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: Dollyday

Singers and Fundraisers

Library Road in May 2023


Annual North Kerry M.S. Busking Day

On Friday May 19 2023, Main Street came alive with music. The concert was in aid of an association very close to my heart. I apologise that I can’t include some clips of the great music here but video clips just take up too much of my precious storage space. I have pictures though.

This is a group of morning collectors and musicians. A new crew took over in the afternoon. Some of the morning people were involved in the afternoon as well.

I’ll include a few more tomorrow.



This epic cycle fundraiser in aid of Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind paused in town on Monday May 22 2023.


Alice Curtayne

This is Alice Curtayne’s panel in Kerry Writers’ Museum. She is the only female writer among the great men of letters.

Alice was actually an extraordinary lady, writing on lots of subjects, many of them religious in nature. She has written on Dante (She lived for a time in Milan in the 1920s) St. Brigid (She lived in Kildare too) and she has written one novel, House of Cards which her family think is largely biographical. She wrote many articles for newspapers and periodicals like the Capuchin Annual.

She was born in Tralee. Her father was a coach furnisher and he had his business in what is now Benners Hotel.

She lectured in America before settling down and marrying a farmer whom she met when he wrote her a fan letter.

Her husband, Stephen Rynne was a romantic. They married in Tarbert on Valentine’s Day. In their garden in Prosperous, Stephen planted snowdrops in a formation which every Spring spelled out Alice.

Alice passed away in 1981. She is under appreciated even in her native Kerry. Her grandson, Niall, is doing much to bring knowledge of her to a wider audience. Some of her books have been republished by an American publisher. I bought the one on St. Brigid. I’ll review it here at a later date.


Listowel Writers’ Week, Opening Night 2023

What links these two places to opening night 2023?

Special guest on Opening Night will be acclaimed singer /songwriter Jack O’Rourke.

Jack is a storyteller in song. He was fascinated by the story of Michael O’Connor as told to him by Aiden on one of his visits to Mike the Pies.

He wrote this song

Opera on the Top Floor

Michael O’Connor, uncle of Aiden, was an extraordinary man. He was a talented artist, a collector of posters, an opera lover and a book lover. He was also a very private person. His family left his apartment over the pub very much as he left it. A visit to this place of music, art and literature inspired O’Rourke to write the song.

“…And that opera on the top floor
No one knows, it’s under lock and key
The needle hits the vinyl, I’m away on the wind
Every secret needs a sanctuary.”

I hope he sings it for us on Opening Night.

Another treat in store for us at this year’s Writers’ Week is a chance to see some of Michael O’Connor’s great collection of international graphic art in Mike the Pies.


I Love Paul Galvin

Maybe not Paul himself. I don’t know him but I love, love, love his book.

People who know me here know that I love a good anecdote or story and I love random facts. Paul’s book is full of these. I’ve only dipped into it so far. I’ve only just got it.

Who knew?

Spear throwing! sword fighting!

If, like me you love these little stories, Paul Galvin has lots of them in his great book. He is a great researcher and a great story teller.

Do come along to hear him in

The Listowel Arms at 3.00p.m. on Saturday June 3 2023


Dolly Day

DollyDay fundraiser for Comfort for Chemo and the Kerry Hospice was launched in Quanes Bar, Blennerville on Thursday evening.

Dolly Day in Listowel is on June 24 2023 and it promises to be a good one. The lady herself has been invited to attend and she is checking her calendar.

You can be part of the fun by buying your wig online Here

There are a few instructions laid down by the Guinness Book of Records people about how you should be dressed. Nothing major.


Catching Up with Friends

I met my old friend, Dolores O’Connor in The Flying Saucer on Monday. She was enjoying a hot chocolate with her sister, Eileen. When they see me with my camera they know that I will connect them with their family in the US and England. Great Listowel people and supporters of this blog.

I had a great chat with my lovely friends, Liz and Jim Dunn, in Thyme Out café yesterday. Liz is going to be our hostess at Opening Night of Listowel Writers’ Week on May 31st. No better woman for the job.



When I came to Listowel first I found local people had quite a few phrases we didn’t use over the border in my part of the country.

“Will you walk to town or will you carry the car?” asked a new friend.

The image this conjured up came back to me when I read Brian Bilston’s amusing poem:

you took
the last bus home

i still don’t know
how you got it through the door

but you’re always doing amazing stuff

like the time
when you caught that train


A Fact

The English language syllable “ough” can be pronounced in eight different ways. The following sentence includes all eight.

A tough dough-faced ploughman strode through the streets of Scarborough, coughing and hiccoughing thoughtfully.



Listowel Town Square , February 2023


A Pillar Postbox

I photographed this pillarbox on College Road, Cork

This box dates from the reign of George V 1901 to 1936.

I know that there is a decline in the amounts of mail sent nowadays and it costs to maintain them and to have someone go every day and empty these boxes but I really hope these artefacts are never removed from our streets. They are part of our history.

I photographed this more recent one in Mallow train station. It is ugly, utilitarian and as for “post office’! What’s that about?


An Cailín Ciúin…a Listowel connection

“The apparel oft proclaims the man.”

Costume is just another way of telling the story and the beautifully evocative costumes in An Cailín Ciúin were the work of costume and wardrobe designer Louise Stanton.

Neil Brosnan shared this great connection with us.

“You recently mentioned Eibhlín wearing trousers in An Cailín Ciúin. I’m glad to say that Bray designer, Louise Stanton, is responsible for the wardrobe of the film – Louise is the sister of my partner, Gina Kelly. Louise personally made many of the costumes, including Cáit’s iconic lemon dress. The knitted and crocheted items were crafted by Louise’s 92 year-old mother, Marie Kelly, and her knitting circle friends in Castlebridge in Wexford, The Joe Heney movie ‘Song of Granite’, and Roddy Doyle’s, ‘Rosie’ are among Louise’s previous projects, along with the forthcoming RTE series ‘The Dry’. Louise is presently working on writer/director Pat Collins’s production of John McGahern’s ‘That they may face the rising sun’.”

Cáit in the iconic yellow dress running towards her happy place.

Cáit with the washing in the background, dull colourless, grey garments, symbols of her old life.

Of course anyone who saw the film will know the significance of boys’ clothes and girls’ clothes and the huge symbolism of buying the new dresses.

Then there was the poncho. I couldn’t find a picture but I recognised it well. We all had one in my young days and we thought we were the height of fashion. I think it was my first useless garment. It didn’t keep you warm so was useless as a replacement for a cardigan or jumper but we thought it was stylish. I was delighted to hear that Louise and Gina’s elderly mother and her crafter friends made this. Maybe she even once wore one.

I can’t wait to see this marvellous film again.


Just Write

Listowel’s creative writing group celebrated 20 years together on Saturday January 28 2013.

They had cake, songs and readings, lots of chat and reminiscing and Helen Broderick took a few photos.

Helen Broderick
Some of the group’s published works

Just a few of the many contributors on the day.


Something to Look forward to


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