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: Graham Norton Page 1 of 3

Listowel Players 1996

Praying for Peace with the People of Ukraine

St. Mary’s Church by Éamon ÓMurchú


A Crucial Week in the Life of a Grocer’s Assistant

Jer Kennelly found an old play programme.


1930s Listowel

8 Church Street Listowel , Co. Kerry

Photo copyright; Tipperary Studies Photographs of Munster Shops


From Presentation School Yearbook 1991


Some Famous Faces at Writers’ Weeks Past

Com Tóibín and Brendan Kennelly R.I.P.
Fergal Keane
Catherine Moylan and Graham Norton
John McAuliffe
Joe Stack


Last of my Graham Norton Photos, Kennedy Home then and Now and my Favourite Ascot Photo.

Make someone happy,

Make just one someone happy

And you will be happy too.

Richard Pierse made me very happy on June 3 2017. There I was manning the gate at the Graham Norton event when along came this young man. He lives in Nicaragua and he keeps in touch with his Listowel hometown via Listowel Connection. I love to hear a story like that. Richard is just one of many people who appreciate what I do but I think he must be the most remote of my blog followers. If anyone else wants to get in touch and tell me where they read the blog maybe I could put up a map and track the reach of Listowel connection.

Jennifer Scanlon made someone happy too. Here she is racing to the rescue of her friend detained at the gate. Everyone had to have a paper ticket to get past us.


Audience on its way to Graham Norton

Eventually the wait was over. No Garda outriders to alert us this time. Graham Norton slipped into Childers’ Park  almost unbeknownst.

He posed for a few snaps and then took his place on stage for his interview. Nice man.


Bachelors’ Walk

Do you remember this show? I know he has done loads of work since, but I thought of this when I saw Simon Delaney turn up as Phil, the unlikely Irish jeweller, in Coronation Street.


Then and Now

Upper Church St. the old Kennedy Home is now a  Family Centre.


Healy Racing of Listowel and the World of Horse Racing

Horse trainer, Aidan O’Brien is at the top of his game. He recently won the accolade for champion trainer at Royal Ascot 2017. He was presented with his prize by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, herself a knowledgeable horse owner and horse racing enthusiast. Healyracing captured the moment. The photo tells a story of respect and understanding. If I were Aidan O’Brien, I’d be hanging this one.

More of my Photos of Graham Norton’s Audience and an incident at the convent school in 1887

Bromore on National Media

Mike Flahive shared this photo of himself, his wife, Eilish and piper, Danny Houlihan with Cian McCormack of RTE

Rte reporter Cian McCormack is cycling along The Wild Atlantic Way. Yesterday Wednesday June 21 2017 he cycled through Tarbert where he visited the Bridewell and spoke to Joan Murphy about problems common to Tarbert and other struggling small towns. She mentioned rural broadband and lack of public transport as two of the problems besetting small towns up and down the country. Cian passed by the crooked cross and called in to Kennelly’s. Alan told him how Ballylongford had gone from a thriving village with each street fielding its own team in the street league to a place that now has to join with nearby village to make up one minor team. There is no new child enrolled in the local National School for the next school year.

Then Cian cycled along his merry way to Ballybunion and he talked to two people who are trying to do something about the decline. Local historian and 7 times all Ireland champion piper, Danny Houlihan and local farmer and entrepreneur, Mike Flahive, told him about their tourism offering.

The Bromore Cliff Walk is well worth a visit and you will get to meet Bart, “the friendliest horse in Ireland.”


People I photographed on their way in to Graham Norton, Listowel Writers Week 2017


Manchester Guardian Nov 2 1887

A few days ago I featured a letter to the Manchester Post concerning the inability of Listowel girls to sing God Save the Queen. The letter writer was reacting to the following story in The Manchester Guardian of November 2 1887.    (Paddy Keane did the research on this one)

Notes on Listowel

(from our special correspondent)

” There is in Listowel a great convent school where (the number is illegible) girls are being educated by the nuns. The peculiarity of such a school is that the lower and the middle classes are  mixed together in a way which would be impossible in England. With some English friends I went over the whole school.

We went into the big schoolroom and there we heard the girls read and I must say that for justness of intonation and clearness of expression I have never heard such good reading in any English school. They read out of Goldsmith’s Deserted Village and I noticed that the girl who was reading substituted Ireland for England in the line

“A time there was ere England’s griefs began.

When every rood of ground maintained its man.”

Lastly we had recitations and singing. A row of girls recited some patriotic lines, wearing the while a green flag. Their glowing eyes and their excited gestures showed how much they felt their words. After they had sung to us we asked if they could sing God save Ireland. There was no doubt as to the response. The sister in charge of the music instantly sat down at the piano and struck into the melody. The girls sang as if they wanted to lift themselves off the ground. When they had finished and were all aglow with excitement, we asked for one verse of God Save the Queen. Nobody knew it and it was clear that nobody cared to sing it. “They will sing it at some future time.” gently said the Mother Superior.”

More of Graham Norton’s Audience and a short history of Listowel education.

Graham Norton in The Community Centre for Listowel Writers Week 2017

June 3 2017

The evening was cold and windy so people look a bit windswept and muffled.


Education in Listowel

The Presentation nuns came to Listowel in May 1844. They have been involved in Listowel education, particularly of girls every since. The Sisters of Mercy came to Listowel in 1883 and began working in the workhouse hospital. This house became a TB hospital in 1984 and a geriatric hospital in 1972. It is now a step down hospital for local people who are discharged from Kerry University Hospital. It also has a dedicated hospice suite.

The first national school for boys opened in 1936 and was replaced in 1960 by Scoileanna Realta na Maidine. St. Michael’s College opened as a second diocesan college on January 20th 1879.

(source; Fr. Kieran O’Shea’s The Diocese of Kerry)

Graham Norton in Listowel and Lyre children named

Graham Norton in Listowel

The Graham Norton Interview at Listowel Writers Week 2017 was the big ticket item. I took lots of photos of the local audience as they arrived. Some people I know, some I don’t know,  and some I should know and dont, so I’m giving them to you with no names. You’ll know yourselves and your friends anyway.


Lyreacrompane schoolchildren

Kay O’Leary of  Lyreacrompane has been on to me about the above photo.

Here is what she wrote;

Hi Mary,

Just seen the photo on your page.  When we held the school reunion some years back we included this photo in the collection of photos we displayed on the day.  We did our best to source the names for each photo but this (below) was the best we could do for this photo.  Maybe some of your fans could provide the missing names.

We enjoy receiving and looking at ‘ Listowel connection’. Kay

Lyreacrompane National School 1950’s

Back Row:           Chris Lyons, Jo Hickey, unknown, unknown, Anne Quille, Mary Ahern, Mary Jo Ahern, unknown, Norrie O’Connell, Bridie Hickey, Unknown.

Middle Row:      unknown, Maureen Murphy, unknown, Mary Rose Doran, Bridie Dillon Angela Sommers, Catherine Canty, Eileen Keane, Margaret Archer, 

                             unknown, Joan O’Donoghue, unknown, unknown, unknown, unknown.

Front Row:          Eileen Murphy, Sheila Hickey, Esther Ahern, Kate Nolan, Mary Anne Joyce, unknown, unknown, unknown, unknown, Marie Doran,  unknown, Kay Doran, unknown, unknown, Breda Nolan, Mary O’Sullivan, Mary Quille, unknown, Mary Murphy, unknown,

                               Helen Joyce, unknown, unknown, unknown, unknown, Martina Cotter, unknown.

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