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 listowelconnection@gmail.com

Tag: Eileen Moylan Page 1 of 6

Music, Sport and Jewellery

Hi ho, hi ho, a working we will go. Heading out for the calves, Kilbrin,

July 2023

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Pickleball

Pickleball is the latest racket game sweeping the ranks of more mature players. This group of Listowel ladies took part in the pickle ball global event in UCD recently.

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The Hanging Gale

This stone is an example of primitive stone carving. Stephen Rynne brought it to Listowel. It was found in a field in the midlands and it says “Home Rule; Down with Landlordism. We have no idea who did it or when but landlords have been a hated class in Ireland for a long time. Here is an extract from Fr. John ORiordáin’s book. He is writing about North Cork but the story was replicated all over the country.

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Celtic Art in Listowel

Listowel has produced Celtic artists unlike any other town in Ireland. Michael O’Connor is acknowledged as the foremost illuminator calligrapher. At the top of the list of jewellers working in the global celtic design field is Eileen Moylan of Claddagh Design.

If you have one of these treasures, keep it safely because it will in time be a collector’s item

Stephen Walker is a US based jeweller and designer. He is an expert in the area of Celtic Design and he has published several books about modern celtic art. He is the founder of the international conference of Celtic Design.

Here is what he says about Eileen Moylan’s work;

“The very nature of Celtic design and traditional Irish jewellery is a reference to the past. The challenge of our modern Celtic Renaissance is to preserve that style and those traditions in a way that goes beyond mere copying.  Eileen Moylan’s jewelry work is an excellent example of adapting the ancient style for a contemporary audience. Her designs preserve a sense of nostalgia and identity, yet are solidly contemporary. It is artists and designers like her, whose skill and imagination continue to innovate, that insure that Celtic design will continue to produce meaningful treasures into the future.”

Claddagh Design Celtic Cross

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Friday July 7 2013 in Fuchsia Centre

While the occasion was the official opening of the Fuchsia Centre , our party was in Art Chúram.

We were serenaded on our arrival by the delightful Ukrainian family musicians.

Thank you Marie Moriarty for sharing and Jim Ryan for helping me to post this clip of these superb musicians playing the national anthem.

Amhrán na BhFiann

So young and so talented. The Russia Ukraine war is a dreadful occurrence but we are so lucky in North Kerry that it brought these charming and talented musicians into our midst.

Mike Moriarty was excellent in his role as MC.

Finbar Mawe eloquently reminded us of all the effort that had gone into getting the project to completion. He remembered all the fundraisers and he had a special mention for people like Brendan O’Sullivan who made a huge contribution to the project but passed away before the official opening.

The quality of speech making on the day was admirable. Speakers were well prepared and stuck to the script.

Una Buckley stole the show. She spoke movingly of her family’s interaction with Art Chúram.

Bobby and Mary Buckley

Una’s parents live in the country and now that they are no longer driving, they are dependent on family and friends to get them out and socialising. Una thanked the community nurse who introduced them to Art Churam. Now they look forward to their weekly outing. She spoke of the welcome and respect with which they are always treated. Her father has been known to sing a song or two.

Bobby and Mary are just two of the service users whose lives have been enriched by Art Churam. Una spoke for many families who are so grateful to see their parents engaged and happy.

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Your Help Needed

Charlie Nolan found this very old photo of boys and girls in the convent school yard. We have no date . Sr. Claire and her fellow sister are in the old habit which puts it probably in the 1950s.

Maybe someone could enhance the photo. We’d love to identify some few of the pupils.

There wasn’t a school uniform in those days but the nuns used to give material and knitting wool to families and they could get a skirt made and a jumper knitted. If you remember wearing one of those skirts or knitted jumpers we’d love to hear from you

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Fr. Anthony Gaughan

April 2023

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Fr. Anthony Gaughan

Fr. Anthony Gaughan, who has donated all of his awards to be displayed in Kerry Writers’ Museum is the author of 45 books, most of them scholarly histories of important people and places. His best known book of local interest is Listowel and its Vicinity which is now a much sought after collector’s item.

At age 91 he is still going strong and will launch another book, a collection of his reviews, at this year’s Listowel Writers’ Week.

Helen Moylan, mother of the silversmith artist, holding Fr. Gaughan’s Writers’ Week Lifetime Achievement trophy at the handover of his precious decorations on April 24 2023. This piece of Eileen Moylan artwork depicts Listowel landmarks, dear to Fr. Gaughan and it has a quotation from his dear friend, John B. Keane. . It is very generous of Fr. Tony to bring it back to Listowel, where it can be be displayed and appreciated.

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Gardaí Raise Awareness of Domestic Abuse

On Friday last, April 28 2023, Listowel Garda Station joined other Garda stations nationwide to raise awareness of domestic violence.

Purple day was winding to a close as I passed but I was welcomed in and treated to a bun.

John Ryan joined Sergeant Fidelma O’Leary and the representative of Adapt Women’s refuge in Tralee for my photograph.

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Steinbeck Letter

Found on the internet;

In 1955 John Steinbeck wrote to Marlyn Monroe.

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In Tralee

The telephone kiosk is back.

This is the new public telephone in Tralee.

The phone accepts coins and cards. There is a minimum charge of €2. Not cheap but it could be a lifesaver in certain conditions. Beside the phone there is a touch screen with vital phone numbers and other handy information. The sun was shining on it so I couldn’t photograph it for you.

This looks to me, like a welcome development .

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A Fact

Bagpipes were introduced to The British Isles by the Romans.

Bet you thought they originated in Scotland.

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Credit Union Memories

Upper Church Street March 2023

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A Tara Brooch

One of the most beautiful  treasures in the National Museum is The Tara Brooch which dates from around 700A.D. It was found on the beach in Bettystown in 1850 and according to Wikipaedia has nothing to do with Tara at all. 

The original may have nothing to do with Tara but this one has a Listowel connection. Eileen Moylan of Listowel, Macroom and Claddagh Design fame was once commissioned to make a modern day replica solid silver “Tara” brooch. She took us step by step through the smithing process in her blog here: 

The pieces cut out in silver.

Inserting the gems.

Engraving, finishing and polishing

Eileen’s splendid finished diamond and emerald brooch

Wouldn’t it be perfect to wear on Patrick’s Day?

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Listowel Credit Union at 50

The interior of Listowel Credit Union’s lovely office on the Monday of the celebration, March 6 2023.

I met Eleanor OSullivan and Jimmy Deenihan.

Leo Daly and Betty O’Sullivan are long serving members of the credit union. They posed for my photos with Jimmy Deenihan.

There was a big display of press clippings on the day. I photographed a few.

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Look who is Coming to Listowel Writers’ Week 2023

“Seamus O’Hara, who plays Turlough in An Irish Goodbye, will be leading a workshop with acclaimed Casting Director Mary-Ellen O’Hara called ‘Interpretation, Inflection, Intonation: Poetry Aloud’.”

You can book a place in this workshop or tickets for some of the events on the programme at Listowel Writers’ Week

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Something Different

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Billiards and Wrecks

Vincent de Paul charity shop on Upper William Street, Listowel

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St. Patrick’s Hall

St. Patrick’s Hall, Listowel to some of a certain age will always be The Bandsroom. Once upon a time this parish hall was a very male preserve.

Here is an account given a few years’ ago by local historian, Vincent Carmody.

Final of the billiard tournament in St. Patrick’s Hall, Listowel in 1954/55

Front Row;  Seán Stack, Francie Holly, Eamon Stack, Moss Carmody, John Enright, David Roche, John (Chuck) Roche, Tom Murphy, Simon Kelliher, Michael Mc Guinness, J.J. Rohan

Back Row:  Danny Enright, Matt Kennelly, Michael O’Connor, P.J. Maher, Frankie White, Tim (Windy) Kelliher, Dan Lou Sweeney (with glasses)

Backround: Ned Stack (caretaker), Fr. Michael Keane (C.C. Listowel) (Uncle of Moss Keane )

St Patrick’s Hall, a brief history by Vincent Carmody

There was an active Temperance Society in Listowel at the end of the nineteenth century, this committee were anxious to have a meeting place and after some protracted negotiations with Lord Listowel’s agent  they were facilitated with a site where the present hall now stands.The committee comprised of the following, Lar. Buckley, Maurice Kerins, Con Kearney, Maurice Scanlon, Michael O Sullivan and John Kirby. 

Fund raising began at once and the agreed contract price of £293 was quickly risen. Soon afterwards building commenced and was completed within an agreed twenty two weeks. The builder was Mr Michael Costello of Church Street.

An interesting aside is that the builder was bound by a contract clause that he was libel to pay a penalty of £1 for each week of part of for any over run. The committee appointed Mr Maurice Nugent, then coach-builder to the Lartigue to act on their behalf. Fealy Brothers supplied all building material.

When built, the hall became the focus for much Parish activity. A very fine Brass & Reed band which had been active in the town for some years were facilitated with the use of the upstairs room as a bands room, the balcony from this room overlooking Upper William Street was used as a stage for many outdoor summer evening performances. The main room downstairs was used for card games, billiard and snooker, the towns musical society of the day also used the hall and the billiard tables were used as an improvised stage.

In 1895 a split occurred in the local GAA club and for a number of years afterwards the Temperance Society affiliated a team in the Kerry Co. Championship known as St. Patrick’s. 

In March 1907 a set of nineteen general rules were drawn up and unanimously adopted. These rules gave a clear indication of the moral code which the members were expected to adhere to.

In 1936, a branch of the Catholic Young Mens Society was started, this incorporated a study circle and lectures were given on various nights. One of these had Paddy Fitzgibbon (senior) speaking on the topic “Is Ireland ripe for Communism?”

Also, the same year saw a move into the electronic age with the procurement of a radio. This was very popular, especially on Summer Sundays with live transmission of GAA matches.

Over the years, whist drives were organised as fundraisers, a bridge club was also set up under the chairmanship of local photographer, Jimmy Adams.

From the 1920’s all band activity was under the baton of James Hennessy.  He had served in the British Army as a bandsman in his younger days and besides being a noted musician he also was a strict disciplinarian.  However allied to his retirement in the 1940s and a lack of genuine interest shown by the younger members it was decided to cease band activity, and so the band which had given so much joy the followers near and far for over fifty years was no more.

Father Sayers arrived as a new curate in Listowel the early 1940s, and was appointed as Spiritual Director to the Society.  At the first committee meeting which he attended it became apparent that he was determined to leave his imprint with a set of new rules and regulations which he proposed. These caused immediate resentment. Some of these were,

In future the Hall would be referred to as St. Patrick’s Catholic Hall,

He in future would nominate all committees, (this was a break in tradition, as from 1905, members elected half of the committee of sixteen)

Membership of the men’s confraternity had to be strictly adhered to by all members.

Fr. Sayers, who was vehemently anti-drink, decreed that anyone he suspected of entering the hall having taken drink would be suspended. Many members resigned at this point and the position was further escalated by the announcement that the front door lock was to be changed and entry would be permitted to key holders only. During this period also the now unused band instruments which had been stored in the upstairs bands room were sold without any consultation with the older members who had been part of and had always hoped for a reformation of the band. 

The resignation of so many of former active committee members must have had an immediate effect on Fr. Sayers.  He relented on much of what he had tried to implement. Sanity prevailed and things resumed in a more lax mode with Fr Sayers taking a more demure back seat role.

Following the war years, under a new and younger management, the hall went from strength to strength.  Billiard tournaments were organised with clubs from other towns, card games of Poker, Solo, Patience and Whist were popular, while Jimmy Adams and Super Mulcahy again revived the dormant Bridge club. An annual dinner dance was organised (a ladies committee was chosen to run this, even though membership of the Society was for men only). The hall remained in great use and activities were most popular especially during the months from August to May, however by the late 1950s the condition of the hall in general, now built over sixty years had started to decline and a revamp was badly needed. 

Again it was in the form of a new Curate as Spiritual Director that was to effect changes, Fr. Michael Keane arrival in Listowel was to herald a new beginning for the hall.  A tireless worker, he gathered around him a band of fellow workers and so began a whole array of improvements, the first since 1893.

During the late 1950s and 1960s the hall was once again the centre of winter activities and one of the most popular fundraisers was the holding of Pongo during Listowel Races. However by the latter part of the decade a steady decline of membership had begun. This would have been mainly due to emigration and a host of other social activities which had become popular by this time.

The hall had closed by 1970 and the billiard and snooker tables were dismantled. One particular group showed interest in taking it and running it as a private members club, the local council were said to be interested in buying it, with a view to knocking it in order to give wider access to a council car park at the rear of Charles St./Upper William St.

During the 1970/80s it mainly served as a hub and office space during Writers Week, Fleadh Cheoil, Listowel Races and as headquarters of a youth club. By the 1990s a very vibrant active retirement group under the Chairmanship of Michael O Sullivan and they with the youth club  began a series of fund raising draws to find money to implement some repairs. Again a young Curate got involved, Fr John Kerins.  Meetings took place and with the funds already collected along with grants promised by Tuatha Ciarraí and North Kerry Together, the committee set up to oversee the changes sought and got FAS to carry out the restoration work. Work started and was completed in 2002. The major improvements have left us with a building that looks better than ever, since the re-opening has once again been the centre of a multiplicity of events and groups. Hopefully it will again serve the town and its people for the duration of the twenty first century as it has done for the previous hundred years.  

