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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Lovely Listowel Memories

Listowel Town Square in November 2022


Round the Block

A Poem by John Fitzgerald

Let us go then, you and I

Round the Block, beneath the sky

Like two prisoners on a street

Back in time when young boys meet

Past busy lanes, bustling shops

Penny sweets and summer shots

Munched in silence when alone

Thinking of those friends now gone.

Up William Street, left and right

Pubs, clothes shops will catch the eye

Smell of commerce everywhere

Traffic vying to get you there

Coffee shops and restaurants

Fancy names when hunger taunts

“Hot dinners” there once in vogue

Pizzas, burgers now to choose.

At the Sheriff’s, Charles Street

Corner boys a vantage keep

Swapping tales and street reviews

Up to date with daily news

Live the painters, the wood grainers

Eagle eyes, true colour changers

Cut stone houses there to see

I know you and you know me.

Leaving Charles Street for Forge Lane

Halfway Round the Block we’ve come

Blacksmiths two and cobblers one

Artists each and everyone 

Short the street but great the craft

Lineage of a class apart

As we head down to Church Street

Last leg of the Block we reach.

Linking Church Street to the Square

Young and old pass everywhere

Shopfronts of an older day

Proudly boast an ancient way

Harp and Lion in God we trust

“Spes in Deo” is put first

Latin, French and Irish mix

In bold relief, in plaster rich.

As we walk we talk a lot

Writers, stories priming thought

Bryan, the Master and John B.

Raise the bar for all to see

Characters, an endless list

Can lift mood at a twist

Each time ventured Round the Block

Transformed but no memory lost.

Threaded beads of incident

To be found in every sense

Raise your head, they put you down

That’s what happens in my town

Lower it and they raise you up

That is what is called support

As the bell strikes in the Square

Our walk is timed to finish there.


Hollywood Memories

Charles McCarthy spotted this in the Towers Hotel


Traditional Holly and Ivy Decorations


Well Deserved Honour for Duagh Broadcaster


Christmas is Coming

Christmas is coming

And the goose is getting fat.

Please put a penny in the old man’s hat.

If you haven’t got a penny a ha’penny will do.

If you haven’t got a ha’penny

God bless you.

November 16 2022


St. Bridget’s Month Begins

Photo; Derry McCarthy, Mallow Camera Club


St. Bridget’s Day

Kildare Heritage Centre photo

February 1 is St. Bridget’s Day. If you can at all, get or make a St. Brigid’s cross. It is meant to protect the house where it is displayed from all harm but particularly harm by fire. Many houses in Kildare (the home of St. Brigid) used to put up a new cross every year but they did not take down the old one and it was not unusual in a Kildare home to see a long line of crosses displayed on a wall or door jamb.

There is a new moon tonight Feb. 1 2022. The full moon will be on Feb. 16. I never knew until lately that full moons had names. Last month it was a wolf moon. This month it is the snow moon or the storm moon.

By the way this is the chinese year of the tiger.


Pat McAuliffe’s Abbeyfeale

Photo; Alice Dennehy

Text: Alice Dennehy for Vanishing Ireland on Facebook

I passed this beautiful building yesterday in Abbeyfeale, County Limerick. I believe it was a pub in its day. J.D. DALY established 1869.

From National Heritage of Architectural heritage website it says..

“This unusual large scale building makes a significant contribution to the architectural heritage of Abbeyfeale.

The building is distinguished from its neighbours by its highly decorative rendered façade, which was applied by the Listowel artisan builder named Pat McAuliffe (1846-1921). The stucco work on Daly’s dates to 1890. Here McAuliffe uses an eclectisim of decoration on a single façade: Corinthian capitals, Egyptian cornice mouldings, arabesques, Latin scrolls, Hiberno-Romanesque bearded men and lionheads and Italian diamond pointed quoins. McAuliffe’s plasterwork imitates features more commonly found carved in stone and is best exemplified here by the render pilasters, corbelled eaves, decorative quoins and elaborate window surrounds with masked keystones. Such is the variety and quality in Pat McAuliffe’s work, that these masterpieces merit continued protection and appreciation within Abbeyfeale and Limerick County as a whole”


Pres. Yearbook 1990

In 1990 the girls on the magazine committee asked a few past pupils to write a bit about their lives now. One of the chosen old girls was Katie Hannon.

She has come a long way since 1990.

I met Katie with Miriam O’Callaghan at Women in Media in Ballybunion a few years ago.


Just a Though

The link to last week’s reflections, broadcast on Radio Kerry from Jan. 24 to Jan 28 2022 is



Drone photos, Women in Media 2019 and Joe O’Carroll R.I.P.

Birds’ Eye View of Listowel

John Kelliher has been sharing some fabulous drone photos of listowel in lockdown. Here are two.


Women in Media 2019

Wasn’t I delighted with myself to be in the company of two of Ireland’s greatest women in broadcast media.


Today’s Poem

Dear Old Shannon’s Shore

by Jerry Histon (1886-1975) Dirreen and Clounmacon. He is best known for the lyrics of “The Lovely Banks of Blain” and “The Vales of New Dirreen”

Sent in by his grand daughter Noreen Neville O Connell

I once stood on Queenstown harbour,

On a bright September’s eve, 

I saw some sights that grieved me,

As a ship was going to leave;

 Some  handsome boys and girls were going,

 Some may return no more,

And they left their place of birth behind,

By the dear old Shannon’s shore.

By the dear old Shannon’s shore,

Where the foaming tide does roll,

And the shamrock clings to every rock,

By the dear old Shannon’s shore.

I saw a pair of lovers,

As they stood there hand in hand,

They made their vows together,

In their own dear native land.

 I heard him say “Goodbye love,

I must cross the ocean wide,

But when I will return,

Will you promise to be my bride?

It may be months, it may be years,

But I’ll come back a stór, 

And we’ll live in peace and happiness,

By the dear old Shannon’s  shore.”

I saw a grey-haired woman,

As she bid her son goodbye,

Her face it wore a look of care,

As the tears stood in her eyes;

She said: “goodbye, God bless you,

Will I see you any more,

As you leave me broken-hearted,

 By the dear old Shannon’s shore?”

As that ship left Queenstown harbour,

With that Irish exile band,

Who  were going to seek a fortune,

In a far off distant land.

But wherever they may wander,

Old Ireland they will adore,

And they will always think of ,

Their rustic roots and home

By the dear old Shannon shore.


Remembering an Old friend and a Happy Reunion

Mary , 

Sad to hear the passing of Joe O’Carroll last week in Willeseden , London,

 I was a few years ahead of Patsy and Joe in Tullamore National School.

The Carroll family lives next door to where the School was and owned the field the school was on.

I came across this photo of me , John-Anthony Hegarty, Patsy Sullivan and Joe O’Carroll of Tullamore . This photo cost me a £1 back then , it was taken in Tim Kennelly Bar while the Sam Maguire was in Listowel during race week.

There was a guy in the corner of the bar next to the Sam Maguire with a Polaroid Camera and it was £1 to have your photo taken, and I still have the photo . I want to send my condolences to the all O’Carroll family in Willesden London and Tullamore. This only  came about because I was home on holiday that week . 

If I remember correctly Tim , Geraldine and Eamon Kennelly were serving that day and the Bar was packed.

John-Anthony Hegarty , Patsy Sullivan , Joe Carroll of Tullamore

In Tim Kennelly’s with Sam Maguire during race week 1978.

John Anthony told me that Margaret O’Carroll (mother of the late Joe) was the first lady to learn to drive in Tullamore. She used to drive her Ford Anglia on the bog road beside Hegarty’s house and John Anthony’s dad used to look on in amazement to see a woman driving.


It is now possible to put messages of condolence on These messages are a poor substitute for face to face contact and hand shaking that is so much part of Irish funeral rituals. In these extraordinary times such messages offer some crumbs of comfort to the bereaved family and friends who are denied the consolation of an Irish funeral at their troubled time.


A Kilflynn Teacher penned a Kerry anthem in 1903

Kerry People Saturday, November 21, 1903

“Kerry Diamonds”! “Kerry Diamonds
From -your setting rich and rare,
Shedding rays of dazzling brightness
On our Kerry homesteads fair.

” Kerry Diamonds “! ” Kerry Diamonds “!
Well, you’re worth the paltry price,
Even though of love a labour.
You are sold at sacrifice

“Kerry Diamonds”! “Kerry Diamonds”!
I shall cherish you for aye,
Hoard you up amongst my treasures,
Careful of your every ray. 

“Kerry Diamonds”! “Kerry Diamonds”!
You are brilliantly ‘reset’;
Many hours were spent in ‘cutting,’
May they be rewarded yet.

” Kerry Diamonds”! “Kerry Diamonds”! –
Precious Christmas gift you’d be
To our Kerry boys and girls
Here at home, or o’er the sea.

“KerrOn whatever shore you shine,
You will take them Kerry’s blessing,
You may also take them mine.

—Katie ‘ M. Pierse, N.T. Kilflynn, 17:11:’03.


Quintuplet Kerry Lambs

Quintuplet births to a ewe are one in a million. Here the ODubhda brothers from West Kerry help Mammy sheep to display her lovely family.

Photo and story from Seán Mac an tSíthigh on Twitter

Women in Media 2019, Lartigue reopens and an old photo of Listowel UDC

William Street, Listowel in April 2019


Writers’ Week folk at Women in Media 2019

Laura Enright, former intern at Listowel Writers Week and now an aspiring journalist, David Browne, chair of the Board of Directors of LWW, Katie Hannon with Catherine Moylan chair of Listowel Writers’ Week.

Two very successful North Kerry women have a chat.

Mary Rose Stafford, Head of the School of Business at IT Tralee was one of the contributors to the panel discussion on Opening Night of WiM 2019. On the left is Catherine Moylan.


Snake in a Tree

I was walking on the path behind the Dandy Lodge recently when I spotted this. It’s a big long blue snake wound around a tree. I’m guessing he was left behind after some children’s event. If anyone is missing a bright blue cobra look no further. I’ve located him.


It’s Open

2019 Operating Schedule
• May 1st to September 8th, daily 1pm to 4.30pm
• September 16th to September 30th, daily from 1pm to 4.30pm

Admission: Adult 6. Senior 5
Children 5yrs + 3. Kids under 5 yrs Free
Family 15. Group rates on request


Downpatrick Twinning

This photograph of Listowel UDC at the ceremony to mark the twinning of the towns will feature in Robert Pierse’s upcoming memoir :

Under the Bed: Stories & Thoughts from a Desert Island

The book will be launched by Billy Keane and Cyril Kelly in The Listowel Arms Hotel on May 24.

Kerry Idiom, Cheryl’s Closure and Women in Media 2018

Brown Hare by Tracy Marsden…Irish Wildlife photography competition


The Kerryman Unbuttoned  Part 4

Redmond O’Hanlon in Shannonside Annual

Once I had
occasion to call on a strong farmer near Finuge. I knew him  but slightly then but well enough to have
noted the practical streak that made him a successful farmer. He was away from
home when I called and it was with some surprise I learned that he was in the
garden. His farm lay between the road and the river and as I ambled towards The
Feale, I pictured my farmer working in his glasshouses tending tomatoes or
early vegetables or flowers for market. Or I thought thast maybe he goes in for
blackcurrants or strawberries or other small fruits in a big way. Possibly he
might be pruning or spraying serried lines of Cox’s Orange, Allingham Pippin, or
Lane’s Prince Albert or Worcester Pearmain or Bramley Seedling. Why, we might
even get to discussing fruit trees in general, I imagined as I hurried along.
But it was not to be. I found my farmer merely “rising to” his potatoes and a
further stage in my education on Kerry idiom had been reached. For in Kerry the
garden is a tillage field and poattoes, root crops and grain are all equally
likely to be found there.

Here, I admit, I
felt a bit resentful at what was to be an abuse of language. “If this field is
a garden,” I countered, “ What do you call the space in front of the house
where you grow flowers?” “Flowers,” echoed my Kerry man, “Where do you come
from, boy bawn? ‘Tis aisy we are in Kerry about flowers.”

Before the
farmer’s house one will often find a dry wall. The expression always sets me
thinking. Here I was baffled again, for I thought there must be some
distinction implied. But so far I have not come across a wet wall. Walls, of
course, whether in Kerry or Limerick are a subject in themselves. But here it
seemed I was ignorant of even the most elementary principles of wall
construction. Built without mortar or cement, as in Galway, one might concede
the point, but any examples I have seen were solid examples of the builder’s
skill with plumb and trowel.


Another One Bites the Dust

Cheryl’s vintage shop has closed its doors.

Across the road is the empty Craftshop na Méar


Remember Pat Slemon’s Shoe Shop?

Photo: John Hannon


Women in Media 2018

Katie Hannon of Duagh and RTE was one of the stars of the show. Here she is catching up with her old school pal, Máire Logue who was on a kind of busman’s holiday, enjoying our neighbour’s festival.

This was the really prestigious panel for the first symposium I attended. These formidable women of the media world are  our own Katie Hannon, prize winning investigate journalist, widely acknowledged as one of the best in the business, Caitríona Perry, news anchor, author and rising star in Irish journalism, the very impressive Susan Daly, editor of the best online journal bar none, The, Deirdre O’Shaughnessey of Cork 96FM fame  and Miriam O’Callaghan. probably Ireland’s best known woman in media.

Máire, Lucy and Rose basked in the summer sunshine.

Mary O’Rourke and Nell MacCafferty were representing us, the retired generation.

The years have been kinder to some rather than others.

I knew Chloe Walsh when she was in a brown uniform in Pres. Listowel. She is still the same lovely girl and I was delighted when she approached me after I had failed to recognise her.

John Kelliher took this great photo of a group of Listowel Ladies who attended the grand opening of Women in Media 2018. Katherine Lynch and Miriam O’Callaghan have only a tenuous Listowel connection but Katie Hannon is one of our own, a neighbour’s child and we are all dead proud of her.

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