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: Listowel 1950s

Duagh Parish Live Crib 2017 and an aerial view of Listowel in the 1950s

Sheep at The Gap of Dunloe

Photo: Chris Grayson


Duagh’s Live Crib

The best of all the Christmas cribs is the one in Duagh. It gets better every year . This year my visit was tinged with much sadness as we missed Fr. Pat Moore from a place he loved so well.

Here is a link to Fr. Pat in 2015, when he was on a break from his treatment, introducing the crib;

Duagh Parish Crib, Christmas 2015

A large photo of Fr. Pat greets you as you enter the crib and his presence is everywhere in this lovely place. I hope that the local people, who are still grieving his loss, continue the tradition of the live crib for years and years. It was a project of which he was very proud and he was so so proud of his friends who worked so hard on this project, year in year out.

My boys posed for me with this lovely window in the background. I taught them about the candle and the welcome and we felt the welcome and the hospitality on our trip to Duagh.

There is lots to learn in Duagh. A visit to this crib is a time to linger and ponder the story of Christmas while we revel in community, family and remembrance.

The entrance is through a magical leafy path  which creates the atmosphere of a cave.

The first stable was a kind of cave.

Inside it’s dark and intimate with the crowing of the cock and the smells of the animals bringing the story to life.

The crib tableau was a gift from the cathedral in Killarney. It forms the centrepiece of this lovely scene.

After our visit to the live crib we went into the church. It too was in all  its festive dress.


Poles Apart

Bernard O’Connell follows this blog from Brampton, Ontario in Canada.

Julie Evans follows from down under in Sydney, Australia


Listowel in the 1950s

Ned O’Sullivan posted these photos of Listowel in the 1950s on Facebook

Garden of Europe in Winter, Memories of growing up in Listowel and a Kind Lady

Garden of Europe in January 2017

The Garden of Europe looks very bare these days. A lot of cutting back and clearing work has been done and we are in the fallow period before the spring growth.

Hydrangeas look ugly when they are dead.

Schiller looks exposed without his dress of yellow roses.

 The soil is wet and spongy.

A few last primroses add a hint of colour to the dead leaves.


“….That best portion of a good’s life; 

His little nameless unremembered acts of kindness and of love”  Wordsworth

These little caps for premature babies were knitted in Listowel by a lady called Eunice Perrin. Eunice loves to knit and she spends her evenings knitting these little caps which she donates to CUH Maternity hospital. She has knitted hundreds so far and the hospital is extremely grateful. 

As an infection control measure these lovely little handmade caps are used only once.


Maria Sham Remembers    (continued)

 Maria’s Nan

 A young Maria with her nan

I was 6 years when
I went to live with my Grandmother Canty. She only lived at the other end of
the road from mam. It was this year also I made my first Holy Communion. The
nuns would treat us to breakfast as then you had to be fasting to receive Holy
Communion. The breakfast was cocoa and bread and jam.

Maria on her first communion day.

Grandmother Canty was
a dressmaker and I would sit under her old sewing machine and make rag dolls
out of all the scraps. Nan, as we called her, would sew special long drawers
for the local nurse and I was delighted to deliver them as I would get 2p for

My Grandmother
Canty loved to go to the Sunday matinee in the cinema and I would have to
accompany her. On Monday morning at school, Sister would ask who went to the
cinema. I would have to own up and then get the bamboo on the back of the hands.
So it went on every Monday, until I got wise and kept my mouth shut and some
traitor in the class would tell on me and I would get double punishment.

At Nan Canty’s we
had a dog named Teddy, a mixed breed, and for some reason this dog followed me
every place. It was like the rhyme Mary had a little lamb. Teddy would be
waiting for me after school.  That was lovely! But it happened that one Sunday he
followed me into the church when I had gone to Mass. My embarrassment when I
saw Teddy up at the altar; well you can imagine the Canon calling to whoever
owned this dog to remove him. Of course I was almost under the seat hidden by
my friends. It took two men to get hold of Teddy and get him out. Some time
later he had an accident and did not survive. Poor Teddy!

(more tomorrow)


This photo of the Ballybunion Road at Convent Cross brought back happy memories to one blog follower, Marie (Nelligan) Shaw.

She sent me the following email;

Love the picture of Ballybunion Rd. The middle house belonged to my grandmother and I was mostly raised there. The first one belonged to Tim and Josephine O’Sullivan. And the third one, owned by Jack & Kate Thornton who operated a sweet shop. It was subsequently owned by Albert & Mary Kennedy who had a local grocery there.
Great memories of simpler times and fun filled days.
Thanks Mary,Marie Shaw

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén