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: Schools’ Folklore Page 1 of 5

Christmas Market

Listowel 2022

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Listowel in Times Past

remembered by Cyril Kelly

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Christmas Market, Saturday November 26 2022

I was a bit early and the festivities hadn’t started in earnest when I was in the Square. My little visitor had fallen asleep so we were at home before the switching on of the lights which was done this year by Paul Manning. We missed Santa and the school band as well so my photos do not do the event justice.

This is Paul Manning at the festivities in The Square. Unfortunately on the way home, Paul lost the hat he is wearing here. The hat was adorned with 2 badges which are of sentimental value to Paul. If you found it, you could hand it in to John B.s, St. John’s , The Garda Station or Doran’s. Indeed if you hand it in anywhere in town they’ll get it back to Paul.

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Folklore

On Friday I was back in Listowel Library for Tom Dillon’s entertaining talk on folklore. The talk was based on some of the local stories in the national folklore collection.

I was struck that some things that happened during the recent Covid crisis are things that only we know. Not everything is reported in the paper. I resolved to tell my family that Nick and the team at Listowel Garden Centre gave me a present of a plant and a bar of chocolate one day during lockdown. The gift came out of the blue. It meant a lot as did all the other kindnesses I received. I will pass the stories on to the next generation. That’s folklore.

Many stories were collected by schoolchildren in copies like these in the great initiative in 1936/37. Is it time to do it again?

Here is an extract from that great treasure trove;

My great grandfather whose name was Daniel Mangan from Bedford owned a house in William Street but it belongs to a man by the name of Corbet now and he fixes [?] cycles. When the house was owned by my great grandfather it was a latin school and it was taught by a man named Mac Namara My grand father whos name was Pat Mangan was taught Latin there. Mr. Mac Namara aied [?]named man.

They had slates to write on with slate pencils. The black board was a big slate. They had a few stools and planks across two or three boxes.

There was a hedge school in Ballydonohue. It was taught by a man named Relihan. One day they were attacked by English soldiers and Relihan was hanged.
Told by Mrs. Keane, Ashe Street, Listowel.
Written by W. Keane, Ashe Street, Listowel.

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What an Improvement

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Exemplary Fire Fighters

Photo; The Kerryman online

Proud to see our own John Curtin and John Kelliher rewarded for their long service to the fire service.

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Schull and Dunamase

Photo; Breda OMullane

This image is one of a selection of photographs by members off Mallow Camera Club which are framed and hanging in Kanturk Community Hospital.

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From Pres Yearbook 2003

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Schull, Co Cork

Éamon ÓMurchú took this picture on a lovely weekend in Schull.

I was further east. I visited The Rock of Dunamase. I had so often wondered about it as I passed the signs on the motorway. This fortress once belonged to Isabel, daughter of Strongbow and his wife Aoife MacMorrough. Aoife, wife of Strongbow got Dunamase as part of her dowry from her father, Diarmuid MacMorrough.

It is now in ruins and more famous for the spectacular views it provides over the surrounding countryside.

Rock of Dunamase from the churchyard of the nearby Protestant church which is still in use

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Weather Signs from Beale School in the Schools Folklore collection

Michael Griffin, the schoolboy who recorded this, got the information “from people at home”.

Weather Signs
When bad weather is near at hand you will notice in this locality the foam rise and dash against the Cliffs off the coast of Clare. The Rooks and Seagulls fly to the land when severe weather is approaching searching for food. The cat sits on the hearth, the soot falls down the Chimney when we are near bad weather. You would also notice a circle round the sun and moon and the clouds are very dark. the wind is generally from the west or south west when we have bad weather.
When we have good weather in this locality you will hear the waves at the north or north east. When we have good weather the birds fly high into the air in search of food. This is generally the case with the swallow. The sun and moon shine bright and clear and the sea is quite calm.

Michael Griffin v.
Bromore,
Ballybunion
June 23rd -1938
Information from people at home

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A Poem for our Time

By Trista Mateer

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Look where I was Last Night

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Marching on

Ballybunion on March 17 2022

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Setting the Spuds

Raymond O’Sullivan has a great knowledge of gardening and the old traditions. Here is what he says about potatoes.

St. Patrick’s Day is a traditional day for planting spuds. Maybe because the saint protects them and the devil has no power over them on that day. But more likely because it is within a couple of days of the Spring equinox, 20th March this year, when there is a good chance that soil conditions would be suitable. Lunar gardeners believe potatoes should be planted in the week following a full moon, and the moon was full on Friday night. We got a couple of fine days and everything seemed to be right, so I took the chance. Potatoes can put up with a bit of hardship. Fingers crossed!! Not so with many seeds though, the soil needs to be much warmer for germination. An old gardener gave me a trick to test the suitability of the soil temperature for seed germination: you take off your pants, and if you can sit comfortably on the ground on your bare backside, then it is time to start setting seeds outdoors.

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Some Local Sports Clubs on Parade

St Michael’s basketballers
Listowel Emmetts
Listowel Celtic

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A Strange Happening at a Holy Well

In the schools folklore collection of 1937 three are many stories about holy wells. Clandouglas children had many wells to choose from and their elders had many a tale to tell.

Margaret Shanahan collected this story from her father.

