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: Kilbrin

Music, Sport and Jewellery

Hi ho, hi ho, a working we will go. Heading out for the calves, Kilbrin,

July 2023



Pickleball is the latest racket game sweeping the ranks of more mature players. This group of Listowel ladies took part in the pickle ball global event in UCD recently.


The Hanging Gale

This stone is an example of primitive stone carving. Stephen Rynne brought it to Listowel. It was found in a field in the midlands and it says “Home Rule; Down with Landlordism. We have no idea who did it or when but landlords have been a hated class in Ireland for a long time. Here is an extract from Fr. John ORiordáin’s book. He is writing about North Cork but the story was replicated all over the country.


Celtic Art in Listowel

Listowel has produced Celtic artists unlike any other town in Ireland. Michael O’Connor is acknowledged as the foremost illuminator calligrapher. At the top of the list of jewellers working in the global celtic design field is Eileen Moylan of Claddagh Design.

If you have one of these treasures, keep it safely because it will in time be a collector’s item

Stephen Walker is a US based jeweller and designer. He is an expert in the area of Celtic Design and he has published several books about modern celtic art. He is the founder of the international conference of Celtic Design.

Here is what he says about Eileen Moylan’s work;

“The very nature of Celtic design and traditional Irish jewellery is a reference to the past. The challenge of our modern Celtic Renaissance is to preserve that style and those traditions in a way that goes beyond mere copying.  Eileen Moylan’s jewelry work is an excellent example of adapting the ancient style for a contemporary audience. Her designs preserve a sense of nostalgia and identity, yet are solidly contemporary. It is artists and designers like her, whose skill and imagination continue to innovate, that insure that Celtic design will continue to produce meaningful treasures into the future.”

Claddagh Design Celtic Cross


Friday July 7 2013 in Fuchsia Centre

While the occasion was the official opening of the Fuchsia Centre , our party was in Art Chúram.

We were serenaded on our arrival by the delightful Ukrainian family musicians.

Thank you Marie Moriarty for sharing and Jim Ryan for helping me to post this clip of these superb musicians playing the national anthem.

Amhrán na BhFiann

So young and so talented. The Russia Ukraine war is a dreadful occurrence but we are so lucky in North Kerry that it brought these charming and talented musicians into our midst.

Mike Moriarty was excellent in his role as MC.

Finbar Mawe eloquently reminded us of all the effort that had gone into getting the project to completion. He remembered all the fundraisers and he had a special mention for people like Brendan O’Sullivan who made a huge contribution to the project but passed away before the official opening.

The quality of speech making on the day was admirable. Speakers were well prepared and stuck to the script.

Una Buckley stole the show. She spoke movingly of her family’s interaction with Art Chúram.

Bobby and Mary Buckley

Una’s parents live in the country and now that they are no longer driving, they are dependent on family and friends to get them out and socialising. Una thanked the community nurse who introduced them to Art Churam. Now they look forward to their weekly outing. She spoke of the welcome and respect with which they are always treated. Her father has been known to sing a song or two.

Bobby and Mary are just two of the service users whose lives have been enriched by Art Churam. Una spoke for many families who are so grateful to see their parents engaged and happy.


Your Help Needed

Charlie Nolan found this very old photo of boys and girls in the convent school yard. We have no date . Sr. Claire and her fellow sister are in the old habit which puts it probably in the 1950s.

Maybe someone could enhance the photo. We’d love to identify some few of the pupils.

There wasn’t a school uniform in those days but the nuns used to give material and knitting wool to families and they could get a skirt made and a jumper knitted. If you remember wearing one of those skirts or knitted jumpers we’d love to hear from you


Rural Ireland, the good and the bad and a story of Danny Kelliher.

Listowel Town Park, November 2015

“Poems are made by fools like me

But only God can make a tree.”

(Joyce Kilmer)


Ireland’s Rural Communities do Funerals Well

Last week I went back to the
land of my forefathers. I went back to my roots, to my father’s parish of
Kilbrin in North Cork. I was there to attend the funeral of a local legend, Dan

Dan was a lifetime vice president
of  Kilbrin GAA and, boy, did they see him out in style.

 The flags flew at half
mast and most of the club players and officials lined out on both days to
provide an impressive guard of honour. A lone piper piped his funeral cortege
from the church to the playing field where he attended so many matches, then on
past “The Club” i.e. the local community
centre which was a second home to him. There he loved to play cards and chat over a pint with friends young and old. Dan was one of “the old stock” and Kilbrin respects its elders.

Dan’s funeral involved 3
North Cork villages and he would be proud that he brought all three to a halt at various times over the three days. His
wake in Kanturk and his funeral mass in Kilbrin were the biggest seen in the
area for quite some time. His burial in Kiskeam in the lovely hillside
graveyard there was a fitting end to a long and productive life.

My photo shows the hearse bringing Dan home to his beloved Kiskeam for the last time.

Those who were there will
never forget the plaintive playing of Danny Boy by a family friend from Miltown Malbay as Dan was laid to rest in his
native soil beside his beloved wife, Beatrice.

It was a great funeral with a
huge party afterwards in the community centre in Kiskeam with sandwiches and
confectionary to feed the whole parish. The party continued afterwards in The Club in Kilbrin, finishing on November 8 which would have been Dan’s 88th birthday.

The communities of the two
places Dan Breen loved best, Kilbrin and Kiskeam, did him proud. They saw one of
their favourite and most loyal citizens out in style.

Guímis leaba i measc na naomh is na naingeal i gcomhluadar a chairde dá anam uasal dílis.


Kilbrin Revisited… A Sad Journey down Memory Lane

Church of St. John the Baptist, Kilbrin, Co Cork November 7 2015

My father died when I was
seven. As a child I visited Kilbrin often to tend his grave. I have not been
back now for a few years.

 The churchyard where my paternal ancestors, my mother and my sister are buried.

The Ahern family graves

I called  to the graveyard to say a prayer for my parents, grandparents, my sister and all of my kinsfolk and neighbours who are buried there. The graveyard is beautifully kept by a local committee who have done tojan work in cleaning up the whole burial ground and putting a  plan of the churchyard and the names of all who are buried there online; Kilbrin Graveyard Inscriptions

The church too is lovely. It is very small with 3 small aisles. It was built in the 1830s by Fr. Con Scully. I do intend returning to look at the place again….a trip down memory lane.

I saw huge changes in the village of Kilbrin. It now has no shop and no pub. It does have a licensed premises, the
community centre, but when that is closed you can’t buy a newspaper, a bottle of
water or a pint of milk anywhere in the village. It still has a school, a
church and a thriving G.A.A. club but the village without any retail business
is a sad sight.

Read all about Kilbrin in their website here;   Kilbrin


Local Men Fondly Remembered

Last week I published these photos of a group of local friends who are all still remembered with great affection.

Owen MacMahon told me about Danny Kelliher (on the right in the first photo). On the left of the photo is Tommy Murphy of Murphy’s Butchers’ in William St.  Murphy’s Butchers’ employed Danny to deliver the meat around town. 

After he finished at Murphy’s Danny got a job as a window cleaner. 

One day Bryan MacMahon was walking in The Square when he met Danny. The Master stopped to enquire how Danny was getting on with his new job. Danny told him that he was always being asked by tourists alighting from buses in The Square if he knew anything about the history of the castle . He was always disappointed to have to tell them that he didn’t. Bryan offered to write out a short history of the castle for him to learn off so that he could answer the tourists’ questions. This he did.

Some time later Bryan MacMahon was again perambulating in The Square when he met Danny again as he was cleaning a window. He asked Danny if he had had any opportunity to use his new found knowledge of Listowel Castle.

Danny told him that an American tourist had indeed come up to him and asked about the castle. He gave him the full history as learned from The Master’s account. the American man was astounded and he remarked that Danny had a great knowledge of history for a humble window cleaner.

Danny’s reply, “You can’t beat a well educated proletariat.”

The Yank asked no more, only gathered himself back to his bus.


Listowel 10K: a Great Success

Vincent Carmody presented his medal to his grandson, Jack, at end of Kerry Crusaders 10K on Saturday November 14 2015.

November, graveyards and remembering our WW1 fallen


This is the time of year when we remember our loved ones who are no longer with us. I took these photos in a very old churchyard in Kilbrin in Co. Cork, where some of my paternal ancestors are buried. The local committee have done a great restoration and preservation job on the old graves.

Obviously different laws applied in the 18th century as to size of burial plot.

Many of the inscriptions are illegible but this one from 1769 was in great nick.

My parents and older sister are buried here.

My grandfather is buried here.  As far as we can make out, his wife, my grandmother, is buried with her own people. She died at a very young age, leaving my poor grandfather with six very young children to raise with the help of his kind neighbours. It is a great credit to him that he kept them together in very tough times. They and all of us, their descendants,  are a credit to him and to the community who helped him to survive this awful tragedy. I pray with thanks for Philip Ahern of Knockalohert, Kilbrin this November.

Sign at the entrance


This is Lyre churchyard in Co. Cork where my maternal ancestors are buried.

This is my great-grandfather’s grave in Lyre. My grandmother is  buried here

Lyre is a little village near Banteer in North Cork. My grandmother, Mary Cronin, was a lovely kind  strong woman, who played a big part in my childhood. As a young girl she saw most of her family emigrate to the U.S. to a little town called Attleboro in Massachusetts. In the way of the times, people from a certain area emigrated to the same area in the U.S. so they had a little home away from home in the new country. Some of today’s citizens of Attleboro have roots in this little North Cork village or its nearby neighbour, Banteer.

This sign at the entrance is an unfortunate sign of the times we live in.


Listowel Military Tattoo remembers

There will be a short Remembrance Service at the rear of St John’s at the Remembrance Stone on Sunday 9th Nov. AFTER 11 o clock Mass to remember all those from North Kerry who died in WW1. A list of names will be read out. If you would like to check if your loved one’s name is on the register, then you can call in to Jim Halpin’s Museum in Church St..



Tonight’s The Night

The very best of luck to all the brave participants. It promises to be a blast!

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