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: Jack O’Regan

Dingle, Gaelscoil Uí Riordain, more from Ladies Day 2017 and Celebrating 100 years of Irish people in Kenya

Dingle by Chris Grayson


From an 1899 Newspaper


The School around the Corner

My granddaughters attend Gaelscoil Uí Riordáin in Ballincollig

Although it is a brand new school it is at capacity already.

My little girlies are lucky in that they live within walking distance of the school.

Other little pupils cycle.

There is a scheme whereby when a new school is built the contractor has to set aside a “percentage for art”. Gaelscoil Uí Ríordáin used this money very inventively. They commissioned senior pupils to draw scenes associated with Ballincollig. The children’s pictures, which featured the old gunpowder mills, the river, the castle (a deCogan stronghold), the school which started life in an old supermarket, the GAA and, of course Sean ÓRiordáin  after whom the school is named. The artwork was transferred to tiles and these in the form of a river flow along the wall by the entrance.  Below are just a few of these tiles.

Children leaving behind the old building for their new school building.

Tho old army barracks with cannon.

The road race at Carrigrohane

The castle, games and the countryside. 

I could spend hours looking at this work of art and every time something new stands out for me.

The school has a vegetable flower and herb garden, which is looked after by the pupils.


Old Friends

Old pals, Murt McAulliffe and Jimmy Hannon meet for a coffee at The Flying Saucer.


Style from Ladies Day, Sept. 15 2017

This Galway couple bagged the Best Dressed Couple prize

While the best dressed finalists were assembling in the parade ring the business of racing was continuing around them.

I noticed that the young men were all beautifully turned out. This man was at work but still managed to look dapper.

Anne and Patrick Brosnan met up with some Brosnan and O’Connor relations


100 Years of Irish Kenya Relations

I am lucky to know the chairperson of the Irish Kenya Society. He is Jack O’Regan formerly of Ballyheigue and now living, working and raising a family in Kenya.

On September 22 2017, Culture Night, Go Kerry and Jack organised a night of celebration of a very different part of our unique culture…. our reaching out to other nations and the influence Irish people have had in far flung corners of the world.

The M.C. for the evening was Michael O’Donnell

The event was attended by the Kenyan ambassador to Ireland, Mr. Richard Opembe.

In her role as Mayor of Tralee, Norma Foley welcomed the ambassador and reminded us all of some of the outstanding contributions of Irish people to Kenya. Many of Kenya’s leaders were educated by Irish nuns and the Medical Missionaries of Mary (The Flying Nuns) contributed greatly to improving healthcare in this African country.

The ambassador was presented with the Freedom of Tralee. Norma told him that he now had the right to graze his sheep in the town park whenever he likes. In his speech the ambassador told Norma that he actually is the proud owner of 4 sheep.

Jack told us a bit about the work of the Irish Kenya Society. He brought 20 Kenyan people with him to Kerry for this event and to celebrate his birthday. They had spent the previous week as tourists visiting Dublin, Blarney, Killarney and other places.

The story of the Irish contribution to Kenya was told on banners, which are now on display in The Ashe Memorial Hall, Tralee. I was interested in the story of Edel Quinn. She was born in Kanturk, lived for a short while in Tralee and worked and died in Kenya.

I apologise for the very poor quality of this photo. It’s a picture of some of the Kenyan visitors.

Gilian Wharton Slattery, Norma Foley, Richard Opembe, Grace O’Donnell, Joan O’Regan and Jack O’Regan


A 10th Gold Medal for Lovely Listowel

Listowel Tidy Towns posted this photo of the hard working volunteers and their supporters who went to Dublin yesterday, Sept. 25 2017 hoping for good news.

They got it in the form of another 10th gold medal and an improvement of 4 marks over last year. A huge congratulations is due to Julie and all the gang. You did Listowel proud, as always.

Well done too to our neighbours who all did very well too. Killarney and Tralee retained their gold medals and Ballybunion, after a massive effort this year improved their standing.

Cows in the Square in 1970s Listowel, Claire’s Squares in San Francisco and a dowry in Kenya in 2015

Sunset in Ballybunion

(Photo; Ballybunion Prints)

The Maharees

( photo: Brenda Enright)


Cows in The Square in the 1970s

Two more photos from a different era from Anne Wixted

“Martin Daly’s cows. These photos were taken on the Bridge Road in 1978 and show the late Martin Daly on his bike, driving his cows back down the Dog Track Road (now the Lodge etc.) after milking. The stone wall on the left hand side of the photo has been demolished now, and the Lodge itself has been relocated in to the Town Park.”


Daithi, The Listowel Connection

Daithí ÓSé shares a joke with the 2014 Rose of Tralee. (photo: John Kelliher)

This is a less dapper Daithí, chatting to Pat Healy and some TG4 colleagues at Listowel Races a few years back.


Do you recognize anyone here?

(photo: Limerick Life)

“Interesting old photo from around 1930 most likely taken in Limerick. The woman in the back row on the far right is my aunt Rita Jones (nee Walsh), the photo was taken before she married. She lived in Wickham St and he parish was St Michael’s but she preferred to attend Mass at the Dominicans nearby. This may be related to St Michael’s or the Dominicans. I don’t know what the event or occasion is? There may be people who recognise their granny or great granny in this pic, or may know what it is or where it is.”

The sash seems to say to me Children of Mary or  Sodality of Our Lady. Can any Limerick lady (or gentleman) shed any light on this?


Success in the U.S.

Claire Keane

I don’t know if this lady has a Listowel or even a Kerry connection but her name is a Kerry one. This what Women Mean Business in the US has to say about her;

“As a 12-year-old schoolgirl, Claire Keane’s home-made caramel squares sold out as soon as she brought them into the classroom.

So it’s no surprise that these days, she’s not only the owner of a thriving bakery in the USA but has also landed a partnership with ice-cream giant Häagen-Dazs, which has seen her chocolate-caramelised-oat ice-cream go on sale in thousands of supermarkets across that continent.

These days she’s a recognised artisan food producer with her own award-winning bakery, Clairesquares – but in fact, food was actually the last thing on Keane’s mind when she first decided to go into business.

The 39-year-old UCC graduate from Cork’s leafy Model Farm Road holds a Master’s Degree in Environmental Science from UCD. She started her working life in the environmental department of Fingal County Council while still in her early twenties.

However, in 1999, Claire decided to take off to funky San Francisco, where she worked with an environmental consultancy firm for nearly four years.
 On a visit back to Ireland she re-discovered her love of baking which she’d inherited from her mother Kitty: 
“I re-visited my mother’s recipe for caramel squares, and did a lot from Darina Allen’s books as well. “I re-discovered my old passion for baking – when I was at school in Mount Mercy in Cork I used to sell my caramel squares to my classmates. They sold out every time I brought them in!”

On her return to the States, Claire decided that it was time to get serious. 
It was 2003 and she was facing the big 3-0: 
“I was turning thirty and needed to do something with my life. I’d always wanted to start a business,” she says, adding that one of her top ideas at the time was a company selling gift baskets. 
“Baking was the last thing on the list!”

(Text Áilín Quinlan)

You can read the rest of the article by clicking on the link above and if you find yourself lucky enough to be in the San Francisco area look out for Claire’s Squares.


Meanwhile in Kitale

Over in Kenya, Jack O’Regan from Ballyheigue is still trying to negotiate this dowry business in time for his wedding to Yolanda in September. As part of the deal, Jack has to provide a dowry of livestock to the satisfaction of the Chakava elders. Read all about this part of proceedings HERE

Sounds like he could do with the help of a modern day Dan Paddy Andy.

Buying the cows involved singing and dancing as well as tough talking.

You’ll be glad to hear it all ended well and the wedding is on track.


Among the many heartfelt tributes to Mary Keane R.I.P was the respectful silent tribute of her funeral procession through the town. It is a credit to the Keane family that they allowed the their very personal grief take its place  side by side with the town’s need to publicly grieve a very well loved first lady.

Mary Keane’s funeral procession

Summer 2015, Corpus Christi Procession and Listowel Castle

It’s Summer !

Some scenes from summer 2015

 T.J. MacSweeney was out photographing cattle.

 Jim MacSweeney was in the Saltee Islands  photographing puffins.

 Colette Nolan O’Connor was at the Mallow Garden Festival.

Jason of Ballybunion Prints wass bringing us lovely Ballybunion Beach scenes.

Meanwhile in Kenya, Jack ORegan and Yolanda Chakava are planning their September wedding. Lisdoonvarna has nothing on Niarobi when it comes to dowry negotiations. Jack has posted a video of the dowry negotiation party. It looks like it was a lavish affair akin to a wedding reception.

If you read Jack’s account of this traditional ceremony, prepare now to see for yourself in the video.

Dowry negotiations


Corpus Christi Listowel June 7 2015


Carpets of daisies


Respect (on Twitter)  from a Fellow Sportsman

Shane Lowry 

Great to see this man back in action. Definitely making it my business to go see him in action this summer.


Poem for Fr. Pat Moore

Someone called Victor has penned this poem for Fr. Pat Moore who undergoes an operation for the removal of a cancerous tumor today.

Colosseum (For Pat Moore)

Ragged and weary, he takes up the sword 

And hacked wooden shield, 

Flung at at his feet as a mercy

In the dust of the Colosseum.

As once he did before.



to face the trident, net and mercenary gaze 

of the feared and chiseled Nubian,

The thudding wooden gates

Send forth the drooling lions

And the hush.

Let it begin. Again.

The Colosseum Christian knows,

that spill his blood he must,

As it was on the Cross.

Only then the ancestors

Who quietly crowd the stalls, 

like wind-blown prayers

May spirit him to safety

As they had before,

And will again.

The thoughts and prayers of all of North Kerry and beyond are with Fr. Pat at this time.

Pres. Listowel remembered, Listowel lady wins beat dressed Competition and Katie Taylor in Listowel

Summertime is Fungi time

photo;Fungie Forever


Some Pres. Old Girls

Kay Caball and Maura Grimes met up at the recent Active Over 50s show in Killarney. They had lots of old memories to share about their time in Pres. Listowel.

Kay and I have embarked on a project to collect memories of Presentation Convent and Schools in Listowel. We are looking for photographs and stories from old girls or anyone else who remembers the Pres. presence.

Jean Kiely O’Leary is organizing a reunion of her classmates from 1965 for June 27th in The Listowel Arms. She is anxious to make contact with as many of her old class as she can. If you do not have Jean’s contact details you can email me and I’ll put you in touch. Below are two photographs Jean sent me to help jog your memories.


Listowel Fashion Success

In the blue and silver is Maria Stack of Listowel winning the Best Dressed Lady prize at Curaheen recently. Maria made her own hat and the hat worn by her friend, Anne, on the far right. Anne came 3rd.


Invitation For You

And Another


Jack and Yolanda are getting married

Jack from Ballyheigue and Yolanda from Niarobi are tying the knot in September 2015. Jack is on a steep learning curve informing himself about Kenyan marriage customs. Below is a link to his hilarious blog post about choosing a bride in Kenya;

choosing the wrong girl


Scoil Realt na Maidine Communion

Photo from Scoil Realt na Maidine on Facebook


Fight Night

Big crowd in the Community Centre for Kate Taylor on Saturday May 16 2015

Katie was generous to the fans. She took time to sign lots of autographs

Well done, Trojan Boxing Club

1965 Listowel marketing brochure and SmartLife in Kenya

In 1965 Listowel was a very different place. The local UDC produced an “official guide” to the town. I’ve got my hands on a copy and I will share a few gems from it with you during the week.

A different place, indeed.


Inishturk. Co. Mayo 1896


7 Feb 1940 Sydney Morning Herald


The Rev. Father Maurice Carmody, who died recently, was born in Listowel, County Kerry, Ireland, 40 years ago. He completed his studies for the priesthood at Carlow College, Ireland, in 1923, and arrived In Sydney the same year. During his 17 years’ association with the Archdiocese of Sydney, Father Carmody was stationed at Moss Vale, Lidcombe, Redfern, and Auburn, and in 1937 he had temporary charge of the Enfield parish. Shortly after his transfer to Berala, his health broke down. For the past year Father Carmody acted as chaplain to St. Catherine’s Orphanage, Brooklyn.

A Solemn High Mass of Requiem was held at the Sacred Heart Church, Darlinghurst. The Right Rev. Monsignor T. Phelan, Vicar-General of the Arch- diocese, presided. The Rev. R. McElligott was the celebrant, and the Rev. Dr. P. Tuomey preached the panegyric. The funeral took place, after the Requiem Mass, in the Rook- wood Cemetery.


Support your local library

LISTOWEL LIBRARY – MEMBERSHIP 2014 Good news! It now costs only €5 to join the library for a year (it used to be €12), and for that you may borrow up to 8 items at a time. As always, membership is free for people 65 years and over, primary and secondary school students. Items are loaned for a three week period, and there is also free Internet and WiFi access for members. Online resources available to members include Newspapers Online and Encyclopedia Britannica. Joining is easy; just bring some identification and proof of address and you can join on the spot. Support your local library!


Kerryman changing lives in Kenya

All over the globe there are Kerry people living very different lives to our own here at home. – Smartlife – a new healthy living retail concept in Kenya

The above link will take you to Jack O’Regan, formerly of Ballyheigue, who is now managing a project that brings clean water at an affordable price to people in Kenya.

SmartLife is one such impact-startup that takes a human-centered, fast-paced, and high-growth approach to its product. Shocked that 3.5 million people die each year from water related diseases and only 61% of Kenya’s population has access to clean water, the early 2013, East African fledgling offers a cohesive combination of door-to-door, retail location, and regular delivery services to provide pure drinking water and wellness products (such as vitamins for kids) to families in emerging economies.”

(Source The Huffington Post)

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