Sunday’s Well is in Oak Park near Tralee on the Abbeydorney side. Wether’s Well is in Tubrid near Ardfert village + I wish to tell the following story, which I heard from my deceased father (R. I. P.) who is dead 19 years + was 75 when he died. From early times people paid rounds at both wells + still continue to do so.

In Wether’s Well there is a mound , an altar, + a well but in Sunday’s Well there is only the well + a lone bush. When the Sandes were Landlords of Oak Park, one of them got a mason to remove the altar with its three effigies from Tubrid or Wether’s Well to Oak Park + erect it over Sunday’s Well. The next morning it was back again in its own place at Wether’s Well + signs of the fresh mortar could be tracked as the crow flies from one well to the other aCdistance of about 5 miles in a direct line.

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Sport and Writing…….Where did Tadhg learn his love of these

You can take the man out of Kerry but….

Tadhg has found success a long way from Church Street. He has never forgotten his roots and is literally and metaphorically flying the flag for his native traditions.

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R.I.P. Noreen Holyoake- Keese

Listowel Connection has lost a great friend and supporter. Noreen always took time to tell me how much she appreciated the work I do in connecting people like herself who loved Listowel so much.

Noreen passed away peacefully at her home in the U.S. on March 22 2022. She is mourned by her dear mother and her family, here and in her adopted home in New York.

Bernard O’Connell, the only boy in the photo, posted this photo a few years ago. Noreen is in the centre of some Listowel childhood friends.

Mary Brosnan, Katrina Lyons, Bernard O’Connell, Noreen Holyoake, Mary Lyons, Mary Carmody, Maura Moriarty.

I was thrilled to meet Noreen in person in 2019. She was a lovely lady.

May Noreen rest in peace. Braithfidh mé uaim í.

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Aisling Ghéar do dhearcas Féin……

The first marquee event of Listowel Writers’ Week 2022 took place in The Listowel Arms Hotel on Saturday evening, March 26 2022.

Picture shows Catherine Moylan , chair of Listowel Writers’ Week with Deirdre Walsh of Radio Kerry who interviewed Emer McLysath and Sarah Breen, authors of the Complete Aisling series.

It was a very enjoyable event, a great start to this years exciting festival.

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Ukraine and Listowel

Spotted on Church Street on Sunday March 20 2022.

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Listowel Stands with Ukraine

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So much to see and do in lovely Listowwel

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Rose, Joan, Cara and the folks in Listowel Business and Community Alliance played a blinder on St. Patrick’s Day ☘️ posting live streams of the parade. This was greatly appreciated by those who love Listowel but couldn’t be here this year.

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Schooldays of Yore

About sixty-three years ago ( around 1874 or 75) there was an old school in Kilfeighney in Mr. Stack’s land.

Mrs. Kennelly herself attended it. It was a thatched one room building with seats going all round and four plain desks with inkwells in the centre. It had one open fire place, and two windows, and a door in front, and an earthen floor.
The teachers were Mr. B. Brosnan and Miss O Sullivan. There was no Irish taught then, and the principal subjects taught were Reading, Writing, Sums, Grammar, and Geography. It was a mixed school and up to sixty or eighty scholars attended it between boys and girls.
The school was opened at nine o’clock in the morning, and closed at four in the evening. There were no pictures hanging on the walls, but there were Maps; one of Asia, one of Africa, one of America, one of Australia, and one Map of Europe.
The teachers were paid by the English Board and when Clandouglas school opened Mr. Brosnan was again appointed Principal. Mrs. Kennelly who attended this school told this to Annie Hennessy who recorded it in the Clandouglas school’s folklore collection.

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March 2022

The window in Listowel Saint Vincent de Paul Shop captures the theme of this year’s St. Patrick’s festival well. This year the theme was The Greenway so bicycles, scooters and shanks’ mare were the preferred modes of transport. Other floats concentrated on the great outdoors, with sights and experiences available along the Greenway. Everywhere we were reminded of the war in Ukraine.

One of the highlights of the parade and of every parade in Listowel is the Convent School marching band. In a poignant gesture to their fellow children suffering in Ukraine, the girls adorned their caps with ribbons in the Ukraine colours.

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Some Photos from St. Patrick’s Day Parade 2022

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A Rare Piece of old Film

a Man called Grant Millar shared a great piece old cottage of a fair day in Listowel in 1956 on the Listowel and North Kerry Facebook page.

Here are a few screenshots Christy Halpin took from it.

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Take a look at this. Thankfully the tree fell into the river so n o damage was done to person or property.

If you were wondering why they are cutting down old and diseased trees, here’s your answer.

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The Story of a Cairn

In Gurthenare in the farm of Mr. Quilter there are still to be seen the remains of a monastery called Kilcara, built by St. Carthage. One of the monks (Franciscans) belonging to that monastery was murdered by Cromwell’s soldiers + tradition has it that he was buried in “Mickey’s Field” in the farm of Wm. Dowling of Kiltomey bounding Gurthenare + Kilcara.

A pile of stones was raised over the grave + up to forty years ago everyone, old + young, threw a stone on the pile when passing so strong was the tradition then. Three people, two of whom are still living heard stones rattling there late one night as they were going home from a friend’s house. The noise was such as would be made when emptying a load of stones out of a car.

This story appears in the Clandouglas school’s folklore page. It was recorded by Michael O’Connell, aged 65, a farmer.

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The signs are fading but Covid is still with us.

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