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: Schools Page 1 of 20

Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer

Horse chestnut tree at the entrance to Gaelscoil Lios Tuathail

I Love Brendan O’Connor’s Writing

From last Sunday’s Independent


Crazy Hair Parade

Presentation Primary School marched through town last Thursday with their hair in every kind of crazy style. It was a great laugh and raised a few euros for the school.

Graduation Day

Sometimes I feel very old….. My boyeens who featured here so often on their many trips to the Kingdom are all grown up. Here they are with their emotional parents as they finish secondary school and prepare to head out on a new adventure.

McCrohan’s of 15 Main Street

This is the Kennedy home today. It was here that the last of the Listowel McCrohan’s spent his last days in the care of Dr. Johnny Walsh.

This is how it looked in 1983 when Tim and Karen visited Listowel.

No. 15 Main Street is where the McCrohan family lived.

This is how No 15 looks today.

It was Larkin’s in 1983

Look at how much more beautiful it is now, embellished by the superb paintwork of Martin Chute.

Changes afoot

This premises, the former ESB office, has had this enormous window installed. I don’t know what is going in there but I’ll tell you as soon as I know.

A Fact

All pet hamsters are descended from a single female wild golden hamster found in a litter of 12 in Syria in 1930.

Emigrants and Descendants of Emigrants

Bill Clinton statue in Ballybunion, May 2024.

A Returned Emigrant and friends

Many of Nora Griffin’s classmates are scattered around the globe. She probably meets more of them in New York, where she lives, than in Listowel, when she returns home. But she took the opportunity on this visit to have meal out with her lovely, mom, Mary, and her old school friends, Siobhán Brassil and Linda Grimes.

Nora caught up with Sheila Scanlon as well.

North Kerry Themed Schools’ Show

The curtain call for a the talented young people who entertained us on Monday. I was at the first of their two shows. It was an honour to be part of this project.

Below are some of the visual art works created during the project. We saw paintings, drawings, pottery and sculpture.

A Man with a Listowel Connection

Tim McCrohan send us this email from Florida;

Hello Mary, 

I came across your website, while I was searching for some history of my grandfather, James J. McCrohan Sr., whose family grew up in Listowel.  

My wife and I visited there in June 1983.  For a bit of history, my father, James J. McCrohan, Jr was an only child (born in Syracuse, NY) after his father emigrated to the US sometime in the late 1800s.  My grandfather came from a family of 8 children (who lived in Listowel), one of which was Timothy F. McCrohan ( who I am named after).  

I wanted to share a story with you about Dr. John Walsh. For some history, we know that my uncle (Timothy McCrohan) was cared for Dr. Walsh during his last year of life.  He was cared for at a nursing home back in 1955, which was called the Kennedy Private Nursing Home, I believe. When he died in 1955, my father sent some money for his burial. With that information, we set out to visit Listowel for the day, (while on a tour of Ireland for our honeymoon in June, 1983). 

Upon arriving in Listowel via bus, we searched for and found Dr. Walsh’s office. We knocked on the door and when I introduced myself as ‘Timothy McCrohan”, his jaw dropped as if he’d seen a ghost.  He immediately told me he knew my Uncle well and explained how he had cared for him during the last year of his life. The sweet man then closed his practice and insisted upon taking us around Listowel to share where our family lived and then to where my uncle was buried. He shared with us a story about when his own time was to to come, he wanted to be buried on a hill under a tree in the same cemetery.  Not sure if this ever happened, but I wanted to tell you that we were so comforted and appreciative that he took the time to share with us the history of our family who grew up in Listowel.  Every time we talk about our Ireland adventure to people, we always focus on how nice the people there are/were, and especially we relay the story of Dr. Walsh who closed his practice the day we visited there.  We hope that he ultimately received his wish to be buried in the place he discussed, because he was certainly a gentleman. Here is a picture from June 1983, we have of him. 

Thanks for sharing your website with us

Tim and Karen McCrohan

Jacksonville, Florida

I forwarded the email and the photo to Eleanor, Dr. Johnny Walsh’s daughter and she shared it with the family and she wrote back to Tim.

Here is Eleanor’s reply;


Thank you so much. Brought tears to my eyes! Dad’s nursing home was called ‘Greenlawn’. He didn’t sell it until 1961 when it became the Kennedy. I used to go with Dad as a child and it had this extraordinary Nissan hut  out the back where there were patients! 

I will email Tim McCrohan 

Your blog is amazing at keeping people in touch, keep up the good work! 

Eleanor x

( more on this story next week)

A Fact

Denmark’s current flag design was first used in 1219. No other modern country has used the same flag design for so long.


