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: General election 2016

Harvest Festival 1971, Canvassing in General Election 2016 and planning for the tourist season

Nature’s Songster

Ita Hannon’s Beale robin


Harvest Festival 1971

Kerryman  Saturday, 09 October, 1971; Page: 24; Listowel

THE fast pace of Listowel Race Week is over for another months and now
It is possible to see things in their proper perspective and in so
doing pride of place must be deservedly given to the Ballybunion Girls
Pipe Band It’s contribution to the festive spirit of the occasion was
considerable. The quality and rhythm of their martial tunes as they
paraded gracefully through the town was o say the least most

FINIS— Originality was the key note on Sunday the concluding day of
Listowel Race Week festivities, when a galaxy of our local stars
brought into the homes of a weary footed public a delightfully
entertaining variety show which had been recorded earlier in the week
by Radio Eireann.

Dr John Walshe chairman of the Harvest  Festival Committee opened the
show with an interesting history of the Pattern Day in Listowel, which
had its roots back 150 years ago. Larry Gogan was an excellent

One of the Dowling sisters gave a fine rendering of a very suitable
timed song entitled. “The Blackbird of Avondale”. Mrs Nora Relihan as
an artist of considerable achievement, needs no introduction to the
people of Listowel, had them “literally in Stitches” with a poem
entitled “cowdung” while dealing at some length with its rich
potential. And then came the irrepressible John B who sang the side
splitting number ”Matt Flavin You’re the Man”, accompanied by Phil
Flavin on the bodhrain. A number of other items brought the programme
to a close


Are you 85 years or older and living in rural Kerry?

If the answer is yes or if you know someone who answers yes to these two questions, a man called John Hastings has a proposition for you


Hello, I am looking to meet with men
who are aged 85 years or over to talk about their daily life in rural Ireland.

This involves:

Three meetings with me so
I can learn more about your everyday activities.

We will meet in a quiet,
comfortable location wherever you wish.

Your involvement is
confidential and this will be explained fully to you before deciding to take
part or not.

If this study interests
you please leave your contact details below. I will ring you to tell you more
about the study. Thanks.

Name: _________________________________________

Phone number:

This study has been reviewed by, and
received ethical clearance from the Clinical Research Ethics Committee
associated with University College Cork.

Contact details:

John Hastings,

University College Cork.

021- 4205308.


Canvassing the knitting vote

I was in Scribes with my fellow Knitwits on Saturday last when John Brassil and his election team called to canvass our votes.


Passing on the Smiles

Scoil Realt na Maidine, Listowel, February 2016


Festival Workshops

Photo: Tralee Today

Pictured in Main Street Listowel are Joan McCarthy Head of Tourism, Kerry County Council, with Damien Stack, Eilish Wren, Cara Trant and Máire Logue. They were gathered to promote a Kerry Festivals and Events Workshop. 


Planning for Fleadh Cheoil na Mumhan

photos; Facebook


A Listowel Man in Abu Dhabi

Third from left in this picture (which I sourced on Facebook) is Tadhg Flahive, formerly of Church Street, Listowel.

The occasion of the photo was an interview with RTE radio presenter Damien O’Reilly. Damien was in the Middle East to record a show about Irish food, business and culture for Country Wide. The show featuring Tadhg and others from Abu Dhabi na Fianna GAA club was broadcast on Saturday last February 20 1016. You will be able to catch it on the RTE radio 1 player.


Preparing for Summer in Town

Joni Mitchell sang “It’s comin’ on Christmas, They’re cutting’ down trees….”  

Well, Christmas is well gone and they’re pruning trees in The Square, Listowel in preparation for new growth and abundant foliage come summer 2016.

 It can’t come a day too soon.


Meanwhile in Montreal…

Padraig O’Connor (in the centre with glasses) is a young man already making waves in the world of marketing. He is a final year Commerce student at UCC and this week he is in Canada as part of a team of 4 who are taking part in an international business competition for undergraduates.

Padraig is the son of John and Bridget O’Connor, of Bishopscourt, Ballyduff. 

Definitely one to watch!

Election Posters, A Ration Book, Moyvane Men and a Doodle Frolic

Imogen in Ballybunion February 8 2016

Photo: Mike Enright


I Knew It

Election Posters on Charles Street and everywhere. Now we have a new candidate, Danny Healy Rae, we can expect even more canvassing and postering.


WW2 Ration book

(Photo and text by Vincent Carmody)

Ration books were issued to people during the war years ( the emergency) and some years later. Rationing food and other goods was required to overcome the shortages of imports into the country. I have spoken to people, born in the late 1930’s, who were amazed when they saw banana’s for the first time in the early 1950s. 
The ration book photographed was issued to my cousin, Johnny Buckley, he of 26 William Street, in 1948.



Photo and text: Vincent Carmody

The group photo is from the very early 1959’s, this was taken outside Kennelly’s Cloth Hall, and includes, all true Poundlaners, the aforementioned, Johnny Buckley, John Kennelly, Joe O’Sullivan, Matt Kennelly, Maurice Kennelly and Tommy Sheahan.

The centre of our youthful universe.


Some Moyvane Men

At a GAA social in Moyvane.


More Doodle Mania

They left the talk on how to lay a table and behave at social functions until a bit late in the day.


A Change on Church Street

NCBI have moved up the street from their old location in Bunyans to the premises that used to be Mac Aulliffe’s Gift Shop.

Sweets from Listowel, Paper Dolls, A Town Council and Retirement is just what the doctor ordered

The old Sweet Factory

Above is an old postcard of Listowel with the old sweet factory to the far right.

Vincent Carmody recently posted on Facebook the pictures below of an old sweet tin he has in his possession.  Underneath is the history he posted.

The tin box is an original from Listowel’s sweet factory which traded from the old mill building, which occupied the site where Carroll’s Hardware providers is now located. The mill, a fine, six floor, cut stone building, was originally owned and operated by the Leonard family of The Square. It was powered by water from a millstream, which ran from near the old ball alley to the mill. The mill closed in the mid 1800’s, despite an effort by John Latchford of Tralee to buy the property. He subsequently build a mill back in Greenville.

The building served for a time in the early 1900’s as a creamery, this was owned by George R. Browne. He also had a creamery at his property at Cahirdown. He had in his employment an Englishman, Thomas Armstrong. When Brown decided to sell his interest in the business, it was purchased by Armstrong. Shortly afterwards, Armstrong went into the manufacturing of ‘Irish Cream Toffee Sweets’ 

The tin carries the initials N.K.M on the cover, with North Kerry Manufactory at the side, however with a play on the initials, the legend “Nicest Kind Made” also appears on the cover.
There is not much information on the business, however, we know that after a period of industrial unrest, Armstrong closed the factory in 1921. The Mackintosh sweet company bought the brand and continued making these sweets at Rathmines Dublin, under the brand name,’The North Kerry Manufacturing Co Ltd’


One for the Girls

Do you remember these?  They used to come with Bunty. You cut them out, pasted them on to card and dressed and undressed them until the tabs fell off.  Memories, memories……


Listowel Town Council 2008

Photo: John Kelliher


One Happy Retiree

I ran into John Halkett in The Seanchaí as he was enjoying a relaxed morning coffee.


A Hug from a Flower

Mickey MacConnell posted this photo on the internet. On a recent trip to Dublin he met up with Liam O Maonlaí of The Hothouse Flowers


Junior Griffin

Junior  with his old friend, Liam Healy

Junior is the third youngest and the only surviving member of his family. He was born in
1936. He attended school in the old boys National School and he remembers the
building as an old cold unsanitary place. He went to school barefoot but that
was by choice rather than necessity. He loved the freedom of running around
barefoot although the frequent cuts and bruises were unwelcome.

The teachers he remembers are Bryan MacMahon, Mrs. Crowley,
Mrs. Griffin, Tadhg O’Flaherty, Jerry Walsh in 4th class, Michael
Keane in 5th and Jim Hayes in 6th.

Junior went to St. Michaels’ for one unhappy year. He has
memories, which are shared by many of his contemporaries, of a harsh, controlled
regime where corporal punishment was the order of the day. Fr. David O’Connor
was the college president and he ruled with a rod of iron.

Junior remembers a day when he was in first year and several
boys were late for school. Fr. O’Connor came into Junior’s classroom and asked
all the boys who were late to stand up. Seven boys stood. Fr. Davy fixed the
first boy, the one farthest from Junior who was last in the line, with his
stick, in a manner reminiscent of Pats Bacach in Sive, and asked him why he was late. He said he had to go to the shop to buy a
message for his mother. The next boy claimed his bike was punctured. As Fr.
O’Connor moved from boy to boy, Junior realized that all the excuses he was
thinking of offering were being used up. To this day Junior can relive the fear
and terror he felt as his doom approached. He blurted out the truth. “I slept
it out, Father.”

Junior had got the right answer. Fr. O’Connor decided to
leave them all off because he had found one honest boy. Junior was the hero and
his deed became the subject of the rest of the lesson on the importance of

Despite this one good experience, Junior was terrified to go
back to the college after the summer holidays. His mother understood his
unhappiness and enrolled him in the tech. This was a much happier experience
for Junior. He has great memories of Paddy Drummond, an excellent Maths.
teacher. The regime in the tech was a caring one and kindness and encouragement
feature prominently in Junior’s memories of his second level education.

Junior told me an interesting fact; Seamus Wilmot taught in the St. Michael’s in 1924 and a
little known fact is that his future wife,  May Scanlon taught in Listowel Vocational School. She taught carpentry, and they met through a shared interest in badminton.


Not exactly an election poster…but close

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