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: grandchildren

A Braddy Cow, Local Historians, old Santa letters and rare book finds in a charity shop.

 Church Street, Listowel


The Braddy Cow

( The word braddy comes from the Irish bradach, a bó bradach was the thieving cow who was forever breaking into the neighbours pastures)

The following extract is taken from Jim Costelloe’s great rural memoir of Asdee in the 1940’s and ’50s

Every herd of cows- although I doubt if the few short horn cows we had could be called a bawn- had a leader. When given the task of minding the cows she had to be supervised at all times. After all she was the inquisitive one and led the others around the boundary ditches when they were first let in to the aftergrass. While most of the cows were content to feed on the new grass which was a feast in comparison to the bare grazing fields, the braddy cow chose to roam around the field and, of course, she had to inspect the tilled area. The important part of minding the cows was to prevent any of them from getting a taste of the garden. Once the cows got the first taste of the growing turnips or cabbage at all, the job was twice as hard. The forbidden fruit was all that was on their minds after tasting the garden produce and the aftergrass, while welcome, was only to be eaten when the animals were prevented from going into the garden.


My Fellow Local Historians

I met Charlie Nolan and Jer. Kennelly in The Square. Charlie is the greatest supporter of Listowel Connection bar none and without Jer. I wouldn’t have half the great stories from the papers or photographs. It is always a pleasure to meet these two gentlemen. We are ploughing the same furrow, preserving the stories, the sights and the memories. We are  keepers of the flame.


A Listowel Supplement to The Kerryman in 1994

A blog supporter found this great old paper and he gave it to me to share. I’m sure these girls will be thrilled to see their innocent letters to Santa reproduced here. School off for two months, Helen!


On Being a Nana

I enjoy a privilege not granted to everyone. I have lived long enough to get to know my grandchildren.

These are three of my five grandchildren. I got to spend a day with them recently when they had a day off as their school was being used as a polling station for the presidential election.  Here we are on Station Road, Ballincollig on our way to the shops.

Then this happened. We hit the Balance charity shop in Ballincollig on the day that some Beano lover had donated his old stash of comic albums. Róisín loves nothing better than a vintage comic. She literally danced and leapt around the shop when I bought the lot. This has to be one of my best days as a Nana.


In Lixnaw, the cradle of Kerry hurling, they are celebrating

Photo from Twitter

Tarbert Fairy Trail and Maurice O’Donnell of Abbeyfeale, USA Civil War veteran

It’s the Simple Things….

Cheap entertainment as my three visitors enjoy a bubble blowing session in the garden.

Róisín bonded with the neighbours’ cat, Basil, and encouraged him to visit every chance she got.


Tarbert Fairy Trail

The girls like nothing better than a spot of good fairy trailing. Tarbert has one of the best trails around. It is located in the wood on the road to the ferry. There is a beautiful woodland walk mapped out here but, mindful of how quickly little legs can tire, I just undertook to do the fairy trail part.

As you can see there are lots of fairy houses to discover, a rainbow with a pot of gold at the end, a picnic table where you can picnic with the fairies and all sorts of goblins and leprechauns made from wood, stones and recycled materials. Underfoot it was a bit muddy so we had to so a bit of shoe cleaning at the gate. Everyone enjoyed the walk.


Abbeyfeale’s Louisiana Tiger: A Confederate Veteran Returns to Ireland 

This was the headline in a Kerry newspaper in 1915. The confederate veteran in question was Maurice O’Donnell. 

Maurice’s demise in 1915 was noted in at least two Irish newspapers. The Freemans Journal of 25th March 1915 recorded that he ‘took part in the American Civil War, having fought with the Southern armies, and became partially disabled for life in one of the closing battles.‘ A more detailed account of Maurice appeared in the Killarney Echo and South Kerry Chronicle of 27th March 1915:

DEATH OF A CIVIL WAR VETERAN– One of the few old natives of the town dropped off during the week in the person of Mr. Maurice O’Donnell of Chapel St., who died after a protracted illness in his 87th year. The deceased took part in the American Civil War in which he practically lost the use of one of his legs. He fought unfortunately on the Southern side and so was disentitled to a pension. This was all the more keenly calamitous as being forced in his latter days to see his interest in the house he lived in he was debarred from realising the purchase amount by the landlord’s trustees who reside in England and resisted his right to dispose of a yearly tenancy. The old veteran who was under notice to Quit at the time of his death deeply deplored his inability to see the matter out before his exit. Deceased belonged to the O’Donnells who were one of the oldest of the native families and who are said to have come from the north originally with Red Hugh O’Donnell, and settled down all over the south after the rout at Kinsale. 


A Rose with a Listowel Connection

Thi is Elizabeth Marince and she is the Florida Rose 2017.

This photo was taken at Orlando airport with the Are Lingus crew who were flying her to Dublin.

Now the Listowel connection in her own words;

Greeting from sunny Florida where I am still enjoying the excitement of being crowned the Florida Rose!!
At age 22, I am thrilled to be traveling to Ireland to participate in an event representative of my Irish
heritage of which I am immensely proud!

My grandfather, Tom O’Donoghue, grew upin Listowel and my great grandparents hailed from Mayo and
Cork.My grandfather’s legacy is an inspiring one as he arrived in the United States when he was 19 witha cardboard suitcase, $35 and one change of clothes. Through simple determination and hard work, he
achieved success as a businessman in Pittsburgh, PA. One of his business ventures was opening the
Blarney Stone Restaurant where I would perform with my siblings, singing Irish songs and Irish step
dancing. My Pappap was a loyal Kerry Man until the day he passed and I know that he is smiling down as I
prepare to travel back to his beloved Ireland for the Rose of Tralee!

Performing with the Irish Echos in Orlando, working at Walt Disney World in the entertainment
department where I routinely work with Make-A-Wish and special needs families, and acting as the
Production Director of the children’s ministry at my church,are what keeps my days busy and my heart

I am also inspired to volunteer my time to the Special Olympics because of my brother, Michael, who is
severely mentally and physically disabled due to a rare syndrome. Although Mikey is nonverbal and
totally dependent on my family for his daily care, he has taught me to enjoy the simple things in life.
Growing up with Mikey also has created a passion inside of me to interact with other families with
special needs children. I will carry Mikey in my heart as I travel to Ireland to compete for the prestigious
title of Rose of Tralee! 

She is the granddaughter of Tom ODonoghue of Tannavalla, Listowel


The Round Roofed Shed

I loved this one by Seamus ORourke when I heard it on Countrywide on radio on Saturday.

The Round Roofed Shed


Kerry Football in 1963

I published this photo of football fans at Tralee Railway Station in 1963.

Junior Griffin provides us with a little more about what game they might be travelling to see.

Good morning Mary

Just a little comment on those supporters travelling to Croke Park in 1963. I have no doubt you may be getting other emails about it.

If it was the Galway v Kerry senior match in 1963 it would have been the semi final as Galway defeated Kerry in that  match but lost to Dublin in the final.

If by chance it was All Ireland final day in 1963 the supporters would be following the Kerry minor team who defeated Westmeath in the final to give Kerry 2 in a row minor titles.

While Galway just lost out in the senior final that great Galway team went on to do the three in a row senior titles in 1964/65/66

Best regards


A visit to Wetlands, Tralee, and Athea, Co. Limerick

My grandchildren are the greatest joy in my life at the moment. Getting to know one’s grandchildren is a blessing not granted to everyone and I am eternally grateful that it has been granted to me.

Last week, when Sean and Killian visited, we went to Wetlands, one of the Kingdom’s great visitor attractions.

This yoke is called  a zorb. The boys had great fun rolling around in them on the lake.

After the zorbing the boys couldn’t wait to take to the water again, this time in a pedalo.

They got a good drenching when they got stuck under one of the fountains….great fun.



 Despite their scepticism about the fairy folk, they loved the legend of the Athea giant and his unfortunate mother and they were willing to give the worry tree a try. As the Kerry man said, “I don’t believe in fairies, but they’re there.”


We carried on to O’Halloran’s Garden Centre  and the Blueberry Coffee Shop

My two boyeens are animal lovers and they particularly love these ones, who are so tame and friendly.

A feature of the village of Athea is the abundance of really great mural art. This agricultural themed one is my favourite


Siamsa Tíre

Siamsa, the early days


Moyvane Playground opening

 Your invitation: ‘Official opening of the Moyvane Community Playground will be held this Sunday, 20th of July at 2pm. This will be a family fun day with Bouncy Castles, Face Painting and many more….Hot Food, refreshments and treats will be available on the day… Lots of fun for both young and old, so come along and enjoy the opening of a fantastic amenity to our local Village…We look forward to seeing you there. “


Gather by the Feale

Some Vikings arriving in Abbeyfeale ahead of this weekend’s festival

My weekend

Last weekend Listowel was bathed in sunshine and temperatures reached 20 degrees. I had my son and his family visiting.

On Saturday a crowd gathered outside Jimmy Deenihan’s office to protest about a plethora of issues, e.g. closure of rural schools, bed closures, the bogs, household charges etc.etc.


I headed off to the park and later for a walk along the riverbank with my visitors.

I have rarely seen the water level in The Feale so low.

As we walked we spotted this lovely heron under the bridge. We met John Pierse who told us that, when he was a child, he heard local people call a crane a Johnny McRory. I hope I have the name right. I wonder if this was just a Listowel thing or do other places have this name for this elegant bird.

There are 2 new ducks in the river. Here you can see one of the old pair keeping a close eye on the newcomers.


Remember yesterday’s picture of the chinese beach. What a contrast to my picture of Ballybunion on Sunday morning.

My beloved boyeens loved having the place practically to themselves. They built a big castle complete with a moat. Oh to be 6 again!


Very poignant images from the funeral of Jim Stynes, literally and figuratively a giant in Australian.

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