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

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Athea, Green Oranges, Ignorance Dispelled, a Boland Poem and a Walking Tour

Listowel’s Carnegie Library

This is Listowel’s Carnegie Library, now KDYS Youth Centre. Andrew Carnegie was an American philanthropist  who endowed communities all over Ireland with free libraries. Kerry seems to have benefited more than many other Irish counties. This year we are commemorating 100 years since Carnegie’s death. An Post is bringing out a commemorative stamp. The stamp is going to feature Athea’s Carnegie Library.

(Below photo and text are from Athea Tidy Town on Facebook)

Delighted to learn that our Carnegie Library here in Athea will feature on a postal stamp to be released on August 8th to mark the centenary of the Death of Andrew Carnegie who provided the grant to build the Libraries! Stamps will be available to preorder online shortly.


Athea Mural

I finally got to Athes to see the restored mural and all the recent developments.

This Jim Dunn mural is still my favourite. Every time I see it I enjoy it afresh. If you haven’t seen it yet, put it on The Bucket List today.

The other celtic style mural featuring local people, and celebrating Athea talent and legends has been fully refurbished and is looking vibrant and striking. It’s absolutely lovely. It is now preserved from the elements as well.


A Charity Shop Find

I found this gem in the Irish Wheelchair shop in Listowel.  It’s full of interesting pieces of information, stuff most of us get wrong. I’m proposing to drip feed some of my newfound wisdom to you here.

Once a teacher……..

Are oranges orange?

No, is the short answer. In many countries, oranges are green, even when ripe, and are sold that way in shops.

There are no oranges in the wild.  An orange is a cross between the tangerine and the pomelo, which is pale green or yellow. They were first grown in South East Asia. The first oranges were green and Vietnamese oranges are still green. Thai tangerines are green on the outside and orange on the inside.

In Honduras the people eat their oranges green at home and orange them up for export. They do this by blasting them with ethylene which removes the green outer layer, allowing the orange layer to show thorough.

So if you are visiting Vietnam or other really hot country, buy the green oranges. They are fully ripe and delicious. I verified the ‘fact” with Google.


Bob Boland’s Heartfelt Plea

Bob Boland, Farnastack poet and agricultural contractor, lived through World War Two and all the privations of rationing that accompanied it. Here he pleads with the Dept. to give him a permit for fuel so he can do his job and work for the local farmers at the harvest.


Guided Walk, Saturday July 13 2019

These lovely people walked with me on my first guided walk around town on Saturday. They came from Listowel, Duagh,  from Lithuania, from Canada, from the U.S. and the U.K. and there was a brave family from Mayo there too. They heard some stories and I heard some stories too. Great morning!

Listowel Cinema,, NKM in Dublin, Good News from Athea and The Little Lilac Studio is closing

 Photo: Chris Grayson


Then and Now

Changes at the corner


Seán MacCarthy Festival Still Going Strong

Sean McCarthy Festival 2019 is from Thursday 1st – Monday 5th August

I took this photo at the festival in 2004


NKM Strike

NKM was Listowel’s first manufacturing industry.

But by 1925, something had gone horribly wrong and the business was relocated to Dublin.

Dave O’Sullivan has discovered that the factory owners embarked on an extensive advertising campaign to re- establish the brand as a world leader in its field after the move to Dublin.

Meanwhile in Listowel


Update from Athea Tidy Towns Committee

We are delighted to update everyone on the progress of the repair of our mural painted by Jim Dunne and local help a number of years ago. Unfortunately the mural was knocked by a storm in early 2018 resulting in severe damage. The timbers had also begun to decay as a result of weathering. It seemed an impossible task to save the mural but following a commitment from our resident volunteer artist James Dunn, it was decided to salvage what we could of the masterpiece. The repair project was spearheaded by John Scanlon who enlisted the help of Joe Lavin and Shane Scanlon. It was not an easy task as they worked together to cut away and replace parts of the timbers essentially creating a jigsaw puzzle. Many nights/ evenings have been spent repairing the mural and we are beyond grateful to these men for sharing their time and skills all for the benefit of our village. When complete, the mural will be placed on the newly built concrete wall complete with protective canopy next to Batts Bar. We have also been successful in receiving funding from Airtricity to erect lighting to illuminate the mural at night. Thanks also to Scanlon Construction for their assistance with this project. Looking forward to the day when this mural will return to his rightful home!


