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: Damien Stack Page 1 of 4

Getting Back to Normal

Chris Grayson in The Gap of Dunloe


What’s in a Name

This Damien Stack, pictured in The Kerryman, is the much travelled man who has visited 193 different countries and has left reviews of 176 of them on Tripadviser.

I wrote about him last week and many people thought that the man referred to was the better known locally, Damien Stack, proprietor of The Arcade. I felt, myself, that it wasn’t our Damien. I thought it was another namesake, Damien Stack, the sports journalist.

Who knew that there was a third famous Damien Stack, the man of the moment?



Tralee, last week had all the flags out to welcome teams and supporters to the weekend games.


Something to look forward to

A Message from the good folk at Ballylongford Mill

We’ve been busy preparing for our first event for 2022 at the Mill, the Irish Traditional Trades Fair on the weekend of 30-31 July.

This will be a much expanded version of our Blacksmithing Fair from last year, there’s been an amazing response and so far there are 33 different traditional trades and craftspeople who are either confirmed or interested in attending.
It’ll be a family friendly weekend with old fashioned fairground games for the kids, there will be talks and demonstrations by the exhibitors, food and entertainment and lots of traditional crafts for sale. 

It’s going to be quite a unique event, there’s no other event in Ireland that brings so many different traditional trades and crafts together in one place, and we’re hoping it will bring several thousand people into the village over the weekend.  
In addition, there’s an amazing folk band called the Black Irish Band coming over from the States for the weekend to play in the Mill and at the Fair who are seriously very, very good.

It will be the first of an ongoing annual event that will help to put Bally on the map as a 

a place that runs interesting, historical themed events, and start getting visitors back into the village.

We’ve just set up a Facebook page for the Trades Fair, this is the link for anyone who wants to like and follow the page, which would be very much appreciated, and there will be regular updates on both pages as the event draws nearer.


A 1915 Chancer

Dave O’Sullivan found us this gem.


Soap, a Bridge and a Ferry

Photo: Jim McSweeney, Mallow Camera Club


When Soap was Soap

If you remember this, you are as old me. This was ‘household soap”. It was manufactured by Lever Brothers in Port Sunlight outside Liverpool. it was used everyday for hundreds of jobs. If anything, and I mean anything, needed washing this was the go-to soap.

Scrubbing the doorstep, indeed scrubbing floors generally, was an activity undertaken by some on a daily basis. The scrubber knelt on the floor and with scrubbing brush and soap scrubbed every inch of the floor, mopping off the excess moisture with an old rag. These poor women (they were always women) ended up with a condition known as “housemaids knee”.


We’ll go racing again

We’ll cross this bridge again in 2022. I was delighted to see the sign advertising a June meeting and The Harvest Festival of Racing for September has been erected at the River Feale entrance to the racecourse.


Old Tarbert Ferry Postcard


From Pres. YearBook 1990


A Well Travelled Trip Adviser

(From RTE on the internet)

A Kerry man has made it into the review history books, as he’s named the best-travelled reviewer on Tripadvisor.

The review site has published a break down of its stats, as it reaches a milestone of publishing one billion reviews and traveller insights.

User @damienstack, from Listowel in Co. Kerry, Ireland, was revealed to have posted reviews for 176 different countries. If that wasn’t impressive enough, he has actually visited all 193 countries in the world!


A Holy Well, Doors, Dingle men and More Photos from Armistice Day Centenary in Listowel

Beautiful Holly Tree

Photo: Charlie Nolan



Recently a man who is a great friend of this blog suggested that I should photograph some Listowel doors. He has been struck by the huge variety of doors in our town so, on his suggestion I’ve photographed a few.


Dingle Farmers

This great photo is in the Dublin City Library collection


Holy Well

Holy wells are often associated with cures. Our local St. Batts well is also thought to cure ailments of the eyes.

(From the Dúchas folklore collection)

Tobar na nAmhrán

“Tobar na n-amhrán is situated in the Ballinagarde Estate Co. Limerick”

Informant- Thomas Sheehan, Occupation farmer

Tobar na nAmhrán

curing many ailments but it is specially dedicated to the curing of sore eyes.

It is said that a blind monk in France dreamt of this well in Ballinagarde and that if he rubbed the waters of the well to his eyes he would be cured.

He made his way to Ballinagarde Well and when he bathed his eyes there his sight was restored.

A blind tramp was also restored his sight at this well. He too had travelled a long distance to the well.

The Monk and the tramp when they found that their eyesight was restored sang songs on thanksgiving to Our Blessed Lady.

Hence the well is known as Tobar na n-Amhrán or the Well of the Songs. 

Thomas Sheehan (Farmer)

Ballinagarde, Ballyneety.

Co. Limerick.


More from Armistice Day 2018 in Listowel

The opening part of the commemorative ceremony was the memorial mass in St. Mary’s.

 The flag bearers musicians and dignitaries crossed the Square to the memorial plaque by St. John’s

Here the wreath laying part of the ceremony took place.

A good crowd had gathered in the cold and wet to be part of the remembering.

Some faces in the crowd.


Another Beauty Parlour on Church Street

Church Street, Listowel where there once were so many public houses now has more hairdressers, beauticians and pharmacies than any other street in town. 

What does that say about us?

Listowel Children in the 1960s, A Holy Well and Armistice Day Centenary Commemorations in Listowel

The River Feale behind the Listowel Arms; Photo: Charlie Nolan


Old Pals

“Fond memory brings the light of other days around me.”

Bernard O’Connell who lived in Upper William Street Listowel and now lives in Canada posted to Facebook this picture of his childhood friends.


A Holy Well

From the schools folklore collection at Dúchas

Tarbert School collection. Nora Scanlon, Dooncaha.

Our Holy Wells

There is a well in Tarmons known as St. Senan’s. It is in the corner of Buckley’s field in Ballintubber.

This well is not deep and a stream flows out of it. Always in the month of May people pay rounds at this well on every Saturday of the month.

This is how people pay rounds. People pick up seven pebbles out of the stream and then kneel down at the well and start reciting the Rosary. Then they start at the right hand side of the well and walk slowly all round reciting a decade of the Rosary while going round. At the end of each decade they throw one pebble away. Then when the seventh round is paid they kneel down and finish the Rosary. Then they take three drinks out of the well and wash their faces at the stream. Then they usually tie a piece of cloth on an overhanging bush. It is said that according as the cloth wears away the disease wears off the patient.

It is called St. Senan’s well because it was St. Senan who blessed its waters. From the well you can see the ruins of seven churches and round tower in Scattery built by St. Senan.

There are no fish in the well and the water is not used for household purposes. Once a woman went to fill her kettle at the well. She forgot to bring a vessel with which to fill her kettle. She left her kettle at the well and went back for a saucepan. When she returned the well had disappeared and the bush with it. It went from the top of the hill to the side where it is now.


A Thought

As Asphalt and concrete

 Replace bushes and trees,

As highways and buildings 

Replace marshes and woods

What will replace the song of the birds?

Tony Chen


Only in Ireland

Photo; Random Cork Stuff


People at the Armistice Day Centenary Commemoration in Listowel

On a cold showery Sunday a good crowd turned up to commemorate the men who endured appalling hardship in the most awful of wars. Cold and rain were nothing compared to weeks spent in wet trenches with rats for company.

Carmel Gornall was there with her brother and two sisters in law.

Carmel’s sisters in law had grandfathers who served in The Great war.

Great to see Jim Halpin brave the cold to be part of it. Jim has done more than most in North Kerry to make sure that the names of the brave men who fought will be remembered.

Local history lovers and retired military men turned out in numbers to remember.


One to Watch

 Bánú nó Slánú:  Thursday TG4  9.30p.m.

This documentary looks at the small town way of life that is dying a death in Ireland, as illustrated by a visit to once thriving towns in Kerry and Leitrim. Ballylongford in north Kerry has seen its mill, creamery and many businesses close over the last 30 years. In 2017, no new children started in the national school for the first time in living memory and its post office is now under threat.  One of the last small farmers in the village, Donal O’Connor, who’s in his 70s, sums things up: “I’m the last of the family. There are no small farmers anymore.”  Kiltyclogher in north Leitrim made the headlines when it launched a media campaign to attract people to move to the village. Six  families made the move, helping to save the local school  – but one year on, how does the future look? Did the newcomers stay? And have they done enough?

(Photo and text from Irish Times TV Guide)

Killarney. Listowel photos from 1994 and North Kerry Harriers in Moyvane

At the Tim Kennelly roundabout on an Autumn Sunday


By Killarney’s Lakes and Fells

I recently enjoyed a lovely day in “Beauty’s Home”

This fellow looked me right in the eye. There was a fence between us.


Torc waterfall 


Kerryman Christmas Supplement 1994

Some shopkeepers and shoppers from the Kerryman supplement of 24 years ago. The photgraphs for the paper were taken by Brendan Landy. I took photos of the photos as they appeared in the paper. Sorry for the very poor quality.

 Ann Heffernan serves Damien Stack in Ned Moriarty’s drapery shop.

Pat Hannon of Hannon’s Book Shop, 6 Main St. shows Clodagh O’Sullivan the range of books and magazines available.

Jim Halpin shows Michael O’Connell  a sea rod at his fishing and shooting supplies shop in Dirrha, Listowel.


North Kerry Harriers meet in Moyvane at the October Bank Holiday Weekend

(Photos by Elizabeth Brosnan….lots more on her Facebook page)

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