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 Page 1 of 15

Sadness in the midst of Joy

Snow – Killarney – 17-01-2023 Photo: Kathleen Griffin

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That 1947 All Ireland Final

Yesterday I shared with you Kathleen Reynolds’ great uncle’s first hand account of a spectator at that match.

Photo from the internet

Here is an extract from Kathy’s email;

The game was attended by 34,500 including my father’s uncle, Mike Fitzmaurice, who had left Moybella South, Lisselton around 1910 for Waterbury, Connecticut.

Notes (Irish Independent & Wikipedia)

The Artane Boys’ Band also travelled to New York to play before the match.

Michael O’Hehir broadcast a radio commentary from New York. O’Hehir noticed that broadcasting delays would bring the radio link down five minutes before the final had ended. He later recalled his plea:'”If there’s anybody along the way there listening in,  just give us five minutes more, and I kept begging for five minutes more” The link stayed open.

Kerry — D O’Keeffe; D Lyne (capt), J Keohane, P Brosnan; J Lyne, W Casey, E Walsh; E Dowling, E O’Connor; E O’Sullivan, D Kavanagh, B Garvey; F O’Keeffe, T O’Connor, O Kennedy.

Subs: W O’Donnell for Dowling, M Finucane for Walsh, T Brosnan for O’Donnell, G Teehan for Kennedy

Score 2-11 to 2-7

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There was a North Kerry man on the team.

The last surviving member of that Kerry team, Ballydonoghue man , Mick Finucane passed away in 2016;

Here is a fine tribute to Mick by his friend, Brendan Hegarty, published in 2016 at the time of his death.

Brendan Hegarty 2016

Tribute to Mick Finucane

To not have engaged with Mick is to not have lived and anyone he touched is the better for it. Non-drinker and non-smoker but socialiser extraordinaire. I was having a chat of an evening with him and one of the nuggets I picked up was that from 16 years of age, his weight never budged from 12 stone. Now I don’t know a lot about boxing but he could pack some punch and they say he was also gifted of a sturdy lowish centre of gravity, canvassing a good few laddos in his day, though never raised a hand outside the ring nor never had the bad word.

A few of his comrades in London would have recalled in later years how he brightened up many a dark day in hard times and his role as a public relations man was no accident as he was the type that nobody could refuse. He even had Tony O’Reilly arranging taxis for him from the airport on arrival. I’d often say that North Kerry were talkers and South Kerry more grafters, so John Murphy chose wisely with Mick as his front man and boy could he tell yarns of those rather interesting times.

I also recall a fella disputing an umpiring decision Mick once made, well about 40 years ago to be more precise, he told Mick “he’d hit him only he was an old man” and to which those in the know might have commented that it was a wise decision, a lucky escape if there was ever one for the would be assailant and he didn’t even have to run away. As a friend of his my own father, Jackie got fierce mileage out of this one as Mick used affectionately refer to him as “Auld Hegarty”. I could tell hundreds of more good wans from Lisselton Cross and Urlee. The one thing that always puzzles me is how the Barra Road didn’t throw up more silverware, even in later years there was so many football houses, individual families where you have a handful of top class footballers, maybe soccer was part of it but I recall evenings that you’d have maybe 30 or 40 lads chasing a football. Finucane’s yard was littered with balls and you’d see Mick and the boys taking a kick in between chores, soloing in from milking the cows or a carefully gauged point between a telegraph pole and a shed, between feeding calves.

The stories he would tell himself would be the basis of many a subsequent literary work and I myself penned “What they think of Mick Finucane in Donegal’. It was after that chat with him that I went to the local and my smile had em asking what it was all about. When I told em I had just been chatting to the oldest holder of an AI medal they started on their mobiles, checking out the story, etc, doubting Thomses! Anyway we storied ’till the not so small hours after that as a few more congregated and we regaled his life and times.

By the way the ’47 final was played in The Polo Grounds because Croker was a building site. He would say after that an admirer commented that “she couldn’t understand a word he said but she loved the sound of his voice” so everything about him inspired of scope, more of scope that contradiction.

So all we can say is thanks for the music Mick, RIP.

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People I met in Town

I met Paud Pelican and Mary Hanlon at Listowel Credit Union

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A School in Mourning

I visited Scoil Réalta na Maidine to photograph their beautiful piece of Paddy Fitzgibbon’s artwork.

I was jolted back to harsh reality by the lovely shrine underneath.

On the week that Paddy Fitzgibbon passed away, the boy’s school lost someone dear, a beloved member of the school community, pupil,

Pádraig Beasley.

