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: John Lenehan

It’s Here: Listowel Writers’ Week 2022

Listowel Town Square in May 2022


It’s Never Too late

When John Lenehan decides to do something, he doesn’t let something as trivial as age stand in his way.

When John wanted to connect with the land of his ancestors, he didn’t just visit, he bought a house and came to live here.

When he decided to finish his education, he enrolled in Fordham College and completed the course he had started 66 years earlier.

He graduated last week with students young enough to be his grandchildren. That did not daunt John. His proud family were among the cheering throng.

From all your friends in North Kerry, John, congratulations. We’re proud of you too.


In Dirrha Bog

A little birdie told me that this is the work of Paud Pelican. Isn’t it a marvel?


Then and Now


A Poem because It’s Writers’ Week


A Welcome Sight

On Saturday May 28 2022 as I was walking through The Small Square I met this gaggle of escapees from a Nursing Home.

They were a Hen Party from Clare and they serenaded me with their local anthem, My Lovely Rose of Clare. The bride- to -be is a nurse so the “oldsters” were in safe hands.

Lovely to see life getting back to normal!


Did You Know?

Josef Locke was a very popular tenor in the 1940s and 50s. He came from Derry. He sang is an over- the- top grandiose style and his life was equally grandiose and over- the- top. He married 4 times.

For a few years in the 1960s Locke owned The Listowel Arms.

I discovered this fact when I was preparing for my Morning Walk on Friday next, June 3 . I will be accompanied by singers and historians. I promise you that you will hear some other little known facts about Listowel. There wll be some facts that everyone knows as well.


Goodbye, goodbye, I wish you all a temporary goodbye

I intend to enjoy Writers’ Week this year as a punter. I intend to attend every gig I can. I’ll take lots of photographs and I’ll be back to blogging when I recover.


Old Film Stars, Ballybunion and a Chameleon

Bee at Work

Photo; Éamon ÓMurchú


Childhood Heroes

Noel Roche, formerly of Listowel, put these 2 photos and the following text in his Facebook post.

Arlington Cemetery. Two of my Heroes, Audie Murphy. Most Decorated Combat Soldier in World Two and Star of Cowboy and War Movies in the 50s/60s.

One of the Best Friends I ever had. Tim Mulcahey who served his Country Proudly in Vietnam. Gone but Never Forgotten.

Noel grew up in Listowel, one of many local boys in thrall to cowboys films. With few opportunities for entertainment, the cinema was like Disneyland. Stars like Audie Murphy and Nelson Eddie brought a small glimpse of a romantic other universe to small-town Listowel.

Such was their influence on people like Noel that they have never forgotten those days and the stars who coloured their young lives.


Ballybunion’s Cliff Walk

Ballybunion is heaven on earth in the sunshine.

The Cliff Walk has many textbook perfect geographical features.

These are some the wildflowers you will see along the way. Helpful signs identify them for you.

Social distancing is a bit difficult on the narrow path but walkers do their best to give you ample space to pass.


Returning to Education

I photographed John and Lillian Lenehan in 2019 while they were revisiting North Kerry. John and Lillian lived for a while in Moyvane and they retain a great love for and interest in this part of the world.

Now John is in the news in his home in Florida. At age 87, great grandfather John has undertaken to return to college. He is resuming his studies at Fordham University and plans to graduate next year. Here is a link to the snippet in the news

Return to Fordham


A Fact

If you are ever on Mastermind maybe this will help is you take chameleon as your specialist subject.

Chameleons DO’T change colour to blend in with the background. They change colour in response to emotions. They change colour when they are frightened, picked up, when they win a fight against another chameleon or when a female chameleon hoves into view.

The “fact” that chameleons change colour in order to camouflage themselves is completely untrue.

There are a few true facts about chameleons that are very little known.

Chameleons can remain motionless for several hours.

Chameleons eat very little. it was thought that they lived on air but that is untrue.

Chameleons can rotate and focus either eye to look in two completely different directions.

Chameleons are stone deaf.

Christmas at The Listowel Arms, Manchester Martyr’s memorial and some Listowel children

The Big Bridge


Christmas decorations at The Listowel Arms


Manchester Martyrs

I am still getting correspondence about the Manchester Martyrs and their commemorative memorials.

Mark Holan sent us this;

Regarding your photos of the Manchester Martyr memorial at St. Michael’s Graveyard:

The Kerry Independent, 19 November 1883, page 3, contained a small story under the headline “Anniversary of the Manchester Martyrs.” It noted the 16th anniversary of the trios’ execution would be celebrated “Sunday next” in different parts of the county.

“In Listowel, the proceedings will be on the extensive scale, and a beautiful cutstone Celtic cross, the workmanship of Messrs. Healy Brothers staff will be unveiled in the graveyard.  … The mode of proceeding adopted by the patriots of to-day is different from that of ’67, but equally potent. We hope that the celebrations in Listowel will not only be participated in by the people of the North Kerry, but all others who can possibly attend. Already we understand a move has been made by a number of nationalists of Tralee to attend in Listowel as there will be no public celebrated (celebration) in this town.”

The Kerry Sentinel, 23 November 1883, page 3, reported that the Waterford and Limerick Railway company “have kindly consented to run an excursion train from Tralee” for the event. “It is anticipated the demonstration will be one of the largest held in Listowel for a number of years.” 

The Sentinel, 27 November, page 3 reported that Saturday evening before the event, authorities “proclaimed” the gathering … “the reason set forth for the suppression of the meeting was that if permitted to be held it would be dangerous to the public peace. … “however, the anniversary was allowed to be held without interference of the authorities. … “

The 12-foot-high limestone Celtic cross “is a finely executed piece of workmanship, delicately chiseled, and of strikingly graceful proportions. … the cross was unveiled in the midst of torrents of rain, those present standing with uncovered heads.” P.J. Murphy of Cork delivered the oration, which is quoted in detail.

The group left the graveyard quite satisfied they had “outwitted the authorities,” but the ceremony took place before the arrival of the Tralee excursion train with “a very large contingent.” Extra police drafted from the outlying area, numbering over 100 men, marched to the center of William Street and distributed themselves throughout the town, including the train station and graveyard, according to the Sentinel. While there appears to a some shoving between police and nationalists, there was no large scale violent confrontation.


Local Children Photographed by John Lynch

For years John Lynch has been filming local events like the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Corpus Christi Procession and other local events.

Earlier this year he took a few screen grabs of some local children at St. Patrick’s Day parades in 2003 to  2007.

If you see yourself I hope it gives you a smile.


Sixty First Wedding Anniversary

John and Lilly Lenehan of Florida and Moyvane, whose happy marriage is a inspiration to us all are still going strong.

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