A Listowel Fact
This is a jostle stone. It’s been here since the days of the horse and carriage. You’ll see them in every town. Their purpose was to protect the corners of a house or other property from damage by the wheels of carriages as they entered a lane or avenue. The stone jostled the carriage away from the wall and into the middle of the road.
Here there is a jostle stone on either side of the road.
This is another more simple example on Church Street.
“Fond Memory Brings the Light of Other Days Around Me”
Nathalie Léger spent a year of her young life in Listowel. The town and its people made a lasting impression on this young lady.
My own time in Pres. Secondary School did not overlap with Nathalie’s. She discovered me much later through this blog. In response to my request, she has written this essay about her time here.
I came to Listowel during the last week of September 1988. I needed a little while to settle before getting ready to start work on October 1st at Presentation Convent as the French language assistant.
Finding a lodging was made easy with the help of Sr Consolata and some teachers, and I moved in to Market St Apartments.
As I had to buy some tableware I went to Carroll’s on the Square. Then I purchased two extra blankets at Moriarty’s on William St – Irish winters can be so cold !
I also opened a savings account at the Bank of Ireland, where they had very few French clients at the time I believe. The welcome was professional but very friendly.
At Presentation Convent I discovered a different education system that I would call holistic, not just academic. I was particularly impressed by the students and staff’s commitment in the operetta “South Pacific”. I took part in it too, helping with makeup and supervising. This was very enriching as I intended to become – and I have indeed – a teacher of English as a modern language.
I miss the friendly atmosphere and the fits of laughter in the staff room – I soon learnt quite a few “Kerry jokes” !
I really enjoyed working with the staff, who gave me the opportunity to discover what working with teenagers was like. Thank you everyone, particularly Noreen McCarthy, Geraldine O’Connor, Colette Daly, Bridget O’Connor, and of course Sr Consolata.
I would like to give special thanks to Joanna Keane who was replacing her sister-in-law Elaine at the time. Joanna showed me around – I remember a day trip to Dingle with lunch at The Forge – and she naturally introduced me to John B and Mary.
Since John B did not speak a lot of French he nicknamed me “la belle Parisienne”, which I found quite funny as I am not from Paris at all.
Not only did I meet lovely people but I also got the opportunity to read great novels and plays which helped me understand Irish people’s attachment to their land. John B’s pub became the perfect place to meet those people and have a good time chatting and laughing.
Thanks to Mary I saw “The Year of the Hiker” on stage in Tralee, which was a great moment for me.
Before leaving Listowel at the beginning of June 1989 I asked John B if he could sign the books I had bought. He very kindly wrote a different autograph in each of them. God knows how much I have treasured these books since !
Although many years have passed, I have never forgotten lovely Listowel and all the fantastic people I met there. Reading Listowel Connection every week is a means to not only remember the good old times but also discover today’s Listowel.
Thanks to social media I am in touch with Bridget and you, Mary. Now my dearest wish is to come back to Listowel, as real meetings will always be the best.
All of you take care and stay safe !
With my best regards,
( Explainer; The reason Nathalie didn’t start work until October is that nothing in Listowel started in earnest until “after The Races”. In those years the Races were always on the last full week in September.)
Like Old Times
I made a rare foray to Tralee and I was surprised to see that Dunnes Stores seems to have morphed into Marks and Spencer’s since I was there last.
It has a real butcher’s shop with butchers butchering away before our eyes.
Meanwhile in Tralee Town Square
This shop is closing down. Looks like the old order yielding place to the new.
More Listowel Christmas Windows
The theme, this year is Toy Story.
A Meeting on Church Street
Clíona (Cogan) McKenna and Joan Kenny in late November 2021