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 Drama Group Page 2 of 4

Listowel statues, Listowel men and a meeting to set up a Limerick Kerry Railway line

Some Listowel Public Sculptures

This artwork in The Square depicts the River Feale which runs through the town and a ring fort or lios from which the town takes its name.

A constant reminder of the contribution of nuns to the  the town.

Bryan MacMahon, Údar agus Oide, a Patrician, whose influence is still felt in Listowel and further afield.


Two Men I met on the Street on Friday

Denis Walsh of The Advertiser has a busy day on Fridays, delivering his very popular publication to North Kerry businesses.

Denis took a minute to pose for me with his friend, Martin McCarthy, star of Widows’ Paradise.


Then and Now

Some places change and some stay the same.


From The Tralee Chronicle of 1879……the start of the line

A meeting of the Directors of the Limerick and Kerry Railway Company
was held at Mr M’Elligott’s Hotel, Listowel, on Tuesday last, the Earl
of Devon presiding. Other Directors present   George Sandes, VC, Major
Crosbie, F Sandes, George Hewson,Edward Curling, Messrs Michael Leahy,
Newcastle West; Denny, Tralee, Solicitors to the Directory;Mr
Barrington, CE, and Thomas Nunan ?, Secretary, were also present.

The meeting was chiefly for the disposal of preliminary business and
to organise the taking of shares, for which purpose local committees
were appointed. Lord Devon headed the share list, and subsequently
paid the usual deposit on same into the bank. It was stated at the
meeting that if the people most interested in the project subscribed
at once for the shares on the favourable terms they are now offered at
the Directors would be in a position to invite tenders from
contractors on favourable terms so as to allow the contractors of the
line being at once proceeded with. It was also said that a large
number of shares had been subscribed for. Among the most prominent
shareholders is Lord Listowel, from whom a letter was read expressing
regret that he was unable to attend the meeting. After leaving the
meeting Lord Devon in passing through Abbeyfeale, came in for an
ovation, the inhabitants turning out en masse to greet him, headed by
the local brass band.


Colourful Spirits at the Red Door

I was in Newcastlewest on Thursday last for an Art Exhibition by our local art group, Colourful Spirits.

The opening night was really well attended. I’ll bring you more photos in the next few days.


The Drama Group are on the Road

Listowel Drama Group made a great start to their festival tour in Knockaderry on 

Friday Mar. 4 2016. 

They posted a few photos of the scene backstage on their Facebook page.

Taken from the wings before curtain up

The stars are in make up

Chief cook and bottle washer, John Kinsella, gets a rare moment of relaxation.

Ballybunion, Church Street, Listowel Drama Group in the Glory days and Maria Stack Millinery


I was in Ballybunion for the first time in a while on Sunday February 14 2016. It was a beautiful crisp dry day and this lovely seaside place was  a buzz of activity.

I saw two new seats dedicated to the memories of local people. Good idea!

There were dogs on the beach but all well mannered and in the control of their owners.

This surfer was just returning to base from his stint in the waves.

 People were exercising horses.

The rescue helicopter was on a practice run.

Toilets are getting a face lift.

The castle has weathered winter 2016 with no obvious damage.

 Boathouse intact.


One Year Gone


Election Posters on Market Street


Then and Now


Listowel Drama Group Members in Times Past

Photo thanks to Kay Caball

On the right of this photo is Mrs. Margaret Moloney who was for years chairperson of Listowel Drama Group. She also took part is some of its earlier productions. Her daughter, Kay, has been kind enough to share with us a scrapbook she kept at this time. This is the first of the photos and cuttings I will share with you over the next few days

In front of this photo are Cecile Cotter and Margaret Moloney

In the back are Harry Geraghty & Rex Coolican


Someone we  Know is Up for an Award

Maria Stack, Listowel Milliner, has featured regularly on this blog. She is one of the finalist for Kerry Fashion Designer of the Year award. The winner will be announced at a black tie function in Killarney on March 4 2016.

The contenders for the prize in Maria’s section are;

Kerry Fashion Designer of the Year

Maria Stack – Millinery

Anne Cantillon Linnane – Womenswear

Maire O’Mahony – Millinery

Greta Lelyte – Menswear

Cathy Troth – Millinery

Rebekah Wall – Millinery

Nicole O’Brien – Millinery

Stiff competition indeed!

Below are photos of some of Maria’s hats that have appeared already in listowelconnection

No, the queen is not wearing a Maria Stack creation. Maria is to the left of Prince Philip at Ascot.

Listowel Arms, Badminton in Listowel and a few dates for your diary

Listowel Arms Now and 10 years ago

January 2016



Badminton, a shop refurbishment and an old dance card

Junior Griffin tells the story:


What, one may
well ask, has the famed city of Jericho and the Listowel Badminton Club in

The Bible
story tells us that Joshua and his Israelites marched around Jericho, then
shouted and blew their trumpets so that the walls came tumbling down.

There is no
doubt whatsoever that the writing of this history of the Listowel Badminton
Club would never have been considered but for the destruction of another wall.

A few short
years ago local business man and former badminton club member, Mr. Jimmy Halpin
moved his fishing and shooting supplies business to number 24, Church Street,
Listowel. The premises needed extensive renovations to cater for his business,
which meant many of the inner walls had to be knocked, not to the sound of
trumpets but with the use of jackhammers and the tools of today.

On examining
the rubble, Mr. Halpin and his workmen found numerous newspapers, all tightly
folded as if they were inserted for insulation. On checking the papers it was
found that the headlines of most dealt with the earthquake and the destruction
of San Francisco in 1906.

On turning
over a page he saw something falling to the ground.  On examining it, Mr.
Halpin found it to be a beautifully decorated and well preserved invitation
card (illustrated) with a short pencil attached, to a dance under the
auspices of the Listowel Hockey and Badminton Clubs to be held on Friday
December 16th 1908.

The music
listed was definitely different to the music that is heard in the dance halls
of today with many classical pieces being to the fore and the pencil possibly
used by the ladies to reserve a dance if asked by a gentleman. One wonders did
that inspire the writer to pen the tune “ Save the last waltz for me”.


A Few Dates for you to Pencil in

Make sure you catch Listowel Drama Group in St. John’s from February 11 to 14 2016. Their Blithe Spirit is a must see. Listowel needs to get behind them as they head off to the tough world of drama festivals.

The Exhibition will showcase works of art, photography, felting & assemblage. Participating artists include, Rebecca Carroll, (not in photo), Liam Brennan (not in photo), Jim Dunne, Noreen Breen, Malcome Donald, Lisa Fingleton, Viveca Amoto, Susan Hitching, Marie Brennan, David Morrison, Mary Finucane & Arian Everson. This Exhibition is in co-operation with Newcastlewest Arts. For further details contact Rebecca Carroll (Colourful Spirits) @ 087 4577979 or Vicky Nash (Red Door Gallery) @ 086 2517086

The Exhibition will be official launched by Billy Keane (Journalist & publican)

     ATHEA DRAMA GROUp presents ‘The Hen Night Epiphany’ at Con Colbert Memorial Hall, Athea on February 25th, 27th, 28th & March 3rd, 5th & 6th at 8pm.Directed by Oliver McGrath, this is a heart lifting tale that tells the story of five women who meet up for a night of fun and laughter that ultimately leaves their lives turned upside down. The cast features Annette O’Donell, Angeline O’Donnell, Nora Hunt, Louise Ahern & Ria Browne. Photo by Lizzy Murphy

Ballybunion, Malones of Church St., Ivy Soap and Listowel Drama Group’s latest venture

photo: Ballybunion Prints


All Washed Out

I never thought when I raised this subject that it would enthuse so many of my blog friends. Nicky Leonard found this old Sunlight advertisement;

Don’t you love the “bachelor” hand washing his smalls, with his pipe in his mouth and wearing his good clothes. I think the implied message is that men only wash their own clothes when there is no woman to do it. They roll up the sleeves and tackle the washing while all the time maintaining their manly image by smoking and wearing a collar and tie.

More recent advertising maintained this image of women as the experts in the laundry field. These ads often featured a clipboard wielding man begging women to let him in on their laundry secret

Look what I found in my attic!

My name is Mary and I am a hoarder.


Malone’s Car Hire

Maria Sham send me this photo of a family outing to Killarney. She remembered that the driver was a man employed by Malone’s of Church St.

Jim MacMahon, who is holidaying in Australia, spotted the photo and it brought back memories of Malone’s hackney business and the drivers he remembers from his time living next door to Malones in Church St.

Jim writes, “The driver in the picture is either Micky Barry or Jimmy Lyons but unless my memory fails me its Micky….’


