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 Kayaking Club

Welcome Visitors

Kayaks on The Feale in May 2023


A Return Visit

With Patrice O’Callaghan in The Listowel Arms are Wolfgang and Anita Mertens from Germany. They were last in Listowel 49 years ago. Wolfgang is a Bryan MacMahon scholar. He knows more about The Master and has more of his works than most Listowel people.

I’ll tell you all about Wolfgang and Anita’s Writers Week experience tomorrow. Today I want to tell you the great story Wolfgang told me. It illustrates the kind of people they are.

Wolfgang has had a long love affair with Ireland and Anglo Irish literature.

He came to Ireland as a very young man in 1966 and he and his friend were hitch hiking all round the country.

They found themselves in a place called Kate’s Bridge in Co. Down on a Sunday morning. Cars were passing them east and west going to one religious service or other. No one was stopping.

They had almost given up hope when, in late afternoon, a car stopped. It was being driven by a local man called Danny Doran. Danny had seen then in the morning when he had a car full of his family and no room for hitchhikers. He picked them up and took them to his house.

Danny was a carpenter. He lived in a small house with his wife and 10 children. There was a bedroom for Danny and his wife, one bedroom for boys and one for girls. The weary German hikers were only too happy to bunk in with the boys. In the following days Danny gave then a tour of the area and a lifelong friendship was forged.

Years later Danny’s daughter, Susan, was on a camping trip with her friend on the continent and she decided to visit Wolfgang and Anita.

Susan was an inexperienced camper and she had brought one of her father’s heavy mallets to hammer in the tent pegs. Wolfgang told her that she was foolish to be carrying around something so heavy. He took her big mallet and gave her a light hammer, promising that if he ever came to Ireland he would return her father’s mallet.

Fifty seven years later, he had the mallet with him in his camper van when he was in Listowel last week and he intended taking in Co. Down on his 7 week tour around Ireland.


Out and About with Camera

I call it out and about, Billy Keane called it “on the prowl”.

Three generations, grandfather, father and son/grandson on Saturday May 20 2023. Billy was on his way to the match.

We won’t mention any results, football or rugby.


Astonishing Craftsmanship

Thank you Ashley Fitzgerald of Listowel Credit Union for taking these photographs of details on the fabulous Paddy Fitzgibbon Celtic Artwork piece that is on display in the office.


Exciting new Venue for Writers’ Week 2023

What will be happening here on Friday and Saturday of next week?

Answer; A songwriting workshop for absolute beginners with Fiachra McKeever

I’m told that the bar won’t be open and there will be no alcoholic beverages available.

If you fancy you have a latent Phil Coulter or John Lennon in you, I’m told there is a place or two left.

Listowel Writers Week workshops


Some People at The Kayaking

Sunday May 14 2023

Donal O’Sullivan and John Corridan


A Seat by the River


Getting Ready for Writers’ Week

Our favourite bookseller, Brenda Woulfe, is giving her shopfront a makeover for the festival.

When I met them yesterday Brenda was busy on the phone to the man to disable the alarm and Martin was washing the paintwork in preparation for a makeover.


A Fact

Are you a leftie?

If the answer is yes then here are a few statistics.

Roughly 10% of people are left handed.

Left handed people are statistically more likely to be geniuses or to be insane.

Left handedness is more common among writers and artists. On average they do not live as long as right handed people.

Famous left handed people include John F. Kennedy, Paul McCartney, Bill Clinton, Winston Churchill and Prince William.


Greenways and Waterways

Greenway Mural at the old Neodata site, May 2023


Progress on the Greenway

This is the Bridge Road entrance


Another Prestigious Prize for a journalist with a Listowel Connection

This is Malachy’s father, David Browne’s Facebook post

“Proud and privileged to witness the announcement of the Pulitzer Prize Award to my son Malachy last Monday in the New York Times offices. His team were acknowledged for their unflinching coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including an eight-month investigation into Ukrainian deaths in the town of Bucha and the Russian unit responsible for the killings.’

Malachy Browne with Donnie O’Sullivan at Listowel Writers’ Week 2022


A Settle Bed

This is a picture of an old farmhouse from On the left of the picture is what was known as a settle bed. The bedclothes were stored underneath the seat and brought out when the bed was dressed for someone for the night. This was a fine cozy bed beside the fire and often used by visitors or travelling workmen.


Listowel’s Newest Amenity

“My heart, tonight, is home again in Ireland

Upon thy banks, my silver river Feale.”

