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: Anna Guerin

Newbridge House, Listowel Races 2020, Pearse Park and Anna Guerin

This bridge leads to the racecourse. In normal times it would have resounded to the tramp of thousands of punters last week. It was eerily quiet during race week 2020.


Tralee’s Garden of Contemplation.

Last week I has a piece of serendipity.  I discovered Tralee’s Garden of Contemplation. According to the dictionary Serendipity is the act of making desirable discoveries by accident.

Páirc an Phiarsaigh is in the heart of Tralee town, opposite Siamsa Tíre.

When you enter by this entrance, turn left and there you will this Garden on Contemplation. It is heartwarming and soul renewing. It is like a traditional holy well in that there is a “round” The round is very short and at each stop there is little reflection, a little Thought for the Day to set you on your way.

I intend to bring you one such though per day until I have given you the full flavour of this little oasis in the hustle and bustle of a busy market town.

The garden is beautifully kept. The senses are charmed with colourful sweet scented wild flowers.

Just over the wall, urban life continues unaware.

Walking further into the park there is this bust of Pearse.

I was not one bit surprised to see that this lovely tree of hope was sponsored by my good friend, Namir Karim.


Newbridge House

Photos by Eamon OMurchú

Newbridge Demesne is an early 18th-century Georgian estate and mansion situated in north County DublinIreland. It was built in 1736 by Charles CobbeArchbishop of Dublin, and remained the property of his Cobbe descendants until 1985. It was then acquired by Dublin County Council, in a unique arrangement, under which Newbridge House would remain the family home.[citation needed]

Set within 400 acres of partially wooded parkland, Newbridge House is one of the finest surviving examples of Georgian architecture. (Wikipedia)

 Newbridge House looks like a good place to visit if you are staycationing in that part of the country


Listowel Designer Making her Name in High End fashion

Because of the pandemic and with regard to that other huge concern, Global Warming we are all asked to change how we live and how we consume product. One of the lifestyle changes we are being asked to make is to ditch fast fashion. Instead of having loads of clothes which cost very little in money but cost an arm and a leg in terms of damage to the planet, we are being advised to buy a few quality long lasting garments. 

Don’t buy a coat just for this winter, buy a classic style that will last you a lifetime. Buy an Anna Guerin creation and you will be helping a Listowel born designer.

The following photos and text are from The Sunday Business Post of Sept 20 2020 which gave over a whole feature to Anna’s work.

St Johns, Dreaming Animals, St. Vincent de Paul shop and Anna Guerin in Brown Thomas

St. John’s Listowel, July 2019


Today’s Fun Fact from The Second Book of General Ignorance

The animal who dreams most is the duck billed platypus, one of the oldest of all mammals. 

How do we know?

Answer; The dream state is known as REM, Rapid Eye Movements. Eugene Aserinsky discovered this in Chicago in 1952. He studied the brain activity of 20 sleeping people. He found that when the subjects eyes were moving rapidly, their brain activity was so vigorous that they should have been awake. Waking them from REM sleep led to vivid recall, This doesn’t happen when their eyes were still.

Animals most at threat from predators dream least. Platypuses sleep so deeply that you could raid their lair and they would never wake.

Dolphins don’t sleep at all. One half of their body goes to sleep at a time while the other half is fully awake, including one eye. They don’t have REM at all


Second Time Around

This is one of my favourite shops with my all time favourite shop assistants. It is open on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 11.00 a.m. It has everything; friendly staff, friendly customers, great bargains and it is always full of surprises. I love it!

Kay Landy, Marie MacAulliffe and Eileen O’Sullivan were manning the shop when I called last week.


Corner Stones

Last week I told you about this stone that Pat O’Shea had spotted in Cork and we discovered that these stones or bollards were put at junctions in order to prevent horse carriages rolling over the nearby wall and wearing it away. Well, would you believe such stones were right under my nose all along? On my morning walk with my canine house guest last week I discovered two such junctions in Listowel town square, one at the road that goes to the river by the castle and the other very nearby at the entrance to stables by The SeanchI.

More on these, including their right name tomorrow….


Anna Guerin’s Dualist Collection in Brown Thomas

Can you imagine the thrill of seeing your designs in Brown Thomas window? Anna Guerin of Listowel has that experience these days every time she passes Brown Thomas. Her beautiful Donegal tweed The Dualist collection is getting rave reviews and is selling well.

“Anna Guerin’ s debut fashion brand The Dualist weaves exquisite

Irish textiles and peerless tailoring into a sustainably made

collection of Donegal tweed coats, ” writes Elaine Prendeville in The Sunday Business Post.

Anna is passionate about the ethical side of her business. Below is part of her interview with The Sunday Business Post.

“Guerin concedes that all is not rosy in the fashion industry.”

“I’ve seen how desperate workers’ conditions can be with

my own eyes,” she says, “so it was imperative for me that

when I did establish my first brand, that kindness would

be one of its pillars.”

Before preparing The Dualist for launch, Guerin com-

pleted an MA in business, graduating top of her class. Her

research explored the value of authenticity and sustain-

ability in Donegal tweed, a examine at PhD level.

“Unlike Scotland’s Harris tweed, there is no legal protec-

tion for the production of Donegal tweed,” she says. “It can

be produced in China and bear the Donegal name. It seems

crazy to me that a product synonymous with our national

cultural identity is unprotected, despite the evidence that

it has been produced in Donegal for at least 800 years.”

