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 listowelconnection@gmail.com

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Old RTE Guide, Larry Gogan, The Far East and Mike the Pies

Listowel Castle



Winter 2019


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Old RTE Guide

The very first RTE Guide 1962

Back then we had one channel for a few hours every day and when a programme was gone it was gone, no catch up, no recording or player. Programmes were in back and white. We thought we were made up.

Photo from The Journal

Take a quick trip down memory lane with me…Charles Mitchell, Don Cockburn, Wanderly Wagon, The Fugitive, Rawhide, Living with Lucy, The Cosby Family, Quicksilver, continuity announcers, Film board of Canada cartoon fillers, Is dona linn an briseadh seo, Nighthawks, Seven Days etc.etc.etc.

This week we lost Larry Gogan. Larry never appeared much on TV but he was a voice from my childhood.

Recently we’ve lost Gay Burne, Brendan Grace, Marian Finucane and now Larry. It feels very much like the end of an era.

Marty Whelan, Larry’s friend, shared this old photo of 2fm DJs. I recognise Larry, Marty, Philip King (front right ) and Gerry Ryan but I dont recognise the 2 in the cars at the back.

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Magazines in Schools

My talk of The Imeldist has opened the floodgates of memory for many. While I’m yet to find someone who remembers The Imeldist people tell me that they remember The Far East, The Africa and The Messenger (which I think is still going strong).

Anyone keep any of these?

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Mike the Pies on January 9 2020

I don’t think Martin got the opportunity to do any more painting over Christmas but I’ll keep you posted if there are any changes.



Shop windows, Flowers at the Courthouse, Christmas Customs and A Christmas Craft Fair

Listowel Castle December 2019

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Some Lovely Shopwindows


Listowel shopkeepers make a great effort with their window displays always.

Cheryl’s lovely crochet crib figures are on the NCBI window.

NCBI

McKenna’s Winter Wonderland

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Work at Listowel Courthouse courtyard



They look like flowerbeds in the making.

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Christmas Cleaning from the Dúchas collection


The first job always seemed to be the cleaning and painting.

Christmas Customs

It is an old custom to clean up the house the week before Christmas, to white wash it and paint all the furniture. All the old people like to go to Tralee for the Christmas.

On St. Stephen’s day boys flock together and go around with the wren. They dress up in various kinds of clothes and get a dead wren and a bit of holly. They go from house to house and sing and play and dance. The people of the house give them some money and sometimes give them drink.

The old people put up holly around the windows and mantles for Christmas. On the Eve of each holiday candles are lighted through out the Christmas.

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Christmas is a merry time for young and old. Five days before Christmas the people go to a town or village for their Christmas supplies.

The first sign of Christmas is the houses are whitewashed and the places cleaned. On Christmas Eve the candles

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Mike’s Murals




Mike O’Donnell’s own photo of himself painting the old Kerryman masthead over the door of The Kerryman building

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Listowel Tree 2019






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Christmas Craft Fair



I never got round to posting these last week. This was the Christmas Craft Fair in Kerry Writers’ Museum with some lovely things to buy.

The heavenly Elle Marie ODwyer is a new face at Listowel craft fairs. I love her new song, Christmas by the Lee. Have a listen.

Our local historian, Vincent Carmody was there with his chronicles of old Listowel and old Newcastlewest

Anne and Katie’s snowmen and candy canes were very popular.

Frances O’Keeffe is the best knitter and knitting designer I know. Her cupcake dolls are a new addition to her range and they’re gorgeous. I also love this Rhode Island Red hen tea cozy.

This lady had beautiful large or small Christmas arrangements.

Piseoga, a Rainbow and the Opening of Moyvane Church in 1956 and A minute of your Time Launch nears

Listowel Castle, October 2019

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More Folklore from the Dúchas collection

More Piseóga from Lyreacrompane in 1936

27. It is said that you should not throw away feet-water at night.

28. It is said that you should never sweep the dust of the floor out the door.

29. If you see a sod falling out of the fire it is said that someone will come into the house soon after.

30. If a sod falls out of the fire and sparks hop out of it, it is said that money will come into that house.

31. If you see two cocks fighting it is said that you will have strangers. (to visit)

32. If you see two looking into a mirror together it is said the two will fight.

33. If anyone goes to the well after 12 o’clock on Little Christmas night (January 6)it is said that that person will be dead before the next morning.

34. If you get meat you should never return it.

35. You should never kill a pig on a Monday for it is said that the meat will get bad.

36. Some people say that if you throw a cake of bread against the door on New Year’s Eve, it is supposed to keep the hunger away for that year.

37. Some people bless the cattle on May eve, expecting that they would not die during the year.

38. If you put your dress on wrong in the morning it is supposed that you will have good luck for the day.

39. If a widow’s curse will fall on you it will stay on you.

40. If you steal anything out of a forge it is said you will never have a day’s luck.

41. If you put on your right shoe first in the morning it is said that that you will have good luck for that day.

42. If a spider hops on your shoes or on your clothes it is supposed that you will get new shoes.

43. If you break a cup on Monday it is said to bring bad luck.

44. If a ring falls from a person who is getting married it is said that that person will not have a day’s luck during life.

45. If you go on a journey you should if possible go into a church before you perform it.

46. If you met a greyhound at night it is said that he is a devil. (A person was ill one night and they sent for the priest. When the priest was coming he saw a greyhound singing inside a fence and it was said that that was a devil singing Cailín Deas Crúidh na mbó and that song was never sung again.)

47. If you give away a black cat it is said that you give away all your luck.

48. If a spoon falls from a table it is supposed that a lady will come in.

49. If a knife falls from a table it is supposed that a gentleman will come in.

50. You should never refuse good money for a horse. (A few weeks ago a man refused thirty pounds for a horse and a few days after, the horse fell and broke her leg and the owner of her shot her.

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A Rainbow over a Shed

Could there be a pot a gold behind the cowshed?


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Opening of Moyvane Church in August 1956


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Still Promoting A Minute of Your Time

Yesterday I gave a few sneak peeks to local people. The reaction was invariably good from the hairdressers, the pharmacy, the theatre and the bookshop.

Danny and Yvanna

Brenda of Woulfe’s Bookshop liked what she saw.

Máire Logue of St. John’s is enjoying her promotional copy.

Oonagh thought it was one of the nicest books she has seen launched in Listowel in a long time.

Listen out for me today Oct. 17 2019 talking to Deirdre Walsh on Radio Kerry.

Below is the link to the piece I did with Mary Fagan on Horizons.
Horizons

Round the Square, Morning walk at Listowel Writers’ Week 2019

I’m Back

And this is where I was. At least this is where I was on Saturday June 2 2019. Elizabeth Brosnan and Bridget O’Connor are our photographers. The man on the left is Sean Stack. He was in charge of the sound. The man on the right (seated) is a man who comes every year to Listowel Writers’ Week . He is P.J Kennedy from Cavan.

Left to Right; Mike Moriarty who gave us a potted history of Listowel Castle and who sang for us. me, my daughter, Clíona McKenna who read, Mary Moylan whose beautiful voice enchanted everyone, Eamon OMurchú who read from Joseph O’Connor’s Hostage to Fortune. Behind Eamon and Mary is John Keane, formerly of this parish and beside Eamon is John’s brother-in-law, Simon O’Flynn

Our morning walk was curtailed this year owing to the sad and unexpected passing of Jimmy Moloney, brother of Kay Caball who was to have been one of the contributors to the walk.

So, turning a negative into a positive, we walked from the Tidy Town’s seat to the Kerry Writers’ Museum and there the audience sat on the amphitheatre and we presented our show to them there. I think it was a better idea really since the crowd was very large and the traffic heavy so it would have been hard to hear if you were at the end of a line of walkers.

This is David Browne, director of Listowel Writers Week and here is an “only in Listowel'” story. 

Paddy McElligott was to sing John B. Keane’s Sive songs BUT….

Paddy, who swims in the sea every day had an unfortunate experience on Saturday morning. He accidentally trod on a weever fish. If you have never heard of a weever fish, look it up and prepare to be frightened. This agonising experience delayed him considerably and it is a tribute to the trooper that he is that he came at all. He, for one, was grateful that the walk was short.

Another great trooper, Mike Lynch agreed to sing the first song in Paddy’s absence and he made a great job of it, revealing to his fellow committee members in Listowel Writers Week  a talent that he had kept hidden from them up to now.

Mike Lynch accompanied by Mary Moylan  (photo by Bridget O’Connor)

At The Seanchaí, Paddy, in the pandemonium in the wake of the weever fish accident,  realises that he has forgotten his bodhrán  and the words to the songs. He opens the nearest door to go in search of a bodhrán and who does he find but a man who, not only has a bodhrán but whose party piece is singing the Sive songs… ……    only in Listowel.

Dvid Browne was one of the surprise highlights of the “walk”.

Mary Fagan and Dave O’Sullivan read a short extract from Sive. Local people will know Mary from her Horizons programme on Radio Kerry and Dave, who is a Kildare man, is just returned from the All Ireland Drama Festival in Athlone where his drama group, Prosperous Dramatic Society won the overall award for their production of An Enemy of the People.

Dave’s name will be known to followers of this blog as a great researcher who contributes much of the newspaper archive research for us.

As well as his bit of acting as Thomasheen Seán Run he gave us a great insight into the history of the library in Listowel.

Mary Fagan gallantly held the microphone for experienced and reluctant-to-be amplified performers. Here she is with Eamon OMurchú, son of the late Luaí OMurchú who was the very first chairperson of Listowel Writers’ Week.

Sr, Una Harman was pleased that we paid tribute to the Presentation sisters and their work for Listowel, particularly during the Famine.

Most of us on the steps of Listowel Castle

The shortest walk in the history of Writers’ Week morning walks ended with Mike Moriarty leading us in a verse or two of Lovely Listowel.

I am delighted that so many of my family, friends, neighbours and fellow Listowel people joined the Writers’ Week visitors for my little contribution to #Listowelww19


Lots more Writers’ Week stuff in store over the next few days.


Kenny Heights, Wolfgang Suschitzky, Brendan of Kerry and the Doc on One

Border at the Tim Kennelly Roundabout in August 2018

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An Old Sketch of Listowel Castle




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Another Beautiful Corner of Listowel


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Ducks on The Feale in August 2018


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Photo; The Guardian

The photographer who took the photos from the publication Brendan of Ireland was a world famous Austrian photographer, Wolfgang  Suschitzky.  He passed away in 2016 at the age of 104 leaving a huge body of very highly regarded work behind him

Obituary of Wolfgang  Suschitzky

The story is a simple one of a boy growing up in the west of Ireland. He is close to his grandparents who play a big part in his life. His grandfather tells Brendan the story of Niamh Chinn Óir, of Óisín and Tír na nÓg and Brendan sets out to find the sea and the land of eternal youth.

This is the opportunity to have Brendan encounter “tinkers’ , a ploughman and fisherman on his way to the sea. He goes via Ballyduff and The Cashen.


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A Book to Treasure


I found this marvellous book recently in Listowel’s St. Vincent de Paul shop. It is full of interesting little titbits and valuable information about the countryside.

I’ll share nuggets from it with you here from time to time.




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Conor Keane’s Doc on One



Conor writes;


IN 1946, in an act of defiance against the local clergy, a group of local men in Listowel, Co. Kerry force open the locked gates into the Parish Church.

This action by the townspeople of Listowel never makes it into the newspapers, nor is it recorded anywhere else at the time. In fact, the incident has mostly faded from the town’s memory yet has never been forgotten by some. What was it that drove a normally compliant congregation to challenge local Parish Priest, Canon Patrick Brennan’s dominion?

Behind this act of defiance lies the story of a young woman named Peggy McCarthy, whose tragic death in childbirth resulted in the local clergy refusing to let her body lie in the church overnight before her burial. Subsequently, an alliance between Church and State has had a devastating impact on three generations of Peggy’s family – including on the daughter she gave birth to, Breda – which persists right up to the present day.

Famed balladeer Séan McCarthy wrote a song, Shame, Love, In Shame, about the young woman at the centre of these events. Peggy was Séan’s younger sister. Years later, Peggy’s story also inspired local Listowel playwright Tony Guerin to write the play ‘Solo Run’.

Documentary On One: In Shame, Love, In Shame looks at the events behind this story, of Peggy’s life, of her daughter Breda’s life, of how the people of Listowel rallied round and defended Peggy – and of what happened before and since those Church gates were rammed open in 1946.

Narrated by Conor Keane

Produced by Conor Keane and Liam O’Brien

First Broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1, Saturday 18th August 2018 @1pm, Repeated Sunday 19th August  2018 @7pm

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