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: Lidl listowel

Listowel’s Santa Experience 2017, Heaney’s Mid Term Break and Garden Centre at Christmas

First Run on Friday


A Poem for November

Today’s poem from Irish Stories of Love and Hope is often named by students as their favourite poem. The awful life changing, everything changing reality of death is so poignantly and simply told by Heaney that it resonates even with young people who have not yet experienced a death wrench.

I lost my father when I was seven and my only sister when I was 14. This poem never fails to break my heart.

Mid Term

By Seamus Heaney

I sat all morning
in the college sick bay

Counting bells
knelling classes to a close.

At two o’clock our
neighbours drove me home.

In the porch I met
my father crying-

He had always
taken funerals in his stride-

And Big Jim Evans
saying it was hard blow.

The baby cooed and
laughed and rocked the pram

When I came in,
and I was embarrassed

by old men
standing up to shake my hand

And tell me they
were sorry for my trouble.

Whispers informed
strangers I was the eldest

Away at school, as
my mother held my hand

In hers and
coughed out angry tearless sighs

At ten o’clock the
ambulance arrived

With the corpse,
stanched and bandaged by the nurses.

Next morning `I
went up  into the room, Snowdrops

And candles
soothed the bedside; I saw him

For the first time
in six weeks. Paler now

Wearing a poppy
bruise on his left temple

He lay in the four
foot box as in his cot

No gaudy scars,
the bumper knocked him clear.

A four foot box, a
foot for every year.


A Trip to The Christmas Shop

My young visitors love to visit Listowel Garden Christmas shop.


More on Paddy Drury as remembered by Jerry Histon in the Shannonside Annual in the 1950s

Paddy was a great walker. I heard him say that he brought this from his mother who, he averred, once walked from Knockanure  to Limerick and returned with a stone of yellow meal balanced on her head. This was during “the bad times”.

As I have said, without hearing Paddy tell the story, a lot of its local humour is lost. For instance, one day Paddy was seated in the snug of the public house in Listowel. The snug country pubs is usually called the office. A crony of Paddy’s passed in on the way to the bar. “Is it there you are, Paddy”. It is so and if you had minded your books like me you’d be  in an office too.

Paddy and his friend Toss Aherna one-day making a grave for an old men from Knockanure who had all his long life been avaricious for land. Toss spaced out the site of the grave and said to Paddy “I suppose the usual 6′ x 3, Paddy”.  “Ah” was Paddy’s retort “he was always very fond of the land. Suppose we give it another foot.”

When working for a farmer who had killed a boar to which the workmen were treated day after day for dinner, Paddy at last got exasperated and one-day for Grace said

May the Lord on high who rules the sky

look down upon us four, 

 and give this mate that we can ate,

and take away this boar!


The Lidl cat

This feline seems to have found a new home at Lidl, Listowel

Brosna, Behans of Bunaghara and Syracuse and Darkness into Light 2015

Setting potatoes in April 2015

( Jim McSweeney documenting country life in North Cork)


Death of Another Rural Village

“Jerry’s report on Kerry Today this morning on the decline of small villages. Brosna GAA club are the All Ireland Club Junior Football Champions but last week the village’s last shop, Fay’s, closed. Brosna once had 13 shops and nine pubs; now it just has four pubs.”

(Photo and text from Radio Kerry)

Since Radio Kerry covered this story there is hope that the post office might expand its range into groceries as well.


Behans of Bunaghara

Recently I have been in email contact with Andy Ross of Syracuse, N.Y . This is what he wrote: 

“My name’s Andy Ross and I only just discovered your “Listowel Connection” blog this evening.  Hey, I’m proud to say I have a connection!  🙂

My great-great grandfather, John Behane, born 1822 in Bunagarha, Co. Kerry, to William Behane and Catherine (Enright) Behane, immigrated to Syracuse, NY during the famine, leaving a large family behind (brothers William, Thomas, Michael, and sisters Mary, Margaret, and Catherine – I think there was more too).

He worked in the salt industry in my native city of Syracuse NY (Syracuse is still referred to as “Salt City”) back in the 1850’s and was the grandfather of my paternal grandmother, Margaret (Carney) Ross.

I’m sincerely fascinated with genealogy, especially with our Irish ancestry.  There’s a “Behan/Callahan” plot in St. Agnes Catholic Cemetery, just down the road from my Grandmother Ross’ house in Syracuse NY, where John Behan and one of his younger sisters who also immigrated from Bunagara, Julia, are buried (both Behan siblings married “Callahan’s”, my great-great grandmother, who were from North Kerry as well).  Syracuse was very much a mini-NYC with immigrant families being identified with specific parts of town (the Famine Irish were typically northside Syracuse). 

It’s amazing with technology today, we can actually pinpoint exactly where John Behan’s family lived off R523 in mid 19th century, the size of the parcel, who lived there at the time, who the landlord was, etc.

I’d love to stop by Listowel on my next trip to Ireland (probably when my kids get old enough to appreciate it), it looks beautiful and any Yank appreciates a connection to a town in Ireland, regardless how distant.  🙂

Just to prove that the “North-Kerryman-DNA” lives on in the States, I hope you don’t mind me sharing a photo of my siblings and I (it’s from my wedding years ago but unfortunately, I don’t have any more recent).  From left to right, it’s my sister Kate, brother Dan, myself, brother Doug, brother Stu, and Mom, Kristin.”


Huge support for Darkness into Light Walk for Pieta House

Listowel Tidy Towns
Ballyduff GAA
Beale GAA
Listowel RFC
Moyvane GAA

Photos: Darkness into Light, Listowel


Lidl On Tuesday Last


Give your paintwork a Facelift

Brosna, stampaí, WIM 2015 and Lidl Listowel

  Everyone’s favourite Dolphin

It’s a while since I included a photo from Fungie Forever


Brosna Abú

Iknow well how hard it is to write well every time. Billy Keane succeeds more often than most. Here below, in its entirety, is his excellent piece on Brosna. It was printed in the Irish Independent.

The old village slopes down from The Square as if
it’s falling off the steep hill. It has been reported by folklorists that bikes
ridden by lightweights have often taken flight

Over it all is the high mountain.
The mighty Blackwater starts the long journey to the sea as a bubbling-over
pot, here in the wild highlands of the North Kerry Mount Eagle. Mighty rivers
have small beginnings. Great teams can come from small places.

There was a time when the derelict
buildings almost outnumbered the habitable dwellings in the village square.
Paint flaked away like some sort of artist’s metaphor for death and decay.
Cawing crows were the only sign of life on quiet nights when the lonesome wind
whistled the lament for a village.

Brosna was dead, they said. The
young people were leaving and the old were dying out. The doomsters and
defeatists were wrong. Brosna lives. Sure aren’t they the All-Ireland Junior
Football champions?

The kids called it the Tangerine
Dream, and the proof of it all is that dreams really do come true when you
truly believe.

Just to give you some sort of an
idea of the type of people we are dealing with here, it might be no harm to
tell you the story of Con Carey, the man who was buried twice.

Con was a hard-working bachelor who
was buried without the customary honours such as a shave and a wash and the
fitting out of a good suit. And so it was that the 12 apostles of Brosna dug up
Con and gave him a good send-off. Con was washed and shaved and togged out
beautifully for his last journey.

Prayers were said, toasts were made
and Con was reburied. Mairead Heffernan and Liam O’Brien produced a poignant
hour-long epitaph of sheer listening joy on Con for the treasure store that is
known as the Documentary on One.

I met a few of the 12 apostles over
the years and I can honestly say Our Lord would have picked them on his team
any day. So you see then there was context here. And principle and a desire to
do the right thing.

All-Irelands aren’t won in places
where the people give in. Brosna was painted up and local committees gathered
together to reclaim their village.

My grandmother was born in Brosna
and she died in childbirth. My grandfather used to bring my mother over to
Brosna in his horse and trap from Knocknagoshel for weekends and she was
treated like a sister by the Lanes of Meenavoughane, which sound like the name
of a slide, but these are real people.

Brosna is in the heart of Sliabh
Luachra, which takes in parts of the three counties of Kerry, Limerick and
Cork. Sliabh Luachra is famous for lively polkas and slides faster than fast
jigs. The organic cadences and rhythms of the music mirror the lively, airy
nature of her people.

There was fight there too and a
calmness. Brosna were three points down with two minutes to go against The Rock
of Tyrone in the semi-final but came out of that hard place. There were three
well-worked scores, coolly taken, in the last three plays to send the game to a
replay which they won.

By the way, Brosna say they never
encountered anything like the generosity in defeat of The Rock players and the
graciousness of their supporters.

So Brosna went up to Croke Park.
Old men and old ladies were there in the hallowed stadium for the first time.
There were more scares against the gallant exiles, John Mitchels of Liverpool.
The ball was cleared off the Brosna line with seconds left. They can never take
this away from ye Brosna, no matter what.

Congratulations too to our
neighbours and friends from Ardfert, who won their third All-Ireland. A truly
incredible achievement. And hard luck on Austin Stacks, the team that came from
a terrible defeat in 2013 to win local and Munster titles.

There were bonfires at the border
of Fealesbridge and at Patsy’s Cross on the old butter road to Cork. The Brosna
team walked over the River Feale as they took the cup in to Kerry. It’s all
recorded in a five-and-a-half-hour video shot by the genius Paidi Herlihy. I
suppose you can’t get enough of a good thing, and all receipts go to Brosna

They marched down the hill from the
GAA field to the village with pikes blazing. The Cullen Pipe Band from Cork led
the way. Mountcollins of Limerick gave their lit-up pitch for free. All of
Sliabh Luachra danced to the Brosna Slide. There were 3,000 people in the
village on the rainy night they brought the cup back home. I know, I know.
Wouldn’t you just love if it was your club?

Our old friend Jimmy Keane was the
manager. He never gave up on Brosna. One man with passion is worth more than
100 accountants. We need doers, not don’ters.

The battle now is to keep this
mostly young team together. Brosna has always suffered from emigration, and
maybe the momentum and confidence from Croke Park can somehow feed an economic

It’s been a good while now since
the eagles flew the mountain, but down below on the hill, the new Brosna
soared. The glory of the day brings hope and sustenance to a living village
that refused to give up.

Indo Sport


Irish Stamps 1922

Below are some more recent stamps commemorating the Battle of Kinsale in 1601


Date for the Diary

Great weekend in store

It will take place here. If you love Olivia O’Leary, Róisín Ingle, Katie Hannon or Mary Harney don’t miss this opportunity to hear them live on your doorstep.


A Little Bit o’ Lidl

It was all high visibility jackets, hard hats, drilling and banging when I  visited Lidl Listowel yesterday.

The story is that the shop is undergoing a complete refurb. Lidl Listowel will close for 5 weeks from April 26 2015 and when it opens again we won’t know it. It will have a completely new look.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén