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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NKRO, Pavilion in Ballybunion, A Young Danny O’Mahoney and Listowel Streets

This sculpture stands in Listowel Town Square. It represents the river Feale and the fort or lios which gives its name to the town. It was designed by local artist, Tony OCallaghan. Tony was a teacher in Scoil Realta na Maidine. He was a skilled artist in copper. He was also a town councillor.


NKRO Back in the Day

Local historians at one of the early meetings of NKRO

Vincent Carmody, Cara Trant, Joe Harrington, Mary Cogan, Ger Greaney and Kay O’Leary


A Long Shot

Every now and again someone who is browsing the internet finds their way to Listowel Connection. Sometimes they contact me to see if I know any more about who or what they are searching for. Sometimes I can help or I know someone who can.

But this one has me stumped. The below message was left as a comment on an old post about showbands. The commenter did not leave a name or any means of knowing who it is.

I’m printing it here in the hope that the person who posted the comment or someone who knows them will be in touch.

“I’m an old friend of the late Buddy Dalton from 1962 when he played with his Dad in Ballybunnion We were Mc Faddens Stage Show and showed there all that summer 1963 I would love to get his C.D don’t know where to look If you can help please it would mean the world to me Thank you”


Bumpers at the Pavilion in Ballybunion

I love the nun and child in the centre car. This photo will bring back happy memories for many. It was shared on a Ballyduff Facebook page.

I came across this photo of Danny O’Mahoney on the same page. He hasn’t changed a bit.


Stay 2 Metres Apart Please

Hopefully these will soon be replaced and we can draw a little nearer to one another. When the story of the pandemic, Covid 19, in Listowel is written, these photos will tell their own story.

Dublin Kerry Association, St. Michael’s boys Survey and NKRO in 2000

Photo; Liam Downes


The Dublin Branch of the Kerry Family

in happier times


Remembering Schooldays in St. Michael’s

From a cocoon in New York comes John Anthony Hegarty wrote

Hi Mary,

I just found this article from the Kerryman newspaper from my days in St Michael’s. 

 It definitely has that Listowel Connection.

My class was what was considered a diverse class in those days, 

Apart from those us in the photo below , there was one American (Yank) Mike Regan, one English (Cockney)  : Kevin Summers they were both exempt from learning Irish, we had Fitzell from Ballylongford. Alas I forgot his first name, he was Church of Ireland so he was exempt from the religion class. John B’s son, Conor Keane, was also in my class , I must say even though his father was famous Conor was down to earth , there certainly no airs and graces about him, he was a regular person. Louis McDonough was also in my class.
That first year we spent in the prefab class room behind the main college building Our teachers were : Margaret Savage from Bedford :PE ( a new concept back then) and Civics ,  Mr Cody :Science, Mr Harman : Math: “the square of the hypotenuse of right angle triangle is equal to the sum the squares of the other two sides” has stuck with me, he said that phrase quite a few times back then, the Regans husband and wife team: Mr Regan :Commerce, Mrs Regan : French, Mr. Molyneaux ( Junior ) :  Irish and History /Geography,

Mr Given :English, Fr O’Sullivan : Music and Religion and he was headmaster of the College.

Teachers were all allowed to use the cane back then and they did use it.

Lunch break we used to go down to a shop called (I think) Crowley’s for an ice cream wafer. 

The biggest crime back then was cigarette smoking.

John-Anthony pointed out they were already practicing social distancing in this photo.

These are the names of the boys in the order in which they are standing.

First row : Tony O’ Carroll, Jim Hannon , John-Anthony Hegarty, 

 Second row: Tony Barrett, Thomas O’ Connor,Joe Walsh, Patrick McElligott, 

 Back row: Edward O’Connor.

So in regard to the survey below , it wasn’t  very scientific because the people were very reserved in that , they didn’t want to say the wrong thing so  the most the common answer was ” well what are rest of the people putting down”

The photo was taken in front of then Cash and Carry ( Walsh hall) across from the Astor.I have met Paddy MacEligott and my neighbor Joe Walsh a handful a times since those days.


Looking Back

This photo was taken during a North Kerry Reaching out event in Greaney’s Spar Listowel in 2000.

Brenda Sexton was sharing photographic memorabilia with Ger Greaney and James Kenny.


River Feale

Mike Guerin has shared some lovely and many never before seen photographs of the river and its fishermen

Stolen Waters

Rose of Tralee, Lisselton Cross, The Changing Face of Listowel and Glin Castle

Rattoo at Night

Photo: Bridget O’Connor


Rose of Tralee 2016…a Listowel Connection

The place to be is Tralee this week.

My Aisling and Róisín posed outside the beautifully refurbished Rose Hotel on a recent visit to Tralee. This will be the centre of much of the action this week.

Strolling through the beautiful town park and speculating what it would be like to be a Rose. For the time being, the playground is more in their line

This is the the statue of William Mulchinock, who wrote the song, and his beloved, Mary O’Connor, the Rose who inspired the competition.

Now for the Listowel connection. The New York Rose is a Stack. Kristin Stack called to see Damien last week to establish her Stack credentials.


Memories of Lisselton

The hard workers on the Ballydonoghue parish magazine committee posted this picture on Facebook in the hope that it would stir fond memories of Lisselton Cross long ago. One man remembered going to the cross to make a phone call . Do you remember when you had to some armed with an ass load of change and then hope that the recipient of your call was in? If not you could press button B to get your money back.  Happy days!


Then and Now

Lower Church Street

Market Street


Glin Castle

Photos; Forur Genealogy

The fate of Glin Castle has been the subject of a bit of speculation recently with reports that the new generation of Fitzgeralds were to take over and run the Castle as a boutique hotel.

Not to be, apparently, so the castle will be sold.

Ger Greaney of Forur Genealogy attended the recent open day at the castle and he posted these photos on Facebook.


The same Ger. who took the above photos has just been named Person of the Month in the Limerick Leader. Earlier this year Ger. organised a 1916 commemorative event which involved a reenactment of a march to Glenquin Castle. It was a great success. Well done, Ger.

The Rose Hotel, Tralee, Writers Week Children’s Festival and Casement commemorated.

Sunset in Ballybunion May 14 2016


The Rose Hotel, Fels Point

I was dying to see how this hotel looked after its recent refurbishment. It is the new home of The Rose of Tralee Festival. It lived up to the hype. It is sumptuously furnished with lots of comfy couches and armchairs, the loos are the first thing in luxury and the food in the newly extended dining room and bar was excellent and very good value for money. The young staff were very friendly and helpful. Any of them could audition for the job of Rose escort and I’d give him the gig. Yes, on the  night I visited, they were all male.

 My friends, Mary Jo and Bridget, agreed to pose in the spacious bright foyer.

They made me pose beside the photograph of this year’s Rose.


Treat in store for the Children

The National Children’s Literary Festival at Writers’ Week have a super programme planned for the first days of June.

Listowel children can be among the first to meet PJ Lynch as he takes up his new role as Laureate na nÓg.

photo: CBI 

All the information and online booking is Here


Ardfert remembers Casement

Ardfert school was represented at The Kingdom County Fair. They had on display a genuine gun recovered from the ill fated Aud. The pupils had designed a commemorative medal to celebrate the 1916 centenary.

They had a “Casement” in the dock  to promote their medals.

They brought along a mural which used to hang in a local pub.


Gardaí at the Fair


Extract from a Letter to the Editor 

Tralee Chronicle  Friday, 09 August, 1861

DEAR SIR,— Having seen in one of your late papers the preliminary

notice for sale  of the Duagh Estate, in this county, I send you a few

notes relative to the history of it, and or the family to which it

belongs, which may interest some of your readers.

This ancient estate was originally a portion of the lands granted by

M’Arthy, Prince of Desmond, to Raymond le Gros. I, shall not trace the

family of Raymond farther back than to say, that he was the son of

William Fitzgerald a Norman nobleman who lived in Wales, and whose

ancestors had come to England with William the Conqueror; under whom

they had acquired great military fame and large possessions. There is

a curious book in Trinity College, Dublin, Written by one Father O

Daly tracing this race back through the Dukes of Tuscany and all the

way to the Pius Eneas of Troy.— However, I shall be satisfied with a

more moderate pedigree and begin with the Invasion of Ireland.

Ireland was in an anomalous state at the time of this Invasion. While

it was the seat of much learning, and of the more refined arts. It was

also the haunt of savage customs, and revengeful habits. Like all

countries where feudal  customs prevailed, knowledge  belonged to the

few, great power to the chieftains; but the many were in. subjection

and ignorance. More widely beautiful than now, with Its waving

forests, wide-flowing rivers and spacious harbours, It was a bright

gem of the sea ; but torn up with domestic feuds and defective In its

political system, It was likely to become an easy prey to a powerful

Invader, well skilled in the military arts. Divided amongst a number

of petty chieftains, frequently at variance with each other, their

very animosity constituted a great part of the strength of the foe.

