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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Generation emigration and the last of my Ladies’Day photos

The Skype call and Facetime have replaced the “letter from America”

Sunday Night is Skype Night

Above is a link to a great article by Collette Browne in The Irish Independent of Sept 30 2013. I will reproduce here the first few paragraphs. The whole article is well worth reading, whichever side of this scenario you identify with,


Like tens of thousands of households,
Sunday night in my parents’ house is Skype
night – when they chat to my brother and his family, who are living in the
United States.

Having married, had a daughter and
recently obtaining US citizenship since he moved, it is unlikely my brother
will ever return to live in Ireland. His life now is elsewhere.

For my parents, this means that they have
to watch their only grandchild grow up via a computer screen, missing important
milestones in her life.

Communication tools like Skype
have doubtlessly made it easier for severed families to keep in touch but they
cannot recreate a hug, let you carry a child to bed or facilitate a family
having a meal together.

Despite the ache caused by physical
absence, for many emigrants, like my brother, the experience of living abroad,
where they enjoy better job prospects and a higher quality of life, has largely
been a positive one…..


Lots of premises getting a facelift these days


More from Ladies’ Day 2013


Words and Music

Saturday October 12 was a great night in The Listowel Arms where local and national talent entertained an appreciative audience.

Billy Keane told his anecdotes and read his poem. Mickey MacConnell brought the house down with two of his many lovely ballads. If Aldi and Lidl had any sense of humour they would be beating a track to his door and using his great song in their advertising

The Ballad of Lidl and Aldi

David Browne gave an inimitable rendition of Carthalawn’s songs form John B.’s Sive.

Denis Hobson is an excellent interpreter of John B.s characters. On Saturday night he was The Chastitute. He was ably supported by members of The Abbefeale Drama  Group.

(a few more photos tomorrow)


John Stack’s pic of G.A.A. action from the weekend

Moyvane v. Clounmacon

Ladies Day 2013 …again and every picture tells a story

Today, October 4 2013 we go to the polls to vote on the amendment to our constitution to abolish Seanad Eireann. Lets hope we do the right thing.


A further few photos  ( Mostly local people) I took on The Island on the Friday of Races 2013


This picture was painted by Marie Brennan of Ballybunion. As they say on The Antiques Roadshow it’s not just the picture it’s the provenance that gives it value.

Owen MacMahon was opening an exhibition of Marie’s paintings when he spotted one that struck a chord. It was a painting of an old fashioned bathtub. Owen remembered bathing in just such a tub in front of The Stanley range. He told Marie this and he confessed that he still likes to take a bath on a Saturday night and he likes nothing better than to soak in the tub while reading The Racing Post. Marie surprised him some time later with this artist’s impression of Owen in a seaweed bath with race card and Racing Post to hand.

Here are Owen and Máire at Listowel Races on the Saturday and he is still studying form.


Old ways, a Horgan reunion and some more style

Do you remember the hay float?

If you do you might enjoy this lovely clip which Jer. shot on Vintage Day in Blennerville on Sunday Sept. 29


 Jim Halpin’s photo of a group in 1942 in the Sluagh Hall, Listowel. They were the Army Medical Corps. I dont suppose anyone will be able to name these men.


I dont have a date for this cutting but we can see where all the power lay in those days.


The following photos were sent to me by Jim Horgan who organised the recent clan reunion in Tómaísín’s in Lisselton. There was a great turnout of Horgans on the night and they enjoyed a great séisiún.

 Horgan Cousins

 Mike Molyneaux, Margaret O’Donoghue Cloonan, Tom Molyneaux, Brede Molyneaux
Brosnans and Horgans
Fantastic local musicians from Ballydonohue
Fantastic local musicians fromh Ballydonohue
Horgan Cousins from Kerry, England and USA
Having a spin: Margaret O’Donoghue Cloonan (Tannavalla/Pittsburgh), Mike Molyneaux (Woodford, Listowel), Eileen O’Donoghue Curran (Tannavalla/Pittsburgh), Bridget Horgan (Atlanta, USA)

Jim and Bridget Horgan having a waltz

Lara Scott – Atlanta Georgia, USA
Eileen Ann Brosnan (New Zealand), Jim Horgan (Atlanta, USA), Cathy Horgan Herbenick (Dayton, USA)


A few more from Ladies Day

If you haven’t seen your photo yet, don’t despair. I still have a few more to go.


Still on style, the wedding of the year took place in The Bahamas recently and the happy (and very rich) couple released this photo;

Windows of Wonder; Words and Music; Michael Collins and Ladies Day 2013

Two Dates for the diary

This is actress, Florence Gabriel who plays teacher, Cathy MacMahon in a film of the great Bryan MacMahon story “The Windows of Wonder”

The Listowel premiere of the film will be screened in The Classic Cinema, Listowel on Thursday October 17 at 8.00p.m. The story is a lovely one and the film promises to be a faithful adaptation.

Preview here;

On the previous Saturday, Writers Week are holding what promises to be a great “Listowel Night”

Tickets for this one off gig are available from any Writers’ Week member or from the WW office in the basement of The Seanchaí.


This is Michael Collins’ bicycle. Jer. photographed it on show during the recent Ploughing Championships. For those interested in such things is a 1919 Rudge Whitworth deluxe double bar.

This is Michael Collins addressing a rally without any amplification except the human voice. It must have been all the cycling that gave him the lung power to be heard by all of these.


Still some more from Ladies Day at Listowel Races 2013


And the Listowel Connection?

 Kieran O’Connor, Listowel and New York in the centre of the picture with the cup and some team mates on the Kerry New York Senior Gaelic football team after their great win in  the New York Senior Championship 2013.

Frank Sheehy, Urney Chocolate and more style from Ladies Day 2013

+ R.I.P. Patsy Byrne +

Duagh, North Kerry and the racing and greyhound worlds were rocked to hear of the sudden passing of Patsy Byrne. May he rest in peace.

Byrne founded the construction group in 1969 with his brother Johnny.

Byrne Bros (Formwork) grew rapidly to become one of the best known names in the concrete frame sector.

Tony Dowle, group managing director, said: “All the members of staff send their deepest heartfelt condolences to every one of the Byrne family at this most difficult time.

“Patsy was an immense character who touched the hearts and minds of everyone he came into contact with.

“He built the Byrne Group of companies into one of the most robust and respected businesses in its specialist fields in UK construction. He will be very sadly missed. (Source: The Construction Enquirer)

White Star line in the blue and pink of Patsy Byrne winning The Guinness Kerry National a short few weeks ago.


Sligo versus Louth, Croke Park 1929……. We have come a long way, thank God.

 Listowel boasts a fine sportsfield named after Frank Sheehy

Who was Frank Sheehy?

The question is answered by Vincent Carmody 

Frank was born in 1905 to John J.(b
1870) and Annie Sheehy.(b 1874) His father served as a drapery assistant in the
Listowel and his mother was a native of Tipperary. Frank was the youngest of 4
children, with a brother John (b 1898), Margaret(b 1899) and Ellen ( b 1901).

He received his primary education
at the Boys’ National School, only 3 doors up the street from his home,. After this
he attended St Michael’s College where he was a classmate of Seamus
Wilmot among others.

 Having achieved an M.A. at University College
Dublin he then applied for and was accepted to attend at St. Patrick’s Training
College 1932-1934 to complete his studies to become a National Teacher. Among
his colleagues at this time was the redoubtable Sean O Síocháin, later to
become a long time General Secretary to the Gaelic Athletic Association.
OSíocháin, in a tribute to Frank in 1981 wrote, ‘I first made his
acquaintance in 1932/1934 as a student teacher in the Primary School attached
to St. Patrick’s
Teacher Training College, in Drumcondra, Dublin, where
Frank had established himself as one of the great primary teachers of his time.
In the following years, through the thirties and into the forties, we worked in
after-school hours for the Comhar Dramaíochta, in the production and promotion
of plays in Irish, he as runaí and I as a junior actor and sometimes
Bainisteoir Stáitse. His high efficiency, his drive and his sense of humour
streamlined many a situation for amateur actors which, otherwise might have
been chaotic. During the forties, as Principal of an Endowed Primary School in
Oldcastle, Co. Meath, gave him a distinction enjoyed by few in Primary
Education, while his period in that part of Co. Meath, which coincided with
that of the incomparable Paul Russell as Garda Sergeant, transformed the town
and the district into a mini-Kingdom all their own’.

He returned to his native town in
the early 1950s and quickly immersed himself in the local club and county GAA
scene. He became Chairman of the county board in 1953 and many would say that
he indeed was the spark that ignited the Kerry Senior team to regain the Sam
Maguire, the first since 1946. That year he also organised the golden jubilee
of the county’s first All Ireland success in 1953 and he was also instrumental
in initiating the scheme that allowed Kerry All Ireland medal holders the right
to apply for two tickets whenever the county reached the final.

He was appointed as principal of
the senior boys’ school on his return to Listowel, a position he held until
1960. He served as Munster Council President from 1956-1958 and was narrowly
beaten for the Presidency of the GAA by Dr.J.J.Stuart.

In 1961 he went to Nigeria, Africa,
to take up a position of Professor of Educational Science at a training college
in Asaba. He died there in 1962.

Listowel sports field is named
‘Pairc Mhic Shithigh’ in his honour.


Do you remember this treat?


More Style


Do you remember this?    Happy days!

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