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: Jim MacSweeney

Craftshop na Méar is closing, Maidhc Dainín again and aspects of Ballybunion

Magnificent Stag

Photo: Jim MacSweeney


End of the Road for Craftshop na Méar

If you want to pick up your Michael Tea tea cosy or a beautiful Claddagh Design Listowel pendant, do drop in to Craftshop na Méar on Church St. before it closes its doors at Christmas 2017.


Maidhc Dainín ÓSé;  Another Listowel Connection

Local writer and musician, Neil Brosnan sent me this photo. It was taken in Dingle in 2010 when Maidhc Dainín OSé launched Neil’s first anthology, Fresh Water and Other Stories. Maidhc and Neil played many a tune together over the years.


Ballybunion After the storms

Having been confined to the house during storms Ophelia and Brian, it was a great pleasure to go to Ballybunion and take the bracing cliff walk.

Those white specs and the smudge on my lens is foam churned up by the rough seas.


Doon Sculpture

Football in Pres. Growing up in the 40s and 50s, Pink hats in Kenmare and Cork says Shalom

Storm Imogen in Ballybunion

(photo: Mike Enright)


Another Prizewinner from Jim MacSweeney

This one won second prize in Southern Association of Camera Clubs Photographer of The Year Competition. Projected Non Advanced. Theme People in Their Environment 

Silver Medal Photo Winner. Scored 26 out of 27.


Football in Pres 

The photo was taken by Tom Fitzgerald. The teacher/coach is Eileen Keane. The girls are;

Back: Mary Buckley,Leona Fitzmaurice, Paula Canty, Niamh Bambury, Carol Collins, Brigeeta Mulvihill, Sharon Canty, Theresa Cronin, Eimear O’Connor, Katie Dillon, Eileen Kilgallon, Margaret Reen, Louise Murphy

Front: Joanna Fitzgerald, Audrey Harrington    ………., Regina Harrington, Mary Ita Mc Elligott, Máire Guiney, Sinead Bunyan, Treacy Bunyan, Sarah Fitzgerald, Aoife MacMahon    


Random Memories of Growing up in the 1940s and 50s Listowel

For Junior Griffin growing up in the Bridge Road was a happy experience. One of
his neighbours was Fr. Kieran O’Shea. When Fr. Kieran was ordained in 1961, as
well as his family, he was allowed to invite two friends. He invited Junior and
John B. Keane. Many years later when  Fr. Kieran delivered the eulogy at John B.’s funeral he
remembered that day when he was ordained. For some reason he was ordained by
the papal legate, Cardinal Agaginian. John B. used to tell a tall tale that a
woman in Dublin was heard to say that the Agha Khan was ordaining the priests
in Maynooth that day.

Other neighbours whose names spring to mind were Enrights,
Moloneys, Buckleys, O’Connells and Hassetts. Thomas Hassett, his old neighbor,
was buried on the same day as Bert. Griffin. The boys fished, played Cowboys
and Indians and went to the pictures. Later they spent hours on end in the ball
alley but when they were younger the ball alley was the location a bit of early
entrepreneurship. After mass on Sundays the alley used to be packed with
people. Bert and Junior had a family friend who allowed them to pick apples in
her orchard. They sold these in the ball alley. Their sales targets were 3d
each for Junior and Bert. The price of the pictures was 2d and 1d for slab toffee in Sheehy’s meant
your afternoon’s entertainment was secured. Junior usually went to the Plaza
picture house but he went to the Astor as well on occasion. 

Junior remembers street fairs.
Cattle were lined up all the way down Bridge Rd as far as the old library.
Sometimes farmers would give the young boys a few pence to mind their cattle
while they went for refreshments. The boys had the day off as the big fair days
were all school holidays. Shops erected 

protective barriers outside their windows.
The footpaths and roads were filthy in the aftermath of the fair.

Junior remembers The Races when
they were held over 2 days. He remembers the meat pies. There was a certain
rivalry between purveyors of these pies and recipes were closely guarded.
Jackie Sharry said of 

Curly Connors pies that they wouldn’t break the Friday


Creamery Social in Moyvane 20 years ago

Moyvane Social

Watch out for some well known faces in this short clip.


Programme from a Doodle Frolic

Photo: Junior Griffin


Cork’s Synogogue Closed

The Jewish community have been part of Cork life for generations. Sadly, this synagogue on The South Terrace closed its doors at the weekend. With just 3 adult male members there was just not enough to sustain it. Many Cork Jews are dispersed around the world. There are seven families from Cork in Israel.

“The synagogue on South Terrace was consecrated
in 1905. Today, it hosts its last ever prayer service, with a rabbi and 14 men
travelling from Dublin to ensure there are enough people present. 
At its
height, the Jewish Community in Cork consisted of 65 families with as many as
400 members. They first arrived in 1880 as migrants fleeing persecution in
Russia. It is believed they were initially heading to America, but were won
over by the warmth and welcome of Cork people.
The artefacts from the synagogue
have been    

temporarily given to Cork Public Museum while members look for a new
centre of worship.”

(Source: Evening Echo Monday Feb 1 2016)


Pink Hat Day at Kenmare Mart

Pretty in Pink, World Record.. 

The scene at Kenmare Mart Co Kerry on Monday, with Mart Manager Cllr Dan McCarthy and Templenoe GAA Club newly crowned All Ireland Junior Football Champions who broke the world record of number of Pink Hats worn at a Mart in aid of Recovery Haven, Respite and Hospice Care, Tralee. The Pink Hats were sponsored by Dairymaster. The Total tally was 517 hats.

Photo:Valerie O’Sullivan.

Eugene O’Sullivan, the oldest drover in Ireland was there to help reach the record. He got his hands on the cup as well.

Norma Moriarty dropped in to canvass for votes. She too donned a pink hat and

 a Kilgobnet Biddy hat for good measure.


All that’s best about the G.A.A. is not a website I visit often. 

Regulars will know that Listowel Connection is a bit lacking in sports coverage. But the story of Templenoe’s victory in the Junior Club All Ireland 2016 is the stuff of romance and dreams, so when I saw a link to a story related to the game I was hooked.

Victory is sweet and Templenoe followers had every right to celebrate. In the midst of the celebrations one Templenoe man took time to send this Twitter message to the vanquished.

   and a noble Ardnaree man took a break from licking the wound to reply in kind;

Junior Griffin, Gunsboro, Listowel before election fever takes hold, a very old radio and a voice of morning radio passes away

Prize winning Photographer

From time to time I include a photograph here from my friend, Jim MacSweeney. So I am delighted to tell you that  at the Southern Association of Camera Clubs Photographer of The Year Competition Jim won a gold medal for this photograph. The  winning shot got 26 Marks out of a possible 27. 

Jim took the photograph in Killarney National Park during the rutting season in 2015.


Bíonn Siúlach Scéalach

Above is John, better known as Junior,  Griffin. I had the great pleasure of spending a couple of hours with him recently. Junior has hundreds of great stories to tell and he has a colorful and engaging way of telling them. He is great company.

I am going to share some of Junior’s stories with you over the coming days and then, I promise, I’ll go back for more.

Above is a photograph of Junior’s grandmother, Kate Hegarty Griffin. In this photograph she is bringing a beart (bundle) of reeds to the thatcher.

Junior reminded me of the lines from the song, Forty Shades of Green;

“…To see again the thatching with the straw the women glean

I’d walk from Cork to Larne to see the forty shades of green.”

Junior’s grandmother was one such gleaner.



photo; Historical Tralee

Gunsborough House, Listowel, Co.Kerry

Birthplace of Lord Kitchener of Khartoum.It was leased to Listowel Board of Guardians as an auxilliary workhouse. In 1837 Lewis records it as the property of Pierce Mahony who had recently purchased the estate. Bary writes that it had previously been in the possesson of the Gun family. It is now ruined.


Look, No Posters! ……. Yet!

The party faithful are only waiting for the word and they’ll be out of the traps faster than any dog at The Kingdom Stadium. Our lovely town will be littered with election posters. Do they make a difference?


A Really Really Old Radio….and a brand new one

John Griffin brought this radio all the way from Detroit to Knockalougha, Duagh  when he returned home to live in 1931. it was the first radio in Duagh and it made Griffin’s homestead into a kind of Mecca. The late Christy Downey of Knockalougha often told the story of how as a youth he remembered seeing droves of neighbours crossing the fields to converge on Griffin’s house. These people lit their way with torches which were lighting sods of turf held aloft on pikes. The reason for their journey was to hear on Griffin’s radio the results of the 1932 general election which saw de Valera elected to The Dáil for the first time.

Years later in 1951 Phillips held a competition during the agricultural show, pictured below.

The prize was a brand new Philips radio and the winner was to be the person with the oldest radio. Johnny Griffin was well ahead of the posse there and Junior remembers the delight when they brought the new radio home to Bridge Road.


Look Who Got  engaged!

and look where VIP magazine chose for the phooshoot to tell us the good news. Bernard Brogan might have proposed to Kiera in Turkey but I agree with VIP; he looks best with a Kerry backdrop.


Are you a past pupil of The Tech in Listowel?

If you answered yes to this question, read on because your old school has an invitation for you;

“As part of the 1916 commemoration, Colaiste na Riochta will commemorate the event on Saturday, March 12, at the school. We will also celebrate a special  anniversary of the school and open the school on that date to celebrate these two events simultaneously. We would appreciate if you could loan us any photos, articles, any form of nostalgia in relation to ‘the teck’ which you  or others may have in your archives and encourage people in your blog to join us on the day.
Any one who has anything of interest might drop them into the office to the Principal, Stephen Goulding or the Committee members, Ms. Iseult Glynn or Ms. Marion Sugrue.”


I Never Met Terry Wogan

I read his book. I listened to him on the radio and I watched him on TV. Like so many others I felt I knew him. That was his charism. He connected with us all. As my late mother would say, “You could take him anywhere.”

His British audience loved him. He embodied all of the attributes they prize. He was charming, witty, relaxed, self effacing, open, chatty and impeccably polite. He followed in a line of Irish entertainers the British have loved: Eamon Andrews, Des O’Connor, Val Doonican and I’m sure there are more I have forgotten. Dermot O’Leary is the closest of today’s bunch to that mould.

If you look at the three I have mentioned, they were all cut from the same cloth as Sir Terry. They were utterly competent and professional, full of stories and great company. They “walked with kings yet kept the common touch…” And of course there was the voice. Terry never lost his Irish brogue. He spoke the queen’s English with a lilt, a smile and always a hint of roguery.

In the tributes I have read so far, the word legend occurs often. We seem to have lost a lot of legends in 2016 already. He will be missed.

Leaba i measc na naomh is na naingeal go raibh aige.

Old photos and new


This photograph taken 96 years ago , shows an officer of the York and Lancaster Regiment with a small dog, 13 January 1918. Image taken on the 62nd Division front near Roclincourt, France.

From collection of Imperial War Museum, © IWM (Q 8439).


Some interesting old photos

This photo is in the Library of Congress. It shows a Connemara woman spinning, another lady stands at the cottage door knitting and in the foreground are some hens and a wash tub.

 This photo is in a collection of old photos of Travellers in The National Library. The poor woman is trying  to wash clothes in a tub at the side of the road, while her children play around her. In the background is her barrel top caravan.

These ladies are standing on a carriage and waving a flag over the perimeter wall of Mountjoy. They are showing their support for the jailed rebels.  The photo was taken in 1920 and is part of a collection in the National Library..

The man who would be president and his wife, Sabina

Bill and Hillary in 1972


I found this hilarious story in the British National Archive


The Big Wave

The above 3 pictures are all posted on JD’s  Facebook page. This is just one of the many events organized for the big push to get behind the Sea Rescue service. Ironically it all came from some negative comments posted online about the service.

People like Mike Enright of Ballybunion Sea Angling were so incensed by the lack of support and criticism of people who do such a vital service that they decided to show Ballybunion’s pride in the Sea Rescue personnel and their support for the great good they do by organizing a big weekend of fundraising. It deserves everyone’s support. If you are reading this from abroad and want to help, the rescue service have a donate button on their website.

Ballybunion Sea and Cliff Rescue


This photo was taken in Fota Wildlife Park by my friend, Jim MacSweeney

Who is Jim MacSweeney?

This is he


Tarbert North Kerry Junior Championship Winners 2013
Sponsored by Moloney Financial Services Listowel after defeating Beale in the final played in Ballylongford on Sunday19th January 2014

Marathons4Muireann, the Dandy Lodge and Childers Park

This story has only the vaguest of Listowel connections but it is nevertheless an uplifting tale.

This is the story of one participant in the Bank holiday Dublin City Marathon.

Declan O’Flaherty is a solicitor from Athlone. He is the father of four children,

Muireann is his youngest. This is what her parents tell us about Muireann on her website.

“Our fourth and youngest child, Muireann is two and a half. She
can’t walk, she can’t talk she can’t feed herself and she requires constant
monitoring. She is frequently unwell and takes a daily cocktail of medication
including anti-seizure tablets, medicines to keep her bowels clear and
antibiotics to keep infections at bay. When Muireann is well her laugh lights
up the room and all of us feel better for having her in our lives. Muireann has
been diagnosed with an extremely rare neurological disorder – Ponto Cerebellar
Hypoplasia. She also has microcephaly and epilepsy. So on the October bank
holiday weekend , Daddy Declan, plans to run on the old N6 from Kilmartin’s
Roundabout in Athlone to Temple Street Hospital and then complete the Dublin
City Marathon – a distance of just over 4 marathons in total! All proceeds will
go to three charities playing such a key part in Muireann’s life: Temple St
Hospital; Brothers of Charity and the Jack & Jill Foundation.

Please support us!”

Declan ran 4 marathons in 2 days in a huge effort to raise funds for the 3 charities that help Muireann. He ended up at the Dublin City Marathon where he met this supporter.

What an achievement! What a dad!

I don’t know Declan. I know Jim MacSweeney who helped by taking the photographs. Another great dad and grandad. At the time of writing €140,000 had been raised.


 Remember These innocent Halloween games?


These photographs by Denis Carroll are of the Dandy Lodge as it was being moved across the road to Childers Park and the same park before the Community Centre was built.

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