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 Military Tattoo Page 1 of 3

Mary Kennedy in Listowel, A Christmas Window, A Photo of some of the old stock and War Dogs

Up Close and Personal

T.J. Mac Sweeney


 Mary Kennedy in Listowel

When Mary Kennedy of RTE was in Listowel for the filming of the piece on the Military Weekend she popped into Easons to check on how her book was doing.

(Photo: Easons Listowel)


A More Recent Photo from Paul Murphy’s Album

Tommy Murphy, Frank Enright and John B. Keane


Christmas at Listowel Florists

Betty McGrath is getting ready for the festive season


Unusual Casualties of War

The above advertisement was reproduced in Woman’s Weekly recently.

During WW2 some 3,000 household pets helped at the front, side by side with the British soldiers.

Here is how it came about.

Food was rationed and there was no ration allowed for pets. It was forbidden to give meat or biscuits to dogs and many owners found they couldn’t keep their dog, particularly if it was a big breed. The war office set up a dog training school and urged people to give over their family pet to be trained for work  at the front. Dogs carried messages, patrolled and, most valuably, detected mines. Inevitably many lost their lives but they did, as well, save the lives of many.


A Message of thanks from Jim Halpin

Jim Halpin works harder than anyone to make sure that the sacrifice of the North Kerry men who gave their lives in war will never be forgotten. He is passionate about commemorating them and ensuring that their names will live forever in these parts.

With the help of his colleagues in Listowel Military Tattoo he organized a touching commemorative ceremony on Sunday in St. John’s. I was privileged to be there to witness it and I wrote about it here on Monday. Jim wrote to record his thanks to everyone who took part.

“Thank you, Mary, for your kind words and may I say a thank you also to the schools and their pupils,  their teachers and their parents to Rev. Joe Hardy and Fr. Hegarty, the Killorglin pipers and drummer, our bugler from Mallow and  Joe Murphy for pulling out all the stops to help us in St.Johns at very short notice, the veterans, the wreath layers, the committee and the public who made this a very memorable and solemn day in Listowel.  Jim Halpin”

You can listen to some of the music from the ceremony HERE

WW1 Dead Remembered, Pride of Place, Kerry Crusaders, a Listowel born veteran and The Field in St. Johns

Nothing about War is Glorious

Yesterday, in the aftermath of Friday November 13th’s atrocities in Paris, was a good day to remind ourselves of all that was has taken from North Kerry by war. The good people atListowel Military Tattoo organized a moving ceremony to commemorate all the local soldiers who had lost their lives in WW1 and also to remember all those who had lost their lives in any conflict. We remembered too the civilians who died because they were caught up in conflict.

The flag at the memorial stone flew at half mast.

Inside St. John’s the stage and auditorium were decorated with the flags of many nations. The ceremony was a non denominational religious one. We prayed and observed silence for all those idealistic people who had given their lives for a cause they believed in.

 This young lady read the poem, In Flanders Fields, in memory of her ancestor who died in WW1 and whose remains were only recovered in 2002.

Then a procession of people read the names of people from their locality who had died. Some of the young people struggled with names like Gallipoli, Salonica, Ypres and The Somme.

These theatres of war were once household names.

The names of the dead were the familiar names of our neighbours and fellow townsfolk.

Jimmy Deenihan reminded us that war is not too far away in today’s world.


Pride of Place 2015

We didn’t win. Castlemartyr did. But there was a small consolation in an award which went Kerry’s way.

 It went to to Kerry Traveller  Health and Community Development Project.

Listowel people take great pride in their own place. We don’t need an award to tell the world that.

A huge vote of thanks is due toListowel Tidy Towns and everyone who put in such a massive effort to win us this accolade.

Beidh lá eile ag an bPaorach.

Photo from Listowel Tidy Towns shows the Listowel contingent at the awards ceremony in Ennis on Saturday.


Kerry Crusaders Big Day, Saturday November 14 2015

These are some of the dry Crusaders who were helping with the registration on Saturday. Months of hard work went into the organization of Kerry Crusaders first competitive run in Listowel. Despite the truly dreadful weather the event was a huge success. 

You will find all the details and some more photos on their Facebook page (link above).

Vincent Carmody was one of the many participants in the 10k walk on Saturday.


Another treasured photo from Paul Murphy

Bill Kearney at the mike.


