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: Chutes Bar

Risin Sun then and now, a favourite recipe and the premier of Sive in 1959

Beautiful Beale

Ita Hannon


Your Help is Needed to Identify this old school, Teacher or Pupils

It’s somewhere in North Kerry but the sender of the photo has no further clue.

As they say on the TV programme, Crime Call, “The image is very clear. Someone must recognize someone…”


The Success of Sive

Text and photos: Vincent Carmody

Vincent Carmody was at the premier of Sive in Walsh’s Ballroom and he wrote the following account of the night.

Premier of Sive.

I was there at the beginning.

John B. said, ‘All Souls Night’ was his introduction to three act plays. My introduction was Sive’s premier, at Walsh’s Ballroom, on Feb 2nd, 1959.

I remember it, as it was one, of only two times ( apart from attending Mass), that I ever went, to any social occasion with both my parents. The other was when we went to see the film, Oklahoma, at the Plaza. My sister, Maura was with us. She was entering the nuns shortly afterwards.

I had seen Walsh’s Hall, rising from a green field site, in the mid 1950’s, and the night of the premier, was my first glimpse of it internally, it appeared then to me, as the largest building, apart from our local Church, that I was ever in. 

The hall was jam-packed, many of those around, were familiar to my parents, so there was a continual buzz of conversation. Looking back, much of what went on, on the stage that night, went over my head, However, there are certain moments that I can vividly remember to this day, after a distance of 57 years.

The first was, the distinctive sound of a bodhran being beaten, first in the distant, then louder as it came nearer the Glavin’s house, then louder as the two tinker men came into the kitchen, Carthalawn singing and being told by Pats Bocock, ‘your best, your almighty best’

I remember, Mena Glavin’s taunting of her mother in law, Nanna Glavin, and I am sure that I felt pity for her. What I remember most of the acting, was the shouting outside the house, before Sive’s dead body was brought back from the bog, and then as she was brought into the kitchen and laid on the table top. 

Make believe became reality when the play finished, the lights were turned and the actors took several standing ovations.

All those on the stage that night were people that my family knew well, The Cahills, John and Siobhan (Carthalawn and Nanna Glavin), our mothers used attend Children Of Mary together, John Flaherty (Pats Bocock) as gentle a billiard player, as he was a gentleman, he was our tailor, Bill Kearney (Thomasheen Sean Rua, the Matchmaker) we knew him as Sgt. Kearney, he was officer in charge of the local F.C.A. headquarters, The Slua Hall. Nora Relihan (Mena Glavin) Nora was married to Mick Relihan, our neighbour. Brendan O Carroll, the play’s producer, my mother was a regular customer of his drapery shop, ( it was there I got my first pair of green and gold Kerry socks). Margaret Dillon (Sive). Her brother Tony and myself were for a while altar boys at the convent. John B, I did not know him then, at this time, he would have been known as The Joker’s ( Eamon Keane’s) younger brother. Kevin O Donavan (Mike Glavin), our friend and neighbour, he was our shoemaker. Brian Brennan (Liam Scuab), he was from out of town, he worked for the contractors that were building the new boys school at the time. Hiliary Neilson (Sean Dota) the Technical School’s metalwork teacher with the Swedish name, at the time, we only knew of him from lads attending the school. They used say,” you better keep on his right side or else he could hit you with anything”  Meeting him in later life, I found him a kindly man, his sole interest in teaching, the progress and well being of his pupils.

I have since seen the play over 10 times, however those first night memories are indelibly frozen in my mind.

The photograph and program, I framed, and gave to John B. on his 70th birthday in 1998. It remain’s in the bar.

The original photo of the opening night cast,

From left, Sean Cahill, John Flaherty, Bill Kearney, Nora Relihan, Brendan O Carroll, Margaret Dillon, John B Keane, Siobhan Cahill, Kevin O Donavan, Brian Brennan, Cecile Cotter ( assistant stage manager, a daughter of Tasty Cotter) Hiliary Neilson.

From Kay Caball’s scrapbook comes the early reaction from the critics


A Pleasant Surprise

When I opened the Weekend Magazine in my Irish Independent a few Saturday’s ago I saw a familiar face. It was Patricia Murphy who I remembered from Pres. a few years ago. Patricia was part of a feature about people sharing their favourite recipe. 

I’ve included it here for you. I haven’t tried it yet so you might let me know if you do.


