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Tag: Listowel Food Fair

Christmas Lights, A Stroll through The Garden of Europe, Some Craft Food and Frances Brennan in town

Christmas Lights

I went to the switching on of the lights ceremony last Saturday. Unfortunately I couldn’t get the setting right on my camera to cope with the light in The Square.  You get the drift though.

 The Millsiders entertained the large crowd.

 Mulled Cider, Cupcakes and other confectionery was on offer.

 Billy Keane was M.C. Kelly OSullivan Browne was one of the organizers.

 Jennifer Scanlon, another organizer was there with her family.

The crowd in The Square.  Again my apologies for the very bad photos.


Lovely Listowel in autumn 2014

I took all of the above photos on the morning of November 18 2014 in Listowel Town Park and The Garden of Europe. We are so lucky to live in such a beautiful town.

As they say on Facebook; feeling blessed!


On Sunday Nov 23 2014 I went to the Craft Fair which is held annually in conjunction with Listowel Food Fair, in the The Community Centre. Here is what I bought.

 The quiche from The Mixing Bowl was a spinach and olive delight. I would definitely recommend the trip to Ballybunion just to try it.  The mince pies from there were delicious as well. They were a bit pricey at €2 each. 

The Mint and Pea soup was the best I’ve had ever. The brown bread was perfect as well. Sell done to the local new producer.

Finally is this really interesting product. The little jar on the right contains Dandelion Flower Preserve.

It is from The Wild Irish Foragers and Preservers who make these delicious confections from hand- picked wild produce which they cook  using old recipes. The Dandelion Preserve is delicious with goats’ cheese and the lovely lady who sold it to me told me that it is also  a brilliant natural cure for a sore throat.

I heard later that it had won the Food Fair prize for best upcoming food product.


At Your service, Listowel

Francis Brennan snapped in the company of some well known locals.

The hard working people in the Love Listowel marketing group brought Francis Brennan to town to talk us all into shape. The meeting  in The Seanchaí on Tuesday evening Nov 25 2014 was very positive . Frances was full of praise for how the town presents itself to the visitor. He had no magic bullet to solve the problems of Listowel’s traders but he got everyone talking and that is a great start.

Monday Dec 5 news from town

 In St. Mary’s last night the Kerry Choral Union performed in concert. ‘Oh Holy Night’  

featured both the junior and senior choirs, singing a variety of Christmas songs.  Heavenly!

We also have a lovely new parish Christmas card this year. When I buy my one today I’ll photograph it to show you. They cost €1 each from the parish office, Carmel’s or JackieMcGillicuddy’s.


Snippet from Radio Kerry website: 

Listowel Food Fair’s annual book award is to be sponsored

next year by the Irish Dairy Board. The 20  11 Kerry Food Book of the Year was awarded

 to chef Edward Hayden for his book ‘Food to Love’. The announcement of the new sponsorship was welcomed by Minister Jimmy Deenihan who said there is likely to be

 strong competition for the prize next year. The Kerry Food Book award is judged on the quality of production, clarity of recipes and good design.

A roundabout in Listowel was dedicated to our north Kerry footballing hero. The roundabout in Cahirdown is

now named the Tim Kennelly Roundabout after the five-times all Ireland winner who died in 2005.

Saturday’s ceremony was attended by Tim Kennelly’s widow Nuala, his sons Tadhg and Noel and his daugher Joanne. The official naming ceremony was conducted by Mayor of Listowel, Marie Gorman and Mayor of Kerry Tim Buckley.


My next piece is from Saturday’s Irish Times. I love it and I trust you will love it too. The old photo of the late John B. and Mary I found on the internet.


If you read the memoirs of Austin Currie, former civil rights leader in the North who later became a Fine Gael TD and junior minister, you will find an amusing reference to the present writer.

In the Year of Our Lord 1990, I was assigned to travel around the country with Mr Currie and report on his ill-fated campaign to become President of Ireland. Although he didn’t win, his transfers got Mary Robinson elected as the first woman to hold the office.

Anyway, the Currie campaign fetched-up in the fine town of Listowel, Co Kerry. It was quite late at night and, although there was a fair crowd on the street to welcome the candidate in a torchlight procession, it was too late to get anything about it in the next day’s paper.

One of our first ports of call was the public house of John B. Keane, playwright and Fine Gael supporter. He was very well-disposed towards me because, in a previous manifestation as a drama critic, I had written a reasonably-favourable review of a play he had written, called The Chastitute (combination of “chaste” and “prostitute”) about a repressed Irishman who is obsessed with sex – used to be a fairly common type. At the time, John B. was unfashionable on the  Dublin scene and he was correspondingly grateful even for the mild approval in my play-review.

Anyway, faced with a choice – between spending my time in conversation with the immensely wise and entertaining John B. and traipsing the streets late on an October night to witness events I couldn’t report on – I chose the former.

Mr Currie – whom I came to both like and respect – was slightly miffed next day but he subsequently conceded in his good-humoured way that, in my position, he would have made the same decision. He tells the story in All Hell Will Break Loose, published by the O’Brien Press in 2004.

Sadly, I don’t remember the details of my conversation with the late John B. except that he was terrific company. I was reminded of the occasion last weekend when I caught the penultimate performance in the week-long Dublin run of Big Maggie, in an excellent Druid production directed by Garry Hynes.

The central character is a classic Irish matriarch, newly-widowed by the death of her shopkeeper husband. At last liberated from this uncaring womaniser, she starts to make her presence felt in the family and the community.

One by one, all her four children are forced to leave home but Maggie insists at all times – and not without some plausibility – that it is for their good.

Despite hearing some concerns in advance that lead actor Aisling O’Sullivan (well-known from the TV series, The Clinic) might be too young and elegant in appearance for the part, I felt she put in an excellent performance. Other cast-members were very strong as well.

In some ways, the play reflects the position of married women at the time it was written in the last 1960s but it is also a fine character study of a dictatorial personality-type. I have met some real-life versions of Maggie (Thatcher?) Polpin in my time, who inspired fear with their ironfisted behaviour and devastating putdowns – but thankfully not many!

I see the production is playing in various towns around the country before returning to Dublin for two weeks starting January 30th, although it is not being staged in Listowel. Don’t miss it.

Would you eat a meal prepared by this man?

The Food Fair is in full swing and a great success, I hear. Jim Halpin’s doorman is now passing himself off as a chef. As Jim, himself says ” Head Chef or Headcase?” I hope it is giving the visitors a laugh. It gave me one.

I missed NKRO’s trad. night last night because I was in Tralee celebrating 75 years of badminton in Kerry. Congrats to Junior and all the gang on a great souvenir brochure, a collector’s item surely, a great display and a great night. Kerry badminton certainly celebrated in style.

Here are some familiar faces from Listowel badminton a few years ago who were reunited on the night.

Halloween Ghouls and other Yolks

Today we are all out voting in the presidential election so there will be a good buzz in town. Voters making their way along Church St. will encounter this ghoul at Jimmy Halpin’s door. Don’t worry. He is harmless!

I took this photo on Convent Street this week. Looks like a sign of development. Good news surely.

Next week we will have Looks like a brilliant programme in store for us this year. This next is from this week’s Kerryman.

Billy and Joe to yolk around at Food Fair

 Listowel publican Billy Keane will battle it out with Joe Murphy, Director of St John’s Arts Centre Listowel in an Omelette Challenge at the Listowel Food Fair next week. Credit: Photo by Domnick  Walsh

October 26 2011

TWO of Listowel’s best known hosts might have egg on their faces by the end of the Food Fair as Billy Keane goes head to head with Joe Murphy in a challenge to see who can cook an omelette the quickest.

It’s all part of the Saturday Live Kitchen event modelled on the BBC cookery show and taking place on Saturday, November 5, in the Kerry Parent’s and Friends’ Association centre in Clieveragh at 2pm.

Most of the event, however, will feature three top professionals from the north Kerry food industry — Armel Whyte, from Allos, Marius Crifan from the Horseshoe Bar and Gemma Ryan from Ruairí’s Bar in Tralee.

“It’s shaping up to be a lot of fun indeed,” Armel told The Kerryman. “We will be up against the clock making dishes and the audience will be in with a chance of tasting the food as well. I’m really looking forward to it even though it is not going to be easy by any means!”

“It’s a great departure for the Food Fair, a festival that’s hugely important to Listowel and north Kerry food. One of the most important things about the festival this year I think is in the fact it’s programme is geared to all ages. It is amazing how interested children, in particular boys, are getting in cooking and baking and it is not simply seen as something for girls anymore among the younger male age group.”

Kerry gastro pub of the year for the last two year’s running, Allo’s continues to win customers through its use of local ingredients — something the Food Fair will have in common as it promotes local producers.

“Our beef for instance is all sourced from within a ten-mile radius of Listowel and we pride ourselves on our contribution to the local economy in that regard.”

In the Horseshoe, chef Marius Crifan is now gearing up for the Saturday afternoon showdown and cook-off. “This is going to be a lot of fun, believe me. I will be cooking two chicken dishes on the day, one in our special Horseshoe style. But I’m only going to have about twenty minutes I think in which to do them so I will have to be very organised!”

Saturday Live Kitchen will also give Marius a chance to flag a looming expansion for his business. ” The Horseshoe will be expanding into next door soon and one of the dishes I am going to make will be from our new menu so I’m really looking forward to that too.

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