Listowel born U.S. Army veteran

This is Jimmy O’Connor,  who was born in Tannavalla, Listowel in 1935. Jimmy served in the US army . On his return home from Chicago he married Eileen from Greenville.

Jimmy’s son, Brian sent me the photo.


The Field in St. John’s

St. John’s was full to the rafters every night last week.  Such was the demand for tickets that they had to put on an extra performance of John B.’s powerful and disturbing play.

Nora Relihan and Joe Murphy serving refreshments at the interval, in St. John’s on Thursday November 12 2015.

More Horse fair photos, Craftshop na Méar and Listowel Military Tattoo

Here are some sellers and buyers at the fair on Thursday July 2 2015

In this following sequence of pictures a young boy gets a leg up on to a horse and rides off bareback.

Some people seemed very relaxed and were enjoying their day at the fair.

People were fascinated by these pigs.

These ladies gathered to take a look.

Within sight of the superloo, plenty of poo on the street.


A Trip to Craftshop na Méar

Here is a taste of crafts available in Craftshop na Méar, Listowel these days


Why is there a Military Tattoo in Listowel?

This often asked question was well answered on Facebook by the people who organize the tattoo.

“Here is a very short and small snippet of why we do it:

2 of the 3 most famous fighter pilots in the RAF during WWII were Irish!
The 2 famous airborne divisions of the US Army during WWII, the 82nd Airborne and the 101st Airborne were commanded by 2 first generation Irish Americans!
The fighting Irish US army division of WWI were led ‘over the top’ by a Ballyduff man!
The founder of the Argentinian Navy was an Irish man!
The inventor of the submarine was an Irish man
And the most highly decorated US Army helicopter pilot of the Vietnam war was a Tralee man!
That’s only the tip of the iceberg- reason enough???”


A Visit to  Friend

Yesterday I visited Fr. Pat Moore in his new temporary home, Mount Desert.

I took a big risk and smuggled in a Kerry flag behind enemy lines. Fr. Pat’s friend, Fr. Jim Kennelly took a bigger risk by posing with it before returning to his parish, Boherbue in Co. Cork.

Listowel Military Tattoo, Turf and The Field at the Gaiety

Listowel Military Tattoo 2015

It’s here; the longed for weekend is upon us.

The flags are out.

The traffic management plan is in place.

The bunting is strung.

The shop windows are decorated.

Bring it on!


 Here are a few photos from previous years to whet your appetite. I hope to have lots of photos from this year’s event  next week.


Turf to the Rescue

Another TDB poster from 1943, the push was really on to deal with the fuel shortage. At Mass, people were encouraged to cut turf by the local priests. County Councils, the Army, the TDB, all were involved in cutting as much turf as possible.

(source: Bord na Mona Heartland)


OConnell’s Avenue last week

Beasley’s light engineering works


 These Ballybunion Beach shops are set to get a facelift


Kerry Association in Dublin at the opening of The Field

Our own Keelin Kissane and friends from the Kerry Association met someone famous when they went to  The Gaiety for the opening night of John B. Keane’s The Field.


Listowel Emmetts Rising Stars

Conor Cox and Jack McGuire of Listowel were honored recently for their exploits on the football playing field with UCC.

Listowel Town Park and Gorse Fires in Moanvenlagh

Nesting Time

( Photo;  Timothy John MacSweeney)


Saturday in Childers’ Park

Listowel is a truly beautiful place to live. One of its many treasures is the Cows Lawn/Childers Park. Here are a few photos I took on an Saturday morning walk there recently.


Listowel Juvenile Rugby Training

It was heartwarming to see all the little would-be Jonathan Sextons and their trainers at work in the park on Saturday morning.

“A child, more than all the other gifts that Earth can offer to declining man brings hope with it and forward looking thoughts.”      Wordsworth


Photobomb Irish style

( photo: Live Gaelic)


Celtic Crosses in St. Michael’s Graveyard


In Childers’ Park


Nearly Here Now


Gorse Fires

There has been much coverage in the media of the horrific gorse fires which threatened the National Park in Killarney recently. Unfortunately it was not just in Killarney that gorse fires did damage. Liz Brosnan and John Curtin took the following photos of fires near Listowel in Moanvelagh last week.

(Liz Brosnan)
(John Curtin)


Silver Lining; Carrots and Flowers for the winner

Many Clouds, the winner of Saturday’s Aintree Grand National has his own Facebook page. He posted some photos taken by his friends at his post races party.

photos; Many Clouds

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