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: Gentleman’s Barber

1965 Green Guide, Pub Theatre at John B.’s, Sensory Sunday at the barber’s

In Childers’ Park, Listowel


Listowel’s 1965 Green Guide

Aileen Skimson in Canada kept this souvenir of her visit to Listowel, her father’s birthplace, in 1965. Here are a few more photos and advertisements to bring back memories.


Remembering John B. Keane at 90

The first event of the recent John B, Keane festival was pub theatre in John B. Keane’s Bar.

I was there for a while and it was a great night.

 Some of the appreciative audience with Billy Keane.

Two of the performers were Cathy Healy and Gabriel Fitzmaurice.

 Mickey McConnell sang his tribute to Mary and John B.

Billy in character as the matchmaker.


The Gentleman’s Barber, William Street, Listowel

Sounds very inviting, doesn’t it?

I know someone who brought a nervous little boy one Sunday. She was full of praise for the whole experience. Highly recommend it

First Confession and other miscellaneous stuff

First Confession 2015

This is the photo I took last week of my granddaughter making her first confession. Yes, I sat in the front seat and I took a photograph of the actual confession.

Do you remember Frank O’Connor’s hapless Jackie and the fear and trembling with which he approached the dreaded box? It’s hard to comprehend how far we have come from those dark ages.

“……It must have been then that I noticed the shelf at about one height with my head. It was really a place for grown-up people to rest their elbows, but in my distracted state I thought it was probably the place you were supposed to kneel. it was on the high side and not very deep, but I was always good at climbing and managed to get up all right. Staying up was the trouble. There was room only for my knees, and nothing you could get a grip on but a sort of wooden moulding a bit above it. I held on to the moulding and repeated the words a little louder, and this time something happened all right. A slide was slammed back; a little light entered the box, and a man’s voice said “Who’s there?”

“Tis me, father,” I said for fear he mightn’t see me and go away again…….  I took a good grip of the moulding and swung myself down till I saw the astonished face of a young priest looking up at me. He had to put his head on one side to see me, and I had to put mine on one side to see him, so we were more or less talking to one another upside-down. It struck me as a queer way of hearing confessions, but I didn’t feel it my place to criticise.

“Bless me, father, for I have sinned ; this is my first confession” I rattled off all in one breath, and swung myself down the least shade more to make it easier for him.

“What are you doing up there?” he shouted in an angry voice, and the strain the politeness was putting on my hold of the moulding, and the shock of being addressed in such an uncivil tone, were too much for me. I lost my grip, tumbled, and hit the door an unmerciful wallop before I found myself flat on my back in the middle of the aisle……”

(If I have whetted your appetite the full text is here )

Nowadays its a completely different kettle of fish. There are no sins just failures to show love. There is no box. Everything is done in plain view with doting Nana’s taking snaps of the whole proceedings.

The penitent does a drawing of a time when she failed to show love. She approaches the priest and explains her picture to him.  (Jackie’s attempts to stab Nora under the table would make a good picture). She then pegs her picture/sin into the bosca with all the other sins. She is absolved and comes away smiling. There was a bit of singing and tin whistling as well to complete the night out.

Times sure have changed!




Fun Ride

Jim MacSweeney took this smashing picture of a fun ride in Rathmore


New Shop heralds green shoots of recovery

Sextons is now surrounded by 3 new businesses


Liam Murphy remembers Mick Doody too

Do you remember my story last week about the man who used to come round to refresh and replace the horsehair in mattresses.

His travels took him as far a s Lyreacrompane because Liam Murphy remembers him too. He writes;

 Yes I do remember Mick Doody, he was a “Harness Maker” by trade. Around our place they called him “Blind Doody”.  In today’s world it would be improper to say. He  had a big lump over one of his eyes the size of  an egg and he was always chewing, even with nothing in his mouth.

He would sit at the table in our kitchen have a mug of tea, bread or a sandwich. Chat with my father or mother. He would arrive  walking with a stick, do not recall the dog. I been quite young would not ask or know where he was from or lived. 

Now that is from a long time ago, at least sixty years….”


Can you help….?

My grandmother Margaret Buckley (born 9/5/1891) was a servant in the William McElligott family in 1911 census. The family lived in/on The Square, Listowell Urban, County Kerry. Would it be possible to know if there are any McElligotts left who might have information about my grandmother or is that too much of a long shot? Thanks for any info.


Bad day at the office, lads?

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