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Tag: Arsenic and Old Lace

Listowel Drama Group and a poem about football

Listowel Drama Group

I went to St. John’s on Friday night last. Arsenic and Old Lace was a triumph on so many fronts. I cannot single out any one performance because they were all excellent. The set is the talk of the town and all the productions values were so high that it will be a hard act to follow. Well done everyone and a huge congratulations to Imelda Dowling Garvey who directed it all like a professional.

This is an old photo from Vincent Carmody’s North Kerry Camera of the Drama Group’s cast of The Playboy of the Western World in 1950.

The following is a potted history of the group from the latest programme notes.

On the 12th January 1944 the group presented its first full length play in The Plaza, The Troubled Bachelors by A.J. Stanley. The play was produced by Bryan MacMahon, one of the founders of the group. Niall Stack is the sole surviving member of that  cast.

Eamon “The Seanchaí’ Kelly joined the group in 1945. He produced Bryan MacMahon’s The Bugle in the Blood which went on to The Abbey in 1949. Eamon met his wife, Maura O’Sullivan when they were both members of Listowel Drama Group.

In 1954 the group won The All Ireland One Act Drama Festival with George Fitzmaurice’s The Magic Glasses. Among the cast was Michael O’Connor, father of our present Canon Declan O’Connor.

In 1959 Brendan Carroll produced John B. Keane’s Sive. Listowel Drama Group’s finest hour had come. They won the All Ireland Drama festival’s top prize in Athlone and Listowel Drama Group achieved the status of legend locally and nationally.

In 1993 The Master performed to packed houses for sixteen nights.

The group has certainly lived up to its motto;

“The Stage shall never Die”.


Jimmy Moloney, Senior, whose family have very close connections with The Listowel Drama Group has given me two photos to share with you.

Back Row: Bill Kearney,    Andy O’Mahoney?   , John Kirby, Brendan Carroll, Thomas O’Connor, Arthur Paige and Hilary Nielson

Front: Joan Paige?, Michael O’Connor, Margaret Moloney, John O’Flaherty and Nora Relihan

(I’ll post the other photo tomorrow)

Andy O’Mahony who went on to fame as a newsreader and broadcaster on RTE radio and television worked in one of the Listowel banks. While in town, he lodged with the Ashe family  of Lawlors Cake shop and subsequently with Máirín MacMahon, sister of the playwright, Bryan MacMahon.

Owen MacMahon is compiling an archive of old programmes and memorabilia relating to Listowel Drama Group. If you have any of this stuff in your attic, Own would love to see it. If you don’t want to part with it , he would be happy just to photocopy it.


A poem for the year that’s in it;  World Cup Year

 (just to put things in perspective)

The Man who invented

by Kit Wright

The man who invented football

He must have been dead

He hadn’t even a football

Or any clothes whatever.

The man who invented soccer,

He hadn’t even a ball

Or boots, but only his horny

And a bison’s skull, that’s

The man who invented

To whom our hats we doff,

Had only the sun for a yellow

And death to send him off.

The cave-mouth was the

The wind was the referee,

When the man who did it did

In 30,000 B.C.!


Sew ‘n’ Pressed have moved shop.

This is where it is now, next to Paddypower in William St. If you lose your shirt, you will not have far to go for a new one.


The shop which was trading in Moriarty’s is moving here, next to Woulfe’s Bookshop, I’m told.

Dan Keane’s Daybreak o’er Rathea and Confirmation id Ballydonoghue

North Kerry has produced a steady stream of folk poets. One of the best of these was the late Dan Keane. Here is a typical Dan Keane piece from his collection The Heather is Purple. It tells a story of Penal Times, religious suppression, mass rocks and murders.  I don’t know if the subject matter of Dan’s poem  has any basis in truth but such events did occur in the Ireland of that time.

Daybreak o’er Rathea    Dan Keane

The sky is blue above the hill,

The hill is green beneath.

The songbird with a holy will

Pours out an anthem sweet.

And down the slope the sunbeams steal

A-dancing oe’r the lee

And fragrant flowers spring back to life

As the day breaks oe’r Rathea.

Just like the flower’s old memories

All sad and yet sublime

And heroic tales of bardic tongues

Steal down the roads of time.

The mass-rock where The Sagart prayed

To shield our destiny

Looks sacred in the morning beam

As the day breaks oe’r Rathea.

It was my grandsire’s uncle Ned

With sad tear- laden eyes

Who told how once at break of day

He saw The Sagart die.

The redcoats came with daggers drawn,

“I cursed them loud,” said he,

“For they drove the cold steel through his breast

As the day broke oe’r Rathea.”

“The first to reach the Sagart’s side,

was his young sister, Nell,

Who at that mass became my bride.”

And here his teardrops fell.

“The captain’s sword her bosom pierced

I could not set her free

But with a blow I took his life

As the day broke oe’r Rathea.

“I fled and cursed that godless crew,

I cursed empire and crown

And cursed I every power on earth

That tramples freedom down.

But I have never ceased to pray

For those who sheltered me

From demons vile who rent my heart

As the day broke oe’r Rathea.


The mass rock still looks oe’r the scene

In calm majestic pride.

The font that holy water held

Through summer ne’er has dried

But dear old Ned has passed away

To God’s own sanctuary,

For once the angels called him home

As the day broke oe’r Rathea.


Grafton Street 1945 from photos of Dublin


I’m going to St. John’s tonight.


Plus ça change…

Kerry Champion of April 18th 1936 reports Garda
investigation into report of 19 calf skins stolen from Newtownsandes Co-op.

paper also had an article on Juvenile Crime and remarked on lack of parental
control and absence of school instruction. 


John Kelliher took some lovely photos at the recent Ballydonoghue confirmations. The photos are available to purchase from John.

Spring 2014 and Arsenic and Old Lace in St. Johns

Spring has sprung

My lovely granddaughter picking daisies on the way from school recently.

Her sisters with “the scholars coming home”

Maybe Spring has not come quite yet to every part of the country

(photo; Farmers Journal)


Denis Hayes, Roches Street Limerick……..Chickens, I think.


Arsenic and Old Lace

I have it on good authority that this is the best set that Listowel Drama Group have ever constructed. The costumes look super too in Brendan Landy’s photo of a dress rehearsal.

Demand is heavy for tickets so get on to St. John’s at 068 22566 to book yours.

 The show runs until March 30


Have you brought any fish with you?

This is the photo on Breaking News’ website of Pat O’Connell and the queen of England. Pat and Her Majesty hit it  off when they met in Cork’s English Market and he donned the suit and tie to greet her again in her home. Pat is a practiced flirt with his chat up lines perfected on his fish stall in Cork where he is a hit with all the ladies. Queen Elizabeth greeted him with a warm smile and a quip about his fish business.

You can just see Niall Horan of One Direction in the background. He was another of the Irish movers and shakers invited to this exclusive bash.


Don’t forget Mammy on Sunday, Mothering Day March 30 2014. Lovely handmade cards and gifts available in Craftshop na Méar 53 Church St., Listowel.

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