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

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Adare, Ballybunion, a chance meeting on a Dublin bus and some people up for the match

Photo; Ita Hannon


Upper Church Street in Summer 2017



Recently, on my way home from Limerick I decided to stop to stretch my legs in the beautiful village of Adare, County Limerick. Adare is a martyr to traffic congestion. That is perfectly understandable as it is one of the prettiest villages in these parts. I met the two lovely ladies below in the local café. They are volunteer Adare ambassadors. They just chat to visitors and answer any questions you might have. They were very welcoming and friendly. Every town should have ambassadors like these.

I decided to take a stroll through the park which is in the heart of the village.

The site for the park was donated to the people by the Earl of Dunraven. Above, at the end of the path, you can see a gate into the Dunraven estate.

I’d highly advise a stop in Adare if you find yourself with a while to spare on the way to or from Limerick.


Ballybunion Sculptures

This lovely floral boat adorns the Doon Road in Ballybunion. It is the work of the Ballybunion Tidy Town’s Committee

Nearby this sculpture to past Doon families has been unveiled.


Well, be the hokey!

When I went to Dublin for the Horse Show recently I travelled to and from the show by public transport. I took a No. 4 bus from O’Connell Street to Ballsbridge.

On my return journey I again boarded the No. 4. Just to  be sure to be sure I was on the correct bus, I asked the lady beside me if the bus I was on would return me to O’Connell St.

To cut a long story short, this lovely lady turned out to be none other than Betty Given, a lady with a very strong Listowel connection. Truth is often stranger than fiction.


Up for the Match

John Kelliher was in Dublin for the match on Saturday August 26 2017. He wisely took his camera with him and here are a few of the great photos he shared on Facebook

Lovely day for the rematch

The hope before and the desolation afterwards well told in these two pictures.

Will you look who John caught on camera on their way to the match: None other than Jimmy Deenihan with Elizabeth, Sarah and Mary Kay Marince of Florida  AND could that be the Rose of Tralee escort still in attendance on the Rose?

Horse chestnut tree, Knockanure Vintage Day 2017, Ballybunion and the Florida Rose in Town

Lovely Kerry Bridge

Photo; Ita Hannon


Magnificent Listowel Horse chestnut Tree

This beautiful tree is located at the gate of Gaelscoil Lios Tuathail.


Knockanure Vintage Day 2017

Sunday August 20 was the date chosen for the annual Vintage Day in Knockanure. It must have been one of the worst days of a summer memorable for bad days. However a few brave souls ventured abroad and of these Elizabeth Brosnan and Jer took a few photos.


Hydrangeas at Coláiste na Ríochta


Upper Church Street

At the corner by Ballygologue Road

St Michaels’ College

I met these lovely girls after their summer camp in Listowel.


A Blustery Day in Ballybunion 

While I had my two lovely boyeens with me for their Kerry holiday we decided to brave The Cliff Walk on a day so windy it was fit for little else but walking.

The windswept boys viewed the incoming clouds.

We encountered a band of brave souls coming in the opposite direction. They were the U.S branch of the Kissane family who were in town for their clan gathering.

We could watch sea erosion at work before our eyes.

We briefly sheltered in this shepherds’ cottage.


Up the Kingdom

Elizabeth with her Rose of Tralee escort.

Elizabeth with her mom, Mary Kay and her sister Sarah

At a reception in The Seanchaí, Listowel on August 23 2017 Sarah and Elizabeth Marince, granddaughters of the late Tom O’Donoghue of Tanavalla and Pittsburg sang his favourite song

Up The Kingdom

RDS Dublin Horse Show 2017 and Tom O’Donoghue is remembered

Photo; Chris Grayson


I was at the Horse Show 2017

Here is the reason I was at the RDS on August 10 2017. This beautiful horse is owned by the Kanturk EPA stable. He is EPA Murray and he was making his first appearance in a big arena. He is ridden by Felicity Ward.

 I was there on Ladies Day but that was a coincidence. I would recommend if you are just going to the show for a day to see the stands or the horses or both, don’t go on Ladies Day. Ladies Day is not for the faint hearted. The place is mobbed. I was more interested in the business end of things but I had a lovely time in the main hall first of all. This is a retail and exhibition space and I’ll just bring you a small sample of what I saw there.

My photograph does not do justice to this beautiful cut glass harp which was among many lovely things on this stand.

The Irish beekeepers were there and you could buy honey or just watch the bees at work.

The craft fair was a sight to behold. Absolutely top class ceramics, felting, weaving and other crafts were on show. This was not a competition, just a display of the best.

There were artists selling their wares as well. Among them, Kerry equine artist, Tony O’Connor.

The Irish Deer Society was there and the Birdwatch Ireland. 

The Eircode people were there and they gave me a laminated card with my eircode on it and a luminous pen to mark all my precious goods with my eircode.

Of course there were lots and lots of retailers there. You could buy anything from a needle to an anchor at the RDS. I resisted the temptations all around me, even the show’s special offers.

Meanwhile in the stables, the crew were busy titivating Murray for his big gig.

