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: Just Write


Listowel Town Square , February 2023


A Pillar Postbox

I photographed this pillarbox on College Road, Cork

This box dates from the reign of George V 1901 to 1936.

I know that there is a decline in the amounts of mail sent nowadays and it costs to maintain them and to have someone go every day and empty these boxes but I really hope these artefacts are never removed from our streets. They are part of our history.

I photographed this more recent one in Mallow train station. It is ugly, utilitarian and as for “post office’! What’s that about?


An Cailín Ciúin…a Listowel connection

“The apparel oft proclaims the man.”

Costume is just another way of telling the story and the beautifully evocative costumes in An Cailín Ciúin were the work of costume and wardrobe designer Louise Stanton.

Neil Brosnan shared this great connection with us.

“You recently mentioned Eibhlín wearing trousers in An Cailín Ciúin. I’m glad to say that Bray designer, Louise Stanton, is responsible for the wardrobe of the film – Louise is the sister of my partner, Gina Kelly. Louise personally made many of the costumes, including Cáit’s iconic lemon dress. The knitted and crocheted items were crafted by Louise’s 92 year-old mother, Marie Kelly, and her knitting circle friends in Castlebridge in Wexford, The Joe Heney movie ‘Song of Granite’, and Roddy Doyle’s, ‘Rosie’ are among Louise’s previous projects, along with the forthcoming RTE series ‘The Dry’. Louise is presently working on writer/director Pat Collins’s production of John McGahern’s ‘That they may face the rising sun’.”

Cáit in the iconic yellow dress running towards her happy place.

Cáit with the washing in the background, dull colourless, grey garments, symbols of her old life.

Of course anyone who saw the film will know the significance of boys’ clothes and girls’ clothes and the huge symbolism of buying the new dresses.

Then there was the poncho. I couldn’t find a picture but I recognised it well. We all had one in my young days and we thought we were the height of fashion. I think it was my first useless garment. It didn’t keep you warm so was useless as a replacement for a cardigan or jumper but we thought it was stylish. I was delighted to hear that Louise and Gina’s elderly mother and her crafter friends made this. Maybe she even once wore one.

I can’t wait to see this marvellous film again.


Just Write

Listowel’s creative writing group celebrated 20 years together on Saturday January 28 2013.

They had cake, songs and readings, lots of chat and reminiscing and Helen Broderick took a few photos.

Helen Broderick
Some of the group’s published works

Just a few of the many contributors on the day.


Something to Look forward to


Different Kinds of Art

Snow – Killarney – 17-01-2023 Photo: Kathleen Griffin


Incidents at a Fleadh

When researching Listowel Marching Band stories for us, Dave O’Sullivan came upon this amusing account from John B. Keane in The limerick Leader


It’s the Little Things

I am blessed in my friends. I have a friend who, when she makes scones, makes me some and a friend who, when she makes marmalade makes me some. Thank God for friends.


Celtic Art

Work is still ongoing at Kerry Writers’ Museum in preparation for the Michael O’Connor exhibition planned for later this year.

As research continues, and Stephen Rynne is locating examples of O’Connor’s work here there and everywhere, Dave O’Sullivan has unearthed this really interesting article about our great illuminator.

In this article, OConnor cites celtic artwork he saw in newsletters from Ballykinlar as an early influence on him.

Dr. Michael OConnor was one of several republican prisoners interned in Ballykinlar Internment Camp during the War of Independence. Another prisoner was the “Michael Reedy” referred to in the newspaper article.

Google had nothing on Michael Reedy, Killarney artist. I knew that Frank Lewis would be the man to know something about him. I was right.

Frank told me that he went by the name Micheál O’Riada and he told me that this artist had a huge influence on Eamon Kelly, Seanchaí. Frank pointed me to the exact pages in Kelly’s autobiography, The Apprentice where he tells of the massive influence this artist woodworker had on him.

The library didn’t have the book in house but they ordered it for me. In the meantime I knew that my friend, Éamon ÓMurchú was a great friend of the late Éamon Kelly. He was sure to have the book.

Eamon scanned the pages for me and then the library came up trumps as well.

“Meeting this man, Michel O Riada was his name,
was the means of changing the direction of my footsteps and
putting me on the first mile of a journey that would take me
far from my own parish. He taught me and others the craft
of wood and in time we passed examinations set by the
technical branch of the Department of Education….”

“O Riada didn’t tell us, but we discovered that he had been
interned in Ballykinlar Camp during the trouble. While there
he made an illuminated book in Celtic strapwork design in
which were the names of all the prisoners. This book is in
the War of Independence section of the National Museum.”

Reading further I discovered that O’Riada’s ” Celtic strap work” adorns shopfronts in Killarney and “as far away as Listowel”.

ORiada also introduced Kelly to music, acting, astronomy and the great big world in general.


Something for the Weekend

Barbara Derbyshire sent us this invitation:

The Just Write creative writing group in Listowel is celebrating its 20th year in existence. I was not there at the beginning, but am now a member. We are celebrating this great achievement at St John’s Theatre on Saturday 28th January from 2pm until 4pm. There will be some music and readings and general mingling! There is also a book stall where members will be able to sell some of their published works. John McGrath is hosting and we’re hoping to have a bit of a party. It’s free to the public and if you feel you would like to come along, you would be more than welcome, of course. There are a few original members there, I think – Helen Broderick and Dee Keogh, Teresa Molyneux, Ena Bunyan. Marian Relihan now facilitates the group. There will be some poems read which were written by members who have passed away.

Helen Broderick shared online this early photograph of the group


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