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: FCA

Black Rocks, Old FCA , St. Mary’s and some old Writers’ Week photos

Tom Fitzgerald’s photo of The Black Rocks, Ballybunion in May 2020


FCA Picture…A Few Names

Eamon OMurchú helped out with a few names for Maureen Barrett’s old photo.

Front row: Extreme Left – Michael Whelan; 3rd from Left – Gerry Flaherty;

Second Row: 3rd from Right – Johnny Griffin; 2nd from Right – Tony O’Connor; Extreme Right – ….Moloney (not certain). 

Back Row: Second from Left Cpl Bridgeman (Tarbert); 3rd from Right at very back Bill Carmody. 


St. Mary’s, Listowel Now

The church is now open for private prayer from the end of morning mass until 5.00p.m. It is a very changed place. Here are some photos I took last week.


Listowel Writers’ Week 2012

Boys from Scoil Realta na Maidine form a guard of honour for Michael D. Higgins as he arrives to open the festival.

Some of the Children’s Committee on Opening Night

Large crowd in the circus tent for one of the children’s events.

Tonight was to be Opening Night of the 50th festival and the committee are inviting us all to go online to see the announcement of this year’s prizewinners.


Interim President of IT Tralee is a Listowel man

Photo and story from Tralee Today

DR Brendan O’Donnell has been appointed as Interim President of the Institute of Technology Tralee.

Dr O’Donnell stated that he was “honoured to be appointed and looking forward to working with the Governing Body, staff and students and all our stakeholders to ensure that the Institute continues to grow and develop and is a key enabler of economic, social and cultural development.

“My key priority is to see the establishment of the Munster Technological University in collaboration with our colleagues in CIT. A University Campus in Tralee adjacent to the Kerry Technology Park will significantly contribute to the overall economic development of not only Kerry but the wider region,” he said.

Dr Brendan O’Donnell is a native of Listowel. Following the completion of an engineering degree in UCD, Brendan was employed as a research fellow with An Foras Taluntais (succeeded by Teagasc) where he completed a PhD in the field of renewable energy.

Brendan joined the engineering department of what was then Tralee RTC as a lecturer in January 1991. He was appointed to the position of Head of Department for Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths in 2012 a position he held until 2016 when he was promoted to the position of Vice President for Academic Affairs & Registrar.

Mr O’Donnell has held the position of acting President of the Institute since May 2019.

The Chairperson of the Governing Body Mr Lionel Alexander extended his congratulations to Brendan on his appointment and stated that; “The Institute is at a exciting juncture with a decision on the application to become Munster Technological University due before the end of the week. I look forward to working closely with Brendan, the executive team, and the Governing Body and would like to extend my congratulations as he takes on this leadership role during a time of momentous change for our organisation.”

Wren Boys, flooding and an FCA Reunion

Goodbye to 2015

As I resume after my break,  I’ll bring you a few late December memories.

Mourners being transported to Saints’ Island Graveyard, Co Longford, for the burial of Johnny Clarke. Photograph: James Flynn/APX     (

This sad image sums up the disruption to normal life wrought by one storm after another this winter.

We were lucky to escape the worst of it here in North Kerry.

This photo was taken by David Morrissey in Mallow. That is a bus shelter completely submerged.

Killavullen, Co. Cork  (photo; Scan Productions for Cork Flood Alerts)

This is the regional park in Ballincollig. The new path which was only completed this summer and the newly developed pitches were completely covered in water.


I have written before about the costly disaster that was the Diarmuid Gavin garden in Cork’s Fitzgerald’s Park. Well, they have another costly disaster on their hands  at the moment.

This was how the “garden” looked last time I was there.

This state of the art children’s playground cost €600,000. It was opened in June with much fanfare. As you can see from the professional picture, taken by Kompan at the opening, it is designed to look like a ship. It is made almost entirely of wood and is sunken and it has seating all round. The project was co funded by Cork County Council and the Bons Secours Hospital. The playground was designed to be accessible to disabled as well as able bodied children. Today it is accessible to no one.

On Dec 29 2015 my despondent granddaughter looks on at the flooded playground…..flooded not by the nearby river Lee but by rainwater. The clever design does not appear to have any drainage, so it filled up with rainwater in the deluge we experienced in December. Now, because it is all made of wood, it will be completely compromised and probably contaminated. It may all have to come out. What a disaster!

Do I foresee another costly lawsuit?


Hunting the Wran

The wren, the wren  (wren is pronounced wran in the country)

The king of all birds

On Stephen’s Day 

He got caught in the furze.

Up with the kettle

And down with the pan

And give us a penny

To bury the wren.

Ita Hannon took a few photos of 2015 Wren Boys.

Her brother shared a few photos of troupes hunting the “wran” in days of yore:

Asdee in the 1950s 

Listowel in the 1960s


Paul Galvin, Fashion Designer, Weds Louise Duffy

New Year’s Eve bliss for Today FM presenter, Louise Duffy and Kerry footballer, Paul Galvin, as they leave St Tiernan’s Church Crossmolina Mayo where they were married yesterday. 

Pic Conor McKeown

(From: Brides of Kerry)


Cyclists in Duagh

There are strong links between Duagh and Kanturk Cycling Club. These young cyclists, members of Kanturk Cycling Club, are pictured in Duagh after Christmas 2015 by Doreen Buckley


Proposed FCA Reunion

Were you in the FCA in Listowel?

Would you like to help organize a reunion to take place on March 30 2016?

 Jim Halpin and Patsy Curtin would like to extend an
invitation to you to attend a meeting onTuesday
5th January 2016
at 20.00 hoursin the Listowel Arms Hotel.  The meeting will be discussing the upcoming event in association
with the Listowel Military Tattoo Group and hope to form a committee to oversee
the reunion.

Maybe you can’t make the meeting but would like to be involved in the reunion, Jim and Patsy are also seeking out old photos, film and other memorabilia related to the FCA in town.

Jim Halpin’s photo from 1942 shows a fine troop of men in the Sluagh Hall.


No Photos from Listowel’s Panto?

If you are wondering why I am not posting any panto photos, here is the short answer; I was asked not to.

The panto was great. I was there with my grandchildren. We, in the audience, were told not to photograph the performance, so I didn’t.

Laser Lights in the U.S, the Square at Christmas and Bord na Mona in the 1940s

A Long Way From Lyreacrompane

(photos; Liam Murphy)

As he enjoys his laser light display in the US, I wonder if Liam ever thinks back to paper decorations and a candle in a jam jar in Lyre.

Happy Christmas, Liam Murphy and family.

Viveca Amato saw this house in Orlando, Florida


In  Listowel


Duagh people in Cork

(photo; Doreen Buckley)


The Most Stylish Christmas Door

Last week I gave my vote for the best Christmas window display to Finesse.

Today I award my vote for the most stylish Christmas door to Griffins in Charles St.


Listowel, December 2015


Béal Strand in December 2015…… by Ita Hannon


Bord na Mona

Bord na Mona was a huge success story in the Ireland of the 1940s. It gave employment to men from all over the country. The work was hard manual outdoor work but there was great camaraderie among the workers. Some of these men lived in camps near the bog for long periods at a time. There are photos extant of men having their Christmas dinner in one of these camps which were often too far from the man’s home for him to travel there and back for Christmas.

De Valera was a great supporter of the turf industry. The above photo shows him trying his hand at water diving in a bog sometime in the 1940s.

A lot of the machinery used on the bog was purpose built for this terrain and this work. Apprentices were trained to maintain and service these huge machines. An apprenticeship with B na M was a great job in the 1940s and 50s.

Above is a photo of a machine loading milled peat onto a wagon on a train which ran along a track in the bog which was especially laid for that purpose.

This huge beast is a milling machine. You can gauge its size by the mechanic carrying out a maintenance job in a shed.

 This photo was taken at a training camp for apprentices and older employees. These sessions were called when a new machine was being introduced and men had to learn how to operate and maintain it.

It wasn’t all work and no play in the camps. Here a group of young men are being given instruction in how to play the mouth organ.

(All information and photos from Bord na Mona Heartland;  great source for  Bord na Mona history and human interest stuff)


Were You in the FCA/ Army Reserve?

Message for you below:

“A reunion of the 15th Batallion FCA, RDF, and PDF which was made up of A, B, C, D, E and F coy is planned. 

The get together will be held at the Listowel Arms Hotel on Saturday 30th April 2016 at 20.00 hrs. 

There will be a mass at 18.30 in St. Marys Church The Square Listowel for those of the 15th Battalion no longer with us. 

We will have a display of memorabilia/photographs etc. with some finger food/wine. Partners welcome. 

Please get the word out and share this event.”

(photos: Jim Halpin)

Way of Life, FCA, Con Houlihan remembered

Ballybunion in “ould God’s time”.

One for the diary!

From May 9th to 12th come join us for the Way of Life Gathering in Ballybunion, Co Kerry, a seaside town famous for its champagne air, it’s daunting cliffs, it’s golf-links and it’s unique sense of fun.

This Gathering aims to capture the essence of the Way of Life in Kerry from it’s friendly people with their strong sense of community, their love of literature, music, dance and having the craic, to a culture of top quality locally produced food.

Together with the people of Ballybunion and the surrounding towns we are organizing a series of events including Trad sessions, Ceili Dancing , Storytelling, a special Farmers Market featuring local food producers, a visit to the neighbouring Farmers Market in the town of Listowel, a Symposium on Irish Food hosted by a celebrity chef, cookery demonstrations of traditional Irish recipes and a tour of the Ring of Kerry.

In addition to the events being arranged, Ballybunion also offers a wide range of activities including: Golf, Surfing, Hiking, Swimming, Horse-riding & Beauty treatments.

There are people attending from Paris, Barcelona, Prague, London, Frankfurt, as well as from all over Ireland.

Wherever you are, come and join us for what will be a great few days in the beautiful town of Ballybunion, Co Kerry!



F-Company, Listowel FCA  at camp at base of Carrauntwohill 1987 .

James Kenny sent us this. I don’t think he is in it but does anyone know the names of the lads who are?

Kay Caball recognised her uncle, Michael O’Connor in my last  FCA photograph.


The first Con Houlihan Summer Conference will take place in his native Castle Island on Saturday May 4th.
Tourism, hotel hospitality, the Gathering, changes in rural life, the economy, the social and economic programme of the Government, and the arts as an instrument of social inclusion are all topics that will be addressed at the conference.
The life and times of Con Houlihan will be presented in a humorous way by his friend and writer Billy Keane.
The conference will be held in conjunction with the Castleisland town festival and Carnival which will run from May 2nd to 6th. 2013.

Click here

to read Billy’s lovely tribute to Con in the Independent.


I challenge you to see this through to the end without shedding a tear.


That was then, this is now




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