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: Gleasures

Bord na Mona in Kerry,briquettes and Listowel Square

I was out and about early on Saturday morning and I spotted this fellow early riser on Upper William St. He was having a read of the day’s news while waiting for the shop to open so he could make his delivery.


Work  on the extension to the cinema is progressing nicely.


Bord na Mona in Kerry 

In 1947 Bord na Móna opened its works at Barna, Co. Kerry. It eventually produced machine turf when the bog was fully developed. This is the original office building. Fairly basic!

A view of the front of the building with the old van outside. There were three BnM works in Kerry, Barna, Carrigcannon and Lyrecrumpane. Con Houlihan  worked for a while in Lyrecrumpane. 

Barna closed down over 30 years ago.

In 1940 the Turf Development Board re-opened Lullymore Briquette factory because of the fuel shortage. Here we have an employee climbing a stack of briquettes. The briquettes were not baled. That technology came later. 

They also have the name Lullymore on them. They were known in Dublin as Lulliers. Briquettes were used for  industry, including whiskey production and were not really available to the general public until the end of the war.

(All photos and information fromóna-Heartland/)


I found this great photo on Facebook

Eoin Hand, Derry Reen and Billy Keane with the great Cork singer songwriter Jimmy Crowley.


Martin Sheehy contacted me to tell me that he remembers the Gleasures well. He knew nothing of May or her beau but he remembered George, also known as Boysie. Martin tells me that they were probably the last Protestant family in The Square.

Boysie ran a turf accountant’s in Upper William Street. Then he relocated to Ballybunion where he ran a fast food restaurant and guest house.

This is how The Square might have looked to Mai Gleasure, St. Johns covered in ivy and surrounded by a low wall. The house to the left of St. Mary’s as you look at this picture housed the protestant school which the Gleasure family attended.

This is St. Mary’s corner of The Square as it looks today. The protestant school is now a private house and the Catholic nature of education in the town is emphasized by the statue of Nano Nagle on the island outside the church.

St. John’s is now an Arts Centre.

This is the Gleasure’s bar today. It is now a private house.


Gleasure photos, Americano then and now

My new friend, Ben has sent me these really interesting photos of his ancestors in Listowel. I’ll remind you. This Gleasure family lived in the pub that is now The Americano. The family emigrated to the U.S., returned to Listowel and then one of them, Frank went back to Massachusetts. Frank kept all the letters (1897-1955) that were sent to him from his family in Listowel and now Ben is sharing them with us all here;

The letters are full of snippets of gossip and valuable social history.  The irony is not lost on me. Frank waited days or even weeks for news of home and then treasured every letter. Now Ben uploads a letter in the U.S. and we read it instantly thousands of miles away in Listowel. Letterwriting is an art that is completely undervalued in this era of instant communication.

 Annie Gleasure

This is the shop in the Square with Joseph in the doorway. The door on the left was the front door of the families living quarters. Joseph longed to go the U.S. and when he eventually got the opportunity, he was tragically killed in a railway accident only 6 months after realizing his dream and joining his brother in America.

George is a name that occurs frequently in this family. This is one of the Georges. Looks like a 19th century George to me.

This is young Geroge, Frank’s brother.

Gleasure’s pub in The Square Listowel in the early 1900’s

As you can see, the house has changed very little,  the windows and doors have been replaced and the tree is a recent addition. The street light and electricity transformer box are a testament to progress.

Quilter’s Veterinary shop was obviously a private house in the last century. The  Moloney premises, where Jimmy Deenihan’s office is, seems to have been taken down a story.


I ask you, what is going on here? Some daft knitters appear to have covered Molly Malone’s wheel in a knitted sleeve. Curiouser and curiouser!


Meanwhile, at home in Kerry, Jimmy Deenihan unveiled a statue of Mick O’Dwyer. The statue of the legendary footballer and manager is in Waterville and it was unveiled on Saturday.

The photo was taken by “Myrtle” and appears in Wikipaedia.


Fealegood’s video of the old railway track walk is here:

Lovely! and better still…..the first of many!


Touching gesture:  Robbie Keane scored for LA Galaxy on Saturday and then held up this jersey.

Gleasures of Listowel and Massachusetts

This premises, The Americano Pub in The Square was once owned by a Gleasure family.

A few days ago I got an email from a descendant of this family. This is what Ben Naylor says:

I am from Washington, DC but have Listowel roots.  My great-great grandfather (George Gleasure) came over to Canada from Ireland in the late 1800’s, crossed the border into the US and resided in Natick, Massachusetts for a decade before returning with his children to Ireland, making residence in Listowel from about 1898-1923 (his death).  The Gleasures ran a liquor store/pub in The Square.  My great-grandfather, his son (Frank Gleasure) wanted to come back to America and left the family in 1901 to come back to Massachusetts. 

Ben has inherited hundreds of letters sent from the Gleasures in Listowel to Frank.  Ben is putting them all online here

The letters are not great works of literature but are of enormous value historically, as his relatives at home tell Frank all the little newses of the town. Frank was very generous to his family, regularly sending newspapers, postcards, photographs and presents and their gratitude is a salient feature running through all the correspondence.

One of the family was a keen photographer and Ben has inherited the photographs as well. He promises to send us some old pictures of The Square and the family pub when he gets back to New York next week.


This is Listowel Convent Primary School as it used to look. School photos were often taken in front of “the statue’.

Here is one such photo. I have no idea of a date or a name.


Listowel Town development plan to 2015 is available here:

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