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 Food Fair 2015

Friends Reunited, Listowel Food fair 2015 and some Listowel Patricians

This is a group of happy Listowel ladies who got together in The Listowel Arms on Saturday June 27 2015 to catch up with each other and to reminisce about old times. They are Grace Beasley O’Sullivan, Jean Kiely O’Leary, Rose Woulfe West, Mary Stack Kelly, Sr. Una Harman, Norma Lynch McIlvenna, Hilary Nielson Kelly, Mary King, Eileen Greaney and Mary Kelly Gore.


Listowel Food Fair  June 18 to June 21 2015

The first Food Fair event I attended was the Kathy (White House) Buckley plaque unveiling ceremony. Here are a few more photos from that lovely afternoon on Upper William Street.

Ciarán Sheehan and Donal Nolan

 Clodagh Murphy

There was some great jazz in The Square at The Friday Market.

On Sunday I was in The Square again with my family for the fun day with food and entertainment galore.

queueing for  a crepe

 I met my former neighbour, Gerard Nugent  who grew up in Listowel. He was in town for the food fair  with his gourmet pie business.

Damien Stack shared his pie with Marie Regan….delicious!

Xistance members were painting faces.

 Drumdance Ireland was a great hit with my crowd.

 The Stack/Scanlon family were enjoying themselves.

 That’s Róisín in the gingham giving it all she’s got.

 This man was in charge of the music session. He was brilliant.

Face painting was available all day.

The girls got a balloon each.

and a crepe

Great day out, despite the cold weather. 

Roll on next year!


Some of Listowel’s Venerable Forefathers

Photos from The commemorative booklet produced in 1960 for the opening of the sports field.

Kathy Buckley event at Listowel Food Fair 2015

First Year at the New Date

What used to be an Autumn event has moved to June this year. A marvelous array of events is lined up for the weekend but the show I attended yesterday was a great opener to the festival. The official opening with the traders bake off was to happen later but this was a lovely solemn ceremony coming at a poignant time in Irish American relations.

The ceremony, which took place on William Street was in honour of Kathy Buckley who was born in William Street, Listowel and went on to serve as a cook in The White house under three U.S. presidents. U.S ambassador, Kevin O’Malley unveiled a plaque at the house where she lived before she emigrated and to where she retired when her stint in the U.S came to an end.

5.00 p.m. and William Street Upper was closed to traffic and a nice crowd had gathered outside the ancestral home of Kathy Buckley.

 Two bands from local schools greeted the ambassador on his arrival. People living and working nearby came out to see the spectacle.

Listowel people and particularly William Street people were well represented.

Security was discreet but visible.

Billy Keane was the master of ceremonies.

In his introduction, Billy referred to the recent tragedy in Berkeley. Billy, himself was very touched by this accident as he lost his first cousin’s son, Niccolai Shuster. Another young victim, Aoife Beary, is in hospital in a critical condition. Aoife is the daughter of Mike Beary of Listowel. 

Our two countries have rarely felt closer as Irish American people and people with no Irish connection have opened their hearts and homes to the families of the young people killed and injured in California.

Billy introduced, local historian, Vincent Carmody, whom he described as the keeper of the flame. Vincent has kept the story of Kathy Buckley alive and he is in no small way responsible for today’s ceremony. He told a story of Kathy who, in her retirement, cooked for her Listowel relatives. One day she made homemade custard and, as was her custom in The White House, she laced it with cream. It was far too rich a taste for her Listowel relative who declared, “I don’t like it”.

Kathy replied, “If it was good enough for three U.S presidents, it’s good enough for you.”

 U.S ambassador to Ireland, Kevin O’Malley, is the son of Irish emigrants. He is very proud of his Irish heritage. He too mentioned the links between our two countries and the recent tragic event which took the lives of 5 J1 students and one Irish American. He is well aware of how much the US has given to our Irish diaspora and how contact with Ireland and Irish people has so enriched “the land of the free.” He hoped that seeing the memorial to Kathy Buckley might inspire people to achieve great things.

Then he unveiled the plaque.

Next up was Ciarán Sheehan, relative of Cathy Buckley and son of an Irish father who emigrated from Upper William St. Listowel to seek a better life in the U.S. I had met Ciarán earlier in the day with Vincent and as a result of that meeting I booked my ticket to hear him sing in St. John’s as guest of the Willis Clan.

 Ciarán sang the Irish and U.S. anthems. He is a well known name in the U.S.  Recently he sang at the funeral of Beau Biden, son of the vice president of the US and he has taken part in over 1000 performances of Phantom of the Opera.

Listen to him here;  Ciaran Sheehan sings in William St. Listowel June 18 2015

Then it was time for photographs. The ambassador and his wife were most generous with their time and willing to pose with anyone who wanted.

A pint was produced from next door by Aidan O’Connor. The ambassador posed with it but refused to take a sip.

Then it was time for the neighbours who remembered Kathy to look at the plaque and remember her.

We had a laugh, a bit of a chat and a few more photos to remember the day by and we all agreed the day was a great success.

Listowel Military Tattoo 2015 and Listowel Food Fair 2015

Listowel Military Tattoo 2015

It was Saturday afternoon, May 2 2015 and we were all in the square for the best bit (in my opinion), i.e. the parade of veterans and soldiers, the laying of wreaths and the flypast. It is a lovely dignified, solemn ceremony and organized with a precision that does the local organizers proud.

This is the local Army Reservists’ flag party.

The Wixted and Nolan families were out in force at every event of the weekend.

Clíona Cogan and our Kildare visitors for the weekend, Seán, Mary and Tony McKenna from Newbridge.

The dignitaries in place before the wreath laying.

All day we had real soldiers and men dressed up as soldiers meeting and mingling. I got this great photo of a real vicar meeting and mingling with a pretend vicar.

These two happy gentlemen told me that they were “catching up”.

The Bunyans were there to enjoy the parade.

( If I took your photo at the weekend and it hasn’t appeared here yet, don’t despair. I still have loads to get through yet.)


Looking forward to Listowel Food Fair

No sooner is one festival over than we are thinking of the next one. The next one for Listowel is the great Writers’ Week. I’ll talk about that next week. Today I want to entice you to Listowel for The Food Fair, to be held this year at the earlier time of June 18 to June 21 2015.

This lady is the late Kathy Buckley of William St. She is pictured in the grounds of The White House in Washington. She was cook to three presidents. Listowel Food Fair have decided to honor her at this year’s festival.

This is a promotional photo of some of the organizing committee, Aoife Hannon, Asya O’Callaghan, Mary Coleman and Audrey Galvin.

We are so lucky in Listowel to have great chefs and great restaurants.

This year’s festival will be opened by Paolo Tullio and as well as the usual competitions and tastings will feature  the first ever All Ireland Craft Beer Competition. There will be a food trail and enhanced Farmers’ Market as well as demonstrations and tastings.


Devastating O’Connell Street, Limerick fire of 1959

On Tuesday, 25 August 1959, at 11am, a fire was noticed and reported in Todd’s building.  Todds and the neighbouring buildings was quickly evacuated. By 12:30 the entire block was a blazing inferno. The cause was a fuse box in the basement of the drapery store which had burst from the wall.

The story in pictures;   O’Connell Street Fire


Friday Clean up

Listowel Tidy Towns posted this picture of the girls from Pres. Secondary School. Listowel with their teacher, Margaret Daly, on their weekly clean up around the town


Progress at Lidl


First Holy Communion in Ballydonoghue

Lovely souvenir photographs from John Kelliher


Something for the weekend

If you are an active person over the age of 50 you must head to Killarney on Sunday or Monday. There are over 80 stalls and you can investigate anything from how to research your family tree to  investing your pension nest egg.


Student Business “Oscar” for Young Ballyduff Man

In the Mansion House in Dublin last night, May 7 2015,  Pádraig O’ Connor of Ballyduff was presented with his award for An Post Smart Student Marketing Campaign of the Year by Paul Cooke of the Sunday Business Post.

Pádraig is currently studying in Pace University in New York, He returned for a short visit home to accept his prize.

Padraig with his very proud parents, John and Bridget.  This is a young North Kerry man with a very bright future ahead of him. Well done, my friend!

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