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: Kennedy Home

Convent Cross, 1916 Commemorative Manhole Cover, Kennedy Home, Holy Wells and Buying a Duck

 Calvary at Convent Cross


Manhole Cover

Because Listowel was undergoing road repairs in 2016 when these special commemorative manhole covers were commissioned we have a few of these at locations around the town. This one is on Upper Church Street.


Kennedy Home Then And Now


Holy Wells on the Move

( from Dúchas school folklore collection)

Local Place Names
Collector Jeremiah Clancy- Age 11-Informant, Patrick Ahern, Age 70, Occupation, labourer
In a farm in Gortdromagowna owned by Thomas OConnor there stands a well called St. Mary’s well. The field is known as the Blessed Well Field. People from this parish and the surroundings go there to pay their rounds in May.

The Blessed Well
Collector Annie Heffernan, Tarmon West.
There is a blessed well in Mr. John Buckley’s field. It is St. Senan’s Well. There is a story connected with this well. First it was situated in Kelly’s land and now it is relocated to its present loacation.

It is said that the servant of the house took water from this well to wash clothes and next morning it had disappeared.

Many people go to the blessed well during the year to pay rounds. They go on the Saturday before May, and on the Saturday before St. John’s Day.


Buying a Duck at the April Horsefair

On April 4 2019 on Market Street Listowel I came upon this family taking a great interest in the poultry seller and particularly his ducks. He had  a variety of healthy looking young ducks for sale.

This little man was very adamant that this was the one he wanted. Even though the duck was heavier than he anticipated, he was delighted with his new purchase.


Good Job, Firemen

Photo; John Curtin

Extensive damage was done to this Ballybunion premises on Friday night. Our hard working fire  fighting personnel did a good job and thankfully there was no loss of life.


Women in Media

The full programme has been revealed.

official promotional photo

See what’s in store;

Women in Media 2019

Last of my Graham Norton Photos, Kennedy Home then and Now and my Favourite Ascot Photo.

Make someone happy,

Make just one someone happy

And you will be happy too.

Richard Pierse made me very happy on June 3 2017. There I was manning the gate at the Graham Norton event when along came this young man. He lives in Nicaragua and he keeps in touch with his Listowel hometown via Listowel Connection. I love to hear a story like that. Richard is just one of many people who appreciate what I do but I think he must be the most remote of my blog followers. If anyone else wants to get in touch and tell me where they read the blog maybe I could put up a map and track the reach of Listowel connection.

Jennifer Scanlon made someone happy too. Here she is racing to the rescue of her friend detained at the gate. Everyone had to have a paper ticket to get past us.


Audience on its way to Graham Norton

Eventually the wait was over. No Garda outriders to alert us this time. Graham Norton slipped into Childers’ Park  almost unbeknownst.

He posed for a few snaps and then took his place on stage for his interview. Nice man.


Bachelors’ Walk

Do you remember this show? I know he has done loads of work since, but I thought of this when I saw Simon Delaney turn up as Phil, the unlikely Irish jeweller, in Coronation Street.


Then and Now

Upper Church St. the old Kennedy Home is now a  Family Centre.


Healy Racing of Listowel and the World of Horse Racing

Horse trainer, Aidan O’Brien is at the top of his game. He recently won the accolade for champion trainer at Royal Ascot 2017. He was presented with his prize by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, herself a knowledgeable horse owner and horse racing enthusiast. Healyracing captured the moment. The photo tells a story of respect and understanding. If I were Aidan O’Brien, I’d be hanging this one.

The Lartigue in 2000,Trees in The Park and a fair day in old Listowel

A Corner on Church St.


The Early days of The Lartigue Project.

Kerry’s Eye


Turf Cutting the old Way

These photos of turf cutting in the old way were shared on Facebook


Michael Collins Funeral

A brother and sister of Michael Collins pray at his graveside.


A Walk in the Park in May 2016

Poems are made by fools like me

But only God can make a tree.


Lovely Job being done on the former Kennedy Home


Squad Cars Back at Base



Ita Hannon found this old one.


Names….at last!

I posted this photo in September 2015 and asked for names.  Now Magella McGregor has come to the rescue. Here are the names she supplied;

First Row across left to right Joan Marie Vaughan, Marie Greany, Christina ODriscoll, Majella Maher
Second Row left to right Maureen Ahern, Eileen Lane, Breda O’Connor, …….., Mary Moran,…..
Third Row left to right Breda OConnell, ……Muireann Moloney, Marian ORouke RIP, Marie Buckley, Geraldine Buckley (sisters), Sheila Moloney and Teresa Lyons.

The Very last Ladies Day photos, a Christmas shop opens in Listowel and a fire in Greenlawn

Photo;   Timothy John McSweeney


Saturday Oct. 10 2015

Yes, I have the date right. Bank of Ireland Listowel was open last Saturday for a mortgage event. Could the Celtic Tiger be creeping back on to our streets? If so, let’s hope we have learned the lessons of history.


Some more well dressed ladies at Ladies’ Day 2015


Where did you get that hat?


Big Houses in Tralee in the 19th century

IN the early to mid 1800 s The principal gentlemen’s seats in the Tralee area were :

  • Ballyseedy, the finely planted demesne of Arth. Blennerhasset, Esq., occupied by Sir Edward Denny, Bart.; 
  • Oak Park, the residence of John Bateman, Esq., situated in grounds well wooded with oak, among which are some trees of singular size and beauty, and open to the public; 
  • Belmont, of the Rev. A. B. Rowan; 
  • Ballard House, of Fras. Crosbie, Esq.; 
  • Spring Lodge, of F. J. Martelli, Esq.; Lower Cannon, of J. Eagar, Esq.; Magh, of W. Seely, Esq.; 
  • Chute Hall, of W. Chute, Esq.; 
  • Spring Hill, of Captain Chute;
  •  Arbella, of Fras. Feet, Esq.; 
  • Plover Hill, of George Gun, Esq.; and 
  • Frogmore Lodge, of the Rev. Barry Denny.

fromHistorical Tralee


The countdown has begun

All the elves at Listowel Garden Centre have been really really busy. They opened their Christmas shop on October 7 2015. Every year I think their display just can’t be better than last year’s and every year it is. Do drop in and see for yourself.

Danny Russell tells me that he has seen Christmas displays in Harrods and Brown Thomas and he thinks that Listowel Garden Centre Christmas Shop 2015 is better.

I dropped in early to take some photos before all of this beautiful stock starts to walk out the door.


What a Shame!

Greenlawn Nursing Home has been vacant  and neglected for some years now. On Thursday last, October 8 2015 it was extensively damaged internally by fire and smoke.

Tractors on Parade and Con and Paddy Minogue of Rathea

Vehicles in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade 2015


Kennedy Home

The former Greenlawn/ Kennedy Home is to get a new lease of life soon.

The notice on the gate says that the Brothers of Charity are asking for planning permission to change the use to a Family Resource Centre.


Minogues of Rathea

A few weeks back I reproduced a story first told in the Rathe Irremore Journal. It was one of my most popular posts in a long time.  

Today I bring you another story from the same journal. This time is Kitty Sweeney’s account of a man who lived a sad and lonely life but who had many friends and admirers in Rathea.


It is said when we start looking back over
our lives, it’s a sure sign of old age creeping up on us. When we think back
and once again draw from the archives of our minds, all that is stored in there
for as far back as we can remember, things 
that happened are partly forgotten and have laid dormant for so long.
These memories can belong to faces, places, the sound of voices that come
re-echoing out of the past, friends, neighbours, family long  gone, but some little figment of remembrance
lingers on. When we draw these out again and re-live them, it’s amazing how
much is stored away in the caverns of our minds. The friends and people we knew
so well who formed our community one big family and whose names have been
erased as it were forever. It’s nearly half a century since these people walked
among us. The family I am going to tell you about, are a father and son, Con
and Paddy Minogue. It doesn’t seem that long ago since they left us, but I
recently asked someone who is in his fiftieth year,”Do you remember Paddy
Minogue”. Never heard of him was the reply.

Con and Paddy Minogue lived in a thatched
little “cot”, consisting of one room, a stones throw from Brown’s
Bridge. The father a poet, the son the singer – that’s why I would like to write
a little memorial to them. Con was a farm labourer, his family were of Clare
extraction, but he came to these parts at the time of the “hiring
fairs”, when labourers went to market places and were hired by the
farmers. He also broke stones on the road for the council, drew turf to Tralee
with a jennit and cart – a hard life by any standards, but these people never

Con was a poet and he wrote plenty of
poetry – a lot of comic commentary on happenings in the locality and Skelligs
lists. I can remember him rhyming them off at our house during the dinner when
he worked with my father. He would be eating and reciting. Some of these local
verses were frowned upon by the “boyos” they were written about. But
his serious ballads were beautiful – the one surviving one, the well known song
“The Banks of the Sweet Smerla Side”. He also wrote other lovely
songs, one about the “Mass Rocks of Ireland”, but sadly they are all
lost. Today he could hold his own with the best poets of the day. But alas he
was born too soon and his work was not appreciated. I don’t think he lived to
pension age. He is laid to rest in Finuge cemetery.

While the father was the poet and
balladeer, his son Paddy was the singer, and anyone who remembers him singing
will agree that he had a glorious voice. He could use his voice so well for
someone who never had a singing lesson – it was melodious and beautiful. Paddy
had the misfortune of losing his mother when he was only a few years old, he
didn’t remember her. His father re-married, but his step-mother didn’t have
much authority over Paddy. He didn’t bother with school too much, he didn’t
believe in spending his day at a bench learning the three R’s. He was like an
adopted son of every family in the surrounding townlands, everyone liked him.
Paddy spent his years singing and enjoying himself. He was welcome at every
hooley and invited or not he turned up, his hair shining with
“Brillantine” (it could be bought at Pike for 2d. a Bottle). Paddy
had a very narrow little head, he couldn’t get a peaked cap small enough, so he
had to roll several sheets of the “Kerryman” lenghtwise and fit it
inside the cap to keep it from falling down over his eyes.

He was very popular when it came to the
saving of the hay or the turf cutting. He would promise faithfully to come, but
if he got a “wink” from a girl somewhere else, he was like an elusive
butterfly, he was gone – he loved the girls. During the many days he spent on
our farm doing the chores, we would have him singing all his newest songs. At
milking time, in the times of stools and buckets, we would sing along with him,
the same at meadow time and at the picking of the spuds or at whatever job we
were lucky enough to have Paddy doing. He was innocent and harmless, everyone’s
friend, he had no foes and he never missed Mass on Sundays. He lived life
without worries or cares, he never took a wife, he said they were too
troublesome and of course maybe they let him down. When Paddy was in his late
thirties he became a diabetic. He didn’t have anyone to look after him – his
latter life was mostly spent in hospital and eventually he went to Killarney
and never came home again. When he died, he didn’t have one single family
member alive. He died rather suddenly and by the time the news reached Rathea,
he was already buried in Aghadoe – a beautiful place – His neighbours were very
upset as they would have brought Paddy back to be buried beside his father –
not that it mattered where he was laid to rest.

He was certainly one of the decent flowers
that blushed unseen. I hope there are hoolies up in heaven because if there
are, Paddy is there for sure giving his rendering as only he could of the
“Bold Gatty Boy” – the last verse went like this,

“Tomorrow Mulcahy will stand on the dock

 watching forever the turns of the book.

The judge will reply, with a wink in his

more years for the Bold Gatty Boy”.

Kitty Sweeney.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén