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 Players


Listowel’s Millenium Arch in July 2022
Millenium Arch from the river side


Listowel Players

This old photo was shared recently on Listowel Memories. There is one correcti0n. That is not Batt O’Keeffe but John Broderick.


Camden Street, Dublin in 1975


The Fairy was Laughing too

I was revisiting recently and someone had put up the lyrics of this old song. It is like an ear worm now resounding in my head. I think the voice I hear is Brendan O’Dowda’s.

In a shady nook one moonlight night,

A leprachaun I spied;

With scarlet cap and coat of green;

A cruiskeen by his side.

‘Twas tick tack tick, his hammer went,

Upon a weeny shoe;

And I laughed to think of a purse of gold:

But the fairy was laughing too.

With tip-toe step and beating heart,

Quite softly I drew nigh:

There was mischief in his merry face;-

A twinkle in his eye.

He hammered and sang with tiny voice,

And drank his mountain dew:

And I laughed to think he was caught at last:-

But the fairy was laughing too.

As quick as thought I seized the elf;

‘Your fairy purse!’ I cried;

‘The purse!’ he said – ’tis in her hand –

‘That lady at your side!’

I turned to look: the elf was off!

Then what was I to do?

O, I laughed to think what a fool I’d been;

And the fairy was laughing too.


Scoil Realta na Maidine in Summer 2022

First Communion Class of 1956


A Pig Fair

This is Kanturk but it could be any town in rural Ireland in the 1950s. The building is now the AIB bank, recently among the branches earmarked to become cashless.

One seller, standing by the signpost, has obviously reached town early on Pig Market day as he has a prime location. It’s early in the morning as farmers are coming and going from the creamery with their milk churns.

Just over the bridge you can see the BP sign. This is Fitzpatricks petrol pumps on O’Brien Street. There were no diesel cars in the 1950s.


Listowel Players 1996

Praying for Peace with the People of Ukraine

St. Mary’s Church by Éamon ÓMurchú


A Crucial Week in the Life of a Grocer’s Assistant

Jer Kennelly found an old play programme.


1930s Listowel

8 Church Street Listowel , Co. Kerry

Photo copyright; Tipperary Studies Photographs of Munster Shops


From Presentation School Yearbook 1991


Some Famous Faces at Writers’ Weeks Past

Com Tóibín and Brendan Kennelly R.I.P.
Fergal Keane
Catherine Moylan and Graham Norton
John McAuliffe
Joe Stack


Golden Folk, James Gould’s 80th birthday and an old dispute between servant and master

Sunset in Ballybunion April 23 at 19.50


Communications Today

My two boys are talking to one another on Snapchat.


Golden Folk

The Listowel cast of the play The Golden Folk from around 1960


Some More Photos from my Trip to Áras Mhuire


A Long Shot

Does anyone know of a photograph in existence of the interior of St. John’s when it was a church? 


An Old Dispute

Back in 1869 the court reporter had a great way of telling a story;

Kerry Evening Post, Wednesday, 15 December, 1869; Page: 3

LISTOWEL. PETTY SESSIONS—Saturday: (Before A. Elliott, chairman G. Hewson, and J. M. Hatchell,R.M. Esqrs;( Edited)

Broder v Buckley

The complainant in this case was the female help of defendant.  The agreement was made in far famed, and justly celebrated Abbeyfeale between the now contending parties; but a different version of said agreement  given by each,  suitable  to their own views, and hence a great deal of mystery enveloped the matter requiring a thorough clearing up.

Miss. Broder in giving her evidence displayed none of that shrinking modesty, or affected sensibility that too often characterize females when presented at Court, and subjected to the gaze, admiration or condemnation, of the “great’ unwashed.” She braved public opinion, and in appearance and language asserted her rights and detailed her wrongs, like a perfect Amazon.

 Her case was, that her engagement was for nine months from 20th February, salary £6 6s., one days horse work, and ground for a pottle of flax seed. She appears to have gone on well for some time, but as service is no inheritance, some slight differences arose, and were acquiring strength every day. 

The Mistress called her one morning to arise and proceed to work, but she only changed  sides in the bed, saying it was rather early to commence labour. She then got sick, and  so did the Mistress. Matters must have looked queer in the concern.  Tady, the husband of defendant, came forward to aid the case, and ye gods what a presentation was his. Let your readers imagine, a short bull  necked, thick got blubbar lipped rustic, a head and frame ignorant of all toilet appliances, and with a voice like Boreas in a storm, cracking the ears of all within sound of his vocal thunder; and though his appearance might not be a safe letter of introduction he displayed in his evidence a cleverness, caution and ability that would do credit to a more refined and spiritual physiognimy. In fact, Tady is no joke, and knows how the cat jumps, his only fault being that like the cat he is too much of a domestic animal, and allows his wife only to play second fiddle, albeit a Scotch one.

— The evidence pro and  con was most confusing, And would require the services of a more extended jurisdiction to deal with, not but that  the legal gentlemen engaged at both sides, Messrs. Broderick and Harnett, did full justice to their clients, Keeping the steam up, as the supply of hot water is always abundant in Listowel Court. However, after a storm comes a calm, and matters toned down.

 When business came to be arranged, Miss Broder having got some dresses in town to array herself in, and display those masculine charms which, after all, are most captivating, and which, when properly charged, lays the mine to any fortress no matter how impregnable, and generally succeeds in capture. The aforesaid dresses were paid for by the veritable Tady,-who produced voucher for same. These, with some cash advanced, reduced Miss Broder’s claim to £3 6s. lOd, which, without costs, she was allowed. A divorce was then pronounced between the parties, and they left court together. Tady presenting the appearance of a case of collapsed cholera, while Miss Broder was radiant with smiles.

Glossary: a pottle was half a gallon

toilet appliances would be hairbrush and comb, razor or facecloths and soap

Scotch fiddle was a kind of rash caused by eating too much oatmeal


Military Tattoo 2016

I’ll have all the news plus photos from the weekend for you in the coming weeks.


Soldiers with a Listowel Connection

Pat Del Savio sent me photos of two of her uncles in military uniform. I have none of the story to go with them though.

This is what Pat wrote of them:

“My Mom was Theresa Dillon of Gurtenard (?), daughter of Patrick  and Johanna Dillon. The pictures are of her brothers, Paddy Dillon(Jr.) and William Dillon. William’s photo has the white background. 

I don’t know the years they were taken, but my Mom was born in 1910. Paddy was her older brother and William was her second youngest brother.

Patrick (Paddy) Dillon Jr., 1902-1979, was a bachelor. He was in the Irish Free State Army.


William Dillon, 1915-2003, was the 14th child in a family of 15 births. He had 8 children and lived in Dublin.”


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