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

Tag: Listowel Emmetts Page 1 of 2

Christmas, A Time for Remembering

Photo: Listowel Emmetts webpage

Listowel Emmetts, North Kerry Football champions.

Listowel Connection is usually a sport free zone, because it is a subject on which I know precious little. But this week people are talking about little else. Seán Moriarty’s giant killers brought home the spoils on Sunday , to add another trophy to Listowel’s many accolades of 2022.

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A New Addition to the Michael O’Connor Collection

This is a beautiful original artwork for s book plate that one of the O’Connor family is willing to add to the archive of the great Listowel artist, Michael O’Connor. A great and varied collection of his work is on its way back to his childhood home, No. 24 The Square, Listowel, now Kerry Writers’ Museum.

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100 Years of Policing Listowel

This is a diverse group pictured at the celebration of 100 years of policing in Listowel on Nov. 30 2022.

Gardaí, former gardaí and their families were invited to be part of the festivities.

They also invited their partners in so much of their work, ambulance staff, fire staff, clergy, search and rescue personnel, sea and cliff rescue, lawyers, voluntary groups and the general public.

Fire officer, Paul O’Sullivan and paramedic, John Kelliher

That’s me with 2 gardaí who were working on the day

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Bernie Long, R.I.P tells Tales out of School

In 1983 Clounmacon produced a Christmas journal called The Sleán. One of the contributors was Bernie Long. He wrote this autobiographical essay.

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Some Christmas Windows 2022

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Opening Soon

Remember those long queues in Ballybunion? Now this very popular coffee shop they knew as Seaside in Ballybunion is relocating under a new name to Charles’ Street Listowel.

Opening shortly.

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That pesky Grinch is everywhere.

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Trees on the Pitch and Putt Course, Famous Visitors and GAA field still closed




Canty’s Shebeen and Coco Kids on June 5 2020

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Some Beautiful Trees in Listowel Pitch and Putt Course

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Meeting the Famous


(Photos by Tom Fitzgerald)


 John B. Keane with Charles Haughey

Patrick Sheehan and Eamon Kelly at Sheehan’s Cottage in Finuge

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A Fascinating Tale with a Listowel Connection

Schenectady NY Gazette 1952 

   GAZETTE,   TUESDAY,   AUGUST   5,  1952  

NEW   YORK,   Aug.   4   (AP)—An   ex-GI  explained  for  Ireland  tonight  for    his    first    meeting    with    the    Irish    milkmaid    -who    found     his     name    and    address    in    a    bottle    washed   up  by   the  sea  on  her   village  beach.  It    was    Christmas    night,    1945,    that    Frank    Hayostak,     returning     aboard     ship     after     three     years     overseas,  tossed  the  bottle  into  the  ocean   100  miles  from  New   York.

   THE    LONELY    medical    corps-wrote   a   wistful   note   giving   his    name,   his   address,    184   Iron   street,   Johnstown,  Pa.,  and  a  personal   description.   Breda     O’Sullivan     of     Listowel,     County   Kerry,   now   23,   found    It    near   a   farm   where   she   lived   on   the  southwest  Irish  coast   on  Aug. 23,   1946.   She    wrote     Hayostak,     27,    an    electric  are-welder   In  a  Johnstown  steel  mill,  telling  him   of   her   find.   The  pair  have  exchanged  70  letters.

[This story must ring a bell with someone. I would love to know who Breda is. Was there a happy ever after ending to this romantic story?]

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Emmetts Grounds still out of Bounds


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Out and About (with camera)


As I was having a socially distant picnic with friend in the park I met Marjorie Morkan and Eithne Galvin on their way to the pitch and putt course

St. Patrick’s Day 2017 Part 2

Doctor Foster went to Glouster

in a shower of rain

He stepped in a puddle

up to his middle

and never went there again.

Dr. Foster’s reaction always seemed a bit drastic to me. If he came to Listowel on March 17 2017, we definitely would have seen the last of him. It rained relentlessly all afternoon, but I soldiered on and snapped away to bring you more scenes from the parade.

I make no apologies for the overload of photos of rain soaked children. The least they deserve is a moment of recognition for their efforts.

The marching band is still going strong after 20 years.

The green fingernails are on the hand of Anne (O’Connor) Brosnan who teaches the music and drills the band year after year and you must remember that, unlike other bands, a school band is constantly losing valuable personnel and gaining new inexperienced members. Anne is a treasure in the town. She deserves more recognition.

Some familiar faces on the reviewing stand.

You can see determination written on the faces of these poor girls who had the unenviable task of holding flags aloft in the teeth of driving wind and rain

The Tidy Town crew were followed by Listowel Emmetts.

After the Emmetts we had scores of pupils from Presentation Primary School with a message for all of us.

I’ll have more tomorrow from rain soaked Listowel on St. Patrick’s Day 2017

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Meanwhile in Toronto




Bernard O’Connell shared this photo of the Kerry contingent in the Toronto parade.

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Your Help is Sought


Dear Listowel Connection,



Do you or any of your many subscribers have any old photographs of the staff of the Listowel Railway circa 1900’s. or from any musical society circa 1900’s.





Yours sincerely,



Thomas Sampson

16, Druids Court,

Druids Glen,

Newtownmountkennedy A63 CR68

County Wicklow.


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Sporting History was Made


 I know very little about football but I know a good photo when I see one and this one is priceless. It appeared on the front page of the Irish Examiner on Saturday March 18 2017 and it shows Colm Copper ,filled with delight as he races to embrace his trainer. Colm added the one medal that had eluded him throughout his career when he won a club championship medal with Dr. Crokes.

 John Stack, Billy Keane, Karen Trench and Eoin Liston were in good company at the match in Austin Stack’s Park, Tralee.                                   John Stack shared the photo on Facebook.

I don’t think so…..not on Saturday evening anyway.

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Meanwhile in Cheltenham


Healy Racing of Listowel got the very best picture of the great A.P. McCoy as he attended the unveiling of a statue to himself at this year’s Cheltenham festival of racing.

Terry Wogan, Early Days of Badminton in Listowel and G.A.A. success for Listowel in the early seventies



Cumar Dheis this week




Photo; Kerry Climbing on Facebook

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The saddest Corner of Town Today




My photo shows,  on the far right, Casa Mia, once the bar owned by Kerry footballing great, Tim Kennelly. Beside it is the old creamery, once the gathering place for country people, where stories were told and news and gossip exchanged. Next is the building that was once Walsh’s Ballroom , The Las Vegas where Sive was premiered and where many a romance began. And then The Classic Cinema, which Kieran Gleeson loved and nourished.

Kieran passed away yesterday, February 16th 2016 after a short spell with that cruelest of neurological diseases. MND. May the sod rest lightly on the gentlest, the kindest and noblest of souls.

My photo from 2012 shows Kieran doing what he loved best, promoting a local film maker;

L to R: Kieran Gleeson of Listowel Classic Cinema with Rory Kirby, filmmaker and Eddie, Mary and Catherine Moylan of Listowel Vintage Wireless Museum.

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Terry Wogan Compered The Rose of Tralee




My information comes from the festival history on The Rose Of Tralee website

“Rose Selection has been compered by Kevin Hilton, Joe Lynch, Terry Wogan, Brendan O’Reilly (RTÉ sports), Michael Twomey (‘Cha & Miah’), Gay Byrne, Kathleen Watkins, Derek Davis, Marty Whelan, Ryan Tubridy and Ray D’Arcy.”

and this is what it said in the paper about him

Kerryman  Saturday, 28 March, 1964; Page: 3

APRIL is almost here once again and with it come the glamour and excitement of the Rose of Tralee dances.

BACHELOR GAY Terry Wogan, the gay, bachelor compere of T.E,’s “Jackpot,” is known to thousands throughout the country. Those without, T.V. will have heard, him news announcing on Radio Eireann for the past three yews. He is probably one of the most, popular television personalities on T.E,.—proof of this lies in the number of Valentine cards he received, on February 14 last—130. Terry hails from Limerick and was a bank official before joining R.E.,

(Glossary;

R.E. is Radio Eireann

gay meant cheerful or happy go lucky)

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Junior Griffin recalls the early days on Badminton in Listowel


His colleagues in Listowel Badminton honoured Junior on his 50 th. year promoting the sport in town.



Here Junior writes about the early days of the club.

BADMINTON was invented long ago; a form of sport played

in ancient Greece and Egypt.  Badminton came from a child’s game

called battledore and shuttlecock, in which two players hit a feathered

shuttlecock back and forth with two tiny rackets.  The game was called

POONA” in India during the 18th century, and British officers stationed

there took the Indian version back to England in the 1860’s. The army men

introduced the game to friends, but the new game was definitely launched there

at a party given in 1873 by the Duke of Beaufort at his country place, “Badminton”

in Gloucestershire.  During that time the game had no name, but it was referred to

as “The Game of Badminton” and, thereupon, Badminton became its official name.

Until 1887 the sport was played in England under the rules that prevailed in India.

They were, from the English viewpoint, somewhat contradictory and confusing.

Since a small army of Badminton players had been recruited, a group formed itself

into the Bath Badminton Club, standardised the rules, made the game applicable to English ideas and the basic regulation (of England) was formed to take over the

authority of the Bath Badminton Club, and the new group made rules, which now

govern the game throughout the world.

The sport seems to have come to Ireland almost immediately. It is known that

Badminton was very strong in Dublin, Wicklow, Coleraine and Ballymoney

in the 1890’s which resulted in the Badminton Union of Ireland been formed in 1899.

Indeed, the world’s first ever International Badminton match was played between Ireland and England in Dublin in the 1902/03 season and, except for the

two world wars, became an annual fixture alternately home and away until 1971/72.

So, as one can see the sport of Badminton was in its infancy when it came to Listowel.

Regretfully, except for the dance card found by Jim Halpin, there is no other record pertaining to that time and, unfortunately, there are no names listed as to who was involved in the founding of the club.  Hopefully, if those founding fathers came back today they would be proud to see the club they started in such a strong position one hundred years on.


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This made my Day

Last week I received this. Well done, An Post, and thank you, Philomena.

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Errors Corrected and Clarifications Given


In my story from Junior about repairs to the clock in St. John’s, I stated that Archdeacon Wallace lived in Gurtenard House. Junior pointed out to me that the Archdeacon never lived in Gurtenard. The last clergyman to live in Gurtenard was Canon Adderley.

My little fun fact about the days of the week in February was not in fact a fact at all. A man who deals with figures and who notices such things pointed out to me that every February has 4 of every day of the week. 2016 is a leap year so it has 5 Mondays.

Now to the G.A.A. photo which Junior gave me;

What he gave me was a print of a photo with the names underneath. Junior did not in fact write the names himself so he takes no responsibility for any mistakes here.

Margaret Dillon thought that the priest in the photo looked more like Fr. Gerard Dillon. She remembered that Fr. Dillon was a great step dancer and participated in many concerts with her.

As usual with Junior, one story calls up another memory and he has a story to tell. He says

“My memory of Fr. Dillon, a lovely priest, was of a man with a fine bushy head of black hair. The one thing I know is that Fr.O’Sullivan would have been a curate in Listowel much earlier than that,in the early or middle 40s I would say. Could tell you a small story about him saying the 8 o’clock Mass one Sunday morning. He became P.P. of Duagh after that but was a man that was very much involved in golf.

Around the time that photo was taken the clergy in Listowel were Canon Peter O’Sullivan, Fr. Matt Keane and Fr.Gerald Dillon.  A great team of priests. The house keeper was Mrs. Kearns and I became very close friends with her son Olly and I spent a lot of my time in the Presbytery and knew the priests well. Olly’s son Liam is the well known inter County football manager, with Tipperary at the moment”

( I’ll have to go back for the 8 o’clock mass story.)



Such is the beauty of the internet that one memory shared leads to lots of other stories and the above photo was no exception. 



The man in the front row is second from left is the late Roly Chute who ran a famous chip shop at the corner of Ballygologue Rd. across from the sports field.  Vincent Carmody shared  the following memory of the late Roly on Facebook;





“Whatever about the merits of Roly’s smart bow tie and dapper dress sense, nothing could compare to his wonderful chips, peas, and Donnelly’s skinless sausages, then washed down by a glass of milk. 


In 1972, when I first became secretary of Listowel Emmets, training was at a low ebb at the start of the year . I had an idea that we should adopt a professional approach, and offer a meal after training.


Firstly, I went to Roly Chute and asked him, what would he charge per player for chips, peas and sausages. He thought for a minute and said,  “One shilling and sixpence and for an extra threepence, I’ll throw in a glass of milk.”


 Next, I spoke to the chairman of the club, Mikey Kennelly, (father of the great Tim). I told him of the idea and Roly’s quote. Always a man for a new idea, “Right,” he said, “if you think it will work, go ahead.”


 Agreement got, I went to Michael Collins and asked him to type a letter which we distributed to all the players. First night of training after that, 36 players turned up, not counting away players. Afterwards as Mickey and myself watched them all troop over to Roly’s cafe to be fed, he turned to me and said , “We will break the club, but we’d better go over as well, as I hear they’re great chips.”


 As the training nights went by, the numbers settled down and each night less and less went over to Roly’s. The training bug had caught on. That year, the senior team won an unprecedented treble, County Junior Championship, North Kerry League and Championship. 


Shortly after winning the replayed league final, Andy Molyneaux gave me a copy of the missive which I had given to the players and he declared, ‘”Thanks to your idea and Roly’s chips, peas and sausages, we have the best year ever in the club’s history.”




Listowel Emmetts Junior County Champions 1972

Back, E O Carroll, R.Chute, D. Stack, B.Galvin, S O Donavan, T Fitzgerald, T Leahy, J Leahy, G Leahy, P Lynch, J Guerin, B Walsh, V Carmody, T Moriarty, J Hannon, M Kennelly. 

