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

Lovely Listowel, A Pharmacy on the Move and Repairs to St. John’s Steeple

“Oh, would some Power the giftie gie us

To see ourselves as others see us….”

Éamon ÓMurchú was home in Listowel and he took a few photos with his phone. The photos show us Listowel as it is these days, lovely as always but undergoing change. This one shows the unchanging River Feale in all its magnificence.


Different Times

In June 1950 Fine Gael T.D. Captain Patrick Giles told the Dáil that “only big swanks with money to burn” could buy tomatoes. (Irish Examiner)


On the Move

Broderick’s Pharmacy is relocating to Market Street.


Kathy Hochul is New York governor

John Anthony Hegarty sent the picture and Kay Caball provides the story of the Kerry connection. Below is the link to Kay’s account of the governor’s Cournane/ Courtney ancestors. It is well worth a read.

Kerry Ancestors/ N.Y. Governor


Scaffolding Everywhere

The scaffold at St. John’s has reached the top of the spire.

Máire tells us that the clock face is down for repair.

This reminded me of a story Junior Griffin told me.

Here is is again.

John Griffin of Bridge Road was the local expert watch repairer. Archdeacon Wallace approached him to ask if he would repair the St. John’s clock.

St. John’s was then a functioning protestant church.

In the 1940s it was forbidden for a Catholic to enter a Protestant church. Mending the clock, however, would not involve entering the church as there was no access to the clock from the church. To solve this problem John Griffin constructed a kind of primitive cherry picker. This contraption was a kind of cage that he would enter on the ground and using pulleys and ropes he would hoist himself up to the clock in order to access the movement of the clock.

John Griffin of Bridge Road, Junior’s dad

Junior’s mother was worried sick that some harm might come to her husband in this makeshift hoist so she sent Bert and Junior to the Catholic church to light candles and to pray that no harm would come to their dad.


A Sobering Fact

In April 1954 Michael Manning was the last person to be executed by the state. He was convicted of murdering a nurse, Catherine Cooper.

(Irish Examiner)


We’re all Mayo Supporters now

Éamon ÓMurchú took this photo on his Wild Atlantic Way trip.

I think we’ll be seeing a few posters like this in Kerry now.



Coolard, Ballylongford, Wasps and a Flag


Listowel, Painting, Some Schoolgirls and International Storytelling Comes to Listowel


  1. Nicholas

    Hi, Mary, just getting the hang of the new system! Delighted with it, and the contents! Especially chuffed to see that you have written about a ‘townie of my own, but of a different generation- the legendary Captain Paddy Giles, T.D. He was born and reared a few fields away from my home, and was connected to Éamon Duggan, Solicitor, 1916 combatant and Treaty Delegation member, etc., and later an F.G. Minister. Giles was active in the War of Independence and was a target for the R.I.C. and the various military forces. It is told in my home place that he was captured one day on a Bridge over the River Boyne, Inchamore Bridge, by it is said, the Tans ( all military were called ‘Tans’ at times) He got a hiding and was ordered to shout ‘God Save the King!’ His reply ‘F**k the King’ earned him another hiding; this scenario was repeated, and he was well battered before the ‘Tans’ tired of the game. Why they did not shoot him, or throw him into the Boyne, I don’t know.
    He was outspoken in the Dáil, too, and I have read his contribution to a debate there on the use that could be made of the abandoned ‘Big Houses’ in the country. Some suggested that they should be restored and used for beneficial purposes. Giles was adamant that they should be burned to the ground! Wiser counsel prevailed. As for Duggan, I believe he signed both the Truce and also the Treaty. His father was from Wicklow and was an R.I.C. man in our village, Longwood. When he married a local girl, he had to be moved out, as was the practice. Captain Paddy Giles eventually succeeded Duggan in 1933 as T.D. for Meath.

    • listowelconnection

      Hi Nicholas,
      Fascinating stuff. I must confess i had never heard of Giles. When I saw this “fact” about him I looked him up but Wikipaedia had none of the colourful details you have given us. Thank you.

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