The designer believes academic research could

support a bid for protected status for the native


For now, she’s preserving the traditional in the best way

possible: by making it relevant and desirable to the modem

audience. The result is the definition of slow fashion, and it’s all the better looking for it.”

Well done, Anna, a Listowel young lady doing us all proud.


Run/Walk in Aid of Stack’s Mountain House Project

A word from the organisers:

Planning for this project began a few years back. We have secured planning and preparations are now well advanced to convert the first Lyreacrompane Schoolhouse into a Heritage House for the Stacks Mountains.  The schoolhouse stands on the old ‘Butter Road’ that ran from outside Listowel to the Cork Butter Exchange.  We are continuing our fundraising endeavours for the development and to this end the Dan Paddy Andy Festival committee have kindly chosen our project to receive the proceeds of their annual run which takes place during the festival. We’d appreciate any support we can get and if anyone has a query on it please contact me at

Flowers, Crime and Punishment, Plastic at Glastonbury and Launch of the Dualist

Carmody’s Corner in June 2019


Floral Listowel

Everyone is making a big effort with the flowers for summer 2019. Here are a few lovely displays in town right now.



This is Tarbert Bridewell where I was on Saturday learning about crime and punishment in the 19th century.

The following story from the papers will make you glad we live in a more compassionate age.

Leinster Express 1831

EXECUTION.—On Saturday last Patrick and Bridget Howe were executed in front of the county jail Ennis, for the murder of the late Mr. Arthur O’Donnell, of Knock. Neither of them made any public confession of their guilt; and the wretched man was so overcome by the fear of death, that It was necessary to assist him up the ladder to the drop. The woman, on the other hand appeared quite firm and resolute, and endeavoured to cheer her brother by saying that it would be all over In a few minutes. An immense concourse of people assembled.—
Clara Journal.


Glastonbury….The Price!

These pictures have appeared online  in the days after the Glastonbury Music Festival. It was a plastic free zone!


Anna Guerin, the next Don O’Neill?

Don O’Neill is the biggest clothes designer to come out of Kerry in a while, but I think Listowel may have raised someone to rival him.

Anna Guerin launched her Donegal Tweed collection, The Dualist, in Brown Thomas on July 2 2019.

Here are a few photos from last Sunday’s Sunday Business Post article but I’m hoping for more exclusive snaps in the next few days.

Anna in her studio

Yarnbombing in Kildare, Bird Lore from 1937 and a Listowel Fashion Designer

Listowel Presbytery

Recent repair work at the presbytery entrance revealed a lovely stone wall under the plaster.


Yarn Bombing in Kildare

People who know me know that I love a spot of knitting and crochet. I was thrilled to get to see this huge yarn bombing project in Newbridge as part of Kildare’s June Fest.

It’s lovely to see this neglected craft getting an airing outdoors for everyone to enjoy. But there is a small practical part of me says that’s it’s a shame to expose these lovingly created artworks to be destroyed by the elements.


Sign of the Times

A huge display of paper diaries at half price in Eason in June 2019


Some Bird Lore from the Dúchas Collection

When people are trapping singing birds they often make a crib. This they do by getting smallchips of wood. they place two chips about a foot from each other, then they get two more the same size and place them on top of the other two about ten or eleven inches apart, then they get two so smaller ones and place them on top of the other two and a smaller distance away and so on till they reach the top with smaller sticks and a smaller distance away. Then they get cord and tie all the corners of the crib up along till they reach the top. then then they get a long cord and tie a stick on to it. They raise up the crib place the stick under it and get a few crumbs of bread and put them under the crib. then if a bird comes the person pulls the cord and if the bird is under the crib it flaps down and the bird is caught inside.

When people are taking the hatch out of a hen they dip the hen into cold water.

Another way for taking the hatch out of a hen is to stick a feather up its nose.

People often “strike” birds with a knife and fork. Once we had a canary in my house and it used never sing unless my mother took out the machine to  sew.

This was collected by W. Keane, Ashe St. Listowel and told by Mrs Keane, Aged 36, of Ashe Street, Listowel for the schools folklore collection of 1937/38

( I am fascinated by the idea of taking the hatch out of a hen. By the way, does a hen have a nose?)


Couture with a Listowel Connection

This is a page from last Sundays’ Sunday Independent Life magazine. The feature is about Create, which is Brown Thomas’ showcase of Irish design, which will open in Brown Thomas Dublin in July.

From 70 prospective candidates, Brown Thomas chose 30 designers who met the very high standards required and each of those 30 had to produce a 25 piece collection. As well as fashion there are creations in lots of other fields of design as well.

The picture above is from Anna Guerin’s first collection “The Duellist”. It is a double breasted lambswool coat in pinstripe Donegal tweed which is woven sustainably.

Anna is the daughter of Michael and Áine Guerin of Listowel and she is no stranger to award winning in fashion design and tailoring. She has been working in this field for a while now. This is her first individual collection and when I spoke to her a few weeks ago she has lots more creative ideas in the pipeline.

The above coat looks to me like a garment that would be perfect on Kate Middleton. I hope it catches her eye. We know how much she loves good Irish design and she loves tweed.


Just a Thought

Here is the link to my Thoughts from last week on Radio Kerry

Just a Thought

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