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 Stack Page 1 of 2

Frank Greaney R.I.P.

Cool shaded walk in Childers Park, Listowel, June 2023


Photographing a Photographer

John Stack with two of his talented and very photogenic grandchildren pictured in The Square, Listowel, in June 2023.

It’s always a bit risky snapping a very experienced snapper but a photo of this doting grandad was too good to miss.


One of the Best Gone too Soon

I love this picture of Frank and Jim in Frank’s garage back in the good old days. Few knew as much about cars as Frank Greaney. He loved cars and he loved dealing in them and repairing and refurbishing them. He was the Citreon king and he loved nothing better then to talk cars with is cronies.

Frank’s garage was a kind of mini parliament chamber. A few of his friends used to come and sit and set the world to rights with Frank while he worked.

Away from the garage, Frank was a super volunteer. Nothing was too much bother to him. He expended hours fundraising for St. Mary Of the Angels, Beaufort, where his beloved daughters were looked after. He helped every cancer charity. Poignantly, on the day of his funeral, Hospice fundraisers left their posts in the Small Square to join in the guard of honour that accompanied Frank’s huge funeral cortege through the town.

He was a familiar presence in St. Mary’s, taking up the collection, counting the money and helping wherever he was needed.

It was sad to see Frank suffering and in pain for the last few months of his life, but, like the trooper he was, he soldiered on.

Eileen and Frank Greaney were inseparable, a living example of enduring love. My deepest sympathy to Eileen and Mike. Frank was one of the good ones, one of my favourite Listowel people.

In this photo Frank is holding his copy of Brendan of Ireland, a long out of print special book in which his family played a part. It was a measure of the man that he lent it to me to photograph and to share with followers of Listowel Connection. Others would not have let it out of their sight.

Tonight we’ll have the graveyard mass in John Paul cemetery. It won’t feel right not to have Frank there directing traffic and helping out generally. He contributed a lot to making that graveyard the lovely place it is today.

May the sod rest lightly on the gentle soul of this lovely gentleman.


Marketing Listowel in the 1960s

My recent German visitors, Wolfgang and Anita gave me this booklet that they had kept from their first visit to Listowel in 1973.

Another era surely! Who remembers travellers’ cheques?


Just a Thought

My reflections which were broadcast last weak on Radio Kerry in its Just a Thought slots are here;

Just a Thought


Ponder this


Dandy Lodge, the early days

Listowel Castle in Spring 2023


The Confraternity

I posted this picture of Listowel men on a confraternity retreat a while ago. I had hoped to spark some memories of that all male institution but I haven’t got very far. The Confraternity was essentially a prayer group to keep men on the straight and narrow. It met for “meetings’ once a month. These were held in the church and consisted of prayers and sermons. Once a year they all headed off to Limerick for a retreat.

Locally some sceptics regarded them as “Holy Joes” A while ago I got this missive from an unnamed local man;

Regarding the Confraternity and the Sodality; these were gone or on the way out when I was a nipper. I do remember a crude put-down that was used in those days against  someone that was, in the common perception, ‘ró-mhór leis an gcléir,’ and involved in every religious event and occasion- this put-down was as follows: ‘Jaysus, that fellow is stuck in everything! He’d be in the Children of Mary as well, if they could find a knickers big enough for him.


Looking Forward to St. Patrick’s Day

Some stalwarts of St. Patrick’s Day parades in the past.

Charlie Nolan
John Lynch
Dancing teachers, John Stack and Jimmy Hickey


Dandy Lodge Story Continued

This is a photo in the National Museum of Bridge Road, Listowel in 1903. You can see the Dandy Lodge on the left.

There it stood until 1997 when it was moved brick by brick into Childers’ Park to be looked after by Listowel Pitch and Putt Club.

You can see from the press release that Adare Co. Limerick had an interest in purchasing the lodge. We have to thank the foresight of Listowel Pitch and Putt Club members who made sure it remained in Listowel.

The late Tom O’Halloran took these photos of the relocation.

The following pictures were taken at the opening.

A presentation to Tom and Eileen OHalloran

Joe Dillon, Jerry Brick and Cathal Fitzgerald

Bill Walsh, Paul O’Dowd, Jerry Maher, Dr. Corridan and Joseph Dillon, previous owner of The Dandy Lodge


New Year, Changed Town

North Kerry sunrise photographed in January 2022 by Ita Hannon


A Poem sent to us by Éamon ÓMurchú

John O’Donohue
A Blessing For The New Year

On the day when
The weight deadens
On your shoulders
And you stumble,
May the clay dance
To balance you.

And when your eyes
Freeze behind
The gray window
And the ghost of loss
Gets into you,
May a flock of colors
Indigo, red, green 
and azure blue,
Come to awaken in you
A meadow of delight

When the canvas frays
In the curragh of thought
And a stain of ocean
Blackens beneath you,
May there come across the waters
A path of yellow moonlight
To bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
May the clarity of light be yours,
May the fluency of the ocean be yours,
May the protection of the ancestors be yours.

And so may a slow
Wind work these words
Of love around you,
An invisible cloak
To mind your life.



John Kelliher took this marvellous picture of Listowel Town Square in December 2021

Here in North Kerry 2022 is opening with businesses closing, shops having to shut temporarily due to staff absences due to Covid and our streets at times eerily quiet as we are advised to limit social mixing. Our resilience is being tested but we will survive.

I’m back after a longer Christmas holiday than usual. Thank you to all the followers who were worried I had contracted Covid. Thankfully I have managed to avoid it so far even though it is all around me. so hopefully Listowel Connection will continue in some form for a while yet.


John Stack, Dancing Teacher

My friend and former colleague at Presentation Secondary School, Listowel posted a sad message on Facebook in January 2022. He accompanied the message with this photo;

Hi All

I have informed the Ballydonoghue Cce branch of Comhaltas that It is with regret that I will not be returning as Set Dancing teacher in Ballydonoghue after 43 years. I have put alot of thought into my decision over the Christmas and due to a number of reasons including Covid-19 and the effect it has had on everything and still not knowing when we can return if at all this year.

I started classes in Ballydonoghue in 1978 and during my time I have had some very memorable ventures.

Our first All Ireland medal was in 1996 when our U8 set brought home medals in the U15 set competition in Listowel. We also won All Ireland medals in Ballycastle Co Antrim Castlewellan CountyDown Tullamore, Co. Offaly, IrelandPeter StackBallina Co MayoEnniscorthy Co. Wexford and Drogheda, Ireland

Winning our first All Ireland winners medal in Ballycastle County Antrim in 1999. We also have had much success at County, Munster, as well as other competitions all over the country.

We also travelled to take part in Sean Dempsey International competition in Manchester on several occasions having much success.

In 2008. 23members from the branch did a branch exchange with the Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann – O’Neill Malcom Branch CCE in Washington DC. This was a very rare experience and we enjoyed visits to Capitol Hill, reception at the European union offices, also at the Irish Embassy, visiting Baltimore, Virginia, Maryland and seeing places we could only dream off. Finishing our trip with a performance on the Millennium stage In the Washington Dc Kennedy Centre where we were told we would have 200 to 250 attending and ending with over 1300 people watching us for an hour long concert.

Our trips to the RTE Studios for our performances on TG4 was a highlight for all our dancers.

I have to acknowledge the input Liz McNamara had on both Dolly and myself and the dancing class. She was a great support to us and always showed her support to every child regardless whether they won or not as she was always very proud that they had represented the branch.

Again many thanks to everyone in the branch for their support over the last 43 years and we would like to wish the branch much success in the future.

To Ballydonoghue GAA for the use of their clubrooms down through the years and of late their fabulous new building I would like to say thanks to all the officers past and present. Also to Jackie Hegarty and Tom in Tomasinis ye were always willing to help in any way ye could and put yer building at our disposal.

To the parents who have supported Dolly and myself and the class down through the years I want to thank you.

Last but not least to you our dancers wherever you may be. Passing through the doors of Ballydonoghue GAA clubrooms on a Satuday morning and Tuesday evening of late, I thank you all for the pleasure and joy you brought to us. We have made some great memories together and hope you will always remember your dancing days in Ballydonoghue.



It’s for the Children

Our lovely 2021 baby has had her first Christmas, her first Christmas tree, her first visit to a crib and Santa was good to her.

Aoife has brought “hope with her and forward looking thoughts.”


Jumbo’s, Serendipity, Kennedys in Ireland, a Mantila and Pipelaying in Knockanure


Jumbo’s of William Street looks lovely with its new paint job and its new sign.



Serendipity is making a good discovery by accident. This is what happened to my niece recently when she was on an Aer lingus flight to the US.

Christine was scrolling through the onboard entertainment on her seatback screen when this popped up.

There before her eyes, thousands of mile from home, high among the clouds, she beheld a photograph of her late grandmother, my mother, Kathleen Ahern.

It would appear that a man who made a film about Listowel Radio Museum uploaded it to Vimeo and now it is widely available in lots of places including Aer Lingus planes to America.

