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: Badminton Page 1 of 3


Wild Garlic in 2017


Now and Then


Listowel Writers’ Week 2022

In 2019 we took a stroll around The Square with contributions from singers, readers and players. These are the kind people who helped me out then.

They are Paddy MacElligott, Clíona McKenna, Dave O’Sullivan and Éamon ÓMurchú, Mary Fagan, Mary Moylan and Mike Moriarty

This year we will have a slight change of personnel but we’re all looking forward to doing it all again.

Listowel Writers’ Week Morning Walk around Listowel Town Square is planned for Friday June 3 2022 starting at The Listowel Arms at 10.00 a.m.

No charge

A little taster here;

Paddy sings Isle of Hope

Friday promises to be a great day at Writers’ Week. Why not come to town early for the walk and stay for the day. Poets’ Corner in Christy’s with the wittiest of M.Cs, Sean Lyons, starts at 9.00p.m.

Some of the people in the 2019 audience have told me that they will be back again.


Edel Quinn

I come from Kanturk in Co. Cork but my home was in the parish of Castlemagner. I was back there last weekend for my lovely grand niece’s First Holy Communion.

Jessica Ahern on her First Holy Communion Day, May 21 2022

Castlemagner is also the parish of Edel Quinn and they have erected a little grotto to her in the Church Grounds.


From Pres. Yearbook 2006


Laundry for the Elderly

The generous volunteers who work in this vital service attended their annual mass and get together recently.

Standing; Helen Kenny, Majella Stack, Margaret Leahy (hidden), Jenny Tarrant , Eileen Sheehy,  Anne Doran, Bridie ORourke,  Josephine Cronin, Mary Commerford,  Eleanor Cronin, Joan Kenny,  Olwen Keane Stack, Joan O’Donnell,  Bridie O’Connor, Joan Buckley,  Jean Quille, Anne O’Connor,  Margaret Murphy

Sitting; Nora Scanlon , Mary Walsh, Julie Gleeson, Helen Moylan, Fr.  Jack O’Donnell, Mary Hanlon, Norita Keane Killeen 


Rattoo, Arizona and Kildare

Photo: Rattoo Round Tower in 2022 by Moss Joe Browne


Sr. Consolata was in Arizona in 1997

Sr. Consolata and me in 2019


(Continued tomorrow)


Listowel Badminton has a rising Star

Grade E ladies doubles winners Bríd Murphy (Kingdom/Castleisland) and Deina Vesko (Listowel), on the left, along with runners-up Helen Browne Moyvane and Samera Hayes (Killarney) and Munster Badminton President Michael McGrath at the Munster Badminton Championships at the Killarney Sports and Leisure Centre Killarney last Sunday. Photo by Tom Bradley

Deina Vesko was the star turn at the Munster Senior (Premier) and Grade E Badminton Closed Championships in Killarney Sports & Leisure Centre on Sunday with the Listowel woman winning three provincial titles on a day when the host county’s players performed extremely well.



Aoife’s Christening

Aoife McKenna was baptised in the lovely White Abbey Carmelite church in Kildare town. I’ll tell you more about my trip to Kildare later on but I couldn’t resist sharing a few pictures of my gorgeous granddaughter on her first big day.

Aoife posing with her Daddy. No, she is not standing. She is being held.

Me with 5 of my 6 grandchildren. Róisín had a trial for a soccer team, so, unfortunately, missed the big day.

Aoife sitting on her godmother’s lap and getting to know her cousins.


January Horse Fair 2019, Badminton in its Heyday and a bit about Candles

An entrance to town which some older people call the Canon’s Height or The Custom Gap.


January Fair

Jan 3 2019 was the first horsefair of the year in town. I forgot all about it so my photos for you are stolen from Moss Joe Browne’s Facebook page. If you like them, there are lots more where they came from

    Jason Rogers with Tom “Bawn”McCarthy and his granddaughter Saoirse and Pat Fitzgerald at Listowel horse fair.

The O Connor family from Listowel with Seán Hartigan at the Listowel horse fair.

Bernie O Connell with Pat Sweeney and his grandchildren at the Listowel horse fair.

The following account of fairs long ago is from Dúchas, the National folklore collection.

“Fairs are not held in this district nor does anyone remember fairs being held here. They are held in Listowel which is the nearest town to us. Very often before a big fair buyers or jobbers went around to the farmers’ houses to buy calves and sometimes cattle. This is still carried on. There are no accounts of former fairs being discontinued or of fairs being held on hills, near churchyards, near castles, or near forts. In Listowel the fairs are held in the streets, in the square, and in the market place. No toll was collected in the streets but for every cow you’d carry into the square you’d have to pay seven pence and for every pig you’d carry into the market place you’ have to pay a penny. This money was given to Lord Listowel. Luck money is always given. It is called luck money. For every pig or bonham a schilling is given and for a cow half a crown. If prices are high a pound is given as luck money for a horse but if prices are low five schillings is given. When a bargain is made the seller holds out his hand and the buyer strikes it with his clenched fist. A piece of hair is cut out of the cows side to show she is sold. A dab of paint is then stamped on it. This is done sometimes on the cows back.”

Baile an Bhunánaigh (B.) (roll number 16851)
Location: Ballybunnion, Co. Kerry; Teacher: P. Ó Hailin


Ballyheigue Races

December 30 2019  Photo: Moss Joe Browne


Listowel Badminton

I don’t have a date but maybe it’s just as well……

Photo and names from John Junior Griffin

(Many of the ladies would have married in later times but I list the names as I knew them then)

Front row, left to right; 

Katsy Kennelly, Noelle O’Donovan, Evelyn Breen, Marie O’Connor, Marina Behan, Pamela Behan, Mary O’Donoghue, Mary McCarthy, Sharon McAuliffe

Middle row;

Ian Nugent, Martin Stack, Michael Quelly, Mickey Kelliher, Derek Dillon, Liam Dillon, Sean Comerford

Back Row; 

Jnr. Griffin, Jimmy Dore. Brendan Behan, Tom Heaphy, John Dore

( Sadly, as you know, Martin Stack has since passed away. Many of the others are scattered worldwide)



Candles were once a regular item on everyone’s shopping list.

The following was recorded by a child in the Dúchas folklore collection;

My grandmother used make candles out of the fat of cows. She used buy the fat from the butcher and after they killed a cow for their own use. First of all she used put it into a mould and put a cord in the hole at the end of it and knot it. Then she used pull the cord through the mould and pour in the fat and leave it so for a day or two. The candles are about as wide as Christmas candles now.

Collector- Nora Shine, Address, Derreen, Co. Limerick (Kilbaha School)
Informant, Patrick W. Shine. Relation parent, Address, Derreen, Co. Limerick.

Candles were always part of Christmas fare in every house.

Junior Griffin told me this;

Just to follow up on your mention on the one pound Christmas  candles in recent times.

I would have sold a lot of those in my years in McKenna’s and before the age  of the modern electric candles these were very popular.

I used to do both the white and red one pound candle. The red was a bit more expensive than the white. On querying why so from the representive on  one occasion I was told that the white was looked upon as a “household necessity” whilst the red was in what was looked upon as being in the fancy goods department . You would be wondering where our civil servants get the brain storms to make decisions like these.

Badminton, Youth Culture and a Pat Given poem

In Listowel Town Square


Badminton in The Community Centre, Sunday January 16 2017

The man himself wasn’t there when I called to the community centre but his seat was reserved for him.

These three, James Sheahan, Margaret Healy and Mark Loughnane were busy running the show.

The prizes looked very impressive. Also very impressive was the collection of trophies in the County badminton photo which was on display.

Listowel’s winning Division 4 team.

This brother and sister had come all the way from Valentia especially for the tournament.


Bop It

This is my grandson playing Bop It. You’ve never heard of Bop it? Well, that’s only the start of it. I learned a lot about young people’s culture during my sojourn in Cork at Christmas. Let me share some of what I learned with you.

In this photo my three granddaughters are wearing JoJo bows.

Never heard of those? Jo Jo Siwa is a young girl with a You Tube channel and she is super at marketing. Every young girl in Cork seemed to be wearing these.

While we’re on the subject of Youtube sensations, have you seen this man?

He also has his own Youtube channel and his Pineapple Pen song (It’s hardly even a song, more of a jingle) is a viral hit. It was the audience participation song at the panto in The Opera House and, I kid you not when I tell you that every child in Cork knew it.

Do you know about the Musically app? Very young children are using this to make music videos and to lip synch and share their compositions with their friends.

And then there are Vines.

“A Vine is a download-only short-form video hosting service where users could share six-second-long looping video clips.”   Wikipedia.

Here endeth today’s lesson on Youth culture. I hope your head isn’t too addled.


A Poem

Helios; A Cork dog with French connections


by Pat Given…from his anthology October Stocktaking

When I returned after one
week’s absence

Such rapture greeted me!

Now, some would say such open

Of affection is vulgar.

Others say; anything so

Smacks of pretence.

But I say to the first,

Show me one other who greets
me so,

To the second,

Deceit is not in the nature
of a dog.


Quarant Ore

Quarantore was the practice of 40 hours exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. It was celebrated in Listowel with a procession through the convent grounds. As people’s memories of this annual event are being stirred, I am getting a clearer picture. We have the priest surrounded by altar boys, communicants strewing rose petals, nuns in their cream cloaks which were worn at funerals and other solemn occasions, Children of Mary and, now, according to Anne Dillon who remembers participating in the procession when she was in sixth class, all of the girls from the primary school. 

Wouldn’t it be lovely if someone could find an old photo of this occasion.

Telethon, Cork, Killarney National Park and another Buckley visit to Listowel

Do You Remember the Telethon?

The telethon was a fundraising drive that took place ever second year in the late 1980s and 90s. It was televised and raised thousands of much needed pounds for small local charities.

In 1992 in Listowel, the local branch of the M.S. Society decided to spearhead this fundraising drive in our area by organising a local event.  The way the telethon was organised was that money raised locally was sent to Dublin and then it was channelled back to local charities. Anne (O’Connor) Brosnan came up with the idea of organising the longest Conga line in Ireland. The aim was the get 2,500 people to Conga around The Square. Other local organisations came on board with ideas for other fun events and soon it became a night of fun in Listowel Town Square. It was a great success.

The late Derek Davis with one of the baseball caps which was one of the promotional materials sent to those taking part.

Stickers with the People in Need logo were distributed to all the participants in the Conga line. There were 2846 people in all.

Recently Michael Guerin resurrected a video of the night which was shot by Patrick Guerin and Mike digitised it and uploaded it to Youtube.

Listowel People in Need fundraiser, May 7 1992

The singer is Louise Morrissey who kindly travelled from Tipperary to be the special guest on the night. She is still going strong. Louise is performing in the INEC, Killarney on Oct 1 2016.

Another special guest was Big Bertha, the oldest cow in Ireland who came from Kenmare to be part of it all. Bertha was a big celebrity at the time and raised thousands for charity.

Anne Brosnan, who filled me in on the details, is having a rummage for photographs of the night. If anyone else has photos or memories, it would be lovely to share them.


The People’s Republic

I spotted these recently by the side of St Augustine’s church in Washington Street, Cork. I don’t know who did it or what it’s all about. I’m curious though.


Heaven Reflects Killarney

Muckross on a glorious Summer Sunday.

Beautiful sleek Kerry cows, “the silk of the kine” shelter from the sun under one of the demesne’s ancient trees.

We walked from the great House to Torc waterfall.


A Listowel Connection

Recently I received this email from another of the extended Buckley family of Upper William Street.

“My name is Bill Boyle. I saw your recent post about John Carpenter’s recent visit to Listowel in your blog.

Patrick’s first cousin is Regina Moore Boyle (daughter of Johanna Buckley). I am Regina’s grandson by way of her second oldest son, John.

Last May, I came over to Ireland as part of a college trip. We spent time in Dublin and Cork. Luckily, I was able to make an excursion to Listowel with my then fiancé (now my wife), Lauren.

We took the train from Dublin with Vincent and his wife. I’ve attached a few photos of our visit.

Regina turned 90 back on July 27th. We had a large group of Buckley descendants on hand to celebrate.

We weren’t able to get a picture during the party (very poor weather), but I have a picture of Regina with her children and grandchildren at my wedding at the end of this past May. She is center right in the gold jacket.”


A Sporting Connection for the Moyvane class of 1989

Junior Griffin looked at this photo here the other day and he saw many people he  recognised. He got to know them as adults and he knows of another connection between many of these youngsters and their teacher. Here is what he says;

Looking at the names of that lovely photo of the 1989 Moyvane class which you posted last week I realised that I got to know several of them in later years as members of the very thriving Moyvane Badminton Club.

You mentioned that 4 of the class were married in recent times. Just to say that another member of the class was married last December  and I was an invited guest at that wedding.That was Timmy Hanrahan who married Catherine Murphy of the Castleisland Badminton Club. This was another romance that blossomed through the sport of Badminton and I have seen many of these over my 50 plus years in Badminton..

Another in the photo is James Sheehan. James has won the Kerry division 3 mens doubles County Championships for the last 3 years, each time with a different partner which is a rare achievement and he is the current secretary of the Kerry Badminton Association..

Their teacher, Mrs Goulding is the former Rita Groarke and she was an outstanding Badminton player also. She won a Munster under 15 mixed title with Listowel’s Mike Kirby in the late 1970’s and both were selected on the Munster team at that time. She also went on  to win Kerry titles at the division 2 and 3 grades.

Indeed her son, Jack Goulding, was a member of the Kerry panel that won the All Ireland minor football final in 2015 and this year, 2016, saw him starring on the Kerry senior hurling  team who had a great year on the hurling front.. Indeed, he is a valued member of the Ballyduff hurling team who will contest the Kerry County hurling final in Tralee on Sunday next.

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