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

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A Book, a Dancer and the Greenway

The Curragh ; Éamon OMurchú


Jimmy Hickey ‘s Big Birthday

His friends in Presentation Primary School helped their dancing teacher celebrate a big birthday lately.

They shared the pictures on Facebook.


A Poem about Ballinruddery

From North Kerry Landscape


Point to Point

I love this book. It’s the third in Healyracing’s horse racing books and, in my humble opinion, the best.

If you love horses; if you love history; if you love photographs; if you love stories, if you love people, they are all here in Point to Point.

Many p to p races are held in gorgeous settings, a photographer’s dream.

It’s not all glamour. Many big day winners at Cheltenham or Fairyhouse started off in muddy fields in rural Ireland.

There is the usual sprinkling of dramatic dismounts.

I love this book and I’ll be dipping into it for a while yet. You dont have to know anything about horses or racing to enjoy this one. It will be a best seller.


The Greenway

I went to investigate where the greenway enters the park. Here are a few photos to give you an idea. This section is not finished yet.


Listowel Community Orchard

A beautiful spot down by the Feale is the community orchard. The pears are nearly ripe. The horse chestnut tree is laden with conkers. There are herbs galore for all to pick and use. It’s the perfect spot for a picnic.


In Duagh

I like to call to Duagh church and grounds to reconnect with Fr. Pat Moore. He is still very much there in spirit.

“Somedays I just sits.”

I sat on the bench dedicated to Fr. Pat’s memory.

I sat and looked at the church where he ministered and the house and parish centre where he lived, worked and prayed.

On a sunny September day in 2021, it was a haven of peace and birdsong. Fr. Pat’s spirit is there among the people who loved him.


Kitchener (1901)

A correspondent of Mr. T. P. O’Connor’s weekly writes as follows regarding the present Commander-in-Chief of the forces in South Africa.

Let me set you right about Lord Kitchener’s natal spot, regarding which I happen to know a good deal, having myself been born within a couple of miles of it. He was born at Gunsborough Cottage, which was lent to his father, Lieutenant-Colonel Kitchener, by the father of the well-known ci-devant Irish M. P., Mr. Peirce Mahony, of Kilmorna. Gunsborough is within three miles of Listowel, the capital of North Kerry. He was baptised at the little Protestant Church hard by now in ruins, I believe by the late Rev. Robert Sandes, a representative of the family of which the late Mr. George Sandes, of Grenville, Listowel, was a well known member. The Kitcheners subsequently went to live at Crotto House, which Colonel Kitchener afterwards sold to Mr. Thomas Beale Brown, a near relative of Sir Michael Hicks-Beach. The true history of the whole vexed question of the connection of the Kitchener family with Kerry was told during the late Soudan campaign in the columns of the Irish Times by Major Kiggell, of Cahnra, Glin, County Limerick, whose son, Major Lancelot Kiggell, is now on Lord Kitchener’s staff.

New Zealand Tablet, 25 July 1901, 


Church Street Tattoo Shop

The tattoo shop has gone from pink to blue. It is probably more in keeping with the dark vibe coming from the shop.


Getting in the Mood

Flavin’s window is getting us in the mood.


Garden of Europe, a poem and Eamon Keane remembered the Carnegie Library when it was playhouse

Carrigafoyle castle near Ballylongford, Co. Kerry

Photo by Ita Hannon


A Poem to raise a smile

The optimist fell ten stories

And at each window bar

He shouted to the folks inside;

“I’m doing all right so far.”

(Author unknown)


Path to the river

This path runs beside the Garden of Europe and leads to the River Feale.

This stand of trees is relatively recent, certainly within the last 20 years.

This seat will be surrounded by wild garlic in a few weeks.

The Garden of Europe is looking very bare these days.


When is a Library not a Library?

This building at Upper Church Street, Listowel was at one time used as a classroom. But Vincent Carmody reminds us that it was also once used as a playhouse.

Here is a quotation from Eamon Keane’s introduction to Vincent’s Not Kerry Camera;

“I looked across at the old Library Hall last week and saw again, in my minds eye, Horatio, the old yellow poster on the billboard outside:  

For one week only- Anew McMaster and Full Supporting Company, In a Season of Plays Mostly by William Shakespeare’

As an entranced fifteen year old I had seen Mac as Oedipus (by Euripides) along with Patrick Magee and Donal Wherry playing in the same hall to a spellbound audience of locals, mountainy men and well- read countrymen. Some even sat on the window -sills, so packed was the auditorium”


Weren’t Healyracing a credit to Listowel on the telly?

I took this photo a few years ago of Cathy Healy and her beloved dad, Liam.

He would have been so so proud of her and of all his family on Nationwide.

In case you missed it, here’s the link to the programme on RTE player

Nationwide from Castleisland and Listowel


Cranes as Symbols of Recovery

Upper Church Street late February 2018

Doran’s Pharmacy is getting there.