The photo of my mother and her first cousin, Jo O’Riordan was taken in 1927 by Jo’s dad at their home in Summerville South in Cork. I donated the photo to the Wireless Museum as photos of radios from back then are rare. Not many people had radios as 2RN, now Rte, had only started broadcasting in Cork and not too many people had cameras either. So a man who took a photo of his radio was definitely a rarity. Such a man was my great uncle, the late Eugene O’Riordan.


Rare Kennedy Photographs

These photographs of Joseph Kennedy in Ireland have turned up recently. They are now in the JFK Archive.

Joseph Kennedy at the Giants Causeway

Joseph Kennedy in Killarney

Kennedy children on horseback in The Gap of Dunloe


Do you Remember the Mantilla?

(Photo and text from The National Treasures Facebook page)

Mantilla. This is my mantilla headscarf that I wore to church when I was young. The tradition at the time was that all women had to cover their heads going to mass. When I wore it, I thought I was very grown up. It was a very beautiful object and I thought I was very mature, just like the older ladies. I remember my aunt in particular, Noreen Ennis, having a nice mantilla with some very fine lace work. In a way, the mantilla was a way to express yourself in that there were degrees of sophistication in the headscarves and mantillas that women wore. I didn’t really understand why I was wearing it and, much like everyone else, I wouldn’t have understood what was said during the mass as it was in Latin, but we just accepted it for what it was. After the Second Vatican Council (Pope John XXIII), young women no longer had to cover their heads anymore. Priests could say mass in the vernacular as well, and the laity could be more involved. Despite being relegated to the bottom of the drawer, I’ve kept my mantilla for over 50 years.”

Thanks to Mary Ennis


Pipelaying in Knockanure


All Ireland Champions 2019

Thy danced for us in The Square on the day of the Entente Florale judging .

Last week they danced for the judges at Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann 2019 in Drgheda and they won.

Ballydonoghue Under 12 set dancers with their very proud teacher, John Stack.

Feale, Childhood Friends, Rose of Tralee 2019, a holy well and Armistice Day Ceremony in Listowel

River Feale, November 3 2018


Childhood Friends on Facebook

Bernard O’Connell of Listowel and Canada posted this great old picture on Facebook.

far left Mary Brosnan, Katrina Lyons, Myself, Noreen Holyoake, Mary Lyons, Mary Carmody, Maura Moriarity


Big Year next year for the Rose Festival

(Photo and text from

NEXT year is a very special one for the Rose of Tralee International Festival as it celebrates its 60th anniversary.

It’s already been announced that there will be no regional finals and centres will put forward a Rose every two years (apart from Kerry, Cork and Dublin) resulting in just 32 Roses coming to Tralee next year for the festival.

Now, in another change, it’s been decided that the Festival will move back a few days. It will start on Friday, August 23 and the  2019 Rose of Tralee will be announced on Tuesday, August 27.

For the past number of years the Festival has started slightly later than mid-August (this year it began on August 17), but next year will bring it closer to what it used to be years ago, with the winner announced closer to the end of the month.


Holy Well in Tarbert

from the Dúchas folklore collection

There was a blessed well in Jim Woulfe’s field and one day they washed clothes in it and that night the well changed out to Tom O’Connor field which was two fields away. People used go there on Sundays and especially Sundays of May. Some people used go there to get cured from some disease they had and they would leave a piece of cloth of the bushes round the well. There used also around the well three times to every rosary they would say. It is called Sundays Well. If you were to be cured at some wells you would see a fish.
Eileen Shine
Gortdromasillahy, Co. Kerry


Armistice Day Centenary in Listowel

On Sunday Nov. 11 2018 the Listowel History Society organised a moving commemorative ceremony to honour all the North Kerry men who served in WW1. In the church, after an evocative memorial mass, local school children read out the names of men from their area who had died in the Great War.

I dont know if other people saw something very poignant in the sight of this drummer boy. 

Drummer boys were part of armies as far back as history goes. They were originally tasked with ensuring soldiers marched in time. By the time of WW1 these young boys (they were not actually soldiers as they were usually under 18) were more like regimental mascots. But young and all as they were, they went into battle alongside their regiment and many of them died.


Wreath laying Ceremony at the war memorial stone.

Sunday November 11 2018

Wreaths were laid.

The tricolour was lowered and then raised again.

The bugler played the last post.  We stood for two minutes silence and we played the National Anthem.

And we remembered.

John Stack shared with us this photo of those who were part of the Armistice Day Ceremony in Listowel on Sunday, November 11 2018


The Ball Alley Today

A blank canvas

Page 1 of 2

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén