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: Famine in Listowel

Manchester Martys’ Memorial, Food Fair, The Great Hunger in Listowel and Sheep may Safely Graze

Wintry Tree In Listowel Town Square in November 2018


At the Window of the Kerry Writers’ Centre


Memorial in St. Michael’s Graveyard

I wonder why there is a memorial to these men in Listowel.


Last Few from the Listowel Food Fair Craft Fair 2018

Anne Egan and her daughter, Katie at her table brimful of lovely handknits.

Brigita was at the fair with her family and friends.

There were several award winning cheesemakers at the fair.

There was a great deal of produce to tempt the sweet toothed.

This French beekeeper who has his hives in Duagh had some lovely wax products as well as honey on his stall, all displayed on wooden shelves made by himself.


Listowel during the Famine

This account of the Famine in Listowel was contributed by a W. Keane to the schools’ Folklore collection and is now in the Dúchas collection.

 The old mill by the river in Listowel (once N.K.M. factory) was built out of the stones of the part of Listowel knocked by Sir Charles [?] in 1600. The time of the famine the mill was full of corn and soldiers were placed on guard to mind it. Leonard was the man in charge of the mill. They used the bags of wheat inside and there were soldiers outside the door and the people used to go down to get the wheat and they used be fighting the soldiers. Finally the wheat went bad and had to be thrown out in the River Feale. 

Cars used go out every day from the workhouse in Listowel to collect dead bodies & they used be carried to Gale Churchyard. But as Gale church was too far from Listowel they got a field near the town on the road to Ballybunion now known as Teampulleenbawn where they buried the bodies in pits or else with coffins with sliding bottoms, & used the coffins all over again. There were auxiliary workhouses: St.Michael’s College, Listowel, was an hospital; Stalls in Clieveragh known now as “The Barn” was a workhouse & “The Model Farm” on the Ballybunion Rd. “The Model Farm” is so green amid a stretch of poor land. The people say that it was the sweat of the paupers carrying manure on their backs that made it green. You’d get £33 for a pig.


Sheep in Firies

I recently spent a tamall at the home of an old friend in Firies. What a beautiful corner of the Kingdom. These sheep were grazing in the field near my friend’s house. The scene was almost biblical in its peaceful beauty.

A Famine Commemoration, the new pharmacy at Upper Church St. and my visit to Santa 2017

John Kelliher’s lovely photo of St. John’s in Winter 2017


Widening the park gateway

When this essential work is complete we should see a big improvement in traffic movement on Bridge Road.


A Famine Commemoration in Listowel

John Pierse makes it one of his life missions to make sure that Listowel remembers its Famine dead. His latest deed to keep the horrors of The Great Famine before our minds is a plaque at the hospital chapel. This plaque was unveiled on Saturday November 18 2017

The convent chapel is the last remaining piece of the old workhouse that is still in use.

The plaque was commissioned by Listowel Tidy Towns Committee and was executed by Darren Enright to John Pierse’s design. We also received a booklet on the day with valuable information about the Famine in Listowel.

John Pierse is a very painstaking historian. He left no stone unturned in his efforts to locate a photograph of the flower of the lumper potato. The lumper was the potato that everyone grew in Ireland in the nineteenth century. It was softer than today’s potatoes and was eaten raw by the people in the workhouse. Unfortunately it was very susceptible to blight.

Jimmy Moloney was the very able M.C. for the ceremony.

Julie Gleeson, chair of Listowel Tidy Towns, John Pierse, Kay Caball, John Lucid, Bryan MacMahon, Jimmy Moloney and Mary Hanlon.

Julie spoke on behalf of Listowel Tidy Town who organised the event.

Sr. Margaret spoke on behalf of the Sisters of Mercy in whose chapel the plaque was erected.

The blessing was an ecumenical one with Fr. Hegarty and Rev. Harding performing the prayerful dedication.

Some local people among the large attendance.

Ballybunion Tidy Town Committee were invited.

These four Mercy sisters came from Killarney


A Corner of Town is Changing

Refurbishment at Doran’s continues. Soon Upper Church Street will have a whole new aspect.


I met Santa Yesterday, November 26 2017

Folks, if you are familiar with the Lartigue, you won’t recognise it and if you’ve never been, you’ll think you are in Wonderland.

These are just some of the elves who have made this Listowel Santa experience happen.

The North Pole Express

will run every weekend from now until Christmas. Click the link above to book. There is a trip on the Lartigue, a visit to Santa, a cookie decorating and Christmas tree ornament decorating workshop. There is hot chocolate, story reading with Mrs. Claus and a Christmas movie in Santa’s own private cinema.

Listowel singers are singing carols live and there are goodies to take away. These goodies include a lovely Christmas story book written and illustrated by Olive Stack and visiting artist Jennifer Walls.

There is great credit due to everyone who worked hard to make this happen. I am particularly delighted to see the baton of volunteerism passed to a new generation.

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