Everyone is invited to the launch of Vincent Carmody’s magnum opus in the Listowel Arms on Sunday next at 5.00. It promises to be a good do.

Vincent is familiar to readers of this blog as a collaborator and someone to whom I turn for verification of stories pertaining to Listowel. He is a dedicated local historian and has an insatiable interest in everything and everyone who has lived or traded in Listowel in the 19th and 20th century.

He appreciates the value of a photograph, a letter, a poster or shop bill as a first hand account of how people lived, what they bought and how they disported themselves. He has a huge collection of memorabilia, much of which would have been discarded long ago had Vincent not rescued and preserved it for us. His book is a very valuable social document and Listowel is lucky to have someone to tell the future generations how their ancestors lived. AND he has documentary evidence to back up his account.

Every town should have a Vincent Carmody.

 Vincent proudly displays a first copy of his great book.

Vincent gives his good friend, Jim Cogan, a sneak preview before Sunday’s launch.

If you love Listowel and you are only going to buy one book this year, I think it should be Vincent Carmody’s Listowel, Snapshots of an Irish market town. Up there with Listowel and its Vicinity as a collectors’ item. Well done, Vincent. As the young people say, “Respect!”


The lights are up in William St.


Listening to the match. I remember such a scene well and like the lady in the picture my mother wrote down each score as it came. Those were the days of the legendary Micheál OHehir. Ní chloisfimid a leithéad arís, is baolach.


Recently I had an email from a lady called Susan Twomey of California who traces her McKenna ancestors back to North Kerry. Here are some extracts from our correspondence.

“My great-great grandfather Patrick McKenna from Listowel was born c. 1802, married Sarah/Sally M Stack from Duagh…they married c. 1832 and had their 14 children in Ireland before moving to America c. 1862 and settling in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  Pat died in 1865 in Negaunee, Marquette County, Michigan. Pat and Sally were my mother’s great grandparents.”


“Another cousin Sister Mary Brendan Brosnan who came from Kerry to America when she was 13 to enter the Mercy Convent in Los Angeles was somehow connected with a Father Hegarty also from Kerry, priest of the San Diego diocese here, who is responsible for the gravestone for Thomas and Jane McKenna and their children in the cemetery of Kilshenane (sp?).  Sister Mary Brendan was always part of our family gatherings when I was growing up in southern California.  I am not sure how she was related either…but she was close to my grandmother Jane/Jenny McKenna Lynch, my mother’s mother. “


Re: Brosnans – my relative was born in 1897, Mary Elizabeth Brosnan, from Knochreagh, Irremore, Listowel, Kerry.  Parents John and Nellie (Ellen?). She came to America in 1908 to join her aunt  (Sister Mary Pius) who had joined the Sisters of Mercy some years before.  Mary Elizabeth/Sister Mary Brendan Brosnan was 13 when she arrived, but they would not let her enter the community as a postulant until she was 15, in 1910.  She died in 1970 while visiting relatives in Philadephia, Pennsylvania…she had been living in Burlingame, near San Francisco, California.  She was a teacher most of her life. Last year her community sent me a copy of a short biography of her…I am happy to send you a copy of the couple of pages.


Susan was as good as her word and sent me the account of Sr. Mary Brendan Brosnan’s life. I’ll post it on the blog tomorrow.