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 Quinlan

Listowel Singers, turf cutting and Roly Godfrey, Painter and Jim Quinlan R.I.P.

Minnie in Ballybunion at sundown photographed by Bridget O’Connor


Listowel Singers

This old photo of the Listowel Singers was shared on Facebook by Ned O’Sullivan. He enjoyed the joke of the seagull on his head.


Changes to Tralee Streetscape

I took these photos just before it was completely demolished

PHOTO; Historical Tralee on Facebook


A Day in the Bog

Many people will remember this, a barrow load of turf. I remember that when we cut breast slane turf on our own bank, we used to load the barrow with 2 rows of four sods, then three sods, then 2 and 1 on the top, making 20 sods per barrow. The wheeler would empty the barrow on the spread ground and when you came in the next barrow was ready to go. No rest, you had to keep going. Of course there were different traditions and ways of cutting and spreading turf around the country. This photo dates from the 1940s.

Photo and text from Tony McKenna

I wonder if these barrows were used in North Kerry. I certainly don’t remember them and my recollection of the bog was that the ground would be far too soft to roll a loaded barrow on.


Roly Godfrey, Painter

We know the subject but we don’t know the artist yet. Patrick Godfrey came across this portrait of his grandfather, painter Roly Godfrey. It was painted by a local artist and the setting is The Harp and Lion bar and the year is sometime in the 1980s.

I came to Listowel first in 1975. One aspect of the town that fascinated me was the number of painting and decorating firms it had. I came from a place where everyone seemed to so their own painting. I remember two professional painters but they were mostly employed by businesses with high outside facades to maintain.

In contrast, everyone in Listowel seemed to employ professionals to paint their shops and businesses. I think it is a mark of the pride people took in how their shopfronts looked and a desire to always put on a show for the visitor. It is this pride in the town and this desire to employ the best people to decorate it that has eventually led to the winning of Ireland’s Tidiest Town Award in 2018.


+ Jim Quinlan R.I.P.+

Kerry Crusaders running and cycling clubs were founded to remember a man who died while he was out cycling, Howard Flannery.

There was a poignant scene on Church Street Listowel on Monday April 1 2019 as cyclists in Crusaders cycling gear peddled slowly in front of the hearse carrying the coffin of their fallen comrade, Jim Quinlan.

Jim’s cycling brothers gave him a great send off. His friends in the Listowel Folk Group sang him to his rest.

Jim was one of those people who are the salt of the earth. He was a great community and parish man, contributing always with a will and a smile. His adopted Listowel is diminished by his untimely passing.

Happiest in the company of his beloved Nóirín, I snapped Jim on a chance encounter in Ballybunion last year.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasal.

Local clubs on Parade in Listowel 2018 and Bromore Cliff Walk on a sunny Sunday.

Easter 2018

Easter now is all about Bunnies and chicks.

In Scribes Brigita and Melita were trying a new confection, a nest of eggs…delicious according to my young tasters.

Brigita is conscious that she must keep the old Lithuanian traditions alive for the next generation. Here she shows me her hard boiled eggs decorated with colourful transfers. In her home town people exchange these on Easter morning, no bunnies chicks or chocolate here.


St. Patrick’s Day in Listowel 2018

Owen MacMahon was the very able M.C.

Liam Brennan was a convincing St. Patrick.


Ballybunion with My Visitors

On Sunday March 25 I took my boys to Bromore Cliff Walk and afterwards we had a snack in Coast. I met some lovely people and learned a bit of History

The weather was lovely and there were lots of people out on the beach and on the cliffs.

Ballybunion is a great place to show children first hand coastal features that they are learning about in Geography. Here the boys are looking at a blow hole.

Ruth and Jimmy were talking the cliff walk and enjoying a rare beautiful Sunday.

The Virgin Rock is perfect example of a sea arch.

The Nuns’ Beach

 Jimmy O’Quigley told me that this old ruin was once a jail. I had always presumed it was a shepherd’s cottage. Then we got round to the other side of it the boys explored it with their new knowledge in mind. I don’t think it could have held too many prisoners.

In Coast we met Jim and Noreen Quinlan from Listowel. Jim was one of the stars of Listowel Folk Group’s great singing of the mass of the mass in Irish on St. Patrick’s Day 2018.

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