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 2 of 11

Some of the Old Stock

Photo Credit; Una Murphy, Mallow Camera Club

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Some of Listowel’s Old Stock

This marvellous old snap is one of the great photos shared by Mike Hannon on Facebook.

In the centre of the photo is the late Ned O’Connor of Convent Street.

Ned was the first Listowel man I met on my first visit to town. The year was 1972 or 1973. I was a very young teacher and on my first big assignment. I was to examine the Leaving Cert. class in Presentation Secondary School in oral Irish.

I had never been to Listowel before.

I looked up the Bord Fáilte book for a suitable Bed and Breakfast for the week. (There was no internet in those days)

I think it was the Convent Street address that prompted me to choose Ned O’Connor’s premises. I figured it was surely within walking distance of the school. It was.

I arrived on the Sunday evening, to begin work on Monday. Ned welcomed me and showed me to a very comfortable room. He told me that the week before the “Padre Pio priest” had stayed in that very room.

The next morning after my breakfast, Ned gave me an orange to bring with me to school. He told me that he thought my voice would be sore from all the talking and oranges were great for relieving a sore throat. I had never stayed in a B and B before but I knew that this level of caring couldn’t be the norm.

As an ambassador for Listowel, Ned did an excellent job.

May he rest in peace.

By the way, the Leaving Cert girls did excellently well in their oral exam.

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It’s Done and It’s Lovely

And who are the two men enjoying a chat and admiring the newly unveiled area?

Billy Keane and Aidan ÓMurchú were relaxing in the sunshine in the new facility.

Necessary but a bit unsightly in our lovely new meeting, performing and eating space

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From 2002/03 Pres. Yearbook

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Dáithí Óg

Back in the day Dáithí ÓSé used to be a weatherman on TG4

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Mallow and More

At Scoil Realt na Maidine, April 2022

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In Mallow

Recently I made a brief pit stop in Mallow and I photographed a few landmarks there.

Mallow clock House
The Nation

Mallow is a strange mix of architectural styles.

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Big Changes in Town in 1920

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From the Pres. Yearbook 2002/03

School staff 2002/03

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Moya Festival 2022

Let’s go fly a kite

Up to the highest height.

This was the scene in Ballybunion on the Saturday of the May bank holiday weekend 2022. MOYA goes from strength to strength.

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Danny Hannon’s Shop

This was Hannon’s newsagent’s and book shop back in the day.

It’s now Gamourous.

I told you the other day that I bought my Frances Kennedy cd in that shop.

Mike Hannon is sharing marvellous old photos on Facebook. This is one of those, Eileen and Danny in the shop.

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A Dog Picture, an Old Story or Two and a new one.

Blooming Cherry Tree in Ballincollig, Co. Cork

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Humans with an animal head

I was completely behind the times on this one. I have just discovered that a friend of mine commissioned such a picture for his fiancee for her birthday.

The picture was done by Van Woof. Isn’t it cute?

If you are stuck for a present anytime soon, here’s an idea.

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Browsing through the Newspapers Online

A friend of this blog found these;

THE ST. PAUL GLOBE SUNDAY NOVEMBER 20, 1898

FIVE OF THE MOST SINGULAR RAILWAYS IN THE WORLD

There Is a “single-line railway” now working In Ireland. 

The Listowel & Ballybunion railway sounds like the Invention of some mad humourist;

but such a place as Ballybunion really exists. It is a very popular seaside resort in the southwest of Ireland. The distance between this point and the other terminus at Listowel is ten miles, and there is one Intermediate station—that of Lisselton. The system on which this railway is worked is called the Lartigue single rail elevated railway, and was the invention of a French engineer.

This single rail line, it should be explained at once, is not a single track railway, but actually has only one rail for trains to run on. This rail is supported on iron trestle work at the height of three feet three inches from the ground, and the locomotive and carriages are actually balanced on it.

And

18 Feb 1986

Nyack NY Journal News 1986 01759_1.pdf

By WILLIAM DEMAREST

Staff Writer

A retired New York City police officer from Haverstraw has been named Grand Marshal of the Pearl River St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which is to be sponsored by the Ancient Order of Hibernians of Rockland County.

John Scanlon, 57, will lead the celebration of Irish-American heritage down Central Avenue in Pearl River on Sunday, March 23. Honoured three times for bravery during his 25-year career with the New York Police Department, Scanlon is the treasurer of Division One of the AOH in North Rockland. “He has been a dedicated and faithful member and can always be relied upon to get the job done,” said Thomas Keyy, an AOH Division One spokesman, of Scanlon’s selection as grand marshal. A resident of the village of Haverstraw, Scanlon was born  in Lisselton, County Kerry in Ireland, where he was educated in local schools. He is a graduate of St. Michael College in Listowel. County Kerry, where he was a classmate of popular Irish playwright John B. Keane.

Before moving to the United States in 1949, Scanlon was a farmer. He served in the U.S. Army from 1950 to 1952 in Korea. Soon after his discharge from the Army, Scanlon joined the NYPD, finally retiring in January 1985.

The father of five children, Scanlon is the husband of the former Mary Browne, and they have three grandchildren. He works in the security department of St. Agatha’s Home in Nanuet.

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People I Met

I met this lovely couple on the street on Saturday April 30 2022. They were in town for a wedding the day before.

They are from Rossmore in Co. Cork. and they were looking for John B. Keane’s pub. They weren’t in need of a drink. They just wanted to see the place where Sive and so many of the playwright’s famous plays were written.

The name Rossmore may not be familiar to you but for lovers of amateur drama it is the location for a very popular drama festival. Year after year one of the entrants is a John B. Keane play. This year it was Sive.

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Pres. Yearbook 1983

Chorus lines were recruited and our gallant first and

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+Niall Stack R.I.P.+

I took this photograph a few years ago at Writers’ Week Opening Night. Niall had just met up with his friend Anthony Gaughan.

Niall Stack Passed away on April 29 2022. May he rest in peace.

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The Time of the Cuckoo

Athea Church at Easter 2022

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A Few Hard Cuckoo Facts

Cuckoo by bird.org

This parasitic bird is usually associated with this time of year.

The striping on the underside of the cuckoo’s body mimics the sparrowhawk. This frightens the sugar out of smaller birds. They abandon their nests long enough for the cuckoo to lay her eggs.

The eggs take 12 days to hatch. From day one these nestlings are bullies and they chuck the legitimate hatchlings out of the nest.

Cuckoo chicks grow quickly and are known for their voracious appetites. They often grow to several times the size of their adoptive parents. These parents are usually worn to a thread trying to feed their ever hungry offspring.

Wait for this bordering on incredible fact!!!!!!

A female cuckoo may visit and lay eggs in up to 50 nests in a breeding season.

By September they all clear off to Central and West Africa where they rest and gird their loins for another onslaught on the unsuspecting little Irish birds.

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From Pres. Listowel 1983/84 Journal

The journal opened with this kind of mission statement.

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History and NFTs

Photo; Jesuit photo archive

In 2015 I posted the Titanic story of this man. He is Dr. Francis O’Loughlin, formerly of Tralee, who drowned with The Titanic.

Here is the story I borrowed from a Facebook page called Historical Tralee and surrounding areas:

Bravery of Titanic Surgeon Dr. William Francis Norman O’Loughlin

New York Herald

Monday 22nd April 1912

In accounts printed about the Titanic and the bravery of her officers little has been said of one who probably was the most widely known and best beloved of all classes. He was Dr. William Francis Norman O’Loughlin, senior surgeon of the White Star Line, who perished with the ship.

During the forty years Dr. O’Loughlin has been a surgeon aboard ships of that line he gained the close friendship of innumerable men and women of prominence. Known as one of the most upright and kindly men, he also was regarded as a leader in his profession and a student of the highest order.

Survivors say they saw Dr. O’Loughlin on deck going from one to another of the frightened passengers, soothing them and aiding them in getting into the lifeboats. As the last lifeboat left the vessel he was seen standing in a companionway beside the chief steward, the purser and another officer swinging a lifebelt. He was heard to say: “I don’t think I’ll need to put this on.” He was in the companionway when the vessel went down. From those who knew him well statements were obtained yesterday regarding the fine character of the friend all were mourning. All agreed he was one of the kindest men they had ever met. Many incidents showing his unselfishness were related. One of the friends said: “He was the strongest personal friend of every officer and seaman he ever left a port with, and he was a most thorough officer. He would give his last dollar to charity and was never known to speak ill of anyone. He was the most tenderhearted man I ever met.”

One of Dr. O’Loughlin’s intimate friends in the profession was Dr. Edward C. Titus, medical director of the White Star Line. He said: “Dr. O’Loughlin was undoubtedly the finest man that I have ever known. Kind at all times, his work among the persons he met endeared him forever to them. Always ready to answer a call for aid at all hours of the day and night, he would go into the steerage to attend an ill mother or child, and they would receive as much consideration from him as the wealthiest and mightiest on board. “He was one of the best read men I ever met. Dr. O’Loughlin was always doing some charitable act. Of his income I believe it will be found that he left little, having distributed most of it among the poor. There is no doubt that he died as he wished. Once recently I said to him that as he was getting on in years he ought to make a will and leave directions for his burial, as he had no kith or kin. He replied that the only way he wanted to be buried was to be placed in a sack and buried at sea.”

