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 20

Dan Keane, Poet

Ballybunion, Sunday October 22 2023


Old Telephone Exchange


Seeking a Listowel Connection

A request for help from Tom Gould in the US…

Hello Mary!

I hope you may be able to point me in the right direction.

My wife , who is a Delaney, had a grandfather born in 1895 in Listowel
by the name of Jeremiah Brandon. He left for the US , we believe,
somewhere between 1912-1918 ( ? )  and ended up in the New York/New
Jersey area/ He died July 1958.

We are making a trek to Ireland in July 2024 . My wife Noreen would
love to find to see if there are any relatives of Jeremiah still in
the area of Listowel.

If you have any great thoughts , or can point me in the direction of
any databases that may help us track down any relatives, we will be
most grateful.



A Much Loved Local Poet

Dan Keane R.I.P. was a great scholar and preserver of local lore and stories. Here is the foreword Bryan MacMahon wrote for Dan’s book The Heather is Purple.


Emmets Abú

Flags, bunting and this window display at Scully’s Corner, all telling the world that next weekend is a big one for Listowel Emmets…

Sunday 29th October throw in 2pm Austin Stack Park for the County Final.


A Fact

Fleas can jump more than 200 times their body length and can accelerate 50 times faster than a space shuttle.

(I waited until after our French travels were over for that one.)


Listowel Then and Now

Statue of Schiller in The Garden of Europe in October 2023


Another Memorable Irish Industry

Glen Abbey was a textile company set up in Dublin by brothers Colm and Rory Barnes in 1943. They grew the business from knitwear manufacturing to ladies stocking and underwear. It was a market leader in the 1960s and 70s.


1980s Guide


Buildings Praised

The report of the Tidy Town judging for 2023 is available in the library.

It makes interesting reading. The judges loved the colour scheme on this building. Purtill, Woulfe, Murphy Solicitors.

They also praised Listowel Primary Care Centre.

The report also stated that the old mart site has been recently sold. This was news to me.

The report on the whole was full of praise and admiration for the hard work of our Tidy Town Committee and Listowel Businesses and community.


Presentation Secondary School

It was Sunday when I was taking my walk in this area. The usually busy school yard was quiet.

I have long admired this beautiful old horse chestnut tree. What a tale it could tell!


Sounds like a Plan


A fact

Johnny Sexton is a life long Manchester United fan. He once said in an interview that his childhood dream was to play at Old Trafford.


October Horse Fair

Listowel Community fruit and Nut garden


Nothing to Crow About

Crow on a headstone in St. Michael’s cemetery


More from Hospice Coffee Morning

These are just some more of the people who were at the hospice coffee morning on Oct 5 2023. Because I don’t know all of the names I’m putting none of the names.


Another Coffee Morning

Presentation Secondary School staff

Photo: from Facebook


October Horse Fair

October 5 was also the day of the quarterly horsehair. There were dogs and goats, hens and ducks but few enough horses.


Athea Tidy Towns

“Fresh from yesterday’s Tidy Town’s results, we have our first project for next year’s competition complete! Many thanks to John Brosnan for sharing his talents and professionalism in building the perfect frame to house the below plaque which reads ;  ‘These trees planted on the 11th of April 2020 are dedicated to the Hurley family in honour of their commitment and service to Athea Creameries. Denis W. Hurley, founding member and Chairman for 45 years (1913 –1958). His son Willie, 47 years’ service at both Cratloe & Athea Creameries  (1932 – 1979). His wife, Nan (née Stack), Butter-maker from (1939 –1953). Many thanks to the Hurley Family for sponsoring these trees.” Athea TT on Facebook


A Fact

Ever heard of a pleonasm?

It’s the use of more words than are necessary to convey meaning.


Kick it with your foot.

I saw it with my own eyes.

The two twins were on the team.



Fitzpatricks of Church Street in September 2023


In Ballylongford

A little spot of business took me recently to Ballylongford.

While I was there I visited the church.

I love this picture. Sums me up perfectly.

Interior of Ballylongford parish church

The church interior is very traditional with little stained glass and huge statues.

The windows in Ballylongford church are unusually small. The side windows which have clear glass are set very low into the walls.

The lectern has a modern looking cross with a dove (Holy Spirit) on it. I couldn’t find any account of it online. Maybe a reader knows the story.

There is a huge statue of St Michael the archangel beside the door.

St. Joseph, I presume

It’s a long time since I’ve seen such a well stocked Catholic Truth Society book shelf.

The parishioners seem to have had particular affection for Fr. Pierce.


Your Cup of Joe

Mick O’Callaghan writes some lovely essays in his Rambler’s Blog

You’ll enjoy this if, like me, you are fascinated by the variety of coffee offerings available to coffee lovers nowadays.

Coffee at eleven

Well, isn’t life gone very strange and complicated when you want to purchase a simple thing like a cup of tea or coffee.

Recently I was out walking in Gorey Town Park, with a relation home from Australia, when he suggested that we go for a coffee, and I immediately agreed. We visited the nearest coffee shop which was in the park. I asked for a cappuccino and was asked what type of milk I wanted so naturally I said that I just wanted ordinary straight cow’s whole milk while my friend wanted a flat white. Then we are further asked as to whether the coffee was for here or to go. Having answered that we would be imbibing our coffee potions on the premises we were given a choice of drinking vessel between cup, mug, or disposable container. Being the environmentally conscious type I opted for mug while my walking colleague chose a cup. The coffee was served up without the traditional saucer but who cares when the coffee served was excellent and the service was polite and friendly. We wished the Cullen family well in their new business adventure.

Being the mathematical type that I am I glanced around and observed that most imbibees were drinking from throw away cups which I found utterly appalling as these would all end up in land fill or incinerator causing further damage to our already damaged eco system.

And so, on Wednesday morning of September 6th, 2023, we went out with five family members for some food and coffees which was all very convivial and enjoyable. The day was fine, and we sat outside in the lovely friendly Cowhouse Bistro on the Courtown Road. The food was excellent and thoroughly enjoyed by all.

Next it was coffee ordering time, and a very friendly waitress came to take our order.

I was first to order and was the usual stick in the mud ordering a straight cappuccino in good old cow’s milk. And so, she moved along, and the next request was for a one-shot decaffeinated Americano followed by a normal Americano with extra hot water and ordinary milk.

I ask myself if this can get more complicated and the next barista order is for an almond milk latte with extra hot milk on the side.

I am really switched on now to hear the next order which is a normal milk latte with an extra shot. Now we are really upping the ante.

The final call was for a decaffeinated cappuccino with oat milk. All the coffees were served in cups and saucers which was nice to see and experience.

I am just flabbergasted by the sheer variety of orders. God be with the days of the bottle of Irel coffee and the spoon of Maxwell House instant powdered or granulated coffee. You got your cup, spooned in the relevant amount of coffee, added boiling water, stirred it up, added a drop of milk from the milk bottle and off you drank your coffee with your Marietta or Lincoln Cream biscuits. This was the ultimate in relaxation and had more sophistication about it than the ‘will you have time for a cup of tea in your hand’ effort.

The times have changed and so have our tastes and choices.

Are we any better for it all. I don’t know. Maybe next time I’ll have a skinny latte in mountain goats’ milk, a hot chocolate in sheep’s milk, a mocha with a slice of blackberry and apple tart or luscious strawberry in dark chocolate from Green’s Berry Farm sales shack at the other side of the road. Now that would be sophistication.

We had a very nice pleasant day out on a warm September 2023 day out in Gorey.

Mick O Callaghan 10/09/2023


Times Past in Presentation Secondary School, Listowel

Photo from Brenda O’Halloran

May 1976

included are Anne McAuliffe, Miriam Hilliard, Kathleen Ryan, Brenda O’Halloran, Deirdre O’Sullivan


One for the Diary


A Fact

Bats make up 23 % of mammals by species. There are 980 + known species of bat in the world.


Celebrations and Commiserations

In Childers’ Park in Summer 2023



Clíona McKenna on Church Street with her balloon from Sweet Times for her friend’s birthday.

When did balloons become a thing?

