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Tag: Listowel Marching Band Page 1 of 2

If Music be the Food of Love, Play on

Snow – Killarney – 18-01-2023 Photo: Kathleen Griffin


Fleadh Cheoil Chiarraí 2023

Photo: The Kerryman

The Kerry Comhaltas committee organising the forthcoming County Fleadh. Back, from left, Sean Dee, safety officer, Karen Trench, assistant secretary Kerry County Board, Finola Fogarty, Fleadh Vice Chair, Martina O’Connor, Branch Secretary, Marie Houlihan, Fleadh PRO, Ann O’Donnell, DLP, Robert Stack, Ballybunion CCÉ.

Front from left, Catrina Heffernan, Secretary Kerry County Board, Aoife Mulvihill, Fleadh Secretary, PJ Mulvihill, Fleadh Chairman, Betty Joyce, Fleadh Treasurer, and John Lucid Treasurer Kerry County Board.

Two great weekends of traditional music, singing and dancing await us in Ballybunion in June. The County Fleadh will be held over two weekends, June 10 and 11, dancing competitions and the following weekend June 17 and 18 the singing and music competitions take place. These competitions are qualifying competitions of the Munster Fleadh.

As well as competitive music in venues around the town , busking competitions are planned for the streets and gigs in the pubs.


Listowel Marching Band

Charlie Nolan took this photo in 1987. Two years earlier, in 1985, he filmed the band practicing before their performance in Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann.

Here is the link;

Listowel Marching Band 1985

The music and marching were top class. Well done all.

Dave O’Sullivan sourced a few newspaper clippings for us.

I know these will have brought back great memories for many. Thank you, Dave.

Many of the leading figures in conceiving and maintaining the band are no longer with us.

Music training, drilling at marching, making costumes, rehearsals, ferrying to Fleadhanna Cheoil was all done by a dedicated band of volunteers. They provided a great service to the young people of the town in the 1980s and 90s.

If anyone from that era would like to send us their memories, I’d love to get a first hand account.


Caring for the Carer

Priscilla is home in Listowel after 20 years. She is looking after her lovely mam, Theresa. I met them on Church Street as they caught up with Carmel.


Frozen Out

Sad to see this store closing and all the friendly staff being laid off.



Of Cabbages and Kings

Bench surrounded by wild garlic in Gurtenard Wood, Listowel a few years ago

This photograph is meant to lift the spirits.

It says “if Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?’


Spare me a Minute

My late mother -in -law had a phrase for this time of year, the hungry gap. It was referring to that time of year when few fresh vegetables apart from hardy greens were available in the greengrocers. That was in the era before freezers and food miles.

These days are also a hungry gap for your blogger as life is quiet and the weather is so inclement that only the brave or foolhardy venture out.

This is my excuse for including the following story which has absolutely no Listowel connection except that lots of Listowel people are talking about it.

This is the amusing window display in Bert’s Books in Swindon on January 10 2023. There is no such display in Woulfe’s.

I have not read the book and I dont intend to but I’ve seen snippets and I watched one interview.

It seems to me that Harry is casting himself as some kind of universal saviour with a message for us all .

He is hoping by sueing them to warn the paparazzi off and thus save us all from their intrusion. (Personally they’ve never bothered me that much)

By revealing the number of people he killed in Afghanistan, he says he hopes he is helping prevent the problem of suicide among war veterans.

There is one glaringly obvious saving mission he could embark on. His mother died tragically in Paris as she was being driven through a tunnel which allegedly had a dodgy camber, by a driver who had that day taken drink and drugs and was ordered by his boss to drive a powerful car with which he was not familiar. She was being pursued (‘chased” is Harry’s more emotive word). BUT she was not wearing a seat belt. Now a seat belt may not have saved her life considering the speed at which the car was travelling, but it just might have.

That’s my tuppence worth.


Listowel Marching Band

Listowel Marching Band 1987…Photo: Charlie Nolan

Those were the days! Someone must have the stories. I’d love to record the origins and the history of this piece of Listowel history.


Irish Antecedents Remembered

Kay Caball has done extensive research on the Famine girls from Kerry who were relocated to Australia. Here some of the other Irish girls are remembered at a ceremony last November. The account is from an online blog, Tinteán.

Descendant participants of VOICES with Irish Ambassador. L-R front: Julie Merrington, Ian Bowker, Noeleen Lloyd, His Excellency Ambassador Tim Mawe, Alicia Burnett, Sue Jacques.
Back: Gavan Duffy, Mark McAuliffe 

The Irish Famine Orphan Girls Commemoration event, held at Famine Rock in Williamstown in November, marked a return to the in-person event which has been an annual commemoration since 1998.

The special guest speakers included the Ambassador of Ireland to Australia, His Excellency Tim Mawe, who was accompanied by his wife Ms Patricia McCarthy. Two other guest speakers were the newly-elected Mayor Cr Tony Briffa and Cr Pamela Sutton-Legaud, both from Creative City Hobsons Bay, the major supporter of the event.  

This year, the commemoration committee searched for a new way of ‘bringing the girls to the table’, as it were, to somehow let the girls share their story with us, rather than us telling their stories.  This led to the creation of special presentation titled VOICES, written by Siobhan O’Neill. 

The presentation followed the journey from Famine to Australia – from Hunger to Hope – that was taken by the orphan girls of the Earl Grey Scheme. Each part represented the story of one orphan girl from each of the six ships that came to Melbourne. It was crafted in the first-person, and delivered by descendants of those six orphan girls. 

The presentation was led by committee member Noeleen Lloyd, herself a descendant with three orphan girls in her family. 

The featured stories included were:

  • Famine – Bridget ‘Biddy’ Kildea, a 15yo from Gleneely, Co Donegal, who arrived on the Lady Kennaway in 1848 with her sisters Margaret aged 18 and Ann aged 17. Biddy told us about famine, eviction, and the spectre of the workhouse in Donegal. Her story was read by her second-great-grandniece, Alicia Burnett.
  • Workhouse – Margaret Ryan, 15 years old from Roscrea, Co Tipperary. She was among the girls who arrived on the Pemberton in 1849.  She told us about her lost family, life in the Roscrea Workhouse, and talk of a new scheme to send girls to Australia. Margaret’s story was read by her second-great-granddaughter, Julie Merrington.
  • Earl Grey Scheme and Journey – Catherine Foran was 15 years old, and had lived in the Waterford Workhouse from the age of nine. She came to Port Phillip on board the New Liverpool in 1849. She told us of her six years in Waterford Workhouse, being chosen for the new scheme, and the epic voyage to Australia. Catherine’s story was shared by her second-great-grandson Gavan Duffy. 
  • Arrival and employment – Mary Margaret Hunt, a 17yo from Limavady, Co Derry, came to Australia on the Diadem in 1850. She told us about her hopes for employment, creating a successful life here, and the opportunities she envisioned in Melbourne. Margaret’s story was shared by her great-grandson, Ian Bowker. 
  • Building a new life – Lucy Ellis was 16 years old and from Newry, Co Down. She was one of 35 girls sent from the Newry Workhouse to Australia. Lucy arrived in Port Phillip on board the Derwent in 1850. She told us about getting settled in a new country, finding love, creating a home and raising a family on the plains outside Melbourne. Lucy’s story was shared by her second-great-granddaughter, Sue Jacques, who travelled to Melbourne from Queensland for the event. 
  • Legacy and Generations – Margaret O’Brien was a 15-year-old from Nenagh, Co Tipperary. She arrived, along with her 17-year-old sister Bridget, on board the Eliza Caroline in 1850, the last ship to bring girls with the Earl Grey Scheme to Port Phillip. Margaret told us about the lives she and her sister created here, both marrying Irish convict brothers, and the joys and hardships of their new life in North East Victoria. Margaret’s story was shared by her third-great-grandson, Mark McAuliffe.  

While the stories featured were interpretations based on facts in the lives of the named girl in each instance, they are essentially the stories of all Irish orphan girls. In giving the girls a voice, the Irish Famine Orphan Girls Commemoration 20222 paid homage to the courage and legacy of all of these remarkable young women.

