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

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A Different Kind of Race

Listowel Town Square


More Sustainable Fashion

This is part of the huge crowd at the races on Saturday Sept 24 2022. Listowel Racecourse is so vast and well laid out that there is always plenty of room for everyone and while demand for bars and toilets etc. leads to queues, these are never too long and this year everyone was in great good humour due to the sunshine and the blessed release from Covid restrictions. The best way to teach us to appreciate something is to take it away from us for a while.

Mary, Orla, Imelda and Joan were busy in the marquee organising the sustainable fashion event on behalf of Listowel Tidy Towns.

The ever stylish Helena was busy getting every entrant signed up.

Out on the course John Kelliher, who did a marvellous job of photographing all the colour and excitement of race week in Listowel, obliged me by posing with my friends and his, Maria and Anne.

This gorgeous lady was relaxing in the sunshine.

Local people in the marquee observing it all.


A Poem for this Time of Year


That Famous Walking Race

The walking race from Tarbert to Listowel was a much anticipated and keenly contested attraction in the 1960s. there are apocryphal tales of fellows going astray, fellows taking short cuts and there is one tall tale of a contestant who “borrowed” a bike for part of the journey.

King of the Mailroad Walking Race: Tarbert to Listowel.

John B Keane who gave a commentary on the race. Derek Johnson (Clonmel) winner and Dr John Walsh, race promoter. September 1961.

From the archive of the late Tony Fitzmaurice, Ballybunion.


The Queen is Dead, Long Live the Queen

Photo from St. John’s Asts Centre on Facebook

Frances Kennedy was crowned Queen of the Wren at a great night of traditional music, dancing and merriment in Listowel Town Square on Friday Sept.23 2022


Listowel Races 2022 Day 1 continued

Listowel Town Square


Best Dressed Couples

Listowel Races this year introduced a new fashion event. This saw men and women dressing up as a co-ordinated couple. The venue was sponsored by Lyrath Estate Hotels. This company has a very strong Listowel Connection.

The judge on the day was Elaine Kinsella, a broadcaster with a very strong Listowel Connection.

The llama wasn’t helping her with the judging and since he was on his own he wasn’t eligible for the couples competition so he took a minute off from entertaining the children to allow his use as a prop for Instagram.

Gillian and Raymond Gilbourne were every inch the stylish co ordinated couple. They didn’t win.

A couple with a very strong Listowel Connection (and a Kanturk one too) are Barry and Eithne O’Halloran. They didn’t win either. They came second.

Barry was not actually on the island for the competition. He was presenting a prize on behalf of his company.

And the winners were Jacy Ybanez (Tralee) and Brian O’Connor (Abbeyfeale) with an outfit described by the people in the know as “fashion forward”.


Pres. Girls Reunion

Hard to believe that these lovely ladies graduated from Presentation Secondary School in the early 1960s.

They chatted and reminisced ’til early morning

Miriam Kiely and Mary Sobieralski on their way to the reunion.

Mary and Marlene hadn’t met since they left school.

It was a great night for remembering and reconnecting.


Harvest Festival 1994

Listowel Harvest Festival made a welcome return to town this year. Will it ever match the fun we had on the streets in 1994. Junior Griffin kept the brochure


Listowel Races 2022

Day 1 of Listowel Harvest Festival of Racing 2022, Sunday September 18th

And I was there with my friend, Bridget O’Connor.

I was back on The Island on the last day, Saturday, Sept 24 2022 for Listowel Tidy Towns sustainable fashion event.

And the winner is…

Andrea Thornton is the queen of sustainable fashion. She rarely buys anything new. When her gorgeous dress was bought, it was already vintage with a slightly rusted metal zip and a few rust stains on the lace. Her headpiece came from Vincent’s in Listowel when it was called Second Time Around. She wore her shoes at a Bronte literary event in the UK.

Her fan had to be the most inventive reuse of something. It started life as a Barbie doll’s dress.

Two babies later, the dress still fits Andrea as well as it did on her 21st.

The runner up is another vintage affectionado. Amy G. loves her life, travelling around the world, selecting pieces for her pre loved business.


When The Owner is an Artist

Traditionally everything in Listowel shuts down for Race Week. Work stops on building sites in town. This premises on Church Street was no exception but look at how they painted the boarded up window to match the colour scheme of the shopfront.


