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: Eamon OMuchú

Helios, Knocknagoshel, a Poem and A Spooky Window Display

” I’m trying to read, Helios. Walkies later….”

Helios is the Cork Cogan family’s lovely dog.


Arise, Knocknagoshel

The charming village of Knocknagoshel is perched above its neighbours on a Kerry hillside.I took a wander with my camera and here is the first flavour of this village /nation.

Reynard greets you on your approach.

The purpose of my visit was to seek out Kieran in his village shop.

My book is now on sale in 100% of retail outlets in Knockgoshel.

I took a little stroll around as I was at it.


Halloween 2019

Knocknagoshel is the home of Halloween in Kerry but Listowel can do spooky too. Look at Finesse window.


Just for a Laugh

A Baby Sardine     by Spike Milligan

A baby sardine

Saw her first submarine

She was scared and watched through a peephole.

“Oh, come, come, come,”

Said the sardine’s mum,

“It’s only a tin full of people.”


Cogar Mogar

Aidan, Brendan agus Eamon ÓMurchú

Kay Caball snapped the three ÓMurchú brothers deep in conversation at the launch of

A Minute of your time.

Morning Walk in Writers’ Week 2018, Craftshop na Méar and Listowel Visual Arts Week 2018

Feeding Time photo by Graham Davies


My Walking Tour of the Square during Writers’ Week 2018

Ger Holland’s photo tells its own tale. I was totally overwhelmed by the number of people who turned up at 9.30 a.m. on Saturday June 2 2018 to take the walking tour of Listowel Town Square with me.

At the door of The Listowel Arms I met Dave O’Sullivan, Paddy McElligott, Cliona McKenna and Mary Fagan, four of my able assistants.

 Mary was getting into character as Mena in Sive as she met Thomasheen  Seán Rua, the matchmaker, played by David O’Sullivan.

“Matchmaker, matchmaker make me a match, find me a find, catch me a catch….”

Local historians, Michael Moore, Liam Grimes and Vincent Carmody were taking the tour.

Clíona’s parents in law, Mary and Tony McKenna, great supporters of Writers’ Week, were looking forward to a leisurely walk in the early morning sunshine and to maybe learning a thing or two about Listowel and Listowel people.

Musician and singer, Mary Moylan and Mike Moriarty, singer and historian, two more of my able assistants, were ready for the off.

I mounted the podium, aka the Tidy Town’s seat, and the tour began.

Paddy and Mike Lynch did a great job on Goodbye to the White Horse Inn.

On the steps of Listowel Castle we had history, songs and drama.

At Gurtenard House we had more history, more songs, an anecdote or three. Eamon ÓMurchu was hastily press ganged into being an able assistant but acquitted himself like the trouper he is.

We stopped at the beautifully restored Butler Centre, where Antoinette Butler told us what happens nowadays in this historic edifice.

We finished up our walk on another stage in the Town Square where we all sang a few verses of Lovely Listowel by Bryan MacMahon.

The morning walk was a great success, thanks to all the hard work put in by everyone involved.

Most of these photos were taken by able assistants, Tony McKenna, Breda Ferris and  Elizabeth Brosnan.

Follow the link below for some of the highlights of the walk recorded by Charlie Nolan;

Saturday Morning Walk 2018


O’Connor’s Pharmacy with weighing Scales

Photo: John Hannon


My Time in 53 Church Street Remembered

As 53 Church St. prepares to reopen as a barbers’ I’m looking back at the early days of Craftshop na Méar.

Namir Karim opens the door to Craftshop na Méar

Namir gets a weaving lesson

Some of the early crafters

Crafters with the late Dan Green who was

 a great supporter of the shop in its early days. At the far right in the picture is Miriam Kiely who knew 53 Church Street as her family home.


First Ever Listowel Visual Arts Week

It’s Visual Arts Week and the shopkeepers of Listowel are getting behind Olive Stack in her new venture.

Then in the Square, local artist, Jim Dunn is showing us how. He is crafting a beautiful celtic style mural before our very eyes. He worked on it for hours and hours today and he’ll be back tomorrow.

He has to work through all the distractions, people chatting to him, photographing him and having a go at helping him.

Will you look at the state of his hands? And let me tell you he is an exceptionally neat worker.

A meander around town on June 2 2017

Where they Lived and Where they Lie Tour of Listowel 2017 (continued)

It is Listowel Writers Week 2017 and we are on our Friday walking tour of the town with Vincent Carmody. The theme of the walk is Listowel and its people. Carrying on from yesterday, we are now in The Small Square or more correctly Main Street.

Here at the statue that stands to her father, John B. Keane, Joanna O’Flynn read his poem to his father.

We wandered on to Tae Lane and the premises which was once the restaurant of Sandy Fitzgerald. Here we had poems from John Fitzgerald and Dick Carmody.

Next stop was the entrance to the old mart. Joe Stack read Bryan MacMahon’s account of how he ensured that the bag of spuds he would buy in the market would be the best on offer.

Joe Stack

Paddy Fitzgibbon

Thomas Ashe

A small section of the attentive and appreciative audience.

John MacAulliffe read his own poem about a sad weekend after the Harvest Racing Festival.

Kay Caball deputised for John Pierse and reminded us of a time when it wasn’t all fun and games. She read from John’s scholarly account of The Great Famine in his book, Teampall Bán.

On to William Street and Tony Behan read a poem called The Printer’s on the Tack which Bryan MacMahon wrote about his friend, Bob Cuthbertson who was living through a period of sobriety.

Another Bryan MacMahon came from Ballyheigue to follow the tour.

Eamon Ó Murchú celebrated Tim Enright, a little known Listowel classical scholar and translator.

Paddy Glavin read one of his own poems.

Knockanure Local recorded some of the bits I missed HERE


An Appeal

I missed a great evening in Duagh as Fr. Pat Moore’s birthday was celebrated. Would anyone have a recording of the tributes or the choir to share with people who, like me, would love to have been there but couldn’t.

Walking Tour of the homes and resting places of Listowel’s Literary Greats and Ordinary Folk

Where they Lived and Where They Lie

In my opinion, in a Writers’ Week unrivalled for high points, this was was one of the highest. Vincent Carmody devised and put together a meander through the streets, where Listowel natives reminisced about growing up in this special place.

It was a morning for meeting old friends and acquaitances, literally and figuratively a trip down memory lane for Eamon O Murchú, Kay Caball, Pat Breslin and Jim MacMahon.

Pat Breslin and Eamon O’Murchú relived a shared childhood.

Thomas Ashe remembered his journalist uncle, John Ashe, locally known as Nash.

Nessa O’Connor came from Dublin to join Vincent Carmody, Joanna Keane O’Flynn and many more for the walk. The young man on the right is John Griffin of Killarney but with a strong Listowel connection.

This author brought along his own book as he joined the tour. His book recalls his days as a rock musician. It’s called Rock, Paper, Slippers.

John MacAulliffe, Tom Ashe, Eamon O’Murchú and Vincent gather at the hotel before we set off.

Liz Dunn wished us well on behalf of Listowel Writers’ Week as we set out for the Seanchaí and the start of a memorable walk around town.

Vincent introduced the first audio segment of our tour. We listened to an old record made by Tim Danaher called The Gift of Ink. It is a treasure on which writers such as Eamon Keane recall life in Listowel.

Historian and genealogist, Kay Moloney Caball read from the work of Bertha Beatty who described life in a big house in Listowel town square.

Moving outdoors, Jimmy Deenihan told us about Listowel Castle and the Shakespearean connection.

Jim MacMahon was accompanied on the walk by his wife and two sisters in law. Jim took us back to the Church Street of his youth where to be eccentric was to be normal. It was a street full of “characters” fondly recalled by all who knew them.

Fergal Keane met Paddy Keane. Fergal didn’t grow up in Listowel. Paddy did.

At Listowel Writers Week 2017 the audience often held more famous people than the stage.

Paddy Keane reading in The Square

Fergal Keane read movingly from his father’s Look Down the Chimney of Time.

(more tomorrow)


From the Archives

Paddy Keane found this in the newspaper archives.

Kerry Evening
Post, Nov 16 1887

Under the heading
“How Disloyalty is Taught in a convent in Listowel, Ireland” the following
appears in the Times of London.

Sir, The special
correspondent of the Radical Manchester Guardian in Ireland has sent to that paper
the following account of the great convent school in Listowel, Co. Kerry, which
is probably well known to our readers, especially such as are Roman Catholics.
It will surely be news to them how the girls are trained in systematic
disloyalty to Her Majesty so much so that they could not and would not sing even
one line of The National Anthem. Is it too much to ask those responsible for
this state of things to seriously consider what this is leading to. The Roman Catholics
who have so much to thank Her Majesty’s reign for, should be the last people to
encourage disloyalty to The Queen either in Ireland or elsewhere and I am sure
the great majority of them will be as much astonished on reading this letter
as I was. 

I beg to remain

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