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: Childers’ Park Page 2 of 3

Castleisland, Dublin phone boxes and lights in Listowel’s Childers’ Park

Deirdre Lyons took this photo recently in The Garden of Europe. Isn’t it beautiful?



Last week I had occasion to pass a few hours in Castleisland. It is a really interesting town. I sometimes feel that Castleisland people are closer to their rural roots than other Kerry people. I overheard these gems on the street;

” Let me tell you now while I’ve a holt of you…..”

“75? She is in her eye. She’s 85 and she looks every day of it.”

This great likeness of Con Houlihan, one of Castleisland’s most famous sons, stands in the town centre.

This premises is currently idle.

A native of Castleisland informed me that this landmark is called The Fountain. This confirms my belief that people are different in this town. To me this is a pump. I can’t see anything that makes this column a fountain but if Castle Island people want to call it a fountain who am I to differ?

A reminder of Castleisland’s dark history


Phoneboxes on Connell Bridge, Dublin in the 1970s

Photo: Stair na hEireann on Facebook


Lighting our Way through the park

If, like me, you were walking in the park on Thursday March 23 2017, you might have wondered why all the lovely lights that are such a great addition to the park in recent years were still on in mid morning. Wonder no more. On my way through the park I met Conor Moriarty whom I knew would be a likely man to know the answer. He did. It was he who had turned them on in order to identify which ones were faulty. They are all now in full working order.


A Wedding Video from 1962

Wedding of Tommy Murphy and Olivia Featherstone

Paul Murphy sent me this great old video to share. Here is his accompanying email:

My mother was manager of the Arms, hired by Joe Locke, got married in Dublin because she knew people up there.

Listowel people in the video include my Dad’s sisters, Mossie Walsh down the square, with his wife Kats who still lives there, other Walshs, the guy sitting next to the old lady is I think Stephen Stack, the  pharmacist, where The Gentlemen’s Barber is now.

The old lady is my Gran Aunt Ciss Perryman from Beale who ran Mountain View in Ballybunion up until the 80’s. Also from Ballybunion is my uncle Paddy Dowling, who is doing the toasting, his daughter mames was well known in Ballybunion, who died tragically in a freak accident a few years ago. Feel free to ask any questions.


In London on Friday last 

Nancy and Derry Kelly, both from Listowel, celebrated 50 years of happy marriage.


Wedding with Fireworks

John Kelliher just happened to be in The  Square on Saturday April 1 2017. He just happened to have his camera with him so he got a shot or two of the firework display which was put on to celebrate a local wedding.


Don’t Forget

Cashen, daffodils and a real oldie from Presentation Convent, Listowel

Ballybunion at Evening, February 2017

Photo: Bridget O’Connor


Ballyduff Memories

If you are from the Cashen area of Ballyduff , this is a great page for trips down Memory Lane

Cashen Connections

The Cashen school – 1943

Front Row (Lt) to (Rt) :Maureen Spring (KIlmore), Ita Rochford (The Cashen), Brenda Costello (Knopogue),Kathleen Spring (Kilmore), Eileen Sheehan (Clahane),Eileen Power (Knopogue), Mary B. Enright (Kilmore),Vera Sullivan (Houlihan) (The Cashen), Ambrose Dowling (The Cashen), Sean Gorman (Kilmore).
Back Row (Lt) to (Rt) : ________, Ena Godley (The Cashen), Patsy Stack-Sullivan (Kilmore), Nora Lyons (The Cashen), Seamus McCarthy(Knopogue), Bob Browne (Clahane), Bunny Mahony (The Cashen),Denis Enright (Kilmore), Seamus Rourke (The Cashen), Michael Rochford (The Cashen)


We Care with a Chair

Every time I visit this lovely garden in Childers’ Park there seems to be a development. They have added two seats, a flagpole and some trees.


The Daffodils are out

I took the above photographs on paths through the Town Park.


Nuns and Scouts

A man called Mike Hannon posted this old photo on the internet. I wonder if it was taken during the big international scout jamboree.

Presentation Convent Then and Now, a poem and the Community Centre extension

The 1916 installation in January 2017

It looks great.


Presentation Convent, then and now

My photographs of the convent  made so many people feel sad that I thought I’d better post a last few nice photographs from the convent in its heyday, the way we all prefer to remember it.

So sad!

When I was writing some convent memories earlier in the week, I included this Facebook comment from Maria Sham

What a waste! Sr Dympna loved the gardens, with the help of a man named Mackassey. I remember walking around the gardens following the Priest with the Blessed Sacrament all of us in our white dresses. It was Corpus Christi. We had another name for it. Does anyone know what it was ?

Seems that lots of people know what it was, Maria. It was the Quadrant Ore Celebration of the Eucharist.

James Kenny did a bit of research on this practice. This is what he wrote;

Sham referred to a procession at the Presentation Convent during Corpus Christi and was querying if it had a name. It was called the Quarantore, official name
is Quadrant’ Ore. I remember the processions….I was an altar boy at the time and had the great
“honour” of leading out the procession with the other boys and the priests.

The Quarantore wasForty Hours’ Devotion; a Roman Catholic exercise of devotion in which continuous prayer is made for forty hours before the Blessed Sacrament in solemn exposition. It commonly occurred in a succession of churches,
with one finishing prayers at the same time as the next takes it up

A celebration of such a devotion was begun by a Solemn Mass or “Mass of Exposition”, and ended by a “Mass of
Deposition”. Each of these masses includes a procession and the litany of
the saints being chanted.

Theword derives from early 17th century  Italian: quaranta
meaning forty and ore meaning  hours.

I don’t recollect if the procession in the convent
grounds was the beginning or the end of the forth hours adoration.

Although the precise origin of the Forty Hours’ Devotion is wrapped in a
good deal of obscurity, the custom of exposing the Blessed Sacrament in one church after another is recorded as having
started as a novelty in Milan, in May, 1537.”

Margaret Dillon remembers Listowel’s Quadrant Ore well. The Eucharist in a monstrance was held aloft by the priest. That year’s communicants (girls) in two lines came forward and strewed petals before the Eucharist. This was a carefully choreographed exercise. Sr. Dympna was in charge and she drilled the girls in what to do. At a certain point, the girls who were at the front went to the back and two new girls took over the petal duty at the front of the line.

Vincent Carmody remembers this Corpus Christi procession too. Vincent was an altar boy in the convent chapel and on Corpus Christi he got a day off school to participate in the the procession. The ceremony was part of Quadrant Ore or forty hours of prayer to mark the feast of the Body of Christ. 

As Vincent remembers it the blessed sacrament was taken in the monstrance from the altar where it had stood during the Quarantore exposition and it was carried down the corridor of the convent followed by the nuns and the Children of Mary. It was carried out the front door and around the front lawn following the path, before being returned again to the chapel.

Seán Keane remembers it well. He wrote “No doubt you were there for the “Quarantori” as I think the Corpus Christi procession was called ( forty (Quarenta) days after Easter Sunday?)The girls scattered petals of flowers from baskets,onto the ground in front of the priests at the head of the procession around the convent grounds.

I was one of the young Altar boys who served the priest at all the ceremonies in the convent church.

Sr Aloyius was our taskmaster

The 7.30 am Mass was a bit of a bind but was compensated for by the freedom to roam which we took and the generosity in the kitchens which we availed of while we waited to serve at benediction after retreats for the Children of Mary etc.

I recall seeing a nice photo of the group of us Altar boys taken in front of the convent door

( exactly as in our picture) about 1960.

Others will have more.”

Maura McConnell remembers it as well. “The procession through the convent gardens on Corpus Christi was known as Quarant’Ore  . The garden always looked immaculate then and woe betide you if you were caught walking on the grass 😂 Maura”


A Poem for You

I Like to Walk with Nana

I like to walk with Nana,

Her steps are small  like mine.

She never says “let’s hurry-up!

She always takes her time.

I like to walk with Nana,

Her eyes see things like mine.

Shiny stones, a fluffy cloud,

Stars at night that shine.

People rush their whole day through,

They rarely stop to see.

I’m glad that God made Nanas

unrushed and young like me!

Author: unknown


From the Archives

Kerryman 4 January 1947

South Kerry Domestic Servant’s Fatal Injuries. About 6. 10 pm on

Christmas Eve, while seventeen years old Miss Mary Curran a domestic

servant, of  Coomastow, Ahatubrid, was proceeding home from her

employer’s place at Waterville, she was involved in a collision with a

motor lorry at Kinneigh, seven miles from Caherciveen and received

injuries to which she succumbed in about 20 minutes.


Progress on the Community Centre Extension, January 11 2017

Listowel Town Park and Gorse Fires in Moanvenlagh

Nesting Time

( Photo;  Timothy John MacSweeney)


Saturday in Childers’ Park

Listowel is a truly beautiful place to live. One of its many treasures is the Cows Lawn/Childers Park. Here are a few photos I took on an Saturday morning walk there recently.


Listowel Juvenile Rugby Training

It was heartwarming to see all the little would-be Jonathan Sextons and their trainers at work in the park on Saturday morning.

“A child, more than all the other gifts that Earth can offer to declining man brings hope with it and forward looking thoughts.”      Wordsworth


Photobomb Irish style

( photo: Live Gaelic)


Celtic Crosses in St. Michael’s Graveyard


In Childers’ Park


Nearly Here Now


Gorse Fires

There has been much coverage in the media of the horrific gorse fires which threatened the National Park in Killarney recently. Unfortunately it was not just in Killarney that gorse fires did damage. Liz Brosnan and John Curtin took the following photos of fires near Listowel in Moanvelagh last week.

(Liz Brosnan)
(John Curtin)


Silver Lining; Carrots and Flowers for the winner

Many Clouds, the winner of Saturday’s Aintree Grand National has his own Facebook page. He posted some photos taken by his friends at his post races party.

photos; Many Clouds

The Cows lawn concluded.; More on Superstorm Sandy

The final installment of Kay Caball’s history of Childers’ Park.

In 1966, Listowel Urban Council, still striving to finally put the Cows
Lawn in public ownership and also to provide a Town Park for the residents,
opened negotiations with the ‘Cow Keepers’ to purchase their shares. On 23
August 1965 the following Shareholders were offered £200 per share:

Martin Daly Market St.

Joseph Walsh, Church St., 

Paddy Keane, Church

Joe Scanlon, Bridge Road, 

Gerald Lynch, The Square, 

Mrs. Tadg Brennan,
Colbert St., 

Patrick Finucane, Church St 

Mrs. May Quillinan, C/o Miss Stack, The Emporium, Church St., 

Miss N Kelly, Upper William

Mrs Nora Buckley, William St.

Miss Tessie Buckley, William St.,

Michael Woulfe, C/o McKennas, Listowel

All signified their agreement but at that point problems with the legal
conveyance arose. A barrister’s opinion supplied by William A. Binchy (father
of Maeve Binchy) dated 10.10.1965 spelled out the ‘defect in the title of the
land in question’. 

Because the ownership had been vested in so many different
titleholders, some now deceased, his opinion was that the best and indeed only
way forward was a Compulsory Purchase Order.

The Compulsory Purchase Order was effected on 14 April 1966, the Urban
Council borrowed £4,300 from the New Ireland Insurance Co., to pay for the
acquisition, which they later recouped by selling a small section of the road frontage. At the same time the very distinctive
Danaher’s Lodge, now called the Dandy Lodge, a nineteenth century cottage which
had been the gate lodge to the manor and was identified as the first house in Bridge Road in the Ordinance Survey map of 1887,19 was
moved stone by stone across the road to the new entrance to the Park. The Town
Park, now known as Childers Park is in public ownership, used on a daily basis
by the people of the town with pitch & putt, rugby, soccer, a children’s playground
and Community Centre.

The highlight of the
 development of the Lawns is the Garden 
of Europe.
In the wooded area which had 
formerly been used a town dump, the 
council, with
the help of local voluntary
associations initiated the planting of the 
of Europe, now regarded as one of Listowel’s hidden treasures. It contains more
than 2,500 trees and shrubs from all European countries. It also contains
Ireland’s only public monument to the memory of the millions who died in the
Holocaust. The focal point of the garden is an impressive bust of the poet
Schiller. Schiller’s ‘Ode to Joy’ set to music by Beethoven in his Ninth
Symphony is now the official anthem of the European Union.


‘Ode to Joy’ expresses Schiller’s idealistic vision of the human race
becoming brothers, a vision also shared by Beethoven.  Surely it is a fitting
conclusion to the long drawn out struggle of the people of Listowel to be
masters of their own destiny, to walk 
their ‘own’ land and enjoy all the
on offer in their ‘Town Park’. As this research shows, It had taken
from the middle of the twelfth century, firstly with the Fitzmaurices, then the
Hares as overlords, to reach a conclusion where the tenants and dispossessed
were ‘brothers’ rather than serfs.


I am very grateful to Kay for sharing this with us. She has done us all a great service in documenting this fascinating piece of Listowel history.

Below are some of the facilities available in the Cows’ Lawn to the people of Listowel today.

Adult playground
tennis courts
Tee box on Pitch and Putt Course
Artwork and Graffiti
flower bed


Beautiful early colour photographs here (mostly Galway)


Did you know there’s an Irish actor in the popular
TV soap Home and Away?

Irish actor Alison McGirr, from Co Carlow, landed
the role as Molly Brenner and has been appearing in episodes of the show in
Australia since August of this year. 

She started appearing in episodes broadcasted in
Ireland in recent weeks. 

McGirr, whose great-grandparents were from Ireland,
was herself born in Australia but moved back to Ireland with her family 1996
where she attended Tullow Community School in Co Carlow.

McGirr is engaged to fellow actor Sam Atwell, who
is best known for his role as Kane Philips in the TV show.

Home and Away is watched by an estimated 150,000 Irish
people on RTÉ everyday.


Do you remember yesterday’s first hand pictures from New Jersey? They were shared with us by Marie Shaw and she wrote this account of superstorm Sandy.

Hi Mary,

Fortunately I was not in the thick of it. I live in Manchester, NJ about 13/15 miles inland from the coast. Most of those pictures were taken from the block behind my son’s home in Belmar, NJ.

As I am sure you have heard in the media, the devastation on the coastline from lower Manhattan and all through the Jersey shore to Atlantic City is horrendous. A quarter of a million people in lower Manhattan without power which means no water, no heat, no cooking facilities. Over one hundred  homes in Breezy Point NY burned to the ground. Miraculously, nobody perished in the blaze.Rockaway Beach, NY (affectionately known in the old days as Ballybunion USA) just a memory of what it once was.

The entire Jersey shore has been wiped out with hotels, private beachfront homes and miles and miles of boardwalk gone. So many families homeless in the aftermath, so many lives ruined by the wrath of mother nature.

When, as a child back in Listowel, we would experience a storm, the older people would talk about “The night of the big wind” I had no idea what the fuss was about but I certainly do now. I have never heard such gale force winds. Up to 80 miles an hour, windows shaking, trees uprooted and flashing lights in the sky. The flashing lights we found out later were transformers exploding.

Incredibly, only about forty lives were lost and most of those were people who refused to follow orders to “Stay inside your homes” and ending up being struck by falling trees and live electrical wires on the ground.

Most of us (The Irish in partulicar) have always had an ongoing romantic affair with the sea but we are all realizing that the sea and nature in general can turn on us in an instant and many can be left with broken hearts and broken lives.

On a happier note, as the sea grows calm once again, the attached picture shows that everything has it’s time and place and tonight we feel that God is still in the heavens and all will be right with the world once again.


Marie Shaw

Calm after the storm


Still standing in the midst of the devastation ay Breezy Point New York.


And I saw this next on Facebook. Uplifting!

Page 2 of 3

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén