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: Emma Larkin

An Old Problem Arises again

May evening 2023 in Ballybunion…Photo: Alice Moylan


A Few More Busking Photos

Every year friends of North Kerry M.S. Society come out to sing, entertain and collect for the charity. Busking Day is always a great day in the Small Square. Music lifts the spirits. The lovely people in Lynch’s provide electricity, counting facilities and endless cups of tea and coffee. Here are a few last photos left over from May 19 2023.

Some people sat and listened to the music. Some paused for a minute, donated and moved on. One volunteer left what she was doing and helped a tourist couple to take a souvenir photograph. Volunteers rattled buckets and stopped traffic. And the band played on.

Great day!


Abbeyfeale Trip

I was in Abbeyfeale on Saturday and there was a vibrant craft market in full swing in The Square.

Here is the Listowel Connection I chanced to discover. My attention was grabbed by the most beautifully decorated cakes I have ever seen.

They are fifishadesofcake and they are based in Lisselton. Their cakes are works of art, beautifully presented. I bought two cupcakes as a present for someone who is herself a great baker and has decorated a few cakes in her time. She was blown away as I was.

These beauties are far too good to eat but we ate them anyway. AND they were as good as they looked.

You can catch them in Ballybunion Market from now on or you can contact them on their Facebook page Fifishadesofcake

Feast your eyes on these. For those in the know this is not fondant icing but butter cream. For those not in the know this is much harder to work with but way tastier.


Another Book from Emma


And there is was …Gone!

Monday May 22 2023, Market Street and the most expensive loo ever is

gone, never to be forgotten.

This is how our public convenience used to look. It was costing us nigh on €40,000 a year and bringing in around €1,000. It gave spending a penny a bad name.

A public toilet in Listowel was ever and always a contentious issue and the present plan to locate it temporarily at the old Neodata site is not meeting with universal approval either.

David O’Sullivan did a thorough trawl through the papers for us last time this issue came up when the contract for this one came up for renewal. I’m going to rehash the whole saga now. If you dont have time to read it now put it aside for a few days. I’m going to take a bit of a break from here to go and help my friends at Writers Week so, from Wednesday next May 31, there will be no blog for a while.

More on this saga tomorrow when a man named Kidney draws up a proposal and Listowel Town Council have a win in the Prize Bonds and a win in a category in the Tidy Towns to help fund the loo.


A Fact

Today’s monkey fact is straight from my calendar. These “facts” are for entertainment purposes only. I recommend they are taken with a pinch of salt.

People of Yesteryear

Today is February 6 2023, our first ever St. Bridget’s Day national holiday.

Restored old mill in Kanturk, Co. Cork


Faces of North Kerry

This is one of the Jill Freedman photographs that is part of a project being undertaken by Des Byrne.

The late photographer, Jill Freedman, made several visits to Listowel, Finuge and North Kerry in the 1970s and ’80s. She loved to meet local people on the streets and in the pubs. She particularly loved Irish music and musicians.

In Moloney’s

She made many friends during her sojourns here and she took lots of photographs.

According to Donal Nolan’s article in this week’s Kerryman. a fellow photographer, Des Byrne, has, with the permission of the Freedman estate, released some of the photographs in the hopes of finding the people who are in them.

Email if you can identify any faces or if you think you can help Des with his project.



Galvin’s of William Street is a very different shopfront to others in Listowel.

According to experts the wooden facade is most likely the work of Reidy’s of Killarney.

The beautiful mosaic work in the shop name was covered up for years. During the War of Independence it was against the law to have a shop name in Irish so a sign saying J.J. Galvin covered up the mosaic one.


From The Advertiser


For the Diary

First up tomorrow evening is local writer, Emma Larkin


The Horseshoe, Launch of Emma Larkin’s Book and Behan’s The Horseshoe

A Robin  close up

Photo: Chris Grayson


A Book Launch in Kerry Writers’ Museum

This is me with the author, Emma Larkin. Her new book is really clever because her heroine can play in Cork, Kerry or Dublin colours depending on your little one’s native county. I bought a Cork book.

Half of Finuge was there to support Emma who is from a family of Cork hurling royalty.

Kerry Sevens Rugby and football royalty were there. I snapped them chatting to Billy Keane, who, for once was not  the most famous person in the room.

I gave my former star pupil a quick peek at my book. She recognised her old dancing teacher on the back inside cover.

We were entertained by these lovely ladies as we queued to have our books signed.

Another of my star pupils was there too. Rhona Tarrant works in New York and she was on a flying visit home.

These local ladies play football with the local Mothers and Others team.

The hall was packed.

Kate O’Callaghan, chair of Finuge St. Senan’s Ladies Football Club gave  a great opening speech encouraging all young girls to participate in sport. Participation in sport, particularly team sport was a theme throughout the evening.

Emma and her husband, Robbie watched attentively.

Billy Keane was the official ‘launcher”. He praised the young girls and all the volunteers and parents who give so much time to encourage young girls to play sport. He loved Emma’s book and congratulated her on a job well done.

This is the illustrator, Paul Nugent whose work brought the story to life from Izzy’s back garden to Croke Park.

This man, a neighbour of Emma’s Cashman relatives and a trainer of Cork ladies football came from Cork to lend his support.

Louise Galvin is living a dream she didn’t even dare to dream. For women, playing sport professionally, especially rugby or football was unheard of in Louise’s youth. She is delighted now to be earning a living doing what she loves. She is an excellent ambassador for women in sport. She told us her idol is Katie Taylor.

This is the author of Izzy’s Magical Football Adventure. Emma Larkin is also fulfilling a long held dream of becoming a writer.


Looking around in Behan’s Horseshoe Restaurant

I was in The Horseshoe recently and I took a few snaps of what was on the walls.


+ R.I.P. Toddy Buckley +

I took this photo of Toddy and his beloved Noreen on St. Patrick’s Day 2016. May he rest in peace.


Racing Photographer making the news rather than reporting it

I’m glad to report that Pat Healy of Healyracing is making a good recovery after his accident in Navan yesterday. Pat is a man with a lifetime’s experience of horses and particularly those most unpredictable of all horses, thoroughbred racehorses. He was standing working beside the finishing post yesterday when the second placed horse in the first race took a notion to break through the plastic railing, knocking Pat to the ground.

If you’re going to be knocked over, a racecourse is probably the best place to be. Medical personnel attended to Pat at the scene and an ambulance was on hand to take him to hospital.

I wish him a speedy recovery and I’m looking forward to seeing his familiar figure back on track very soon.

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