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

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Something old, Something New

Horan’s Veterinary Centre, August 2023


Kanturk, My Hometown

While I was in O’Brien Street Park I took this photo of a long derelict building across the river from me. When I was growing up in Kanurk this was Isabel Guinee’s shop. It is now falling into disrepair for years. It looks better from this angle than from the front.

This is Kanturk’s big bridge. There is another smaller bridge in town too as there are two rivers flowing through Kanturk, the Allow, from which Duhallow derives its name, and the Dallow.

As well as the poems on the trees the Arts Festival also hung photographs from their photographic competition. Here are just a few.


A Vintage Dress with a Listowel and a Kanturk Connection

This is Maria Stack of Listowel. She is pictured with her prizes for winning the best sustainable outfit at Dingle Races on Sunday August 7 2023.

Maria is wearing a 75 year old dress lent to her by her friend, Anne Leneghan of Kanturk. The dress was beautifully made and looks as good today as it did three quarters of a century ago.

This is Anne’s lovely mother, Rita Leneghan. She wore the dress 75 years ago when she was Rita Dennehy of Kilcorney, Co Cork.

Rita will be 93 next birthday.

People of my vintage will remember the annual carnival and the local girl being crowned Carnival Queen. Well. Rita had this gorgeous dress made for her when she was a Lady in Waiting to the Carnival Queen in Kilcorney, 75 years ago.

Rita was one of 10 children in her family. She had 7 brothers and two sisters, all now passed away. She came from a farming family and worked hard all her life.

I think you will agree she is still a stylish lady. She was my next door neighbour for most of my growing up years and she still lives next door to my Kanturk family, greatly loved and greatly admired.


Announcement from Kerry College

Kerry College is delighted to announce that our Kerry College Listowel Campus will be moving to a new location!!

Our new campus will be based in Unit 1, Listowel Business Development Centre, Clieveragh Business Park Listowel,V31 PC79. Having the Kerry College Listowel Campus in the Clieveragh Business Park is a great choice for Kerry College Kerry College Listowel Campus Principal, Mr. Stephen Goulding said,

“The opening of our new campus in Listowel is an exciting and strategic development for Further Education & Training in Listowel and the wider North Kerry region. The new campus will provide a comprehensive suite of full and part time programmes and will support the development of vocational options and pathways for local schools and retraining options for all, so the needs of all applicants are met. A sample of the courses which will be available include Advanced Early Childhood Care and Education, Applied Social Studies, Business with Marketing/Administration, Medical Administration, Nursing Studies, Hairdressing, and Healthcare Support. Kerry College’s Listowel Campus will offer courses at QQI Levels 5 & 6 for employment, progression and potential routes to apprenticeships, as well as QQI Level 3 & 4 Pathway Courses for those who wish to bridge their return to education.”

While Kerry College has been present and active in the Listowel community for years, the development of our new campus will breathe new life in to Further Education and Training provision in North Kerry.

 a welcome development for Listowel Town.


A Fact

Cats have better memories than dogs. Tests were carried out by the University of Michigan. Dogs remembered things for 5 minutes, cats for up to 16 hours. Probably explains why dogs don’t hold grudges and cats do.


Dingle, Gaelscoil Uí Riordain, more from Ladies Day 2017 and Celebrating 100 years of Irish people in Kenya

Dingle by Chris Grayson


From an 1899 Newspaper


The School around the Corner

My granddaughters attend Gaelscoil Uí Riordáin in Ballincollig

Although it is a brand new school it is at capacity already.

My little girlies are lucky in that they live within walking distance of the school.

Other little pupils cycle.

There is a scheme whereby when a new school is built the contractor has to set aside a “percentage for art”. Gaelscoil Uí Ríordáin used this money very inventively. They commissioned senior pupils to draw scenes associated with Ballincollig. The children’s pictures, which featured the old gunpowder mills, the river, the castle (a deCogan stronghold), the school which started life in an old supermarket, the GAA and, of course Sean ÓRiordáin  after whom the school is named. The artwork was transferred to tiles and these in the form of a river flow along the wall by the entrance.  Below are just a few of these tiles.

