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: Guerins

Macroom, Travelling by Train, The Lartigue Monorail and Guerin’s A &O

Macroom, Co. Cork

Macroom Town Square is lovely with all its historical buildings.


Kent Station, Cork

One of the great perks of growing old in Ireland is the access to free travel. I recently travelled by train and it was a great experience. I wandered around Kent station a bit and saw some of the historic artefacts they have there, including  Engine No. 36.

This stone is in Thurles. I had to change here so I had a while to wander around and take a few snaps. This stone intrigued me. Any idea what it means?

Thurles train station is beautifully maintained. It was pinning its colours to the mast in style this summer 2019.


Today’s Fun Fact

from The Second Book of General Ignorance

If you toss a coin are the chances of it’s landing on heads fifty fifty?

The answer is No.

If the coin is heads up to begin with the chances are fifty one forty nine.

Students at Stanford University (with a lot of time on their hands!) recorded thousands of coin tosses with high-speed cameras and they discovered this interesting? fact.

They discovered that coin tossing is not random but “a measurable event that obeys the laws of physics.” If all the conditions are exactly the same then the chances are fifty fifty.  However, the slightest change in conditions, such as speed and angle of tops, height of coin from the ground, which side is facing up at the start, will affect the result.

A historic toss of a coin was not such a fun fact if you were Russian. In 1968 Italy and Russian were the teams playing in the semi final of The European Football Championship. The game ended in a scoreless draw. There were no penalty shoot outs in those days and there was no time in the schedule for a replay. The result was decided by the toss of a coin. Russia lost. Italy won the toss and the game and went on to win the final.

I wonder did anyone suggest doing best of three?


More from my Visit to The Lartigue Museum

Our guide on the day I visited the Lartigue was Michael Guerin who wrote the book on The Lartigue. He pointed out to us that this wheel on top of the trestle track is the wheel that keeps the train running. The smaller wheels on either side just keep the carriages balanced.

Michael has visited Panissieres where the only other Lartigue train was commissioned on several occasions. He is very knowledgeable about the history of the train in our French twinned town. The train actually never ran and was the cause of a big scandal, with much money expended on the project and no train service to show at the end of the planning process.

Michael was the Mayor of Listowel when the Lartigue restoration project was first started. He was one of the driving forces behind the project. He paid huge tribute to Jack McKenna who was a generous benefactor, supporter and volunteer at The Lartigue from the start until his recent death. The museum is dedicated to him. Jimmy Deenihan was another generous benefactor and supporter of the project from the start. Without the support of these and many other workers we would not have this great visitor attraction today. Everyone should visit. It is open every afternoon until September.

These Danish visitors were enthralled and videoing everything.

Original timetables


Remember when?

Brasso is a product that I only use very sparingly and very rarely. My tin is very old. I thought that maybe some reader might be able to put a date on it based on the price sticker.


Culture Corner at Revival 2019

In The Kerry Writers’ Museum during Revival on August 9th and 10th 2019 there was a craft fair and poetry session.

A May altar, A Love Story and Guerins of Convent Street

May altar in Knockanure Church photographed by a local photographer

Bring flow’rs of the fairest,
Bring blossoms the rarest,
From garden and woodland
And hillside and vale;
Our full hearts are swelling,
Our glad voices telling
The praise of the loveliest
Rose of the vale.

O Mary! we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the Angels, Queen of the May,
O Mary! we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the Angels, Queen of the May.


On the trail of illustrious ancestors

Roz Scharf and her sister are coming from Australia to conduct some further research on their ancestors. One of their ancestor was deported for his Whiteboy activities.

Gerard Curtin

Religion and Social Conflict during the Protestant Crusade in West Limerick 1822-49

Winter edition 2003

The Old Limerick Journal

quote from the historian Maurice Lenihan,  writing in 1867, may have been Edmond/Edward with his surname changed or misremembered?

The first dancer I ever met – he was the first in Munster, Leinster or Ulster, 

an inventor, sir, of dancing himself – his name was “Edward Ellard;* he was a 

Kerryman, sir. He danced Irish dancing with any man that ever laid foot to flure 

[floor]. He was unequalled at the Moneen Jig. Oh! to see him dance it, you 

would go any distance or spend any time; it was delightful, sir – aye, I say 

delightful! The Moneen Jig, you know, or ought to know, is the best dance that 

ever was known – a true, real, undoubted Irish dance; it would dazzle your eyes 

to see it danced, sir. Well, Ellard was transported for life! He got at the head of 

a great number of rebels, and he attacked the home of a gentleman where he 

was teaching, and was informed against by one of his own party, and sent over 

the seas for life! Oh, he was a great teacher – he taught myself …. He was a  

native of Listowel, in the county of Kerry – a great man entirely. 

Anyone know anything about this fellow?


Philomena and Peter …A Story of Enduring Love

This is a recent photo of Philomena and Peter on a holiday in Prague

I asked Philomena to tell me her story and she did. I’m looking forward to meeting her when she comes for her Irish holiday later in the summer. She is bringing her photograph album.

Philomena Moriarty Kuhn

I was born in Listowel, lived in O’Connell’s Avenue and I attended the convent primary school and then the  secondary school for two years. I went to Germany in August 1962 for a week’s training with a view to coming back to work in the Listowel factory.  Jowika was the first factory to come to Listowel. It was later Stag. I never intended to leave home for  good. I love the Irish culture, dancing, singing, just the Irish way of life which I still miss.

I met Peter in 1963, shortly before it was time for me to go home. (What will be, will be, as they say) I left Germany in November 1963 with the intention of going back again in January but unfortunately I got T.B.  I was in Edenburn hospital from January to September of 1964.

That summer Peter came to visit me. I got out of hospital for a few days so he stayed in Listowel. Afterwards when I went back to hospital he stayed in Tralee. Bunny Dalton knew a family in Tralee and they put him up. They were the Ryans of Stacks Villas. The first two days they drove him out to Edenburn, so that he would learn the way. Then they gave him a bike and he cycled out to visit me every day for two weeks.

I think the nuns felt sorry for him as they took him into the convent for his dinner every day. I don’t know they communicated as he had very little English but somehow it worked.

The nuns were very good. My favourite was Sr. Laurence. I kept in contact with her for years after leaving Edenburn. My first Christmas card every year came from Sr. Laurence. I visited her years later with my family. She was then in the Bon Secours Hospital in Cork as Edenburn was closed down.

Once a week a group of Irish singers and dancers used to come from Tralee to Edenburn to put on a show. There was a little hall on the hospital grounds. Those of us who were on the road to recovery were allowed to get dressed and go there. I used to look forward to  Thursday evenings. Many friends from Listowel and Tralee came to visit me while I was there. I was really surprised the day Bunny Dalton and John B. Keane came. When I was discharged John B. sent a car to bring me home. That’s what’s nice about living in a small town; everyone knows everyone and helps when help is needed. I’m afraid that has changed now. When I come home and take a walk up the Avenue it’s all closed doors., not like long ago when the doors were always open and the neighbours sat outside chatting and welcomed one home. I know life goes on and things change. Still it makes me sad.

I was sad to see that my old school was knocked down as I was hoping one day to go through my old classrooms. Also I thought it a pity that Clieveragh Bridge was knocked down but I suppose it couldn’t cope with the heavy traffic.

When you live away from home, you always hope that when you come home everything will be just the same as when you left. We know that isn’t possible as life goes on and things change. It’s a dream one has of wanting everything to be the same as it was when you left.

There is a song I love sung by Mike Galvin from Killorglin. It’s called Dublin in my Tears. This beautiful song describes how I feel when I come home. I call it Kerry in my Tears.

To finish my story, I was discharged fro Edenburn in September 1964. I went back to work in the factory in May 1965 and I wen t back to Germany in October’65. I got married to Peter in 1967. We have two children, three grandchildren and two great grandchildren, bless them.


From the John Hannon Archive

Do you remember when it looked like this?


Eugene Moriarty, Family and Friends

James Kenny took this photo in Market Street after Eugene Moriarty cycled into town at the end of Stage 3 of Rás Tailteann 2018. He was surrounded by family, neighbours and friends.


An Appeal for help

Hi Listowel 

I am still looking for any information on any Flavin in Listowel or elsewhere who is interested in

Family history. I am particularly interested in any photos that might exist of Michael Joseph Flavin 1916-1985. 




