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Tag: Gerry O’Carroll

The MacMahon River Walk at Writers’ Week 2015

Heather at Bromore Cliffs, Ballybunion, Co. Kerry, June 2015

Photo: Bromore Cliffs


A Writers’ Week Walking Tour

Vincent Carmody organizes a programme of walking tours every year at Writers’ Week. For many people these are among the high points of the festival and such is the reputation of the walks that it is now getting difficult to cope with the big numbers of people wanting to follow.

Last year’s river walk with Owen MacMahon was so talked about that this year I resolved not to miss it. So here I was (with my camera) at The Listowel Arms on Saturday morning May 28 2015 ready for a treat. I got it.

Owen MacMahon was our guide. Along the way he sang his late brother, Gary’s, songs, he read from his father’s works and he told anecdote after anecdote to the delight of his enthralled audience.

Our first stop was at Listowel castle. He told us a bit about the history of the castle and the famous siege.

We headed off for our walk along the banks of The Feale. We heard of a time when the river was teeming with fish and Owen’s late uncle, Bubs, liked nothing better than to slip away from his home and surgery on Market Street for a few hours fishing.

We learned that when the pontoon bridge linking the town with the racecourse collapsed into the Feale, the people who fell in were compensated with a new trousers. One man got two.

Owen telling another amusing tale of judges, courts of law and drinking.

Some people found a picturesque place to sit and listen.

Walkers hung on every word.

Owen and Vincent seemed to have identified appropriate perches along the way so we could see as well as hear them.

We stopped at the ball alley for another rann or two of a song.

At the Garden of Europe we listened amid reminders of Europe’s darkest hour. The tour finished in the nearby graveyard where  many of the people remembered along the way in so many anecdotes are buried. There were a few more footballing stories and a song or two before we dispersed, having made a great start to a memorable Writers’ Week Saturday. This Saturday was to end for me with a trip to Listowel Community Centre to see Graham Norton.


Only in Kerry

Some well known local people pick the winning tickets from a very valuable ‘hat” in Brosnan’s Bar  at the charity fundraiser on Friday Night. Photos by John Kelliher.

Norah Browne
Sean Moriarty
Gerry O’Carroll


Wild Atlantic Way Seaweed Festival

(Photo: Facebook)

This group were on the beach foraging for edible sea weed as part of the first Wild Atlantic Way Seaweed Festival in Ballybunion on Saturday June 6 2015.


Adare, Saturday June 6 2015

These photos from the internet show the devastating fire that destroyed part of the picturesque terrace of cottages in Adare on Saturday. There was no loss of life but one lady who was renting one of the houses lost all her  possessions. It would appear that the fire started in one of the chimneys.

The last of 2014 Corpus Christi procession photos and some beautiful paintwork on Church Street

Today is July 4th.  Have a great day all my American followers!

The stars and stripes are flying outside St. John’s.


Liam Murphy and family

Liam, on the far left,  is pictured with his sister, Catherine (Kath) brother Tom and sister Mary. The photo was taken in 2012. The story of Liam’s emigration is a happy one. He loves Kerry and in particular his native Lyre but he made a good life for himself in the U.S. and he now loves both of his homes. The land of opportunity gave him a good job, a home and family. Now, in his retirement, he returns often to visit his family and renew old acquaintances.

 Happy Independence Day, Liam!


Corpus Christi procession 2014


Church Street Looking good

Lovely, absolutely lovely!


In Gerry O’Carroll remembers his father who played his part in WW1

02 JULY 2014 12:00 AM

LAST Saturday marked the 100th anniversary
of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo.

The shooting led, of course, to World War
i, a conflict which drew in millions of people around the world.

Among them was a young man from Listowel,
Co Kerry, named James O’Carroll. He was my father.

He was one of thousands of young Irishmen
who answered John Redmond’s call to join the British Army and fight for the
freedom of small nations.

My dad was just 16 when he left north
Kerry for London in 1916. There he joined the Royal Engineers and, after four
months of basic training, was sent to the Western Front.

He fought in France and later in Belgium.
Like thousands of his fellow countrymen he endured the horrors and hardships of
the Great War – the mud, the blood, the daily terror and struggle for survival.

In early 1918, having survived two years
of that living hell, he was seriously wounded during an over-the-top attack in

He was shot through the shoulder and,
following a mustard gas attack, lay blinded and choking in a shell-hole for ten
hours before he was rescued.

My father was taken to hospital and
recovered from the wound. Alas he suffered lifelong effects to his lungs from
the gas attack.

James O’Carroll remained in France with
his regiment until the Armistice in 1918 and was demobbed the following year,
after which he returned to Listowel.

My dad’s experiences in France and Belgium
left him a changed man. In later years he became a committed pacifist.


He also went on to raise a family of 15,
living in the soldiers’ houses in Listowel, a terrace built by a trust for
wounded veterans of the War.

Growing up In the staunchly Republican
heartland of north Kerry I always had the feeling that the houses were looked
on by many people as a curious anomaly.

Perhaps one of the reasons for this was
that our family would sell the poppy each November, not a common practice in
the town.

Sadly my dad, like many other veterans,
was seen by many not as a person who fought for freedom, but instead as someone
tainted by treason, for taking ‘the King’s shilling’.

Likewise no monuments were erected to my
dad’s many Irish pals who never came home.

Only now, at last, are they being properly
recognised. It’s taken a century but I’m glad to see it.

I’m sure my dear departed father would be

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