Children leaving behind the old building for their new school building.

Tho old army barracks with cannon.

The road race at Carrigrohane

The castle, games and the countryside. 

I could spend hours looking at this work of art and every time something new stands out for me.

The school has a vegetable flower and herb garden, which is looked after by the pupils.


Old Friends

Old pals, Murt McAulliffe and Jimmy Hannon meet for a coffee at The Flying Saucer.


Style from Ladies Day, Sept. 15 2017

This Galway couple bagged the Best Dressed Couple prize

While the best dressed finalists were assembling in the parade ring the business of racing was continuing around them.

I noticed that the young men were all beautifully turned out. This man was at work but still managed to look dapper.

Anne and Patrick Brosnan met up with some Brosnan and O’Connor relations


100 Years of Irish Kenya Relations

I am lucky to know the chairperson of the Irish Kenya Society. He is Jack O’Regan formerly of Ballyheigue and now living, working and raising a family in Kenya.

On September 22 2017, Culture Night, Go Kerry and Jack organised a night of celebration of a very different part of our unique culture…. our reaching out to other nations and the influence Irish people have had in far flung corners of the world.

The M.C. for the evening was Michael O’Donnell

The event was attended by the Kenyan ambassador to Ireland, Mr. Richard Opembe.

In her role as Mayor of Tralee, Norma Foley welcomed the ambassador and reminded us all of some of the outstanding contributions of Irish people to Kenya. Many of Kenya’s leaders were educated by Irish nuns and the Medical Missionaries of Mary (The Flying Nuns) contributed greatly to improving healthcare in this African country.

The ambassador was presented with the Freedom of Tralee. Norma told him that he now had the right to graze his sheep in the town park whenever he likes. In his speech the ambassador told Norma that he actually is the proud owner of 4 sheep.

Jack told us a bit about the work of the Irish Kenya Society. He brought 20 Kenyan people with him to Kerry for this event and to celebrate his birthday. They had spent the previous week as tourists visiting Dublin, Blarney, Killarney and other places.

The story of the Irish contribution to Kenya was told on banners, which are now on display in The Ashe Memorial Hall, Tralee. I was interested in the story of Edel Quinn. She was born in Kanturk, lived for a short while in Tralee and worked and died in Kenya.

I apologise for the very poor quality of this photo. It’s a picture of some of the Kenyan visitors.

Gilian Wharton Slattery, Norma Foley, Richard Opembe, Grace O’Donnell, Joan O’Regan and Jack O’Regan


A 10th Gold Medal for Lovely Listowel

Listowel Tidy Towns posted this photo of the hard working volunteers and their supporters who went to Dublin yesterday, Sept. 25 2017 hoping for good news.

They got it in the form of another 10th gold medal and an improvement of 4 marks over last year. A huge congratulations is due to Julie and all the gang. You did Listowel proud, as always.

Well done too to our neighbours who all did very well too. Killarney and Tralee retained their gold medals and Ballybunion, after a massive effort this year improved their standing.

Dingle, The Advertiser, Blackberries and Convent Cross junction

Beautiful Dingle

Sunrise in Dingle and the dolphin who just keeps on giving from  Fungie Forever


Denis Walsh on the mend

Denis is the very popular CEO of The Advertiser and captain of the Emmetts football team.  He was injured recently in an accidental fall.

Denis runs the weekly Advertiser almost singlehandedly from his headquarters in Bridge Road.

Denis’ friends have rallied round in this crisis.  Listowel Printing Works are looking after the production side of Denis’ operation and his Emmetts friends are helping with distribution.

The news from the hospital is all positive. All of North Kerry is wishing Denis well and he is regularly remembered in  prayers at mass. We all look forward to seeing him fit and well and back at his desk very soon.



These bicycles were parked here last week locked to the railing and completely blocking wheelchair access to this path on Library Rd. There is no footpath at the other other side of this road.


