Fitzmaurices who used to own most of Kerry.

“After a gatherer comes a scatterer” they say and the Fitzmaurices had the father of all scatterers. Kay told the story replete with “Petticoats up and pantaloons down” to a journalist from The Daily Mail and below is a photo of the centre page in the paper on Saturday.

If you missed the paper, Kay will tell it all again on Jimmy Deenihan’s walking tour at Listowel Writers Week on Friday June 2 starting from Kerry Writers’ Museum at 10.00 a.m.


I told you so

In 2018 I posted this picture on here. It is cyclist Dillon Corkery being greeted by his grandparents at the stage finish of the Rás in Market Street.

Pic : Lorraine O’Sullivan

Yesterday Dillon won Rás Tailteann outright as part of Team Ireland. I told you he was destined for great things. My exact words were ” Is Dillon the next Sam Bennett?”

The Listowel Connection?

I went to school in Kanturk with his grandmother and still count her as a friend today. I’m over the moon!


A Fact

The word NEWS comes from the fact that stories were gathered from all corners of the world. News is actually an acronym North East West South.


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