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: Jonathan Sexton Listowel

Jonathan Sexton, Chalk Sunday and Mai Stack

Firstly a big round of applause for Jonathan Sexton who played such a big part in Ireland’s victory over Italy on Saturday. Yes, Mr. Sexton has a strong Listowel connection. Everyone in Listowel is enormously proud of him. First among these is his gran and second his godfather who cannot resist constantly praising him in his Saturday articles.


Yesterday was Chalk Sunday, the first Sunday in Lent. My information here is coming from Kevin Danaher’s The Year in Ireland. (I will put it away now – for a bit anyway.)

In the villages of rural Munster in the latter part of the 19th century it was customary to mark the coats of unfortunate men who had derelicted their social duty by remaining unmarried throughout Shrove with stripes and squiggles of chalk. Young boys were encouraged to join in the “sport” and would jump out on the unsuspecting bachelor and ruin his good coat.

Sometimes this Sunday was called Pus Sunday, apparently because those who had not married had ” a pus on them” with disappointment. A pus is Irish slang for a scowl.


I’m returning now to our day of memories in Greaney’s Spar. North Kerry people brought us treasured photos to share. They are online at

Look in Archives 

I intend using some of them to enhance this blog as well. But firstly I am going to include here some of the people who helped us by bringing precious memorabilia and some of the NKRO people who worked hard on the day.

Ger Greaney, chairman of NKRO, Brenda Sexton who shared photos of her famous family and James Kenny

Maria Leahy, NKRO, Eilis Wren bringing Writers’ Week photos, Grace Kelly, NKRO, Mary Cogan and James Kenny, NKRO

Back: Ger Greaney, Damien Stack, Jimmy Deenihan and Robert Pierse 

local man with a photo of a famous ancestor.

These are just some of the photos taken on the day, Feb 11 2012.


While I was there with my camera I took some photos of a lovely local lady, Mai Stack. Mai has dedicated a good part of her life to fundraising. On this Saturday it was The Mater Hospital, but that is only one of Mai’s many good causes. She is a local legend.

Canon Declan O’Connor

Jackie Stack

Julie Gleeson

Robert Pierse and Damien Stack


And gorgeous gúnas at the Oscars

Day care for the elderly

Group plans care centre for Listowel


Wednesday October 19 2011

PLANS are being developed to provide a full-time day care centre in the grounds of Listowel hospital for elderly people of North Kerry.

The region remains the only part of the county without a fulltime service, despite the massive savings it would represent for the HSE in the long term, volunteers spearheading the campaign say.

However, the North Kerry Day Care Centre (NKDCC) has now hopes to locate a purpose-built centre on the grounds of Listowel Hospital that would provide extended day care services to the elderly.

The group currently provides care two days a week from a premises in Listowel that was built as a community house for the Respond estate. However, the organisation now wants to extend its service. “Our long term goal is to provide a five-day service for the elderly of North Kerry in a custom built centre. To this end we are in negotiations with the HSE, who have been very supportive, in relation to a site on Listowel Hospital grounds. We also have a firm of architects working on plans for the centre,” Chairman of the NKDCC committee Michael Moriarty told The Kerryman.

“It is an acknowledged fact that the longer older people can remain at home in their own community, the less reliance there will be on hospitals and nursing homes and, consequently, there will be less cost to the individuals and to the state,” Mr Moriarty said.

The NKDCC will hold an open day on October 23 in its current base in the Baile Ó Dubhdha Respond estate, off the John B Keane Road in Listowel, to get a better picture of the demand for the proposed service.

The group’s current services include collecting the elderly from their homes and providing lunch and various crafts and entertainment activities in the existing centre. They also provide access to services such as chiropody, hairdressing and reflexology.


Jonathan Sexton and his gran, Brenda Sexton of Listowel

Here is a lovely story from The Herald about our very own Listowel Connection to the Rugby World Cup

 Airport shock for Sexton as he spots his gran… as poster girl

By Adelina Campos

Thursday October 13 2011

IT’S not something that happens often, but Jonathan Sexton was floored when he arrived in Dublin airport….by his granny.

The Leinster and Ireland rugby star was shocked to see his grandmother Brenda’s image staring down at him on his arrival home from the World Cup in New Zealand.

Hundreds of fans turned up to meet Jonathan as he arrived back with the team, but the real star in Terminal 2 was Brenda Sexton, who was photographed for the Faces of Ireland exhibition currently on display there.

Brenda told the Herald that Jonathan rang her straight away to tell her of the picture.

“He said he saw [the portrait] when he got back, it was a bit of a shock,” Brenda, who is in her 70s, said.

“He always comes to stay over with his girlfriend [school teacher Laura Priestley], we’re great friends.”

Brenda was working in her children’s clothes shop in Listowel, Co. Kerry, named after her late husband John Sexton, when she was asked to take part in the exhibition.

However, photographer Kevin Abosch revealed he had no idea who she was until the photo was taken.

“I was shooting down in the John B Keane pub and I mentioned that I was looking for older people [to take part in it] and he said: ‘I’ve got just the person for you and he brought along Mrs Sexton,” the acclaimed photographer explained.

“I was really happy to photograph Brenda, she is just such a sweet lady and lovely looking, it wasn’t until the end of the day that somebody asked me if I knew who she was and told me she was Jonathan Sexton’s grandma.

“I was really surprised but not as surprised as he was when he arrived at the airport on Tuesday — I imagine it was a little surreal to have this welcoming committee.”

– Adelina Campos

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