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

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North Kerry, Clounmacon boots, Eamon Kelly and Alison Spittle at the Young adult Bookfest 2018

St. John’s, Bryan MacMahon statue and Seanchaí

Entrance to Kerry Writers’Museum


Visiting North Kerry

Patty Faley took these photos on her recent holiday.

The visitors  were disappointed to find Carrigafoyle Castle closed.

Patty took this on the way to Lislaughtin.


Clounmacon and Boot wearing

From the schools folklore collection in Dúchas

“Some of people used not wear boots until they were eighteen or nineteen years long ago.”

Some of people used not wear boots until they were eighteen or nineteen years long ago. They used to work in the fields and in the dikes and the frost cracking under their feet. Jack Mahoney used never wear boots and he could walk on any thing and he would not feel it. he used to walk on bushes and on briars and he would not feel it.

Most of the children go barefoot in the summer but they put them on in the winter. They throw the water they use for washing wash their feet if they did not throw out the water after washing their feet they should get up in the middle of the night and throw it out.

Some people used to wear clogs locally. They used to wear them in the winter but they are not worn now at all.

There was a tannery in Listowel about three miles form here. The National Bank is now built where it stood. About fifty or sixty years ago brogues used be worn. They were made of cheap leather and stitched. In Listowel up near the top of church Street lived a man named Johnny the Cottoners or Johnny O’ Connor. He used make brogues and sell them at the big fair in Listowel and Abbeyfeale. In the same street lived two men named Mick 

the Nailer and Jacky the Nailer. They used make the heavy nails that were driven into the soles of the shoes.

Most shoemakers at that time used cut out the uppers themselves and sew them and the boots used hold a long time.

Collector- Martin Kennelly, Address  Dromin, Co. Kerry

Informant  John Shanahan- Age   69- Address,  Dromin, Co. Kerry


More Local Doors


A Seanchaí remembered at The Seanchaí

I took the two photos below at The Seanchí, Kerry Writers’ Museum. I grew up listening to Eamon Kelly on the radio. I was a child in pre TV times when people sat down and paid attention to the radio. My mother loved a good story and Eamon Kelly was far and away her favourite storyteller.

BryanMacMahon, John B. Keane and Eamon Kelly

Passing on the stories.


Young Adult Bookfest 2018

On November 15 2018 over 800 North Kerry and West Limerick second level students gathered  in Listowel Community Centre for a great day of entertainment and education, organised by Listowel Writers’ Week.

Among the inspiring speakers was Edaein O’Connell.

Eilish and Máire met Alison Spittle at the centre.

Alison was a photographer’s dream, willingly posing for all my snaps, with Kay Halpin, Catherine Moylan, Seán Lyons and Joanne O’Riordan.


1938 Ireland

This story, which I found shared on Twitter, falls into the category of truth stranger than fiction.

July 2017 Horse Fair and a taste of Home Ec. in the 1950s

Chick, Chick, Chick, Chick, Chicken

Vincent Higgins of Mallow Camera Club took this great photo.


Clounmacon Man in Tralee

 A roving photographer met Mr. Buckley in Tralee. He is 82 , was born in Clounmacon and now lives in Milltown.


Girl’s Education in 1950

This is an actual page from a 1950s Home Ec book. Lisa Carmody found it and posted it on Facebook. In case its too small for you to read here are a few gems;

Welcome your husband home with a warm meal.

Be rested, made up and with a ribbon in your hair when he comes home tired from work.

Tidy away all signs of family life and dust the place. It will give you a lift.

Wash and tidy up the children and plaster a smile on your gob.

Bring his drink and his slippers to his favourite chair for him.

Listen to him and don’t complain.

(Words fail me!)


Horse Fair July 6 2017

There were all forms of farmyard fowl on sale. This man told me that demand was very brisk for geese. One goose egg would make an omelette he told myself and Sheila.

 This young man was well set up to entertain the crowd.

The weather was clement, the atmosphere good natured  and there was lots of interest in the goods for sale. Long may this age old tradition continue.

Knock in 1885, the parade in 2017, Halo reopens and Clounmacon in the Listowel parade in the seventies

Dancing With the Stars;  Kerry is behind its favourite to win

A Kerry friend’s phone. Need I say more?

She’ll do it all over again on Sunday night.

