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: Covid 19 Page 2 of 6

Cork, Listowel Sports Field, a New Business Opens and Covid precautions at local level

Photo: Róisín Darby


On the Banks of My Own Lovely Lee

Cork on Sunday June 21 2020

My visit involved a trip to The Bon Secours Hospital. This is the lovely chapel there.

I also called on my brother who was repairing a fence.

It’s always nice to visit my old home.

These two are good friends and were curious to see what was up. Visitors are rare these times.


From Minutes of the Board of Guardians 1986


Mr. M. O’Connell, said—Gentlemen—I have great pleasure in moving for your adoption a resolution which needs only to be mentioned to meet with your unanimous approval.

Listowel, and, indeed, North Kerry in general, has been sadly handicapped in the past for want of suitable grounds for the many branches of sport, and the resolution which I intend to propose, if passed by you, will probably have a determining influence in remedying a very undesirable state of affairs. I am sure that when it is forwarded to Lord Listowel and his agent that his lordship will be prepared to act as owners of the soil have acted in other portions of the country. With these few remarks, gentlemen, I beg to propose the following resolution:—
Resolved—”That we, the Guardians of the Listowel Union, hereby heartily approve of the efforts which are being made by the North Kerry Cycling Club to procure a Sports Field for the town, which shall be open to every branch of sport, and that our Clerk be requested to communicate with Lord Listowel and his agent, Mr. J. D. Crosbie, J.P, with a view to getting his lordship to accede to the application which will shortly be made to him for a suitable ground, and, that furthermore, we consider that such a ground would have a very beneficial effect on the trade of Listowel, which at present badly needs the stimulus.
Mr. M. O’Connor, in seconding the resolution, said that the ground would undoubtedly have a good effect on the trade of the town. He was certain that Lord Listowel would act generously in this matter.
The resolution was unanimously adopted.


New Business Opens

Grub Time is at Leahy’s Corner. Good to see this sign of hope amid all the economic gloom.


Yellow is the New White

Is yellow the official colour for Covid signs? Our new ones are yellow and don’t mention 2metres. Could it be a sign that we are reducing to 1 metre?

Apropos the pedestrian lay-bys, apparently that was a decision made by Council management under Emergency

“The area between the AIB and the Listowel Arms was identified as being a busy pedestrian area with a narrow footpath.”

Therefore this

Covid Signage, Kevin’s and Behan’s Prepare to Reopen

Castle and Seanchaí closed to the public in June 2020

Viewing platform by the river in June 2020.

The level of water in The Feale was very low before the deluge of Sunday June 15 when we had thunder, lightning and flash floods.


Covid Signage at Spar in Market Street


Kevin;s is being repainted before reopening.

Meanwhile across the road Behan’s Horseshoe has been beautifully painted.

I even persuaded the painters to pose for me.


Ard Churam Dementia Day Centre

Photo: John Kelliher


In Connemara in 1959

I dont know who took the photo but it looks a bit posed to me.  Brendan Behan is not exactly dressed for a day in the bog.

Trees on the Pitch and Putt Course, Famous Visitors and GAA field still closed

Canty’s Shebeen and Coco Kids on June 5 2020


Some Beautiful Trees in Listowel Pitch and Putt Course


Meeting the Famous

(Photos by Tom Fitzgerald)

 John B. Keane with Charles Haughey

Patrick Sheehan and Eamon Kelly at Sheehan’s Cottage in Finuge


A Fascinating Tale with a Listowel Connection

Schenectady NY Gazette 1952 

   GAZETTE,   TUESDAY,   AUGUST   5,  1952  

NEW   YORK,   Aug.   4   (AP)—An   ex-GI  explained  for  Ireland  tonight  for    his    first    meeting    with    the    Irish    milkmaid    -who    found     his     name    and    address    in    a    bottle    washed   up  by   the  sea  on  her   village  beach.  It    was    Christmas    night,    1945,    that    Frank    Hayostak,     returning     aboard     ship     after     three     years     overseas,  tossed  the  bottle  into  the  ocean   100  miles  from  New   York.

   THE    LONELY    medical    corps-wrote   a   wistful   note   giving   his    name,   his   address,    184   Iron   street,   Johnstown,  Pa.,  and  a  personal   description.   Breda     O’Sullivan     of     Listowel,     County   Kerry,   now   23,   found    It    near   a   farm   where   she   lived   on   the  southwest  Irish  coast   on  Aug. 23,   1946.   She    wrote     Hayostak,     27,    an    electric  are-welder   In  a  Johnstown  steel  mill,  telling  him   of   her   find.   The  pair  have  exchanged  70  letters.

[This story must ring a bell with someone. I would love to know who Breda is. Was there a happy ever after ending to this romantic story?]


Emmetts Grounds still out of Bounds


Out and About (with camera)

As I was having a socially distant picnic with friend in the park I met Marjorie Morkan and Eithne Galvin on their way to the pitch and putt course

Covid 19 in Listowel Co. Kerry and a look back to 2016 Ard Churam Opening

A Curlew photographed by Ita Hannon


A Quiet Sunday Morning in Lockdown Listowel,  May 31 2020

An almost empty Lidl carpark

John B. Keane Road

Listowel fire station

Upper William Street

St. Patrick’s Hall

Carmody’s Corner, junction of Charles Street and William Street

William Street


Here a sign, there a sign, everywhere a Covid sign

Main Street

One of our links with the outside world, the humble post box

Just a few cars in The Square

Entrance to Erskine Childers’ Park


Photos I took at the Official Opening of Ard Churam in 2016


Made in Stag Cutlery, Listowel

Vincent Doyle found this old one among his souvenirs


A Word of Caution in Rhyme

An easing of covid restrictions,

Has some people having conniptions,

They fear a new wave,

From being too brave,

Let’s hope that’s just wrongful predictions. 

Our poet, Róisín Meaney, has just published her 17th novel, The Restaurant. If you have enjoyed her little rhymes, you may enjoy her book. She deserves our support in thanks for keeping our spirits up in lockdown.

Sive Walk, River Feale, Listowel Cinema and Some Old Summer Camp Photos

Freezers Corner


Sive Walk

The Sive Walk has been a godsend during lockdown, with many Listowel people discovering it for the first time. It is beautifully maintained by Jim Beasley who lives nearby and photographed by Denis Carroll who has fought hard for its retention.

All photos by Denis Carroll


Phase 2 Plus

We have been catapulted unexpectedly into an accelerated opening up of our economy. Our 5 phase strategy is now a four phase one and lots of businesses are opening today or tomorrow. In preparation Listowel streets have been deep cleaned and shopkeepers have busy over the weekend getting ready for the new normal.


River Feale in the very dry summer of 2020

There is much luxuriant vegetation growing where the river used to be.


Classic Cinema in June 2020

In one of those little ironies that sometimes occur, the last film advertised before the shutdown was No Time to Die.


Pierse and Fitzgibbon

Housed in the same building as the solicitors is HQ Listowel.

I looked it up for you so I would have it right;

“HQ Listowel follows on from the success of HQ Tralee, one of Ireland’s leading regional coworking spaces for productive, creative and collaborative people. For sole-traders, remote workers and growing businesses: HQ Listowel is a place to meet and work alongside other like-minded people.”

Sounds like just the ticket for these remote working times.

HQ is accessed by a door in the lane behind Market Street.


Summer Camps in the 1980s

Carmel Sweeney Gornall was a camp leader at summer camps back in the day. She has shared two photos with us.

1988 Summer camp at Listowel Community Centre



A Sally Switch and A Besom

I had the following emails from Nicholas  Leonard apropos of old cures.

Mary, I forgot one vital, if  imaginary, but much threatened item in my mother’s ‘medicine cabinet’ – the sally switch! this was for corrective, disciplinary ‘medicine.’ I can’t remember there ever being a sally switch in the house, although one would have been needed at times! My Grandmother always had besoms in her kitchen- these were very handy for brushing the floor or shoo-ing a hen that perched on her half-door. Or, maybe, as part of the ‘corrective medicine’ cabinet! Many people around Listowel will know well what a besom is. Perhaps birch besoms are still made and used around Listowel as there are boglands in the area. It would be great to hear from  someone who made and used besoms.  In any case, Besom, is a fascinating word with a varied meanings- from brooms, to witches, to a Scottish word for – to be brief – an ‘unworthy woman.’  It is said that the name of the household broom originated  from the shrub Genista, also called broom, which was used to make besoms. Besoms can even be bought online! I  expect  that birch besoms are still made and used by some people around Listowel as there are boglands in the area. It would be great to hear from  someone from  the North Kerry area  who made and used besoms, and maybe still do so. There is a gentleman in the area that makes excellent old-time walking sticks for the Wheelchair Association Shop in Listowel. We have a supply of them that will ‘see us down!’  Maybe besoms will be next for sale there! 

My Mother (89 years young and a with photographic memory) tells me that our besoms were made from nice, long strands of fresh heather from the nearby Blackshade Bog. These were tied securely on to a brush handle – usually a nice length of a Hazel stick. This handle allowed overhead cobwebs to be reached, and obviated the necessity for bending to sweep the floor.

There was almost nothing in those days that could not be fashioned for use around the house and yard. Our ancestors were definitely ‘eco-friendly’ and truly valued the bounty of Nature. I knew of one man, noted widely as ‘a thick man,’  who really took thrift to the limits during the ‘last’ war!  He was addicted to cigarettes, when he could get them. To save expense he would make the box of matches go twice as far  by splitting each match down the middle- even the sulphur heads were divided (two for the price of one) with a single-edge razor blade!  

Which topic reminds me of a noted Kerry saying about wastefulness, which referenced a once well-off but profligate Killarney family:  “That’s what broke the McCarthys of Looscaunagh- sitting by the fire and lighting matches for the pipe!”

Another thought struck me – about the ‘banning’ of Holy Water- Is Hand Sanitiser the current ‘holy water’; could real Holy Water be adapted to  combat viruses, etc.? Surely that would be a real work of mercy – both corporal and spiritual. Double the value- like the matches!

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