The following is a short history of of the origins of McKenna’s  in 

Listowel. I took it from their website.

Johanna McKenna

On the 17th October 1871 one Jeremiah Mckenna married Johanna 

Horgan and started a business at No.3 Market street Listowel selling 

general hardware. Very general. It’s likely that there would have 

been vegetables for sale alongside the ironmongery in the early days.

But all to the good; in 1875 the couple bought  No.3.  Then in 1880

 tragedy struck, taking the form so well known in those times; 

Jeremiah succumbed to tuberculosis and died, still a young man.


Alone with two small children Johanna had an overwhelming battle,

and the little business went into bankruptcy within a short time. This

much is known; what’s not known is how she raised the funds to get

going again. But having recovered, she  repaid all debts, a feature of

Mckenna’s history to have a lasting effect on it’s reputation well down

 the road.

In 1907 her son John emigrated to America. A young man with his life

all ahead could find much opportunity there by comparison with the

Listowel of the time. But the letters from home kept drawing his

mind back to his mother who would persist in carrying on the business

at No.3. He well knew how much of a struggle it was for her, and

sailed out of New York before a year had passed.

John married Grace McMahon in 1909 and settled back in. Simply

supporting his Mother’s efforts to keep the shop open wasn’t enough

for him; he could feel some ideas of his own coming on. By 1912

Enright’s creamery had been acquired. Here the stocking of building

supplies began and the creamery site eventually became known as

the Mill Yard.

In 1913 Johanna bought out the ground rent on No.3 Market street.

She died three years later, as John became a member of Kerry 

County Council, and missed by a year his election to chairman.

This is an old McKenna’s calendar Tom Fitzgerald found on the internet


Manny, the bearded dragon, is developing quite a following. 

I shall call to his place of residence during the week and I’ll see

if he is up to being photographed.