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 Post Office Page 1 of 2

Ballybunion, Church Street, Listowel Drama Group in the Glory days and Maria Stack Millinery


I was in Ballybunion for the first time in a while on Sunday February 14 2016. It was a beautiful crisp dry day and this lovely seaside place was  a buzz of activity.

I saw two new seats dedicated to the memories of local people. Good idea!

There were dogs on the beach but all well mannered and in the control of their owners.

This surfer was just returning to base from his stint in the waves.

 People were exercising horses.

The rescue helicopter was on a practice run.

Toilets are getting a face lift.

The castle has weathered winter 2016 with no obvious damage.

 Boathouse intact.


One Year Gone


Election Posters on Market Street


Then and Now


Listowel Drama Group Members in Times Past

Photo thanks to Kay Caball

On the right of this photo is Mrs. Margaret Moloney who was for years chairperson of Listowel Drama Group. She also took part is some of its earlier productions. Her daughter, Kay, has been kind enough to share with us a scrapbook she kept at this time. This is the first of the photos and cuttings I will share with you over the next few days

In front of this photo are Cecile Cotter and Margaret Moloney

In the back are Harry Geraghty & Rex Coolican


Someone we  Know is Up for an Award

Maria Stack, Listowel Milliner, has featured regularly on this blog. She is one of the finalist for Kerry Fashion Designer of the Year award. The winner will be announced at a black tie function in Killarney on March 4 2016.

The contenders for the prize in Maria’s section are;

Kerry Fashion Designer of the Year

Maria Stack – Millinery

Anne Cantillon Linnane – Womenswear

Maire O’Mahony – Millinery

Greta Lelyte – Menswear

Cathy Troth – Millinery

Rebekah Wall – Millinery

Nicole O’Brien – Millinery

Stiff competition indeed!

Below are photos of some of Maria’s hats that have appeared already in listowelconnection

No, the queen is not wearing a Maria Stack creation. Maria is to the left of Prince Philip at Ascot.

Lartigue at Teampall Bán, Floods of 2009 and posting letters in the rain.

All Roads Lead to Moyvane on Sunday


Nicole Landers is a professional photographer. Recently she posted this picture on Facebook and here is the caption she posted with it.


I was walking home from college not so long ago and i was stopped as i was dumping some wrappers from my lunch in the bin, by this very kind old county council man who asked me proudly could i take a photo of him working on the job. He said he was very proud to clean the streets of Limerick City and happy to see young people are making an effort to keep this city clean. The smile on his face tells a thousand words. I want everyone to appreciate the hard working people out there.

I can honestly say this man made my day smile emotico”


Listowel Folk Group

This photo of Listowel Folk Group was taken when they sang at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Killarney earlier this winter.


That was Then; This is Now

Lartigue monorail, Teampaillín bán-

The Lartigue monorail, designed by the Frenchman Charles Lartigue was a single rail steam train that ran alongside the roadway from Listowel to Ballybunion was unique to Ireland, and apart from another example in France was unique to the world. It operated from 1888 to 1924 when it closed due to financial difficulties and being left behind when the railways in Ireland were consolidated at that time.

The Hunslet engines used were specially built with two boilers to balance on the track, and thus two fireboxes, one of which had to be stoked by the driver.
Loads carried had to be evenly balanced as the carriages were essentially cut in two like the engines, passengers sat facing out of the windows rather than looking up/down the train as is the norm.
If a farmer wished to send a cow to market, as an example he would have to send two calves to balance it, which would then travel back on opposite sides of the same freight wagon, thereby balancing each other. The same went for passengers, they had to balance evenly across the carriages.
When the line closed in ’24 everything was scrapped and disposed of but in recent years due to a superb voluntary effort a short replica line has been built in Listowel, and is well worth a day trip out to see it when it is open.
The pictures below were taken from the top of Teampaillín Ban overbridge, a rare surviving example of original Lartigue architecture, still in very good order just on the edge of Listowel town. The view is looking North West towards Ballybunion on what is now the R553 road. Note how much smaller the road is in the original photograph.

(Original photo Robert French/Lawrence either 1893 or 1913)

(Modern photo December ’15)

(Historical ref – mainly M Geurins excellent book)

(text and photos from Time Travel Kerry)


2009 was worse!

Junior Griffin’s photos from 2009 when the river walk was completely submerged show that 2015 hasn’t been our worst year ……..yet!


Remember this?

We lost this battle and now the post office is located in a corner of Super Valu. I rarely go there but last Saturday I went to buy stamps and to post my Christmas cards. It was then I discovered a huge loss to Listowel due to this relocation. There is now nowhere indoors or under any shelter to post a letter. I got drenched and the cards got drenched because the letter slot was absolutely dripping wet and I couldn’t slide them in without touching the wet ledge no matter how I tried.


More People I met a the Light Switching on December 6


New Role for Sarah Webb

Successful Irish author, Sarah Webb has been unveiled as the newly appointed adviser to The National Children’s Literary Festival at Listowel Writers Week.

The children’s programme at Writers’ Week has grown into a huge festival and this year there are some really exciting things lined up. Put June 1 to June 5 2016 in your diary. All will be revealed shortly.

Folklore, Green shoots and Tadhg Kennelly honoured in Sydney

The country has gone rugby mad

Billy Keane’s Independent article A Day we’ll remember for the rest of our lives and even longer

puts it best.

Together, standing tall



This is the Kerry County Library in Tralee. I was here last week on a mission.

I’ll begin at the beginning.

In the school year 1937/38
the Irish Folklore Commission undertook a great project. They got teachers
around the country to encourage their pupils to collect lore from their elders.
The boys and girls undertook the task with varying degrees of enthusiasm and
success.  The results of their efforts
are now stored in archives around the country. 
It is no surprise to see that one of the biggest files is the one
collected by pupils in Scoil Realt na Maidine, Listowel. Their teacher, Bryan
MacMahon had a deep appreciation of the value of this project .

A past pupil of my own, Emma
MacElligott, now herself a teacher, alerted me to this rich store of stories,
sayings, placenames etc. I visited the archive in the Kerry County Library,
Tralee and there the archivist, Michael Lynch introduced me to this treasure
trove. I will share with you some of the stories I read there.

One boy wrote about a woman
called Madge Shine who lived in The Red Cottages, Cahirdown. Madge used to make
baskets from hazel. She used to place the hazel twigs over the fire to soften
before weaving them into baskets.

Another local man, Martin
Sheehy, made ‘sgiaths” from “scallops”. I’m guessing that sciaths are the kind
of flat basket used for gathering flowers or vegetables, which, in English, we
call a trug. According to Michael O’Brien of Ashe Street who recorded the
story, “he bended the sticks in and through one another until he had his
sgiaths made.”

Other basketmakers used

Before candles were
commercially made people used to make their own from “fat.” They used the fat
of goats and other animals according to Mary Hickey of O’Connell’s Avenue who
was 85 when she told her stories to B. Holyoake of Railway House. According to
Mary, they got a mould, put a stick across the top. Attached to the stick were
6 or 7 “cotton threads”  These were
obviously the wicks. Then they “rendered the fat”.

(I remember well my own mother
rendering suet in the days before cooking oil. 
There was always a bowl of fat at the ready for frying.)

Back to 1937…the hot fat was
poured into the mould and left to set overnight. In the morning they had 6
candles. Half penny candles were called “padogues”.

More stories to come….


County Colours

Do you remember the days before scarves and county jerseys, people showed their support by wearing crepe paper badges and caps? These things inevitably ran all over  your face and clothes…happy days!


Progress Report on Listowel Revival

The rebuilding of The Plaza is moving along nicely.

The rumour mill says that this premises is to be a medical centre.

Rumour has it that this will be a veterinary clinic.

If true, all of this is great news.


Hall of Fame

Tadhg Kennelly of Listowel has been inducted into the Sydney Swans Hall of Fame. What an honour!


Tidy Town Awareness Day in Super Valu

Photo;  Listowel Tidy Towns


+   R.I.P. Ann Cox  +

My very stylish, feisty, animal loving former colleagues in Pres. Listowel has gone to her eternal reward.

