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: Féile an tSolais 2019

St. Michaels Graveyard, the Ball Alley and my day in Philip’s Bookshop, Mallow

November 2019

November is the month when we remember our loved ones who have gone before us.


Listowel Ball Alley

For many men of a certain age, growing up  in Listowel is narked by memories of hours spent in the town’s ball alley. Below is the poem Junior Griffin wrote, remembering those halcyon days when his childhood entertainment revolved around the alley.

Memories of the ball alley in Listowel

When school was o’re, our hearts would soar,

At meals we would not dally,

With homework done, to seek our fun,

We’d wander to the alley.

To toss that ball against the wall,

And combat every rally,

With pouring sweat we’d play‘til death

Those games within our alley.

With left hand or right we’d try our might,

Until the grand finale,

But win or lose, how we’d enthuse

On those games played down the alley

Each game was fought, the prize was sought,

The marker counts his tally,

The match was won at twenty one,

‘Twas victory in the alley

But time moves on, the youth now gone,

No more do young men sally

To toss that ball against the wall

Of my beloved alley

Yet, memories hold of comrades old

Until the last reveille,

Of times gone by which brought such joy

Those days spent down the alley

Junior Griffin

 This is how the alley looks now, replastered and repainted in preparation for the light show that was part of Féile an tSolais 2019.


What a tree!

On the banks of The Feale


My Friends, Mary and Paddy

I ran into  this lovely couple, Mary and Paddy McElligott  on Bridge Road. They were in town for a wedding and were fitting in a quick walk  before the wedding feast.


A Minute of Your Time in Good Company

Flavins’of Church St. Listowel

I’m in the new Irish titles section in Philip’s Bookshop in Mallow, between Listowel’s Billy Keane who came to my book launch and RTE’s Brian O’Connell who didn’t.


My Mallow Signing

Since I come from that corner of the world, many of my Cork friends and relations were in Philip’s Bookshop on Saturday to celebrate with me.

My two most loyal supporters and friends, Bridget and Geraldine came from The Kingdom to hang out with me in Mallow.

This is Marion Moynihan, my late sister’s great friend who has never forgotten her over all these years. Marion came from Ennis.

Margo Anglim and I met on our first day in UCC and we have been friends since. Here we are with her husband, Eamon Kelly. They came from Dublin to support me.

Anne Leneghan is the daughter of my old Kanturk neighbours, Peter and Rita. I used to drive Anne to school when she was a pupil and I a teacher in Scoil Mhuire. Anne, a nurse was just off night duty but she made it to Mallow.

Elizabeth Breen is my niece just back from the rugby world cup in Japan. Next to her is my first cousin, Norah Ahern Rahilly. Norah and I are doubly related. Our fathers were brothers and they married first cousins., Norah’s daughter  is next and then me .

Darina Allen was signing her books with a sharpie.

There were 6 authors signing on the day. One of them was Darina Allen and she was also the judge of the Bake off. My granddaughter, Róisín, who was the youngest entrant won a special prize for her lemon drizzle slices . She got a big rosette and a copy of Darina’s latest book signed for her by Darina.

Watching Tennis, Barna Bog, Féile an tSolais 2019 and a 1972 pantomime

Abandoned House in Valentia Island

Photo: Chris Grayson


Watching the Tennis in the 1980s

Photos; Danny Gordon


Bord na Mona and Barna Bog

This photo was taken by a Bord na Mona employee, Mr. E Switzer, (related to the Grafton Street family) in 1948. It shows a tipper full off hand cut turf being loaded on to a Cadbury’s Rathmore truck.

Photograph and information from Bord na Mona Living History


Can you Help?


Féile an tSolais is looking for 15-20 volunteer artists and craftpeople, to complete an amazing project for its 2019 festival this October/November.

Key Skills

– Metal Fabrication

– Wirework

– Experience using Dremel tools

– Sculpture

– Upcycling

Please send a short bio with your name, age, skills and experience.


The beautiful Illustration below is called ‘The Destruction of Leviathan’ by Gustav Doré.


When the Pantomime was the Talk of the Town

Jack and The Beanstalk in 1972 was a show not to be missed.  With scriptwriters like John B. Keane, Bryan MacMahon and the panto king himself Declan Mangan, Colm O’Brien and Cathal Fitzgerald in charge of the music and a cast of thousands this panto had all the ingredients for success. So successful was it that it awakened an appetite among the audience for an annual panto and the players   and other participants had been bitten by the bug. So pantomime became part of Listowel’s entertainment calendar for a few years. People cherish very fond memories of those years. It also raised much needed funds for the building and fitting out of Listowel Old Folks’ Home, now Áras Mhuire.


People You Meet at a Conferring

Bob Geldof was lucky enough to run into Martin Moore at a recent conferring ceremony.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén