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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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.

St. John’s, Volunteers in Second Time Around and some more turf shed theatre

St. John’s, The Square, Listowel

February 27 2018 was a freezing cold day but the light was perfect for a photo of this iconic Listowel building.


Spring, a Season of Renewal

On the 28/2/2017 Fr. Pat Moore posted on his blog.

Blessed are you, spring,bright season of life awakening.

You gladden our hearts with opening buds and returning leaves as you put on your robes of splendour.

For in your life no death can survive as you exchange places with winter.

You harbour no unforgiving spirit for broken tree limbs and frozen buds.

Season of hope and renewal.

Wordless poem about all within us that cannot die.

Each year you amaze us with the miracle of returning life.


Second Time Around

“The salt of the earth” my friends in Listowel’s St. Vincent de Paul shop


Turf Shed Theatre Remembered

Marie Shaw took a trip down memory lane when she read accounts of the entertainments staged by Listowel children in the 1950s. Here is what she wrote;

Smiling while reading the Vincent Carmody bit about turf theatre. Remembering when we were teenagers In Clieveragh and a bunch of us kids decided to stage a play in Louis Connell’s garage. We made up our own script from a story we read somewhere called “Christine’s Necklace”

Joseph Power, John Hartnett, Michael O’Connell and Michael Broderick built a stage and made some kind of seating. Artie Chute who worked for Louis O’Connell’s law office typed up some very impressive programs for us, we raided all our closets to come up with costumes and a stage curtain and were then ready to stage our play. Only one thing went wrong, the garage didn’t have a light so right before the scheduled performance we were left with a dark garage. Not to worry, Louis O’Connell came to the rescue by moving his car right in front of the garage and shining the lights directly at the stage. Many years later I wondered if he killed his car battery through his concern. We even had a cast party in O’Connell’s kitchen afterwards. Louis and Mrs. O’Connell had so much patience with us and indulged us so much. I will always remember them fondly.




Dilligently Rehearsing

Listowel Folk Group are busy practicing in their new location in St. Mary’s for their biggest gig to date. They will sing the mass as Gaeilge when St. Patrick’s Day mass from Listowel is broadcast on RTE at 11.00a.m. on the National Holiday.

Athea people and Countess Markievicz and Rith in Listowel on St. Patrick’s Day

Fabulous picture of Fungi, the Dingle dolphin by the people behind Fungie Forever


Signs of Spring

Bulbs are sending up green shoots, a reassurance that this cold snap will end.


Athea and Countess Markievicz

Last week I mentioned how I thought the good people of Athea were kind and friendly. A blog follower responded with this;

“Every word is true about Athea- especially the people of Athea. Years ago, I had interactions with the then attendant at the Mortuary in Limerick Regional Hospital- as it was then known. This man dealt with all remains deceased persons, whether they died peacefully in their beds at a good age, or died tragically- in many circumstances. 

He was extremely helpful to all grieving relatives and was much respected and liked. He told me once that he ‘loved’ to see a crowd from Athea coming to the mortuary, as they were the grandest and ‘dacentest’ people in the county. In their loss and grief, they came armed with a gift for the attendant (a bottle of whiskey) which no-one else ever bothered to do. Athea people are a special type- they have big hearts and appreciate a kindness.

Another story about Athea in the long-ago: Countess Markievicz (after whom a local Athea housing estate is named) visited Con Colbert’s Athea and was giving a speech when she was interrupted by by an old man, probably unused to see a woman in such a prominent position. He called out, “Can you bake a plain cake of bread, Ma’am?”  The Countess replied instantly,  “I can,”  and I can drive a four-in-hand!” A four-in-hand, as you equestrians will know, is a carriage drawn by four horses with the driver controlling and directing all four with a set of reins- an operation requiring special skill and strength, and beyond many men,  I believe.  That settled the old man’s hash pretty quickly!”



This good man whom I featured a while back is Fr. Bowen and not Bohan as I stated.


The late Bryan MacMahon and Brendan O’Carroll


Rith go Lios Tuathail

Rith is a national festival which runs every second year as part of Seachtain na Gaeilge,

March 11 to March 17 2018.

A 1,500km. course has been mapped out and it will be run in relays from Belfast to Listowel in 2018.

A special hand carved baton carrying a secret message of support for the Irish language will be carried as far as Listowel and the message will be read out from the stage at the viewing of the St. Patrick’s Day parade. The reading of the message will be followed by a street party.


As if that wasn’t enough excitement for St. Patrick’s Day, the mass on RTE will be broadcast from St. Mary’s, Listowel. It will be sung, in Irish, by Listowel Folk Group, pictured below at their annual Christmas party.

Listowel Folk Group, St. Mary’s Church of Ireland, Killarney and more from Ladies Day 2017

Doe, a deer….

Mother and babe by Chris Grayson


Listowel Folk Group Bid Farewell to Ballinskelligs

Photos from Listowel Folk Groupon Facebook

For some years not, the parish folk group have been taking a welcome summer break in Ballinskelligs. Now the house where they used to stay is up for sale and sadly, those happy summer days are now just a memory.

The congregation at Saturday evening mass in St. Mary’s continue to enjoy their music and singing.


Tarrant’s of Market Street Repainted


St. Mary’s, Killarney, Church of the Sloes

St Mary’s (Church of Ireland) Killarney, is a beautiful church in the heart of Killarney which serves a small congregation as well as tourists. There is evidence as far back as the 1200s of a Church in this area. More significantly the name of the Town itself Killarney (in Irish: Cill Airne) means Church of the Sloes.

I visited this church recently and I took a few photos of the many beautiful windows and fittings.


More from Ladies’ Day 2017

It was great to meet so many local people making the Ladies’ Day style effort.

I was very surprised not to see this eye catching outfit on the podium. It seems to be the year of block colours. Florals or prints did not seem to get a look in with this year’s judges.

This looks to me like that fruit bowl creation which won at Galway. No joy at Listowel but you must agree it looks stunning.


Culture Night 2017

Fergal Keane will return to his father’s hometown on Friday Sept. 22 2017 to launch his new book.

Venue: Listowel Arms Hotel

Time; 7 to 8 p.m.

I took a few photos of Fergal when, as part of Listowel Writers Week 2017,  he read  his father’s lovely piece of writing for the introduction to Vincent Carmody’s North Kerry Camera.

Fergal Keane with Paddy Keane

with Kay Caball

with Eamon OMurchú

Fergal Keane reading to an enthralled audience

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