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: Ballybuniion

Castle Hotel Ballybunion, Asdee Relatives, Roly Chute and some Old bits of folklore

Holocaust Memorial in Listowel’s Garden of Europe in February 2020


The Castle Hotel Ballybunion

Photo Credit: Eamon Kelly


A North Kerry Connection

Ken Duckett heard my plea for help with items for the blog and he enquired if memories that were not exactly Listowel related were welcomed. They are, of course.

Here is what Ken writes of his North Kerry connection.

Hi Mary, 

Here’s a couple of pictures, one haystacking on my uncle’s farm when I was around 14/15. My uncle was Edward Hanlon the farm that he and my mum Kathleen Hanlon plus 9 other brothers and sister were raised.

This was my grandfather Patrick Hanlon and Grandmother Margaret (Stack) Hanlon’s farm, the first one they bought after a number of their Hanlon ancestors leased. In the background you can see the Shannon flowing by. 

My mother trained as a nurse and left Ireland, met my dad in England and married. We used to have several trips to Kerry as we enjoyed their company in Shannon View lodge, Asdee. My cousin presently lives there and 

we’ve been over a few time. The second picture is me standing next to a Japanese Banana plant.

The Stacks were from Moyvane and lived in Gortdromasillahy and Gortdromagouna townlands over a number of generations.

It would be interested if anyone has heard or has connections with the Hanlons or Stacks. I have a recently seen picture of two of my mum’s brothers either on the way or at the Listowel races. 



A Legend of Listowel Badminton Honoured

Roly Chute’s family and friends gathered at Listowel Badminton Club’s tribute night for a great servant of the club. Roly has coached generations of Listowel youngsters. I have experienced in my own family his skill and dedication. We owe him a lot.

Roly is that rare breed…a selfless volunteer. Will we ever again see one person give 50 years volunteering his skills to one sport? And he’s not finished yet!


Tidbits from Listowel in the Dúchas Folklore collection

7. If you bought bonhams and put them all together throw two buckets of sour milk on top of them to keep them from fighting. I saw Dan Shea of Clievragh doing it.

It isn’t sour milk at all sir, it’s porter you should throw in their eyes. I saw Mick Stokes of Makel St. doing it.

( This one reminded me that when my mother bought in day old chickens to be reared by a hen who had just hatched out her own eggs, she would sprinkle talcum power on them so that the hen would not reject the new ones)

8. If you kill a goose, or a cock, or a cow and put your fist on the back of his neck and press he’ll make the noise he made when alive.

(9). If you want to make a starling talk split his tongue and put his beak up to a rack (i. e. a comb) – and he’ll speak.

(10). My mother (Mrs Doyle Slievecahel) told me that a man was coming home from Castleisland one night and he saw a lovely city inside in a Glen. He went in and there was nothing there only rocks. It was the reflection of a town in Australia.

(11). My mother said they used use pointy sticks before as forks. They used have a pointy stick as a Knife and a gabhlóg as a fork.

(12) People long go used go to no Mass but they used put a pot on another man’s head and hit it with something and that’d be by-the-way the bell. One night the pot fell down and they couldn’t pull it off and they had to break it to knock it off.

13. When I received my first Holy Communion in Ballyduff, after the priest made the sign of the cross with the Holy Communion I saw a little baby in the priest’s arms.

14. Jack Joy told me that Paddy Ferris of the Gaire made a cake a’ Christmas time with 5 stone of flour and it took him 5 hrs to make it.

15. St. Synan’s Well is in “Souper” Connors land (Protestants) and they got water out of the well to boil the Kettle and it wouldn’t boil at all so they had to throw it out and get other water.

16. Daniel O’Connell was at a feast one time and poison was put in his glass. One of the serving girls was by the way singing a song  in Irish and thus she warned him and she blew out the candles and he changed glasses with some other one. She sang

“A Dhomhnall Ó Conaill, an dtuigeann tú Gaedhilg?

Tuigim a’ coda (a chodladh, a chiota) agus a’ chuid eile Gaedhilg,

Tá an iomad den salainn á chuirfead sa dtae dhuit,

Múcfad-sa an solas agus cuir cúchú féin é”.

(T. Kennelly from mother who is from Glenbeigh)

( the gist of the song is that that there is too much salt in your soup. I’ll turn out the light so you can give it back to them)



Mattie Lennon found a reference to bittling in literature.

Hi Mary,

It would appear that bittling was washing clothes on a flat flag in a river. Apparently Kickham used it in Knocknagow.


Stag, A Robbery, a Cliff Walk and Ballybunion Sand Art Festival 2019

Young Stag

Photo: Stephen Walshe for Irish Wildlife Photography Competition


Highway Robbery in 1914


Square Upgrade

Resurfacing in Listowel Town Square


Ballybunion Cliff Walk

When I visited Ballybunion last week the weather was sunny and pleasant.

It was a school so there were very few children on the beach.

Cows are lovely peaceful animals to encounter on a walk.

These signs are dotted along the cliff walk. I was a bit early to see any of these butterflies.

There was a lone paddler in the water.

There were lots of pink and white flowers along the ditch beside the path.

These sunbathers had the beach to themselves.


Tidy Towners Taking a Well earned Rest

Sorry ladies, I made a mess of the photo. I was so busy chatting that I forgot to check if the photo was okay. It wasn’t but I’m putting it in anyway. I admire the effort these and all the Tidy Towners put in. If I see you ladies at Writers’ Week or out on the canvass I’ll take a better photo. I owe you one.


Some Sand Art from Saturday May 18 2019

I went to Ballybunion bright and early and found the artists already getting their work started.

The size of the artists beside their work will give you an idea of the scale of these creations.

When I returned in the afternoon the works were nearing completion. Brilliant!


Don’t Miss this One


Busy Day on Saturday May 25 2019

We all know that Michael D. will be in town. But an even more extraordinary man will be in town too. John Devoy is an organic farmer, an adventurer and now a travel writer.

His travel story is unusual in that he is writing it 30 years after the trip. John cycled from Ireland to Capetown when he was in his twenties. His book, Quondam, Travels in a Once World, will be launched in Woulfe’s bookshop on Saturday next at 11.30. If you are in town for the presidential shenanigans why not drop into Woulfe’s and meet this man who surely has some interesting tales to tell.

Cork, Adare, Ballybunion and Listowel; a miscellany of images

IWA shop relaunched

Jimmy Moloney, Mayor of Listowel Municipal District relaunched the refurbished IWA shop on Upper William Street.


New Kid on The Block

This new hairdressers’ on Church Street has just opened for business.


In Fitzgerald’s Park, Cork


Fenn’s Quay restaurant

They were being careful not to alienate the Kerry crowd.


Spotted in Adare

A post box from the P and T era.

Made in Scotland


An Old Train

Train from Macroom arriving Capwell 1914                 Photo; Patrick J. OShea


Public Convenience

The very old sign on the men’s toilet’s in Ballybunion


+ Martin Sheehy R.I.P. +

In June 2007 when Martin visited Jim and myself

I have a friend who was born and reared in Listowel. She says that every time she mentions someone from Listowel, her husband enquires, “Were they a very brainy family?” Because she uses the phrase so often in relation to Listowel people.

The title brainy family would be certainly true in the case of the Sheehy brothers. Martin, maybe the brainiest and the brightest of them all went to his eternal reward a few short weeks ago. Martin and his four brothers grew up in Main St. He lived most of adult life in Phoenix Arizona but his heart never left Listowel. He returned often especially for Writers’ Week and he was a great supporter of Listowel Connection. He wrote frequently to encourage and praise me. I will miss him. May he rest in peace.

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