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: Holyoke

St. Patrick’s Day in Listowel, Holyoke and Breezy Point

Two little girls in Kerry colours
Billy Keane M.C.
One of the many old cars
Scoil Realta na Maidine
Listowel Tidy Town Group
Boys Primary School
watching it all


Fealegood”s video of the parade.  Enjoy!!!

The Holyoke parade is here


Breezy Point Irish united in building for the future

The Irish Examiner

By Mary Regan, Political Correspondent, New York

“It’s east Ireland over here,” explained Jim Killoran in his green baseball cap on his way to Mass.Others have nicknamed this place “the Irish Riviera”. But it didn’t feel like your typical St Patrick’s Day. 

Here in Breezy Point in Queens, New York, the mostly Irish residents have been coming to terms with the devastation left by Hurricane Sandy which battered down their seaside homes last October. Their St Patrick’s Day was not a celebration of craic and ceoil and culture of the old sod, but more a quiet appreciation of the spirit that has helped them slowly rebuild their neighbourhood — one of the worst affected by the severe weather that hit the East Coast of America five months ago. 
More than 700 were evacuated and some 126 houses here burnt to the ground by a fire that struck with the storm. The wrecked houses, most with battered American flags out front, now have marks of red, green or amber, showing whether they are still too dangerous to enter, or whether people could start moving back in.

The Irish community gathered in the St Thomas Moore Church yesterday and for the St Patrick’s Day Mass and prayed to “remain strong and generous” as they rebuild their “lives and homes”. Taoiseach Enda Kenny joined them at the church after taking a stroll along the streets where piles of rubble showed signs of the lives people had previously enjoyed in their homes

For Valerie Gilson, both the Irish tricolour and American flag mark the front of where her home once was. She is still waiting for the demolition of what remains of her house, which was bought by her family, who moved from Corbally in Limerick. “One of the things we found in the house that wasn’t destroyed was our Irish flag. We put it on the flagpole at the end of the wall — the American flag and the Irish flag — it helped us to see where our home was because all the landmarks had been destroyed,” she said. “It is one of the things that comes from the Irish. We always hung together, we always helped each other out, but also helped other communities that needed it. It was nice to see all that help coming back to us.” Brian Heffernan, from Waterford, and his wife, Carmel, from Limerick, who emigrated in the 1980s, are hoping to move back into their home here in the next two months. It was not destroyed, but severely damaged. Brian says there had been phenomenal support from Irish volunteers who have helped with gutting homes and reconstruction efforts. “There’s a lot of comradery in the community, everyone helping everybody,” he said. As the church gathering moved next door to the Monsignor Connolly Hall for tea and soda bread, the Taoiseach explained to them the meaning of the word “meitheal”: “It means the gathering of communities or a community effort,” he said. “That’s why what happened here, from an Irish perspective, is something that is deep with us, within our DNA if you like, to help others.” Meanwhile, Jim Killoran, whose parents came from Sligo, was chatting to people he has helped through his Habitats for Humanity volunteer group. He said the generosity of spirit has helped the people here through the difficult time and they “will rise again; we’ll celebrate next St Patrick’s Day with everyone in their home”. Valerie said that, regardless, some treasures of her Irish heritage have been saved. “My mother had from her great grandmother a little teapot that had come from Ireland. We took that out and some other things from my grandmother’s and we are just waiting for it to be demolished,” she said. But she hopes to be back in the house this time next year: “It would be nice, I hope so. But on St Patrick’s Day we will be celebrating, no matter where we are.”


John Kelliher took this priceless photo.

St. Patrick’s Day in other places

After that flurry of activity over the weekend I am now returning to my normal pace of one post per day. I have lots of photos which I took over the weekend and I will share some of them in due course. But today I am sharing with you some stuff that people were kind enough to send us.

Our friend, Joanne Dillon was at the New York parade and she sent us this Smilebox of photos

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Thank you Joanne.


I am posting Ed. O’Connor’s email in its entirety

For those from Listowel who may have connections to western Massachusetts, particularly Holyoke, check out the following site for reports of yesterday’s St. Patrick’s Day parade in Holyoke….just for information, Holyoke was once called Ireland’s Parish….it is a small city of about 40,000 souls which dramatically increases in size during parade weekend….they crown a colleen who wins a trip to Ireland as part of the prize…

Although Boston, New York and Chicago are much larger cities, the Holyoke parade is impressive especially if the weather is good as it was yesterday…..there can be up to half a million folks who watch the parade and the organizers always have a large number of floats and marching bands…

Check out

Enjoyed watching your parade….

Ed O’Connor

Ed. is a good friend of listowelconnection and NKRO and he is coming to our festival this summer.


I’m glad so many people are enjoying the video clips of the Tea Dance. It was a great success. Kay O’Leary, the driving force behind the venture has sent me some photos and I took a few as well on Saturday. I’ll share them with you during the week.

Meanwhile an old photo from a bygone St. Patrick’s Day; Dublin 1939

I found the photo on the internet. The writing is indecipherable. I don’t really know what is going on with those planes.


Very sad news breaking from Melbourne this morning. Jim Stynes, who blazed a trail for young Irishmen like our own Seán Whyte and Tadhg Kennelly has passed away at the age of 45. He is being awarded a state funeral, such was his status in his adopted city.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasal dílis.

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