When he was better known as a footballer, Aidan O’Mahoney brought the Sam Maguire to Pres. Listowel. Here he is with the late Sr. Nuala.

Photo: Breda Ferris


Knock, Co. Mayo 1885

(Photo shared by Billy Austin on Facebook)

The Story of Knock began on the 21st August, 1879 when, at approximately 8 o’clock in the evening, fifteen people from the village of Knock in Co. Mayo, witnessed an Apparition of Our Lady, St. Joseph, St. John the Evangelist, a Lamb and cross on an altar at the gable wall of the Parish Church.The witnesses watched the Apparition in the pouring rain for two hours, reciting the Rosary. Although they themselves were saturated not a single drop of rain fell on the gable or vision. There were fifteen official witnesses to the Apparition, most of whom were from the village of Knock and surrounding areas and ranged in age from just 5 years old to 74 years old. Each of the witnesses gave testimonies to a Commission of  Enquiry in October 1879. The findings of the Commission were that the testimonies were both trustworthy and satisfactory.


 More Photos from a very wet Listowel on St. Patrick’s Day 2017

I think these children were from Killocrim. Apologies if I’m wrong.


New Trees at St. John’s


Halo is Back on Church St.

 Elaine has taken a leap of faith and reopened her very popular Halo Health and Gift Shop across the road from her old location on Church St.


A Treasure unearthed by Liam O’Hainnín


St. Patrick’s Day in the 1970s

Tony Guerin shared some great old photos (mostly Clounmacon ).


Mothering Sunday

Mothers’ Day is celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent.  This year, 2017 that is next Sunday, March 26th.

The tradition began in England over 400 years ago when, once a year people visited the church in the parish where their mother was born. While visiting the church they also visited their mothers. This visit was special all that time ago because there were no cars and no public transport and making any journey was a big undertaking. This day became known as Mothering Sunday.

The USA and other parts of the world celebrate it on the second Sunday in May.

Halloween, Clounmacon bard, and Craftshop na Méar

Showing them how it’s done

Listowel Tidy Towns welomed Clonakilty Tidy Towns last week. They were in town to admire the work of the 2015 winners. Any rivalry between Ireland’s Tidy Towns is of a very gentle kind. Everyone shares the aim of making all of Ireland’s towns places of beauty for citizens and visitors alike.

The local committee were only delighted to display Listowel in all its glory to their Cork guests.



It’s pumpkin time again.

The folks at Xistance Youth Café are getting in the mood.


Famed in Song and Story

Clounmacon is a place that has produced bards and writers in numbers out of all proportion to its size. Because of this, poems in praise of this small place abound in local lore. One of these is the one below by the late Jerry Histon

( Thanks to Noreen O’Connell)


Craftshop na Méar

With Christmas just around the corner , it’s time to turn our thoughts to present buying. Why don’t we adopt the late Mary John B.s motto; “Support your local town or soon you’ll have no town to support.”

What better place to start your search for that unusual present than Crfatshop na Méar on Church Street where new products are arriving all the time. Below is a sample of some of the goods available there.


Flanagan’s in Church Street is in Halloween colors all year round.

Listowel, Ireland’s tidiest small town, Clounmacon Calling 2015 and some photos from Ladies Day 2015

Simply the Best

As someone who spends a lot of time photographing Listowel, I can say, without fear of contradiction that it is one of the loveliest towns in Ireland. I have observed the work of Listowel Tidy Towns committee at close quarters and I am in awe at their hard work and perseverance. The town is a credit to them and they can bask in the pride and gratitude we all feel at being declared Ireland’s tidiest small town for 2015.

“After 22 years in the national TidyTowns Competition Listowel is now a clear leader and all in your community
should be very proud of your efforts.”

Above is the final line of the judges’  report.

Just a few photos of our lovely town


Clounmacon Calling

On the Saturday of their Gathering weekend the assembled Clounmacon folk took a walking tour of Listowel and then after lunch they gathered in the old school house to relive those far off schooldays. They talked of teachers and pupils, walking to school, school lunches of cocoa and sandwiches, they sat in their old school desks and through rose colored glasses viewed those bygone days.

The gang at the end of their walking tour with Vincent Carmody who was their guide.


More Road Repair Contracts  as reported in The Tralee Mercury 1836


 1 Maurice Connor and Richard Bunnion, to keep in repair for 7 years 802 perches of the Road from Tralee to the Cashion Ferry and Listowel between the bridge of Moybella and the East bounds of Gowrie contracted for by Michael Grady, securities James Kissane and William Collins at 4d per and by the year  for

Michael and Robert Cox to keep in repair for 7 years 1356 perches of the Road from the Cashion Ferry to Ballylongford between the cross of Curraghdarrag and the Church of Ahavallin contracted for by Michael Cox, Securities Robert and Philip Cox at 4d per, and by the year for £22 12s 0d.

3 William Perryman and Thomas James, to keep in repair for 7 years 1302 perches of the road from the Sea at Ballybunnion to Ballylongford between the Chanel of Glonnacore and the cross of Curraghdarrag, contracted for by William Perryman Securities John Lawor and Cornelius Cahill at 4d per and by the year for £21 14s 0d

 4 James and Edmond Slack, to keep in repair for 7 years 111 4 perches of the Road from Tralee and the Cashion Ferry to Tarbert between Edmond Stacks house at Litter and Farranstack, contracted to, by James Stack, Securities Patrick M’Elligott and James Flahavan at 4d per and by the year.

5 Timothy Molony and Maurice Connor to keep in repair for 7 years 496 perches of the Road from Tralee and the Cashion Ferry to Ballylongford between Mrs. Tracys house at Gunsboro and Mrs, Forhan’s house at Kilgarvan Contracted to by Maurice Connor Securities Samuel Raymond and William Raymond, at 5d per. and by the year for

6 Thomas Lynch and Denis Harty, to keep in repair for 7 years 1863 perches of the road from Listowel to the sea at Ballybunnion and Kilconlie, between the cross of Moybella and the bridge of Bromore, contracted for by Ambrose Gallivan, Securities Thomas Lynch and Roger Harty at 5.5d per, and by the year for.

7 Garret Stack and Michael Mulvihil, to keep in repair for 7 years 1145 perches of the road from the sea at Ballybunnion to Ballylongford and Tarbert, between the cross of Lahanes and Garret Stack’s house at Tullihinel, contracted for by Michael Kissane, securities Richard Kissane and Thomas Collins at 3d per and by the year for

8 John Fitzmaurice and Thomas Scanlan, to keep in repair for 7 years S44 perches of the road from Tarbert to Abbeyfeale, between the cross of Tarmous and the pipers cross near Newtownsandes, contracted for by John Fitzmaurice, securities Thomas Scanlon and Maurice Walsh at 7d per and by the year for,

9 Thomas Mangan and Daniel Loonie,to keep in repair for 7 years 680 perches of the road from Tralee and the Cashion Ferry to Ballylongford between the cross of Leamsahane, and the west bound of the warren of Beale, contracted for by John Kennelly, securities Thomas O’Connor and Thomas Mangan at 4d per and by the year for.

10 Wm- Connor and John Horgan to keep in repair tor 7 years 1716 perches of the road from Listowel to the sea at Ballybunnion, between the cross of Scortleagh and the bridge of Ballyloughron, contracted for by Wm. Connor, securities George Hewson and Gerald M’Elligott at 9d per and by the year for

11 W m. Brunskill and John Hanlon to keep in repair for 7 years 410 perches of the road from Tarbert to the harbour of Tarbert, between Mrs. Hamilton’s house and Patrick Moore’s house both in Tarbert, contracted for by Wm. Brunskill, securities John Fitzmaurice and John Hanlon at 7d per, and by the year for.
Richard Pope contract 391 perches of road from Tarbert to Abbeyfeale , between John Stacks House, Kealid and Tom Stacks House Kilmeny, half years salary £3-9-2.5d.
Surveyors; Gerard O Callaghan and Darby Conway.


Some of the stunning hats at Ladies day 2015

Aoife Hannon

Antoinette O’Mahoney

Antoinette O’Mahoney

Antoinette O’Mahoney

Maria Stack

Philip Treacy

Philip Treacy

The lady in the middle is Bríd Hayes who won the prize for best dressed lady. Her hat was from Aoife Hannon. I don’t know the provenance of the other two.


Round Tower revealed

(photo; Bridget O’Connor)

The scaffolding has finally been removed from around Rattoo Round Tower and it is open to the public again.

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