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: kerry Girls

Some recent local photos

Signs of Spring spotted on Market St.

 Seed potatoes

Lawn mowers lined up outside McKenna’s


Three local Historians

Snapped on the street on Ash Wednesday 2015, Jer. Kennelly, Denis Carroll and Damien Stack, my fellow keepers of the flame of Listowel memories.


Then and Now

Below are the three most recent locations of Listowel post office in chronological order

Upper William Street is very quiet these days. Getting a parking space to visit the shops here is no bother at all these days.


At Craftshop na Méar

If you would like a novelty tea cosy, these beautiful creations, all hand made, including the rosary beads are available in the craftshop in Church St. Lots of other beautiful things on offer as well.


Parking in Super Valu

These signs have appeared recently. I don’t know what the punishment is for exceeding the 2 hours.

There car park was very busy on the day I visited, with big lorries delivering and cars everywhere.

This is a new one on me. Again I don’t know what the penalty is for exceeding the time.


Emigrant Girls From Killarney

Thirty five Killarney girls were meant to sail on the Elgin from
Plymouth to Adelaide, (Southern Australia) on 31 May 1849.   Finding
the identity of these thirty five girls has been a major problem for me, since
starting the research on the book The Kerry Girls:  Emigration &
the Earl Grey Scheme. 

Thus begins another great essay on the fate of some Kerry girls during The Great Hunger. 

Read Kay Caball’s blog post here;

   My Kerry Ancestors 

I was with John Boyne in Knocknagoshel and in Athea with the fairies

In Knocknagoshel with John Boyne

My regular readers may remember that I visited Knocknagoshel some time ago. I was on a recce mission for my job during Listowel Writers’ Week 2014, i.e. to escort John Boyne of Boy in Striped Pyjamas fame to talk to his fans in their own community centre in a glorious corner of North Kerry.

It is one of the triumphs of Writers’ Week and particularly The National Children’s Literary Festival  that it brings big name authors to small places to meet their readers.

This year Knocknagoshel hosted two authors, Alan Early and John Boyne. They talked to an appreciative audience of children from local schools.


While we were in Knocknagoshel I met two busy local ladies. One of them was making 21 dinners for her Meals on Wheels friends and the other lady was busy in the laundry beside the hall where we had our event. This local community is exemplary in its efforts to care for its vulnerable people  and to look out for everyone.  

Arise Knocknagoshel, Take a bow; A truly inspirational place. 

I’m glad I got to go there.


Out and About in Listowel

While Michael Guerin was in town with his camera during Writers’ Week he took a few snaps of local people.

He also recorded a few good memories at Kay Caball’s launch


Some Fairy lore

Fairies have to be 12 years old and they have to sit three exams before they are responsible enough to collect baby teeth. Our baby teeth contain all our childhood memories, dreams and wishes.

Animals can see fairies and talk to them

Fairies are nocturnal.

They love shiny things.

Fairies are multilingual.

These and other fairy “facts” I learned from The Irish Fairy Door Co

When I was at the Kingdom County Fair I met a man from Sneem who was making lovely fairy and elf doors, but any half handy carpenter could make you a door for your very own fairy. I’d recommend you get one. They are great fun.

Here are some more photos from my trip to Athea, home of ten fairies:

Entrance to The Giant’s Garden
Flags of many nations
Sign on a seat along the walk
Fairy post box; you can leave a letter for the fairies here.

Rustic paths through lush undergrowth.

Lú is the local Athea fairy. It was she who helped the giant in his distress after the accident with his mother’s remains on the way to the graveyard which lies at the top of Fairy Mountain.

looking down from Fairy Mountain
Some of the Tidy Town Committee who developed the project

A fairy loving birthday party group from Duagh ready to investigate the fairy trail

Our M.C. for the day
Our story teller


Magnificent White Lion

Source; Get inspired


Listowel Celtic U14 Premier League Champions & Cup Finalists 2014    (photo; John Kelliher)


Ah, lads!

This is not funny. Someone has stolen this sign from outside Asdee.

These signs are expensive, informative and decorative. They advertise our pride of place and are meant for everyone visiting the area.

Two Listowel events during LWW 2014

Kerry girls who never saw a silver spoon and one Kerry girl who makes them.

On Saturday May 31 2014 in Scoil Realt na Maidine, Listowel, Kay Caball launched her study of the girls who left Kerry workhouses for a new life in Australia. A huge crowd gathered to hear Jimmy Deenihan introduce the book to an eager readership of historians and people anxious to learn something about life in Kerry in Famine times. The book sold out in jig time.

It was fitting that the last mayoral duty of any mayor of Listowel ever was the launch of Kay’s book by her nephew, Jimmy Moloney, last mayor of Listowel. The office of mayor was abolished with the abolition of town councils on May 31 2014.

You will see many well known local faces among the huge crowd who attended on the day.


My Silver River Feale

The contrast could hardly be greater. Starving local girls clambering to escape disease and almost certain death in The Ireland of The Great Hunger and well heeled local girls anxious to buy a piece of high end silver jewellery.

Eileen Moylan is a master silversmith with her own jewellery business, Claddagh Design. Her beautiful  My Silver River Feale range was introduced to an appreciative audience on Saturday evening May 31 2014. 

Here are a few photos from the night. I will post some more next week.

Clíona Cogan and Sinéad O’Neill
Mary Moylan sings My Silver River Feale
Owen MacMahon had the crowd in the palm of his hand.
Eileen and Mary



Michael Guerin kindly shared some of his photos of the night with us.


Eileen made a little video of the process involved in producing a custom piece.

The jewellery is available in Craftshop na Méar

Kingdom County Fair and three successful Listowel ladies

Kingdom County Fair

I had one of the best days out this year at this event on May 11 2014.

My niece’s lovely horse, Mr. Riordan won his class and then went on to be reserve overall champion of the show. I was delighted to be there to record the event.

Showing animals is all about obedience and a willingness on the animal’s part to respond instantly to his master’s command. This was obvious in the horse showing ring but it was even more obvious in the sheep rounding up competition where the teamwork of man and dog was thrilling to watch. The sheepdog trials took place in a remote corner of the show field and I don’t think it got the exposure it deserves.

Mr. Riordan tried his hand at the show jumping as well and he scored two clear rounds. Maybe a future as a show jumper awaits him.

 There were competitions for all sorts of animals, skills and crafts. I took the photo below from The Kingdom County Fair’s Facebook page. It shows the enormously talented Philomena Sheehy from Duagh receiving one of her many prizes. Philomena has “a gifted pair of hands”. She has been winning  prizes at this fair for years.  2014 was no exception.


Car Boot sale…….Community Centre 

One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.

May 25 2014 in Listowel Community Centre. Drop in and pick up a treasure.


“Oh stony grey soil of Monaghan 

You burgled my bank of youth.”

Patrick Kavanagh picking spuds  (photo from The National Gallery)


Rhona Tarrant

This Cinderella got to go to the ball. Rhona Tarrant of Listowel is currently on an internship in New York. She recently got to go the Gala Ball for the American Ireland Fund. The famous Kerry fashion designer to the stars, Don O’Neill lent Rhona this fabulous dress from his Theia collection.


Kay Caball

Kay is always a powerhouse of information. Her latest blogpost about thinking outside the box when it comes to researching your ancestors is entertaining and informative.

Kay writes as she speaks, in an easily accessible narrative style with lots of interesting anecdotes to illustrate her point. This is why I know that her book:

The Kerry Girls: Between the Famine & The Crown

The Story of 117 Kerry Girls sent to Australia on the Earl Grey Scheme

will make fascinating reading.

Kay will launch her book at Writers’ Week 2014 on Saturday May 31st. in Scoil Realta na Maidine at 2.00 p.m.


Jimmy Deenihan and Micheál OSuilleabháin turn the first sod in the Ard Curam building project.

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