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: Gaeilge Page 1 of 2

A Poet’s Hen, a Memorial and some Gaeilge

Centra and Circle K in Cahirdown


Irish on Listowel Streets from a TY project in 2007

Gaeilge ag Seachtain na Scríbhneoirí 2024;

An Satharn Meitheamh 1

Cúirt Filíochta: Irish language poetry event. Filí na Gaeilge ag léamh a gcuid filíochta. Eagraithe ag Matt Ó Maonaigh, cléireach na Cúirte, i gcomhar le Seachtain na Scríbhneoirí, le Glór na nGael Lios Tuathail agus le tacaíocht Oifig na Gaeilge, Comhairle Co. Chiarraí.

Thade Kelly’s Hen

A man called John Foley lived in Tralee at the turn of the century.

“It seems John J Foley was also an established painter and decorator based in Moyderwell, Tralee. In 1901 he was aged 34 and lived with his wife Martha (Knowling) and family. He died in April 1941, obit attached listing his active part in the town’s social activities including choirs, musical and philharmonic society.(account from 1889 attached). He is buried in Rath Cemetery, Tralee. He appears to be well established performer and famed in amateur circles for his performances.” David O’Sullivan.

One hundred years later a lady called Christan Bush in Georgia in the USA is doing a doctorate on Victorian literature. Her professor encourages her to study “unknown” writers from the period. Christan loves Ireland so she decided to research an unknown Irish poet.

Here the two stories converge. John J. Foley, as well as a performer was a writer of comic verses.

Where does Listowel Connection come in?

Every now and again Jer. Kennelly sends me snippets from old newspapers. One such snippet contained an account of a concert in Listowel in 1901 at which John Foley recited his poem, Thade Kelly’s Hen.

Christan found the text of the poem in an old Cork Examiner and here it is….

Now Christan had the poem but nothing about the poet. Enter our good friend and super researcher, David O’Sullivan.

Thade Kelly’s Hen garnered an amount of notoriety in these parts between March and April of 1901 due to a correspondence in the newspapers between Foley and Thomas F. O’Sullivan of Listowel, who took exception to the poem. David has researched it all for us and I’ll bring it to you tomorrow.

Lest We Forget

Heads bowed in reverence, a staggering 1,475 giants now stand among the fields of the British Normandy Memorial, overlooking Gold Beach. 

: S. Frères / Normandy Tourism 

A Fact

The time around Bealtaine was regarded by the Celts as a liminal time, a time when the spirit world and the earth world were close. At this time people who were in league with evil inhabitants of the spirit world could invoke their help to harm their neighbours. This belief was known as Piseogs.


The Pen is Mightier

KDYS Young Centre in April 2024

Maurice Walsh Memorial Event in 1995

Gaeilge ar Sráideanna Lios Tuathail

A 2007 school project

A Soldier of The Great War

This is the flag of The Royal Munster Fusiliers

Eamonn Dillon found this Listowel man on a Fusiliers internet site.

Joined the 8th Battalion as a 2nd Lieutenant in France on the 27th of August 1916. Wounded at the Battle of Ginchy, on the Somme, 9th September 1916. We do not hear of him with the Munsters after this but a Lt. E.J. Keane was placed on the Royal Air Force ‘unemployed list’ in December 1919. His home address, on his medal index card, was ‘The Square, Listowel, Co. Kerry.’

Ballyseede Castle

I was in Ballyseede Castle for lunch last week. What a treat to feel like an aristocrat for a few hours.

It’s a beautiful place inside and out.

A Fact

Before Christianity came to Ireland in the 5th century A.D., the year in Ireland was divided into quarters. This is often referred to as the Celtic calendar. The first days in these quarters, February 1, May 1, August 1 and November 1 were referred to as “gale days” and were the days on which the rent had to be paid.


Dick Spring’s Favourite Poem

Bunting at St. Mary’s to welcome the bishop and the young people who were confirmed on Friday last

Redevelopment of the Neodata Site

Jimmy Moloney sent us this letter…

Dear Cllr.,

Thank you for attending the briefing today on this project. As discussed, please find attached plans and particulars for the proposed Trailhead Facility at the Neo-Data site.

This project is going out for Part 8 public consultation tomorrow 24th of April 2024 – with a closing date of submissions on the 5th of June 2024.  The plans will be available online and on display at the Council Offices in Listowel.

The Project is for the development of fully accessible ‘Trailhead Facilities’ at the former Neo-Data site at Bridge Road Listowel to service members of the public,  users of the North Kerry Greenway and users of the Childer’s Park amenities. The construction of the Trailhead Facilities is funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development under the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme (ORIS) and Kerry County Council (€550k). In summary the proposed facilities will provide vital infrastructure for people of all ages and abilities who enjoy walking, cycling, fishing, nature and spending time outdoors. 

Alongside this project, Kerry County Council is currently developing a masterplan for the larger riverside sites including the remainder of the Neo Data site, the Ball Alley and the Town Council Depot (see figure below). The masterplan shall examine and propose the potential other uses of the area as possible location for other outdoor recreation and sporting facilities which will add to the existing offering of sporting facilities in the surrounding area. These further sporting facilities will include for a hub building including showers and changing facilities which could also service users of the proposed Blueway on the River Feale. The development of the masterplan for the area is funded Under the Department of Rural and Community Development under Rural Regeneration and Development Fund (RRDF) and Kerry County Council. 

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Micheál Lyons


Capital Development Unit North

Gaeilge ar na Sráideanna

More photos from a 2007 TY project


This book was compiled by students at a Dublin secondary school. They wrote to well known people and asked them to nominate their favourite poem for inclusion in a fundraising book.

Flowers of the Fairest

Maurice Walsh

I’ve told you before that discovering treasures in the swap box at the library has become a delightful occurrence in my life .

(N.B. If you are a Maurice Walsh fan you won’t want to miss this;

Public lecture on the Listowel literary tradition by Dr Deirdre Serjeantson: ‘Landscape and Memory in the Novels of Maurice Walsh’. on Sunday June 2 at 3.00 p.m…part of the Writers Week programme)

Look what I found last week. Thank you to the donor.

More tomorrow

Sad Tale from the Newspaper Archives

Today’s Fact

In April 1843 William Wordsworth was appointed Poet Laureate to Queen Victoria.


Signs of Summer

Upper William Street

Gaeilge ar na Sráideanna

In 2007 some TY students in Pres. photographed instances of Gaeilge visible in town. Here are a few of their photos.

A Poem from a Modern US Activist Poet

Poem shared on the internet.

Knocknagoshel Phoenix 2006

Doggie Days

Volunteers and a Donator/ Customer in Vincent’s

Mary, Hannah and Mary were the lovely shop assistants in the Vincent de Paul shop on Friday, April 19 2024. Brenda was bringing a donation but agreed to pose with an item of stock for my photograph.

No Words

Irish Times, Saturday April 20 2024

A Fact

The science of kissing is called philematology


Killarney, an Oyster Drill and alas poor Gaeilge!

Birds at the feast   photo by Chris Grayson



I was at The Malton in Killarney to meet up with some old friends and I took a few photos while I was in that corner of the tourist capital of Ireland.

If ever there was a symbol of Killarney, it has to be the Jaunting Car.

“Jaunt” is a word that has fallen out of favour of late.

 This magnificent tree is at the entrance to the Outlet Centre.

 The Franciscan Friary is a beautiful church.

 I had never spotted this before. It is located opposite the Friary and just off the roundabout.

Look at the three very different architectural styles in this corner.

Killarney possesses great natural beauty but its built environment is a bit of a mish mash.


Interesting Fact I learned from Ethna Viney in Saturday’s paper

On the rock where I fish there were bairneach (limpet) shells with holes and the contents not fully eaten. I found out that the holes were made by the oyster drill. How long have these molluscs been living in Kerry?

Fin Broderick, Listowel, Co Kerry

The oyster drill is an alien, invasive species that came in to oyster beds with imported Pacific oysters, and is found all around the shallow parts of the bays of southwest Kerry.


A window display for the week that’s in it


Lost in Translation

There is a blogger who calls himself the Geeky Gaelgoir. He is amused to see the mess some people make of translating even the simplest of phrases.

This week our geek found a cracker. You have heard of the US slogan Black Lives Matter. It grew out of anger at what seemed like the undue haste with which certain police officers fired their weapons if the suspect was black.

A counter movement was started by the right wing and they called their movement Blue Lives Matter. I can only suppose that it is because so many US police officers are Irish American that someone thought it would be a good idea to have this slogan printed in Irish on a T-shirt.

The huge irony arises from the use of words to describe colour in Irish. For instance there are two words for green, glas and uaithne, glas is used for organic things like féar glas and uaithne for things like a flag, brat uaithne.

But our ancestors perception of colour was different to ours and the Irish for a grey horse is capall glas.

Gorm is the word for blue. We are all familiar with súile gorma.

But remember our ancestors different perception of colour, so black people in Irish are daoine gorma. Our friend with the blue line through his shamrock is actually supporting black lives.

Since his slogan is gibberish anyway, I dont think anyone will get it.


A Wet Sunday on the Island

Racing went ahead despite the showers and winds. This is Danny Mullins with Kylecue who won The Kerry Group Steplechase for the third time.

Clouds gather over a not too busy Bookmakers’ ring.

Solitary horse in the parade ring during a heavy shower on Sunday Sept 10 2017

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