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 listowelconnection@gmail.com

Tag: Coolard

Coolard, Ballylongford, Wasps and a Flag

St. Mary’s August 2021

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Ballylongford Mill

Construction of the Mill was started in about 1846 by William Blair of Co. Clare and ceased during The Famine We think he got as far as the stonework for the ground floor. Building recommenced in about 1850 and the structure appears on an 1851 map of Ballylongford, and was fully completed by 1852.T

he Mill was originally built as a grain drying store, a unique agricultural building for drying bags of green oats which were later shipped down the river in sailing barges and on to a Corn Mill in Limerick for milling.This was at a time when most local tenant farmers lived in shocking poverty and didn’t have their own barns to dry the crops. It also explains the extremely heavy timbers used in construction to carry the weight of bags of green oats and the narrow width of the building and the numerous casement windows on both sides; the windows were used to control cross flow draughts to dry the oats.

William Blair got into some financial trouble and sold the building to Ryan’s from Kilrush, who then sold it to the Bannatyne family who had a large Corn Mill in Limerick which is still standing.

There’s then a big gap in details about the use of the building and it’s owners between the 1850’s and when O’Sullivans converted it into an electric mill for milling stock feed in the 1930’s.

Photo courtesy of Helen Lane and historical information courtesy of Padraig O Concubhair.

The new owners of the mill are planning a blacksmithing Fair for September.

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Coolard School and Grotto

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A Nostalgic Poem from John McGrath

(from John’s anthology Blue Sky Day)

Once in the Long Ago and Far Away

Once in the Long Ago and Far Away

I ran barefoot along bright boreens,

Dashing through pools of morning blue.

Over the dry-stone walls I flew,

Crashing through cobwebbed meadows,

Dew-drenched; phlegmed with cuckoo-spit.

Paused to wish by the whitewashed well.

Fished in its never-ending silver stream

For shining silver treasures.

All through the ringing fields I ran

All through the live-long, lark-song day,

Tireless as Time

‘Til time and hunger called me

Back to buttermilk lamplight, Banshee dreams,

Once in the Long Ago and Far Away.

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A Plague of Wasps

2021 is a bumper year for wasps. I looked them up and they do have a vital role to play so leave them alone and just stay out of their way.

Wasps are pollinators. Wasps are also important in the environment. Social wasps are predators and as such they play a vital ecological role, controlling the numbers of potential pests like greenfly and many caterpillars. … A world without wasps would be a world with a very much larger number of insect pests on our crops and gardens.

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The Flags are out

Holy Well in Coolard, The Ball Alley, the Vincent de Paul shop and Michael Healy Rae in Woulfe’s

Sunday Morning Walk



Childers’ Park, Listowel Co. Kerry November 18 2018

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Well in Coolard  (Dúchas Collection)

There is a holy well in Coolard and many people visited it on certain days. The same prayers are said at every well and whilst saying it they make nine rounds. When people visit the well they take a bottle of the water home with them and some moss. The water of the above well cures sore throats and rheumatism. The water of the well is never used for any domestic purpose. There was a scarcity of water and the people took the water from the blessed well. They couldn’t get it to boil.

Rinn Tuirc School collection 10 5 1938.

St Bartholomew’s Well, Coolard, Lisselton

Collector Nancy Hanrahan-Informant- Michael Hanrahan, Age 60

The blessed well is situated in a thick wood near Coolard. The well is shallow and a stream of fresh water flows from it. Many people in the district visit the well three times a year, to pay rounds. They go around the well nine times and they say three rosaries. If they have not the rosaries finished when going around, they kneel by the well and finish them. When they are going home they leave money or holy pictures or pieces of cloth on the tree beside the well. Anyone having sores washes them in the water. They also take three sips of the water and also some water with them. The people living near the well use the water for household purposes. It is said that the well was situated farther up on the wood once. A woman washed clothes in it. Then it moved down to where it is at the present time.

