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

May Day

Wild garlic in Gurtinard in April 2024

Today is May 1 2024

Mayday, according to tradition is a day when the fairies are up to mischief. They might steal dairy produce or even children at this time so it was a time for vigilance.

May day was also the day for the hiring fair. Extra labour would be needed for saving the hay and cutting the turf so men in search of work came into town to meet up with potential employers.

“Im’ spailpín fánach fágadh mise

Ag seasamh ar mo shláinte…”

May was a time for the young and the strong. May poles, bonfires, May queens are symbols of this time of year.

In Ireland we have turned the tables and Bealtaine is a time for celebrating age and maturity.

Thomas F. O’Sullivan

Who was Thomas F. O’Sullivan who trolled John J Foley in the pages of the Kerry newspapers for a short time in 1901?

In my opinion he is a man who should have known better. He let himself down badly in continuing to torment a popular local entertainer.

If you have ever taken one of Vincent Carmody’s informative walking tours you will have heard of this man. He was a very well respected journalist, so highly regarded that there was a suggestion that he deserved a memorial erected in his memory. His best known work is his history of the GAA

Here is what David O’Sullivan found about him.

O’Sullivan was born in Listowel in 1874. He developed an early interest in the GAA and in 1893 at the age of nineteen became secretary of the newly formed Listowel Temperance Football Team. In 1899 he became secretary of the Listowel GAA. He was appointed county secretary after the Kerry board was reformed in 1900. In 1903 he was appointed president of the Munster GAA council. He continued as secretary of the Kerry board until he moved to Dublin to write for the Freeman’s Journal in 1907. O’Sullivan held a number of positions for that newspaper, including a spell as parliamentary correspondent in London from 1916, until its demise in 1924. His Story of the GAA (1916) was the first ever history of the association.

O’Sullivan wrote several books and was a frequent contributor to The Kerryman.

John J. Foley passed away in 1941

Our thanks are due to Christan Bush, whose email sparked our interest in this local spat.

Commemorative Seats in Town

Listowel, like many Irish towns has come up with ways of remembering local people who we loved and lost. One of these ways is the placing of seats in memory of the loved one in the park or by the river.

Here are a few I see regularly on my walk.

Along the banks of the Feale are these two;

My picture of the tree is dark and shadowed even though the day was sunny.

A Favourite Poem

Mossbawn or Gneeveguilla, poet or storyteller, we all mine our childhood experiences for inspiration.

A Fact

Pluto takes 248 years to orbit the sun.



The Saga of Thade Kelly’s Hin (continued)


A Communion, A Book and a Beloved Priest


  1. Vincent Carmody

    a small correction, Thomas F. O’Sullivan was born in Glin Co.Limerick on the 19th December 1874, His family moved to Listowel where he was educated at the local National School and St. Michael’s College. T.F. ( as was known by) served as Chairman of the Munster Council (not President) from 1903-1906. At a later time Frank Sheehy also served as Chairman (1953-1961)

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