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 email@example.com
Fr. Anthony Gaughan, who has donated all of his awards to be displayed in Kerry Writers’ Museum is the author of 45 books, most of them scholarly histories of important people and places. His best known book of local interest is Listowel and its Vicinity which is now a much sought after collector’s item.
At age 91 he is still going strong and will launch another book, a collection of his reviews, at this year’s Listowel Writers’ Week.
Helen Moylan, mother of the silversmith artist, holding Fr. Gaughan’s Writers’ Week Lifetime Achievement trophy at the handover of his precious decorations on April 24 2023. This piece of Eileen Moylan artwork depicts Listowel landmarks, dear to Fr. Gaughan and it has a quotation from his dear friend, John B. Keane. . It is very generous of Fr. Tony to bring it back to Listowel, where it can be be displayed and appreciated.
Gardaí Raise Awareness of Domestic Abuse
On Friday last, April 28 2023, Listowel Garda Station joined other Garda stations nationwide to raise awareness of domestic violence.
Purple day was winding to a close as I passed but I was welcomed in and treated to a bun.
John Ryan joined Sergeant Fidelma O’Leary and the representative of Adapt Women’s refuge in Tralee for my photograph.
Found on the internet;
In 1955 John Steinbeck wrote to Marlyn Monroe.
The telephone kiosk is back.
This is the new public telephone in Tralee.
The phone accepts coins and cards. There is a minimum charge of €2. Not cheap but it could be a lifesaver in certain conditions. Beside the phone there is a touch screen with vital phone numbers and other handy information. The sun was shining on it so I couldn’t photograph it for you.
This looks to me, like a welcome development .
Bagpipes were introduced to The British Isles by the Romans.
Éamon ÓMurchú took this photo of the bridge to Listowel Racecourse in December 2021
Beautiful door on Courthouse Road
Grave of the Presentation Sisters in St. Michael’s Graveyard
The last time I posted the nuns’ headstones I omitted one. It was missed. So for the sake of accuracy I’m putting them all together here now. Sisters who have died since 2013 have been buried “with their own people”. May they all rest in peace.
Coming to Listowel Writers’ Week 2023
The future of Irish writing is in safe hands. Sarah Gilmartin is one of the new generation of Irish writers and novelists.
On Friday, June 2 2023 in Listowel you can hear Gilmartin discuss her novel with Una Mannion and Elaine Feeney.
These are two of the inscriptions on the plinth of the statue
My Weekend Visitors
Listowel looking beautiful in the sunshine As I welcomed the Kildare branch of the family.
Important Donation to Kerry Writers Museum
Fr Anthony Gaughan is one of Listowel’s most prolific and respected writers. On April 24 2023 he donated all his awards to be displayed in Kerry Writers’ Museum.
Not all of the board of the Writers’ Museum could attend the hand over of this generous donation. Those present were Seán McCarthy, David Browne, Cara Trant, Fr. Gaughan, Jimmy Deenihan, Gabriel Fitzmaurice, Bernie Carmody and James Kenny pictured with the awards.
My wife received a Neiman Fellowship last spring for a year of study at Harvard. We’ve been in Cambridge, Mass. (Boston) since August and will return to Washington in June. I am semi-retired and taking some Irish Studies classes at Boston College and working on a book about how American journalists covered the Irish revolution.
I’ve enjoyed access to Harvard’s many libraries through my wife. The other day I was wandering the stacks of the flagship Widener Library (It’s more fun than online searches!) and came across ‘Listowel and its vicinty’ by Gaughan.
I thought you might enjoy the attached photo for Listowel Connection. I enjoy your blog. My own blog reached its 10th anniversary last July. I’m still having fun!
With best wishes,
John Fitzgerald remembers Tae Lane in a different era.
Places like The Casbah and The New Road will be familiar only to Listowel natives of a certain age.
I enjoyed this epic poem of deeds of yore.
The Battle of Tae Lane
There’s a one eyed yellow idol to the north of Khatmandu,
there’s a cavalcade of cavalry lost in Death Valley too.
there’s the pharaohs in their pyramids and the Eiffel on the Seine,
but who of you remembers the famous Battle of Tae Lane.
Napoleon planned his sorties from a galleon out at sea,
and Hannibal crossed the Great Alps on an elephant you see,
Bush set his sites on Bagdad as mighty Caesar did on Spain
and the Casbah planned new boundaries to encompass sweet Tae Lane.
‘Twas in the year of fifty nine, at the back of Sandy’s shed,
long since Hitler went to Poland and Paddy to Hollyhead,
and of all the wars you’ll mention, there is none will hold a flame
to the fight fought by the Gravel Crushers defending their Tae Lane.
For weeks before the New Road was a tranquil place by day
as the boys played round the grotto and the old ones knelt to pray,
but at night behind the Astor, they gathered one and all
to plan their deadly battle and The Gravel Crushers fall.
The sally and the hazel were long stripped before the fall.
Nature played no part in this of that I well recall.
‘Twas the hand of Tarzan Murphy paring sticks both thick and tall
as he swung through trees and branches letting bows and arrows fall.
The signs were all apparent if only eyes would see.
Paddles Browne went round the town on an errand of mystery.
From Moss Scanlon’s up to Shortpants he gathered off cuts by the score,
leather pouches for the making of the deadly slings of war.
Bomber Behan scoured the backways, picked up bits from forge to forge.
Each scrap of steel, the point he’d feel, an arrow tip or sword.
‘Til at the back of Charles Street, as the last forge he did pass
he felt the boot of Jackie Moore go halfway up his ass.
His shouts and bawls off backway walls went half way round the town
Mutts Connor and Gigs Nolan thought ‘twas the Bandsroom falling down.
But the ear of Tommie Allen, sharp as any corner boy
Heard the beans were spilt , they’d all be kilt , and he began to cry .
“The game is up”, he shouted from Scully’s Corner’s vantage point
“Poor Bomber he’s been captured as he was struggling to find
live ammo for the battle in the cold and p p pissing rain
Pat Joe Griffin must be warned to strike early on Tae Lane.”
Brave Victor of the Broderick clan defied the daring raid,
He called his troops together and ‘twas then this plan he made.
“We’ll meet them at the bottleneck” that went by the shithouse name
under Dan Moloney’s garage in the heart of sweet Tae Lane.
He marshalled troops to left and right, of the gushing sewer outfall.
No silver from these waters flowed of that I well recall.
Half were placed on the market cliff and half on Dagger’s dump
and there they’d wait in soldier’s gait ‘til Victor shouted jump.
The Gravel Crushers ammo was got ready for the drop,
gattling guns and gadgets from Fitzgibbon’s well armed shop,
no trees they’d cut, no face they’d soot, yes, they’d face no blame or shame
those gallant lads from William Street who defended their Tae Lane
The butcher boys, the Shaughnessys were such an awesome sight.
Young Mickey climbed the saddle of the King’s Tree on the right
Titch and Teddy ever ready, pointed bamboos on the bank
As P.J. stood next to Victor, his brothers he outranked.
While Back The Bank they gathered just below the Convent Cross,
where Mickeen Carey taught us all the game of pitch and toss.
John Guerin took no notice, no thoughts for God or man
only the rushing of those waters where the silver salmon ran.
Pat Joe was the leader of the Casbah’s fearsome band,
with the Nolans, Long John and Spats, he’d backup at his hand.
There were the Reidys and the Roches, the Cantys and the Keanes
and they all set off together to capture sweet Tae Lane.
‘Twas a battle worth recalling, there were heroes more than few,
as the sky above grew darker when the stones and arrows flew,
and in the close encounters , it then was man to man
one a Gravel Crusher and one a Casbarian.
With blood flowing towards the river, it all came down to two,
the leaders of those fighting hordes, Victor Broderick and Pat Joe.
They wrestled in the nettles, in the rubbish they did fight
among stickybacks and dockleafs and Mary B’s pigshite.
The duel it was well balanced as they struggled on the grass,
a rabbit punch, an elbow a kick in shin or arse.
No mercy would be given, sure the day would end in pain
such was the price one had to pay for lovely sweet Tae Lane.
The bold Mickey took a horsehoe which he’d pinched from Tarrant’s forge.
No more in vain he could watch in pain his brother poor Pat Joe.
The glistening shoe of steel he threw, it caught Pat Joe’s left grip.
“The odds have changed”, Eric Browne exclaimed “we’re on a sinking ship”.
Just then the sky above them changed, the sun shone through instead
as round by Potter Galvin’s came the flash of Ollie’s head.
Mounted on a milk white stallion from Patrick Street he came
thundering to the brother’s rescue as he lay wounded in Tae Lane.
There are mixed views of what happened next, but I was surely there.
No classic from the Astor or the Plaza could compare.
Mac Master or Mc Fadden could never stage the play.
Who won? Who lost? What matter, all were Gleann Boys on that day.
That battle royal still lingers in the confines of my mind.
No time nor tide dare loose it as long as I’m alive.
‘Twas the battle of all battles that held no blame or shame
fought fiercely by those boys of yore for the right to rule Tae Lane.
Yellow Dresses for Cailíní
I spotted these in Dunnes Stores. Is it just me or do these have a cailín chiúin vibe?
This is Angeline, the actress, with Jerry, the John B. Keane fan before the start of our Living Literature Tour on Saturday July 21 2018
We were in The Seanchaí for a tour of the rooms dedicated to North Kerry Writers. If you get a chance to take this guided tour, I’d highly recommend it. Angeline, our guide, was full of enthusiasm for the work of the featured writers. She sang, played, recited and acted to bring to life the work of the various writers. She was brilliant and we all greatly enjoyed the tour.
In the room dedicated to Bryan MacMahon she told us the story, recounted in The Master, of Bryan getting a young mahout to bring a baby elephant to the school. This seems really extraordinary to today’s young people but a photo in the John Hannon archive shows a parade of elephants through the town to advertise the arrival of a circus.
Elephants on Market Street photographed by Johnny Hannon.
Paddy stepped up to the plate to play Byrne to Angeline’s Big Maggie in the excerpt from the John B. Keane Play.
Dublin Kerry Association
I missed this one earlier in the summer when Fr. Anthony Gaughan was presented with an award and the Kerry gang in the capital came out in force
Fr. Gaughan with Miriam O’Callaghan and Keelin Kissane
Seán Keane in Finuge
The highlight of the Seán Maccarthy Memorial Weekend was Seán Keane in concert Neil Brosnan was there and he met Brendan Kennelly with his sister and niece.
Photo; Neil Brosnan
This photo and caption are also from Neil Brosnan on Facebook.
Sean McCarthy ballad competition sponsors, Mike and Sue Nilsson, with prizewinners: Joe Harrington, 1st, Caroline O’Callaghan, 2nd, and myself in 3rd place