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 Russell Page 1 of 3

Dollies and More

Mown and unmown areas in Childers’ Park in June 2023


The June Flood of 2023

On Tuesday June 20th 2023 Listowel experienced monsoon like rainfall , followed by extensive flooding throughout the town.

I did not venture outdoors except to bale out my shed so I’ve gathered these photos from Facebook.


Award for Jumbos

For the third year in a row the very popular Damien and Jade of the very popular Jumbo’s picked up the top award for best family restaurant at The Irish Hospitality Awards.


Dolly Day

On Saturday June 24 2023, Listowel entered a new record in The Guinness Book of Records. In the sports field, the largest number of people dressed as Dolly Parton in one place ever were gathered by an incredibly hard working committee.

Every aspect of the organisation of this event was phenomenal, from the initial concept to the publicity, the marketing, the local and national buy in right through to the logistics on the day.

“I’ve ditched the wig. I’m taking my blankie and I’m outa here.”

There was even a station where you could have a few adjustments made to make your costume more Dolly like.

With everyone in blonde wigs it was sometimes hard to recognise well known local people. No mistaking these two though. Frances is a lady who could belt out a Parton song if asked.

Another group who could rattle off a Parton song if singing was called for.

Edith Maguire was one of the older Dollies present. Here she is with friends, David Fitzmaurice, Jimmy Deenihan and Jim White.

Some Dollies didn’t make it to the sports field but got in the mood downtown and made their contribution to the atmosphere on the day and ,of course to the charities as well. Stylish Eilish was everywhere.

(More tomorrow)


Fr. Bryan Dalton RIP

His parishioners in his Florida parish of St. Ambrose in Deerfield Beach loved their Listowel born parish priest, Fr. Bryan Dalton.

Duane Miller sent us a link to this lovely video of Fr. Bryan singing at a Christmas mass. Duane says that Fr. Bryan was a great friend to the homeless and he loved children. You can see the rapport he had with the baby in this clip.

Fr. Bryan Dalton


Local Books

William. Street


Local Journals and Books

These are just two of the great local books I’d highly recommend this Christmas.

Some of my readers abroad have been enquiring where they can get local books. Woulfe’s Independent Bookshop is your one stop shop for books. Brenda stocks all the local books. She also has a wide selection of all the popular titles and she will post to anywhere in the world, but be warned, postage costs to places outside of Ireland are high.


The Joy of Comics

This essay is by Declan Hassett from his lovely nostalgic book,

All our Yesterdays

( Footnote from your blogger; Many of our childhood and teenage years’ comics were published by the Thompson family referred to in this essay. The actor, Alan Cumming, worked there as a journalist and sometime model. Teenage romance comics were 64 pages long and were written as photo essays. The photos were posed by real people. Alan Cumming was one of these. In his autobiographical book, Baggage, Alan Cumming revealed that the company had a policy of not hiring Roman Catholics.)


The Christmas Spirit

I was on my way to my hairdresser’s appointment when I saw a crowd gathered at the door of the shop.

All was shortly revealed. Danny had spotted the class of schoolboys looking at his lovely Christmas window. Danny, being Danny, grabbed his jar of lollipops and distributed them to the delighted boys.

Sometimes a small gesture can make your day.


McGillicuddy’s Toy Shop

At the heart of Listowel Christmasses for over a century


Memories brung back Memories

I got this email yesterday from Dave O’Sullivan.

Hi Mary,

Greetings from a wet and windy Kildare.

What a lovely essay from Nathalie this morning. Nathalie’s experience in Listowel in terms of warm welcomes and inclusion mirrors mine, one that has created a network of lifelong friendships and affinity for lovely Listowel.

I have attached a piece from the South Pacific show Nathalie references in her Listowel memoir which may trigger more memories for you readers.

Best wishes,



Vintage Fair in Moyvane, Market St. in the 1940s and it’s panto time in Listowel again

T. J. MacSweeney


Moyvane Village Festival

In late October I visited Moyvane Festival and they had some great vintage stuff on display.

