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 Library Page 1 of 2

Kells Bay Gardens, Turf cutting and Awards for dancers and musicians

Beautiful Kells Bay Gardens

Kells Bay Gardens is a beautiful sub tropical forest park on The Ring of Kerry. It is a truly magical place with dinosaur sculptures carved from fallen trees, forest paths, moss laden trees and rippling streams all nestled in a saucer surrounded by hills.


Well done Balydonogue Dancers and Listowel Pitch and Putt

Cathaoirleach of Listowel Municipal District Cllr Jimmy Moloney, presenting Ballydonoghue CCÉ Dancers, 

Aoibhín Lyons Captain, Órla Mahony, Sarah Murphy, Audrey Ryan, Molly Linnane, Edel Dillane, Shauna Carey, and Grace Heffernan, Cian Horgan, members of Listowel Pitch ’n Putt Club, Grainne Toomey, Sara Allen at the Kerry County Council Annual Awards, at the Great Southern, Killarney on Friday night. Also included is Cllr Mike Kennelly, Joan McCarthy, Manager Listowel Municipal District. Photo: Valerie O’Sullivan

( I took the photo and caption from Facebook. Apologies to the people whose names are missing)


All Ireland Turf Cutting Competition

The first All Ireland Turf Cutting Championship was held on 21st April 1934 at Allenwood, Co. Kildare. From the late 1600s to the end of the 19th century around 6 to 8,000,000 tons of turf were cut each year for home heating and sale. The industry in the 1800s mainly produced moss peat for animal litter and some briquettes. However by the early 1900s the amount of turf cut each year had fallen to around 3,000,000 tons. 

The turf cutting championships were organised as part of a campaign to increase the amount of turf cut and reduce the imports of coal. Eamon De Valera and other Ministers attended each year. The competitions ran from 1934 until 1939. When the war started everybody went back to the bog so the competitions were no longer needed. This photo shows the wing slean competition in 1934.



On Saturday 29th February. there will be a library tour at 11.00 am and 3.00 pm. Each tour will include a presentation on Online Resources so people should feel free to bring along their devices and we can answer any questions.  Also : every Saturday morning at 11.00 am we have Storytime & crafts for Smallies  –  For queries  068-23044

Coin Holder, The Sacrament of Confirmation, work at the library plaza and Writers’ Week 2019 draws nearer

Irish Wildlife Photography Competition Finalist

Pine Marten; Kenny Goodison


Remember These?

This is a handy coin purse. They were given to customers to mark the introduction of decimal coinage. That was in the good old days when banks gave little nick nacks to customers, money boxes, calendars, diaries, pens etc. 


The Swallows are late this year

Mike and Sue Nilsson are great supporters of North Kerry in general and Listowel in particular. They spend part of ever year here. It is their second home. They are back just in time for Writers’ Week and the visit of our President to present our Tidy Town accolade.


Gifts of the Holy Spirit

The sanctuary in St. Mary’s with the Confirmation altar cloth

These gifts are in addition to the seven big ones…..wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. ..


The Library Plaza

Lots of work going on here. I’ll keep you posted. You would never guess we are expectoing a very important visitor.


Listowel Writers’ Week 2019

Nearly there now!

Maria, Sinead and Máire  took a minute away from their busy lives to pose for me as I waited for my Ard Curam concert tickets on Wednesday.

Listowel Writers’ Week 2019 opens in The Listowel Arms on May 29th. There is a great festival in store so get booking before it’s too late.

My friends were planning their week when who should pop by but Catherine Moylan , this year’s chair of Listowel Writers’ Week accompanied by Liz Dunn, last year’s chair. Who better to advise  one on the not to be missed events?

And then this happened…….

The Listowel Writers’ Week team won Gold at the Kerry Community Awards in Killarney last evening, May 16 2019.

William Street, Nolan’s, an overdue library book and more from the 2019 Parade

William Street, Listowel


Pat Nolan’s, Charles St.


St. Patrick’s Day 2019


A Patient Dog at Lidl, Listowel


Caught on Camera

I was snapped taking a penalty against Elmo. Thank you Listowel Celtic!


It was Roses Roses all the way

Denis Hegarty was having a whale of a time in New York on St. Patrick’s Day posing with mayors, Roses, gardaí and all

Mr. OShea and Tara who has family in Tralee


Truth is often Stranger than Fiction

Local media this week were all agog about the return to the public library of a book that was overdue by 50 years.

Like all good stories this one is not without an ironic twist. The book was a biography of Andrew Carnegie, the founder of the trust that funded Listowel’s and other libraries around the world. Our library used to be known as The Carnegie Free Library and thanks to funding by the Carnegie trust the library service was free for years and years. Maybe the borrower thought that the books were free too.


Meanwhile in Rattoo on March 17 2019


Just a Thought

My last week’s Thoughts from Radio Kerry are at the link below.

