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: Eilish Wren

Ladies’ Day at Listowel Races

Friday was always a day I loved to be on The Island. Sadly I won’t be there this year. So I’m going to relive happier times before we ever heard of Covid.

I am going to bring you a few photos of local people enjoying themselves in Septembers past.

Bishop Ray Browne came one year in the company of a some members of our parish council.

Collette and Seamus Stack are regulars at the races.

Simon and Lilly O’Flynn

Helen Kenny, Joan Kenny and Helen’s sister, Maisie

Sarah and Monica Quille with Madeleine O’Sullivan and Eilish Wren

Billy and Ursula O’Conor with Judy and Owen MacMahon

Maura Carmody and family

Noelle Hegarty and Bridie O’Rourke

Joan and Orla O’Connor

My friends John and Bridget O’Connor

Eileen Worts and Joe Broderick


Sights I hope to see again in September 2022

Pat Power and his marionettes outside Footprints

Traveller children in The Feale calling “Throw me down something.”

Race cards will cost a bit more than €3

Youngsters dressed up to the nines doing what youngsters do.

My friends Maria and Anne and maybe even a man with a daft hat.

Famous people like Jerry Hannon and Dáithí ÓSé

Interesting headwear

More famous people

Vintage Day.


Garda Station, a poem, Mat the Herder and some local ladies

Listowel Garda Station in January 2020

The burning of Listowel police station in the Civil War, Aug 1922.

Republicans held Listowel. They burnt the police station as Free State troops advanced on 3 Aug 1922. . Courtesy of Vincent Carmody. 

This building was restored, and today is the impressive Listowel Garda station, Church St.

(photo and caption shared on Facebook by Historical Tralee and Surrounding Areas)


A Poem from Noel Roche


Girls’ Night Out

Snapped in Allos last week, Aimee, Maria, Eilish, Máire and Sinead


Mat the Herder 

From Rathea in the Schools Folklore collection

Mat Sheehy lived in the townland of Gurtaclohane in the begining of the nineteenth century. He was commonly known as Mat the Herder. He was a stout firm man and had great arms. Another great man lived long side him by the name of Sean O Leary. The two of um used to go to Cork once a fortnight with firkins of butter in a horse & car.

 At the same time there was a great fighting man in Cork. One day the Buffer of Cork challenged any man to fight him. Mat came up to Leary and said that it wouldnt take such a great man to beat him. “You better keep your tongue in your pocket” said Leary dont he hear you. At that the Buffer heard him and challenged him to fight and handed him a black torn stick so they took at it. 

The Buffer was giving him great strokes in the head but they were taking no effect out of him. In the finish Leary said to Mat in Irish “Tóg íseal é” to take him low. At that Mat struck him across the ribs and brought him to the ground and the Buffer said to Mat “You’re a good man. I was never beaten before”. The Cork people said they would give him his hat full of gold if he shouted as a Cork man but he said he would not saying “I am a Kerry man and I’ll shout for no other County but Kerry”.

Mat had fourteen heifers grazing in the mountain owned by Stephen Galvin at present. He had a big dog. His dog was called Bully and he used to be always minding the heifers for fear they would be stolen. One morning as the ground was covered with snow Bully came came barking to the door and made signals to Mat that the heifers were stolen. 

So the two started out in search of them. They tracked um as far as Limerick and there they found um between two glens. They went about turning the heifers home when ten men attacked um to take the heifers of um so they started fighting and he beat the ten men but he would never do so without the dog. When five of um would come in front of him and five more behind him the dog would jump up and ketch um by the cape of the coat and bring um to the ground and in that way he beat the ten men and brought home his heifers to Gurtaclohane

Soon after a great man from  County Limerick heard about Mat so he said he would have a trial out of him. He picked two good sticks one for himself and another for Mat. He enquired from house to house until he came to Mat. As soon as Mat saw him he got in dread of him so he said he was not Mat the Herder at all but he’d carry him to Mat’s house. But that if he’d like, himself would fight him but that Mat (M) should be present at the fight. 

Mat was indread to attack him alone without Leary with him for Leary was a better man than himself. If he beat him himself Leary would have an other chance and if Leary beat him Mat would still hold his good name. When they landed at Leary’s house Mat had a private talk with him and Leary said to him not to be in dread. Then they started fighting and no one of um was getting the upper hand for a half anhour. It was getting very hot then and Mat was getting two much of it Then Leary told him in Irish not to draw at all but to keep up his guards and that he would get tired. Mat did so and stroke by stroke the other fellow was failling. Then all of a sudden Mat struck him across the ribs and brought him to the ground so Mat held his good name and gave up fighting at the age of fifty.

Liam Ó Duilleáin
Gortacloghane, Co. Kerry
(name not given)
Gortacloghane, Co. Kerry
The actual handwritten version states 
“ó m’athair a fuaireas é seo.”

Listowel in Summer 2019, Changes at Writers’ Week and a Tarbert picture revisited

 Lovely Listowel Pub

Tanker’s Bar on Upper William Street


Entente Florale Entertainment

On the day the adjudicators were in town, while watching the entertainment I met my old friend, John O’Connor of Tralee who was working in town.


Treoir magazine


Máire’s Last Day

The end of an era for the dream team; Eilish Wren and Máire Logue who managed so many successful Writers’ Week festivals are pictured in their office in Kerry Writers’ Museum on Máire’s last day in the job before she moves on to pastures new in St. John’s Arts and Heritage Centre.


