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Tag: 1921

The White Abbey

This lovely image of Presentation Convent, Listowel was sent to us by Margaret McGrath who has fond memories of visiting her aunt, Sr. Gemma, who lived there.


White Abbey, Kildare

Kildare town has a white abbey and a black abbey. The black abbey is now in ruins but the white abbey is the friary church of the Carmelites and is a busy parish church. The Carmelites came first to Kildare in 1290. They have suffered many vicissitudes since, with their various churches over the years burnt and pillaged. The most recent edifice was built in 1885 in the Gothic style.

It was there our lovely little Aoife was christened.

Everywhere I looked, the altar, the walls, there were St. Brigid’s crosses, a reminder that I was in the land of the matron saint of Ireland in her special month, February.

This church is famous for it’s stained glass rose windows.

This particularly elaborate window, partly obscured by the organ, features the prophet, Elijah, the spiritual founder of the Carmelites. He is surrounded by images of other saints.

The church features many statues and grottos.

It appeared to me to be a place of old fashioned devotion. It is obviously very dear to the people who worship there, beautifully maintained and decorated. It is a haven of peace and tranquility in a hectic world. I will definitely return there when I am next in Kildare.


Couldn’t resist sharing this one

“Look Grandad, we’re on my Nana’s blog.”



I feel sad to see this important premises in the corner of The Square has ceased trading.


Troubled Times

From the Irish independent of March 1921 and shared online by “Historical Tralee and Surrounding areas”

Historians have provided context. The Crown Forces had wind of the word that an ambush was being planned near Rathmore. This engagement eventually took place at Clonbanin.


Remembering 1921 in Listowel, The Convent and The Lartigue

Presentation Convent, Listowel in its Prime


Incisive Poem from Saturday’s Irish Times


One Hundred Years Ago

Dave O’Sullivan unearthed this story in the Evening Echo of July 13 1921. Thomas Murphy, butcher of this parish had been interned for his part in the civil disobedience that had taken place some time previously.

Here again is an account of that skirmish;


One hundred years ago this week, a remarkable event took place in Listowel.   A courageous action by a group of leaders in the town, armed only with hurleys, struck a non-violent blow on behalf of the people of the town to be masters of their own destiny, and to ‘walk their own land’.  

The event itself was the ploughing of the Cows Lawn, the property of Lord Listowel which was eventually to lead to the provision of probably the best loved amenity in the town  –  the present Town Park.

While a group of people ‘ploughing’ might seem a harmless enough activity, this ploughing was anything but harmless.  It led to a number of clashes and confrontations between the police and a number of local men, thirteen of whom were sentenced to 12 months in Cork and Belfast Gaol

To understand what a momentous occasion it was we have only to see the headlines in The Kerryman the following week:


As World War I raged, shortages of food and rising prices in 1917 started to cause distress  in the town.   The British Ministry of Food set up a food control committee for Ireland on 31 August 1917 and many of its regulations, in theory, applied to this country.    Sinn Féin established Food Committees throughout the country and started to organise local markets, distribution of local food at fair  prices and  arrangements for the poor of the town to get small areas of land or allotments to grow their own food.   

In February  1917, Listowel Urban Council Chairman Jack McKenna had been involved in a fruitless exchange of letters with Lord Listowel looking for permission to use 15 to 20 acres of vacant land

to be distributed among ‘artisans, labourers and small traders of the town … on which they could raise food to supplement their small earnings’. While a number of small unsuitable fields had been suggested, these were not acceptable to the Urban Council.

The two fields identified as the most suitable for the purpose were  called at the time the Back Lawn and the Front Lawn . These fields were at that time leased from Lord Listowel by two local men and ‘negotiations’ were opened with them to give up their tenancies.  John Keane held the front lawn and was willing to give up his tenancy.’Mr Keane was prepared to forego his right for the purpose of enabling the Council to proceed with the scheme, provided that Lord Listowel was satisfied’.

Mr. Kenny who had the grazing of the back lawn was not keen to give up his title. He had a butcher shop – it was absolutely essential to enable him to carry on his trade as a butcher in the adjoining Church St. However he was persuaded to ‘do the right thing’.

On 25th February 1918, tired of waiting for permission, the Sinn Féin Food Committee with the help of the Irish Volunteers from Moyvane, Knockanure, Finuge, Rathea, Ballyconry and Ballylongford marched into the town ‘all armed with hurleys and headed by bands, while ploughs and horses brought up the rear.  They were cordially received by the Listowel Company of Irish Volunteers with their brass band.  The whole procession, composed of some eleven or twelve hundred Volunteers, marched to the estate office in Feale View at 1.30 o’clock where the above mentioned waited on Mr. M. Hill, who is Lord Listowel’s chief clerk’.

 Although Messrs. Kenny and Keane had given up possession, Mr Hill refused to hand over the keys as he had not got orders from Lord Listowel. The Volunteers then broke open the gates leading to the back lawn near the National School house.  The ploughs and ploughmen started operations and another section  of Vounteers took over the front lawn.  Over the following two months, local people continued with tilling the land despite visits from the R.I.C., and the threat of court proceedings which culminated in the imprisonment of thirteen of the ‘offenders’ in Cork and Belfast Gaols.

Mr. Thomas Murphy was one of these 13

This was just the start of an endeavour that fifty years later culminated in the acquisition of the two lawns  for the people of Listowel.  It had taken from the twelfth century, firstly  with the Fitzmaurices and then with earls of Listowel as overlords, to put the lands back into the hands of the people of the town.


Missing The Lartigue

A trip on the restored Lartigue used to be a feature of Listowel summers.

And now for something completely different…

This is a typical shop bill from a Listowel shop in 1921. Note the dependence on tobacco!!!

Listowel people would have had their own meat, vegetables and fruit and, of course, there was no processed food available then.

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