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: Jer. Kennelly

A Braddy Cow, Local Historians, old Santa letters and rare book finds in a charity shop.

 Church Street, Listowel


The Braddy Cow

( The word braddy comes from the Irish bradach, a bó bradach was the thieving cow who was forever breaking into the neighbours pastures)

The following extract is taken from Jim Costelloe’s great rural memoir of Asdee in the 1940’s and ’50s

Every herd of cows- although I doubt if the few short horn cows we had could be called a bawn- had a leader. When given the task of minding the cows she had to be supervised at all times. After all she was the inquisitive one and led the others around the boundary ditches when they were first let in to the aftergrass. While most of the cows were content to feed on the new grass which was a feast in comparison to the bare grazing fields, the braddy cow chose to roam around the field and, of course, she had to inspect the tilled area. The important part of minding the cows was to prevent any of them from getting a taste of the garden. Once the cows got the first taste of the growing turnips or cabbage at all, the job was twice as hard. The forbidden fruit was all that was on their minds after tasting the garden produce and the aftergrass, while welcome, was only to be eaten when the animals were prevented from going into the garden.


My Fellow Local Historians

I met Charlie Nolan and Jer. Kennelly in The Square. Charlie is the greatest supporter of Listowel Connection bar none and without Jer. I wouldn’t have half the great stories from the papers or photographs. It is always a pleasure to meet these two gentlemen. We are ploughing the same furrow, preserving the stories, the sights and the memories. We are  keepers of the flame.


A Listowel Supplement to The Kerryman in 1994

A blog supporter found this great old paper and he gave it to me to share. I’m sure these girls will be thrilled to see their innocent letters to Santa reproduced here. School off for two months, Helen!


On Being a Nana

I enjoy a privilege not granted to everyone. I have lived long enough to get to know my grandchildren.

These are three of my five grandchildren. I got to spend a day with them recently when they had a day off as their school was being used as a polling station for the presidential election.  Here we are on Station Road, Ballincollig on our way to the shops.

Then this happened. We hit the Balance charity shop in Ballincollig on the day that some Beano lover had donated his old stash of comic albums. Róisín loves nothing better than a vintage comic. She literally danced and leapt around the shop when I bought the lot. This has to be one of my best days as a Nana.


In Lixnaw, the cradle of Kerry hurling, they are celebrating

Photo from Twitter

Some recent local photos

Signs of Spring spotted on Market St.

 Seed potatoes

Lawn mowers lined up outside McKenna’s


Three local Historians

Snapped on the street on Ash Wednesday 2015, Jer. Kennelly, Denis Carroll and Damien Stack, my fellow keepers of the flame of Listowel memories.


Then and Now

Below are the three most recent locations of Listowel post office in chronological order

Upper William Street is very quiet these days. Getting a parking space to visit the shops here is no bother at all these days.


At Craftshop na Méar

If you would like a novelty tea cosy, these beautiful creations, all hand made, including the rosary beads are available in the craftshop in Church St. Lots of other beautiful things on offer as well.


Parking in Super Valu

These signs have appeared recently. I don’t know what the punishment is for exceeding the 2 hours.

There car park was very busy on the day I visited, with big lorries delivering and cars everywhere.

This is a new one on me. Again I don’t know what the penalty is for exceeding the time.


Emigrant Girls From Killarney

Thirty five Killarney girls were meant to sail on the Elgin from
Plymouth to Adelaide, (Southern Australia) on 31 May 1849.   Finding
the identity of these thirty five girls has been a major problem for me, since
starting the research on the book The Kerry Girls:  Emigration &
the Earl Grey Scheme. 

Thus begins another great essay on the fate of some Kerry girls during The Great Hunger. 

Read Kay Caball’s blog post here;

   My Kerry Ancestors 

More from the January horse Fair and Panto

Some people at Listowel’s January horsefair 2014


Some older photos

The late John Joe McElligott

1960s children play in the town park. Recognise anyone?


Last month while reading Frank McNally’s Irishman’s Diary, I learned about a custom called Abarta.

