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 of Ireland Page 1 of 2

Moss Scanlon R.I.P., Wash Day supplies and Listowel Shopfronts

Chris Grayson in Corran tuathail


Moss Scanlon R.I.P.

This is the photograph from Brendan of Ireland of Moss Scanlon at the door of his harness maker’s shop greeting Paud Carey and Michael Greaney.

David O’Sullivan found  an obituary in The Kerryman of January 4 1969

David also found this account of the book Brendan of Ireland in The Independent  of 1961 


Vision Centre, North Main St. Cork

On Heritage Day 2018 I visited the Cork Vision Centre with my daughter. They had lots of “vintage’ stuff on display. Nowadays anything old is vintage.

 Cliona McKenna outside the Vision Centre

 An old barber’s chair and some other old artefacts


 A man’s grooming set

OMO was washing powder and Sunlight was soap from Port Sunlight outside Liverpool

This was a mangle that went over the wash tub. You squeezed the water out of the garment by rolling it between two rollers.


Speaking of Washing…..

A helpful blog follower found this old postcard.

Was washing day really like this do you think?


A Very Stylish shop in the old Galvin’s off licence

Aoife Hannon, Milliner


Correction re Altered Images Shopfront

A few weeks ago I featured this lovely shopfront which has been beautifully painted by Chute Family Painting Contractors.

I assumed that the plasterwork was the work of Pat MacAulliffe.  I was wrong.

I met Tom Relihan  by chance last week and he told me that the plasterwork on this shop front was done by Paddy Fitzell. He did this and two other shopfronts in town.

I’m delighted to correct this and to give credit where credit is due.


Listowel Races 2018, The Earliest Ever Harvest Festival

More From Brendan of Kerry and the last Kerry hanging

John B. Keane Road in August 2018


Brendan on his Way to the Sea

Bryan Mac Mahon’s book Brendan of Kerry is a romantic story of the life of a young boy in rural Ireland in the 50s and 60s.

As a break from feeding hens and taking tea to the men in the bog, Brendan played pitch and toss with his brothers and listened to the stories of the old folks. 

Brendan had a great imagination and after he had heard the story of Tír na nÓg, he headed out on an adventure to find this magical land. Because he had never seen the sea he imagined that the land of eternal youth would be on the coast.

This trip to TÍr ha nÓg was an ideal opportunity for Wolfgang Suschitzky to take lots of lovely photographs of the North Kerry countryside.

There’s Brendan bringing tea to the men in the bog.

The saved turf is loaded into the donkey cart.

Feeding the hens beside the reek of turf.

Brendan is helping his grandfather to repair the thatch. Frank Greaney remembers his Uncle Paud thatching his house and repairing damage done by birds looking for seeds among the new straw.

 On his way to the sea, Brendan met a ploughman.

When he eventually reached Ballybunion he met this mountain goat on the path by the Virgin Rock.

Brendan saw caves for the first time and he had his first sight of seaweed too.

What a picture of freedom and childhood innocence as Brendan plays in the sand dunes.

Here the Greaney brothers are playing marbles or pitch and toss.

Michael Greaney as Brendan tucked up fast asleep in Pidge Trant’s bed.


Trees at Listowel Pitch and Putt Course

 The new planting when it joins up with the existing trees will form a natural screen for the course.


A Hanging in 1824

Timothy Cotter was the last man to be hanged in Kerry. He was a young blacksmith and Whiteboy organiser. He was found guilty of the murder of Thomas Brereton at Tralee assizes in 1824. He was hanged in a field near the site of the murder. The following report is from Sounders Newsletter of August 23 1824 and I read it in Patrick O’Sullivan’s Year in Kerry.

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

Garden of Europe, Festival of Kerry, Statues in St. Mary’s and more from the stars of Brendan of Ireland

It was Roses, Roses all the Way


Festival of Kerry…A Thought

Source: A Year in Kerry by Patrick O’Sullivan


Listowel Community Centre Looking Good


Garden of Europe in August 2018

This seat is placed opposite The Tree of Hope

This is what you are reading if you are seated here.


Moving Statues

St Theresa has been restored to a new position in St. Mary’s.

And St. Padre Pio has got company on his altar.


More from Brendan of Ireland

The purpose of the series of books was to educate children about the cultural differences between people in different countries.

Brendan, as a typical Irish child, wears jumpers knitted by his aunt, short trousers held up with braces and Robin sandals.

He walks to school and he plays hurling, pitch and toss and card games. His life is an outdoor one of turf and water from the well, feeding hens and investigating birds’ nests.

Brendan fishes for tráthníns and he keeps them in jam jars and changes the water every day before he releases them back into the stream.

Brendan finds a bird’s nest and cannot resist taking a look at an egg.

Frank Greaney remembers this well near the family home. You had to bend down to draw the cool water. Here Brendan is carrying a bucket of water home for drinking and cooking.

In the story the house has no electricity or running water.

Here Grandpa Jack is telling Brendan a story by the fire. Most people remember Paud Carey as a quiet reserved man, with little to say for himself. People might have thought him aloof or shy but Frank, who knew him well, remembers an extraordinarily generous man who waited at the gate of the  Technical School to give Frank 2 shillings when 2 shillings was a fortune.


Deer, Oh deer!

Christopher Grayson took this awesome shot in Killarney National Park.


My Pick

This is Saoirse McGrath, the 2018 Meath Rose contestant.

Why is she special?

Because she bought 16 of her 25 day dresses from her local St. Vincent de Paul shop.

So if he Roses are down your way keep an eye on her style.

Kenny Heights, Wolfgang Suschitzky, Brendan of Kerry and the Doc on One

Border at the Tim Kennelly Roundabout in August 2018


An Old Sketch of Listowel Castle


Another Beautiful Corner of Listowel


Ducks on The Feale in August 2018


Photo; The Guardian

The photographer who took the photos from the publication Brendan of Ireland was a world famous Austrian photographer, Wolfgang  Suschitzky.  He passed away in 2016 at the age of 104 leaving a huge body of very highly regarded work behind him

Obituary of Wolfgang  Suschitzky

The story is a simple one of a boy growing up in the west of Ireland. He is close to his grandparents who play a big part in his life. His grandfather tells Brendan the story of Niamh Chinn Óir, of Óisín and Tír na nÓg and Brendan sets out to find the sea and the land of eternal youth.

This is the opportunity to have Brendan encounter “tinkers’ , a ploughman and fisherman on his way to the sea. He goes via Ballyduff and The Cashen.


A Book to Treasure

I found this marvellous book recently in Listowel’s St. Vincent de Paul shop. It is full of interesting little titbits and valuable information about the countryside.

I’ll share nuggets from it with you here from time to time.


Conor Keane’s Doc on One

Conor writes;

IN 1946, in an act of defiance against the local clergy, a group of local men in Listowel, Co. Kerry force open the locked gates into the Parish Church.

This action by the townspeople of Listowel never makes it into the newspapers, nor is it recorded anywhere else at the time. In fact, the incident has mostly faded from the town’s memory yet has never been forgotten by some. What was it that drove a normally compliant congregation to challenge local Parish Priest, Canon Patrick Brennan’s dominion?

Behind this act of defiance lies the story of a young woman named Peggy McCarthy, whose tragic death in childbirth resulted in the local clergy refusing to let her body lie in the church overnight before her burial. Subsequently, an alliance between Church and State has had a devastating impact on three generations of Peggy’s family – including on the daughter she gave birth to, Breda – which persists right up to the present day.

Famed balladeer Séan McCarthy wrote a song, Shame, Love, In Shame, about the young woman at the centre of these events. Peggy was Séan’s younger sister. Years later, Peggy’s story also inspired local Listowel playwright Tony Guerin to write the play ‘Solo Run’.

Documentary On One: In Shame, Love, In Shame looks at the events behind this story, of Peggy’s life, of her daughter Breda’s life, of how the people of Listowel rallied round and defended Peggy – and of what happened before and since those Church gates were rammed open in 1946.

Narrated by Conor Keane

Produced by Conor Keane and Liam O’Brien

First Broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1, Saturday 18th August 2018 @1pm, Repeated Sunday 19th August  2018 @7pm

Page 1 of 2

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén