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

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May 31 2023

Listowel Writers’ Week Opening Night 2023

I know I said goodbye yesterday but here I am again, in response to demand, with a few snaps from Opening Night at The Listowel Arms Hotel

Music to get us in the mood and Stephen joined in for a tune or two.

Office staff preparing for a busy evening

Volunteers at the ready

Early birds in situ

Listening to the music and having the chats

meeting old friends and new

Packed house

Bhuail scoláire le hiar scolaire Gaelcholáiste Choim, Baile an Chollaigh, Aisling Darby a rinne a taithí oibre don idirbliain le Seachtain na Scríbhneoirí agus Jack ORourke, aoi cheoltóir na hoíche.

If I get a minute tomorrow I’ll post a few more. No promises.

Writers’ Week 2023

Bridge Road in May 2023


Witty Window

Harp and Lion Antiques in Church Street.


May Images from Childers Park


Choosing Kerry

These lovely people have bought a house in Beale and are relocating there shortly. Unfortunately they will miss Writers’ Week 2023. Maybe next year.


Will Collins, Scriptwriter

This photograph is from 2015 when Will Collins was a guest at The Children’s Festival during Listowel Writers’ Week. In it I am beside Will’s wife Karen and his lovely mom and dad are on the right of Will. Luke is in the buggy.

Will today is even more famous than he was back then. Here’s why.

Will Collins, who grew up a stones throw from my family home, co-wrote an episode of the Star Wars Visions’ series alongside Jason Tammemägi. 

The programme, which is currently streaming on Disney Plus, is titled Screecher’s Reach. 

The episode formed part of an ambitious project that allowed filmmakers and animators all over the world access to the Star Wars universe.

Will’s previous screenwriting credits include the Oscar nominated feature animations, Wolfwalkers and Song of the Sea with Cartoon Saloon.

Will got to live out every Star Wars fan’s dream with a trip to the George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch located north of San Francisco.


Man of the Moment (and girlfriend)

Stephen Connolly, curator of Listowel Writers’ Week 2023, is being helped at every step of his new venture by Manuela.


Saturday June 3 2023

If you join me outside The Listowel Arms Hotel at 10.00 a.m. we’ll take a short stroll to the Tidy Town seat and we’ll have a few songs there.

Then we’ll take the short stroll to the castle steps.

That’s the walking part done.

We’ll be entertained and informed. Hopefully the sun will shine on us and everyone will have a good time. I’m looking forward to it.


Opening Night Writers Week 2023

Opening Night will start at 8.00p.m. The doors will be open at 7.00p.m.

Jack O’Rourke will entertain us. Prizes will be distributed and the John B. Keane Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to distinguished actor, Stephen Rea.

Ger Holland is the official photographer but I’ve got permission to snap some local folk for Listowel Connection.

I’ll be taking annual leave to enjoy the festival and then some more annual leave to recover.

See you back here soon.


Last word on the toilet for now

Tuesday May 30 2023

Nearly there but no electricity yet so unfortunately it looks like it won’t be ready for Writers’ Week.

You saw it here first! the kindly Kerry County Council staff gave me a sneak peak. No super loo this…a bog standard wheelchair accessible public toilet.


More Hullabaloo

Beautiful trees in Willow Grove, Listowel in May 2023


In Abbeyfeale

The gate was on the latch so I went in. It’s a lovely old graveyard right in the heart of town . There are lots of old graves. There are modern graves there too.


Smart Ageing

I nearly forgot to tell you about this. There I am, third in in the second row at the Think- in on digital Ageing. We were gathered in Kerry’s Centre for Smart Ageing in Farranfore and we were helping Adapt devise how technology could help us as we grow older.

Technology is often seen as the preserve of the young and many developments in that area are driven by young people even when the end user is an elderly person. Our focus group was helping to redress this imbalance.

Example: AIB spent thousands of euro on making youtube videos instructing people how to do banking on line. These videos have only had a couple of hundred views.

Why? Mainly because the target audience isn’t online in the first place.

The Think in was a great idea. It was free and we got a lovely lunch. If there is another I’ll try to alert you in advance.


This Looks Interesting

In today’s busy world, books like this that you can pick up and put down without losing the thread are ideal reading. I love to read a story after lunch, before bed or elsewhere.


Writers’ Week at Glamourous


More on the Saga of the Bog

We left the saga of the loo yesterday at 1973

. David O’Sullivan did the research. I think there may be a book or at least a short story or even a farce in this. The headline writers certainly loved it.

Update: May 29 2023

A new temporary toilet is installed on the site of the previous one. Let’s hope it is less controversial and less costly than our old one.


An Old Problem Arises again

May evening 2023 in Ballybunion…Photo: Alice Moylan


A Few More Busking Photos

Every year friends of North Kerry M.S. Society come out to sing, entertain and collect for the charity. Busking Day is always a great day in the Small Square. Music lifts the spirits. The lovely people in Lynch’s provide electricity, counting facilities and endless cups of tea and coffee. Here are a few last photos left over from May 19 2023.

Some people sat and listened to the music. Some paused for a minute, donated and moved on. One volunteer left what she was doing and helped a tourist couple to take a souvenir photograph. Volunteers rattled buckets and stopped traffic. And the band played on.

Great day!


Abbeyfeale Trip

I was in Abbeyfeale on Saturday and there was a vibrant craft market in full swing in The Square.

Here is the Listowel Connection I chanced to discover. My attention was grabbed by the most beautifully decorated cakes I have ever seen.

They are fifishadesofcake and they are based in Lisselton. Their cakes are works of art, beautifully presented. I bought two cupcakes as a present for someone who is herself a great baker and has decorated a few cakes in her time. She was blown away as I was.

These beauties are far too good to eat but we ate them anyway. AND they were as good as they looked.

You can catch them in Ballybunion Market from now on or you can contact them on their Facebook page Fifishadesofcake

Feast your eyes on these. For those in the know this is not fondant icing but butter cream. For those not in the know this is much harder to work with but way tastier.


Another Book from Emma


And there is was …Gone!

Monday May 22 2023, Market Street and the most expensive loo ever is

gone, never to be forgotten.

This is how our public convenience used to look. It was costing us nigh on €40,000 a year and bringing in around €1,000. It gave spending a penny a bad name.

A public toilet in Listowel was ever and always a contentious issue and the present plan to locate it temporarily at the old Neodata site is not meeting with universal approval either.

David O’Sullivan did a thorough trawl through the papers for us last time this issue came up when the contract for this one came up for renewal. I’m going to rehash the whole saga now. If you dont have time to read it now put it aside for a few days. I’m going to take a bit of a break from here to go and help my friends at Writers Week so, from Wednesday next May 31, there will be no blog for a while.

More on this saga tomorrow when a man named Kidney draws up a proposal and Listowel Town Council have a win in the Prize Bonds and a win in a category in the Tidy Towns to help fund the loo.


A Fact

Today’s monkey fact is straight from my calendar. These “facts” are for entertainment purposes only. I recommend they are taken with a pinch of salt.

Looking Forward to Listowel Writers’ Week 2023

River Feale in May 2023


A Fleadh to look forward to

And a fleadh to Remember

1997 photo first shared by Elizabeth Brosnan


Guided Tours of Kerry Writers’ Museum

In Kerry Writers’ Museum I met the brilliant Angeline in costume for her tour. During Writers’ Week 2023, you can book a guided tour for Saturday June 3. Booking for this is directly with the museum.

This year lots of events are taking place in our lovely library. What better place to launch a book than in this dedicated place of books. Page 13 of your brochure or Listowel Writers Week website for details.


Yes, It’s Adare

Bob Jewell wrote to us from Marietta in Georgia in the U.S. asking our help in identifying the town where he took this photo in 1980. He thought it might be Adare. I thought it was almost definitely Adare. Then David O’Sullivan and Jim Ryan did the research for us. Google street view confirms it is Adare. The signs are gone but the distinctive house in the background of Bob’s photo is still the same.


Another Innovative Event

This year Listowel Writers’ Week programme is being curated by a lovely young man, Stephen Connolly, who has fallen in love with our town.

Stephen looked at Listowel with the fresh eyes of an outsider and he has come up with new ways of bringing writers to new corners of the town.

Our performance area in The Square will be the location for Lunch Poems, a brilliant new event in association with Poetry Ireland.

Every day during Writers Week, June 1-3 there will be free poetry and a spot of lunch at 1.00 p.m. Each day we will hear two young emerging poets, we will get a short pamphlet of the poets’ work and we’ll get “a light lunch” from Dough Mamma. Their pizzas are delicious.

That’s lunch sorted for a few days.


More Busking Photos

Photos from the annual MS fundraiser in Main Street Listowel on May 19 2023


Sciath na Scol

My granddaughter Cora is the last of her family in Gaelscoil Uí Riordáin in Ballincollig, a school with a Kerry Principal, Gabriel ÓChathasaigh and a fine cohort of teachers, many with Kerry links. It’s a school steeped in the GAA. This year for the first time the school won all four competitions in its section of Sciath na Scol, football boys and girls and hurling boys and girls.

Here Cora is showing her medal to her little cousin. Better than an All Ireland to the little ones!


A Fact

Paul Galvin is in The Listowel Arms Hotel on Saturday June 3 at 3.00p.m.

A Listowel Writers’ Week 2023 event.

Our fact today comes from:


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