Tralee Pillar Box from Another Era

This Tralee postbox dates from the reign of Edward VII so it was put there between 1901 and 1910. Hasn’t it weathered the years well?


St. Michael’s 1972 Past Pupils Reunion

Back L to R.  Jim Larkin,Maurice Sheehy, Jack Flavin, Tom Stack, Brendan Keane, Eddie Flaherty, John Hartnett, Aidan Murphy, Finbarr Prendiville, Gerard Hussey, David Kissane.Front. L to R. Paddy Quilter,Gerard Neville,Jimmy Fitzmaurice, Joe Horgan,Seamus Kennelly, Neil Brosnan, Jer Riordan.

Names supplied by Jimmy Fitzmaurice.


The Greatest Irish Athlete Ever?

The eccentric Cork athlete , when asked how he felt after winning his 5th. World Championship said in typical understated fashion ‘Fine”.


Young and Old

Main Street, Listowel in August 2022


People I Met

Mark and Sheila Hewitt made a welcome return to Listowel after their Covid absence.


At the School Gate

Scoil Realt na Maidine has got a new school gate.

I learned on Facebook that the gates were made and fitted by Beasley Engineering, Listowel


The Oldest Man in Listowel?

Is Peter McGrath the oldest man in Listowel? He is 95.


Neighbours at a Wedding


I Know for a Fact

Elvis Presley wore a cross, a Star of David and the Hebrew letter chi around his neck. He explained this choice of jewellery thus. “I don’t want to miss out on Heaven due to a technicality.”

Presley died on August 1977, in the bathroom of his Graceland home.


Barbara’s Road Trip

In Marley Park; Éamon ÓMurchú


A Kerry Connection

Jim and Liz Dunn with their niece Rosie on Rosie’s wedding day.

Jim and Liz are huge supporters of the Arts in Kerry.

At the wedding, Liz read Gabriel Fitzmaurice’s Just to be Beside You is Enough during the ceremony.


This story is Pants


A First for Listowel Connection… A Guest Blogger

Barbara Kissane is an Irish American lady. She loves Ireland, the birth home of her parents and she has visited often.

This year her Irish holiday was a bit different. I asked her to give us an account of her trip and I will share her story of her Irish summer with you over the next few days.

When 2022 rolled around, I had no intentions of travelling to Europe this summer due to the covid restrictions.   In March, the restrictions were lifted and still no intention of traveling to Europe.  On April 12th, a mass shooting happened on the NYC subway.  The next morning, I booked my vacation on Aer Lingus for three weeks because I knew it was going to be a hot summer so I had to get out of NYC!  I hardly ride the subways!!  I had gotten an amazing deal for under $1,000 for 3 weeks.  

Our parents instilled in us a love of Ireland at an early age.   My father was from Kerry and my mother’s parents were from Mayo.   Ireland is in our blood!   We are  a large Irish/American family of 8 and we grew up in The Bronx, mostly an Irish neighborhood with lots of Kerrymen surrounding us.   I have been to Ireland the most out of my 8 siblings because I traveled with my parents a lot.

Originally for this trip, I was traveling with a friend and we were going to rent a car and travel all around Ireland for 2 weeks.  Then my friend had to back out at the last minute.   With that, my plans changed too.   I have driven Ireland by myself in 2017 and loved every minute of it.  I didn’t feel like doing it this time around.   I found a tour company called, The Royal Irish Tours and the tour dates fit perfectly for my trip.

It was totally last minute.   I would highly recommend them!   We covered a lot of ground in 10 days.   Yes, ten days and I survived being on a coach bus for ten days.  

More tomorrow….


The Boys (of 1972) are Back in Town

Jim Fitzmaurice has been in touch.

Listen up if you belong to the St. Michael’s Class of 1972.

Here is Jim’s email:

“We are organising a reunion of the Leaving Cert Class of 72 on 17th Sept. In Christys bar the Square

At 7pm. There are many we have no contact details for so a bit of publicity is needed.

Jim Fitzmaurice, Bunagara Listowel and Arklow.


A Fact

In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries doctors prescribed tobacco to treat a variety of ailments. These included, headache, toothache, arthritis and bad breath.


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