Elizabeth is painting his nails. She opted for clear varnish this year. Last year black was more fashionable.

Felicity gets instructions on how to tie a tie .

I was told not to take his photo with his ears back but sure the poor fellow was half stressed out with all the fuss going on around him.

These were the judges

The competition

This fellow took out a measuring tape. I thought he was being a bit particular but it turns out he was measuring the stirrups to adjust them to the right length for the judges ride.

In Dublin, unlike the smaller local shows, both judges ride each horse. Murray gave them each an impeccable ride. They loved him.

He finished outside the medals but he got a lovely lilac participant’s rosette and all the connections were thrilled with how he did.

He is now eventing. Last weekend he came first in Kilguilkey. He is a dab hoof at dressage. So maybe eventing will be his métier.


Baby Barry Makes a Dramatic Entrance


Listowel Welcomes Home a Favourite Daughter

Jimmy Deenihan organised a reception with the family and friends of the late Tom O’Donoghue of Tanavalla and Pittsburg in honour of Elizabeth Marince, who was in town following her duties as the Florida Rose in The International Rose of Tralee Festival 2017. I’ll have more on this next week.

John (Junior) Griffin remembers the Rose’s great grandparents.

Two great women to belt out a song, Elizabeth Marince of Florida and our own Frances Kennedy of Listowel.

Fr. Michael Kissane, Muckross in summer 2017 and Elizabeth Marince, our Rose

St. John’s spire at eventide


We Owe a lot to Family Historians

At the recent Kissane clan gathering, their family historian, Eily Walsh, marked all of the family graves and tombs for the visiting diaspora to visit. Headstones tell us so much about our ancestors. For many of our scattered Irish there are no grave markers to help. Yes, their families are buried here but they were too poor or too sick to erect a memorial. In some cases they were the last of the line remaining on Irish soil. I have witnessed first hand the joy some returning families experience in discovering a plot where their Irish ancestors lived, worked or are buried.

Fr. Michael Kissane of Kilcox

The Kissanes number many influential academics in their gallery of famous ancestors. This man caught my eye at their recent exhibition of photographs.

This man, Fr. Micheál OCiosáin worked as a priest in the parish of Ballyferriter. While there he published a collection of essays about life in Ballyferriter.

He also wrote a history of his native place, Cnoc an Fhómhair in 1988.

The renowned Irish scholar, Páraig Tyers, published a book of photographs of Ballyferriter and Cork Dhuibhne in honour of Fr. Ó Ciosáin in 1991.


Muckross in Summer

Recently I took a trip to Killarney and I visited Muckross house and Gardens, always a pleasure.

Muckross famous herd of Kerry cows.

The walled garden


She Didn’t Win But……..

Elizabeth Marince may not have won the judges vote but she won the hearts of everyone in Kerry with her sincere and entertaining interview with Daithí on stage in the Dome. Her singing of Up the Kingdom was the talking point of the night on social media. Did you spot her mother and sister singing along in the audience?  Elizabeth told me that that song was an anthem in her grandfather’s house and everyone in the family knew all the words and sang it always at family gatherings.

Someone suggested on Facebook that she stay and sing it it again on RTE’s Up for the Match. I think there is a small obstacle of next Saturday’s match to be got over first

Big Maggie in New York in 1983, Ballylongford, Revival and a Rose comes to town

Revival 2017 Remembered

On Saturday evening August 12 2017 Revival rocked The Square Listowel. Below is Denis Carroll’s great capture of the colour and atmosphere of the event.

I was in The Square with my young visitors to get a flavour of the great night.

The Blizzards were on stage.

The stage was erected by this firm.

I met friends, Mirian Ahern and Karen Kennelly in town for the big night. In fact I met so many past pupils that I felt I was back in the classroom.

A wedding was in full swing in The Listowel Arms. The happy couple came outside to sample the vibe.

Old friends, Maurice Kelliher and Dominick Scanlon were enjoying the concert.

Ballylongford, Shannonside Home of Poets and Artists

This photo of the annual graveyard mass at Lislaughtin Abbey was posted on Facebook by Ballylongford Snaps

That site also has these lovely pictures of artistic wrought iron work on gates on the road to Carrig Island

The artist is Mick Rea


John B. Keane’s Big Maggie in New York in 1983

I was delighted to get this email from Marie Neligan Shaw.

Hi Mary,

Was cleaning out some bookshelves today and came across a Play Bill for the NY production of John B. Keane’s play Big Maggie at the Douglas Fairbank’s  theatre in 1983. I was at the play and the after party with John B. and Mary. It contains a letter from the then mayor of NY Ed Koch welcoming John B. And his play to theatre row. Was wondering if this was something you might like to include in your blog. If interested just let me know and I will mail it to you.




Do you remember the O’Donoghues of Tanavalla?

If you remember them or if you would just like to meet the Florida Rose, there will be a meet and greet reception for Elizabeth and her family in The Listowel Arms on Wednesday evening next, August 23 2017.


Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann 2017

Musicians and singers of Listowel Folk Group performed Garry MacMahon’s Aifreann na Ríochta at the fleadh in Ennis on Sunday.

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