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: Claddagh Design Page 2 of 3

Signs and Flowers, a bespoke Tara brooch and the launch of Coolard School’s history

Some Listowel Signs and Flowers


The Demon Drink

Tralee Chronicle and Killarney Echo 1843-1881, Tuesday, 04 November,
1873; Page: 2

Our Listowel Correspondent writes yesterday :—On the evening of the
last fair in Listowel, a poor man who lived near Athea in the County
Limerick. Left the town in his donkey’s cart in a drunken state for
his home . I understand that he was accompanied by a neighbour, who
unluckily had indulged  freely on that day. When about two miles from
the  town on their way home, it was seen that the unfortunate man was
in a hopeless state of intoxication, and it became necessary to tie
him to the shaft of the car. In this manner they proceeded slowly for
some miles, until they were  met on the road at a place called
Knockanure by some parties, who saw that something was wrong. On
coming up and stirring the drunken man, they found he was quite stiff.
He was immediately taken into the next house, but all attempts to
restore him to consciousness were fruitless  , and it was soon seen
that the poor fellow was quite dead.


Tara Brooch Fit for a High King

One of the most beautiful  treasures in the National Museum is The Tara Brooch which dates from around 700A.D. It was found on the beach in Bettystown in 1850 and according to Wikipaedia has nothing to do with Tara at all. 

So where is the Listowel connection? Eileen Moylan of Listowel, Macroom and Claddagh Design fame was recently commissioned to make a modern day replica solid silver “Tara” brooch. She takes us step by step through the smithing process in her blog here: 

Claddagh Design

Eileen’s splendid finished diamond and emerald brooch

The cut pieces of silver which will make up the brooch

Adding the precious stones

Nearly there, engraving and polishing to be done yet.

And just to remind you again of the truly beautiful finished brooch


Dick Spring in Listowel

Denis Carroll posted this photo of Michael Guerin campaigning with Dick Spring back in the day. The photo appears to be taken at St. Patrick’s Hall and the young people are members of Listowel Youth Club.


There Must be Some Mistake

I spotted these in Tescos. The exact same product, bag ties, reduced to €1.63 or €5. Take your pick.


Launch of Maurice O’Mahony’s History of Coolard National School

On Saturday last, March 5 2016 I made my way, along with half of North Kerry it seems, to St. John’s Listowel for the launch of a very important local history book.

Coolard Primary School is 170 years in existence and Maurice O’Mahony has been principal there for the last 43 of them. Nine years ago he undertook the mammoth task of compiling the history of the school. It was a labour of love but also of blood, sweat and tears and long hours of research, writing curating, proof reading and editing. It was worth all the effort for Maurice’s book is indeed a treasure and an invaluable record of a place that has played an important role in the life of Ballydonoghue parish and its children for many years now.

When I arrived at St. John’s I was warmly greeted by three of today’s múinteoirí.

The author was already busy signing copies of his book.

The hall was filling up with friends of the school.

( more about the launch tomorrow….)


Blithe Spirit

photo: Eoin O’Hagan

Father and Daughter ready for the stage. Pa Sheahan and Anna Sheahan who play Charles Condomine and his maid Edith in Listowel Drama Group‘s version of Noel Coward’s “Blithe Spirit”, pose for a family photo before going on stage at the 69th Clare Drama Festival March 2016

Ice Cream, A Quiz in 1959 and Crafts in Craftshop na Méar

Ballybunion, December 2 2015

photo; Jason of Ballybunion Prints


The Ice Cream of our childhood

Photo; Irish Abroad


A Memory from 1959

Vincent Carmody found this old cutting recently.  Now for the $64.000 question……who won?


Christmas in the Craftshop

Craftshop na Méar,Church Street Listowel is a different kind of shopping experience. Inside this shop is a kind of treasure trove of crafts and creations.

Below are just a few of the things you will find there. It is well worth a visit. My advice: Don’t buy a Christmas present anywhere else without trying here first.

You could have the best dressed teddy or doll in town with beautiful couture dolls clothes from this shop. Aren’t the flat caps only gorgeous?

This crochet manger scene is perfect for a table centerpiece.

Viveca’sa vibrant pictures are selling fast.

These hang on many a tree in lands far from Listowel.

I think these fairy doors are beautiful.

All year round but especially at Christmas, the craftshop’s exclusive range of solid silver jewellery, The My Silver River Feale Collection is a popular choice with men and ladies.

