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: Courthouse

Courthouse and Ballybunion’s Geographical Sea Features

Photo; Éamon ÓMurchú


Courthouse Plaza

Looking towards the courthouse and library from Courthouse Road

Listowel Courthouse in June 2021

Áras an Phiarsaigh in June 2021

Planting and Seating in the Courthouse Plaza


What to look for on The Cliff Walk, Ballybunion

Everywhere to your left as you walk along the cliff edge you will see signs of erosion. The sea has eaten far into the cliffs and the coastline is indented and rugged.

This is the legendary blow hole, known as the Nine Daughters Hole. The legend says that around 800A.D. the local chieftain, O’Connor, had nine daughters. A Viking ship sailed up and the nine Vikings on board fell in love with the nine O’Connor girls. Daddy was having none of it. He lured the girls one by one to the edge of the blowhole, by telling them that he had dropped his valuable torc (a piece of jewellery) into the chasm and he sent them to look for it. He then tossed the poor girls one by one into the hole.

I don’t believe a word of it. Would all nine girls fall for the same ruse? Not any O’Connor girls I know anyway.

Anyway the legend has it that he tossed the nine Norse boyos in after them so a kind of rough justice was done.

This is a sea arch. It is such a perfect example that it is often the one used in geography textbooks. It is known locally as the Virgin Rock. I couldn’t find the legend behind this one but I think before it was cut off and as eroded as it is today monks lived on it.

This structure is more recent than the others. I think it is for dipping sheep. The sheep went in one by one into a trough of disinfectant to get rid of lice and ticks etc.



When I was in Ballybunion, who did I meet but regular North Cork visitors, Tony and Joan Boyce. They were in their home away from home for a few days. Tony and Joan are my cousins.


John O’Halloran R.I.P. Remembered

Junior Griffin has been in touch to tell me of the passing of another old handballer.

John (also known as P.J.) O’Halloran was a neighbour of Junior’s in Bridge Road. He was one of the many young men who loved the handball alley and spent many happy hours there.

John lived in Killarney where he was a teacher in the Community College. Like Junior he went on to play badminton and was very involved with the Killarney club. Junior met him on an almost weekly basis during the badminton season. He says the chat was rarely about badminton, but about handball, Bridge Road and Listowel in general.

John passed away last September. May he rest in peace.


One Hundred Years Ago



Friday Market, Commemorative Seats, Ard Churan Concert and Revival 2019 line up

Ballybunion Sunset 2019

Photo; Jason at Ballybunion Prints Beach


Music in The Square at the Friday market


Commemorative Seats in Listowel Town Park

Donating a seat seems to have replaced planting a tree as a means of remembering a lost loved one. Here are the two new seats in the park.


Ard Churam Concert

On Thursday May 30 we were treated to a great night of music by the people behind Ard Churam fundraising.

Photo; Ger Holland, official Writers’ Week photographer

The undisputed stars on the night were the members of the Ard Churam choir and their coach, soprano Mary Culloty O’Sullivan. Cyril Kelly took us down memory lane and reality television star, Fr. Ray Kelly sang songs from his album. The concert was a great success and helped greatly in raising funds for the planned dementia care day centre.

Mairead Slemon and Rachel Guerin congratulate Aine Guerin on a great night’s work.

Mary and Peter  McGrath were enjoying the music.

 Vourneen Kissane and Margaret Reidy were there too.

Sr. Consolata met her old friend, Jackie McGillicuddy who was singing with the choir.


Courthouse Plaza

Courthouse Road leads to a lovely plaza area with three public buildings surrounding asome newly planted raised beds.

This is the back of Áras an Phiarsaigh.

Áras an Phiarsaigh

Listowel Courthouse

Listowel branch of Kerry Library


Revival 2019

Saturdays’ headline act, The Coronas has been confirmed. This promises to the best Revival yet. Tickets are selling out quickly .

An Fear Marbh, Ring of Kerry Cycle,Listowel Courthouse and The Barber in Church St.

An Fear Marbh

Photo: Seán Mac an tSíthigh on Twitter

I have always called this island An Fear Marbh, meaning dead man.  From a distance it resembles a corpse as it is traditionally laid out (os cionn cláir). However I am told that local people,  being aware of  the sensitivities of tourists around the subject of death, usually refer to this place as The Sleeping Giant. Whatever you call it it is supremely beautiful on a June evening in summer 2018.


Ring of Kerry Charity Cycle

Rhona Tarrant who posted this was just one of the many hardy souls who took part in this great event again this year.


Listowel Courthouse is getting  a lick of paint this week

It will look lovely when it is finished.


The Barber at 53 Church Street

This building looks absolutely lovely now. Joe and Aoife have done a really stylish makeover of this roomy premises. The no-nonsense business like exterior with its “it does what it says on the tin” title is softened by the upstairs fun bubbles. Aoife and Joe are lovely. They deserve to do very well


A Word about Croatia and the World Cup 2018

(From Twitter)

When he was 6, his grandfather was shot dead.

His family became refugees, in a warzone.

He grew up to the sound of grenades exploding.

Coaches said he was too weak and too shy to play football.

