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: Feale

Listowel Pitch and Putt Club host Munster Championships, Opening Night Writers’ Week 2019 and a trip to Stillorgan

Listowel Pitch and Putt Course

They had a big day in the Pitch and Putt club at the weekend when they hosted the Muster Championship/ I called by on Friday to see how course preparation was going.

These men were brightening up the course with colourful plants. These pops of colour make a big difference.

I met these lovely people from Riverdale in Nenagh. They were in town for the championship and were taking an opportunity to get to know the course.

Update: There was no Listowel winner but everyone had a good time and the consensus was :The course was in tip top condition.


Opening Night, Listowel Writers’ Week 2019

On Opening Night, May 29 2019 I took up a position at the door of The Listowel Arms like a self appointed meeter and greeter. Camera in hand, I snapped as many attendees as I could. Rachel Guerin took this one of me with some famous guests in the background.

I asked the famous guests to turn round and then I took this photo of Rick O’Shea, Colm Tóibín, John Boyne and Joseph O’Connor. Picture it. Four of the most famous men on the Irish literary scene smiling into the lens of my camera. Sometimes I have to pinch myself.

When I recovered my equilibrium, I snapped a few more people as they approached the hotel for the start of the big week. I also took a few of Writers’ Week’s hard working committee.


Church of St. Laurence O’Toole, Stillorgan, Co. Dublin

I was in Dublin recently for a family event and I was in this church for Saturday evening vigil mass.   The mass was attended mostly by children and older people. The congregation was small. Either side of the altar were 2 big screens displaying the words of the hymns and the responses along with instructions when to stand and kneel. This is  a great idea that other churches could copy.

Many people nowadays only go to church for weddings and funerals and they have forgotten or never knew the responses and when to kneel and rise. Very often these people who dont have a clue of the protocols are seated in the front row so don’t have the luxury of following anyone’s lead.

This lovely piece of artwork is over the door of St. Laurence O’Toole’s church.

Is he the only saint with a surname?

Just beside the entrance to the church was this prayer set in stone.


A Burial Shroud

Picture and text from National Treasures on Facebook

A Burial Habit. This is a burial habit that was one of many items given to my daughter Sharon Whooley, by Tony McCarthy from Inishannon, Co. Cork. His family had a drapery shop, Murphy’s in Mallow, and were in business for over seventy years, from the 1920s to the 1990s. Ellen Murphy was also a milliner and many examples of her exquisite work still remains. Her son, Bertie, started in the shop in the early 1940s when he was just sixteen and eventually took over. The family were careful and never threw out a single item of unsold stock: pure wool coats, corsets, communion dresses, bridal veils, and silk stockings, all ‘Déanta in Eirinn’. What remains is a treasure trove; a time capsule, of everyday life in a small town in Ireland, how people lived and how people died.”

Up to the 1960s people in Ireland were buried in these shrouds. I remember first it was the men who were allowed wear their best clothes. The women wore these habits unless the lady was a “Child of Mary” and then she was buried in her blue cloak and white short veil. Nuns were buried in a kind of off white shroud.


I’m presuming it was some sort of statement that we can’t take our finery with us. Death is the great leveller. We all leave here with nothing.

“Sceptre and crown must tumble down

And in the dust new equal made

Withe poor crooked scythe and spade.”


My Silver River Feale

When I walked by last week, there seemed to be more vegetation than water in the river.

Some Listowel People, old advertisements and Festival of Light Nov. 2 and 3 2018

Entrance to the walk beside the Town Park and The Garden of Europe on Sunday Oct. 28 2018


Out and About with my Camera

Sunday October 28 2018 was a beautiful sunny day. Out walking by The Feale I met some folk who kindly allowed me to photograph them.

Kathleen Stack

Denis and Maureen O’Connor


From the Kerryman Suplement of 1994

Here are a few of the advertisements from this supplement.


Anyone Remember this?


First Listowel Festival of Light Nov 2 and 3 2018

The festival was a great success. The Garden of Europe forest of light was spectacular. Pity a sudden downpour drove us home eventually but I was delighted to get to see the spectacle…another first for Listowel

I was blessed to have visitors for the weekend to enjoy the festival with me.

On our way to town we met the KDYS folk putting the finishing touches to their lantern.

Because we took in the exhibition in St. John’s and the Projection in St. Mary’s and a few other delays we were late for the lantern parade but I saw photos on Facebook and it was brilliant.

When we arrived at The Garden of Europe there was a huge queue waiting for admittance. We got through fairly quickly and joined the throng entering the garden. One criticism I have of the event and I’m sure the organisers will take it on board for next year, traffic should have been one way. By allowing people to come back the way they had come in made progress slow and moving forward a bit difficult at times.

The Forest of Light was splendid and a joy to see. We would have stayed longer but a torrent of rain of biblical proportions drove us home.

Well done to everyone involved in the show. It was amazing.

The morning after the night before and everything is cleared away. The only evidence is the old cds scattered beneath the willow  awaiting removal.

The Garden is back to normal and still beautiful.

Bridge Road in the forties, BOI Expo and Ballylongford remembered

Switching on the The Christmas Lights Event in Listowel Town Square Dec. 4 2016


Mike Enright’s photos of North Kerry, Late and Early

Sunset at Cnoc an Óir

Morning in Ballybunion


The Feale at The Racecourse Bridge

I went in search of the egret who lives here. He was not at home that day.


Bridge Road Pals

A very young Junior Griffins is surrounded by  ladies in this lovely old Bridge Road photo from the forties.

With him are Michael Behan, Seán OBrien, Bert Griffin and Rory Callagy. Junior tells me that Rory left Bridge Rd. in 1945.

The ladies with Junior are Maureen Moloney and ……….


Some shots from Listowel Community Centre at the Enterprise Town Night on November 25 2016

Liz McAulliffe had a great display.

John R.’s had a display of Christmas and everyday fare.

Institute of Technology Tralee

Muddy Paws brought along a satisfied canine customer.

Convent School Band were entertaining.

My friends at the Writers’ Week stand were offering chocolates and Christmas presents. They were also selling their absolutely beautiful journals. Buy one for €15 from the Writers Week office and you will find it will inspire you to write.


Ballylongford Memories

(photo: Forur Genealogy on Facebook)

Mike Horgan and Martin Heaphy, Well Road, Ballylongford buying and selling chickens from a Kantoher Truck in Ballylongford.


What I’m Reading

I took this photo in Garvey’s Super Valu as the gang from Aras Mhuire were promoting their great book. It’s called Striking a Chord. It costs €10 and it’s available in Scribes of Church Street.

I’m reading it in snatches and it’s absolutely lovely.

I am going to reproduce just one piece of writing here because it will resonate with many people. There is lots more like this in the book.

Tea Break

By Mary McElligott

At bedtime I would wash her.

Oh how she hated that.

I’d distract her as best I

Cajole with idle chat.

She’s tell me she was washed

From head to toe that day,

And what did I think I was

Sure she’d soon be washed

And how bad it was for her

To keep wetting it with

I’d reassure her and say who
I was.

“You, you’re not my daughter!”

With washing done

She would relax, happy to be

I’d be happy too, my task

God, sometimes her words were

I knew she couldn’t help it

As dementia took its toll,

But I often thought of Jesus,

As her feet went in that

I am Jeus as I gently soap

Her legs up to the knees.

I am Jesus as I speak kind

And put her mind at ease.

I am Jesus as I dry her feet

And rub in scented lotion.

I am Jesus as I ease her

And bring calm to her

Each night when she goes to

She offers up her prayers

“Jack and Jill went up the

I’d hear her from the stairs.

Dementia has changed her,

Yet she still can make me

Now I’m off to have a cup of

I’ll check her in a while.


To cheer us up after the Road Works…..

The big trucks will roll into town next weekend.

‘Holidays’ Are Coming” is the iconic jingle of Coca Cola’s great Christmas trucks ad campaign. Now thanks to Damien O’Mahony of Jumbo’s and Love Listowel the trucks are going to stop in Listowel next Sunday, December 11th.

The trucks will make 10 stops in all on their journey around Ireland, eight of these were pre selected and the final two were decided on the merits of a pitch made by members of the public.

Damien pitched on behalf of Listowel and below is the picture of him on the phone receiving the great news. Listowel is chosen.

So what will happen?

According to the Coca Cola website:  “At each stop, the public will have an opportunity to take a souvenir photo with the Coca-Cola Christmas Truck. People will have a chance to experience a virtual sleigh ride through the forest and to play Ice Block Jenga. The Dublin Gospel Choir will perform at each of the stops on the Tour to add to the festive spirit.”


Phew! We’re back to normal traffic flow

They came down at noon on December 3 2016.

Barriers packed for removal

Uncoupling the barriers at McKenna’s

Fixing the last manhole cover in place

Tim Kennelly Dinner in 2002, Neodata Remembered and three humans

My Silver River Feale


Junior Griffin’s Memories

This is Junior’s father John Griffin. Many people will remember him as a great amateur engineer and the go to person to mend clocks, umbrellas etc.

Kay Caball who grew up as a neighbour of the Griffin family has a vivid memory of him on a fateful day when Bert Griffin got into one of his many childhood scrapes.

” We lived right across the road from the Griffins  in the Bridge Rd before we moved to Gurtinard in 1948 but I knew Bert better as he was the one older than me – Junior must have been a ‘big boy’ then.   Bert used often joke with me about the time I gave him a ride on my tricycle – a big black one as far as I can remember.   Young fellas didn’t wear shoes then and he went off for a cycle round our back yard in his bare feet but got his (big) toe stuck in the chain.  Talk about an emergency – there was no A & E or no Ambulance then.   I can just remember crowds of people in the back yard all giving conflicting advice on how to extricate the toe without success.  Eventually Johnny Griffin (their father ) had to be called away from his job (was it McKennas?) and he had a hacksaw and had to saw the chain off to get Bert released.  Somehow or other then I was blamed – apparently I gave him a push at the wrong moment.


Tim Kennelly Dinner, October 25 2002

Junior let me photograph some of his memorabilia of this great night. In the above photo are Bert GriffinR.I.P., Mary and the late Eamon O’Connor, Vincent and Kathleen Carmody

Junior has kept his menu which was autographed by many of the football greats who attended.

At the front are Mike Nagle of Ballybunion, John Brosnan, Junior and Fr. Kieran O’Shea


Neodata Memories

Neodata is no more…..November 2016

Kathleen Nolan worked in Neodata in the 1970s and 80s. She very kindly agreed to tell us what she could of the history of the place:

“The Neodata office in
Listowel operated as a processing centre for the Philip Morris cigarette
company in the United States. Coupons were collected from cigarette packets and
sent with order forms for different products. 
The office in Listowel handled the coupons and processed the orders. The
data was sent back to the U.S. and the goods supplied to the customers.

I am not sure when the office
opened but I worked there as a typist in 1973 along with a lot of other women.

One room was assigned to
typists and the other was the mail room.

I worked in Neodata again in
the 1980s as a mail opener and I micro filmed the order forms. Typists were
also employed at that time. The big change was that the typewriters had been
replaced by computers.

Lorry loads of mail were
collected at Shannon in the mornings and brought to Listowel for processing.
Neodata also had offices  in
Newcastlewest, Kilmallock, Abbeyfeale .

The office in Listowel may
have become an eyesore in recent years but we should not forget the huge amount
of employment it generated for the town and its environs during those years and
as a consequence generated a lot of money for the many women, married and
single who worked there. There were some men employed there but not many. This
earned it the nickname “The Henhouse”. 
Wags earned there were largely spent in town and it was a great loss to
a lot of people, workers and shops. It was a very busy place and friendships
were formed there that endure to this day.”


Some Humans

Jimmy Deenihan, Daisy Foley and John Mulvihill in Listowel Community Centre for BOI Listowel’s Enterprise event on Nov. 26 2016


Mystery Solved…..Violá! A beautiful new Seat

The sculptor is Darren Enright.

I photographed the beautiful piece of street furniture, which celebrates Listowel as Ireland’s Best Small Town in the Tidy Towns’ Competition, from all sides so that you could get a good idea of its size and location.


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