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: Christmas craft fair

Official opening of Craftshop na Méar and some upcoming events

Robert Corridan sent this photo from New York where he is heavily involved with Shannon Gael’s GAA Club

in the picture are  Cara Corridan,Robert Corridan,Bernard Brogan,Cian O Sullivan, Senan Price, Emer Price, and  Sean Price (Kenmare) 

All the adults in this photo have Kerry parents


 Mamie and Davy Gunn, the bodhrán maker, in 1985.


 Jer. Kennelly found this great old photo of   Michael Dowling,  Derry Tatten and Gerard Lynch on  a Pioneer Sponsored walk in Moyvane, Knockanure and Listowel in the eighties.

While he was at it, Jer sent this photo of Margaret Carmody and Marie Gorman at the same event.


Listen here to the heavenly voice of Rosa Karim as she sings O Holy Night at the official opening of Craftshop na Méar on Tuesday last.

Mary Keane in Craftshop na Méar for the official opening.


Some more photos from the opening:

I was honoured to stand between two of the town’s most respected ladies, Mary Keane and Mrs. Corridan

Anne Moloney and Norah Mulvihill

Eileen O’Sullivan, Orla and Joan O’Connor and Una Hayes

Canon O’Connor, who blessed the shop, greets Anne Moloney

Jamie brought her three little ones.

Mayor of Listowel, Jimmy Moloney

Patricia and Bernie

(more from the opening tomorrow)


4 dates for the diary

On Monday Dec 16 Craftshop na Méar will hold its first Cois Tine event. The theme is Christmas. Gabriel Fitzmaurice, Billy Keane, Seán Lyons and Kay Caball will provide some Christmas themed entertainment. Vincent Carmody is going to take us on a trip down Memory Lane to Christmasses in Listowel in the 1950s. These and more will enliven the afternoon from 2.00p.m. onwards. Refreshments will be provided by Scribes.  All in cost €5.

The good people at The Seanchaí have some stuff lined up before that.



‘Summer Triangle’

By Carolann Copland

Friday December 13th

at 6.30 pm

The Seanchaí – Kerry Writers’ Museum,

The Square, Listowel

Triangle will be launched by Billy Keane

Copland is the founder of Carousel Creates; offering writing experiences to
writers of all ages and lifestyles. She has a Bachelor of Education in English
and Drama and has been a teacher for fourteen years. 

Although she
writes mostly novels; Carolann loves to dabble with short stories, plays and
poetry; writing between Dublin and the South of Spain.


Saturday at 6.00 we gather outside the Cinema for our candlelit walk to remember absent friends.  

A question in parliament about Listowel, 1920, Sunday’s Craft Fair and Tar Abhaile

I had a busy day on Sunday. It was a big day in town with most of the shops offering discounts. In the town park the Community Centre was holding a Craft Fair. Here are a few photos I took on my visit.

These people were there to promote a fundraiser for Ballybunion Sea and Cliff Rescue. Watch out for a great night with celebrity chef in The Listowel Arms.

Catherine Nolan had reed diffusers, jewellery etc.

Carmel and Paddy Fitzgibbon were chatting to Vincent Carmody at his stall.

Imelda Murphy and Noreen O’Connell were catching up.

 These sisters had slate products and Tilly dolls for sale.

Enterprising pupils from Tarbert Comprehensive TY class were selling Christmas wreaths.

Another happy customer for Vincent; Paddy McElligott.

Mary Fagan was admiring Maria’s diverse array of paper products.


Neighbours, Helen, Christy and Noreen were doing a spot of early Christmas shopping.


Nowadays we are reading of
the re ignition of an old fiery subject….. the question of Irish language
signage.  Leo Varadkar, in response to
pressure from Irish language lobbyists, is proposing to give placenames as
Gaeilge more prominence on signposts than the more familiar English placenames
that are in daily use.

Back in 1920 Listowel had its
own signage as Gaeilge controversy. Paddy Keane found this account on line.


Deb 25 November 1920 

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether he is aware that Miss Kearney,
Messrs. John F. M’Guire, John Kean, John Quigley, James Crowley, all of Church
Street, Listowel, Patrick Buckley, Jeremiah Foley, Thomas Beechinor, all of
William Street, Listowel, Edward Moran, Market Street, Listowel, have within
the last fortnight obliterated their names in Irish character on their
showboards; whether this was done because of threats made by police constables
in case they refused to do so; whether any of these are licensed traders;
whether he is aware that Messrs. Timothy D. O’Sullivan, Michael Fitzmaurice,
James Lynch, John Relihan, Michael O’Connor and Edward Gleeson, and Mrs.
Michael Stack, Mrs. J. J. Keane, all of William Street, Listowel, Miss Katty
Stack, Main Street, Listowel, Messrs. Morgan Sheehy, James Bunyan and John
Began, and Mrs. Counihan, all of Church Street, Listowel, licensed traders,
have, within the same period, also obliterated their names in Irish characters
on their show boards; whether all these have, and prior to such obliteration
had, their names in English characters over their doors as required by Section
25 of The Licensing Act,
; whether this obliteration was done under similar threats;
whether, on Friday, the 12th instant, Constables Cahill and Beiman called at
the premises of Mr. Flavin, a newsagent and flour and meal merchant, and
threatened Mrs. Flavin that unless the name in Irish was taken down within 24
hours the premises would be blown up, and if the same constables
on Wednesday night repeated this threat to Mr. Flavin’s assistant, giving her
until midnight to have the name removed, otherwise the house would be burned;
whether in consequence the women and children were afraid to sleep at home that
night; whether the same constables made a similar threat to Mrs. John B. Walsh;
whether, when Mr. Walsh produced a letter from his solicitor as to the law on
the point, they informed him this law was out of date, and that he must have
his name in English letters six inches long, under Section 10 of TheLicensing Act,
; whether there is such a Statute, as alleged by the police;
whether there are still several traders having their names in Irish over their
shops; and whether any assurance will be given to these that their property
will not be destroyed in consequence by the police or other forces of the
Crown, and that these traders will not be further molested in reference to this

Sir H. GREENWOODI am making inquiries
into these allegations, and shall be glad if the hon. Member will repeat on
Thursday next this question, of which I only received notice yesterday.

Mr. SEXTONasked the Chief Secretary
for Ireland whether he will make further inquiries into the statement that only
licence-holders were compelled to withdraw from their signboards their names in
Irish; and whether traders may now be assured that they will be free in the
future from interference of that character?

Sir H. GREENWOODIn view of the specific
allegations in a question put to me to-day by the hon. Member for Wigan (Mr.
Allen Parkinson), I am having further inquiry made into this matter.



I am looking forward to Tg4 on Sunday Dec. 1  at 9.30 to revisit a happy time last spring with Julie Evans and the Mahalicz  family.

The film crew went to Sydney to film Julie “at home”. Here she is Hyde Park Barracks with her cousin Barbara.

Julie at work

Filming at Hyde Park Barracks

The Tg4 programme will also feature this lady. She is Angie Mihalicz from Canada. NKRO found her Irish roots in Asdee. 

Angie brought some of her family with her. 

The connection with Peter McGrath? They are trying to make a family connection on Peter’s family’s vast family tree.

Christmas craft fair, Ballydonoghue magazine and a teacher heroine

The Ventry Warrior was laid to rest yesterday, his coffin shouldered by the son and nephews of whom he was so proud. His daughter read lines from Liam MacGabhann’s Blind Man in Croke Park.

Kerry is poorer for Páidí ÓSé’s passing. In the words of Seán Walsh at the graveside

““May the Ventry sod rest lightly on this noble warrior and may the angels bear him 

gently to God’s happy playing field” 

Listen, asthore, for those old eyes are sealed

Tell me once more when the Kerrymen take the field

Tell an old man who is feeble, grey and old

Do they walk proudly still wearing the Green and Gold?

Jer sent me this photo of Páidí with Aidan Moloney in Dingle recently


Today’s Christmas poem

is called Kerry Candlelight and I asked Pierce Walsh to send it to me for the blog after he had told me this story one day on Church St.

“I was privileged to have been taught by the master ( Bryan McMahon ) and he imparted many great poems and stories to his pupils but one that is full of memories for me is “ A Kerry Candlelight “. After leaving school I spent a couple of years in London and I have such a vivid memory of the train journey to Hollyhead and  it was as if I was back in the Master’s classroom reciting  “ A Kerry Candlelight””



I am
standing here in Euston, and my heart is light and gay,

For ‘tis soon I’ll see the
moonlight all a-dance on Dingle Bay. So behind me, then, is London, with the
magic of its night,

And before me is a window
filled with Kerry Candlelight.


‘Tis the lovely light of glory
that came down from heav’n on high,

And whenever I recall it,
there’s a teardrop in my eye.

By the mountainside at
twilight, in a cottage gleaming white,

There my true love sits
a-dreaming, in the Kerry Candlelight.


She’ll be waiting by the turf
fire; soon our arms will be entwined,

And the loneliness of exile
will be lost or cast behind,

As we hear the Christmas
greetings of the neighbours in the night,

Then our hearts will beat
together in the blessed Candlelight.


Now the train is moving
westward, so God speed its racing wheels,

And God speed its whistle
ringing o’er the sleeping English fields,

For I’m dreaming of an altar
where, beside my Breda bright,

I will whisper vows of true
love in the Kerry Candlelight.


Craft Fair

On Sunday last I attended the annual Christmas craft fair in The Seanchaí. Here are some of my photos from the fair. Such talented craftspeople we have in Kerry! I bought some of Pat’s Woodford pottery mugs, really stylish and functional; my engagement gift of choice. I loved the beautiful glass products I had seen on Nationwide but I could find no excuse to buy them. 

The knitting by Anne Egan, Ella O’Sullivan, Frances O’Flaherty and Dawn Thomas was the best you will get at any craft fair anywhere. I bought too much goodies from my favourite baker at Westcove Confectionary. She makes meringues to die for and her chocolate cake is finger licking good. In fact everything she bakes is delicious. There was also beautiful jewelry, exquisitely carved wooden ornaments and Swinky Doo’s beautiful fabric brooches, tree ornaments and party favors.

The Carmodys, Vincent and Dick were signing their books. 

You all know that I think Vincent’s book is a treasure, but, while on a different scale, Dick’s book is also a little gem. AND he has very kindly given me permission to quote from it, so look out for first hand accounts of country ways and a life of carefree innocence lived under the shadow of a country schoolhouse.


Last week the hard working magazine committee in Ballydonoghue launched their annual publication. It is a huge triumph for such a small parish to produce such a high quality journal year after year. This year’s book is a massive leap forward in terms of layout and design. There is colour on every page, the magazine is divided into colour coded sections and this year there is am emphasis on young people and on current news from the parish with beautiful colour photographs of local people.

Gerard with Mick Finucane and David Kissane

Above is Gerard Neville receiving 1st prize in Adult Creative Writing at launch. He is seen here reflected in the beautiful mirror made from local slate which was his prize. 

His story was “ Just Caws”. He also received the Danny Curtin Perpetual Trophy. 

Gerard grew up in Inch West, Listowel, taught as Primary Teacher in Gaile N.S. Thurles,  until he took early retirement in 2009. He has had stories and poems published in both English and Irish.


An Irish American teacher killed in the massacre in Newtown

Anne Marie Murphy lost her live trying to shield the children in her care from the gunman

“An Irish American family have paid tribute to their hero daughter who died ‘serving children and serving God’ in the Connecticut school massacre.

Mother of four Anne Marie Murphy was shot dead by gunman Adam Lanza as she protected her pupils at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Friday morning.

The 52-year-old Katonah, New York native was shielding the bodies of students when Lanza opened fire on them in the tragedy which claimed 28 lives. Her body was found on top of a group of children, desperately trying

to save them.

Her grieving parents have paid tribute to their daughter in a moving interview with the New York Newsday publication.

Dad Hugh McGowan and mum Alice spoke of their broken hearts after the death of the special-education teacher, found in a classroom covering a group of children who died alongside her.

Hugh told Newsday: “A first responder said she was a hero.”

The sixth of seven children, Anne Marie’s parents described her as “artistic, a fun-loving painter, witty and hardworking.”

Mum Alice said: “She was a happy soul. She was a very good daughter, a good mother, a good wife.”

The McGowans, both 86, were looking forward to welcoming Anne Marie and 36 fellow family members home for the Christmas holidays. Now they will remember the hero teacher.

“We loved being together,” Alice McGowan sighed in the Newsday interview.

Dad Hugh added: “You don’t expect your daughter to be murdered. That’s sort of a shocker. It happens on TV; it happens elsewhere.”

Mum Alice revealed how she turned to prayer when it became apparent Anne Marie wasn’t going to come home from school on Friday.

She added: “As time went by and Anne Marie didn’t contact anyone, well, then you’re waiting and waiting and waiting. When the news was confirmed, my first reaction was to grab my rosary. Then we wept.

“I’ve done my crying. Haven’t we all? I’ll miss her presence. She died doing what she loved. She was serving children and serving God.”

The McGowans attended Mass on Saturday morning at the St. Mary’s of the Assumption church in Katonah.

Father Paul Waddell explained: “I was preparing to pray at the start of Mass but I looked up and saw a lot of teary eyes.

“They told us about their daughter, that she was a teacher, she was killed in Connecticut. So we prayed at this 8 o’clock Mass for all of them and for her.”

Murphy’s family have asked that donations be sent to Autism Speaks, 1060 State Rd., 2nd Floor, Princeton, NJ 08540 or donated online at”

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