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: Dolly Day

The Carnival

The Small Square looking towards the Square in August 2023


A Beautiful Shopfront in Main Street

The colourful corner pieces at either side of the nameplate are unique to here. Notice how Martin Chute signed his name in tiny writing. He should be announcing it loud and proud. Beautiful paintwork!

The sign writing is superb.


My photographs don’t so it justice.


The Carnival

In 1940s rural Ireland the annual village carnival was often the social highlight of the year. My interest in revisiting this phenomenon came about because of this photo.

To recap, this is Maria Stack wearing a vintage dress first worn at a carnival queen dance in 1948.

I enlisted help and went on a search for the back story. Thank you Margaret, Lisa and Anna for the hard work and the enjoyment.

The information about this carnival came from this invaluable local journal published in 1990, full of great local lore. The book is, of course, no longer available, but Anna in Kanturk library sourced the article in the local studies archive.

The carnival in question was held in Kilcorney, Co Cork in 1948. This was the second year of the holding of this three-day event. The selection of the carnival queen and her ladies -in- waiting was made at a dance in early June. The 1948 Kilcorney Carnival Queen was the lovely Mary Ring of Horsemount. Margaret, her daughter, took this photo out of its frame to photograph it for us.

The photograph was black and white but had some colour added later. Behind the photo in the frame was this.

A precious souvenir of one of the highlights of a young girl’s life.

The queen and her ladies were dressed in regal costumes with crown and sceptre for the festival as they presided over events like horse trotting, climbing the greasy pole, football matches and in 1948 a huge attraction was the mysterious Madam Know all, who, with the covert aid of a local assistant, could read very accurate fortunes in her crystal ball.

The Queen for the duration of the festival travelled on horseback or was carried with her royal entourage in “a four wheel car pulled by two beautiful steel grey horses”. The car was usually used for carting milk to Rathcoole railway station.

I loved reading the journal’s detailed account of the carnival and its picture of rural life in the days before mechanisation and technology.

There were carnivals and carnival queens in the areas around Listowel. Id love to hear the stories or see the photos.


There’s No Place Like Home

John McElligott welcomes home his niece, Helen (Gore) Mitchell.


They Did It!

Photo from the official announcement on Aug 26 2023

This extraordinary bunch of people organised a day Listowel will never forget. They assembled a record breaking number of people dressed as Dolly Parton in Páirc Mhic Shithigh, Listowel on June 25 2023. In the process they raised €74,670 for two great local charities, Kerry Hospice and Comfort for Chemo. 1,137 people took part in the fun challenge and many more made donations.


A Fact

This “fact” was sourced in a book called “Strong Absorbent Trivia for the Toilet” so don’t blame me.

On average a woman utters about 7000 words in a day while a man uses just over 2,000.



Magnificent tree in Listowel Pitch and Putt Course in June 2023


Remembering an Inspirational Friend in Littor

His friends have erected a lovely beach memorial to Fr. Pat Moore on the beach near his family home where he loved to walk.

Photos and text from Asdee Community Development

On Fr Pat Moore’s 66th birthday, we want to sincerely thank Paddy Fitzell for his beautiful plaque commemorating Fr Pat, and our thanks to John & Hannah Fitzell for donating the plaque.

We also want to thank Tim Quilter for the stonework & the creation of this lovely commemorative seat, which now sits at the foot of Littor Road overlooking Fr Moore’s beloved Littor Strand.

The seat has taken much longer than we had hoped, hitting a number of setbacks, but it is now in place in time for summer. There are further finishing touches to be done in the coming months.

A final thanks to Kerry County Council who carried out work on the road entrance to the beach, allowing safe access to beach-goers for the months ahead.


Remembering Fr. Bryan Dalton

Last week I got this email from Florida;


My name is Duane Miller, I live in South Florida.  Our former parish priest was Father Bryan Dalton of St. Ambrose Catholic Church in Deerfield Beach, FL.  He passed away in 2018.

In my online research it says he was buried in St. Michael’s Cemetery in Listowel.  I am seeking some information on his burial, preferably a picture of his gravesite which could be uploaded to  Is this something you can assist with?

Best Regards,


I started with my neighbour, Jimmy Moloney, my go-to person on any civic queries. I didn’t make it clear that the burial was a recent one. He thought I had Florida relatives looking for an Irish emigrant ancestor.

In my search for the grave I found local undertakers to be the most helpful and obliging allies.

Noel Lyons told me where the priests were buried but I figured that Fr. Dalton was buried in a family grave rather than a single priest’s grave.

Noel sent me to to find out who the funeral directors were.

Seán Gleasure to the rescue. He told me that Gleasure’s Funeral Directors’ had looked after the funeral. He knew exactly where the grave was and even offered to take a photograph for me to send to Florida.

Here is the Dalton grave in St. Michael’s:

I was delighted to help Fr. Bryan’s Florida parishioners.

Sometimes the internet is wonderful at shrinking our world.


Reunited in Listowel

It was nice to be together in Listowel, even if the occasion was a sad one.


Dolly Day Photos Tomorrow

Meanwhile only in Listowel….

Listowel, Saturday June 24 2023, an unconvincing ‘nun’, an even more unconvincing Dolly Parton and a much too thin Elvis in Páirc Mhic Shithigh


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