The view from Courthouse Road

West Clare Railway; a Listowel Connection and Ballincollig Fairy Trail

In the Gap of Dunloe

photo: Chris Grayson


Every Picture Tells a Story

This photo was shared on a site about old Dublin. It was taken in 1917 in the Dublin National Shell Factory and it shows women transporting shells to a storehouse.


In a Clare Railway Station

This photo is in the archives in Co. Clare Library and this is the caption;

Kilkee Railway Station, Mary T. Hynes and Mick Lenihan from Listowel, the last station master of Kilkee Railway station photographed in the station.

The year is given as 1956 and the donors of the photo to the library are Ignatius Lenihan and Mary T. Hynes


I’ve been away with the fairies

Many towns nowadays are pandering to the demand for dwellings for  the fairy folk. Ballincollig has a lovely small trail with fairy houses and fairy stuff galore.

This is th waterfall Ballincollig Regional Park. The Fairy Trail is nearby.

As in real life, so it is in Fairyland. Some fairy folk are rich and have lovely houses, some have to work hard, repairing wings and collecting baby teeth and some just put their names on a door and disappear.


Third Generation Healy is a Front Page Photographer

This photo of the Irish Field front page was tweeted by Healyracing. They are so proud to see the legacy is secure.

Someone in heaven is smiling right now.

Clifton Clowers Badminton, The Men’s Confraternity and Barna Station

Beale Robin Welcomes the Spring

Photo: Ita Hannon


“I don’t care about Clifton Clowers….”

Have you ever wondered who this man mentioned in the song, “Wolverton Mountain was?

Wonder no more. Maura Brennan found the answer and the picture in an Appalachian Americanswebsite;

Here is one of the “greatest generation” people who made this country great. This is a picture of Clifton Clowers plowing his field at the age of 100. Clowers was the subject of a Merle Kilgore hit song called “Wolverton Mountain.” Mr. Clowers lived to be 102 (1891 – 1994) where he actually lived and farmed that land on Wolverton Mountain. A solid American who was just who he was, although he rubbed shoulders with a lot of famous people after the song was written about him. 


Healyracing Took Some Great pictures at Tattersalls Recently


When Listowel Men Retreated to Limerick

(photo and text: Vincent Carmody)

The Listowel Men’s Confraternity
and Limerick Retreat.

The Listowel men’s confraternity had it’s origins in the
early part of the 1900’s and it continued until its gradual demise and ending
in the latter part of the 1950’s. The ladies of the parish were attached to a
religious movement named, The Children of Mary. 

The Men’s Confraternity was
attached to St. Mary’s Parish Church. As part of its discipline, each member
had a duty to attend monthly confession and communion. The confraternity, was
divided up among the various streets and areas of the parish, with each area
designated so many pews in the church, for the monthly mass. The first pew of
each section, hosted a wooden standard with the name of the area, held in place by it’s
insertion into brass ring holders, which were screwed onto the middle aisle
side of each pew. These brass rings remain to this day. Now some
serve as flower arrangement holders on wedding days.
 The wooden standards
carried, on top, a wooden, icon like board, on this was printed an image of a
particular saint, whose patronage was bestowed on the different areas. When
not in use, these standards were stored, mounted on frames, located in the
inner porches, left and right of the main entrance of the church. Each section
had a steward, his job, to maintain a confraternity notebook, into which he
marked, like the old school roll books, the attendance record of each member.

On completion of 25 years membership, one was presented by a medal of
commemoration, by the  Bishop of Kerry.

A rare 1960s photograph above  was taken on a weekend retreat at the Redemptorist
Retreat House in Limerick. Each year Listowel men of various persuasions,
including, Retirees, Coach Makers, Harness Makers, Licence Vintners , Farmers,
Builders Providers, Accountants, Schoolboys, Factory Workers, Electricians.
Solicitors, Garage Mechanics , Agricultural Advisers, Post Office Employees,
School Caretakers, Urban Council Employees, Confectionery Wholesalers,
Plasterers, College Professors and Secondary School Teachers, Blacksmiths, Veterinary
Assistants, Electrical Contractors and Electricians , Civic Guards, Firemen,
Hardware store Assistants, Tailors, Footballers, Dancers, Building Contractors,
Lorry Drivers and Creamery Workers, Actors and Play-Actors, Conformists and
Nonconformists, Publicans and Tipplers, and many more, of different trade and
political persuasions, would gather for a weekend of prayerful reflection, and
as one participant later told me, ‘for a peaceful and restful weekend away from
a nagging partner.’


Badminton Winners of Yesteryear

Anne Marie and Mary O’Donoghue with Majella Maher.

(photos: Junior Griffin)


Liam Downes photos of Barna Railway Station Then and Now

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