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: church tower

Johnny Barrett film in St. Johns, Love in an Oil Can and some old ads

St. Michael’s Graveyard, Listowel


A Love Poem

Today’s love poem is about the practical side of love.

Atlas      by UA Fanthorpe

There is a kind of love called maintenance

Which stores the WD40 and knows when to use it;

Which checks the insurance, and doesn’t forget

The milkman; which remembers to plant bulbs;

Which answers letters; which knows the way

The money goes; which deals with dentists

And Road Fund Tax and meeting trains,

And postcards to the lonely; which upholds

The permanently rickety elaborate

Structures of living, which is Atlas.

And maintenance is the sensible side of love,

Which knows what time and weather are doing

To my brickwork; insulates my faulty wiring;

Laughs at my dryrotten jokes; remembers

My need for gloss and grouting; which keeps

My suspect edifice upright in air,

As Atlas did the sky.


Johnny Barrett remembered in film

The late Johnny Barrett of Dromina in North Cork was a local legend. He had a one man band doing weddings and socials in my part of the world when I was a young girl. In later life, Johnny turned to entertaining in old folks homes and day centres. His unexpected death in 2008 left many of his loyal fans bereft.

He is the subject of a film in St. John’s on Friday evening.

Fri 23rd

On The Road With Johnny Barrett

A film presentation on one of the best known entertainers in the south west.  Join Johnny on the road to Lisdoonvarna, Killarney, Charleville and Nenagh.  With Kay and George Devlin – Irish and international ballroom dancing champions, Irish dancers and musicians.


Upper Church Street, Listowel in February 2018


Newspaper advertisements in the 1980s


Another library story

Today’s library remembrance comes from Vincent Carmody.

The Library has special memories for me, the large upstairs room, the full length of the building, housed our babies class, when we went to school first. 

On a personal note, I often think how amazing our particular senses are to us, many times in the past, even as late as last year, I have had occasion to climb the beautiful original stairs to the upper floor, every time I have done so, the same type of smell and empty sound the building emits comes flooding back, identical to the smell and sound of nearly 70 years ago. 

Our teacher was Mrs Pidge Scanlon (Bean Uí Scanláin, Eleanor Scanlon’s mother) from Scanlon’s pub on Market Street. She was (to me anyway) a very kind woman, as my story will tell.

 Mrs Scanlon, over the years, had built up a very sizeable collection of toys. Among these were a lot of little tin soldiers and cowboys and Indians. These she would keep on display on the many window sills, facing on to the street. On many a day, when she would have her back turned, I would stuff as many of these as I could manage, into my pockets and take them home. When at home I would take them out and start playing with them. Invariably, my mother would see them, ask me where they came from, and when I would say the school, she would put them back in my bag the following morning, warning me to hand them back to Mrs Scanlon.  This happened on many occasions, and I would hand them up. Mrs Scanlon would never say a word, only take them and put them back on the windows. Years later, she had retired, and had filled me a drink in the pub, I reminded her of the robberies and asked, why did you never give out or beat me. She put my drink on the counter, looked at me and said, “To tell the truth, I was very fond of your father and mother.” 

Listowel Schoolboys in the 1980s, Love in a Box and Library Road in February 2018

Old Church Towel in Upper Church Street, Listowel


Scoil Realta na Maidine Boys in the 1980s

Joan Carey found this old supplement to The Kerryman. I’ve photographed it in sections so you can be naming these men who are now in their thirties and forties.


This poem by Erin Fornoff was posted last week on Twitter to mark Valentines day. I like it.


Library Road, Listowel

Mohammed Ali in Dublin, The Wind the Shakes… and John B.s Poor Relations

The old church tower after which Church Street was named


A Poem for the Emigrants

There’s music in  my heart today,

I hear it late and early,

It comes from fields are far away,

The wind that shakes the barley.

Above the uplands drenched with dew

The sky hangs soft and pearly

An emerald world is listening to

The wind that shakes the barley

Above the bluest mountain crest

The lark is singing rarely,

It rocks the singer into rest,

The wind that shakes the barley.

Oh, still through summers and through springs

It calls me late and early.

Come home, come home, come home, it sings,

The wind that shakes the barley. 


Poor Relations     (an essay by John B. Keane)

It is
a melancholy truth that even great men have their poor relations….Dickens

When misfortune smites the poor they have
nowhere to turn but to their rich relations. When I was young I had no rich
relations. A few were well off alright but the remainder were like ourselves,
up one day and down the next.

The tragedy is that there aren’t enough
rich relations to go round. While I have no figures at my fingertips I think I
would be safe in saying that for every rich relation there are twenty poor
ones. Maybe there are more. Only those who are very rich could say for sure.

This puts a of of pressure on rich
relations and because of this they are always on the defensive They are obliged
to manufacture a large stock of ready made answers such as ;”Every penny I have
is tied up,” or” My overdraught is sky high as it is.”

Other ploys resorted to by rich relations
are to be abject of appearance and poor of mouth or to surprise the borrower by
trying to borrow from them first.

For lesser appeals such as the price of a
drink or the loan of a fiver there is the ritualistic turning out of the
trousers’ pockets to show that the besieged party has nothing on him. Another
useful trick is to hand over a wallet with nothing in it, at the same time
telling the victim that he can keep all the money he finds in it.

For large amounts, something more effective
is required such as a visible feeling of concern for the problems of would-be

(continued tomorrow) 


Horse Chestnut Season


Great Photo of Cork

Autumn in Cork from the best named Twitter site yet; Féach News


Popular Listowel Couple

The Listowel Arms Hotel love to post pictures of the happy couples who celebrate in their hotel. Usually the happy pair have just been married a few hours. Recently they held a party for a couple who have been married just a few few years longer. The hotel was delighted to be the venue chosen by their next door neighbours, Danny and Eileen Hannon to celebrate a significant anniversary.


Rubbing Shoulders with Football Royalty

Margaret O’Sullivan  (right) was in Killarney for the launch of Colm Cooper’s autobiography.

(photo; Tralee Today)


Meanwhile In Kanturk

The cup may be small but the celebrations are huge.

All Photos; Donal Desmond

The club is at the heart of the GAA and nowhere is that better exemplified than in my native Kanturk  where club is family and hurling is their meat and drink.

On Saturday evening October 7 2017 in Páirc Uí Rinn, Kanturk’s premier hurling team defeated Mallow in a hard fought final.

There were flags flying, bunting up and a victory parade and that is only the start of the celebrations.

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