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 2 of 19

In Kanturk, Cork and Listowel

An image for today, August 15 2023 , feast of The Assumption of Our Lady into Heaven. Photo taken in Teampall Bán in August 2023


Kanturk Arts Festival

This is the scene in the O’Brien Street Park in Kanturk in summer 2023

This is a lovely way to spend a bit of time. I photographed some of the poems for you so I’ll be sharing them here now for a while.


End of an Era

Last week I was at two funerals. Both deceased were nuns. Slowly I am witnessing the end of a way of life I thought would continue forever.

Sr. Mary Salmon was the sister of Listowel’s Michael. Her life was one of service to the communities in which she lived. She was a member of a very small order of sisters, The Little Sisters of the Assumption. They live among the people they serve and give witness to God’s love in a practical way.

Sr. Mary was a nurse and though a succession of roles, eventually a director of home care services in the north of Cork city. She had many friends in the neighbourhood and it was lovely to meet her friends from the rosary group she set up 40 years ago and her more recent friends from the active retired group all come to celebrate her life at her funeral mass.

Sr. Mary was active right up to her final few days. She loved her family, her community and her beloved Mayo. May she rest in peace.

Sr. Benedict O’Connor was my colleague in Presentation Secondary School, Listowel.

She passed away after a long life of service to education in Kerry and in the U.S. Sr. Benedict loved books, she loved reading and encouraging others to read. She kept abreast of what was happening in the world by reading the newspaper and she loved to do the crossword.

Many Pres. past pupils will remember her in the school library, where she was in her element. She loved to encourage girls to read the classics and she encouraged many a reluctant reader to take up a book .

In her final years she lived in a silent world, being profoundly deaf. She still attended mass in St. John’s nearby to where she lived in Pres. Tralee and she lived as full a life as she could. She accepted her cross and was resigned to death when it came suddenly at the end.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam uasal.


An Old Ad.

( shared by Liam OHainnín on Facebook)

Listowel’s first department store?


Just a Thought

My reflections which were broadcast last week on Radio Kerry are here;

Just a Thought


A (Mad) Fact

In the 19th century madness was an occupational hazard of hatmakers. Hence the phrase “as mad as a hatter”.

Mercury was an ingredient in the solution that was used to treat the felt that was used in the making of hats. Mercury poisoning attacked the central nervous system causing trembling, irrationality and confusion. People just thought that all hatters were mad.



Main Street in July 2023


A Piece of GAA History with a Listowel Connection

A gaelic football team from New York, composed entirely of US-born players, won the All-Ireland Junior Championship on July 16 vs. Kilkenny. The captain of the team, Danny Corridan, is the son of Listowel native, Richard Corridan. Rich is the son of the late Dr. Robert & Ella Corridan of The Square, and he emigrated to New York in 1983, where he still resides.

Rich was one of the early members of Shannon Gaels GAA, a Queens-based GAA club which was started in 2004 and for which two of his (now adult) sons have played since they were little. Danny, now 25, has played GAA since he was 6 years old and has played with other New York teams that have travelled to Ireland over the years, including the Feile football team when he was 13, the College team, and the World Games team, in addition to the New York Junior team.

After the big win, Danny and his girlfriend Erin spent a few days in Listowel visiting with aunts, uncles and cousins. He paid a visit to John Bs where Erin was briefly a guest bartender and also fitted in a climb of Carrantuohill, Killarney races, and a visit to Skellig Michael.

Dan is a frequent visitor to Ireland and even spent a semester at UCD while studying for his degree in Civil Engineering.

Rich and his American wife, Marge, have three sons and one grandchild and live in Queens.

New York players and staff celebrate their All-Ireland Junior Football Championship final win over Kilkenny at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

The “county ” anthem on the day was Frank Sinatra’s New York, New York.

Richard is a credit to the Corridan family and their great love and respect for Irish history and traditions. The loyalty and sacrifice of all the families involved in bringing all of these young men to this level of footballing skills is admirable. This is thanks in no small part to Richard and Robert Corridan of Listowel. You have achieved a truly amazing feat.


A Few More Names

Muireann O’Sullivan has been studying the photo of her old classmates and she has a few more names for us.

That class picture is a blast from the past!! Not sure of the year but we finished primary school in 1974!! How time flies! I am definite about some of the identities and those I am no fully convinced of I will denote with an *. Hopefully you will receive lots of replies and definite names.

Front row: Audrey Sheehy, *Eleanor Browne, *Christine O Driscoll
Middle row: Marie O’ Halloran. *Avril O Driscoll ……, Eleanor Costello *Ann Kennelly ….. Mary Daly – Margaret Stack ….. Annette O Gorman – Phyllis O Mahony
Back row: Norma Doyle, *Kate Kennelly ….. Noreen Canavan, Helen Daly, Máire Óg Hourigan, Dana Mulvihill, *Joan McElligott RIP …. Muireann Moloney, Ann Gammell


Volunteering for Saint Vincent de Paul

The ever smiling Helen, Mary and Eileen were minding the shop on the day I called.


August 15 2023

August 15, always a red letter day in Ballybunion’s calendar. Let’s hope this year is dry.


Back chat


Somethings Change and Somethings Stay the Same

Old Casa Mia restaurant in Upper William Street in July 2023


Lovely Hurling

(Photos: Radio Kerry)

Crotta O’Neills have won the Kerry Senior Hurling Championship for the first time since 1968.

And the Listowel connection?

Brendan Mahony was their trainer.


“A Hair Straightener, a Phone and a White Coffin”

I love a piece of good writing. They are calling this kind of newspaper column a micro essay now. I don’t think you’ll read such a powerful micro essay again for a while.

I give you Brendan O’Connor of The Sunday Independent on Sunday August 6 2023. I challenge you not to cry, especially if you have teenage girls in your family.


Halloween Already?

Summer has been a washout but….


Another Business Closes

If rumours are to be believed, we will be seeing this space reimagined and transformed before too long.


When you love the colour scheme….

Why change it?


Three Sportsman

Stephen Fernane shared this treasure on Facebook. These three lovely young boys had potential beyond any of their wildest dreams. They are Óisín Murphy flanked by the Clifford brothers, Paudie and David.


Schooldays in the 1960s

Eleanor Belcher remembers primary school in Listowel in the bad old days of “corporal punishment” as an acceptable means of chastisement for errant pupils.

In the 1950s O’Connell Avenue was known as the ‘New Road’ ( I learnt recently that it was one of the first council schemes in the new Irish Free State and opened by Sean T. O’Kelly)

 I was lucky to have had the gentle Sr Carmel for 4th, 5th and 6th class but I can tell you that going to the National school was never a happy experience. One of the best few weeks at the school was when Mrs Peggy Enright did a ‘locum’ when Sr Carmel was sick. Suddenly school was fun! Going to the FCJ nuns in Limerick for secondary school was like going from night to day. 

I realised as a very small girl how lucky I was and have drilled it into my children to count their blessings. 

I have no recollection of plaid skirts provided by the nuns but I think a sea change did occur in the sixties as my sister Eimer who is 15 years younger than me had a much happier time. 


An Epitaph



beautiful corner of Listowel Town Square in July 2023


Last of the Memories (for now)

Every second Wednesday was fair day and wooden barricades were placed along the edge of the footpaths. . The farmers arrived in with their cattle early so the fair was in full swing as we left for school . We were fascinated to see bright red notes changing hands. We didn’t know what denomination they were but we’d never seen them. When the fair was a horse fair which spread up to Market Street we got a day off school as it was considered it would be too dangerous for us to walk through the horses. All that stopped when the Mart was built in the early sixties. 

All of us children walked to school  which was quite a long way from the Square to the Convent. We would walk with the Fitzgibbon girls and we always cut through the archway between the top of Tae Lane and the Market. I remember clearly seeing the car being painted on the side of Tarrant’s garage which I think is still there. 

Eleanor Belcher


Revival 2023

Still time to get your tickets


A Success Story with a Listowel Connection

Richard Sheahan (on the right in the photo) was selected on the 4 person team to represent Ireland in the International Chemistry Olympiad which took place in Zurich over 10 days. At the awards ceremony he learned that he had won a bronze medal for Ireland. He is pictured with his teammates. 

Richard is the grandson of Nora Sheahan and the late Jim Sheahan from Greenville.


Remembering Schooldays

Many of these ladies still in town may help with the last few names and maybe a year.



A Fact

There is a golf course on the border of Sweden and Finland. There are nine holes in each country.


Music, Sport and Jewellery

Hi ho, hi ho, a working we will go. Heading out for the calves, Kilbrin,

July 2023



Pickleball is the latest racket game sweeping the ranks of more mature players. This group of Listowel ladies took part in the pickle ball global event in UCD recently.


The Hanging Gale

This stone is an example of primitive stone carving. Stephen Rynne brought it to Listowel. It was found in a field in the midlands and it says “Home Rule; Down with Landlordism. We have no idea who did it or when but landlords have been a hated class in Ireland for a long time. Here is an extract from Fr. John ORiordáin’s book. He is writing about North Cork but the story was replicated all over the country.


Celtic Art in Listowel

Listowel has produced Celtic artists unlike any other town in Ireland. Michael O’Connor is acknowledged as the foremost illuminator calligrapher. At the top of the list of jewellers working in the global celtic design field is Eileen Moylan of Claddagh Design.

If you have one of these treasures, keep it safely because it will in time be a collector’s item

Stephen Walker is a US based jeweller and designer. He is an expert in the area of Celtic Design and he has published several books about modern celtic art. He is the founder of the international conference of Celtic Design.

Here is what he says about Eileen Moylan’s work;

“The very nature of Celtic design and traditional Irish jewellery is a reference to the past. The challenge of our modern Celtic Renaissance is to preserve that style and those traditions in a way that goes beyond mere copying.  Eileen Moylan’s jewelry work is an excellent example of adapting the ancient style for a contemporary audience. Her designs preserve a sense of nostalgia and identity, yet are solidly contemporary. It is artists and designers like her, whose skill and imagination continue to innovate, that insure that Celtic design will continue to produce meaningful treasures into the future.”

Claddagh Design Celtic Cross


Friday July 7 2013 in Fuchsia Centre

While the occasion was the official opening of the Fuchsia Centre , our party was in Art Chúram.

We were serenaded on our arrival by the delightful Ukrainian family musicians.

Thank you Marie Moriarty for sharing and Jim Ryan for helping me to post this clip of these superb musicians playing the national anthem.

Amhrán na BhFiann

So young and so talented. The Russia Ukraine war is a dreadful occurrence but we are so lucky in North Kerry that it brought these charming and talented musicians into our midst.

Mike Moriarty was excellent in his role as MC.

Finbar Mawe eloquently reminded us of all the effort that had gone into getting the project to completion. He remembered all the fundraisers and he had a special mention for people like Brendan O’Sullivan who made a huge contribution to the project but passed away before the official opening.

The quality of speech making on the day was admirable. Speakers were well prepared and stuck to the script.

Una Buckley stole the show. She spoke movingly of her family’s interaction with Art Chúram.

Bobby and Mary Buckley

Una’s parents live in the country and now that they are no longer driving, they are dependent on family and friends to get them out and socialising. Una thanked the community nurse who introduced them to Art Churam. Now they look forward to their weekly outing. She spoke of the welcome and respect with which they are always treated. Her father has been known to sing a song or two.

Bobby and Mary are just two of the service users whose lives have been enriched by Art Churam. Una spoke for many families who are so grateful to see their parents engaged and happy.


Your Help Needed

Charlie Nolan found this very old photo of boys and girls in the convent school yard. We have no date . Sr. Claire and her fellow sister are in the old habit which puts it probably in the 1950s.

Maybe someone could enhance the photo. We’d love to identify some few of the pupils.

There wasn’t a school uniform in those days but the nuns used to give material and knitting wool to families and they could get a skirt made and a jumper knitted. If you remember wearing one of those skirts or knitted jumpers we’d love to hear from you


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