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: calendar


Listowel Town Square November 30n 2022


Pixie’s Kingdom Calendar

If, like me, you like an old fashioned paper calendar with spaces to write in birthdays, bin day, holidays or whatever, Pixie’s Kingdom calendar is the one for you.

It’s also a great last minute present, perfect for gifting at home or abroad. It’s full of beautiful images of lovely Listowel. I love it.

I was just returning from town having bought my calendar (a snip at €15 and there are great bulk discounts available) when I ran into Billy and Mairead.

The calendars are available at Horan’s Health Store (on the corner of Market and William Streets.)


The Irish Civil War

The civil war was a period in our history that I always felt I knew little enough about. I knew that it was fought particularly viciously hereabouts and it has left a sad legacy that persists today.

I had never heard of The Munster Republic until I watched RTE’s recent centenary programmes. Here is a link to the series on the Rte Player

The Irish Civil War

The Munster Republic was an informal and colloquial term used by Irish republicans to refer to the territory they held in the province of Munster at the start of the Irish Civil War.[1]The “republic” never claimed to be a state as such, but was a base for the republican civil war aim of creating an all-Ireland Irish Republic.

After the first week of fighting in the Civil War (28 June – 5 July 1922), Dublin was held by those in support of the Anglo-Irish Treaty and the Irish Free State.

The main stronghold of Anti-Treaty forces (the Irish Republicans) became the self-styled Munster Republic, consisting of the counties south of a line between Limerick and WaterfordLiam Lynch, the republican commander-in-chief, hoped to use the “Republic” as a means of re-negotiating the Treaty, and ideally reconstituting the Irish Republic of 1919–21. For this defensive attitude, Lynch was bitterly criticised by some other republicans, who felt that he should be acting offensively to bring the war to a quick end.

However, the Anti-Treaty side (who were supported by a large group of rebels from the Irish Republican Army), lacked artillery and armoured cars, both of which the Free State had to borrow from the British. The Free State launched an offensive against the Munster Republic in July 1922.[2] Limerick and Waterford were taken easily, and Cork became the last county independent of the Free State. Michael Collins sent the Free State Army by sea to Union Hall in County Cork and to Fenit in County Kerry. Cork was retaken on 11 August.[3]His opponents then moved into the countryside and continued small-scale guerrilla warfare until April 1923. (Wikipedia)

Then I read this in Northkerry blog

Kerry Officers elected by the Gort na Glanna Martyrs’ Cumann, Co. Kerry are as follows: Chairman, John Buckley; Secretary, Bill Horan; Treasurer, Hugh Goulding, P.R.O., Paddy Kennelly; Tom Manaher and Hugh Goulding were appointed delegates to the Comhairle cheantair. Dozens of homes in the Ballybunion area have been raided by members of the Special Branch and uniformed gardai in yet another act of collaboration with the British occupation forces. For over two weeks the raiding parties concentrated on the area, homes were ransacked, bedrooms were torn apart and women and children were terrified. In some cases homes were continuously watched for up to two days. Following the raids one man was jailed.


Poetry is sometimes described as “What oft was said but ne’er so well expressed”

I recently bought a book of poetry by a talented local writer


In Ballylongford

On Sunday December 18 2022, they unveiled a sculpture in memory of Con Dee and events one hundred years ago.

Photo; Ballylongford Snaps


An email from Chicago

I am an occasional reader of your blog, and am living in Chicago. My Bedford great-grandmother, Mary Josephine Bambury, and her Ballyeagh husband, James Dore, settled here about 130 years ago.

While my Bambury cousins are scattered all over the globe, many are still living in Kerry and Cork, and I try to keep up with them when I can. One of them, the late Bart Bambury, of Cork City and Kenmare, was a bit of a Renaissance man, and although I did not connect with him until a few years ago, I enjoyed our correspondence immensely. Recently, his friends and family published a book of his poems, and there was a launch party in Cork City.

I thought that with Bart being a “local boy” to Listowel (in a manner of speaking), you might be interested.

Best regards,
Bob Hermanson



Kerry Hospice Memorial Tree

Photo: Kerry Hospice

A ceremony of remembrance was held at the remembrance tree on Sunday December 18 2022.


A Poem for Christmas


by John Betjeman

The bells of waiting Advent ring,
   The Tortoise stove is lit again
And lamp-oil light across the night
    Has caught the streaks of winter rain
In many a stained-glass window sheen
From Crimson Lake to Hookers Green.

The holly in the windy hedge
    And round the Manor House the yew
Will soon be stripped to deck the ledge,
    The altar, font and arch and pew,
So that the villagers can say
“The church looks nice” on Christmas Day.

Provincial Public Houses blaze
    And Corporation tramcars clang,
On lighted tenements I gaze
    Where paper decorations hang,
And bunting in the red Town Hall
Says “Merry Christmas to you all.”

And London shops on Christmas Eve
    Are strung with silver bells and flowers
As hurrying clerks the City leave
    To pigeon-haunted classic towers,
And marbled clouds go scudding by
The many-steepled London sky.

And girls in slacks remember Dad,
    And oafish louts remember Mum,
And sleepless children’s hearts are glad.
    And Christmas-morning bells say “Come!'”
Even to shining ones who dwell
Safe in the Dorchester Hotel.

And is it true? And is it true,
    This most tremendous tale of all,
Seen in a stained-glass window’s hue,
    A Baby in an ox’s stall?
The Maker of the stars and sea
Become a Child on earth for me ?

And is it true? For if it is,
    No loving fingers tying strings
Around those tissued fripperies,
    The sweet and silly Christmas things,
Bath salts and inexpensive scent
And hideous tie so kindly meant,

No love that in a family dwells,
    No carolling in frosty air,
Nor all the steeple-shaking bells
    Can with this single Truth compare –
That God was man in Palestine
And lives today in Bread and Wine.


Duagh Live Crib

Remember all the hoo ha in Dublin earlier this December about a live crib. Well, we, in North Kerry, are so lucky to have a live crib to rival anything the capital has to offer.

You have until January 7 to visit the Duagh Live Crib. I can’t recommend it highly enough. It is a treasure. Do remember though that these are farm animals and pets, not zoo animals so respect their space.

Fr. Pat is looking down on this project and he is delighted.

The animals are housed in this beautiful old stable at the back of the church.

Even though the stable is kept at a temperature suitable for the animals some of whom have fur coats, the atmosphere is warm, cosy and welcoming.

The animals have names given to them by the children. The walls all around are decorated with local children’s artwork.

This is a marvellous parish effort. Well done to everyone involved. It’s a triumph. My photographs don’t do it justice. You must go there.


Listowel people in Lourdes and 38 Shades calendar

This is John Kelliher’s beautiful picture of Listowel town square as it looks these nights. The big wheel is proving a great attraction for revealers and photographers.


This is a group of North Kerry pilgrims pictured recently in Lourdes.

This is my friend Mary with candles she was lighting for special intentions.

Mary again beside the “Kerry Candle”. If you look closely you will see that people have put requests on little labels and attached them to the votive candle.


People passing through Lower William St. and The Small Square on Saturday last were surprised to see lines of men’s underwear flapping in the gentle September breeze. All in a good cause though!

It was a clever publicity stunt to alert people to the launch on Saturday night of the fundraising calendar, 38 Shades of Listowel, featuring revealing shots of well known local men.  In a week when female nudity was a hot news topic, Listowel men broke with the trend and bared nearly all.

Calendars are available in Lynchs , The Horseshoe and several locations in town. They cost €10. All the profits go to the rescue services who helped in the recovery of the body of the late John Lynch who lost his life so tragically earlier this year.

 Grab your chance to see some well known local personalities as you have never seen them before.


An Irish hayfield in 1904, men cutting the hay with scythes and women gathering it up into barrows.

McKenna’s of Listowel

The following is a short history of of the origins of McKenna’s  in 

Listowel. I took it from their website.

Johanna McKenna

On the 17th October 1871 one Jeremiah Mckenna married Johanna 

Horgan and started a business at No.3 Market street Listowel selling 

general hardware. Very general. It’s likely that there would have 

been vegetables for sale alongside the ironmongery in the early days.

But all to the good; in 1875 the couple bought  No.3.  Then in 1880

 tragedy struck, taking the form so well known in those times; 

Jeremiah succumbed to tuberculosis and died, still a young man.


Alone with two small children Johanna had an overwhelming battle,

and the little business went into bankruptcy within a short time. This

much is known; what’s not known is how she raised the funds to get

going again. But having recovered, she  repaid all debts, a feature of

Mckenna’s history to have a lasting effect on it’s reputation well down

 the road.

In 1907 her son John emigrated to America. A young man with his life

all ahead could find much opportunity there by comparison with the

Listowel of the time. But the letters from home kept drawing his

mind back to his mother who would persist in carrying on the business

at No.3. He well knew how much of a struggle it was for her, and

sailed out of New York before a year had passed.

John married Grace McMahon in 1909 and settled back in. Simply

supporting his Mother’s efforts to keep the shop open wasn’t enough

for him; he could feel some ideas of his own coming on. By 1912

Enright’s creamery had been acquired. Here the stocking of building

supplies began and the creamery site eventually became known as

the Mill Yard.

In 1913 Johanna bought out the ground rent on No.3 Market street.

She died three years later, as John became a member of Kerry 

County Council, and missed by a year his election to chairman.

This is an old McKenna’s calendar Tom Fitzgerald found on the internet


Manny, the bearded dragon, is developing quite a following. 

I shall call to his place of residence during the week and I’ll see

if he is up to being photographed.

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