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: Ballybunion toilet

Listowel Town Square, Washday in 1960, Ballybunion’s New Toilet

Feale Sculpture with St. John’s in Listowel Town Square in June 2020.


Jim and Betty Beasley out for a walk in June 2020


A Poem for our Time


Progress Report from Danny McDonnell

Public toilets are closed at the moment for health and safety reasons. Meanwhile Ballybunion’s new convenience is coming along nicely.


Did your house have one of these?

Servis Supertwin twin tub washing machine, mid-1960s.

‘I can always remember my mother saying, “this is heaven, this has to be heaven…because it took the drudgery out of the hard work people had to do. – Maureen Gavan, Interviewed February 2017

The first phase of Electricity Supply Board’s (ESB) rural electrification programme began in 1946 and ran until 1965 with a post-development phase running into the 1970s. Although many rural women worked in offices and shops, as well as on the farm, the marriage bar and prevailing cultural attitudes meant that many women’s experiences of rural electrification were at home, where the kitchen was the focus of domestic work.

Kitchen Power: Women’s Experiences of Rural Electrification – National Museum of Ireland – Country Life, Castlebar, Mayo.



The new regulations allow us to travel anywhere in our own county. My first trip outside the 5km. limit wa to Ballybunion.

As I walked along the cliff walk I met my friend, Mary Moylan, and two of her friends taking a welcome breather from their roles as front line nurses in KUH.

It is very hard to see mobile home parks cordoned off in the height of the tourist season.

The Cliff House is preparing to open  for what’s left of the season.

Kerry in Christmas 1902, Ballybunion, Knockanure, Activity at the bird house and a Quiz

Charles Street, Listowel in 2016


Nesting Birds Observed

by Tom Fitzgerald in his garden

Anyone home?

I’m right behind you


A Moderate Christmas in Kerry in 1902

From Kerry Sentinel, Wednesday, December 31, 1902

Christmas is gone, and the people of the kingdom have reason to congratulate themselves on the highly creditable manner in which the Great Festival has been observed in the county. We publish elsewhere particulars of ceremonies in the churches, which speak for themselves. And apart from the religious observances, the conduct of the people was satisfactory in the extreme. In years gone by—and not so very long ago either—the notion seemed to prevail amongst a section of the populace that Christmas was a privileged time when over-indulgence in liquid as well as solid refreshments and luxuries could be countenanced, and as a consequence there were numerous scenes of drunkenness, with their attendant miseries. That regrettable state of affairs was naturally most pronounced in large towns and villages, but things have changed for the better, and in town and country alike the year now drawing to a close has broken the record in reform.

Take Tralee, the capital of the ” Kingdom,” for example; The holydays just passed have been voted the most enjoyable known in the present generation. On the whole the people seemed to enjoy themselves to the fullest advantage, but they did so rationally, tempering their festivities with moderation. Of course there is an exception to every rule, no community is absolutely perfect and a few stragglers may have seen indulging themselves “not wisely but too well,” but they are not to be taken into account to any great extent under the circumstances. Taking the town in general, there was no real disturbance to disgrace the holiest season of the year. This fact was patent to all who were around, but the best proof of it was furnished by the last Tralee Petty Sessions. The business listed for disposal there was the lightest ever known in the history of the Court, the few paltry cases listed taking less than half an hour in hearing. The people of this large and populous district certainly have reason to be proud of the fact. We doubt, if there is a town in Ireland of the same size that can show a cleaner sheet. Mr. Sullivan, D.I.., expressed his admiration of the manner in which the people of all grades of society acted during the holydays. The publicans, he said, showed no desire to take advantage of the season, and that was only what he expected from them, knowing that the vast majority of them were most respectable people. “What we have said of Tralee, we believe, applies to the other towns in the “Kingdom,” and we repeat, that the people of Kerry are to be congratulated on the manner in which the greatest season of the year was observed.


Two Ballybunion Photos

 One evening a few years ago, as I was passing the recycling centre on the way to the beach I met this lady painting dolphins on the wall.

These toilets have been demolished. When work recommences on the new ones, Ballybunion will have state of the art facilities.


Sobriety in Rhyme 

One of the tools that helped Noel Roche on his rehab journey was his faith. In this poem/prayer he outlines how he takes life one day at a time and relies always on God’s help.

One Day

Lead me gently through the day

Don’t let me do it my own way.

If I stumble, let me fall,

If I can’t walk, let me crawl.

If I’m in denial let me doubt,

If I’m in self pity, let me pout.

If I’m in pain and it’s real

All I ask is, Let me feel.

Please don’t let me drink today

Because that would be the old way.

Oh Holy Father, don’t you see,

It’s Footprints time. Please carry me.

Hold me in your arms

Hold me near

I have faith in you, my God

Because its stronger than my fear.

Yes my faith is stronger than my fear today

So I’ll handle anything that comes my way.

I’ve got to work the steps, do the next thing that is right.

Ask God for help in the morning,

And thank him every night.


