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: Dick Spring

Icon of the Holy Family in Listowel, New Road Signs and a Turf Powered Steam Engine

Denis Carroll in Ballybunion


Icon of The Holy Family in Listowel

This icon will be with us in Listowel Parish church from this afternoon, Monday April 9 2018 until Wednesday.

What is The Icon of the Holy Family?

The icon of the Holy Family was specially commissioned by WMOF2018 (World Meeting of Families), written by iconographer Mihai Cucu, and assisted by the Redemptoristine Sisters of the Monastery of St Alphonsus, Iona Road, Dublin, as part of their ongoing prayer for families.  The Icon was unveiled and anointed on the 21st August 2017, during the launch of the one-year programme of preparation at the National Novena in Knock, Ireland. 

Everyone is invited to come and view the icon while it is in town. It doesn’t matter if you are a believer, a non believer, an art lover or just plain curious, I think you should come and take a look . 

If you have never been to St. Mary’s before of if you have and have never looked around you at the magnificent mosaic work and stained glass, take this opportunity to really look at this artistic treasure, St. Marys. It has been left to us by our forbears and beautifully preserved and enhanced by generations of Listowel priests and parishioners.

Opens in new window


Republican Funeral in 1918

A visitor to Dingle library during Easter took a photograph of this picture for us. Tomás Ruiséal died of a bayonet wound received during a confrontation with the army in Co. Clare.


A Word of Caution


New Traffic signs

These new Slow Zone signs are appearing in housing estates all over town. I have no idea why they have put them so high up on the poles.


A Steam engine Powered by turf

This was a short lived and ultimately unsuccessful experiment. I read the story on

Bord na Mona Living History

When O. Bulleid joined CIE from British Railways in 1949 he decided to build a turf-burning locomotive.

Trials were made with a stationary engine using pulverised turf and these trials were observed by HMS Miller of Bord na Móna. CIE then converted a 1903 locomotive to burn turf and extensive steaming trials were carried out in 1951 and 1952. The engine was tried out on a main line in 1954 but broke down in Cork and had to be towed back to Inchicore. It was also too large to turn on any CIE turntable.

In 1955 the locomotive was tested using semi-briquettes. During a trial run in 1957 sparks from the locomotive set the leading coach of the test train on fire. It never hauled a fare-paying passenger but some use was made of it between Houston Station and the North Wall on goods trains. By that time the replacement of steam with diesel was well advanced and the locomotive was scrapped in 1965 when Todd Andrews was Chairman of CIE.


Labour Then

This photo of Listowel men, Seán McCarthy and Michael Guerin with John Joe O’Sullivan and Dick Spring appeared in this week’s Tralee Advertiser.

Signs and Flowers, a bespoke Tara brooch and the launch of Coolard School’s history

Some Listowel Signs and Flowers


The Demon Drink

Tralee Chronicle and Killarney Echo 1843-1881, Tuesday, 04 November,
1873; Page: 2

Our Listowel Correspondent writes yesterday :—On the evening of the
last fair in Listowel, a poor man who lived near Athea in the County
Limerick. Left the town in his donkey’s cart in a drunken state for
his home . I understand that he was accompanied by a neighbour, who
unluckily had indulged  freely on that day. When about two miles from
the  town on their way home, it was seen that the unfortunate man was
in a hopeless state of intoxication, and it became necessary to tie
him to the shaft of the car. In this manner they proceeded slowly for
some miles, until they were  met on the road at a place called
Knockanure by some parties, who saw that something was wrong. On
coming up and stirring the drunken man, they found he was quite stiff.
He was immediately taken into the next house, but all attempts to
restore him to consciousness were fruitless  , and it was soon seen
that the poor fellow was quite dead.


Tara Brooch Fit for a High King

One of the most beautiful  treasures in the National Museum is The Tara Brooch which dates from around 700A.D. It was found on the beach in Bettystown in 1850 and according to Wikipaedia has nothing to do with Tara at all. 

So where is the Listowel connection? Eileen Moylan of Listowel, Macroom and Claddagh Design fame was recently commissioned to make a modern day replica solid silver “Tara” brooch. She takes us step by step through the smithing process in her blog here: 

Claddagh Design

Eileen’s splendid finished diamond and emerald brooch

The cut pieces of silver which will make up the brooch

Adding the precious stones

Nearly there, engraving and polishing to be done yet.

