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 listowelconnection@gmail.com

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What’s in a Name?

Listowel Pitch and Putt Course

An Oldie and a Goodie

Carol Broderick shared this newspaper photo of some Listowel greats.

Names

I remember when I encountered names in book which I had never met in reality, I just made up my own pronunciation of them. We dont have to do that now as there are so many aids to help us pronounce unfamiliar names correctly.

You don’t want to hear how I used to mangle Yvonne and Penelope.

Here is the first half of Sean Carlson’s essay on the subject of Irish names in The Boston Globe

“What word has the biggest disconnect between spelling and pronunciation?”

The Merriam-Webster account on X, known for snappier and snarkier posts than are usually associated with dictionary publishers, recently managed to provoke some ire from the Irish by answering its own question with “Asking for our friend, Siobhan.”

Ah, Siobhán, a feminine equivalent of my own name, Seán. In the case of Siobhán (pronounced shiv-AWN), the obvious failure with the attempted zinger is that the name is conspicuously absent from Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary, since it is a proper name in the Irish language, not English.

Evan O’Connell, communications director for the French nonprofit Paris Peace Forum, countered Merriam-Webster with a volley of English surnames: “You had Featherstonehaugh, Cholmondeley and Gloucestershire right there.”

Caoilfhionn Gallagher, a lawyer with the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, posted, “Once more for the people at the back: Irish names *are* pronounced the way that they are spelled. In *Irish.*”

Siobhán O’Grady, the chief Ukraine correspondent for The Washington Post, agreed, pointing out that the accent mark known as a “fada” is used to elongate the “a,” in Siobhán (and in Seán, for that matter).

To be fair, most Americans are unfamiliar with the nuances of the Irish language. “Cillian Murphy pronunciation” is a top search request, and “Cillian Murphy speaking Irish” isn’t too far behind. In 2016, Stephen Colbert welcomed Saorise Ronan to the “Late Show” and held up flash cards of Irish first names — Tadhg, Niamh, Oisin, and Caoimhe — for her to read aloud. When they came to Siobhán, Colbert laughinglycalled it “ridiculous.”….

Greenway Milestones

These signs have appeared to help those going or coming on The Greenway.

Proof Reading

Reggie helping Bobby to check if I got his good side.

A Definition

from The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce

Appeal; In law, to put the dice back into the box for another throw.

A Fact

The world’s oldest creature, a mollusc, was 507 years old when scientists killed it by accident.

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Hurling and Knitting

Greenway mural at old Neodata site in August 2023

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I think you can go now

It looks like Listowel’s public toilet has finally got the green (or is it red?) light

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The Crotta O’Neill’s Fairytale

They say GAA is family and nowhere is this more true that in a small rural village like Kilflynn. I watched the game on TG4 by chance and I have been fascinated by the story ever since.

This essay by Noel McGrath from Facebook describes it well.

Glory Glory Crotta

Sometimes words failed to describe a feeling, and in this case words will fail.

What this means to Crotta people and the community cannot be put in to words.

Crotta have had 54 years of pain walking out of Austin Stacks in  preliminary stages, quarter, semi and finals where each year leaves a scar on the heart. Some of us have lived through all of these, while others have lived through some due to age or have moved on to the next world. 

As the great Mick O’Connell said, we play sport for fun and take a break from life for a while. 

We all have a competitive side though and the will for your club to win is always there. Unless you’re from Crotta you won’t understand the hurt and pain each year has been, where you see your club and the players not getting over the line. Some of these players may have been you, your brother, son, nephew, grandson, neighbour and your heart goes out to them.

Breakthrough moments are often the result of many previous actions, which build up the potential required to unleash a major change.

With this current team, I have witnessed the huge amount of work  and commitment put in by the players themselves and mentors along the journey from u6 Coiste na nOg up to senior.

A lot of mentors these players have gone through will be here today, and should give themselves a pat on the back, without your commitment this day would not exist.

The veterans on the team, the likes of Shane and Sean have shown how leadership is done. Shane, top scorer in the championship and a work rate like it was his first year at championship, Sean seamlessly transitioning from a back to a forward with sensational breaking the line plays.

The younger members of the team know what winning is from minor and u21 and have brought this mindset into the team. As an older person looking at them their mindset and drive for success is admirable, they carry no weight of the past, there is only one way forward.

Going through each player would be too much here, but a special mention on our captain Bill Keane as he is the captain. A captain should be among other things a model of excellence to his teammates. I have watched Bill playing for both Crotta and Senans and what a model, sheer hard work and 100% commitment always and no airs and graces. Delighted  for him and his family.

We all have heroes or people we look up to, whether it’s Muhammad Ali, Katie Taylor, Cian Lynch and so on.

But sometimes these heroes are right beside you,  and I am happy to say as a person older than all the players, they are our heroes and people to look up to and admire.

We have waited a long, long time for this day, and we should have in our thoughts those no longer with us, and we wish could be here to witness this historical moment in our club as the “new kids are in town” have arrived.

So with that, I would like to thank this team for giving us a memorable year, sometimes driving our hearts into overdrive but most importantly making our dreams come true.

