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 Credit Union

Bromore Cliffs, Thomas Moore and Covid Queueing and last Week’s just a Thought


Listowel Credit Union Building in Church Street in May 2020


Good News from Bromore Cliffs

We are open again since Monday 18th of May ! the Seapink and Vetch are in full bloom.  The Bromore Fox had three cubs. The Ravens fledged two chicks and all the other birds and wildlife are busy high and low on the Cliffs


Róisín Meaney is on Song

Earl Grey in the garden for me,

Or maybe a large g&t;

I won’t let this jazz

Steal my razzmatazz,

To covid I won’t bend the knee

Róisín Meaney


Are you Right there, Thomas, are you right?

Boston Pilot (1838-1857), Volume 1, Number 47, 15 December 1838



It having become known to the inhabitants of Fermoy that the high-minded and disinterested patriot, Moore, was sojourning at Convamore, the seat of Lord Listowel, a meeting was held in that town on the 22d ult. to frame an address to him on his visit to the land whose wrongs, whose sorrows, and whose sufferings he has immortalised in song. It was intended that the address should be presented by deputation, but the sudden departure of Mr. Moore having prevented the adoption of this course, Counsellor O’Flanagan (author of “ Impressions at ‘Home and Abroad,”) who acted as secretary to the meeting, forwarded it to his residence. We insert, with much pleasure the address and answer, confident that every Irishman must feel proud of any tribute paid to the writer of Those songs whose every tone, When bard and minstrel long have past, Shall still in sweetness all their own Embalmed by fame undying last.



Bowood, October 5. Dear Sir —Owing to my absence from home, your letter and the flattering address from the inhabitants of Fermoy which it enclosed, did not reach me till this morning, and I lose not a moment in endeavouring to express to you how truly sensible I am of the value of the high compliment thus conferred upon me. I should feel too vain could I, for a moment, persuade myself that my own deserts were in any degree proportionate to the generous estimate set, upon them by my fellow-countrymen. Such tributes, however are not less gratifying for the kind excess of praise over merit in which they indulge ; and, for myself, I can only say that, accustomed as I am to such overflows of heart from my countrymen, I still feel them with all the freshness of my first gratitude and surprise. Wishing every happiness to you and the other unknown but kind friends who have thus honoured me, I am, dear Sir, your

Obliged servant,

To J. R. O’Flanagan, Esq., Fermoy.


Follow the Yellow Brick Road

We are becoming familiar with yellow markings like these on the pavements. They mark where we are to stand while queueing.


Leaving Cert 1970; a few more names

By email;  Re the St Michael’s photo.. I think Stephen Stack in middle of second row.. And myself John Hynes  second last in middle row.


Covid Thoughts

My last week’s reflections are at the link below

Just a Thought

Winter in Goa, Slimming World and Christmas long ago.

The timeless unspoiled beauty of the Gap of Dunloe is captured in December 2017 by a man who appreciates the beauty of Kerry and captures it lovingly in photos….Chris Grayson.


Winter in Goa

It’s a long way from O’Connell’s Avenue to Goa. Maria Sham is a loyal follower of Listowel connection and she has already shared her memories of a happy childhood spent in her O’Connell’s Avenue home.

Maria Sham today

I don’t know if Maria is in this photo but these are the people she knew growing up.

Maria now lives in England and from there she recently took the holiday of a lifetime to Goa. Here the weather, the lifestyle, the economy, everything is a world away from our side of the world. Here are some of  Maria’s photos.

As you can see she spent much of her time on the beach.

This last photo is of a young man harvesting betel nut. Betel is the main ingredient in paan.

“If you’ve never
tried paan — a post-meal mainstay at social gatherings
and banquet halls in India — it can be a bit hard to explain to
the uninitiated. Part breath freshener, part digestive aid, paan is essentially a wad of dried fruits, spices
and seeds wrapped into a large green leaf from the betel nut plant. Think of
those little candied fennel seeds you spoon into your hand at Indian
restaurant, times 1,000. With paan, you pick up
the entire triangular-shaped package and stuff it into your cheek pocket,
chewing a few times to get the juices moving. The betel leaf, a mild stimulant,
turns brick red as it’s masticated and puts a slight pep in your step. After
all the juices have been released, you spit out the mushy bolus and toss it in
the trash — breath fresher, stomach lighter and head abuzz.” Source: Wikipedia.


New Business on Charles St.

Do you remember I posted this photo and I told you I’d tell you what shop was going in here? Well the answer is that it is not a shop at all but Slimming World.


My Favourite Shop

When I visited my favourite shop recently I saw some new faces. It’s great to see some lovely sympathetic women joining the welcoming friendly and invariably cheerful staff in this excellent shop. You’d never know what treasure you will find in Listowel’s Vincent de Paul shop and at a very affordable price.


Another Eamon Kelly description of Christmases in  the 1920s

The Season of
Light by Eamon Kelly from

The Rub of the
Relic 1978

No word of a lie
but Christmas was something to write home about when I was small. Oh, the way
we looked forward to twilight on Christmas Eve, for when darkness fell it was
Christmas Night, the greatest night of all the year. We youngsters would be up
at the crack of dawn that morning to have the house ready for the night.

Berry holly would
have to be cut and brought in to deck out the windows, the top of the dresser,
the back of the settle and the clevvy, We’d bring ivy too and put a sprig of
laurel behind the pictures, above the lintel of the door and around the
fireplace. But we wouldn’t overdo it for, if we did our mother would cut it
down a bit, reminding us that she’d like to feel she was in her own home for
Christmas and not in the middle of a wood!

Well The
transformation we would bring about in the kitchen with all the greenery! But
we weren’t finished yet The Christmas candles would have to be prepared; these
were of white tallow as thick as the handle of a spade and nearly as tall. In
some houses, they’d scoop out a hole in a turnip and put a candle sitting into
it.  A big crock we’d use. We’d put the
candle standing into that and pack it around with sand. If you hadn’t sand,
bran or pollard would do.

When the candle was firm in position we’d spike sprigs
of holly or laurel into the sand about the candle and we’d have coloured paper
too to put around the outside of the crock to take the bare look off it. With
that same coloured paper the girls in the family, if they were anyway handy,
could make paper flowers to decorate the holly. Then what would cap it all was
a length of young ivy to spiral up around the candle – it looked lovely. That
done, we would go through the same 
manoeuvre until
there was a candle in a crock for every window in the house.

(more tomorrow)


Christmas Jumper Day

Staff at Listowel Credit Union took part in Radio Kerry’s Christmas Jumper Day for St. Vincent de Paul and they posted this photo on Twitter.

1980s stars, Turfuel and I’m literally exasperated

Memories of summer;           photo: Chris Grayson


Gone but not Forgotten

This photo of John B. Keane and Mick Lally was shared by Eric Luke. He took the photo in the pre digital age, sometime in the 1980s.


Ever hear of Turfuel?

McHenry Brothers from North Brunswick Street, Dublin were well known fuel merchants, founded in 1925. They began delivering turf on behalf of Bord na Móna from the 1930s and especially during the war war years, when they delivered turf to Dublin. Their trucks were coloured blue and during the 1970s they also used a fleet of blue AEC trucks to haul turf and briquettes to Dublin, making their deliveries throughout the city with a fleet of blue Bedford “flat tops”. This above is a Leyland lorry from the 1970s.

McHenry Brothers of Dublin also supplied turf around the country and this ad for turf probably dates from the 1940s. It’s for Turfuel, the name they gave machine turf from Lyrecrumpane, Co. Kerry. This was one of our earlier works opened in the 1930s. McHenrys also sold briquettes from Lullymore and they were baling our briquettes with flat wire straps long before we started. Due to the decline in long term contracts and the ban on smokey coal in Dublin, the McHenry firm was liquidated in 1990 after 65 years in business. They were also general hauliers, transporting cattle, sheep, pigs, building materials and timber during their time in business.

(text and photos fromBord na Mona Heartland)


Upper Church Street in Autumn 2017


I Literally Give in

In a previous life, when I was a teacher of English, one of my pet hates was the misuse of the word “literally”.

Well, my chickens have come home to roost. All of you who literally die of embarrassment or literally kill someone have won.

The Oxford English dictionary has, like me, accepted defeat and added a new meaning to the word “literally”. It is now accepted as a expletive, used for emphasis.

“This newer, disputed usage (describing something non-literal, as a form of exaggeration) has become more frequent over time, and is now sometimes used quite deliberately in non-literal contexts. ” (OED)


Only in Kilkenny

Photo from Twitter

The annual blessing of the hurls at St. Kieran’s College, Kilkenny. Have we hit upon their secret ingredient?


A Laugh to Start the week

A witty piece of smart aleckery from Twitter

John B. Keane, Listowel Credit Union and Tarbert 1990

As we face into Autumn, here is  a lovely Ballybunion sunset to remember Summer 2015  (photo:Ballybunion Prints)


Old Photos of John B. Keane

If you have never been in the Seanchaí Writers Museum, this photo will mean nothing to you. This is the shy singer and you’ll have to take the tour to get the full story. While I was in the John B. Keane room I took a photo of some of the photos under glass on the tables.

John B. Keane with Fr. Seamus Linnane.

Mary and John B’ Keane with their granddaughter, Anne.

Noelle Campbell Sharpe with John B.


Listowel Credit Union Repainted

This is the old colour scheme


Down Memory Lane with The Kerryman

How wrong can one be?  Dr. Diamuid OSuilleabháin got his predictions for future growth in Tarbert’s Catholic population fairly wrong in 1990.


Dates for the Diary

Credit Union party, Fermoy’s first car and human shamrock

Listowel Credit Union at 40

Listowel Credit Union know how to throw a party. 

The hard working Committee were in celebratory mood . The sleeves were rolled up and all the stops were pulled out to make sure that we all had a good time.

Mike Sheehy and John Stack were among the guests.

There was face painting, piggy banks and pencil cases for the children.

Catering was done by John R.’s and there was a mouth watering array of goodies on offer.

Here’s to the next 40 years!


Modern farming methods

This is a calfeteria.


This was Fermoy, Co. Cork’s first car. Looks like these boyos used old prams and bikes to fashion their  unique machine.


In Blackrock in Co. Dublin on Thursday, 800 students from Blackrock College attempted to set a record for the most people in a human shamrock.


Here we go again!

I thought we had this one sorted until Julia Galvin threw a spanner in the works. Julia remembers being told at school that this martyr was Maria Goretti. The two saints have similar stories, each being martyred young while trying to defend their purity. I googled Maria Goretti and the images are certainly similar. Anyone else want to have your say?

Maria Goretti


A recent lecture in St. John’s by Rev. Bob Fyffes addressed the topic of Brokenness. Jer was there and he sent us this video. People I spoke to who were there were very impressed by this man.


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