Listowel in Bygone Days from Denis Carroll’s photos

At Convent Cross

The Dandy Lodge in its original location in Bridge Road

The foundation for the Community Centre being dug.


A Successful young man with a (very tenuous) Listowel Connection

This young man is Will Collins of Kanturk.  He is in the news because he wrote the script for the Oscar nominated film, The Song of the Sea.

Now the Listowel connection; Will is the son of my old Kanturk neighbours, Peggy and Willie Collins.

People my age and older will remember Bill and Pat Kearney of this parish. Bill was very involved with the Listowel Drama Group. After Bill’s death, Pat lived on in Listowel on her own. One evening she was driving home from Cork when she got a puncture. In the days before mobile phones, the done thing in this instance was to call to the nearest house. Pat did. This house was the home of Willie and Peggy Collins, my lovely neighbours. Being the kind people they are, they brought her in and gave her a cup of tea and some of Peggy’s legendary delicious baking. They changed her wheel and ascertained that it would have to stay in Kanturk overnight for repair. Peggy and Willie would not hear of Pat driving home alone with no spare wheel so they drove to Listowel with her. Pat never forgot their extraordinary kindness to her and she mentioned it often to me. There would be none more delighted than Pat Kearney to hear  that the son of her Kanturk friends is now a famous scriptwriter and if she has any influence above, that Oscar is in the bag for The Cartoon Saloon gang.

This photograph of Will with his family was taken (not by me) at Kanturk Arts Festival two years ago. Peggy and Willie Senior are on the right.

I saw the film, in French, during my recent visit to Ciboure. It is a lovely film suitable for all the family. I laughed and cried and was charmed by the story. I won’t spoil it for you by telling you the story but, believe me, it’s a good one.


A Proposal to bring joy to the hearts of many of our diaspora

A report recently in the Irish Times outlined a proposal that was presented to Jimmy Deenihan, Minister for the Diaspora. Jimmy is looking into it before bringing it to government as part of a package that includes voting rights for emigrants in presidential elections.

It is proposed that American Irish young people between the ages of 18 and 26 be offered an opportunity to spend 10 days in Ireland immersing themselves in the culture, language,  history and modern day living conditions of the country to which they claim ancestral allegiance. The trip, which would be free to the participants, would be paid for out of a combination of philantropy and government funding. 

A similar “Birthright” scheme is in place for young adults of the Jewish faith. This scheme is in place for 15 years and is very successful, creating a strong bond between the diaspora and the homeland.


All is forgiven

I took this unlikely picture fro Joe Brolly’s Twitter feed. He is pictured here among some of the greats of Kerry sport at a recent fundraiser for Austin Stack’s GAA club.

He was brought onto the stage for a “surprise” confrontation with Kieran Donaghy. The whole country knows that Joe, in his role as a football pundit, had famously written off Donaghy in a season when he went on to win an All Ireland and an All Star.

When asked if he would apologise for the article, Brolly laughed it off saying that it was, in fact, a motivational exercise and it worked. “Didn’t I win him an All Star?” says he. No one could argue with that.