The scars in the heart have healed instantaneously like magic.

2023 is the new 1968.

Let the celebrations begin.

Crotta abu

Photos from Facebook

Former @crotta.gaa Senior hurlers Pascal Nolan ,Cyril Nolan, John Joe Conway, Mike Hickey and Brendan Twomey keeping a eye on the Crotta Senior training on Wednesday evening before the final.

supporters Shane Herbert, Fr.Gerry Keane, Paddy Weir, Paul Sheehan and Paud Twomey  keeping an eye on the Crotta Senior training on Wednesday evening .

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Learning from Nana

I have taught each of my grandchildren in turn how to knit. Cora is a great student and has mastered the key skills of plain and purl, casting on and casting off after just a few days practice.

Knitting requires patience and perseverance. There are no quick results with knitting. it is a great skill to learn in a world where results are mostly instant.

Killian is a bit old now for the knitting with Nana lark but back in the day….

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Kanturk, My Hometown

I had a small wander in Kanturk last week and I was well impressed.

This is O’Brien Street. Just to the right of this picture is the lovely little riverside park.

The ducks were sheltering on the sunny day I visited. If you are going to break your journey to Cork, I’d advise a little stroll here. I’ll share more pictures tomorrow.

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There is Always a Listowel Connection

My niece took the photo. Her Listowel connection, apart from me, is her husband, sitting to her right ( left in the picture). He is Michael O’Sullivan, formerly of Knockanure.

The lady in blue is Maureen Larkin, formerly of Listowel. All were in a pub on a night out in Dublin in August 2023.

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Kerry’s Growing Population

The Greenway in July 2023

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Lovely Listowel

Eleanor Belcher Remembers life in Listowel; Town Square in the 50’s and 60’s

There were families in the Provincial Bank next door (to Dr. Maguire’s) but I can’t remember their names though we went to parties there. There was a long passageway beside that and we spent a lot of time as teenagers meeting up with the local boys in there. It was all very innocent.

The Carroll family Maurice, Olive, Pamela and John lived over the shop and Mrs McCoombe lived above the chemist shop with her son Colin  ( our age) and her  sister Finnuala Lane.

The Lynches  had a bakery on the opposite side of the Square  and had a  large family who again were younger than me. Miss Kirby taught music above a shop next to Lynches and we went for piano lessons there. She was a lovely white haired lady and I think she was Mr O’Hanlon, the dentist at the top of William Street’s, aunt.

The  third doctor in the Square was Dr Bob Corridon whose house was next to the National Bank. The large family there were younger than I was . The Bank Houses tended to have families who changed from time to time. 

The Dalys came to The  National Bank when I was about eight and the youngest girl, Helen, and I are friends to this day. We were very impressed when she arrived as she had blue ‘bobby ‘ stockings  while the rest of us had grey school stockings. Her elder  sister Patsy got married when we were small and Mr Harry Daly walked her across the Square to the church which we thought so romantic. 

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Date for Tractor lovers

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The Changing Face of Kerry Population

Population statistics as reported on Radio Kerry

Tralee has the largest population in Kerry.

That’s according to figures released from the CSO’s Population, Distributions and Movements report from Census 2022.

The report shows that of the county’s population of over 156,500 people, 17% live in Tralee.

According to figures in Census 2022, 156,458 people live in Kerry.

The latest report from the CSO shows that of these, over 26,000 (26,079) people live in Tralee.

Killarney has the next highest population in Kerry, with almost 14,500 (14,412) residents.

Listowel (4,794), Kenmare (2,566) and Castleisland (2,536) make up the rest of the top five largest populations in the county.

The report shows that the village with the largest population in Kerry is Ardfert, with 771 residents.

This is closely followed by Rathmore, where 766 people reside, and Lixnaw, with a population of 758.

Fenit (619) and Kilcummin (612) completing the top five largest villages in the county.

The figures show Portmagee is the village with the smallest population in Kerry, with 116 residents.

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Fact of the Day

Nadia Komanechi was the first gymnast to achieve a perfect 10 out of 10 in the Olympic Games of 1976

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Goodbye Molly

The Harp and Lion in July 2023

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On the Greenway

Molly and I ventured on a short walk on the greenway

Im sure that young people and technologically literate people find this most useful.

Molly looking back on her last glimpse of The Kingdom for a while.

I was reminded of Coleridge’s lines

Like one, that on a lonesome road
Doth walk in fear and dread,
And having once turned round walks on,
And turns no more his head;
Because he knows, a frightful fiend
Doth close behind him tread.

Happily reunited with Cora.

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Building the Ark

St Swithin has brought us biblical rainfall. Lets hope not for for 40 days though.

River Feale on July 15 2023

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Seeking your help

Jeff and Lois Mathews from Delaware with Vincent Carmody in Listowel in May 2023.

Vincent is helping Lois and Jeff to piece together aspects of their search for Lois’ Irish ancestors.

