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 listowelconnection@gmail.com

Tag: Dan Hartnett

Emigration

Cromane; Photo; Chris Grayson

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A Prayer for My Daughter

By Gabriel Byrne

You are born in love and pain.
Given to us for a short time only.
Before we must let you go again, with love and pain.
One day you’ll come to know how close they are, one to the other.
You are a treasure, a blessing, a prayer’s answer,
A jig in my Irish soul.
You are me, and I am you.
You are both of us, the love of your mother and me.
Let me be worthy of you.
Let me lead you to truth, to beauty, to the mystery of the universe.
You will ask me great questions, and sometimes I will not know the answers.
Perhaps we are not meant to know some things.
That is life too… a seeking.
It may be our only purpose here.
All things are changing, always.
Yesterday is dust, tomorrow a dream.
Our gift is now.
And so, my sweet angel, may you know love, and be loved in return.
May you know truth, and laughter, and peace, and happiness,
And may the great spirit of the universe enfold you in his arms, and keep you safe, for always.

Éamon ÓMurchú sent us this lovely poem by Gabriel Byrne around the time that the nation was in mourning for Ashling Murphy.

Walking Among Ghosts

Gabriel Byrne, one of our most successful actors is also a skilled writer. His recent interview with Tommy Tiernan showed us another side of him.

A story that he told resonated with me. In case you missed it, here is is.

In the old Irish legend Niamh Cinn Óir lured Óisín to come with her to Tír na nÓg. She promised him happiness and eternal youth. He went with her and he was happy and youthful. One day Niamh asked him if he was contented. He replied that he was but he missed his fiends at home. So Niamh granted him his wish to go back to Ireland and see his old country and his old friends.

Alas, the country was changed utterly and his friends were gone. He found himself walking among ghosts.

Byrne was telling us that this is the story of every emigrant.

It is a story I hear often from followers of Listowel Connection.

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Handball Days

John Croghan and Autie Galvin being presented by John Joe Kenny with the Joe James Handball shield.

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A Jorum?

This is part of Dan Hartnett’s collection of old receptacles. I think these were for whiskey or beer. If memory serves me right we used to call them jorums.

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Listowel Town Square is changing. Here is something I photographed for you from last week’s Kerryman.

The section of Greenway from Abbeyfeale to Listowel is scheduled to be ready for summer 2022.

Kerry Co. Council have shared this video of progress so far.

Abbeyfeale to Listowel Greenway

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A Thought Found on Twitter

“Takiwatanga” is the Maori word for autism and it means “In their own time and space”.

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Chris Grayson, Ballyduff Wall, some photos and a poem

 Donal Glackin’s Lough Caragh

This is one of the most stunningly beautiful landscapes I have seen in a long time. The photo was taken by Donal Glackin for the Irish Runner magazine.

The October November issue has a two page spread on one of our own. Chris Grayson runs with Kerry Crusaders. He is the runner in Donal Glackin’s photo. Chris lives in Glenbeigh but he is well known through his work and his running to many people in Listowel. He is also a very handy photographer and his photos of Nature from Killarney National Park and Glenbeigh often feature on This is Kerry and TV 3.

So who is Chris Grayson?

This is how The Irish Runner sums him up. There is much more to Chris than this.

Chris is an Englishman who came to Ireland in 2011. He works as a care assistant for St. John of God’s Kerry.

He took up running only six years ago after a change to a healthier lifestyle which began with his giving up smoking. He sees it as exchanging one addiction for another. Chris runs every day, sometimes twice. He averages 80 miles per week.

Chris suffered a huge loss when his only brother, Rob, died suddenly last year. He credits running with helping him through the bad times.

With nine marathons to his credit, Chris is a very experienced runner and he now puts that experience into practice to help others, in his role as a pacer.

Through running Chris has found health, love, friendship, peace and enjoyment.

Next stop Dublin City Marathon.

One of the other great loves of Chris’ life is nature and photographing the flora and fauna of his beloved Kerry. Below are some of his images.

Cobh, Co. Cork

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They’re Lip Synching in Ballyduff



Lip synching has replaced Strictly Come Dancing  as the new fund raising craze. Young people pretend they are singing, dance a few moves and others pay to see them make a show of themselves.

It’s all great fun and helps raise money for a good cause in the process. 

The latest group to organise such a fundraiser are Ballyduff GAA. I took the above photos from their Ballyduff Wall page. Their aim is to raise money to build a wall; a kind of handball alley where the hurlers and footballers can practice their skills.

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Humans of Listowel




Tony Flavin and Dan Hartnett are two proud Limerick men who now reside in Listowel. They took a break from setting the world to rights to pose for me in Flavins of Church Street yesterday, October 10 2016.

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Dick Carmody shares a poem for you to enjoy



My secret
Love !………………………………………………(Listowel)

We always
meet just at the bridge, where Feale waters gently flow

I know it’s
there she’ll meet me as our secret no one must know.

I left her
many years ago, when as a youth I sought no ties

As I but
longed for distant lands yet with sadness and with sighs.

With
Ballygrennan Hill behind me I step lightly towards the Square

Where as a
child I walked and played and sometimes knelt in prayer.

‘Neath the
bell and spire of St. Mary’s Church, it’s where I was baptised

I pause
just for a moment here and my secret love’s not surprised.

As on and
on I walk with her, our love affair grows even stronger

And each street
recalls lost memories from my youth and even longer

Old faces
pause to greet me though unsure of whom they’re greeting

I am grateful
for their friendly words and much happier for our meeting.

I recall
those carefree sporting times when we played our native games

As so many
memories come flooding back alongside famous names.

With the
Boro’ boys I played my part against the Ashes and the Gleann

As we
strove to claim the bragging rights as champions of the town.

Though
those years and times are long since past, much remains unchanged

Like the
shop fronts and the names above, with so little re-arranged.

Flavin’s
Shop in Church Street and the Horse Shoe near Tae Lane

Retain
their craft and character a monument to the artist’s name.

Each footpath
and street corner echoes stories and tall tales

From racing
crowds to the Island bound or fair-day bids and sales.

When public
house noise and banter spilled out on to the streets

While as children
we might wait outside for a mineral or for sweets.

As on I
walk I realise this love affair must never ever end

With each
meeting and each parting must we still a lie pretend

There now
comes the time for both of us to face the truth, decide

What we’ve
shared ‘till now is much too good to deny or hide.

And now as I
take my leave of her I look forward to the day

When I can
spend more time with her and the hope that I might stay

With her my
heart beats in my breast, as she warms my very soul

My secret’s
out as I now dare shout, my secret love – Listowel!

Dick C.                                                                        June,
2014.                                                     

           


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