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: horseshoe

Stories of Old Listowel

Church Street in November 2021


In 2007 Listowel had a large Polish population. This shop/ sklep opened on Charles Street to bring them a taste of home

Same view of Charles Street in Novemnber 2021


A Listowel Fact

These facts that I am sharing with you were told to walkers on the late Jack McKenna’s Rotary Club walking tours of the town many moons ago.

The pump house on the banks of the Feale was originally designed to hold a water wheel which would operate a pump to lift water from the river to tanks in Ballygrennane. These tanks would provide a gravity flow water supply to the town. The flow of water to operate the wheel was to come from a point upriver known as The Falls. The water was to flow to the wheel in the pump house via a canal. The engineer who designed the system was fond of a drop. On the day of the grand opening, he went to the tanks in Ballygrennan to await the flow the water while the dignatories who had been invited to the grand opening waited at the pump house for the flow of water which would operate the pump.

When the sluice gates were opened there emerged the smallest trickle of water, nothing near the amount needed to rotate the wheel to operate the pump.

The engineer, up in Ballygrennane realised that his scheme was a failure. The story goes that he polished off his bottle of whiskey, scarpered from the scene and was never seen in Listowel again.

The town council had to install a steam operated pump which supplied the town with water for many years until the ESB brought electric power to Listowel.


A Sign of the Times

On this old street lamp a very modern notice advertising outdoor dining


That was then; This is now


In 2007 we had many many foreign nationals working in our area. Demand for money transfer services was such that a dedicated Western Union shop opened in Church Street.

Since then electronic money transfer has become even easier.

Yesterday I saw a man pay for his groceries using his watch.

We’ve come a long way since 2007.


Covid Signage, Kevin’s and Behan’s Prepare to Reopen

Castle and Seanchaí closed to the public in June 2020

Viewing platform by the river in June 2020.

The level of water in The Feale was very low before the deluge of Sunday June 15 when we had thunder, lightning and flash floods.


Covid Signage at Spar in Market Street


Kevin;s is being repainted before reopening.

Meanwhile across the road Behan’s Horseshoe has been beautifully painted.

I even persuaded the painters to pose for me.


Ard Churam Dementia Day Centre

Photo: John Kelliher


In Connemara in 1959

I dont know who took the photo but it looks a bit posed to me.  Brendan Behan is not exactly dressed for a day in the bog.

Trip to Kanturk, Changing face of Business and and death of a local nun in 1880

Photo credit: Neil O’Mullane of Mallow Camera Club


There’s a bridle hanging on the wall

There’s a saddle in a lonely stall

You ask me why the teardrops fall

It’s that bridle hanging on the wall

There’s a horseshoe nailed above the door

It’s a shoe that my old pony wore

There’s a faded blanket in the hall

And that bridle hanging on the wall….

I was reminded of this old country song by Carson Robinson when I visited my old home in Kanturk recently. Everywhere there are horses and horse related accoutrements and memorabilia.

My brother, Pat, was putting EPA Murray outdoors for a day in the sun. Murray is a show horse so his coat has to be protected from strong sunlight which might discolour it. Hence the head to toe sunsuit. You live and learn!


Now and Then

Woulfe’s Bookshop was once Curly Connors’ pub. Maybe in microcosm this reflects the story of business life in Listowel. Once upon a time the town was full of drinking establishments. Even grocery shops had a bar at the back. Nowadays we only have a few pubs left and these also have to offer something extra like pub theatre, music sessions, comedy or quizzes to keep their customers happy. Entertainment has moved out of the pub and into the home.


“She lived unknown and few could know

When Lucy ceased to be….”

She wasn’t Wordsworth’s Lucy but Sr. Clare of Presentation Convent Listowel lived a short and secluded life back in the 1880s

Sentinel  Tuesday, October 26, 1880; 

INTELLIGENCE. From our Correspondent.

OF A RELIGEUSE. Listowel, Friday. I regret to announce the death of Sister Mary

of the Presentation Convent, Listowel, who after a comparatively short illness,
which was borne with the fortitude of a good Christian, rendered her pure soul
to Him who gave it. The good sister at the early age of 20 years, obeying the
feelings which God had implanted in her heart, consecrated her young life to
the service of heaven, and for six years laboured incessantly in the duties of
the office which her vocation assigned to her. (No relatives or surname


Just a Thought

If you missed me on Radio Kerry last week, my “Thoughts” are HERE

St. Blaise

St. Blaise is our man for today.

This is the invocation that will be said over those who get their throats blessed in his honor today.

“Through the intercession of St. Blaise, bishop and martyr, may
God deliver you from ailments of the throat and from every other evil. In the
name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Blessing of St.

Who is St. Blaise?

The following answer to that question is again from the online encyclopedia of Catholic saints.

(After Blaise, I think I’ll leave the saints aside for a while.)

Feastday:February 3

Patronof Throat Illnesses

Many Catholics might remember Saint
Blaise’sfeast daybecause of theBlessingof the Throats that took place on this day. Twocandlesare blessed, held slightly open, and pressed against the throat
as theblessingis said. Saint Blaise’s protection of those with throat
troubles apparently comes from a legend that a boy was brought to him who had a
fishbone stuck in his throat. The boy was about to die when Saint Blaise healed

Very few facts are known about
Saint Blaise. We believe he was abishopof Sebastea inArmeniawho was martyred under the reign of Licinius in the early
fourth century.

The legend of hislifethat sprang up in the eighth century tell us that he was born
in to a rich and noblefamilywho raised him as a Christian. After becoming a bishop, a newpersecutionof Christians began. He received a message fromGodto go into the hills to escape persecution. Men hunting in the
mountains discovered a cave surrounded by wild animals who were sick. Among
them Blaise walked unafraid, curing them of their illnesses. Recognizing Blaise
as a bishop, they captured him to take him back for trial. On the way back, he
talked a wolf into releasing a pig that belonged to a poor woman. When Blaise
was sentenced to be starved to death, the woman, in gratitude, sneaked into the
prison with food and candles. Finally Blaise was killed by the governor.

Blaise is the patron saint of wild
animals because of his care for them and of those with throat maladies.

Ah the hubris of mankind! Maybe Winter is again going “to show its might” after all.

Major building works are underway in the amalgamation of these two premises. Expect big changes here in the not too distant future.


Jimmy Moloney has posted the minutes of the January Town Council meeting here:

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