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 listowelconnection@gmail.com

Tag: Jimmy Moloney Page 1 of 4

Listowel Moments

Upper Willian Street, May 2022

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Lovely Listowel Shop Fronts

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The Bohemian Players

One of the boards in Kerry Writers’ Museum exhibition, Raise the Curtain; The Story of Amateur Drama in Kerry, tells the story of The Bohemian Players.

This travelling drama troupe was based in Castlegregory. They travelled the length and breadth of the country with their entertainment offerings.

These descendants of medieval strolling players were much loved in the Ireland of the 1940s, 50s and 60s before the advent of television.

They came to town, set up shop and offered a new play every night. East Lynne and The Colleen Lawn were favourites. There were talent shows and raffles as well. The show usually ended with a comic sketch so the audience went home laughing.

I met these lovely people at the launch of Raise the Curtain. They are Bridie and David Costello. David’s father Robert owned The Bohemian Players and David’s mother was the leading actress.

David is a family historian and he has carefully kept memorabilia of his parents’ company.

In the above photo Bridie and David are listening to David’s account of his family travelling show. This account is in the oral history part of Kerry Writers’ Museum.

David showed me this marvellous piece of history. It’s his fathers ledger from 1949. It lists the takings for the week and the wages paid to the actors.

You will note that they worked 7 nights of the week. The Costellos themselves took no wages. Of course there were other expenses like food and maintenance, fuel for the lorry, costumes, props and running repairs.

It was a precarious enough living but performing was in their blood and their arrival was eagerly awaited in towns up and down the country.

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Pound Lane Children

Picture and caption from Bernard O’Connell

The Mid 60’s Poundlane Gang

From far left Agnes Sullivan, Donal Sullivan, Ben Holyoake, Joe Holyoake, Its me, Katrina Lyons,Martina Lyons, Mary Lyons, Mary Brosnan, Noreen Holyoake, RIP Mary Carmody, Kevin Donovan, Noelle Donovan

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I Love a 99

Here I am at the door of Mahony’s of The Square enjoying my first ice cream of the season.

The ice cream was delicious.

This was a training day before the real launch of this new venture, opening on June 1 2022.

I think they will do really well. We miss Dominick Moloney’s cones. Now we have a great replacement.

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All Ireland Rosary Rally

In Listowel Town Square on Saturday May 14 2022

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Only in Listowel

Yesterday I brought you the story of a morning in the life of Jimmy Moloney, Mayor of Kerry and thespian.

On Sat. May 7 2022, at Kerry Writers Museum Jimmy spoke at the launch of Raise the Curtain , an exhibition celebrating amateur drama in Kerry.

Minutes later, he reprised his recent role as Mike Glavin in The Lartigue’s Sive.

In the audience was Gabriel Fitzmaurice, poet.

Gabriel celebrated the occasion in a poem which he sent to Jimmy.

Jimmy and Gabriel kindly shared it with us in Listowel Connection.

Only in Listowel, “the Literary Capital of the World” would you have an occasion where a mayor goes from performing mayoral duties to acting in a play and in the audience a poet is writing a poem about it.

Two photos from the same event ; Jim and Frankie MacMahon with poets, Seamus Barra OSuilleabháin and Gabriel Fitzmaurice.

Éamon ÓMurchú, Owen MacMahon and Gabriel Fitzmaurice at the statue of Bryan MacMahon.

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Amateur Drama

Photo, Kieran Cogan, Mallow Camera Club

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Do you Remember these calendars?

Photo: Mike Hannon

Time was when every business worth its salt gave their customers a wall calendar. It was a great way of keeping your shop or agency in the forefront of people’s minds.

I lived in a house where we had a kitchen and a back kitchen and a storehouse attached. Each of these rooms had at least one calendar in it. I remember consulting the calendar for the phone number. We co ordinated it with Old Moore to mark in fair days.

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Scoil Realt na Maidine staff

Photos and caption shared by Mike Hannon

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The Mayor of Kerry Plays Two Roles

On Saturday May 7 2022, Jimmy Moloney, Mayor of Kerry was in Kerry Writers’ Museum for the opening of the exhibition honouring Kerry’s amateur dramatic heritage.

The Moloney family connection with amateur drama goes back a long way.

Jimmy’s grandmother, Mrs. Margaret Moloney, here on the right, was chairperson of Listowel Drama Group and took part in many of their productions.

With her in this picture, shared with us by Kay Caball, are Cecile Cotter, Harry Geraghty and Rex Coolican.

Jimmy’s grandfather, Dan Moloney T.D. greeted the cast of the first production of John B. Keane’s Sive in Dáil Eireann after they had won the first All Ireland Drama festival.

Margaret Dillon who played the part of Sive sent us this picture a few years ago.

Dan Moloney T.D is on the right.

Jimmy Moloney in his role as Mayor of Kerry at the opening of the exhibition.

Then after a short interval look at what emerged from the “dressing room”.

The usually dapper Jimmy, in a jacket that looks like he slept in it a few times, in his role as Mike Glavin in John B. Keane’s Sive.

Denis O’Mahoney’s Lartigue Players gave us an entertaining sample of the best of Kerry amateur drama today.

The cast of the award winning first production of the play by The Listowel Players.

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Top Storey

I love it when the streetscape takes your eye above shop level.

O’Donovan’s in Church Street has impressive upstairs window surrounds.

Lizzy’s Little Kitchen has decorated the upper stories of her premises in keeping with the downstairs decor.

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Listowel Square is changing

Jim MacSweeney

This rural image is part of the collaboration between Mallow Camera Club and Kanturk Community Hospital

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A Mighty Leap

This gem is from Beale School in the Schools’ Folklore Collection.

A Local Hero
The best hurler the oldest people ever remember was James Moriarty.He lived somewhere around Kilconly. One Saturday he and his wife removed to the border of the County of Cork. After going to bed that night his wife said it was better for him to be there than to be going to the “Moneens.” The moneens are in Flahives farm, Bromore. “What is in the Moneens” asked the man. The woman told him that she had received a letter that he should go and attend the hurling match which was to be held there. He made up his mind to go and jumping out of bed he went off to Bromore. When the ball was thrown up he was the first man that struck it and after striking the ball he leaped thirty three feet. There is a mark to this day on the place where he jumped. The place is pointed out above at Dan Flahive’s field of Bog.

Nora Griffin vi
Beale, Ballybunion
June 24th 1938
Information from people at home.

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Outdoor Dining and Performance Area

While I turned my back very briefly, work continued apace in The Square.

We got a lovely new standard light with two lamps.

Of course there is a bicycle rest. The people we imagine using this are tourists on The Greenway.

The tables and seating will be put back and then it will all be covered with three tent type structures.

Imagine yourself sitting in the sun, eating your ice cream from the new ice cream kiosk and listening to whatever performance is on offer.

If such pleasure becomes all too much for you, the defibrillator is at hand to jolt you back to life.

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Danny would be Proud

In 1972 Danny Hannon fulfilled a dream . He set up The Lartigue Theatre Company. In April 2022 the company celebrated it’s half century with a production of John B. Keane’s Sive.

I was in St. John’s on Sunday evening and I couldn’t have picked a better evening’s entertainment for my return to the theatre. After two years I had almost forgotten how enjoyable an evening of local theatre can be.

(All the photos are from St. John’s Facebook page)

The old hands were excellent, as always. If I were to single out one actor it would have to be Laura Shine Gumbo. Laura played an excellent Mena, with a mixture of good and evil. She brought out the painful conflict within this character, whose awful betrayal of Sive is motivated as much by her misunderstanding of the vulnerability of the romantic teenager as by her desire to improve her own lot in life.

There were new faces among the cast as well. A revelation to us all was Jimmy Moloney who played a blinder ss Mike Glavin. Mike is at heart a good man . He is tormented by the three women in his care. What we in the audience can see and poor Mike can’t is that he has married his mother. Nanna is the mistress of the hard word. She is as devious and manipulative as Mena, full of resentment and bitterness, bullying and taunting where she should lend support. It is a deeply unhappy household.

The final moving tragic scene is played with great pathos and empathy. Sive is let down by all the adults in her life. Such innocence could not survive in a hard mercenary world where love is lost in the hard realities and the poverty of 1950s Ireland. Everyone who should have protected her has a hand in her death.

Sive is a tragedy. Playing it out again in our times shines a light on an unhappy era, thankfully now behind us.

Thank you, Lartique Theatre Company for a great night.

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D Day Heroine, Tralee and listowel

Blossoms in Howth

Photo: Eamon ÓMurchú

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Tralee had finished their pedestrianisation just in time for outdoor dining regulations. Quinlan’s looks particularly attractive.

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Our New Public Toilet

Necessary but ugly

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The Big Bridge at Night

I was by the big bridge at night for the first time recently. It is beautiful. My photo doesn’t do it justice.

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Famous lady with a Listowel Connection

This is the Western People story about Maureen Sweeney who was in all the papers recently because she was awarded huge honour by the U.S. Congress

Maureen Sweeney was 21 years old when she took weather readings at Blacksod weather station in June 1944. Her actions influenced the D-Day landings and changed the path of the war. Her data threw General Dwight D Eisenhower’s meticulously planned invasion strategy into chaos. It forced him to mediate between opposing US and UK weather advisors and generals, and ultimately left him alone to make one of the most difficult decisions in the entire war. Maureen’s readings were the first to point out an impending storm which led to the postponement of the invasion.&nbsp; Her readings were used to pinpoint a short window of opportunity that Eisenhower needed to launch, thereby altering the course of the war.

When John J Kelly, who led the design and production of the modern landing craft, which has been used in military and humanitarian roles worldwide, heard the story of Maureen Sweeney, he was fascinated.

John approached the World War II Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana, of which he was a director, and requested official recognition of Maureen and the Sweeney Family by the museum. The World War II museum has sent a letter to Maureen that John J Kelly will read during the tribute on June 19. John will also read a personal note to Maureen from US Congressman Jack Bergman (Michigan First District) who is the highest-ranking veteran to ever serve in Congress. A distinguished award, rarely given, and obtained by Congressman Bergman will be read and presented to Maureen and the Sweeney family by John.

Now aged 98, Maureen beat Covid-19 last year.

Now the Listowel Connection

Billy MacSweeney told us this story and it appeared in Listowel Connection in 2018

In my Grandparents time, Kerry people understood that they were cut off from the rest of Ireland by a series of mountains; they realized that they were isolated and had to look after themselves. Life was harder in Kerry than in the Golden Vale or on the central plains of Ireland. The mothers of Kerry especially, knew that they had to look to every advantage to help their children and prized education highly to that end. In the mid-19thcentury the people of Listowel welcomed enthusiastically the establishment of St Michael’s College for Boys and the Presentation Convent Secondary schools for Girls, not forgetting the Technical School. The people who read this blog are most likely familiar with the Census’ 1901 and 1911 and will have noticed that many homes in Listowel housed not only Boarders but also welcomed Scholars who came from the villages and isolated farms scattered around North Kerry. These boys and girls spent 5-6 years in the Listowel schools to be educated for ‘life’.

The upshot of this was that from Listowel we sent out many young adults who were a credit to their teachers to take their places in many organizations and many whose names became nationally known for their talents and abilities, especially in the Arts.

Let me tell you about one such young girl, Maureen Flavin, who was born in Knocknagoshel, Co Kerry. When the time came for Maureen to go on from National school she was welcomed into the Mulvihill home in Upper Church Street who themselves had a young girl, Ginny, of the same age. Maureen and Ginny became fast friends and stayed so for life. 

When Maureen finished school in 1930 she wanted a job; couldn’t get one in Kerry because of the times that were in it, so she answered an ad in the National Papers for an Assnt. Postmistress in Black Sod, in North Mayo. Her references and qualifications were suitable and in due course, as she says to her own surprise she was offered the job. This was to set Maureen on a course where she would be an integral part of one of the most momentous actions of the age. Mrs Sweeney, the Black Sod Postmistress, was married to Ted who was the Lighthouse Keeper, both operating from the Lighthouse building in Black Sod. They had a son, also Ted, who Maureen fell in love with and married in due course. They in turn had three boys and a girl and life took up a normal rhythm for the family; that is until 3rd June 1944.

The WW2 was in full swing at this stage with Gen. Eisenhower as the Allied Supreme Commander and Gen. Rommel the German Commander in Normandy. Rommel knew that an Allied invasion was prepared and imminent. Conventional Meteorological sources at the time for the US and German military said that the coming days would bring very inclement weather so that the invasion would have to be postponed. Eisenhower postponed the action and Rommel left Normandy for a weekend in Berlin based on the same information. The British Chief Meteorologist had however visited Black Sod some years previously and knew the value of Black Sod as the most westerly station in Europe and when a break in the weather was reported by Black Sod on 3rdJune he persuaded Eisenhower that 6thand 7thJune would be clear and to ignore the same conventional Met advice used by both the US and the Germans. Ted compiled the reports for the Irish Met Office and Maureen transmitted them. Maureen remembers receiving a telephone call a short time later from a lady with a ‘very posh English accent’ asking for confirmation of her report. Ted was called to the phone and he confirmed the readings, The rest, as they say, is history. 

Ted Sweeney died in 2001.  Maureen is still alive.

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Who is the New Mayor of Kerry

Repro Free – CLLR JIMMY MOLONEY ELECTED CATHAOIRLEACH OF KERRY COUNTY COUNCIL Historic meeting of Kerry County Council at Austin Stack Park Jimmy Moloney from Listowel has been elected Cathaoirleach of Kerry County Council at a historic meeting of the local authority which was held at Austin Stack Park in Tralee. To facilitate a physical gathering of elected councillors and management and to ensure adherence to public health guidelines, the main stand at Austin Stack Park was used for the meeting to elect a new Cathaoirleach and Leas-Cathaoirleach for the coming year. Photo By : Domnick Walsh © Eye Focus LTD .

Jimmy Moloney is the grandson of the late Dan Moloney T.D. and Senator. He comes from a family steeped in politics. The Kerryman of July 6 1963, in a full page obituary to Dan Moloney described him as an outstanding public figure.

This is an extract from one of the many tributes paid to Dan Moloney.

So young Jimmy has big boots to fill. At his installation in Austin Stack Park on Monday, Jimmy undertook to do his best for Kerry and for the country. We wish him the very best in his big year.

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Kells Bay Gardens, Turf cutting and Awards for dancers and musicians

Beautiful Kells Bay Gardens




Kells Bay Gardens is a beautiful sub tropical forest park on The Ring of Kerry. It is a truly magical place with dinosaur sculptures carved from fallen trees, forest paths, moss laden trees and rippling streams all nestled in a saucer surrounded by hills.



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Well done Balydonogue Dancers and Listowel Pitch and Putt


Cathaoirleach of Listowel Municipal District Cllr Jimmy Moloney, presenting Ballydonoghue CCÉ Dancers, 

Aoibhín Lyons Captain, Órla Mahony, Sarah Murphy, Audrey Ryan, Molly Linnane, Edel Dillane, Shauna Carey, and Grace Heffernan, Cian Horgan, members of Listowel Pitch ’n Putt Club, Grainne Toomey, Sara Allen at the Kerry County Council Annual Awards, at the Great Southern, Killarney on Friday night. Also included is Cllr Mike Kennelly, Joan McCarthy, Manager Listowel Municipal District. Photo: Valerie O’Sullivan

( I took the photo and caption from Facebook. Apologies to the people whose names are missing)

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All Ireland Turf Cutting Competition

The first All Ireland Turf Cutting Championship was held on 21st April 1934 at Allenwood, Co. Kildare. From the late 1600s to the end of the 19th century around 6 to 8,000,000 tons of turf were cut each year for home heating and sale. The industry in the 1800s mainly produced moss peat for animal litter and some briquettes. However by the early 1900s the amount of turf cut each year had fallen to around 3,000,000 tons. 

The turf cutting championships were organised as part of a campaign to increase the amount of turf cut and reduce the imports of coal. Eamon De Valera and other Ministers attended each year. The competitions ran from 1934 until 1939. When the war started everybody went back to the bog so the competitions were no longer needed. This photo shows the wing slean competition in 1934.

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LISTOWEL LIBRARY IS HOSTING AN OPEN DAY 

On Saturday 29th February. there will be a library tour at 11.00 am and 3.00 pm. Each tour will include a presentation on Online Resources so people should feel free to bring along their devices and we can answer any questions.  Also : every Saturday morning at 11.00 am we have Storytime & crafts for Smallies  –  For queries  068-23044

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