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 listowelconnection@gmail.com

Category: Listowel Page 1 of 46

Listowel Moments

Upper Willian Street, May 2022

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Lovely Listowel Shop Fronts

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The Bohemian Players

One of the boards in Kerry Writers’ Museum exhibition, Raise the Curtain; The Story of Amateur Drama in Kerry, tells the story of The Bohemian Players.

This travelling drama troupe was based in Castlegregory. They travelled the length and breadth of the country with their entertainment offerings.

These descendants of medieval strolling players were much loved in the Ireland of the 1940s, 50s and 60s before the advent of television.

They came to town, set up shop and offered a new play every night. East Lynne and The Colleen Lawn were favourites. There were talent shows and raffles as well. The show usually ended with a comic sketch so the audience went home laughing.

I met these lovely people at the launch of Raise the Curtain. They are Bridie and David Costello. David’s father Robert owned The Bohemian Players and David’s mother was the leading actress.

David is a family historian and he has carefully kept memorabilia of his parents’ company.

In the above photo Bridie and David are listening to David’s account of his family travelling show. This account is in the oral history part of Kerry Writers’ Museum.

David showed me this marvellous piece of history. It’s his fathers ledger from 1949. It lists the takings for the week and the wages paid to the actors.

You will note that they worked 7 nights of the week. The Costellos themselves took no wages. Of course there were other expenses like food and maintenance, fuel for the lorry, costumes, props and running repairs.

It was a precarious enough living but performing was in their blood and their arrival was eagerly awaited in towns up and down the country.

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Pound Lane Children

Picture and caption from Bernard O’Connell

The Mid 60’s Poundlane Gang

From far left Agnes Sullivan, Donal Sullivan, Ben Holyoake, Joe Holyoake, Its me, Katrina Lyons,Martina Lyons, Mary Lyons, Mary Brosnan, Noreen Holyoake, RIP Mary Carmody, Kevin Donovan, Noelle Donovan

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I Love a 99

Here I am at the door of Mahony’s of The Square enjoying my first ice cream of the season.

The ice cream was delicious.

This was a training day before the real launch of this new venture, opening on June 1 2022.

I think they will do really well. We miss Dominick Moloney’s cones. Now we have a great replacement.

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All Ireland Rosary Rally

In Listowel Town Square on Saturday May 14 2022

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Only in Listowel

Yesterday I brought you the story of a morning in the life of Jimmy Moloney, Mayor of Kerry and thespian.

On Sat. May 7 2022, at Kerry Writers Museum Jimmy spoke at the launch of Raise the Curtain , an exhibition celebrating amateur drama in Kerry.

Minutes later, he reprised his recent role as Mike Glavin in The Lartigue’s Sive.

In the audience was Gabriel Fitzmaurice, poet.

Gabriel celebrated the occasion in a poem which he sent to Jimmy.

Jimmy and Gabriel kindly shared it with us in Listowel Connection.

Only in Listowel, “the Literary Capital of the World” would you have an occasion where a mayor goes from performing mayoral duties to acting in a play and in the audience a poet is writing a poem about it.

Two photos from the same event ; Jim and Frankie MacMahon with poets, Seamus Barra OSuilleabháin and Gabriel Fitzmaurice.

Éamon ÓMurchú, Owen MacMahon and Gabriel Fitzmaurice at the statue of Bryan MacMahon.

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Amateur Drama

Photo, Kieran Cogan, Mallow Camera Club

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Do you Remember these calendars?

Photo: Mike Hannon

Time was when every business worth its salt gave their customers a wall calendar. It was a great way of keeping your shop or agency in the forefront of people’s minds.

I lived in a house where we had a kitchen and a back kitchen and a storehouse attached. Each of these rooms had at least one calendar in it. I remember consulting the calendar for the phone number. We co ordinated it with Old Moore to mark in fair days.

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Scoil Realt na Maidine staff

Photos and caption shared by Mike Hannon

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The Mayor of Kerry Plays Two Roles

On Saturday May 7 2022, Jimmy Moloney, Mayor of Kerry was in Kerry Writers’ Museum for the opening of the exhibition honouring Kerry’s amateur dramatic heritage.

The Moloney family connection with amateur drama goes back a long way.

Jimmy’s grandmother, Mrs. Margaret Moloney, here on the right, was chairperson of Listowel Drama Group and took part in many of their productions.

With her in this picture, shared with us by Kay Caball, are Cecile Cotter, Harry Geraghty and Rex Coolican.

Jimmy’s grandfather, Dan Moloney T.D. greeted the cast of the first production of John B. Keane’s Sive in Dáil Eireann after they had won the first All Ireland Drama festival.

Margaret Dillon who played the part of Sive sent us this picture a few years ago.

Dan Moloney T.D is on the right.

Jimmy Moloney in his role as Mayor of Kerry at the opening of the exhibition.

Then after a short interval look at what emerged from the “dressing room”.

The usually dapper Jimmy, in a jacket that looks like he slept in it a few times, in his role as Mike Glavin in John B. Keane’s Sive.

Denis O’Mahoney’s Lartigue Players gave us an entertaining sample of the best of Kerry amateur drama today.

The cast of the award winning first production of the play by The Listowel Players.

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Top Storey

I love it when the streetscape takes your eye above shop level.

O’Donovan’s in Church Street has impressive upstairs window surrounds.

Lizzy’s Little Kitchen has decorated the upper stories of her premises in keeping with the downstairs decor.

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Cavendishes

Photo; Kieran Mangan, Mallow Camera Club

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Periwinkles and Seagrass

Pat Maher photographed by Moss Joe Browne.

This man has been selling these local delicacies on the street in Ballybunion for years.

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Milano

This building which now houses the Milano shop was once a huge department store and ballroom.

Back in the day it was Walsh’s shop and later called Cavendishes. Mike Hannon and Alice Walsh have shared some great photographs on Facebook.

At Christmas the shop was packed with all the latest merchandise and toys of all descriptions for Santa Claus.

Jim Walsh outside the shop

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Do you have a Magnolia?

Raymond O’Sullivan posted this image and the following information about this ancient shrub.

Although the Magnolia has been on Earth for millions of years, believed to be the oldest flowering plant on the planet, it was not introduced into Europe until 1740. It symbolizes strength, longevity and purity. In the Victorian ‘language of flowers’, it had several meanings based on the colour of the flowers: White: perseverance, purity, dignity, determination, modesty; Pink: shyness, innocence, joy, sensitivity; Yellow: prosperity, luck, loyalty, good health Purple: luck, fertility, courage and beauty. In China, people believe that planting a Magnolia in the garden ensures luck, prosperity, and marital happiness. Garden design and layout and the positioning of plants are a headache for most amateurs, and you should see some of the ‘mistakes’ in my little cabbage patch. According to Feng Shui placing a Magnolia in the front of the house promotes a happy life full of pleasures, while cultivating it at the back of the home favors solid financial well-being. Not so sure I got that one right either, mine is at the back of the house.

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Your Help Needed

Hi

 I’m writing on behalf of Breda Hartnett nee Corrigan, who was born and raised in Listowel. She would like to trace her neighbours Mary, Agnes and Jimmy Barry who were sent to a orphanage in Tralee, Ireland. Mary would have been only 7 years old at the time. Breda and Mary both lived on Convent st and were best friends until Mary was taken away. Mary Barry would be around 73 years old, Agnes Barry 71 and Jimmy Barry 68 years old. Any help would be greatly appreciated. 

Kind regards

Charithra Thejopal

On behalf of Breda Hartnett

If you can help Breda, will you email me at listowelconnection@gmail.com please.

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Flavins

St John’s from St. Mary’s May 2022

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Flavins of Church Street

This is Flavins of Church Street today.

Part of this shop’s history is told in pictures by Maura McAuliffe on Facebook.

“Dan Flavin’s burnt to the ground by the Black and Tans. Dan Flavin was put in jail. They would have shot him only he had an American passport as he was born in New York and brought back as a child to Ireland.”

Martin Moore shared these receipts and this caption.

3 receipts from the 1920s, one is for a contribution to the North Kerry Republican Soldiers Committee, and another is for 200 copies of Irish Independent and is marked as the first received in nearly two months (due to the Civil War).

Dan Flavin

Micheál Flavin

Joan Flavin

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New Exhibition in Kerry Writers’ Museum

At the launch of Lifting the Curtain, an installation celebrating amateur drama in Kerry, our own Lartigue Theatre presented a compilation of extracts from Sive.

Billy Keane (standing behind Cara Trant) watches the enactment of extracts from his father’s play.

Liz Dunn of Writers’ Week is in the foreground.

Dr. Fiona Brennan, an amateur drama scholar, presented a brief synopsis of the history of drama in Kerry.

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Sr. Dympna R.I.P.

From Pres. yearbook 2002/03

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A Thought

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Sr. Thomas R.I.P.

Photo; Kieran Mangan, Mallow Camera Club

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” She lived unknown and few could know

When Lucy ceased to be….”

I am reminded of Wordsworth’s Lucy poem when I think of this humble nun.

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A Corner of The Square

St. Mary’s in May 2022

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A Lounge Bar

Photo shared by Mike Hannon on Facebook. This is Finucane’s Bar, now The Saddle in Upper William Street.

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Four Men and a Cup

The four men in Mike Hannon’s photo have been named on Facebook as

Tom Sweeney, Tom Lyons, Mick Carey, Gigs Nolan

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In Kerry Writers’ Museum

Cara Trant and David Browne at the launch of the exhibition of Kerry’s Amateur Dramatic Heritage on Saturday, May 7 2022

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