Padraig Beasley R.I.P. with his school principal Kieran Quirke and Padraig’s mother Maeve

Padraig’s family have strong links with the school. His mother, Maeve is a teacher there and his grandfather, Cathal is a past principal.

Padraig passed away on Jan 6 2023. Go dtuga Dia suaimhneas síoraí dó.

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Beauty

Upper william Street in January 2023

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All Ireland Football Final 1947

The All Ireland Final of 1947 was famously played in The Polo Grounds in New York. Kerry played Cavan and Kerry lost.

Why am I venturing into a realm I know nothing about?

Kathy Reynolds has been in touch and she sent us this letter from her great uncle who actually attended the match.

” The game was attended by 34,500 including my father’s uncle, Mike Fitzmaurice, who had left Moybella South, Lisselton around 1910 for Waterbury, Connecticut. This is his account of the day, written on 6th October 1947 to his brother, Paddy, in Ballybunion.”

Isn’t it great to have a hoarder in the family?

What beautiful writing?

Back to the match;

In 1947 the All Ireland Senior Football Final between Cavan and Kerry was played outside Ireland at the Polo Grounds in New York to mark the centenary of the Great Famine and to acknowledge the large Irish American community.

Pádraig Ó Caoimh (Paddy O’Keeffe) General Secretary of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) oversaw the staging of the unique event and of the radio broadcast back to Ireland. Radio Éireann commentator Michael O’Hehir went to provide commentary for listeners back home in Ireland. For the broadcast, a landline from the Polo Grounds connected to a transatlantic cable which then fed through to transmitters in Dublin, Athlone and Cork.

The lines had to be paid for in New York in advance and were booked up to 5 pm on the day of the game. This would give enough time for the match to be concluded and 30 mins for wrapping up after the match had finished. (Source RTE Archive)

To cut a long story short the match ran over time because RTE forgot to factor in the time spent introducing dignatories and other fal dals before the match. Terrified that he would be cut off before the end of the game, Michael O Hehir appealed on air to be allowed an extra 5 minutes He was given the extra time.

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Celtic Artwork in Scoil Realta na Maidine

This is the beautiful piece of artwork donated by Paddy Fitzgibbon to Scoil Realta na Maidine.

The piece here is hung lower so more accessible than the one in the Credit Union. I took a close up of a few letters so that you can see this absolute gem of Celtic artwork.


 
This work is executed with copper wire and pins. I am totally in awe.

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Glenflesk

Usually in this weather I don’t venture too far from home.

Certain trips have to be made though.

I travelled to Cork via Tralee and Killarney. My usual route, through my home territory of Rockchapel and Newmarket is a bit more challenging in frosty weather.

The new Macroom bypass is great. We won’t know ourselves when it is completed.

On this road I love to make a pit stop in Glenflesk.

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Aspects of Listowel

Members of Listowel Folk Group carol singing in the Square at Christmas 2022…Photo: Facebook

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Listowel and Listowel

Remember last week I told you about an email from a researcher looking for a photograph of a Listowel soldier who was killed at Passchendale.

Imagine his surprise when he found he was communicating with Listowel, Co. Kerry, Ireland when his soldier was from Listowel in Canada.

I think he had already discovered his mistake when I forwarded him Dave O’Sullivan’s find.

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Confraternity

Listowel Confraternity on Retreat. Phot shared by Mike Hannon

Up to the middle of the 20th century confraternities were a feature of Catholic parishes in Ireland.

These all male lay societies promoted personal piety, engaged in charitable undertakings and supported the work of parish clergy.

Religious orders played a big role in the promotion of fraternities. They organised annual retreats to re-enthuse any who may be falling by the wayside. The above picture is of a group of Listowel men attending one such retreat (with the Redemptorists in Limerick, I think.)

In the early and mid twentieth century there was an upsurge in religious devotion in Ireland. When the bubble burst and scandals and injustices within the church exploded into public consciousness, confraternities, almost overnight, disappeared from the face of the earth.

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Pres. Girls at Young Scientist 2023

Photo shared online by Trant’s Pharmacy

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Laoch ar Lár

Seamus Begley R.I.P. spoke three language fluently, Gaeilge, English and the universal language of music.

Only when he was in his beloved fields in Baile na bPoc was Seamus ever alone. He was the ultimate co laborator and accompanist and he always seemed happiest in the midst of the Session.

I encountered Seamus fadó, fadó on tamaill spent in An Carraig as a student of Irish. Halla na Muirí was where the céilithe were. Halla na Muirí was the Tinder of the 1970s. I can still remember our first sashay into the dancehall.

“Anyone here take your fancy?” says one of the cailíní eyeing the row of aspiring woodwork teachers opposite.

” I fancy the lad on the stage in the red jumper.”

The lad on the stage was James Begley. Little did we realise that we were in the presence of greatness.

The world is a poorer place for his passing.

Go gcloise tú ceol na naingeal go síoraí, a Shéamuis.

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A Poem to raise a smile

Odds by Brian Bilston

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Changes

This is the lovely new Christmas light garland for 2022. It celebrates Listowel’s literary heritage.

Listowel Writers’ Week opens a new chapter in Listowel’s literary history in 2023 as the festival welcomes its new curator.

Stephen Connelly comes with a hugely impressive cv. I wish him all the best in his new role and I look forward to seeing what he has in store for us in June.

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New Kid on the Block

My Cork family has a new dog. You may remember that their beloved Helios passed away a while back. They felt it was time to take another dog to their hearts. Reggie is a sweet tempered lurcher. Molly has welcomed him to the extended family.

Reggie had a rough start in life and was homeless for a while before being rescued. Housetraining and lead training are in hand.

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Times Past

Mary Nolan sent us this photo of the cast of Presentation Secondary School’s 1979 operetta, Lilac Time

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Christmas Jumper Day

Our local Vincent’s shop has a great selection of toys, clothes and bric a brac at rock bottom prices. If you are finding it hard to make ends meet this Christmas, drop in on Thursday or Friday and you could have your family decked out and all your presents sorted for next to nothing.

And this shop has the nicest shop volunteers as well.

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Searching for Photos of a Stokes ancestor

Gus Stokes has been in touch. He found the below story on Listowel Connection from 2012.


Back Row L.toR.Tom Costello, Danny Lane, Bill J. Kirby, Sean Stokes, John MacNamara (agri instructor), Chris Goulding, Patsy O’Sullivan, William Stack, Tim Buckley, John Collins, Toddy O’Sullivan
Middle: Paddy Finucane(cut out of photo),_________ James Murray, John Broderick, Paddy Carroll, John O’Keeffe, Dan Molyneaux, Tim MacMahon,Paddy Maher, John Joe Galvin,Tom O’Sullivan, Vincent Brennan,Jerh Galvin, Liam McElligott, Dick Stokes, Maurice Stack
Front: Paddy Drummond, Dan J. Moloney,———–,————, Canon P. O’Sullivan, Jerry Moyles (C.A.O. Kerry) Bob Fitzgerald, ———–, Tom Sheehan
This is a photograph of Vincent’s photograph. He has all the names except 3 and 2 of them are not local and may have been instructors on the course. The photo has both students and teachers in it and was taken in the old VEC school on Church St.

Here is Gus’ email;

Looking for Jack Stokes Dirrha photos and wondering if he could be found in this photo

I am his grandson but sadly I was 10 years too late to find my birth mother or any living relatives with photos of my family and I would be over joyed to see any photos of my mother who was born c1935 and went to Presentation Convent but I was unable to get any joy when I visited the school but I found my mother has a daughter who is delightful but only had  Collection photo that came as quite a shock !

Any help would be greatly appreciated and I will continue to search your wonderful website and maybe you were at the Library lecture on local fables?

I hope to get back to Listowel sometime in the next few months 

Best wishes for the Holidays 

Gus Stokes

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In Listowel

Agri Auto Parts in November 2022

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A Doubting Thomas Punished

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Lovely People I met

I was in town with my visitors on Saturday Nov. 26 2022. Here are some of the people we met.

Aoife met P.J and Joan Kenny on William Street.

In the Vincent de Paul shop (now open on Saturday afternoons) we met Eileen O’Sullivan who gave Aoife a beautiful book. Thank you, ever generous Eileen.

Eileen was having a look around with her sister.

On Church Street we met Mags and Liz and the adorable Jaycee.

Mary and Clíona are old friends from schooldays. Here they are , now both mothers, with Maisie and Aoife.

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Listowel Pantomimę

Tommy Moore shared these photos a while back.

Have fun naming the actors.

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Commemorating 100 years of An Garda Síochána in Listowel

November 30 2022

This was the first garda I met on the day. Her smile says it all. Everyone was in great form. The weather was perfect. The buzz was mighty.

Schoolchildren lined the streets around the Garda Station.

Look at this lovely little man saluting the Garda car.

Everyone had a garda friend on the day

Teachers and pupils loving the break from class and learning a bit of history at the same time.

Lots more to come….

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Somethings to look forward to

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