Meanwhile in Tarbert, a reenactment

And here it is the photo you have all been waiting on… 34 years later!! Josephine, Kenneth and Thomas have recreated the photo. Remembering Derek always RIP x

Picture and caption from


Old O’Connor House at Curraghatoosane

On July 30 1019, we, Listowel people were allowed to visit the site of the old cottage unearthed during excavations for the new bypass.

The house was a thatched cottage of mud construction and it stood on this site until the 1950’s. We know from the census that 6 adult people lived there in 1911.

There was great interest among local people to see and hear how people lived in the 1800’s

Shards of pottery were uncovered, probably plates and bowls.

The archeologist told us that this design is Scottish.

Paddy Keane remembered that olive oil came in phials like these.

This is what remains of an Infant of Prague statue.

The artefacts included a thimble and some buttons. The daughter of the family was a dressmaker, according to the census.

Another Anniversary, St. John’s Window of Reconciliation and Paddy Drury Remembered

This shrine to St. Teresa, who’s feast day occurs in November. It is in the Church of St. John In Ballincollig.


November is a time for remembering our loved ones who have passed to their eternal reward. I am going to share with you a piece from a lovely book  called Irish Stories of Love and Hope which was produced a few years ago to raise money for the Irish Hospice.


Peter Fallon

You turn

Hearing the joy

Of football

In the yard

You yearn

For the footfall

Of the lost

The scarred.

Again and again

And again

You feel the sten-

Gun attack

Of that “What if?”

And that, ‘What

Well then he’d be
a boy

Who’s ten.


St. John’s, Tralee, new Window

This is the Window of Reconciliation and it was blessed by Bishop Ray Browne on October 27 2017

My photograph does not do it justice so you’ll have to go to see it for yourself.

The window was executed by Thomas Denny who is a descendant of the Dennis of Tralee.

It is in three panels, each panel evoking reconciliation. The central panel depicts the prodigal son as he is embraced on his return by his delighted father. The right hand panel is inspired by Jesus reading from the book of Isaiah.

In the left hand panel, St. John, patron of the parish sets forth filled with The Holy Spirit.

I took this information from a leaflet I picked up in the church. It also told me that this is the first new stained glass window in the church in 60 years.


A Few Photos I took on the day of the recent performance of his Tom Crean Show by Aidan Dooley

Rose Wall with Aidan

Eilish Wren bought Aidan’s book

Elaine Kinsella with Tom Crean actor and writer, Aidan Dooley


John Griffin Again

This is the very competent O’Sullivan team who were looking after the sound and lighting and the media content on the day of The Young Adult Book Fest in Listowel Community Centre. On the right is John Griffin whose mother is originally from Listowel.


A Paddy Drury Story as remembered by Jerry Histon

When Paddy came home from his war work in Scotland after the 1914 1918 war, he had, of course, some money spared. After hitting Listowel he met two cronies and took them in for a few drinks. At the time drink was very scarce and it was suggested that certain publicans were not above eking out the supply of drink with materials that never saw the distillery. Anyway, Paddy asked the lady inside the bar for “three glasses of whiskey”. When those were downed, Paddy called the woman again “Mrs, give us three more glasses of nearly!” The lady was puzzled”What nearly?” she asked. ” nearly water, ma’am,”  Paddy shot at her, to her consternation.

A missioner, giving a retreat Moyvane, asked Paddy: “what is the difference between God’s mother and your mother?” I don’t know, but I do know there was an awful difference between their two sons!” Was Paddy’s humble reply.

Paddy hired with a local farmer and one of the conditions was that he should be home for The rosary each night. The man of the house generally offered up the rosary for “myself and my four and no more!” One night the farmer asked Paddy to offer the rosary. Paddy had a few drinks on board and was, anyhow, getting tired of the farmer, So his offering was “I offered this rosary for  myself and no more!”

<<<<<<<< An Important Correction re Drury Knockanure Satire >>>>>>>>

This correction is provided by a Knockanure local and the correction of the correction by Vincent Carmody. Thanks.

“The Rhyme about Knockanure was written by John O’Sullivan.  John, from Charles Street, was a reporter for the Kerryman. His daughter May Kathleen followed in his footsteps.  She was also married to an O’Sullivan. May Kathleen’s uncle was the famous journalists, T F. O’Sullivan.

( Eamon Kelly’s father in law was. Michael O Sullivan, from the Beara Peninsula, he was an Irish teacher in St Michael’s. He had nothing to do with the O’Sullivan satirised in this rhyme.

Drury wrote about John O’Sullivan.

In Listowel Town, there lives a clown, 

who would sell his soul for porter,

Sullivan John is the man,

 a dirty mean reporter.”


This Knockanure Local also had a photograph of Paddy Drury


A Wedding in the Behan Family

I took these photos of The Horseshoe window on November 17 2017

Parade Photos 2017

Snapped in The Square

I met friends, Bernie Carmody and Eilish Wren heading out for their afternoon walk.


Social; Realta na Maidine have plans for April


More photos from the Rain Soaked Parade

Craftshop na Méar window looked very appropriate.

Betty McGrath was another of the many shop keepers who made a great effort.

 I caught up with St. Patrick again on Church St.

By now he was well into his stride, waving and dispensing blessings.

The school band was still in tune and in step.

Imelda and the Tidy Town gang were still smiling through.

Seán Moriarty was marshalling well.

Flavins and visitors watched from the dry vantage point of their shop doorway


St. Mary’s Listowel in Lent 2017

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