What a Loss!

This lovely friendly workshop will be a huge loss to town.  Cathy was so welcoming and so helpful and I always loved taking my grandchildren here. It is a great pity that we are losing this unique visitor attraction. 

We all know that it is really hard to make a living out of this type of artistic endeavour. I think such enterprises should be subsidised and encouraged. They are so much part of Listowel’s attractiveness to tourists and visitors

Listowel St. Patrick’s Day 2018 and Rás Mumhan in Listowel March 31 2018

In Listowel Town Square


More Floats and participants in St. Patrick’s Day Parade 2018


Rás Mumhan 2018

On Easter Saturday, March 31 2018 Rás Mumhan had a stage start from Páic Mhic Shithigh Listowel. I snapped a few of the riders leaving.

There’s nothing like the support of family.

Last week it was all motorbikes and cartoon characters.


Good news from Athea Tidy Towns’

Artist James Dunn and members of Athea Tidy Towns inspecting the mural recently. Thankfully the mural has escaped with little damage. James has very kindly offered his time to repair &restore to its former glory. A concrete wall has recently been constructed at the location and it is also hoped to construct a roof like structure with solar lighting to protect the mural from the elements and also to illuminate the mural at night. Watch this space !

Convent Street, Pitch and Putt and Athea Mural blown down

From The Irish Farmers’ Journal


A Quiet Corner of Town undergoing renewal

This site has gone Sale Agreed so we await developments.

One is sold and the other is for sale

This is the area of Convent Street that is about to change.

These houses in Convent Street are boarded up too so it will be good to see life return to this corner of town.

And in another corner of town…

A little bird tells me that Iceland is coming to Listowel shortly.


Listowel Pitch and Putt Club

Dave O’Sulivan, a loyal follower and supporter of the work of your blogger replied to my appeal for history of the Pitch and Putt Club.

My photos taken at different times of the year show the variety and abundance of planting in the course over the years.

Here are the cuttings that Dave found for us;


Athea Revisited on January 19 2018

That was then

This is now

The high winds last week flattened the lovely mural with the whole history and mythology of the village on it. I have no doubt that the good people of Athea will see it restored to its former glory.


And the Winner is

The Dublin Kerry Association have announced their Kerry Person of the year

There was a goodly attendance on the night.

Colm Cooper was revealed as this year’s choice and he got a standing ovation as he entered.

Colm was a very popular choice.

Colm Cooper with  Keelin Kissane of  Listowel, chair of The Kerry Association in Dublin

Athea Mural and candlelit ceremony for Fr. Pat Moore in Ballybunion

Patsy Lynch took this photo in Ballyduff and  posted it on a  Facebook page called This is Kerry.


Athea Revisited

I took a drive to Athea on a lovely sunny Monday and I snapped a few changes to Jim Dunn’s masterpiece. This is a work in progress with details being added and bits here and there tweaked constantly.

It’s such a pity about the electricity pole which you can see casting a shadow to the left of my photo.

This new figure has been added. Jim tells me that he will be recognisable to all the local people. His collar and tie give away the fact that he is not someone you would expect to see in a forge.

These hens positively walk out of the wall at me.


Candlelit ceremony for Fr. Pat Moore

Here are some more pictures from a great night on the beach in Ballybunion on May 11 2017.

Local filmaker, Gerard Barrett remember his great friend and mentor who encouraged him in everything he undertook. Fr. Pat was as proud of Ger as a father would be of a son.

Fr. Pat’s cousin, Debbie was his go – to person when the time difference made it possible to make a late night or early morning phone call. Debbie became one of his team of dedicated carers during his last illness.

Mary Fagan, Fr. Pat’s great friend for so many years read Fr. Pat’s poem of acceptance and reconciliation which he wrote during his cancer journey.

Mario put the finishing touches to his ‘circle’ and we all gathered and placed our candles in the sand in a moving tribute to the great man from his circle of friends.

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