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: Bees

Arts Festival, Michael O’Connor, Illuminator, and a Kerry link to High Office in the U.S.

Above is an example of the work of Michael O’Connor, formerly of 24 The Square Listowel.

Totally unrelated to yesterday’s post I had a phonecalll from a man called Stephen Rynne who is in possession of much of the work of the late O’Connor.

Michael O’Connor worked in Dublin as a draughtsman in The Department of Industry and Commerce. In his spare time he made these marvellous illustrated artworks in the style of The Book of Kells.

This is a family photograph of Michael looking at The Book of Kells from which he took inspiration.

Stephen has many of these works, many of them gold leaf on vellum and he also has correspondence relating to the works from a collaborator of O’Connors, Maurice Fridberg , a famous Dublin art dealer. This Fridberg considered O’Connor to be the best artist doing this kind of work.

A former Uachtarán na hEireann, Cearbhall ÓDálaigh was presented with some of O’Connor’s work by Fridberg on the occasion of his inauguration.

Since O’Connor lived in Listowel in the house that is now Kerry Writers Museum, Stephen would like the artwork, some of it unfinished, to return to the his native place.

There is much work to be done to bring this about but it looks like a valuable and historic find for Listowel.

Another example of the detailed artwork and colourwork in one of Michael O’Connor’s pieces.


What Kathy Did

Kathy Hochul is to be the first female Mayor of New York. Kathy’s maternal grandparents hail from Kerry and she is proud of her Irish roots.

Kay Caball of Find My Kerry Ancestors had traced Kathy’s maternal ancestors to a remote West Kerry parish.


Ballybunion Arts Festival

Something to look forward to in September.


Local Fleadh Committee 1970

Frances Kennedy kept this cutting and posted it on Facebook. Maybe someone will name them all.


My Friend has become a Beekeeper

and I have learned something. Native Irish bees are black!!!!!


A Bit of Housekeeping

Some of you will know that this year I changed platforms from Blogger to WordPress. I am still having teething problems. One such problem has only come to light recently. The way a web post displays on a tablet or phone is different to how it appears on my laptop.

People reading this on a tablet or phone don’t see the side bar at the right hand side. This is where the search box and the subscribe box are located.I dont know if I can fix this but I hope so. In the meantime if you are reading this and you would like your name added to the mailing list please sent me your email address and I’ll do it for you.

Lady with Bucket, Bob Boland’s Bees, Dominick Moloney in Market St and Crusaders on the Ring

Female Kingfisher

Photo: Chris Grayson


This picture is from the National Library. I don’t know who this lady is but I have known many ladies like her. The bucket is the giveaway. Country women in my day were often seen with such a bucket in hand. They were used for everything.


Bob Boland

I couldn’t believe my luck when I spotted this out of print book in the Listowel St. Vincent de Paul shop. What a treasure!

Bob Boland was a Farnastack poet who passed away in 1955. He was well known as a rhymer, a storyteller and a great play actor and joker. He assumed the mock ascendancy title Sir Robert Leslie Boland Bart.

Here is one of his little gems. He wrote this poem in 1946 when sugar was rationed and a bad summer had left his bees in dire straights

A Versified Application for Sugar for Bees

to the Department of Industry and Commerce, Dublin


Pedal Power

Dominick Moloney cycles home on Market Street, Listowel Junly 2 2019.


Kerry Crusaders on Ring of Kerry Cycle

I dont know who took the photo but Ring of Kerry Cycle shared it.

Valerie O’Sullivan took this one of a Listowel cyclist and fitness fanatic with a well known supporter who doesn’t appear to have a bicycle but I could be wrong.

Brendan at School (in Kilconly), St. Mary’s Listowel, Heather Ale and Limerick hurling

Dandy Lodge in Listowel Town Park, August 2018


Brendan at School

The school scenes for Brendan of Ireland were shot in Kilconly school.  Michael Greaney who played Brendan, went to school in Rathea.

Kilconly was most likely chosen as a location for the photos as it was a new school and would look good in the photos.

Mike Flahive who is the boy with the shock of black hair seated in front of “Brendan” in the photo remembers the occasion well. Brendan arrived with the photographer and an entourage and Brendan was put sitting in the midst of the local children. Frank remembers that the photographer, Wolfgang Suschitzky, was accompanied, during his time in Kerry by a very famous actress, Eithne Dunne. Maybe she was to give acting tips to the participants in the staging of the story for the camera.

The hurling game in front of the school is another story altogether. The visitors brought the bag of hurleys and the sliotar with them. There was no hurling in Kilconly back then. They gave the boys the hurleys, a quick lesson in how to hold them and away they went. The girls are well back from the action, sitting in benches outside the school. Michael Flahive remembers the game being called off after about 10 minutes for health and safety reasons. There were genuine fears that someone could be maimed.  No helmets, shin guards or gum shields in those days!

Brendan is pictured making a donkey out of “modelling clay” i.e. marla which was the brown Play Doh/ plasticine we all had as a nod to craft  in Primary school in the 1950s and 60s. Notice the clean new desk with the brass lid on the inkwell shined to perfection.

The book was translated into several European languages


Our Beautiful Church all decked out for a Wedding

You’ll have to agree it’s beautiful.


An Early Craft Beer

Source: A Year in Kerry by Patrick O’Sullivan


Luimneach Abú

Heartiest congratulations to all my Limerick friends, neighbours, family and blog followers. You knocked it out of the park, lads

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