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: Beal

New Year, Changed Town

North Kerry sunrise photographed in January 2022 by Ita Hannon


A Poem sent to us by Éamon ÓMurchú

John O’Donohue
A Blessing For The New Year

On the day when
The weight deadens
On your shoulders
And you stumble,
May the clay dance
To balance you.

And when your eyes
Freeze behind
The gray window
And the ghost of loss
Gets into you,
May a flock of colors
Indigo, red, green 
and azure blue,
Come to awaken in you
A meadow of delight

When the canvas frays
In the curragh of thought
And a stain of ocean
Blackens beneath you,
May there come across the waters
A path of yellow moonlight
To bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
May the clarity of light be yours,
May the fluency of the ocean be yours,
May the protection of the ancestors be yours.

And so may a slow
Wind work these words
Of love around you,
An invisible cloak
To mind your life.



John Kelliher took this marvellous picture of Listowel Town Square in December 2021

Here in North Kerry 2022 is opening with businesses closing, shops having to shut temporarily due to staff absences due to Covid and our streets at times eerily quiet as we are advised to limit social mixing. Our resilience is being tested but we will survive.

I’m back after a longer Christmas holiday than usual. Thank you to all the followers who were worried I had contracted Covid. Thankfully I have managed to avoid it so far even though it is all around me. so hopefully Listowel Connection will continue in some form for a while yet.


John Stack, Dancing Teacher

My friend and former colleague at Presentation Secondary School, Listowel posted a sad message on Facebook in January 2022. He accompanied the message with this photo;

Hi All

I have informed the Ballydonoghue Cce branch of Comhaltas that It is with regret that I will not be returning as Set Dancing teacher in Ballydonoghue after 43 years. I have put alot of thought into my decision over the Christmas and due to a number of reasons including Covid-19 and the effect it has had on everything and still not knowing when we can return if at all this year.

I started classes in Ballydonoghue in 1978 and during my time I have had some very memorable ventures.

Our first All Ireland medal was in 1996 when our U8 set brought home medals in the U15 set competition in Listowel. We also won All Ireland medals in Ballycastle Co Antrim Castlewellan CountyDown Tullamore, Co. Offaly, IrelandPeter StackBallina Co MayoEnniscorthy Co. Wexford and Drogheda, Ireland

Winning our first All Ireland winners medal in Ballycastle County Antrim in 1999. We also have had much success at County, Munster, as well as other competitions all over the country.

We also travelled to take part in Sean Dempsey International competition in Manchester on several occasions having much success.

In 2008. 23members from the branch did a branch exchange with the Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann – O’Neill Malcom Branch CCE in Washington DC. This was a very rare experience and we enjoyed visits to Capitol Hill, reception at the European union offices, also at the Irish Embassy, visiting Baltimore, Virginia, Maryland and seeing places we could only dream off. Finishing our trip with a performance on the Millennium stage In the Washington Dc Kennedy Centre where we were told we would have 200 to 250 attending and ending with over 1300 people watching us for an hour long concert.

Our trips to the RTE Studios for our performances on TG4 was a highlight for all our dancers.

I have to acknowledge the input Liz McNamara had on both Dolly and myself and the dancing class. She was a great support to us and always showed her support to every child regardless whether they won or not as she was always very proud that they had represented the branch.

Again many thanks to everyone in the branch for their support over the last 43 years and we would like to wish the branch much success in the future.

To Ballydonoghue GAA for the use of their clubrooms down through the years and of late their fabulous new building I would like to say thanks to all the officers past and present. Also to Jackie Hegarty and Tom in Tomasinis ye were always willing to help in any way ye could and put yer building at our disposal.

To the parents who have supported Dolly and myself and the class down through the years I want to thank you.

Last but not least to you our dancers wherever you may be. Passing through the doors of Ballydonoghue GAA clubrooms on a Satuday morning and Tuesday evening of late, I thank you all for the pleasure and joy you brought to us. We have made some great memories together and hope you will always remember your dancing days in Ballydonoghue.



It’s for the Children

Our lovely 2021 baby has had her first Christmas, her first Christmas tree, her first visit to a crib and Santa was good to her.

Aoife has brought “hope with her and forward looking thoughts.”


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.

Lá Fhéile Bride, some photos and memories of Listowel in the fifties

Lá ‘le Bríde

Tomorrow is February 1 2017, Lá Fhéile Bríde. The photo from the internet is of Bridgitswell in Kildare. She is our patron saint, of equal status with St. Patrick. Today we celebrate her and by tradition, we hang her cross to ward off evil.


Beale on the Wild Atlantic Way

Ita Hannon loves her native Béal and you can see why. This is just one of the many beautiful scenes she has captured and shared with us.


Trip to Trinity

Presentation Secondary School students paid a recent visit to Trinity College Dublin.  

(photo; Twitter)


Ballybunion Sea and Cliff Rescue

Isn’t this a super photo? It was taken on Christmas Day in Ballybunion and posted on the internet.

 I apologise for not noting the photographer’s name.


