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: David Twomey

Wartime Rationing, Bishop in Moyvane and Patricia Lynch’s Grey Goose of Kilnevin and Athea in Stripes

Rutting Season 2019

Chris Grayson took this fellow’s photo as he took a rest from the exertions of The Rut.


A Listowel Memory of Rationing

The following story about a childhood memory of rationing, the tea chest, and a kindly adult comes to us from Billy McSweeney

The blog today reminded me of the fear of losing the ration book on my way to Mrs Twomey’s shop in the 1940’s. The ration book was kept in a cupboard in the kitchen and was entrusted to one on pain of death, to go to the shops. I still have visions and fear of hunger and starvation attached to that infernal book and the awful responsibility that went with it. I still remember the smile on Mrs Twomey’s face one day when I ordered ½ stone of Tea and  ¼ lb Sugar. Only those of your readers who are of that age or have an appreciation of the old weights and measures will realise that those order  weights were back to front; hence Mrs. Twomey’s smile. The correct order was dispensed naturally and the debit added to the ‘Order Book’ which accompanied the ration book. My mother paid the ‘Order Book’ on a weekly basis. This was really serious business. 

Twomey’s shop was an old-style establishment. The front half was the grocery and the back half was a pub. Today it is the Kingdom Bar, at the top of Church Street. For her part I can still see Mrs Twomey, with Kitty, her assistant, weighing out tea from a tea-chest and sugar from sacks into paper bags which when full were tied with cord, to be ready for sale; tea in ¼ lb bags and sugar in ½ stone paper bags . The empty tea-chest was usually donated to a family with a young child to have the four edges of the top covered with horsehair under a wax cloth for protection; and used as a ‘cot’ to mind a very young child. The cord from the retail bags was saved for future use by the familys. You learned to save everything because it could be of future use. My own earliest childhood memory is being in such a tea-chest at our front door on Upper Church Street and being spoken to very kindly by Joe Galvin, a schoolboy about five years older than myself,  on his way to the  old National school which was no more than 100 metres further up the street probably at 9.00am. One should be very careful of the way you speak to a young child. It could leave a lifelong memory. Joe stopped and spoke kindly to me, a child of no more than 1½ years old taking the morning air in a tea-chest, whereas all the other scholars just passed me by.

These times are returning according to our young Swedish friend that spoke bravely to the United Nations last week. She is a reminder to all of us of how arrogant and wasteful we have become.

Billy McSweeney


FCA Guard of Honour

I borrowed this photo from the Moyvane website and I posted it with the caption that was attached, i.e. soldiers on Main Street.

Kay Caball recognised her uncle Micheál O’Connor, father of our own Canon Declan, as the soldier escorting the bishop.

Now maybe someone will remember the year and the occasion. Seems to be a big crowd in town for it anyway.


An Old Favourite

Do you know that in the library they have lots of free books for you to take away? You can also donate books you have read and no longer need.

In this marvellous box of books that the library have taken out of stock I found this treasure. I remember reading it as a child. I loved The Turfcutter’s Donkey and all his adventures. I lived about 2 miles outside of town but I very often cycled in to the library two and three times a day. The library is surely one of the best public services we have.

 In case you have never heard of Patricia Lynch I photographed the flyleaf for you.

These are two of the marvellous Sean Keating illustrations from the book.


Athea in the News

Bridie Murphy took this super duper photograph of Athea’s very successful fundraising run for the Ronald MacDonald House. David Twomey in the centre of the picture was the winner of the race but the big winner on the day was the Ronald MacDonald House. Well done Athea.

All caught up in ‘er oh-la-la

Clap ‘ands, stamp yer feet, Ye-e-a-y

Bangin’ on the big bass drum

What a picture, what a picture


Stick it in your fam’ly album

Stick it in your fam’ly

Stick it in your fam’ly

In your fam’ly album

Catherine Moylan, Opening Night Listowel Writers Week 2019 and Listowel Business and Community Alliance

Catherine Moylan, Chair of Listowel Writers’ Week 2019

I have known Catherine Moylan since she was knee high to a grasshopper and it came as no surprise to me that this young lady, who has broken through many a glass ceiling in her career so far, is making an excellent job of what is probably her biggest gig to date, chairing Ireland’s premier literary festival.

Former chair, Mike Lynch gives the new chair a twirl just to calm the nerves before the big opening speech for Listowel Writers’ Week, May 29 2019.

Catherine gave a well crafted, well delivered  and very well received keynote address. She told us how special she felt to have grown up in Listowel where Writers’ Week was a constant every year, where Bryan MacMahon read the children a story at her friend’s birthday party and John B. Keane was someone you could meet any day on the street. She hit the nail on the head when she identified the USP that makes Listowel Writers’ Week so different to other literary festivals. The key ingredient is Listowel and it’s people.

Look at the front row of the audience she addressed undaunted.

In the audience were parents, Helen and Eddie, looking a bit nervous but massively proud.


Pictures from Listowel Town Square on May 29 2019

Politicians, musicians, poets, clergy, businessmen and women, old friends and new were there.


Listowel Business and Community Alliance

Rose Wall has replaced Stephen Stack at the helm of Listowel Business and Community Alliance. She is pictured here with Paul O’Connor and Maeve Queally.

Maeve of Some Studio was giving a morning talk to the local business community on the concept and importance of branding.


David Twomey

Some people know David better as an athlete, but I first met David when he was starting out on his gardening and landscaping career. He is one of the people responsible for the planted environment in our lovely town. When I took this photo last week he was getting Listowel ready for the Entente Florale judging.

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