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: Fergal Keane

Listowel Players 1996

Praying for Peace with the People of Ukraine

St. Mary’s Church by Éamon ÓMurchú


A Crucial Week in the Life of a Grocer’s Assistant

Jer Kennelly found an old play programme.


1930s Listowel

8 Church Street Listowel , Co. Kerry

Photo copyright; Tipperary Studies Photographs of Munster Shops


From Presentation School Yearbook 1991


Some Famous Faces at Writers’ Weeks Past

Com Tóibín and Brendan Kennelly R.I.P.
Fergal Keane
Catherine Moylan and Graham Norton
John McAuliffe
Joe Stack


WW1 Poem, people at Ladies Day 2017, some timeless Kerry humour and Culture Night 2017 in Listowel

Photo: Chris Grayson


A Poem from The Trenches of WW1 is uncovered

This photo and story is from The Irish Post

The photograph was taken at Cornelius’ home at 40 Shannon Street in Bandon after his return from the war.

It shows the O’Mahoney family posing for the camera in front of their humble Co. Cork home – their graceful mother sat wearing a smile, exuding pride.

A MOVING poem written
by an Irish soldier during World War One has been unearthed in an attic in
Britain over a century on.

Peter ‘Derry’ McCarron was
clearing the house of his late mother in Kendal, Cumbria when he discovered the
poem within a stack of old documents.

The verses were written by his
great-uncle Cornelius O’Mahoney, who was born at 40 Shannon St (now Oliver
Plunkett St) in Bandon, Co. Cork in 1889.

Cornelius was 26 when he fought
in the Dardanelles, Turkey in 1915 for the 1stRoyal Munster
Fusiliers – who lost over a third of their regiment during the Great War.

His beautiful poem – titled
simply ‘The Royal Munster Fusiliers’ – was dedicated to the “memory of our dear
comrades who died in Seddul-Bahr, April 25 1915.” It reads:

‘They are gone, they are gone

Yet their memory shall cherish

Our brave boys who perished

And crossed over the bar

O’er their graves now the wild hawk

Doth mournfully hover
In that lone weary jungle

Of wild Seddul-Bahr

In the highest of spirits they

Went through the Dardanelles

And scattered their rifles

O’er the hills afar

Not knowing their days

On this Earth they were numbered

When the regiment arrived
In wild Seddul-Bahr

Shot down in their gloom

And the pride of their manhood

But God’s will be done

’Tis the fortune of war

With no fond mother’s words

To console their last moments

Far, far from their homesteads

In wild Seddul-Bahr.

May they rest, may they rest

Unhallowed in story

Tho’ their graves they are cold

Neath that lone Turkish star

Yet their presence is missed

From the ranks of the Munsters

Our heroes who slumber

In wild Seddul-Bahr.’

Following the Royal Munster
Fusiliers’ disastrous campaign in the Dardanelles, Cornelius O’Mahoney’s unit
was redeployed to the Western Front after a humiliating retreat.

“It was a case of out of the
frying pan and into the fire,” Derry, who was delighted to discover his
great-uncle’s moving stanzas so many years on, told The Irish Post.

“Cornelius thankfully survived
the Western Front and most of his family went to England after the warFollowing
the Irish War of Indepencence, the Irish Civil War and establishment of the
independent Irish Free State in 1922, The Royal Munster Fusiliers were

On June 12 of that year, five
regimental Colours were laid up in a ceremony at St George’s Hall, Windsor
Castle in the presence of HM King George V.

Nevertheless, the regiment chose
to have its standard remain in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin.

The Royal Munsters won three
Victoria Crosses in total during the Great War.

“Cornelius died in Shanakiel, Co.
Cork in the late 1950s. His youngest son John Joe stayed in Bandon and died
only around 15 years ago,” Derry said.

He added: “I found his poem among
old documents when we cleared my mother’s house in Cumbria. It was a beautiful

Derry kindly provided The
Irish Post
with a picture of a young Cornelius with his mother, two
brothers, and two sisters taken almost a century ago.


He who loves himself will never be short of admirers

Picture shared by Banksy on Twitter. Words of wisdom from an old sage.


More from Ladies Day 2017

I spotted Yankee Doodle making his way among the crowd.

Mary O’Halloran can be depended on to look stylish and beautifully co ordinated and groomed.

Our own Donal Lynch with some well dressed contenders.

This lady had half a bird on her head for the jazzy hat competition.

The style on the stage was matched by the style in the audience.

 Junior met an old friend at The Races

Joan and Caroline Kenny were at The Races with Helen Holyoake of Houston (and formerly Listowel)


Vincent Doyle sent us a laugh

This great story was recorded in 1938 by a Moyvane lad, William Kiely. 

Humour is timeless.


Culture Night 2017

I was not in town for Culture Night this year. I was in Tralee. I’ll tell you about that tomorrow. But I have curated a collection of photos from Facebook, describing the great night I missed.

Listowel Writers’ Week took a leading role in Culture Night activities of Friday September 22 2017. They organised Poetry in Locomotion in collaboration with the Lartigue Monorail and they held the Listowel launch of Fergal Keane’s book of love and war in The Listowel Arms.

Other events for Culture Night were held in St. John’s and The Seanchaí.  Finuge held its own very popular event. All in all, l a great night! I won’t miss it next year.

The watermarked photos are by John Kelliher. The others were taken by Máire Logue.

Artists in residence at Olive Stack Gallery

Audience for Fergal Keane’s launch of his new book, Wounds

Invited dignitaries for Poetry in Locomotion

Daughter Pippa joined Liz and Jim Dunn for the evening’s activities.

Meanwhile in Finuge the audience gathered to watch themselves and their neighbours in old archive films.

Last minute preparations before he releases his book to a very appreciative audience.

Fergal Keane with local poet and author, Gabriel Fitzmaurice

Holding the fort while Olive is in Paris

Listowel literary royalty,  first cousins, Joanna, Billy and Fergal

Fergal Keane with the best organiser of a literary event, Máire Logue of Listowel Writers’ Week

Poets and poetry lovers at The Lartigue

Meanwhile across the square in St. John’s, Vicar Joe was hosting a sell out concert with Sean Keane

Seán Keane fans enjoyed a great night. They are already looking forward to his return.

Meanwhile in The Seanchaí…..

Listowel Folk Group, St. Mary’s Church of Ireland, Killarney and more from Ladies Day 2017

Doe, a deer….

Mother and babe by Chris Grayson


Listowel Folk Group Bid Farewell to Ballinskelligs

Photos from Listowel Folk Groupon Facebook

For some years not, the parish folk group have been taking a welcome summer break in Ballinskelligs. Now the house where they used to stay is up for sale and sadly, those happy summer days are now just a memory.

The congregation at Saturday evening mass in St. Mary’s continue to enjoy their music and singing.


Tarrant’s of Market Street Repainted


St. Mary’s, Killarney, Church of the Sloes

St Mary’s (Church of Ireland) Killarney, is a beautiful church in the heart of Killarney which serves a small congregation as well as tourists. There is evidence as far back as the 1200s of a Church in this area. More significantly the name of the Town itself Killarney (in Irish: Cill Airne) means Church of the Sloes.

I visited this church recently and I took a few photos of the many beautiful windows and fittings.


More from Ladies’ Day 2017

It was great to meet so many local people making the Ladies’ Day style effort.

I was very surprised not to see this eye catching outfit on the podium. It seems to be the year of block colours. Florals or prints did not seem to get a look in with this year’s judges.

This looks to me like that fruit bowl creation which won at Galway. No joy at Listowel but you must agree it looks stunning.


Culture Night 2017

Fergal Keane will return to his father’s hometown on Friday Sept. 22 2017 to launch his new book.

Venue: Listowel Arms Hotel

Time; 7 to 8 p.m.

I took a few photos of Fergal when, as part of Listowel Writers Week 2017,  he read  his father’s lovely piece of writing for the introduction to Vincent Carmody’s North Kerry Camera.

Fergal Keane with Paddy Keane

with Kay Caball

with Eamon OMurchú

Fergal Keane reading to an enthralled audience

Walking Tour of the homes and resting places of Listowel’s Literary Greats and Ordinary Folk

Where they Lived and Where They Lie

In my opinion, in a Writers’ Week unrivalled for high points, this was was one of the highest. Vincent Carmody devised and put together a meander through the streets, where Listowel natives reminisced about growing up in this special place.

It was a morning for meeting old friends and acquaitances, literally and figuratively a trip down memory lane for Eamon O Murchú, Kay Caball, Pat Breslin and Jim MacMahon.

Pat Breslin and Eamon O’Murchú relived a shared childhood.

Thomas Ashe remembered his journalist uncle, John Ashe, locally known as Nash.

Nessa O’Connor came from Dublin to join Vincent Carmody, Joanna Keane O’Flynn and many more for the walk. The young man on the right is John Griffin of Killarney but with a strong Listowel connection.

This author brought along his own book as he joined the tour. His book recalls his days as a rock musician. It’s called Rock, Paper, Slippers.

John MacAulliffe, Tom Ashe, Eamon O’Murchú and Vincent gather at the hotel before we set off.

Liz Dunn wished us well on behalf of Listowel Writers’ Week as we set out for the Seanchaí and the start of a memorable walk around town.

Vincent introduced the first audio segment of our tour. We listened to an old record made by Tim Danaher called The Gift of Ink. It is a treasure on which writers such as Eamon Keane recall life in Listowel.

Historian and genealogist, Kay Moloney Caball read from the work of Bertha Beatty who described life in a big house in Listowel town square.

Moving outdoors, Jimmy Deenihan told us about Listowel Castle and the Shakespearean connection.

Jim MacMahon was accompanied on the walk by his wife and two sisters in law. Jim took us back to the Church Street of his youth where to be eccentric was to be normal. It was a street full of “characters” fondly recalled by all who knew them.

Fergal Keane met Paddy Keane. Fergal didn’t grow up in Listowel. Paddy did.

At Listowel Writers Week 2017 the audience often held more famous people than the stage.

Paddy Keane reading in The Square

Fergal Keane read movingly from his father’s Look Down the Chimney of Time.

(more tomorrow)


From the Archives

Paddy Keane found this in the newspaper archives.

Kerry Evening
Post, Nov 16 1887

Under the heading
“How Disloyalty is Taught in a convent in Listowel, Ireland” the following
appears in the Times of London.

Sir, The special
correspondent of the Radical Manchester Guardian in Ireland has sent to that paper
the following account of the great convent school in Listowel, Co. Kerry, which
is probably well known to our readers, especially such as are Roman Catholics.
It will surely be news to them how the girls are trained in systematic
disloyalty to Her Majesty so much so that they could not and would not sing even
one line of The National Anthem. Is it too much to ask those responsible for
this state of things to seriously consider what this is leading to. The Roman Catholics
who have so much to thank Her Majesty’s reign for, should be the last people to
encourage disloyalty to The Queen either in Ireland or elsewhere and I am sure
the great majority of them will be as much astonished on reading this letter
as I was. 

I beg to remain

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