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: Gap of Dunloe

New Kerry Jersey, Gap of Dunloe and a Teacher Contract in 1923 and Christmas Parking

A Christmas Robin

Photo; Chris Grayson


Do you Like the New Jersey?


The Gap of Dunloe from old Kerry Photos


Holycross and Sive

Billy Keane visited Holycross recently to lend his support to the local drama group who chose the John B. Keane classic, Sive. for their 2019 production.


I missed this very special event in St. John’s. Poetry from the Pulpit was a great successs with local minor celebrities reading their favourite poems. I think this is our own recently retired Vicar Joe.


The Good Old Days

Patrick O’Shea shared this on Facebook. It is from the US but I dont know if terms this side of the pond were much better.


It’s No Ordinary Panto….It’s a Listowel Panto


Christmas Parking in Listowel….Good News

Free parking arrangements will be put in place in Listowel in the run up to Christmas.

Beginning this Saturday, parking will be free in the town for up to two hours every day; this will continue until January 1st.

Parking on Sundays will continue to be free, as usual, during this period.


Christmas Customs from the Dúchas Folklore Collection

Old Times Christmas
Long ago the people were not as well fed as they are now days. They had to buy meal when there was no flour, and then wet the meal with boiling water and in this way they made the bread. This bread was eaten with a cup of butter milk. There were no ovens or pans for baking but a griddle hung over the fire by means of the pot hanger and in this way the bread was baked in squares. Latter on in years they got a querns for grinding oats, and when it was ground the sieved was got and this used to keep all the shells of the oats, and leave the oaten meal through. They used also make bread from this and this bread was called oaten meal bread. This was given to the people for their dinner. The supper the people used to have that time was to get a fist full of oaten meal and put it in a wooden cup of butter milk and stir it with a piece of a stick. The people had nothing for Christmas but “stampy”. It was made a few day before Christmas. They would get the potatoes, and cut them up with a grater. Then they would get a flannel cloth and put the cut potatoes into it. Then they would twist the cloth and the water would come out though the cloth. Then it would be put down to bake, and this would be eaten on Christmas morning.
Collector, Jerry Moloney- Informant, Maurice Shanahan, Address, Liscullane, Co. Kerry.

Winter in Goa, Slimming World and Christmas long ago.

The timeless unspoiled beauty of the Gap of Dunloe is captured in December 2017 by a man who appreciates the beauty of Kerry and captures it lovingly in photos….Chris Grayson.


Winter in Goa

It’s a long way from O’Connell’s Avenue to Goa. Maria Sham is a loyal follower of Listowel connection and she has already shared her memories of a happy childhood spent in her O’Connell’s Avenue home.

Maria Sham today

I don’t know if Maria is in this photo but these are the people she knew growing up.

Maria now lives in England and from there she recently took the holiday of a lifetime to Goa. Here the weather, the lifestyle, the economy, everything is a world away from our side of the world. Here are some of  Maria’s photos.

As you can see she spent much of her time on the beach.

This last photo is of a young man harvesting betel nut. Betel is the main ingredient in paan.

“If you’ve never
tried paan — a post-meal mainstay at social gatherings
and banquet halls in India — it can be a bit hard to explain to
the uninitiated. Part breath freshener, part digestive aid, paan is essentially a wad of dried fruits, spices
and seeds wrapped into a large green leaf from the betel nut plant. Think of
those little candied fennel seeds you spoon into your hand at Indian
restaurant, times 1,000. With paan, you pick up
the entire triangular-shaped package and stuff it into your cheek pocket,
chewing a few times to get the juices moving. The betel leaf, a mild stimulant,
turns brick red as it’s masticated and puts a slight pep in your step. After
all the juices have been released, you spit out the mushy bolus and toss it in
the trash — breath fresher, stomach lighter and head abuzz.” Source: Wikipedia.


New Business on Charles St.

Do you remember I posted this photo and I told you I’d tell you what shop was going in here? Well the answer is that it is not a shop at all but Slimming World.


My Favourite Shop

When I visited my favourite shop recently I saw some new faces. It’s great to see some lovely sympathetic women joining the welcoming friendly and invariably cheerful staff in this excellent shop. You’d never know what treasure you will find in Listowel’s Vincent de Paul shop and at a very affordable price.


Another Eamon Kelly description of Christmases in  the 1920s

The Season of
Light by Eamon Kelly from

The Rub of the
Relic 1978

No word of a lie
but Christmas was something to write home about when I was small. Oh, the way
we looked forward to twilight on Christmas Eve, for when darkness fell it was
Christmas Night, the greatest night of all the year. We youngsters would be up
at the crack of dawn that morning to have the house ready for the night.

Berry holly would
have to be cut and brought in to deck out the windows, the top of the dresser,
the back of the settle and the clevvy, We’d bring ivy too and put a sprig of
laurel behind the pictures, above the lintel of the door and around the
fireplace. But we wouldn’t overdo it for, if we did our mother would cut it
down a bit, reminding us that she’d like to feel she was in her own home for
Christmas and not in the middle of a wood!

Well The
transformation we would bring about in the kitchen with all the greenery! But
we weren’t finished yet The Christmas candles would have to be prepared; these
were of white tallow as thick as the handle of a spade and nearly as tall. In
some houses, they’d scoop out a hole in a turnip and put a candle sitting into
it.  A big crock we’d use. We’d put the
candle standing into that and pack it around with sand. If you hadn’t sand,
bran or pollard would do.

When the candle was firm in position we’d spike sprigs
of holly or laurel into the sand about the candle and we’d have coloured paper
too to put around the outside of the crock to take the bare look off it. With
that same coloured paper the girls in the family, if they were anyway handy,
could make paper flowers to decorate the holly. Then what would cap it all was
a length of young ivy to spiral up around the candle – it looked lovely. That
done, we would go through the same 
manoeuvre until
there was a candle in a crock for every window in the house.

(more tomorrow)


Christmas Jumper Day

Staff at Listowel Credit Union took part in Radio Kerry’s Christmas Jumper Day for St. Vincent de Paul and they posted this photo on Twitter.

West Clare Railway; a Listowel Connection and Ballincollig Fairy Trail

In the Gap of Dunloe

photo: Chris Grayson


Every Picture Tells a Story

This photo was shared on a site about old Dublin. It was taken in 1917 in the Dublin National Shell Factory and it shows women transporting shells to a storehouse.


In a Clare Railway Station

This photo is in the archives in Co. Clare Library and this is the caption;

Kilkee Railway Station, Mary T. Hynes and Mick Lenihan from Listowel, the last station master of Kilkee Railway station photographed in the station.

The year is given as 1956 and the donors of the photo to the library are Ignatius Lenihan and Mary T. Hynes


I’ve been away with the fairies

Many towns nowadays are pandering to the demand for dwellings for  the fairy folk. Ballincollig has a lovely small trail with fairy houses and fairy stuff galore.

This is th waterfall Ballincollig Regional Park. The Fairy Trail is nearby.

As in real life, so it is in Fairyland. Some fairy folk are rich and have lovely houses, some have to work hard, repairing wings and collecting baby teeth and some just put their names on a door and disappear.


Third Generation Healy is a Front Page Photographer

This photo of the Irish Field front page was tweeted by Healyracing. They are so proud to see the legacy is secure.

Someone in heaven is smiling right now.

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