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: Bailey and Co.

Nicknames, Covid 19, The Bridge to Nowhere and The Spinning Wheel Restaurant

2016 just before Bailey and Co. opened


Listowel Small Square with the Spinning Wheel Restaurant where Footprints is now


Fighting the Surge

Mike O’Donnell’s cartoons celebrate the bravery of our frontline medics.


Back to the Bridge

Do you remember the old story here about the bridge outside Duagh that was built at huge expense and then lay idle for years? This tale sparked Joe Harrington’s interest and he did a bit of digging…

Hi Mary. As you outlined last week Mr Flavin MP questioned Balfour about Duagh Bridge in the House of Commons in 1898 as to why the bridge built in 1891, seven years previously, was not available for public use. Interestingly, the bridge is mentioned in a list of tenders for road maintenance in the Kerry Evening Post of November 16, 1892 where it was referred to as a “new bridge”. The Grand Jury of Kerry had erected the bridge at a cost of £3,496 10s. Gerard Balfour, the Chief Secetary, acknowledged that; “…no proper crossing has been provided by the railway company at this point. The grand jury, …state they have no power to employ a person to look after the gate… I am advised there is no legal provision under which the railway company or the grand jury can be required to provide a crossing, and the Board of Trade inform me they have no power to intervene.” 

Mr Flavin tried to ask why the Grand Jury had used ratepayer’s money to build a bridge without first sorting things with the railway company, but he was ruled out of order.

The railway line existed before both the new road and Duagh Bridge over the Feale, running from Foildarrig to Lacka East, was put in place.  Why the Waterford and Limerick Railway Company did not agree to a level crossing to facilitate the opening of the new connecting road and bridge is not clear. The reasons may have been the high cost of constructing or staffing the crossing or, as Mr Balfour said, there was no legal compulsion on them to do so. 

Interestingly, the Limerick & Waterford Railway Act was passed in 1826. It was the first Act authorising an Irish Railway Company, but it wasn’t until May 1848 that the Company began to build their rail network.  The line from Ballingarrane Junction (two miles north of Rathkeale) to North Kerry was opened in December 1880 so, when it came to the question of a level crossing for a new road, the Railway company had ‘squatters right’ so to speak. 

Two years prior to Mr Flavin’s unsuccessful representations to government the Kerry Evening Post of March 11, 1896 carried a report on the proceedings of the Grand Jury and its efforts to deal with the problem of the ‘bridge-to-nowhere’. A report stated, in the absence of an agreement with the Railway Company on the construction of a level crossing, the cost of a bridge over the railway line would be £700 and it would cost £1,000 to carry the road under the Railway line. 

Moving into the next century the Kerry Evening Post of August 9, 1902 reported that the County Surveyor urged the Council to approve the works regarding the approach road to the ‘railway bridge at Duagh”.  At this stage it seems the Railway Company had agreed to build a bridge over the railway line but the Surveyor “had not yet heard from the company as to when they will proceed with it”.   The work on the approach roads required the taking in of one and quarter acres of land. Lord Listowel claimed compensation at the rate of £22. 10s per Irish acre and two of his tenants, William Stack and Daniel Keane, claimed £90 and £60 respectively for the loss they would sustain. The total claimed by the tenants for the one and a half acres would be around €20,000 when updated to today’s money values! The Council also had the option of compulsory purchase. 

So, it seems Duagh Bridge carried no traffic for the first twelve years of its existence – a possible world record! The nearby railway bridge that was eventually built to allow traffic to proceed no longer spans a railway line – instead it will offer a fantastic view of the North Kerry Greenway which will pass under it.  This railway bridge and the nearby Duagh Bridge makes yet another interesting story for the many visitors who will traverse the Greenway in the future.


A Kerry Story from The Examiner

Story and photo from The Irish Examiner

Former Kerry hurler John ‘Tweek’ Griffin has topped the poll to find Ireland’s most iconic sporting nickname.

Griffin, who retired in 2017 after 15 years in the Kerry senior jersey, just held off another Kingdom legend Tim ‘Horse’ Kennelly by less than 100 votes.

In a 2018 interview with the Irish Examiner , Griffin said he has no idea where the nickname ‘Tweek’ originated, though he recalls it had already stuck by the time he was in first class in school in Lixnaw. 

Kerry football great Kennelly won five All-Ireland medals, earning the ‘Horse’ tag due to his formidable strength from the centre-back position.

Making up the top five polled were Cork hurling powerhouse Diarmuid ‘The Rock’ O’Sullivan, former Cork City star Liam ‘The Conna Maradona’ Kearney, and ex-Kilkenny hurler Martin ‘Gorta’ Comerford.

Munster rugby duo John ‘Bull’ Hayes and the late Anthony ‘Axel’ Foley also feature in the top 10.

It’s clear the poll particularly captured imaginations in a certain pocket of North Kerry, turning into a head-to-head between local rivals Listowel Emmets and Finuge/Lixnaw.


A Poem from Noel Roche

Noel is a recovering alcoholic. His road to recovery had many painful twists and turns. He acknowledged some of them in poetry.

This is a  sad poem of relationship breakdown


Listowel Primary Care Centre

John Kelliher photographed this facility from start to finish.

Blasket Island Man, Bailey and Co. opens and wedding season in Moyvane

Rattoo at Sunset

We have had some stunning sunsets recently. Bridget O’Connor captured this one in Rattoo, Ballyduff.


Gone, Unfortunately

One door closes, another opens.

Danny Russell’s Bailey and Co. opened on Tuesday August 30 2016 and I was there. As you would expect from the very stylish Danny this emporium is a whole new shopping experience for Listowel.

Firstly the retail space is huge. Huge mirrors at every turn increase the feeling of spaciousness. The fittings are what I would expect to find in an upmarket city store. Do drop in and take a look for yourself. AND you dont have to sell a child to buy some of the gorgeous outfits. Danny has some affordable dresses as well.

The very gentle and affable Mary Boyle, formerly of Changes and Strictly Come Dancing is in charge of it all.

Here are a few photos I took on opening day. You will spot a few familiar faces also popping in for a look around.


A Great One from Moyvane Village on Facebook

Mrs Goulding’s class from 1989. Amazing that 4 of the people in the photo would get married this month – Deirdre O Callaghan, Susan Groarke, Mary Quinn and then Frank Nolan gets married on Saturday.

Back row L-R

Mrs Goulding, Catherine Lynch, Deirdre O Callaghan, Anne-Marie O Riordan, Christopher Kiely, Gerard Fitzmaurice, James Kennelly, Kevin Roche, Mary Fitzmaurice

Third Row L-R: Olivia Mulvihill, Kayrena Hanrahan, James Sheehan, Caroline Hughes, Susan Groarke, Paul Lynch, Carmel Collins, Michael O Connor
Second Row L-R
John Michael Walsh, Linda Foley, Timmy Hanrahan, Frank Nolan, Thomas Hanlon, Elaine Foley, Mary Quinn, John Lynch
Front Row L- R Ellen Sheehan, Billy Lynch, Breda Dore, Thomas Greaney


Post Box on Upper Church Street


Remembering the last island man

This is the late Micheál Carney who passed away around this time last year. The photo was taken on his last visit to his childhood home, An Blascaod Mhór. He was accompanied on this visit by his U.S. family. They posted this photo to remember him and that emotional journey home.

Cole Moreton put together a great tribute to 

The last Island Man


The Barber’s Pole Cork Style

I spotted this barber’s pole in a barber’s window on Washington Street in Cork.


A Céad Lá ar scoil

My youngest granddaughter heading out to big school on her first day

Rattoo, the Travelling Rose Competition and a few changes to Listowel’s streetscape

Lovely Rattoo

My friend, Bridget O’Connor, recently took these pictures of Rattoo Round Tower in Ballyduff.


Local Win

This was the scene on Market Street, Listowel on Saturday last, August 6 2016. The occasion was the competition to select a Travelling Rose. This was an event organised by Travellers for Travellers and it took place in The Risin Sun in Market Street last week end. The winner was local girl, Sammy Joe McCarthy.


A Few New Kids on the Block

This corner of town is going to look really colourful when Bailey and Co. opens its doors in time for Listowel Races.

This man was putting the finishing touches to the gold paintwork last week.

There is a new Hair and Beauty premises on Church St.


To Market, to market…..

Not a fat pig this time, rather a fine goat.


A Weekend of Music and Fun

On Saturday evening we will have the music event in The Square. And then on Sunday next, August 14 2016 we will have the ‘Love Listowel’ Family Evening in the Square. Kelly O’Sullivan says, “The idea behind it is to use the space that the Revival Concert used the night before and create a free community event. The event is co-funded by Listowel Traders & Love Listowel.

There will be bouncy castles, face painting, music, hot food stall, dog show & kids activities.”


P.S. A big big thank you to all the kind people who have been in touch to tell me they missed me and to welcome me back. Your support and kind words are greatly appreciated.

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