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: deer

St. Michael’s Football in 1970, opening of St. Joseph’s and Doe a Deer in Beaufort

Wild Garlic in Garden of Europe 


St. Michael’s County Cup Winners 1969

Left to Right 

Front :    Kieran Fitzgerald , Maurice O ‘Sullivan , Mick O’Connell , Tom Lyons  , David Kissane .

Middle:  John Hynes , Tadhg Moriarty , P J Browne  , Timmy Shanahan , Jimmy Deenihan , Pat Stack .

Rear    :  Eamon O’ Carroll , Maurice O’Connor , Pat Stack , Tommy O ‘Flaherty, John O’ Connell , Jerry Kiernan , Pat Quilter .

Tim Kennelly was also on that team but was missing ( or maybe mitching ) on the day of the photo.

Johnny Flaherty and John Molyneaux Snr. were in charge .

Kieran writes;

It would probably be hard to believe ,at a remove of 50 years , what St Michaels stood for in those days . It concentrated  on imparting a classical education through the medium of Irish with no small amount of disciplinary measures thrown in as a bonus .  Teachers took great pride and spoke often  on the success of their ‘Alumni’ and , in retrospect , there is no doubt that many a successful career was launched from St Michaels . 

I have a couple of photos somewhere of successful college football teams in 1969 /70 . We won both the County and Dunloe Cups which up until then was undreamed of  . Our teams included Jimmy Deenihan , Tim Kennelly , Jerry Kiernan , Tommy Fla and younger brother Pat , Tim Shanahan ( who later starred in London ) Eamon Carroll , Gerard Leahy ,  Maurice ‘Toots’ O’Connor and yours truly . By any standards it was a very talented group which was  marshalled firmly  by Masters Flaherty and Molyneaux Snr . I will forward the photos if I come across them .

The school was also very successful on the Athletics front at that time . John O’Connell was a wonderful athlete as was Kiernan and all the names mentioned earlier . Success at Provincial and National Level was the norm for a few years . John Molyneaux Snr and Pat Kiernan ( Jerry’s father ) were the driving force . There was even an athletics track in the Sportsfield with lane markings  all around , burned onto the Grass . There were  jump pits with proper sand  and an area reserved for the high jump and pole vault . It was a hive of activity which was not welcomed wholeheartedly by some in the Emmett’s fraternity . Unfortunately I have no photos from that era. 

Others I remember as being in the class are Tim Shanahan ( Clounmacon ) , John Neville ( Bedford) , Pat Hayes R.I.P , James O’Donnell  ( Ballybunionish ), Timmy Lawlor  ( The Square )  but I dont see them in the photo 


A Forgiving Poem from Róisín Meaney

For some, it’s all about reading,

For others it’s painting, or kneading,

If it helps you come through itFind time just to do it,
Right now, it’s our souls that need feeding.


Opening of St. Josephs

Photos and story from Patsy Kennedy on Facebook

Opening St. Joseph’s unit in Listowel hospital 1984

First patient Maggie Nolan being welcomed by matron Sr Peter Hudson and staff


Motherly Love

Chris Grayson took these photos in the grounds of St. Mary of the Angels. Beaufort

A lesson, a beauty queen, a Fancy Fair in 1919, Con Houlihan’s Study and a Book story

A Word in Your Ear……. watch out for the young ones.  it’s  All Fools’ Day.

Photo: Chris Grayson


A  Lesson from Listowel’s Garden of Europe

Our Garden of Europe is built on what was the town landfill site. In 2014 when we had the father and mother of a storm a tree was uprooted in the Garden. I posted this photo before in 2016 and the caption is what I wrote then.

Nature and Man; This tree was uprooted by the storm of 2014. It revealed underneath a mass of our discarded plastic waste which will not disintegrate for years and years.  

“When the last tree has been cut down, the last fish caught, the last river poisoned, only then will we realize that one cannot eat money.” Native American wisdom.


Beauty Queen with a Listowel Connection

Five years ago Sarah Jane Dunne, daughter of Pecker Dunne reached the final of Miss Ireland. Mattie Lennon wrote this poem celebrating the occasion.


Air; Sullivan’s John

By Mattie Lennon

Oh, Sarah Jane Dunne, ‘though she hadn’t  won, on the nineteenth day of July.

This talented lass,  from the Traveller class, was neither aloof or shy.

“Tinkers daughter”, you’d hear, amid debt-ridden fear in that place that’s called Dublin-four 

She never felt shame but carried the name, as the Pecker had done before.

To the final she went, then felt quite content when her rival Miss Cork took the crown

All set to advance, with a positive stance Sarah didn’t see cause for a frown.

If one doesn’t stop, till they get to the top there’s always a price to be paid

Like Kipling she knows, no matter how  the wind blows, there’s no failure just triumph delayed. 

From the time she was small it was clear to us all,   she was on the road to fame.

At a match or a fair in Cork, Kerry or Clare to busk with her father she came.

Unlike Sullivan’s John, from the road she’s gone but the globe she plans to roam.

She’ll model and teach and great heights she’ll reach; the world is now her home.

She has got this far and her rising star will continue to ascend.

New points she has scored and with critics ignored  begrudgery she’ll transcend

And you can be sure that her Godfather, Moore, will pen her a song bye and bye

As the Pecker sings proud, on his Heavenly cloud,  a new  Tinker’s Lullaby.

© Mattie Lennon2014



(Kerry Weekly Reporter, June 28 1919)

The Fancy Fair in aid of the renovation of the. Presentation Convent Chapel opened on Wednesday in beautiful, in fact, ideal mid-summer weather— but considering the laudable object for which the function has been brought about it must be said the attendance, especially from the rural area, was sparse. However in the evening the townspeople showed up in goodly numbers and business in the different stalls interspersed about the Sportsfield and in the Gymnasium Hall was fairly brisk and led to the hope that the second day’s venture would be enthusiastically supported by town and country and thus bring the function to the happy and successful climax it so eminently merits. 

Every taste is catered for from both the masculine and feminine view and the work on sale of the most intrinsic and artistic order. The fair was formally opened by our highly esteemed Pastor, The Very Rev. D Canon O’Connor, P.P., V.F.; and that great paragon of popularity ,the Rev. Charles O’Sullivan, C.C., who made some useful and artistic, articles as souvenirs of the occasion, at prices that could “defy competition.” 

The Listowel Temperance Brass Band attended and discussed a highly acceptable programme throughout the day.

 The following were stall holders, each and all of whom rendered very satisfactory accounts of their stewardship- Mrs. D. H. Leane, Mrs. Dr. O’Connor, Mrs. W. McElligott, Mrs J. Crowley, Mrs. Foran, Miss Maggie Harnett, Mrs. J. M. Galvin, Mrs. J. Cronin, (Church St.). The following gentlemen formed the Committee, the Hon. Secretary being Mr. R. Tackaberry to whom much credit is due for the excellent manner in which the details of the undertaking had been carried out—Dr. M. O’Connor, U.D.C; Messrs H. J. Marshall, solr; J Macaulay, J.P.; Jas. Crowley, V.S; T. Mortelle, P.Breen, T. F Cronin ; P. Corridan, T. J. Walsh, U.D.C; J McKenna , Co. C ; Thos. Corridan, J. Donnelly , Ed. Boylan. J. Cronin ( Church St.); W Henigan, V.S.; W. McElligott, C.P.S.; E. Bursen, R. A. Macaulay, solr.; D. H Leane, L.P.S.I; J J. Galvin, Dr. Buckley, U.D.C. ; M. Griffin, N.T.; J. Scully, D. B Judge, J Kileen.
The Ladies Committee was composed of Mrs. Dr. O’Connor, Mrs. D. H. Leane,Mrs. T. Mortelle, Mrs. J. M. Galvin, Mrs. T. J Walsh, Mrs. McElligott, Mrs. Dr Clancy, Mrs. Pierse, Mrs. and Miss Macaulay, Miss M. McMahon, Miss Horgan, Mrs. T. O’Brien, Mrs. McKenna, Miss Maggie Harnett, Mrs. Dennehy, Miss Kirby


The Room Where Con Houlihan Wrote

Photo: Ian O’Riordan


A Story for You

I love a good book. On my daughter’s recommendation I was reading a great story called a Spool of

Blue Thread by Anne Tyler. It was unputdownable. Then after a weekend in Cork I went and left it

behind, just as I was getting to the crux too.

