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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Listowel Then and Now

Listowel Town Square in November 2021


A Listowel Fact

In 1800 a flour mill was built on The Feale behind the castle. When milling ceased there the building became a creamery and later a sweet factory.


Sunday July 29 2007 Church Street, Listowel


A Kanturk Memory

Kanturk Railway station

I belong to a Facebook group called Kanturk Memories. Recently Richard Norton added this gem. It is a goods train steaming into Kanturk Station in Percival Street with empty wagons before a Kanturk fair.


Her Smile

A poem by Cyril Kelly


That was Then; This is Now

This premises is soon to change its use again. In 2007 it was an Art Gallery.


Christmas Windows

Listowel businesses are excellent at embracing a window display challenge. This Christmas has chosen Toy Story as a theme for the festive windows.

It is lovely to stroll around town and look at all the various displays.

Here is Doran’s

I met Ryanne and she told me that the reproduced letters are genuine and the toys are the ones Santa brought as requested in the letters.

What a magical uplifting window display!


Dorans Then and Now, Patrick Keough walks the Kerry Way and a Station Cat

1916 commemorative Garden, July 2018


Crowley’s Corner now Doran’s Pharmacy

Photo: The John Hannon Archive


Hiking The Kerry Way

A friend recently sent me a link to this blog post

Trecking The Kerry Way

Read this account of Patrick Keough’s walk and you will want to “arise and go there”

Here are just a few snippets.

The Kerry Way Trail takes you over some of Ireland’s highest mountains, majestic coastlines, remote valleys, native forests and breathtaking scenic vistas.

The terrain along the Kerry Way is much more extreme and remote than the Camino to Santiago, however the scenic views are magnificent and awe inspiring. I also got myself lost a few times hiking the mountain ridges in dense fog. It was a frightening experience not being able to find the trail markers then looking at my phone and realizing I had no service. Luckily after about 4 km of searching and some praying I found my way back to the trail. It was an introspective trek, in addition to a great personal challenge.

After a week of hiking over rugged deserted terrain I started thinking what it must have been like for the Irish people 200 years ago. No creature comforts, no cars, phones or electricity. I can’t even imagine how hard life must have been just traveling from town to town by foot or horse cart.

It’s difficult doing justice with words describing the majestic beauty of the Kerry landscape. It’s the same as it was thousands of years ago. Towering rocky hillsides, flowing dark rivers and miles and miles of wet boggy grass and yellow gorse. I feel very blessed and a little overwhelmed hiking in this timeless unspoiled environment. Looking upon my surroundings this morning bathed in crisp dawn light I feel Gods presence in nature.

This is just a small taste of this marvellous blogpost. Here is the link again. Read it all and look at Patrick’s marvellous photos. If you don’t have the energy to undertake it, this is the next best thing to being there.

The Kerry Way

All photos and text are copyright  to Patrick Keough


Summer Visitors

When I called in to Listowel Writers’ Week office last week, I found Máire and Eilish entertaining Jim and Liz Dunn and their visiting grandchildren.


This Cat is going nowhere

Member of staff at Tralee railway station

Ballydonoghue, A Doctor in Spite of Himself twice, Doran’s Then and Now

The Cross at Lisselton in glorious June sunshine in 2018

Photo; Ballydonoghue Parish Magazine


A Doctor in Spite of Himself X2

Remember I told you about this open air performance of Moliére’s play in Listowel Town Square during an early Writers’ Week. Mike Moriarty who is  in the white coat on the left of the stage remembered that they were all delighted when their performance made The Irish Times. David O’Sullivan did a bit of delving for us and here is what he found.

The above is an extract from the 1978 programme. What a feast of drama they had!

Two other performances aroused my interest. They are  The Life of O”Reilly with Brendan O’Reilly. Was this the late great high jumper and later sports commentator?

And what was The Ball on the Hop by Eamon Keane?

I’ll have to go back to the oracle.

 I hope you can enlarge this to read it. It reminds me of accounts of early performances of Shakespeare and miracle plays in courtyards of inns and town squares when people would drop by to see a play on their way home with the shopping and maybe shy a tomato or two at the villain.

Seems like the evergreen Mickey McConnell was the highlight of the ballad competition. No surprise there then.

This is the 1991 production. Mike Moriarty is on the right, playing the part he first played in 1978. Danny Hannon, who founded the Lartigue Players was also involved in the acquiring and refurbishing of St. John’s decided to reprise a successful play for the opening performance.

The “smallest theatre in Ireland and England” had been closed down for 9 years when the lease ran out. Gerard Lynch, who owned the building, had given the Lartigue the use of the theatre rent free for ten years.  Now drama had found a new home in St. John’s and the Lartigue company was just one of the many local drama groups who used it as their home for many years and some still do today.


Then and Now on a Corner of Church St.


Evening Stroll by The Feale

Knockanure, Charles Street friends, Fr. Roger and Doran’s Pharmacy, Church Street

Photo: Chris Grayson


Knockanure parish church in May 2018


First Communion, Knockanure May 2018


Boyhood Friends

Martin Griffin gave me this old photo to share with you.

In front;  Billy Dore, Dominick Scanlon and Richie Chute R.I.P.

Back Buddy Jones and Frank Chute


Convent Chapel May 2018


R.I.P.   Fr. Roger Duggan

Last week I attended the funeral mass of Fr. Roger Duggan in St. Mary’s Listowel. It was a small funeral, because, in the words of Fr. John Fitzgerald who celebrated the mass, Roger had become a Kerryman only recently.

Fr. Roger was far from “unknown” and during his life he had travelled and served and sang and had many adventures.

As was fitting for a man who loved music his funeral mass featured some of the most heavenly music I have heard in St. Mary’s, Listowel.

So who was this gentle holy man?

Fr. Roger Duggan was the only brother of Una Hayes, whom I have come to know through our both belonging to the  Knitwits knitting group.

Una and Roger were born in Wales to Irish parents. They moved to Birmingham and it is here that Roger and Una grew up.

Roger worked in Wales, in England and eventually in Australia. His cv is very diverse. He worked in taxation, in sheep shearing, in the hospitality industry and in railway building.

Eventually this very intelligent and well read man decided on a life in the religious order of Missionaries of the Sacred Heart.  He was ordained in 1993 and spent his life in ministry in Australia.

When he retired, he relocated to Cork. He took up a new role as chaplain to the local convent and he helped out with the work of the parish.

When he fell into ill health it was decided that he would be happiest nearer to his beloved Una and her husband Liam and so he spent his last years being well looked after in Oaklands Nursing Home.

May he rest in peace


Doran’s Pharmacy, Listowel opening

I disturbed Norma and staff as they put the finishing touches to her new shop. Outside, the final brush was being put to the paint.


Things ar Hotting up in the Writers’ Week office

All hands on deck, shoulders to the wheel and noses to the grindstone. Writers Week 2018 is 2 days away.


Nathan Carter meets a Star and her husband

The Kerryman Unbuttoned, Healy Father and son, Listowel Community Centre revamp

Photo: Paul Tips, Mallow Camera Club


The Kerryman Unbuttoned, (Part 3) by Redmond O’Hanlon

The strange idioms of North Kerry speech

Nettles do no
stink in Kerry. They burn or scorch. A prick is a pinch and soup is called
broth. Leggings to the Kerryman are gaiters and it is only with difficulty he
conveys the distinction between boots and shoes. Shoes and low shoes mark
weekdays from Sundays. Mud is puddle and puddles are locks. The Kerryman wears
his short coat, indifferent to the stranger’s perplexity as to the whereabouts
of the counterpart. Surely, I reasoned, when I first heard the expression, there
must be a long coat in his wardrobe. This does not follow at all. With a
characteristic disregard for logic, your Kerry man, and still more your Kerry
woman and most of all your Kerry girl will speak of a half twin when they mean
a whole one, and a square of crackers hot from the oven when they mean a

Let us take a walk
through the fields. See the bullock “itching” himself against the gatepost,
when in actual fact he is scratching his hide. That horse standing at the fence
may be false and one has to learn that this trait has reference not to a
vicious disposition but to the animal’s uncertainty of foot while under a cart.
Admire the riot of saffron buchalawns proclaiming at once the fertility of the
soil and careless husbandry.  In early
spring one may get a malicious satisfaction 
from the Kerry farmers attempts to convey in words the distinction
between freshly springing oats, barley and wheat. He lables the lot grasscorn
and thinks you a purist if you insist that barley and wheat are neither grass
nor corn.

(more tomorrow)


Father and Son from the John Hannon Archive

 This is yesterday’s picture of Jimmy Browne with Paddy Healy on left.

On the right of this photo is a young Liam Healy, son of Paddy. Any ideas who the lady and child are?


Forget Clouseau, Poirot, Miss Marple and the No. 1 Ladies detective agency. When the Listowel Connection network gets working on the case they leave no stone unturned. Many people identified A.T. Chute and Violet McCarthy but the second man and the two ladies were a mystery. The grapevine has gone into overdrive and through the intervention of Beta Whelan, Junior Griffin, and the super sleuth when it comes to identifying Listowel people, Margaret Dillon, we can now say with certainty that the man behind on the right is Charlie McCarthy. His son, Danny, confirmed his father’s identity. The fact that he wasn’t wearing his glasses threw most people but not Margaret.


Listowel Community Centre Revamp

When I visited last week the front of the Community Centre was painted and there was scaffolding all round the side.

The reception area was gutted and the shop is relocated. I was delighted to see the same smiling face, Mike Molyneaux,  behind the counter .


Hard Working Tidy Town Volunteers

I was in The Square at around 7.00 p. m. last evening and I met this happy crew setting out on their weekly tidy up. Years of relentless hard work and dedication is what it takes to win a gold medal.


Nearing Completion

This corner of town is completely transformed. Listowel’s newest pharmacy is looking well.

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