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: Galvins

People of Yesteryear

Today is February 6 2023, our first ever St. Bridget’s Day national holiday.

Restored old mill in Kanturk, Co. Cork


Faces of North Kerry

This is one of the Jill Freedman photographs that is part of a project being undertaken by Des Byrne.

The late photographer, Jill Freedman, made several visits to Listowel, Finuge and North Kerry in the 1970s and ’80s. She loved to meet local people on the streets and in the pubs. She particularly loved Irish music and musicians.

In Moloney’s

She made many friends during her sojourns here and she took lots of photographs.

According to Donal Nolan’s article in this week’s Kerryman. a fellow photographer, Des Byrne, has, with the permission of the Freedman estate, released some of the photographs in the hopes of finding the people who are in them.

Email if you can identify any faces or if you think you can help Des with his project.



Galvin’s of William Street is a very different shopfront to others in Listowel.

According to experts the wooden facade is most likely the work of Reidy’s of Killarney.

The beautiful mosaic work in the shop name was covered up for years. During the War of Independence it was against the law to have a shop name in Irish so a sign saying J.J. Galvin covered up the mosaic one.


From The Advertiser


For the Diary

First up tomorrow evening is local writer, Emma Larkin


Moss Scanlon R.I.P., Wash Day supplies and Listowel Shopfronts

Chris Grayson in Corran tuathail


Moss Scanlon R.I.P.

This is the photograph from Brendan of Ireland of Moss Scanlon at the door of his harness maker’s shop greeting Paud Carey and Michael Greaney.

David O’Sullivan found  an obituary in The Kerryman of January 4 1969

David also found this account of the book Brendan of Ireland in The Independent  of 1961 


Vision Centre, North Main St. Cork

On Heritage Day 2018 I visited the Cork Vision Centre with my daughter. They had lots of “vintage’ stuff on display. Nowadays anything old is vintage.

 Cliona McKenna outside the Vision Centre

 An old barber’s chair and some other old artefacts


 A man’s grooming set

OMO was washing powder and Sunlight was soap from Port Sunlight outside Liverpool

This was a mangle that went over the wash tub. You squeezed the water out of the garment by rolling it between two rollers.


Speaking of Washing…..

A helpful blog follower found this old postcard.

Was washing day really like this do you think?


A Very Stylish shop in the old Galvin’s off licence

Aoife Hannon, Milliner


Correction re Altered Images Shopfront

A few weeks ago I featured this lovely shopfront which has been beautifully painted by Chute Family Painting Contractors.

I assumed that the plasterwork was the work of Pat MacAulliffe.  I was wrong.

I met Tom Relihan  by chance last week and he told me that the plasterwork on this shop front was done by Paddy Fitzell. He did this and two other shopfronts in town.

I’m delighted to correct this and to give credit where credit is due.


Listowel Races 2018, The Earliest Ever Harvest Festival

Dr. Michael O’Connor on cigarettes, Bob Dylan on weather and Galvin’s shopfront

Bryan MacMahon said that a teacher leaves the track of his teeth on a parish for 3 generations. I think the same is true of a doctor.  Certainly, this man pictured above, Dr. Michael O’Connor of 24 The Square, Listowel keeps coming up in folk memory here.

Today my titbit is an old letter that my good friend, Anne Moloney, unearthed for us. The quality of the copy is poor so I’ll transcribe it for you.

It is dated  13.12.’22 and the address is The Square, Listowel and it goes:

Dear Sir (or Madam),

It has been brought to my notice by a tobacconist in this town that some soldiers in Listowel Barracks have been using my name as their excuse for refusing to buy Irish made cigarretes, stating that the Doctor said, “Irish cigarettes caused skin disease”. This slanderous allegation is, of course, entirely untrue and was never uttered by me. Indeed there is nothing, as far as I know, in Irish or any other cigarettes likely to cause skin disease.

It is a poor specimen of a man or a soldier who has not the moral courage to say, when purchasing cigarettes made by Irish girls, that he prefers those made by foreigners.

                                                                                                       M. O’Connor M.D.


This photo appeared in The Advertiser a while ago with the caption. Tullamore School. It looks like a retirement.  Any further information welcome.


Mike Enright’s lovely photo last week of a calm Cashen inclines me to think that Spring may finally be on the way after this oh so inclement winter.

Our recent fascination with the weather sent me to my copy of Brendan MacWilliam’s Weather Eye .

Here is a fascinating piece of useless knowledge for you all:

“Dr. Alan Robock of Rutgers University, new Jersey has examined 465 songs performed over the years, by rock singer, Bob Dylan, and dicovered that the word “sun” appears in 63 of them; “wind” turns up in 55, “rain” in 40, “sky” in 36,  “cloud’ in 23, “storm” in 14, “summer” in 12 and “snow” in 11. Other weather words occurring but scoring less than 10, include hail, winter, lightening, thunder, flood and, of course, “weather” itself.

According to Dylan, the answer to many vexed questions is “blowin’ in the wind” and ” You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing”.


Market Street premises then and now


The Frank Lewis Saturday Supplement on Listowel is available here;

One of the many great Listowel stories you will hear on the programme  concerns this building. During The Troubles it was forbidden to have a shop sign in the Irish language and for years this shop had Galvin’s name in English over the door. During a much later refurbishment, this beautiful mosaic sign was uncovered. Apparently, some master tilers who were in town working on mosaic work in St. Mary’s were employed by Galvins to do this magnificent shop sign. Luckily it was not destroyed to comply with regulations.  The wily owner just covered it up for future generations to enjoy.


Listowel girl honoured

Savannah McCarthy ( Listowel Celtic)  was chosen as the under 17 Player of The Year at the recent FAI Player awards.

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