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: Just a Thought Page 2 of 3


The Mermaids, William Street, Listowel


John Kelliher posted this old dance ticket on Facebook.

I remembered that Violet Dalton Puttock had shared a photo of a Fireman’s ball with The Advertiser. Violet’s photo is from the ball a year or two earlier.

The men in the photo are;

Fireman’s Dance 1963-64.

 Back L-R: Buddy Dalton, Tommy Dalton, Benny O’Connell, Bunny Dalton, Jim Doyle, Michael Brennan, John Mahony and Joe Keogh. 

Front L-R: Pat Dowling, Roly Godfrey, Patsy Leahy, Ned Broderick, Tommy Lyons and Sean Curtin. 

Music on the night was by the late Bunny Dalton Showband, Listowel. 


Corpus Christi Procession 2011


St Senan’s Well

(Today, March 8 is the feast of St. Senan. Here is an account from the Schools’ Folklore Collection of the saint’s well near Listowel.)

There is a holy well, and close by a burial ground, in the townland of Kilsheanane or Kilsenan about 5 miles west of Listowel on the road to Tralee. Both are called after St. Senan who was Bishop and Abbot of Scattery Island on the Shannon in Co. Clare, in the VI Century. He built many churches and had a monastery on the Island. His feast day falls on the 8th March.

On that date in former times, people came long distances, even outside of Kerry, to pay rounds at the Blessed Well. It is said to be powerful in many complaints but especially in eye trouble, and running sores. At the present day people, principally locals within a five mile radius, come to pay rounds on St Senan’s Day 8th March. The path of the “round” follows a well beaten track around the well. The “Round” itself consists of 3 Rosaries, one to be said while walking round the well 3 times, therefore it takes 9 rounds of the well to complete the 3 Rosaries. The round is started by kneeling in front of the well and beginning the Rosary there and after some time stand up and walk round the orbit 3 times completing the round of the Beads in front of the well. Then start the second Rosary and walk round orbit 3 times and complete Beads at front of well. Do this the third time and your round at St Senan’s well is completed. You then take a drink of the well water from the well itself (a small mug is always there for the purpose).
Next you wash the afflicted part in the stream running out of the well. Also people usually take home with them a bottle of the well water for that purpose. Many white and black thorn trees grow adjacent to the well and strings of all kinds, tassels of shawls etc are left tied to the branches in token that the particular complaint is also to be got rid of. 

Sometimes Coppers and hairpins etc are left.

Within the last dozen or more years an elderly lady teacher Miss M O’Connell now deceased, got a cement slab altar-like construction built at the back of the well. In this there are three niches, one holding a statue of our Blessed Lady, another a statue of the Sacred Heart and the third a statue of St Bridget, each enclosed in a glass shade.
Miss Glavin a retired teacher of 66 years of age told me that she often heard her mother (R.I.P.) who lived about 4 miles from the townland of Kilsenane, tell a story of how a Protestant family residing near the well, took some water from the well home to their own house and put it in a pot or kettle to boil, but if it were left over the fire for ever it would not boil. The ancestors of this family were Roman Catholics but in the bad times they turned ‘Soupers.’
Those who came to pay rounds at the well, usually enter the burial ground by the stile and pray for the dead in general and their own deceased relations in particular. This is done on the way and from the well.


M. Shanahan


Miss Glavin

School:  Clandouglas, Lixnaw


Looking Forward to The Races


Just a Thought

Here is the link to my last week’s reflections on Radio Kerry;

Just a Thought


St. Bridget’s Month Begins

Photo; Derry McCarthy, Mallow Camera Club


St. Bridget’s Day

Kildare Heritage Centre photo

February 1 is St. Bridget’s Day. If you can at all, get or make a St. Brigid’s cross. It is meant to protect the house where it is displayed from all harm but particularly harm by fire. Many houses in Kildare (the home of St. Brigid) used to put up a new cross every year but they did not take down the old one and it was not unusual in a Kildare home to see a long line of crosses displayed on a wall or door jamb.

There is a new moon tonight Feb. 1 2022. The full moon will be on Feb. 16. I never knew until lately that full moons had names. Last month it was a wolf moon. This month it is the snow moon or the storm moon.

By the way this is the chinese year of the tiger.


Pat McAuliffe’s Abbeyfeale

Photo; Alice Dennehy

Text: Alice Dennehy for Vanishing Ireland on Facebook

I passed this beautiful building yesterday in Abbeyfeale, County Limerick. I believe it was a pub in its day. J.D. DALY established 1869.

From National Heritage of Architectural heritage website it says..

“This unusual large scale building makes a significant contribution to the architectural heritage of Abbeyfeale.

The building is distinguished from its neighbours by its highly decorative rendered façade, which was applied by the Listowel artisan builder named Pat McAuliffe (1846-1921). The stucco work on Daly’s dates to 1890. Here McAuliffe uses an eclectisim of decoration on a single façade: Corinthian capitals, Egyptian cornice mouldings, arabesques, Latin scrolls, Hiberno-Romanesque bearded men and lionheads and Italian diamond pointed quoins. McAuliffe’s plasterwork imitates features more commonly found carved in stone and is best exemplified here by the render pilasters, corbelled eaves, decorative quoins and elaborate window surrounds with masked keystones. Such is the variety and quality in Pat McAuliffe’s work, that these masterpieces merit continued protection and appreciation within Abbeyfeale and Limerick County as a whole”


Pres. Yearbook 1990

In 1990 the girls on the magazine committee asked a few past pupils to write a bit about their lives now. One of the chosen old girls was Katie Hannon.

