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: Eason

Prague, Ballybunion and Hollywood

Blossoms in Spring 2021

Won’t be long now.


Child of Prague Statue

This icon has generated more than its fair share of interest since I shared it on Listowel Connection.

I have no idea why we have a little statue in St. Mary’s. It’s on a high shelf so I’d say the head will survive.

Infant of Prague story ……Wikipedia

The exact origin of the Infant Jesus statue is not known, but historical sources point to a 19‑inch (48 cm) sculpture of the Holy Child with a bird in his right hand currently located in the Cistercian monastery of Santa María de la Valbonna in Asturias, Spain, which was carved around the year 1340. Many other Infant Jesus sculptures were also carved by famous masters throughout Europe in the Middle Ages. Often found in early medieval work, the significance of the bird symbolizes either a soul or the Holy Spirit. The sculptures of the Holy Child were dressed in imperial regalia reflecting the aristocratic fashion of that period.[7]

One legend says that a monk in a desolated monastery somewhere between Córdoba and Seville had a vision of a little boy, telling him to pray. The monk had spent several hours praying and then he made a figure of the child.[8]

The House of Habsburg began ruling the Kingdom of Bohemia in 1526; the kingdom developed close ties with Spain. The statue first appeared in 1556, when María Maximiliana Manriquez de Lara y Mendoza brought the image to Bohemia upon her marriage to Czech nobleman Vratislav of Pernstyn.[9] An old legend in the Lobkowicz family reports that María’s mother, Doña Isabella, had been given the statue by Teresa of Ávila herself.[10] María received the family heirloom as a wedding present. In 1587, she gave it to her daughter, Polyxena of Lobkowicz as a wedding present.

In 1628, Princess Polyxena von Lobkowicz donated the statue to the impoverished Discalced Carmelite friars (White Friars).[9] Upon presenting it, the Princess Polyxena is reported to have said: “Venerable Fathers, I bring you my dearest possession. Honour this image and you shall never be poor.”[11]

The statue was placed in the oratory of the monastery of Our Lady of Victory, Prague, where special devotions to Jesus were offered before it twice a day. The Carmelite novices professed their vow of poverty in the presence of the Divine Infant.[8] Upon hearing of the Carmelites’ devotions and needs, the Emperor Ferdinand II of the House of Habsburg sent along 2,000 florins and a monthly stipend for their support…..

during an apostolic visit to the Czech Republic in September 2009, visited the Church of Our Lady Victorious in Prague and donated a golden crown with eight shells with numerous pearls and garnets, which is at present worn by the statue.[31] Since that year, the 1924 “cushion crown” of the image is now permanently kept in the Carmelite museum on display behind the church while the garnet crown donated by Benedict is the one that is permanently worn by the statue.

Several costly embroidered vestments have been donated by benefactors. Among those donated are those from Empress Maria Theresa and Emperor Ferdinand I of Austria, which are preserved to this day. A notable garment in the collection is an ermine cloak placed on the statue the first Sunday after Easter, which is the anniversary day of the coronation of the statue by the Archbishop of Prague Ernst Adalbert von Harrach on 4 April 1655.[11] In 1713 the clothing began to be changed according to the liturgical norms. Other valuable garments worn by the image are vestments studded with various gemstones, embroidered with gold, and silk fabrics as well as handmade lace customised purposely for the statue.

  • Green – Ordinary Time
  • Purple – Lent, Candlemas and Advent
  • Red or gold – Christmas and Easter
  • Royal blue – Immaculate Conception / Feast of Assumption.

The image ordinarily follows the liturgical colors[16] used by Catholic priests, as a representation of its priesthood.


Display in Eason Listowel

Three men and their books…give me Neven any day!


Clinton in Ballybunion

Photo; Bert Griffin


An Cailín Ciúin

Having missed it earlier, I finally got to see the movie of Claire Keegan’s Foster. It was shown in St. John’s in a new co laboration with the Film Club while we are without a cinema proper in Listowel.

“What happened?” was the question asked of Cáit at the end of the film.

What happened was so deep and layered that it took me the guts of a week to process it all.

An Cailín Ciúin is not an Irish language film or even an English language one. The story is told in universal symbols that transcend language.

Water, water from a well in particular, is a symbol of renewal, of purity and of cleansing. Then there is bathing and a constant sweeping and washing in the cow house.

Food is important, fresh food and milk …the milk of human kindness.

Clothes are very much a symbol of who we are, a statement. It did not escape me that Eibhlín wore a trousers, unusual in a woman of that era.

This is story about love, about secrets, about death and grieving, about community, about family and particularly about parenting. It is about running away and running towards. it is ultimately a story about the redemptive power of love.

I loved the film. It should win an Oscar.


Oh Sweet Irony!

I photographed this letter in one of last weekend’s newspapers.


Eason opening,O’Quigleys and The Battle of Tea Lane

Eason, Church St. Listowel

The new shop interior

A new chapter in retail history in Listowel is opening today. This was the scene yesterday. Today it will be all ship-shape and Bristol fashion. If Mickey Kearney could only see his old place!

  Across the road, another premises is getting a face lift before its big birthday.


This letter appeared in last week’s Kerryman

Wednesday February 22 2012

Sir, I am writing from Alice Springs, Australia about my first visit to Ireland and Tralee at end of May/start of June 2012.

You must get many letters like mine but I hope you will assist me in my hope of finding descendants of my great-great-grandfather who was from Tralee.

He and two of his brothers were sent to Bermuda during the Great Famine, for stealing a cow. They endured great hardships and were released finally in Van Dieman’s Land (Tasmania). I don’t know what happened to Owen’s brothers after they were released.

My great-great-grandfather was Owen (Eugene) O’connor, baptised at St John’s RC church in Tralee on 26 May 1817. His brothers were Thomas, b.1810 and Cornelius b. 1828. Their parents were Denis O’connor and Ellen Doyle.

Owen married Mary O’hayes in Tralee and had a son Denis. Denis married Margaret Mcquin on 29 June, 1859 and had two sons, Eugene, b. 1859 and Michael, b. 1862.

I hope readers of The Kerryman will be to help me reconnect with members of my Irish family. I can be contacted at the email address:

Sincerely, Lyn Mcleavy, Alice Springs, Australia.


Ed O’Connor alerts us to another great resource for people In the U.S. researching their Irish roots


Now a treat for you all.

John Fitzgerald, formerly of this parish but now residing in Dublin sends us this epic.

According to  Kavanagh, Homer’s ghost said  “I made the Iliad out of such a local row.”

I enjoyed this tale of boyhood tribalism. I’m sure you will too and especially

anyone who remembers any of the participants.

The Battle of Tae Lane

There’s a
one eyed yellow idol to the north of Khatmandu,

there’s a
cavalcade of cavalry lost in Death Valley too.

there’s the
pharaohs in their pyramids and the Eiffel on the Seine,

but who of
you remembers the famous Battle of Tae Lane.

planned his sorties from a galleon out at sea,

Hannibal crossed the Great Alps on an elephant you see,

Bush set
his sites on Bagdad as  mighty Caesar did
on Spain

and the Casbah
planned new boundaries to encompass  sweet  Tae Lane.

‘Twas in
the year of fifty nine, at the back of Sandy’s shed,

 long since Hitler went to Poland and Paddy to

and of all
the wars you’ll mention, there is none will hold a flame

to the
fight fought by the Gravel Crushers defending their Tae Lane.

For weeks
before the New Road was a tranquil place by day

as the boys
played round the grotto and the old ones knelt to pray,

but at
night behind the Astor, they gathered one and all

to plan their
deadly battle and The Gravel Crushers fall.

The sally
and the hazel were long stripped before the fall.

played no part in this of that I well recall.

‘Twas the
hand of Tarzan Murphy paring sticks both thick and tall

as he swung
through trees and branches letting bows and arrows fall.

The signs
were all apparent if only eyes would see.

Paddles Browne
went round the town on an errand of mystery.

From Moss
Scanlon’s up to Shortpants he gathered off cuts by the score,

pouches for the making of the deadly slings of war.

Bomber Behan
scoured the backways, picked up bits from forge to forge.

Each scrap
of steel, the point he’d feel, an arrow tip or sword.

‘Til at the
back of Charles Street, as the last forge he did pass

he felt the
boot of Jackie Moore go halfway up his ass.

His shouts
and bawls off  backway walls went half
way round the town

Connor and Gigs Nolan thought ‘twas the Bandsroom falling down.

But the ear
of Tommie Allen, sharp as any corner boy

Heard the
beans were spilt , they’d all be kilt , and he began to cry .

“The game
is up”, he shouted from Scully’s Corner’s vantage point

Bomber he’s been captured as he was struggling to find

live ammo for
the battle in the cold and p p pissing rain

Pat Joe Griffin
must be warned to strike early on Tae Lane.”

Brave Victor
of the Broderick clan defied the daring raid,

He called
his troops together and ‘twas then this plan he made.

“We’ll meet
them at the bottleneck” that went by the shithouse name

under Dan Moloney’s
garage in the heart of sweet Tae Lane.

marshalled troops to left and right, of the gushing sewer outfall.

No silver
from these waters flowed of that I well recall.

 Half were placed on the market cliff and half
on Dagger’s dump

and there
they’d wait in soldier’s gait ‘til Victor shouted jump.

The Gravel
Crushers ammo was got ready for the drop,

guns and  gadgets from Fitzgibbon’s  well armed shop,

no trees
they’d cut, no face they’d soot, yes, they’d face no blame or shame

gallant lads from William Street who defended their Tae Lane

The butcher
boys, the Shaughnessys were such an awesome sight.

Young Mickey
climbed the saddle of the King’s Tree on the right

Titch  and Teddy ever ready,  pointed bamboos on the bank

As P.J.
stood next to Victor, his brothers he outranked.

While Back
The Bank they gathered just below the Convent Cross,

Mickeen Carey taught us all the game of  pitch
and toss.

John Guerin
took no notice, no thoughts for God or man

only the
rushing of those waters where the silver salmon ran.

Pat Joe was
the leader of the Casbah’s fearsome band,

with the Nolans,
Long John and Spats, he’d backup at his hand.

There were
the  Reidys and the Roches, the Cantys
and the Keanes

and they
all set off together to capture sweet Tae Lane.

‘Twas a
battle worth recalling, there were heroes more than few,

as the sky
above grew darker when the stones and arrows flew,

and in the
close encounters , it then was man to man

one a Gravel
Crusher and one a Casbarian.

With blood
flowing towards the river, it all came down to two,

the leaders
of those fighting hordes, Victor Broderick and Pat Joe.

wrestled in the nettles, in the rubbish they did fight

among stickybacks
and dockleafs and Mary B’s pigshite.

The duel it
was well balanced as they struggled on the grass,

a rabbit
punch, an elbow  a kick in shin or arse.

No mercy
would be given, sure the day would end in pain

such was
the price one had to pay for lovely sweet Tae Lane.

The bold
Mickey took a horsehoe  which he’d
pinched from Tarrant’s forge.

No more in
vain he could watch in pain his brother  poor Pat Joe.

The glistening
shoe of steel he threw, it caught Pat Joe’s left grip.

“The odds
have changed”, Eric Browne exclaimed “we’re on a sinking ship”.

Just then
the sky above  them changed, the sun  shone through instead

as round  by Potter Galvin’s came the flash of Ollie’s

Mounted on
a milk white stallion from Patrick Street he came

thundering to
the brother’s rescue as he lay wounded in 
Tae Lane.

There are
mixed views of what happened next, but I was surely there.

No classic
from the Astor or the Plaza could compare.

Mac Master
or Mc Fadden could never stage the play.

Who won?
Who lost?  What matter, all were Gleann
Boys on that day.

That battle
royal still lingers in the confines of my mind.

No time nor
tide dare loose it as long as I’m alive.

‘Twas the
battle of all battles  that held no blame
or shame

fiercely by those boys of yore for the right to rule Tae Lane.


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