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: Joanne O’Riordan Page 1 of 2

Church Doors, Food Fair Craft Fair and the last of my Young Adult Bookfest 2018 photos

Gurtinard Wood


Listowel Church Doors and a Window


Old Homestead

This is a photograph taken in Duagh. It is part of the Duchas collection and the photographer is Caoimhín ODanachair


Listowel Food fair 2018

Some more photographs of crafters that I took at this year’s craft fair on the Sunday of the Food Fair.


Young Adult Bookfest 2018, November 15 2018

 In a packed programme full of inspirational speakers there was no one more inspirational then Joanne O’Riordan. Joanne was born with a condition called total amelia. She has no limbs.  She has just graduated from UCC with a degree in criminology. She is a sports fanatic and her ambition is to be a sport’s journalist. She knows lots of sportspeople including Kieran Donaghy and they all have the greatest respect for her.

Joanne shared the stage with Pat Falvey, another man who does not let anything thwart him from a path he has chosen.

Helping out on the day were Seán McCarthy, David Browne and Tom Dillon


Seeking Irish Relatives

My name is Ken Duckett and I’m tracking a legacy of my mum and 19 1st cousins she received in the 1980’s/90’S from a Denis

Buckley, son of Edward Buckley and his wife Mary {Mai) Stack (married in New York). She was an aunt of my Mum’s (Kathleen Hanlon)

as Margaret (Madge Stack) was my grandmother and Patrick Hanlon my grandfather who farmed in Asdee.

So I’ve been trying to track down the families involved and one came up in your post in 2013. I’ve found by looking at Joseph Vincent 

Buckley 31st January I’ve been able to track the line of the family of six so far with sons/daughters and grandsons/granddaughters.

The parents have been identified in some of these posts as Michael Buckley and Nora (Nellie) Shine, however I cannot find records

For them in the usual places. That’s why I’m asking if you have any further information from members near to Listowel?

One other favour can you put me in touch with a local contact who I can purchase a copy of Asdee in the 1940’s/50’s I believe by 

a  Costelloe?

I enjoy your posts it keeps me in touch of my roots,



(If you can help Ken I have his email address)


Things you Hear at the Hairdressers’

The following have not been checked by Storyful so could contain an element of Fake News.

We are soon to have an Olde Worlde Sweet Shoppe on Church Street.

A popular local hairdressers’ is soon to relocate to a gorgeous new premises.

Bailey and Co. is planning to extend its range to include “affordable fashion”.

Two Listowel retail businesses are to close their doors in the new year.


Look Who ran into our Lizzie of Lizzie’s Little Kitchen?

Lizzie Lyons and Michael Parkinson were stars of Ireland am on Sunday No. 25 2018

North Kerry, Clounmacon boots, Eamon Kelly and Alison Spittle at the Young adult Bookfest 2018

St. John’s, Bryan MacMahon statue and Seanchaí

Entrance to Kerry Writers’Museum


Visiting North Kerry

Patty Faley took these photos on her recent holiday.

The visitors  were disappointed to find Carrigafoyle Castle closed.

Patty took this on the way to Lislaughtin.


Clounmacon and Boot wearing

From the schools folklore collection in Dúchas

“Some of people used not wear boots until they were eighteen or nineteen years long ago.”

Some of people used not wear boots until they were eighteen or nineteen years long ago. They used to work in the fields and in the dikes and the frost cracking under their feet. Jack Mahoney used never wear boots and he could walk on any thing and he would not feel it. he used to walk on bushes and on briars and he would not feel it.

Most of the children go barefoot in the summer but they put them on in the winter. They throw the water they use for washing wash their feet if they did not throw out the water after washing their feet they should get up in the middle of the night and throw it out.

Some people used to wear clogs locally. They used to wear them in the winter but they are not worn now at all.

There was a tannery in Listowel about three miles form here. The National Bank is now built where it stood. About fifty or sixty years ago brogues used be worn. They were made of cheap leather and stitched. In Listowel up near the top of church Street lived a man named Johnny the Cottoners or Johnny O’ Connor. He used make brogues and sell them at the big fair in Listowel and Abbeyfeale. In the same street lived two men named Mick 

the Nailer and Jacky the Nailer. They used make the heavy nails that were driven into the soles of the shoes.

Most shoemakers at that time used cut out the uppers themselves and sew them and the boots used hold a long time.

Collector- Martin Kennelly, Address  Dromin, Co. Kerry

Informant  John Shanahan- Age   69- Address,  Dromin, Co. Kerry


More Local Doors


A Seanchaí remembered at The Seanchaí

I took the two photos below at The Seanchí, Kerry Writers’ Museum. I grew up listening to Eamon Kelly on the radio. I was a child in pre TV times when people sat down and paid attention to the radio. My mother loved a good story and Eamon Kelly was far and away her favourite storyteller.

BryanMacMahon, John B. Keane and Eamon Kelly

Passing on the stories.


Young Adult Bookfest 2018

On November 15 2018 over 800 North Kerry and West Limerick second level students gathered  in Listowel Community Centre for a great day of entertainment and education, organised by Listowel Writers’ Week.

Among the inspiring speakers was Edaein O’Connell.

Eilish and Máire met Alison Spittle at the centre.

Alison was a photographer’s dream, willingly posing for all my snaps, with Kay Halpin, Catherine Moylan, Seán Lyons and Joanne O’Riordan.


1938 Ireland

This story, which I found shared on Twitter, falls into the category of truth stranger than fiction.

Ballylongford Hooley, Friends at Marty Sheehy’s Funeral and Convent Cross

Celebration of Brendan Kennelly in Ballylongford

On August 21 2015, after the unveiling of the bust to Brendan Kennelly in the grounds of Ballylongford church, assembled family and friends milled around for a while and then repaired to the hall for the hooley. Local poets read from the works of Brendan Kennelly, Noel O’Grady sang a beautiful version of Home Sweet Home and then the great man, himself read a poem inspired by his daughter when she was three. It must have been the greatest thrill of the night for Doodle Kennelly, to hear her father dedicate a poem to her in his native Ballylongford on such a special night.

Some of the many Kennellys who were in Ballylongford for the big occasion pose with the bust.

The next generation

Some of the large attendance at the unveiling of the plaque to Brendan Kennelly.

Anne Dillon met up with Mary Barry and family and John Coolahan.

The Maddens and Breda Carmody were there.

Paddy McElligott and John Keane

Helen Lane and Breda Ferris checking to see how the photo looked.

Rebecca O’Carroll posed with the work of artist, Jarlath Daly, Tipperary born sculptor in bronze.

When we transferred to the hall Noel O’Grady regaled us with Home Sweet Home, a poignant and fitting welcome for Brendan Kennelly.

Professor John Coolahan read from the work of Brendan Kennelly.

Noel King read as did Mary Lavery Carrig (picture below)

Ann Egan is a protegee of Kennelly’s and she lavished praise on him as a mentor and teacher.

Paddy MacElligott brought Moloney to life as only he can. His antics and delivery were a great hit with his audience especially the poet himself.

 Gabriel Fitzmaurice read and sang.

The final say was left to the great man himself. He may have declined physically but he has lost none of his charm or his ability to hold an audience in thrall.

Noel O’Grady and Gabriel Fitzmaurice lead the audience in a Ballylongford version of Sé Ár Laoch ….A great way to end a great night.


Upper William Street

The finished job at The Saddle Bar….lovely!


Friends Reunited

Mary Sobieralski, Seamus Browne, Tony Dillon, Jimmy Griffin, Miriam Kiely, Batt Hannon and Jimmy Quigley


Back to School Time

These are the days when I love being retired. So much has changed in education in general and in my old school that it’s hard to believe it’s only 5 years since I soldiered there.


No Limbs, No Limits

I met Joanne O’Riordan at Kanturk Arts Festival 2014, where she was the special guest. This special young lady has been honored once again. This time she is The Outstanding Young Person of the Year 2015 and she will travel to Japan to receive her award.

Joanne was born with a rare condition, Total Amelia. This means she has no arms or legs. This has never stood in Joanne’s way. Her own feisty, bubbly, positive personality and the massive support of her family have bought Joanne to a place where she is the best known disability campaigner in Ireland, a much sought after motivational speaker and now a world leader of young people.

The title of her brother’s film about her is certainly apt.

No Limbs, No Limits


The Secret’s Out

In her article in Saturday’s Irish Examiner, Darina Allen reveals Mary John B.’s secret recipe for Listowel Races’ famous meat pies

Meat Pies

Glamping, Dublin andJoanne O’Riordan

Glamping is coming to Listowel



This is a photo of Dublin in the 1960s from a collection called Photos of Dublin.

It looked pretty much the same last week when I visited for a theatre break. I was staying in an area a phone’s throw from Dublin’s digital hub. I felt ancient. “This is no country for old men.”…not this Google area anyway.

Clíona Cogan on our way to Warhorse at The Bord Gáis theatre.

There was a bicycle tied to every post in my part of town.

I relied on public transport and shanks mare. This proved a very satisfactory way to get around.

This is Albert on Joey, the warhorse. From the moment that horse puppet galloped onto the stage the audience en masse was in love with him. Everything about this theatre experience was amazing. If you get a chance to see it, do. And bring tissues.

These photos are from the show’s official website.


Joanne O’Riordan 

I wrote about meeting Joanne O’Riordan recently at Kanturk Arts festival. Her brother’s film about her extraordinary life so far is due for release on April 11. Be sure to catch it if you can at all.

Joanne played a little April Fool’s prank on her many Twitter followers. She tweeted that she had been invited to the Whitehouse because the Obamas had loved the film so much.  Such is this lady’s charisma    that lots of people took it seriously and were disappointed to discover that it was a joke.

But the good news is that her robot, Robbie, is coming along nicely and her beloved Cork footballers had another victory at the weekend.


This was another April Fools’ spoof ad. for interns to work on Byonce’s team, but again it was so outlandish that it was nearly believable.


St. Patrick’s Day parade 2014, Joanne O’Riordan

Images of St. Patrick’s Day in Listowel 2014

recording a maemory
Dromclough’s St. Patrick
Matt Mooney, grand marshall
Billy Keane, M.C.

Some of the Polish contingent
Dromclough brought livestock
and some very handsome farmyard fowl
John Lynch recorded it all
Tim O’Leary
musicians on the platform

Nine year old Daragh Hudson danced The Brush Dance:


Meanwhile, in Sydney


This is a photo of yours truly with Joanne O’Riordan. I was in Kanturk for the annual Arts Festival and Joanne was doing the official opening. Joanne is a star and like all stars she had a “rider” in her contract. She asked that the Kanturk hurling stars, Anthony Nash, Lorcán MacLoughlin and Aidan Walshe all be in attendance at the opening. Such is Cork GAA’s appreciation of one of the team’s most passionate supporters that all three of the hurlers attended.

On the following day, I watched Stephen O’Riordan’s film about his famous sister, No Limbs, no limits.  It was an honest documentary, sad, uplifting and life affirming. We saw a very ordinary family in a rural Irish community responding with admirable determination to the arrival of a beloved child with enormous disabilities into their family. From day one the emphasis was on Joanne’s abilities and she has grown into a vocal well adjusted advocate for the rights of wheelchair users.

Read one of Joanne’s articles in The Examiner here;

What I hate about being in a wheelchair

and as soon as it hits the cinemas go see the film. You’ll be glad you did.


We have a new business in town; Emilia’s Café

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