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: Dr. John Halkett

Tena and Rochelle Griffin and their marathon adventures, Christy Moore and a few from Ard Churam Official opening

Photo: Jim MacSweeney


Griffin Sisters: Runners

This is Tena and Rochelle Griffin of Listowel with their proud parents, Martin and Carmel. The photo was taken at the finish of the recent marathon in Listowel. I asked Rochelle where this love of running came from and here is what she said,

“My running journey began with joining the local
running group, Kerry Crusaders.

In January 2013 myself and my sister, Tena
started running from lamp post to lamp post on the John B Keane road,  eventually building up to running the length
of it.

We had run a mile and we wanted to tell the

We  entered lots of races to build up the miles
and we set our sights on the Dublin Marathon in October 2013.

The Kerry Crusaders offer a fantastic training
schedule for this marathon so our summer involved very early mornings and very
long runs. That marathon was the start of a journey I didn’t expect. Along the
way we have made lots of fantastic memories.

The family I ran with Saturday, Team Kerr,  have really worked hard to promote inclusion
so that children with special needs can get involved in activities like anyone

Myself and Tena have ran a lot of races lately
with them to help them and keep them company on the 26.2 miles of a marathon.

Absolutely anything is possible if you try it.

As the Crusader motto goes, Inch by Inch.

Team Kerr after completing the Listowel marathon  ( more on this bunch tomorrow)


John Halkett’s retirement party in John B.’s

Photo; Neil Brosnan on Facebook


The Man of the Moment

photo: Irish independent

Christy Moore, the Kildare singer songwriter is basking in a wave of adulation at the moment. He has a TV programme made about him and in the papers he is described as “a national treasure”.

It was not always thus. The below photo from Rabble shows Christy being searched by a British Secret Serviceman at the height of the Northern Irish conflict.


Ard Churam Official opening (photos by John Kelliher)

Two of the people who have been with this project from the start are Micheál OSuilleabháin and Joan Walsh.

Jimmy Deenihan is a great supporter of the venture. He helped with the funding and it was he who made the contact with The Ring of Kerry Cycle which became the main plank of the fundraising. He cycled The Ring himself and intends doing it again this year. He quipped at the opening that he has a little more time for training this time round.

Ard Churam committee at the official opening on Friday April 8 2016


Sixty Five Roses

Cystic Fibrosis is a hard term to pronounce when you are very young, so some genius came up with the idea of telling the newly diagnosed children to say 65 roses instead and people would know what they were trying to say.

This is CF Awareness week and if you want to help raise funds for this very worthy charity you can pop along to Christy’s on Friday

“On April 15th we will hold a Coffee morning in Christy’s Bar “The Well”listowel, fundraising for CF 

CF ireland have to rely alot on fundraising 

We will be selling rose pins and there will also be a raffle. Come in for tea coffee and lots of goodies to be had.

Raffle tickets on sale 2xeuro a strip or 3x strips for 5euro “

Sweets from Listowel, Paper Dolls, A Town Council and Retirement is just what the doctor ordered

The old Sweet Factory

Above is an old postcard of Listowel with the old sweet factory to the far right.

Vincent Carmody recently posted on Facebook the pictures below of an old sweet tin he has in his possession.  Underneath is the history he posted.

The tin box is an original from Listowel’s sweet factory which traded from the old mill building, which occupied the site where Carroll’s Hardware providers is now located. The mill, a fine, six floor, cut stone building, was originally owned and operated by the Leonard family of The Square. It was powered by water from a millstream, which ran from near the old ball alley to the mill. The mill closed in the mid 1800’s, despite an effort by John Latchford of Tralee to buy the property. He subsequently build a mill back in Greenville.

The building served for a time in the early 1900’s as a creamery, this was owned by George R. Browne. He also had a creamery at his property at Cahirdown. He had in his employment an Englishman, Thomas Armstrong. When Brown decided to sell his interest in the business, it was purchased by Armstrong. Shortly afterwards, Armstrong went into the manufacturing of ‘Irish Cream Toffee Sweets’ 

The tin carries the initials N.K.M on the cover, with North Kerry Manufactory at the side, however with a play on the initials, the legend “Nicest Kind Made” also appears on the cover.
There is not much information on the business, however, we know that after a period of industrial unrest, Armstrong closed the factory in 1921. The Mackintosh sweet company bought the brand and continued making these sweets at Rathmines Dublin, under the brand name,’The North Kerry Manufacturing Co Ltd’


One for the Girls

Do you remember these?  They used to come with Bunty. You cut them out, pasted them on to card and dressed and undressed them until the tabs fell off.  Memories, memories……


Listowel Town Council 2008

Photo: John Kelliher


One Happy Retiree

I ran into John Halkett in The Seanchaí as he was enjoying a relaxed morning coffee.


A Hug from a Flower

Mickey MacConnell posted this photo on the internet. On a recent trip to Dublin he met up with Liam O Maonlaí of The Hothouse Flowers


Junior Griffin

Junior  with his old friend, Liam Healy

Junior is the third youngest and the only surviving member of his family. He was born in
1936. He attended school in the old boys National School and he remembers the
building as an old cold unsanitary place. He went to school barefoot but that
was by choice rather than necessity. He loved the freedom of running around
barefoot although the frequent cuts and bruises were unwelcome.

The teachers he remembers are Bryan MacMahon, Mrs. Crowley,
Mrs. Griffin, Tadhg O’Flaherty, Jerry Walsh in 4th class, Michael
Keane in 5th and Jim Hayes in 6th.

Junior went to St. Michaels’ for one unhappy year. He has
memories, which are shared by many of his contemporaries, of a harsh, controlled
regime where corporal punishment was the order of the day. Fr. David O’Connor
was the college president and he ruled with a rod of iron.

Junior remembers a day when he was in first year and several
boys were late for school. Fr. O’Connor came into Junior’s classroom and asked
all the boys who were late to stand up. Seven boys stood. Fr. Davy fixed the
first boy, the one farthest from Junior who was last in the line, with his
stick, in a manner reminiscent of Pats Bacach in Sive, and asked him why he was late. He said he had to go to the shop to buy a
message for his mother. The next boy claimed his bike was punctured. As Fr.
O’Connor moved from boy to boy, Junior realized that all the excuses he was
thinking of offering were being used up. To this day Junior can relive the fear
and terror he felt as his doom approached. He blurted out the truth. “I slept
it out, Father.”

Junior had got the right answer. Fr. O’Connor decided to
leave them all off because he had found one honest boy. Junior was the hero and
his deed became the subject of the rest of the lesson on the importance of

Despite this one good experience, Junior was terrified to go
back to the college after the summer holidays. His mother understood his
unhappiness and enrolled him in the tech. This was a much happier experience
for Junior. He has great memories of Paddy Drummond, an excellent Maths.
teacher. The regime in the tech was a caring one and kindness and encouragement
feature prominently in Junior’s memories of his second level education.

Junior told me an interesting fact; Seamus Wilmot taught in the St. Michael’s in 1924 and a
little known fact is that his future wife,  May Scanlon taught in Listowel Vocational School. She taught carpentry, and they met through a shared interest in badminton.


Not exactly an election poster…but close

Life before Alarm Clocks, A Listowel Drama Group Production and some boyhood friends meet up

Popular Doctor Retires

Photo; Paper Hearts

Dr. John Halkett of Church St. has retired from practice after 30 years. He and Ann will now have time to travel, to visit family and maybe he will get to see some cricket.


Some of our ancestors were “knocked up”

A knocker-up (sometimes known as a knocker-upper) was a profession in Ireland that started during and lasted well into the Industrial Revolution and at least as late as the 1920s before alarm clocks were affordable or reliable. 

A knocker-up’s job was to rouse sleeping people so they could get to work on time. The knocker-up used a truncheon or short, heavy stick to knock on the clients doors or a long and light stick, often made of bamboo, to reach windows on higher floors. Pea shooters were also used. In return, the knocker-up would be paid a few pence a week. The knocker-up would not leave a client’s window until they were sure that the client had been awoken.

Text and photo from:Rare Irish Stuff


The Shaghraun

This is a photo of a photo that hangs in The Horseshoe Bar and Restaurant. Thanks to Owen and Máire MacMahon for providing us with the provenance and the photos of the original programme.


Holidays Remembered

In response to my bit  about local holidays, Liz Chute shared this lovely memory;

I went on my holidays from 57 Church Street to 17 Charles Street to my uncle Francies . ( Landys now ) 

My great grandfather Roland built the house plus the two other small houses just above it .  The boys would have a pillow fight and whoever lost had to share their bed with me !, 


School Friends Reunited

At The Lartigue some years ago Vincent Carmody, Tony Barrett, Mike Sheehy R.I.P. and Paddy Keane


Ireland of the Welcomes

Sonder Ireland

Make yourself a cup to tea, relax and click on the link above. This drone shot video of our fair land will make you so want to get in the car or the plane and visit every corner of Ireland. This is so beautiful.


Meanwhile in the USA

 photo: Today Fm

 Liam Murphy

Maura Nelligan Shaw

3 photos from Maura Brennan

Our thoughts are with our US friends who are looking out on this blizzard landscape.


I was in the INEC yesterday

Mags and Liz of Finesse, Listowel were at the wedding fair too

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