Have you ever heard someone coming on a group of people working, say “God bless the work” or as a neighbour of my own used to say, ” God bless all here, bar the cat and the dog.” This blessing on the work is a relic of the old Abarta. Apparently, up until the 19th century, it was a statutory obligation on a workman to pray a blessing on his completed work. If he failed in this obligation, he could be fined “one seventh of the cost of his feeding”

By the 20th century the custom had taken a new twist and on the completion of building work the builder would raise a flag on the building, signaling the completion of the job and in the expectation of a top up payment by his paymaster. This custom has now died out but  subtle or not so subtle requests for a tip are  still common in the service industry.


I found this on the internet. I hope it’s just the sausages that are thick but maybe there is a something implied in the fact that they are 100% British “Irish Recipe”.


Again from the internet comes this great photo of New Year’s Eve over Europe.


Jer Kennelly of Knockanure is an avid local historian and a great researcher and preserver of photos and tidbits relating to North Kerry. Every now and again I post something he has dug up. Often the snippets seem trivial or irrelevant but very often these little sections in my post strike a chord with a follower and a whole debate is operand up and shared.

One such “one liner” was a reference to Thade Gowran the poet and balladeer from Knocknagoshel. The line said that the bold Thade was in trouble for not paying his rent. His great granddaughter read the line and is now wondering if anyone knows anything about the incident, why he didn’t pay or what were the consequences. Anyone out there know anything?

And now today’s snippet: It’s an obituary from a Brisbane newspaper of October  6 1954:

A well known South Townsville resident, Mrs.
Hanora McCreadie, passed away on Tuesday at the age of 78. A 
native of Listowel, Ireland, Mrs.
McCreadie came to Townsville with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Maher, as a
baby in arms, and she ha spent her long lifetime as a resident of the South
Side She is survived by five sons, Hughie (Cairns), Jack (Innisfail), Sid and
Les (Townsville) and Eric (New Guinea) and two daughters, Mrs. W. Young and
Miss Heather McCreadie (Townsville). Her husband predeceased her about 20 years


If you did not get to see Aladdin in Listowel be sure to catch it at The Tinteán in Ballybunion at 7.30 on Saturday next, Jan. 11 2014

wishee washee
Aideen O’Conor and Maurice O’Sullivan


I will eventually get these next  2 photos right. Apologies to Catherine Rose, Mick Regan’s granddaughter who correctly identified him but I got my wires crossed and gave him ownership of a pub in William St. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Mick Regan was a famous Listowel musician and shoemaker from Church St. He was one of the mainstays of Comhaltas for years. Vincent Carmody set me right and pointed out Mick’s walking stick resting against the table in the picture.


I have to thank Eily Walshe for identifying the man beside Andy Molyneaux in the next photo. I’m surprised Junior did not recognize the great Kerry footballer, Gus Crimmins, who is still hale and hearty and living in Lisselton.


Pat Healy’s photo of Bryan Cooper on his first day as retained jockey at Gigginstown.

A great Kerry photographer photographs a great Kerry jockey.


Bríd Moran sent this distressing picture to the Kerryman. It’s a caravan park in Caherdaniel yesterday.

Local heroes, collectors and sharers of our heritage

Doesn’t this photo take you back? I have no idea where it was taken. The picture is part of a huge collection of  memorabilia amassed by local historian, Jer Kennelly of Knockanure.

Jer has done us all a service in collecting materials over the years. Much of this archive stuff would have been lost were it not for collectors like Jer and Vincent. Now Jer is making his photos available to us in NKRO. We are really excited about sharing them with a huge audience. Thank you, Jer.

Another woman with an appreciation of the value to us all of collecting old photographs is Nancy McAuliffe and she has just brought out a magnificent book of photographs of Ballylongford. She has a huge number of quality pictures and, better still, she has told us who they all are.

Tonight the NKRO website will be going live. It’s just at the beginning stage but we are hoping that you will all help us is collecting and sharing a photographic, audio and video treasure trove. I’ll tell you the link tomorrow.

Our NKRO postcards are available now in shops and credit unions. We want people to send them to the diaspora to make them aware of us and hopefully to encourage them to share their photographs and stories with us. When our website is up and running, my friend Maria Leahy, another adopted daughter of Listowel, will blog about North Kerry. So we hope to bring you news of Listowel and the whole of North Kerry on a regular basis.  Exciting times indeed!

Jer Kennelly’s mart photos

Jer Kennelly of Knockanure, a great archivist and preserver of our heritage has shared these photographs taken in Listowel Livestock Mart with us.

If you recognise someone or if you know who this group is and why they were at the mart, please email me at

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