This beautiful piece depicting 3 iconic symbols of Listowel, St. John’s, Listowel Castle and the River Feale is designed and made by Eileen Moylan of Claddagh Design.

Eileen grew up in Listowel but she has now crossed the border to Cork. She makes her beautiful range of jewellery in her studio in Macroom.

Eileen also makes one off pieces. She recently made me a piece which I will always treasure. The piece was a present from my daughters. They took Eileen some old pieces of jewellery and asked her to make something special for me.

From my late husband’s wedding ring and a sapphire ring which was his first present to me, Eileen designed and made this stunning piece.


I’ve got my tickets. Have you?

Mary and Danny at Changes with my family ticket for Cinderella…great value at €25

My Silver River Feale, Dromclough, St. Mary’s and Fungie

My Silver River Feale

“My heart tonight is lonely for my sireland,

Though many miles of ocean lie between,

My heart tonight is home again in Ireland

Upon thy banks, my silver River Feale.”

The words of Bryan MacMahon are the inspiration behind a beautiful piece of jewellery soon to be unveiled in Craftshop na Méar.

This is Eileen Moylan of Claddagh Designs pictured at her work bench in Macroom.

This is a sneak preview of her Listowel piece, My Silver River Feale which will be launched in Craftshop na Méar, Listowel on Saturday May 31 2014 as part of Listowel Writers’ Week fringe. The solid silver hallmarked piece will be available as a pendant, bracelet or cuff links. The design shows St. John’s, Listowel Castle and The Bridge over The Feale.

If you love Listowel you will want one of these.

Everyone is welcome to the launch. Standing room is limited. We will have to close the doors when the shop is full so come early and browse some of the lovely crafts in the shop. We plan to have a little music, a few nibbles and a video showing how the silver piece was designed and crafted. Owen MacMahon, son of the author of My Silver River Feale will be the guest of honour on the night,

May 31 2014 at 7.00 p.m.


A newspaper picture of the opening of Dromclough National School


St. Mary’s in Listowel Square is due to close its doors for refurbishment for the months of June and July 2014. Daily masses will be celebrated in St. John’s and Sunday Mass in St. Michael’s College.

Below are some photos of the lovely interior of our parish church.


Fungie the Dingle dolphin

Two more recent action shots from his friends at Fungie Forever


Nano Nagle award

Eileen Keane, Acting Vice Principal, Clodagh Kissane with her Nano Nagle Award and Elaine Kinsella who presented the awards on Awards Day at Presentation Secondary School, Listowel


Graveyards, Craftshop na Méar , The Buds of Ballybunion and Michael D.

I took this photo in Ballincollig on Saturday last as I indulged with my family in a long standing tradition of picking horses in The Aintree Grand National. I had no luck but there was a little money returned to the Cork branch of the family.


While in Ballincollig I visited the grave of rock legend, Rory Gallagher.

Rory is buried in a lawn cemetery, where there is a cap on the height of the grave memorials. Good idea.


I also visited another older churchyard on the Ovens side of town.

This beautiful old graveyard is full of character but almost impossible to maintain.


This is how Craftshop na Méar looked on opening day,  Dec 10 2013. Much has happened since then and we are about to have a makeover. Painting will begin shortly and our Summer programme will be launched.

It was all systems go when I called into the shop yesterday.

New crafter in the shop, Eileen Moylan was in store assembling her glass cabinet.

Namir called in to help with the set up.

Máire Logue of Writers’ Week gets a sneak preview of Eileen’s Listowel range, which is still at the planning stage.

Crafters, Maureen, Mary and Isobel welcomed Eileen to shop.


Cough Syrup or night cap?

This cough syrup was once  on sale in Limerick according to the Limerick 1912 website.



I went to see John B.’s The Buds of Ballybunion on Wednesday night. It was great to see St. John’s packed for this dated romping Listowel performance.

The word Buds comes from “budaire”. This was a kind of tourist we see no more. Na budairí, or buds as they called them in Ballybunion were country people who came to Ballybunion in September. They rented a room in a boarding house. They brought with them their own potatoes and other vegetables, bacon, eggs, butter, jam etc. and the landlady cooked these for them.

The tradition is coming to an end in John B’s play and this motley crew who come to the O’Dea house for their final summer as buds are depicted as backward, sexually repressed, frustrated but lovable characters. They are played to perfection in St. John’s by some of the best character actors in North Kerry and West Limerick.

