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: holy pictures

Old cards, Magdalen Laundry and 1988 schoolgirls

Do you remember my collection of holy pictures last week? 

Kathy Taylor wrote to tell me that in the U.S. they give these holy pictures at funerals as a memorial of the loved one who has passed on. She sent me these examples. I love St. Patrick.


Jer found this very damaged and faded copy of a photograph of John B. Keane’s class in 1935. John B. is 4th from left at the back.  I suppose it is too damaged even for Photoshop?


Gloucester St. Magdalens (photo Limerick Museum)

Advert from 1913…….so sad in the light of what we know now.

Another advert. below….date not given.


Those were the days….Ballybunion in the 1980s


Mary Sobieralski and Sr. Consolata reading the 1988 Pres. Yearbook.

Here, as promised, are a few photos from the magazine.

If you recognize yourself and you would like to tell us where you are now, with a recent photo, I’d love to hear from you.


Of interest to illegal Irish people in the U.S.

Immigration Reform

In the current climate of immigration reform taking place in Washington, DC and the estimated 25,000 – 30,000 undocumented Irish among the 12 million supposedly living in the U.S., Irish Outreach San Diego is one of the many Irish groups in the U.S. on the front lines supporting immigration reform that may change the plight of the undocumented.

Introducing Shannon N. Barnes, Esq.

Immigration Attorney

Fragomen is the world’s leading provider of immigration services, including a dedicated Ireland practice group to handle immigration counseling and services for Irish citizens and companies. Fragomen has been structured specifically for all aspects of individual, family-based and corporate immigration services.

More information about Fragomen and its service offerings is available at

Shannon N. Barnes

Attorney at Law

Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP

11238 El Camino Real, Suite 100

San Diego, CA 92130


Local success story

Congratulations to Gerard Barrett on winning an IFTA for his short film, Pilgrim Hill; a rising star surely.

( And the frocks on Irish Oscars night?…….very disappointing; mostly balck)

Lá ‘le Bríde and some old holy pictures

Feb 1,  Feastday of St. Bridget, Muire na nGael, First of Spring

Today is the first day of spring. All over Ireland people are visiting St. Bridget’s holy wells, doing the rounds reciting rosaries  and leaving behind a rag, a coin or even a feather as a reminder to Bríd to remember the visitor.

 Bridget was a pagan, the daughter of a slave, became a nun and, because of her holiness and the miraculous powers she had she  became abbess of Kildare. Her Christian story is full of miracles and wonders. She lived on the milk of a pure white cow. She had the ability to cure infertility in women and animals. She also had the gift of healing and some said she could control the weather.

In the early days of RTE the St. Bridget’s Cross was the symbol of the station and we saw it on our screens often. I don’t know when it was dropped or why.


Tomorrow February 2 is Candlemas Day or Groundhog Day. Since it is the first day of Spring it is traditionally seen as a portent of what is to come in the way of weather for the year.

If Candlemas Day be fair and bright

Winter will have another fight;

But if Candlemas Day brings clouds and rain

Winter is gone and won’t come again

There is an old German tradition that the hedgehog emerges from his lair at noon on Candlemas Day to see if he can see his shadow. If there is no shadow he stays out but if the sun is shining, he returns to his den for another 6 weeks until the spell of cold wintry weather has passed.

The people of Punxsutawney in Pennsylvania attribute these meteorological forecasting skills to the groundhog and Groundhog Day is celebrated with a big festival. 

For a change, we will be hoping not to see the sun tomorrow.


Do you remember these?

I found all of the following being used by me as bookmarks. I’m having a bit of a clear out as is customary this time of year. We used to call it Spring cleaning.

These holy pictures were often bought from a mission stall. Murray’s of Listowel used to go to whatever town was having a mission, set up some stalls and do a roaring trade in rosary beads, scapulars and other religious objects like these cheap little pictures.

This parking disc is from Ennis, but we had them in Listowel too.


This was Lick Castle in Ballybunion. The last remaining arch came down in a storm in November 2012


A few photos I took on the Tralee Rd.


The Tidy Towns folk are here


Jer found this Civil Defence instructional film from 1951

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