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: Harry Clarke

Historian in Residence, A Generous Maloney, Stained Glass Windows

When there was a phone box on every corner


Tom Takes up a new post

Ennismore native, Tom Dillon is a passionate historian. He is an expert on North Kerry men who fought in two world wars. He has recently been appointed as Historian in Residence by Kerry County Council.

Tom has always been a busy man and now he is about to become even busier. I heard him recently with Frank Lewis on Radio Kerry’s Saturday Supplement telling the fascinating story of one of Kerry’s most notorious faction fights between the Cooleens and the Lawlors at Ballyeigh.

Tom is on the far right with Jim Dunn, Mike Lynch and Rose Wall Volunteering at a Graham Norton event at Listowel Writers’ Week.

Tom is among North Kerry history lovers, Martin Moore, Declan Downey, Michael Guerin and myself in Ashe Hall where Tom gave an excellent lecture on the Fitzgeralds, Knights of Kerry.


A Duagh Philatropist

William Maloney was born in Duagh County Kerry, Ireland, in 1828, and died in Pittsburgh, Dec. 28, 1870.

All affairs bearing on the public good interested Mr. Maloney, and the weight of his influence and his moral and financial support were always forthcoming in aid of such activities. Charitable cause made and unfailing appeal to his warmly, generous and sincere nature, and he was especially friendly to St. Paul’s Orphan Asylum. He was a member of St. Paul’s Roman Catholic Church, then at Fifth and Grant streets, and there was no branch of its work that did not owe a large part of its comfortable ease in financial relations to his never-failing donations. He was known for his ever-courteous manner and was a musician of accomplishment. His religious convictions were strong, and, practical man of affairs the he was, he believed that they were worthy of the best of his means.

William Maloney married Mary B. Mullin, daughter of Thomas and Mary Mullin, her father a linen manufacturer of note at Carrickmacross, a famous linen center of Ireland. Her mother, Mary Mullin, came to the United States a short time after her son John, Mr. Maloney’s partner, had made Pittsburgh his home. Mrs. Maloney, a devoted mother, and active charity worker, an accomplished home maker, died Aug. 25, 1914. 


Listowel Convent Windows in their new home

A Corkman, Eddie Hyland has been studying stained glass windows from the Harry Clarke studios in Dublin. His research brought him to two windows in Presentation Convent chapel  in Listowel.

The chapel was deconsecrated and the windows dispersed. Eddie started a search that brought him to sources like Listowel Connection as well as the Presentation archive.

Here is his latest letter bringing the news that his search iOS over and has been successful

Dear Mary

I’ve located the Saint Patrick window; it is in the parish church [named Saint Patrick’s]

in the tiny village of Knockavilla near Upton in Co Cork.

I’m sending to you as attachments photos of both windows. As you can see the Saint Michael

window has been reworked somewhat to make it fit into the opening in Blackrock Church, Cork.

The Saint Patrick is however unaltered. It is not however fitted into a wall opening but instead

is located in a custom made wooden frame and artificially back lit

Again thank you for all of your help and encouragement


Ed Hyland 


Stained Glass, A Bittling Woman and the Corona Virus

Should he be called Narcissus?  Photo by Bridget O’Connor


Chapel Windows

When I was photographing progress at Listowel Primary Care Centre, I noticed these windows in the convent chapel. The magnificent stained glass windows were removed when the convent closed and they were given to churches at home and abroad.

Recently I learned that two of the windows were from the Harry Clarke Studios in Dublin. Harry Clarke died in 1931 and these windows were commissioned to celebrate the anniversary of the convent in 1944. They were most likely designed by William Dowling.

The Harry Clarke Studios windows showing St. Michael, the Archangel and St. Patrick


Corona Virus…A Listowel Connection

Photo and story from

Growing numbers of Irish people enduring lockdown conditions in coronavirus-hit China are frustrated at what they believe is poor communication and support from the Department of Foreign Affairs, it emerged yesterday. 

In Wuhan in Hubei province, the epicentre of the virus, food and medicine shortages are a growing concern.

Meanwhile, Greg McDonough, a native of Listowel in Co Kerry, who lives in the neighbouring Anhui province, said the Department of Foreign Affairs is providing them with little information other than to “check our website”.

The department’s website earlier this week asked Irish people still in China to consider leaving, and to go to a travel agent if their presence was not essential, due to the coronavirus threat.

However, Mr McDonough, who is mostly confined to his home with his wife Wang Xuan and son Joseph (2), said a large Irish group in China who are in contact through WhatsApp want the Irish Embassy to do more.

“Restrictions are getting worse. Only one person a day from a house is allowed out to go to a supermarket,” he said.

“The website recommended going to a travel agency, but that is unrealistic because of the lockdown.”

He said a key concern for Irish people with Chinese partners is that they be allowed to travel with them should they decide to leave China.

“They do not want to leave them behind. The embassy needs to secure an agreement with Chinese authorities to permit them to travel,” he said.

They also want the Irish officials to plan for repatriation if the situation deteriorates and if a plane was sent to Shanghai, it might be possible for Irish people in neighbouring provinces to travel there.

Mr McDonough said the roads out of the town where he is are currently blocked off.

The Chinese Spring Festival was extended for a second week and the hope is that the roads will reopen on Monday.

However, the future continues to remain deeply uncertain, as deaths from the virus near 500 in China with no sign of slowdown in its spread.

A Foreign Affairs spokesman in Dublin said its embassy has been liaising with other countries on options for supporting Irish citizens in China.

It is in contact with remaining Irish people in China.

Separately, two Irish passengers who were on a luxury cruise face two weeks of quarantine and confinement to their cabins after an outbreak of the coronavirus on board.

They are among thousands of passengers who have been ordered to stay in their cabins aboard the Diamond Princess, docked off Japan, after 10 people tested positive for coronavirus.

The virus, which has infected more than 24,300 globally, continues to cause major disruption and havoc across the world.

Meanwhile, another patient suspected of having the virus was placed in isolation in University Hospital Kerry yesterday.

The person – understood to be a woman who may have been in contact with people who travelled to China recently – presented at the hospital with respiratory problems.

As a precautionary measure, the woman was immediately placed in isolation.

The Department of Health yesterday declined to say if she was cleared of risk, but said that nobody in Ireland had tested positive for the virus.

China’s Juneyao Airlines has opted to postpone the March 29 launch of its service from Dublin to Shanghai amid the ongoing concerns over the virus.

The route – announced in late November – was a major coup for Dublin Airport following the decision by Chinese carrier Hainan Airlines to axe its six-month-old route to Shenzhen last August, and put its Dublin-Beijing service on ice until this year.


The Bittling Woman

From Rathea school in The Schools’ Folklore Collection

About sixty years ago this bittling woman was going on from six a clock on a Summer’s evening to ten at night. She used to be heard on the little glosha that is separating Glanderry from Rathea especially behind at Browne’s bridge. When we used to be going the road from Glanderry up to Knocknaclare we used to be running from her. She used to be bittling as fast as her hands could do it. Brown William used to come listening to her. I often heard her from my own door at ten oclock in the night when there was nothing to be heard but herself for the night was too still. 

One night Brown William was listening to her at the bridge and he tried to catch her. He chased her from place to place trying to catch her but when he’d land to the place where he heard her she was gone to another place. He held at it until it was twelve oclock. When he was going home he met the servant boy who asked him where he was and he said I was listening to the bittling woman.” As they were going home he met on the path the finest cow he had dead.

Has anyone any idea what bittling is? I cant find it in a dictionary.

Honan Chapel, UCC, Race week 2018 and style from Ladies’ Day 2018


Honan Chapel, UCC

On my recent walking tour of UCC I visited the Honan Chapel and I learned about a Listowel connection.

 The magnificent mosaic of the River Lee teeming with fish was executed by the mosaic artists of the firm of Oppenheimer, the same company which did the mosaics in our own St. Mary’s.

The much admired stained glass windows are the work of two artists, the great Harry Clarke and the lesser known Sarah Purser. Harry Clarke’s work  totally overshadows Sarah Purser’s windows. The Clarke windows, while magnificent in themselves, are dark and leave in very little light. They are characterised by their deep deep blue glass. Purser’s are refreshingly lighter  and in my humble opinion function better as windows as in they allow light into the building.

St. Gobnait is the patron of the nearby village of Ballyvourney. She is depicted in her window surrounded by bees.

Sadly, beside the door there are two blocked out windows, victims of the penal window tax.


Upper Church Street, Race Week 2018


Ladies’ Day Sept. 14 2018

Some of the ladies I spotted as i made my way around the course.

Not all fun and games. Helena Halpin was off to work when I ran into her.

Niamh Kenny looked every inch a winner, but she didn’t win.

The lady on the right with her gorgeous Aoife Hannon headpiece was the first runner up.

This lady was also a top 10 finalist. Isn’t her hat fabulous?


Credit Where It’s Due 

Yesterday I had some photographs of this seat with its verse to the memory of the late Paudie Fitzmaurice.

I have since learned that the verse was written by his good friend of many years, John (Junior) Griffin.


Possible Identification

The first black and white photo looks like it was taken at Buckleys. If my memory is correct the boy at the back is Buckley and the girl on the right  was his sister. They had a bar, and I can remember that they sold ice cream. I would love to know if I am correct

Is Maria correct?

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