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: Catechism

Ballybunion and Other Places

Greenway mural Sept 2023


Iconic Ballybunion

Certain images say Ballybunion to us all; the castle, Virgin Rock, Nine Daughters Hole for instance. Uptown there are some unique local identifiers too.

trompe d’oeil cottage

Joyce’s, the post office

Mary Young statue seated outside St. John’s


Listowel Races 2023

I only went to The Island on one day and it was Ladies Day. This year, the celebrity designer judge, Don O’Neill, brought a New York frisson to the occasion.

Some of the style on show

Danny Russell put his millinery skills to work. He made this magnificent hat to match Norella’s silver pants suit.

My old friend and a faithful Listowel Races attendee, Mary O’Halloran was there with her daughter, Louise, both looking very stylish.

Photo: John Kelliher

The very popular winner of the top prize was local lady, Kathleen Flaherty, in a classic blue crochet suit. The judges recognised timeless style when they saw it.


I Remember, I Remember

This is my mother’s family home. It is no longer in the family but I paid it a visit on a recent trip home. If those walls could speak they’d tell the story of my beloved Uncle Bernie and Aunty Eily. Eily planted those flowers.

This tree was planted by my grandfather. He lives on in it and the memories it evokes.



I never knew, until someone shared this online, that Kerry schools once had their own approved catechism. Does the line “a general catechism for the kingdom” actually refer to Kerry or The Kingdom of Heaven?


A Fact

The phrase “rule of thumb” comes from an old English law which forbade a husband to beat his wife with anything wider then his thumb.


Nighttime in Listowel December 2017

Listowel Castle at night


The very last of the exhibitors at the BOI Enterprise Town event


December 2017 Nightime in Listowel


Christmas in the 1920s by Eamon Kelly     Concluded

…..The hearth was the
friendliest place in the house. The place to talk, to sing and to listen to a
good story, to hear the conversation of the grown-ups and to let on not to hear
little bits of gossip or some scandal our elders seemed to take an unlaughing
pleasure in. The hearth was the place where the mother read out the American
letters from Aunt Margaret, Aunt Mary and our Aunty Bridgie, and counted out
the dollars they, and Aunt Liz, had sent us. We would all repeat the American
address where our aunts lived to see who’d remember it best. It was Ditmar’s
Boulevard, Astoria, Queens, Long Island, New York. The hearth was the place
where we knelt before the supper on Christmas Eve for The Rosary with the
trimmings we thought would never end.

When it was time
for us all small lads to go to bed we’d hang up our stockings along the mantle
shelf and on the crane to make sure Daidí na Nollag wouldn’t forget us. Even if
was only a new penny it would be welcome. A penny was a great treat in those
days when you would get five bulls eyes for a half penny and two peggy’s legs
for a full penny. In the end we would have to be hunted to bed we would be so
lazy leaving the warm hearth. But the promise of driving in the pony and trap
through the dark to early mass in the morning would finally shift us, but we
weren’t gone yet. We’d all have to stand at the front door to admire the
bunches of lights in the houses down along the valley and up the rising ground
to Rossacrew, all the little lights winking and blinking through the dark
until, as the man said, the earth below looked like a reflection of the starry
Heaven above.


The Listowel Arms is looking very festive


The Catechism

Boy did people remember this! I think the following email sums up most of the feedback I got .

Hi, Mary, The Catechism had ‘all the answers’ – and was all black-and-white! No grey areas! O tempora O mores!

In my young days – 50s and 60s – religion was terrorised into us- often accompanied by a bit of pummelling, just to concentrate the mind!

Even to this day, churches can  inspire an atavistic dread of hell-fire and damnation. We must only trust that there is something better in store for us. We shall see…

The most-remembered thing about the Catechism for me is the phrase concocted from reversing its  letters: Master Sits In His Chair Each Time At Catechism. (Except when he rises to cuff home the message of love and forgiveness!).

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