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 listowelconnection@gmail.com

Tag: Canon Declan O’Connor Page 1 of 2

Painting the Garda Station, More Covid Signs and Some Listowel People

On the River Brick


Photo; Bridget O’Connor


<<<<<<<<<<<<<



A Bit of Dickying Up

Lovely paint job at Listowel Garda Station as it remembers that it’s 100 years since its moment in history

<<<<<<<<<<


Social Distance Meet up in Erskine Childers’ Park



Friends, Maureen Hartnett, Helen Moylan and Joan Kenny enjoy a coffee and a scone on Bank Holiday Monday June 1 2020

<<<<<<<<<<<

Fond Memories of a Trip to Ireland

Mark Holan

With more than 11 million annual visitors kept home by the COVID-19 pandemic, Tourism Ireland has released a short video to remind prospective travelers they “can still dream of future holidays and adventures.” The campaign, titled “I will return: Fill your heart with Ireland,” arrives at the 20th anniversary of my first visit in May 2000.

And that recalls my dearest experience of Ireland.

At Dublin Airport, I handed my new Irish/E.U. passport to the customs agent, having obtained citizenship through foreign birth registration. He waved me into the country without question. Then, as I waited for my luggage, I thought I heard my name called on the public address system.

“That couldn’t be me,” I thought. “Nobody knows me here.”

I took a taxi to my bed and breakfast in Portmarnock. The room wasn’t ready, but the innkeeper secured my suitcase and I took a mid-morning walk on the nearby strand.

When I returned, my host answered a telephone call.

“Yes, he is here,” he said.

It was  for me.

The voice at the other end of the line–and it was still a line–belonged to a woman in her 60s, a retired school teacher, the unmarried daughter of a North Kerry man. His brother was my mother’s father, who emigrated shortly before the Easter Rising. 

My grandfather married a North Kerry women in Pittsburgh, where several of their siblings and other relations also lived. Because of these connections to Ireland, deepened by the citizenship through decent process, I shared my travel itinerary with my mother. She passed the details to her sister, who maintained regular contact with the woman on the phone, the one who had me paged at Dublin Airport. Her name was Eithne.

My plans to meet the Irish relations were unformed, something to be figured out during the trip, if any of them even cared to meet me. A holy trinity of Irish and Irish-American women assured those introductions. My plans changed within an hour of my arrival. Eithne insisted that I lodge with her.

The B&B host graciously released me from my booking. Eithne’s Jack Russell Terrier, named Beano, sniffed me suspiciously, but deigned that I enter the house on Griffith Avenue, Dublin, near Corpus Christi Catholic Church. I was very welcome in Ireland.

<<<<<<<<<<


Signs of the Times


Summer 2020 will be remembered for the many shop signs advising customers of new procedures in place during the pandemic of 2020.

Mr. Kebab

Mama Mia

Listowel Travel

Carrolls is open

Zingyzest is to open soon

O Sullivan Cycles

St. John’s, sadly, is closed

Fitzpatrick’s Taxi

<<<<<<<<<


Canon Declan Working During the Crisis



I met Canon Declan O’Connor, another frontline hero  in The Square. He has been working throughout this period of restrictions and adapting to saying mass behind closed doors and conducting funerals to small groups of mourners.

Christmas Shop, More Photos from THE launch and Dublin Marathon 2019

Harvest Home


This lovely display is in Abbeyfeale church.

<<<<<<<<


Christmas is Coming


Displays in Listowel Garden Centre Christmas Shop

<<<<<<<<<


Memories of the Launch of A Minute of Your Time


Mother and daughter Anne and Cora Darby on stage as Anne read a reflection which was prompted by an incident involving Cora.

My old friend, Assumpta O’Sullivan came from Dublin. She is originally from Killarney.

Barbara Walshe was there on the anniversary of her dear father’s death. Many of the reflections in my book are about grief and remembrance.

Brenda Enright was there.

I have known Bridie O’Rourke almost since the first day I came to Listowel.

Canon Declan read me from the altar and reminded the congregation that I was launching my book across the road from the church straight after mass.

