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 Lynch Page 1 of 2

Lovely Listowel people, Changing meanings, Public phones and Hair Oil

St. Patrick’s hall, July 2019


Chance Meetings

Nature lover, Carmel Gornall I met walking by the river on a sunny morning.

Frances and Edel were enjoying the sunshine and the music in the Square


Post no Bills

This sign is on an arch in Ballincollig. I suspect today’s young people have no idea that it has nothing to do with payment due.

I grew up in an age when this sign was a common sight in public areas. It means  Do not affix advertising posters to this wall.


Public Phones

Working public telephone boxes are rare enough these days so when I see one I grab a snap. The above one is in Kildare town.

This one is in Kent train station in Cork. It takes credit cards as well as coins and you can make international calls.

The tariff is a bit steep at a minimum of €2 per call and calls to mobiles costing €1 a minute.


Mattie Lennon Remembers

These were found during the dig at the site of the new bypass road at Curraghatoosane. I posted the photo last week, and Mattie Lennon has been in touch;

Hi Mary,

I remember when Brilliantine hair oil came in those phials. It cost a penny ha’penny.

( hair oil, for those not in the know, was for plastering men’s hair down so that it stayed in place.)


John Lynch Mass

Martina OGorman has emailed to tell us that the people of Ballylongford are putting on a memorial mass for the late John Lynch on Sunday next ,August 11 at 10.30.

You may remember that when John , who was originally from Ballylongford, passed away in London recently it was feared that he had no relatives or friends left to attend his funeral. The  London Kerry community were rallied by Martina and friends and he had a good Kerry send off. Now Martina is hoping that the Kerry people at home will turn up to this special mass for John.

Flowers in Listowel, a Trip to Teampall Bán, Radio Kerry’s Opening Day and John Lynch’s Funeral

Listowel Parish Presbytery, July 2019


More from A Book of Ignorance

My book (above) is English but this following applies equally to Ireland.

People asked to name three species of mouse will probably get House Mouse, Harvest Mouse, Field Mouse and maybe Wood Mouse. No marks for Dormouse though. The dormouse is more a squirrel than a mouse.

The dormouse is much furrier than a mouse. This is because it hibernates, the only British rodent that does. The “dorm’ part of its name refers to this. The dormouse has been known to sleep for seven months of the year.

You’ll thank me if it ever comes up in a quiz.


Halo Health

Elaine Dee Worth’s great health food shop and café in Upper William Street.


Listowel Awash with Flowers in July 2019


Teampall Bán

I took my visitors to Teampall Bán. They were moved and impressed. This is one of Listowel’s treasures. Everyone should visit and pray.


Radio Kerry Opening

Photo and text from MacMonagle Photography on Facebook

Happy 29th birthday 📷🎼🍾🎂to Radio Kerry on Sunday. Our historic photograph looks back to the opening day on July 14th 1990 when Dan Collins was presenting the programme with Liam Higgins on sport, dj Paul Sheahan and the one and only Sean Hurley from Killarney, who still presents his ever popular programme on the station. How many original staff are still with the station?

Photo: Don MacMonagle 


Don’t Forget!


Good News from Talkabout on Radio Kerry

Yesterday’s Story

Today’s Story

“On today’s show, we hear how the Kerry community in London turned out in force yesterday, for the funeral of John Lynch, originally from Ballylongford, who died with no living relatives. Pictured: left to right: Tommy Flaherty, Martina O’Gorman, Gary Noone, Amy Canavan, Trish Madden, Noreen Buckley, Dermot O’Grady, Vince Harty and Gerry Rochford.” Deirdre Walshe on Talkabout


Since I posted this I have had an email from Martina OGorman which I am posting below. The North Kerry contingent did themselves us all proud.


I notice that you posted the death notice for John Lynch.

We attended the funeral yesterday and it was a great turnout.   Attached is the photo I sent to Radio Kerry, which they published.  Names as follows :

Left to right

  • Tommy Flaherty – Listowel
  • Martina O Gorman – Listowel
  • Gary Noone – Ballycastle, Mayo
  • Amy Canavan – Listowel
  • Trish Madden – Ballydonoghue/Ballylongford
  • Noreen Buckley – Keel, Castlemaine
  • Dermot O Grady – Tralee/Ballybunion
  • Vince Harty – Ballinskelligs
  • Gerry Rochford – Ballyduff

I was made aware of the call out by Radio Kerry at lunchtime Tuesday and by the power of facebook and emails I was able to get the message out to a lot of local Kerry people to see if they could attend the funeral.    It was magnificent because almost 100 people turned up and gave John a great send off.   I took a spare Kerry Flag that I had and draped it over his coffin as he was an avid Kerry supporter.   Also a few of us wore our Kerry Jerseys as a mark of respect for John.

Unfortunately a lot of the younger kerry people here in london could not attend due to work commitments.

Thought I would share this with you as you have a lot of followers all over the world.

All the best for now

Listowel Pitch and Putt Course, Seán Clárach Mac Domhnaill and Rewilding

St. Mary’s, Listowel in July 2019


Listowel Pitch and Putt Course in Summer 2019

The course is in tip top condition and a credit to all the people who look after it.


Book of Ignorance

Another pearl of wisdom for you….

Over a fifteen year period an ecologist called Jennifer Owen discovered 422 species of plant and 1,757 species of animal including 533 species never before recorded in Britain and four were completely new to science. All this in her suburban garden in Humberscome. So if you have enough time, patience and, of course, expertise, it is quite possible to discover a new species without ever leaving home. AND if you get to discover a new species, you get to name it.


‘Sé mo Laoch……

Text and photo is a Facebook post from Raymond O’Sullivan.

While waiting and praying(?) that my old car would pass the NCT test in Charleville this morning, I jumped the wall into the adjacent Holy Cross cemetery to pay my respects to the 18th century Gaelic poet, Seán “Clárach” Mac Domhnaill. He was born in Churchtown in 1691 but lived most of his life in Charleville, and is buried there in the ruins of the mediaeval church in the centre of the graveyard. Although a labourer by trade he was regarded by his peers as Príomh-Éigeas na Mumhan or Chief Poet of Munster. He is best remembered for Mo Ghile Mear, a Jacobite ballad composed after the defeat and exile of Bonnie Prince Charlie at Culloden in 1746. One of our most popular Gaelic songs, it has become the ‘anthem’ of our southern neighbours in Cúil Aodha i nGaeltacht Mhúscraí.
BTW, she passed the test. Never underestimate an old man with an old Nissan Micra.



That’s the new name for it. So if your lawn is going to seed and your garden looks a bit neglected, you can say you are “rewilding”. It’s the latest trend in gardening.


So Sad

This story was all over main stream and social media yesterday so I’m sure by now people will have made out who John was. I hope he had a good turn out at his funeral.


Good News from Ballybunion

Beach Wheelchairs

Kerry County Council have announced that there will be a beach wheelchair available on the ladies beach for the summer. The wheelchairs will be available for booking until 15th of September.

This service is free but the wheelchairs must be booked in advance and are available for up to 3-hour slots. They are available at Collin’s Seaweed bath’s phone 068-27469, Times available during weekdays are 12pm to 5.30pm and at the weekends 11am to 6pm. For further information phone 066-7162000 or email:

All Night Dance Poster, Pat MacAuliffe, John Lynch and Kathy Greaney

Turf on Stack’s Mountain

Photo: Máire Logue


An Old Poster

Violet Dalton posted this poster for an “All Night Dance” on Facebook


Pat MacAulliffe’s shop fronts

During Writers’ Week and again during Visual Arts Week our attention was drawn to the unique and eccentric legacy of street art that is left behind by our very own Banksy, Pat McAuliffe.

Pat Mac Auliffe was a man with a wide range of knowledge, a smattering of several languages and a bravery  and flamboyance that is unmatched anywhere in Ireland’s streets.

Apparently a condition of employing him was that you gave him free rein and you accepted whatever he came up with. This appealed to his mischievous nature and he was not above the odd joke at his employer’s expense.

Seán Lynch is an artist whose work is influenced by the shopfronts of Listowel. He led our walking tour on the Friday of Listowel Writers’ Week 2018. He has made a detailed study of the work of Pat McAuliffe and he is knowledgeable and entertaining in his account of the streetscapes of our native town.

This detail over a door in The Square is modelled on worm casts.

 McAuliffe sisters learning more about their famous relative.

Listowel Travel is a good example of his craftwork, beautifully painted by the Chutes who are, in my opinion, the very best interpreters of his work.

Marvellous detail, beautifully painted at Listowel Travel.

 Lion’s were frequently depicted. This black animal might be a dog.

McAuliffe was wonderfully inventive. The nails in this horseshoe are actually bicycle tail lights. This detail is at Behan’s The Horseshoe.

Notice how the cctv camera is cleverly incorporated into the shopfront without taking from the artwork. This is a great example of how the work this local artist is respected and integrated.


A Listowel Film maker and family

I met the Lynch family out and about during Writers’ Week. John is a man who has covered years and years of historic events in Listowel. He is a great social historian and his films will be valued and treasured for generations.


From the John Hannon Archive

Kathy Greaney in Main Street, Listowel


Another  Evening, Another Sunset, Another Photographer

June 23 2018, Nuns’ Beach, Ballybunion, Bridget O’Connor

Cricket, Corran Tuathail, Googling Listowel and The Sydney Rose


Oops, I turned the wrong corner

Yesterday I referred to this corner as Cain’s of the Bridewell. One eagle eyed local historian (Vincent Carmody) luckily spotted my mistake and took the opportunity to set me straight by rounding off all my corners.

So the above is not Cain’s Corner but McGinley’s Corner. Cain’s is where the old ESB office was. Cotter’s Corner is where Scullys was and Chic is now. Walsh’s Corner is now McKenna’s and Dillons is the corner of William Street and Charles St. where Jackie Carmody’s was. Thank you, Vincent. When it comes to Listowel’s history, this man knows his stuff.


Cricket in Sunday’s Well

While I was in the Mardyke area in Cork I happened on a cricket match in progress. It all looked so leisurely and slow. It was nice to watch even if I didn’t have a clue what was going on.

I think maybe it’s time to ditch the all whites rule as it is impossible to tell one team from the other and they must be a nightmare to keep clean.


Corran Tuathail in Summer 2017

Deirdre Lyons climbed the highest peak in Ireland in the company of  one of the greatest endurance athletes in Ireland, John Lenihan.  Deirdre brought her camera.

At the summit, John signed a copy of his book, Tough as Leather, for Deirdre.


Keepers of the Flame

I have the utmost respect and admiration for these two men. They are John Lynch and Charlie Nolan. Quietly and without ceremony or hoping for any reward this pair have recorded so many events in Listowel. Because of their dedication to recording life (human and wildlife) in Listowel, future generations will have a record of what life was like in our fair town in the twentieth and twenty first centuries. We all owe them a huge debt of gratitude.


Putting Listowel on the Map

Damien O’Mahoney is doing his bit to promote Listowel. He is a local guide for Google maps. This is not a job. It’s a honorary title bestowed on someone who puts up lots of photos of their local area on Google and who contributes information to enhance the online profile of the town.

Saturday was International Google Interactive Maps Day and Damien organised a local event to photograph and improve Listowel’s online presence. I went along with my two visitors. We had a great day.

Here we go a googling. We gathered at Listowel Castle. Our first task was to photograph the castle inside and out.

Catherine Moylan helped carry the “pin”. The prop kept us on track as a reminder of the purpose of our tour. Catherine is one of the volunteer Tweeters for Love Listowel and the newly formed Business and Community Alliance. She was live tweeting our walk.

From the castle we looked down over the Feale.

Killian tried on a soldier’s helmet. It was very heavy.

Our guide, Eamonn, explained to us all the defensive elements of the castle. Let’s say it was fairly well fortified and defended. I can see why it’s still standing today.

This is the view into the Square from one of the upper windows of the castle.

This is Tomás an apa on the front wall of the castle.


What Odds?

Our local Paddy Power shop is backing the Sydney Rose for the upcoming Rose of Tralee contest. Her name is Aisling and she looks very beautiful Her campaign slogan is a catchy Ash for the Sash. Could she have a Listowel connection, I wondered?

Google had the answer. Here is her blurb on the Rose of Tralee official site;


Hello from the Sydney Rose! My name is Aisling Walsh, I’m 27 years old from Ballylongford in North Kerrywhere I grew up with my parents, brother & sister. I broke my parents hearts and moved to Sydney four
years ago with my boyfriend on a one way flight seeking a new adventure, opportunities and live the
dream of travelling around the world.

First stop…Sydney and we never left!

I fell in love with this beautiful, vibrant & hectic city which has now become my second home. What’snot to love about Sydney the glorious weather, the lifestyle and endless job opportunities, I knew this
was where I was meant to be. I hope to become a permanent resident by the end of 2017.

I studied a Bachelor of Science degree in the Institute of Technology Tralee and graduated with anHonours degree in General Nursing in 2012. I have a real ‘grá’ for caring & helping others ever since ayoung age and all I ever wanted to be was a nurse. I currently work primarily in Oncology nursing in some
of the major cancer-treating hospitals in Sydney and I hope to obtain a post-graduate degree in Oncology
in the near future.Within the last year I’ve become a facilitator for new-graduate students as part of a
graduate program with the University of Sydney. I love being able to teach these students my Irish
nursing experience & skills. Although nursing is both a physical & emotionally challenging vocation Icouldn’t and wouldn’t do anything else!

I miss home almost every other day,but playing the traditional flute with a cup of Barry’s Tea orstrolling along the beautiful Bondi to Coogee coastline makes everything ok! I am honoured to be
representing Sydney this year and to return home to the Kingdom of Kerry for this year’s Rose of Tralee

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