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: First Confession

Concert in the Listowel Arms, soldiers houses and First Confession

A Great Cause

They’re trying to raise enough money to purchase a bus for the use of the service users of St. John of God. If you’re looking for something to do on Friday night next, why not pop into The Listowel Arms. A great night is promised.


In Fashion

Two North Kerry fashion designers are in line for an award according to The Kerryman.


All’s Changed, changed utterly

Last week I attended Saicrimint an Chéid Aithrí with my youngest grandchild, Cora. This happy experience is a far cry from my own daunting first confession. 

Cora drew a picture of her “sin” or her ‘failure to love’ as it now is.

No gloomy confession box here. The little  boys and girls made their confession in the sanctuary in plain view of everyone. I even took a few pictures.

In the church of Christ our Light in Ballincollig, Cora presents her ‘sin” to Fr. George.

He listens as she explains the incident and then he gives her absolution.

Cora skips down the altar steps, her sin confessed and forgiven. Happy days!


Gorta Walk in North Kerry in the 1980s

Michael Dowling,  Derry Tatten and Gerard Lynch on  a fundraising walk in Moyvane, Knockanure and Listowel in the eighties.


From Minutes of a Council Meeting in 1945


After a long and unavoidable delay the British ex-servicemen’s houses are about to materialise at last. The initial work on these houses which are being built by the Irish Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Land Trust, was put in hands last week by a local contractor and I understand that four houses will be built for a start. To the Rev Canon Adderley, M . A. Listowel, more than to any other man, is the credit due for the much-belated coming of these houses, for he never lost sight of the promises made to the Irishmen who helped England in the hour of need.

First Confession and other miscellaneous stuff

First Confession 2015

This is the photo I took last week of my granddaughter making her first confession. Yes, I sat in the front seat and I took a photograph of the actual confession.

Do you remember Frank O’Connor’s hapless Jackie and the fear and trembling with which he approached the dreaded box? It’s hard to comprehend how far we have come from those dark ages.

“……It must have been then that I noticed the shelf at about one height with my head. It was really a place for grown-up people to rest their elbows, but in my distracted state I thought it was probably the place you were supposed to kneel. it was on the high side and not very deep, but I was always good at climbing and managed to get up all right. Staying up was the trouble. There was room only for my knees, and nothing you could get a grip on but a sort of wooden moulding a bit above it. I held on to the moulding and repeated the words a little louder, and this time something happened all right. A slide was slammed back; a little light entered the box, and a man’s voice said “Who’s there?”

“Tis me, father,” I said for fear he mightn’t see me and go away again…….  I took a good grip of the moulding and swung myself down till I saw the astonished face of a young priest looking up at me. He had to put his head on one side to see me, and I had to put mine on one side to see him, so we were more or less talking to one another upside-down. It struck me as a queer way of hearing confessions, but I didn’t feel it my place to criticise.

“Bless me, father, for I have sinned ; this is my first confession” I rattled off all in one breath, and swung myself down the least shade more to make it easier for him.

“What are you doing up there?” he shouted in an angry voice, and the strain the politeness was putting on my hold of the moulding, and the shock of being addressed in such an uncivil tone, were too much for me. I lost my grip, tumbled, and hit the door an unmerciful wallop before I found myself flat on my back in the middle of the aisle……”

(If I have whetted your appetite the full text is here )

Nowadays its a completely different kettle of fish. There are no sins just failures to show love. There is no box. Everything is done in plain view with doting Nana’s taking snaps of the whole proceedings.

The penitent does a drawing of a time when she failed to show love. She approaches the priest and explains her picture to him.  (Jackie’s attempts to stab Nora under the table would make a good picture). She then pegs her picture/sin into the bosca with all the other sins. She is absolved and comes away smiling. There was a bit of singing and tin whistling as well to complete the night out.

Times sure have changed!




Fun Ride

Jim MacSweeney took this smashing picture of a fun ride in Rathmore


New Shop heralds green shoots of recovery

Sextons is now surrounded by 3 new businesses


Liam Murphy remembers Mick Doody too

Do you remember my story last week about the man who used to come round to refresh and replace the horsehair in mattresses.

His travels took him as far a s Lyreacrompane because Liam Murphy remembers him too. He writes;

 Yes I do remember Mick Doody, he was a “Harness Maker” by trade. Around our place they called him “Blind Doody”.  In today’s world it would be improper to say. He  had a big lump over one of his eyes the size of  an egg and he was always chewing, even with nothing in his mouth.

He would sit at the table in our kitchen have a mug of tea, bread or a sandwich. Chat with my father or mother. He would arrive  walking with a stick, do not recall the dog. I been quite young would not ask or know where he was from or lived. 

Now that is from a long time ago, at least sixty years….”


Can you help….?

My grandmother Margaret Buckley (born 9/5/1891) was a servant in the William McElligott family in 1911 census. The family lived in/on The Square, Listowell Urban, County Kerry. Would it be possible to know if there are any McElligotts left who might have information about my grandmother or is that too much of a long shot? Thanks for any info.


Bad day at the office, lads?

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