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

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Pitch and Putt, return of Outdoor Socialising and old Tarbert

Wild garlic and public bench in Gurtinard Wood

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People, at Last

Now that I’m vaccinated it’s lovely to get out and about and meet people again. I’ve even taken to bringing my camera when I go for a walk…the new normal?

Here are some folk I met in Childers’ Park last week

Meeting up with old friends is such a simple pleasure.

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Fitting Memorials


Whoever thought of the idea of commemorating founding members of Listowel Pitch and Putt Club with sponsored tee boxes was inspired. It’s lovely to see the people who gave so much to the club remembered in a place they loved well. Here are a few of those boxes and some of the magnificent trees those men planted in full bloom in the beautifully presented course in summer 2021.




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Tarbert on Facebook


The people at Tarbert Development Association at Tarbert.ie have been posting some great old photos lately. Here are a few from the days when the humble ass and cart was one of the preferred modes of transport in town.


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Praying for my former colleagues


Deceased sisters from the local Presentation convent are buried in a big grave at St. Michael’s graveyard. I called there last week.


 

Listowel Pitch and Putt, A Tarbert Car, Tim Kennelly Roundabout and A Titanic Story


Groundspeople of Listowel Pitch and Putt Club have been very busy during lockdown. The course is looking superb, ready for opening to members only today, April 26 2021. Here are a few pictures taken last week.

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First Motorcar in Tarbert


(From Tarbert on Facebook)

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Tim Kennelly Roundabout


The Kennelly family taken at the official opening of the Tim Kennelly Roundabout, Cahirdown, Listowel in December 201l.

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Memories


 This is Cathy Dunne in the convent garden on her wedding day, August 23 1963. 

She writes today of her Titanic connection.


Mary I was interested in your Titanic connection. My mother’s uncle, my great uncle died in the Titanic disaster. His name was O’Connor from near Armagh. .My mother spoke of him quite a lot and how difficult it was to get news. The local headmaster used to give my great grandmother his copy of the newspaper, which was a couple of days old. Unfortunately she never survived the shock of losing her little brother.

Postal Service, Sr. Kate McCarthy and Drama Memories

A Hare in Connemara

Photo: Ben Whitley, Irish Wildlife Trust

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A Sign of Things to Come?

The post box in Upper William Street where the old Post Office used to be, April 2021.


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An Exceptional Person you probable never heard of

In WW2, Cork’s Sr. Kate McCarthy, worked in the war hospitals in Europe, helping to smuggle Allied soldiers home.

When caught by the Gestapo, she was tortured and held in a POW camp.

In her daily task there, of having to make belts for paratroopers, she intentionally skipped every 5th stitch meaning when the parachute cord was pulled, the soldier would fall to his death.

In this role, it’s estimated she killed up to 40 Nazis per day.

 Photo and text from Oran OHalloran on Irish Folklore and History’s Facebook page

Sr. Kate was from Drimoleague.She was the eldest of nine children.  She joined the Franciscan nuns in 1913. She was only 18 years old, and she took the religious name Marie-Laurence. She spent the first of her years as a young nun in the Great War nursing soldiers and civilians in a little town north of Paris called Béthune. 

She soon joined the Resistance. The little group and sister Kate McCarthy was instrumental in freeing 200 British officers and soldiers. In October, 1940 they amalgamate with a very important group in Paris, the Musée de l’Homme resistance group. As well as moving escapees to Paris, Kate now began to get intelligence information. She also translated information she gleaned from the British soldiers.

Kate was arrested on June 18th 1941. She was held in solitary confinement for a year. She was tried in Lille and condemned to death. She moved from Pow camp to camp in a movement  known as Night and Fog.

She was interned in the only all female concentration camp, Ravensbruck where she escaped the gas chamber on four occasions. When the camp was liberated she was on the last bus out, exhausted and ill. She weighed only 4 stone. She eventually returned to Cork.

Sr Kate was decorated by both the French and British governments for her role in the war.

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Memories of Great Days with the Lartigue Players

Good Afternoon ,

(My name is Danny O Connor from Listowel 
I currently live in New York but come home to Listowel very frequently . 
I thought you may be interested in the following:)  . 