Holy Wells 17 – 11- ’38

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Woodford Pottery Nativity



I love my Woodford Pottery crib. I will light a tea light in it every evening from now to Christmas.



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The Ball Alley



Listowel men of a certain age remember the ball alley with great fondness. There have been essays and poems written about the exploits of Listowel’s handballers. I don’t know if the Sheehy brothers who are commemorated on this seat were among the champions but they would have certainly enjoyed being reminded of the days when the ball alley was the centre of young men’s social calendar.




Some years ago in a project undertaken by the young people of Xistance Youth Café the walls of the now disused alley were decorated with graffiti. Over time the pictures have taken a battering from the weather but most are still intact and looking beautiful.



These Pictures are on the side walls. The end wall has had to be replastered.




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Second Time Around




One of my favourite Listowel shops is Second Time Around, the St. Vincent de Paul shop on Upper William Street. It is always staffed by smiling friendly volunteers and there are always great bargains to be had from the stock donated by some really kind  (and stylish) donors.



On Wednesday week when I called in I met these two lovely ladies, Ingrid and EileenR looking after the shop.



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A Booksigning at  Woulfe’s


Michael Healy Rae signing John Hartnett’s copy of his book, Time to Talk



Michael with John and the shop staff, Fiona, Mary and Brenda



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Lyre Postman Retires



(Photo and text from Joe Harrington on Facebook)




Our Postman, Seán O’Connell, on his last day as Lyreacrompane Postman delivering the mail to Norrie Connell, Carrigcannon on Friday November 30 2018. Seán has been the postman in the Lyreacrompane district for 38 years! Happy retirement Seán.


Connect Ireland, Flavins and a Coolard School History is Launched

Breakfast like a king,

Lunch like a prince 

And dinner like a pauper.

This ancient nutritional advice seemed to be the order of the day last week when I was invited to attend a breakfast meeting in The Horseshoe. The invitation came from my lovely past pupil, Lisa O’Carroll who works in the local Enterprise Office.

This is Lisa with her good friend, Jennifer Scanlon of Coco, Listowel

This is Tomás Hayes of the Enterprise Office who welcomed us and told us what this gathering was all about. Lisa and Tomás are the people to contact if you are an entrepreneur starting up a business or expanding an existing one in the Kerry area. They are all about job creation and they will help you with every aspect of doing business in Kerry.

Below you will see many of the local people who were in attendance.

The special guest was Tom Dowling.

As soon as he got up to speak, I knew I’d met him before. Tom was none other than the judge who came to town last summer to see our town put on its best face for The Pride of Place competition.

My photo shows Tom and his wife in The Seanchaí last summer, chatting to Eddie Moylan of Listowel Vintage Wireless Museum.

On Wednesday, February 24 2016 Tom had his other hat on. He had come this time to talk to us about Connect Ireland. This is an initiative to bring employment to rural Ireland. It’s all about the emotional connection.

Many Irish people abroad would love to relocate a business here or would love to start up a new one here. Many other people know people who are thinking of locating a business elsewhere but might be open to coming to rural Ireland. Connect Ireland is all about getting the message out there that Ireland is a great place to do business.

If you know someone like this, Connect Ireland will give them every help to start up here.

Take a look at the Connect Ireland website . You’d never know, this could be the start of something.

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Flavins has a new shop assistant



 The fifth generation Flavin is too small to stand behind the counter but Clara posed with her mother, Anne and her aunt Joan in Flavins of Church St. Listowel last week

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Chimney and Roof Repairs at Allos and Lees


Up on the roof in Church St. Listowel on February 24 2016



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Big Night planned for Coolard Scholars




The above photos from the great Kennelly Archive were taken in December 1957 when Santa visited Coolard.  These children are all grown up now. I wonder do they remember that day in 1957. No doubt this and many other school memories will be relived as people dip into Maurice O’Mahony’s History of Coolard school which will be launched in St. John’s on Saturday evening next March 5 2016.

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