On Sunday Luka Modric will lead Croatia to its first ever#WorldCupfinal.


Croatia is the only team in the World Cup 2018 which is managed by a woman. AND she earns less than half of what the Irish manager earns.


Shadows Lengthen as the Sun Declines

Beano, The Bog,The River, The Courthouse and the Ambassador

The River Walk in January 2017

Photo by Deirdre Lyons


Goodbye Ambassador

Kevin O’Malley has returned to the U.S. and the new ambassador, a Kerry man will be the next to take up the post.


Listowel Courthouse


Some Things are Timeless

I have someone in my family who loves nothing better than a session with her Beanos and she has a good few. Whenever I see an old Beano annual in a charity shop I buy it for her.

The photo shows her on Christmas Day 2016 when she abandoned all her other presents to read her Beano first.


Maria Sham Remembers the Races and The Bog

The railway was very exciting during The Races, which fell at the end of September. It was the Harvest Festival when all the farmers would have finished the harvest and come to town. It would go on for 3 days and well into the nights. The horses would be transported onto the train for the races. The town would be decorated with buntings and music played into the early hours of the morning.

All the country people came to town and you would see them walking through the streets eating crubeens [pigs feet]. They would be displayed in all the shop windows in large dishes, steaming hot. The streets would be strewn with bones . I can’t remember any rubbish bins then. Another special treat at that time and still is!! mutton pies, all the restaurants would sell them in soup plates covered in soup.

Mam would make dozens for us and there would be a big pot of bone broth left on the range the whole of The Races so we could pop in a pie anytime. Nothing spoiled as there were no onions in anything.

But for us children it was not about horse races, but the market. It was a delight with bumper cars, swinging boats, chair planes, the wheel of death, and lots more, games to win anything from a doll to a set of saucepans. My favourite was at the entrance to the market with the tinkers, now called Travellers’. They lived in horse drawn caravans then. They would have fires lit and do their cooking outside, selling heather and telling fortunes, I am sure I can still smell the smoke. As I got older I got a job for the days of the races from 9am to maybe 10pm a £1 for the day.

Another big occasion for our family and for all the people at that time was the cutting of the turf and bringing it home. The turf would be cut with a slawn and would be allowed to dry. Well the bringing home was a great effort and in those days all the neighbours helped each other. On one occasion one of the men fell into a bog hole and had to come home without his trousers only a sack tied around him. We had a great laugh.

That morning the men would set off early with bread and ham and the makings of tea,

On arrival back with a lorry full of turf mam would have a grand dinner ready for everyone, meat, potatoes and a pigs head. We all helped to draw in the turf and stack it in the shed in the back.

There was also a big field called Jack Thornton’s where we also played. We had to be careful and watch out for Jack as he would chase us with his big stick. He also had a shop on the Ballybunion road and we could buy a tosheen which was just a piece of paper rolled up in cone shape, full of sweets for a penny or a Peggy’s Leg or slab toffee which was a favourite of mine. A big treat was if we met dad at his local, Sheahens. Then it was a bottle of lemonade and a big cake.


A Clarification Re Listowel Badminton Tournament 

When I asked Junior for a photo of the first presentation of his trophy, he asked Tom Bourke to send me one. Now, I presumed that Tom was the photographer but, in fact, he is the winner of the trophy. When I asked about the whereabouts of the trophy I was told that it was on its way to Cork so I presumed the winners were a Cork partnership.

I was all wrong. So here is the photo again and the correct story from the horse’s mouth;

Thank you so much for printing that photo of the first presentation of the cup that the Listowel club commissioned and named after me.

Just to advise that Tom Bourke is not a Cork man. Whilst he is Clare native he is stationed in Kerry and has represented the Kingdom in Badminton for many years, being a winner of numerous Munster singles and doubles titles.

I commenced our mixed doubles event in 1972 and Tom is the leading winner, after his first win in Listowel in 2003  with Dublin’s Helena O’Sullivan , he won his 7th title this year with Cork’s Niamh O’Driscoll who competed in Listowel for the first time. Tom’s 7 wins includes a treble from 2011 to 2013, his partners being Brid Murphy and Peggy Horan, both Kerry, and Patricia O’Herlihy of Cork.

Thanks again Mary


Well done, Tom from Listowelconnection


R.I.P. John Hurt

This photo shared on Facebook by John Keane was taken when John Hurt came to Listowel. The two Johns had a great respect for one another and everyone agrees that John Hurt was a brilliant interpreter of the character, Bird O’Donnell, in John B’s The Field. 

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a n-anamnacha araon.

Books, ads and photos from 1965

A picture and apt caption for everyone who loves books.

The photo was posted on Twitter by Limerick 1914 and its from Dublin Opinion 1935


Some more old ads from 1965


Here are 2 photos from the same publication

Listowel Castle

Listowel Courthouse


Mike Flahive of Bromore Cliffs photographed the Devil’s Castle sea stack to show us that it had survived the 100mph winds of the recent storm.




Listowel, and particularly Church St. is the poorer for the tragic passing of Dan Green. Dan who ran his internet business from Church Street was a regular in Scribes. One of the best dressed men in Listowel, his genial and stylish presence will be missed. May he rest in peace.

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