Hope Guatemala—The Listowel Connection

Do you know the way there are some people you hardly know existed and the next thing you are seeing them everywhere?  I’m like that with this young Listowel man, Seán McGillicuddy.

Seán runs McGillicuddy’s Toy and Souvenir shop in Lower William St. This is the family shop, previously run by Seán’s dad, Jackie. When I came to Listowel first this was Santa’s favourite shop.  I met Seán at the BOI Enterprise Town  expo in the Community Centre but before that I had met this upstanding young man in The Listowel Arms at the craft fair during Listowel Food Fair.

When I met him wearing his Hope Guatemala hat, Seán was promoting the work of his favourite charity.

Seán began his involvement with Hope Guatemala by helping out with fundraising, running in their charity run and attending concerts. As he got to know more about the work of the charity, he decided to visit. Hope Guatemala is helping poor tenant farmers to break free of the yoke of their absentee landlords by acquiring land and helping the farmers to farm it for themselves and bring their own crops to market. They build water storage facilities to bring water to communities who would otherwise have to walk miles to access drinking water.  They are involved in education, in feeding programmes and in generally helping the poorest of the poor.

Seán was particularly impressed by the hopefulness and generosity of the Guatemalan people, and their eagerness, given half a chance, to help themselves.  He resolved to do whatever he could to raise funds to help them and to raise awareness of their plight. He wrote a play, Gan Imní, which is a bilingual show connecting myths and legends of Guatemala to myths and legends of Ireland and particularly that of the Worry Doll. The idea is that you tell your worries to your worry doll and you leave them with her so you can go about your daily tasks unencumbered by these worries. The play was staged in Dingle.


 That was Then, This is Now….The Newbridge Connection

Coffeys of Newbridge is an old fashioned pub, very popular with the old stock of Newbridge. It is also popular with Kerry football supporters returning from trips to Croke Park. John B. Keane called there often and became a family friend, while he was biding time until the traffic thinned out. 

His photo hangs in the bar.

Billy Keane went there recently on his book tour and the Johnson, Keane and Coffey children recreated the photo of their fathers.


When Bill Clinton Came to Listowel ….nearly

It was 1998 and the town was buzzing with excitement in anticipation of the arrival of the president of the U.S. in our midst. Junior Griffin was there with his camera to capture the red letter day in the town’s history. Bill was to drop into John B.s for a pint on his way to play a round of golf at Ballybunion.

But the best laid plans of mice and men gang oft agley.

Some spoilsports decided to set up a protest. The president’s security staff decided to abort the planned stop in John B.s  The rest is history.


In The Holy Land

Mary Sobieralski went to the Holy Land with the diocesan pilgrimage and she shared a few of her photos.

Sr. Eileen near the Sea of Galilee.

Mary with pilgrims.

Bishop Ray was also on the pilgrimage