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: Golden’s

Molly, Macroom, Hidden Treasure and Listowel Drama Group

Molly at Home

I haven’t given an update on Molly for a while. Here she is in her happy place with her Christmas toy. She has been to the groomers since and is looking even more handsome these days.


I was in Macroom, Co Cork

Last week I met a friend in Macroom for lunch. We ate in Granville’s and it was lovely, good food, friendly staff and cozy dining room.

I parked in the square just opposite this well named premises. It is truly a golden treasure, a throwback to the days of my childhood.

Once upon a time many shops had bars like these fitted outside their windows. This was in the days when fairs were held on the streets and shopkeepers needed to protect their very expensive plate glass. It’s lovely to see this one still in place.

Further down the street in this blue and yellow shop there was another of these fair day protectors. This one was removable but seems to be being left up permanently here.

Back to Golden’s and it’s old advertising hoardings… This one exhorts us to smoke a brand of cigarettes no longer available.

This place was certainly a general store, a virtual cornucopia judging by the goods displayed in the windows.

Among the mirrors and jugs was a jewish menorah and some various christian imagery.

It was not clear to me if these items were for sale or merely for decoration.

I was fascinated to see an old fashioned ring board and a skipping rope.

The sign inviting musicians to the monthly sessions had been updated since I was last here.

The Guinness toucan was on the wall and in the window was the old Guinness advertising slogan; Guinness is Good for You.  Are we allowed to make unsubstantiated claims like that nowadays?

Is that cctv I see beside the golden finial? The plasterwork depicts the oak leaves and acorns below some sheaves of corn, a rich harvest image for a lovely lovely old bar.


From the Schools’ Folklore Collection

A Hidden Treasure

There was a very old woman who lived in a small little house close to the village of Newtownsandes. She seemed to be very poor and the village people used to give her food. One day the priest said to her, “You seem to be always looking for charity”, and the old woman said, “Sure what else could I do. I haven’t a pig, a goat, or a man”. In a short time after, the old woman grew sick and was ordered to hospital. The neighbours went to her little house. As the ambulance came they were preparing her for the journey, and on no account would she allow them to take off a flannel skirt. So when she got to the hospital the nuns ordered the skirt to be removed, but the old lady screamed aloud and thought to hold on to the skirt. However they succeeded in removing the skirt. The nuns got suspicious and stood by after giving orders to two wardswomen to get a scissors and open up the skirt. To their surprise, there were nineteen sovereigns sewed in a tuck to the skirt. She lived for one week after, and during that time the other patients in the ward could not sleep as the old woman was all the time shouting for the flannel skirt.

Collector- Pat Stack- Informant- Nurse Stack- Age 62 Address, Newtownsandes, Co. Kerry


Listowel Drama Group

The curtain has come down for the last time on A Daughter from over the Water. This 2020 production by Listowel Drama Group entertained audiences  in the dreary evenings of early March 2020….great cast and excellent set, as usual.

Cast of Listowel Drama Groups production of A Daughter from over the Water

Mike the Pies, Martin Chute, Mistletoe and Macroom

Wintry Listowel in December 2019


Mike the Pies Rebranding

Mike the Pies has been painted green for as long as I can remember. All that’s changed in December 2019. This popular music venue, where half of Listowel would rather be, is now a sophisticated black.

There I was walking on Upper William Street when I spotted the sea change.

Returning later I saw Mr. Signs himself, Martin Chute, painting the new sign.

Doesn’t his I look a bit like a glass at this stage?

Spotting his friend, Eileen Worths, Martin stopped for a chat.

I was anxious not to distract the master at work. But the ever affable signwriter took a minute to greet me.


Mattie’s Letter takes a Tongue in Cheek Swipe


Uh! oh! The Mistletoe

( from Raymond O’Sullivan on Facebook)

When the kissing has to stop!

Mistletoe is a symbol of love, affection and friendship. It is also considered lucky and a protection from evil spirits and the devil, The origin of these associations goes back to Norse mythology and the legend of the goddess Frigg, wife of Odin, and their son Baldur – too long for a FB post. Google it! Suffice to say that Frigg’s tears transformed into the berries on the mistletoe, and, on the resurrection of her son from the dead, she was so overjoyed that she blessed the plant and vowed to kiss everyone who passed beneath it.
So the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe goes back a long way, though nowadays it is confined to the Christmas period. Some accounts say the proper procedure is that a berry is plucked from the plant each time a couple kisses and when all the berries are gone, the kissing has to stop. Ah, the bashful days of youth!
In the light of the almost daily charges of unwelcome and inappropriate sexual approaches in the workplace and elsewhere, this long-established tradition of kissing under the mistletoe must be in grave danger of being discarded. We can only hope that the coarse conduct and boorish behaviour of some, including those in high places, does not jeopardize this age-old, innocent Christmas custom and consign the blameless mistletoe to the compost heap of history.


Spotted In Macroom

Like Listowel, Macroom has retained much of its old character. When I stopped there for a spot of lunch lately (I highly recommend The Castle Hotel) I took a stroll around and spotted these gems.

A veritable old curiosity shop

Next door was a draper’s shop which still hangs the merchandise outside the door.


An Appeal

Next year, 2020 Listowel Writers Week will celebrate its 50th birthday. I’m planning to post some photos of memories of the festival down through the years. So I’m appealing to my Listowel Connection family to help me out.

If you have a memory or a photo you would be willing to share please drop me an email.

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