First Meeting of North Kerry Reaching Out

May the Lord have mercy on the souls of the good friends no longer with us.


Talking to Horses


A chat with a horse or indeed any animal can be quite therapeutic.


All of the following businesses have left town since 2015 


Some Familiar Names

Every now and again, someone decides to Google their family name and a random search brings them to Listowel Connection. Because of the diversity of content in the blog there are thousands of references to families that have some Kerry connection.


 Two of these searchers got in touch recently.

Photo; Tralee Today

We are all familiar with Hilsers Jewellers. Their Tralee store was recently in the news because they suffered a robbery in which two very valuable diamond rings were stolen. The famous clock is presently down for repair works

Here is the email from Andrew Sawdon;

Hello, Hilsers were one of several from the black forest clock making district in ireland in the nineteenth and are still in business – hilser, wehrly, maurer, hartmann, laufer. They were mainly related to one another – cousins and in laws and there are six or so jewellers shops, still in family ownership around ireland – Sigo, Galway, Derry, Bandon, Kilrush.Ennis.

His email would seem to indicate that the family no longer own the Tralee shop.

I asked Andrew a few questions. Here is his response;

Hi here  – 

They were clockmakers originally.

The Tralee shop was bought by Billy Nolan a long time ago. I think that since then it traded as Hilser, as Billy Nolan at Hilser and as Nolan and Hilser.

Billy Nolan bought the shop from Freddy Burkley, (carl frederick) who was the son of Engelbert Burkley, who was nephew of the Mr Hilser and before that it was owned, said Nolan,  by Cromer (Kromer) another clockmaker from the same homeland, whose own name business carried on elsewhere for many years.

One misfortune that Englbert Burkley had suffered was to get interned during the first world war – in Germany because he was a naturalised brit. It was not until 1980 or so i  think that a Burkley shop opened under under their own name, in Cork, when grandfather Burkley son of Englebert, was still in the business. The family went back in London to the 1780s. They were also related to Kleiser of Kleiser pianos limerick.

The hilser shop that is still so far as i know in the family is hilser in bandon, owned by miriam foley-hilser – she had closed their long running in cork business some years ago.

The details above may not be exact, but theres the general picture.

Were they jewish? No. They came from a very catholic part of the world, with great monasteries and many of the farms have little chapels of their own.

Actually there is connection between religion and their business. They had been woodcarvers and then made clocks out of wood as a winter occupation in the farm houses. As they had carved religious statues – which the jews and protestants dont (second commandment) they incorporated them into clocks – a monk rings a bell or a procession of apostles trundles by.


My second correspondent comes from nearer to home. Here is the email from Declan Mulcahy.

Hello, i seen your blog which contained a poster from 1965 of the Maurice Mulcahy band, and i was wondering if it would be possible to get the contact details of Liam O Hainnin, about the poster and if he has any more,


Declan Mulcahy

I have passed on the request. If anyone has any memories of Maurice Mulcahy or of dancing the night away to the strains of his big band, I’d love to hear from you.