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 listowelconnection@gmail.com

Tag: Ballincollig Page 2 of 6

New Director at St. John’s, Church Street girls, Owen Family of Ballyhorgan Cycling and the Crown Jewels



Wildflower meadow at Ballincollig Regional Park


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They’re Changing the Guard at St. John’s




Máire Logue is the new artistic director of St. John’s Arts and Heritage Centre, Listowel. I photographed her in St. John’s with Joe Murphy, the retiring director.


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Church Street Girls


Eileen Sheridan shared a photo memory


Clementine Crowley Ann McSweeney, Gertie Kennelly, Mary OSullivan, Eileen Scanlon, Ann Ryan

Mary Fitzmaurice Mary Walsh , Eileen McSweeney,  Alice Gleeson.


Sadly three of the girls have passed away.

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Owens of Ballyhorgan

Harriet Owen with Tom Fitzgerald and Jimmy Deenihan in The Listowel Arms on one of Harriet’s frequent trips to Kerry to reconnect with her family home in Lixnaw.

Harriet sent me a short version of her family history which I published in Listowel Connection. John Stack of Kildare and formerly of Duagh was interested to see that an Owen had married into the Ellis family of Abbeyfeale. Ellis was a family John had encountered when researching his own family as these Ellises were his mother’s people’s landlords.

He sent us a newspaper cutting

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Resurgence of Cycling

In our cities nowadays you have to be struck by the numbers of people cycling to and from work. I took these photos on Cork’s Grand Parade recently. There seems to be bicycles everywhere.

The bike scheme stand was almost empty.

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The Theft of The Irish Crown Jewels

A friend lent me this book. The story of the disappearance of the Irish Crown Jewels and its disastrous consequences for North Kerry is a fascinating one.


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In Dublin Yesterday



Kerry has survived to fight another day. I don’t know if the supporters nerves will survive another one, though.

Lovely Listowel people, Changing meanings, Public phones and Hair Oil

St. Patrick’s hall, July 2019

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Chance Meetings


Nature lover, Carmel Gornall I met walking by the river on a sunny morning.

Frances and Edel were enjoying the sunshine and the music in the Square

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Post no Bills

This sign is on an arch in Ballincollig. I suspect today’s young people have no idea that it has nothing to do with payment due.

I grew up in an age when this sign was a common sight in public areas. It means  Do not affix advertising posters to this wall.

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Public Phones





Working public telephone boxes are rare enough these days so when I see one I grab a snap. The above one is in Kildare town.


This one is in Kent train station in Cork. It takes credit cards as well as coins and you can make international calls.

The tariff is a bit steep at a minimum of €2 per call and calls to mobiles costing €1 a minute.

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Mattie Lennon Remembers

These were found during the dig at the site of the new bypass road at Curraghatoosane. I posted the photo last week, and Mattie Lennon has been in touch;

Hi Mary,

I remember when Brilliantine hair oil came in those phials. It cost a penny ha’penny.

( hair oil, for those not in the know, was for plastering men’s hair down so that it stayed in place.)

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John Lynch Mass



Martina OGorman has emailed to tell us that the people of Ballylongford are putting on a memorial mass for the late John Lynch on Sunday next ,August 11 at 10.30.

You may remember that when John , who was originally from Ballylongford, passed away in London recently it was feared that he had no relatives or friends left to attend his funeral. The  London Kerry community were rallied by Martina and friends and he had a good Kerry send off. Now Martina is hoping that the Kerry people at home will turn up to this special mass for John.

Cork’s Denny Lane, Tarbert Bridewell and some Bird Stories from Dúchas

Summer 2019

Aisling and Molly in Ballincollig Regional Park in sunny June 2019

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Cork’s Denny Lane

I spotted this on South Mall in Cork last week.

This is the elegant doorway to the Lane house

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Tarbert Bridewell Relaunch


Here I am with another visitor and our guide, Mary O’Connell at the relaunch of the Tarbert Bridewell project on Saturday June 29 2019. If you want to give your children an easy history lesson or if you just want to find out something about rough justice in the 19th century this is a great place to come.

We follow the story of Tom Dillon who is accused of leaving his cow to trespass on his neighbours property. His defence was that the cow wandered through an open gate and he entered the field to retrieve her. The policeman who attended was having none of it and Tom was brought before the court sitting in The Bridewell Tarbert.

This is Dillon. Members of the local Tarbert drama group have recorded the story in dramatic fashion which we listened to as we went from room to room.

This is the maligned Mrs. Ahern whose grass Tom’s cow was eating.

The judge was a bit harsh I thought. You’ll have to visit to find out the sentence.

In another cell is this poor prisoner, emprisoned with her young baby.

Tarbert Bridewell visitor experience is located on the road to the ferry. It’s well worth factoring in a stop there if you are going to Clare. There is a lovely coffee shop and souvenirs as well.
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Bird Lore from the Dúchas Folklore Collection


There was once a middle aged man who had little or no money. Then it was coming near Christmas his shoes became worn and he began to collect all his money a few days before Christmas she found he had twelve shillings so he went along the road to the nearest town to buy a pair of shoes. When he had gone little way he heard a black bird on a bush saying “Spend and God will send”. He went on and he heard a thrush saying “Be merry today to-morrow you die.” He went on to town and spent the twelve shillings on drink and as he was coming home he heard a wren saying. “Have it yourself or be without it.”

Some people go torching. They light a candle and having the bottom of a bottle knocked out, they put the candle into it. The lighting side of the candle should be stuck up the jowl of the bottle. You must follow the wind always. When you see a bird you must strike him on the head with a piece of stick and kill him. A stormy night is the best sort of night to go torchhing. The How pigeons build their nests. The hen goes into and box and the cock lungs straw in and the hen fixes it and after about two says the nest is made and in about a day or two the hen lays an egg and the next day she lays another egg. Then the cock hatches in the day and the hen hatches at night and about three weeks the young ones come out. Then you should get crushed corn and give it to the pair. Then the pigeons fill their craws and throw it up into the young pigeons mouths and in about three week they come out of the nest and in about five days they can fly.

Collector Pat Mc Elligott, Address- Bedford, Co. Kerry
Informant Tom Halpin- Age 27 Address, Bedford, Co. Kerry.

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Lyre Concert



A fairy Trail, Rural Electrification and the 1916 Memorial Garden

11th Fairway, Ballybunion on New Year’s Eve 2018

Photo: Catherine Moylan

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A Fairy Trail in Ballincollig


So many towns nowadays have their own Fairy Trail. The Ballincollig one looked a bit the worse for wear when I visited after Christmas.



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Rural Electrification in Ireland in the 1940s



The ESB was established in 1927 but until The Rural Electrification Scheme of 1946, electricity was a luxury only available to a rich few.

When electricity came to rural Ireland it was like a revolution. Tasks which had been so difficult up to now were rendered doable. A whole slew of “instructors” were dispatched around the country to teach people how to use electricity. Many people were afraid of electrocution or of a fire caused by switches and plugs. It is hard to imagine how “backward” we were then. It’s only one generation ago!

This is a photo from my friends in Bord na Mona Living History and this is what Tony wrote to accompany the photo.

This photo dates from 1956 and shows how life was changing with the coming of electricity. The woman in the photo had only recently had electricity laid on and after the electric light her next thought was to get a radio which would work off the power. No more bringing batteries to town to be charged. There’s a  Sacred Heart picture on the wall, a flash lamp on the mantlepiece along with various tins for storage. The dog and the cat are warming themselves beside the turf fire, they had no interest in the electricity. 

The photo was taken in Connemara and appeared in a 1956 English magazine article on Irish Peat and electricity.

One of the ads in the magazine was for a 12 day all-in holiday in Switzerland for £25, although that was the fare from London. Definitely different times.

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1916 Memorial Garden on January 6 2019


Early January 2019 and we were experiencing an extraordinary spell of crisp mild weather. I was walking in the park on Friday, January 4 when I spotted David Twomey and the outdoor workers busy at work in the memorial garden. I knew that when I returned on Sunday January 6th it would be looking its best. It was.


Listowel people, be sure to go and see it soon. It’s beautiful

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Won’t be Long Now




This is a photo of a queue waiting for admittance to an event at a previous Listowel Writers Week. This year Writers Week will run from May 29th 2019.

Keep an eye on the website to see what great things are in store;

Listowel Writers’ Week 2019

Christmas in Ballincollig, St. Mick’s Classs of 78 reunion, A memory of Santa and a photo of Nelson’s Pillar




Listowel Town Square in January 2019


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Yesterday was Little Christmas or Nollaig na mBan. Here is a hair raising story from the folklore collection;

The Big Wind, 1839

The Big Wind fell on Little Christmas night. A man by the name of Paddy Cronin who lived in Beal was in the house with his mother. The storm lifted the roof off the house. He took out his mother and tied her on to an ash tree, lest she would get hurt. While he was going back for some blankets to put around her from the cold, the tree was uprooted and there was not a trace of the tree or the woman to be found.

https://www.duchas.ie/en/cbes/4666575/4663329/4687769


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A Quick Look Back

My family plus dogs walking in Ballincollig Regional Park at Christmas 2018. It was that kind of Christmas. We had lovely mild dry weather so we were outdoors as much as possible.

 Santa came to those who were expecting him.

2018 was the year of slime.  I don’t get the attraction myself.

Santa brought Cora a massive gorilla. He is now part of the family.

At Christmas 2019 we had Listowel births, marriages and way too many deaths. 

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Billy McSweeney relives a 1940s Christmas in Listowel


I remember one Christmas eve in the days of Ration Books and deprivation of the 1940’s. Darkness had fallen and the Santa tension was building in our house.

My mother was out shopping for some last-minute necessities, when she 

suddenly burst in the front door screaming “Santey, Santey. Come quick, 

come quick !”

My young sisters and I rushed out the door at the top of Church Street 

to clearly hear harness bells jingling and trotting hooves clattering 

off the road just past McAuliffe’s corner, barely 100 yards away but 

already out of sight.

“Aw, you just missed him!”

When a chasing charge was obviously forming in our minds we were told:  

“Get your coats on or you will get your death of cold!”

A riotous melee formed around the coat stand and a number of 

half-attired children took off down the street. Alas, by the time we 

reached McAuliffe’s Corner the sleigh with it bells and reindeer had 

vanished and we trudged home elated that we had nearly seen him but also disappointed that we had missed him.

My mother had a joyous smile on her face that her timing was impeccable.

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Reunion at Christmas time 2018

Photo: Denis Carroll ; Names: Seán Healy

Front row LtR: Don O’Sullivan, Gerard Buckley, John Dowling, John Moynihan, Seán Healy, Johnny Mulvihill, Michael Mulcare, Dan Sheahan, John O’Sullivan, Patsy Ryan, Bernard O’Keeffe, John Lenihan, John Horgan.


Middle Row: LtR: John Beary, Eddie Relihan, David Dillon, Nick Roberts, John Lyons, Thomas Mulvihill, Richard Cantillon, Michael Curtin, John Kennelly, Patrick Flavin, Jim Furlong, John Purcell, Eoin Rochford. 

Back Row LtR: Seán O’Sullivan, Michael Casey, Séamus Given, PJ Kelliher, George O’Connell, Conor Keane, Pat Flavin, Tony O’Carroll, Denis O’Carroll, Declan O’Connor, Dan Mulvihill, Pat O’Brien, Brendan Nolan, Billy Stack

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The View from Nelson’s Pillar in the 1960’s




Photos of Dublin



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A Call to Action for 2019



(from our own John Keane in The Kilkenny People)

As 2019 begins, we have a request for the readers of The Kilkenny People newspaper.

As a new year’s resolution, would you commit to saying hello to everyone you meet?

A little nod, a quiet word, a smile, a touch on the arm, some kind of inter-action – as Bruce Springsteen asked: ‘Share a little of that human touch’.

December has been a bad month in the city and county with a number of tragedies.

We cannot fathom the depth of the pain for the families and communities involved.

Do Something Positive

What we can do is stop giving out about the glaring gaps in the State’s mental health service and do something positive.

So instead of cursing successive governments’ continual lackadaisical approach to mental health in this country and instead of getting upset over the huge waiting lists to access mental health services (particularly for children) do something positive yourself.

Walk down the street and engage, show empathy, give people that little bit of comfort by saying ‘hello’, ‘well’ or whatever cool salutation you can think of.

Little Kindness

It just might make a difference to the recipient; the little kindness they need to get them through the day; to know that there is light, there is hope in the depths of their depression or whatever demons they are fighting.

So as we look in horror as this government, like all the rest, turn a blind eye to the biggest killer in the State by refusing to adequately resource the services needed to address the issue, let’s do something ourselves.

And ask yourself, why is it that voluntary agencies like The Samaritans, Pieta House (Darkness Into Light) and Teac Tom are having to do so much of the work that should be shouldered by the State.

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