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Tag: John B. Keane’s Bar

Our Library

Carnegie on Sunday Sept. 4 2022

Have you wondered why this building is called the Carnegie Free Library?

Andrew Carnegie was born in Scotland but grew up and rose to fame in America. At the time of his death in 1919 he was the richest man in America. He made his fortune in steel.

Andrew Carnegie is most famous today as a writer and a philanthropist. He built swimming pools and laboratories in the U.S. He built Carnegie Hall.

On this side of the world he is best known for his free libraries. He was a believer in the value of education and one plank of widespread free education was access to books.

Carnegie set up free public libraries all over the English speaking world. Listowel was one of the many towns that applied to the Trust, securing a library for the town.

As you can see from newspaper cuttings of the time (sourced for us by Dave O’Sullivan) there was a bit of a local spat that delayed matters somewhat.

The first library was built in Bridge Road.

Denis Quille sent us this photograph a few years ago of the library building on Bridge Road after it was burned down during The Troubles.

The present building that bears Carnegie’s name is no longer a library. Our new free public library is located in the Courthouse Plaza. It is part of the National Free Library service. Carnegie is still commemorated in the name of the fine building in Church Street.


John B. Keane’s Sive

John B.’s famous play is said to have roofed more churches than any other. This refers to its popularity with rural amateur groups.. It is still popular with audiences today.

Back in 1958 when the play was in its heyday and winning accolades all round it, John B. got a local art teacher to paint a mural on the wall behind the bar in John B.’s. The picture was of the final scene in the play, Sive. Liam Scuab comes into the kitchen where Sive’s foster parents are preparing for her wedding the next day. In his arms Liam has the lifeless body of the drowned girl. It is a dramatic moment in the play shocking in its portrayal of the consequences of the actions of all the other characters. Every one on the stage had, through inaction or action brought about Sieves tragic death.

Katie Lucey as Sive in a re enactment of the final scene in Sive.

On Aug 25 2022, the artist, Moira Keane returned to John B.’s pub.

Billy invited her back to sign her work 53 years after she originally painted it. The local drama group re enacted the final scene from the play. We had a great night. It was great to be back at pub theatre after a long absence.


Passing of a Pet

R.I.P. Dinny. I don’t think I have ever mentioned this fellow here before. He was my brother’s 15 year old house cat who passed away last week. The home place isn’t the same without him.

When I called yesterday, I saw this thoughtful card from the vets that looked after Dinny as he came to the end of the road.

Small things mean so much that they are not small things at all.


Summer’s Over

All back at school after a great summer. Time is flying by.


Castleisland, Repainting John B. Keane’s and Galway to see the pope in 1979

Listowel Garda Station in September 2020


Castle Island

I took a little trip to this lovely town last week. The place was quiet.

They have laid out a great Con Houlihan trail. It will be busy again when we are free to travel.


Delia O’Donoghue’s Ceramics

Castleisland has a beautiful new shop at the top of the town. It’s a lovely shop with beautiful things. Delia is a sole trader so you can actually get to talk to the potter herself and she will tell you all about the process of making your treasure.

Artists and craftworkers have been hit hard by the pandemic. It takes bravery on Delia’s part to pick this time to follow her dream and open her own studio and shop. She deserves support.


Derry’s Purties

While I was in town, I decided to seek out the shop recently opened by the head of Kerry’s daftest family. Derry is the star of his son, Tadhg’s, internet capers. The whole Fleming family are now in on the act. 

Unfortunately the shop was closed when I was in Castleisland so I’ll have to call again to view the purties.


John B. Keane’s All Spruced up for Reopening


Billy posed for me with painter and signwriter, Francis Chute as Francis put the finishing touches to another lovely paint job.


The Pope in Galway

Kerryman 1979

Carmel Moloney found the photo. If you were with Michael Dowling, Maria OGorman,  and the Kerry gang let us know the story.

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