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: Ladies’ Day

Tarbert Bridewell, Celebrations at the convent and the Garden of Europe

Photographer Chris Grayson


Tarbert Bridewell

The bridewell in Tarbert is a restored jailhouse. It is a brilliant visitor experience. My young visitors learned much about justice in times past. The story of the criminal, Thomas Dillon, is well told and very informative.

Here is Thomas contemplating his fate in his prison cell. His crime; allowing his cattle to graze in his neighbours’ land.

The jailer kept the records.

This is the courtroom scene with Dillon in the dock.

These are the injured parties, owners of the land on which the cattle were allowed to trespass.

In the same Bridewell building there is a wealth of archival material relating to a local manThomas Mac Greeey. This is what the guide says of him.

 Thomas MacGreevey  was born in Tarbert. A Poet, Art & Literary critic and Director of the National Gallery of Ireland. A Video, Rivers of Words on the life of Thomas McGreevey was produced for Tarbert Bridewell in association with RTE and can be viewed in this exhibition. 


Good Times at the convent in 1960

If anyone remembers this or has any photos, the people behind the forthcoming 75th anniversary book would love to see them.

Kerryman  June 04, 1960; 


LISTOWEL has an attractive programme fourth annual Musical and, Dancing Festival at the Presentation Convent Grounds on Sunday next.

The Festival will open at the Square at l. 30 p.m. with a parade to the Grounds, The parade will be led  by combinations of musicians and the Festival will be officially opened in the Grounds at 2 p.m. Speakers at the opening will be the two local T.Ds . Mr. D J. Moloney and Mr. P Finucane. On the platform during the day there will be many events. Among these will be items by pupils of the Presentation Convent, Dingle. From this Convent there will be singers who came out prize-winner’s in the West Kerry Festival recently and also dancers who almost took all the prizes at the same festival. From the Presentation Convent, Tralee, there will be girls who came out prize-winners at the recent Gael Linn contest for singing and there will also be a scarf drill display by the same pupils. From Lixnaw Presentation Convent there will be singing and dancing competitors and also a dumb bell drill display from the secondary pupils of that Convent.


From the Presentation Convent, Castleisland, will come competitors in singing, dancing and a drill display.

The Mercy Convent, Abbeyfeale, will be represented by singing and dancing competitors and will provide a display of Indian club drill.

From the primary and secondary schools, Presentation Convent, Listowel, there will be chorus singing and a monster drill display by the secondary girls of that school,

Mary Teresa Flaherty, London, step dancing champion and winner of many medals both In Ireland and England, will treat the audience to an exhibition of step dancing competition for musical combinations for a beautiful shield. In addition to the shield there will be an award of a special medal to the best solo musician in these groups. Note Eamonn Tarrant erected platform and McElligott provided loudspeakers.)


Garden of Europe


The Best Dressed Lady thing

This is the very stylish Listowel contingent who headed off to Galway for Ladies’ Day. These are some of the ladies who are bitten by this dressing up and looking your best bug. They do a great job in highlighting Listowel as a centre of fashion.

Ladies Day 2013, soccer and goslings

Some local ladies enjoying Ladies Day at Listowel Races 2013


 This was taken by Listowel Celtic. Pictured in the parade ring at The Races are Savannah McCarthy, Aiden O’Connor and Daithi O’Se looking forward to Ireland v Estonia in Pat Kennedy Park this afternoon, Tuesday Sept. 24 2013 at 4.30. Free Admission.


John Kelliher’s Nightime in Listowel with Ferris Wheel


Some scenes from Ladies Day,  Listowel 2013

crowd in the stand
crowd behind the stand


From my Bord na Mona connection comes this lovely photo of some geese and their goslings.

Duagh Football?…and some more ladies

Today is maybe not the best day to mention Duagh footballers but these ladies look pretty pleased with themselves. Do you know who they are, when the photo was taken or what is the story?

Contact me at if you know the answers.

Now to some more ladies. As promised a few more well dressed ladies from Friday’s Ladies’ Day at The Races.

Ladies’ Day and rabbits

Celia Holman Lee, judge

Maria Murphy, the winner

I thought you might like to see some of the diverse styles on show at yesterday’s Ladies’ Day. The weather was horrendous, a huge test of stamina, but many many brave ladies came out in their finery to defy the showers.

This is the great Ruby Walsh on Laganbank in the parade ring. They went on to win.

I have lots more photos which I will share with you all in due course. Now it’s time for tales from times past, long before Ladies’ Day became a feature of The Races.  Money was tight but there was no end to local youngsters resourcefulness and enterprise.

Here is the story in Noreen O’Connell’s words

John was a young lad in the early 50’s and for weeks before the Races he and his gang would search the dykes and ditches for glass bottles and jam crocks. The cache was then washed in the cows’ water trough and transported to town in the asses cart where they were sold for ½ d and 1d per item. A small shop , near Jerome Murphy’s in Charles St bought the glass wares. This money was added to the Races kitty, along with the Blackberry-picking earnings.

 Youngsters picked buckets of blackberries and took them to a designated shop for collection. They were purported to be used for dye but who knows some may have ended  up as succulent blackberry and apple preserve ! 

(Perth Dyers had an agency in town at the time.   M.)

 A few glistening shillings were garnered from looping rabbits and selling these on to a well-known victualler for 1s 6d,  He preferred rabbit meat to his own prime steak. Rabbits were also sold to the greyhound fraternity, for what use John cannot recall !!  Rabbits then were everwhere and regarded as pests which would nibble through a cabbage garden overnight .

The spoils were then divided up and this was their betting  and hurdy-gurdy ride funding.

Back in The Island they reminded one another to keep their eyes glued to the ground for any pennies that might have dropped from the rich punters’ pockets!

Curraghatoosane was  prime cabbage growing land and every small farmer sold cabbage to augment his meagre income. John took an ass load of cabbage to town on Saturday mornings and would travel along Convent St and Market St and O’ Connell’s Ave selling his provisions and encountering bargain- seeking housewives who were well versed in the art of haggling for the best price. 

Cabbage then was 6d a head.

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