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: Kanturk Page 2 of 7

Church Street Ladies in Ballybunion in 1946, Kanturk Tricycle Memories and Frank Murray R.I.P.

Photo of Malahide Marina by Eamon ÓMurchú


The Scholars Return

Two of my little girlies returned to Gaelscoil Uí Riordáin yesterday. A semblance of normality is restored.


Summer 2020

We’re keeping a distance of 2 metres from each other. Meanwhile the Feale is in full spate after weeks of wind and storms.


Listowel ladies on a trip to Ballybunion in 1946

Maisie McSweeney, Kirks O”Flaherty, Josie Flynn(Madden), Babe Jo Wilmot

Photo from Eileen Sheridan


Tricycle Memories

 This lovely old photograph is from the Danny O’Sullivan archive. It was taken during a carnival in Kanturk when every young fellow who had a tricycle was invited to take part in a tricycle race with tickets to some of the rides as prizes.

On my recent visit home I spotted this old relic in The Square. I wonder if it is one that took part in the famous tricycle race.

Another bicycle used for decorative purpose at the bridge.


Imithe Romhainn ar shlí ne Firinne

Frank Murray was laid to rest in his adopted Dublin this week. Frank, whose family lived and traded in Main Street, Listowel was very proud of his Kerry roots. He was one of that cohort of boys (some girls, but mostly boys) who grew up in Listowel in the 1950s and 60s and went on to form a tight old boys network in Dublin.

News of his death was brought to me by a fellow teacher who had fond memories of him.


Hi Mary,

My first Principal when I started teaching in St Mark’s Community School, Tallaght was Frank Murray. His funeral is tomorrow in Knocklyon, Dublin. He was a wonderful, inspirational person and had a huge influence on so many people. The tributes that are on indicate that. Many of the tributes are from People from Listowel where Frank was from. I thought of you and wonder if the people of Listowel realise the wonderful person that Frank was. His legacy lives on. 


Thanking you,

Enda Timoney. 


( Enda also sent me the picture of the funeral leaflet at the top of this piece)

I went to and I’m producing here just a few of the many tributes to Frank.

I have known Frank since he marked me as a tenacious half-back on the Listowel Emmets Minor Football Team in 1960 and 1961 when I played for Ballylongford O’Rahillys.. We became firm friends in UCD and was a great help to me later on as a Department of Education Official whenever I had a problem during my time as College Principal. I always enjoyed meeting him in Croke Park. He was always a loyal Listowel and Kerryman. 


I have known Frank from our days back in Listowel. A gentleman and good friend to a lot of people


I was a pupil at St Marks in the 1980s. Mr Murray was absolute gentleman. I have very fond memories of him giving some inspirational talks during assembly. His wisdom and words have influenced my life to this day. An inspirational school principal. A passionate kind and caring teacher. Sincere condolences to the Murray family.  May rest in eternal peace.


To Barbara and family: I’m sure you can take some consolation in the fact that Frank reached into so many people’s lives, in so many ways. He was a huge support to me in my nervous early days as a Principal. He always had time for people. He imparted wisdom and wit. He lit up every room he walked into with his banter and his brilliant smile. At a time when education needs all the leadership it can find, we must mourn the loss of a brilliant man, a natural leader, a wonderful warm human being.



Sincere sympathy on Franks sad passing to his wife Barbara and Michael, Catherine and Conor. To his sister Pat , Tom Muldoon and the extended Murray family. Frank was always a proud Ashes, Listowel Emmets and especially a staunch Kerryman. May the sod rest lightly on his gentle body. R.I.P. Vincent Carmody.



Our deepest sympathies to Barbara, to his children Michael, Catherine, Conor and to the extended Murray family at this very sad time. My great memories of Frank go back a long time and to his native town of Listowel. His contribution to Irish education was considerable at school level, at management level and in the Department of Education and Skills. Frank was a hard worker, a great listener, a sound adviser and was always friendly and warm, both personally and professionally. He loved the GAA and Croke Park was his second home for many years. Kerry playing in Croke Park was icing on the cake for Frank. It was always great to be in Frank’s company and it was a great privilege for me to be one of his close friends over so many years. A real gentleman. May he rest in peace.

Kathleen & Eamon Stack


Frank was a true gentleman whether it was as a Headmaster, in the Department or in Croke Park. His ready smile and bit of “banter” always lifted any gloom that might be hovering around. Ni bheidh a leithead aris ann. 


