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 4


Mill Lane in October 2023



Some retailers seem to have bypassed Halloween and gone straight to Christmas. Not so my friends in Vincents.

Nancy and Mary posed for me with their scary new shop assistant.

Harp and Lion Antiques’ ducks are ready for trick or treating.


In Ballincollig

When I visited my Cork based family recently Lakewood closed tournament was in full swing.

Competitors, including Anne, Bobby and Sean Cogan, supporters including 2 grannies on the far right.

Carine, Sean and Bobby with their French visitor, Cecile (Carine’s Mum)


A Dan Keane Poem

Listowel Castle today


Storytime in Listowel Library

Saturday morning is a magical time in Listowel library.

Aoife and her Mammy were there on Saturday October 21 2023

Librarian turned storyteller, Maria, had a captive audience of small folk in the palm of her hand with her animated engaging storytelling. The enthusiastic audience participation made for a great session.

Storytelling was followed by craft. Our little lady was a bit young for that activity but I’d highly recommend this marvellous free session for Saturday morning entertainment.


A Fact

There are more Siberian tigers living in captivity than in their native habitat.


Art and Books

Back Lane behind Church Street in Summer 2023


Dancing Down the Years

Photo and text from Fleadh Cheoil na Mumhan


The dance tradition of North Kerry has extended its influence far beyond its borders, to different places around Ireland, across Europe, and over the Atlantic to America.

Dance has been part of the culture in this region for centuries, passed down through the generations by the Dance Masters, like O’Ceirín in the 1700’s to Mooreen, Ned Batt Walsh, and to the great Geramiah Molyneaux, affectionally known as Munnix, who passed on the dance, to the young girls and boys, of the area.

The Dance masters travelled, often on foot, from town to town, village to village, 

such was their love of, and desire to pass on their art to the younger generation.

Munnix pupils like Jack Lyons, Jerry Nolan, Sheila Bowler, Liam Dineen, Liam Tarrant, Paddy White, Phil Cahill and many more would perform the old steps with great pride.

Long live the dancers! Long live the dance! 

Featuring Dance Master Jimmy Hickey, Musician Greta Curtin.

Devised and choreographed by Jonathan Kelliher, Artistic Director, Siamsa Tíre, The National Folk Theatre of Ireland.


Celtic Artist, Tony O’Callaghan

When your grandad is an artist, you are lucky enough to have some marvellous bespoke piece of his work made especially for you and celebrating your name.

Few nameplates are as beautiful as these pieces that Miriam brought to share with the audience on July 6 2023.

Tony O’Callaghan, among many of the prestigious commissions he did, designed the logo for Listowel Writers’ Week.

This information comes to us from Wolfgang Mertens’ 1974 LWW memorabilia.



My latest summer visitor, Aoife McKenna, from Kildare loves, loves, loves Listowel library.


A Smile from the Internet


Looking Forward to Listowel Writers’ Week 2023

River Feale in May 2023


A Fleadh to look forward to

And a fleadh to Remember

1997 photo first shared by Elizabeth Brosnan


Guided Tours of Kerry Writers’ Museum

In Kerry Writers’ Museum I met the brilliant Angeline in costume for her tour. During Writers’ Week 2023, you can book a guided tour for Saturday June 3. Booking for this is directly with the museum.

This year lots of events are taking place in our lovely library. What better place to launch a book than in this dedicated place of books. Page 13 of your brochure or Listowel Writers Week website for details.


Yes, It’s Adare

Bob Jewell wrote to us from Marietta in Georgia in the U.S. asking our help in identifying the town where he took this photo in 1980. He thought it might be Adare. I thought it was almost definitely Adare. Then David O’Sullivan and Jim Ryan did the research for us. Google street view confirms it is Adare. The signs are gone but the distinctive house in the background of Bob’s photo is still the same.


Another Innovative Event

This year Listowel Writers’ Week programme is being curated by a lovely young man, Stephen Connolly, who has fallen in love with our town.

Stephen looked at Listowel with the fresh eyes of an outsider and he has come up with new ways of bringing writers to new corners of the town.

Our performance area in The Square will be the location for Lunch Poems, a brilliant new event in association with Poetry Ireland.

Every day during Writers Week, June 1-3 there will be free poetry and a spot of lunch at 1.00 p.m. Each day we will hear two young emerging poets, we will get a short pamphlet of the poets’ work and we’ll get “a light lunch” from Dough Mamma. Their pizzas are delicious.

That’s lunch sorted for a few days.


More Busking Photos

Photos from the annual MS fundraiser in Main Street Listowel on May 19 2023


Sciath na Scol

My granddaughter Cora is the last of her family in Gaelscoil Uí Riordáin in Ballincollig, a school with a Kerry Principal, Gabriel ÓChathasaigh and a fine cohort of teachers, many with Kerry links. It’s a school steeped in the GAA. This year for the first time the school won all four competitions in its section of Sciath na Scol, football boys and girls and hurling boys and girls.

Here Cora is showing her medal to her little cousin. Better than an All Ireland to the little ones!


A Fact

Paul Galvin is in The Listowel Arms Hotel on Saturday June 3 at 3.00p.m.

A Listowel Writers’ Week 2023 event.

Our fact today comes from:


St. John’s Ballybunion

Listowel Courthouse


St. John’s Church, Ballybunion

St. John’s is an astonishingly beautiful church.

This lady, sitting frozen outside the door, is who we have to thank.

Mary O’Malley Young was a very pious lady. She settled in Ballybunion after her millionaire husband died. She befriended Fr. Mortimer O’Connor who was the parish priest. She built the church and the convent for the Sisters of Mercy. She built two houses in Ballybunion but ended her days in the convent she had built. Mary Young invested all of her inherited wealth in Ballybunion. She did not live to see St. John’s completed. Fr. O’Connor was very ill but dragged himself from his sick bed to bless the church on opening day in August 1897.

Fr. Mortimer O’Connor is buried before the side altar in St. John’s

According to Danny Houlihan’s great book, Ballybunion an illustrated history, the original Ballybunion Parish Church was in Doon. It was a much smaller, simpler church than St. John’s.

Doon church fell into decline as the mass goers moved to the more convenient St. John’s. Doon was located about a mile from the town . St. John’s was completed in 1897 and gradually the congregation moved to the Church in town. St. John’s was first intended as a second church as the Doon one was small but the arrival of the Lartigue railway in 1888 meant that there was demand for a church that could be easily accessed on foot.

St. John’s today is a must see visitor attraction if you are in Ballybunion. It is, of course also a busy place of worship.


In Vincent’s

Listowel’s Vincent’s, the retail outlet of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul is located at Upper William Street. These are some of the lovely volunteer customer assistants that you may meet there any opening day.

Vincent’s is open on Thursday and Fridays from 11.00 to 5.00 and on Saturdays from 2.00 to 5.00


A Butter Box

I grew up in Kanturk , a town famous for it’s delicious butter.

It is now called Ór but in my day local people just called it Kanturk butter.

I worked for a summer in the creamery offices. It was my first introduction to a telephone exchange…nightmare!

As well as answering the phone we had various callers to the office with various queries. I remember a consignment of butter destined for an African country and so made with some kind of preservative to keep it fresh on the long boat journey. The preservative coloured the butter dark brown. The ship broke down and couldn’t sail. The butter was returned to Kanturk and a decision made to sell it in the local shops. One lady called to the office demanding to see the manager to complain that her husband wouldn’t eat the butter. We told her the story of why it was that colour and we reassured her that the taste was exactly the same. Unmollified she demanded to see the manager. He was duly brought to her and his solution to her dilemma was “I suggest, ma’am, you blindfold your husband.”

The sight of a butter box in the window of The Horseshoe brought me back to that time.


Listowel Library

It’s well worth keeping an eye out for great things happening in the library.

For instance a Creative Writing Group Write Lines, meets on Tuesdays from 10.30 to 12.00.


A Fact

It is against the law to leave a restaurant in Italy without a receipt. Apparently this is not because they have so many diners doing a runner but because so many Italian restaurants were avoiding tax by doing cash- in -hand customer transactions.

So when in Rome, be sure to ask for a receipt and keep it on you.


TCD, The White House and Church Street

Taelane Store, Church Street, February 2023

The Taelane Store isn’t in Taelane. It’s on Church Street.



The new owners of the Iceland chain have had a change of heart. Iceland, in Mill Lane, Listowel is staying open.


In Listowel Library

Vincent Carmody and Kathy Buckley’s niece, Orla Buckley.

On Friday February 24 2023, local historian, Vincent Carmody introduced us to one of Listowel’s most illustrious emigrants. Kathy Buckley of William Street, Listowel was the White House cook for three U.S. presidents.

Kathy’s Listowel home

Plaque unveiled by the US ambassador during Listowel Food Fair a few years ago.

Sections of the audience as we listened in fascination to Vincent’s story of this formidable lady who represented us so well in the U.S.


Uplifting poem


A Bookplate

This is another chapter in the MichaelO’Connor story. The Cork Examiner account found by Dave O’Sullivan explains this novel fundraising initiative by Trinity.


Fact of the Day

Butterflies smell with their antennae and taste with their feet. The monarch butterfly’s feet (proper name tarsi) are approximately two thousand times more sensitive than a human tongue.


Just a Thought

My last week’s reflections as broadcast on Radio Kerry

Just a Thought Feb, 20 to 24 2023


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