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: Greenway


Ballybunion Photo by Simple Snaps by Sharon


A Change in the Weather

Jean Byrne has quietly slipped from our screens. She retired in October 2021 according to a story in RSVP.

“Jean, from Tarbert in Co Kerry, had become a household name since first appearing on our TV screens in 1996.

She became famous for her daring style with her often eye catching outfits causing a storm online.

She also became a firm favourite with viewers after appearing on Celebrity Home of the year in 2019.”


Confirmation Day 1960

Kathy Reynolds has been in touch to tell us that she has uploaded another tranche of precious old photographs.

This album is called North Kerry People, Episode 4 and it features Confirmation Day in Ballybunion in 1960. The photos were taken by the late Tony Fitzmaurice

Kathy says “By 1963 (maybe) but definitely 1966 children were confirmed in Ballydonoghue Church as I was confirmed there, Ballydonoghue having separated from Ballybunion Parish and got it’s own PP. However I have just learnt that Ballydonoghue lost it’s PP in 2021 and he will not be replaced so it will once again be reliant on priests from surrounding parishes. I wonder if confirmations will once again be held in Ballybunion.”

If you recognise someone in the photos will you contact Kathy , . She is anxious to put names to the people in the photos.


Listowel Is Changing

On Friday January 14 2021, I met Andy Smith who was in town overseeing the big changes that are afoot.

The Square will soon see the installation of a series of canopies. These will be permanent structures covering an area that will be used for outdoor dining and performance. This will be the new normal as we embrace our outdoor lifestyle.

This is Bridge Road. The pavement is on the left, the next section will be a cycleway.

I took this photo in the old Neodata site where it is all systems go to join up this new cycleway with the Greenway.


Presentation School Magazine 1983

In 1983 the school magazine was produced by the secondary and primary schools. I remember the event described here well.


A Brilliant Teacher Remembered

John O’Leary has been in touch. Here is a part of his email;

Hi Mary,

My name is John O’Leary. For so many years I have been trying to 
find a person who would get me in contact with a relation of a teacher 
who taught me back 1959 in the Beara peninsula. Her name was Sheila 
Enright from Old Bridge Road Listowel, a brilliant teacher.

If you can help John please get in touch.


Trees, Handballers Fundraising for an upgrade

Carrigafoyle Castle by Breda Ferris



Listowel is home to hundreds of beautiful trees and this leafy environment is reflected in many of the housing estate names. Here are two.

Cluain Doire literally means meadows of oak.


A Carpet of Daisies in Listowel’s Garden of Europe

Our new awareness of the role of wild flowers has led to sights like this, hundreds of daisies and buttercups among the grasses.


If we only had a four walled court

(Junior Griffin)

Scoil Realt na Maidine as we know it today was opened in 1959 and Halla Bhriain Mhic Mhathúna, the school hall. was built on the site of the old school and opened in 1961.

The Handball Club was one of the first customers to use the hall. They ran a series of Whist Drives on Sunday nights. They also secured a Sunday night to run a “monster” whist drive in Walsh’s Super Ballroom during the season of Lent. The committee of those years was very active in fundraising with the burning aim of raising sufficient funds to build a four walled handball court in Listowel.

Between 1961 and 1965 the club held 27 meetings and 5 A.G.M.s. They also held one EGM.

The one recurring theme in all of these meetings was the hope and ambition to build a a four wall championship handball alley in Listowel.

The minutes of these meetings record many details of fundraising, deputations to the the local government T.D. , a meeting with Listowel UDC, letters to the National Handball Organisation and to the GAA.

Promises were made and encouragement given but the heartfelt dream of a new alley for the members of that time was never realised.

The sale of membership cards to player and “social” members continued.

In 1961 124 cards at 2/6 each were sold, 77 in 1962, 103 in 1963 and only 63 in 1964 as the dream of ever achieving the championship court was fading.


Greenway Bridge

Emma O’Flynn took this photo for us of the new bridge at Kilmeaney.


One to Ponder


The Greenway and Handball Club Membership

Listowel Big Bridge in summer 2021


Preparing for the Greenway

On my walks recently I have noticed planning signs appearing all around. They are a sure sign that the long awaited greenway is getting nearer.

A planning sign at the Tim Kennelly roundabout in Cahirdown.


Proud Sons of Listowel

The Sheehy brothers of Main Street were separated by emigration, three of them emigrated to the U.S. and two stayed at home, one in Dublin and one in Listowel. The three emigrants, Marty, Michael and John have passed away but they are remembered in Childers Park.

Bláth an Áirne…. the hedgerows and ditches of Listowel were beloved of these men who returned often to their native town.

I have said before that there would be no Listowel Connection were it not for John Sheehy’s encouragement and praise when I started to grapple with technology. If you enjoy this blog, remember John today and indeed Martin and Michael who loved to read anything at all about Listowel.


The Handicap that was a Three Walled Alley

The people who built Listowel Handball Alley did it on the cheap. The used a wall of the Big Bridge as the end wall and they built 2 walls at right angles to it. BUT most alleys have four walls so Listowel handballers were held back from entering national competitions because in effect they played a different game.

Junior told me that the Tralee club came once to play them in Listowel but they wouldn’t come any more as they couldn’t cope with having no back wall.

The Listowel handballers felt that they would be well able to learn the added skills necessary to play in a four walled court if they only had one to practice in. Several drives were made to raise the money to built the fourth wall.

A Club was formed and people were charged for membership. Jimmy O’Quigley has his membership card among his souvenirs.

Charlie Nolan has no recollection of paying membership. Indeed he said that the hand ball cost 2/6 and if they had a half crown they would have bought a ball which they called a cocker.


Why I Love Charity Shops

I love a book of quirky facts. One day last year I found a treasure in The Vincent de Paul shop. It is called the Second Book of General Ignorance. I love it but I had a niggling concern that the first book may have been better, but where to find that now.

Then one day last week as I am browsing in the IWA charity shop, there it is on the shelf. Serendipity!

Now I have the complete set

I’ll be sharing some of my fun with this book with you. I’ll start with the foreword. When the editor asked Alan Davies to write the foreword, look at what he submitted


Longueville House, An Old Wife’s Tale from Mountcoal and the Toy Show

A Chaffinch

Photo; Chris Grayson


In Longueville

While I was in Kanturk we were in celebratory mode. We had Sunday lunch in Longueville House. It’s a kind of Downton Abbey style experience, only the food is better. I’d definitely recommend it for a (very) special treat.

This lovely mannered dog met us on arrival.

To the Manor born!

The way Sunday lunch goes is that you order your main course and you choose as many starters as you want from a table heaving with temping things to eat.

I’ll stop teasing you now but suffice it to say that the ambience is warm and welcoming, the food delicious. They make their own cider and brandy and they have a policy of sourcing their ingredients as close to home as possible. It’s not really a place for children but the little ones in our company were made welcome and there is a maze for them to play in to work off the lunch.


Bread of Heaven

Strange tale of religion and superstition from Dúchas Schools’ folklore collection

Little Hands and the Bread Shoes

Once upon a time there lived a man with his wife and son war broke in France, and every Irish man had to go there, and this man had to go also. He wrote letters every day to his wife, and once a wire came to his wife that her husband got killed in the war. She had only one little boy, and he was only a baby. It was a slate house they had.

One day as the little boy was sleeping in his cradle, a slate fell off over the window, and a branch of ivy went in the window and it grew around the child’s cot. The child was about four years when he went to school. After a time the children got the “flu”, and the little boy took it, and he was very sick, and it was worse he was geting, and at last he died.

His mother kept a little red pair of shoes under her bed, and when she went up in the room the mice had them eaten, and then she took out a loaf of bread out of the bin and softened it in boiling water; and while she was softening the bread a man went in and asked a piece of bread for God’s sake. The woman said that she had bread inside, and she had a loaf in the bin.

The man who asked her was Christ at last the boy was buried, and the threw herself on the grave, and the neighbours pulled her away, and she went to bed after going home, and a few nights after her son appeared to her and said I am in the first step of heaven mother, but the bread shoes are keeping me back, and the night he came he said he was in the second step of heaven, but the bread shoes had kept him back and the next night he came he said he was in the third step of heaven but the bread shoes had kept him back, and then they took off the shoes, and he went to heaven. After a short time the boys mother died, and she went to heaven


Eileen Hannon Age 14- Informant- Mrs Ellen Foley-Age 74- Address, Mountcoal, Co. Kerry



Great news broke this weekend as the sod was turned on the extension from Listowel to Kilmorna of The Greenway.

We owe a big debt of gratitude of the people who fought so hard for this

You can see the story in this Facebook video shared by Mike Guerin

Mike Guerin’s video


Late Late Toy Show

The unanimous verdict is that it was the best yet and I’ll tell you why. This year it was more about the children than the toys.

Kevin Barry, John B. and friends and remembering Smiler

Wish you lived here?

Liz Chute, formerly of Listowel and now of Halifax, Canada does.


Mountjoy  November 1 1920

With the 1916 commemoration coming up, many of these old images from a troubled time in our history are finding their way on to the internet. This is a photo of women praying outside Mountjoy where Kevin Barry was awaiting execution. This photo is in the Clann na Gael Archive.


Tommy Murphy and John B.

These two old photos were sent to me by Paul Murphy formerly of William St. They show his father, Tommy Murphy and John B. with some friends performing in The Loft. Paul cannot identify the friends but maybe someone can.

The Loft was a theatre cum concert hall in the back lane behind John B.s. Local enterprising actors, singers and musicians used to put on shows here in the 40s and 50s. If anyone has memories of these shows, there is an audience waiting to hear them.


Changes on our streets

Kerry Wool is a new shop situated between The Shebeen and McGuire’s new extension to the pharmacy.

This premises appears to be between tenants.

NCBI are relocating up the street to Number 27.

My moles tell me that the new tenant for The Harp and Lion will not be a publican.


Absent Friends

November is a month when we remember our lost loved ones. Every time I pass this memorial I am struck by what a lovely tribute to Dylan McCarthy it is from his friends at Xistance.


Big day for the crusaders on Saturday


Don’t Miss This!

Friday November 13 2015 RTE 1 6.30p.m. Nationwide in Listowel for theListowel Tattoo


A Treasure to watch 

The story of Listowel’s railway line and the fight to turn it into a greenway for the benefit of us  all is beautifully told in this video:  Journeying from a railway to a greenway


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