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: Dillon Boyer

Dursey, Photo exhibition in 2007, Heritage Week 2019 and National Treasures from a Pharmacy

Dursey Island, Co Cork

My Cork family took a trip to Dursey at the weekend. It’s a beautiful, unspoiled place.

This speed limit sign looks like a bit of a challenge. I think maybe it was placed there by some joker.


Heritage Week 2019

So far I’ve been to a talk on The Power of Matchmaking, The Rose of Tralee Fashion Exhibition where I saw close up some of the gorgeous and unusual dress worn by Rose winners over the years. This exhibition is in the Kerry County Museum in Tralee. On Tuesday I was in Kerry Writers’ Museum again for a seminar on architectural conservation in Listowel.

The highlight so far was a lunchtime talk, also in The Kerry County Museum by Tom Dillon on The Knights of Kerry. This knighthood, Tom told us, was awarded on the battlefield while the hero knight was still bleeding from wounds received in the service of the king.

That’s me on the far right with four local North Kerry historians, Martin Moore, Declan Downey, Tom Dillon and Michael Guerin

Tom told us of the mother and father of all family rows between a Fitzmaurice and a Fitzgerald. We heard tales of political and religious intrigue, much bloodshed, imprisonment and skullduggery.

This knight from Ennismore near Listowel didn’t fight his way or even talk his way to success. True to form for a man from the Literary Capital of Ireland, he wrote his way out of trouble and lived to tell the tale.

This talk was diligently researched, well prepared and eloquently delivered by the star (for me, anyway) of Heritage Week 2019.

And there are lots more Heritage Week events to come over the next few days.


Listowel Castle

Be sure to take a tour before the summer is through.


Photography Exhibition in 2007

Mattie Lennon visited this exhibition in St. John’s and this is the account he posted online about it.

Earlier this year, Dillon Boyer passed away. This is a tribute to him.

Photography records the gamut of feelings written on the human face, the beauty of the earth and skies that man has inherited, and the wealth and confusion man has created. It is a major force in explaining man to man. –Edward Steichen

Ever since Joseph Nicephore made the first permanent picture with a camera, in 1826, photography has been evolving as an art form. But a different and separate one, unrelated to any other. 

In the words of Berenice Abbot,”Photography can never grow up if it imitates some other medium. It has to walk alone; it has to be itself”. 

Saint John’s Arts and Heritage Centre

For the month of September, Saint John’s Arts and Heritage Centre (a former Church) in Listowel, will be home to the works of two Kerry-based photographers Tom Fitzgerald and Dillon Boyer. 

Seeing how the ordinary can become extraordinary, in a frame, one is obliged to concur with the words of Elliot Erwitt, “ . . .Photography has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.” 

Dillon Boyer

DILLON BOYER who was born in Kent, England, has been interested in photography for almost sixty years. He was a member of Tunbridge Wells Camera Club where he won many prizes within the club and nationally. On retirement, drawn to the landscape and opportunities for portraiture in the Kingdom, he and his wife Mary moved to Listowel. 

He was a founder member of Listowel Camera Club with John Stack. Under Dillon’s guidance it went on to become a major camera club within the Irish Photo scene, winning the National Shield in the mid-nineties, and also hosting the event in 1995. Dillon has won National Medals in the Nature category on two occasions in the 90’s. He is also an accomplished Video and wedding photographer. The Canon is his favourite camera. 

Tom Fitzgerald

TOM FITZGERALD, a native Kerryman, has being interested in photography since the mid sixties when, as a young man, he started taking photos with a Kodak instamatic camera. He bought his first SLR camera, a Pentax K500 in 1974 and graduated to Nikon in the eighties. He was a reluctant convert to digital but won’t now travel (even to the shop) without his Digital Nikon SLR. A member of Listowel CC almost from its foundation, Tom has an extensive collection of photos of local people and places as well as prize shots from further afield. 

And his indexing system is just as baffling, to me, as quantum Physics. If you want a pictorial record of a moment frozen in time, be it a First Communion in 1970, Mount Brandon shrouded in mist, or Bill Clinton putting in Ballybunion, the image is produced in seconds. 

This is one Kerryman who doesn’t answer a question with a question. Your query about that shepherd’s cottage backlit by the rising sun will elicit a comprehensive account of the topography of that burgage, with the unpronounceable name, in the Scottish Highlands. And what about the shot of the two ponies on Glenbeigh strand? That was taken on Sunday the nineteenth of August 1979, when the wind was blowing from the east and Seefin illuminated by a waxing moon. 

Landscape (“the supreme test of the photographer”) features largely in the exhibition and includes the fruits of Tom and Dillon’s many trips to Scotland and England. And appropriately enough the exhibition (Which is supported by North Kerry Together Limited), is titled “Near & Far”. 

Sunset at Kerry Head

I attended the opening and it’s amazing the snippets of information the camera-illiterate such as myself can pick up at such a gathering. Amid terms such as “Chromatic aberration”, “Macroscopic”, “Reciprocity failure” and “Tonal range” I learned that the first photograph taken in Ireland was in 1848 and was of Young Irelander Patrick O’Donohue. 

Glen Inchaquin

David Hockney said, “ All you can do with most ordinary photographs is stare at them”. Well, these are not ordinary photographs and if you are in or near Listowel during the next month you call to Saint John’s and you can browse, buy or both. 

Waterville Lake


Artefacts from a Pharmacy

From National Treasures on Facebook

“Array of Items from a Pharmacy. My father was a pharmacist and he bought a shop in Thurles in 1962 that was originally established as Pharmacy Way in 1889. The shop was in its original state and within it, he found these objects among many others. My father, Donal P. Sammon, never threw anything out and kept all the old artefacts he found. The objects include old poison bottles, powders, and a cut-throat razor. My father continued the shop as a pharmacy from 1962 to 2004. I took over from him then and the pharmacy is still going strong. As a pharmacist, I find these objects really interesting. Back then, a pharmacist had to mix medicine in the shop. Opium, cocaine, arsenic, and morphine were regularly used. Thankfully, we don’t have to do that today!”

Thanks to Carmel Sammon

Maria Stack, Milliner, Athea Mural and The Field in St. John’s

Mike Enright captured this breathtaking sunset in Ballybunion last week.


Maria Stack in Melbourne

On the left of this picture is our very own Maria Stack of Listowel. You will remember her from Ladies Day and Recycle Upcycle Day at Listowel Races. She is also the daughter of the very talented and very stylish, Betty.

Maria is a milliner. She has converted what was a hobby into a business. I think you will agree her hat for The Melbourne Cup is an unusual and inspired creation and the perfect crowning glory for her beautiful dress. Maria was one of 100 milliners worldwide to be invited to take part in this prestigious millinery event. On the right of the photo is her model, Pearl, wearing Maria’s entry for the competition.

I think you will agree that Maria did us proud and her handiwork is up there with the best.

Her Facebook page with all the news of her trip is here Maria Stack Millinery

It wasn’t all glamour and sunshine in Australia. Maria had to improvise a rain outfit for the unexpected showers.

How about this idea at Listowel Races Ladies’ Day? 

These guys were kind of roaming Rose of Tralee escort types.


Update on Athea Mural

Anyone visiting me has to accompany me on a trip to Athea. My 2 lovely grandsons had the usual outing during their Halloween break. 

First stop was Jim Dunn’s mural to view progress. I experimented a bit with colour, trying sepias and black and white. I think you will agree the old world charm of this scene lends itself to an old world medium.

Aren’t these 2 little observers beautifully captured.

The detail in this cameo never ceases to enthrall me.

Ah, perfection!


The Field;   50th Anniversary Production

Don’t miss it! A really strong cast of local thespians has been assembled for this one. Who better to play John B.’s characters than his own people. The photos are Frances Kennedy’s.


What a photo!

Dillon Boyer of Listowel took a super picture of a storm in Dingle and it was printed in last Saturday’s Examiner.


Funeral of Leo Griffin

Photo: Tralee Today

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