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: Classic Cinema Page 1 of 2

Cinema Memories

Ballybunion Photo: Simple Snaps by Sharon



Paul Johnson shared with us a link to the wonderful film about the cinema from a few years ago

A Window in Heaven’s Gable

“A documentary about the love affair between a town and its cinema. The town realizes how lucky it is to have a cinema, as most small towns in Ireland have lost theirs. The Classic Cinema in Listowel is one of the last of the small family-run independent cinemas on this island. It is also the story of Kieran Gleeson, the man who rescued the cinema from dereliction over thirty years ago and ran it with love until his recent passing. In defiance of the odds, his wife and two teenage children continue to keep the flame of cinema alive in the town.”

Sadly, despite their trojan efforts the cinema has had to close its doors in January 2022


Opening an Old Page

I discovered this old magazine lately. It’s like looking into another life. Here is one of the short articles written by the girls. looks like Listowel was vibrant with industries and festivals thriving.


A Man who Plants a Tree touches the Future

We’re getting a facelift down my way. David Twomey and the outdoor staff of Listowel Municipal Area of Kerry County Council are brightening up a little corner we used to refer to as the outside farm. We’re getting trees and shrubs on a pebble carpet. Lovely!


A Poem

In Ballyegan Bog

By John McGrath (In After Closing)

In Ballyegan bog the cuckoo’s tune

has changed to mark the turning of the year.

Through summer’s haze the lark sings loud and clear

and soars above the dancing ceannabhán.

Where lines of neat turf-teepees strut and seem

to mock neglected neighbours with disdain,

sad strips of black spaghetti wait in vain

for willing hands. The bog-land trampoline

beneath my feet springs back as I march on,

remembering those summer days long gone

when life was sweet as heather-scented air

and feet were bare and fleet as children’s are,

when time endured and even work was play

and skylarks sang the live-long, lark-song day.


Cinema Closure

Portmarnock by Éamon ÓMurchú


My girleens are all grown up now. It was lovely to spend Christmas with them.


St. Stephen’s Day 2021 in Youghal


The Last Picture Show

Message of thanks from all at the Classic.

The final programme

Listowel’s ‘Classic’ Cinema has been in operation for almost 70 years, first as The Astor from 1949 to 1985 and then with the Gleeson family from October 1987 to January 2022.

Our lovely cinema closed its doors for the final time on Thursday January 6 2022.


A Poem about Land and Legacy

John McGrath’s anthology, After Closing, is full of lovely poems to dip into. Here is one I like.

Foley’s Field

Dan Foley dug his field but not for gold,

Though long ago his father showed him how.

Plant trees! he said, The ground’s too poor to plough.

But sons don’t always do as they are told.

Dry summers gave a glimpse of buried store

And so Dan dug where mighty trees had grown,

Where cows had grazed and summer crops were sown

And men had thrived two thousand years before.

Great golden roots of long-dead deal he found.

Dan raised them one by one from acid ground,

And as he filled their void with fertile soil,

He knew the field would soon repay his toil,

For land is like a poem, it draws men back

To write another line and leave their track.


Listowel Cinema,, NKM in Dublin, Good News from Athea and The Little Lilac Studio is closing

 Photo: Chris Grayson


Then and Now

Changes at the corner


Seán MacCarthy Festival Still Going Strong

Sean McCarthy Festival 2019 is from Thursday 1st – Monday 5th August

I took this photo at the festival in 2004


NKM Strike

NKM was Listowel’s first manufacturing industry.

But by 1925, something had gone horribly wrong and the business was relocated to Dublin.

Dave O’Sullivan has discovered that the factory owners embarked on an extensive advertising campaign to re- establish the brand as a world leader in its field after the move to Dublin.

Meanwhile in Listowel


Update from Athea Tidy Towns Committee

We are delighted to update everyone on the progress of the repair of our mural painted by Jim Dunne and local help a number of years ago. Unfortunately the mural was knocked by a storm in early 2018 resulting in severe damage. The timbers had also begun to decay as a result of weathering. It seemed an impossible task to save the mural but following a commitment from our resident volunteer artist James Dunn, it was decided to salvage what we could of the masterpiece. The repair project was spearheaded by John Scanlon who enlisted the help of Joe Lavin and Shane Scanlon. It was not an easy task as they worked together to cut away and replace parts of the timbers essentially creating a jigsaw puzzle. Many nights/ evenings have been spent repairing the mural and we are beyond grateful to these men for sharing their time and skills all for the benefit of our village. When complete, the mural will be placed on the newly built concrete wall complete with protective canopy next to Batts Bar. We have also been successful in receiving funding from Airtricity to erect lighting to illuminate the mural at night. Thanks also to Scanlon Construction for their assistance with this project. Looking forward to the day when this mural will return to his rightful home!


What a Loss!

This lovely friendly workshop will be a huge loss to town.  Cathy was so welcoming and so helpful and I always loved taking my grandchildren here. It is a great pity that we are losing this unique visitor attraction. 

We all know that it is really hard to make a living out of this type of artistic endeavour. I think such enterprises should be subsidised and encouraged. They are so much part of Listowel’s attractiveness to tourists and visitors

Listowel Castle, new Garda Station in Castleisland and success at Newcastlewest Show

Beauty on our doorstep

Ita Hannon took this haunting picture of Littor Point, Asdee.


Back in the Saddle

Johnny Joy and Finuge Freewheelers out for an evening spin.


Daniel O’Donnell on Tour

Daniel O’Donnell is on a tour around Ireland for a TV show he is making. Here he is having a game of draughts with his Donegal neighbor, Hughey Sweeney who is 104.


Listowel Castle

May Langan pictured earlier this summer at Listowel Castle.

The castle is open every day to visitors. It is one of the many great Listowel attractions that every Listowel person should visit at least once.


Song of the Sea

Have you ever heard of  a selkie?


Well, they are mythical creatures who are women on land and seals at sea. Song of the Sea is a film all about selkies. It is a lovely Irish made animated full length family film.  The dialogue is lovely and you will recognize many familiar voices, the animation is simple but forceful, the pictures are lovely and the music superb. You will never look at a seal again without wondering.

What’s not to love about Song of the Sea?

 Bring the whole family.


CastleIsland have a new Garda Station

On Ftiday last, July 17 2015 Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan and Minister for The Diaspora, Jimmy Deenihan opened a new Garda Station in Castleisland. The following photos are from the Garda Síochána Facebook page.

members of the Garda band at the opening
Garda Commissioner, Nóirín O’Sullivan
Minister Deenihan inspects a guard of honour


Latin in Kerry Catholic church registers

Above is a link to Kay Caball’s site. It has a translation of some of the most common names as they are entered in Latin in Kerry parish records. This is very useful if you are researching online through the old registers now available at National Library of Ireland Catholic parish registers


Newcastlewest Agricultural Show 2015

I had a great day out last Sunday at Newcastlewest Show. I took lots of photos. Here are a few. When news is in short supply next week I’ll post a few more.

This minion, created from 2 round bales and tyres greeted us on arrival.

My brother, Pat and my niece, Elizabeth won the champion’s cup for the best ridden hunter with their horse, Sonny Bill.

There is always a Listowel connection. I met Mike Laffan of Kerry Group and his wife, Margaret supporting their local show by showing a bullock.

Listowel lady, Kelly St. John had a beautiful array of crochet goods for sale.

Style in Killarney, Duagh Summer Festival,and another trip to Athea.

The Final 4 at Killarney Ladies Day July 16 2015

The winner was Edel Crowley, on the far left as you look at the photo.

This and lots more photos of stylish ladies at Fab Fillies

Our own very stylish Maria Stack with her friend Louise O’Connor in Killarney yesterday.


In Athea with my family

My grandchildren were in Listowel for the Community Centre Summer Camp. They are among this group queueing for the cinema on the last day. They saw Minions. “Brilliant,” they said.

After the camp I took Sean and Killian to Athea. When I set my camera to black and white, the boys became part of the picture.

At Hanrahan’s Pet Farm we met this majestic fellow, lord of all he surveyed.

This is Blueberry Home Bakery and Coffee Shop

Jacqueline and Stephen were celebrating being nominated for an Irish Times Best Shops Award.

Athea is a really life affirming place.

I told the boys that I drank water from a pump just like this every day on my way home from school. I think the boys were thinking, “you and Finn McCool.”

They were fascinated by the “Flying Feet” monument to the Ahern brothers. Sean and Killian had never heard of the Hop, Step and Jump. They have now.

The boys posed as sentries at The Goold Monument.

I know nothing about its history. This giant celtic cross would appear to celebrate that rare species, a benevolent landlord.


Killarney in 1954

“Although the caption says that BnM visited Russia later that year, the BnM visit was first. The Dusty mentioned in the background was Dusty Miller who was head of technical development in BnaM at that time. Dusty Miller was a name suited to BnaM, he worked on developing milling machines.” (Bord na Mona Heartland)

Apparently the purpose of the exchange visits was to share ideas on machinery design for harvesting and milling peat.


Time to be getting your ass in gear


Remember  ’56

Photo: Terrace Talk

This is a photo of the Kerry team who lost to Cork in the replay in 1956. Will history repeat itself tomorrow?

(Official Munster GAA poster from the internet)

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