Bryan MacMahon’s words were sung to us by his son, Owen, at the launch of Listowel Kayaking Club on May 14 2023.

The sun shone. The water was resplendent. The birds sang. A small crowd gathered (small, for health and safety reasons) and Jimmy Deenihan presented us with his latest project, a kayaking club. Jimmy and friends have brought this to fruition in jig time.

Jimmy Deenihan

I was delighted to meet this group of my former pupils, all involved in this healthy outdoor activity. Lovely to see these young ladies emerging as leaders in their community.


A Welcome Treat

On my way to town on Friday, I met these lovely young people at the gate of their school, Coláiste na Ríochta. They were inviting me to their Bake Sale in aid of Áras Mhuire.

I took up their invitation and a lovely young man accompanied me to the classroom where selling, eating and chatting was in full swing.

I even met someone I knew. I bought some cakes . They were delicious.

Well done enterprising seniors in Coláiste na Ríochta.


A Coronation Tale

Did we ever think we would see Kay Caball, cousin of Canon Declan, renouned historian and genealogist and a pillar of respectability feature in The Irish Daily Mail?

Don’t panic. Kay was merely telling the tale and it all happened in the eighteenth century.

This is the coronation connection. Lady Fiona Petty Fitzmaurice is Queen Camilla’s best buddy.

The Fitzmaurice connection: Fiona’s husband. is one of the once Lixnaw based Fitzmaurices who used to own most of Kerry.

“After a gatherer comes a scatterer” they say and the Fitzmaurices had the father of all scatterers. Kay told the story replete with “Petticoats up and pantaloons down” to a journalist from The Daily Mail and below is a photo of the centre page in the paper on Saturday.

If you missed the paper, Kay will tell it all again on Jimmy Deenihan’s walking tour at Listowel Writers Week on Friday June 2 starting from Kerry Writers’ Museum at 10.00 a.m.


I told you so

In 2018 I posted this picture on here. It is cyclist Dillon Corkery being greeted by his grandparents at the stage finish of the Rás in Market Street.

Pic : Lorraine O’Sullivan

Yesterday Dillon won Rás Tailteann outright as part of Team Ireland. I told you he was destined for great things. My exact words were ” Is Dillon the next Sam Bennett?”

The Listowel Connection?

I went to school in Kanturk with his grandmother and still count her as a friend today. I’m over the moon!


A Fact

The word NEWS comes from the fact that stories were gathered from all corners of the world. News is actually an acronym North East West South.



Listowel Pitch and Putt Course


Listowel Kayaking Club

Sunday, May 14 2023 marked a significant development in Listowel’s relationship with the Feale River.

Listowel’s newest club was officially launched by guest of honour, Dr. Karen Weekes. I must admit, I didn’t know this lady but I looked her up for you.

Dr Karen Weekes (54) is only the 20th woman in the world to complete this challenge. The first Irishwoman to row solo and unaided across the Atlantic ocean has ended her record-breaking feat after more than 80 days rowing 3,000 nautical miles that tested her to the limits of endurance. (Feb. 2022)”

This lady was there too. She is Moira Aston, CEO of Canoeing Ireland. She was delighted with the speed at which Listowel’s club got up and running.

The club was first mooted in 2020 and great interest was shown at the Women on Water event.

John Kelliher’s photo collage for The Advertiser.

Jimmy Deenihan is at the helm the new club, Siobhán O’Sullivan is honorary secretary and Mary McGrath is Safety Officer. Jade O’Mahony is the Training Officer. The club has 40 members at level 2 kayaking skills and has a waiting list of about 40 more.


Beautiful old Clieveragh Cottage

This picturesque old cottage is located at Clieveragh. When posted it online it provoked a flood of great memories for people who remembered it either as a family or friend’s home or just from passing it often and admiring it.

This was the happy home of a Murphy family and it once rang to the sounds of their music. As well as musicians the family had talented Irish step dancers in this house. They were also animal lovers and had cattle, sheep and a donkey named Bill in the haggard behind the house.

Apparently at one time there were 14 people living here.

Now it seems it is used as a cowshed. Still looks lovely and a magnet for the photographer.


Kildare Supporters

My son in law has already turned by little granddaughter into a Lillies fan. Here they are celebrating their U20 football team’s win.

The Kerry half of her parentage doesn’t get a look in.


A Fact

American people eat more bananas than any other fruit.

Bananas are actually herbs and, like all herbs, die after fruiting.


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