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: John Keane

A Son Comes Home, an Embarrassing old Autograph book, A Grave and a Post Box

Photo: Ita Hannon

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An Old Autograph Book

A while ago I wrote about finding my mother’s autograph book. Well, would you believe that an old schoolfriend found my own autograph in her book and she posted it on my Facebook timeline. Thank you, Ester for that memory

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Peace, at Last


The story of Antony McCarron and his mother’s long wait to have him home was written by Sean Keane of the Kilkenny People and shared on Facebook by John Keane.

John reminded us that Veronica McCarron began her teaching career in Listowel.

“Losing a child is heartbreaking and to have that loved one, in a grave far from you is worse still.

After a 16-year campaign, Veronica McCarron has finally been able to re-inter the remains of her only son from his original resting place in Thomastown to Veronica’s family plot in Fermanagh.

Veronica, who achieved international fame with the Presentation Secondary School Choir on Britain’s Got Talent, has carried her pain privately until now.

At 27 years of age, her only child Antony was felling trees the day before his wedding when he was killed instantly by a falling branch.

The accident happened in South Dakota. After weeks and weeks, Veronica got him back to Kilkenny and to the cemetery in Thomastown.

Last Saturday week, Antony was taken from Thomastown graveyard to the McCarron family plot in Irvinestown, Co Fermanagh.

And as his remains were lowered into the plot, Into The West by Annie Lennox was played.

Veronica has now, she feels, some peace. …”

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Visiting a Grave


This is the old abbey in Rath cemetery, Tralee.

This is the grave of my old friend, Ann Cox. Ann and I worked together in Presentation Secondary School. She was an only child and Ann had no children. It’s lovely to see her grave so well kept. Ann would appreciate that.

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An Old Post Box


I hope they never get rid of these old post boxes. They are part of our history.

This one is on a Cork Street

Christmas in Ballincollig, St. Mick’s Classs of 78 reunion, A memory of Santa and a photo of Nelson’s Pillar




Listowel Town Square in January 2019


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Yesterday was Little Christmas or Nollaig na mBan. Here is a hair raising story from the folklore collection;

The Big Wind, 1839

The Big Wind fell on Little Christmas night. A man by the name of Paddy Cronin who lived in Beal was in the house with his mother. The storm lifted the roof off the house. He took out his mother and tied her on to an ash tree, lest she would get hurt. While he was going back for some blankets to put around her from the cold, the tree was uprooted and there was not a trace of the tree or the woman to be found.

https://www.duchas.ie/en/cbes/4666575/4663329/4687769


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A Quick Look Back

My family plus dogs walking in Ballincollig Regional Park at Christmas 2018. It was that kind of Christmas. We had lovely mild dry weather so we were outdoors as much as possible.

 Santa came to those who were expecting him.

2018 was the year of slime.  I don’t get the attraction myself.

Santa brought Cora a massive gorilla. He is now part of the family.

At Christmas 2019 we had Listowel births, marriages and way too many deaths. 

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Billy McSweeney relives a 1940s Christmas in Listowel


I remember one Christmas eve in the days of Ration Books and deprivation of the 1940’s. Darkness had fallen and the Santa tension was building in our house.

My mother was out shopping for some last-minute necessities, when she 

suddenly burst in the front door screaming “Santey, Santey. Come quick, 

come quick !”

My young sisters and I rushed out the door at the top of Church Street 

to clearly hear harness bells jingling and trotting hooves clattering 

off the road just past McAuliffe’s corner, barely 100 yards away but 

already out of sight.

“Aw, you just missed him!”

When a chasing charge was obviously forming in our minds we were told:  

“Get your coats on or you will get your death of cold!”

A riotous melee formed around the coat stand and a number of 

half-attired children took off down the street. Alas, by the time we 

reached McAuliffe’s Corner the sleigh with it bells and reindeer had 

vanished and we trudged home elated that we had nearly seen him but also disappointed that we had missed him.

My mother had a joyous smile on her face that her timing was impeccable.

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Reunion at Christmas time 2018

Photo: Denis Carroll ; Names: Seán Healy

Front row LtR: Don O’Sullivan, Gerard Buckley, John Dowling, John Moynihan, Seán Healy, Johnny Mulvihill, Michael Mulcare, Dan Sheahan, John O’Sullivan, Patsy Ryan, Bernard O’Keeffe, John Lenihan, John Horgan.


Middle Row: LtR: John Beary, Eddie Relihan, David Dillon, Nick Roberts, John Lyons, Thomas Mulvihill, Richard Cantillon, Michael Curtin, John Kennelly, Patrick Flavin, Jim Furlong, John Purcell, Eoin Rochford. 

Back Row LtR: Seán O’Sullivan, Michael Casey, Séamus Given, PJ Kelliher, George O’Connell, Conor Keane, Pat Flavin, Tony O’Carroll, Denis O’Carroll, Declan O’Connor, Dan Mulvihill, Pat O’Brien, Brendan Nolan, Billy Stack

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The View from Nelson’s Pillar in the 1960’s




Photos of Dublin



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A Call to Action for 2019



(from our own John Keane in The Kilkenny People)

As 2019 begins, we have a request for the readers of The Kilkenny People newspaper.

As a new year’s resolution, would you commit to saying hello to everyone you meet?

A little nod, a quiet word, a smile, a touch on the arm, some kind of inter-action – as Bruce Springsteen asked: ‘Share a little of that human touch’.

December has been a bad month in the city and county with a number of tragedies.

We cannot fathom the depth of the pain for the families and communities involved.

Do Something Positive

What we can do is stop giving out about the glaring gaps in the State’s mental health service and do something positive.

So instead of cursing successive governments’ continual lackadaisical approach to mental health in this country and instead of getting upset over the huge waiting lists to access mental health services (particularly for children) do something positive yourself.

Walk down the street and engage, show empathy, give people that little bit of comfort by saying ‘hello’, ‘well’ or whatever cool salutation you can think of.

Little Kindness

It just might make a difference to the recipient; the little kindness they need to get them through the day; to know that there is light, there is hope in the depths of their depression or whatever demons they are fighting.

So as we look in horror as this government, like all the rest, turn a blind eye to the biggest killer in the State by refusing to adequately resource the services needed to address the issue, let’s do something ourselves.

And ask yourself, why is it that voluntary agencies like The Samaritans, Pieta House (Darkness Into Light) and Teac Tom are having to do so much of the work that should be shouldered by the State.

Let the Races begin

It’s that time of year again when the skyline over Listowel is dominated by Bird’s Ferris Wheel. Yesterday’s high winds meant that it had to be decommissioned for the day but hopefully it will be in full swing shortly.

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This lovely one on Twitter was captioned “The Circle of Life”

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 Jrr. Kennelly attended the opening of Daffy Motors in Lisselton and he took these photos on the night.

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When Jer. was trawling through the internet for things of interest to Listowel people he came across this interesting photo of two handsome young ladies.

Danbury, CT, 1921,  Catherine Hanrahan née McNamara (1888-1975) and Annie Burns née McNamara (1895-1990). Their half-sisters’ grandfather-in-law William Nolan was from Listowel.



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On Friday night last I went to the launch of Billy Keane’s new novel in The Listowel Arms. The launch was a great success. Rumour has it that 1000 books were sold. The entertainment was of a very high standard and we all had a great night.



The book is another matter. Let’s say it is the type of book I would never read and if it were anyone else who had written it I would not have persevered beyond the first chapter. It describes that violent amoral  subset of society we came to know in Love Hate on TV. I have no doubt that such people exist, but I just don’t like to read about them.



I took a few photos at the launch . I’ll share a few today and I ‘ll keep a few more for tomorrow.

Billy  enlisted some of his friends to help out on the night. Máire Logue and her son helped sell the books. They were very busy.

Billy is sitting in the audience listening to Madeleine O’Sullivan introduce the book.

It is a measure of Billy’s generosity that he endeavored to write a personal message in every book he signed.

The Writers Week gang were out in force.

Seán Moriarty was the M.C. for the night, a job he did with great good humour and tolerance.

Here Billy is pictured with his proud mother, Mary, and his brother, John

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