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: Tarbert

A Different Kind of Race

Listowel Town Square

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More Sustainable Fashion

This is part of the huge crowd at the races on Saturday Sept 24 2022. Listowel Racecourse is so vast and well laid out that there is always plenty of room for everyone and while demand for bars and toilets etc. leads to queues, these are never too long and this year everyone was in great good humour due to the sunshine and the blessed release from Covid restrictions. The best way to teach us to appreciate something is to take it away from us for a while.

Mary, Orla, Imelda and Joan were busy in the marquee organising the sustainable fashion event on behalf of Listowel Tidy Towns.

The ever stylish Helena was busy getting every entrant signed up.

Out on the course John Kelliher, who did a marvellous job of photographing all the colour and excitement of race week in Listowel, obliged me by posing with my friends and his, Maria and Anne.

This gorgeous lady was relaxing in the sunshine.

Local people in the marquee observing it all.

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A Poem for this Time of Year

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That Famous Walking Race

The walking race from Tarbert to Listowel was a much anticipated and keenly contested attraction in the 1960s. there are apocryphal tales of fellows going astray, fellows taking short cuts and there is one tall tale of a contestant who “borrowed” a bike for part of the journey.

King of the Mailroad Walking Race: Tarbert to Listowel.

John B Keane who gave a commentary on the race. Derek Johnson (Clonmel) winner and Dr John Walsh, race promoter. September 1961.

From the archive of the late Tony Fitzmaurice, Ballybunion.

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The Queen is Dead, Long Live the Queen

Photo from St. John’s Asts Centre on Facebook

Frances Kennedy was crowned Queen of the Wren at a great night of traditional music, dancing and merriment in Listowel Town Square on Friday Sept.23 2022

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St. Mary’s

Sunset in Norway, Photo; Margo Anglim

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Listowel Parish

Fr. Kieran O’Shea’s account of Listowel Parish (Continued)

Mosaic in St. Mary’s Listowel

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Kilflynn Fairy Festival Postponed

After all the preparations and excitement the fairies had to cancel again this year.

So as not to disappoint all their fairy loving followers they promise to be back brighter and better in August 2022.

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Old Tarbert

Photos: Pat Kelly

This photo from 1940s is of a horse drawn hearse.

Tarbert Regatta some time in the 1940s.

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A Book Launch at Writers’ Week 2022

One of the problems about Writers’ Week is that there are constantly hard choices to make. In an ideal world I would have loved to go to everything but that would have required the power of bilocation. That one is not in my repertoire of super powers.

I had decided to see all the drama on offer this year. This meant that I inevitably had to forego a few events I would have loved to attend.

One such event was John McGrath’s launch of his Closing the Circle poetry anthology.

Two poets, John with Gabriel Fitzmaurice in Kerry Writers’ Museum before the launch.

Generously all the money raised by the launch was being donated to help the victims of the war in Ukraine. Noelle and Kate were on the door.

Radio Kerry’s Saturday Supplement presenter, Joe McGill with Catherine Moylan and John McGrath at the launch.

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Journalists on The Front Line

Listowel Pitch and Putt Course in May 2022

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Donie O’Sullivan of CNN and the Listowel Connection

Donie O’Sullivan posed with his dad and the man who sat beside his dad in Primary school a good few years ago, Con McCarthy of Listowel.

Rhona Tarrant knew Donie in Storyful. She did a great job of interviewing him and the prize winning journalist, Malachy Browne of the New York Times.

Malachy was Donie’s boss at Storyful.

Rhona also interviewed another great journalist, Lara Marlowe, at Listowel Writers’ Week 2022.

Rhona posed with some of her former teachers and the current principal of Presentation Secondary School. Listowel. The photograph was taken for me by Rhona’s very proud mum, Jenny.

Mary Cogan, Lisa Whelan, Geraldine O’Connor, Rhona Tarrant, Katherina Broderick, principal, and Bridget O’Connor

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Meanwhile

In the Green Glens Arena in Millstreet an international eventing competition was taking place and my Kanturk Connection’s Enzo was having his first big day out.

Remember the naming after rugby players? That’s gone by the board now and the children are being allowed to name the horses. They know an Enzo. Like actors who have a stage name, horses have an eventing name. Enzo’s is EPA Endeavour.

Enzo was beautifully turned out and ridden by Felicity Ward who is a partner in the business. I saw them on Sunday which was day 3 Cross Country of their three day event. They jumped clear but incurred a few time faults.

This was a brilliant result for a young horse just starting out on his eventing career.

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Those Were the Days

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Kiskeam and Tarbert

Kieran Cogan, Mallow Camera Club

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Ballybunion in 1914

This photograph from the National Library was shared online by Cathleen Mulvihill.