Just a Thought

Lyreacrompane, Carnegie Hall on Bridge Road and a Tralee Mural

Photo; Chris Grayson


They’re Up and at it in Lyreacrompane

The Lyreacrompane Heritage Group proposes to renovate the Old Glen Schoolhouse in Lyreacrompane, Co. Kerry – a protected structure. Planning Permission has been granted to develop a multi-purpose facility that will showcase the unique history and heritage of the area along with creating an intimate community space for a range of activities. Lyreacrompane is located in an upland region of North Kerry approximately 15 km from Listowel and Castleisland, 18km from Abbeyfeale and 22km from Tralee. Find out more at


Listowel’s Carnegie Library

This story is still rumbling on.

Denis Quille found this old photo of The Bridge Road. In it, on the right hand side, you can see the remains of the old library.

Quick recap on the history of that building.

In 1910 local leaders recognised the need for a library in town. They passed a motion at the UDC meeting to approach Lord Listowel for a site. They proposed to approach The Carnegie Trust for money to fit it out and then to pay for the upkeep from an extra penny on the rates.

The story dragged on a bit with approaches to Crosbie, Lord Listowel’s agent, to the Carnegie trust, a bit of a local kerfuffle when a Cork firm got the contract etc. until 1915 when the library or Hall as it was known was finally opened.

Listowel’s own Carnegie Hall was the town hall, a concert venue, a classroom and meeting room as well as a free lending library.

It thrived and served the people of the town well until one Sunday night in 1921 at the height of The Troubles, the building was gutted by fire. Fearing that the dreaded Black and Tans, who were on their way to town, would set up headquarters there, the local IRA burned the building. The UDC records as well as the books and equipment were all lost. A notice posted on the burned out shell claimed that the IRA had saved it from “the army of occupation”.

The ruin of the building remained on Bridge Road, a grim reminder of a troubled time until it was eventually levelled to make way for a store.

Now back to the old photo which Denis Quille found in an old album. I mistakenly thought that the photo was taken while the building was intact. Not so.

Derry Buckley who knows Bridge Road well has done a bit of research for us.

Derry has circled the houses which were built by hisgrandfather.

“Jerry Buckley, my Grandfather built a house, and then lived in it while he built another. He moved home to the next house as he went along, Dad was born in 37 Bridge Rd. in 1932. The twins who died were born in another then Beatrice and Toddy in the corner house 51 in 1938. The end houses which are in the photo 53 and 55 were built after this so pic is about 1940.”

Another piece of evidence that the photo is younger than I thought is the presence of electricity wires. Listowel had electricity before rural electrification. The below quote is from the ESB archive

  • ·      Listowel Electric Light and Power Co. Ltd. was in operation before 1927. It supplied 336 homes and businesses in 1929, and was acquired by ESB in September 1929. 

     Derry has also circled in blue, Junior Griffin’s old home which was built in the 1930s.

    So until anyone else comes along to tell us otherwise, we’ll take it that this great photo dates from the 1940s.

    By the way, wasn’t Gurtinard Wood massive?


    Tralee Rose Mural

    Just off the Square in Tralee


    The Boys have a new Strip

    Boys from Scoil Realta na Maidine with Jennifer Scanlan of Coco Kids who designed and sponsored their new match strip.

,cquirIby ES

InB in September 1929. T

Olive Stack Gallery, Listowel’s ballad writers, the old library

Olive Stack’s stylish Gallery is clearly a very colourful artistic shop.


Listowel’s Balladeers

Today I continue Vincent Carmody’s tale of Listowel ballad makers

…In February 1983, when I was secretary with the Listowel Emmets, the
club was asked at short notice to host a Kerry/Mayo National League game. As
was the custom in hosting games, I was requested, to put together a suitable
programme as a memento of the game. With both Bryan McMahon and John B in our
ranks, an interesting and always original contribution was always guaranteed. For
extra material I approached the then Manager of the Bank of Ireland, Mr. Denis
McSweeney. My reason being, Denis, steeped in Gaelic football, a native of
Tralee and a former John Mitchels stalwart, had spent much of his banking life
up in Mayo and Roscommon, so who better to give a thoughtful insight to the men
from the west. It is worth recalling that Denis’s two sons, Danny and David, both
played inter-county minor championship, for Roscommon and Mayo, and of course,
his grandson Shane Enright has won senior honours with Kerry.

As I was away for the week preceding the game both Bryan and John B said
that they would deliver their pieces to Donal O Sullivan of Castle Printing in
good time. I got back on Friday and when I collected the programmes I found
that both writers had written on the same theme, Printing and Ballad Writing,
Bryan choose to write about ballads and the man he called ‘The Ballad King’,
printer Bob Cuthbertson, while John Bs piece lamented on the lost art of ballad
writing, saying that when he was growing up, most events, sporting or otherwise
would be recorded for posterity. 

( more on Monday)


The Old Library

This old photo of Billy MacSweeney’s mother and his grandparents reminded Denis Quille that he had a photo of the old library. 

This library was located at the Canon’s Height/ Bridge Road


Hard to believe it’s only a week ago

This was my apple tree a week ago on March 2 2018

When the snow was almost completely cleared on Sunday, I went for a walk with camera.

People were running

 I met several people walking dogs.

Some people had to work.

This statue commemorating the contribution of the nuns to Listowel was unveiled in the midst of a snow event in 2010.

The Square was almost empty so I snapped a rare picture of St. John’s without too many cars in the way.

Page 1 of 2

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén