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

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Ladies’ Day at Listowel Races

Friday was always a day I loved to be on The Island. Sadly I won’t be there this year. So I’m going to relive happier times before we ever heard of Covid.

I am going to bring you a few photos of local people enjoying themselves in Septembers past.

Bishop Ray Browne came one year in the company of a some members of our parish council.

Collette and Seamus Stack are regulars at the races.

Simon and Lilly O’Flynn

Helen Kenny, Joan Kenny and Helen’s sister, Maisie

Sarah and Monica Quille with Madeleine O’Sullivan and Eilish Wren

Billy and Ursula O’Conor with Judy and Owen MacMahon

Maura Carmody and family

Noelle Hegarty and Bridie O’Rourke

Joan and Orla O’Connor

My friends John and Bridget O’Connor

Eileen Worts and Joe Broderick


Sights I hope to see again in September 2022

Pat Power and his marionettes outside Footprints

Traveller children in The Feale calling “Throw me down something.”

Race cards will cost a bit more than €3

Youngsters dressed up to the nines doing what youngsters do.

My friends Maria and Anne and maybe even a man with a daft hat.

Famous people like Jerry Hannon and Dáithí ÓSé

Interesting headwear

More famous people

Vintage Day.


Daithí OSé, Listowel a “pauperised town” in 1831, Mill Lane and a poem by Alice Taylor

Chris Grayson was in Barrow


Before He was Famous

From The Kerryman archives…August  2001


Poverty in 1831

(Extract from a debate in The houses of Parliament discovered recently by a blog follower)

…..The electoral division of Listowel as
defined by the a commissioner consisted of the town and parish of Listowel, the
parish of Finuge, including a small portion of the parish of Dysert. Mr Hawley,
in the course of his observations called Listowel a “pauperized town” and such,
Mr. Collis was sorry to say, was the case. In confirmation of that statement,
`Mr. Collis held a document which was put into his hand previous to his coming
into the room, by his friend Rev. E.M. Denny.

This document detailed the state of poverty
in the town of Listowel and its minuter districts during the trying and scarce
summer just past- a period of famine he might call it. It appeared from that
document that in one locality, Glounafous, consisting of 236 houses, 1175
paupers had received relief through the medium of the charity meal while 4,000
paupers in the town and the immediate vicinage, had daily obtained relief. He
found that the entire of the parish consisted of 4,300 acres, which, with
Finuge gave an area of say 6,000 acres for the electoral division of Listowel.
The population in 1831 was about 4,900 souls, considerably exceeding the
adjoining parishes: although these parishes contained a much greater amount of
surface, equaling Listowel in quality of soil. This position Mr. Collis
illustrated forcibly by interesting statistical details, contrasting the
quality of the soil and population.

Mr. Collis went on to show that the
population of the town of Listowel alone exceeded in 1831 that of the parish of
Knockanure and Lisselton, and nearly equaled Killeheny, Galey and Murhur. Of
the entire parish of Listowel the preponderating proportion was in the town of
Listowel. Of these residents in the town the majority were paupers migrating
from other districts- very generally from the surrounding parishes. He was, he
thought, justified in assuming that in the district proposed for the electoral
division a relative proportion of the lands to the population would be one acre
to one individual.

Mr. Hawley; You calculate according to Irish

Mr. Collis said the comparison still held.
Finuge, a poor district was added to Listowel; but the addition would rather
prove an incumbrance than a means of lessening the burden that threatened to
press upon Listowel. Finuge was a miserable parish. Galey with its population
of 2,900 souls and surface of 1,300 acres, had no pauper population. The
average in that parish would be as four acres to one inhabitant – in Murhur two
to one. In the other parishes to which he referred the proportion was equally
favourable; while in Listowel with its dense and pauper population the
proportion was as one acre to one individual.


Fresh Flowers by Alice Taylor


Mill Lane in October 2017


International Soccer in Listowel

It was the occasion of the official opening of the new soccer pitch at Tannavalla. Aiden O’Connor, who was chair of Listowel Celtic at the time came into the secondary school to tell the girls about the game and to introduce the two local lads who were to play on that evening.

Guess what year?

The Hahah, Killarney, pensions in Australia and more from Ladies Day 2017

Grey Squirrel by Chris Grayson


The Hahah, Killarney

In this little corner of Killarney where the jarveys wait for a fare and feed and water their horses, there is an interesting shrine.

Around the corner from here are 2 lovely urban buildings; the town hall and the Plaza Hotel.


School Traffic

I accompanied by little cailíni to school last week. Thank God we were on foot.


Getting the Pension in Australia in 1899


Ladies’ Day 2017

It’s always great to meet friends at The Races. Here I am with my friends, the O’Sullivans.

Great to catch up with Máire, Keelin and Judy

Daithí is well used to posing with pretty ladies. Imelda and Helen obliged him.

West Limerick ladies

The jazzy hat competition brought out some fabulous creations

Local ladies, Vourneen, Norah, Betty and Margaret were paying attention to action on the track.

Cliona places another losing bet.


Farm Safety

Photo: Donal O’Leary

Two sixth year students, Padraig Hunt and Michael Murphy won the Safe Family Farm Competition for schools at The recent National Ploughing Championships 2017.

Their win was timely in a week that saw another two fatal farm accidents added to the list of such accidents we are hearing about lately.

With their Ag. Science teacher, Fiona Griffin, the boys came up with a plan to get an aerial map of the family farm and to highlight danger areas. This map would be of use to the farm family as well as visitors or farm workers

NKM in Listowel, Johnny O’Leary and Ladies’ Day at Listowel Races 2017

Photo: Chris Grayson


NKM in Listowel

Recently I got this email from a new blog follower.

Just back from a trip to Dublin I was thrilled to come across your blog and discover a note on the opening of the NKM sweet factory by my maternal grandfather Tom Armstrong- thank you so much for creating your blog .I now live in the Baltic States and its wonderful to have a contact with Listowel where my mother was born – Patrick Armstrong McCrea

I put Patrick in touch with Vincent Carmody and they have had some very productive email correspondence since.


Sliabh Luachra Music

This lovely memorial to the great Johnny O’Leary is in Killarney


Ladies’ Day 2017

 RTE and TG4 were out in force and beautifully presented

Daithí OSé was ultra obliging and posed with anyone who asked

Two Kerry legends, our own Jerry Hannon and Carrachán’s Daithí ÓSé

Beautifully turned out local ladies

Just one more Rose for 2017


Good News from Ottawa

Listowel was awarded five blooms, which is the top award in Communities in Bloom competition in Canada. Listowel also got a special recognition for its community fruit and nut garden.

Hopes are high for September 25th when the results of the Tidy Town competition will be announced. Listowel is hopeful of another gold medal. We all agree we deserve it. Everyone has worked so hard.

Ladies Day at Listowel Races 2014

A Great Day for local photographers and people watchers

Style spotting starts on the way to the course.

This vendor’s sign intrigued me. Are horses wearing jewellery now?

His neighbour was selling hats. Trade was slow. We didn’t have the weather for these.

Judges, Pippa O’Connor and Daithí ÓSé had a hard job. They chose the very well turned out, Mary Houlihan as the best on the day.

I wandered around with my camera spotting some other stylish ladies. So, in no particular order, here are some more very well dressed ladies.


I met lots of local people on Ladies’ Day, some of whom, like myself,  did not dress up to compete but made a bit of an effort anyway.

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