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: Brendan Kennelly Page 2 of 5

Music, Ball Alley Art, a Ballybunion Sculpture and Brendan Kennelly Essay

Clochar strand by Éamon ÓMurchú


Irish Music at the Ball Alley

These three pictures celebrate a very important part of Irish Culture; traditional music.


Unseasonal Poem


A Rare Brendan Kennelly Essay

The late Brendan Kennelly wrote an introductory essay on North Kerry parishes for Vincent Carmody’s North Kerry Camera. Vincent has shared it with us.


A Fact

In Kentucky there is a fundamentalist Catholic theme park. The centrepiece is a replica of Noah’s Ark. It is one of the largest wooden structures in the world. In 2017 and 2018 there was really really heavy rain in Kentucky.

Landslides at the theme park damaged the ark and the company who ran the park sued for rain damage.


Mary Young

I took my recent visitors to see the incongruous sculpture of a lady dressed for a ball sitting in front of one of the most magnificent churches in the diocese.

Here is the answer;

A mark of respect for Mary Young


December 09 2017 12:00 AM

The Killahenny Heritage, Historical, and Arts Society commissioned and recently unveiled a statue of Mary Young (née O’Malley), in honour of her significant contribution to life in Ballybunion.

Born in Kilconly, Ballybunion, she was unable to find work near home, and after finding employment in Clare, she met her husband John Young, an English tea-planter.

After John’s death, she returned to Ballybunion, living at her home on Doon Road for some 12 years. Upon a return to Dublin in the early 1880s, she wished her home to be used as a school; there, the Sisters of Mercy established a convent on the back of her generosity, and they would continue their involvement with St Joseph’s School for over 100 years.

“On her return from Dublin, Mary built a house on Church Road, which later became Dr. Hannan’s house,” Catherine Hayes told The Kerryman in the days following the momentous events.

“Returning from Dublin, she had another house built on Church Road which would become Dr Hannan’s house. After meeting with Fr O’Connor, she proposed the building of a new church to be named St John’s in memory of her husband. 

“She died on August 19 1894 and is buried  in Kilahenny Cemetry.  We the Killahenny Heritage, Historical and Arts Society wished to publicly honour Mary Young and acknowledge her immense contribution to Ballybunion,” Catherine added.


Radio Eireann, Ballybunion, Ball Alley Art and Brendan Kennelly R.I.P.

In Listowel Town Park, October 2021


“Le Coinnle na nAingeal”

Last weekend two of Ireland’s literary giants passed away.

Máire Mhac an tSaoi had a very small poetic output compared to Brendan Kennelly. She also wrote exclusively in Irish which meant that her poems were accessible to a limited audience.

Her work is well known by school children who identify with the teenage angst of her poem of first love with a local boy “Mac feirmeora ó iarthar tíre”, she had a crush on during a summer in the Gaeltacht of West Kerry.

She wrote a lovely sad little poem, a picture of a parent putting on the first shoe, “seoidín den leathar” , a step to freedom or the first shackles.

Probably her best known poem, Cuireadh do Mhuire, is a Christmas classic.

Guím leaba i measc na naomh di.


Brendan Kennelly R.I.P. was a prolific, popular, well known and loved poet and academic.

Throughout his long life he “walked with kings but kept the common touch”.

He never forgot his Kerry roots. He loved his large Kerry family, his Kerry friends and Kerry landscapes and values.

This prince of the Kingdom was a very proud Ballylongford man but he had many many Listowel connections and it was in this little corner of the world he saw out his days surrounded by his loving, caring and very proud family. It is they who will most feel his loss. His brothers, his sister and all his family will miss him greatly.

I took these photos in 2015 at the unveiling of the bust to Brendan Kennelly in Ballylongford.

Colm Tóibín, Liz Dunn, Chair of Listowel Writers’ Week, Brendan Kennelly, and Richard Ford

This is 2017 when Brendan was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by Listowel Writers’ Week.

These photos were also taken in 2017 at Opening Night Listowel Writers’ Week. In it Brendan is chatting to Eileen Moylan of Claddagh Design who designed and crafted the beautiful award piece depicting scenes from his two home towns, Ballylongford and Dublin.

Éamon Ó Murchú & Brendan Kennelly (Photo taken many years ago)


Today’s Incredible Fact

A Disney themed café in Birmingham was once closed down temporarily because a customer spotted a mouse.

The café is inside the world’s biggest Primark. It is famous for serving mouse shaped pancakes and there are posters of Mickey and Minnie all over the shop.

But when a real living mouse was spotted, it brought business to a sharp halt for a while.


Listening to the Radio

Photo from Vanishing Ireland website

In Ireland in the 1950s the main source of inanimate entertainment was the radio. Many houses had a set like this. This is a PYE. Our one was a Phillips. I remember waking up to the sounds of O’Donnell Abú. This was the signature tune of Radio Eireann. We never listened to any other channel.

After The News we had sponsored programmes. These were short music or magazine programmes sponsored by big business e’g. ODearest Mattresses, Batchelors or The Irish Hospitals Sweepstake.

The Waltons programme on Saturdays ….”If you feel like singing, do sing an Irish song” and Dear Frankie’s “This problem may not be yours today but it could be someday” became phrases familiar to every Irishman.

Memories, memories!


Making Turf


Public Art in Ballybunion

Have you noticed that, as you walk around any town nowadays there is so much to delight the eye. I took these photos on a recent stroll around Ballybunion.


In the Ball Alley

This is just one of the many lovely pictures in the ball alley now. It says home; doesn’t it?

Winter, summer, old, new, commercial and residential, Listowel in all its loveliness.


Rattoo, Sr. Ignatius Moore, River Walk, An Gleann Footballers and Claddagh Design

 Sunset at Rattoo

Photo: Bridget O’Connor


Pushing up Daisies

I took this photo in St. Michael’s Graveyard  in Listowel. I apologise if this is your family grave. I mean no disrespect by the caption.


An Extraordinary Irish Missionary Sister

Southern Cross Adelaide, SA – Fri 20 Mar 1931

Madras (India) .—One of the most remarkable missionary careers of modern times came to a close with the death at 91 years of age of Mother Ignatius Moore, of the Presentation Order, at Kodaikanal, Diocese of Trichinopoly, India, on January 11. 

Possessing a striking personality, thevenerable nun was well known throughout Southern India, and four generations of children passed through her hands in her 67 years of active life spent in the country. She never returned to her native land of Ireland after leaving it in 1863. When Bishop Fennelly, vicar Apostolic of Madras, visited Ireland in 1863 seeking workers for his mission, Mother Ignatius offered  her services, and set out with a small group of Sisters for the perilous journey. The shorter route through the Suez Canal was then unknown as also the swift and safe steamers of the present day. 

The voyage” to India was made in a sailing vessel via the Cape Of Good Hope, the trip covering five months. 

Mother Ignatius was awarded the Kaiser-i-Hind Medal by the Government in 1917, in recognition of her long and meritorious services in the cause of education. In 1922 she celebrated her diamond jubilee, which marked the close of her 5oth year-as a religious.
When the pioneer Nun arrived in Madras there was but one Presentation Convent. Now there are six, besides the one at Kodaikanal. She lived to see the great-grandchildren of her former pupils, to see Madras develop from a small seaside town to a great  modern city, and to see the immense progress in almost every field of missionary endeavour in Southern India.


River Walk

This photo was taken on the footwalk under the bridge about 5 years ago.

I took that walk again recently. The level of water in the river was very low

Has anyone any idea what this is? It was in the river.


An Gleann photo shared by Noel Roche. I have no names or year.


They’re Back

Behan’s The Horseshoe and John R’s foodhall are open again.


Never out of Fashion

Listowel’s Eileen Moylan’s timeless jewellery business is featured in the Fashion section of this week’s RTE Guide.

Claddagh Design is open for business throughout the pandemic and Eileen ships to anywhere in the world where shipping is allowed during the crisis.

I am a great fan of Eileen’s work and I am the very proud owner of several pieces created by her.

This is the beautiful bracelet I got for my birthday.

My family worked with Eileen on the design and materials for this piece which is made from my late husband’s wedding ring and a sapphire from the first ring he gave me.

As well as her bespoke pieces, Eileen makes off- the- shelf treasures as well.

You may remember Eileen in Craftshop ns Méar as she introduced her very popular Listowel range which, with the blessing of the MacMahon family, she called “My Silver River Feale”.

I have featured here before some of her gorgeous one off pieces.

Eileen also does big pieces like awards, mayoral chains and presentation pieces.

The Kerry Chain

Lifetime Achievement Award presented to Brendan Kennelly at Listowel Writers’ Week

Listowel Writers’ Week award to Edna O’Brien.

 Eileen also makes wedding jewellery.

She works from her studio in Co. Cork but she is still very attached to her Listowel roots.

Famous Visitors and Locals

 When John Met Brendan

Musician, John Sheehan met his friend, poet, Brendan Kennelly in The Listowel Arms during Writers’ Week and David Browne got the picture.


Old Boys

Vincent Carmody, Jed Chute, Joe Buckley from Brussels, Michael Guerin


Could they be related?

Orla Guerin met Michael Guerin At the Fake News event at Writers’ Week 2019.


People I met at The Unveiling of the Tidy Town’s Plaque

Even before Writers Week I was busy with my camera. Here are some local people and some visitors I snapped on the day of Michael D.’s visit. They are mostly local people including myself and the lovely Dolores O’Carroll but you will spot a few Dublin visitors as well.

Listowel men in drag in 1974, Pres. girls, Tennis Players in Action in 1987 and Poetry in the Park in 2019

Listowel Town Square February 2019


Someone will surely give me a year for this group of lovely young ladies who were my 1 Aodan class when I took the photo.


Remember that Panto in 1974?

One of the highlights of that first pantomime was the interval drag act when some very unlikely local business men dressed up á lá Danny La Rue. Jimmy Moloney Sr. has very kindly shared a press cutting.

The lovely “ladies” are

Vincent Moloney, The Square, R.I.P., Jimmy Moloney, Gurtinard, Kieran Moloney, The Square, Tony Faley, Small Sq. R.I.P., Jerome Murphy, Charles St. R.I.P., Paudie Fitzmaurice, Cahirdown R.I.P.


Now and Then




A Little Poem for you

“No place like home, “she said

Eighty, in her rocking chair,

“where you can spit in the fire

Saucer your tea

and call the cat a bastard.”

Brendan Kennelly


Poetry In the Park

A group of local writers gathered in the Seanchaí on Sunday February 17 2019 for their regular Poetry in the Park event. The change from the park to the Seanchaí was necessitated by the weather.

I enjoyed the poetry stories, song and banter. If you are a writer, watch out for their events. They are very welcoming

These are some of the lovely writers who were there on the day.


More action shots  from the tennis courts

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