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Aspects of Tarbert in April 2022

There is a lot about Tarbert that is old fashioned in an endearing way. One of the old fashioned features is this grotto which dominates the main street.

I dont know any other town that has a functioning public water hydrant. We used to call these fountains back in my day. Many is the refreshing drink I took from one on my way home from school.

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Bernard Casey, Comedian

I’m getting better at grabbing a selfie when I encounter a star. Cora took this one. Of course she had no idea who Bernard Casey was but I filled her in and she is now a fan.

Bernard is involved in a fundraising effort for Ukraine that sees him team up with Kiskeam GAA to promote the Dynamo Duhallow jersey.

Dynamo Duhallow

The link is to instagram. In case you dont have Instagram, here is the craic in Bernard’s words.

DYNAMO DUHALLOW BY KEOHANE ATHLETIC CLUB.

I am proud to support those involved in Kiskeam GAA and the wider Duhallow GAA community in this design initiative to raise funds for the people of Ukraine.

Dynamo Duhallow was inspired by an old Kiskeam GAA jersey from the 1940s which shared similar colours to Ukraine’s iconic football team, Dynamo Kiev. 

In the jersey designed by Paul Galvin To further unite two disparate communities, the border of the Duhallow region in North Cork is placed alongside the border of Ukraine, where a club crest would normally sit, as a symbol of solidarity, protection and community. 

The sash carries the Ukrainian word for SOLIDARITY across the front and back as translated by a Ukrainian national living in Ireland, as well as a Ukrainian symbol for memory. 

Design and sport come together to make a stand. The Duhallow division puts aside local club rivalries, wearing these jerseys in solidarity with Ukrainians suffering the pain of war.

Kiskeam is a place where if you don’t have three names you’re a blow in.

I’m told by my North Cork connections, some of them with three names, that the jerseys are selling well.

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Beware of NFTs

Remember I told you last week about crypto currency.

By now we are well used to trading with virtual money, with digital fund transfers and credit and debit card transactions but NFT’s are a whole new level of weird and require a whole new level of trust.

I read this cautionary tale in the weekend paper. I’m sharing it as a warning.

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I Met a Fan in Town

I love to meet a follower of Listowel Connection who really appreciates what I do. Such a fan is Marion Walsh, who stopped to praise and encourage me, when I met her last week.

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Our new Eating and Performance Space

I took these photo on Friday April 22 2022 as the foundations for the canopies were being laid. I can’t wait to see the finished Square. Listowel will never look the same again.

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Mr. Regan of Church Street

People remembered this man alright. He was a hackney driver and a publican. His pub was in Church Street where Flanagan’s is now. This was a new car he took to show to his relatives in Tanavalla.

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Tarbert

Photo: Jim MacSweeney, Mallow Camera Club

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Tarbert

I spent a very pleasant time exploring Tarbert on Saturday last.

I met Kim Heffernan who recognised a fellow Listowel woman and came to welcome me to Tarbert. Kim is a great supporter of Listowel Connection.

Coolahan is a Tarbert family name and Tarbert people are justifiably proud of their town’s long association with this family.

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Mystery Solved

By our very own sleuth, Jim Ryan

I’ll post in a minute the link to the site Jim found explaining the reason behind putting animal heads on gentlemen’s, often in military uniform, bodies in portraiture.

Distinguished men were often painted wearing their medals and the pictures displayed with pride in drawing rooms.

It was only a matter of time before some animal lovers thought it only fair that animals who had given distinguished service to their country should receive the same treatment. The Dickin medal was the distinguished service medal awarded to animals and in these portraits many of the animals are depicted wearing it.

The medal was awarded 54 times between 1943 and 1949 – to 32 pigeons, 18 dogs, 3 horses, and a ship’s cat – to acknowledge actions of gallantry or devotion during the Second World War and subsequent conflicts. It is often referred to as the animal’s Victoria Cross. (Wikipedia)

This trend caught on and family pets and others were immortalised in portraits. They were portrayed as other members of the family in their best clothes.

This makes fascinating reading;

Animal Heads on Human bodies

Here is an example;

Rip is a mixed Terrier who would help the air raid warden and his team sniff out people hidden under the debris during the Blitz. He saved over 100 people and received a medal for bravery in 1945.

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Ardfert at Easter

Here are some lovers of everything vintage at their annual get together in Ardfert on Easter Sunday.

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Listowel’s Reimagined Town Square

Work in the outdoor seating and performance area has resumed. I have it from the horse’s mouth that the canopies are due to be installed starting on Sunday.

Yesterday, April 21 2022 in Listowel Town Square

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