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 listowelconnection@gmail.com

Tag: Gabriel Fitzmaurice Page 1 of 3

Listowel Moments

Upper Willian Street, May 2022

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Lovely Listowel Shop Fronts

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The Bohemian Players

One of the boards in Kerry Writers’ Museum exhibition, Raise the Curtain; The Story of Amateur Drama in Kerry, tells the story of The Bohemian Players.

This travelling drama troupe was based in Castlegregory. They travelled the length and breadth of the country with their entertainment offerings.

These descendants of medieval strolling players were much loved in the Ireland of the 1940s, 50s and 60s before the advent of television.

They came to town, set up shop and offered a new play every night. East Lynne and The Colleen Lawn were favourites. There were talent shows and raffles as well. The show usually ended with a comic sketch so the audience went home laughing.

I met these lovely people at the launch of Raise the Curtain. They are Bridie and David Costello. David’s father Robert owned The Bohemian Players and David’s mother was the leading actress.

David is a family historian and he has carefully kept memorabilia of his parents’ company.

In the above photo Bridie and David are listening to David’s account of his family travelling show. This account is in the oral history part of Kerry Writers’ Museum.

David showed me this marvellous piece of history. It’s his fathers ledger from 1949. It lists the takings for the week and the wages paid to the actors.

You will note that they worked 7 nights of the week. The Costellos themselves took no wages. Of course there were other expenses like food and maintenance, fuel for the lorry, costumes, props and running repairs.

It was a precarious enough living but performing was in their blood and their arrival was eagerly awaited in towns up and down the country.

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Pound Lane Children

Picture and caption from Bernard O’Connell

The Mid 60’s Poundlane Gang

From far left Agnes Sullivan, Donal Sullivan, Ben Holyoake, Joe Holyoake, Its me, Katrina Lyons,Martina Lyons, Mary Lyons, Mary Brosnan, Noreen Holyoake, RIP Mary Carmody, Kevin Donovan, Noelle Donovan

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I Love a 99

Here I am at the door of Mahony’s of The Square enjoying my first ice cream of the season.

The ice cream was delicious.

This was a training day before the real launch of this new venture, opening on June 1 2022.

I think they will do really well. We miss Dominick Moloney’s cones. Now we have a great replacement.

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All Ireland Rosary Rally

In Listowel Town Square on Saturday May 14 2022

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Only in Listowel

Yesterday I brought you the story of a morning in the life of Jimmy Moloney, Mayor of Kerry and thespian.

On Sat. May 7 2022, at Kerry Writers Museum Jimmy spoke at the launch of Raise the Curtain , an exhibition celebrating amateur drama in Kerry.

Minutes later, he reprised his recent role as Mike Glavin in The Lartigue’s Sive.

In the audience was Gabriel Fitzmaurice, poet.

Gabriel celebrated the occasion in a poem which he sent to Jimmy.

Jimmy and Gabriel kindly shared it with us in Listowel Connection.

Only in Listowel, “the Literary Capital of the World” would you have an occasion where a mayor goes from performing mayoral duties to acting in a play and in the audience a poet is writing a poem about it.

Two photos from the same event ; Jim and Frankie MacMahon with poets, Seamus Barra OSuilleabháin and Gabriel Fitzmaurice.

Éamon ÓMurchú, Owen MacMahon and Gabriel Fitzmaurice at the statue of Bryan MacMahon.

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Covid Signs,and A Sister’s Love in a poem and Opening Night Listowel Writers’ Week 2020

Only God can Make a Tree

Kay McDonnell took this photo

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Sisterly love in a Poem


“Limerick poet Anne Mulcahy wrote the poem Sister in 2014. I have her permission to get it published. ” Mattie Lennon”

The story behind it is as follows;

   A mutual friend of ours had a brother, David, with Down Syndrome. He was also non verbal. David spent 55 of his 57 years in an institution until his death in 2014. When he reached the terminal stage of his life that same institution clearly did not wish to have him remain in their care but rather wished him to enter an acute hospital setting. This issue needed to be robustly fought with the members of the institution to allow David to remain in his ‘ Home’.  His sister, who had been his Guardian Angel for decades, was an able and willing advocate to defend his rights. 

Sister was written from David’s perspective from beyond the grave.  

 Dear Sister, thank your noble heart, that fought my need to sleep,

In sheets that smelt and felt so familiar to me,

You spoke my words when my voice could not be found,

Through divided chaos you firmly stomped the ground,

Chin firm, teeth clinched, and no budge to make-

Steering the ship to higher ground!

Now, here, in this realm my tongue is loose and free,

And sings songs like Jingle Bells and happy melodies.

I cannot keep a pair of shoes, so worn are they from dancing.

And I laugh so much, I cry big tears, till my shirt oft needs changing.

Cold nights I read before I sleep, warm tales of hope and peace,

And all the while, I lay entwined, in my own familiar sheets!

Everything here is wonderful, both the company and the food,

And I’ve met many here that I once knew.

Pain does not exist here-only a great peace of vast magnitude.

Dear Sister, hold fast the times we had,

We both know the efforts you made, the gifts you brought, the prayers you said,

And when we meet, as sure we will, I’ll have a bed ready and made!

©Anne Mulcahy 2014.

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Listowel in the Pandemic of 2020

Jumbo’s and O’Connell’s Decor are two very busy shops at this time.

McKenna’s has a one way system.

The pharmacy next door has lots of signs

You can see the table with the sanitiser for customers. A one way system is in operation.

Behan’s The Horseshoe is open for take away food.

Sad to see a Robert Moloney’s, a shop which always worked long hours, closed.

When I took my second walk downtown later Dominick was in town checking on his premises. Dominick  Moloney is a tonic in a pandemic, always in good form and ready to pose for the camera.

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Listowel Writers week Opening Night May 27 2020


I love Opening Night. i take up my position at the hotel door and photograph local people and visitors arriving in their finery for one of Listowel’s biggest nights. The atmosphere is electric, the music uplifting and everyone is in great high spirits.

Covid 19 meant that all of that was different in 2020. Opening night speeches and prize giving went online. RTE came to town and Joe Stack, whose usual role as sports reporter is in a bit of a lull, interviewed local people about the loss of the festival and its revenue. Lovely Listowel was on every news bulletin.



The scene at The Listowel Arms on May 27 2020


Billy Keane was being interviewed at the door of John B.’s

In The Square, RTE was interviewing Gabriel Fitzmaurice for TG4.

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Out and About with Camera


I met my friends, Joan and P.J. Kenny in the Square on May 28 2020. They posed, at my request, on the Tidy Town seat.


Santa, Carol Singing and the launch of A Book and cd of Kerry Songs of the Revolution

A Christmas Photo from 2016




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Carol Singing

Photo: Scoil Realt na Maidine

Boys entertaining shoppers at Garvey’s Super Valu Listowel last week.

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A Story that tells how Times have changed in a Picture

Extra public phonebooks being installed in Dublin for the Eucharistic Congress of 1932

“All’s changed, changed utterly”

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Their Memory Will Endure


On Saturday evening, December 15 2018, I attended another launch of an extraordinary Kerry book. This is a project compiled by Gabriel Fitzmaurice and Pádraig Ó Concubhair.  We got a book and a cd for €20 . In the book and on the cd we have songs commemorating events of the wars in Kerry from 1916 to 1924. This was a particularly violent divisive and bloody time in our county’s history, a period that is not much talked of nowadays, probably because of the very bitter rifts that occurred in communities and even in families

Here are some of the people who attended the launch which was done by Dr. Declan Downey.

 Gabriel was kept busy signing books. Padraig couldn’t be present.

Vincent Carmody, David Browne and Gabriel Fitzmaurice

As you can see there were many well known faces among the attendance.

Karen Trench is one of the singers featured on the cd.

David Browne introduced Declan Downey who officially launched the package.

This man rendered his ballad in a mellow mature voice.

Gabriel Fitzmaurice is himself a well known balladeer. For this project he took on the mantle of that great collector of Kerry ballads, Bryan MacMahon.

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A Nebraska Parish with  a Listowel Connection




We’re a bit late with this one but it’s worth celebrating.

St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church in Omaha celebrated 100 years in 2017. Marie Neligan alerted me to the connection with her Listowel family.

“Founded in 1917 as a mission of St. Patrick Parish in Elkhorn, the parish’s first pastor, Father David Neligan, celebrated St. John’s first Mass on Christmas in its original church – a former Baptist church, purchased and moved to the parish site by an early parishioner, John Zeis Sr.” 

Source: The Catholic Voice

Fr. David was born in Listowel. He was Marie’s uncle. Here is what she told me about him;

The first pastor at this church Fr, David Neligan, born and raised in Listowel said the first mass at this church when it opened on Christmas Day 1917. David was my uncle and was ordained at All Hallows’ on June 23rd 1912 and assigned to Omaha, Nebraska. He was buried there at the tender age of 33.

1965 Green Guide, Pub Theatre at John B.’s, Sensory Sunday at the barber’s

In Childers’ Park, Listowel

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Listowel’s 1965 Green Guide


Aileen Skimson in Canada kept this souvenir of her visit to Listowel, her father’s birthplace, in 1965. Here are a few more photos and advertisements to bring back memories.


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Remembering John B. Keane at 90


The first event of the recent John B, Keane festival was pub theatre in John B. Keane’s Bar.

I was there for a while and it was a great night.

 Some of the appreciative audience with Billy Keane.

Two of the performers were Cathy Healy and Gabriel Fitzmaurice.

 Mickey McConnell sang his tribute to Mary and John B.

Billy in character as the matchmaker.

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The Gentleman’s Barber, William Street, Listowel




Sounds very inviting, doesn’t it?


I know someone who brought a nervous little boy one Sunday. She was full of praise for the whole experience. Highly recommend it


Bealtaine event at Listowel Writers Week 17 and a traditional signwriter paints a sign

Everything  to Play For


Bealtaine is the title given to events during May, celebrating age and creativity.  Every year activities and celebrations are held all over  the country highlighting life long creativity.

This year Listowel’s Bealtaine event was held during Listowel Writers’ Week 2017. Poets, singers, musicians and sports stars and commentators were gathered in the ballroom of The Listowel Arms for what proved to be a great event.

It wasn’t all old people at all. Catherine Moylan who introduced the event and John MacAulliffe who facilitated it are mere whippersnappers. The poets and musicians are in their prime and the great Micheál O Muircheartaigh who was the oldest contributor is the most youthful octogenarian in Ireland.

The theme was sport and people read from the book, Everything to Play for. This book was the basis for this event and I’d recommend it. It’s a great book to dip in and out of. Many of the poems are short and pithy.

On the stage Michael O Muircheartaigh, Luka Bloom, Tony Ward, Enda Wiley and Elaine Feeney

In the audience Eamon O Muchú and Karen Trench.

Billy Keane was among women.

Luka Bloom, Micheal O Muircheartaigh and Gabriel Fitzmaurice

Tony Ward who is not a poet was in the poets’ corner with Enda Wiley, who read a great poem entitled Ryan Giggs is a Ride. Not all the poems were actually about sport. They just had a sporting connection. Elaine Feeney is next to John MacAulliffe.

Catherine Moylan of Writers’ Week introducing the event.

Tony Ward reminisced about playing and commentating.

Luka Bloom is from Kildare. He did not have as many successes as Gabriel Fitzmaurice to sing about. He did tell us a little known fact. Sonia O’Sullivan is half Kildare. He was for claiming the half that can run. He sang a song that has become a sports anthem, The Fields of Athenry. He sang it as it should be sung, with emotion.

Micheál took a risk and recited a poem in praise of a Cork man, the great Christy Ring.

Come gather round me boys tonight and lift your glasses high,

Come Rockies, Barrs and Rovers stars, let welcome hit the sky.

Let bonfires blaze in heroes praise. Let Shandon echoes fling,

For homeward bound with hurling’s crown, comes gallant Christy Ring….

Bryan MacMahon

Gabriel Fitzmaurice went one better and sang a ballad about a local Moyvane victory. It is the convention in such ballads to name every player on the team and so he did.

I thoroughly enjoyed this event.

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Martin Chute, Signwriter at work

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Saturday’s Eucharistic Procession

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