Mr Murray as I called him was my headmaster in St Marks Community School back in the early 80’s. I have many fond memories of Mr Murray, he was so passionate about making the school and his students realize how important it was to work together. He was a good man who was very fair and fought hard for so many of his students he was way ahead of his time. I am not just saying this because he has passed I have always felt he helped me and many of his students, he lead by example. I consider myself very lucky to have benefited from all his hard work. He was a good man and a gent.


Ar dheis Dé  go raibh a anam dílis.

A Cork Beauty Spot, an old Irish Paper, Children in Fancy Dress and Gurtenard House

 Kilcrohane, Co Cork photo by Bridget O’Connor

Remember I told you about the place names with parts of the body. Here is another place names fact.

Killcrohane is one of the many place names with Kill in it. Kill is the Irish Cill or church.


Forgotten Irish Newspaper

New York NY Irish American Advocate18 June 1938

Farmers paper Liquidated; The Irish Farmer, Limited, he said, was registered on January 26, 1920, as an industrial and provident society under the Industrial and Provident Societies Act, 1893. 

The objects were to promote the interests of agriculture in Ireland and to publish a weekly news-paper called “The Irish Farmer.”


A Fancy Dress Parade a Few Years ago


Gurtenard House

(Glin Historical Society on Facebook)

Gurtenard House

A good bit of local history comes with Listowel’s Gurtenard House – home to a local TD, Dan Moloney, in the mid-1900s, lived in for a while by a land agent, but also an occasional home in the late 1800s to the Earl and Countess of Listowel. A handsome period home, dating to c 1830,” and while they link its earliest ownership with the Earl and Countess of Listowel, say they probably only lived here properly for a season, and thereafter used it occasionally, for entertaining local county families.


Kanturk Town Park

 In kanturk they have a beautiful town park on the banks of the Allow river. They are very proud of this amentity and it’s always looking it’s best whenever I visit.

The weather from my home visit this August was horrendous but I got a few snaps when Storm Ellen had passed.

There was a very fast flowing flood in the river on August 20 2020

I remember a pump like this one on the street in Greenane. We often stopped by it for a drink as we walked the two miles home from school on a summer day. It was painted green in those days.

Kanturk Town Park has many welcoming seats and rest areas. It is very popular with walkers.


Can you name this Listowel Pub?

I got this email from Angela, who needs our help…

Hello.  I came across your website on Listowel and had an inquiry you might be able to help with.

My great aunt, Margaret Colahan nee Liston was a publican and shopkeeper in Listowel until her death.  This is what I know:

1897 – Margaret Liston married Thoams Colahan

1900 – son Patrick Colahan born

1901 – Thomas Colahan dies

1902 – Margaret Colahan nee Liston applies for and is granted a liquor license

1905 – Margaret takes in her orphaned niece, Nellie Liston

1902-1931 – Margaret operates a pub and shop on Church Street

1911 – Census places her at “Church Street, Listowel Urban”

1931 – Margaret dies.  (She may have had a home on Charles Street at this point.)

I am trying to find out the NAME and LOCATION of the pub on Church Street.  The licensing information gives Margaret’s name but not the name of the establishment.

Any suggestions on how I can figure this out?

Thank you.

Angela Liston

Angela learned from an old newspaper that the pub in question was a few doors down from the police station.

I forwarded Angela’s email to Vincent Carmody and this is what he told her….

… While I know of the Coolihan name in Church Street, I have no mention of it in any of my books, for the simple reason of not having any tangible documentation, ie, letterheads, billheads or photographs of the family or business. If you saw my books you would understand what I mean.

As you know there are only two censuses,1901 and 1911, available on line, from which you can draw information for the period which you speak of.  

Those two census, when recorded by the then evaluators, were numbered from 1 up, in numerical order from either ends and either sides of the street and, this was the case in all streets. 

In 1901, the house is recorded as No.35, when you see this on the form the then No. 34, occupied by the McFadden’s, was also part of the Coolahan house, No 34 was accessed by the private hall door of the house.

In 1911, Thomas had died at this stage, the census form number of the Coolihan’s is No.80, again, as in 1901, the other part of the house is No. 79, now occupied by a Roche man, a constable in the R.I. C. 