Ann was a fashionista before the term was invented. She was always beautifully groomed, softly spoken and ladylike.

Ann loved her dogs. When she brought them from the rescue home they were the luckiest dogs in Kerry for Ann lavished love and care on them to their final days.

She loved the Irish language and promoted Irish culture and traditions in everything she did.

She took up golf late in life but she enjoyed immensely the whole new circle of friends it brought her.

Ann contracted Parkinsons Disease in her late sixties but due to her fighting spirit and the great care of her neighbours and friends she continued to live in her own home until two years ago.

She passed away on March 21 2015.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam uasal.


Sunday Morning in Brosna, March 2015

photo; Ballybunion Prints Beach

Listowel Post Office opens in Super Valu

Post Office Relocation

As we suspected this is the start of a trend. As well as Listowel, Laghey in Co. Donegal and Monksland in Co. Westmeath are soon to have Post and Pay outlets in major supermarkets. The new reality will be post offices located in Super Valus and Spars around the country. This is happening in the teeth of opposition from post masters and local communities.

Billy Keane has the bit between his teeth and is taking this fight to the bigwigs in An Post.

I’m reprinting his excellent article from The Irish Independent of Feb 16 2015

Looking back on it now, we never
stood a chance against An Post. It was too big, too organised, too cute and An
Post was as transparent as a black bin bag.

This morning I will pass the
closed-up Listowel town centre Post Office on my way to work. Every time we
pass is a reminder of the injustice. The post office has been moved by An Post
to the Supervalu complex at the far end of town.

Supervalu and the person who now
owns the post office didn’t even have to apply for planning permission. They
can tear out the heart of the old town and lift up a post office over houses
and streets, in to the middle of a supermarket like a block of Lego and we can
do nothing about it.

We tried. We marched and we
protested, but we were beaten. Or were we?

For sure, it wasn’t a fair fight.
The law needs to be changed. At the very least the Government must bring in
legislation. The moving of a big town centre post office in to a card shop in
an off-street supermarket is surely a change of use, morally if not legally.

I’m pretty sure An Post were behind
the relatively recent amendments to the Planning and Development Regulations
2001-2013. The law states that the change of use from a shop to a post office
is an exempt development.

We may be right, we may be wrong,
but at least give us back our right to have our say. There was no transparency.
An Post was scheming away in the GPO, where patriots died to free Ireland. An
Post is planning to close down more post offices in the very cradle where the
men and women of 1916 rocked the world. It is clear now that the planning has
been going or for some time. Rural postmasters have had their commission cut by
30pc by An Post in times when the internet has taken over from the letter.

Then the owners of the small post
offices will call up An Post and say “we can’t keep on going, we have to
close.” And An Post will say “isn’t that an awful pity?” Another
one bites the dust.

An Post is breathtakingly arrogant.
It has consistently ignored the Public Procurement Guidelines and I quote
Section 2.2: “In general, a competitive process carried out in an open,
objective and transparent manner can achieve best value for money in public

The first we heard of the closing
and relocation of our post office was in the pub and by then the deed was done.

We are the people who live in the
town and we were never given the right to tender for our post office. Where was
the transparency there?

The Joint Committee of the
Oireachtas asked that an orange light warning system be put in place where a
post office was in danger of being closed. It was an excellent idea. If there
was a warning then the local community could rally behind the post office but
An Post ignored the elected representatives, including Senator Ned O’Sullivan,
who has given us massive support.

We cannot place all the blame on An
Post. Cancel that direct debit and pay your bill through the local post office.
Get the children’s allowance in cash when you come from the city to see the
mother and father. Open a post office savings account. Write a letter to a
loved one in your own hand. Before long, it will become a family heirloom.

I never voted for An Post. I didn’t
see the executive’s names on any ballot paper. Communications Minister Alex
White must intervene, and now. There must be an end to hot tank government.
Most of you insulate the hot tank from the cold. That’s the way we are being
governed now. There are layers of insulation between Government and the likes
of An Post and the HSE. The politicians say it has nothing to do with them and
that An Post is independent. Hot tank government is undemocratic. At the very
least, change the planning regulations. It’s too late for us but we’re all in
this together and maybe our protest will not be in vain.

My heart is in my socks today. I
might call in to Matt and Nelly Kennelly for cheering up. Matt is in his
eighties and runs The Cloth Hall, just a few doors away from the post office.
The family have been selling clothes for 120 years. Matt marched with us and
was the first to reach the old post office. He’s a quiet man but he was fired
up. “Keep fighting,” he said in a proud, passionate and dignified

Last Friday, I met a young lad who
is moving back home from the city. He was energised by the protest.
“Listowel is built on solid ground,” he said.

“We have a place here worth
fighting for. How can I help?” And there’s a new energy on the committees
I sit on. The losing was the winning.

Good luck to the new post office,
even though big mistakes were made. To be fair, Supervalu have sponsored many
local causes and there are fine people working there. Black and whites are for
funerals and tennis. We live in a world of greys.

Charles Stewart Parnell spoke from
the front of the wonderful Listowel Arms Hotel at a time when outside forces
were threatening our very independence as a nation.

Parnell’s words were reported
locally as “let no man place a boundary on the march of a nation”.
Let no man place a boundary on the march of Listowel.

Irish Independent


Now and Then


I remember when Dr. O’Shea lived here


Fair Daffodils…


Remembering the late Dan Green

His many friends in Listowel and around the world remember at this time the tragic untimely loss of local businessman, Dan Green.  Church St. Listowel is a little less colorful, a little less stylish and a grimmer place since Dan’s passing. R.I.P.

Listowel postmen 1937, Blennerville, Mike the Pies, Dillons and Scullys

Listowel Postal workers, 1937

Vincent Carmody shares this great photo with us. He has all of the names and even a story about the taking of the photo.

Back: Dick Broderick, Denis Horgan, Denis Stack, Tim Kelly, Paddy Moloney.

Front, Denis Dalton, Johnsie Reidy, Mick Enright, Jim Bambury, 

Jim Bambury was a clerk in the office and an avid photographer.  The morning the photo was taken, he organised the group and delayed the shot until he was in position himself.


Vincent also told us a bit about the history of the post office in town.

The current post office in Upper William St. was previously a public house (and bakery at an earlier time) owned by Doctor Timothy Buckley and his two sisters Delia and Molly.  In all, they had five houses in Upper William Street.

 I was working in Tralee in the very early 1970’s when An Post ( Then Dept of Post and Telegraphs) bought the property, knocked it and rebuilt what is there now. I am fairly sure that Vincent De Paul were  major beneficiaries as the Buckleys were unmarried and the Doctor was very acive in V de P society all his life. It was the first custom built and An Post owned post office in town.

 Previous to this the post office was where Griffin’s butchers are now. This was rented from Niall Stack’s family. 

 Before that the office was located where Fashion Figure is now. This building was built by the Stack-Gibson family and came into Tom Walsh ownership when he bought the corner house.

 The above  photo was taken outside that building in the mid to late 1930’s. On the window are pamphlets advertising the draft constitution of 1937, which was ratified in December 1937. This was the first Listowel office to have a company Postmaster. 

Prior to this it was contracted out and the office was at 14 Main Street, ( see page 175, Snapshots), before that again, it was in the Square, again check the book ( page 197) .


Blennerville in the snow

This picture was taken by a photographer who attaches a camera to a kite to capture some amazing aerial views. You will find lots of more lovely photos on his blog;

Some stunning views of the Dingle peninsula.


Mike the Pies celebrating 100 years in business

Denis Carroll posted this great photo on Facebook


Dillons and Scullys

Pat Del Savio, whose mother was Theresa Dillon of Listowel sent me this photo from her family album. Pat’s mother was a sometimes child minder for the Scully family and the caption she put on this photo was Babins Scully (in white dress) and friends.

Has anyone any idea who the “friends” are?

This is a picture of the Scully family.

These are the Dillons, Jimmy, Theresa, Tom and William. The Dillons came from Gurtcreen


The north wind doth blow and we shall have snow

And what will poor robin do then, poor thing…..?

(photo: Timothy John MacSweeney)

In these cold days remember our feathered friends. They would appreciate a few fatty scraps.

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