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: Convent Primary School

Kanturk streets, Convent Girls named and some lore from Dúchas

Nothing beats a dry sunny Winter’s day in Listowel


Kanturk, Co Cork, My Hometown

Recently I went on a book promoting trip to my home town. While I was there I took a few photos. Some parts of town are very much as they were in my youth. Other parts have changed beyond recognition.

This is the Edel Quinn Hall where I held the Kanturk launch of a Minute of Your Time. I remember the hall being built in the 1950s.

This old photograph was shared recently on a Facebook page, Kanturk Memories. It shows men and boys making cement blocks for the construction of the hall. The blocks were made in a yard near the boys’ national school. The hall was built largely by voluntary labour.

This is very hard to read but it is an inscription in Latin on one of Kanturk’s bridges. It dates the bridge as an 18th century construction.

This is O’Brien Street

The main bridge leading to Main Street.

These are the inscriptions in English on this bridge. I have no idea what the reference to Westminster Bridge is all about.

This ugly part of town needs urgent attention. It is such a pity to see these two ramshackle buildings in such a prominent position in town. When I was young both these shops were occupied and busy.

Strand Street shops

Lovely to see this old building refurbished and looking beautiful. This once housed the oldest school in Kanturk. In my day it was the home of a Kanturk legend, Sarah Sheehan. Sarah was active in practically every organisation in town. She is often to be seen in old photos as the only woman in a committee of men.

The building now is a café taking its name from its location at the confluence of the rivers Allow and Dallow.

The biggest shop in town is Twohig’s Super Valu, a lovely local shop which now stocks A Minute of Your Time.

This is Upper Bluepool

Kanturk Bookshop is a lovely independent gem located across the road from North Cork Co Operative Creamery. A Minute of Your Time is available here.

Strand St.


Second Class Young Ladies Named

Margaret Dillon has a brillant memory for people and names. She has all the namers of the girls in her second class photo;

Back Row ; L to R.

Eileen O’Connor, Eleanor Leahy, Nora Barry, Babe Murphy, Terry Buckley, Eileen Brazil, Patsy Browne.

Next Row Standing; L to R.

Sheila Murphy, Eileen Corridan, Helen O’Quigley, Doreen Canty, Noreen O’Hanlon, Delia Walsh, Mary Walsh, Eileen Barrett, Philomena Horgan, Joan Rowan, Eileen Donoghue.

Sitting; L to R.

Carmel Gorman, Eileen Relihan, Marie Canty Connell, Nora Hanrahan, Brenda Dillon, Margaret Dillon, Marie Moloney, Noreen O’Connor, Jeanie Hartnett.

Front row L to R.

Marie Curtin, Kathleen Enright, Eileen Roche, Kathleen Corridan, Christine Keane, Kathleen Sheehy,  Joan O’Brien, Frankie Chute.


I Don’t like Mondays

This piece of old lore pertaining to certain times of the year comes from the Dúchas schools’ folklore collection.

Monday was considered an unlucky day to leave home. Up to the present day many parents do not send their children to school for the first time on Monday.

If a person got unwell on Friday it was deemed a bad omen for his recovery. At the present time in this parish (Ballyhar, Co. Kerry) people do not get married on Monday, on Wednesday, or on Friday. The days from the 1st to the 12th April were called “Laethanta na Bó Riabhaiche in (Ballyhar parish Co. Kerry). This period was a trying one on old cows because they were “run down” as a result of the severity of the winter and the early spring.

Rabharta na hinide was the name given to a break in the weather which occurred towards the end of Shrove. It was a spell of rainy and windy weather combined.

Rabharta na Cásga was the name given to a similar spell which occurred towards the end of Lent.

Grandchildren in Kerry, Hamilton and St Mary’s Stained Glass

Kevin Day of East Cork Camera Club called his photo “On the Lookout” when he entered it in the Rebel Cup photography competition.


Girls in Kerry

My girls posed for me with the Feale monument in Listowel town square.

I snapped this man mowing the grass in the pitch and putt course. Members work hard to keep the course  in tip top condition these days.

Modern girls playing an age old game of “Soldiers”


Meanwhile in Chicago

Have you heard of Hamilton, the musical?  It’s the hot ticket in the US right now.  Hamilton is a musical based on the life of one of America’s founding fathers, Alexander Hamilton.

My nephew, Philip and his wife, Anna secured two tickets, to the great envy of their friends.

Their verdict: It lived up to the hype. It was brilliant.

The good news is that there are plans for a movie so we’ll all get to see it next year.


St. Mary’s window

This magnificent stained glass window is behind the main altar in St. Mary’s Listowel. As you can see  from the below pictures the window was donated to the church by the women of the parish. This fascinates me. Who decided that only the women would make such a huge donation? Who organised the collection of the money?


The wireless comes to Asdee  (Jim Costelloe)

These were the days before electricity,
when the storm lamp and the double burner lamps were the only source of light.
The Tilley lamp was a great improvement- part of it was the mantle which could
not be touched or it would completely disintegrate. These were also the days of
the wireless with the wet and dry batteries. The wet battery had to be charged.
That meant cycling to Timmy Kennelly’s in Ballylongford. There was no wireless
in The Blessed Well Bohreen in 1947 and I have vivid memories of the All Ireland
Final that year which was played in New York. Slatterys inn Asdee cillage was
one of the few houses to have the wireless then and a large crowd of us
gathered there to listen to the match. The window was open and we stood outside
in the evening sunshine, enthralled by the magic of Michael O’Hehir’s voice.
The first wireless around the Blessed Well Bohreen was at Moloney’s. A test of
the worth of the wireless was how far it could be heard at full volume.
Innocent days of outr youth, where are they gone?


RTE Stars of the Seventies

Photos of Dublin on Facebook shared this great old promotional picture. The ones I can name are Vincent Hanley R.I.P., Pat Kenny, Jimmy Greally? and Maxi. At the back are Dave Fanning, Jerry Ryan R.I.P. and is that Shay Healy?

“Time and tide wait for no man.”


Just Rewards

I met some of the girls from Presentation Primary School marching band at Super Valu on Monday May 8 2017. Their teacher, Miss Molyneaux was rewarding them with ice cream because they had given up their free time on Sunday to lead the parade for Coiste na nÓg.

Gleasures of Listowel and Massachusetts

This premises, The Americano Pub in The Square was once owned by a Gleasure family.

A few days ago I got an email from a descendant of this family. This is what Ben Naylor says:

I am from Washington, DC but have Listowel roots.  My great-great grandfather (George Gleasure) came over to Canada from Ireland in the late 1800’s, crossed the border into the US and resided in Natick, Massachusetts for a decade before returning with his children to Ireland, making residence in Listowel from about 1898-1923 (his death).  The Gleasures ran a liquor store/pub in The Square.  My great-grandfather, his son (Frank Gleasure) wanted to come back to America and left the family in 1901 to come back to Massachusetts. 

Ben has inherited hundreds of letters sent from the Gleasures in Listowel to Frank.  Ben is putting them all online here

The letters are not great works of literature but are of enormous value historically, as his relatives at home tell Frank all the little newses of the town. Frank was very generous to his family, regularly sending newspapers, postcards, photographs and presents and their gratitude is a salient feature running through all the correspondence.

One of the family was a keen photographer and Ben has inherited the photographs as well. He promises to send us some old pictures of The Square and the family pub when he gets back to New York next week.


This is Listowel Convent Primary School as it used to look. School photos were often taken in front of “the statue’.

Here is one such photo. I have no idea of a date or a name.


Listowel Town development plan to 2015 is available here:

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