Middle, J Croghan, T Kennelly, T Shanahan, P Flaherty, J Hartnett, E O Connor, J Driscoll, G Galvin. Front, K Fitzgerald, P J Browne, T Dalton, P Horgan.

Ashes 1962;

Ashes Team, (c) 1962. 

Front, J Keane, J Griffin, M Cremin, M Cotter, F Chute, T Ashe, M McMahon, R Farrell.

 Back, B McMahon, B Shanahan, G McMahon, B O’Shea, F Murray, J Flaherty, M Ryan, R Chute.

My Christmas, Washday and a tragedy at Christmas

Some Christmas Memories 2015


Christmas is a time for family. I spent mine with my family, pictured below.

Even in this age of screens, and Santa brought lots this year, it’s good to play a game or two of cards. Below my younger daughter plays Uno with her niece, my youngest granddaughter.

Róisín is still reading.

On a Christmas visit to my home in Kanturk, the girls did a bit of horse whispering.

No cracker pulling session would be complete without the fortune telling fish.

This is the perfect gift for the horse lover. This Christmas tree is made from discarded horseshoes: a great way to keep the memory of a beloved horse alive at Christmas.

I was in Castlemagner to see the Duhallow Hunt ride out on St. Stephens’ Day. Despite the rain it was very impressive to see this centuries old tradition hardly changed a whit except for a few mobile phones.

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Washday Memories


Some people were transported back to the Mondays of childhood by a recent blogpost about memories of the twin tub.

I remember a time way before the washing machine, when Monday was dominated by an aluminum washtub, a washboard, Sunlight soap, Reckitts Blue, starch made from flour and a clothesline held up by a forked pole.

Photo: Memories are made of this

Most women wore an apron, usually a wrap around dark coloured  one that covered all her good clothes and, most importantly, “didn’t show the dirt”.

Sunday best clothes were literally that. They were worn only to mass and then put away for another week. These were only washed once or twice a year.

Everyday clothes were washed more often but nothing like the excessive laundering we do nowadays. Men wore a shirt for a whole week, only changing the collar, if necessary. Most countrymen wore collarless shirts so the whole shirt went a week without washing.

Washday Monday began early with the boiling of the water in the Burko Boiler. This would be on the go all day for frequent changes of washing water. The water had to be brought in buckets to the boiler.

The washtub and board would be set up and then the washing started with the whites. These often needed an extra scrub. When washed they were put aside in a bucket of cold water to be rinsed, dipped in blue and, if needs be, starched. Starch was reserved for good table linen and sometimes for shirt collars. These would be the good shirts and, when starched, they would cut the neck of you. Starch (a paste made from flour and water and added to the rinsing water) was used very sparingly in our house.

The dirty water was thrown out, an operation involving two people, one to hold either side of the washtub. Washing was done outdoors whenever possible or if it had to be indoors it was done close to an open door. The tub was filled again and the coloured wash started.

If the housewife was lucky enough to have an assistant, mother, sister or daughter, this assistant would be hanging out the whites while the woman of the house got on with the coloureds.

Lest you think that hanging out the washing was an easy job, let me banish that notion this instant. I often was that soldier.

In our house the rinsing was always done in cold water, icy cold water…2 changes of cold rinsing water and the final rinse with a dip of the blue bag. 

Don’t get me started on bleach. If the white garment had yellowed a bit it required a third rinse, this time with bleach added. As I write I can smell it and I can feel the sting in my fingers. There was no mangle, no ringer, spinner or tumble dryer so you had to squeeze as much water as possible from the rinsed garments and then take them to the line. The line was usually a distance from the house on any piece of elevated ground where the clothes might catch any passing breeze. “Good drying” was the housewives’ dearest wish on a Monday.

Washing the coloureds was a doodle after the whites…no blue, no bleach and no starch.

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A Cloud of sadness overshadows the GAA community

I took this photo in The Small Square on one of the days between the drawn game and the replay between Brosna and Listowel Emmetts in the North Kerry Football Championship. The Emmetts’ flag was flying in anticipation of the replay planned for January 3 2015. That game was postponed due to the tragic death of one of North Kerry’s finest young players, Paddy Curtin of Moyvane.

(The replay was played in Ballybunion on Saturday January 9. Listowel Emmetts fought a hard battle to win by 9 pints to 6.  )

The below series of photos was posted by MacMonagle Photography as a tribute to Patrick Curtin. The G.A.A.s loss is as nothing compared to the family’s loss of such a talented and promising young man.

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John Stack’s photo of the winning Emmetts team

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You Tube Gem



There are all sorts of things on youtube. Once in a while a little piece that is really beautiful comes along.

Below is a link to such a piece Denis Carroll made some years back. It’s a call to prayer called simply

 The Angelus

Watch out for some Listowel faces and places.

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