Broderick’s Bar, Tae Lane, Listowel


Summers in the 1950s Remembered by Maria Sham

During the summer school holidays we would take jam pots and go to Teampaillín Bán. I think the name means in English the little white graveyard. People were buried in a mass grave there during the Famine, only we did not know that then. Years later my brother Neilie got a group together and had a monument erected there to all the people of the famine who are buried there. The walk was on the Ballybunion road and I can still smell the tar on the road melting with the heat. In Teampaillín Bán there was a stream and we would paddle and catch kissans [little fish] and bring them home in our jam jars; the poor things did not survive long; we killed them with kindness over feeding them.

Also trips to Ballybunion, that was fantastic, Mam and Aunty Angie would bring tomato sandwiches, a large apple pie in a roasting tin and ‘ currant loaf, we would get a tray of tea at Collins’, (which was a house just off the beach) a large pot, milk, sugar and cups, all for I think 2 shillings. First we ran into the sea only in our knickers as we did not have swimsuits. After we would have our tea and it was fantastic. Even if the tomato sandwiches were full of sand nobody cared. Before leaving Ballybunion we would get our sand buckets and when the tide was gone out we marched off to the rocks and filled our buckets with periwinkles that we would boil when we got home. I remembered going to Ballybunion once with my aunt Eily in the donkey and cart, there was not that many motor cars or buses on the roads then.

At the back of our house there were a lot of elder bushes and we would hold concerts there. Admittance was a piece of broken china or a bottle top. We would dress up and pretend all kinds of things. We would put the elder flowers in our hair and pretend to be princesses. We would make mud cakes in empty polish tins and decorate them with daisies. We would have pretend shops.

As we got older it was not all play, Doreen and myself had to do jobs in the house i.e. wash up and clean the windows. There were brass rods on the stairs we had to clean with Brasso. Another job for us girls was to clean all the shoes for everyone on Saturday for Sunday mass.

My education finished at the convent at the early age of 15 followed by 2 years at the local technical college.

I left for England in March 1959 on the first step to my future.


A Few Names

Marie Shaw thinks she recognises a few faces in Maria Sham’s photo.

This was a younger class for me but I THINK I recognize a few girls.

Third from left, back row is definitely Joan Relihan (Brennan)

Fourth from right, back row looks like Anne Wixtead.

Margaret Dillon, front row in plaid.?

Cathy Mae Leahy or maybe her sister Eleanor, front row, first on right and Maeve Mooney, second from right, front row.

God, that’s a long time ago.

Keep the memories coming Mary!

Craftfair in The Seanchaí, racing commemtators and Ballydonoghue Magazine

Rermember Me?

(Photo Gilliam Wharton Slattery on What’s on in Kerry)

Christie Hennessey passed away in December 2007.


Craftfair at The Seanchaí on Sunday December 6 2015

When I was in The Square at 10.30 Cookarama were just arriving and setting up their stall.

One os Santa’s elves was at the door, greeting the families who came to partake in the Lapland experience.

The Crafty Bookworm, Maria Leahy was the first stall holder I met.

Mary Mooney was doing a spot of Christmas shopping.

Dawn Thomas brought her grandson, Noah to help her out.

lillian of Lillian’s Bookart had some really unusual pieces on display. They would sure be a talking point in anyone’s Christmas display.

Ruth O’Quigley couldn’t resist the beautiful tapestry cards.

Pat Murphy of Woodford Pottery is planning to build a new studio in 2016.

Ella O’Sullivan had some beautiful hand made items on her stall.

These sweet treats looked mouthwateringly good.

Noreen Buckley was pondering which Minion to purchase from Kelly.

Cookarama were doing a steady trade. I can recommend their lemon drizzle cake.

The show must go on. Seanchaí staff were kept busy as well.

Canon Declan helpfully posed behind the counter for me.


That was Then

This is Now

Jerry Hannon with his inspirational mentor, racing commentator, Des Scahill pictured recently at the HRI Award ceremony where Des was honored for his contribution to the industry.


Ballydonoghue Parish Magazine 2015

This annual publication is always a great read and this year is no exception. Make sure to buy yours as soon as possible before they sell out. It’s a great read.

 photo; John Stack

Every year they give prizes to young and old for creative writing and photography. This year my friend, Bridget O’Connor won second prize for her photo of a swan and cygnets at Ballyduff. In the picture with Bridget are Breda Canty (winner) and Elaine Nolan (runner up)


Ballybunion and Béal

Early morning in Ballybunion photographed by Ballybunion Prints

Béal photographed by Ita Hannon

Casette Tapes, Fishing in Béal, Cinderella and some festive shop windows

What a shot!    photo by Thomas Healy


Today’s Blast from the Part

photo;Irish Abroad

Do you know the relationship?

You used the pencil to rewind the tape when it got pulled out or snaggled in the cassette tape player. These were great recorders. You could mix your own music and record messages for friends. There was a little stopper that you could pull out and your recording would last forever…or until technology overtook it and there was no longer any machine to play it on.


That was Then: This is Now

Both these photographs were taken by Ita Hannon of Beal. The first shows Michael Hannon fishing in Beal, using a naomhóg and a small net. He was carrying on a fishing tradition that has been in his family for generations.

The second photo was taken by Ita recently. It shows two trawlers with big nets fishing the same waters.

The irony is that the small fisherman was stopped from fishing here some years back, allegedly out of fears for the depletion of fish stock.


Panto Time

The lines are learned, the costume making is complete, now it’s time to book your tickets. They are on sale now from the charities listed in the poster below.


It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

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