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: Fitzmaurice

Moyvane, Lixnaw, Wartime Rationing and Roddy Doyle in Listowel


Moyvane, Then and Now

The creamery now and then

Crows on Main St. then and now



Lixnaw and the Fitzmaurice clan

Kerryman 1957

If you would like to learn more…


Been There, Done That

With all the talk of food shortages if the U.K. crashes out of Europe, I thought it might be timely to look back to a time when there were food shortages in Ireland.

Above is a wartime ration book. Certain foodstuffs and other stuff like fuel were in short supply so the government issued books of coupons to people. Coupons could be exchanged for these rationed goods.

A little known fact is that the health of British children improved during the period when rationing was in force. When I see the list of goods that will be in short supply after a hard Brexit, I think we might see the same unintended consequence.

Another fact that is not widely known is that food was also rationed in Germany. This poster from 1916 illustrates, in cartoon form, the range of foodstuffs rationed there.


Fighting Words

Kate Kennelly, Kerry Co Council Arts Officer, Roddy Doyle and Jimmy Deenihan.

Roddy Doyle was in Kerry Writers’ Museum on Tuesday, September 24 2019 to promote Fighting Words, an organisation that he co founded to promote creative writing among young people. Fighting Words workshops have been running in Listowel since 2017. The workshops are held outside of a school setting, are free of charge and facilitated by adults who are not necessarily teachers. All you need to be a volunteer is a love of stories and a desire to help young people to write them.

If you would like to volunteer, contact Cara at Kerry Writers’ Museum.

Bernie and friends at Fighting Words Launch

Gleeson’s now Jumbo’s, Garden of Europe, Fitzmaurice ancestors and The Harp and Lion

Property House, Grand Parade, Cork


Jumbo’s Then and Now

Eddie Gleeson and Edward Gleeson at the door of Gleeson’s, now Jumbo’s

photo: Eileen Sheridan


Garden of Europe in August 2019

View from the entrance

 New flower border




Guide to the Garden by Amy Sheehy


 Holocaust Memorial

John B. Keane


Old and New

The newly restored and painted stucco looks a bit different to the old one.


In Search of Fitzmaurice Ancestors

Carol Burns wrote to us following her visit to Kerry;

We visited the Fitzmaurice castle in August. 

There were 10 of us from the United States. 

My husband’s grandmother was Johanna Fitzmaurice. 

This is some of what we know about the family. 

The name begins with Walter who was a Norman 

and royal officer for William the Conqueror who invaded

England in 1066.  They were invaders of Ireland in 1169. 

Johanna’s parents were Michael Fitzmaurice, born in 1834 in Ardagh and died in Renfrew, Canada in 1910.  Her mother was Johanna Culhane, born in 1836 an died in 1920.

Johanna’s grandparents were John Fitzmaurice born in 1807 in Ardagh  and died in Renfrew, Canada.  Her grandmother was Johanna Holly born in 1797 in Ireland and died in Renfrew, Canada. 

Our Fitzmaurice ancestors lived in Rylane, Duagh.

Members of the Fitzmaurice family were blacksmiths and moved 

to Renfrew, Canada in around 1860. 

A few of the Fitzmaurice ancestors attended St. Brigid’s church 

in Duagh, County Kerry. 

Is there more information about members of this Fitzmaurice ancestors?


Were you a Basketballer?

A Pres. Listowel winning basketball team. I need help with names and dates.


My Last Guided Walk of 2019

Only four lovely English visitors for my walk on August 31 2019. Small but mighty as they were interested and engaged and we had a lovely stroll around town. I think they will return home to install some jostle stones at the entrance to their London home.

Moloney’s. A Letter from Listowel in 1897, Gurtinard Wood and Art in The Square for Listowel Visual Arts Week 2018

Baby deer photo by Chris Grayson


Moloney’s Garage, Market Street

Moloney’s of Listowel had the Ford dealership when many Irish people and particularly Munster people drove a Ford. Ford had an assembly plant in Cork.

Same building today


A Letter from Kerry

This story is brought to us by Deborah Cronin. This is what she wrote;

My great grandfather, John J. Fitzmaurice, was from Listowel.  He was born in 1861 to James Fitzmaurice and Mary Dee.  John J. went to Chicago where he became a police officer and Detective. Eventually John married Deborah McAuliffe of Croughcroneen.   I am attaching a letter from James to son John written in 1897 that I thought you might find interesting.  Also attached are photos of John J. & Deborah.

It tells of a reliance on tillage farming, oats and potato harvest are of concern and there is also that blind faith in God to provide despite the evidence that there are hard times ahead. There seems to be a bit of trouble with a Mrs. Stack but it’s not too clear what that is.


Gurtinard Wood

The walk through the woods is leafy and inviting these days.


Listowel Visual Arts Week 2018

Listowel Visual Arts Week is a great addition to the plethora of festivals now taking place in Listowel. For one week, everywhere we looked there was Art on display. The festival was blessed with glorious sunshine and doubly blessed with generous artists and art collectors who shared their talents and treasures with us.

Readers of this blog will be familiar with the work of Athea based artist, Jim Dunn. He is responsible for the two enviable murals depicting Athea people and Athea life that adorn the village.

During Listowel Visual Arts Week, not only did we get to see Jim’s work, we also saw Jim at work. We saw how he does it and we even got an opportunity to “help” him create a masterpiece.

Jim paints with his right hand and in his left he holds a maul stick as an aid to keeping his hand steady.

You may recognise the local amateur artist painting a piece of the artwork.

I took these photos on day one. The painting went on for three days. So I’ll bring you more tomorrow.

The Rose Hotel, Tralee, Writers Week Children’s Festival and Casement commemorated.

Sunset in Ballybunion May 14 2016


The Rose Hotel, Fels Point

I was dying to see how this hotel looked after its recent refurbishment. It is the new home of The Rose of Tralee Festival. It lived up to the hype. It is sumptuously furnished with lots of comfy couches and armchairs, the loos are the first thing in luxury and the food in the newly extended dining room and bar was excellent and very good value for money. The young staff were very friendly and helpful. Any of them could audition for the job of Rose escort and I’d give him the gig. Yes, on the  night I visited, they were all male.

 My friends, Mary Jo and Bridget, agreed to pose in the spacious bright foyer.

They made me pose beside the photograph of this year’s Rose.


Treat in store for the Children

The National Children’s Literary Festival at Writers’ Week have a super programme planned for the first days of June.

Listowel children can be among the first to meet PJ Lynch as he takes up his new role as Laureate na nÓg.

photo: CBI 

All the information and online booking is Here


Ardfert remembers Casement

Ardfert school was represented at The Kingdom County Fair. They had on display a genuine gun recovered from the ill fated Aud. The pupils had designed a commemorative medal to celebrate the 1916 centenary.

They had a “Casement” in the dock  to promote their medals.

They brought along a mural which used to hang in a local pub.


Gardaí at the Fair


Extract from a Letter to the Editor 

Tralee Chronicle  Friday, 09 August, 1861

DEAR SIR,— Having seen in one of your late papers the preliminary

notice for sale  of the Duagh Estate, in this county, I send you a few

notes relative to the history of it, and or the family to which it

belongs, which may interest some of your readers.

This ancient estate was originally a portion of the lands granted by

M’Arthy, Prince of Desmond, to Raymond le Gros. I, shall not trace the

family of Raymond farther back than to say, that he was the son of

William Fitzgerald a Norman nobleman who lived in Wales, and whose

ancestors had come to England with William the Conqueror; under whom

they had acquired great military fame and large possessions. There is

a curious book in Trinity College, Dublin, Written by one Father O

Daly tracing this race back through the Dukes of Tuscany and all the

way to the Pius Eneas of Troy.— However, I shall be satisfied with a

more moderate pedigree and begin with the Invasion of Ireland.

Ireland was in an anomalous state at the time of this Invasion. While

it was the seat of much learning, and of the more refined arts. It was

also the haunt of savage customs, and revengeful habits. Like all

countries where feudal  customs prevailed, knowledge  belonged to the

few, great power to the chieftains; but the many were in. subjection

and ignorance. More widely beautiful than now, with Its waving

forests, wide-flowing rivers and spacious harbours, It was a bright

gem of the sea ; but torn up with domestic feuds and defective In its

political system, It was likely to become an easy prey to a powerful

Invader, well skilled in the military arts. Divided amongst a number

of petty chieftains, frequently at variance with each other, their

very animosity constituted a great part of the strength of the foe.

On Ireland in this state, Henry the Second, then Monarch of England,

cast his wily and ambitious eye, and soon found the pioneers of his

conquest in Norman adventurers, who were glad to get the opportunity

of relieving their broken fortunes or obtaining military glory and

large possessions by the Invasion of so fair a region.

At the head of these was Earl Pembroke, well known by the name of

Strongbow, and his General in Chief  was Raymond, surnamed Ramond le

Gros, either from his corpulence, or, more probably from his massive

frame and strength- Le Gros in the Norman, answering to ?  more in

Irish and big in English

Whatever the derivation of this nickname may be, Raymond seems to

have been well suited to the position in which he was placed and to

have combined the qualities of a noble disposition with those which

constitute the characteristic of a great General; for not only was he

famous for his Intrepidity, but he also possessed those, feelings of

humanity which ever accompany true courage.

A remarkable Instance of this was exhibited  in the opposition given

by him to the cruel council of. Hervey M’ Maurice  in the treatment of

the prisoners taken in a battle with the Irish, near Waterford

Raymond having landed with the thirty Knights, and bring joined by

Hervey  M’Maurice with a small troop, they made up a hurried  camp for

their defence. The citizens of Waterford, being troubled at  their

contiguity to their city, attacked them with three thousand men,

headed some Irish Princes. The Normans made a sally[j1]  out of their

little fort against  their opponents, but, finding the multitude they

had to contend with, made a hasty retreat to their entrenchments.

Being too hotly, pressed by their pursuers, they turned on them, when

the powerful and daring Raymond thrust the first of his antagonists

through the body, and, shouting his war cry, made a furious onset

Inspired by the bravery of their leader, the little band fought with

such resolution that they put their enemies to flight, and, after

great carnage, took several of the chief citizens of Waterford

prisoners. A council of war being held on these, Raymond spoke in

their defence, and strongly recommended humane measures. They are not

to be looked on now,” said he, ” as foes, but as our fellow-men, but

as men who have been subdued, who have been vanquished, who have been

conquered. Their fate being adverse, In fighting for the defence Of

their country noble Indeed, was their occupation.” In vain, however,

was his counsel. That of Hervey who at that time possessed much power

and Influence, prevailed and seventy of the noblest citizens of

Waterford having their limbs first broken, were hurled from the rocks

into the sea……..


A Blast from the Past

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