Charles St., Listowel January 20 2016

The calm before the storm. In a few weeks you won’t be able to see these poles for election posters. I’ll keep you posted.


Listowel Drama Group are off to the Drama Competitions

I received  the following from Cora O’Brien


After an interval of 36 years Listowel Drama Group returns to the
festival circuit with their acclaim production of “Blithe Spirit” by Noel

Listowel Drama Group now in its 72nd year has a proud
tradition of participating at festivals since it was founded. In the late 1940’s it was a regular visitor
to the Kerry and Lord Cork Drama festivals despite a less then auspicious start
in which one adjudicator advised the ladies and gentlemen of Listowel Dramatic
Movement would be better advised if they would engage in a more productive way
of passing the long Winter evening and suggested that they take up the art of
“knitting”. Fortunately this advice went
unheeded and the Drama Group went on to achieve all Ireland success in both one
act and three act competitions with such plays as “The Magic Glasses” and

However the group has not been seen at a festival since 1976 when they
presented “The Couple Beggar” by Frank Moriarty produced by the late great Bill

The group are eagerly looking forward to the new challenge and both
cast and stage crew are confident that they will acquit themselves with
distinction and do Listowel proud.

Blithe Spirit is directed by Owen Mc Mahon and Imelda Dowling. Imelda also takes a leading
role. She has been the driving force
behind this bold move and states “we are anxious to find out where we are in
terms of standards of acting and production and we are prepared for any praise
or criticism from the various adjudicators as we feel it can only be for the
good of the group and the development and raising of theatrical standards”.

The play will have a pre-festival run at St. Johns Theatre from
Thursday the 11th of February to Saturday the 14th of
February and this is an opportunity not to be missed by the Theatre going
patrons of Kerry. 

Thereafter Listowel Drama Group festival dates are as follows :

Knockaderry, County Limerick Friday 4th
March 2016.

Scarrif, County Clare Saturday 5th March

Castleisland, County Kerry 12th March 2016.

Charleville, County Cork 13th March 2016.

Ending in Holy Cross, County Tipperary on Monday 14th
of March 2016.

Listowel Drama Group which has thrilled and entertained the audiences
in Listowel for over seventy years deserves all the support it gets in its
artistic endeavours and to ensure that THE STAGE SHALL NEVER DIE!.

Life before Alarm Clocks, A Listowel Drama Group Production and some boyhood friends meet up

Popular Doctor Retires

Photo; Paper Hearts

Dr. John Halkett of Church St. has retired from practice after 30 years. He and Ann will now have time to travel, to visit family and maybe he will get to see some cricket.


Some of our ancestors were “knocked up”

A knocker-up (sometimes known as a knocker-upper) was a profession in Ireland that started during and lasted well into the Industrial Revolution and at least as late as the 1920s before alarm clocks were affordable or reliable. 

A knocker-up’s job was to rouse sleeping people so they could get to work on time. The knocker-up used a truncheon or short, heavy stick to knock on the clients doors or a long and light stick, often made of bamboo, to reach windows on higher floors. Pea shooters were also used. In return, the knocker-up would be paid a few pence a week. The knocker-up would not leave a client’s window until they were sure that the client had been awoken.

Text and photo from:Rare Irish Stuff


The Shaghraun

This is a photo of a photo that hangs in The Horseshoe Bar and Restaurant. Thanks to Owen and Máire MacMahon for providing us with the provenance and the photos of the original programme.


Holidays Remembered

In response to my bit  about local holidays, Liz Chute shared this lovely memory;

I went on my holidays from 57 Church Street to 17 Charles Street to my uncle Francies . ( Landys now ) 

My great grandfather Roland built the house plus the two other small houses just above it .  The boys would have a pillow fight and whoever lost had to share their bed with me !, 


School Friends Reunited

At The Lartigue some years ago Vincent Carmody, Tony Barrett, Mike Sheehy R.I.P. and Paddy Keane


Ireland of the Welcomes

Sonder Ireland

Make yourself a cup to tea, relax and click on the link above. This drone shot video of our fair land will make you so want to get in the car or the plane and visit every corner of Ireland. This is so beautiful.


Meanwhile in the USA

 photo: Today Fm

 Liam Murphy

Maura Nelligan Shaw

3 photos from Maura Brennan

Our thoughts are with our US friends who are looking out on this blizzard landscape.


I was in the INEC yesterday

Mags and Liz of Finesse, Listowel were at the wedding fair too

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