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: Garden of Europe Page 2 of 8

Garden of Europe, Quarter Days and the opening of the St. Vincent de Paul Day Centre

Garden of Europe in January 2019


The Garden looks very bare, pruned and cut back in anticipation of Spring. Daffodils are springing up everywhere.

Below are some photographs Junior Griffin took on the day of the official opening. Have you ever wondered why, in a garden dedicated to all of Europe there is such a heavy German and specifically German Jewish presence. Well, I have been told the answer because that question puzzled me for a while too.

The Garden of Europe on the site of the old town landfill  was the brainchild of Paddy and Carmel Fitzgibbon. This marvellous idea got wholehearted backing from Listowel Rotary Club. That club did most of the hard work to get this project to completion. The original idea was to have a piece of artwork in each country’s garden. But only one embassy responded to the request for the piece of sculpture. Germany gave the magnificent Schiller bust. It was thoroughly appropriate to send a bust of their greatest poet to a town renowned for its poets and writers. So thus evolved the idea to make it into a peace garden to include a commemorative art installation remembering Europe’s darkest days and so the Holocaust memorial came to be part of the garden

These are some of the local Rotary Club members and some of the dignitaries who attended the opening.

The centre of attention here is Mervyn Taylor T’D. I think he was invited to represent the government because he was Jewish.

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Quarter Days

Many of my readers will have never heard of quarter days. Let me tell you they were once the most important dates in the calendar.

Before we had the Gregorian calendar in 1752 we had the Regency calendar. Ordinary people didn’t have calendars so all they worried about were the seasons. The seasons were marked by quarter days. The year began on the first of these quarter days, Lady Day, on March 25. The other quarters were based on religious feast days making it easy for the peasants to remember. These were, Midsummer Day, Michaelmas Day and Christmas Day. All rents and other debts fell due on these quarter days. The following account from the Knockanure blog hits the nail on the head here.

Lady Day in Knockenure

The Christmas festivities were hardly over, when the general topic of the day in this parish, from fifty to a hundred years ago, was who would be evicted this Lady Day no one dared to ask the estate bailiff. Batt and his undermen, the rent-warner too was not asked so the whole thing remained a mystery until the day arrived. But the timid folk had already made their ground sure that they would not be among the evicted ones by making presents to the estate bailiff. The fiery sons of the soil, too proud to bend the knee waited for the day like caged lions and were it not for sheer dread on the part of Batt and Co many of them would be homeless. The funny thing about it was not sufficient to pay the half-gale rent the tenant should also give over possession this was done by taking a wisp of thatch from over the door and handing it to the estate bailiff then if he had any friend of his own for the place the unfortunate tenant was evicted. Some farmers got possession through these happenings.


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Were you There?


Junior Griffin took these photos at the blessing and official opening of the St. Vincent de Paul day centre. I have no date but maybe someone reading this remembers the day and will tell us all about it. The Day Centre is located behind The Plaza and it is from here that the meals on wheels service works.




Some Listowel People, old advertisements and Festival of Light Nov. 2 and 3 2018

Entrance to the walk beside the Town Park and The Garden of Europe on Sunday Oct. 28 2018

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Out and About with my Camera


Sunday October 28 2018 was a beautiful sunny day. Out walking by The Feale I met some folk who kindly allowed me to photograph them.


Kathleen Stack

Denis and Maureen O’Connor

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From the Kerryman Suplement of 1994


Here are a few of the advertisements from this supplement.

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Anyone Remember this?




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First Listowel Festival of Light Nov 2 and 3 2018



The festival was a great success. The Garden of Europe forest of light was spectacular. Pity a sudden downpour drove us home eventually but I was delighted to get to see the spectacle…another first for Listowel

I was blessed to have visitors for the weekend to enjoy the festival with me.

On our way to town we met the KDYS folk putting the finishing touches to their lantern.

Because we took in the exhibition in St. John’s and the Projection in St. Mary’s and a few other delays we were late for the lantern parade but I saw photos on Facebook and it was brilliant.

When we arrived at The Garden of Europe there was a huge queue waiting for admittance. We got through fairly quickly and joined the throng entering the garden. One criticism I have of the event and I’m sure the organisers will take it on board for next year, traffic should have been one way. By allowing people to come back the way they had come in made progress slow and moving forward a bit difficult at times.

The Forest of Light was splendid and a joy to see. We would have stayed longer but a torrent of rain of biblical proportions drove us home.

Well done to everyone involved in the show. It was amazing.

The morning after the night before and everything is cleared away. The only evidence is the old cds scattered beneath the willow  awaiting removal.

The Garden is back to normal and still beautiful.

Garden of Europe in Autumn, Zingy Zest, Upcycle, Upstyle Alternative Fashion Event 2018

Photo: Mike Enright

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“Puck may be famous and Galway be Grand……”


but Listowel is officially Ireland’s tidiest town.

Here are some photos of a jewel in Listowel’s crown, the unrivalled unique Garden of Europe. It’s one of the seven wonders of Listowel. There were at least forty shades of green there when I took these photos on September 25 2018, the day after Listowel’s win in the Tidy Town Competition.

The colour, the variety, the height and majesty of these trees is spectacular. If you visit Listowel and you leave without visiting The Garden of Europe then you’ve seen Hamlet without the Prince.

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New Eatery Opened in Time for Listowel Races 2018


Zingyzest at Leahy’s Corner is the latest iteration of this shop.

This fast food and take away restaurant is a bit jazzy and out of keeping with our lovely old heritage square but they tell me that the Indian food is nice so they are getting the most important thing right.


The New Kingdom  is looking well.

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Alternative Fashion Event 2018


It’s taken me ’til now to get around to posting photos of this great event, Vintage day on the Saturday at Listowel Races 2018 is run by Listowel Tidy Town Committee.

 Friends, Joan and Miriam were by the parade ring picking winners.

 The DJ was beautifully turned out for the event.

 Cathy and friend were getting in the vintage groove.

What a contrast! These two stylish outfits are from different eras.

If there was a prize for the best vintage dressed couple, Marlyn and John had it in the bag. John went on to have a well deserved win in the best dressed man competition.

My friends, Anne and Maria looked absolutely fabulous. I’ll tell you more of the story of their outfits later on in the week.

Frances is looking in awe at Maria’s hat. Maria collected seaweed from Ballybunion beach, dried it out, painted it and fashioned it into this gorgeous hat.

 Isn’t Anne lovely in her little vintage hat and fur stole?


Louise Stack won the competition in her vintage kaftan and homemade hat. Again, pity there wasn’t a competition for best turned out couple.

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Plant Identified




Margaret Dillon recognised the plant that is so attractive to butterflies. It’s a Sedum.

Garden of Europe, Festival of Kerry, Statues in St. Mary’s and more from the stars of Brendan of Ireland

It was Roses, Roses all the Way



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Festival of Kerry…A Thought

Source: A Year in Kerry by Patrick O’Sullivan

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Listowel Community Centre Looking Good

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Garden of Europe in August 2018


This seat is placed opposite The Tree of Hope

This is what you are reading if you are seated here.

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Moving Statues


St Theresa has been restored to a new position in St. Mary’s.

And St. Padre Pio has got company on his altar.

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More from Brendan of Ireland




The purpose of the series of books was to educate children about the cultural differences between people in different countries.

Brendan, as a typical Irish child, wears jumpers knitted by his aunt, short trousers held up with braces and Robin sandals.

He walks to school and he plays hurling, pitch and toss and card games. His life is an outdoor one of turf and water from the well, feeding hens and investigating birds’ nests.

Brendan fishes for tráthníns and he keeps them in jam jars and changes the water every day before he releases them back into the stream.

Brendan finds a bird’s nest and cannot resist taking a look at an egg.

Frank Greaney remembers this well near the family home. You had to bend down to draw the cool water. Here Brendan is carrying a bucket of water home for drinking and cooking.

In the story the house has no electricity or running water.

Here Grandpa Jack is telling Brendan a story by the fire. Most people remember Paud Carey as a quiet reserved man, with little to say for himself. People might have thought him aloof or shy but Frank, who knew him well, remembers an extraordinarily generous man who waited at the gate of the  Technical School to give Frank 2 shillings when 2 shillings was a fortune.

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Deer, Oh deer!




Christopher Grayson took this awesome shot in Killarney National Park.

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My Pick




This is Saoirse McGrath, the 2018 Meath Rose contestant.

Why is she special?

Because she bought 16 of her 25 day dresses from her local St. Vincent de Paul shop.

So if he Roses are down your way keep an eye on her style.

1939 paper, Garden of Europe signs and Some 1966 Roses

Doe a deer…. baby deer at Beauford photographed by Chris Grayson

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An Old One from Scoil Realta na Maidine



Scoil Realta na Maidine teachers photographed by John Hannon

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A Blast from the Past



Recently a friend bought an old house. When she started her refurb. she pulled up all the old carpets. In the days before underlay, people used to use newspaper to  cover the concrete to keep damp from rising up to ruin the floor covering. It is a sign of how good this insulation was that the first paper laid down was the Evening Press of 1939 and it was there in 2018 intact. She shared a few pieces of these newspapers  with us.

Seems like they were bombarded from morning ’til night by advertising even back then.

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Road Works are Gas




One day as I was passing the John B. Keane Rd. sign workmen were replacing it after laying their gas pipeline.

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Repainting the Signs



Faded signs are being repainted this summer.




The MacMahon tree is beside The Garden of Europe and provides bay leaves for the town.

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Roses in 1966


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On a bank Holiday break in Listowel



It was lovely to meet my former pupils, Brita Whelan and Darina Harman, their families and Jake.

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