I tried the library. No joy there. the lovely librarian ordered it in but it could take 10 days. Can I wait

that long for Denny to find the thread to mend his father’s dashiki?

So I tried the charity shops. The book was published in 2005 and in my experience you nearly have

to go to an antiquarian bookseller nowadays for anything over 2 years old.

I didn’t get A Spool of Blue Thread but take a look at my haul.

………And I only spent €3.00. God bless Marie Kondo!

And Then……….

I got a phonemail from Listowel library to say….ta dah….Martina had sourced a copy of the book for me.

I toddled down as soon as the library opened. I’ve nearly finished the book. I’d highly recommend it….a great read

Doon Road,Ballybunion and the Upcycle event at Listowel Races 2018

Cattle photographed from the Cliff Walk, Ballybunion


Some artistic touches old and new in Ballybunion


More photos from Listowel Tidy Town Alternative fashion event at Listowel Races 2018

Its lovely to see seriously stylish ladies like this milliner take part in this upcycle, restyle event.

Niamh, Anne and Maria who love dressing up, really love this unique Ladies Day.

Orlagh Winters in her own vintage outfit interviews a stylish contender.

Louise Stack was the winner in this vintage kaftan she bought in a vintage shop in the U.K. She made the hat herself .

This local lady could wear this any day. Animal prints are all the rage.

John McCarthy was the obvious winner of the best dressed man prize with his smart suit and polished shoes, all from the charity shop.

I spotted the trainer, Michael Winters, from my hometown in the parade ring. Reason enough to put a bet on the horse he had trained, I thought.  Should have kept my money in my pocket!

Sonja was rounding up the finalists so they could announce the winner.

A lovely end to another great day on the island.

Only 2 little girls in the river as I left for home.


Listowel Food Fair

November 8 to 12 2018

The committee is planning all kinds of treats for us in 2018. Keep an eye on their Facebook page.


Deer in Phoenix Park

The Listowel Connection with this beautiful creature is the photographer, Eamon ÓMurchú.

Athea, Tralee and Ballybunion and Kilflynn and Kanturk

Deer in Killarney National Park in January 2018

Photo; Mary Mac on This is Kerry


Tralee in 1967

Photo: RTE archive


Ballybunion in Winter 2018

My family were visiting last weekend. We took a trip to Ballybunion on a bitingly cold Saturday, January 20 2018

We practically had the beach to ourselves.

The sea was rough.

Bobby, Carine and the boys are always happy in this place.

Lovely to see someone who loved the beach commemorated with a seat.

Mario had been busy earlier in the day. His beach art is now a feature of the beach in winter.


Athea, Co. Limerick

This is Athea’s Marian Grotto. It is in the grounds of the parish church.

Why are there so many Marian grottos dotted about the land?

Here is why: 1954 was declared a Marian Year by the Pope Pius X11. 

Marian years are decided on and declared exclusively by the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. In Church history, only two Marian years were pronounced, by Pope Pius XII and Pope John Paul II. (Wikipedia)

This was to encourage devotion to the Blessed Virgin. Many girls born in 1954 (and a few boys) were called Marian or Mary.

Marian shrines or grottos were erected in nearly every parish in Ireland. Many of these depicted the Lourdes scene with a statue of Mary in a high alcove in a stony grotto and a statue of Bernadette kneeling before her.

Athea’s grotto does not have a Bernadette. Neither does the grotto at O’Connells Avenue, Listowel.

O’Connell’s Avenue, Listowel Marian shrine.

There is also a calvary in the grounds of the church in Athea.


Kilflynn Bridge January 27 2018

Photo: Radio Kerry on Facebook

Relentless heavy rain over the past while has caused part of the bridge wall at the entrance to Kilflynn to collapse. Luckily no one was injured. The bridge is closed to traffic. Kilflynn is accessible through Abbeydorney or Lixnaw.


