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 MacAulliffe

Bealtaine event at Listowel Writers Week 17 and a traditional signwriter paints a sign

Everything  to Play For

Bealtaine is the title given to events during May, celebrating age and creativity.  Every year activities and celebrations are held all over  the country highlighting life long creativity.

This year Listowel’s Bealtaine event was held during Listowel Writers’ Week 2017. Poets, singers, musicians and sports stars and commentators were gathered in the ballroom of The Listowel Arms for what proved to be a great event.

It wasn’t all old people at all. Catherine Moylan who introduced the event and John MacAulliffe who facilitated it are mere whippersnappers. The poets and musicians are in their prime and the great Micheál O Muircheartaigh who was the oldest contributor is the most youthful octogenarian in Ireland.

The theme was sport and people read from the book, Everything to Play for. This book was the basis for this event and I’d recommend it. It’s a great book to dip in and out of. Many of the poems are short and pithy.

On the stage Michael O Muircheartaigh, Luka Bloom, Tony Ward, Enda Wiley and Elaine Feeney

In the audience Eamon O Muchú and Karen Trench.

Billy Keane was among women.

Luka Bloom, Micheal O Muircheartaigh and Gabriel Fitzmaurice

Tony Ward who is not a poet was in the poets’ corner with Enda Wiley, who read a great poem entitled Ryan Giggs is a Ride. Not all the poems were actually about sport. They just had a sporting connection. Elaine Feeney is next to John MacAulliffe.

Catherine Moylan of Writers’ Week introducing the event.

Tony Ward reminisced about playing and commentating.

Luka Bloom is from Kildare. He did not have as many successes as Gabriel Fitzmaurice to sing about. He did tell us a little known fact. Sonia O’Sullivan is half Kildare. He was for claiming the half that can run. He sang a song that has become a sports anthem, The Fields of Athenry. He sang it as it should be sung, with emotion.

Micheál took a risk and recited a poem in praise of a Cork man, the great Christy Ring.

Come gather round me boys tonight and lift your glasses high,

Come Rockies, Barrs and Rovers stars, let welcome hit the sky.

Let bonfires blaze in heroes praise. Let Shandon echoes fling,

For homeward bound with hurling’s crown, comes gallant Christy Ring….

Bryan MacMahon

Gabriel Fitzmaurice went one better and sang a ballad about a local Moyvane victory. It is the convention in such ballads to name every player on the team and so he did.

I thoroughly enjoyed this event.


Martin Chute, Signwriter at work


Saturday’s Eucharistic Procession

Book Launches and Writers at Writers’ Week 2015 and a trip to Kildare

There are few things more enjoyable in the annual Writers’ Week programme than the launch of a book by a local author. This year I missed Mary Kennelly’s and Matt Mooney’s events but I made John MacAulliffe’s in The Seanchaí. It was a really popular event and could have done with a bigger venue.  John is  much more than a local poet. He is now intentionally recognized .

 Barney and Anne O’Reilly with Mairead Pierse

 Section of the huge attendance

 Lucy MacAulliffe with her daughter Catherine and grandson

 Madeleine O’Sullivan who introduced the launch

 John MacAulliffe with his English teacher from St. Michael’s, Pat Given.

 Lucy with John’s wife and son


Children’s Author visits Athea Primary School.

This is Andrew Cope and his wife Louise at The National Children’s Literary Festival at Listowel Writers’ Week 2015. Andrew writes the very popular Spy Dog and Spy Puppy children’s books.

It was my pleasure to be assigned to be his driver for the day. Andrew’s job was to visit Athea Primary School and to read from his novels and talk to the children about writing.

I gave him a quick tour of the village. He was happy to leave his worries behind at the worry tree. Andrew has studied the science of happiness and he is a very popular motivational speaker in his native U.K. He has developed a  course called The Art of Being Brilliant. Maybe he will be back with that next year.

Andrew with the principal and some staff members in Athea.

Athea pupils enjoyed Andrew’s stories and helped him with ideas for another one.

Boys queueing up for Andrew’s autograph.


“Straight I will repair to The Curragh of Kildare”

I spent a few days last week with my family in Kildare.

Plans were well under way for the weekend’s big event, The  Derby

My hosts, Sean McKenna and Clíona Cogan

I’ll tell you more about my  trip soon.


Black is the new white

Irish Independent photo of U.S. skateboarding star, Tony Hawk and his bride. They were married recently in Adare Manor.


Tomás Ó Sé’s Sunday Game Clobber

Tomás Ó Sé gave the commentators on Twitter a great night on Sunday when he rocked up in a tux.

Here are a few of the best comments:

Anyone know who Tomás Ó Sé is playing in the snooker?

The name’s Ó’ Sé; Tomás Ó Sé

Did Tomás get dressed out of Dónal Óg Cusack’s locker?

Is Tomás Ó Sé going to his Debs later?

But the best came from a Kerry supporter;

The man has five All Ireland medals. He can wear what he likes.

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