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: Ed Harty

Macra in 1968, Athea and Dairymaster, a Kerry Success Story

A Rook

Photo: Graham Davies


Macra na Feirme Dance in 1968


The Giant’s Garden, Athea

Athea always looks super neat and tidy thanks to the hard work off its Tidy Town Committee.

Wind turbines on the hills above Athea

This crucifix stands by the graveyard on the site of a old church.


From little acorns……..

This is a mega North Kerry success story.

Causeway is a small village in North Kerry, sixteen kms from Tralee. 

It is nestled in an area rich in dairy and agricultural enterprise.

The village has a population of 257 souls.

This number is boosted everyday with the influx of second level students to Causeway Comprehensive School.

(Photo from the internet)
But there is another complex which sees a huge influx of people into Causeway every day.

(photo from the internet)

Dairymaster in Causeway is the global headquarters of the acknowledged world leader in agricultural technology.

Dairymaster is 50 years old this year, having been set up by Edmond Harty, senior.

Dr. Edmond Harty, son of the founder,  and now CEO of Dairymaster has moved the company to the top of the dairy technology industry.

Edmond is Adjunct Full Professor in the School of Biosystems and Food Engineering at UCD College of Engineering and Architecture.  But it is not for this that he is famous.

Dairymaster harnesses all of today’s internet of things, embedded sensors, wearable technology (for cows) and cloud computing to make a dairy farmers job easier.

These cows are wearing their Moomonitors which take millions of readings daily about everything about the cows health and fertility and feeds that information back to the farmer.

A modern milking parlour, photos from Dairymaster’s website

And now the latest news is that Dairymaster has teamed up with IT Tralee and Science Foundation Ireland to research a millions of dollar project to improve farmers output while decreasing their work.

Dr. Ednond Harty is a world class entrepreneur and innovator. He is my nomination for Kerryman of the century.


Down Memory Lane

I recently met up with Jean Kiely and her girlhood friend, Eileen Greaney.  Jean was on a birthday visit to The Kingdom.  She was kind enough to bring me some old photos for our Presentation Secondary 75 commemoration.

Fathers and sons and an extraordinary teacher

This is Rory McIlroy as a boy with his dad.

This is his girlfriend, Caroline Wozniachi pictured after her latest triumph.


A young Billy Keane and his dad.

Will you look at the state of that tie?



I searched the web and couldn’t find a photo of the father and son team of the moment, the Hartys of Dairymaster. I’m sure there is no prouder Dad in Kerry this morning than Ed. Harty of Causeway founder of Dairymaster. His son and technical director of this marvelous success story, the very hard working Dr. Edmond Harty was announced last night as Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year, a well deserved accolade.


Another man who idolized his father is Tadhg Kennelly. If you missed our TV encounter, here it is

Now the inside story for my blog followers.

The first I heard of The Gathering:Homeward Bound was when a lovely young lady called Doireann O’Hara emailed me. She had found me on this blog and she was researching this 6 part series for The Gathering 2013. Listowel was one of the chosen towns and they were to choose a well known local person who lived abroad to centre the programme around.


The next time she emailed they had found Tadhg and enlisted him to be the “well known local person”. He was actually an inspired choice, in my opinion, because he is very media savvy and very natural  around cameras and stuff.

Next  Doireann  comes to town for a week to line up all the people and stories for the show. She and Vincent drive to Ballybunion to meet Boysie Gleasure’s widow.  Doireann sets up loads of meetings, organizes venues and people etc.

Then the big week came,  first week in September 2012. The cameraman, sound man, producer and director hit town. They shot hours and hours of footage. They spent an afternoon in St. John’s where lots of Kerry organizations pitched their Gathering ideas. The producer decided not to go with that in the end even though the town meeting had been part of the three previous Gathering programmes.

At editing stage they obviously decided to go with four stories, The Stack Clan Gathering,  Cathy Buckley in The White House, The Gleasure Letters and The Orphan Girls.

The programme was very well received at home and abroad.

I have been in touch with the Naylors who are the custodians of the Gleasure letters and with Julie Evans in Australia and they are thrilled with the programme and they both said that they now feel even more connected with Listowel.

One question I am being asked.

What was Tadhg like once the cameras stopped rolling?

He was the same affable charming character  off camera. He has no put-on TV persona. What you see is what you get. He was genuinely interested in the stories and his empathy with the family who suffered a huge bereavement while miles apart was spontaneous and heart felt.

He had no idea of what he was going to hear until he actually arrived in my house. As he read the letters from the young Joseph Gleasure, begging his brother to bring him out of this “hole”, Listowel, Tadhg identified with the young lad’s desire for adventure. He read the letters where Joe outlined his plans. He was working hard at school and going to the gym in the evenings in order to prepare himself for the good job he envisioned in the U.S.

Tadhg’s shock was palpable as he read the letter from George Gleasure detailing how bereft and tormented he felt on hearing of the death of his beloved son only 6 months after arriving in the U.S. Tadhg was immediately back in Sydney on that awful night when he had a premonition that something was wrong at home only to be woken from a troubled sleep to learn that his beloved father had suddenly passed away. It was a great TV moment but Tadhg’s pain was genuine.

It was part of the modus operandi of the Animo crew that everything was spontaneous and unrehearsed. Giles did not know that he was going to be put in touch with an American cousin he did not know he had, until he arrived in The Arms and was told that he was going to make a Skype call. Ben did not know that the call was going to be part of the programme.

The programme has had a great reaction locally. And didn’t the town look lovely?


Extraordinary teacher is honoured

(from The Irish Times)

A deaf-blind music teacher who developed a unique method of teaching others has been recognised for her inspirational work.

For the last 20 years Orla O’Sullivan, from Frankfield in Cork, has taught scores of students, from beginners up to diploma level.

Ms O’Sullivan, who started teaching deaf children at a local primary school in the mid-1990s, now uses a purpose-built classroom in her home for hearing and non-hearing pupils.

She believes all schoolchildren should be given the option to learn music, regardless of disability.

“I teach music in a standard, normal way. The difference is in how I prepare,” she said.

“I memorise everything, even the questions that are normally asked by students at the various levels. With my hearing aids on and with close lip-reading I can usually make out what is being said.

“As regards the music, again, with my hearing aids on, I can hear/feel some of the notes. The notes I cannot hear, I hear in my imagination. As regards sight, what I see is normal for me. I can only imagine what a person with perfect vision can see.”

Ms O’Sullivan was among nine people with hearing loss commended at the Hidden Hearing Heroes Awards in the Alexandra Hotel in Dublin.

The workplace award winner was left profoundly deaf and vision-impaired when given a drug after she contracted double pneumonia at six weeks old.

She said her mother noticed that, as a young baby, she reacted to certain kinds of music, including vibrations from piano keys. After her first music lesson at six, she spent most of her childhood playtime practising on her piano.

Ms O’Sullivan said teaching music to deaf pupils is much more difficult and demanding for both the teacher and the pupil, but as a deaf-blind teacher she feels she is the best qualified to do it.

“I can sign [ISL] and relate to them [pupils] in ways that a fully hearing and sighted teacher cannot,” said the mother to six-month-old John Amadeus.

“And with the aid of enlarging technology, for reading, and better hearing devices, and amplifiers, it will get easier and more effective. Many deaf and deaf-blind people believe that music is impossible for them to understand and appreciate. That is not true.

“I, and others like musician and therapist Russ Palmer, the Finnish rapper SignMark, pianist Mark Pampel, Paul Whittaker, and Evelyn Glennie are examples of what can be achieved.”


 More on Callaghan’s Cross

Callaghan’s Cross, Vincent tells me, is so called because the family that lived there were called Callaghan.

The original house was a timber structure with a tarred roof. It was build by The Lartigue Company for the switch keeper. Where The Lartigue line ran across a junction a keeper was employed to operate the switch. He swung the line out of the way to open the junction and when the train was due he swung the line back into alignment.

Ned O’Callaghan had this job and he lived in this house with his wife, Madge Enright from Tarmons in Tarbert. In the 1950s the house was upgraded and extended. The O’Callaghans had 6 children.

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