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

Category: Poem Page 2 of 37


Canon’s Height in Summer 2024

Aisling Shannon, Master classes

Con Curtin Music festival 28 29 30 June 2024

Our banjo tutor Aisling Neville. 

Aisling Neville is a multi-instrumentalist who hails from Listowel in Co. Kerry. Aisling has spent many years on session circuits all over Ireland at various festivals and fleadhs. She holds 7 All Ireland titles, winning the Senior Banjo in 2003. Due to this success, she was selected for the Comhaltas tours of Ireland, Britain, and North America. Aisling completed the BAMus in UCC and was the recipient of the Doc Gleeson Award for performance excellence while in attendance there. She was also a member of The Bedford Cross Céilí band in recent years. Aisling is  a primary school teacher in Co. Clare  with over 20 years of experience teaching in various settings. She has adjudicated extensively at county and provincial level also.

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

This image has gone viral. The unfortunate motorist changed his mind when driving through the Conor Pass and attempted to turn back. The car was removed later but our photographer seems to have left by then. I looked for photos of the removal of the car but couldn’t find any.

Wouldn’t you die….?

Bibiana Foran

I brought you this photo last week.

Jer Kennelly found her mentioned in this newspaper clip

Killarney Echo and South Kerry Chronicle 1899-1920, Saturday, 22 April 1911

When an old age pensioner enters the Workhouse the pension is no longer paid. As the law is at present, such old persons entering the Workhouse cease to be pensioners. An effort is being made to change the law. ———–

Large numbers of the old people who became old age pensioners at the beginning of the year-have gone back to the Workhouses. The food, comforts, and accommodation of the Workhouse are something more than they can obtain for 5s. a week outside. Inmates of Workhouses, in Kerry and elsewhere receive better .treatment than they did in years gone by. Still, respectable old people do not like the Workhouse, and it’s  only right that homes should be established for them. 


The members of the Listowel branch of the Women’s National Health Association, met last week and, judging by the statements made at the meeting, it would seem that the movement against consumption and its causes has made much progress in that district. If any doubts were entertained regarding the assertions that the disease can be cured the statement made at the meeting in question, by Mrs. Foran P.L.G., should have the effect of removing them. She informed those present that some persons sent from the Listowel district to the sanatorium for treatment had returned quite restored to health. 

We Have a Winner

My granddaughter, Cora, plays soccer with her club, Lakewood, and with her school, Gaelscoil Uí Riordáin. The schools’ competition is a 5’s blitz. It is very hard on the nerves because if your team goes down a goal you have very little time to make it up. Last week Cora’s team, representing Cork, won the Munster Schools’ Final and are now into the All Ireland final.

Hopes are high for victory in her other discipline, Gaelic football. Gaelscoil Uí Riordáin is into the final of Sciath na Scol to be played later this week.

Cora with her proud parents

Gaelscoil Uí Riordáin team

A Rallying Cry

A Fact

In 1220 Henry 1 laid the foundation stone for Westminster Abbey in London.


Talented people

Photo: Ballyduff by Ita Hannon

Nash’s of Newcastlewest

Glin Historical Society shared this advertisement on Facebook

Tom Walsh of Listowel commented

Nash’s Minerals was located in Listowel for many years, on the Bridge Road, where Tyre Stop is located now. The manager was Dermot Buckley. He did every thing, took the orders from all the pubs/shops, collected the money, and on a Saturday he delivered the orders with a tractor and trailer

Derry Buckley shared this photograph of his late dad, Dermot.

What a talent!

My daughter-in-law, Carine, and her mum, Cécile, holding the crochet throw Carine made for her mother. Reggie is impressed too.

These details from the crochet show the immense skill and craftsmanship involved.

Carine has already started on her next project.

+Pat Given R.I.P.+

Pat Given, one of Listowel’s last great classical scholars, passed away peacefully on April 30 2024.

Pat was a teacher, a poet and a gentleman. He lived a long and happy life with his beloved Lisha in Listowel, which shaped and made him.

The places I was most likely to meet Pat were at a book launch, in the theatre or in the newsagents. He was a man of letters. May he rest in peace.

Celebrating a Gymnast

A Fact

No species of wild plant produces a flower or blossom that is completely black. Despite attempts, so far efforts to produce one artificially have failed.


In Kanturk

Follow the yellow brick road…Glenlohane Co. Cork

The Voice of Horse Racing

Racecourse commentator Jerry Hannon from Listowel says his career as the voice of Irish horse racing started out as a party piece

“From an early age I was fascinated by horse-racing commentators and how the one voice at a race meeting could create such an atmosphere. I think that’s what whetted my appetite.

“At the time, there was a TV programme called Sports Stadium, which showed races from the previous week. I used to record those races using an old cassette tape and then I’d play them back and try to put my own voice to it. Michael O’Hehir’s famous 1967 commentary of Foinavon winning the Grand National at Aintree became my party piece.”

This opening paragraph is from a recent article in The Irish Independent

A Snooker Poem

I intend bringing you the poems, all sports related, that I found in the library on Poetry Day 2024. I’m starting with this one as it is topical when history has been made and three qualifiers dethroned the big boys and made their way to the last four at The World Snooker Championships. The dream faded in the final, however, and it was a seeded player, Kyren Wilson, who was crowned 2024 World Snooker Champion.

In Kanturk

My recent visit to Kanturk coincided with the official reopening of Twohigs after a big refurbishment.

The ribbon was cut by this lady, Kathleen O’Connell who has worked in Twohigs for 50 years.

I met old friends and had a great catch up.

Mary Lynch is a pal from my school days. Kieran OSullivan was giving out samples of the various salads made that morning in his family business, GOS Salads

Mickey and Minnie were there for the children.

The party went on for 3 days.

Maurice Walsh

A Fact

A rat can last longer without water than a camel can.


Kathleen Cox, Ceramacist

In Glenlohane, Co. Cork in April 2024

Ceramacist with a Listowel Connection

This lovely figurine is the work of the late Kathleen Cox. She was featured on the National Treasures programme on RTE on Sunday April 28 2024.

Cox was born in China and lived there until she was 7. Her family moved to Listowel before eventually settling in Dublin.. Her father was a doctor.

Kathleen Cox studied under the master sculpture, Oliver Sheppard. She won many prizes and the prize money funded a sojourn in Paris.

“During her time there, Cox met a stranger who was threatening to commit suicide using his revolver. She intervened by throwing his gun into the River Seine. Although the artist saved the stranger’s life, he was furious that she got rid of his gun and insisted that she pay him the value of the gun, which she did in small installments. This outrageous episode demonstrates Cox’s empathy, kindness and gentle nature, which also reflected in many of her artworks.” ( RTE website)

This piece, entitled Woman carrying Something, is typical of the pieces she created at her Dublin studio and sold in her shop. It is now in the National Museum.

In the 1930s she became disillusioned with the whole art scene and smashed her moulds and closed her studio and shop. She passed away in 1972.

Another Hen

Another poet with Tralee roots was prompted by the story of poet performer, John Foley, to send us his own poem about poultry.

Michael O’Callaghan now lives in Wexford.

Rhodie The Escapee

It was Saturday evening in Charlotte Close

With the weather so chilly it would give you a dose

I was strolling out for my evening walk.

When I heard what I thought was fowl talk

A clucking Rhode Island Red Hen was cheerily strutting.

Proud as punch to be hen hopping

Up along the path while her feathers she was preening.

She progressed along with her little hen steps.

But now it was darkening so Rhodie got a pep in her step.

As she searched for a spot to coop up for the night

The owner was made aware of Rhodies plight.

But Rhodie was safely tucked up out of sight.

We called off the search till Sunday morning light.

I was out walking on my morning nature quest.

Parading with Stella my weekend French bulldog canine guest

She was straining on her lead with all her might

As a Clucking Rhode Island Red hen came into her sights.

The Rhode Island, the wild one which escaped from her pen.

Was parading down Charlotte well after ten.

It was time once again to phone the distressed owner.

Who came round quite quickly to rescue her Rhodie, the loner

But Rhodie was not receptive to her rescuing gestures                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Choosing instead to play hide and seek with her pesters

And so, word was sent out to our Charlotte neighbours

Seeking help in arresting our avian transgressor .

Who is really performing like an avian messer

We begin a chick chick chick chick chick chick tune

Being voiced in 6-part harmony just around noon

And then from within the hedge a faint avian sound was heard.

Poor Rhodie was trapped in a fork in the hedge.

All rescuers now go down on their knees

And peer through the hedge and are ready to weep.

A neighbour now sees a gap in the hedge 

Where she sees our poor Rhodie out on a ledge

She puts in both hands to grasp our poor hen

And has her rescued in less than ten. 

She reintroduces her to freedom in Charlotte Close

And hands her over to Rosie her owner who lives near The Close.

Mick O Callaghan


Do You Remember?

(From the internet)

A Fact

The Empire State Building in New York opened in 1931


A Church, A Grotto and a Poem

Admiring the fields of rapeseed in Castlemagner in April 2024.

Edel Quinn

They are very proud of Venerable Edel Quinn in Castlemagner. They have built a shrine in the church to this holy woman. She was a Legion of Mary missionary to Africa, where she worked bringing the message of Christianity to Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia. She died in Nairobi in 1944 and she is buried in the missionaries Cemetery there. She was selfless, and well meaning and she is commemorated in Kanturk and Castlemagner.

May is the Month of Mary

Ballyduff Grotto  ( Image and text from the Facebook page Anyone from Ballyduff…)

The Ballyduff branch of Macra Na Ferme set about the task of erecting a Marrian Grotto in 1954. A site offered by farmer Frank Hammil was accepted which resulted in the “Wayside shrine” been in Rahela. As regards work on the Grotta itself, the labour was voluntary. Paddy and Johnny Costello, Clashmealcon supplied trailers of gravel from a Quarry in Clounlougher. Thomas Sheehy designed the Grotto and ordered the Statue from Dublin. The statue arrived in a box to Lixnaw railway station and delivered by lorry to Ballyduff. Those who worked regularly at the building were Jack Joy and John O Connor Clounlougher, Den Joe Galvin Drumartin, Jimmy Supple Hearthill, and John Dunne Glounerdalive.  The plastering was done by Michael Regan from bishopscourt, the ironwork by Mike O Carroll of Lacca. and the Electricals by Pat Joe Burns of Ardcullen, and the finishing work by Mikie Brassil, Rahela and Jack Enright Kilmore. The Grotto was blessed by Fr. Courtney and assisted by Fr. B Hayes on Sunday 3rd July 1955.


I was reminded of Patrick Kavanagh’s poem as I followed the saga of Thade Kelly’s Hen.

I have lived in important places, times

When great events were decided, who owned

That half a rood of rock, a no-man’s land

Surrounded by our pitchfork-armed claims.

I heard the Duffys shouting “Damn your soul!”

And old McCabe stripped to the waist, seen

Step the plot defying blue cast-steel –

“Here is the march along these iron stones.”

That was the year of the Munich bother. Which

Was more important? I inclined

To lose my faith in Ballyrush and Gortin

Till Homer’s ghost came whispering to my mind.

He said: I made the Iliad from such

A local row. Gods make their own importance.

One from the Archives

From The Knocnagoshel Phoenix 2007

A Fact

Fairs were held in Ireland during May. The main business of a fair was the buying and selling of livestock. Unfortunately, faction fighting became a feature of fairs too. Fights at the Donnybrook Fair became so commonplace that the word Donnybrook entered the language as a word for a mass brawl.


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