Siobhan O’Neill

Siobhan convenes the Irish Famine Orphan Girls Commemoration Committee


From my Inbox

My 2X Great  Grandfather, John Murphy, was from Listowel, Ahabeg, County Kerry. He married Johanna Cronin after arriving in the United States.  They were successful pioneer farmers in leavenworth County, Kansas.  I am planning a trip to Ireland in the SPRING  and am interested to find if the Murphy Farm House Bed And Breakfast could be home of relatives. 

Janice Fitzgibbon Hughes

Any help for Janice would be appreciated.


TY Work Experience and Loving it

My granddaughter, Aisling, is in town this week doing her TY work experience in Listowel Writers’ Week office. Here she is, dead excited with the curator, Stephen Connolly, as they check out venues for this year’s programme.

Here she is at Listowel Courthouse where Stephen is composing this excited tweet

“too excited to wait to share this news: we’ll be doing an event with the authors of @badbridget (crime, mayhem and the lives of irish emigrant women) on the 1st of june in the town courthouse, pictured here with the work placement pupil aisling who is helping out at @writersweek”

I wasn’t familiar with Bad Bridget but I am now. I can’t wait for this enticing event.


Soap, a Bridge and a Ferry

Photo: Jim McSweeney, Mallow Camera Club


When Soap was Soap

If you remember this, you are as old me. This was ‘household soap”. It was manufactured by Lever Brothers in Port Sunlight outside Liverpool. it was used everyday for hundreds of jobs. If anything, and I mean anything, needed washing this was the go-to soap.

Scrubbing the doorstep, indeed scrubbing floors generally, was an activity undertaken by some on a daily basis. The scrubber knelt on the floor and with scrubbing brush and soap scrubbed every inch of the floor, mopping off the excess moisture with an old rag. These poor women (they were always women) ended up with a condition known as “housemaids knee”.


We’ll go racing again

We’ll cross this bridge again in 2022. I was delighted to see the sign advertising a June meeting and The Harvest Festival of Racing for September has been erected at the River Feale entrance to the racecourse.


Old Tarbert Ferry Postcard


From Pres. YearBook 1990


A Well Travelled Trip Adviser

(From RTE on the internet)

A Kerry man has made it into the review history books, as he’s named the best-travelled reviewer on Tripadvisor.

The review site has published a break down of its stats, as it reaches a milestone of publishing one billion reviews and traveller insights.

User @damienstack, from Listowel in Co. Kerry, Ireland, was revealed to have posted reviews for 176 different countries. If that wasn’t impressive enough, he has actually visited all 193 countries in the world!


The Colleen Bawn, Listowel Drama Group and Listowel Marching band

Childers’ Park Playgrounds in March 2020


Messages of Hope

Ballybunion in March 2020 photographed by Marie Moriarty


Old Listowel Drama Group Photos

from Máire MacMahon



The Tragic Story of The Colleeen Bawn who died in 1819

An article from The Clare People in The Clare County Library

(Sorry about the formatting)

The Colleen Bawn
(1803 – 1819) 

In the Autumn of 1819, at Moneypoint, Kilrush, were found the remains of Ellen Hanley. The victim, now known to story, drama and opera as the Colleen Bawn, was not quite sixteen years of age. Her body was washed ashore there six weeks after her marriage. She had been murdered at the insistence of her husband, John Scanlan, of Ballykehan House, near Bruff County Limerick.

Ellen Hanley is reputed to have been of outstanding beauty, and in addition, was of a bright and friendly disposition. She was the daughter of a small farmer at Ballycahane, near Bruree in County Limerick. Her mother died when she was six years old and she was reared by her uncle, John Connery (Conroy).

Soon after she became acquainted with John Scanlan he proposed marriage to her. Scanlan, a young man in his twenties, belonged to the ascendancy and being anxious about the difference in their social position she was unwilling to marry him. However, he calmed her fears and the marriage was arranged. She eloped from the home of her uncle in early July, 1819. There is some uncertainty about where the marriage took place. They may have been married at Limerick or in the Old Church at Kilrush.

Shortly afterwards, Scanlan tired of his young bride, and with his servant, Stephan Sullivan, her murder was planned. Using Scanlans boat Sullivan took her for a trip on the river. Armed with a gun, he lost his nerve just as he was about to commit the awful deed. He returned with Ellen to Glin. Scanlan plied Sullivan with more whiskey and convinced Ellen to resume the boat trip. In mid-stream Sullivan murdered her with a musket. He removed her garments and ring which he kept in the boat. She was tied with a rope which was attached to a stone and the remains were dumped in the Shannon. Six weeks later the body was washed ashore at Moneypoint. This appalling crime created feelings of horror and pity among all classes.

Both men had by this time disappeared but the full powers of the law were put in motion and Scanlan was the first of the two to be found, arrested and brought to trial. His trial took place in March, 1820. Owing to the high social position of his family, the trial created a big sensation. He was defended by the famous lawyer, Daniel O’Connell, the Liberator. It was assumed that there would be an acquittal as it was felt that one of the ascendancy should not suffer for a crime against a commoner. Nevertheless, Scanlan was found guilty and sentenced to death. He was taken from the Jail on March 16th, 1820, to Gallows Green, the place of execution at the Clare side of the Shannon. A carriage and horses were procured for the journey of one mile. Crossing the bridge, en route to Gallows Green, the horses stopped, and though the soldiers who accompanied the procession used whips and bayonet-thrusts they could not get the horses to move. Scanlan was obliged to leave the carriage and walk to the place of execution. He was duly hanged.

Sullivan was found shortly afterwards and his trial took place some four months after Scanlans. It excited almost as much interest as that of his master. He was tried at Limerick, found guilty and sentenced to death. On the gallows he confessed his guilt and admitted that his master was the proposer and that he was the agent of the murder.

Ellen Hanley is buried in Burrane cemetery, between Kildysart and Kilrush. The late Mrs. Reeves, of Bessborough House, which is situated near the graveyard, erected a Celtic cross at the head of the grave. It bore the following inscription:-

“Here lies the Colleen Bawn,

Murdered on the Shannon,

July 14th 1819. R.I.P.”

There is no longer any trace of this cross. It was chipped off, bit by bit by souvenir hunters.

 Many stories and sketches have been written about the Colleen Bawn, amongst them the successful novel “The Collegians” by Gerald Griffin. As a young reporter he had covered 

the trials of Scanlan and Sullivan for the newspapers and in the novel you will find them thinly disguised as Hardress Cregan and Danny Mann. Dion Boucicault also commemorates her 

in his drama entitled “The Colleen Bawn”. In Benedicts opera called “The Lily of Killarney” 

she is the leading character. The real facts of her life and death are not related in any of these. 

Thus ends the tragic story of the Colleen Bawn, a story of infinite pathos and stark, unrelieved tragedy.

Sean Byrne, The Kerryman Mural and Listowel Marching Band

Strickeen Mountain

Sandra Johnson shared this fab. photo to This is Kerry


Kerryman Building 2020

 The Kerryman with Mike O’Donnell’s great paperboy mural


Listowel Marching Band 1987

Photo: Charlie Nolan


A Family Hero

From the Dúchas Folklore collection

Martin Leahy’s Story

A great man 

My Uncle who lives with me says the strongest man he ever knew was Sean Byrne. He says although he was very strong he was as quiet as a child. 

There was a policeman in Abbeyfeale and he said that he himself was a good man and that he was stronger than any other policeman in the barrack. It happened one day that Seánwas in Abbeyfeale and that he was drunk, this policeman saw him and to show off his strength went up to arrest Seán. When he came up to Sean he said “You are drunk.”

 “I am” said Sean. 

“You are” said the policeman “and I must arrest you.” 

Sean went along quietly with him for some time and when he saw his opportunity he threw the policeman into a pool of water that was near at hand. Sean went home and policeman went into the barrack and he was never boasting after that. 

I heard about that there was a son of his at Latchfords in Listowel and that he too was a very strong man.

Martin Leahy st.v

Dromore, 27 . 6 . 1938

Information from my uncle,

Edmond Leahy, Bromore, Ballybunion.

He got it from his grandfather.

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