And just to remind you again of the truly beautiful finished brooch


Dick Spring in Listowel

Denis Carroll posted this photo of Michael Guerin campaigning with Dick Spring back in the day. The photo appears to be taken at St. Patrick’s Hall and the young people are members of Listowel Youth Club.


There Must be Some Mistake

I spotted these in Tescos. The exact same product, bag ties, reduced to €1.63 or €5. Take your pick.


Launch of Maurice O’Mahony’s History of Coolard National School

On Saturday last, March 5 2016 I made my way, along with half of North Kerry it seems, to St. John’s Listowel for the launch of a very important local history book.

Coolard Primary School is 170 years in existence and Maurice O’Mahony has been principal there for the last 43 of them. Nine years ago he undertook the mammoth task of compiling the history of the school. It was a labour of love but also of blood, sweat and tears and long hours of research, writing curating, proof reading and editing. It was worth all the effort for Maurice’s book is indeed a treasure and an invaluable record of a place that has played an important role in the life of Ballydonoghue parish and its children for many years now.

When I arrived at St. John’s I was warmly greeted by three of today’s múinteoirí.

The author was already busy signing copies of his book.

The hall was filling up with friends of the school.

( more about the launch tomorrow….)


Blithe Spirit

photo: Eoin O’Hagan

Father and Daughter ready for the stage. Pa Sheahan and Anna Sheahan who play Charles Condomine and his maid Edith in Listowel Drama Group‘s version of Noel Coward’s “Blithe Spirit”, pose for a family photo before going on stage at the 69th Clare Drama Festival March 2016

A Raffle prize in 1926, Moore St. and opening a school extension

Eventide in Ballybunion; January 2016

Photo: Mike Enright


Mario Perez’s tribute to David Bowie on Ballybunion Beach on Monday January 11 2016. (Photo: Ballybunion TidyTowns Facebook )


This Could be the Start of Something Big

Liam OHainín who grew up in Beale now lives in Germany. He has a huge collection of old TV cameras, wirelesses, record players, records and music related memorabilia. He is also a keen family historian and he has a huge stock of old photos recalling a way of life now largely forgotten.

He posts some of his photos on Facebook from time to time. 

Recently Liam posted the below photo.

The building is the old Presentation Listowel girls’ Primary School. Scaffolding is up around the building and half of the roof is stripped. The school is now demolished.

The sight of this photo prompted me to write to Liam to ask if he had any more photos of the convent or schools.

He replied with the following great story.

“A story about the convent . They were trying to raise
money for renovations in 1926 . So they had a raffle with this Radio as first
prize. My Grandfather, William Hannon won it and it was the first Radio in
Beale just in time for the opening by Douglas Hyde of Ireland’s first radio
Station, 2RN.

I spent years looking for this. My family  had given it to someone in the late 40ties,
It had given great service to the family and often all the neighbours as well
when a football match was on.

 My father had
given me such a good description of it that I could identify the make etc . He
remembered listening to Lord HawHaw broadcasting from Radio Bremen during the

I found it at a market 10 years ago and paid the sum
asked. If the seller had know how long I was looking he could have made more

 Now comes a twist, my father remembered also letting one of the wave
change coils fall and being relieved when it still worked despite having a chip
knocked off it. Recently while cleaning I discovered that one of the plug in
coils had a chip out of it, Could it be possible that this was the one my Dad
let fall all those years ago in Beale? I
like to think that I really found the one that my Grandfather won in the raffle.
It’s my prized possession .”


Moore Street

Photo: Anne Coury

This old photo shows what Moore St looked like in the 1950s. I know it has emotional and historic connections that appeal to some who want to preserve it. I can see little architectural merit in it.


Oficial opening of the Extension to Presentation Secondary School Listowel in 1985

Fr. Denis O’Mahoney C.C., Bishop Diarmuid O’Suilleabháin, Jimmy Deenihan…… Dick Spring, Sr Sheila Kelliher, Fr. Dermot Clifford and Sr. Eileen


Victory Celebration

Sure to bring a smile to all Listowel people around the globe as Listowel Emmetts celebrate their North Kerry Final championship victory over Brosna last Saturday.

Barry O Halloran

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén