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 39

A Fashion Photoshoot

In Listowel Town Square in July 2024

My Summer Visitors

Early morning walk with Reggie

In Praise of a Modest Repast

The Tomato Sandwich

by Mick O’Callaghan

                                     This veggie discovered in the fifteen hundredths

Growing wild in the Andes Mountains

Brought to Mexico by the Spaniards

Then the early explorers brought seeds to Italy

And so, this ancient berry, fruit or vegetable

Has spread throughout the world

Today its 10000 plus varieties are globally grown

With varieties such as beef, cherry ,vine ,piccolo

As ornamental plants, for roasting and toasting

Widely used in salads or just plain slices on bread

For myself I just adore

lettuce, cheese, cucumber, scallion and tomato sandwiches

Made on fresh brown or white sliced bread

I Just love the sensation, the salivating

As I reach into the bread box for the fresh bread

Placing two slices on the breadboard

Spreading the soft butter on them

Gently adding the lettuce, cheese, tomatoes and cucumber

With a drizzle of finely chopped fresh garden scallions

Evenly spread across the top

Shaking a little salt for seasoning and flavour

Liberally spooning and spreading mayo

And placing my covering slice on top

Sprinkling some chopped parsley around for added colour

My sandwich making mission is now complete

And so, I place this attractive creation on my plate

Holding knife overhead and gently slice it in quarters

For easier handling and consuming my tantalising treat

I place it on the table to view my creation

I am happy that it is now ready to eat

Next, I pour a mug of tea and place it alongside my treat

Get my napkin, pour some milk into tea to cool the warm brew down

And then I sit down at table to enjoy my feast

Oh, it so yummy and succulent

As I sink my teeth into bread, tomatoe and cheese

The cucumber,scallions and mayo give it a mighty lift

Mayo softly squelching out the sides

Gently plopping on the plate

Napkin in in place to wipe around my mouth

And avoid any nasty spillage on clothes

As I ravenously devour my home-made sandwich special.

Washed down with real Barry’s brewed teapot drink.

I am satisfied, stuffed, happy, and contented

My appetite is sated

I am ready and energised for the rest of the day.

A Photo Shoot

This was the scene on William Street on Wednesday morning, July 10 2024.

An eagle eyed friend who was passing alerted me to the scoop.

The umbrellas were necessary to block out the sun which had been in hiding all summer but chose that morning to appear and ruin the winter fun.

If you enlarge this one, you’ll see that there is a man on a ladder at the right of the picture with a machine snowing fake snow on to the subjects. You will notice the “snow’ is about 3 inches deep at the pub door.

These two are the main players in this scene.

I made enquiries on your behalf. It was a Christmas photo shoot for a high end German fashion brand or so the man wearing some kind of recording equipment told me.

She is Painting us

This is the charming Jean Cauthen who is a regular visitor to Listowel. Jean is a plein air artist. Look out for her, painting scenes around town.

A Fact

Three of Fidel Castro’s sons, Alexis, Alexander and Alejandro were named after Alexander, The Great.

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Looking Forward to Revival

Up the Rebels!

Photo; Ryan Byrne; inpho

Áras an Phiarsaigh

Revival 2024

Saturday’s line up

…and listen

From the Newspaper Archive

April 1930 Irish American Advocate

Whilst crossing a Meld in Drumcunnig, Abbeydorney, a few days ago, Maurice Hayes, a youth, was attacked by five greyhounds and a Kerry Blue. It is stated that though young Hayes sustained injuries to both his legs and arms, still they are not of a serious nature.

( I haven’t heard the word meld used like this before. Is it still in use?)

A Definition

from The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce

bait n. a preparation that renders the hook more palatable. The best kind is beauty.

A Fact

In 1698 the British engineer, Thomas Savery, patented the first steam engine.

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At a Cost

Kerry Writers’ Museum in June 2024

Revival 2024

This will be a good one. The lineup looks special. Get buying those tickets.

Our Beautiful old Coins

These beautiful animals were once in everyone’s pockets. As we move ever closer to a cashless economy, let’s take a minute to see how beautiful these pre -decimal Irish coins were.

Another Find at the Library

You can borrow these “age friendly” tablets from the library for 10 weeks at a time. They are ideal for an old person who has to go into hospital or for respite or even in their own home.

Once you have a gmail account they are relatively easy to set up and they are programmed for local regions. They have a calendar and diary, links to the webpages of the local newspapers, links to local churches so you can “attend” mass if that’s your thing. You can take photos and chat to friends. I think they are a “try before you buy” option for someone who likes to stay in touch. On these Acorn age friendly tablets you can use Borrowbox, the free library online store of books , papers and magazines. When you hand it back, the library staff will wipe all your stuff off it before the next borrower.

What I’m Reading

I usually have a few books on the go at a time. This one won this year’s Writers’ Week Kerry Novel of the Year. It is very very good.

Piece of serendipity in the IWA charity shop this week…expect some great weird and wonderful facts from this source.

Squashed In

I just love the names of flowers and plants

Like the lovely Sauce Hollandaise daisies

Conjuring up images of summer salad days

Or that adorable Butternut Squash

With images of butter and nuts

Being squashed together

To make a tasty nourishing mash

I first became aware of this lovely vegetable

In the year of two thousand and ten.

I was just retired from teaching

And was embarking on a new way of living

Health matters were now a more pertinent issue

Weight loss and exercise became a focus for me

With aspirations to become a slimmer, fitter, healthier me

So, I betook myself off to a healthy heart course

With the emphasis on eating meat dishes demoted

                                            And using vegetarian dishes was promoted

For their beneficial effects for healthy living

We had carrots, lettuces, cous cous and coleslaw

There were melons, oranges apples and bananas

We tried shepherdess pies, Moroccan tagines

                                           There was tofu with ginger and broccoli spears

Then we were introduced to special soups and dishes

With butternut squash being the new one to me

We made butternut squash soup

We roasted it in the oven, skin and all

It tasted yummy and delicious 

Leaving my taste buds with a yearning for more

We made risottos and curries

I really liked eating them all

Because it was such nice nutritious food

Also, on our menu we had 

Quinoa with stir-fried greens

There was wheat grass and juices

Energy balls and sprouts

Diet plans and meal plans

I got used to living a more spartan lifestyle routine

Shedding kilos of weight and waistline inches

Reducing my cholesterol and blood pressure levels

 My energy levels increased appreciably

I just loved my expanded healthy menu choices

With my new friend, my delectable butternut squash

 heading the nutrient field for me

In my newly acquired style of healthy living routine

 Mick O Callaghan June 2024

A Fact

Octopuses have three hearts. (You know where I got this one.)

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Glin Castle

Lavender at Listowel Courthouse

Some People I met at the Ard Chúram Performance

A Fishtank

This tank with its very colourful fish is in Ard Chúram Day Centre.

A Poem

This poem by Seamus Redmond will forever be associated with Micheál ÓMuircheartaigh who recited it so beautifully.

A Hurler’s Prayer

With strength of arm and speed of limb 
Unerring eye for the flying ball 
And courage to match whate’er befall
May my stroke be steady and my aim be true
My actions manly and my misses few
No matter what way the game may go
May I rest in friendship with every foe
When the final whistle for me has blown
And I stand at last before God’s judgement throne
May the great referee when he calls my name
Say, you hurled like a man; you played the game.
Seamus Redmond

Glin Castle

Glin Castle was featured in a Discover Ireland post and the proprietors were delighted. Here is what they posted of Facebook.

Thank you to Discover Ireland for featuring us in their article “How to plan a Taylor  Swift-inspired short break in Ireland” 

Article reads:  

” Back in 2018, Swift and Alwyn spent Christmas in Glin Castle, the luxurious country manor on the edge of the Shannon Estuary. The castle is the ancestral home of Catherine FitzGerald, who runs the historic pile with her husband, the actor Dominic West.  

Once again, it was an Instagram post that tipped off followers, who identified the backdrop of Alwyn’s photo as the Knight’s Walk, a 3km loop that weaves through the grounds to the highest point of the Glin Demesne, with great views of the water and the castle itself along the way. And the good news is you don’t need to stay at the castle to do the walk yourself, as it’s open to the public. It’s also worth keeping an eye out for the occasional open days held at Glin Castle, so you can have a look around the impressive 18th century features in the house where they stayed. 

Swift and Alwyn also reportedly stopped for a pint in O’Shaughnessy’s, where she bought a raffle ticket for the local GAA team. This charming country pub was a good choice – it’s just outside the walls of the castle, with antique whiskey jugs on the shelves, a roaring open fire and cosy armchairs.”

A Fact

Human saliva contains a painkiller called opiorphin. It is six times more powerful than morphine.

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Carrigaline Pottery

On the banks of The Feale in June 2024

A Listowel connection

Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh has a fan in Paul Durcan who heard him – mid commentary – send Greetings to our Friends in Brazil one summer Sunday. Here’s Paul’s poem from Poetry Ireland’s Everything to Play For anthology which Mícheál selected & read at our event at Listowel Writer’s Week 2015.

Did you have this tableware?

Carrigaline crockery graced every table I knew in my youth. While I am not a collector, I enjoy being part of a Facebook group given over to the celebration and preservation of this Irish treasure.

Here are a few pieces from that Facebook page.

Ard Churam Choir

On June 27 2024 I was in Ard Chúram day centre to hear a great performance by the Ard Churam Choir. I’d love to post a clip of the singing but I’m running out of space on my hosting platform and videos are very space hungry. Sorry. Take it from me, they were a treat.

Here are some of the lovely people I met there

This man entertained us while we were waiting for the choir to finish their performance in the Fuchsia Centre

Eleanor and Brenda

Aras Mhuire guests

Fact Check

I was a bit dubious about yesterday’s “fact”. It said that babies at birth can only see in black and white.

Jeremy Gould fact checked it for us and here in a nutshell is what he found on Snopes…

What’s True

Babies are born with a visual acuity that is below the threshold for legal blindness …

What’s False

… but it isn’t true that newborns can only see in black and white. Instead, they are able to perceive some colors, in an extremely muted way.

A Definition

from The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce

Architect, n. someone who drafts a plan of your house and plans a draft of your money

A Fact

The toothbrush was invented in China in 1498. The brush was made of boar bristles.

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