Helena Carmody was one of many of my friends from the Vincent de Paul shop who came to enjoy the night with me.

<<<<<<<


Chris Grayson, Wild life Photographer and Runner



On the left is Chris Grayson whose  beautiful photographs I often feature on Listowel Connection. He and his friend, Fozzy Forrestal acted as pacers in yesterday’s marathon.

St Patricks Day 2018, Listowel Folk on the way to mass

Out and About with my Camera

I love this photo that John Kelliher took of me on St. Patrick’s Day 2018. There I am at the parade, preparing my blog post.

Before I went to the parade, I had the bright idea of going to the church to snap some photos of local people on their way to mass.

I didn’t get everyone’s photo. Here are just a few of the good folk of Listowel parish at 11.00 a.m. mass in St. Mary’s on St. Patrick’s Day 2018.

As I made my way through The Square, the viewing platform was being decorated and Donal O’Sullivan was putting the finishing touches to the sound system.

At St. Mary’s ushers were beautifully turned and at the ready.

 Floor manager, Ronnie Patterson, and chief celebrant, Canon Declan O’Connor, were finalising plans.

 Jimmy Hannon was the first of the musicians to arrive. He had a story to tell.

It takes a musician to recognise a musician. Jimmy twigged that Ronnie Patterson the floor manager with Kairos who were filming the mass and making the programme for RTE, was, in fact, none other than the same Ronnie Patterson who played the double bass with the seventies group, The Pattersons. Jimmy put this knowledge to work and brought his double bass and guitar to the Listowel Arms and along with John Kinsella they had a great old session of seventies hits.

Everyone who had a part to play was dressed to impress.

These men were on a mission. The man second from left is a Stack and these are the Danish branch of the clan. They picked a bad day to research their roots as people were a bit preoccupied with other things. But if they would like to contact me again, I’ll be happy to help. You see I was on a mission myself and I didn’t have a card or a pen and paper handy so I have no contact details.

<<<<<<<<


Some Humans of Listowel, March 17 2018



A tale of St. John’s clock, a few Listowel photos and John Relihan at Fifteen in London


Great Hunting Weather



Duhallow Hunt       Photo; Willie Nunan



<<<<<<<<,


A Tale of Protestants and Catholics United by a Clock


 My story started with this old postcard. I posted it here a few weeks ago. On the same day as it appeared I was on Radio Kerry giving my Just a Thought. Just a Thought is a minute’s reflection broadcast on Radio Kerry on weekday mornings. It is broadcast first at 7.30 a.m. during Kerry’s Full Breakfast. One of the presenters of this programme is Elaine Kinsella. Elaine heard my “Thought” and realised that it was her old teacher whose blog she now follows. So Elaine opened the blog and the first thing she saw was this old picture of Listowel Town Square. “I wonder,” says she, “when this photograph was taken.”

Later on the same day, I met my friend Junior Griffin. Junior didn’t know when exactly the photo was taken but he was sure that it was before the 1940s because he had observed that the numerals in the St. John’s clock were illegible and he knew all about their being repainted.


Junior is a great man for a story and he didn’t let me down on this occasion either.

The man second from left in this photo (kindly given to me by Patsy O’Sullivan) is Archdeacon Wallace and he was the last Protestant rector of Listowel parish. Junior remembers him as a great community man and on the very best of terms with his Catholic neighbours.

One of these Catholic friends was Junior’s dad, John Griffin. Now John was the local expert at mending clocks and watches. So it was to Bridge Rd to the Griffin house that the archdeacon came to get his clock seen to.

Junior remembers the whole undertaking well.

In the 1940s it was forbidden for a Catholic to enter a Protestant church. Mending the clock would not involve entering the church as there was no access to the clock from the church. To solve this problem John Griffin constructed a kind of primitive cherry picker. This contraption was a kind of cage that he would enter on the ground and using pulleys and ropes he would hoist himself up to the clock in order to access the movement of the clock.

Junior’s mother was worried sick that some harm might come to her husband in this makeshift hoist so she sent Bert and Junior to the Catholic church to light candles and to pray that no harm would come to their dad.


