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: Danny Hannon Page 1 of 5

January Blues

Detail from mural on Flesk Cycleway, Killarney, January 6 2024

This magnificent mural celebrates the flora and fauna of the surrounding countryside. It is the work of artist Curtis Hilton assisted by Magda Karol.

Panto Time

Once upon a time pantomimes were a feature of January in Listowel. I dont have a year for this one but the names of the cast give a bit of a clue.

May all of those local people who brightened lives with this, and who are since gone too their eternal reward, rest in peace

Kanturk Postboxes

Christmas is a time for connecting with the family. Here I am in Kanturk with some of my brother’s gang and some of mine.

My sister in law took me for a bit of a spin to check out a few postboxes.

Thank you to Susan Hickey for alerting me to this one at the entrance to St. Patrick’s place. It dates from the era of George V. His rule ran from 1910 to 1936.

This one at Glenlohane has the royal cypher sheared off. This type of vandalism was rife during The Troubles. This box is no longer in use.

This one in Castlemagner is actually in use, although in need of a little TLC.

It is the An Post replacement for this Edward VII one in the wall nearby.

Edward the 7th was king from 1901 to 1910.

The Convent

While doing a bit of a clearcut I came upon an envelope of photographs which the late John Pierse gave me years ago. I am not sure if he took all the photos himself of if some are the work of his friend, the late Timmy Griffin.

Old Friends

Danny O’Connor sent us this.

Hello Mary ,

When I lived abroadI always looked forward to meeting the late great Danny Hannon for coffee or sometimes lunch in the Listowel Arms on my visits home .

Danny truly loved Listowel and everything about it and the conversation was always flowing . 

This photo was taken on Dec. 27th 2018 at the Listowel Arms Hotel . 

(I am seated 2nd to left ). 

Unfortunately some of the people in the photo are no longer with us . 

RIP (  Danny Hannon , Pat Scanlon and Frank Greaney ) . 

Kind Regards ,

Danny O’ Connor 

Gurtinard Listowel . 

A Fact is named after the number googol, a one followed by 100 zeros.


A Poet or Two

An Easter Window in St. Mary’s Listowel in April 2023


Then and Now

On Church Street


Beautiful Cherry Tree

In Listowel Pitch and Putt Course


A Biden Story (Kind of)

From Mattie Lennon

When President Biden mentioned his great-grandfather Finnegan, the poet, it reminded me. The poet Paddy Finnegan was a friend of mine. He was from Galway and was no stranger to Listowel Writers’ Week. I don’t know if he was related to “the President’s Finnegans” and there again I don’t know that he wasn’t!

 When Paddy died in 2014 two others and myself organised a “Finnegan’s Wake with an Apostrophe”, in Dublin’s Mansion House.  President Higgins couldn’t attend but his daughter Alice Mary did. We made a DVD of the evening’s events,

I’ve a piece that I wrote about Paddy Finnegan after his death.

Paddy Finnegan passed away, unexpectedly, on 16th July.

Shortly after his death poet and writer Stephen James Smith wrote, “Paddy was a wonderful man who inspired me with his poetry and acted as a great supporter of other young poets too. . . as he speaks to me beyond the grave his verse is still unnerving me with his gravely pitted voice holding my ears. . . .Paddy you’ll always live on in my memory, you’ll always be one of the first people who made poetry sing to me, you’ll always be a writers’ writer, a warrior with words. The Fionn mac Cumhaill of verse.“

Paddy was born “between two years” either in the dying moments of 1942 or just after midnight on New-year’s day 1943 in Dereen, Kilkerrin, County Galway. Like everywhere else in rural Ireland clocks weren’t all that accurate at the time.

While a pupil at the National School in Kilkerrin a teacher convinced his father, Michael, that Paddy had academic potential. He got a Scholarship to St Jarleths College, Tuam, in 1956 and continued his formal education in UCD.

Paddy had a fantastic knowledge of the English language, was fluent in all dialects of Gaeilge and had a good grasp of Greek and Latin. His versatility was increased in the year he spent in Wolverhampton as one of “the men who built Britain”. He became an expert on how to fry steak on the head of a shovel.

He joined the Irish Civil Service in 1962 but office work wasn’t for Paddy. Apart from being on a higher mental plane than most of his colleagues he was an open-air man. During his stint there I’m sure Sigerson Clifford’s line often went around in his head, “They chained my bones to an office stool and my soul to a clock’s cold hands.“

 He worked as a bus conductor with CIE from 1971 to 1980.

When I got a job as a bus-conductor in 1974 I was sent to Donnybrook garage. I didn’t ask who was the most intelligent person in the garage but if I had the reply would have been concise, “Paddy Finnegan.” As a conductor he could reply to any criticism from an irate passenger; in several languages if necessary. During this period Paddy and a few of his fellow intellectual would assemble in a city centre flat which was known a Dáil Oíche. It was a later edition of “The catacombs” as described by Anthony Cronin in Dead as Doornails. With such a collection of intelligentsia you can imagine (or can you?) the topics under discussion. He lived for many years in Lower Beechwood Avenue, Ranelagh. If ever a house deserved a Blue Plaque it’s Paddy’s former residence.

He brought out a collection of his poetry, sadly now out of print, titled Dactyl Distillations. I know dear erudite reader that you know the meaning of dactyl but I had to look it up. It is, “a foot of poetic meter in quantitave verse.”

He was inspired by everyday events. His “Post from Parnassus” was inspired by the annual Saint Patrick’s Day commemoration of Patrick Kavanagh on the banks of the Grand Canal.

Post From Parnassus 

(after Patrick Kavanagh)

by Paddy Finnegan

Here by my seat the old ghosts meet.
Here, the place where the old menagerie
Relentlessly soldiers on
Remembering the old green dragon, me,
On the feast of the Apostle of Ireland.

Ye greeny, greying catechumens
Will cease to stage this ceremony
Only on the command of Sergeant Death.
Then break not the heart of poet past
Nor that of preening poet present:
But know, ye prodigies of prosody
That multitudes in times to be
Will listen to my lays
And look askance
While cods forever fake
Their own importance.

More recently he recorded a, limited edition, CD, Fíon Ceol agus Filíocht. I hope that somebody will now bring out an “unlimited” edition. Since 1995 he was a familiar sight selling the Big Issue outside Trinity College and more recently at Bewleys on Grafton Street.

Paddy always had a story, like the day he was chatting to his fellow poet Professor Brendan Kennelly at the gate of Trinity as dark clouds hung overhead . “ . . . I asked the Ballylongford wizard for a meteorological prognostication. He replied in the immortal words: ‘ There’’ be no rain; it’ll be as dhry, as dhry as a witches tit.’ He wasn’t gone fifteen minutes when amazingly the cloud dispersed and as our old friend Pythagoras used to say: ‘ Phoebus played a blinder for the rest of the day.” That was Paddy.

I asked his brother James if there were poets in their ancestry. He said no, that their father was a farmer but, in the words of Seamus Heaney, “By God, the old man could handle a spade.”


Listowel Success in The Rebel County

Elaine and Seán O’Sullivan with Bobby Cogan and Carine Schweitzer.

They won the weekend table quiz in The White Horse, Ballincollig.


An old Post Box

This post box is on the street in Tralee at the corner of Day Place. These pillar boxes date back to an earlier era when they were painted red and had the monarch’s cypher on the front.

This one is one of the ones that had an angle grinder taken to it and the cypher shorn off.


Just a Thought

My Reflections, broadcast last week on Radio Kerry are here;

Just a Thought


A Fact

Absolutely pure gold is so soft it can be molded with the hands. A lump of pure gold the size of matchbox can be flattened into a sheet the size of a tennis court. An ounce of gold can be stretched into a wire 50 miles long.


Remembering The Lartigue

My friend, Margo Anglim took this in a fjord in Norway


Unveiling a plaque to Remember the Lartique

Sean Moriarty and Denis O’Mahoney of The Lartigue Theatre Company admire the photo and plaque to commemorate Danny Hannon and Ireland’s smallest theatre in Kerry Writers’ Museum, close to the site where it all began 50 years ago.

This is a section of the audience who gathered to remember Danny and the great days of theatre in Listowel.

The Lartigue wasn’t just a theatre or even a group of players, the Lartigue was a family. Like other families the Lartigue holidayed together, travelled abroad together and chipped in together in whatever escapade Danny planned for them.

Danny and his volunteers literally built the theatre, painted it and manned it for 10 years.

Denis and Seán told us the history of the theatre company in entertaining and graphic detail. Neither man had a script they could share with me but I’m still hopeful they will put the history on paper for us.

faces in the crowd at the launch


The Plaza Cinema

Norma O’Connor, whose parents ran the cinema in The Plaza for years sent us some lovely old cinema posters.

The Plaza was built by Trevor Chute and he hired people to run it as a cinema. Norma’s mother started working in The Plaza in 1938. Norma’s father, who was an electrician, came to work there as a projectionist. He was still working there when he passed away suddenly in 1963. He actually died sitting in his car outside the cinema at the age of only 42.

Norma has had the posters folded up for years. She did her best to flatten them.

She also sent us the dates when these films were shown in The Plaza. Many of the film star’s names will be familiar to my older readers.

More next week…


An Uplifting Writers’ Week Story

Seán ÓDuibhir of Athenry and Bernie Carmody

One day during Writers’ Week, as I was going from one venue to another I happened upon an artist setting up his easel outside the hotel. I stopped to chat to him. He told me that he was Seán ÓDuibhir from Galway. He came to Listowel to met up with his sister who was here from the U.K. for Writers’ Week. I told him that I’d put him in my blog. He reached into his bag and he gave me a print of a picture he had done the day before.


Mallow and More

At Scoil Realt na Maidine, April 2022


In Mallow

Recently I made a brief pit stop in Mallow and I photographed a few landmarks there.

Mallow clock House
The Nation

Mallow is a strange mix of architectural styles.


Big Changes in Town in 1920


From the Pres. Yearbook 2002/03

School staff 2002/03


Moya Festival 2022

Let’s go fly a kite

Up to the highest height.

This was the scene in Ballybunion on the Saturday of the May bank holiday weekend 2022. MOYA goes from strength to strength.


Danny Hannon’s Shop

This was Hannon’s newsagent’s and book shop back in the day.

It’s now Gamourous.

I told you the other day that I bought my Frances Kennedy cd in that shop.

Mike Hannon is sharing marvellous old photos on Facebook. This is one of those, Eileen and Danny in the shop.


Danny Hannon R.I.P.

Ballybunion photo by Sharon of Simple Snaps by Sharon


Golf in Wartime

Ger Greaney found this one and posted it on Facebook.


Our Very Own Penny Black

A story from the 1983 Presentation Schools’ Magazine


+ Danny Hannon R.I.P.+

A Power is passing from the earth
To breathless Nature’s dark abyss;
But when the Mighty pass away
What is it more than this,

That Man, who is from God sent forth,
Doth yet again to God return?—
Such ebb and flow must ever be;
Then wherefore should we mourn?

We will not see the like of Danny Hannon again. We are so lucky that we did see not only his like but we saw the man himself.

Danny was a Colossus of the Arts. He was top and tail of artistic Listowel.


The most important person in Danny’s life was his dear dear wife, Eileen. They were inseparable.

Danny and Eileen in 2018, a picture of enduring love

Danny and Eileen were great supporters of local enterprises. Here they are with Noreen O’Connell in Craftshop na Mear.

Meeting the Hannon family on the street was always a treat.

Danny was always happy in the company of his friends. Whether in The Listowel Arms or Lynch’s, Danny loved to hold court.

This is the last photo I took of Danny Hannon. In the midst of a pandemic he had ventured from his home the short walk to the church.

Danny loved to travel. In his lifetime he travelled the world with his Lartigue Players.

In his declining years, when his health had deteriorated, Danny had everything he needed within easy reach of his home in The Square.

Danny left his mark on many many aspects of Listowel life. He was a builder, an auctioneer and a bookseller as well as a founder of The Lartigue Little Theatre, a founder of the George Fitzmaurice Appreciation Society, Listowel Writers’ Week’s first artistic director, supporter of St. John’s, Kerry Writers’ Museum and everything to do with Kerry writing and drama.

Danny with some of his Lartigue friends

Danny in his happy place, at his home in The Square with his beloved family on the occasion of his lifetime achievement award from Listowel Writers Week.

Danny’s funeral mass was celebrated in St. Mary’s Listowel on January 19 2022. We had songs from his beloved Listowel Folk Group who gave him his greatest triumph in John B. after Ten, poetry, prayers and laughter. The chief celebrant was Danny’s old schoolfellow and lifelong friend, Fr. Seamus Linnane.

Danny Hannon gave the eulogy at John B. Keane’s funeral. Fittingly Billy Keane returned the favour at Danny’s. He turned St. Mary’s into a theatre and the congregation into an audience. There were memories, anecdotes and even some audience participation as Danny was applauded off the stage in his beloved Listowel Town Square for the final time on January 19 2022.

May the sod rest lightly on his gentle soul.

John Kelliher’s footage of the funeral as it made its way through the streets of his beloved Listowel is at

Funeral of Danny Hannon

Listowel laid a favourite son to rest in the winter sunshine of Wednesday, January 19 2022.


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