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: Finding Your Kerry Ancestors

St. John’s, old Limerick, a Ballymacelligott memoir and a street céilí

Moon over St. John’s in February 2018


Limerick 1940’s

Photo from a site called European Beauty on the internet


Being a Teenager in Kerry in the 1950s

This is an extract from a great memoir by Jerry Savage R.I.P.. You can read the whole memoir on

Find My Kerry Ancestors

Growing up at home in our school days we helped at home on the farm.  We were never bored.  In winter time we helped tend the cows and horse and clean out the stalls.  We also learned to milk the cows.  In the springtime we helped to set the potatoes and sow the oats and other crops.  In summer time we helped to save the hay and then draw it to the shed.  The oats and wheat were cut and saved in August and threshed in September.  That was the day we loved the most and a lot of the neighbours, called a ‘meitheal’ came to help on the day and we had a day off school.  We also cut and saved the turf.  It was hard work and we travelled eight miles on a horse and cart to do it. We also drew it home on a horse and cart.  There were no oil fires then but all these jobs prepared us for our experiences later in life.

Starting school in Tralee Technical School was an experience.  We had to cycle five miles to and from school, in winter and summer, rain or shine but we got used to it.   We made new friends and we took on new lessons to learn new subjects.  After two years I was selected as an apprentice to a garage in Rock Street in Tralee in 1942.  Motor cars were scarce then. There were only lorries and tractors.  The hackney men, teachers, doctors and parish priests had cars.


Seachtain na Gaeilge 2018

I happened to be in Tralee during SnaG 2018 and there was a street céilí in full swing in the square.

Providing the music was that great Kanturk balladeer and musician Tim Browne. I taught Tim a cúpla focal many moons ago


Doran’s Corner?

There is a tradition in Listowel of calling a corner after the shop that stands there. I wonder will this corner come to be named after the new pharmacy.


Looking for Flavin Family

I have been contacted by Stephen Flavin who is looking to make contact with any of the Irish side of his family, particularly anyone who may remember his late father.

“My name is Stephen Flavin. My father (deceased) was Michael Joseph Flavin who was possibly named (or even related to ) Michael Joseph Flavin Nationalist MP. 

My father was born in Listowel Dhirah West in 1917. I am trying to find anyone who may have known him when he was a boy/young man before he emigrated around 1946 to Corsham in Wiltshire. I would love to find a (school) photograph of him. He attended a local national school in the area around Listowel. He may have been mentioned in the school register/log book. 

Anyone from your group who can help in anyway would be fantastic.  

I realise that my father’s name was fairly common. I have seen a picture of Michael Joseph Flavin related and connected to FLAVINS book shop but this is a different man and family. 

My grandfather was Patrick Flavin and he married Julia nee Quirk and they lived with their children 4 sons (my father was the eldest) and 1 daughter called Sheila who married Frank Galvin who continued to live in the family cottage in the middle of a peat bog in an area called Dihra  West which is off the Ballybunion Road. You probably know that area well. “

Finding Your Kerry Ancestors, Upper William St and a Fr. James Connolly

Listowel Credit Union


Finding Your Kerry Ancestors

Kay (Moloney) Caball of Listowel and Limerick spends much of her time nowadays helping people find their Kerry roots. As well as her marvelous Find Your Kerry Ancestors website  and her face to face work with Kerry descendants in The National Library, she has now produced an invaluable resource in book form. Finding your Kerry Ancestors is the latest in a series of Finding your Ancestors books, produced by Flyleaf Press, each written by a local expert genealogist. 

I attended the launch of Kay’s book in The County Library in Tralee on Monday Sept 7 2015 and I found myself in very illustrious  and congenial company. I think, as a local historian, I have arrived!

Jimmy Deenihan launched the book and Tom O’Connor, Kerry County Librarian was our host for the afternoon. Listowel was well represented among the attendees. Kay’s husband and family, her brother Jimmy, sister Marie, nephew, in-laws  and grandchildren were all to there. Local historians were well represented as well as friends and supporters of Kerry. 

My photos only show a small sample of the audience.


Lovely Little Corner of Lovely Listowel


Rev Fr James Connolly, C.SS.R. (1822 – 1891)

This Redemptorist Father had just entered his seventieth year, having been born on the 26th of May, 1822. Father Connolly was a native of Sligo.

“Ordained on May 17th, 1856, he laboured as a secular Priest, in the diocese of Elphin, for about seventeen years, and for many years discharged the duties of Administrator. He joined the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer in 1872. He was stationed for several years in the various houses in Ireland, England and Scotland.

He offered himself to help at the renewal of a Mission at Newtown Sandes in Kerry. When the work was near its end Father Connolly complained of being unwell. Dr. Dillon, who was called in, declared from the first that his illness would probably prove fatal at such an advanced age. When his fellow-missioners returned to Limerick, Rev. Father Moynahan went at once to take care of the invalid, and nothing could equal the kindness and attention of the Rev. Father Dillon, P.P., Newtownsandes, to the dying Father and his companion.

“When he heard that his case was hopeless, ‘Blessed be the Holy Will of God,’ answered Father Connolly, ‘I have been preparing to hear this news for seven and thirty years.’

“He spent all the time that remained to him in prayer, and received the last Sacraments on Tuesday, May 26th,1891, his sixty-ninth birthday, and on Friday, in the afternoon, he passed painlessly away.

( From  Northkerry blog)


A few photos from Saturday September 19 2015 at Listowel Races

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