Nowadays you can’t have any celebration without balloons. It’s not just children’s parties, every party must have balloons, helium filled balloons that is.

Time was when you had to have cake or it wasn’t a proper celebration. Forget cake. Buy balloons.


Sonny Egan

This is Sonny with his cup for adult storytelling, which he won for the fourth time at Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann 2023 in Mullingar

There has never been anyone before quite like Sonny Egan. He is not just a champion storyteller, he is a musician, a singer, a podcaster, an actor and an expert on many subjects. He is generous with his talents and for years opened his door to everyone in his famous rambling house.

Congratulations on the well deserved win.


A Poem from Kanturk

Sometimes people read these posts years after they were written so I have to give you a bit of context again for the sake of those who come here via Google. Kanturk is my hometown and I spent a bit of time there recently and I loved the poems on the trees in O’Brien Street Park for Kanturk Arts Festival.

I love this one.

I was in this lovely O’Brien Street Park at 12 noon and the Angelus was tolling from the nearby church. The Angelus bell tolled the tune of The Bells of the Angelus. This is a hymn I learned in a Kanturk classroom over half a century ago. Memories, memories!


Enough Said

Beidh lá eile ag an bPaorach.



This is the very last time I’ll put up this picture. Thank you, Mary Horgan for all the pleasure it has given so many old girls.

Noreen Holly can name them all.

Noreen wrote to us from the U.S.A.

…I left Listowel in 1986 but it never left me.

I listen to all of the matches on Radio Kerry.  I was still home for most of the Kerry Ladies Glory Days. I remember Annette O’Connor, Matilda Mc Donagh and Nora O’Donoghue from O’Connell’s Avenue won All-Ireland medals with the Kerry Ladies before I left. I hope that the ladies do the job tomorrow. I will be listening with a heart bursting with pride and passion and will wear the Kerry jersey. Radio Kerry is my Sunday treat!

The photo that Muireann contributed names to was my class in primary school, all of whom I remember.  I am almost sure that it was Third Class which would make it 1970. I remember all of our teachers too! – Sr. Consolata, Babies Class, Sr. Clare High Infants, Sr. Bernadette First Class, Sr. Pierre, Second Class, Sr. Therese Third Class which Mrs. Enright took over at some stage during the year, Sr. Ronan, Sr. Kieran Fifth Class, Sr. Carmel Sixth Class that Grace O’Sullivan took over during the year. They were great days and I  have great memories of being in this class. I met up with Ann Lynch and Gerardine O’Connor in May. Gerardine flew in from England to visit Ann in New York and they came out to my place.  We hadn’t seen each other in donkey’s years but were great buddies while at school. we reminisced about school as if were back in that big two-story building on Convent Street with windows that were always getting stuck!

I am a principal of a primary school in Madison, New Jersey and I always tell the children that the best memories are made in primary school. I know that mine were!

Here goes with the names in the photo:

Back Row left to right.

Norma Doyle, Kate Kennelly, Joan Dore, Alice Dennehy, Avril O’Driscoll, Me Fein Noreen Holly, Noreen Canavan, Helen Daly, Mairead Hourigan, Dana Mulvihill, Christina O’Driscoll,  Mary Lynch, Muireann Moloney, Ann Gammell

Middle Row Left to Right

Caroline Barrett, Marie O’Halloran,  Margaret Faulkner, Eleanor Costello, Ann Kennelly, Mary Daly, Eleanor Brown, Margaret Stack,  Ann Lynch, Annette O’Gorman, Mary Dillon, Phyllis O’Mahoney

Front Row Left to Right

Kathleen Kelliher, Mary Cantillon, Anne Marie O’Donoghue, Gerardine O’Connor, Marie Greaney, Helen Heaphy, Eilish O’Neill, Breda O’Neill, Nell O’Sullivan, Audrey Sheehy, Margaret mc Donagh, Pat Mulligan, Joan Kelliher, Mary Heaphy

Thank you Sr. Noreen. If anyone would like to write to Sr. Noreen I have an email address and a land address. I won’t be putting them on here but if you contact me I’ll put you in touch.


A Fact

A rat can last longer without water than a camel can.


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