When stuff you remember using turns up at a vintage fair, then you feel old.


Old postcard of Market Street

I spotted this recently on the internet.


When are you too old for the Playground?

My twin grandsons enjoying the free fun in Listowel Town Park during their Halloween Break in October 2015


A lot more than Hair and Beauty going on at Changes these days

This was the scene in Changes on Friday.  Danny was supervising operations as Mary and Yvanna stitched away at panto costumes.

Tickets go on sale Dec1st. I’ll let you now more shortly about how to get your hands on a ticket. It promises to be huge!!!!

Adi Roche in Changes and Betty Stack honoured by Comhaltas

In Changes last week

Adi Roche, her sister Helen, Mary SugrueMargarita MorozovaJesse Barry & Danny Russell in Changes to prepare for The Rose Ball


Betty Stack honoured for her work with Comhaltas


From Abbeyfeale to Sudan

“Welcome to Solo in South Sudan. My name is Helena Quinn from Abbeyfeale in Co. Limerick living in London. 

Earlier this year, I sent an email that would change my life forever. I embarked on the journey of a lifetime to Narus in South Sudan to live with Fr. Tim Galvin and Fr. John Joe Garvey and to get a taste of missionary life.

I was the maths teacher in St. Bakhita Girls primary school and on my second day was promoted to the lofty position of Headmistress of the Standard 8 candidate class.

I fell in love with South Sudan and every minute spent elsewhere will be just one minute closer to my return. 

This is my record of my life and experience in South Sudan. It is my way of sharing but also my way of remembering. “

Helena Quinn is back in Sudan. You can read all about her latest trip HERE


In Craftshop na Méar

Liam Dillon and Helen Moylan


At The Old Ground, Ennis


Brother Denis Aherne

( Photo and text : The Irish Catholic)

Congratulations to Bro. Denis Aherne, OFM (centre standing) pictured following his first profession at the Franciscan Interprovincial Novitiate Friary in Burlington, Wisconsin where he went to do his novitiate having completed his postulancy in the Franciscan Friary, Killarney, Co. Kerry.

Spring, A Night of Terror and Ballybunion Nuns’ Beach and Drama in St. John’s

Spring is Late in 2015

Timothy John MacSweeney took this photo of mother and baby last week.


Listowel’s Underworld!

While searching on for something entirely different I came across this great story from Vincent Carmody

“An older friend once told me of a true incident which he witnessed along with 5 other locals, while drinking after hours in a candlelit bar belonging to Griffins (afterwards Toddy O’Connor’s and now Hy Brazil boutique in Church St. ) The weather had been bad and the night wet and windy. The local men were discussing the topics of the day, when there was an almighty noise and an ashen faced Mr. Griffin started shouting, “It’s an earthquake”. Pandemonium set in. Three hit for the front door and the others jumped the counter to rescue the boss. What they saw on the floor was a hole which my friend said you could fit a donkeyload of turf into. Into this and down into a torrential stream had fallen two firkins of stout which had been stored under the counter. Mr. Griffin, who was in a state of shock, saw two months profit vanishing in front of him. He made several efforts to go down after the barrells, (At this time they would probably be sailing under The Freezers) only to be restrained by those present. An enquiry found that the roof of the Church St. drain had caved in. It was said afterwards that a sober rat was not to be found near Tae lane.”

(Note: The premises in question is now closed and Freezers is now Lynch’s Coffee Shop)


Ballybunion Nuns’ Beach

( Photos: Mike Enright)


The Cancer Bus

“This problem may not be yours today but it could be someday.” If you live in Kerry and you are diagnosed with cancer and require treatment, more than likely you will have to travel to Cork at least once a week for your treatment. This is where this marvelous service comes in. The bus travels all over Kerry collecting people and taking them to Cork hospitals for chemo, radium or other cancer treatments.

The service is completely free, no need for a medical card.

Cork Kerry Health Link Bus


The best part of this service is that people who are traveling with you are all in the same boat. It is like a traveling support group. People help and support one another. They chat and gossip and I am told that at times they even have a sing song. For many it is an invaluable part of their cancer journey.

The Irish Examiner had a great article on this service on Saturday April 4 2015.

Take a Lesson in Life on the Kerry Cancer Bus


A Very Successful North Kerry man

(photo and story from The Galway Advertiser)

Galway Advertiser

Driving home to County Kerry, to help his father with some
cattle farming, was not the time Gerard Barrett expected to receive a call from
Hollywood A-lister Charlize Theron, asking him to script and direct a film she
is producing.

Glasslandtells the story of John (Jack Raynor
), a young man from a rough and terribly disadvantaged working class estate in
Dublin. A former drug dealer and criminal, he has turned his back on crime and
is now trying to earn an honest living as a taximan. Yet, freed from one
struggle he now faces another – his mother’s alcoholism has got out of control,
and he has to resort to desperate measures to both get her to quit and get her
treatment. The inspiration for the film came from Gerard’s experience of moving
to Dublin.

“When I moved from Kerry to Dublin, I saw the impact of
addiction on families, on friends I had made, and on children,” he says. “Rural
Ireland has addiction problems too, but not to the same extent. In cities it is
much more concentrated so it is more visible. I wanted to look at that, but not
in the usual way. Stories of addiction tend to look at it from the addict’s
point of view. I wanted to do something different, to look at it from the
children’s point of view, how they can be victims of those suffering addiction,
and the impact that has on them.”

Low key and restrained, yet powerful, and at times harrowing, Glassland
is a superb drama, where the essential humanity and decency of John aids his
struggle against all that life throws at him, imbuing the story with hope, and
never lapsing into sentimentality.

“There is always one person in a family who holds it together, a
child who can take on the parent’s role if they need to, and that is John in
this film,” Gerard says. “I think that is quite uplifting. Every uplifting,
positive story, has very dark elements to it, but to get light you have to put
up with the nighttime. John is the firefighter in the family, he keeps the
fires down. People like that never get thanks, but they are important. It was
an interesting subject I wanted to explore, that role reversal, where kids have
to look after the parents, who may often not be much older than them.”

Gerard is already at work on his next project, an
adaptation of Susannah Cahalan’s memoir Brain On Fire: My Month Of Madness,
which he will write and direct. The film will star Dakota Fanning, while
actress/model/producer Charlize Theron will co-produce. “It’s very
exciting,” says Gerard, of what is sure to be his initial move into the big
leagues. “It is about a girl with a mystery illness. It’s a very scary place,
having something that no one can understand. That can be lonely and isolating.
I was attracted to it for that as it is a theme I explored on Pilgrim Hill.”

So how did South African superstar Theron come to involve
Gerard in the project? “She rang me,” he replies matter of factly. “I was
on the road to Kerry to my father, I was going to help him with dosing cattle,
and I was looking forward to it. The phone rang and it was Charlize Theron on
the other end. A while later I was in a cow shed dosing cattle, back in
reality. That’s the thing about my career, you can get swept away, but I don’t
step too far from reality. It’s nice to keep your feet on the ground.”

Glassland will screen at The Eye from next week. For more
information and booking see
www.eyecinema.ieor call 091
– 780078.
Brain On Fire is due for cinema release in 2016.


Pull the Other One

We have had a feast of drama in Listowel lately, with Memory of Water, a rather gloomy play with sad undertones, Blythe Spirit, a spirited romp presented to us with really high production values and finally this week’s offering, Pull The Other One. Like its title the play itself was full of double entendres. We got a great laugh from all the misunderstandings, local references, particularly to the real lives of the actors involved and some blatant advertising. All great fun. I remember many moons ago Olivia Treacy came to St. Johns in a play which involved nudity and there were protests. We have grown more sophisticated since then. Danny Russell’s “nude” posing did not even raise an eyebrow.

Some of the proceeds of the play are going to Listowel Laundry for the Elderly and some committee members were helping out with front of house on the night.

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