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

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Cafés and Coffee

in Daisy Boo Barista on Church Street

Listowel Food Fair Food Trail

Jimmy Deenihan lead us from café to restaurant to take away on Saturday as he showcased one of his pet passions, Listowel food.

My friend, John Relihan, internationally renowned chef and meat expert was also on the trail. I was documenting it for you.

John brought his womenfolk, Mary Ann, proud mother, and Talitha, proud wife.

At each stop (there were 5 ) a member of staff told us a bit about what they do. My friend, Anne Marie ORiordan told us all about Thyme Out Café at Listowel Garden Centre.

It was a super start to the trail. we got a cuppa while we were waiting and then we got samples of all their wares, savoury and sweet. I heeded the lesson of former years and held back at the first stop. The food was lovely and the staff are so efficient and welcoming.

Here I made the first of my new friends. This couple travelled from Dromid to enjoy the delights of Listowel eating.

We drank the coffee and things got better and better.

On to John R.’s tomorrow.

A Listowel Legend Remembered

I took this photo of the late Toddy Buckley and Noreen a few years ago.

Toddy was remembered by the Pitch and Putt Club in a post lately.

Photos and text: Listowel Pitch and Putt Club

Brilliant photo by Brendan Landy shared by the club.

This month marks the fourth anniversary of the passing of Toddy Buckley. Toddy Buckley shot a course record of -13 (41) in June 1982, a record that holds to the present day. Toddy was more than just the course record holder at Listowel Pitch and Putt Club. He was part of the fabric of the place and worked hard on and off the course to further the cause of the club. He took a particular interest in juvenile pitch and putt and acted as a mentor to many juveniles in the 1980s/90s. A big thank you to Mary Buckley, daughter of Toddy, for presenting the club with this lovely memento of Toddy’s remarkable achievement. 

PS: for the eagle-eyed of you, the card was signed by Willie Enright. The course of time has meant that Willie’s signature is now barely visible.

Kanturk’s Newest Success Story

On my recent visit home I called in to Catch Up Café. You may have read the story or heard Jack on radio. But for those who don’t know this great story here it is.

In my photo are Jack Tobin and his mother, Sonia, who run Catch up café in The Square.

This quirky little café has grown in popularity since its opening in April.

Above are some of the jokey signs that set the tone for the place. The decor is black and it looks like a city café.

Now the reason Catch up Café is in the news is because Jack launched his very own Coffee there on Friday evening, November 10 2023.

Jack is 24 . He has lost 10 years of that 24 to drug addiction. He was born in Cobh where he started smoking cannabis at a young age. He spiralled downwards into addiction until a day in 2021 when he knew it was make or break.

His family had relocated to Kanturk hoping to take him away from his drug taking suppliers and companions. He found new contacts and new suppliers and he was worse than ever.

He had been introduced to catering at the Cork Life Centre where he completed his education. His mother gave up her job as a Home Ec teacher, Jack went through rehab. and together they opened Catch up Café under Jack’s management.

A landmark event in the story of Jack and the café was the launch of “The Recovery Blend” of coffee blended especially for the cafe by Soma in Cork.

An exemplary young man from an exceptionally supportive family. I hope Kanturk continues to be good to them.

A Fact

Roy C. Sullivan of Virginia USA was struck by lightning seven times in his life.He suffered a burnt left shoulder, legs, chest and stomach, burnt hair (twice) and lost a toenail and both eyebrows.


Blue Moon

Portmarnock moon photo by Éamon ÓMurchú

Listowel moon by Mary Dowling


The Imeldist

We got an email from Trinidad and Tobago.

Hello there!

I am writing from Trinidad and Tobago. Fr. Finbar Ryan became our Archbishop in 1940. Upon doing some research, I learned that he wrote the little children’s magazine, The Imeldist.

While doing some digging, I came across your blog, asking if anyone had copies. I am also looking for copies! Did you ever come across any?

I’d love to know, God Bless!

Kindest regards,

Elizabeth de Verteuil

I’ve replied to Elizabeth to explain that he didn’t write it all. I presume he edited it or wrote some of the content.

Last time I posted this no one seemed to remember it. I’ve gained a few followers since then, maybe someone kept a copy.


An Amusing Sporting Memory


A Corner of a Kanturk Park


Our Next Mural

Our next mural for will be created by our very own signwriter, painter and muralist, Martin Chute.

I met him preparing his “canvas”, the gable end wall of Pat Nolan’s Furniture Shop. The quotation will be very local. I think we’ll all love it best. I’ll keep you posted.


A Fact

When Montenegro became independent from Yugoslavia, its internet domain went from .yu to .me


Something old, Something New

Horan’s Veterinary Centre, August 2023


Kanturk, My Hometown

While I was in O’Brien Street Park I took this photo of a long derelict building across the river from me. When I was growing up in Kanurk this was Isabel Guinee’s shop. It is now falling into disrepair for years. It looks better from this angle than from the front.

This is Kanturk’s big bridge. There is another smaller bridge in town too as there are two rivers flowing through Kanturk, the Allow, from which Duhallow derives its name, and the Dallow.

As well as the poems on the trees the Arts Festival also hung photographs from their photographic competition. Here are just a few.


A Vintage Dress with a Listowel and a Kanturk Connection

This is Maria Stack of Listowel. She is pictured with her prizes for winning the best sustainable outfit at Dingle Races on Sunday August 7 2023.

Maria is wearing a 75 year old dress lent to her by her friend, Anne Leneghan of Kanturk. The dress was beautifully made and looks as good today as it did three quarters of a century ago.

This is Anne’s lovely mother, Rita Leneghan. She wore the dress 75 years ago when she was Rita Dennehy of Kilcorney, Co Cork.

Rita will be 93 next birthday.

People of my vintage will remember the annual carnival and the local girl being crowned Carnival Queen. Well. Rita had this gorgeous dress made for her when she was a Lady in Waiting to the Carnival Queen in Kilcorney, 75 years ago.

Rita was one of 10 children in her family. She had 7 brothers and two sisters, all now passed away. She came from a farming family and worked hard all her life.

I think you will agree she is still a stylish lady. She was my next door neighbour for most of my growing up years and she still lives next door to my Kanturk family, greatly loved and greatly admired.


Announcement from Kerry College

Kerry College is delighted to announce that our Kerry College Listowel Campus will be moving to a new location!!

Our new campus will be based in Unit 1, Listowel Business Development Centre, Clieveragh Business Park Listowel,V31 PC79. Having the Kerry College Listowel Campus in the Clieveragh Business Park is a great choice for Kerry College Kerry College Listowel Campus Principal, Mr. Stephen Goulding said,

“The opening of our new campus in Listowel is an exciting and strategic development for Further Education & Training in Listowel and the wider North Kerry region. The new campus will provide a comprehensive suite of full and part time programmes and will support the development of vocational options and pathways for local schools and retraining options for all, so the needs of all applicants are met. A sample of the courses which will be available include Advanced Early Childhood Care and Education, Applied Social Studies, Business with Marketing/Administration, Medical Administration, Nursing Studies, Hairdressing, and Healthcare Support. Kerry College’s Listowel Campus will offer courses at QQI Levels 5 & 6 for employment, progression and potential routes to apprenticeships, as well as QQI Level 3 & 4 Pathway Courses for those who wish to bridge their return to education.”

While Kerry College has been present and active in the Listowel community for years, the development of our new campus will breathe new life in to Further Education and Training provision in North Kerry.

 a welcome development for Listowel Town.


A Fact

Cats have better memories than dogs. Tests were carried out by the University of Michigan. Dogs remembered things for 5 minutes, cats for up to 16 hours. Probably explains why dogs don’t hold grudges and cats do.


Wit and Wisdom

August 2023


Gems from Micheál OMuircheartaigh

Seán Óg Ó hAilpín: his father’s from Fermanagh, his mother’s from Fiji. Neither a hurling stronghold.

…and Brian Dooher is down injured. And while he is, I’ll tell ye a little story: I was in Times Square in New York last week, and I was missing the Championship back home. So I approached a newsstand and I said, “I suppose ye wouldn’t have The Kerryman, would ye?” To which, the Egyptian behind the counter turned to me and he said, “Do you want the North Kerry edition, or the South Kerry edition?” He had both – so I bought both. And Dooher is back on his feet…

Anthony Lynch, the Cork corner-back, will be the last person to let you down – his people are undertakers.

Colin Corkery on the 45 lets go with the right boot. Its over the bar. This man shouldn’t be playing football. He’s made an almost Lazarus-like recovery from a heart condition. Lazarus was a great man but he couldn’t kick points like Colin Corkery.

The stopwatch has stopped. It’s up to God and the referee now. The referee is Pat Horan. God is God.

Dublin have scored two points, one from the hand and one from the land.

Teddy McCarthy to Mick McCarthy, no relation, Mick McCarthy back to Teddy McCarthy, still no relation.

I saw a few Sligo people at Mass in Gardiner Street this morning and the omens seem to be good for them. The priest was wearing the same colours as the Sligo jersey! 40 yards out on the Hogan Stand side of the field, Ciarán Whelan goes on a rampage… it’s a goal! So much for religion.

He grabs the sliothar, he’s on the 50! He’s on the 40! He’s on the 30… he’s on the ground!

Pat Fox out to the forty and grabs the sliothar. I bought a dog from his father last week. Fox turns and sprints for goal… the dog ran a great race last Tuesday in Limerick… Fox, to the 21, fires a shot – it goes to the left and wide… and the dog lost as well.

He kicks the ball lán san aer. Could’ve been a goal, could’ve been a point… it went wide.

I see John O’Donnell dispensing water on the sideline. Tipperary, sponsored by a water company. Cork, sponsored by a tae company. I wonder will they meet later for afternoon tea.

In the first half they played with the wind. In the second half they played with the ball.

1-5 to 0-8… well, from Lapland to the Antarctic, that’s level scores in any man’s language.

Pat Fox has it on his hurl and is motoring well now, but here comes Joe Rabbitte hot on his tail… I’ve seen it all now, a Rabbitte chasing a Fox around Croke Park!

Stephen Byrne with the puck out for Offaly. Stephen, one of 12. All but one are here to-day, the one that’s missing is Mary, she’s at home minding the house. And the ball is dropping i lár na bpáirce…

Teddy looks at the ball, the ball looks at Teddy…

Mike Houlihan for Limerick. Houlihan, the cattle jobber. He had his jaw broken by a kick from a bullock two months ago. He’s back now. ‘Twas some bullock that broke Mike Houlihan’s jaw!

Danny ‘The Yank’ Culloty: he came down from the mountains and hasn’t he done well.


Where it all Began

Liam OHainnín shared this treasure on Facebook. As you can see it is a LP of all of the great Listowel writers at the time. Tim Danaher was a native of Listowel Town Square and he worked hard to promote his native time during his time with Radio Eireann. In the early years of Writers’ Week, Danaher was a vital part of the PR network. His RTE connections opened many doors.


O’Brien Street Park, Kanturk

There are many lovely features in this park in my hometown. I love the lager than life bee and butterfly.


A Fact

The Hollywood sign erected in 1923 originally said Hollywwodland. The sign is 50ft. tall and 450 ft across. It weighs 450,000 pounds.


Feeling at Home

St. John’s in summer 2023


O’Brien Street, Kanturk

O’Brien Street is the street you pass through as you head from Listowel to Cork, if you choose the Rockchapel Newmarket road. Notice all the old chimney pots on this lovely old terrace of houses.

Across the road from these houses is the entrance to the charming O’Brien Street Park.

The park is threaded with a steam, little paths and bridges.


When your dad is your hero

Mary Dowling shared this lovely memory.

Casting my mind back to August 1986. On the 6th of August I was on a journey from Kerry to Wicklow. There was unseasonal thunder and lightening and flooding of Tralee town where many homes and shops were under many feet of water, including Dowling Sports and Shoe shop.

I went to collect flowers that had been dropped there for me and was met by some people who were in canoes and small boats about a km from town. The River Lee had burst it’s banks and the town sirens were ringing loudly.

My father told me to continue on my way to Wicklow and he seemed very worried about his attendance at my event the next day as our business premises was severely damaged.

I continued on my journey not sure if my special day was going ahead. Many hours later I arrived in Glendalough. Dad arrived shortly before midnight with the good news that the Kerins O Rahilly Senior football team had voluntarily taken charge of the clean up of the shops.

The next morning was my wedding day at St. Kevin’s Church in Glendalough. Now 37 years later on the 7th of August I am happily celebrating our wedding anniversary. Dad is no longer with us but I will never forget the kindness of the Kerins O Rahillys Club members who came to our aid.

Mary’s dad, John Dowling, was the legendary captain of the Kerry Football team who beat the Dubs in the All Ireland Final of 1955. He was captain because he had won the County Championship with his club, Kerins ORahillys.

John had a life long association with Kerins ORahillys, including, buying and developing their present pitch in Strand Road and training and supporting teams for years after his own playing career had ended.

His dedication was appreciated by the club members who rolled up their sleeves to help clean up his businesses after the flood, allowing him to be a vital part of his daughter’s wedding.

With the GAA, club is family.



I had visitors for the Revival weekend.

The scene in The Square as shared by the official Revival page.

Some of the hard working local publicans who organised the concerts. A great time was had by everyone. The music was top class. Who cares about the weather when you’re having fun.

I was on child minding duties for the lovely Aoife McKenna.

Aoife is too young for Revival but her Baby Shark is as good as any Lyra song.


A Fact

The song Happy Birthday to You was written by sisters, Mildred and Patty Hill. The lyrics were Good Morning to You but were changed to Happy Birthday to You when it was published in 1935.


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