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: Fealeside Players

Risin Sun then and now, a favourite recipe and the premier of Sive in 1959

Beautiful Beale

Ita Hannon


Your Help is Needed to Identify this old school, Teacher or Pupils

It’s somewhere in North Kerry but the sender of the photo has no further clue.

As they say on the TV programme, Crime Call, “The image is very clear. Someone must recognize someone…”


The Success of Sive

Text and photos: Vincent Carmody

Vincent Carmody was at the premier of Sive in Walsh’s Ballroom and he wrote the following account of the night.

Premier of Sive.

I was there at the beginning.

John B. said, ‘All Souls Night’ was his introduction to three act plays. My introduction was Sive’s premier, at Walsh’s Ballroom, on Feb 2nd, 1959.

I remember it, as it was one, of only two times ( apart from attending Mass), that I ever went, to any social occasion with both my parents. The other was when we went to see the film, Oklahoma, at the Plaza. My sister, Maura was with us. She was entering the nuns shortly afterwards.

I had seen Walsh’s Hall, rising from a green field site, in the mid 1950’s, and the night of the premier, was my first glimpse of it internally, it appeared then to me, as the largest building, apart from our local Church, that I was ever in. 

The hall was jam-packed, many of those around, were familiar to my parents, so there was a continual buzz of conversation. Looking back, much of what went on, on the stage that night, went over my head, However, there are certain moments that I can vividly remember to this day, after a distance of 57 years.

The first was, the distinctive sound of a bodhran being beaten, first in the distant, then louder as it came nearer the Glavin’s house, then louder as the two tinker men came into the kitchen, Carthalawn singing and being told by Pats Bocock, ‘your best, your almighty best’

I remember, Mena Glavin’s taunting of her mother in law, Nanna Glavin, and I am sure that I felt pity for her. What I remember most of the acting, was the shouting outside the house, before Sive’s dead body was brought back from the bog, and then as she was brought into the kitchen and laid on the table top. 

Make believe became reality when the play finished, the lights were turned and the actors took several standing ovations.

All those on the stage that night were people that my family knew well, The Cahills, John and Siobhan (Carthalawn and Nanna Glavin), our mothers used attend Children Of Mary together, John Flaherty (Pats Bocock) as gentle a billiard player, as he was a gentleman, he was our tailor, Bill Kearney (Thomasheen Sean Rua, the Matchmaker) we knew him as Sgt. Kearney, he was officer in charge of the local F.C.A. headquarters, The Slua Hall. Nora Relihan (Mena Glavin) Nora was married to Mick Relihan, our neighbour. Brendan O Carroll, the play’s producer, my mother was a regular customer of his drapery shop, ( it was there I got my first pair of green and gold Kerry socks). Margaret Dillon (Sive). Her brother Tony and myself were for a while altar boys at the convent. John B, I did not know him then, at this time, he would have been known as The Joker’s ( Eamon Keane’s) younger brother. Kevin O Donavan (Mike Glavin), our friend and neighbour, he was our shoemaker. Brian Brennan (Liam Scuab), he was from out of town, he worked for the contractors that were building the new boys school at the time. Hiliary Neilson (Sean Dota) the Technical School’s metalwork teacher with the Swedish name, at the time, we only knew of him from lads attending the school. They used say,” you better keep on his right side or else he could hit you with anything”  Meeting him in later life, I found him a kindly man, his sole interest in teaching, the progress and well being of his pupils.

I have since seen the play over 10 times, however those first night memories are indelibly frozen in my mind.

The photograph and program, I framed, and gave to John B. on his 70th birthday in 1998. It remain’s in the bar.

The original photo of the opening night cast,

From left, Sean Cahill, John Flaherty, Bill Kearney, Nora Relihan, Brendan O Carroll, Margaret Dillon, John B Keane, Siobhan Cahill, Kevin O Donavan, Brian Brennan, Cecile Cotter ( assistant stage manager, a daughter of Tasty Cotter) Hiliary Neilson.

From Kay Caball’s scrapbook comes the early reaction from the critics


A Pleasant Surprise

When I opened the Weekend Magazine in my Irish Independent a few Saturday’s ago I saw a familiar face. It was Patricia Murphy who I remembered from Pres. a few years ago. Patricia was part of a feature about people sharing their favourite recipe. 

I’ve included it here for you. I haven’t tried it yet so you might let me know if you do.


Do you remember this?


Then and Now




Life in Downtown Asdee

Fr. Pat Moore continues his slow recovery. He is keeping us all posted on progress here

Between the Hills and the Sea

On Sunday he shared a memory of his good friend, Chrissie Nolan who passed away in December 2015

Fr. Moore’s photo of Chrissie Nolan taken at his deaconate ceremony in Rome in 1981


Fealeside Frolics

All photos by John Kelliher

You have until Sunday night to catch this Widows’ Paradise It’s gas!