Official street numbering came into place in the 1930, with even numbers on what was Coolihans side, left side going up from Main Street. The full house, is now numbered 46 and is owned by a Keane-Stack family 

After Coolihans vacated or sold the premises, the public house was owned by an O’Grady family, they called the bar, the name of which was displayed for years, on  a lovely sign hanging from outside the door, the name, ‘Journey’s End’.

I hope that this information is of some assistance to you.

The Liston name is very popular in West Limerick, especially around Athea, had the family connections from there, also in 1911, Margaret Murphy is listed in the house, as a servant and scholar, her birthplace is also listed as Limerick, would she have any connection with the Listons ?

Any other information about this premises, particularly a photograph would be great.

Burst Water Main May 2020, Salted Bacon, and Pullitzer Prize for Son of Writers’ Week Chairman

 Pastures Green

Cows grazing peacefully at Coolageela, Kanturk photographed by farmer, Michael O’Sullivan


Burst Water Main

I was on my permitted exercise last week when I spotted  more going on than usual these days outside Carroll’s Hardware.

The gardaí were directing traffic and Irish water was repairing the fault.


Rationing in 1942

Bless them all, bless them all, 

The long and the short and the tall,

God bless De Valera and Seán MacAntee

They gave us the black bread and half ounce of tea….

During the war certain commodities were rationed. This is why  these two in the photo, who have just killed and salted two pigs put this sign on their barrel for the photo.

Spelling not a strong point with Jack Brosnan and his first cousin. Dan O’Callaghan, both first cousins of my mother’s

The sign , in case you can’t read it, says, No Tay, Plenty Mate.

I grew up in an Ireland where killing and salting a pig was part of how we lived. It was all done as humanely as possible. We, children were never allowed to see.

I found the following pictures on the internet. Some people may prefer not to look at them.


A Pulitzer Prize winner with a Listowel Connection

Photo from Limerick Leader

Malachy Browne who was recently awarded the Pullitzer Prize for journalism is the son of David Browne, chair of the Board of Directors of Listowel Writers’ Week.


A Covid Poem from John McGrath

Covid Sonnet

The world has pinned us with a warning glance,

the kind our mothers gave us long ago,

the look that was designed to let us know

that this might be our last and final chance.

So grounded, we can only hope and pray 

as, day by day, we inch beyond the fear

and tiptoe towards a future far from clear

our wounded planet showing us the way,

that voices raised in ignorance and greed

may yet be drowned by kindnesses and care,

together we can rise above despair,

united we will find the strength we need

as, all for one, we reach beyond the pain

and dare to dream tomorrow once again.

John McGrath  May 2020

Kanturk Streets, A Cure, a Poem and some Christmas cards

A winter ready robin


Postbox in Greenane, Kanturk

This lovely old postbox needs a lick of paint. It is very important that we preserve these lovely pieces of street furniture. They have stood the test of time and deserve better care.


Some Kanturk Landmarks

This building known as The Clock House, now houses the Credit Union. It is a lovely old building complete with weathervane and public clock. It is beautifully kept and looks much as I remember it from 50 years ago.

Strand Street

This corner used to house Connolly’s shoe shop in my day.

Greenane Park is a new development since my day.

This steep hill leads to Coláiste Treasa


This iconic Kanturk store which we used to call Donie’s is, sadly, closed.


A Brosna Miracle

From Dúchas schools folklore collection

St. Mullen’s Well (Brosna, Co. Kerry.)
St. Mullen’s well is situated in the picturesque historic town of Brosna in East Kerry. In the dim an distant past, St. Mullin – a holy Bishop was preaching to a large crowd of Pagans at the foot of Lavalla hill where the blessed well is situated. He saw that his words were making a deep impression on the pagans and he was hoping to make many converts. When the Saint had concluded his sermon a tall handsome blind man said: If you claim God has such power, I’d like you would give some demonstration of that power. “If I representing God .” said the Saint “gave sight to your eyes would you be converted?” “Gladly and willingly,” answered the blind chieftain. Thereupon the Saint, lifting his crozier above his head prayed long and fervently and then struck the ground three times with the end of the crozier. Immediately water gushed from the ground and when the Saint bathed the blind chieftain’s eyes with the water and immediately his sight was restored. The chieftain and all his followers were converted on the spot. Every month of May hundreds of people pay “rounds” at the well and many cures especially to the eyes have been effected.


Read it and Laugh

I Built a Fabulous Machine

by Jack Prelutsky

I built a fabulous machine 

To keep my room completely clean.

It swept it up in nothing flat.

Has anybody seen the cat?


Talented Artists in Scoil Realta na Maidine

Aren’t the boys cards beautiful this year ?


Tralee’s Bansky?

Whimsical shadowy murals have been popping up around Tralee. They are the work of Mike O’Donnell, a talented artist, playwright, poet, composer and musician There is no end to Mike’s talents.  Here are a few of his pieces that have become a talking point in Tralee.

The yellow bike is kinda like his signature or tag.

Kanturk streets, Convent Girls named and some lore from Dúchas

Nothing beats a dry sunny Winter’s day in Listowel


Kanturk, Co Cork, My Hometown

Recently I went on a book promoting trip to my home town. While I was there I took a few photos. Some parts of town are very much as they were in my youth. Other parts have changed beyond recognition.

This is the Edel Quinn Hall where I held the Kanturk launch of a Minute of Your Time. I remember the hall being built in the 1950s.

This old photograph was shared recently on a Facebook page, Kanturk Memories. It shows men and boys making cement blocks for the construction of the hall. The blocks were made in a yard near the boys’ national school. The hall was built largely by voluntary labour.

This is very hard to read but it is an inscription in Latin on one of Kanturk’s bridges. It dates the bridge as an 18th century construction.

This is O’Brien Street

The main bridge leading to Main Street.

These are the inscriptions in English on this bridge. I have no idea what the reference to Westminster Bridge is all about.

This ugly part of town needs urgent attention. It is such a pity to see these two ramshackle buildings in such a prominent position in town. When I was young both these shops were occupied and busy.

Strand Street shops

Lovely to see this old building refurbished and looking beautiful. This once housed the oldest school in Kanturk. In my day it was the home of a Kanturk legend, Sarah Sheehan. Sarah was active in practically every organisation in town. She is often to be seen in old photos as the only woman in a committee of men.

The building now is a café taking its name from its location at the confluence of the rivers Allow and Dallow.

The biggest shop in town is Twohig’s Super Valu, a lovely local shop which now stocks A Minute of Your Time.

This is Upper Bluepool

Kanturk Bookshop is a lovely independent gem located across the road from North Cork Co Operative Creamery. A Minute of Your Time is available here.

Strand St.


Second Class Young Ladies Named

Margaret Dillon has a brillant memory for people and names. She has all the namers of the girls in her second class photo;

Back Row ; L to R.

Eileen O’Connor, Eleanor Leahy, Nora Barry, Babe Murphy, Terry Buckley, Eileen Brazil, Patsy Browne.

Next Row Standing; L to R.

Sheila Murphy, Eileen Corridan, Helen O’Quigley, Doreen Canty, Noreen O’Hanlon, Delia Walsh, Mary Walsh, Eileen Barrett, Philomena Horgan, Joan Rowan, Eileen Donoghue.

Sitting; L to R.

Carmel Gorman, Eileen Relihan, Marie Canty Connell, Nora Hanrahan, Brenda Dillon, Margaret Dillon, Marie Moloney, Noreen O’Connor, Jeanie Hartnett.

Front row L to R.

Marie Curtin, Kathleen Enright, Eileen Roche, Kathleen Corridan, Christine Keane, Kathleen Sheehy,  Joan O’Brien, Frankie Chute.


I Don’t like Mondays

This piece of old lore pertaining to certain times of the year comes from the Dúchas schools’ folklore collection.

Monday was considered an unlucky day to leave home. Up to the present day many parents do not send their children to school for the first time on Monday.

If a person got unwell on Friday it was deemed a bad omen for his recovery. At the present time in this parish (Ballyhar, Co. Kerry) people do not get married on Monday, on Wednesday, or on Friday. The days from the 1st to the 12th April were called “Laethanta na Bó Riabhaiche in (Ballyhar parish Co. Kerry). This period was a trying one on old cows because they were “run down” as a result of the severity of the winter and the early spring.

Rabharta na hinide was the name given to a break in the weather which occurred towards the end of Shrove. It was a spell of rainy and windy weather combined.

Rabharta na Cásga was the name given to a similar spell which occurred towards the end of Lent.

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