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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NFTs and Other oddities

Photo by Joy Buckley of Mallow Camera Club

This photo is one of several outstanding images by Mallow Camera Club members which they framed and hung in Kanturk Community Hospital.


Everyday is a Learning Day

Crypto currency, bitcoin, blockchain, NFTs, Discord, DIEM…double dutch to you?

When I was young the only people I heard of who spoke in jargon were doctors. The rest of us spoke roughly the same language. For a while now I’ve known that young people have a specific lingo which seems to be constantly changing. Now I realise that stockbrokers and people with mega bank accounts have invented a whole new slanguage.

Firstly let me confess that I’m not an expert and I’m only giving you my take on this weird and wonderful aspect of life in 2022.

Discord is a kind of what’s app for people who like to chat about these things. Needless to remark, I am not on it.

NFT, non fungible tokens are a concept which is also a currency. They are not real money but they are bought and sold with real money.

NFTs as I understand it are digital artworks that use blockchain to prove ownership. These ‘artworks”are not your old masters but more likely cartoon drawings. The thrill of owning them is where the buzz is.

Let me tell you an NFT story. Pixelmon was developed by some smart guys anxious to cash in on this craze. They sold giant eggs for $10,000 a pop. You paid real money but you got NFTs to prove your ownership. When the eggs hatched and your artwork emerged. Not to put too fine a point on it, it was rubbish. The people who had bought these pigs in pokes took to Twitter with their own crude drawings and “I can’t believe I paid $10,000 for this .” became a meme.

Then in the most bizarre twist of all, the duped investors started trading the memes for NFTs.

So there it is, funny money, dodgy art and tech all in one package.

Our modern age surely at its most bizarre!


Pictures of Humans with Animal Heads

Since I first started to notice these I seem to be seeing them everywhere. They are pictures with a gentleman’s body and an animal’s head.

Early hunters used to disguise themselves as animals in order to get near their prey. I doubt these pictures have anything to do with that. I have found no one yet who can tell me what this is all about.

The above charmer hangs in Durrow Castle.


My Trip to Dublin

I haven’t wandered far since the beginning of the pandemic. My daughters decided to lure me to the big city with the promise of a slap up meal and some theatre.

We didn’t go to Bewleys of Grafton Street. I put the picture of Bewleys in as a symbol of Dublin.

Bewleys is at the centre of controversy at the moment over its Harry Clarke windows. When is a window a piece of the building’s structure and when is it a piece of art? The courts will have to decide.

We went to a posher place. The clue is in the picture below.

We went to The Ivy. It is a lovely luxurious place. On the day we were there, it seemed to be patronised by posh parties and ladies who lunch.

They take your coat at the door. If you put your bag on the floor, someone picks it up. The teapot is silver and the table linen is linen.

The most important part, the food, was really good. The drink was fine too. The surroundings and the ambiance could convince you you were in London.


A picture of a Picture in The Advertiser


Bridge Road, Listowel children, A Christmas Stccking in the 1940s and a Fire at The Races in 1959

Millenium Arch and Bridge Road


The Good Old Days?

From Patrick O’Sullivan’s A Year in Kerry


Listowel Children

These are children  (and a few adults including Michael Dowling R.I.P. )  photographed by John Lynch at parades in 2003 and years after to 2007


Christmas Lights in Dublin

 When I was in the Big Smoke to see the Haunting Soldier they already had their Christmas lights up even though it was only mid November.

And in Listowel

On Saturday Dec 1 2018, Listowel Tidy Town Committee switched on the very colourful lights on Listowel’s Christmas tree.  (Photo; North Pole Express 2018)


Fire in the Stands

Do you remember this from 1959?

Photo from The Kerryman

Ballybunion Cliff Walk, Lartigue Monorail and Museum and Dublin in 1946

Mother love on the cliff walk in Ballybunion. Her little boy is a bit big now for that kind of attention. Remember when your mother spat on her handkerchief to wipe you face?  There comes a time when mammies have to accept that you’re too old for that.


Ballybunion Cliff Walk, Sunday Sept. 23 2018

The pictures speak for themselves.


Lartigue Monorail and Museum

This visitor attraction is closed for the winter but they open by appointment for special events. I dropped in shortly before they closed.

I learned at the launch of his memoir, Spoilt Rotten, that Jack McKenna donated the site for the railway and museum and gave €250,000 towards the setting up of the visitor attraction.

It was late September when I called in but there was still a steady flow of visitors.

This model was a new addition since I was last here.

Looking down the line

These seats on Platform 1 were donated in memory of Anna Grimes.

The locomotive and carriages always look in perfect nick.

Pat Walsh was one of the volunteers on duty. He was giving a tour to these Austrian tourists.

The stationmaster, Martin Griffin, told me that they had a good season. They have plans for some planters on the  pavement for next year.

You’d never know where you’d see a milk churn.


I Remember That Summer in Dublin

Dublin 1946; photographer unknown

Fruit sellers in O’Connell Street, Dublin 1946. Unknown photographer

In the Summer of 1948, an English travel writer named John Wood went on a backpacking trip around Ireland. Wood walked most of the 1,000 miles with a few unsolicited lifts and bus trips along the way, he managed to visit seventeen counties in one of the wettest summers on record for the time. He later wrote a travel book called ‘With Rucksack round Ireland‘. The book offers a fascinating snapshot of Ireland, from tourist sites, accommodation, transport and general everyday life. Wood was originally from Yorkshire and had served in the army. He had visited Ireland on a few occasions previously and describes himself as pro-Irish.

A Sunday in Dublin

Dublin in Summer 2017, Craftshop na Méar and St. Michael’s

Phlox in summer 2017


O’Connell St. July 2017

I never travel without my camera. On my recent trip to the capital, I snatched a few quick snaps as I waited for a bus on O’Connell Street.

The GPO, historic building and symbol of our struggle for independence.

 Love it or loathe it, the spire is a symbol of the new Ireland.

In a doorway nearby, another potent symbol of modern Ireland.

And they laugh at us in Kerry when we mention fairy forts.

The Luas, modern transport in a modern metropolis


Craftshop na Méar

I haven’t visited this lovely craft shop in Church Street for a while now. When I went there last week it had a Kerry’s green and gold theme going on.


How Football eclipsed hurling

(Con Houlihan)

When Michael Cusack founded the GAA in 1884, his big ambition was to revive hurling. He invented a game from the the best elements of soccer and rugby and cleverly called it Gaelic football, giving the impression that it went back a long way. The ironic outcome of this was that Gaelic football almost wiped out hurling. It was a simple game to understand and, above all, it caused little injury. This was in an age when a man’s hands were important to him. Hurling can be hard on the hands.


An Taoiseach in St. Michael’s

Fine Gael and the GAA were very much to the fore in the turning of the sod ceremony in St. Michael’s on Friday Sept 1 2017.

Photo: Radio Kerry

Leo was in Kerry for the tribute night to Jimmy Deenihan in Tralee. Earlier in the evening he turned the sod for the new technology room in St. Michael’s.  The school threw a little party for him with some excellent singing and dancing by some very talented  pupils.


Red Hurley in Duagh

Michael Dillane met Red Hurley at the very successful concert in Duagh Community Centre.

Mario Perez celebrates the Choctaw Nation

Photo: Ita Hannon


A washboard

This was once the latest in laundry technology. Who needs a gym when one has one of these to work out on.


 Beautiful Ballybunion

On April 1 2017 I took a walk in the sunshine along Ballybunion beach and along the cliff walk. Very often when material for the blog is drying up and I feel that its all getting a bit repetitive, something happens to restore my faith and give me the impetus to carry on. Such an encounter happened to me as I left my car. A lady I didn’t know approached me and introduced herself as a blog follower. She told me that her uncle had written a memoir of his childhood and growing up in Asdee in the 1940s. She promised me a copy of the book. 

She was as good as her word.

 I grew up in the 1950s so many aspects of our upbringing were the same. I look forward to bringing you more reminiscences from Asdee…A Rural Miscellany. 

Thank you, Anne Marie Collins

As I made my way to the beach I saw that Mario Perez, Ballybunion’s beach artist, was at work.

Mario cut a solitary figure as he painstakingly created yet another work of art.

I approached him and Mario kindly took time out to let me photograph him and to explain what his latest artistic creation was celebrating.

The event he was commemorating was the generous act of the Choctaw Nation to help alleviate the suffering of the Irish people during the Famine.

Here is an account from Irish Central;

On March 23, 1847, the Indians of
the Choctaw nation took up an amazing collection. They raised $170 for Irish
Famine relief, an incredible sum at the time worth in the tens of thousands of
dollars today.

They had an incredible history of
deprivation themselves, forced off their lands in 1831 and made embark on a 500
mile trek to Oklahoma called “The Trail of Tears.” Ironically the man who
forced them off their lands was Andrew Jackson, the son of Irish immigrants.

On September 27, 1830, the Treaty of
Dancing Rabbit Creek was signed. It represented one of the largest transfers of
land that was signed between the U.S. Government and Native Americans without
being instigated by warfare. By the treaty, the Choctaws signed away their
remaining traditional homelands, opening them up for European-American
settlement. The tribes were then sent on a forced march

As historian Edward O’Donnell wrote
“Of the 21,000 Choctaws who started the journey, more than half perished from
exposure, malnutrition, and disease. This despite the fact that during the War
of 1812 the Choctaws had been allies of then-General Jackson in his campaign
against the British in New Orleans.’

Now sixteen years later they met in
their new tribal land and sent the money to a U.S. famine relief organization
for Ireland. It was the most extraordinary gift of all to famine relief in
Ireland. The Choctaws sent the money at the height of the Famine, “Black 47,”
when close to a million Irish were starving to death.

Thanks to the work of Irish
activists such as Don Mullan and Choctaw leader Gary White Deer the Choctaw
gift has been recognized in Ireland.

In 1990, a number of Choctaw leaders
took part in the first annual Famine walk at Doolough in Mayo recreating a
desperate walk by locals to a local landlord in 1848.

In 1992 Irish commemoration leaders
took part in the 500 mile trek from Oklahoma to Mississippi. The Choctaw made
Ireland’s president Mary Robinson an honorary chief. They did the same for Don

Even better, both groups became
determined to help famine sufferers, mostly in Africa and the Third World, and
have done so ever since.

The gift is remembered in Ireland. The plaque on Dublin’s
Mansion House that honors the Choctaw contribution reads: “Their humanity
calls us to remember the millions of human beings throughout our world today
who die of hunger and hunger-related illness in a world of plenty.”

When I came home I checked in with Mario’s Facebook page and here is his finished sand picture. It represents the seal of the Choctaw Nation. It took Mario six hours to craft this perfect piece.


When the Pope Came

Photo from a Facebook page devoted to photos of old Dublin


John B. Keane Memorial in the Garden of Europe


Easter 2017 at Scoil Realta na Maidine

They had a big weekend of fundraising at the boys school. I took a good few photos of the marathon and half marathon runners and walkers. I’ll post them next week.

Meanwhile Ned O’Sullivan spotted his young self in some photos on display in the school.

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