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 listowelconnection@gmail.com

Tag: Kathy Buckley

The Corner Shop, The Dandy Lodge, a waste collection at Listowel mart and 2017 Food Trail at Mike the Pies



Top Oil hold a photograph competition every year in order to choose photos for their calendar. All of the photos are absolutely excellent and the calendar is always a treasure to keep. This year the above photo is the winning shot. The photographer is a someone called Walt Hollick and this is his dog.

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When you are old and grey by W.B. Yeats


Photo of W.B. Yeats in the National Archive

When you are old and grey and full of sleep, 

And nodding by the fire, take down this book, 

And slowly read, and dream of the soft look 

Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep; 

How many loved your moments of glad grace, 

And loved your beauty with love false or true, 

But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you, 

And loved the sorrows of your changing face; 

And bending down beside the glowing bars, 

Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled 

And paced upon the mountains overhead 

And hid his face amid a crowd of stars. 

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The Dandy Lodge in Listowel Town Park



In response to a request, here is a little more on this curious little house that many who pass through the park wonder about.




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This explains the long queues last Saturday


A record number of farmers – 525 in total – travelled to Listowel, Co. Kerry, with their hazardous waste last Saturday (November 4).

Speaking to AgriLand, the EPA’s Shane Colgan stated that 200 would have been a good number at a collection; 300 would be very busy; but 525 was a record.

The resource efficiency manager added that 20t of engine oil and a full lorry of veterinary medicines were collected on the day.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), there are three main reasons why farmers are keen to get rid of their waste. These include: safety; keeping the farmyard clean and tidy; and cross compliance.

Colgan continued to say that there are three drop-off points located at each collection centre – electrical, waste oil; and chemicals and medications – and most farmers tend to stop at all three points…….. (source: agriland.ie)

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Sad News from Foynes

When my grandchildren come to me for their Kerry holidays, I love to take them to local visitor attractions. This summer I ventured a bit further afield with Sean and Killian. We went to Foynes’ Flying Boat Museum. It was one of our best days out. I am so sad to hear that it has been destroyed in this weekend’s floods. I hope it can be restored but we will be without it for a while.

I’m reproducing a few of my photos from our day in the museum.

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Lament for The Shop



We all knew of local shops that sold everything. They were the original “convenience shop” They often stood at a crossroads and they were a lifeline in the days when people only got to town once a week, if that. They are mostly gone now and with them a way of life.

Rte’s Liveline recorded Seamus O’Rourke’s lament for such a local institution. Please listen. Its a gem. Radio at its best.

Seamus O’Rourke   The Shop

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Listowel Food Fair 2017….Food Trail Saturday November 11 2017


On Saturday November 11 2017 I took part in the food trail that has become part and parcel of Listowel Food Fair. I ate more than was good for me and I snapped a few photos along the way. I’ll bring you the bulk of the photos later on but today I’ll just tell you my highlight. It was eating home- made meat pies in Mike the Pies

Mike the Pies is a Listowel institution best known for music, comedy, sport, a memorable mannequin challenge and craic. Notice that there is no mention of food. That is because Mike the Pies does not serve food 

BUT

Colette O’Connor (on the left) who organised the Food Trail hit on a brilliant idea and the O’Connor family were up for the challenge.

Mike the Pie’s got its name from the meat pies that were a speciality of this house and many many houses in town during Listowel Race Week. The story goes that many housewives knowing they would be very busy during race week made a batch of mutton pies in advance and the family ate them every day during the festival. Many Listowel families still eat these delicacies during the big week in September.

Aiden O’Connor (in the centre) our genial host told us the story of Kathy Buckley who lived next door to the pub and whose meat pies were legendary. Every housewife had her own recipe for her pies but the basic ingredients were the same, lots of really tender mutton cooked in a pastry case and served floating in the broth in which the mutton bones were boiled. Kathy went on to be a cook for three U.S. presidents. History doesn’t relate if she served them mutton pies in the White House. Kathy lived in the days when cooks kept their recipes in their heads and she left behind none of the recipes that saw her headhunted for the White House kitchen.

But all of that is history. Back to Saturday, November 11 2017 and Aiden is faced with about 50 food trailers and a bar full of loyal customers to feed. He was ready for this as he is for every challenge. He had roped in the troops. The O’Connor women had spent the morning making pies and boiling bones and there was a bowl of meat pie and broth for everyone in the audience. This dish was mouth watering. This simple Listowel fare more than held its own with the haute cuisine we had sampled on the way.

The O’Connor family with Jimmy Deenihan and Collette O’Connor, organisers of the Food Trail

I loved this stop on the trail because it combined good food with a warm welcome, history and a great sense of family. Well done all.




Summer 2017, Ciarán Sheehan celebrates Kathy Buckley and home remedies in the 1950s

In Listowel Town Square




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Sign of Summer

Putting merchandise on the pavement outside your shop is an age old tradition in rural towns. This sight in the Square recently lifted my spirits. It heralds the arrival of summer.

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At Olive Stack’s Gallery



Olive’s artists in residence bring a touch of the exotic to Listowel’s streetscape. This beautiful window display and street installation cheered my morning on March 30 2017.

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Remember these?


Photos; Joe Downes

These two bottles were in every mammy’s arsenal of remedies when I was growing up. The taste of cod liver oil is so embedded in my memory that looking at the bottle I can taste it again with all the revulsion it always engendered. Even the name is distasteful!

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When Broadway came to William Street



Kathy Buckley, late of William Street Listowel worked in The White House. During the Listowel Food Fair of June 2015, Kathy was honoured in a ceremony attended by the then U.S. ambassador, Kevin O’Malley and his wife. One of the highlights of the day was the singing of the Irish and U’S. National Anthems by Ciarán Sheehan, a very successful Broadway star with strong ties to Listowel and William Street.

You can listen him here;   Ciarán Sheehan sings anthems in William St.

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A Sign of things to Come?



I felt a shiver of premonition when I read this in Saturday’s paper

Kathy Buckley event at Listowel Food Fair 2015

First Year at the New Date

What used to be an Autumn event has moved to June this year. A marvelous array of events is lined up for the weekend but the show I attended yesterday was a great opener to the festival. The official opening with the traders bake off was to happen later but this was a lovely solemn ceremony coming at a poignant time in Irish American relations.

The ceremony, which took place on William Street was in honour of Kathy Buckley who was born in William Street, Listowel and went on to serve as a cook in The White house under three U.S. presidents. U.S ambassador, Kevin O’Malley unveiled a plaque at the house where she lived before she emigrated and to where she retired when her stint in the U.S came to an end.

5.00 p.m. and William Street Upper was closed to traffic and a nice crowd had gathered outside the ancestral home of Kathy Buckley.

 Two bands from local schools greeted the ambassador on his arrival. People living and working nearby came out to see the spectacle.

Listowel people and particularly William Street people were well represented.

Security was discreet but visible.

Billy Keane was the master of ceremonies.

In his introduction, Billy referred to the recent tragedy in Berkeley. Billy, himself was very touched by this accident as he lost his first cousin’s son, Niccolai Shuster. Another young victim, Aoife Beary, is in hospital in a critical condition. Aoife is the daughter of Mike Beary of Listowel. 

Our two countries have rarely felt closer as Irish American people and people with no Irish connection have opened their hearts and homes to the families of the young people killed and injured in California.

Billy introduced, local historian, Vincent Carmody, whom he described as the keeper of the flame. Vincent has kept the story of Kathy Buckley alive and he is in no small way responsible for today’s ceremony. He told a story of Kathy who, in her retirement, cooked for her Listowel relatives. One day she made homemade custard and, as was her custom in The White House, she laced it with cream. It was far too rich a taste for her Listowel relative who declared, “I don’t like it”.

Kathy replied, “If it was good enough for three U.S presidents, it’s good enough for you.”

 U.S ambassador to Ireland, Kevin O’Malley, is the son of Irish emigrants. He is very proud of his Irish heritage. He too mentioned the links between our two countries and the recent tragic event which took the lives of 5 J1 students and one Irish American. He is well aware of how much the US has given to our Irish diaspora and how contact with Ireland and Irish people has so enriched “the land of the free.” He hoped that seeing the memorial to Kathy Buckley might inspire people to achieve great things.

Then he unveiled the plaque.

Next up was Ciarán Sheehan, relative of Cathy Buckley and son of an Irish father who emigrated from Upper William St. Listowel to seek a better life in the U.S. I had met Ciarán earlier in the day with Vincent and as a result of that meeting I booked my ticket to hear him sing in St. John’s as guest of the Willis Clan.

 Ciarán sang the Irish and U.S. anthems. He is a well known name in the U.S.  Recently he sang at the funeral of Beau Biden, son of the vice president of the US and he has taken part in over 1000 performances of Phantom of the Opera.

Listen to him here;  Ciaran Sheehan sings in William St. Listowel June 18 2015

Then it was time for photographs. The ambassador and his wife were most generous with their time and willing to pose with anyone who wanted.

A pint was produced from next door by Aidan O’Connor. The ambassador posed with it but refused to take a sip.

Then it was time for the neighbours who remembered Kathy to look at the plaque and remember her.

We had a laugh, a bit of a chat and a few more photos to remember the day by and we all agreed the day was a great success.

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