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 st.

Kerry speech, Ballybunion Seats, a new sand artist and some photographic puzzles solved

David O’Brien Irish Wildlife Photo Competition


The Kerryman Unbuttoned by Redmond O’Hanlon published in Shannonside Annual

(last paragraph)

Perhaps not least
of the attraction of the Kerry idiom is its ancient lineage. It stems from
generations when Irish was the tongue of farm and fair. It still constitutes
the warp and woof of daily intercourse and is ‘honourable in the gates.” It is true one must be on the alert for intruders. There is such a thing as
manufactured idiom, but it is a poor dead thing, still-born for all the travail
of the pen that strove to give it life. Counterfiet coinage of speech, it bears
the marks of the self conscious file and its shine is not the patina of age.
Read Synge’s plays and listen to its tinny jingle.

This refusasl to
conform in our Kerryman, this robust individuality, who would have it
otherwise? Kerry speech is as uninhibited as the deer that skip on Torc; as
colourful as the changing mists that veil the purple Tomies; as impatient of
restraint as the waters that spill over Derrycunnihy Cascade; as haunting as the
echoes of the bugle call flung back in falling cadence from The Eagle’s Nest.
And spoken by its maidens, this Kerry speech sweeps away the unwary stranger’s
last defences, prompts him to forswear his allegiance, and in Kerry is his
consolation when he remembers home.



Commemorate Me

“With no hero courageous tomb

Just a canal bank seat for the passerby.”……Patrick Kavanagh

I think of Kavanagh when I see these memorial seats in Ballybunion.

I learned from the Ballybunion Tidy Towns page that putting memorial plaques on seats is an initiative of Kerry County Council. If you would like to have your loves one commemorated on a seat all you have to do is contact Kerry County Council and they’ll tell you all about it.


Mario is in California so who is the newest beach artist?

On April 21 2018, I spotted this magnificent creation. I zoomed in closer and I think that is Ballybunion’s own Pixie O’Gorman I see putting the finishing touches to this sand installation.


A New Miss Marple Gets us Closer to Success

Kay O’Leary has recognised the lady in the centre of the photo with Arthur Chute and Charlie and Violet McCarthy in John Hannon’s photo. She is Hannah O’Connor who used to work at Latchfords and later became a hackney driver. Thank you, Kay.  Now we only have one lady left to identify. Could she be a Tralee lady as well?


My good friend, Cathy Healy has been on to me again. The man stroking the dog is not Liam Healy. He is his brother, Mike Healy. The lady with the curlers in is Mary Corridan and the little boy is one of the Bunyan family.

Battle reenactment 2015, Tracing Convent St. ancestors and a message from Fr. Pat Moore

The Battle for Listowel 

A fierce battle WW2 style raged in the town square on Saturday afternoon May 2 2015. I hope my photos give you an idea of the mayhem.

We were all given ear plugs in preparation for noise of battle.

The French citizenry were milling around.

Some of the snipers had guns, some cameras.

An early casualty

Dead bodies lay everywhere as the battle gets closer.

We knew we were sunk now or ever when we saw the German tank arriving.

Our boys surrendered and were taken prisoner.

Here they are lined up to be led away.


Tracing her ancestors

This is Marian Ahlering who came to Listowel recently to research her Moynihan/ Quirke ancestors. They used to live in Convent Street. Her mother was 90 in December and Marian was anxious to bring back to her news of her Irish roots in Listowel.

Among the mementoes that the Moynihan family kept with them in the U.S. was a set of old postcards depicted familiar views of their hometown. Among these was one of the convent and a very old view of Market Street. The family emigrated in 1906 so we can presume that that is how town looked then.

Mary Anne Quirke  of Convent St. Listowel (Marian’s great grandmother) and her daughter, Florence. They had emigrated to Chicago when Florence was a baby in 1920.

This is the Vickers family in Chicago.

The men on either side of their mother were both priests, Marian’s uncles

This is a letter from David Lawlor, Listowel parish clerk to Mrs. Vickers enclosing her mother’s baptismal certificate.


A trip Down Memory Lane with these old advertisements

I think this is now John B. Keane’s.

These two are still in business.


Snapped on the street on Saturday May 2 2015


Update from Fr. Pat 

Fr Pat Moore has been sharing his cancer journey on the internet. He has honestly and openly and with great good humour written about his experience so far with his treatment.

But Fr. Pat is a preacher and he knows the truth of these lines from Edgar A. Guest:

I’d rather see a sermon
than hear one any day;
I’d rather one should walk with me
than merely tell the way.
The eye’s a better pupil
and more willing than the ear,
Fine counsel is confusing,
but example’s always clear;
And the best of all preachers
are the men who live their creeds,
For to see good put in action
is what everybody needs.

Fr. Pat’s illness has brought out the best in everyone around him. His parishioners and friends have buoyed him and cheered him during a hard time in his life. He is sincerely and touchingly grateful.

Like the true priest he is, he takes time out to share the lesson he has learned; i.e. It means so much to someone in trouble to hear, see and feel expressions of love and support. Little things, like a card, a message or even a smile, even the tiniest expression of support can mean so much.  These kind deeds are not done in the hope or expectation of gratitude but it is always nice to say thanks.

Click on the link below for Fr. Pat’s message 

Fr. Pat’s message

Convent St, Listowel Rugby, some shops and puisín

 This St. Patrick’s Day reflection is a bit long but is well worth reading.

Making Magic Happen is a short film about Writers’ Week. It was filmed last year in Listowel and includes some archive footage. It will be shown at the Dingle Film Festival on March 18. The trailer is here;


When I was walking in the town park on Sunday there was another Rugby match in progress. It looked to me like our boys were being defeated!


Some more preparations for the national holiday.


This shop has moved from Olde Mill Lane to Market St.


  Michael Healy brought us this old picture of the Convent Street

Below is how it looks today


The following unbelievable story appeared in The Irish Echo  in Australia yesterday

A Perth
builder has published an online ad for a bricklayer which stipulates that NO
IRISH need apply.

The ad,
published on the free online classifies site Gumtree, reads “Bricklayer needed
ASAP. $250 a day, no part-time workers and NO IRISH”.

language was commonly seen in Britain in the 1950′s and 1960′s and led to overt
racism against the Irish causing enormous distress.

The ad has
become a major topic of discussion online with the advertiser’s apparent home
address being published.

The man who
placed the ad defended the move stating that he was sick of Irish people
applying for jobs with no experience.

“I have no
trouble with Irish people,” he told the Irish Independent in Dublin, but he
would not disclose his full name or the name of the company he works for.

“But I’ve had
to fire a number of people. I’ve had lots of Irish people say they have
experience bricklaying but come over and have no clue how to lay bricks.

“I’m very
busy and don’t have time to be watching over them.”

reportedly added that he is well aware of the anti-discriminatory legislation
in Australia.

A spokesman
for the Australian Embassy in Dublin told the newspaper: “The Australian
Government has no tolerance for racism and discrimination and this is reflected
in a broad range of anti-discrimination legislation in Australia. The
Government has an unwavering commitment to a multicultural Australia and
greatly welcomes the contribution made by people of all backgrounds ,
regardless of origin, gender, or colour, to Australia’s culture, society, and
prosperity,” he added.


Finally, in answer to queries, puisín is doing well.

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