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: Poem Page 1 of 16

Remembering Neodata

Feale Monument, Listowel Town Square in November 2022

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Remember Neodata?

This is a photo taken before the demolition of the prefab.

Neodata was long gone by then.

In 2016 Liz Galvin sent us this photo of Neodata staff. It brought back happy memories for many then. I hope it will again.

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Poem of the Year

Catherine, Martin, Simone and Paula in Dublin for An Post Irish Book Awards on November 23 2022.

Listowel Writers’ Week sponsors the poetry competition at this event.

These were the very talented short listed poets.

……and the winner i………s Martina Dalton.

Here is her poem. (By the way, it was the one I voted for.)

POEM: WEDDING DRESS

Scalloped leaves entrap a sprig of white

Forget-me-not.

Silk-wound stems repeat themselves

like vows, around a missing throat.

Hexagons of net, like they’ve been honed

by microscopic bees.

A circle smudged in pink,

where confetti must have caught.

Trapped forever in the past.

Where the bodice meets the skirt,

a row of tiny beads join hands.

Lace stretched to bursting round a heart.

A row of sixteen satin covered discs,

miss their counterparts, wait eagerly

to slip each lined up loop.

Pronovias of Barcelona, stitched in gold.

Double edged the snow white hem,

stained now, where it hit the floor.

The buttons at the cuff

never needing to be opened,

so small my hands had been.

A satin band now torn,

where I wound it tightly round my wrist

for our first dance.

Held up to the light, the net in pleats

forms ghostly ribs, delicate

against the plain white cotton of my bed.

Like it’s being lifted from a photograph

I hold it by its shoulders.

Fold it from the outside in.

White pencilled squiggles gather messy

on the floor. Each wrinkle of the train,

like tip of tide on sand.

Perfume, catches in my throat.

The overwhelming scent,

of Celebration, Love in white,

Faded rose.

Published – Irish Independent/New Irish Writing – 30th July 2022

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Christmas Times

I never heard of that custom. According to Tomás O Murchadh it was observed across the border in Abbeyfeale.

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Big Day for Listowel Gardaí

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Another Christmas Craft Fair

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Then and Now

2016
2022

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Lovely Listowel Memories

Listowel Town Square in November 2022

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Round the Block

A Poem by John Fitzgerald

Let us go then, you and I

Round the Block, beneath the sky

Like two prisoners on a street

Back in time when young boys meet

Past busy lanes, bustling shops

Penny sweets and summer shots

Munched in silence when alone

Thinking of those friends now gone.

Up William Street, left and right

Pubs, clothes shops will catch the eye

Smell of commerce everywhere

Traffic vying to get you there

Coffee shops and restaurants

Fancy names when hunger taunts

“Hot dinners” there once in vogue

Pizzas, burgers now to choose.

At the Sheriff’s, Charles Street

Corner boys a vantage keep

Swapping tales and street reviews

Up to date with daily news

Live the painters, the wood grainers

Eagle eyes, true colour changers

Cut stone houses there to see

I know you and you know me.

Leaving Charles Street for Forge Lane

Halfway Round the Block we’ve come

Blacksmiths two and cobblers one

Artists each and everyone 

Short the street but great the craft

Lineage of a class apart

As we head down to Church Street

Last leg of the Block we reach.

Linking Church Street to the Square

Young and old pass everywhere

Shopfronts of an older day

Proudly boast an ancient way

Harp and Lion in God we trust

“Spes in Deo” is put first

Latin, French and Irish mix

In bold relief, in plaster rich.

As we walk we talk a lot

Writers, stories priming thought

Bryan, the Master and John B.

Raise the bar for all to see

Characters, an endless list

Can lift mood at a twist

Each time ventured Round the Block

Transformed but no memory lost.

Threaded beads of incident

To be found in every sense

Raise your head, they put you down

That’s what happens in my town

Lower it and they raise you up

That is what is called support

As the bell strikes in the Square

Our walk is timed to finish there.

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Hollywood Memories

Charles McCarthy spotted this in the Towers Hotel

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Traditional Holly and Ivy Decorations

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Well Deserved Honour for Duagh Broadcaster

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Christmas is Coming

Christmas is coming

And the goose is getting fat.

Please put a penny in the old man’s hat.

If you haven’t got a penny a ha’penny will do.

If you haven’t got a ha’penny

God bless you.

November 16 2022

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Looking Back and Forward

Childers Park 2022

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A Different Kind of Covid Poem

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In Listowel we Remembered

November is the time set aside for remembering our war dead. In Listowel we have a dedicated band of volunteers who make sure we never forget.

Flags at the altar rails in St. Mary’s Listowel on Saturday November 12 2022

Prayers of the Faithful were read by retired and serving members of the Irish Army reserve.

These last 2 screen grabs are of refugees from the war in Ukraine who prayed with us in English and Ukrainian.

The mass was celebrated by Canon Declan O’Connor, himself a former soldier of the FCA, and by Fr. Martin Hegarty.

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Christmas as it Used to be

In this great little book, Stephen Newman has curated a collection of Christmas reminiscences from the National Archives.

I’d love if Listowel people would send us some of their own stories of Christmases past.

I remember a kind of novena we had. It was called “A crib for Baby Jesus” and there was a set number of prayers for each element of the crib and these had to be said every day during Advent.

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Shall we Dance

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Winners and Victims

Blennerville by John Hooton, photo shared on Facebook

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Two New O’Connor Pieces

These two newly discovered pieces of Michael O’Connor’s excellent illumination work have turned up in Stephen Rynne’s family home. Stephen’s dad was a friend of O’Connor’s and had many pieces of his work. After Michael’s death his widow entrusted much of his work in progress to his two friends, Maurice Fridberg and Etienne Rynne, who endeavoured to find a “home” for them. That search has been taken up by Stephen, son of Etienne and very soon these wonderful pieces of artwork will be back in Listowel in No. 24 The Square.

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We are the Best

Two Listowel institutions returned with well deserved awards from the Irish Hospitality Awards ceremony in Dublin, Mike the Pies in the Best Live Entertainment venue and Jumbos in the Best Family restaurant categories.

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Tom Doodle

Doodle Rally in Main Street

I found this essay on Boards.ie in a closed account. I don’t know who the author is. it’s a first hand account of the day Doodle came to town.

We were in the middle of our Leaving exam. at St. Micks when news of Doodles coming to town was announced and come hell or high water would we be denied the chance to act as guard of honour to the Doodle entourage which had been arranged by M.O.C. the late and great Johneen Keane, however to take part we had to dress as if in Mardi Gras, this to add to the frivolity of the evening and also as a disguise so the College President did not recognise any of his star pupils. I remember Bunny Dalton who was in the lead truck with the other musicians asking John B. what music would be appropriate for the occasion and the answer was as many National Anthems as you can think of. A tour of the town was completed via Charles Street and Church Street and to this day I cant forget the faces of the townsfolk who lined the streets, most were of joy and happiness and some in awe, one old woman with rosary beads went on her knees thinking it was the Papal Nuncio while another who having been attic bound for years thought that Doodle was the reincarnation of Parnell. What followed that night was the funniest night I ever spend at home and the night was recalled once again at the post performance reception of Sives Premiere in Dublin in May 59 when I met up with John B.

Quick background for newcomers;

Tom Doodle was a jape by a group of Listowel friends led by John B. Keane. The Independent Couleogous Party was a fictional political party set up by Keane and Co. Doodle was their candidate in the General Election of 1951. They ran a campaign for him complete with unlikely promises, slogans and a jingle. His campaign highlight was a monster rally in the small square.

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Lest we Forget

This brutal Siegfried Sassoon poem has been shared widely lately as rows swirl online over the wearing of the poppy.

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Water, A Mural and a Dog

Ballybunion in November 2022

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Water, Water, Everywhere

If you’ve never had a water leak you won’t know what this is.

I had a mains water pipe burst under my lawn. Phone call to Irish Water. Along comes an engineer with his detection gadget. He finds the source of the leak and this is how he marks it.

Next into the fray is Kerry County Council.

Hey presto, leak repaired and lawn in sh…

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Finished!

I made another visit to the Neodata carpark on Saturday November 5 2022. Garrett was putting the finishing touches to his lovely mural.

Muralist Garrett Joyce and admirer, Cora

You have to see it to fully appreciate it.

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True!

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When your Dog has to be stuck in Everything You’re Doing

Molly was back with her Cork family. She likes to make herself at home.

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