She has come a long way since 1990.

I met Katie with Miriam O’Callaghan at Women in Media in Ballybunion a few years ago.


Just a Though

The link to last week’s reflections, broadcast on Radio Kerry from Jan. 24 to Jan 28 2022 is



Christmas is coming

Mike the Pies, Upper William Street, Listowel in November 2021


A Street with Four Names

As well as Main Street, An Príomhsráid and Sráid Mhór this area of town is also known as The Small Square.


It’s Nearly December

so I’m allowed to start including Christmassy things.

This essay is by a Cork writer, Declan Hassett in his book, All our Yesterdays.

(Apologies for the repetition. I’m getting used to this snipping. Apologies as well for the blue background. No idea!)


A Christmas shop window display

When it comes to decorating, Danny Russell is in his element. His window this year is impressive, as always.

Naughty or nice?

The old tradition was that children had to be “good for goodness sake’ or Santa would leave them a lump of coal instead of a present at Christmas.

Danny is keeping the tradition alive, just adding to coal’s bad press these days.


Lovely to have a child in the house for the Toy Show

….even if the child is way too young to have a clue what’s going on.


One for the Diary

A note from John Murphy about tonight’s programme

That radio doc Fergal (Keane) and I were working on will be broadcast on Radio 4 next Tuesday at 5pm (repeat on Dec 5th at 17:30).

Also to be found here afterwards:


Just a Thought

My reflections in the Just a Thought slot on Radio Kerry for last week are at this link

Just a Thought



At The Races, Ballylongford a New Library Experience

Howth by Éamon ÓMurchú


A Poem from a Week of Poetry in Poetry Town

From the 10 to 18 September 2021 Listowel was one of Ireland’s Poetry Towns. Here is another of the poems that were available to collect all over town.

Great idea! I hope we get to do it again.


Ladies Day at Listowel Races 2021

A few more of Bridget O’Connor’s photos

The winner of Race Three; Game Catch

Patsy Dowling and John O’Connor

Christy O’Connor and his grandaughter

Margaret Kearney, Ballyduff

Maria Stack and Anne Leneghan


Blacksmithing Festival, Ballylongford Sept. 25 2021

The festival was part of the fundraising effort to revive and restore the old mill.

I parked in the church carpark and walked to the venue for the festival. At the bridge I came upon this group being given a guided tour of the architecture of Ballylongford by Dr. Declan Downey. Had I known that was on I’d have taken part in that too.

Declan Downey is a thorough researcher and an excellent guide.

At the corner I met these three heroes. I think they may be from Asdee. After a bit of good natured caffling they pointed me in the right direction.

I obeyed the sign and found my way to the displays.

There was a nice little crowd gathered around the exhibitions.

Tomorrow I’ll tell you about what I saw of the fun of the fair.


The Public Library is Changing

I hadn’t visited the library in person in ages until a few weeks ago. I have been listening to audio books on Borrowbox and I have been reducing my “to be read” pile slowly.

I made my return with my granddaughter in Ballincollig.

Cora showed me how the system operates now.

It’s a DIY job now. You put your library card and then your book, whether you’re returning or borrowing, under a barcode scanner and all the information is digitised and recorded on a computer. No need for any interaction with a librarian any more.


Kerry Thanks

A full page ad in Irish Examiner, Monday September 27 2021


Just a Thought

My reflections, broadcast last week on Radio Kerry are at the link below;

Just a Thought


A Prayerful Year in North Kerry

Glendalough, Co Wicklow

Photo Éamon ÓMurchú


A Photo of a Photo in The Advertiser


Laborare est Orare


By John McGrath

Walking with dolphins on a summer’s day

High over Ballybunion,

Talking with ravens in Ballyegan bog,

December morning after rain,

Watching a tumbling star

In a blue-black January sky,

The moon ringed with gold

Over Cnoc An Óir,

Listening to a choir of thrushes

Or the vespers of a thousand starlings,

Turning day-old hay

Towards a sweetening July sun,

Smelling the first rose of April

Or the first turf-fire of autumn.

Incense, mystery, music, majesty

And many places,

Many ways to pray.


A Pres. Memory

Keelin Kissane, winner of An Post writing competition with her mother, Vourneen, a representative of An Post who sponsored the competition and Sr. Consolata and Sr. Sheila Mary of Presentation Secondary Scho0l, Listowel.


Just a Thought

My reflections in the Just a Thought slot as broadcast on Radio Kerry last week

Just a Thought by Mary Cogan


Listowel Characters

The first of the murals at the end of Colbert Street was nearly finished when I photographed it on Thursday last July 21 2021. Listowel’s Siobhán Mooney was helping the artist with the final touches in the sweltering heat.

The quotation is from Brendan Kennelly

“All songs are living ghosts. And long for a living voice.”

By the time you see these the mural will be finished.


Page 2 of 3

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén