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

Tag: All Souls

All Souls Day. Kefir, Dublin Footballers and some Australian tourists

Today is All Souls Day. Traditionally it is the day for visiting the resting places of our dead loved ones. It is a day for remembering those who have gone before us.


The Square, Listowel in Autumn 2017


New Local Health Product in Town

Elaine of Halo Health introduces customer, Carine Schweitzer of Cork to a new Moyvane product, Kefir Milk.

“What is Kefir ?” you ask

Wikipedia has the answer;

Kefir or kephir (/kəˈfir/ kə-FEER),[1][2] alternatively milk kefir, or búlgaros, is a fermented milk drink that originated in the Caucasus Mountains made with kefir “grains”, a yeast/bacterial fermentation starter.[3] It is prepared by inoculating cowgoat, or sheep milk with kefir grains.[4] Traditional kefir was made in goatskin bags that were hung near a doorway; the bag would be knocked by anyone passing through to help keep the milk and kefir grains well mixed.[5]

Its health benefits are numerous and if even half of the claims are true we should all be drinking it.


Something to Look Forward To


Australian People with a Listowel Connection

This is what Fáilte Ireland refers to as “the shoulder season” between summer and Christmas. This time of year is a popular time for our friends from down under to visit us. Last week I met two families who have grown to love Listowel and Ireland because of some lovely welcoming local people.

Berenice and Lionel came to Ireland first to trace family and to meet Jack McKenna who is a cousin. They stayed with Kathy Walsh at Gurtinard House. They had a great time. It was Race Week but Billy Keane found them a seat in his packed pub, John McKenna took time out to show them the family connected locations his mother Sue had told them all about in a long and productive visit. They fell in love with Listowel and resolved to return.

Gurtinard House on their first visit was a work in progress so they were anxious to see what progress Kathy had made. They were well impressed with the changes to the house and garden.  They came this time during Storm Ophelia. Kathy lit a fire and they sat around like old friends and reminisced. Their trip to Ireland took them to locations all over the country, including a visit to prospective in-laws in Mayo.

These Australian visitors whom I met with their friend and mine, Mary Sobieralski, in Scribes had also explored Ireland, North and South. They are Trish and her granddaughter, Sarah Jane. Sarah Jane is on her grand tour. She has been all over Europe (a spell in Turkey was her favourite) and then her Gran joined her for the last leg in Ireland.

Why Ireland?

They came to visit Trish’s friend, Mary . Mary and Trish met over twenty years ago when Mary and her late husband, Wulf, toured Australia. They have stayed in touch ever since and Mary visited Trish in Australia when she went there on a holiday with her son a few years ago.

These two stories are proof, if proof were needed, that lovely welcoming people like Kathy and Mary are our unsung tourism ambassadors.


Brogans Boys Before they were Famous

Well, maybe one of them was already famous .

Photo: Kieran Cunningham on the internet


KDYS Halloween Parade 2017

There was a greta turnout for this year’s Halloween parade on October 31 2017. The weather was perfect for it.

November, Halloween, Sonny Bill and random acts of kindness

All Souls

November was traditionally the time when we remembered our loved ones who have gone before us. The early days of November were spent visiting graveyards and churches and gaining indulgences to free our departed loved ones from Purgatory.

Somewhere along the years of my lifetime, November morphed into a highlight of this great Ameerican festive season I have seen called HalloThanksXmas.  Instead of the church yard we visit pubs and hostelries and we dress up as ghouls and goblins and our children are persuaded that it is appropriate to go out in the neighborhood begging for sweets.



I celebrated Halloween in Cork with my family so I’m depending on Facebook for images of October 31 2015 in Listowel.

Changes was a ghoulish spooky place to be.

 They had a bonfire on the beach in Ballybunion.

Listowel Folk Group were haunting John B.’s

My boys in Listowel Garden Centre Halloween shop

(photo credits; Changes, Ballybunion Prints, Jim Quinlan and me)


Halloween in Cork

My little Trick or Treaters

In Cork the highlight of the festival is the Dragon of Shandon Parade. This is the work of Cork Community Arts and this year for the first time the parade came down from Shandon and onto the North Main Street area. I was there and here are a  few photos of the marvellous floats and paraders.


Sonny Bill ……..the Listowel connection

( photo; Getty Images on Facebook)

When all the tries and all the penalties and even all the refereeing errors are forgotten, this image of Rugby World Cup 2015 will live on. It embodies all that is best in sport. It is a celebration of the sportsman’s appreciation of the fan.

If you are reading this from under your stone or way into the future you may not know what I am talking about. This is the moment when the great New Zealand player, Sonny Bill Williams gifted the World Cup medal he had only received minutes before to an overenthusiastic fan. In his post match euphoria the boy had raced past the security man to congratulate his hero. The security man had a bit of rugby training himself and he tackled the young fan to the ground. Sonny Bill picked him up, dusted him off and posed with him for the photographers. Then, in a spontaneous gesture, he took the medal from around his neck and gave it to the stupefied young fan.

Take a look at the video, Alma Rugby.  Watch to the end and you will see just how much this gesture meant to this young fan.

Now I promised a Listowel connection.  Well, it is actually very tenuous as  connections sometimes are.

Remember this lad at the RDS? He too is called Sonny Bill.

And yes, he is named after the great Sonny Bill Williams.

 His owners as well as being horse mad are also rugby mad.

 2015 was a good year for Sonny Bills.


It’s the Little Things……the kindness of strangers

On Sunday I was at mass in The Church of St. Mary and St. John in Ballincollig. As I waited for mass to begin I was sitting in my pew minding my own business and reading the parish newsletter. They are losing their curate, Fr. Dave O’Connell to Barryroe and in his place they are getting Fr. Cian O’Sullivan. As I was perusing this and other Ballincollig snippets, I feel a tap on my shoulder. It is the man in the seat behind. He is offering me his glasses wipe. He has cleaned his own glasses with it and he feels it is a shame to throw it away after only cleaning one pair of specs.

Thanks to him I was seeing everything extra clearly for the rest of Sunday. Thank you, stranger.

November, graveyards and remembering our WW1 fallen


This is the time of year when we remember our loved ones who are no longer with us. I took these photos in a very old churchyard in Kilbrin in Co. Cork, where some of my paternal ancestors are buried. The local committee have done a great restoration and preservation job on the old graves.

Obviously different laws applied in the 18th century as to size of burial plot.

Many of the inscriptions are illegible but this one from 1769 was in great nick.

My parents and older sister are buried here.

My grandfather is buried here.  As far as we can make out, his wife, my grandmother, is buried with her own people. She died at a very young age, leaving my poor grandfather with six very young children to raise with the help of his kind neighbours. It is a great credit to him that he kept them together in very tough times. They and all of us, their descendants,  are a credit to him and to the community who helped him to survive this awful tragedy. I pray with thanks for Philip Ahern of Knockalohert, Kilbrin this November.

Sign at the entrance


This is Lyre churchyard in Co. Cork where my maternal ancestors are buried.

This is my great-grandfather’s grave in Lyre. My grandmother is  buried here

Lyre is a little village near Banteer in North Cork. My grandmother, Mary Cronin, was a lovely kind  strong woman, who played a big part in my childhood. As a young girl she saw most of her family emigrate to the U.S. to a little town called Attleboro in Massachusetts. In the way of the times, people from a certain area emigrated to the same area in the U.S. so they had a little home away from home in the new country. Some of today’s citizens of Attleboro have roots in this little North Cork village or its nearby neighbour, Banteer.

This sign at the entrance is an unfortunate sign of the times we live in.


Listowel Military Tattoo remembers

There will be a short Remembrance Service at the rear of St John’s at the Remembrance Stone on Sunday 9th Nov. AFTER 11 o clock Mass to remember all those from North Kerry who died in WW1. A list of names will be read out. If you would like to check if your loved one’s name is on the register, then you can call in to Jim Halpin’s Museum in Church St..



Tonight’s The Night

The very best of luck to all the brave participants. It promises to be a blast!

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