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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Adare and Tom O’Donoghue obituary

Photo: Ita Hannon


Adare, a Lovely Village just down the Road

On the day I visited Adare the Friday market was in full swing

This man was making and selling his baskets.

There was a lovely mix of food, crafts, jewellery and garden produce for sale.

This lovely Buttevant man had a beautiful selection of competitively priced ceramics on offer.


Brosna in 1877

(from The Freeman’s Journal New South Wales, Australia)

Passing to the diocese of Kerry, I observe that at a mission by the Franciscans, in the parish of Brosna, 5,000 persons communicated, 2,000 were invested with the scapular of the Blessed Virgin, and 1,200 were enrolled in the Confraternity of the Holy Family. Moreover, six unfortunate persons who had become ‘Jumpers’ made, with their families, a solemn public recantation. I may mention that this place was once the centre of a Protestant proselytising traffic, I doubt if there is any single Protestant there now.

Has anyone any idea what Jumpers were?


Tom O’Donoghue, grandfather of Florida Rose 2017

John Anthony Hegarty and Janet Fisher sent us this account of who exactly Tom O’Donoghue was

St. Moling’s Well, Sue Ryder shop closing and Road Works Continue

Dave Curran took the photograph and he captioned it;  The slower pace of life in west Kerry.


Gurtinard Wood and The Garden of Europe

Tree in Gurtinard Wood

 Fallen leaves edge the path at the fork in the Gurtinard Woodland walk.

 Bat Boxes

 A Lovely corner of The Garden of Europe

 The statue of Schiller through the branches of the weeping willow.


St. Moling’s Holy Well Brosna

 When I was in Brosna lately, I spotted a sign for a holy well. I went to investigate.

The well is accessed by this grassy path beside  the churchyard.

The story of the well

 I then found myself in a field surrounded by cattle. The well is set in the middle of a farm.

The well

 A sign on the way to the well

The well is protected by this mound of stones.

 The entrance

This looked to me like a kneeler. Stones like this were placed at intervals around the perimeter wall. People probably knelt here while they did the rounds of the well.

This is the actual well.


Sue Ryder Shop is Closing

The manager of this shop was a very creative artist. I’ll miss her great window displays. Her last one, with a Halloween theme, complete with creepy clowns, was typical of her topical imaginative approach to window display.


William St. Road Works proceeding apace


Remember the Date and Remember the Fallen

Horse Fair, Brosna, and Jimmy Hickey and his dancers and musicians in the 1990’s

October Horse Fair

Photos by Elizabeth Brosnan


Aspects of Brosna Today


Listowel Musicians and Dancers

This picture was taken outside St. Johns before Jimmy Hickey’s troupe headed off to the Harmonie festival in Germany for the first time. Kathleen McCarthy (4th from left at back) provided me with all the names.

Back, Left to Right: ? , Mary Doyle R.I.P., Phil O’Connell, Kathleen McCarthy, Mary Murphy R.I.P., Jimmy Hickey, Jean Lynch, Brina Keane, Mary Cantillon, Seán Murphy

Front, R.: Martin O’Flynn, Margaret Harrahan, Bob Downey, Richard O’Connell R.I.P. , Kate Downey and Jerry Browne


More Photos from Listowel Garden Centre’s Christmas Shop’s opening

Teresa Hannon was indulging her inner child and picking up a few new ornaments.

One man’s trip to The Island, Brosna and a bypass of sorts

Listowel Handball Alley, October 2016


David Looby is a journalist with The Wexford People. The photo and the essay below recount his experience of his trip “home’ for the recent Listowel Races 2016:

I’ve lately joined the ranks of the school drop parents.

You know the sleepwalking types who are half-human, half school bags and lunch boxes. The ones that look immaculate on the first day, but revert to tracksuits and bearded, red eyed grumps by day two (the men that is!).

My daughter couldn’t wait to get started and barely looked over her shoulder at The Good Woman and I as we left her behind with her wonderful teacher and all her new classmates. 

I had a week off last week and, owing to some convenient amnesia and force of habit, imagined a week of leisure, down at the Listowel Races catching up with friends from my primary schoolgoing days, throwing back pints. 

The holiday got off to a rocky start as I picked up a dose, followed by The Little Fella getting a fever. My plans were falling apart as I came to terms with the reality that I was tied to school drop off and pick up duties every day, along with toilet training and night ‘lifts’ to the toilet. Undaunted, Tuesday saw me arrive at the heart of zen-like peace in the South East, St Mullins, from where I jogged to the second lock gates and continued walking until the third lock but couldn’t make it as far as Graiguenamanagh as I had to be back from the school pick-up (and I was shattered). I drank in the sweeping views under a milk white sky, taking my time on my way back. 

Wednesday was a doctor’s appointment for The Little Fella, followed by a morning enjoying the cafe life of Wexford with him, during which I picked up a new book before going home and lapping up the sunshine. Thursday was a walk from Slade to Hook Lighthouse and CD shopping.

Determined to get away at the weekend I hatched a plan to visit friends in Dublin, my first trip to the city in three years would be amazing, I told myself, only to discover via Whatsapp that said friends were heading to Kerry. 

With a daunting list of work to do around the house ahead of our children’s birthday party this weekend, I started to feel the walls closing in around me. The holiday was half way over and drinks needed to be organised to cap it all off, but where?

For years I’ve been trying to get back to Listowel for the races. Every year growing up in Listowel, the races and Fleadh Cheoil meant a week off school and the arrival of ‘the bazaar’ in town, along with a colourful host of characters, enjoying marathon sessions. Back then the town was buzzing and there was a wonderful atmosphere as you crossed the bridge over the River Feale to the racecourse, to the lilting sound of ‘throw me down something’ from Travellers who enjoyed the good fortune of (some) punters. 

Such sounds could not be heard over the thunderous Feale river on Saturday when, accompanied by my financial turf adviser, (my Dad), I returned to the race track on a glorious Autumn day. My tactic of backing horses with fun, quirky names was abandoned on the advice of my father so I went with ‘good’ each way prospects, all of whom came nowhere. After the races we walked the streets of the lovely north kerry town stopping into the institution that is The Shebeen pub, where people were relaxing in the great company of its owners, chatting about this year’s festival, which had a record crowd for Ladies Day on Friday. I returned to Wexford on Sunday night exhausted after a great escape (and a few too many) in Kerry.

Wexford People



Because a Brosna emigrant was very kind to me when I was sick, I resolved that , when I was well again,  I would visit Brosna and take a few photos to bring her home closer to her. This is for you, Eileen.

St. Moling’s church dominates the square.

This is the square with the bell in the foreground.

I went into the lovely little church and photographed some of the stained glass windows which were donated by parishioners. Brosna must have had some wealthy and generous families at one time.

The view from the church door

Tree in the church grounds

The people of Brosna are ecumenical. They have given this old bell from the Protestant church a prominent in The Square.


Golf View Bypass

If you need to get through Listowel fast during the roadworks there is a bypass from Cahirdown to the bridge through the old golf course. It costs a euro.


Two Humans of Listowel

Paula Hannon and Maurice Kelliher on William Street yesterday, October 13 2016

Brosna, Behans of Bunaghara and Syracuse and Darkness into Light 2015

Setting potatoes in April 2015

( Jim McSweeney documenting country life in North Cork)


Death of Another Rural Village

“Jerry’s report on Kerry Today this morning on the decline of small villages. Brosna GAA club are the All Ireland Club Junior Football Champions but last week the village’s last shop, Fay’s, closed. Brosna once had 13 shops and nine pubs; now it just has four pubs.”

(Photo and text from Radio Kerry)

Since Radio Kerry covered this story there is hope that the post office might expand its range into groceries as well.


Behans of Bunaghara

Recently I have been in email contact with Andy Ross of Syracuse, N.Y . This is what he wrote: 

“My name’s Andy Ross and I only just discovered your “Listowel Connection” blog this evening.  Hey, I’m proud to say I have a connection!  🙂

My great-great grandfather, John Behane, born 1822 in Bunagarha, Co. Kerry, to William Behane and Catherine (Enright) Behane, immigrated to Syracuse, NY during the famine, leaving a large family behind (brothers William, Thomas, Michael, and sisters Mary, Margaret, and Catherine – I think there was more too).

He worked in the salt industry in my native city of Syracuse NY (Syracuse is still referred to as “Salt City”) back in the 1850’s and was the grandfather of my paternal grandmother, Margaret (Carney) Ross.

I’m sincerely fascinated with genealogy, especially with our Irish ancestry.  There’s a “Behan/Callahan” plot in St. Agnes Catholic Cemetery, just down the road from my Grandmother Ross’ house in Syracuse NY, where John Behan and one of his younger sisters who also immigrated from Bunagara, Julia, are buried (both Behan siblings married “Callahan’s”, my great-great grandmother, who were from North Kerry as well).  Syracuse was very much a mini-NYC with immigrant families being identified with specific parts of town (the Famine Irish were typically northside Syracuse). 

It’s amazing with technology today, we can actually pinpoint exactly where John Behan’s family lived off R523 in mid 19th century, the size of the parcel, who lived there at the time, who the landlord was, etc.

I’d love to stop by Listowel on my next trip to Ireland (probably when my kids get old enough to appreciate it), it looks beautiful and any Yank appreciates a connection to a town in Ireland, regardless how distant.  🙂

Just to prove that the “North-Kerryman-DNA” lives on in the States, I hope you don’t mind me sharing a photo of my siblings and I (it’s from my wedding years ago but unfortunately, I don’t have any more recent).  From left to right, it’s my sister Kate, brother Dan, myself, brother Doug, brother Stu, and Mom, Kristin.”


Huge support for Darkness into Light Walk for Pieta House

Listowel Tidy Towns
Ballyduff GAA
Beale GAA
Listowel RFC
Moyvane GAA

Photos: Darkness into Light, Listowel


Lidl On Tuesday Last


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