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

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.


St. John’s, Mr. Jiggs , Handball Memories and Outdoor Dining and Just a Thought

Great to have it open again.


Handballing Days

One of the founding members of the handball club and the driving force behind it for years was the late Joe James of O’Connell’s Avenue. Other names associated with the club in the early years were Seamus Wilmot and Bryan MacMahon, Frank Sheehy, Brendan Macauley, Michael Keane, Vangy O’Hanlon, and Tony Chute.

Junior Griffin remembers a story told to him by Bryan MacMahon;

The son of a local businessman whose enthusiasm for handball was not matched by his skill. The poor lad was looked on as a soft touch by other players of the era.

Many, with no money in their pockets would bet him £1 per game and they would give him a handicap of 20 and the first serve. The game was to 21. The scamp would contrive to lose the first game and challenge his gull to double or quits. He would collect his £4 drinking money for the week.

The father came to hear of his son’s handball gambling and he packed him off to Argentina on business for a few years.

To quote MacMahon, ” I went down to the alley one summers evening some years later for a game”. I saw someone seated near the Alley wearing a large sombrero. Drawing closer, lo and behold, I saw that xxxx was back in town and back to the place he loved so well.”

Whether he had learned his lesson or not is another story.

(more hand balling lore tomorrow)


Volunteers Back at Work

I’m delighted to be reunited with my friends in the St. Vincent de Paul shop.


The Cork Branch of My Family in May 2021

Bobby is missing from the photo because he took a turn at being photographer

Mr. Jiggs was the only horse who came to greet me in Kanturk when I called on my bolt for freedom from Covid restrictions thanks to the vaccine bonus.


Outdoor Dining

This space in the square is soon to have a covered outdoor dining thingy erected.



My most recent set of reflections which were broadcast last week in the Just a Thought slots on Radio Kerry are online now.

Just a Thought by Mary Cogan


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