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: cuckoo

A Listowel Lacemaker

River Feale in July 2023


Happy Childhood Memories

Listowel Arms today


Eleanor Belcher remembers

My father was a GP and our house was always busy as the surgery was in the front room. Next door were the Fitzgibbons. Mr Fitzgibbon was a vet and Marie and Joan were in the same age group as my sister Katrina and I. The other half of their house was let to various people. Miss Noonan was there when I was a child. She was a teacher and very popular as she gave us sponge fingers sometimes, a wonderful treat. Then came the Rochfords . both teachers with children Sheila and Eoin. Sheila was actually called Philomena but when Saint Philomena became demoted her name was changed!  They were followed by the Gannons. There were two children Renée and a boy, Barry. The young Hannon family hadn’t moved into the house next to the hotel when I was young though did so later. I do remember Maurice as a child. 

The Listowel Arms was run by Mr Gerald McElligott  and the ballroom hadn’t been built. He had one of the few cars in the Square which he kept in the large yard. It had a running board. On cold mornings we children on our way to school would be asked to push the car . 


Listowel Lacemaker

This picture was shared on the internet. It was part of a newspaper feature on Listowel’s first Civic Pride Week. No date was given but I’m guessing sometime in the 1950s

Does anyone remember Kathleen MacElligott? Does any of her beautiful lacework survive?



Image and story from Radio Kerry

Three cuckoos were tagged in Killarney National Park in May of this year.

One cuckoo, named Torc, was tagged in East Herzegovina – close to the border of Montenegro, while anoher called KP was tagged near the foot of the Italian Alps.

The third cuckoo, Cores, was tagged in the Piedmont area of Italy.

The project is a collaboration between the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO).


A Teaser from Brian Bilston


The Time of the Cuckoo

Athea Church at Easter 2022


A Few Hard Cuckoo Facts

Cuckoo by

This parasitic bird is usually associated with this time of year.

The striping on the underside of the cuckoo’s body mimics the sparrowhawk. This frightens the sugar out of smaller birds. They abandon their nests long enough for the cuckoo to lay her eggs.

The eggs take 12 days to hatch. From day one these nestlings are bullies and they chuck the legitimate hatchlings out of the nest.

Cuckoo chicks grow quickly and are known for their voracious appetites. They often grow to several times the size of their adoptive parents. These parents are usually worn to a thread trying to feed their ever hungry offspring.

Wait for this bordering on incredible fact!!!!!!

A female cuckoo may visit and lay eggs in up to 50 nests in a breeding season.

By September they all clear off to Central and West Africa where they rest and gird their loins for another onslaught on the unsuspecting little Irish birds.


From Pres. Listowel 1983/84 Journal

The journal opened with this kind of mission statement.


History and NFTs

Photo; Jesuit photo archive

In 2015 I posted the Titanic story of this man. He is Dr. Francis O’Loughlin, formerly of Tralee, who drowned with The Titanic.

Here is the story I borrowed from a Facebook page called Historical Tralee and surrounding areas:

Bravery of Titanic Surgeon Dr. William Francis Norman O’Loughlin

New York Herald

Monday 22nd April 1912

In accounts printed about the Titanic and the bravery of her officers little has been said of one who probably was the most widely known and best beloved of all classes. He was Dr. William Francis Norman O’Loughlin, senior surgeon of the White Star Line, who perished with the ship.

During the forty years Dr. O’Loughlin has been a surgeon aboard ships of that line he gained the close friendship of innumerable men and women of prominence. Known as one of the most upright and kindly men, he also was regarded as a leader in his profession and a student of the highest order.

Survivors say they saw Dr. O’Loughlin on deck going from one to another of the frightened passengers, soothing them and aiding them in getting into the lifeboats. As the last lifeboat left the vessel he was seen standing in a companionway beside the chief steward, the purser and another officer swinging a lifebelt. He was heard to say: “I don’t think I’ll need to put this on.” He was in the companionway when the vessel went down. From those who knew him well statements were obtained yesterday regarding the fine character of the friend all were mourning. All agreed he was one of the kindest men they had ever met. Many incidents showing his unselfishness were related. One of the friends said: “He was the strongest personal friend of every officer and seaman he ever left a port with, and he was a most thorough officer. He would give his last dollar to charity and was never known to speak ill of anyone. He was the most tenderhearted man I ever met.”

One of Dr. O’Loughlin’s intimate friends in the profession was Dr. Edward C. Titus, medical director of the White Star Line. He said: “Dr. O’Loughlin was undoubtedly the finest man that I have ever known. Kind at all times, his work among the persons he met endeared him forever to them. Always ready to answer a call for aid at all hours of the day and night, he would go into the steerage to attend an ill mother or child, and they would receive as much consideration from him as the wealthiest and mightiest on board. “He was one of the best read men I ever met. Dr. O’Loughlin was always doing some charitable act. Of his income I believe it will be found that he left little, having distributed most of it among the poor. There is no doubt that he died as he wished. Once recently I said to him that as he was getting on in years he ought to make a will and leave directions for his burial, as he had no kith or kin. He replied that the only way he wanted to be buried was to be placed in a sack and buried at sea.”

Dr. O’Loughlin was a native of Tralee co kerry in Ireland. Left an orphan he was raised and educated by an uncle. He studied at Trinity College, Dublin, and the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin. When twenty-one years old he went to sea because of ill health and followed the sea continuously thereafter. Prior to being transferred to the Titanic he was surgeon on board the Olympic.


Fast forward to April 2022 and I have an email from Lorelei Llee whose job title is

 Titanic Content Developer for E/M Group & Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition. 

In her research she has come across my blog post about the good doctor and she wants to use it. I have to inform her that it’s not my story anyway and I certainly didn’t take the photo. Im old but….

So, of course, I look up her company. They are e/m group “an experiential media group”

And here is the gas part. You know the way you have never heard of something one day and the next you are seeing it everywhere.

So it is with me and NFTs.

Enter to Win!

Don’t miss your chance to own a piece of history! RMS Titanic, Inc. is offering a select lot of NFT’s available for download and purchase.

The above is taken directly from this group’s website


Poetry Day 2022

On Poetry Day 2022 I got a present of an anthology of modern Irish poetry.

Thank you, Nancy

Here is a short poem from my new book

It’s a lovely poem about the great human family, the tillers of soil and cutters of turf.


A morning in Tarbert

Photo; Ann O’Mara Mallow Camera Club



A Cuckoo

Scaraveen is a period of very changeable weather which occurs between mid April and mid May.

The name scaraveen comes from the Irish Garbh Shíon na gCuach, literally the rough weather of the cuckoos. Once upon a time newspapers used to print letters from people who claimed to have heard the first cuckoo of the year. The cuckoo is a migratory bird, coming back to Ireland in early spring. He is usually heard rather than seen and his distinctive call was interpreted as a welcome to finer weather.

The old people in Kerry did not pull out the summer clothes or go bathe in the sea during the days of Scaraveen. This bringing with him of bad weather is only one of the bad traits that make the cuckoo a bit of a pariah.

The cuckoo doesn’t build her own nest but squats in someone’s else’s, turfs out the rightful inhabitants’ eggs and lays her eggs. When the eggs hatch the poor unsuspecting parents feed the young cuckoos.

So, forget the cuckoo and listen to the other old saying, “Don’t shed a clout ’til the may is out.” The may in this case is the may bush or whitethorn, a much better indicator of the approach of a settled spell of fine weather.


Easter in Tarbert

I hadn’t been in Tarbert, or, indeed, anywhere else, for a while, so, when I saw that they were having a market at The Bridewell on Easter Saturday morning I decided to venture forth.

I didn’t go by ferry but this is the sight that greets people coming to town by ferry.

I like Tarbert Bridewell. It is a lovely visitor attraction. This morning the historical aspect was put aside and local crafters were on hand to sell their wares.

One of the lovely aspects of The Bridewell is its welcoming coffee shop. Many of the stall holders on Saturday were people who have their wares on sale in the coffee shop every day.

Take a tip from someone who knows these things. If you are in the market for a beautifully hand knit baby present, a tea cosy, a locally made card or picture you will find the best stuff at the best price here. Another feature of this little tea shop is a book case packed with pre loved books. These are free to take. They do ask but don’t insist on a donation to Listowel hospice .

I took a stroll around the town. This window caught my eye.

On the left was a picture of a puffin, an old medicine bottle and a few pot plants.

In the centre was a fish tank.

On the right was a display comprising a flower arrangement in an old sweet jar, another old bottle, a raffia rabbit and a lovely old photograph of an unidentified couple.

“Curioser and curioser, cried Alice”

This window display at the other side of the street combined much of what an Irish Easter is, a blessing, lots of chocolate eggs, a wild flower garden and a nod to 1916 and republicanism.


New Car

Sorry readers, I cant find the caption for this one. It was posted on Facebook. I remember that the man is from Church Street and he took his new car to show relatives in Tannavalla. Some of you will know him or remember seeing this photo on Facebook.


Listowel Boy Scouts in the 1980s, Primary School girls in 1985 and Fr. Pat Moore ceremony in May 2017

The Square 


Charles St. May 2017


Listowel Boy Scouts circa 1984

The photo was taken in the hall at Scoil Realta na Maidine.

James Scanlon who gave me the photo supplied names as best he could remember;

Back row: ?  , Frank Greaney, Christy Walsh, ? , a scout leader from Castleisland who came for the ceremony, Gerard MacGuinness, Garda John ?, Don Keane, Kieran ?, Weeshie Diarmaid ?

2nd. Row; Seamus Daly, Mike Greaney, Michael When, John MacAulliffe, Donny O’Connell, Christopher Hennessey R.I.P., Joseph ORegan

Front Row: Ian ?,  ?  John Healy, Stephen Dunne, ?, ?, Frank Quilter, John Galvin, James Scanlon



Marguerite Wixted found this one.


The Cuckoo

Following my inclusion last week of an extract by John B. Keane about the cuckoo, many people have told me that they never saw a cuckoo and wondered what he looked like.

Wonder no more.


Remembering Fr. Pat with song and candles

On May 11 2017 we gathered on the beach in Ballybunion to support one another in our grief and loss for a larger than life priest, Fr. Pat Moore.

As we looked to our right, there was the hard working Mario paying his own tribute in the way he does best, a piece of sand art.

Christine Kennelly got this good picture from the cliff.

Karen Trench sang The Boys of Barr na Sráide, one of Fr. Pat’s favourites.

Listen to it HERE

We held our candles and thought of the man who would so loved to have been there.

His former parishioners, all of whom remembered him with great fondness came from all corners of the county and farther afield.

Trish and Donie were helping to organise the ceremony. They had both offered Fr. Pat  much comfort and healing during his illness.


RTE Folk indentified

This is a photo from Photos of Dublin on Facebook. I got a few of the names wrong when I posted it before.

Máire Logue tells me  that beside Jerry Ryan is Jimmy Greally at the back and the lady I didn’t know in front beside Fab Vinnie is Flo McSweeney

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