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Good Bridget, Bad Bridget

February 2023 for me is all about saints and sinners. I have just bought my copy of Bad Bridget in Woulfe’s and now I’m looking forward to reading it in preparation for Elaine and Leanne’s visit to Listowel for Writers’ Week 2023.

Their event is set to be held in Listowel Courthouse, a setting familiar to Bad Bridgets.

The boys of Scoil Realta na Maidine made and sold St. Bridget’s crosses.

Eileen Moylan’s beautiful silver or gold crosses were in great demand after her appearance on Imeall. People have asked me to share the link here.

Imeall

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Shipwrecks

For those slack days during early spring, Jim Ryan sent us this link to while away a few hours. It’s a link to the National Monuments Service wreck viewer website.

Here is the link; Wrecks

The site has details of all the shipwrecks off our coast and there were a lot clustered around the Shannon estuary.

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From the Mailbag

I’m a distant relation of Sean (John) Lenane who died in 1923 (buried at Gael Graveyard outside Listowel). I’m wondering if you would know of any Listowel or area commemorations occuring for those who lost their lives in the Civil War. I’m not from the area but would love to attend if there are any such events in the months ahead. Thanks in advance if there is any information you’ll be posting in your blog or could email. 

Patricia O’Halloran (on behalf of my Mom in photo)

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Rattoo, Sr. Ignatius Moore, River Walk, An Gleann Footballers and Claddagh Design

 Sunset at Rattoo


Photo: Bridget O’Connor

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Pushing up Daisies

I took this photo in St. Michael’s Graveyard  in Listowel. I apologise if this is your family grave. I mean no disrespect by the caption.

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An Extraordinary Irish Missionary Sister


Southern Cross Adelaide, SA – Fri 20 Mar 1931

VETERAN NUN OF INDIA WHO TAUGHT FOUR GENERATIONS.
Madras (India) .—One of the most remarkable missionary careers of modern times came to a close with the death at 91 years of age of Mother Ignatius Moore, of the Presentation Order, at Kodaikanal, Diocese of Trichinopoly, India, on January 11. 

Possessing a striking personality, thevenerable nun was well known throughout Southern India, and four generations of children passed through her hands in her 67 years of active life spent in the country. She never returned to her native land of Ireland after leaving it in 1863. When Bishop Fennelly, vicar Apostolic of Madras, visited Ireland in 1863 seeking workers for his mission, Mother Ignatius offered  her services, and set out with a small group of Sisters for the perilous journey. The shorter route through the Suez Canal was then unknown as also the swift and safe steamers of the present day. 

The voyage” to India was made in a sailing vessel via the Cape Of Good Hope, the trip covering five months. 

Mother Ignatius was awarded the Kaiser-i-Hind Medal by the Government in 1917, in recognition of her long and meritorious services in the cause of education. In 1922 she celebrated her diamond jubilee, which marked the close of her 5oth year-as a religious.
When the pioneer Nun arrived in Madras there was but one Presentation Convent. Now there are six, besides the one at Kodaikanal. She lived to see the great-grandchildren of her former pupils, to see Madras develop from a small seaside town to a great  modern city, and to see the immense progress in almost every field of missionary endeavour in Southern India.



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River Walk




This photo was taken on the footwalk under the bridge about 5 years ago.

I took that walk again recently. The level of water in the river was very low

Has anyone any idea what this is? It was in the river.

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An Gleann photo shared by Noel Roche. I have no names or year.

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They’re Back


Behan’s The Horseshoe and John R’s foodhall are open again.

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Never out of Fashion




Listowel’s Eileen Moylan’s timeless jewellery business is featured in the Fashion section of this week’s RTE Guide.

Claddagh Design is open for business throughout the pandemic and Eileen ships to anywhere in the world where shipping is allowed during the crisis.

I am a great fan of Eileen’s work and I am the very proud owner of several pieces created by her.

This is the beautiful bracelet I got for my birthday.

My family worked with Eileen on the design and materials for this piece which is made from my late husband’s wedding ring and a sapphire from the first ring he gave me.

As well as her bespoke pieces, Eileen makes off- the- shelf treasures as well.

You may remember Eileen in Craftshop ns Méar as she introduced her very popular Listowel range which, with the blessing of the MacMahon family, she called “My Silver River Feale”.

I have featured here before some of her gorgeous one off pieces.

Eileen also does big pieces like awards, mayoral chains and presentation pieces.

The Kerry Chain

Lifetime Achievement Award presented to Brendan Kennelly at Listowel Writers’ Week

Listowel Writers’ Week award to Edna O’Brien.

 Eileen also makes wedding jewellery.

She works from her studio in Co. Cork but she is still very attached to her Listowel roots.

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