There is poetry, dancing, storytelling, song and ribaldry in this performance. The audience on Wednesday gave them a standing ovation. What more tribute can an actor or playwright ask?


The state banquet for President Michael D. Higgins  (Getty Images)

So far I haven’t mentioned the triumph of the first ever state visit by an Irish president to Britain. Aren’t we glad now we elected a speechmaker. I am so proud of Michael D. Higgins. He can sure talk posh and he has few equals in delivery of the bon mot. If I were to single out one speech it would be the “Ar scáth a chéile a mhairimid” bit where he explained that scáth in Irish means shadow and shade. We have emerged from the shadow and now the queen is offering us shade. Isn’t the queen some lady. She is playing a blinder. We have taken a giant leap this week in terms of our nationhood and good relations with our nearest neighbours.

I think that Ireland and Britain are a bit like Cork and Kerry, the rebels and the kingdom, sworn enemies until after the Munster Final and then whichever one is out will cheer for the other. There are so many families with dual  citizenship that we are far closer than we admit. Michael D. put it well when he said that because Ireland is not going to Brazil he will raise a glass to the English soccer team. I know the feeling.

Our two are also coping very well with the pomp and ceremony of it all. They are doing us proud. I think I’ll send them a card when they get home.

Our president, Michael D. Higgins with Seán Lyons, Chair of Listowel Writers Week in The Square, Listowel on May 30th. 2012.

Summer 2013

One of the very successful Gathering events of 2013 was the Stack clan gathering. Stacks of stacks and half stacks returned to their roots in Listowel for  short week of fun, entertainment and learning.

I attended their barbeque in The Square with my 2 grandsons.

We ate a pig that had been cooked on a spit.

Stuart Stack provided the musical entertainment. Here he is with his dad, Damien. Damien is the brains behind the clan gathering and he is already working on next year’s event.


A sign of the times in 21st. Century Ireland

(from Irish

The first
ever celebration ofPolishheritage, history and culture inCounty Clarewill be held later this month.

three-week long Polish Festival will take place at Clare Museum in Ennis from
20th September to 12th October and is being targeted at the region’s
significant Polish population.

There are
more than 2,500 Polish people living in County Clare with an estimated 19,000
other Poles living in the surrounding counties of Galway,Limerickand Tipperary.

the free public events being hosted at Clare Museum will be lectures on
Poland’s World War Two experience, Polish film screenings, an exhibition of
Polish modern art, and a lecture by a Polish descendant of two Clare men who
were shipwrecked in the Baltic Sea coast during the 17th century. The Festival
is being supported by Clare Local Authorities and the Department of Arts,
Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

Kacprzak, Organiser of the Polish Festival, said: “We are very excited about
hosting the upcoming festival, the first of its kind ever to be held in Clare,
a County that has been home to hundreds of Polish people for a number of years
during which they have become active and valued members of the local community.
The upcoming series of events will not only celebrate Poland’s rich culture and
heritage but also will showcase some of the many connections and similarities
between the people of Ireland and Poland. We look forward to welcoming all
members of the local community to Clare Museum during the festival.


Some Listowel premises that got a facelift during summer 2013


I spent a week in Dublin in August. I became a culture vulture for the duration. I saw Cats in the Bord Gáis theatre.  I enjoyed the singing and dancing but I would have liked a storyline as well. I saw Oscar Wilde’s The Happy Prince in Bewleys at lunchtime. It was brilliant. I hope Joe gets to bring it to Listowel during Writers’ Week. It is as good as you’ll get for lunchtime entertainment.

I spent a very enjoyable morning in The National Gallery. You can borrow this phonelike gadget from the desk and if you see a picture with a number beside it, you enter the number in your gadget and you will hear a short guide to the picture; brilliant for people like me who are not too well up on art.

I saw an great exhibition of photographs on the subject of life in Pearse Street in The National Gallery of photography.

Below are a few photos I took to bring you a taste of summer in Dublin.

First up is the Listowel connection. I called to The Kilkenny shop to view Eileen Moylan’s

jewellery up there with all the best in Irish design. This very talented Listowel silversmith goes from strength to strength.


This gimmick was proving popular with tourists. There was no set charge. You were expected to give a donation. You take the photo with your own camera.


This leprechaun had a whole new take on the Irish myth. In his version of the story, you filled his pot of gold rather than the other way round.

The statue of Phil Linnott was back in place. Below are two tableaux of human statues on Grafton Street. These never fail to amaze me.

Page 2 of 3

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén