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: Ard Cúram Page 1 of 3

Stag, A Robbery, a Cliff Walk and Ballybunion Sand Art Festival 2019

Young Stag

Photo: Stephen Walshe for Irish Wildlife Photography Competition


Highway Robbery in 1914


Square Upgrade

Resurfacing in Listowel Town Square


Ballybunion Cliff Walk

When I visited Ballybunion last week the weather was sunny and pleasant.

It was a school so there were very few children on the beach.

Cows are lovely peaceful animals to encounter on a walk.

These signs are dotted along the cliff walk. I was a bit early to see any of these butterflies.

There was a lone paddler in the water.

There were lots of pink and white flowers along the ditch beside the path.

These sunbathers had the beach to themselves.


Tidy Towners Taking a Well earned Rest

Sorry ladies, I made a mess of the photo. I was so busy chatting that I forgot to check if the photo was okay. It wasn’t but I’m putting it in anyway. I admire the effort these and all the Tidy Towners put in. If I see you ladies at Writers’ Week or out on the canvass I’ll take a better photo. I owe you one.


Some Sand Art from Saturday May 18 2019

I went to Ballybunion bright and early and found the artists already getting their work started.

The size of the artists beside their work will give you an idea of the scale of these creations.

When I returned in the afternoon the works were nearing completion. Brilliant!


Don’t Miss this One


Busy Day on Saturday May 25 2019

We all know that Michael D. will be in town. But an even more extraordinary man will be in town too. John Devoy is an organic farmer, an adventurer and now a travel writer.

His travel story is unusual in that he is writing it 30 years after the trip. John cycled from Ireland to Capetown when he was in his twenties. His book, Quondam, Travels in a Once World, will be launched in Woulfe’s bookshop on Saturday next at 11.30. If you are in town for the presidential shenanigans why not drop into Woulfe’s and meet this man who surely has some interesting tales to tell.

Ard Churam, Bord na Mona in Lyreacrompaneand more Listowel street names

Ballybunion Golf Club in Association with Ard Cúram


Bord ns Mona in Lyracrompane

Tony McKenna posted this photo on Facebook in January with this caption.

“We might have posted this a few years ago. It shows the tipper at Barna Bog, Co. Kerry. The caption states the photo was taken by Mr. E. Switzer in April 1948. However Barna didn’t officially start producing turf until 1950, so is it Barna or Lyrecrumpane? Switzer worked for BnM in the early days, he was reputed to have lost an eye in the first World War and the family had a shop in Grafton Street.”

Then in the comments some people with local knowledge helped him out.

This photo is of the Tip at Lyreacrompane as it stands today. I never remember it having steped walls at the sides as in the Switzer photo but I wouldn’t remember back beyond 1955. Perhaps it was altered. I will check with locals in Barna for any memory that might solve the mystery…

 Joe Harrington


Denis Lenihan wrote this 

“Definitely Barna, The truck is Cadbury’s Rathmore. At this time it was hand cut turf. Next came a spreader which was filled by hand before the bagger arrived. A brilliant quality photograph.”

And then this;

Interesting in a quiz, you know the answer instantly but given time doubts set in. Same here I withdraw the words definately Barna. The tiphead in Barna and Lyreacrompane were identical as far as I know and theres little background. There is another photograph of that truck taken from the side. The truck was new and was brown the Cadburys colour. It has a Cork Reg. and Cadburys factory is on the bank of the Blackwater but on the Kerry side of the river.The man with his back to the camera could be the manager Jerry o Leary, he was a slender man that always wore a hat. In the view from the side the embankment is Barna, much higher on the right than the left. Lyreacrompane is on flat ground.


Cad as Duit?

When is Church Street not Sráid an tSeipéil?

Answer: When it’s Listowel, Co. Kerry’s Church Street.

This Listowel solution to a Listowel problem has been puzzling a few people since I raised it here.

Will you look at this one? The Púca is the devil who would catch you if you were out late and not minding your own business. How come he shares a name with Convent Street.


November’s butterfly, Unveiling a Famine Plaque and a Famine window in St. Marys’

Photo: John Kelliher


 A Timely Poem; November’s Butterfly  by Larry Belt

Sometimes in November

When the sun is sitting high

An Autumn breeze will steal the leaves

And cause the trees to cry.

Sometimes in November

A butterfly will appear

A cherished thought, a battle fought

For one you loved so dear.

Sometimes in November

Loved ones pass away

You wallow in grief, seek relief

And then you learn to pray.

Sometimes in November

An angel gets its wings

It’s good and bad, but always sad

the joy and pain this brings.

Sometimes in November

A family says goodbye

as Heaven waits

To open its gates

To November’s butterfly.


A Photo from 1975

The occasion was a presentation to Bryan MacMahon by the teachers of Scoil Realta na Maidine


A Famine Commemoration in November 2017

The plaque was unveiled.

We took a few photos of the dignitaries.

Then we repaired across the way to Ard Churam  for a cup of tea, a chat and a few talks about Listowel and The Famine.

First up was historian and genealogist, Kay Caball. She took us back to the dark days of the 1840s when sending your 14 year old daughter to Australia seemed like the only hope for her future.

I heard a quote recently when someone was referring to today’s awful refugee crisis.

“No parent puts his child into a leaky boat on rough seas unless he believes that he is safer there than he is on land.”

Listowel in the 1840s and 50s was similar. Parents sent their daughters to the other end of the world and an uncertain future in order to save them from the horrors at home.

Kay’s talk was laced with anecdote and human interest stories. The Earl Grey girls came to life before our eyes.

Bryan MacMahon of Ballyheigue has recently published his history of The Famine in North Kerry. He too brought the story to life for us, giving us some insight into the hard task of the relieving officer who had to decide on admissions to the workhouse. His job was at stake if he made a wrong decision.

Bryan told us a story that sent me searching in St. Mary’s as soon as I could. According to Bryan’s research, the parish priest of Listowel, Fr. Darby OMahoney was particularly kind and caring to his flock during their harsh time. He told us that there is stained glass window in St. Mary’s depicting Fr. O’Mahoney ministering to the sick and dying.

The window is in a fairly inaccessible place, in the sanctuary on the right hand side. It depicts Fr. Darby O’Mahoney who was Listowel’s parish priest anointing the sick during the Famine. Behind him are some nuns with their mouths covered to prevent infection. In the forefront of the picture is a dead child.

Beside the window is this plaque saying the window and plaque were erected by the people of Listowel.

On Saturday the last  speaker was John Pierse who told us of his desire to see the flower of the lumper on a postage stamp as a fitting memorial of those who were lost when this crop failed in successive years.

All in all, the Listowel Famine commemoration was a very worthwhile event that I am glad to have attended. Well done to all those who made it a success.


Listowel Garden Centre, November 2017


Some More Polar Christmas Windows

Here are some more polar train windows from Christmas 2017

Chic’s magnificent window with Olive Stack’s Christmas scene is a striking first impression for motorists entering town this Christmas.

Vanity Case

Every Woman



Gentleman Barbers


Lizzy’s Little Kitchen


Mc Gillicuddy’s

O’Connor’s Pharmacy

Olive Stack’s

Woulfe’s Bookshop


McGillicuddy’s Toys; A Listowel Institution

McGillicuddy’s Toys shared this lovely family photo on Facebook. Seeing it, I was whisked back in time to the days before Facebook and online shopping when Jackie McGillicuddy’s was an integral part of a Listowel Christmas.

In the 1970s when I was in the market for toys, Jackie’s was a Santa’s workshop. He had every toy the heart could wish for and he was so so kind and obliging. He operated a credit scheme for those who found it hard to come up with all the money at once. He also offered free storage until Christmas Eve.

Once, when we had a Christmas disaster and the stylus of the Magna Doodle got thrown out with the wrapping paper, Jackie was the soul of patience and understanding and even borrowed another stylus until the lost one was replaced.

Mary Gore R.I.P. used to be his right hand woman. I remember the year of Polly Pockets. Mary predicted that they would never sell, overpriced and so small that a child might feel thy had got a very poor present. It was one of Mary’s few mistakes. She had her finger on the pulse of the children’s   toy scene long before we had The Late Late Toy Show to tell us what was a “must have.”

Happy days!

Lartigue, Listowel Food Fair and Bord na Mona workers in 1934

Banemore, November evening 2014

Photo by John Kelliher


A Kind of a Listowel Connection……..not!

My son, who is currently living in France, brought me this present on a recent visit home. The item is not a cap as I thought at first. It is a receptacle for putting your pocket contents in; keys, loose change, rosary beads etc. It is manufactured in Southern France in a factory called Lartigue 1910. The factory is in business since 1910 and even though it now imports the raw cotton and linen from China, all the weaving is done in the factory in the Basque area of southern France.

The people who worked in the factory had never heard of the other famous Lartigue or his railway and they were fascinated to hear that in a little corner of southern Ireland there was another Lartigue weaving its way into the fabric of the local community.


Dates for the diary

November 22 is The Day for the switching on of the Christmas lights. More details later


From the Bord na Mona Archive

This photograph from 1934 shows Bord na Mona employees digging a trench in a bog in the midlands.


Micheál O’Suilleabháin

Michaél OSuilleabháin has been nominated by Ard Cúram for an award from Volunteer Ireland. He is one of 30 short listed and he will know in early December if he is to receive the award.

An award would be a well earned recognition for all his volunteering work in Listowel over many years.


(photo: Christmas in Listowel)

Jackie McGillicuddy and fellow William Street traders are gearing up for Christmas.


Ard Curam, the convent chapel, a Limerick limerick and the good life in St. Jean de Luz

King of the Stags

Timothy John MacSweeney photographed this magnificent brute in the National Park last week. This bucko is a twenty pointer and is the most mature dominant stag in the herd of red deer in Killarney.


Ard Cúram, Listowel

In May 2014 Jimmy Deenihan and Micheál OSuilleabháin turned the sod to launch the building project of Listowel’s dedicated day care centre for the elderly, Ard Cúram

One of the recent planks of the fundraising drive was the participation of the charity in The Ring Of Kerry Cycle. As you can see above the sponsors contributed a massive €149k. The project is well on target for a 2016 opening.

Ard Cúram website is at:


Presentation Convent Chapel

In response to a request, here are some more memories of the convent chapel. This lovely prayerful space is sorely missed by some people in Listowel.

 Our Lady’s Altar; This altar was at the left hand side beside Sr. Consolata’s organ.

Calvary in the grounds.

 The centre aisle

The choir gallery


The return of the bicycle

This bicycle park in Drury St. Dublin (photo: Twitter) is testament to the growing popularity of cycling to work.


Dublin 1958

(photo from Old Photos of Dublin on Facebook)


A Limerick limerick

Recently I bought a book of limericks in the NCBI shop in Listowel. They have a great offer at the moment of 3 books for €1.

The little book I bought was called The Book of Limerick limericks and its by a man called Pat Brosnan. He has written limericks for lots of Limerick towns. Here’s one;

Coming home from the mart in Listowel

A limerick man crashed in a hole

But the Council he blamed

And was no way ashamed

Of his gross overdose of the bowl.


Meanwhile in St. Jean de Luz

The EPIC adventure continues for my lovely grandsons. They are enjoying temperatures of 24 and 25 degrees in their house on the beach.

I’m reminded of the song lyrics, “How will we keep them down on the farm….?”


Well done, Fiona

(photos Irish Independent)

In The Irish Independent is this great story of generosity on the part of Listowel teenager, Fiona Murphy. Fiona has donated her hair to make a wig for Keeva, who suffers from alopecia. It’s all organized by The Rapunzel Foundation

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