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 2 of 6

First Post of 2023

Kerry Cow; Photo Mike Flahive

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Christmas Mail

While I’ve been absent from here I have been receiving some very interesting emails. The first one I am going to tell you about involves this handsome Kerry cow.

A Dublin lady with a Kerry mother is writing a book about Kerry. Mary Trant is hoping to include a chapter about the Kerry cow and her search for a photograph brought her to Listowel Connection.

The photograph wasn’t mine. It was Mike Flahive’s of Bromore who is dedicated to preserving this breed. I put Mary in touch with Mike. Now we can look forward to her book before too long.

I have other mails as well, a soldier of The Great War whose photo is sought for a project in Belgium, and an American with Moyvane and Athea ancestors looking to connect with her Irish family before her visit. Watch out for these stories in the next few days.

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A Sad Farewell

Listowel lost a good few friends over the Christmas break. A big shock to everyone was the untimely passing of Fr. Donal O’Connor.

Fr. Donal passed away at his home in Rathmore on January 4 2023. He was very popular during his stint as a curate in Listowel. Many people have fond memories of him. May he rest in peace.

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An Artist of the Future

It is lovely to receive a hand made card. This unique artwork from 6 year old Sadhbh is my favourite Christmas card of 2022. I am keeping it until she becomes famous and I’ll have a rare early example of her work.

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Something to Look Forward to

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The Legend of Kiltomey

From Dúchas.ie , the schools folklore collection

A little boy, the only son of a widow, was caught one day picking sticks for fuel (called here brosna) in the earls’ orchard. The earls at this time had large and extensive orchards and fruit gardens around Lixnaw. They made cider of the apples which they stored in vaults (which still exist underneath an old ruins called the Hermitage). When the boy was caught, the earl of the time ordered him to be slung up on a tree and hanged which was done.The poor widow having heard of the death of the boy became frantic with rage and despair for the loss of her only son and proceeded in her rage to curse the earl.

She came before the door of the mansion her hair hanging in disorder down to her waist and the earl seeing her became afraid of her curse, and so came out to placate her as best he could. To do so he was obliged to grant her a whole townland of his property and a rich one at that. This was the townland of Kiltomey, about a mile from Lixnaw, which she finally accepted though it did not, as she said, compensate her for the loss of her son.

The townland of Kiltomey was afterwards sold and was, up to the time of the Land Purchase Acts, in possession of a different landlord. A large portion of this property of the the earls passed over to Lord Listowel at the time of the confiscations, but the townland of Kiltomey though in the midst of this property remained in different hands, a separate property, thus in some measure proving the truth of the legend of the widow and her son.

Ballincloher School, Teacher; Seán Leahy

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Old Listowel Folk and New

Frosty Listowel in December 2022… Photos; Chris Scott

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The Last of my Photos from the Garda Centenary Celebrations 2022

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Singing Stars of the Past

Eileen Reid, Joe Dolan, Tony Kenny nd Brendan Grace (photo shared on Facebook)

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Folklore from Listowel in the Ducas.ie Collection

Frank Hoffman who was killed in the troubles in Tralee was a great concertina-player. After his death his comrades were planning an ambush in a barn and they heard his tune played outside on a concertina. They put off the ambush and ’twas well they did as a trap was laid for them and they’d all be wiped out.
(T. T. Doyle Tanavalla)
“The men who crucified Our Lord have to roll barrells in heaven as a punishment. Thats thunder! (Hickey Ballybunion).
There was a churchyard in Behins long ago and men ploughed up bones there and never buried them again so they got the sickness and died.
There was also a churchyard in Listowel at the back of Feale View (Sweetnams) now the property of Mr. Foley.

There is a woman and her name is Madge Shine living in the Red Cottages, Cahirdown Listowel and the way she made baskets was this. She picked hazel sticks and put them over the fire to harden and about a week after took them down and pointed them. Then she placed four sticks on top of one another and tied the four corners of them and placed more on top of them until she had it made.
There is a man and his name is Martin Sheehy and he made sgiaths out of scollops. He bended the sticks in and through one another until he had his sgiaths made. There is a man and his name is Paddy Enright of Asdee and he made baskets out of rushes and he put the rushes over the fire to get tough and then he wove them in and out through one another until he had his baskets made.

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Fleadh Cheoil in Listowel 1973

Katherine Walshe from Newmarket was in Listowel competing in the fleadh. She has shared a few souvenirs of that adventure with us.

Here is Katherine’s email;

I had a look at what remains of the copy of programme of events for 1973 that I recently came across.  I am attaching the piece from the Uachraran on behalf of the National Executive and the main programme of events which were held throughout the town in:

Astor Cinema

Sluagh Hall

Walsh’s Hall

Medell’s Hall

Plaza Hall

Realta na Maidne

Library Hall

Flicking through the pages I noted the name of Frankie Gavin from Mervue, Galway who competed in the 16-18 age category. I assume he is the well-known fiddle player that we often hear of. He played, and won, at Plaza Hall and Walsh’s Hall that year.

I have happy memories of my time there playing in and winning the Faoi 11 age Slow Air Fiddle competition at Sluagh Hall. The attached pictures were taken that day, 27th August 1973, of me (pictured left and from Newmarket in County Cork) and Jo Ann Crowley (from Kilmallock in County Limerick on the right). It’s possible to still make out the location from the background in the photographs.

Anyway, this is just a little something that may be of interest. I’m wondering how many of the seven venues still exist. Hopefully all of them.

All Ireland winners 1973
Katherine Walshe and Jo Ann Crowley

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It’s the Little Things

I watched very little of World Cup 2022 but I’m glad I didn’t miss the final. Even the French branch of my family agreed that Argentina deserved the win and Lionel Messi deserved to crown his glittering career in Doha.

This is Alexis MacAllister of Argentina. If the grandmother rule were the great great grandfather rule he would qualify to play for Ireland.

Joe Callaghan covered the championship for The Irish Examiner and he did a great job, I’m told. Here is his little quirky final takeaway.

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A Poem and a Tale from Down Under

Breeda Ahern’s wreath, Christmas 2022

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Home for Christmas.

Matt Mooney sent us his Christmas poem

Snug in our house at home Christmas Day,

Condensation heavy on the window pane,

Hearing the sudden click of our small gate,

Someone saw him come and said his name.

Mother hovering over the Christmas dinner,

Up on the Stanley range – her engine room,

Looks out in hope and then she saw her son

Walking in again the sloping path to home.

Her heart filled with joy so warm and full,

She emerges as if a wave in a warm ocean

Is carrying her to let him in and greet him,

Her embraces laced with motherly emotion.

He smells roasting goose as he sips soup,

And talks farming talk with his eager father;

Soon he melts into the man he was before

He took the boat to England with his brother.

He was happy he had made the journey west,

He knew that it was not a time to be alone;

Here by the fire he felt it even in his bones –

That at Christmas it was great to be at home.

Matt Mooney.

Taken from ‘The Singing Woods’ (2017).

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It’s a Long Long Way from Clare to Here

Marie Moriarty came across this story on a recent trip to Australia

Fr. John O’Shea was just one of many Irish missionaries who are remembered for their great work in Australia.

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A Few more Photos I took at the Garda Centenary Celebrations

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A Christmas Custom from the National Archives Folklore Collection

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A Story with Neven Maguire in it

Every now and again I get an email from a researcher asking permission to use a photograph that they have found credited to me. Usually its some fabulous picture, well outside the scope of my talents.

Here is the latest email and I’m hoping someone will know this photographer.

My name is Helen and I work at a TV production company called InProduction TV. We are currently producing an RTÉ TV series called ‘Neven’s Greenway Food Trails’ for RTÉ One. 
We would like to request permission to use an image from your website in the series if possible please? The image is attributed to Liam Downes, if you might have Liam’s contact details please? 
The context of use is that Chef Neven Maguire will be travelling the Limerick Greenway exploring the food producers nearby and learning about the formerrailway and the history of the Greenway.
This is the image we would like to use if you might be able to help please? 

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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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