Fishing in the 1950s, Fealeside Players, Arkhangel and Chinese New Year in Scoil Realt na Maidine

Carrantuathail February 2016

Stephanie Johnson on Facebook


Fishing as a Livelihood in Times Gone By

Photo: Liam OHainnín

From Shannonside Annual 1956

 A Beale Fisherman by
Mikie Hannon

“Beale Bar Herrings! Beale Bar Herrings!- at one time the
tune of most fishmongers in Kerry. The Beale Bar herring was to Kerry what the
Dublin Bay catch is to the Dublin Market. It is, however a maxim that is heard no more, for that quiet little country
place on the last bend in The Shannon as it meets the sea, is losing the fish
that made it famous and its fishermen too.

Beale Bar, that dreaded reef known to mariners the world
over, has gripped many a ship in its granite teeth, from the days of the frail
Thetis to the grand Oceanis of a few years ago. It was here the Beale fisherman
steered his currach.

The middle of the last century saw the fishermen of the
Beale coast reaping a profitable harvest from those waves, and up to The Boathouse came many a laden curragh. Those curraghs handed down from generation
to generation, their origin lost in time, have been known to brave many a
stormy night. For the Beale fisherman often rowed far from home into the night,
his fishing grounds bounded by Ballybunion in the west, Limerick city in the
east and then the Clare coast, Kilcreduan to Clonderla Bay. He could tick off
in an instant for you all those placenames in the tongue his fathers spoke;
Poll na mBó, Bun na Clugga, Portín, Poll Shuilleabháin, Barr na hArd. This was
the fishing ground of his fathers and their fathers for centuries.

And the names of those who rowed the Shannon remained
constant too from generation to generation – as constant as the placenames
themselves; Carmodys, Mulvihills, Hennessys, Kennellys and Hannons.

About six in the evening you would see them converging on
The Boathouse. There the nets were mended, the boats repaired and everything
got ready for the night. While they mended their nets, they talked the
fisherman’s talk. They were in time for the “flood time’, a quick flowing ebb
current off the Beale shore. The location of the herring shoals and the
prospects for the night were discussed. There, around the boathouse lay from eight
to ten curraghs, face downward on the sand or on their wooden stands. The
Boathouse took its name from the Guards boathouse which was near at hand.

The curraghs are lifted to the water in the traditional
manner on the shoulders of the fishermen, nets are put on board and fishermen
row to their various fishing grounds. Luck may be with them tonight. Old men
tell of seeing forty curraghs fishing the Shannon long years ago in the dusk of
a harvest evening.

The boatmen shoot their nets, one man pulling out the net,
the other rowing. Various hauls are made in different directions as tide and
counter tide ebb and flow. Sometimes the luck is good and money is made: Weeks,
however, may go by without a salmon striking. Here is the real test of patience
and tenacity. Often was an old seasoned fisherman been heard to say, after a bad season, “I’ll never go out
again.” But wait till next season comes
round. He’ll be there again. Fishing is in his blood and he must go.

The salmon has been fished extensively in Beale for well
over 100 years. The drft net was first introduced there by a Scotsman, who also
had three stake weirs on Beale Strand. The salmon fishing has followed a
pattern much the same as the herring. Years ago the local fisherman did well
and in their season from February to July they earned enough in addition to a
little home industry to give them a comfortable living. Today a visitor to
Beale strand during the fishing season will find one curragh and a crew of two
men. Once there were eight or ten curraghs
and twenty families of fishing folk.

The fisher boats are coming in out of the night to the tune
of the seagulls call and the slow steady lap of the oars. It has been a
fair-good night. The tired fishermen are happy. Their wives and families are waiting
for them in the sandhills around the shore. The curraghs are carried on weary
shoulders to The Boathouse. The Boathouse has memories for the aged fisherman
as he thinks of the bustle he saw around here in his boyhood, the men he knew
and worked with down the years, the storms braved- old times gone like the
wreck seaweed on the ebbing tide. The seagulls float overhead and give their
weird calls as if calling on time that were. And as the fishermen trudge their
way homeward, their footsteps trace a pattern on the timeless sands. So it has
been for centuries.


                    Date for the diary

“Fealeside Players present “WIDOWS PARADISE” for 6 nights commencing on Tuesday the 23rd of February 2016 to Sunday the 28th of February 2016. Tickets available from St. John’s Theatre Listowel on tel no. 068 22566.
Ticket Pricing €12 and Concession price €10.”


Then and Now


The Year of The Monkey

Photo: Scoil Realt na Maidine on Facebook

Scoil Realt na Maidine invited a local family to come into school and talk to them about the Chinese New Year. The boys learned about Chinese culture and they learned a few words of the language.


Another Win for Clodagh

Thirteen year old Clodagh Murphy won a silver medal in the Under 16 Scór competition at the weekend.

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