A Tree of Hope

The bishop and the late Fr. Pat Moore at a tree planting in Knockanure.


A Quiz from Mattie

These 32 clues correspond to the 32 counties of Ireland. Have fun.


Róisín Meaney is turning over a new leaf

The start of a new lockdown week,

And a better plan for my physique

I’ll yoga like crazy

I’ll stop being so lazy

And of chocolate, you won’t hear a squeak. 

Ballybunion Toilet, Listowel Writers Week 2007and The Clock of Life

Covid 19 has sucked the fun out of so many things


Ballybunion’s New Facilities

Danny McDonnell brings us up to date on building work on the new toilet.


Remembering Writers’ Week 2007 (continued)

Mattie Lennon

On Friday, self-taught painter Liam O’Neill had an exhibition of his paintings in Saint John’s Theatre. This was followed by a one-person show written and performed by Martha Furey. It tells the, sometimes, tragic story of Isadora Duncan, the American dancer who introduced the art of modern dance.

Roger McGough, OBE , one of Britain’s best loved poets, made an appearance in the Listowel Arms at 1.30 and Alice Hogg and Aslison Weir “Brought History to Life” in The Seanchaí Centre at 4. O’clock.  This was followed by an art exhibition (the work of Maria Simonds-Gooding) titled The Dingle Peninsula.

Friday evening saw the launch of Shadows On Our Doorstep, a collection of poetry by farmer/poet P.J.Kennedy from Belturbet, Co. Cavan.

 ( Have you ever noticed how farmers speak in a poetic manner in everyday conversation? Recently I heard a farmer commenting about a wet day in May, ” That’s coming in the right time. A day of that would do more good in a fortnight now than a week of it would do in a month later on in the year”).  

It is no exaggeration to say that P.J. is a 21st century Kavanagh. Like the man from Enniskeen he can take the banal and make it universal.

The vet being called for a sick cow is portrayed in such a way that it grips the imagination of the most urban reader.

I phoned the vet:

“Mastitis in one quarter and travelling,

Mother’s milk reduced to whey.

Tell him to come quickly”.

“Is she in calf?”

“Yes and strong twins suckling her”.

Noel listened with his stethoscope,

He could hear she was very ill indeed.

I caught her dewless nose

With the Siberian tongs.

She moaned as if to say, “ Ah, go easy.”

P.J’s cow survived and his poems, in the words of Carlo Gebler, “ . . . give equal pleasure to readers who know the world the poet describes and to readers who know nothing of that world”. Shadows On Our Doorstep is available from

You’ll be hearing more of P.J.

Playwright Billy Roche brought his singing, acting and musical skills into play when he read from his short story collection Tales From Rainwater Pond.


A Timely Reminder

Ballybunion, Launch of a minute of Your Time and a Mad Shoemaker

Sanctuary, St. Mary’s, Listowel


Ballybunion’s old toilet building is Demolished

Photo: Danny McDonnell


What a Night!

If you’re getting a bit tired of photographs from the launch of A Minute of Your Time, you’ll have to help me out. I knew that material for this blog would eventually wear thin and that time has come. I’m struggling to find something to share with you every day so if you have any material that would be of interest to people with a Listowel connection, do help me out please.

Meanwhile here are some more of Breda Ferris’ photos from October 19 2019

Liz Dunne

My lovely neighbour, Michael Salmon

Mike Moriarty

Miriam Kiely OGrady

Some more lovely neighbours and former neighbours, Alice, Eileen and Eddie Moylan

Namir, Kay and Roza Karim


Noreen O’Connell

From Ballyduff and New York, John, Bridget and Pádraig O’Connor

A great supporter of Just a Thought, Pam Brown

Pat Murphy and Vincent Carmody

Pat Galvin

Pat Given

My only brother, Pat Ahern


A Wintry Walk

Nothing beats Ballybunion on a clear day.


Only a Few Weeks left

This photo of Namir Karim and Michael Dillane was taken in Flavins just before Christmas. Sadly all that stock is now sold off and there remains but a few last bits and pieces before Joan locks up for the last time, closing the door on an important chapter in Listowel’s history.


Shoemaking In Listowel Long Ago

From Dúchas, the Schools’ Folklore Collection

About fifty years ago in Listowel in addition to men making boots there was also men who used to make cheap brogues or low shoes. Every time there would be a fair in Abbeyfeale they would take an ass load of these brogues to the fair and sell them in the fair just as people sell second hand clothes now. The best known one of those was called Johnny the bottoner (O Connor) a brother to famous Patsy. Patsy used work hard making brogues up to the time of the fair. On that night he would be mad drunk. Most of the houses at the top of church street at this time were thatched houses. Patsy would roll home about midnight and break most of the windows up on his end of the street. He would take the road the following morning and would not come back again till things were forgotten again. These brogues were stitched by the hand but at that time the shoemakers used work by “lamplight” and often worked well after midnight.

W. Keane
Listowel, Co. Kerry
Mrs M. Keane
Listowel, Co. Kerry

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén