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

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Listowel Folk Group, Then and Now

Daffodils outside the old mart

Who Knew?

All the forks you could ever want…

Photo from the internet

A Poem

Listowel Folk Group

Matt Mooney’s photo of the early days of the folk group.

Names as best she could remember by Sr. Eileen Leen

Front L to R.; Valerie Burke, Jean Quille, John Slemon R.I.P., Sr. Anne O’Leary, Sr. Eileen Leen, Noreen Carmody, Catherine Carroll, ?

Back: Peter O’Sullivan, Matt Mooney, Michael Dowling R.I.P. Caitriona O’Neill, Mary Regan R.I.P.,  Margo Spillane,   Joan Mulvihill, Joan McCarthy

(If anyone recognises the lady at the end right on the front row please tell us.)

The folk group sang for the first time at Christmas Eve Mass in 1991.

Mary Moylan’s photo of Listowel Folk Group in February 2024

Front row, Mark O’ Brien, Lucy Scully, Maria Matos, Mia Kennedy O’Brien, Neidin Fitzpatrick,

Middle row: John Kinsella, John O’ Sullivan, Brenda O’ Halloran, Catherine Kirby, Peggy O’ Shea, Sr Eileen Leen, Margaret Payne, Mary Sobiralski, Martina O’ Connor.

Back row: Brendan Kennelly, Tony Flavin, Mike Moriarty, Ernestas Samuilovas, Linda Grimes Scully, Catriona O’Neill, Paddy McElligott, Mary Fagan, Mary Moylan.


A Fact

The left lung of a human is smaller than their right in order to make room for the heart.


Some Old Things

Daffodils on Market Street in February 2024


Muskerry Local History Society meeting in February 2024

This artefact was brought by an American Irish man, Michael Loehr. It is a prison ring. It was made from a nail by his ancestor, a republican prisoner. Prison jewellery and ornaments are prized within families. This ring was taken to the US and now brought back home by a descendant.

Another republican artefact was brought by Bert Ahern. This flag draped the coffin of his ancestor. The name and details were embroidered on to the flag after his burial by 2 neighbours of Jeremiah. The flag is kept in the family and is put on coffins of Ahern descendants to this day. This was in keeping with a request by a sister of the dead man. She was anxious that he would never be forgotten and his senseless death at the hands of men who had fought by his side a few short years earlier would not be in vain.

Early Days of the Folk Group

You hear them at mass on Saturday evenings. Well, this is where it started. Matt Mooney (fourth from left in the back row) sent us this treasure.

Research is underway on putting names to faces. Check back here soon. I hope to have all the names.

New Kerry Logo

We’ll be seeing more of this

Looking Forward to This

Fake News

My Eurovision “fact” was not, in fact, true. Sweden has also won seven Eurovision competitions. Wikipedia needs to update its facts and I need to fact check better,

A kind blog follower gently corrected my misinformation. Thank you.

Photo; Irish Mirror

If Bambi wins we’ll regain our record.

A Fact

Every tweet the American people send is archived in The Library of Congress.


Aspects of Listowel

Members of Listowel Folk Group carol singing in the Square at Christmas 2022…Photo: Facebook


Listowel and Listowel

Remember last week I told you about an email from a researcher looking for a photograph of a Listowel soldier who was killed at Passchendale.

Imagine his surprise when he found he was communicating with Listowel, Co. Kerry, Ireland when his soldier was from Listowel in Canada.

I think he had already discovered his mistake when I forwarded him Dave O’Sullivan’s find.



Listowel Confraternity on Retreat. Phot shared by Mike Hannon

Up to the middle of the 20th century confraternities were a feature of Catholic parishes in Ireland.

These all male lay societies promoted personal piety, engaged in charitable undertakings and supported the work of parish clergy.

Religious orders played a big role in the promotion of fraternities. They organised annual retreats to re-enthuse any who may be falling by the wayside. The above picture is of a group of Listowel men attending one such retreat (with the Redemptorists in Limerick, I think.)

In the early and mid twentieth century there was an upsurge in religious devotion in Ireland. When the bubble burst and scandals and injustices within the church exploded into public consciousness, confraternities, almost overnight, disappeared from the face of the earth.


Pres. Girls at Young Scientist 2023

Photo shared online by Trant’s Pharmacy


Laoch ar Lár

Seamus Begley R.I.P. spoke three language fluently, Gaeilge, English and the universal language of music.

Only when he was in his beloved fields in Baile na bPoc was Seamus ever alone. He was the ultimate co laborator and accompanist and he always seemed happiest in the midst of the Session.

I encountered Seamus fadó, fadó on tamaill spent in An Carraig as a student of Irish. Halla na Muirí was where the céilithe were. Halla na Muirí was the Tinder of the 1970s. I can still remember our first sashay into the dancehall.

“Anyone here take your fancy?” says one of the cailíní eyeing the row of aspiring woodwork teachers opposite.

” I fancy the lad on the stage in the red jumper.”

The lad on the stage was James Begley. Little did we realise that we were in the presence of greatness.

The world is a poorer place for his passing.

Go gcloise tú ceol na naingeal go síoraí, a Shéamuis.


A Poem to raise a smile

Odds by Brian Bilston


Bee Facts, Dioscesan appointments and an Owen Reunion in Finuge

Kerry Robins in Summer

Photo: Chris Grayson


Bee Facts from the internet


Dioscesan Changes July 2019

Bishop Ray Browne wishes to announce the following changes to the appointments of clergy in the Diocese of Kerry:

Msgr. Dan O’Riordan P.P. Castleisland retiring

Very Rev. Luke Roche PP Castlemaine retiring

Very Rev. Tadhg Ó Dochartaigh P.P. Firies retiring


Fr. Maurice Brick PP Lixnaw to be PP Castleisland

Fr. Anthony O’Sullivan Rathmore (pro tem) to be PP Lixnaw

Fr. Michael Hussey PP Castlegregory to be PP Ballylongford

Fr. Eamon Mulvihill PP Kilcummin to be PP Castlegregory

Fr. Joe Begley PP Dingle to be PP Glengarriff/Bonane

Fr. Michael Moynihan PP Glengarriff/Bonane to be PP Dingle

Fr. Padraig Kennelly PP Ballylongford to be PP Firies

Two more parishes without a Resident Priest:

The parish of Castlemaine will be served by the priests of the Killorglin Pastoral Area with Fr. Kevin Sullivan to be Moderator

The parish of Kilcummin will be served by the priests of the Killarney Pastoral Area with Fr. Kieran O’Brien to be Moderator

Fr. Denis O’Mahony PP Abbeydorney to be VF of the Naomh Bhréanainn Pastoral Area

Fr. Brendan Walsh PP Causeway to be Moderator of Ballyheigue

Priests of all Pastoral Areas of the Diocese take up different responsibilities outside their own parishes and within the Pastoral Area. This will be decided and communicated locally.

These changes will become effective on Wednesday, July 17th 2019


Owen Family return to their Roots

Harriet and her brother John Owen grew up in Leinster, far from the birthplace of their parents in Ballyhorgan. But when they returned to Finuge to celebrate mass and chat with their family and new found North Kerry friends, they felt that they had come home.

I count myself lucky to be counted among those North Kerry friends who have enjoyed watching this reconnection.

The thatched house was the venue for the mass which was celebrated by Fr John Owen, a Divine Word missionary who has spend many years in Argentina and is now ministering in Blanchardstown, Dublin.

Fr. John with Tom Fitzgerald, one of the local historians who was able to give the Owens first hand history of their home place. There is a still a field in Ballyhorgan called “Owenses’ Field”.

Owen family came from the U.K. and Ireland.

Paul Kennelly remembers Harriet’s parents who sadly passed away when Harriet was quite young.

Paul also met up with his old friend, Jim Sheahan.

Some local ladies joined the family for the mass.

The Sweeney family were the choir.

Group photo at Finuge Cross

Harriet and John brought a family musician to help out with the entertainment in McCarthy’s of Finuge.

Jim Sheahan sang us The Homes of Donegal. He has lost none of his musicianship since his show band days.

Nollaig McCarthy and Nora Sheahan


Listowel Folk Group Summer Barbecue

I’m assured that the good folk of Listowel Folk Group had a great night with lots of good food, good music and lots of singing in McCarthy’s Bar in Finuge.

St. Patrick’s Day 2018…the preparations

St. Patrick’s Weekend 2018 in Listowel

What a weekend we had ! It will take me a day or two to bring you all my photos.

On March 16th 2018 the scene was set. The schedule was up in The Square. The sun was shining and we were all set.

The shop windows were decorated.

We were not just having a parade. We were welcoming the Rith runners to our town. These runners had set off from Belfast at the beginning of Seachtain na Gaeilge, carrying with them a baton which held a message of support for the Irish language from President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins.

Our green clobber was in order and we were looking forward to the big day.

Finesse window was decorated with messages of support for everyone involved in all the festivities.

At St. Mary’s a full rehearsal was in progress. The folk group were in fine voice. I had always known that they would do us proud on the big day but when I heard them in rehearsal I knew that they would exceed all expectations.

The first of my visitors arrived bringing Molly (their new dog) on her first visit to The Kingdom.


Listowel Folk Group

One of the Listowel highlights of St. Patrick’s Day 2018 was the programme broadcast from St. Mary’s. It includes mass in Irish and some lovely footage of Listowel with yarnbombing for International Woman’s Day and an introduction by Owen MacMahon.

The music of Listowel Folk Group was heavenly and everyone involved did us all proud. The link to the programme is live until April 16 2018

Mass for St. Patrick’s Day 2018 from St. Mary’s Listowel


Helping the Beach Artist

No trip to Listowel would be complete without a trip to Ballybunion. My girlies were delighted when Mario allowed them to “help” him sculpt his St. Patrick’s Day beach artwork.

What Mario Perez does is amazing and Ballybunion is so lucky to have him.

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