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: Juvenile tennis Page 1 of 3

Last of the tennis shots, Super Valu/ Iceland, and NKM in Listowel

Photo: Chris Grayson


Then and Now




Tennis 1987

Photos; Danny Gordon

As I post this on February 24 2019, Bobby Cogan is still playing tennis and is on the court as I write playing with his club Lakewood.


Whatever Happened to The Sweet factory?

This letter from Mary Murphy in 1990 asked a question we have all been wondering about since the topic of the NKM factory came up here.

Dave O’Sullivan has done a bit of research for us and the bottom line seems to be that the sweet factory relocated to Dublin in 1925 following a strike at its Listowel plant.

First, let’s go back to 1920 and ’21 when the factory was in full flight and offering good employment to what seems to be a predominantly female workforce.

(More tomorrow)


There it is ……Gone

The mystery deepens. The box which was attached to this sign is gone. Any idea what that was all about?

Tennis players in action, A Mystery Box, Olive Stack Gallery and Thumbing in Kerry in 2012

Keen photographer, Chris Grayson, is often out and about with his camera. He has a fascination for old abandoned houses. He lets the picture tell the story. It is often a very sad one.


Coming to the end of the Tennis Photos

I have really enjoyed bringing you these photos of young people now in their thirties and forties, a cohort who dont often contact me re Listowel Connection. I hope they have enjoyed reliving their tennis days through Danny’s photographs.


A Mystery Box

While walking on Charles Street the other day, I spotted this box attached to a road sign. Does anyone know what it is?


When an Artist has a Shop

Isn’t this so stylish?


Thumbing A Lift

In the good old safer days, thumbing was an accepted way of getting from A to B. Many motorists were obliging and usually stopped for a hitch hiker.

Recently in The Leinster Leader a journalist called Robert Mulhern recounted his exploits with this method of getting around. Here is an extract from the piece which tells of his experience in Listowel…

Travelling from London to Listowel for the races in 2012, I realised upon landing at Kerry Airport that there was neither a bus nor a train to Listowel, or anywhere else it seemed.

It was a beautiful late September evening, so I stood out the front of the terminal considering my options, when a woman I’d been chatting with on the plane recognised me and stopped.

“I’ll drop you to the cross, about five miles away,” she said. “You’ll get a lift easy enough from there.”

When we got to the cross, the first car I hailed pulled in. It was a jeep actually.

“Where ye for?” said the driver.

“Jet O’Carroll’s,” I told him, “near the Main Street.”

On the drive in he told me he was the general manager of Listowel Racecourse.

Then he dropped me right to the door of Jet’s, and threw in some complimentary tickets for the next day’s racing.

Of course this way of getting around is long out of fashion.

But I’ve long thought that, with its low carbon, energy efficient stamp, this thumbing lark is the very transport solution that would be front and centre of any environmentally conscious transport strategy.

Robert Mulhern is a London based journalist contracted to RTE’s The Documentary on One. To contact him, email

Spillane’s of William Street, Listowel Arms Hotel Then and Now and More Tennis Players

Photo: Chris Grayson


Clay Pipe

When Kay O’Leary was doing a bit of gardening in Lyreacrompane she came upon this artefact. She was curious to know where Spillane’s shop was. 

Vincent Carmody’s Snapshots of a Market Town has the answer.

“David Spillane came from Limerick in the mid 1860s to manage a store for Hugh Kelter. In 1876 David married Johanna Enright from Listowel. With the demise of the Kelter’s business in the 1880s, the Spillane’s took over the running of the shop.”

From the evidence in Vincent’s book it looks like Spillane’s stocked everything from a needle to an anchor.


Then and Now


A Trip Down Memory Lane to 2004


A Listowel in Exile Remembers Listowel.

Liz Chute in far off Canada read the piece about Pat McAuliffe’s works from Ireland of the Welcomes. She was moved by the final paragraph which is the anecdote about Bryan MacMahon and the Clare painter.

Here is Liz’s email;


You have brought a lump to my chest and a tear to my eye . My father had once painted a ceiling  In the cafe/ house I grew up in . I don’t remember it but I remember my mam saying Bryan would  bring visitors from America over to see it .

Bryan or Master McMahon as I always called him was a GREAT and DEAR friend to me . He looked after me well growing up and I have countless references , cards , notes of introduction etc from him that I treasure . He wrote a short story about a pebble that David picked from the river and gave to me when we were 16 . Years  later David took the same pebble without my knowing and brought it to a fancy jeweller in Calgary 

turning it into a pendant . When I was looking for a name for my business a doctor here in Halifax  a man who had a huge appreciation for music , literature and who’s wife was a friend said 

“But Liz,  it has to be The Pebble ‘ that’s your story” . Twenty years later I still feel enveloped by Bryan  and hold myself to a high standard because of him and also my own parents . 

The  Pebble has been number one on Trip Advisor in Halifax for fifteen years ! 

You do tremendous work that is greatly appreciated ! 


The Pebble Guesthouse


Juvenile Tennis in 1987

More action shots from Danny Gordon

Listowel men in drag in 1974, Pres. girls, Tennis Players in Action in 1987 and Poetry in the Park in 2019

Listowel Town Square February 2019


Someone will surely give me a year for this group of lovely young ladies who were my 1 Aodan class when I took the photo.


Remember that Panto in 1974?

One of the highlights of that first pantomime was the interval drag act when some very unlikely local business men dressed up á lá Danny La Rue. Jimmy Moloney Sr. has very kindly shared a press cutting.

The lovely “ladies” are

Vincent Moloney, The Square, R.I.P., Jimmy Moloney, Gurtinard, Kieran Moloney, The Square, Tony Faley, Small Sq. R.I.P., Jerome Murphy, Charles St. R.I.P., Paudie Fitzmaurice, Cahirdown R.I.P.


Now and Then




A Little Poem for you

“No place like home, “she said

Eighty, in her rocking chair,

“where you can spit in the fire

Saucer your tea

and call the cat a bastard.”

Brendan Kennelly


Poetry In the Park

A group of local writers gathered in the Seanchaí on Sunday February 17 2019 for their regular Poetry in the Park event. The change from the park to the Seanchaí was necessitated by the weather.

I enjoyed the poetry stories, song and banter. If you are a writer, watch out for their events. They are very welcoming

These are some of the lovely writers who were there on the day.


More action shots  from the tennis courts

Tennis, Holy Smoke, Paul Shanahan’s and Dress to Impress closes

Apple blossom time


Tennis Players in action in 1987

Photos; Danny Gordon

If you recognise yourself, Dympna, Tom, Declan or Ashley and you are reading Listowel Connection far from Listowel, I’d love you to get in touch with memories of growing up in the 1980s and a little account of where you are now.


Holy Smoke

When Fr. Pat Moore was curate in Listowel, he gathered a group of us women together to help him write a column for a short lived newspaper. My memories of it all are very vague but one of our number kept one of the columns and here it is.


Paul Shanahan’s/ Walsh Bros.Electrical/ Crazy Prices/ Horan’s Healthstore

Following our recent trip down memory lane to the days of fancy paper, pens, pencils and cheap toys,   local historian, Vincent Carmody wrote to remind us this shops changing history;

 in reference to the people who you mentioned, who over the years conducted their businesses from the corner shop (now Horans), may I add some others that earned a living from that house.

From the late 1800s and running well in the 1900s were a William and Florence (Haughton) Woods, they had a drapery shop, William put his name up before the people on the occasion of the 1899 local U.D.C.elections, it must have been a lonesome experience for him as he only received 14 votes and came last of 26 candidates fighting for one of 12 seats. 

For a short time after the Woods the shop was taken over by Tom Walsh from Lyreacrompane.  He operated there until he moved across the street and opened his new drapery in what had been Gibsons. Tom Walsh went forward was elected several  times as a member of the Listowel Urban Council. In this regard It is worth recalling an unusual occurrence in the local elections of 1928, Up to closing time for the acceptance of nominations, the then Town Clerk and Returning Officer, Mrs Annie Gleeson had received no nomination. 

The Council which at that time have consisted of 12 members had since the previous local election of 1925, through resignation, disqualification and other causes dwindled down to only three members, i.e. Thomas Walsh, Edward J. Gleeson and Patrick Brown. So in 1928, Mrs Gleeson in accordance with her powers, published a notice stating that as no candidates had been duly nominated for election, Messrs. Walsh, Gleeson and Brown would be declared elected. They afterwards became known as the Holy Trinity. None of the three put their names forward in the 1934 or subsequence elections.  


Michael Fitzmaurice was next, having served a hardware apprenticeship in the town, after which he got married to Bridget Buckley and they had a stationary and newsagency in the house.

The house  had a new tenant in the 1920s, John Scanlon opened it as a grocery and hardware establishment, also catering as a cycle agent. His billheads advertised it as ‘The Corner House’.  

The house reverted to a drapery establishment again during the 1930 and 1940s when it was occupied by a Stack family. 

In the 1950s it converted into a shoe shop when it was bought and run by Paul Shanahan. 


Sad to see this popular shop close

Best of luck in your retirement, Norma.

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