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: Dan Mulhall

2018 Here we come

Brent Geese in a Wintry Beale

Photo; Ita Hannon


Snow in December 2017

We saw very little snow in Listowel. The snow pictures were taken at the home of my brother in Kanturk.

There was a lot of snow in the Kerry mountains and Kerry Mountain Rescue were very busy over the holiday season. The below picture is taken from their website. They were out nearly every day over Christmas and thanks to their dedication, all the stranded and lost climbers made it home.


The traditional Crib is alive and Well in Kerry

During the holidays I made an effort to visit a few cribs in local towns and churches. I was heartened to see that while the holly and the ivy is gone, the candle in the window almost gone and Christmas food changed out of all recognition, one tradition is still very much alive; the Christmas Crib which tells the story of the first Christmas.

Here are a few local ones

This lovely nativity is in Ballybunion

The crib in the cathedral in Killarney is on a grander scale as befits its location.


The Dandy Lodge is 20 years in the park.

During my recent break I had a very welcome email from Barry O’Halloran. He sent us this photograph with the following story;

“You have often blogged about/taken photographs of The Dandy Lodge. I came
across a photo of The Dandy Lodge which was taken just before the project to
move it, commenced in 1997. The people behind it (which included my late
father Tom O’ Halloran), showed great vision and tenacity in getting the
funding and labour to complete such a difficult project. Each stone was
individually marked prior to knocking the Dandy Lodge and before carefully
re-constructing it, in The Cows Lawn.

The people in the foreground are Vincent & Julianne Moloney, with Mick
Barrett and Joe Dillon, nearest the old phone box.

One of the first events held in the re-located Dandy Lodge was a double
christening party in June 1999, for my daughter Maeve O’Halloran and her
first cousin, Liam O’ Connor (Sydney) – son of my sister Marie O’Halloran
who lives in Sydney.”


In the way these things happen, just a day later, Denis Carroll who has resumed posting photographs and memories of Listowel on Facebook posted a photo and a Youtube video

Denis’ photo shows the newly widened gateway to the park with the Dandy Lodge on the left.

Here is what he has to say about the relocation of this, the first house in Listowel;

“The gates into the Community Centre have been widened, fantastic job by the council. The “Dandy Lodge” in the photo was dismantled block by block and numbered then brought into the town park from across the road where it originally was on the main road into town. This can be seen on Youtube on my “fealegood007” youtube channel, the clip is called “Dandy Lodge”. I was there with a video camera for that. Here is the link


A poem from an Ambassador

Some embassies serve up Feraro Rocher. The Irish embassy in the U.S shares out much more exotic fare. The ambassador, Dan Mulhall, loves poetry and history and he regularly shares (on social media) little nuggets of both. Here is an extract he chose from a poem called The Dreamer and it was written by a poet who escaped from Australia, to where he had been deported. He settled in Boston where he edited The Boston Pilot which published the early work of W.B. Yeats.

I would fly to the woods’ low rustle
And the meadows’ kindly page.
Let me dream as of old by the river,
And be loved for the dream alway;
For a dreamer lives forever,
And a toiler dies in a day.

John Boyle O’Reilly (1844-1890)


What a Picture!

January 3 2018; Valerie O’Sullivan took this photo of Storm Eleanor at Valentia Lighthouse.


The Feast of the Epiphany…a French tradition

The Journey of the Magi

by T.S. Elliot

A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.’
And the camels galled, sorefooted, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
and running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.

Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arriving at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you might say) satisfactory.

All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

January 6th celebrates the coming of the three kings to visit Jesus in Bethlehem. In France they have a tradition I had not heard of ’til January 6th 2018 when I celebrated this feast with the French branch of my family.

According to tradition, the woman of the house bakes a cake called Galette des Rois

This is a delicious confection in which almonds are the main ingredient. Into this cake the cook places a figurine. This figure is usually a man or woman dressed in traditional local attire. It can be a king but doesn’t have to be. Ours was a peasant..

The figurine in the upper picture is the one we had. The lower one is a porcelain “king” that has been in my daughter in law’s family for years.

When the cake is cooked it is brought to the table where the family are gathered. The youngest child hides underneath the table. The lady of the house cuts the cake into slices and the youngest announces from under the table who is to get each piece. Then the family eat carefully as the danger of breaking a tooth or swallowing the miniature charm is great. The person who gets the trinket is the king for the day and gets to wear the crown.

All hail, King Killian!

Dan Mulhall, Listowel Races 2017, Ladies Day

Photo: Chris Grayson


Dan Mulhall, New Irish Ambassador to the U.S.

Text: Mark Holan

Waterford-born diplomat Daniel Mulhall has begun his tenure as Ireland’s 18th Ambassador to the United States. He was scheduled to meet President Donald Trump 8 September at the White House.

They may talk about Twitter, in addition to more touchy topics.

Mulhall tweets Irish poetry and other messages to highlight Ireland’s achievements via @DanMulhall. His 13.2K followers are shy of @realDonaldTrump‘s nearly 38 million, but far more literary.

He is also planning to write regular blog posts to explain his role as ambassador, and deal with issues related to today’s Ireland and its links with the U.S., including culture, literature, and history.

“When the world changes, diplomacy has to change,” Mulhall said during a private reception I attended.

His priorities as ambassador, he said, include working with Trump and Congress on issues of importance to Ireland, including immigration; economic promotion; and engaging the 35-million-strong Irish-American community, “a huge asset for Ireland.”

Mulhall specialized in modern Irish history at University College Cork. He is the author of A New Day Dawning: A Portrait of Ireland in 1900, and co-editor of The Shaping of Modern Ireland: A Centenary Assessment.


1930s Transport

This photograph of Tom Langan is being shared widely on Co. Limerick websites.


Early Morning Dew in Listowel


Harvest Festival 2017

Patrick Godfrey took this photo of the firework display to mark the end of The Races for 2017. I only got to the Island on Friday and Saturday. I will share my photos over the week.

 On Friday which was Ladies Day there were well dressed people everywhere. It was lovely to see so many men making the effort to co ordinate with their women folk.

 Stylish Eilish was ,as usual, living up to her name.

Eilish’s beautiful hat is a Aoife Hannon creation.

Lovely mother and daughter combination

Betty can always be depended on to look cheerful and colourful.

Betty made her own hat, definitely a contender for jazziest hat. In my opinion much more jazzy that the chapeau that won.

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