Dr. O’Loughlin was a native of Tralee co kerry in Ireland. Left an orphan he was raised and educated by an uncle. He studied at Trinity College, Dublin, and the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin. When twenty-one years old he went to sea because of ill health and followed the sea continuously thereafter. Prior to being transferred to the Titanic he was surgeon on board the Olympic.

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Fast forward to April 2022 and I have an email from Lorelei Llee whose job title is

 Titanic Content Developer for E/M Group & Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition. 

In her research she has come across my blog post about the good doctor and she wants to use it. I have to inform her that it’s not my story anyway and I certainly didn’t take the photo. Im old but….

So, of course, I look up her company. They are e/m group “an experiential media group”

https://www.emgroup.com

And here is the gas part. You know the way you have never heard of something one day and the next you are seeing it everywhere.

So it is with me and NFTs.

Enter to Win!

Don’t miss your chance to own a piece of history! RMS Titanic, Inc. is offering a select lot of NFT’s available for download and purchase.

The above is taken directly from this group’s website

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Poetry Day 2022

On Poetry Day 2022 I got a present of an anthology of modern Irish poetry.

Thank you, Nancy

Here is a short poem from my new book

It’s a lovely poem about the great human family, the tillers of soil and cutters of turf.

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An Obituary, a Joke and More

Knockanure church at Easter 2022 by Jer Kennelly

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John Molyneaux R.I.P.

David Kissane’s Tribute to the late John Molyneaux concluded

On one particular occasion, my father hadn’t finished the Western he was reading and I went into the college on Saturday Western-less. Scared stiff and I had forgotten the name of the book! If you failed to bring back the book, Mr Molyneaux would ask you what the plot was and who the main characters were. He was not pleased if you weren’t reading these Westerns. Around he came to each desk to collect the books. I could sense a cloud coming over my desk as I struggled to remember the name of the book I hadn’t read! “Well, Kissane, what book have you been reading?” he boomed as I fumbled in my school bag under the desk for the book that wasn’t there. A thick, deep dark silence followed. My fate seemed obvious and inevitable, a feeling so very of those times. Red-cheeked and broken, I called out the name of the only Western I could remember, “Something to Hide” and added with embarrassment, “I think my father borrowed it!” A smile from the teacher and a titter around the class. He passed on but when he was distributing the Westerns a few minutes later for the coming week, he read out the titles so that the students would put up their hands to choose which one they wanted. “And we have one left” he said with a smirk, “Something to Hide”! A dead silence permeated the class and I was ready to sink down through the ground. He allowed the moment to expand as the class awaited an execution! But it was Saturday and all he said was “Kissane, I think you have something to hide all right!” and dropped the book on my desk as the bell was rung outside the door. The great escape.

I read every Western after that and began to manage the complexity that was John Molyneaux.

School days are happening days and very soon after starting in St Michael’s College, the sporting side of John Molyneaux revealed itself to us. It was then his dimensionality was fully experienced. First it was football. With Johnny O’Flaherty, there was a dynamic duo who were charged and innovative in training methodology and intensity. The two Johns taught the full forwards (I was corner forward) to get possession of the long balls sent in and, instead of turning, pass it quickly to the half forwards rushing in. It worked in the Dunloe Cup final against St Brendan’s Killarney in 1970. High ball in from Jerry Kiernan at centre field landed in my hands and I could hear John Molyneaux’s imperious voice on the sideline saying “To Carroll” and before I knew it, I had let the ball into Eamonn O’Carroll’s hands – he was like a jet plane when in flight – and the net was rattled. And the referees were not safe from a Molyneaux-boom if he considered that the whistler was incorrect in his blowing! Total engagement in everything he was involved in. That was the Molyneaux way.

And of course there was athletics. In the mid-1960s, John Molyneaux was the driving force behind the formation of a BLE club in Listowel, assisted by Pat Kiernan, Michael Crowley and Johnny O’Flaherty. St Michael’s College benefitted hugely from the club, and from having the club personnel on the staff. Jerry Kiernan and co were generated. Along with Kiernan, John O’Connell, Pat O’Connell, Eamonn O’Carroll, John Hartnett (our own classmate from the class of ’72) and Gerald Leahy were the young stars of the times. It wasn’t just running…the O’Connells and Hartnett were jumpers of the top calibre. John O’Connell won the All Ireland Colleges gold medal in Santry in June 1970 with a leap of 43 feet 11 and a half inches in the triple jump. There was a broad smile on John Molyneaux’s face that day and for years after. Kiernan’s career is well known and it took Eamonn Coghlan to best him in the All Ireland schools 1500m in 1971 but Jerry was soon to run into legend. Athletics fires lit by John Molyneaux burned for a long time.

From doing running on the football pitch, sometimes without the ball, I was asked by Johnny O’Flaherty to run cross country but compelled by John Molyneaux to compete. And track too and there was the 17 mins something I ran in the 1971 North Munster 5000m to snatch a silver medal at my first North Munster schools attempt behind Mick O’Shea. Hopes were high for the mystical quest of the Munsters but inexperience allowed me to look back a few times on a hot afternoon in Rockwell College track and I got a good look at the leaders pulling away from me. I was bereft. Immediately after the race, John Molyneaux approached me and suggested, with that glint in his eye that “we’ll have to provide you with blinkers the next time, Kissane!” Ice broken. Lesson learned. 

But while dreams were shattered that Rockwell day, a love affair with athletics had begun. It was a treasure John Molyneaux and John O’Flaherty gave me for life. 

On a fine June evening in 1972, our class walked past the budding apple trees outside St Michael’s College for the last time as students. The past had happened and the future was there for the taking. There was no formal goodbye to the teachers but it did dawn on us that something special was being left behind. And special people too, like John Molyneaux.

When the Leaving Cert results reached us in the burning August 1972, there was an A beside Latin on the paper. Vital for college and a grant. My after-vision of John Molyneaux increased even more and his name was mentioned in the celebrations that followed in a Birmingham night club. I even took Latin a subject in first year in UCC but the lectures there never reached the pitch of Mr Molyneaux’s classes and it was jettisoned for second year. 

The next time I met John Molyneaux was in 1979. A fair few of the class of ’72 were also teachers now, scattered all over Ireland. The Clarence Hotel along the Liffey in Dublin and a meeting of the Dublin-based past pupils to assist with the centenary celebrations of the college. St Michael’s had been opened in 1879 in the recycled building that was the Fever Hospital. We never knew that while in the college as students!

John Molyneaux led the committee members who met us that rainy night in Dublin. A chat about how we were faring and it was only then we realised how proficient John Molyneaux was at golf. He was promoting the centenary golf event to be held later. In fact that year, 1979 he was a member of the Ballybunion Golf Club that won the Jimmy Bruen Shield in Portrush. An All Ireland winner. The first team from Kerry to win the honour and John was a key member along with such golfing names as Seán Walsh and Gerry Galvin. The college centenary celebrations were a huge success. Of course they were, with a committee man as effective as John Molyneaux on board.  

Our paths were to cross again when I returned to Kerry as a teacher in 1984. I was representing Tarbert Comprehensive School on the Kerry Colleges Football Board and there was John across the table at my first meeting. A different John now, settled into age and not at the top of the class in front of me. Was still my past-teacher though and he regained his past visage as we got to re-know each other. He was proposing to start a “Silver Circle” fundraising scheme for the Colleges Board. This was something he had been a big fan of and had recruited his students to get involved in over the years. It brought out the sales acumen in many students and accentuated their business skills. It entailed selling lines but with a commitment of a month or so by the punters and an incentive of a percentage stake by the seller. Jerry Riordan from Dromerin was particularly adept at it during our years in the college, partly because the Riordan family had a shop in Dromerin and had a consistent supply of customers. 

John retired in 1990 after a long stint at the profession. He had a long and productive retirement too. He was to be seen in The Town Park (aka the Cows’ Lawn) where he had spent the many happy hours coaching and training footballers and athletes. And he could be seen down by the Feale also. That’s where I met him on that day I last laid eyes on him. 

When a relation, colleague, neighbour, teacher, friend passes away, it is felt by all who are or were acquaintances. When we are shoving on in years, their deaths mean an empty place in the world we know, the irreversible change that lessens what it means to live. That was the feeling I got in the church in Listowel a few weeks ago on the day that John Molyneaux was laid to rest. When Canon Declan O’Connor told the congregation that John Molyneaux was the only son of an only son, was born and died in the same house in Charles St in Listowel and was a hard-working parent and husband, as well as an energetic, resourceful and innovative community and club man, it seemed strange that we hadn’t known some of these facts before. As students we had known only a fraction of the man he was. 

But many people who are gone still continue to grow in our existence. In our after-image of them, we often understand the whys behind the whats. Some of these people indeed become legends. John’s positivity for everything makes him eternal. As John Milton said “Hope proves a person deathless”.

John Molyneaux. Semper Invictus. Always undefeated.

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A Laugh for You

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Junior Infants

Junior Infants in Presentation Primary School from the 1983 School yearbook.

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Our Outdoor Dining and Performance Space

The promise:

Kerry County Council has received funding to provide a covered outdoor meeting, dining, and performance area at the existing pedestrian area in the Square in Listowel.

It’ll comprise three 7×7 metre covered structures on steel frames, LED lighting, as well as seated benches and picnic benches.

The story so far

I don’t like to be negative about a new initiative but I’m disappointed. The covers are more for ornament than use. They may protect you from the sun but they won’t keep out the rain or the wind.

However the project is not finished yet. There are lights to go in and the seating to be restored.

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