Blackberry Picking

Late August, given heavy rain and sun

For a full week, the blackberries would ripen.

At first, just one, a glossy purple clot

Among others, red, green, hard as a knot.

You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet

Like thickened wine: summer’s blood was in it

Leaving stains upon the tongue and lust for

Picking. …

(Seamus Heaney)

I recently spent a happy afternoon blackberry picking with my family in Ballincollig. All the scratches and scrapes were worth it.


Convent Cross

Big changes are underway at this junction. The low wall is gone and the road is being widened just in time for the Races

Dingle, Listowel and a U.S. connection

Fungi in the morning

Dingle as Fungi sees it at sunrise

These stunning photographs were taken by the good people who photograph Fungie every day for his very own website:  w


Kerry locals for a season

I met this lovely U.S. family in Craftshop na Méar. They have to choose every summer between Florida and Moyvane and again this year they chose to be in Moyvane. They have come to North Kerry so often that they have added Namir Karim of Scribes to the list of their many Irish  friends.


A great photo of a young Bono from Eric Luke’s old negatives.


Listowel Cinema a.k.a. Listowel Movieplex

The recently extended cinema looks great after its facelift.


The Sive Walk and John Paul 11 Graveyard

John Paul 2 cemetery is always beautifully maintained and is now looking particularly well after the recent annual graveyard mass.


Jim MacSweeney took some great photos on the Ring of Kerry Cycle. Here are a few local ones from his collection of 800

Elaine McGuire

Someone from Finuge

Noel Hilliard

Dingle in April 2014 and Listowel Military Tattoo 2014


I enjoyed a lovely day out on the Dingle peninsula recently.

This friendly fellow we met at Slea Head.

Cycling was always a favoured means of transport for student and visitor alike.

I don’t know if the coin machine works. I did not hazard my money in it although I have done in the past. You put in a euro or two and you “mint” yourself a souvenir (worthless) coin.


 This piece of outdoor art is rather nice.

We met Róisín and Joan at The Halla in Ceann Trá. We helped them make somme clay pots.

 Our pots when fired would hold a candle and would be released from Milltown Bridge as part of Féile na Bealtaine.

A bit of humour is always welcome. This sign was at Dick Mack’s back door.

More humour, this time in Murphy’s Ice Cream shop. It was very busy on the day we visited. The staff were super friendly plying us all with free samples. We just had to have some more. I would recommend the sea salt.

This lovely lady was minding the Dingle Candle Shop for her sister in law. She has her own business, making lovely oil cloth bags. Her business is called Pins and Needles. I bought this bag. You’ll see me carrying it around town.

This knitted sheep farm caught my eye in a shop window.

I bought some really nice soap.

Onion sets, shallots and seed potatoes in a shop window in Dingle in April 2014.

Everywhere people were preparing for this:    Féile na Bealtaine


The best Fungi photo?

There are two people who photo Fungi regularly and post great images on Facebook at

Fungie Forever


Old photo

Fr Keane from Ballygrennan and Parish Priest in Newtownsandes

and Con Brosnan footballer and member of Free State Army


Some action from Listowel Town Square at the weekend.

On Saturday May 3 2014 we gathered in The Square to watch a re enactment of the taking of the French town of Caen during WW2.

The local Caen citizenry were hanging out, drinking wine and lounging in the sun.

Suddenly, German soldiers arrived and took over the town.

A fierce battle ensued.

Local people were arrested.

The soldiers frog marched the local prisoners off to be executed the next day.


It was a great lesson in history for all of us present, particularly the young people.

I photographed the real French people in my family with one of the “fake” French people who were taking part in the re enactment. 

Why are they laughing?

He did not understand a word of French.


Haiku for our times

Along Emmet Road
politicians’ promises
blow like plastic bags.

– Michael Hartnett (Inchicore Haiku, No. 55)


Irish TV

A new channel especially for the diaspora. Listen to the story from Batt Burns if you like an innocent old fashioned Seanchaí type tall tale.

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