One piece of the puzzle lies in Ballylongford. There was a fire in the presbytery in St. Michael’s Church in the 1980s when Fr. Ferris was P.P. and many of the records were lost. (Incidentally it was the late Garda Jerry McCabe, who died so tragically later in Adare, who rescued Fr. Ferris from the fire).

Here is the paragraph from Lois’ letter.

“I have one more shameless request, Mary. Do you by chance know the parish secretary at St. Michael’s Church in Ballylongford? In May, we stopped at the church hoping to get some key questions answered, but the parish secretary was on holiday. The kind priest, Fr. Hussey (sp?) suggested I write to the parish and pose my questions. I sent an email to ballylongford@dioceseofkerry.ie, but have not received a reply. That is the parish where my great-grandfather in Pittsburgh (John Stack b: 1866 d: 1938) was baptized. I am trying to find out what happened to his parents, Michael Stack & Margaret Donohue.  I am even more curious about them now that I read about the civil strife in Ballylongford. “

Any help with this would be greatly appreciated.

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Visitors

I met these two lovely Kilkenny ladies last week. I told them I’d put them in my blog. I hope you are continuing to enjoy your holiday, in spite of the weather.

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A Most Unusual Wedding Dress

(Thanks to Dave O’Sullivan for finding this)

When Stephen Rynne came to town on July 6th. he brought with him his mother’s wedding dress and the papal blessing illuminated by Michael O’Connor which was his present to them on the occasion of their wedding in 1967.

The dress is beautifully embellished with celtic embroidery and the Papal Blessing scroll is a beautiful piece of Michael O’Connor artwork

Aideen Rynne with her wedding dress in Listowel on July 6 2023

And some detail from the dress and train:

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Greenways and Waterways

Greenway Mural at the old Neodata site, May 2023

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Progress on the Greenway

This is the Bridge Road entrance

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Another Prestigious Prize for a journalist with a Listowel Connection

This is Malachy’s father, David Browne’s Facebook post

“Proud and privileged to witness the announcement of the Pulitzer Prize Award to my son Malachy last Monday in the New York Times offices. His team were acknowledged for their unflinching coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including an eight-month investigation into Ukrainian deaths in the town of Bucha and the Russian unit responsible for the killings.’

Malachy Browne with Donnie O’Sullivan at Listowel Writers’ Week 2022

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A Settle Bed

This is a picture of an old farmhouse from Floklore.ie. On the left of the picture is what was known as a settle bed. The bedclothes were stored underneath the seat and brought out when the bed was dressed for someone for the night. This was a fine cozy bed beside the fire and often used by visitors or travelling workmen.

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Listowel’s Newest Amenity

“My heart, tonight, is home again in Ireland

Upon thy banks, my silver river Feale.”

Bryan MacMahon’s words were sung to us by his son, Owen, at the launch of Listowel Kayaking Club on May 14 2023.

The sun shone. The water was resplendent. The birds sang. A small crowd gathered (small, for health and safety reasons) and Jimmy Deenihan presented us with his latest project, a kayaking club. Jimmy and friends have brought this to fruition in jig time.

Jimmy Deenihan

I was delighted to meet this group of my former pupils, all involved in this healthy outdoor activity. Lovely to see these young ladies emerging as leaders in their community.

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A Welcome Treat

On my way to town on Friday, I met these lovely young people at the gate of their school, Coláiste na Ríochta. They were inviting me to their Bake Sale in aid of Áras Mhuire.

I took up their invitation and a lovely young man accompanied me to the classroom where selling, eating and chatting was in full swing.

I even met someone I knew. I bought some cakes . They were delicious.

Well done enterprising seniors in Coláiste na Ríochta.

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A Coronation Tale

Did we ever think we would see Kay Caball, cousin of Canon Declan, renouned historian and genealogist and a pillar of respectability feature in The Irish Daily Mail?

Don’t panic. Kay was merely telling the tale and it all happened in the eighteenth century.

This is the coronation connection. Lady Fiona Petty Fitzmaurice is Queen Camilla’s best buddy.

The Fitzmaurice connection: Fiona’s husband. is one of the once Lixnaw based Fitzmaurices who used to own most of Kerry.

“After a gatherer comes a scatterer” they say and the Fitzmaurices had the father of all scatterers. Kay told the story replete with “Petticoats up and pantaloons down” to a journalist from The Daily Mail and below is a photo of the centre page in the paper on Saturday.

If you missed the paper, Kay will tell it all again on Jimmy Deenihan’s walking tour at Listowel Writers Week on Friday June 2 starting from Kerry Writers’ Museum at 10.00 a.m.

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I told you so

In 2018 I posted this picture on here. It is cyclist Dillon Corkery being greeted by his grandparents at the stage finish of the Rás in Market Street.

Pic : Lorraine O’Sullivan

Yesterday Dillon won Rás Tailteann outright as part of Team Ireland. I told you he was destined for great things. My exact words were ” Is Dillon the next Sam Bennett?”

The Listowel Connection?

I went to school in Kanturk with his grandmother and still count her as a friend today. I’m over the moon!

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A Fact

The word NEWS comes from the fact that stories were gathered from all corners of the world. News is actually an acronym North East West South.

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