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Tag: 1959

Listowel Town Park, a walking race and some more from the Sive archive


Photo; Graham Davies on Facebook


In The Park, Winter 2018

The gas pipeline in a very wet town park.

The river rose much higher in the days after I took this photo.

Listowel Community Centre

Deserted tennis courts

Empty playgrounds

Blown down sign

Bleak house….The Dandy Lodge in the background. 1916 commemorative garden in foreground.


Mad Speed Limit at Tim Kennelly Roundabout

Would you head into a roundabout at 60km per hour?


Wren Boys and Tarbert to Listowel walking race


Sive Revisited

When The Abbey Theatre produced Sive in 2014, some kind friends of the blog shared some of their memorabilia with us.

Kay Caball whose mother was the chair of the Drama Group kept the programme and some of the newspaper cuttings.

Margaret Dillon, who played Sive sent us this photograph of the cast visit to Dáil Eireann where Dan Moloney, T.D. received them and took them on a guided triumphal tour.

Kay Caball gave us the names of all the people in this photo.

Front Row From Left:

Jeffrey O’Connnor (Cahirciveen,  Sheila Keane’s Husband)

Brendan Carroll   (Carroll’s, William St)

Margaret Dillon     (She played Sive)

John B. Keane        

Cecile Cotter  (‘Tasty Cotter’s’ daughter – Scully’s Corner used to be called Cotter’s Corner)

Nora Relihan

Dan Moloney T.D., (grandfather of Jimmy Moloney)

Second Row Left to Right

John Cahill,  (Main St.,)

Hilary Neilsen, (Bridge Road)

Siobhan Cahill (Main St.)

Bill Kearney  (Lr. William St. – where The Shebeen is now)

Harry Geraghty  (Bank of Ireland or maybe National Bank?)

Eamon Keane 

Mrs. Peggie Walsh  ( The Square)

Back Row, Left to Right

John Flaherty  (Charles St)

Margaret Moloney (Gurtinard)

Kevin Donovan (Upper William St)

Seamus Ryle  (Nora Relihan’s brother)

Ina Leahy  (Leahys, Market St)

Dr. Johnny Walsh

Peg Schuster  (John B’s sister)

Changing face of town,Brian Lenihan and Aodhagán ORahilly, a concert in 1864 and more about Sive

All Over Bar the Shouting


Lovely Listowel

St. John’s in Listowel Town Square in Summer 2007


Then and Now


A Midland Event with a North Kerry Connection

Minister Brian Lenihan opening the rail bridge over the Shannon in 1969. He was Minister for Transport and Power from 2/7/69 to 3/1/73. The priest had blessed the bridge just beforehand. To the priest’s left is BnM MD, Dermot Lawlor and left and just behind Lawlor is BnM Chairman, Aodhagán O’Rahilly. O’Rahilly’s father Michael, known as “The” O’Rahilly” was a member of the GPO garrison and was killed on Easter Friday 1916 while charging a British barricade in Moore Street.

(photos and text: Bord na Mona Heartland)


“I don’t care about Clifton Clowers…”

Who needs Clifton Clowers when we have our own old ploughmen here at home.


Concert in Listowel in 1864

This concert seems to have been a bit of a pot pourri. Poor Mr McCarthy got an awful reception from the audience;

Tralee Chronicle and Killarney Echo
 Tuesday, 15 November, 1864; Page: 3

from a Listowel correspondent

On Thursday evening last, the
celebrated Madame Castaglioni gave one of her pleasing and entertaining
concerts in Listowel.

We have not had any concerts worth
speaking of in Listowel, ever since the Messrs Richardson performed the
beautiful piece of the harmonious Blacksmith on their curious rock band some
few years ago; and now accordingly heard with delight, this visit of a troupe
of clever artists, as the harbinger of a goodly number of future visits of a
similar kind.

The Signors Carletta Zerbini and Le
Petit Louis Napoleon were prime favourites with the audience and really, taken
on the whole, their performance was very creditable. The latter little marvel
of precocity gave “The Dark Girl dressed in Blue” and “Polly Perkins”, with
admirable effect, while the Senora Zerhiai positively enthralled the audience
with the flood of feeling and passionate pathos, which she infused into
Lurline’s” Sweet Spirit Hear My Prayer” and the capital manner in in which she
rendered the Italian air “ Una Voco pocofa”.

 We were particularly delighted with the deft
and skilful manner, in which this accomplished cantairiea introduced the
tremulous quator and thrilling shake into her magnificent voice. At first she
warbles a few notes with bird like clearness and vivacity; then slowly and
majestically her voice falls, and for some seconds becomes pendulous with deep
emotion, then suddenly rising to the full height of her vocal powers, she pours
forth one sustained volume of delicious harmony. With reference to the personal
attractions we may be permitted to state, that when in repose, the countenance
of the Signora Zerbini seems immobile and statuesque, but when under the
inspiration of the spirit of song, every feature is animated and illumed with
the charming glow of eloquent enthusiasm.

The performance of Mr M’Carthy was
unsatisfactory; he seemed restless and fidgety and the slightest interruption
on the part of the audience discomposed his equanimity; In consequence of this
the “Hour of Ireland” was completely expunged from the programme.- M’Carthy who
seems to us to be either very sensitive or very irascible, had commenced his
comicalities, some of which were received with loud laughter by the audience,
whereupon he retreated behind the scenes in high dudgeon and did nor put in an
appearance for the rest of the evening. Mr. M’Carthy misunderstands the
effervescing and joystering disposition of his countrymen. But he should
recollect that a public concert, is not a humdrum Quaker meeting.

After Mr M’Carthy’s disappearance a
scene of considerable confusion took place. In the midst of the tumult “Patsy
the Cottoner”a well known character, rose to address the assembly, and was
received with tremendous cheering and waving of hats by his fellow townsmen.
This important personage who had been a long time absent from Listowel,
formally enjoyed a high reputation, as a village orator and was quite indispensable
at every gathering of the “great unwashed”.

He said,” ladies and gentlemen, I
have a very great cold, so that if I break down, I hope I am quite excusable.
After so long an absence. I have returned to visit my old friends and
acquaintances in Listowel again.” Having delivered himself of those two weighty
sentences, this individual blurted out a comic song of a very doggerel
character, which of course our musical sympathies and affinities do not permit
us record, much less notice approvingly.

Miss Carlotta Zerbini then rose and
said,- “It is unusual for a lady to address an audience, but I must say we have
come here to fulfil our engagement, and not to be insulted,- If therefore you
will have a little patience, we will terminate the performance. Miss Zerbini
concluded accordingly by singing a song. Then the company dispersed, though, it
must be confessed, not without some feeling of disappointment, caused by the
fragmentary nature of the entertainment.


Times Past

A nun in Convent Street in 2007


Listowel Drama Group’s Sive in 1959

What some papers said


A Listowel Dance Card from 1908

Jim Halpin found this when he was renovating his shop in Church St. some years ago. It is in perfect condition. We can only assume that the young lady it was intended for lost it before she ever got to the dance . Jim has kept this treasure safely and you can see it if you visit the Listowel Military and Historical Museum at 24 Church St.


Colourful Spirits in NCW

Sive in Athlone 1959, Lou Reed and Dublin City Marathon

Big Day for Drama in Listowel

The pinnacle of achievement in amateur drama is a win at The All Ireland Drama Festival in Athlone. Listowel Players did it in style in 1959 with a brand new play.  Sive, with its hard hitting gritty realism broke the mould in Irish drama and held a mirror up to rural Irish society.  The play is an Irish Romeo and Juliet. It has become a classic and is as gripping today as it was in 1959.

I am indebted to Margaret Dillon and Kay Caball for photos and memories of Listowel Drama group’s great win at The All Ireland Drama Festival in Athone with their production of John B. Keane’s Sive.

Bryan McMahon, on behalf of The Listowel Players accepting the
Esso Trophy for Best Play at The All Ireland Drama festival.

Left to Right; Brian Brennan, Siobhan
Cahill, Brendan Carroll, Bryan McMahon, President Listowel Drama Group,  Representative of Esso (the sponsors of the trophies) , Margaret Moloney, Chairman Listowel
Drama Group, Margaret Dillon, Nora Relihan.

Front Row From Left:

(Cahirciveen,  Sheila Keane’s Husband)

(Carroll Henigan, William St)

n     (She played Sive)

B. Keane        

(‘Tasty Cotter’s’ sister – Scully’s Corner used to be called Cotter’s


Moloney T.D.
, (grandfather of our mayor, Jimmy Moloney)

Second Row Left to Right

(Main St.,)

, (Bridge Road)

(Main St.)

William St. – where Nora Canty’s is now)

(Bank of Ireland or maybe National Bank?)


Mrs. Peggie Walsh 
( The Square)

Back Row, Left to Right

(Charles St)

(Gurtinard, grandmother of the current mayor of Listowel, Jimmy Moloney)

(Upper William St)

Relihan’s brother)

(Leahys, Market St)

Johnny Walsh

(John B’s sister)


My tribute to the late Lou Reed…. his lovely 9/11 poem

Laurie if you’re sadly listening

The birds are on fire

The sky glistening

While I atop my roof stand watching

Staring into the spider’s clypeus

Incinerated flesh repelling

While I am on the rooftop yearning

Thinking of you

Laurie if you’re sadly listening

Selfishly I miss your missing

The boundaries of our world now


The air is filled with someone’s

sick reasons

And I had thought a beautiful

season was

Upon us

Laurie if you’re sadly listening

The phones don’t work

The bird’s afire

The smoke curls black

I’m on the rooftop

Liberty to my right still standing

Laurie, Evil’s gaunt desire is

Upon me

Laurie if you’re sadly listening

Know one thing above all others

You were all I really thought of

As the TV blared the screaming

The deathlike snowflakes

Sirens screaming

All I wished was you to be holding

Bodies frozen in time jumping

Bird’s afire

One thing me thinking

Laurie if you’re sadly listening

Love you

Laurie if you’re sadly listening

Love you.

(Written for The New York Times Magazine on Oct. 6, 2001)


Yesterday’s Dublin City Marathon

Interestingly the race was won by a man called Hehir, (pronounced hare).

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