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: Gurtenard House

RTE DJs, The Armstrongs of Gurtinard House, Rev. Robert Ronayne and Writers Week at The Rose Hotel

The Base at Listowel Community Centre in 2019


This Rte Guide cover from 1984 appeared on Twitter to mark Larry Gogan’s move to RTE Gold. Can you name all the Radio 2 DJs? I can’t.


Old Photo of Gurtinard House

This house which is now a guesthouse was once owned by the Armstrong family who ran the sweet factory by the river.

Patrick McCrea who is the grandson of the Armstrongs who lived here sent us this photo of the house and the following photo of his grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong of Gurtinard House, Listowel.

This is an old postcard with the sweet factory on the right.


An illustrious Corkman who married into the Sandes family


Great New Initiative by Listowel Writers’ Week

Terry Wogan, Early Days of Badminton in Listowel and G.A.A. success for Listowel in the early seventies

Cumar Dheis this week

Photo; Kerry Climbing on Facebook


The saddest Corner of Town Today

My photo shows,  on the far right, Casa Mia, once the bar owned by Kerry footballing great, Tim Kennelly. Beside it is the old creamery, once the gathering place for country people, where stories were told and news and gossip exchanged. Next is the building that was once Walsh’s Ballroom , The Las Vegas where Sive was premiered and where many a romance began. And then The Classic Cinema, which Kieran Gleeson loved and nourished.

Kieran passed away yesterday, February 16th 2016 after a short spell with that cruelest of neurological diseases. MND. May the sod rest lightly on the gentlest, the kindest and noblest of souls.

My photo from 2012 shows Kieran doing what he loved best, promoting a local film maker;

L to R: Kieran Gleeson of Listowel Classic Cinema with Rory Kirby, filmmaker and Eddie, Mary and Catherine Moylan of Listowel Vintage Wireless Museum.


Terry Wogan Compered The Rose of Tralee

My information comes from the festival history on The Rose Of Tralee website

“Rose Selection has been compered by Kevin Hilton, Joe Lynch, Terry Wogan, Brendan O’Reilly (RTÉ sports), Michael Twomey (‘Cha & Miah’), Gay Byrne, Kathleen Watkins, Derek Davis, Marty Whelan, Ryan Tubridy and Ray D’Arcy.”

and this is what it said in the paper about him

Kerryman  Saturday, 28 March, 1964; Page: 3

APRIL is almost here once again and with it come the glamour and excitement of the Rose of Tralee dances.

BACHELOR GAY Terry Wogan, the gay, bachelor compere of T.E,’s “Jackpot,” is known to thousands throughout the country. Those without, T.V. will have heard, him news announcing on Radio Eireann for the past three yews. He is probably one of the most, popular television personalities on T.E,.—proof of this lies in the number of Valentine cards he received, on February 14 last—130. Terry hails from Limerick and was a bank official before joining R.E.,


R.E. is Radio Eireann

gay meant cheerful or happy go lucky)


Junior Griffin recalls the early days on Badminton in Listowel

His colleagues in Listowel Badminton honoured Junior on his 50 th. year promoting the sport in town.

Here Junior writes about the early days of the club.

BADMINTON was invented long ago; a form of sport played

in ancient Greece and Egypt.  Badminton came from a child’s game

called battledore and shuttlecock, in which two players hit a feathered

shuttlecock back and forth with two tiny rackets.  The game was called

POONA” in India during the 18th century, and British officers stationed

there took the Indian version back to England in the 1860’s. The army men

introduced the game to friends, but the new game was definitely launched there

at a party given in 1873 by the Duke of Beaufort at his country place, “Badminton”

in Gloucestershire.  During that time the game had no name, but it was referred to

as “The Game of Badminton” and, thereupon, Badminton became its official name.

Until 1887 the sport was played in England under the rules that prevailed in India.

They were, from the English viewpoint, somewhat contradictory and confusing.

Since a small army of Badminton players had been recruited, a group formed itself

into the Bath Badminton Club, standardised the rules, made the game applicable to English ideas and the basic regulation (of England) was formed to take over the

authority of the Bath Badminton Club, and the new group made rules, which now

govern the game throughout the world.

The sport seems to have come to Ireland almost immediately. It is known that

Badminton was very strong in Dublin, Wicklow, Coleraine and Ballymoney

in the 1890’s which resulted in the Badminton Union of Ireland been formed in 1899.

Indeed, the world’s first ever International Badminton match was played between Ireland and England in Dublin in the 1902/03 season and, except for the

two world wars, became an annual fixture alternately home and away until 1971/72.

So, as one can see the sport of Badminton was in its infancy when it came to Listowel.

Regretfully, except for the dance card found by Jim Halpin, there is no other record pertaining to that time and, unfortunately, there are no names listed as to who was involved in the founding of the club.  Hopefully, if those founding fathers came back today they would be proud to see the club they started in such a strong position one hundred years on.


This made my Day

Last week I received this. Well done, An Post, and thank you, Philomena.


Errors Corrected and Clarifications Given

In my story from Junior about repairs to the clock in St. John’s, I stated that Archdeacon Wallace lived in Gurtenard House. Junior pointed out to me that the Archdeacon never lived in Gurtenard. The last clergyman to live in Gurtenard was Canon Adderley.

My little fun fact about the days of the week in February was not in fact a fact at all. A man who deals with figures and who notices such things pointed out to me that every February has 4 of every day of the week. 2016 is a leap year so it has 5 Mondays.

Now to the G.A.A. photo which Junior gave me;

What he gave me was a print of a photo with the names underneath. Junior did not in fact write the names himself so he takes no responsibility for any mistakes here.

Margaret Dillon thought that the priest in the photo looked more like Fr. Gerard Dillon. She remembered that Fr. Dillon was a great step dancer and participated in many concerts with her.

As usual with Junior, one story calls up another memory and he has a story to tell. He says

“My memory of Fr. Dillon, a lovely priest, was of a man with a fine bushy head of black hair. The one thing I know is that Fr.O’Sullivan would have been a curate in Listowel much earlier than that,in the early or middle 40s I would say. Could tell you a small story about him saying the 8 o’clock Mass one Sunday morning. He became P.P. of Duagh after that but was a man that was very much involved in golf.

Around the time that photo was taken the clergy in Listowel were Canon Peter O’Sullivan, Fr. Matt Keane and Fr.Gerald Dillon.  A great team of priests. The house keeper was Mrs. Kearns and I became very close friends with her son Olly and I spent a lot of my time in the Presbytery and knew the priests well. Olly’s son Liam is the well known inter County football manager, with Tipperary at the moment”

( I’ll have to go back for the 8 o’clock mass story.)

Such is the beauty of the internet that one memory shared leads to lots of other stories and the above photo was no exception. 

The man in the front row is second from left is the late Roly Chute who ran a famous chip shop at the corner of Ballygologue Rd. across from the sports field.  Vincent Carmody shared  the following memory of the late Roly on Facebook;

“Whatever about the merits of Roly’s smart bow tie and dapper dress sense, nothing could compare to his wonderful chips, peas, and Donnelly’s skinless sausages, then washed down by a glass of milk. 

In 1972, when I first became secretary of Listowel Emmets, training was at a low ebb at the start of the year . I had an idea that we should adopt a professional approach, and offer a meal after training.

Firstly, I went to Roly Chute and asked him, what would he charge per player for chips, peas and sausages. He thought for a minute and said,  “One shilling and sixpence and for an extra threepence, I’ll throw in a glass of milk.”

 Next, I spoke to the chairman of the club, Mikey Kennelly, (father of the great Tim). I told him of the idea and Roly’s quote. Always a man for a new idea, “Right,” he said, “if you think it will work, go ahead.”

 Agreement got, I went to Michael Collins and asked him to type a letter which we distributed to all the players. First night of training after that, 36 players turned up, not counting away players. Afterwards as Mickey and myself watched them all troop over to Roly’s cafe to be fed, he turned to me and said , “We will break the club, but we’d better go over as well, as I hear they’re great chips.”

 As the training nights went by, the numbers settled down and each night less and less went over to Roly’s. The training bug had caught on. That year, the senior team won an unprecedented treble, County Junior Championship, North Kerry League and Championship. 

Shortly after winning the replayed league final, Andy Molyneaux gave me a copy of the missive which I had given to the players and he declared, ‘”Thanks to your idea and Roly’s chips, peas and sausages, we have the best year ever in the club’s history.”

Listowel Emmetts Junior County Champions 1972

Back, E O Carroll, R.Chute, D. Stack, B.Galvin, S O Donavan, T Fitzgerald, T Leahy, J Leahy, G Leahy, P Lynch, J Guerin, B Walsh, V Carmody, T Moriarty, J Hannon, M Kennelly. 

