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 Arms Hotel Page 1 of 4

Ballybunion Oasis, A Frog on TV, Ancestors, Writers’ Week 2019 and Bridal Dress Hire in 2021

Road from Athea in Springtime 2021

Photo: Athea Tidy Towns


A Lovely Corner in Ballybunion

This lovely little spot by the playground is set out with tables and benches complete with chess or draughts grid. It is a godsend in these times of outdoor living.


Headstone on my maternal ancestors grave in Knawhill in North Cork.

The author of the poem is unknown but it speaks to anyone who dabbles in genealogy

BTW I asked Kay Caball about the symbol over the names on the stone and here is the meaning of it.

The Christogram IHS is a monogram symbolizing Jesus Christ. From Greek it is an abbreviation of the name ΙΗΣΟΥΣ (Jesus). In Eastern Orthodox Church the Christogram is composed with letters X, P, I and X arranged into the cross. They are the first letters of one from two words in Greek language: Christ and Jesus Christ


Listowel Writers Week 2019

Back when we could do things in a gang, this crowd of us congregated on the steps of Kerry Literary Museum to show off some award LWW had won. I’ll credit Maire Logue with the photo simply because she is not in it and I can’t imagine who else would have taken it.

This year’s programme is here;


The Champion Frog…a sequel

In response to enquiries, here is David Kissane’s account of what happened to Mossie Walsh and the famous leaping frog when they got to RTE.

Off went Mossie, wife Nodie, a number of friends and relations, and the champion frog in a biscuit tin with holes and a leaves, to Limerick by cars to catch the train to Dublin. Introduced to Gay Byrne and then lights, camera, action. The frog jumped higher and further than ever and became the first and only frog to jump on the Late Late Show. Fame forever for Guhard Man and Mossie.After that, the frog retired from jumping to a river hole in Guhard and Mossie retired from frog-coaching with a European title in his CV.


North Kerry’s Sarah Fitzgerald’s New Business Featured in Saturday’s Irish Independent

What a surprise to open the newspaper and see an account of a brave new business in these parts.

The photoshoot for the launch took place in the Listowel Arms Photo: Rubistyle

If a preowned vintage dress is your dream wedding attire, be sure to check out Sarah’s rent and return option at


When I was a Muse

Very briefly on a happy morning last week I felt like a muse.

Cyril Kelly, formerly of this parish, wrote Listowel Connection (me) a little stanza of greeting on my return to blogging.


’twas like waiting for swallows and swifts in April,

’twas like waiting  for Brent geese in September, 

’twas like  the fisherman waiting for  Mayfly,

’twas like the gardener waiting for the January snowdrop,

’twas like woodlands waiting for the call of the cuckoo in April,

’twas like the children waiting on the conker-plop in September,

natives in distant domiciles waiting on listowelonnection’s return.



Shops and Signs, A Poem a Recent Snap or two and a To Let Sign

KDYS /Old Carnegie Free Library

This lovely old building is at the top of Church Street where it joins Dowd’s Road


Listowel shops and their signs during Lockdown 2020


Carroll’s is Open


At the AIB



Carroll’s Yard

The River Walk

After a long dry spell the level of water in the river is very low.

There was a funeral in progress in the church.


The Dawn above the Dark

John Fitzgerald has written a poem for those who have forgotten what a pulled pint is.

The Dawn above the Dark

Out of a gold grained silvered font the dark stream seeks the light The gargoyle bows its ugly head To flow it out of night

Into a steady downward plunge that surges up the dawn
and takes it o’er the ticking glass to let the pint take form.


Snapped in Town

Jimmy Deenihan was having a socially distant chat with a friend.


First Covid Business Casualty ?

I am so sad to see a To Let sign on one of my favourite coffee shops.

Christmas at The Listowel Arms, A Poem, Mike the Pies shopfront update and A Book Launch

Listowel in December 2019


The Listowel Arms at Christmas 2019

It’s all red and green in The Listowel Arms this Christmas. The atmosphere is warm and welcoming. It’s just another gem in our lovely Christmassy town.


Kerryman of the Year

 by Noel Roche of Chicago and Listowel

To my brother, Tom, who makes me proud

He was born in 1945 on the third day of July

Another child for Dick and Madge, a little baby boy.

Rumour has it he was late, they thought he wouldn’t come at all.

When he finally did come out, he was soloing a ball.

Just like all the other boys, he always loved to play.

It seemed he was a natural when it came to GAA.

His heroes were the Kerry teams, those men so big and bold.

His dreams were that someday he would wear the green and gold.

And wear the green and gold he did in 1963.

He won an All Ireland medal and became a hero to me.

Soon he moved to England and left Kerry behind.

“Twas his body that left Kerry, Kerry would not leave his mind.

Tom can talk of anything under the heavenly sky

But when he talks of Kerry he has a twinkle in his eye.

If you want Tom to help, all you have to do

Is throw in the word Kerry and he will be there for you.

How much does he love Kerry?  To him its not a game

Tom has got a daughter and Kerry is her name.

And now I’m here tonight to cheer

As they name my brother Tom, Kerryman of the Year.

There is no better man and I will tell you why

When it comes to Kerry, Tom is do or die.

And if you cut him open this sight you would behold

There is no red inside his veins. His blood runs green and gold.


Mike the Pies

Mike the Pies shopfront is still a work in progress.

Here is where Martin is at but there’s lots more to do. It will be mighty.

Martin Chute, signwriter, at Mike the Pies on Saturday December 14 2019.


Launch of The Very Best of Billy Keane

A book launch is a lovely family time. It’s a time to make the people who love you proud. There was a lot of love in the room of The Listowel Arms Hotel on Sunday Dec. 15 2019.

Launching the book were Gabriel Fitzmaurice and Jerry Kennelly, here with Billy’s able assistants, John Keane and Billy O’Flynn.

Billy chatting to his William Street neighbour, Catherine.

Liz and Jim Dunn were buying a few Christmas presents.

Laura Shine read one of the newspaper columns from The Very Best of Billy Keane.

Old friends turned up to support Billy.

Fellow author, Emma Larkin, took time out from the St. Seanan’s celebrations to lend support.

Proud family, Elaine, John and Anne listen as Gabriel reads from The Very Best of Billy Keane.


Another New Barber on Church Street


Lunch in Lizzie’s

We are so lucky in Listowel to have so many excellent cafés and restaurants. For a festive lunchtime treat there is no better food and value available anywhere than in Lizzie’ s of William Street.

Helen Moylan, Celebrity chef Lizzie Lyons, Miriam Kiely, exiled in Dublin but constantly drawn “home” to Listowel and your blogger, Mary Cogan.

I had the Christmas pie of buttermilk-brined turkey and ham topped with puff pastry, followed by the flourless chocolate and almond dessert;  delicious food and great company on a gloomy wet Listowel afternoon.

Asdee, The Rise of Coffee Culture and Listowel Revisited

Asdee church is a lovely intimate, beautifully kept place of worship. I was lucky enough to be there on Jan 1 2019 for a beautiful wedding ceremony.


The New Irish Pub Culture

Changes in the laws around driving have driven Irish men out of the pub as their favoured meeting place. Young people had already abandoned the pub for house parties and the gym.

According to an article I read recently, the coffee shop is the new pub. People are meeting with groups of friends in coffee shops and cafes and a whole generation is growing up having a favourite coffee rather than a favourite beer.

Supermarkets used to have a holder for your shopping list. Now they have a holder for your coffee cup.

Listowel, as usual, is ahead of the curve. Long before it was a “thing”,  Danny Hannon, Jed Chute and friends were meeting in The Listowel Arms for a coffee in order to chew the fat and set the world to rights.

I interrupted them last week at their morning chin wag.



I took this photograph last week as Patricia Gordon renewed acquaintance with Judy MacMahon and other people she knew in Listowel when she lived here 24 years ago.

This is how we in Listowel remember Patricia.

The reason I have a 24 year old photo of her is because part of the purpose of her visit was to bring me photos taken by her husband, Danny, when they lived in town and he was a member of the camera club.

I will be sharing these photos with you in the coming weeks.

I photographed Patricia outside Jackie McGillicuddy’s shop because that was the very place where she was a victim of crime .

Twenty five years ago she stopped outside McGillicuddy’s and ran in to buy a card. She left the keys in the car because back then there was very little crime in Listowel and she felt safe to pop into a shop for 5 minutes.

But a opportunistic  car thief who happened to be in town on that day saw the “gift horse” outside the toyshop and couldn’t resist the temptation.

Patricia emerged from the shop to find her car gone. Her first thought was that someone who knew her had taken it to for a prank. She went around to Church Street to find it. When she still hadn’t seen it by the time she got to the Garda Station she realised that maybe it was actually stolen. She went into the station where she met Sgt. Tim O’Leary. He made  phonecalls to Tarbert, Moyvane, Ballybunion and other garda stations around about. A keen eyed Garda spotted the car in Tarbert, the thief was arrested and the car returned.

Subsequently Patricia had to appear in court and she was reprimanded by the judge for practically putting a sign saying “Take me”  on her car. 

I noticed when I met her last week she observed all the safety precautions, putting bags and valuables in the boot and locking the car. She now lives in Limerick.


From The Kerryman of 1994

Christmas at The Listowel Arms, Manchester Martyr’s memorial and some Listowel children

The Big Bridge


Christmas decorations at The Listowel Arms


Manchester Martyrs

I am still getting correspondence about the Manchester Martyrs and their commemorative memorials.

Mark Holan sent us this;

Regarding your photos of the Manchester Martyr memorial at St. Michael’s Graveyard:

The Kerry Independent, 19 November 1883, page 3, contained a small story under the headline “Anniversary of the Manchester Martyrs.” It noted the 16th anniversary of the trios’ execution would be celebrated “Sunday next” in different parts of the county.

“In Listowel, the proceedings will be on the extensive scale, and a beautiful cutstone Celtic cross, the workmanship of Messrs. Healy Brothers staff will be unveiled in the graveyard.  … The mode of proceeding adopted by the patriots of to-day is different from that of ’67, but equally potent. We hope that the celebrations in Listowel will not only be participated in by the people of the North Kerry, but all others who can possibly attend. Already we understand a move has been made by a number of nationalists of Tralee to attend in Listowel as there will be no public celebrated (celebration) in this town.”

The Kerry Sentinel, 23 November 1883, page 3, reported that the Waterford and Limerick Railway company “have kindly consented to run an excursion train from Tralee” for the event. “It is anticipated the demonstration will be one of the largest held in Listowel for a number of years.” 

The Sentinel, 27 November, page 3 reported that Saturday evening before the event, authorities “proclaimed” the gathering … “the reason set forth for the suppression of the meeting was that if permitted to be held it would be dangerous to the public peace. … “however, the anniversary was allowed to be held without interference of the authorities. … “

The 12-foot-high limestone Celtic cross “is a finely executed piece of workmanship, delicately chiseled, and of strikingly graceful proportions. … the cross was unveiled in the midst of torrents of rain, those present standing with uncovered heads.” P.J. Murphy of Cork delivered the oration, which is quoted in detail.

The group left the graveyard quite satisfied they had “outwitted the authorities,” but the ceremony took place before the arrival of the Tralee excursion train with “a very large contingent.” Extra police drafted from the outlying area, numbering over 100 men, marched to the center of William Street and distributed themselves throughout the town, including the train station and graveyard, according to the Sentinel. While there appears to a some shoving between police and nationalists, there was no large scale violent confrontation.


Local Children Photographed by John Lynch

For years John Lynch has been filming local events like the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Corpus Christi Procession and other local events.

Earlier this year he took a few screen grabs of some local children at St. Patrick’s Day parades in 2003 to  2007.

If you see yourself I hope it gives you a smile.


Sixty First Wedding Anniversary

John and Lilly Lenehan of Florida and Moyvane, whose happy marriage is a inspiration to us all are still going strong.

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