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 Garden Centre Christmas Shop. Page 1 of 3

Christmas Shop, More Photos from THE launch and Dublin Marathon 2019

Harvest Home

This lovely display is in Abbeyfeale church.


Christmas is Coming

Displays in Listowel Garden Centre Christmas Shop


Memories of the Launch of A Minute of Your Time

Mother and daughter Anne and Cora Darby on stage as Anne read a reflection which was prompted by an incident involving Cora.

My old friend, Assumpta O’Sullivan came from Dublin. She is originally from Killarney.

Barbara Walshe was there on the anniversary of her dear father’s death. Many of the reflections in my book are about grief and remembrance.

Brenda Enright was there.

I have known Bridie O’Rourke almost since the first day I came to Listowel.

Canon Declan read me from the altar and reminded the congregation that I was launching my book across the road from the church straight after mass.

Helena Carmody was one of many of my friends from the Vincent de Paul shop who came to enjoy the night with me.


Chris Grayson, Wild life Photographer and Runner

On the left is Chris Grayson whose  beautiful photographs I often feature on Listowel Connection. He and his friend, Fozzy Forrestal acted as pacers in yesterday’s marathon.

A Touching Note, Christmas goodies, Tidy Towning and Men at The Ballybunion Marconi Station

Phot: Lisa Egan of Mallow Camera Club


A Love Letter found in an Old  Bible in Tralee


Marconi Station, Ballybunion

Liam OHainnín posted this photo of workers at the Marconi Station in Ballybunion on Facebook. He was wondering if anyone had any names for these men. Maybe someone else has the phot with names or maybe it appeared in some publication.


Christmas Goods on Display at Listowel Garden Centre


Tidy Towning

I met Julie Gleeson freshening up the display at St. Mary’s. There is a lot of hard work and relentless slog goes into getting that Tidy Town gold medal.


Halloween in Ballybunion and Knocknagoshel

A Christmas Shop, another Paddy Drury Story and some Winter entertainment

Photo by Deirdre Lyons


It’s Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas

Listowel Garden Centre has its usual host of tempting fare to decorate your house for the holiday season. Here are a few things that caught my eye when I visited.


This essay was published in Irish Stories of Love and Hope, a book published to raise funds for The Irish Hospice

Loss in the
Traveller Community

Dictated by Missy

I lost my eldest
son 25 years ago. He was killed in England. He was called Kieran, Kieran  Collins. He was 13 at the time. My brother’s
son was killed at the same time. He was 15, Michael. It was a month before my
eight child was born. I’ll never forget the day; it was the 20th of
June; it was a Sunday. He went out the door that morning along with a whole lot
of his friends and Michael, his cousin, with him. About thre o’clock that day
(It was a lovely warm day) I seen the policeman approaching our house. Me and
my husband,we asked him what’s wrong and he said, “Have ye got a son called
Kieran?”. I says,’yeah”. He says;” Will you come inside?” We were ot the front
of the house. He told us, he says, ”He’s dead.”

I didn’t know what
happened. I remember my husband roarin, but I passed out and ended up in the
neighbours house next door. I remember comin’ round after someone giving me
brandy on a spoon. My husband was going over to my brother’s house who lived a
few streets away and they were roarin after their son being killed. Their
youngest, my eldest. We brought them home to Ireland to bury them., the two
were buried together. I suppose at that time and I suppose up to this present
day, I never really got over it and I never will because, put it this way, it
hits me every day of the week but especially at Christmas and birthdays. I
still have to go and visit his grave regular. I even came home from England. I
have to chat with him. I love to look after the grave.

How did I cope? I
was a stronger woman at the time and had other children. I knew I had to keep
goin for them. Me faith helped me a lot. I went to healing places and shrines
and prayed to God to give me strength to look after my family. I could not look
at his picture. I loved to, but couldn’t for at least 14 years. Then I
eventually started looking at his picture. Doctors wanted to give me sleeping
tablets for my nerves, but my mother said,”Don’t start taking them, Missy
because you’ll have to come to terms.” I don’t think I ever came to terms but
that my own family and extended family kept me going. My husband never came to
terms with it. He couldn’t visit the grave and walked away from it crying. I
lost him five years ago. We were very close and the reat of me family were very
close to their Daddy. We are not the same since that happened either, the
support is gone, the boys were very attached to him and the girls as well. I
think all that keeps us going is the graves, both of them are buried together.
We go and fix the graves. We’re a very lonely family.

Just to say anyone
that loses a family member is never the same again. There’s a part of the family
missing. Time heals a bit but you never forget.


New Kid on the Block

In Listowel Town Square, November 2017


Another Paddy Drury story as remembered by Jerry Histon in The Shannon Annual in the 1950s

Sometime before Christmas, Paddy dropped into Moyvane church and dropping on one knee (“rabbit shooting” as they call it) started his prayers. The local P.P. saw him, tapped him on the shoulder and said: “Get up, you fool and go and kneel properly.” Paddy did so. Later, Paddy came to visit the Christmas crib. He suddenly jumped up, rushed out, found the parish priest and brought him to the crib. “Look! ” Paddy cried, “you called me a fool for praying on one knee. Here’s three more of them!” (Pointing to the three wise men, who are generally depicted in Cribs as kneeling on one knee).

At the election for county councillors, Paddy went into a Knockanure booth. There were five candidates. Paddy used to vote illiterate. When asked by the presiding officer for whom he wished to cast his number 1, 2 and so on, Paddy’s versified reply was:

A penny for Langan,

tuppence  for Quade,

a three penny bit from a old friend Thade;

Fourpence for Shaughnessy, as you plainly see,

 and fivepence for Woulfe, will make one and three.

During the 1914 1918 war, it was generally held that both Kaiser and King of England were relations (as they were). A local recruiting sergeant stopped Paddy and asked him to join the British Army and “do his bit”. Paddy buttonholed the colour sergeant. “Listen,” he said “my mother always told me that I should never interfere in family rows.”

The parish priest and curate of Moyvane met Paddy one day as he was going to Moyvane, while they were walking along the road. The PP asked Paddy if he was going for “a small one”. Paddy says he had hardly the price of it. The PP gave him half a crown. Paddy took it and said “God and Mary bless your reverence.” The curate then handed Paddy a shilling. Pocketing it, Paddy said: “God bless your reverence.” The PP was intrigued at the difference in the two salutations and asked him what was the difference. “One and six.” was Paddy’s prompt reply.

Paddy died about 12 years ago, God rest him. He had a large and representative funeral. He was buried in the ruined church at Knockanure. So, though he did not “travel the nation” he found “the burying plantation that is the pride of them all” as he had himself written.

It is a sad commentary on the fickleness of human esteem to reflect that neither stick nor stone mark poor Paddy’s last resting place.

(That last omission has been corrected since this was written)


Lip Sync is the New Panto

Since time immemorial Irish people have made their one fun to while away the dreary Winter nights. It used to be the pantomine, then it was Tops of the Town, last year it was Strictly Come Dancing and this year it’s Lip Sync and Stars in Their Eyes. The key ingredient in all of these shows is local people entertaining local people.

On Saturday November 18 2017 Listowel Community Centre was the venue for the local Lip Sync event. I wasn’t there but I’ve seen the videos and heard the reports and it was a night to remember. Here are a few of John Kelliher’s photos. They were all winners but the top accolade on the night went to a group of nuns worshipping at the altar of The Gooch. Kick the Habit were sponsored by Spar and the whole event was in aid of Kerry Parents and Friends.

Meanwhile in Asdee Sonny Egan was wowing them at Stars in Their Eyes. Sonny was no match for our own “Beach Boys” who were one of the winners on the night.

Listowel Folk Group members, Jim Hannon, Denis O’Rourke, Mike Moriarty, Paddy McElligott and John Kinsella aka The Beachboys.

Horse Fair, Brosna, and Jimmy Hickey and his dancers and musicians in the 1990’s

October Horse Fair

Photos by Elizabeth Brosnan


Aspects of Brosna Today


Listowel Musicians and Dancers

This picture was taken outside St. Johns before Jimmy Hickey’s troupe headed off to the Harmonie festival in Germany for the first time. Kathleen McCarthy (4th from left at back) provided me with all the names.

Back, Left to Right: ? , Mary Doyle R.I.P., Phil O’Connell, Kathleen McCarthy, Mary Murphy R.I.P., Jimmy Hickey, Jean Lynch, Brina Keane, Mary Cantillon, Seán Murphy

Front, R.: Martin O’Flynn, Margaret Harrahan, Bob Downey, Richard O’Connell R.I.P. , Kate Downey and Jerry Browne


More Photos from Listowel Garden Centre’s Christmas Shop’s opening

Teresa Hannon was indulging her inner child and picking up a few new ornaments.

Tidy Towns Committee on TV, A Lixnaw Farm, Sr. Eileen’s Infants’ Class and Christmas comes early

Listowel Tidy Towns Committee in Celebratory Mode

Irish TV filmed our Tidy Town heroes last week.

And they’re planning a party for us all. Put Sunday October 23 at 3.30 into your diaries. The venue is Listowel Community Centre.


Sr. Eileen’s class looking Cute

No date……maybe nineties? If someone has the names I’ll publish them.


A Lixnaw Farm featured in Irish Tractor and Agri Magazine in September 2015


 3 FEB , 2016  

Brothers James and Padraig Barry run separate farms in Lixnaw and Listowel, Co. Kerry along with their uncle Con. The family has also recently set up an agricultural contracting business to cater for the needs of local farmers.

The Barry’s operate enterprises which include a large dairy farm in Lixnaw and a dry stock and tillage farm in Listowel. As well as milking 300 cows, they finish about 1,000 beef cattle every year and also grow winter and spring wheat, spring barley and maize.

In the past year, they have branched into the agri contracting sector with the formation of J, P & C De Barra Contracting Ltd. There is no such thing as a quiet time of the year for this well-respected family, who wouldn’t have it any other way.

For James and Padraig, farming has always been a way of life. The excellent working relationship that exists between the brothers and their uncle makes the task of milking 300 cows twice-a-day a good deal easier.

“We share the milking duties between us. When you have three pairs of hands, you are able to do other things. We are not ‘tied’ to the milking parlour like some people are,” James says.

The Barry’s have travelled a rocky road to get to where they are now with their dairy enterprise. In 2000 and 2002, their herd was devastated by separate brucellosis outbreaks. Undeterred, the family bought in 140 pedigree Holstein Friesian cows in 2003. Two years later, they purchased a 200-acre farm in Listowel, which allowed them to more than double their milk quota from 180,000 to 380,000 gallons.

“The farm in Listowel, which is eight miles from our home farm in Lixnaw, came with its own milking parlour,” James explains.

“But having invested in a new milking parlour in Lixnaw just a few years earlier, we decided to keep our dairy operations there. Our farm in Lixnaw is 120 acres and is big enough to cater for our dairy herd.”

Two separate calving seasons between mid-October to early December, and mid-January to mid-April, means there are always cows to be milked. The pedigree herd is milked at a 20-unit Dairymaster parlour which features swing-over arms, automatic feeders and automatic cluster movers.

Headquartered in nearby Causeway, Dairymaster is recognised as a world leader in dairy equipment manufacturing with customers in over 40 countries worldwide.

“After 15 years, the parlour is going like a bomb,” James enthuses.

“While Dairymaster have become a global company, they still look after the locals. Their aftercare service has always been top-class.”

The Barry’s supply their milk to the Kerry Group plant in Listowel. Kerry Group has enjoyed phenomenal success since commencing operations in the north Kerry town in 1972. It is now a leading player in the global food industry with current annualised sales of approximately €5.8 billion. Well-known butter spreads and margarine spreads, such as Dairygold, Kerrymaid and Low-Low, are produced in Listowel.

There were many column inches given to the lifting of milk quotas on March 31stlast after 30 years in which Irish dairy farmers were restricted on the amount of milk they could produce. Now, new rules mean they can produce as much milk as they want, leading to fears of overproduction.

“I believe they went a step too far by abolishing milk quotas completely,” a sceptical James says.

“I would be fearful for the future of people who have borrowed heavily to increase their herd size and invest in new equipment. We were tempted to add to our herd, but have decided to adopt a ‘wait-and-see’ policy. What happened in places like New Zealand, where huge losses were experienced after milk quotas were lifted, should be a lesson to Irish farmers.”

“Milk is heading to a price that’s unsustainable for farmers. Ideally, we should be getting 35c a litre rather than the 27c we are getting at the moment. There is no point in producing more milk for less profit.”

He adds: “Instead of abolishing the milk quota overnight, I think Europe should have considered the French and German model which suggested that milk quotas be raised by five per cent each year over the next four years. I hope I’m proved wrong, but I’m very worried about where the Irish milk industry is heading.”

The calves born on the Barry farmstead are a mixture of Holstein Friesian, Aberdeen Angus and Hereford. They keep the Friesian heifers as replacements for their dairy herd, while the Angus and Hereford are reared for beef.


This Year We’re Skipping Halloween and Going Straight to Christmas

Listowel’s Garden Centre Christmas Shop is a wonderland in the heart of Listowel

These are some of the hard workers who are behind the great displays and who were putting on a party for shoppers on the opening day.

Mairead Roberts took a break from answering shoppers questions to pose with her former teachers, Breda Ferris and Bridget O’Connor.

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