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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Football and Street Names

Market Street in July 2022


Remember these?

These are Clarks sandals, first introduced to the children’s footwear market in 1933. The ones I wore every summer were Robin sandals . They were very similar to these.


New Kingdom, Church St./ Sr. an Ághasaigh

We have some really lovely shopfronts and signs in Listowel. Unfortunately we have recently acquired some ugly ones too.

In my opinion, New Kingdom Bar highlights the best of Martin Chute’s signwriting. I love it.

Church Street or Sráid and Ághasaigh, take your pick.


Édaein, Kerry Rose

Édaein O’Connell is surely leading her best life since she was selected to represent Kerry in the Rose of Tralee Contest. Here she is taking a well earned spa break in Sneem to recharge the batteries.

She met up with her uncle in Roscommon.


Tarrant’s Tralee

Photo and text shared on Facebook by Bailey’s Corner

Tarrant’s Garage, formerly in the Mart Car Park. The photo was taken during the Kingdom County Fair in 1956! Radio Kerry’s HQ occupies the site today.


Kerry Football back to Winning Ways

John Kelliher’s photo of William Street Listowel on All Ireland semi final Sunday, July 10 2022

Picture of Croke Park was shared by Barbara Kissane, a frequent American Irish visitor experiencing her first live Kerry big match. Didn’t she pick a good one?


Killarney Cathedral, Dress to Impress and Volunteers at the local P shop

Rainbow over St. Mary’s Cathedral , Killarney

Photo: Eddie Farmer

This photograph was taken by Eddie on Jan 19 2019.



This fashion shop which has been dressing North Kerry ladies for over twenty years is soon to close. When it does, Danny’s Hair and Beauty will relocate across the street.


A man, a boy and an ass

Source; Photos of Old Dublin

The man on the left on the phone is Mattie Lennon, a great friend of Listowel and a contributor  to Listowel Connection.

The year is 1996 and the photo was taken on Bachelors’ Walk. The uniform is that of of a bus inspector.

Mattie does a spot of writing and he has sent us this essay for our entertainment.

                           DIP ME FLUTE 

     Long before DeValera expressed his dream of “comely maidens and athletic  youths at crossroads” young people held crossroads dances at Kylebeg in the West Wicklow of my youth. At the time it was the equivalent of Facebook or Dateline. 

     There was the occasional “American Wake” ‘though not described as such in our part of the country. And during the twenties and thirties there were also a number of regular dancing houses; usually dwellings with flagged floors and one or more eligible daughters. The small two-roomed home of John Osborne was one such house. Situated at the hill ditch, which divided the common grazing area of “The Rock” from the relatively arable land. There was no road to the house. . It was accessible only through the aptly named Rock Park; the nocturnal negotiation of this field a feat even for the most sure-footed. This had one advantage; when the Free State government introduced the House Dance Act of 1935 which banned dances, dancers and musicians. You had to get a licence to hold a dance, even in your own house. They came up with a moral argument against dancing and ,if you don’t mind, a sanitary facilities argument. But as one commentator said, at the time, the Government don’t care if you make your water down the chimney as long as they get their money. But a breach of the law could result in a court appearance and penalty.

However there was no danger of a late night invasion of John Osborne’s by any Government Inspector. Because even the most dedicated servant of the State would not risk a nightime ambulation through the Rock Park. As the shadows jumped on the whitewashed walls and the lamplight flickered on the willow patterned delph an official invasion was the furthest thing from the minds of the revellers.

   John Osborne,  the man of the house was an accomplished flautist. Did he, I wonder, favour saturating his instrument, like, Neddy Bryan, the flute-player from Ballyknockan,   who on arrival at a session would request the facility to “….dip me   flute in a bucket o’ water”. According to the older people, Neddy Bryan, when he was a young man played the Piccolo . . . that is . . . until the local schoolmaster informed him that the name Piccolo came from Piccolo Fluato, the Italian for a small flute. “I’ll be damned,” says Neddy, “ if I’m going to be called the fella with one of thim things.” and from then on he concentrated on  the  CONCERT FLUTE. Neddy was a fair enough flute player but John Osborne would get so engrossed by certain tunes that he would go into a sort of a trance. 

One night he was after playing a tune called High Level (Now . . .if I was sworn I can’t remember if it was a jig or a reel). Anyhow, one of the boyos says to him, “Do you know that your daughter is abroad in the haggard with Jimmy Doyle?”  

“I don’t,” says John,  “But if you whistle a few bars of it I’ll have a go at it”.

 Dancing wasn’t the only thing that went on in such houses. Now . . . now . . That ís NOT what I’m talking about. If you’ll listen for a minnit I’ll explain. If John  Osborne was alive today he would be described as eccentric. Well . . . I suppose he wouldn’t . . He was a poor man and you have to be well off to merit the euphemism “eccentric”.  Anyway , he was a bit odd but could have some very practical, if unorthodox solutions to certain situations. I’ll give you an example. One night a visiting dancer; a fine young fellow who had the book-learnin’ was going the next day for an interview with a view to joining the Garda Síochana. Opinions were divided as to whether he was of the required height. Until a horse dealer, a relation of my own, stated with some authority,

“That man is not the full eighteen hands high.”

A stone cutter who only lived one field away went home and returned with a six-foot rule. And sure enough the prospective polisman proved to be half an inch short of the required height. What was to be done?. This was before the era of “brown envelopes” and anyway times were poor. John Osborne hit on a plan. When the dancers back was turned he dropped his flute and with the maximum alacrity picked up an ash-plant. Almost before the pause in the music was noticed he gave the young man a belt of the stick on top of the head. ‘A fellandy” it was called up our way. The man in question had a good thick head of hair and the resulting bump brought him up to the required height.

  He made a good Guard but ever after, in our area anyway, he was known  as “lumpy head”. There were some colourful nicknames around our place, one young male patron of Osborne’s was known as ‘you’ll have yer ups an’ downs”. You are going to ask me how anyone could end up with such a cumbersome handle. Well . . . I’ll tell you. It was inherited- like a peerage. His father, as a young man had met a girl at a house-dance, a few miles away. Her parents were dead and she had returned from the US of A and, of course, had a few dollars. And . . . she was an only child, into the bargain and . . had  inherited a good few acres. Me man played his cards well and told her a few stories that wouldn’t exactly run parallel with the truth. Anyway, to make a long story short, the relationship blossomed and they got married. He was a steady enough lad . . . he had a few head of cattle . . . five or six. But . . . he had five brothers and each of them had a good few cattle. . . which he borrowed for the occasion. ( In modern banking parlance such a move would be described as “an artificial boost”) The new bride must have thought she was back in the land of extensive ranches when the herd was installed on her little farm. There was shorthorns, Friesians, whiteheads and a couple of Aberdeen Anguses. Needless to say, for the first few mornings after the wedding the young couple didn’t get up too early. But one morning when the new bride arose from the marriage bed she noticed a reduction in the herd. One of her brothers in law, under cover of darkness, had repossessed what was rightfully his. When she pointed out the loss the spouse his only comment was “you’ll have your ups an’ downs” . “You’ll have yer ups an downs”. Every other night a similar  raid would take place as each brother took back his livestock and every time the moryah innocent husband would say “you’ll have yer ups an’ downs”. 

But I’m rambling. Nowadays I think they call it digressing. 

I mentioned earlier about the practice of dipping the wooden flute in water. Well, whether for flute-immersion or not a galvanized bucket of water was a permanent feature on the stone bench outside Osborne’s door. And one June night when the boys and girls, (a term used to describe those unmarried, and under 70) having made it relatively unscathed through the Rock Park, were knocking sparks from the floor. They  were glad of the opportunity, amid the jigs and the reels (and God only  knows what other energy-sapping activities) to exit occasionally for a   refreshing draught from the Parnassian bucket. 

  At day-break, while preparing to depart, the exhausted assembly was informed by a youth (who was looked on locally as “a sort of a cod”) of  how he had suffered during the night with a stone-bruise on his big toe. The pain, he  said, would have been unbearable but for the fact that; ” I used to go out now an’ agin an’ dip it in the bucket o’ water”. 


The Joy and Camaraderie of Volunteering 

Lovely customer assistant volunteers in Listowel’s St. Vincent de Paul shop on Friday Feb. 1 2019. the atmosphere in this shop is always so warm and welcoming, and they have some lovely  new and pre loved stuff for sale.


A Great Weekend for Kerry People

On Friday evening Feb. 8 2019 Namir and Kay Karim were invited to the Late Late Show to tell their story of enduring love and their triumph over adversity in their determination to be together.

You’ve read the story on Listowel Connection before but it was lovely to see them tell it to a national audience. They conducted themselves with decorum and dignity in a giddy environment. what a couple!

If you are in Ballybunion be sure to call in to Namir’s, a lovely place to eat.


It was a great weekend for football fans. Every Kerry victory gives Kerry people a lift. A victory over Dublin is always extra special.

And to add to the pleasure two Kerry clubs won their own All Ireland finals so all in all a weekend to remember.

Style in Killarney, Duagh Summer Festival,and another trip to Athea.

The Final 4 at Killarney Ladies Day July 16 2015

The winner was Edel Crowley, on the far left as you look at the photo.

This and lots more photos of stylish ladies at Fab Fillies

Our own very stylish Maria Stack with her friend Louise O’Connor in Killarney yesterday.


In Athea with my family

My grandchildren were in Listowel for the Community Centre Summer Camp. They are among this group queueing for the cinema on the last day. They saw Minions. “Brilliant,” they said.

After the camp I took Sean and Killian to Athea. When I set my camera to black and white, the boys became part of the picture.

At Hanrahan’s Pet Farm we met this majestic fellow, lord of all he surveyed.

This is Blueberry Home Bakery and Coffee Shop

Jacqueline and Stephen were celebrating being nominated for an Irish Times Best Shops Award.

Athea is a really life affirming place.

I told the boys that I drank water from a pump just like this every day on my way home from school. I think the boys were thinking, “you and Finn McCool.”

They were fascinated by the “Flying Feet” monument to the Ahern brothers. Sean and Killian had never heard of the Hop, Step and Jump. They have now.

The boys posed as sentries at The Goold Monument.

I know nothing about its history. This giant celtic cross would appear to celebrate that rare species, a benevolent landlord.


Killarney in 1954

“Although the caption says that BnM visited Russia later that year, the BnM visit was first. The Dusty mentioned in the background was Dusty Miller who was head of technical development in BnaM at that time. Dusty Miller was a name suited to BnaM, he worked on developing milling machines.” (Bord na Mona Heartland)

Apparently the purpose of the exchange visits was to share ideas on machinery design for harvesting and milling peat.


Time to be getting your ass in gear


Remember  ’56

Photo: Terrace Talk

This is a photo of the Kerry team who lost to Cork in the replay in 1956. Will history repeat itself tomorrow?

(Official Munster GAA poster from the internet)

Aspects of Listowel, Bang Bang and Sam comes home to Listowel

A few aspects of town you might have overlooked

entrance to golf course

I had chosen the above photo for inclusion before I read that Listowel Golf Course has closed. Someone who posts on Boards as Mike Hn posted the below photo recently of the site where the golf course used to be.

woodland walk

from Market St.
old mart car park

house on Market St.


Bang Bang, a beloved Dublin character

(source:Rare Irish Stuff)
(source:Photos of Dublin)

Bang Bang was the nickname of a well known Dublin character in the sixties and seventies.  He was a grown up cowboy and Dublin was his Dodge City. He used to jump on the running board of buses and “shoot” passers by with his imaginary gun. The “gun” was, in fact, a big key and it is now preserved  in the National Museum. With so much gun crime on the streets of our capital nowadays the key is a reminder of a more innocent age.


Home is the Hero

Some photos by John Stack of the Listowel homecoming of the victorious Kerry football team.

4 Greats of Football;  Barry John Keane, Eamon Fitzmaurice, Mick Finucane ( The oldest man alive to hold an All Ireland Medal with Kerry) and Shane Enright.

The following photos are from Ian Flavin Photography on Facebook

And one from Bridget O’Connor taken in The Horseshoe


Read the following account of the new stainless steel urinals in John B. Keane’s and have a good old laugh.

First day of school, Kerry flags and a postbox at Convent Cross

He’ll be Fine

Dear Teacher

I know you’re rather busy

First day back, there’s just no

A whole new class of little ones

And this one here is mine

I’m sure you have things covered

And have done this lots before

But my boy is very little

He hasn’t long turned four

In his uniform this morning

He looked so tall and steady

But now beside your great big

I’m not quite sure he’s ready

Do you help them eat their lunch?

Are you quick to soothe their

And if he falls and hurts his knee

Will someone dry his tears?

And what if no-one plays with him?

What if someone’s mean?

What if two kids have a fight

And he’s caught in between?

You’re right, I have to leave now

It’s time for him to go

I’m sure he’ll learn so much from

Things that I don’t know

Yes, I’m sure they settle quickly

That he’s fine now without me

I know he has to go to school

It’s just so fast, you see

It seems like just a blink ago

I first held him in my arms

It’s been my job to love, to teach

To keep him safe from harm

So, when I wave goodbye in a moment

And he turns to walk inside

Forgive me if I crumple

Into tears of loss and pride

I know as I give him one more kiss

And watch him walk away,

That he’ll never again be wholly

As he was before today.

Are you crying?

Blame Doreen Buckley who found this poem on the internet for every mammy and daddy who is seeing off a little one to school this week.



Everywhere all over town the green and gold is flying before Saturday’s replay of the All Ireland Semi final against Mayo.


Down Memory Lane; Postman and Council man

Jerry and Pat on Church St. a few years back.


Elizabethan Postbox at Convent Cross

Convent Cross


New kids on the blog

Sean and Killian have made a great start on their blog of life in Basque country HERE

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