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: Columbia

Sunny April Saturday, 1916 commemoration in South Carolina and a spitfire in Listowel

Chris Grayson


Out and About with my Camera; Some Humans of Listowel

This premises on Courthouse Rd. was recently officially opened by Michael Healy Rae, T.D.

 Another T.D., John Brassil has opened a constituency office on Church St.

These footballers had just won their competition in Killarney.

 Father and daughter were having a chin wag on Charles Street.

I met these two on William Street where another chin wag was in progress.


Meanwhile in Columbia, South Carolina

From Maeve Moloney Koch comes news of a 1916 commemoration  in the town where she now lives, far from her native Listowel.

On Sunday, April 24, 2016, Shane Stephens, Consul General Of Ireland, who is stationed in Atlanta, Georgia, visited us in Columbia, South Carolina, to help the South Carolina Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) commemorate the Centenary. 

While here he also placed a wreath at the Memorial to those indentured Irish laborers who, in the early 19th Century, constructed the canal on the Congaree and Broad Rivers here in Columbia. 

He also attended Mass at St. Peter’s Church as part of the event. The spokesman during the event was Jim Lawracy, the Vice-President of the South Carolina AOH Division. 

Consul General Stephens is a wonderful representative here in the United States of Ireland and the Irish people. I am attaching a few photos of the event.


Listowel Military Tattoo 2016

Taking centre stage for the weekend of the military tattoo was the replica spitfire which stood in The Square. It was made by local volunteers and it was an exact replica of the plane flown by Victor Beamish, Ireland’s no. 2 Spitfire pilot.

Do you know why this plane is called a spitfire?

I know because I attended the brilliant talk given by Paul Beaver as part of the partnership between The Listowel Military Tattoo  and Listowel Writers’ Week.

Apparently it was to be called The Shrew but the maker had a difficult little daughter whose nickname in the family was Spitfire. He suggested the name and it seemed so appropriate it was adopted. Now it is probably the best known warplane name.

The Beamish family came to Listowel in numbers to celebrate Victor. This man is his nephew and he filled us in on the full history of his famous uncle.

Some of the attentive audience

The unveiling of the replica plane was done by Victor’s widow who despite her 98 years braved the cold and rain to be there.

Victor Beamish came from Dunmanway in Co. Cork and the mayor of the town came to celebrate him. He reminded us that Dunmanway’s other famous son is Sam Maguire.

Paddy Drury remembered and St. Patrick’s day in South Carolina; The Listowel Connection

The Times they are a changin'”

The clocks went forward one hour at the weekend. We have always used this phrase but it struck me on Sunday that it is now true. I woke up on Sunday morning to find that all the clocks in my house had adjusted themselves to the changed time. They had “gone” forward literally. The twice yearly ritual of going round the house and manually resetting the clocks will be another story to tell the grandchildren. Woe betide you if you forgot to reset the time on the video recorder!


Paddy Drury

A poet and wit who is remembered in many of the best Listowel stories and anecdotes is the late Paddy Drury. One Sunday recently, my good friends, Anne and Liam Dillon invited me to lunch, and, to complete a very pleasant afternoon, they took me to see Paddy Drury’s resting place in Knockanure graveyard.

His grave lies within the walls of the old Knockanure church.

The graveyard is an old but very well maintained one in an absolutely beautiful rural location.

The late Dan Keane  wrote a poem to Drury and here it is for you:

Drury’s Ghost       Dan Keane

Down Farran by the old

One night I took a stroll

As bright aurora’s crimson

Flashed upward from the pole.

From the red wine of

To the dead I drank a toast,

Then what appeared beside me

But Paddy Drury’s ghost.


At length I uttered, “Drury

What brings your spirit back?

Is there anything you’re
needing? “

He answered, “Not a whack!”


“But the friends I loved are

And the scene is not the

There’s a dozen homesteads

Down along my own Bog Lane.

How I loved each thatched
white cottage

When their silent signals

Like a fleet of ships in

Belching out their morning

“I’ve met all the friends in

Drurys, Dores, the Nolans,

Fiddler Creed and Dancing

With his legs as loose a

Tade and Jim and Dick ,the

Dan the Bucko from the Lane,

I’d a pint in Peter’s parlour

With my old friend, Daniel


“I have toiled with many

When the grub was really bad.

I’d never live for ninety

But for the teeth I had.

But the frame was getting

And the teeth were getting

So I found my stimulation

In the stuff I couldn’t chew.


So I said, “You are in Heaven

And what more can mortals

Do you know you’ll soon be

With a headstone o’er your

He betrayed no foolish

Gave a jovial exclamation

In the quaint old Drury

“Hope ‘twont raise my

“ Let the human fad be

It will do no harm there

And some pilgrim might, in

For the Drurys say a prayer.

Otherwise, above my ashes

I’ve no asset to my soul

And if Drury still was living

They’d begrudge him draw the

The poem is a very long one so I have edited it a bit but I kept the references to Drury’s neighbours in Bog Lane, the reference to his legendary grumbling about bad grub, his capacity for drink and the fact that his headstone was paid for my monies raised by his friends, among them  John B. Keane.


St. Patrick’s Day in South Carolina

This is Maeve Moloney Koch taking part in her local St. Patrick’s parade in Columbia, South Carolina, USA. Maeve is carrying a Kerry flag.

Maeve with her local congressman, Joe Wilson


If you live or have ever lived with an Irish Mammy this will give you a good laugh:

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