Do you remember this?


Then and Now




Life in Downtown Asdee

Fr. Pat Moore continues his slow recovery. He is keeping us all posted on progress here

Between the Hills and the Sea

On Sunday he shared a memory of his good friend, Chrissie Nolan who passed away in December 2015

Fr. Moore’s photo of Chrissie Nolan taken at his deaconate ceremony in Rome in 1981


Fealeside Frolics

All photos by John Kelliher

You have until Sunday night to catch this Widows’ Paradise It’s gas!

A match, some changes and a good night in John B.’s

This and lots more great photos from Sunday’s match are on John Kelliher’s page here;


This is a photo from the good old days. Ballybunion was still the place to be in the sunshine yesterday.


A few changes in Listowel’s streetscape

Above is how it was; below is how it looks today. I think most will agree that it’s shaping up nicely.

<<<<<< <

Pat Nolan’s and John B.”s were painted over the summer.

One Thursday evening during August I spend a very entertaining few hours in John B.’s.

The Knockaderry and Clouncagh Players were staging John B.’s The Highest House on The Mountain. They made a great job of adapting the play to the venue and we all enjoyed a great night’s theatre.

Billy Keane with the cast.

That was the night on which Billy twinned his pub with De Danu in Toulouse.

Joan Kenny met her cousin, Pat Hartnett, from Ballybunion.

Eoin Hand was there.

Billy gave Trevor a picture of himself as a jester.

Trevor gave Billy a signed Toulouse rugby jersey which he hoped to see hung beside Jonathan Sexton’s one in the corner by the bar.

Chutes Bar and more from Red Pepper and the Tar Abhaile project

Progress report

The front of Chute’s Bar is beginning to look different already. Danny is going to do the facade first in order to improve the look of the place. The interior refit will take a lot longer.


No Callers

I hope you can read it….it’s good


Poster from 1948


Day 3 of the Tar Abhaile adventure took us to Co. Limerick

Glyn is greeted by Fr. Joe

The “descendants” in the sacristy with Fr. Joe. If this priest looks familiar to my Listowel followers it could be because his previous career was as a chef in Kerry Group in Listowel.

This is the Red Pepper crew plus a few amateurs recording the action at Limerick City Library.

Our travels took us to Laurel Hill where we met the FCJ archivist, Sr. Eileen.

Sr. Eileen is a remarkable woman with a great grasp of the history of the FCJ order in Ireland and she is a consummate story teller. I could listen to her all day. The Sr. Eileens of this world are now few and far between and their stories need to be recorded.

 We ended our journey in a country churchyard, surrounded by daffodils and birdsong.

Here we are, frozen solid but soldiering on to bring you our tale. Watch out for us on TG4 in September or October.


On Monday, as I passed by the building in Market St. that used to be used by the Franciscan Sisters I spotted this fellow trapped inside.

While I was photographing the bird, a good samaritan took out his mobile phone and rang for help to free him.


Some more from Confirmation 2013


Listowel Military Tattoo

Keep checking in with their website to see who is coming. It will be a brilliant weekend in town. Don’t miss out on the fun

Changed and Changing Times

This is Áras an Phiarsaigh, our town hall. As I was visiting the library last week I noticed that this building was getting a face lift. All the old dead shrubbery has been removed and it’s looking a bit bare but much cleaner and more welcoming.


I photographed this sign at Mike the Pies. Isn’t it lovely? Of course there is no Patrick Street in Listowel. Mike the Pies is on Upper William St. but thereby hangs another tale….


This premises known as Chutes’ Bar has been unoccupied now for some years. Well, let me be the first with the news. Danny Russell of Changes has purchased the building and he has big plans for it. The project will be a long term one but Danny, with his innate sense of style and his love of interior design will, I’m sure, make a lovely job of it. He plans to change the facade and to give it a look more in keeping with a heritage town. He is thinking along the lines of a series of concession shops or maybe an interiors and soft furnishings shop. 

All of these plans will change and evolve over time so watch this space….


Remember these?

This picture is from Dublin in March 1982 and it shows the last of the open backed buses. These were 2 man buses. You got on to a platform at the back of the bus. You bought your ticket from a conductor and you told him where you wanted to get off. The driver had one job only, to drive the bus.  Ah, changed times indeed.


Another one for the emigrants, well written and informative.

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