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: Fungi Page 1 of 3

Athea people and Countess Markievicz and Rith in Listowel on St. Patrick’s Day

Fabulous picture of Fungi, the Dingle dolphin by the people behind Fungie Forever


Signs of Spring

Bulbs are sending up green shoots, a reassurance that this cold snap will end.


Athea and Countess Markievicz

Last week I mentioned how I thought the good people of Athea were kind and friendly. A blog follower responded with this;

“Every word is true about Athea- especially the people of Athea. Years ago, I had interactions with the then attendant at the Mortuary in Limerick Regional Hospital- as it was then known. This man dealt with all remains deceased persons, whether they died peacefully in their beds at a good age, or died tragically- in many circumstances. 

He was extremely helpful to all grieving relatives and was much respected and liked. He told me once that he ‘loved’ to see a crowd from Athea coming to the mortuary, as they were the grandest and ‘dacentest’ people in the county. In their loss and grief, they came armed with a gift for the attendant (a bottle of whiskey) which no-one else ever bothered to do. Athea people are a special type- they have big hearts and appreciate a kindness.

Another story about Athea in the long-ago: Countess Markievicz (after whom a local Athea housing estate is named) visited Con Colbert’s Athea and was giving a speech when she was interrupted by by an old man, probably unused to see a woman in such a prominent position. He called out, “Can you bake a plain cake of bread, Ma’am?”  The Countess replied instantly,  “I can,”  and I can drive a four-in-hand!” A four-in-hand, as you equestrians will know, is a carriage drawn by four horses with the driver controlling and directing all four with a set of reins- an operation requiring special skill and strength, and beyond many men,  I believe.  That settled the old man’s hash pretty quickly!”



This good man whom I featured a while back is Fr. Bowen and not Bohan as I stated.


The late Bryan MacMahon and Brendan O’Carroll


Rith go Lios Tuathail

Rith is a national festival which runs every second year as part of Seachtain na Gaeilge,

March 11 to March 17 2018.

A 1,500km. course has been mapped out and it will be run in relays from Belfast to Listowel in 2018.

A special hand carved baton carrying a secret message of support for the Irish language will be carried as far as Listowel and the message will be read out from the stage at the viewing of the St. Patrick’s Day parade. The reading of the message will be followed by a street party.


As if that wasn’t enough excitement for St. Patrick’s Day, the mass on RTE will be broadcast from St. Mary’s, Listowel. It will be sung, in Irish, by Listowel Folk Group, pictured below at their annual Christmas party.

San Diego and other odds and ends

Look who’s in San Diego for the summer!

Liam Corridan, Kilian O’ Carroll, and Kevin O’ Neill of Ciarrai.

According to Stephen Ahern of Irish Outreach San Diego the boys were to play a special pre game performance on Saturday night. The game in question is an annual Irish Night event.

On the previous Saturday the Irish community in San Diego held a memorial mass for the students killed in the Berkeley tragedy. 800 people attended that mass.

Below is link to a lovely account of this memorial event in last Saturday’s Irish Times:

I thought I couldn’t be prouder to be Irish…


Photo: Internet


An Old One from John Kelliher


Fungi Going Strong

photo;  Go Kerry


Highwaymen in The Sky

This clip by Fleadh Cheoil Chaiarraí of Frances Kennedy doing what she does best in a pub in Cahirsiveen at the fleadh has gone viral on the internet.

The Ballad of Ryanair


Céad Míle  Fáilte Romhaibh Abhaile

The French branch of my family who have been discovering the Basque Country for a year are due home today.

“How’re we gonna keep ’em down on the farm……”


Origins of Kerry Step Dancing

Jimmy Smith of Rinceoirí na Ríochta (on left) back in the day.

A DVD featuring Jimmy and the origins of Kerry Step Dance was launched in the Brogue, Tralee on Friday night.

Brosna, stampaí, WIM 2015 and Lidl Listowel

  Everyone’s favourite Dolphin

It’s a while since I included a photo from Fungie Forever


Brosna Abú

Iknow well how hard it is to write well every time. Billy Keane succeeds more often than most. Here below, in its entirety, is his excellent piece on Brosna. It was printed in the Irish Independent.

The old village slopes down from The Square as if
it’s falling off the steep hill. It has been reported by folklorists that bikes
ridden by lightweights have often taken flight

Over it all is the high mountain.
The mighty Blackwater starts the long journey to the sea as a bubbling-over
pot, here in the wild highlands of the North Kerry Mount Eagle. Mighty rivers
have small beginnings. Great teams can come from small places.

There was a time when the derelict
buildings almost outnumbered the habitable dwellings in the village square.
Paint flaked away like some sort of artist’s metaphor for death and decay.
Cawing crows were the only sign of life on quiet nights when the lonesome wind
whistled the lament for a village.

Brosna was dead, they said. The
young people were leaving and the old were dying out. The doomsters and
defeatists were wrong. Brosna lives. Sure aren’t they the All-Ireland Junior
Football champions?

The kids called it the Tangerine
Dream, and the proof of it all is that dreams really do come true when you
truly believe.

Just to give you some sort of an
idea of the type of people we are dealing with here, it might be no harm to
tell you the story of Con Carey, the man who was buried twice.

Con was a hard-working bachelor who
was buried without the customary honours such as a shave and a wash and the
fitting out of a good suit. And so it was that the 12 apostles of Brosna dug up
Con and gave him a good send-off. Con was washed and shaved and togged out
beautifully for his last journey.

Prayers were said, toasts were made
and Con was reburied. Mairead Heffernan and Liam O’Brien produced a poignant
hour-long epitaph of sheer listening joy on Con for the treasure store that is
known as the Documentary on One.

I met a few of the 12 apostles over
the years and I can honestly say Our Lord would have picked them on his team
any day. So you see then there was context here. And principle and a desire to
do the right thing.

All-Irelands aren’t won in places
where the people give in. Brosna was painted up and local committees gathered
together to reclaim their village.

My grandmother was born in Brosna
and she died in childbirth. My grandfather used to bring my mother over to
Brosna in his horse and trap from Knocknagoshel for weekends and she was
treated like a sister by the Lanes of Meenavoughane, which sound like the name
of a slide, but these are real people.

Brosna is in the heart of Sliabh
Luachra, which takes in parts of the three counties of Kerry, Limerick and
Cork. Sliabh Luachra is famous for lively polkas and slides faster than fast
jigs. The organic cadences and rhythms of the music mirror the lively, airy
nature of her people.

There was fight there too and a
calmness. Brosna were three points down with two minutes to go against The Rock
of Tyrone in the semi-final but came out of that hard place. There were three
well-worked scores, coolly taken, in the last three plays to send the game to a
replay which they won.

By the way, Brosna say they never
encountered anything like the generosity in defeat of The Rock players and the
graciousness of their supporters.

So Brosna went up to Croke Park.
Old men and old ladies were there in the hallowed stadium for the first time.
There were more scares against the gallant exiles, John Mitchels of Liverpool.
The ball was cleared off the Brosna line with seconds left. They can never take
this away from ye Brosna, no matter what.

Congratulations too to our
neighbours and friends from Ardfert, who won their third All-Ireland. A truly
incredible achievement. And hard luck on Austin Stacks, the team that came from
a terrible defeat in 2013 to win local and Munster titles.

There were bonfires at the border
of Fealesbridge and at Patsy’s Cross on the old butter road to Cork. The Brosna
team walked over the River Feale as they took the cup in to Kerry. It’s all
recorded in a five-and-a-half-hour video shot by the genius Paidi Herlihy. I
suppose you can’t get enough of a good thing, and all receipts go to Brosna

They marched down the hill from the
GAA field to the village with pikes blazing. The Cullen Pipe Band from Cork led
the way. Mountcollins of Limerick gave their lit-up pitch for free. All of
Sliabh Luachra danced to the Brosna Slide. There were 3,000 people in the
village on the rainy night they brought the cup back home. I know, I know.
Wouldn’t you just love if it was your club?

Our old friend Jimmy Keane was the
manager. He never gave up on Brosna. One man with passion is worth more than
100 accountants. We need doers, not don’ters.

The battle now is to keep this
mostly young team together. Brosna has always suffered from emigration, and
maybe the momentum and confidence from Croke Park can somehow feed an economic

It’s been a good while now since
the eagles flew the mountain, but down below on the hill, the new Brosna
soared. The glory of the day brings hope and sustenance to a living village
that refused to give up.

Indo Sport


Irish Stamps 1922

Below are some more recent stamps commemorating the Battle of Kinsale in 1601


Date for the Diary

Great weekend in store

It will take place here. If you love Olivia O’Leary, Róisín Ingle, Katie Hannon or Mary Harney don’t miss this opportunity to hear them live on your doorstep.


A Little Bit o’ Lidl

It was all high visibility jackets, hard hats, drilling and banging when I  visited Lidl Listowel yesterday.

The story is that the shop is undergoing a complete refurb. Lidl Listowel will close for 5 weeks from April 26 2015 and when it opens again we won’t know it. It will have a completely new look.

Athea et al.

Athea Tidy Town Committee posted this picture postcard of their lovely village during the December cold snap.

I visited shortly after Christmas and took a few photos of my own.

This is the local Post office.

At Christmas it had this lovely stain glass effect picture by local artist, Jim Dunn, in the window. My photo does not do it justice.

Wintry conditions have slowed progress on the magnificent mural but it is always a delight to watch this masterpiece in progress.

As I walked through the main street, this delightful makeover of a post box caught my eye. Unusually, the box is on the wall of a private dwelling. Maybe it was once the post office?

This house had an almost life sized crib in front.

This piece of sculpture commemorates the town’s most famous athletes, the Aherne brothers.

A whole social history of Athea is captured by Jim Dunn in this intricate and fascinating mural. Below are some of the cameos included. They represent everything that the village holds dear. In years to come will people come to Athea as they do to Derry just to look at the wall art?


Old Listowel

This is a photo of the old bridge to Listowel racecourse


Fungi still going strong in 2015

Fungi photographed by his friends at Fungie Forever

Christmas in Listowel Garden Centre and a Food Fair Award

A Glorious Winter Sunrise in Ballybunion

(photo; Ballybunion Angling and Coastal Views)


The Late Lofty Kelliher

(photo; Mike the Pies)


Fungi Calendar

His friends at  Fungie Forever have put together an absolutely beautiful calendar. This is the cover.


Christmas displays at Listowel Garden Centre

Year after year, the Christmas scenes at Listowel Garden Centre just get better and better. Below are just some of the scenes which must have taken days to construct.

Santa’s bed


Listowel Food Fair Award

A Dandelion Flower Preserve made by The Wild Irish Foragers & Preservers from Birr, County Offaly, was announced as the Gold Medal Winner in the Listowel Food Fair Best Emerging Artisan Food Product Awards at the 20th Anniversary Gala Dinner & Awards in the Listowel Arms Hotel on Saturday night (22nd November). Sponsored by Kerry Local Enterprise Office, Sharon and Gordan Greene of The Wild IrishForagers & Preservers were presented with their prize of a cheque for €1,000 by Aoife Hannon, Chairperson of the Judging Panel. The Dandelion Flower Preserve will also be displayed and sold in Garvey’s SuperValu, Listowel, County Kerry. This year entries for the Best Emerging Artisan Food Product were received from all over Ireland. The judges then selected a short list of 5 finalists, all who attended the Awards and each received a cheque for €200*.

Photographed here are Gordan and Sharon Greene, with Aoife Hannon (Head of judging panel) and Pierce Walsh (Chairman).                ( Listowel Food Fair 2014)

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