On Ireland in this state, Henry the Second, then Monarch of England,

cast his wily and ambitious eye, and soon found the pioneers of his

conquest in Norman adventurers, who were glad to get the opportunity

of relieving their broken fortunes or obtaining military glory and

large possessions by the Invasion of so fair a region.

At the head of these was Earl Pembroke, well known by the name of

Strongbow, and his General in Chief  was Raymond, surnamed Ramond le

Gros, either from his corpulence, or, more probably from his massive

frame and strength- Le Gros in the Norman, answering to ?  more in

Irish and big in English

Whatever the derivation of this nickname may be, Raymond seems to

have been well suited to the position in which he was placed and to

have combined the qualities of a noble disposition with those which

constitute the characteristic of a great General; for not only was he

famous for his Intrepidity, but he also possessed those, feelings of

humanity which ever accompany true courage.

A remarkable Instance of this was exhibited  in the opposition given

by him to the cruel council of. Hervey M’ Maurice  in the treatment of

the prisoners taken in a battle with the Irish, near Waterford

Raymond having landed with the thirty Knights, and bring joined by

Hervey  M’Maurice with a small troop, they made up a hurried  camp for

their defence. The citizens of Waterford, being troubled at  their

contiguity to their city, attacked them with three thousand men,

headed some Irish Princes. The Normans made a sally[j1]  out of their

little fort against  their opponents, but, finding the multitude they

had to contend with, made a hasty retreat to their entrenchments.

Being too hotly, pressed by their pursuers, they turned on them, when

the powerful and daring Raymond thrust the first of his antagonists

through the body, and, shouting his war cry, made a furious onset

Inspired by the bravery of their leader, the little band fought with

such resolution that they put their enemies to flight, and, after

great carnage, took several of the chief citizens of Waterford

prisoners. A council of war being held on these, Raymond spoke in

their defence, and strongly recommended humane measures. They are not

to be looked on now,” said he, ” as foes, but as our fellow-men, but

as men who have been subdued, who have been vanquished, who have been

conquered. Their fate being adverse, In fighting for the defence Of

their country noble Indeed, was their occupation.” In vain, however,

was his counsel. That of Hervey who at that time possessed much power

and Influence, prevailed and seventy of the noblest citizens of

Waterford having their limbs first broken, were hurled from the rocks

into the sea……..


A Blast from the Past

Harvest thanksgiving in St. Mary’s, Mayor Kennelly of Chicago

Evening in Ballybunion

Lovely evening sky Ballybunion Angling and Coastal Views


February 1951

Michael Kennelly’s caption “First Rome reunion social in The Lake Hotel, Killarney, Feb. 1951”


Thanksgiving for the Harvest in St. Mary’s Listowel


Chicago mayor with Irish roots

Martin H. Kennelly was elected in 1947, and worked with the City Council to create modern superhighways, an airport and subways. His diplomacy enabled many projects.

One year later, he supported Chicago censors who banned Jean-Paul Sartre’s play, “The Respectful Prostitute.” Kennelly declined an invitation to a private showing saying: “I do not like the play. I do not like the title. The title alone would be enough to ban the show, as far as I’m concerned.”

Kennelly established the tone of second term with these words from his Inaugural Address on April 19, 1951: “The pattern of adherence to sound moral values in government has been established. Its basis is efficiency, economy, integrity, impartiality—and the service of only one special interest—the general welfare. There must be no deviation from this standard.” He maintained this standard.

Some of his mayoral successes included extensions for Wacker Drive and the Outer Drive. Congress superhighway and the Congress Street Bridge were constructed. The sewer construction program and the Chicago Skyway were completed. Plans were initiated for extensions to the West Side Subway, the Northwest superhighway, the South Outer Drive and O’Hare Airport.

He was defeated in the 1955 Democratic Primary by Richard J. Daley. He retired and concerned himself with community affairs. He assisted his alma mater and other organizations.

Martin Henry Kennelly died on November 29, 1961, and was buried in Calvary Cemetery in Evanston. He lived his life according to the lines he quoted from Edgar Guest in his First Inaugural Address on April 15, 1947: “If freedom shall new splendors reach/ And not be dragged into the dust/ This to our children we must teach—that/ Public Service is a trust.”


Didn’t he do well

Ger. Greaney with his proud parents at his conferring in UCC last week

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