Friends Returning from Mass in the sunshine of may 2018

Tralee path, The Lartigue, Industrial Schools and another old one

Cherry blossom on a path by the library in Tralee


The Butler Centre

This beautiful building in the corner of The Square was once a tannery. Then it was a bank. Now it is in a far more fragrant recreation as a language school and beautiful venue for meetings, weddings etc.

I am researching this and other buildings in Listowel Town Square for my gig at this year’s

 Listowel Writers’ Week

Why don’t you check out the full programme at the link above?


Lartigue at 130

I popped in to the lovely Lartigue museum as they were celebrating 130 years since the service first ran. Read all about it here 


The good people at the Lartigue Museum have amassed their own National Treasures and they are on display in the museum. If you love to take a trip back in time or if you have visitors to entertain, be sure to visit this summer.

Volunteers and visitors.

 John and Mary and their friends from Listowel Writing Group gave readings of their work on the day. They are with Judy and Jimmy in my photo.

As I headed back to town I met some reenactors. They are not real soldiers but when they offered to take a selfie with me I didn’t feel I could refuse.


Halo has Moved

Elaine has moved to a bigger premises on Upper William Street and she has expanded her range. She also now serves  coffee to take away or drink in the store or in the sun.

When I called in she was serving one of her faithful customers, Ruth O’Quigley


Reasons for Commital to Industrial School in 1939


Guerin’s Londis

Photo from the John Hannon Archive

Garvey’s Super Valu is here now.

Guerins/Garveys, Greenlawn and Dromin House

Thirteen years ago today’s Garvey’s SuperValu was Guerin’s Londis. I took some photographs as the changes took place and here they are.

Guerins in 2000

The site is cleared
Construction underway
Taking shape

August 2003


Greenlawn in 2000
Greenlawn today


Today’s  big house is Dromin House. I took the information from Vincent Carmody’s recent book

Dromin House

Dromin House was built for Lord William Fitzmaurice. The construction
replaced an earlier house. It was started in 1661 and completed in 1668.
Fitzmaurice, 20th Baron of Kerry (1633-1697) succeeded his father in
1660.  The house was surrounded by gardens and orchards.  The original walled in
orchard/ garden section now contain two bungalows built in the 1970s.

The Raymond family  leased the
property at  first from Dame Deborah
Fitzmaurice in 1690. They then bought it and remained in continuing ownership
through good times and bad until the death of the last of the direct male line,
James (Jim) Raymond in 1965. His wife Letitia Muriel (nee Smith) remained in
the house until her death in 1968 when it became the property of Mr. Donavan

 Dromin house and the surrounding
19 acres was bought by Sean and Liz Ryan(nee Heaphy) in 1999. Over the
following 3 years they carried out extensive renovations and improvements.  


If you are looking for a great night out, Vincent and Jessica tell me that a swinging night is promised in The Listowel Arms on Friday night. I’m alerting you in plenty of time so that you get your outfit in order. Come as any of your favourite 50’s icons.


Jer sent me word of the passing of this multi- talented lady.

The late Margaret Doody Scully with Gabriel Fitzmaurice in October 2012

Margaret Doody-Scully, of Farrihy, Broadford, died 13th January 2013 at the Mid Western Regional Hospital. A native of Feohanagh and previously of Kilfinny, she was an active member of the Castlemahon History Society. In October 2012  Margaret published her second book, Inside Looking Out, which was a collection of her poetry on the history, folklore and natural beauty of West Limerick. The 200-page book launched by Gabriel Fitzmaurice with 165 poems about Broadford,  Dromcollogher, Feohanagh, Killeedy, Newcastle West and Knockfierna to name a few In 2005 she published her first book, a history of the church in Feohanagh-Castlemahon parish titled From the Bog to the Bishop. Margaret helped with  material on Castlemahon parish for the Limerick Diocesan Heritage project. She was camogie player and long distance runner  also, in the late 1960s she represented Ireland in senior ladies cross-country. Margaret Doody-Scully was a  contributor to Limerick’s Live95fm on farming matters and on ‘In the County’ with John Prendergast.


Chilling historical fact:  During WW2,  over 100,000 German prisoners were taken at Stalingrad. Only 5,000 would ever return home in 1955 after years of forced labour.


Kerryman at The Super Bowl

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