Middle, J Croghan, T Kennelly, T Shanahan, P Flaherty, J Hartnett, E O Connor, J Driscoll, G Galvin. Front, K Fitzgerald, P J Browne, T Dalton, P Horgan.

Ashes 1962;

Ashes Team, (c) 1962. 

Front, J Keane, J Griffin, M Cremin, M Cotter, F Chute, T Ashe, M McMahon, R Farrell.

 Back, B McMahon, B Shanahan, G McMahon, B O’Shea, F Murray, J Flaherty, M Ryan, R Chute.

Repairing the Clock in St. John’s,Writers Week 1976 and Templenoe are Winners

Repairing the clock in St. John’s

Junior Griffin remembers that  when he was a boy, at the top of Bridge Rd., the protestant clergyman lived in
Gurtenard House. The Bridge Rd. boys had very little recourse to this property
except in Autumn to rob the orchard. The last vicar to live in Gurtenard House
before the church bought the rectory on Church St. beside the Kennedy Home, was
Archdeacon Wallace.

There was a problem with the clock in the spire of St. John’s
and Archdeacon Wallace called to Bridge Rd. to John Griffin to see if he would
undertake the job of mending the clock. There was a problem of access to the
clock. There was, and still is, a door in the building above and to the right
of the clock face which is visible from the Bridge Rd. but the problem was to
access this door from the ground. John Griffin was a resourceful man and he
welcomed the challenge this job offered.

In his own house in the Bridge Rd. John Griffin made a
wooden cage. This cage had to bear his weight as it was hoisted on ropes up the
spire of St. John’s. John had many of
the problem solving skills of a good engineer. He got the design right and,
hoisted aloft in this cage, he got up to the clock and effected the necessary

Junior remembers that he or Bert went once a fortnight to
wind the clock and adjust its weights if it was gaining or losing time. He
remembers distinctly a brass plaque which said that the clock was donated to
St. John’s by the “protestant gentry” in 1845. Remembering his history, Junior
was surprised that so much money was spent on a church clock at a time of great
poverty locally.

The plaque has since been removed.


The Kerryman April 16 1976


Listowel in the rain

I took these photos on January 31 2016…last day of winter. It’s been a hard one. Few will be sorry to see the back of it.

Dowd’s Road deserted on a rainy Sunday morning.

Pitch and Putt game anyone?

The first of the daffodils

Looks like they are erecting new signage here.

One glimmer on the horizon…fuel prices are falling.

Rain has stopped play.


Listowel Lady brings a touch of Style to Leopardstown

Eilish Stack looked lovely at Leopardstown at the weekend. Darran Kennedy wasn’t too bad either.


Joy Unconfined…Templenoe are All Ireland Junior Club Football Champions

Look at this video….The Final Whistle or listen back to Pat and Mick Spillane’s interviews during the run up to this great victory on February 6 2016 and witness the best of the G.A.A.

 Pat Spillane described Saturday’s final as his best day in Croke Park. Pat has nine All Ireland medals.

Templenoe is a tiny club with no feeder national school. Only one of Saturday’s winning team works and lives locally. Most of the lads are students who will emigrate and scatter once their stint in college is over. What is keeping them together and connected to their home place is the G.A.A. 

Templenoe is a lake shore community and they suffered a tragedy recently with the death by drowning of a popular local man .

“Bill Topham, an electrician and the warden at St Patrick’s Church of Ireland in Kenmare, Co Kerry, died after the 17ft (5.2m) boat overturned a few hundred yards from shore. He was making his way with a friend to an island for a duck shoot.” (

Mr. Topham was not a member of the G.A. A. but the clubmen were among the 240 local people who formed the search party that eventually recovered his body. His funeral time was organized so that his neighbours and friends could attend before making the trip to Dublin for the game.

G.A.A. is about friendship, neighbourliness and community. Winning matches is just the icing on the cake.

St Patrick’s Day 2015 and Gurtenard House

People I spotted on St. Patrick’s Day  2015

And a little bit of Irish dancing Here


Denis Carroll of Fealegood Productiions did his usual great job of capturing the parade for our friends abroad (and those at home love it too)

St. Patrick’s Day parade 2015


More Good News

( photo; Gurtenard House website)

Gurtenard House is reopening shortly as a “boutique hotel”. Take a look at their website HERE

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén