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: Kenny Heights

Kenny Heights, Wolfgang Suschitzky, Brendan of Kerry and the Doc on One

Border at the Tim Kennelly Roundabout in August 2018


An Old Sketch of Listowel Castle


Another Beautiful Corner of Listowel


Ducks on The Feale in August 2018


Photo; The Guardian

The photographer who took the photos from the publication Brendan of Ireland was a world famous Austrian photographer, Wolfgang  Suschitzky.  He passed away in 2016 at the age of 104 leaving a huge body of very highly regarded work behind him

Obituary of Wolfgang  Suschitzky

The story is a simple one of a boy growing up in the west of Ireland. He is close to his grandparents who play a big part in his life. His grandfather tells Brendan the story of Niamh Chinn Óir, of Óisín and Tír na nÓg and Brendan sets out to find the sea and the land of eternal youth.

This is the opportunity to have Brendan encounter “tinkers’ , a ploughman and fisherman on his way to the sea. He goes via Ballyduff and The Cashen.


A Book to Treasure

I found this marvellous book recently in Listowel’s St. Vincent de Paul shop. It is full of interesting little titbits and valuable information about the countryside.

I’ll share nuggets from it with you here from time to time.


Conor Keane’s Doc on One

Conor writes;

IN 1946, in an act of defiance against the local clergy, a group of local men in Listowel, Co. Kerry force open the locked gates into the Parish Church.

This action by the townspeople of Listowel never makes it into the newspapers, nor is it recorded anywhere else at the time. In fact, the incident has mostly faded from the town’s memory yet has never been forgotten by some. What was it that drove a normally compliant congregation to challenge local Parish Priest, Canon Patrick Brennan’s dominion?

Behind this act of defiance lies the story of a young woman named Peggy McCarthy, whose tragic death in childbirth resulted in the local clergy refusing to let her body lie in the church overnight before her burial. Subsequently, an alliance between Church and State has had a devastating impact on three generations of Peggy’s family – including on the daughter she gave birth to, Breda – which persists right up to the present day.

Famed balladeer Séan McCarthy wrote a song, Shame, Love, In Shame, about the young woman at the centre of these events. Peggy was Séan’s younger sister. Years later, Peggy’s story also inspired local Listowel playwright Tony Guerin to write the play ‘Solo Run’.

Documentary On One: In Shame, Love, In Shame looks at the events behind this story, of Peggy’s life, of her daughter Breda’s life, of how the people of Listowel rallied round and defended Peggy – and of what happened before and since those Church gates were rammed open in 1946.

Narrated by Conor Keane

Produced by Conor Keane and Liam O’Brien

First Broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1, Saturday 18th August 2018 @1pm, Repeated Sunday 19th August  2018 @7pm

Horsefairs, Tim Kennelly Roundabout and North Kerry Tyre Centre

Co. Cork sparrow ; photo TJ MacSweeney


Listowel HorseFairs


By Delia O’Sullivan  in Striking a Chord

The big fair day in Listowel,
the October fair, was the topic of conversation among the farmers for weeks
afterwards. Exaggerations and downright lies were swapped outside the church
gates and continued at the holy water font, to the fury of the priest. It
finished over a couple of pints in the pub. 
None of them could be cajoled into giving the actual price, always
sidestepping with,”I got what I asked for,” or, “I got a good price.” There
were tales of outsmarting the cattle jobbers – an impossible task.

The farmers on our road set
out on foot for thwe seven mile journey at 4 a.m. It was their last chamce to
sell their calves until the spring. Now nine months old, these calves were wild
and unused to the road. Traffic confused them, so their only aim was to get
into every field they passed to graze or rest. Each farmer took a helper. Those
eho had decided to wait until the spring fair would go along later to size up
the form.

The battle would commence at
the Feale Bridge where the farmers were accosted by the jobbers- men trying to
buy at the lowest price. These offers were treated with contempt and a verbal
slagging would follow. “You’ll be glad to give them away before evening,” or,
more insulting, “Shoudn’t you have taken them to Roscrea?”

(Roscrea was a meat and bone
meal processing plant where old cows that could not be sold for meat were sent
for slaughter.)

The shopkeepers and publicans
in Listowel were well prepared for the influx; trays of ham sandwiches sitting
on the counter of each pub where most of the men finished up. The jobbers,
being suitably attired, would have their dinner at the hotel and the farmers
who wanted to avoid the pubs would go to Sandy’s for tea and ham. The
shopkeepers kept a smile on their faces when calves marched through their doors
upsetting merchandise and, sometime, leaving their calling card. The bank
manager was equally excited, greeting each man as “Sir”. He found trhis was the
safest approach as it was hard to distinguish them. They all looked alike in
their wellingtons, coats tied with binder twine and the caps pulled well down
on the foreheads.

My father arrived home late.
It was obvious he was in a bad mood though he didn’t arrive home with the
calves. He said he was cold and hungry and sat in silence at the table, while
my mother served up bis dinner which had been kept warm for hours over a pint
of hot water. As he was half way through eating his bacon and turnip, he looked
at my mother saying, “I’ve never met such a stupid man in all my life.”  The quizzical look on her face showed she
didn’t have a clue wht he was talking about and didn’t dare ask. It took the
mug of tea and the pipe of tobacco to get him started again.

My uncle Dan, my mother’s
brother was his helper. Dan was a mild softly spoken man who had little
knowledge of cattle. It was a a sluggish fair; prices only fair. My father held
out until he was approached by a man he had dealt with often in the past.  They followed the usual ritual arguments-
offers, refusals, the jobber walking away, returning with his last offer. This
was on a par with what my father was expecting so he winked at Dan, which was
his cue to say, “Split the difference.” . Instead Dan winked back. My father
gave him a more pronounced wink. This elicited the same response from Dan. The
day was only saved by a neighbor, who, on noticing the problem, jumped inn,
spat on his palms and shouted, “Shake on it, lads, and give the man a luck

Over a very silent pint and
sandwich Dan mournfully remarked, “If Mike hadn’t butted in you’d have got a
better price for the calves.”


The Tim Kennelly Roundabout

This roundabout is on the Tarbert Road at the junction of Cahirdown and The John B. Keane Road.

This sign on the roundabout warns motorists of an entrance and people turning off the roundabout.

The entrance in question is to Kenny Heights


North Kerry Tyre Centre

on Bridge Road, Listowel February 2017


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