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

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Cork, Adare, Ballybunion and Listowel; a miscellany of images

IWA shop relaunched

Jimmy Moloney, Mayor of Listowel Municipal District relaunched the refurbished IWA shop on Upper William Street.


New Kid on The Block

This new hairdressers’ on Church Street has just opened for business.


In Fitzgerald’s Park, Cork


Fenn’s Quay restaurant

They were being careful not to alienate the Kerry crowd.


Spotted in Adare

A post box from the P and T era.

Made in Scotland


An Old Train

Train from Macroom arriving Capwell 1914                 Photo; Patrick J. OShea


Public Convenience

The very old sign on the men’s toilet’s in Ballybunion


+ Martin Sheehy R.I.P. +

In June 2007 when Martin visited Jim and myself

I have a friend who was born and reared in Listowel. She says that every time she mentions someone from Listowel, her husband enquires, “Were they a very brainy family?” Because she uses the phrase so often in relation to Listowel people.

The title brainy family would be certainly true in the case of the Sheehy brothers. Martin, maybe the brainiest and the brightest of them all went to his eternal reward a few short weeks ago. Martin and his four brothers grew up in Main St. He lived most of adult life in Phoenix Arizona but his heart never left Listowel. He returned often especially for Writers’ Week and he was a great supporter of Listowel Connection. He wrote frequently to encourage and praise me. I will miss him. May he rest in peace.

Kildare, Kildare people in Kerry and some Adare photos

I go there and they go here

Photo: St. Brigid’s cathedral and round towel by

Photo: Oliver Murphy

Recently the Kildare Archeological Society made a field trip south to North Kerry for a few days. Hugh Crawford and Oliver Murphy documented the trip in text and photographs. You can read about what they did and how they enjoyed their trip if you click on the link below:

County Kildare Archeology Trip to North Kerry

While they were in Kerry I was in Kildare, exploring in their home turf.

I was taken to the military cemetery on The Curragh Plains. This is located in an absolutely beautiful setting in open grassland. I could imagine the military funerals with buglers and volleys of gunfire as officers and men were buried alongside casualties of the two world wars. As well as soldiers, families of soldiers are also buried here and the beautifully kept resting place is still in use today.

There is a Kildare hero called Dan Donnelly. His star burned brightly but briefly from 1788 to 1820 . He is now commemorated by this memorial in a place named after him, Donnelly’s Hollow.

Dan Donnelly was a naturally gifted boxer in the days when there were few health and safety rules and boxers just battered one another senseless. Dan was very good at this battering. Unfortunately he was also fond of carousing. His boxing talent first came to light when an early promoter spotted him taking on all comers in a bar room brawl. This promoter, Kelly,  persuaded Donnelly to become a professional  boxer and he brought him to Kilcullen. Donnelly’s first professional fight was in 1814.

The memorial commemorates Donnelly’s second and most famous fight. He fought a man called Cooper in a natural amphitheatre on The Curragh. This fight attracted much attention and huge crowds. His opponent was a skilled fighter and much more disciplined than Donnelly. The bold Dan relied heavily on brute force. The fight went eleven rounds and Donnelly eventually ended it by landing a mighty blow that floored his opponent senseless and broke his jaw bone.

If you look to the left of my photo you will see a track from the monument to the top of the hill. Apparently as Donnelly walked away from his victory, his admirers dug up the sods where his feet had walked and took them away as souvenirs.

Donnelly was the best boxer in The British Isles and this was recognized by George iv who gave him a knighthood. Fame went to Dan’s head and he became more famous for his extravagant and riotous living than for his exploits in the ring. He did, however, win another big fight but this one took him 34 rounds!

He eventually died a pauper at age 32. His funeral was attended by thousands and his gloves were carried ceremonially on a silk cushion.

In a strange addendum to this man’s tragic story, his grave was robbed and his body stolen. It was eventually acquired by a Dublin surgeon who cut off the mighty right arm to study the muscle development. He buried the body again but the right arm went on to be part of a circus peep show and eventually was brought back to be exhibited in a pub in Kilcullen.

Sounds like something from Ripley’s, doesn’t it?


Weather vane in Newbridge

This lightening conductor thingy has recently been erected on this old building in Newbridge. Local opinion is divided on its suitability in style and colour for this old edifice which was once a church.


Adare now

I could still smell smoke as I stopped  in the village to see for myself the damage caused by the recent fire.

It is so sad to see the destruction.

Right beside the destroyed cottages are some lovely intact ones with colorful floral displays everywhere.

This monument is across the road.

The beautiful Adare church, very popular for weddings.

I took these below two photos last year at the same spot.


On the Street

Marcella Holly and Peggy Hilliard were on Market Street with their young friend on July 2 2015.


Date for the Diary

Community Gathering and Past Pupils’ Re-Union

the occasion of the 40th Anniversary of the closing of
Clounmacon(Listowel) National School(1878-1975) and the opening of Clounmacon
Community Centre(1975-2015) a Community Gathering and Past Pupils’ Re-Union
will be held in the local Community Centre on Friday, Saturday, 11th
and 12th September, 2015:

information from:

Jnr 0874550373               D.Carmody 086

Writers Week and a US wedding in St. Mary’s

Opening Night Writers’ Week 2015

It may seem that I did, but I did not take everyone’s photo who attended opening night.

 I did take quite a few!

Children’s author, Philip Ardagh, looked an imposing figure at the door of the Listowel Arms.

 Some of the following people I know well and some I have no name for so if you recognize someone, do tell them that they feature in my blog today.


Full Circle

Andrea wrote to me from the U.S. to tell me that her daughter is to be married in St. Mary’s in summer 2015. The wedding will see this bride back in the church where her great great grandmother was baptized.

The ancestor is Catherine McCoy, known in the family as Kate. She was 1 of 8 , John, Patrick, Mary, Margaret, Joanna, Daniel and Ellen all born between 1857 to 1868. Their parents were Lawrence McCoy and Margaret Collins. Margaret was born in 1827 and had a sister Mary  born in 1825. Their parents were John Collins and Mary Lynch. Kate  came to the states at 18 and met up with her sister Joanna. They settled in Albany Ny. Kate married Oliver English.  They had 5 children. Andrea’s grandma was the oldest, Margaret. She lived to a ripe old age of 103 and was very dear to Andrea. 

Ellen McCoy stayed in Ireland and lived to a good age, but Andrea is not sure if she married. Kate’s family lived in a area of Listowel  called Coolnaleen.

This is all the information Andrea has and this was got from the records in Listowel. If anyone knows anything else about this family, do drop me an email please.


Jason at Ballybunion Prints posted this great photo of goats on the cliffs at Ballybunion.


Meanwhile in Scoil Realt na Maidine

Boys are gardening, running in the park, going on outings as well as playing a football league, all part of their well rounded education.


Adare Now. June 7 2015

It is so sad to see this image of Adare. It was taken last Sunday by Knockanure Local.

The MacMahon River Walk at Writers’ Week 2015

Heather at Bromore Cliffs, Ballybunion, Co. Kerry, June 2015

Photo: Bromore Cliffs


A Writers’ Week Walking Tour

Vincent Carmody organizes a programme of walking tours every year at Writers’ Week. For many people these are among the high points of the festival and such is the reputation of the walks that it is now getting difficult to cope with the big numbers of people wanting to follow.

Last year’s river walk with Owen MacMahon was so talked about that this year I resolved not to miss it. So here I was (with my camera) at The Listowel Arms on Saturday morning May 28 2015 ready for a treat. I got it.

Owen MacMahon was our guide. Along the way he sang his late brother, Gary’s, songs, he read from his father’s works and he told anecdote after anecdote to the delight of his enthralled audience.

Our first stop was at Listowel castle. He told us a bit about the history of the castle and the famous siege.

We headed off for our walk along the banks of The Feale. We heard of a time when the river was teeming with fish and Owen’s late uncle, Bubs, liked nothing better than to slip away from his home and surgery on Market Street for a few hours fishing.

We learned that when the pontoon bridge linking the town with the racecourse collapsed into the Feale, the people who fell in were compensated with a new trousers. One man got two.

Owen telling another amusing tale of judges, courts of law and drinking.

Some people found a picturesque place to sit and listen.

Walkers hung on every word.

Owen and Vincent seemed to have identified appropriate perches along the way so we could see as well as hear them.

We stopped at the ball alley for another rann or two of a song.

At the Garden of Europe we listened amid reminders of Europe’s darkest hour. The tour finished in the nearby graveyard where  many of the people remembered along the way in so many anecdotes are buried. There were a few more footballing stories and a song or two before we dispersed, having made a great start to a memorable Writers’ Week Saturday. This Saturday was to end for me with a trip to Listowel Community Centre to see Graham Norton.


Only in Kerry

Some well known local people pick the winning tickets from a very valuable ‘hat” in Brosnan’s Bar  at the charity fundraiser on Friday Night. Photos by John Kelliher.

Norah Browne
Sean Moriarty
Gerry O’Carroll


Wild Atlantic Way Seaweed Festival

(Photo: Facebook)

This group were on the beach foraging for edible sea weed as part of the first Wild Atlantic Way Seaweed Festival in Ballybunion on Saturday June 6 2015.


Adare, Saturday June 6 2015

These photos from the internet show the devastating fire that destroyed part of the picturesque terrace of cottages in Adare on Saturday. There was no loss of life but one lady who was renting one of the houses lost all her  possessions. It would appear that the fire started in one of the chimneys.

Adare, The passing of a Knockanure born nun and WIM 2015

What more could you want? A cuppa in the sunshine at The Seanchaí



A visitor to Woodland House took these photos.


Death in the U.S. of Knockanure born nun

Sr Elena,( Phil) Goulding

Death of Sister Goulding of Knockanure.

Sister Elena Goulding, OSF, 81, died in Assisi House in Aston, Pennsylvania, on April 7. 2015.  She had been a professed member of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia for 63 years. Sister Elena (Bridget Philomena Goulding) was born in Knockanure, County Kerry, Ireland. She earned a B.A. in English from Neumann University in Aston, Pennsylvania, and an M.A. in Education from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. She ministered primarily in education, prison ministry, and eldercare. 

In the Archdiocese of Baltimore, she taught at Immaculate Conception School, Towson; St. Stephen School, Bradshaw; Fr. Charles Hall Middle School, and St. Frances Academy and served as a prison chaplain at the Women’s Detention Center. She also ministered in Delaware; Washington, DC; South Carolina; and Ireland. 

Sister Elena is survived by two sisters: Mary Clancy and Patricia Danaher; two brothers: Christy Goulding and Michael Goulding; her nieces and nephews, and by her Franciscan family. 


Crisis hits Tralee in 1920

From the front page of the MONTREAL GAZETTE (Canada) Friday the 5th of november 1920 ,,,,,,,,

the headline reads ,,,

“TRALEE IS PARALYZED”…. Town near starvation , condition is desperate. The town of Tralee in Ireland is fast approaching starvation, in consequence of recent police order forbidding the carrying on of business – until two missing policemen are returned by the townspeople ; the report began Trade is paralyzed , the banks and bakeries even being closed , and the condition of the people is becoming desperate , An additional military order forbids the holding of fairs and markets or assemblies of any kind within a 3 mile limit of the town.     (source; Historical Tralee)


Women in Media 2015 

Moya Doherty, Chairman RTE, Miriam O’Callaghan , Prime Time etc., Dearbhail MacDonald, Associate editor Irish Independent, Correspondent on legal matters etc., Dee Forbes, European Head of the Discovery Chanel and Katie Hannon, Prime Time.

I was in Ballybunion on Saturday April 18 for WIM 2015. There was a starstudded lineup of influential  Irish women collected there. The message I brought from the event was that we women have the competence and we are gradually finding the confidence.

One of the speakers, (I think it was Dee Forbes) told us that a woman looks at a job spec. and says,” I can do 1, 2 and 3 but I can’t do 4 and 5, I can’t apply. A man looking at the same ad says,” I can’t do 1,2 or 3 but I can do 4 and 5. I’ll apply.

Mary Harney opened the symposium. Here she is with Ballydonoghue women in media, the backbone of the great annual Ballydonoghue Parish Magazine.

Joan O’Connor of Kilcooley’s is the driving force behind this super event.


Munster Fleadh for Listowel

Denis Carroll posted this old one on Facebook to herald the news that the fleadh is to return in 2016, not Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann this time but the Munster fleadh.


They’re Open

This lovely couple, Sonata and Vilijus Ogorodnikas have come all the way from Lituania to lovely Listowel. Yesterday, they sealed their arrival with the opening of their new business at 18 Church St. It’s all about beauty, hair nails and skin. If they can make us look half as beautiful as they look themselves we will be doing okay. I wish them success.

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