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

St. John’s, Mr. Jiggs , Handball Memories and Outdoor Dining and Just a Thought

Great to have it open again.


Handballing Days

One of the founding members of the handball club and the driving force behind it for years was the late Joe James of O’Connell’s Avenue. Other names associated with the club in the early years were Seamus Wilmot and Bryan MacMahon, Frank Sheehy, Brendan Macauley, Michael Keane, Vangy O’Hanlon, and Tony Chute.

Junior Griffin remembers a story told to him by Bryan MacMahon;

The son of a local businessman whose enthusiasm for handball was not matched by his skill. The poor lad was looked on as a soft touch by other players of the era.

Many, with no money in their pockets would bet him £1 per game and they would give him a handicap of 20 and the first serve. The game was to 21. The scamp would contrive to lose the first game and challenge his gull to double or quits. He would collect his £4 drinking money for the week.

The father came to hear of his son’s handball gambling and he packed him off to Argentina on business for a few years.

To quote MacMahon, ” I went down to the alley one summers evening some years later for a game”. I saw someone seated near the Alley wearing a large sombrero. Drawing closer, lo and behold, I saw that xxxx was back in town and back to the place he loved so well.”

Whether he had learned his lesson or not is another story.

(more hand balling lore tomorrow)


Volunteers Back at Work

I’m delighted to be reunited with my friends in the St. Vincent de Paul shop.


The Cork Branch of My Family in May 2021

Bobby is missing from the photo because he took a turn at being photographer

Mr. Jiggs was the only horse who came to greet me in Kanturk when I called on my bolt for freedom from Covid restrictions thanks to the vaccine bonus.


Outdoor Dining

This space in the square is soon to have a covered outdoor dining thingy erected.



My most recent set of reflections which were broadcast last week in the Just a Thought slots on Radio Kerry are online now.

Just a Thought by Mary Cogan



Handball and Brightening Air, William Street and Newtownsandes Creamery and Some Writers’ Week Windows


Changes in business and church going, Handball Memories and Outdoor Dining in 2021


  1. Frances O'Brien Blaikie

    Thank you Mary for your comments. They offered me a reason to pause and think about where I am in life. Your comment about ‘less years ahead of us then behind’ (paraphrased) is a good chance to check where we are now looking forward. I do indeed follow the same routes each day whether by car, foot or conversations. The sameness connected with me and I will change a little. Thank you again Mary, I’ve so enjoyed every post you have made through the years.

    • listowelconnection

      Thank you too, Frances, for all your support and encouragement. I’m glad the reflection resonated with you.

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