I found some Newspaper cuttings from the Evening Press dated March 1992 .
I was a cast member in a play called The Country Dressmaker by George Fitzmaurice .
It was directed by Danny Hannon .

I still remember it very well . When we performed in St. John’s Danny Hannon had a ramp erected up the front of the stage to use as an exit and stage entrance . There were couple bales of hay to make it look like you were walking up a country road outside the house .
What a magnificent production and an amazing crew . Anyhow following our sold out performances in St. John’s we were going to perform a couple of nights in Tralee . 
Danny Hannon created some of his magic and suddenly we were in the Evening Press on March 17th 1992 . The Lartigue Theater Co.  was and still is an amazing group of people .

In 1993 we performed The Year Of The Hiker and on top of our performances in Listowel and Tralee we also got to perform in Boston and Kansas USA.  Such great memories . 

(Thank you for your time . I have attached a couple of photos of the Newspaper cuttings which I took with my I-phone .) 

I Remain 
Yours Sincerely ,
Danny O Connor 



Kanturk Memories, Market Street,. Listowel and Fr. Tom Hickey R.I.P.

Swan in Flight

Photo; Paul Winter for Irish Wildlife Trust

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                  Egmond House

Egmond House is a familiar sight to Kerry people returning from Cork . It is an imposing building at the top of O’Brien Street beautifully preserved by its different owners over the years. It is very much a symbol of Kanturk and many people  like me will remember Corpus Cristi Benediction on the steps.

Here is the history.

Photo: Trish O’Neill on Kanturk Memories

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Market Street Fadó Fadó


Glin Historical Society posted this old postcard on Facebook and Ned O’Sullivan wrote the below comment.

Moloney’s Garage was owned by FF TD Dan Moloney. The shop in the centre of the photo was owned by Paddy Finucane, Independent TD. 

My late father Sean bought it from Paddy and opened the Mans Shop in 1963.

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An tAthair Tomás  ÓHiceadha R.I.P.

Below is one of the many tributes paid online to the late great Fr. Tom Hickey, former Parish priest of Moyvane

Photo; Moyvane website … Fr. Tom Hickey with the Moyvane Drama Group in the late 1960s

The late Rev. Fr. Tom Hickey from Rosemount

Late Rosemount Priest was “way ahead of his time”

There was deep sadness in Rosemount this week when news broke of the sad passing of one of the most legendary characters the village ever produced, the much-loved Fr Tom Hickey.

A fluent Irish speaker who celebrated the 70th anniversary of his ordination in June of last year, Fr Tom passed away at University Hospital, Kerry on Monday, in his 97th year.

A man who was renowned for his quick wit and great love of life, the late Fr Tom was appointed as Parish Priest of Ballyferriter in 1989 having spent the entirety of his priesthood in the Kerry Diocese, where he served in ten different parishes prior to his appointment to his beloved Ballyferriter.

Marie Burke (née Keenan) a native of Rosemount, and a good friend of the Hickey family, described Fr Tom this week as a man who was “way ahead of his time and a great character.”

She recalled how he made an annual trip to the United States every October right up to four years ago, when he was 94 years old, to visit his brother, Benjy, in New Jersey. “In the two weeks he would be over there he would take the bus into New York on his own seven or eight times to attend a play or a show on Broadway,” she said.

When Fr Tom Hickey was ordained in Maynooth in 1950 he was one of a class of 82 priests, so he went to London to study drama before returning to the Kerry Diocese to begin his ministry.

He was a founder member of Siamsa Tire in Tralee and had a lifelong devotion to drama which brought him into contact with both young and old in every parish where he served.

A superb raconteur, he could captivate a room with his great wit and sense of fun and Marie Burke recalled how his party piece was the witty ballad “I Belong to Glasgow” which he performed with great aplomb at many a get-together in his native Rosemount.

“Fr Tom and his sister, Maura O’Connor, who is 94 and lives in Limerick, used to return to Rosemount for every important occasion we had here up to the time Covid hit, so everyone in the village has many fond memories of all the great nights we had in their company” says Marie.

Only last year, Fr Tom was filmed practicing a Tai Chi routine in the kitchen of his home in Ballyferriter, and said at the time that regular exercise was one of the factors that had contributed to his long and active life.

He knew every town and village in Kerry, where he spent all of his adult life having received his secondary school education with the Christian Brothers in Dingle before he entered the seminary in Killarney. Irish was his first language and he never missed the opportunity to speak in his native tongue among his parishioners on the Dingle Peninsula.

One of the saddest aspects of Fr Tom’s passing is that the people of Rosemount and of his beloved Kerry will be unable to give him “the send-off he so richly deserves” according to Marie Burke, due to the Covid restrictions in place for the celebration of funerals.

“He was just an amazing man in every way, and we will never see his likes again,” said Marie Burke.

Fr Tom, whose late father, Ben Hickey, served as Principal of Rosemount National School from 1920 to 1959, will be laid to rest tomorrow (Thursday, April 15) in the grounds of St. Vincent’s Church, Ballyferriter, Kerry after a private family Funeral Mass in the Church at 2pm.

At a celebration in Rosemount to mark 70 years ordained to the priesthood Fr. Tom showed that he had lost none of his love of performance. The below clip has gone viral.

Fr. Tom Hickey

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Dogecoin in Ballybunion

I was in Ballybunion yesterday April 22 2021 and the sand artist was at work.

What was he drawing?

#Dogecoin.com

I looked it up for you. It’s a cryptocurrency that began as a joke and “is now worth more than Ford.”

Look at this latest news:

“Indeed, dogecoin owners have enjoyed a parabolic surge in the so-called meme asset that was engineered back in 2013 as a lighthearted riff on the bitcoin BTCUSD, -0.66% phenomenon. It is up around 6,500% so far this year. By comparison, gold futures GC00, -0.34% are down some 5.5% in 2021, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.29% and the S&P 500 SPX, -0.04% are both up by around 11%.”,

Make any sense to you?  

Me  neither.

Is Ballybunion in on the joke or is there something going on that we don’t know?

A Grave Story, A Dublin Muslim Charity and Joe Burke’s Listowel Connection


Stag in National Park, Killarney


Photo:  Paul Madigan, Irish Wildlife Trust



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Picture and text from Vanishing Ireland on Facebook

Ever see one of these on a grave? It’s called a mortsafe. They were invented because after the Murder Act of 1752, surgeons could only dissect the bodies of convicted murderers who were hung for their crimes.

This meant only 30-45 bodies a year were ever available.

In order to be able to keep working however, Scottish anatomist, Robert Knox, would pay for any body which was brought to him regardless of the cause of death so he could examine it.

The problem then was people would break into graveyards and steal dead bodies and bring them to Knox.

The mortsafe was then invented to stop the bodies being stolen.

Up stepped Irish pair William Burke and William Hare, who heard of the value of the bodies and over a 10 month period in Edinburgh, killed 16 people and sold Knox the bodies.

When the were eventually caught, Hare was imprisoned and Burke was hung.

Burke was then ironically dissected and his skeleton is currently on display in the Anatomical Museum of the Edinburgh Medical School.

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Muslim Sisters of Eire

Charity and care of the poor is a bedrock of the Muslim faith. Indeed it is a basic tenet of Christianity as well.

This group of Irish Muslim women distribute food at the GPO in Dublin. The people who queue for their meals are not asked any questions and there is no underlying proselytising agenda.

We know about Simon, Penny Dinners, Food Cloud, The Capuchin Day Centre and many more charities helping feed hungry Dubliners. 

I thought I’d just introduce you to one that I didn’t know about until recently.

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Joe Burke, R.I.P., A Listowel Connection




Back in February 2021, we lost one of Irelands most respected traditional musicians, Joe Burke.


Burke was world famous for his mastery of the button accordion but he also played fiddle, tin whistle, flute and uileann pipes. He was a frequent visitor to Listowel.


A man called Ian Stephenson posted this on the internet some years ago;


One St. Stephen’s day we were at a party given by the Wren Boys in Listowel. The session included Frankie Gavin, Joe Burke, Seamus Creagh, Jackie Daley, Paddy Glackin and several others including myself. In the middle of a set, somebody asked Joe. “Could you play the Hucklebuck?” To which he replied, “It’s time to get the Hucklef**k out of here…..

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