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: Harp and Lion Page 1 of 5

Goodbye Molly

The Harp and Lion in July 2023


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.


Building the Ark

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

River Feale on July 15 2023


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, 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.



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.


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:


Home and Nearly Home

Molly in Listowel, June 2023


July 4 2023 in Listowel


Progress Report

Rain has delayed work on the painting of The Harp and Lion. So far so good, looking great!


Newly appointed cattle adviser with a Listowel Connection

(Story and photo Agriland)

Teagasc has appointed a new cattle specialist, Niall Kerins, who will be based at Teagasc Moorepark, Co. Cork and will cover the south west of the country.

Niall Kerins is from a drystock farming background based in Co. Kerry.

He is currently a Teagasc business and technology drystock advisor in the Kerry or Limerick advisory region. He previously worked as drystock advisor based in Kilrush, Co. Clare, and as a dairy advisor in Listowel, Co. Kerry.



I was visiting Kiskeam as a tourist and this charming little north Cork village has a tourist offering out of all proportion to its size.

A dear friend gave me a present of these two treasured books. They contain a comprehensive insight into the history of this lovely corner of North Cork.

These murals by Paddy Ronan depict a way of life that is now just a memory.

This extract is from Fr.ORiordáin’s book. It describes lovely old customs like boolying, the infield and the outfield and the meitheal.

This is the local brass band back in the day. So many of the men (they were all men) are identifiable, I’m sure their descendants love to see them immortalised here.

The Kiskeam Brass Band was legendary. Here is Fr. O’Riordain’s explanation;

“Kiskeam Brass Band will attend ” was a kind of coded message.

In 1918 an anti conscription rally in Newmarket was led by The Kiskeam Brass band. A vicious unprovoked attack by RIC men saw the poor unarmed musicians beaten mercilessly and all their instruments smashed.

It took three years to recover from that loss and to have all the instruments replaced.

It struck me that all the imagery depicted on the walls is of a bygone time.

I am one of those people who likes to look back.

The is my father, Bill Ahern, on a wynnd of hay some summer in the 1950s.

If you like to look back too, Kiskeam is well worth a visit.


Another Chute, Another Master Painter

Francis Chute at work on Footprints on June 1 2023


Is this You?


Writers’ Week 2023

Bridge Road in May 2023


Witty Window

Harp and Lion Antiques in Church Street.


May Images from Childers Park


Choosing Kerry

These lovely people have bought a house in Beale and are relocating there shortly. Unfortunately they will miss Writers’ Week 2023. Maybe next year.


Will Collins, Scriptwriter

This photograph is from 2015 when Will Collins was a guest at The Children’s Festival during Listowel Writers’ Week. In it I am beside Will’s wife Karen and his lovely mom and dad are on the right of Will. Luke is in the buggy.

Will today is even more famous than he was back then. Here’s why.

Will Collins, who grew up a stones throw from my family home, co-wrote an episode of the Star Wars Visions’ series alongside Jason Tammemägi. 

The programme, which is currently streaming on Disney Plus, is titled Screecher’s Reach. 

The episode formed part of an ambitious project that allowed filmmakers and animators all over the world access to the Star Wars universe.

Will’s previous screenwriting credits include the Oscar nominated feature animations, Wolfwalkers and Song of the Sea with Cartoon Saloon.

Will got to live out every Star Wars fan’s dream with a trip to the George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch located north of San Francisco.


Man of the Moment (and girlfriend)

Stephen Connolly, curator of Listowel Writers’ Week 2023, is being helped at every step of his new venture by Manuela.


Saturday June 3 2023

If you join me outside The Listowel Arms Hotel at 10.00 a.m. we’ll take a short stroll to the Tidy Town seat and we’ll have a few songs there.

Then we’ll take the short stroll to the castle steps.

That’s the walking part done.

We’ll be entertained and informed. Hopefully the sun will shine on us and everyone will have a good time. I’m looking forward to it.


Opening Night Writers Week 2023

Opening Night will start at 8.00p.m. The doors will be open at 7.00p.m.

Jack O’Rourke will entertain us. Prizes will be distributed and the John B. Keane Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to distinguished actor, Stephen Rea.

Ger Holland is the official photographer but I’ve got permission to snap some local folk for Listowel Connection.

I’ll be taking annual leave to enjoy the festival and then some more annual leave to recover.

See you back here soon.


Last word on the toilet for now

Tuesday May 30 2023

Nearly there but no electricity yet so unfortunately it looks like it won’t be ready for Writers’ Week.

You saw it here first! the kindly Kerry County Council staff gave me a sneak peak. No super loo this…a bog standard wheelchair accessible public toilet.


Remembering Seán MacCarthy

Main Street, Listowel


Listowel Shop in the 1930s

Galvin’s of William Street Listowel.

Another lovely old photo from the good folk at Tipperary Photos of Munster.


Pres Magazine 1991

Presentation girls pay tribute to one of our iconic local writers.


Then and Now


Listowel in Happy and Unhappy Times

In Market Street, Listowel in November 2021


Did you know?

Listowel Garda Station was once the local RIC station. It was the scene of a famous mutiny in 1920.

The Ladybird version; The police commissioner for Munster planned to impose Martial Law on the town and to amalgamate the police and the military in a bid to wipe out Sinn Féin.

Constable Jeremiah Mee declared that he was an Irishman and with that he plonked his cap belt and bayonet on the table and refused to follow Ferguson’s orders. His fellow officers supported him and they too refused to cooperate and prevented his arrest.

Later that day 25 officers met in what is now John B. Keane’s pub and it was agreed that 14 single policemen would resign from the force.


Happy Boys at The Falls

Seán Keane sent the photo. Éamon ÓMurchú enhanced the photo and researched the names.

Eamon O’Connor is lying in front with his hand to his head. On his right (left in photo) is Eamon Leahy. Behind him is his brother, Tadhg Leahy, beside him behind Eamon O’Connor is Ciarán ÓMurchú. Buddy Scanlon is the boy with the towel over his shoulder. Behind him is Monty Galvin and Toddy Scanlon is behind Monty.

Any help in naming the others will be greatly appreciated.


New Mode of Transport

My first sighting of an adult scooter in Listowel.


Then and Now

Harp and Lion in 2007
Harp and Lion in 2021


A Christmas Window for 2021

John R.’s gingerbread house display is in keeping with the delicious fare inside this shop.


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