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: Grape and Grain

Tralee Town Park in May 2021 and Handball Memories Sought

Photo credit; Bridget O’Connor


In Childers’ Park

Out and about with pets in Listowel Town Park


Schools’ Folklore, Clandouglas School

This story was told to the writer by William McElligott, a farmer of 65 years of age from Glenoe between Listowel and Tralee. He was bred and born there and still lives there. He told me that Gleann na Léime was so called from Finn Mac Cumhail who used to hunt in that district with his Fianna. It is said he jumped from one side of the glen to the other a distance of 500 feet and that he attempted to jump it back again but failed. He fell in the rocks between the two hills. His footprints are still to be seen six inches deep in the solid rock. He then threw a stone 2 tons in weight, and it alighted in a meadow 3/4 miles away in a field in Mr. McElligott’s farm. That meadow is still called Rockfield. The stone stands there still, five feet under and five feet over the ground.

There is another field in Mr. McElligott’s farm called “Andy’s meadow” . He always heard the tradition that in the time of the “White Boys” they used to practise drilling there. It is believed that guns were hidden there.

The same man, Mr. Wm. McElligott, Glenoe told me the following story which was told him by his father who died years ago.
One night he, the father, got out of bed to look at a field of corn as he was afraid the cows would break in to it. He found one heifer in the corn, and he set the dog on her. The dog drove the heifer out of the cornfield + followed her a circuitous route to the house, the man himself coming across the fields in the direction of the house too. When crossing one field he heard the galloping of horses and cracking of whips and he had to run to get out of the way of a number of horsemen. When he reached the fence he looked again and saw them steering their course for the wild bog and they were soon out of sight.
When the man reached the house, he found both dog and heifer in the yard. He tied the heifer in the stall and went to bed. In a short time after the heifer appeared outside the window of the room, bellowing. He remained in bed until morning, when he got out and dressed.

He went to the stall to see if the heifer was there. There she was tied, as he had left her earlier in the night.
COLLECTOR Margaret Shanahan

INFORMANT Mr William Mc Elligott


Changes in Town

Grape and Grain, Church Street
Number 18 Church Street


Remembering the Handball Alleys

I have been contacted by Caoimhe about this exciting new project. Below is her call out to everyone with any memories of Listowel Handball Alley. Maybe you have played there, courted there, took part in a decorating project there…any memory at all, Caoimhe wants to hear from you. She will be in town in the next few weeks. If you’d like to talk to her to share a memory drop me a line at


Do you have a handball alley tale to tell? 

Airy, natural, honest, unadorned – handball alleys are magical spaces full of stories – we’re creating a collection & would love to hear YOURS.  Get involved by contacting Caoimhe at with memories of your handball alley. We are welcoming stories in written form via email, but Caoimhe will also be visiting Listowel in the coming weeks so if you would like to tell your tale and have it recorded or transcribed – just let us know!

Find out more at or email for further details.

IN THE MAGIC HOUR is presented as part of Brightening Air | Coiscéim Coiligh, a nationwide, ten day season of arts experiences brought to you by Arts Council Ireland. To see the full Brightening Air | Coiscéim Coiligh programme, visit


Believe It or Not

The man who sent the world’s first email in 1971 can’t remember what it said.

(Source; 1339 Facts to make your Jaw Drop)

Harp and Lion Restored, John B. Keane Road and Pat MacAulliffe’s work in Abbeyfeale

Photo; Christopher Grayson


The Harp that once…..

On my walk through town last week I saw a scaffolding outside the Harp and Lion and men at work, restoring this iconic Listowel stucco work to its former glory.

Day 2, the scaffolding down and all is revealed.

Lots done, lots more to do.


Grape and Grain repainted

This premises looks splendid with its new paintwork.


A Stroll along the John B. Keane Road

Listowel Fire Station is located on John B. Keane Road.

Planting along this road adds to the beauty of Lovely Listowel, Ireland’s Tidiest Town 2018.

The roundabout and the cinema in the background.

John B. Keane Grove beautifully replicates the look of the old railway buildings which stood here.


Pat McAulliffe’s Plasterwork in Abbeyfeale

(from Echoes of Abbeyfeale)

Pat McAuliffe was born in 1846 and before his death in 1921 he had left an extraordinary, exotic and fascinating legacy of exterior plasterwork. There are several superb examples of McAuliffe’s work in Abbeyfeale. Outstanding is the house once owned by the O Mara family egg and dart and a further design of circles penetrated by arrows. Some would say that McAuliffe’s work at its best can be seen at the shop on Main Street, presently owned by Paudie Fitzgerald and formerly owned by Patrick O Connor. Here McAuliffe uses a variety of scene and language, including a Biblical scene and words in Latin, French and Irish. It is doubtful 

if he was familiar with these languages. One inscription reads “Vita brevis. Ars Longa”
(Life is short. Art is forever). An Anglo –Saxon agricultural fertility charm has the following invocation:
“Hail to thee Earth, Mother of Man.
Be fruitful in God’s embrace,
Filled with food for the use of men”
Another scene, a Biblical one, depicts Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. At one time people knew this O Connor house as “Angel House” as Pat McAuliffe had designed a plaster angel and placed it aloft on the outside of the building. Our rainy Irish climate, however, ensured that the Angel was frequently dripping water. In an effort to conserve the building
and diminish the constant drip, the Angel was removed from its perch. Thus also, one further example of McAuliffe’s work has vanished forever. Various other designs on the front walls of Abbeyfeale buildings can be seen on the houses presently owned by Damian Daly and Caroline 


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