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

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Signs in The Square, Sheahan’s Cottage Finuge; Seán MacCarthy Festival and a hard working postman

Beautiful snap of a colourful kingfisher by Christopher Grayson


Believe it or Not

I found this on the internet. Could it be true?


A Seán MacCarthy Festival  Memory

Tom O’Connell sent us this great photo. No year but the musicians are

L to R

Richard Allen,  Eddie Brown, Brendan Hartnett, Michael Hayes who was recently 80. 

 In case you are wondering about the wellingtons, the session was held after a bog walk.


Were you in Second Year in St. Michael’s in 1979?

Photo from centenary commemorative book


More from Listowel Town Square in lockdown in May 2020

These big signs on the bus shelter outside the church were later changed to advertisements for the charity, Alone. Alone looks after the welfare of older citizens.

Covid 19 has been particularly hard on older people like me. We have had to stay home, and shun all human interaction. Many of our friends in nursing homes have become very ill and many have died. It was a feature of the last pandemic, The Spanish Flu, that it killed many young people. Covid 19 took the elderly.

Social distancing guidelines make funerals very hard for the bereaved. Only 10 mourners are allowed to attend the funeral mass. Grief, for so many, has to be postponed.


Intreo Office

ETB at The Butler Centre

Two notices on  Marshall Macauley window

Bank of Ireland

Horgan Properties

This business, Fealeside Financial Services is new to me. Maybe it had just opened when it had to  close.

Bike Shops are allowed to open.

Postman, Pat Hickey is very busy these times delivering all the online orders and he is also now a paperboy as many people chose to get The Kerryman and Kerry’s Eye delivered by An Post.

Fred Chute at work on Jet’s, Bank of Ireland Refurb and Molly in Cork

Trees in Listowel Pitch and Putt course


Still Number One

I saw Fred on his ladder painting one of the many pieces of  individual wall art that grace Listowel.

A master at work.

Fred’s cousin, Liz, sent a request for a smile especially for her the next time I saw Fred painting. Here it is Liz, a smile especially for you from William St., Listowel.

In case any of the rest of you are getting any ideas, I can’t make a habit of going around town disturbing people at their work and asking them to smile at their cousins in America.


Bank of Ireland

I haven’t called for a few days. This was how it looked last time I visited.


Molly at Home

Molly is back in Cork with her family.

 Her girls are learning to touch type. Molly is waiting for them to get done and come and play.

She likes a walk and a little dip.


A legendary Ballybunion Piper

This is Ballybunion at nighttime. Once upon a time a lone piper used to walk these shores at sunset composing tunes.

According to local lore, Tom McCarthy, the famous Ballybunion piper, was born in 1799. His favourite playing spot was the Castle Green but he also was said to walk along the cliffs listening to the wild life and replicating the sounds of Nature in his music.

He passed away in 1904 after a lifetime of composing and playing music.

After his death, his pipes became the stuff of legend, one man claiming that they played by themselves with no musician about.

Finally the pipes vanished and nobody has any idea where they are to this day.

(I read this story in Danny Houlihan’s Ballybunion, an Illustrated History)

Painting the Community Centre, Changes at Bank of Ireland and Olive Stack’s mural

Morning in Listowel Pitch and Putt course


Molly is still enjoying her trip to Listowel


Painting work continues at Lisatowel Community centre


I Met the Hannons in The Square

Danny, Eileen and Maurice out for a stroll in the July sunshine


Aspects of The Listowel Arms Hotel


Changes at Bank of Ireland

They’re changing the interior layout of the bank. I’ll keep you posted.

Olive Stack’s mural is still intact.


The First of the Beal Spuds

Photo: Ita Hannon

Do you remember when the first of the new potatoes would come into the grocery shop and the grocer would boil a muller of them and plonk them outside the door?

 There was no better advertisement.

Ita Hannon’s photo took me back to those days and I just know that there is many an emigrant mouth watering at the sight.

Rattoo Sunset, Bank of Ireland Mural and Pitch and Putt in the sun

Rattoo Sunset

Photo: Michael Pixie O’Gorman


Olive Stack’s Mural in Bank of Ireland, Listowel

The mural depicts The Square as it was. It’s sad to see so many of the characters who have passed away


Well Done Tidy Town’s People

The old telephone exchange is not a particularly pretty building at the end of O’Connell’s Avenue. My eye was drawn away from the industrial bleakness of it to the lovely flower tubs at the corner.


Pitch sand Putt Course Looking Resplendent

As I was walking through the park last week I spotted three happy men out for an early morning game of pitch and putt.

Don’t they look like photos from Florida?


Ballybunion/ Ballybrown……Could be in Florida

These photographs of Ballybunion Golf Course this week were taken by Barry O’Halloran and he tells me that CTH stands for Closest To Heaven as it is on  the highest point on the course.

Blue Box Appeal, Local Author, Gerard Mulvihill, a Fleadh success in 1997 and an enquiry into Agrarian Outrage in North Kerry

Garden of Europe May 2016


The Big Blue Box Appeal

The Blue Box Appeal is a fundraising initiative undertaken by Bank of Ireland in conjunction with The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul. On Monday last, May 23 2016 the appeal came to town. The idea is that a team of cyclists take the blue box from town to town. The cyclists are volunteers. In each town as the box lingers a while a big fundraising effort is put in. In Listowel the cyclists were met by the Convent School Band. When they reached the Square, Jimmy Hannon and his band had another show in full swing. There was a barbecue, Woody and Mickey and Minnie were in attendance and all the schools brought their pupils to enjoy a great morning. Meanwhile around the town, St. Vincent de Paul volunteers were holding a flag day.


Play the Cards  You are Dealt

This book by local author, Gerard Mulvihill will be launched at Writers Week 2016


Fleadh Time Again

Hard to believe its 19 years ago. This photo was originally shared on Facebook by Elizabeth Brosnan.


The Fitzmaurice land Murder: The Parnell Commission on Crime

A friend of Listowel connection  who has read a lot about this incident  writes;

” I have read a lot on the Kerry ‘outrages’ and am quite taken aback at the cruelty,  viciousness and  brutality that seemed ‘normal’ among the moonlighters when ‘dealing’ with ordinary people of their own sort and station in life.  I hasten to say that this did not solely apply to Kerry-  the same can be said about  all other counties where unrestrained violence became the ‘local law.’

The fear of the workhouse – and the moonlighter- made people callous and craven; but it would be almost  impossible to  blame them in the cirsumstances.

It is very easy to raise the devil- it is another thing entirely to put him back where he came from!”

The above message was accompanied by this  extract from an account of the Parnell Commission’s Enquiry into the Fitzmaurice murder. Nora Fitzmaurice, the victim’s daughter was with him when he was shot. She gave sworn evidence to the enquiry.


He would now call attention to the case of James Fitzmaurice, 60 years of age,
whose murder was one of the most brutal character. He was killed on the 31st of
January, 1880; but for two or two and a half years his life had been made a
misery to him. His murder was directly traceable to the Lixnaw Branch of the
Land League. It might be said that the Land League was suppressed three weeks
before his murder, and, therefore, the organisation could have had nothing to do
with it; but he should be able to show that it had. In 1887 Fitzmaurice helped
Mr. Hussey, a landlord’s agent, over a ditch. That was his offence, and the
local branch of the Land League then issued the following resolution, which was
given in the Kerry Weekly Reporter: – “That as James Fitzmaurice has acted
the part of special constable to S.N. Hussey on the 14th inst., we consider his
neighbours should hold no further intercourse with him.”

That was in June, 1887. On the 31st of January, 1880, Fitzmaurice was shot
while driving with his daughter in the morning. There were several persons who
then passed them on the road, but they dared not go to the assistance of the
dying man and his daughter. The men charged with that murder were defended by
the National League funds. He (the learned counsel) supposed it was to see that
they got a fair trial.


Norah Fitzmaurice was the next witness. She is a tall good looking young woman,
and gave her evidence very clearly. She stated that her father, Jas.
Fitzmaurice, lived in the parish of Lixnaw, in the county Kerry, with her uncle
Edmond, the two holding a farm of sixty-six acres. Both were ultimately evicted
for non-payment of rent, and were put back as caretakers. Prior to the
eviction, a dispute had arisen between her father and uncle, as the latter was
not willing to pay his portion of the rent, and it was in consequence of this
that the eviction took place. In March, 1887, her father was made tenant of the
entire farm, and her uncle left and went to live at the next farm.


Shortly after that the servant of the secretary of the local branch of the
National League, Thomas Doolan, brought a letter to her father, which asked him
to attend a meeting of the National League on the succeeding Sunday. This,
however, he did not do, and subsequently she saw notices in the Kerry Sentinel
and the Kerry Weekly Reporter with reference to her father.

Here a discussion arose as to the admissibility of notices in the latter paper,
inasmuch as no one connected with that paper was mentioned in the charges and

Sir Henry James submitted that it was admissible on the ground that it was a
record of events commonly known in a locality.

Sir C. Russell observed that it seemed to him the actual object of the inquiry,
viz., the inquiring into charges and allegations, had been lost sight of. He
submitted that it was not admissible, on the ground that the paper was not
connected with specifically mentioned persons.

Mr. Asquith emphasised Sir Charles’s argument, after which,

The President decided that the evidence was not admissible.

Miss Fitzmaurice’s evidence was, consequently, proceeded with on other lines.
She said that shortly after her father took the farm on his own hands, Doolan,
with other men, visited the farm, and walked around the house, staying there
about two hours.

Mr. Atkinson here read from the Kerry Sentinel a report of a National League
meeting, at which Mr. Fitzmaurice was condemned for taking his brother’s farm.


Continuing her evidence, Miss Fitzmaurice said that in January, 1888, she left
her house at about four o’clock with her father for Listowel Fair. They were
accompanied some distance by a police escort. Shortly after the escort left
them a man passed them and returned with another man. They then fired at her
father, and he was killed. Two men named Hayes and Moriarty were hanged for the


After her father had been shot, several neighbours passed in their carts. One
stopped and said, “He’s
not dead yet,”
and passed on; while others refused to assist her at


After the conviction of the two men Hayes and Moriarty the people refused to
speak to her. When she attended the parish church the people got up and left
the building, the man Thomas Doolan leading the way; and those who did worship
in the same church would not kneel where she knelt. Norah Fitzmaurice went on
to say that she was still living in her father’s house, with her sister and
mother, and they were still under police protection.


In course of cross-examination by Sir Charles Russell, Norah Fitzmaurice
declared that there was a dispute about the bog-land near her father’s farm,
but she could not say it was because the landlord, Mr. Hussey, was trying to
close a road that the public had used for a long time. When her uncle was
evicted, he went to live with a Mr. Costelloe, also a tenant under Mr. Hussey,
who, she heard, was very much annoyed in consequence. She admitted that there
was “very bad blood” between her father and uncle.

Is it not a fact that Hayes, one of the men convicted of your father’s murder,
tried to break up the League at Tralee? – No, sir.

Did you know that either one of the two was a member of the League? – No. She
added that Thomas Quilter, who had been brought over to London as a witness,
and died here, was her cousin, and was the assistant secretary of the local
branch of the League.


Articles published in the Kerry Sentinel and United Ireland, condemning the
murder and outrages in Kerry generally, were at this juncture read. Then Sir
Henry James re-examined Miss Fitzmaurice, obtaining merely the additional
statement that articles had appeared in the Kerry Sentinel relating
specifically to her father.

Miss Fitzmaurice left the box, and Michael Harris entered. His evidence was
directed to representing the hostility of the people towards the Fitzmaurices
after the murder. “Referring to the fact that Doolan left the chapel when
Miss Fitzmaurice entered, he said he believed that was simply because Miss
Fitzmaurice was there. Doolan was afterwards sent to jail for intimidating Miss

The Court here adjourned for luncheon.


On resuming, after luncheon, Sir Henry James put in a copy of the Kerry
Sentinel, containing a report of the proceedings of the trial of Doolan for the
intimidation of Norah Fitzmaurice. He said his object was to show that there
was no condemnation of the outrage and boycotting.

Head-constable Irwin was then re-called. He said that on the 18th of August,
1880, Quilter made a statement to him. Witness then read a portion of the
statement from his note-book.

He was interrupted by Sir Charles Russell, who, addressing the Court, contended
that the statement was not evidence, as it had not been made by Quilter as an
official of the League.

The President upheld that view.”

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