Bert, R.I.P. and Junior

Mr. Griffin repainted the numerals and he brought the two huge hands home to paint them. Junior remembers that the big hand measured five feet and the small hand was 3 feet long.

There remained one final problem to solve but John Griffin was a dinger at solving problems. If he couldn’t do something himself, he knew someone who could.

The last piece of repair work needed was the vital pin that held the hands in place and allowed them to turn as well in order to tell the time. This was a job for an engineer and John Griffin knew just the man, his friend Michael Graham. Michael lived in Dublin but he had a Listowel connection in that he was married to a North Kerry woman.

Michael made the vital pin. The clock was in working order again. 

Now there is a lovely postscript to the story, Junior told me that Michael Graham, the man who made the vital pin was married to Canon Declan O’Connor’s aunt.

Canon Declan with Jimmy Hickey.

<<<<<<<


Listowel Arms from Convent Street



<<<<<<<


St. Patrick’s Hall, Listowel




<<<<<<<



Star Pupil




Fifteen Graduates is a Facebook page for graduates of Jamie Oliver’s apprentice programme. This is what it says about our own John Relihan

“Great to see graduate John Relihan at Fifteen today. John has become a Food Ambassador for Ireland and he has been busy travelling all over the world in that role. For St Patricks Day on the 19th of March this year John will be back cooking in Trafalgar Square again – we will send an email out soon as he will be looking for other graduates to come along and cook with him on the day as well. Keep up the great work John “

Horse Drawn Caravan Holidays in the 1960s and St. Patrick’s Day 2016

The Year has Turned; We’re in New Time

<<<<<<<


Charles Street 2016

<<<<<<<<<

Do you remember when Horse Drawn Caravan Holidays were all the rage ?


Photos from Historical Tralee and Surrounding areas

There is a Listowel connection. The following story and photos were shared by Canon Declan and featured on Listowel Connection in 2012. It is worth revisiting the tale again.

The most popular Kerry company running these holidays was Slatterys but other companies based outside the county had overnight stopping sites in The Kingdom. One of these companies was Shannon Horsedrawn Caravans owned by a family business, MacNamaras of Limerick. The tourists (mostly from the U.S.) flew into Shannon, picked up their horse and barrel -top caravan in Adare and sauntered off to tour a little bit of West Munster. There were pit stops along the way for the horse to take a rest and the visitors to get to see some aspects of Irish life.



One such rest stop was on the farm of the O’Connor family in Springmount, Duagh, the family of our parish priest.  Canon Declan O’Connor, P.P. Listowel has shared some of his photographs from that time with us in listowelconnection.



The visitors loved the fact that they were on a  real working farm with fresh milk for tea and free range eggs for breakfast.

Helping the O’Connor family to feed the hens and collect the eggs was a treat for children raised in cities and towns.

This photo would not have been out of place on a John Hinde postcard. It is the O’Connor twins from Springmount, Duagh 


Canon Declan remembers well the excitement when  a very illustrious family of visitors overnighted with the O’Connors while on their Shannon Horsedrawn Caravan tour . They were Patricia Kennedy Lawford and her niece, Cora Kennedy.  Jean was the  sister and Cora, the niece of John F. Kennedy. Cora was the daughter of Ted Kennedy.

In this photo, Declan and his sister, Valerie are enjoying a cuppa with the sister of the late President Kennedy just visible in the background.

<<<<<<<<




A few more from The Square on St. Patrick’s Day 2016


<<<<<<<


Every Life is Precious



On Easter Monday 2016 as we commemorate the deaths of the rebels who were executed after The Rising, let us ponder this.

Five rebels were killed on Holy Thursday, April 27 1916. On that same day 538 Irishmen were killed by a German gas attack in Hulluch, France. The gas used was a mixture of chlorine and phosgene and it was of sufficient concentration to render the Irishmen’s gas masks unable to cope with it. These casualties and the thousands more who died in WW1 have been airbrushed out of our history. Many of them too were motivated by loyalty to their country.

Page 1 of 2

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén