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 listowelconnection@gmail.com

Tag: Ard Churam Page 1 of 3

Kanturk, A Champion Frog and A Plea from Ard Chúram

Listowel Pitch and Putt Course

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An Accident in Kanturk

This is the ancient inscription on the Bridge over the River Dallow in my native Kanturk. My Latin is very rusty but as far as I can make out the bridge was erected by the worthies of North Cork in the 18th century. Clearly it was never intended for today’s heavy traffic.

On Friday, May 14 2021, a lorry carrying a load of pouring concrete, broke through the parapet and ended up in the river. Miraculously no one was seriously injured. The County Council and emergency services had restored the road to a functional condition when I visited on the Saturday after the excitement.

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A Cairn in Lixnaw

(From The Schools’ Folklore Collection)

In Gurthenare also in the farm of Mr. Quilter there are still to be seen the remains of a monastery called Kilcara, built by St. Carthage. One of the monks (Franciscans) belonging to that monastery was murdered by Cromwell’s soldiers and tradition has it that he was buried in “Mickey’s Field” in the farm of Wm. Dowling of Kiltomey bounding Gurthenare and Kilcara. A pile of stones was raised over the grave and up to forty years ago everyone, old and young, threw a stone on the pile when passing so strong was the tradition then. Three people, two of whom are still living heard stones rattling there late one night as they were going home from a friend’s house. The noise was such as would be made when emptying a load of stones out of a car.

Told by Michael O’Connell, aged 65

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Ard Churam Needs Your Help

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Guhard Man and Frog

David Kissane has penned a lovely essay about a living legendary Guhard man, Mossie Walsh and his exploits. He posted the essay on Facebook. Here is an extract.

…But Mossie became nationally famous as a coach also. He coached a frog to European championship glory in 1970. Where did this happen? Well, it happened in Listowel where anything creative can happen! At the Listowel Harvest Festival of that year, Noel Driscoll from Milltown Malbay in Clare brought a European champion jumping frog to challenge all-comers. Just picture this. Market Street in Listowel during race week. Around 9pm on the second night of the Festival and the street thronged with men, women and children. The ancient autumnal celebratory atmosphere and the smell of chips, crubeens and porter (lots of porter) circulating. Music and steam rising from the amusements in the marketplace nearby and that “heaven-is-here” feeling in the hearts of all. A big Kerryness all round. A big stage and a throaty announcement “And now, ladies and gentlemen, we invite all comers to challenge the European champion frog jumper…Who can produce a frog that will jump higher or longer than this fabulous creature from Clare?” and the announcer pointed to the green gungy throbbing muscular amphibian proudly sitting in the arms of Noel Driscoll from the Banner. Big cheeeeeeeer!

Mossie was among the crowd and watched five or six people appear with various sizes of frogs. Five or six shades of green. Some with wide froggy eyes and wondering what all the excitement was about. As the excitement grew, a friend came up to Mossie with a box and said shyly “Mossie, I have a good frog here but I have a sore leg and can’t climb up and I was wondering if you would go on stage and let him jump in the challenge?”Mossie looked at the frog. The frog looked at Mossie. Mossie saw the potential in his geáits. He was tidy and dark green in colour. The frog looked at Mossie and smelled the porter from him. His aura was good.

Man and frog went up onstage, the new coach giving the frog a short rub on the way and a whisper in his ear. Up lined seven frogs. European title at stake. Nobody queried the facts or figures or records of the Clare jumper. The procedure was that the frogs were put on a line drawn on a sheet of plywood. The coaches stamped the board behind the frogs and the frogs jumped. One, two, three. Stamp. Huge roars from the crowd and frogs jump. Which they did. Except the European champion from Clare. His frogginess departed him in the Listowel headiness. Stage fright. The more his coach stamped, the less he jumped. Wild cheers as Mossie’s adopted frog leaped like Bob Beamon to the winning line. The Ballydonoghue Hare had coached a winning frog! Listowel went wild. Mossie had the winning touch. The stamp of a winning coach.

A bit of commotion as the frog jumped off the stage and hid under a woman’s skirt and a do-gooder got a left uppercut from the same woman as he tried to retrieve the frog! “What’s the new champion’s name?” John B Keane asked from the centre of the crowd?”“Guhard Man!” Mossie answered with the confidence of a Dubbie Holt, as he was presented with a prize by the winner of “The Darling Girl from Clare”.

And further glory was to follow. One evening a few weeks later, a posh car drove in to Mossie’s yard. Out came a posh-looking man. “My name is Oliver Donohoe from RTE” he said. “We would like your European champion frog to jump on the Late Late Show on Saturday night!”

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Covid Signage, Kevin’s and Behan’s Prepare to Reopen

Castle and Seanchaí closed to the public in June 2020

Viewing platform by the river in June 2020.

The level of water in The Feale was very low before the deluge of Sunday June 15 when we had thunder, lightning and flash floods.

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Covid Signage at Spar in Market Street



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Kevin;s is being repainted before reopening.

Meanwhile across the road Behan’s Horseshoe has been beautifully painted.

I even persuaded the painters to pose for me.

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Ard Churam Dementia Day Centre

Photo: John Kelliher

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In Connemara in 1959


I dont know who took the photo but it looks a bit posed to me.  Brendan Behan is not exactly dressed for a day in the bog.

Lilac studio and Listowel Pitch and Putt Course and Árd Chúram Cares

 Ita Hannon took this photo on Beale

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The Little Lilac Studio

This much missed little studio used to be on Main Street

Coco Kids is in that site now.

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Recruitment Poster for An Garda Síochána in 1923


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Listowel Pitch and Putt Course



Brenda Enright, whose father Tom O’Halloran was a stalwart of Listowel Pitch and Putt Club sent us this photo. The course may be closed but it still looks very beautiful and the members are working constantly on keeping it beautiful. It is important that people not walk on the greens as they are being worked on at the moment and could be easily damaged.

Below are some of the beautiful trees on the course.



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Róisín Meaney has been composing little rhymes to help her through lockdown. Now she has inspired others to join her in this humorous avtivity.  Here’s a good one from Mags Hough

From Mags Hough – on keeping to your limit! 

A fella went walking one day.

He said he was saving the hay,

The guard said “Dat’s right,Don’t give me dat shite,
Now turn back to your home, it’s dat way.”

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Árd Chúram Delivers



People over 70 are cocooned from Covid 19. People who live alone,  often in rural locations miss the social interaction of the weekly trip to Árd Chúram Day Centre. Their friends at the centre have not forgotten them and they are preparing a treat. Care packages with food, activity packs and home exercise programmes will be delivered to the service users shortly.

Chef, Sid Sheehan, preparing some sweet treats.

Macroom, Kennellys and Ard Chúram

On the Ring of Kerry


If you are on the Ring this is a lovely stop with a picnic area and a woodland walk.

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Macroom


If you travel the road from Listowel to Cork via Tralee and Killarney, Macroom is well worth a stop. It is a town steeped in history.


Did you learn Caoineadh Airt Uí Laoghaire in school? It is one of the most beautiful poems in the Irish language. In it, the poet, Eibhlín Dubh ní Chonaill laments her lost love, Art O Laoghaire. Eibhlín defied her parents to marry the handsome dashing Art.

Her first indication that he was dead came when his horse came home without him. Art was shot by an English officer at Carraig an Ime outside Macroom for refusing to sell him his fine horse for £5.

Here listen to Eibhlín describing how she fell in love with Art the first time she saw him on market day in Macroom

Mo ghrá go daingean thú

Lá dá bhfaca thú ag ceann tí an mhargaidh

Thug mo shúil aire dhuit

Thug mo chroí taitneamh duit

D’éalaíos om’ athair leat……

The above plaque has been erected at ceann tí an mhargaidh  (the head of the market house) to commemorate this Romeo and Juliet style meeting. Like the Shakespearean lovers their love was doomed from the start and ended in tragedy.

This is a bit of a mystery. It is in the same corner of the market square in Macroom but appears to belong in Limerick.

This old weigh bridge is still in place near the town hall. I presume it is no longer used.

This is the fine market house which now is home to the Urban District Council. It is beautifully kept and, even though blowing it out of there would greatly help the flow of traffic, I hope they never do.

Across the road is another ‘relic of auld decency’ Macroom Castle.

Definitely not Limerick

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Ard Chúram


This great charity is still looking for volunteer cyclists to do the Ring of Kerry Cycle. Their new dementia day care unit is progressing rapidly and people have been very generous but much more is needed.

Nora Owen, whose husband has Dementia has helped them out by making a short video. Please take 2 minutes to view it.

Nora Owen for Ard Chúram

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Top of William Street 2002

Banna , Convent Street and Flavin’s of Church street

Banna by Bridget O’Connor

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Convent Street, Listowel


The sign is on the wall at the entrance to the hospital. I’ve discussed this at length on the blog but it still fascinates me to see street signs where the Irish has absolutely no connection whatsoever to the English name. In most cases the English street name is an English Christian name, thought to be named after Lord Listowel’s sons, e.g. William and Charles. In this case however and in the case of Church Street the English name refers to a well known building, a landmark located on the street. The Irish name refers to an older superstition. One didn’t mess with the Púca. He was a wicked spirit who rode around the countryside after dark spiriting away anyone foolish enough to be out late.

The entrance to Listowel hospital grounds



They are making great progress with the dementia day care centre. The organising committee are still looking for volunteer cyclists to do the Ring of Kerry Cycle to raise funds for them. If you can’t do the cycle, please sponsor one of the cyclists.

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Bryan MacMahon and  Flavin’s Bookshop



Dan Flavin and his son, Micheál at the door of the shop sometime in the 1950s. The photo appears in Vincent Carmody’s Snapshots of a Market Town.



Flavins is closing tomorrow, Saturday February 8 2020

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Famine Poverty and a Kind Landlord


from the Schools’ Folklore Collection

The Quarter field is situated on the side of a hill. It contains nine acres in the begining of the nineteenth century many families lived in this field The field was owned by a Land Lord and he allowed these poor people build houses in it. Each family got a quarter of ground. There was no division between the quarters only paling. They used to set potatoes in the quarter every year and used to get the manure from the neighbouring farmers. These people had no other way of living only when ever they would work for another farmer for small hire. When the potatoes failed in the years 1845 to 1847 all these people died of starvation. When they were gone my grandfather bought this field with more land surrounding it and my father is in possession of it now My grandfather threw the remains of the houses away and it is all one level field at present. If you walk through parts of it on a Summers evening you could see the form of the houses and the little gardens alongside it

COLLECTOR
Liam Ó Duilleáin
Gender
male
Address
Gortacloghane, Co. Kerry
INFORMANT
(name not given)
Relation
parent
Gender
male
Address
Gortacloghane, Co. Kerry

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