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

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Listowel Memories and a New Business in Town

Listowel Garda Station in November 2021


The Master

an essay by Cyril Kelly


Homeward Bound

A nun walks home to the convent in 2007. A lot has changed.


A Listowel Fact

Lord Listowel visited the town in 1814 and he handed over sites for two churches, one Catholic and the other Church of Ireland. Both were built almost ten years later. St. Mary’s was built in 1829. The spire and porch were added in 1865. Initially the congregation stood during mass as there were no pews. The seats were added and side aisles built in 1910.


Pixie has made a Calendar

If you’re looking for a gift idea for a Covid bound emigrant, this could be the answer to your prayers.

Pixie will deliver or drop for you to collect if you are local.

You can contact him with your order at the email address below.


Santa at McKenna’s in 1959

Were you one of the lucky children who visited Santa in Listowel in 1959?

Kathy Reynolds has put a lovely collection of Santa photos from that occasion up on line. The link is here;

If you recognise yourself or someone you know please email Kathy. The photos are numbered and you can give her the number and the names of the people in the photo. Kathy’s email address is on the video. She asks that you respect copyright.

Santa in McKenna’s in 2021


Another Change on Church Street


Predecimal coins, listowel military, Fighting Gorse Fires and Some Lockdown Activities

Listowel Garda Station in May 2020


from Fogotten Ireland


A Gorse Fire

John Kelliher took this photo of a recent gorse fire.


Listowel Military

Maureen Barrett formerly of Ballylongford sent us this photograph. She only knows a few lads but maybe other people will know more.

I presume that this is the Listowel FCA/LDF members from away back.

I know only a few people that are from Ballylongford  

front in center in civilian clothes is Dave Neligan from Ahanagran, Ballylongford, 

first row standing 4th from the right is Tommy Hennessy (RIP) Ballylongford, peeking over his shoulder is Patrick Moriarty Ballylongford-sorry to say don’t know anyone else-some of your followers might be able to help-Maureen Barrett


Keeping Busy in Lockdown

Breda Ferris has been to the bog in Ballylongford.

In Switzerland, Laura, granddaughter of our friends Jim and Liz Dunn of Athea, looks after her chickens.

In London, Maria Sham, formerly of Listowel is busy baking and barbecuing.

Bernie Carmody visited St. Batt’s Well.

In Dublin, Eamon ÓMurchú went for a spin on his bike.

Eamon at the Eccentric Orbit sculpture in Portmarnock.

Garda Station, a poem, Mat the Herder and some local ladies

Listowel Garda Station in January 2020

The burning of Listowel police station in the Civil War, Aug 1922.

Republicans held Listowel. They burnt the police station as Free State troops advanced on 3 Aug 1922. . Courtesy of Vincent Carmody. 

This building was restored, and today is the impressive Listowel Garda station, Church St.

(photo and caption shared on Facebook by Historical Tralee and Surrounding Areas)


A Poem from Noel Roche


Girls’ Night Out

Snapped in Allos last week, Aimee, Maria, Eilish, Máire and Sinead


Mat the Herder 

From Rathea in the Schools Folklore collection

Mat Sheehy lived in the townland of Gurtaclohane in the begining of the nineteenth century. He was commonly known as Mat the Herder. He was a stout firm man and had great arms. Another great man lived long side him by the name of Sean O Leary. The two of um used to go to Cork once a fortnight with firkins of butter in a horse & car.

 At the same time there was a great fighting man in Cork. One day the Buffer of Cork challenged any man to fight him. Mat came up to Leary and said that it wouldnt take such a great man to beat him. “You better keep your tongue in your pocket” said Leary dont he hear you. At that the Buffer heard him and challenged him to fight and handed him a black torn stick so they took at it. 

The Buffer was giving him great strokes in the head but they were taking no effect out of him. In the finish Leary said to Mat in Irish “Tóg íseal é” to take him low. At that Mat struck him across the ribs and brought him to the ground and the Buffer said to Mat “You’re a good man. I was never beaten before”. The Cork people said they would give him his hat full of gold if he shouted as a Cork man but he said he would not saying “I am a Kerry man and I’ll shout for no other County but Kerry”.

Mat had fourteen heifers grazing in the mountain owned by Stephen Galvin at present. He had a big dog. His dog was called Bully and he used to be always minding the heifers for fear they would be stolen. One morning as the ground was covered with snow Bully came came barking to the door and made signals to Mat that the heifers were stolen. 

So the two started out in search of them. They tracked um as far as Limerick and there they found um between two glens. They went about turning the heifers home when ten men attacked um to take the heifers of um so they started fighting and he beat the ten men but he would never do so without the dog. When five of um would come in front of him and five more behind him the dog would jump up and ketch um by the cape of the coat and bring um to the ground and in that way he beat the ten men and brought home his heifers to Gurtaclohane

Soon after a great man from  County Limerick heard about Mat so he said he would have a trial out of him. He picked two good sticks one for himself and another for Mat. He enquired from house to house until he came to Mat. As soon as Mat saw him he got in dread of him so he said he was not Mat the Herder at all but he’d carry him to Mat’s house. But that if he’d like, himself would fight him but that Mat (M) should be present at the fight. 

Mat was indread to attack him alone without Leary with him for Leary was a better man than himself. If he beat him himself Leary would have an other chance and if Leary beat him Mat would still hold his good name. When they landed at Leary’s house Mat had a private talk with him and Leary said to him not to be in dread. Then they started fighting and no one of um was getting the upper hand for a half anhour. It was getting very hot then and Mat was getting two much of it Then Leary told him in Irish not to draw at all but to keep up his guards and that he would get tired. Mat did so and stroke by stroke the other fellow was failling. Then all of a sudden Mat struck him across the ribs and brought him to the ground so Mat held his good name and gave up fighting at the age of fifty.

Liam Ó Duilleáin
Gortacloghane, Co. Kerry
(name not given)
Gortacloghane, Co. Kerry
The actual handwritten version states 
“ó m’athair a fuaireas é seo.”

Something old, something new and the flea trainers are identified

KDYS Building was once the Carnegie Free Library


Two National Treasures

A cap gun


A Dublin Street Scene in 1974

 This photo tells us a lot about Irish life back then.


This fantastic evening sky scene was shared by Féach News


Under our feet in There Square, Listowel


Photo Of Old Dublin

Moore Street in the 1960s



from someone who was there

The boy on the left, the flea tamer  is John O’Sullivan, also known locally as Seán Tack, the boy on the right, the flea catcher, is Conor Keane and that is John B. Keane squatting down inside the frame


No, It’s not a Holding Cell

This is the photo that set some blog followers talking this week.

I wandered down to the back lane and took another snap, this time from the other side of the building.

Still looks a bit like stables or a garage as described by Rose Shine who grew up nearby.

Then came this missive from Jim MacMahon who also remembers the building well.

“Mary , when I was a boy in the 1940s that building was a storehouse of a sort , maybe guards’ cars although there were few of them about . We used to gather there to watch the Mulcahy brothers , sons of the super , fiddle around with cars . On wet days there might be a dozen or so boys and youths about . Pat Given , of course, or Niall Stack would be able to give much more detail if you ask them , regards Jim”

Next stop Pat Given or Niall Stack. I’ll waylay them one day soon at morning mass.

I wonder does any serving garda follow the blog. We might be able to get a photo of the interior of the shed now.

This is the lane beside the building. That is the back of the Garda Station at the end. Looks like lots of the windows are boarded up. Could it be they feared they would blow in in the recent Hurricane?

The Lartigue in 2000,Trees in The Park and a fair day in old Listowel

A Corner on Church St.


The Early days of The Lartigue Project.

Kerry’s Eye


Turf Cutting the old Way

These photos of turf cutting in the old way were shared on Facebook


Michael Collins Funeral

A brother and sister of Michael Collins pray at his graveside.


A Walk in the Park in May 2016

Poems are made by fools like me

But only God can make a tree.


Lovely Job being done on the former Kennedy Home


Squad Cars Back at Base



Ita Hannon found this old one.


Names….at last!

I posted this photo in September 2015 and asked for names.  Now Magella McGregor has come to the rescue. Here are the names she supplied;

First Row across left to right Joan Marie Vaughan, Marie Greany, Christina ODriscoll, Majella Maher
Second Row left to right Maureen Ahern, Eileen Lane, Breda O’Connor, …….., Mary Moran,…..
Third Row left to right Breda OConnell, ……Muireann Moloney, Marian ORouke RIP, Marie Buckley, Geraldine Buckley (sisters), Sheila Moloney and Teresa Lyons.

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