They won!

Ceann Toirc Abú:  Hurlers from my native Kanturk are into an All Ireland club final on Sunday next. Big day for the club; big day for the town.

This is my excuse to post a photo of myself with Kanturk and Cork’s goalkeeper, Antony Nash, taken in town in summer 2013.

No, of course I don’t know him. I just know people who know people.

The Cows’ Lawn; Storm Damage and Deer in Killarney

Cows’ Lawn


Finally the UDC and a number of other prominent citizens formed the Sinn
Fein Food Committee with a view to acquiring this land as tillage. There was a
general feeling of frustration building up with the petty restrictions and the
number of permissions which had to be sought from Lord Listowel.. ‘Negotiations’
were opened by Sinn Fein with two local men who had permission to graze the
Lawn at the time, in order that the Food Committee might proceed with their
aims of turning the ground into tillage. It would appear that ‘negotiations’
might be a misnomer, something that rankled with the families concerned in the
following years.

Getting tired of waiting for permission, the Food Committee with the
help of Volunteers from Moyvane, Knockanure, Finuge, Rathea, Ballyconry and
Ballylongford, ploughed up the ‘front and back lawns’ concerned on 25 February
1918. The members of the Committee were jailed for a month on May 23rd, while
the Chairman of the County Council, Jack McKenna spent almost a year in Belfast Jail on this and other
alleged charges.

While they were still in jail, Lord Listowel instructed the agent to
sell the disputed land to Thomas Armstrong proprietor of the NKM Sweet Factory
for £1,400.which was then five times the market value of such land. Armstrong
then offered the land at the same price to the Food Committee and they had no
option but to pay this sum.. The deed drawn up was between Thomas Armstrong and
‘The Listowel Food Committee/The Listowel Cow Keepers/The Trustees, which was
later to cause legal problems. ‘The conveyance of 1920 was made to Dr.
O’Connor, Mr. Launders, Mr. McKenna, Mr. Walsh, Mr. Gleeson and Mr. Flavin.
‘The front lawn was divided amongst twenty people, each of whom have the right
to graze one cow in perpetuity; and the back lawn was divided amongst twenty eight
poor people for tillage purposes’

The ‘two fields’ of thirty acres in total, were mainly in grass, bounded
on all sides by woods with the river flowing alongside. The former tennis court
was left in place with a right of way into it and it continued be used as a
Tennis Club . However it was 1935 before the first Catholic was admitted to the

Listowel Urban Council continued the quest to attain ownership of the
public areas surrounding the town and in 1946 Lord Listowel granted Gurtinard Wood and a beautiful walk to the people of Listowel for a
nominal sum of £5.00.

The tillage so fiercely fought for, did not stay in use after a few
years but the twenty cow keepers continued their right to graze their cows, on
what was now known as The Cows Lawn until 1966. The author remembers some of
these ‘Cow Keepers’ exercising this right and in fact milking cows on the Lawn
and bringing the milk up the Bridge Road in galvanised buckets, swinging off
the handlebars of their bikes.


This photo from the archives of The Kerryman is from the Munster Final of 1962 in Cork. Kerry’s Donie O’Sullivan is in the centre of the shot.


Jim MacSweeney took some great photos of deer and stagsin The National Park during the rutting season.

This fellow has been in a fair few fights, I’d say

Tha Harem


A more unusual Halloween tradition

Clamping the turf for the winter

Today is All Souls Day. In the
old days this was always a great night for the fire. One Halloween game was known as
building the house. Twelve pairs of holly twigs were arranged in a circle,
pushed into the ground and tied together at the apex. A lighted sod of turf was
placed in the centre. The coupled twigs were named after the boys and girls
present, and the pair which caught fire first indicated which boy and girl
would first be coupled in marriage. Well, it beats online dating services. Also on All Souls Night, seats for the returning dead were arranged around the fire. 


Sandy’s Wake

A kind follower sent us these distressing photos of the destruction on the Jersey Shore.

Rockaway Beach, New Jersey

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén