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Tag: Listowel Drama Group Page 1 of 4

Amateur Drama

Photo, Kieran Cogan, Mallow Camera Club


Do you Remember these calendars?

Photo: Mike Hannon

Time was when every business worth its salt gave their customers a wall calendar. It was a great way of keeping your shop or agency in the forefront of people’s minds.

I lived in a house where we had a kitchen and a back kitchen and a storehouse attached. Each of these rooms had at least one calendar in it. I remember consulting the calendar for the phone number. We co ordinated it with Old Moore to mark in fair days.


Scoil Realt na Maidine staff

Photos and caption shared by Mike Hannon


The Mayor of Kerry Plays Two Roles

On Saturday May 7 2022, Jimmy Moloney, Mayor of Kerry was in Kerry Writers’ Museum for the opening of the exhibition honouring Kerry’s amateur dramatic heritage.

The Moloney family connection with amateur drama goes back a long way.

Jimmy’s grandmother, Mrs. Margaret Moloney, here on the right, was chairperson of Listowel Drama Group and took part in many of their productions.

With her in this picture, shared with us by Kay Caball, are Cecile Cotter, Harry Geraghty and Rex Coolican.

Jimmy’s grandfather, Dan Moloney T.D. greeted the cast of the first production of John B. Keane’s Sive in Dáil Eireann after they had won the first All Ireland Drama festival.

Margaret Dillon who played the part of Sive sent us this picture a few years ago.

Dan Moloney T.D is on the right.

Jimmy Moloney in his role as Mayor of Kerry at the opening of the exhibition.

Then after a short interval look at what emerged from the “dressing room”.

The usually dapper Jimmy, in a jacket that looks like he slept in it a few times, in his role as Mike Glavin in John B. Keane’s Sive.

Denis O’Mahoney’s Lartigue Players gave us an entertaining sample of the best of Kerry amateur drama today.

The cast of the award winning first production of the play by The Listowel Players.


Top Storey

I love it when the streetscape takes your eye above shop level.

O’Donovan’s in Church Street has impressive upstairs window surrounds.

Lizzy’s Little Kitchen has decorated the upper stories of her premises in keeping with the downstairs decor.


Writers Week 2007, St. Patrick’s Day 1961 and an old class photo and Helen O’Connor R.I.P.

We were never more conscious of the truth of this statement on the Listowel Community Centre gable than now in March 2020 at the height of the Covid 19 crisis.

Greg McDonough of Listowel and China who has just come out of quarantine set up a Facebook group for us

Listowel Covid 19

Here you can find up to date information about shop closures, services and who to turn to for help.


Listowel Writers Week

Plans for a big birthday celebration are frozen for the moment but hope springs eternal….

In the meantime Mattie Lennon, a great of friend of Writers’ Week and a great friend of this blog has been reminiscing. Here are his memories of the 2007 festival. His essay is a long diary like text so I’ll give it to you over a few days.

Once again I paid my annual visit to the most prestigious literary festival in Europe, if not in the world. On Wednesday 30th May Writers’ Week 2007 was officially opened  by renowned writer Joseph O ‘Connor. The author of such masterpieces as Star Of The Sea and more recently Redemption Falls, as well as many humorous works, complimented the Kerry people on their organising skills, literary and artistic prowess, footballing ability and of course . . . their great humility.

He later gave an example of Kerry wit when he told about meeting a friend of his who was on his way to meet Carlo Gebler and Joseph was asked, “Will you follow me up to Carlo?”Prize-winners were announced (Roddy Doyle won the €10,000 Kerry Group Irish Fiction Award for Paula Spencer). Pauline Scanlon who spent three years with the Sharon Shannon Band provided music, to a packed house.

On Thursday a full schedule started with a recording of Sunday Miscellany in Saint John’s Theatre where local writer Cyril Kelly regaled us with the story of how he had been in that particular venue when it was a mortal sin (Saint John’s was a Protestant Church at the time).

Through the day readings by Joseph O’Connor, Colm Tobin, John McGrath (whose book of poetry Blue Sky Day was launched), Roger McGough, and others stimulated the literary minds of the visitor.

Food for thought was in plentiful supply at Amnesty Event with Fergal Keane, Gerard Stembridge and Zlata Filipovic. Next Door by Listowel man John McAuliffe was launched and Poet Laureate, Andrew Motion read from his autobiography In The Blood; A Memoir of My Childhood.

Poets, essayists and others got a chance to perform their own work at the microphone at Poet’s Corner where the Master-of-ceremonies was the inimitable George Rowley.

(I’ve just read that and marvelled at the star studded lineup of visitors in 2007.)


St. Patrick’s Day Pageant 1961

Máire MacMahon found these among some old Drama Group stuff. Does anyone remember this?


Mr. Kenny’s Fourth Class sometime in the 1980s


+ R.I.P. Helen O’Connor +

Helen O’Connor, who passed away at the weekend was very happy  and proud on this summer Sunday in her beloved Duagh as she introduced me to her godson, John Relihan, who had brought a taste of international outdoor dining to her little corner of the world.

Helen had a gifted pair of hands. Her name will live on in the many many crochet and knitted pieces that she made for clients all over the world. If you have one of Helen’s creations, keep it and treasure it and tell your family that it was made by a lovely lady, who was one of the best crafters in Kerry in her time.

I took this photo of Helen with our knitting group in Scribes  the last time I met her. She was in good form and breathing a sigh of relief that she was free of treatment for a while. Helen told us that she had done something while on chemo that she hadn’t done before. She knitted a sweater for herself. It was beautiful. Helen was pleased with it and was planning to knit the pattern again in another colour. She had lost a lot of weight but Helen was seeing this as a positive and was determined to keep her weight down in future.

Because of the present Covid 19 restrictions, Helen’s grieving family are deprived of the comfort of a funeral. We, her many many friends are deprived of a chance to tell Tom and all her family how much we loved her and we will miss her too.

Helen’s busy hands are now still, A huge wealth of talent and skill has gone into the grave with her. I count myself among the many who were blessed to have known this humble and kind lady. 

May she rest in peace.

Molly, Macroom, Hidden Treasure and Listowel Drama Group

Molly at Home

I haven’t given an update on Molly for a while. Here she is in her happy place with her Christmas toy. She has been to the groomers since and is looking even more handsome these days.


I was in Macroom, Co Cork

Last week I met a friend in Macroom for lunch. We ate in Granville’s and it was lovely, good food, friendly staff and cozy dining room.

I parked in the square just opposite this well named premises. It is truly a golden treasure, a throwback to the days of my childhood.

Once upon a time many shops had bars like these fitted outside their windows. This was in the days when fairs were held on the streets and shopkeepers needed to protect their very expensive plate glass. It’s lovely to see this one still in place.

Further down the street in this blue and yellow shop there was another of these fair day protectors. This one was removable but seems to be being left up permanently here.

Back to Golden’s and it’s old advertising hoardings… This one exhorts us to smoke a brand of cigarettes no longer available.

This place was certainly a general store, a virtual cornucopia judging by the goods displayed in the windows.

Among the mirrors and jugs was a jewish menorah and some various christian imagery.

It was not clear to me if these items were for sale or merely for decoration.

I was fascinated to see an old fashioned ring board and a skipping rope.

The sign inviting musicians to the monthly sessions had been updated since I was last here.

The Guinness toucan was on the wall and in the window was the old Guinness advertising slogan; Guinness is Good for You.  Are we allowed to make unsubstantiated claims like that nowadays?

Is that cctv I see beside the golden finial? The plasterwork depicts the oak leaves and acorns below some sheaves of corn, a rich harvest image for a lovely lovely old bar.


From the Schools’ Folklore Collection

A Hidden Treasure

There was a very old woman who lived in a small little house close to the village of Newtownsandes. She seemed to be very poor and the village people used to give her food. One day the priest said to her, “You seem to be always looking for charity”, and the old woman said, “Sure what else could I do. I haven’t a pig, a goat, or a man”. In a short time after, the old woman grew sick and was ordered to hospital. The neighbours went to her little house. As the ambulance came they were preparing her for the journey, and on no account would she allow them to take off a flannel skirt. So when she got to the hospital the nuns ordered the skirt to be removed, but the old lady screamed aloud and thought to hold on to the skirt. However they succeeded in removing the skirt. The nuns got suspicious and stood by after giving orders to two wardswomen to get a scissors and open up the skirt. To their surprise, there were nineteen sovereigns sewed in a tuck to the skirt. She lived for one week after, and during that time the other patients in the ward could not sleep as the old woman was all the time shouting for the flannel skirt.

Collector- Pat Stack- Informant- Nurse Stack- Age 62 Address, Newtownsandes, Co. Kerry


Listowel Drama Group

The curtain has come down for the last time on A Daughter from over the Water. This 2020 production by Listowel Drama Group entertained audiences  in the dreary evenings of early March 2020….great cast and excellent set, as usual.

Cast of Listowel Drama Groups production of A Daughter from over the Water

Mike the Pies, Old Drama Group photos and a daft Christmas story from the Dúchas collection

St.Mary’s at Night, Christmas 2019


A Kerry Christmas Childhood

Garry MacMahon

Now I cannot help remembering the happy days gone by,

As Christmastime approaches and the festive season’s nigh.

I wallow in nostalgia when I think of long ago,

And the tide that waits for no man as the years they ebb and flow.

We townies scoured the countryside for holly berries red,

And stripped from tombs green ivy in the graveyard of the dead,

To decorate each picture frame a hanging on the wall,

And fill the house with greenery and brighten winter’s pall,

Putting up the decorations was for us a pleasant chore,

And the crib down from the attic took centre stage once more.

From the box atop the dresser the figures were retrieved,

To be placed upon a bed of straw that blessed Christmas Eve,

For the candles, red crepe paper, round the jamjars filled with sand,

To be placed in every window and provide a light so grand,

To guide the Holy Family who had no room at the inn,

And provide for them a beacon of the fáilte mór within.

The candles were ignited upon the stroke of seven,

The youngest got the privilege to light our way to Heaven,

And the rosary was said as we all got on our knees,

Remembering those who’d gone before and the foreign missionaries.

Ah, we’d all be scrubbed like new pins in the bath before the fire

And, dressed in our pajamas of tall tales we’d never tire,

Of Cuchlainn, Ferdia, The Fianna, Red Branch Knights,

Banshees and Jack o Lanterns, Sam Magee and Northern Lights

And we’d sing the songs of Ireland, of Knockanure and Black and Tans,

And the boys of Barr na Sráide who hunted for the wran.

Mama and Dad they warned us as they gave each good night kiss,

If we didn’t go to sleep at once then Santa we would miss,

And the magic Christmas morning so beloved of girls and boys,

When we woke to find our dreams fulfilled and all our asked for toys,

But Mam was up before us the turkey to prepare,

To peel the spuds and boil the ham to provide the festive fare.

She’d accept with pride the compliments from my father and the rest.

“Of all the birds I’ve cooked,” she’s say, “ I think that this year’s was the best.”

The trifle and plum pudding, oh, the memories never fade

And then we’d wash the whole lot down with Nash’s lemonade.

St. Stephen’s Day brought wrenboys with their loud knock on the door,

To bodhrán beat abd music sweet they danced around the floor’

We, terror stricken children, fled in fear before the batch,

And we screamed at our pursuers as they rattled at the latch.

Like a bicycle whose brakes have failed goes headlong down the hill

Too fast the years have disappeared. Come back they never will.

Our clan is scattered round the world. From home we had to part.

Still we treasure precious memories forever in our heart.

So God be with our parents dear. We remember them with pride,

And the golden days of childhood and the happy Christmastide.


Mike the Pies in December 2019

I love the new look.


Old Listowel Drama Group photos

Below is a great collection of old Drama Group photos that Maeve Moloney has sent us. We have no details of names or even the name of the play/plays or the year they were taken. We need your help.


A Dúchas Christmas Memory

Garret Stack went to confession Christmas Eve and he was to go to communion Christmas morning and the clock stopped during the night and he got up and went away thinking it was very late and when he was near Newtown he met a priest and he knew him and that priest was dead and he came down the road and went into Mc. Cabe’s and it was only one o’clock and he stayed there until morning.

Written by Con Shine, Kilbaha, told by his father John Shine.


A Minute of Your Time

 My photograph shows Diana having a quick look At A Minute of Your Time in O’Mahoney’s Tralee. This is the latest outlet to sell it.

It’s sold out in The Friary Bookshop, Killarney but it’s available nearby in The Dungeon. Eagers and O’Connors also have copies.

It’s proving popular as a Christmas present, suitable for young and old.

 Thank you to everyone who has supported me in this new venture.

Art Exhibition Continues, Listowel Badminton Club in 1924 and Coolard Memories

 Photo of Ballybunion on a March night in 2016 is by Jason of Ballybunion Prints


Exhibition Continues

The Red Door Gallery is located in The Square Newcastlewest. It is a beautiful Arts space. The current exhibition is the varied and intriguing Colourful Spirits show. Below are a few last photos I took at the official opening on March 3 2016. It is well worth a visit.

 Billy Keane with some of the pictures.

 Two Billy Keanes: the younger Billy ( on the right) is a talented singer.

This fascinating artwork started life as a photograph.


Listowel Badminton Club in 1924

(Junior Griffin)

In its early years
Listowel Badminton Club was a mens club only and Eddie Faley, Mortimer Galvin,
J. Farrell and others were members at that time.  Ladies applied to be admitted but to no
avail.  It is said that Eddie Faley
considered the females to be “A bloody nuisance”.

However he was
prevailed upon to admit the ladies and grudgingly condescended,  and in his first ever mixed doubles game his
partner was one Aileen Cronin, and lo and behold, she became his life partner
for many years to follow.

Indeed, it leads
one to ponder on the seemingly unending number of romances that have blossomed
through Badminton, and one feels that that the figure of Cupid should be
depicted with a racquet and shuttlecock and not with the customary bow and

Listowel is very
fortunate that yet another dance ticket  was found in an old Library Book giving
details of yet another dance ball but more importantly for the benefit of
historians, the officers and committee of that time was listed.

This dance, known
as a wireless ball coupled with a fancy dress parade, was held also in the
Gymnasium on Saturday March 1st 1924 .

The committee
listed are as follows;

President; Mr
Seamus Wilmot;

Hon Sec; Mr. P.V.

Hon. Treas; Mr.
R.I. Cuthbertson

Committee; Messer’s
C.Tackberry, M.Hannon, T.Moore, J.Farrell, M.Naylor, J.O’Sullivan, J.Medell,
J.Walsh and T.P. Cotter.

It is interesting
to note the data on this card such as the admission price where the men had to
pay an old shilling more than the ladies, 8/6 pence compared to 7/6 pence.

There is  nice line stating that “Mr. Dunne’s Orchestra is
personally conducted”

The back page
gives information on the Wireless Concert. (To the young people of today a
wireless is now known as a Radio).

It states that “Subscribers
will be entertained to a programme Broadcasted from the following stations;
London; Paris; Bournemouth; Manchester and Glasgow.

Detailed Programme can be
seen in the Irish Independent of Saturday March 1st.

The set is fitted with the
latest and most up-to-date-Loud Speaker”

With the IT
technology that is available today the world has certainly come a long

way since those
updated loud speakers of 1924.

It is interesting
to note that whilst Listowel had a wireless on March 1st, some days
later, on March 6th, 1924, that Pope Pius XI had a wireless
installed in Rome for the first time.

One wonders did he
have some contact in Listowel who told him about this new form of
communication, and did he, per chance, purchase it from McKenna’s of Listowel?

Who Knows?


The Old Order Changeth Yielding Place to the New

March 4 2016


Maurice O’Mahony, Principal of Coolard Primary School

Maurice O’Mahony launched his memoir and history of the school where he has been principal since 1973. When he took to the stage in St. John’s on March 5 2016 the tale he had to tell was an extraordinary one.

Maurice came to the school in 1973, aged 20 years. He must have been one of the youngest principals in the country at the time. When he came, Coolard had no running water, no electricity and no telephone. It must have felt more like 1873.

Maurice is still at the helm today and the school has all the modern trappings, internet, white boards, SNAs, a secretary etc., etc.

When the principal of his old school, Ballydonoghue rang him one day to ask him for the names of all the teachers who had taught in Coolard, he undertook a search and discovered that, while all the pupils names were recorded, some of the teachers’ names were in danger of being forgotten. Thus began the long years of research to gather together as comprehensive a history of the school as possible. The culmination of that research is a magnificent magnum opus which will be treasured by local historians and everyone who has a link with the school.

The school has been through many trials and strifes and has seen much success, Thankfully we rarely hear about school boycotts nowadays but Coolard had one in its history and it lasted for 15 months. It is not as famous as the boycott in Drimoleague which is still not talked about to this day. It had at its heart though the same cause, i.e. the appointment of a principal.  You can read all about Coolard’s strike in Maurice’s book.

The local community has resisted any efforts to amalgamate their school with the other Primary school in the parish and under Maurice’s stewardship it has gone from strength to strength.

I’d advise you to go out and buy yourself a copy of A History of Coolard School 1846 to 2016. It will soon be a collector’s item. An interesting feature of the book is that it contains the name of every pupil who was ever on the roll there.


Fuinneoga Gleoite

Listowel Florist


Tae Lane Store


Another successful performance

photo: Listowel Drama Group

Listowel Drama Group cast and crew with adjudicator at the North Cork Drama festival where high praise was given to their  stellar performance again last night.

Final run last night March 14 2016 in Hollycross in North Tipperary.


Flying the Flag for the best of Irish Food

In London they celebrated St. Patrick’s Day early, on Sunday March 13 2016. Chef John Relihan was there cooking up the best of Irish beef on the best of Irish turf.

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