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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Family, Theatre and Other Stuff

Photo; Teddy Sugrue of Mallow Camera Club


More local drama in St. John’s this week. The old ones are the best!


Family reunion at Easter

Lovely to be back in the bosom of my family. Molly Madra makes herself at home on my gilet.

I took on the Rummikub champion again. My 3 last tiles are hopeless, all over the place and I am heading for defeat. Cora, because she is a lovely child, shows me how to win. So a victory of sorts, at last.

This is us on a night out. Remember the two boys at the front in the photo? Our days in Listowel in the Lilac Studio, Kennedy’s Pet Farm, The Donkey Sanctuary and Athea or Tarbert Fairy Trails seem very long ago now.


Last of My Extracts from Pres. Yearbook 2002 ’03


Sr. Consolata Interview Concluded



More Second Floor Embellishments


Sr. Consolata Interview concluded

This is the last part of the interview with Sr. Consolata Bracken, published in the Pres. Secondary School Yearbook 2009. Listowel is very lucky to have this extraordinary lady. I wish her many more years of ministry among us.

Photographs for this article were taken by John Stack.

With SVP volunteer, Eileen O’Sullivan in the SVP shop.



I noticed that on William Street all sign that the EBS was ever there is already gone.



In Cork I beat Cora, the champion of Rummikub,

It wasn’t all fun and games. We did homework too, with a little help from Molly Madra.

My youngest grandchild, Aoife enjoying an outing with her grandmother and godmother.


Looking for a Book Recommendation?

Here is the short list for the big prize. I loved, loved, loved Claire Keegan’s Small Things Like These.


St. Patrick’s Day 2022

March 17 2022

Liam Brennan as St. Patrick, the flags, the crowds, the music, the sunshine…a St. Patrick’s Day to remember in Listowel.


Shamrocks’, Bicycles, Ukraine flags…March 17 2022 in Listowel


Some people I met

Everyone was in great form, delighted to be outdoors and back together again. St. Patrick’s Day 2022 had lifted the spirits of everyone I met.


Meanwhile in Malahide

Éamon ÓMurchú took these shots at an event in Malahide. fireworks are notoriously hard to photograph. These are brilliant images.


I had some gymnasts in the house

On a beautiful sunny evening in March in Ballybunion you wouldn’t know if you were on your head or your heels.


A Few Local Placenames

Fourhane, Fuarthán…There is cold spring well here which gave this downland its name.

Ballynagowan…Baile na Gabhan The home of the blacksmith

Kilmorna….Cill Mórna The church of Morna. Legend has it that there was a graveyard here and a the remains of a lady called Mórna were found there.

Tanavala…An tSeanbhaile, the old homestead


Ballydonoghue Bardic Festival 2022

One for the diary1


Bono’s poem for Ukraine

Oh, St Patrick he drove out the snakes
With his prayers but that’s not all it takes
For the snake symbolises
An evil that rises
And hides in your heart, as it breaks
And the evil has risen my friends
From the darkness that lives in some men
But in sorrow and fear
That’s when saints can appear
To drive out those old snakes once again
And they struggle for us to be free
From the psycho in this human family
Ireland’s sorrow and pain
Is now the Ukraine
And St Patrick’s name now Zelenskiy

“I’ve a tradition of sending a limerick to [Pelosi’s] St Patrick’s Day lunch over the years,” Bono said on Twitter. “This year the limerick is irregular & not funny at all. We stand with the people of Ukraine & their leader.” Bono also said the poem “wasn’t written to be published”, but after much attention he released it on U2’s Twitter page.


Remembering Anita

Gap off Dunloe by Chris Grayson


A Schoolday Memory

As you know I’ve been revisited my old school yearbooks, trawling for “content”. I suppose it was inevitable that some of the memories would be sad ones. So many colleagues gone from us.

Then in this old treasure I came across a poem that took me back to a Tuesday I will never forget.

That Tuesday, after the long weekend, Anita should have been sitting at the back beside her friend Gretta in my first class.

We were all in shock. It was my first experience of the death of a pupil and for many of her classmates it was their first experience of death. The Leaving Cert. didn’t seem to matter so much anymore.

Anita was fun loving and artistic. She had so much to live for.

Whenever I hear Garth Brooks’ The Dance I am back in the church in Lixnaw on a bright May day when no one felt like dancing.

May Anita rest in peace.


Kildare in February

February is St. Bridget’s month. What better place to be than Kildare , the home of Bridget.

This is the statue of Brigid in Kildare Town Square.

This is the lovely Heritage Centre where a nice lady told me all about the town and its history. This is also the place to buy a few souvenirs and find out what’s on.


Where are the other Twenty Three?

Sing a song of sixpence…last week I snapped this solitary black bird at Mike the Pies.

From the internet some crow facts;


For the Chop

I heard on Radio Kerry that some of the trees in Childers Park will have to be cut down or relocated to accommodate the Greenway and for health and safety reasons. I walked that way on Saturday but I couldn’t see any sign of which trees have to go. The work starts today, Monday February 14 2022. I’ll keep you posted.

While I was in the park I was delighted to see a rugby game in full spate. Looks like the old normal is back.


Then and Now

Two empty premises in January 2022


Then and Now


Ad from Shannonside Annual 1959

Note that ladies were the target market here. God forbid that a man might ever want to so a spot of cooking.

Buying things “on the drip” or by instalments was common practice.

“Clean, economical and non-poisonous” addressed the three biggest fears.

The phone number gives you an indication of how few people had phones in 1959. Yes, McKenna’s was the 12th phone. I think the low single digit numbers were usually the Gardaí, the post office, the presbytery and other people you may need in a hurry.

Of course there was no direct dialling. Every call had to go through an operator.


A Fascinating Fact


The Hollywood Connection

“They’re going to put me in the movies,

They’re going to make a big star out of me….”

This is Dwayne Johnson, also known as The Rock and according to Google the most famous man in the world.

The character on Dwyane’s right (left in the picture) is EPA Cullen. Now I never met Cullen but let’s say his people are my people.

Like many a “Glorious Gael” Cullen emigrated for work. (In other words, The Kanturk crowd sold him) His charm, good looks and tractable nature endeared him to the movie stars he gets to work with.

Here he is on the set of his latest movie. He is watching while they block his scene. And, before you ask, I have no idea.

Here he is with his latest co star. This young man is an actor called Rafael de la Fuente. Will you look what he says about our Cullen in his Instagram account?

I know, I know, he’s not exactly “our” Cullen but there is a connection and that’s enough for me.


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