Signs and Wonders

Red Sky at Night, taken from my front door

Wrong in so many Ways

This is Mick Wallace’s lone poster in a town where every other candidate has respected the agreement to keep Listowel free of posters.

The poster is big and the image is sinister looking. It arrogantly presumes that everyone will recognise the surname.

This particular corner of town has a lovely little wildflower bed.

There amidst the poppies, the daisies and the marsh marigolds is this.

I have recently visited Ballincollig where they don’t have a no postering agreement and every possible vantage point is polluted with images of candidates.

Cora under one of the poles on Carriganarra Road. Every pole has two, three or even four posters.

An Old Sign

This old sign was shared on a Newmarket Memories Group on Facebook. The distances measured in miles and half miles are a throwback to another era.

Local People lead Great Free Walking Tours at Writers’ Week 2024

More from Monday’s Schools’ Show

The talent on the stage at the two Listowel themed concerts on Monday, May 20 2024 was exceptional and heart warming.

Here are just a few of the talented artists from the participating schools.

These girls introduced the show and set the tone for a spectacular variety of entertainment.

It was lovely to hear the young people singing all the local songs. This young girl gave us a superb rendition of Bryan MacMahon’s My Silver River Feale.

These are just a few of the many talented singers who regaled us.

A Fact

“Lucy Lockett lost her pocket

Kitty Fisher found it….”

How could someone lose her pocket?

Answer; In the 17th and 18th century, a pocket was actually a piece of material fashioned into a pouch that ladies wore tied with cords around their waists. These ‘pockets’ were accessed through slits in skirts and petticoats. Because they carried everything in them, the strings sometimes came undone and the pocket was mislaid.


Summer 2024

Path in the park

Local People at The Kingdom County Fair

Jer Kennelly was there with his camera and he sent us these. Jer is the man with the garda, at the other side of the camera for once.

A Superpower Needed

I saw this man for the first time at last year’s Writers’ Week where he was collecting his prize on opening night. He was there on release from prison and he and his warder who accompanied him left me with a lasting memory of a great acceptance speech, one of my highlights of Listowel Writers’ Week 2023.

He is back, reading from his book, telling the story of his awful disease, gambling addiction, on Sunday June 2 at 1.00. I have read Sheedy’s book and it is a frightening account of the highs and lows and the terrible heartache of addiction. With alcoholism there is only so much a person can drink before passing out. With gambling, a gambler can lose everything in a matter of seconds. It is a frightening story and Pat Sheedy tells it very honestly.

BUT, at exactly the same time as Pat is in the Plaza, Cyril Kelly and friends are launching an anthology of their writing in Kerry Writers’ Museum.

If I were granted a super power for a day, it would have to be bilocation.

Poem I discovered in an old Ballyguiltenane Annual

Strong Tea

My fact about tea reminded Mattie Lennon that John B. Keane wrote a book called Strong Tea. Mattie treasures his copy

A Marvellous Concert

My friends in Listowel Schools Creative hub invited me to their concert in St. John’s on Monday last. It was an extraordinary showcase of the great young talent in North Kerry.

We saw Joan Mulvihill on screen and in the audience. Damien Stack was another of the local people the students interviewed for their project. His wife, Joan was there for the first concert.

Music, singing and dancing were a big part of the show. Their music and dance teachers, Katie McNamara and Jimmy Hickey were on hand to support and perform.

Katie Lucey, Katherina Broderick and Julieanne Galvin were on hand to keep the show on the road.

A fact

On this day, May 22 in 2015 Hollywood actor Dwayne Johnson set a Guinness World Record for the most selfies taken in three minutes. He took 105 selfies on the red carpet at the world premiere of his new film San Andreas.


In Dublin

Easter 2024 altar in St. Mary’s Church

It all Happened Again, and Again and Again

From Pres. Secondary School yearbook 2004/05

Knocknagoshel Phoenix 2006

The Big Smoke

I took the train from Farranfore with my friend, Peggy, on a mission to see our old friends who usually travel in the other direction to meet us.

This sign is at the entrance to the station. Take a half a look at the translation of Live train/ platform information.

Did no one check it before it went up?

Who signed off on it?

We visited The National Gallery. It’s a beautiful place, so much more worthwhile than the shops.

The only shopping we did was in the National Gallery. There I spotted a Listowel connection, two displays of Anna Guerin’s Sock Co op souvenir socks.

More Flowers

We have a Champion

Schools 5- a -side soccer is like World Cup when you are 11.

Cora and her Gaelscoil Uí Riordáin team are Cork champions and Cora got the award for “Player of the Tournament”. On now to Munster in May.

A Fact

The most difficult tongue twister in the world is

“The sixth sick sheik’s sixth sheep’s sick.”


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