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 Races 2018 Page 1 of 3

Vintage Day at Listowel Races 2018 and a new Alzheimers Day Centre planned for Listowel


A Touch of Glamour from Times Past

Anna brought a touch of US chique to the restyle recycle event at Listowel Races.

Tis young lady favoured a tan palette for an outfit that would look as well today as in a bygone era .

Maria had a story.  She was wearing a themed outfit. The theme was Ballybunion during race week in Listowel.  It is customary for people who overindulge at Listowel Races to go to Ballybunion for a seaweed bath the morning after the night before.  Maria’s dress was the green black colour of the black rocks and her lacy sleeves were a sea weedy black. On her head Maria wore one of her own millinery creations. This one was particularly inventive. It involved collecting and drying out seaweed, fashioning it into a hat and painting the finish product. It was definitely the best and most creative piece of the day.

This man was rocking an upcycled ploughboy look. He wore a grandfather style shirt,  an old trousers and a flat cap. He brought a pitchfork as a prop to set off the look. It’s certainly a lot easier to win a prize in the men’s section of this competition!

Kieran and Imelda, members of the Tidy Town committee looked on in fascination.

The men are usually the ones to bring a bit of levity to proceedings.

This year the token “stag”  was present but he was reluctant to take part.

This outfit was worn by lady who was born in the wrong era. She loves vintage fashion and chooses it over modern stuff every day.

Proof, if proof were needed, that style is timeless.

Marlyn dressed herself for the competition in clothes from the IWA shop. She looked magnificent in her floral dress and red jacket and her vintage shoes were perfect match for her outfit.

Jean is one of these ladies who would look good in a binbag. For this event she sourced this beautiful royal blue dress on eBay. She teamed it with white accessories and she could have worn it any day and looked a million dollars.

This lady from Duagh looked perfectly turned out for a day at the races in browns and tans…timelessly stylish and worn with confidence and ease.


Jackie Moore, Whitesmith

I posted this photo from the Johnny Hannon collection some time ago with the heading Jackie Moore, Pipesmith. Now I’ve learned something new from an old neighbour and friend of this craftsman.

Jackie was not a pipesmith but a whitesmith. A blacksmith takes someone’s design and makes it. A whitesmith designs and makes his own design from scratch. A blacksmith works with iron, a whitesmith usually with lighter metals such as tin.


Remember those who can’t Remember

Listowel is soon to have a new Alzheimer’s Day Centre. Planning is granted and it is hoped to have it up and running by 2020. Below is a photo of the site. Are Churam is in the background.

Here is a poem  on the theme of growing old from local poet. Mary McElligott


Help me save my memories, 

Each day I’m here with you.

It won’t take up all your time, 

As I only have a few.

Don’t ‘correct’ or ‘fix’ the gaps,

Just let me rattle on.

Feel free to move me on a bit,

If my story is too long.

Help me to keep myself, 

From disappearing down a hole. 

Save me from destruction,

As my body leaves my soul.

Show me my old photographs,

You can talk about my dog.

Help me dip around a bit,

If my memory needs a jog.

They wrote up ‘my story’,

The first week I came in.

It’s to help me remember me.

Now where do I begin?

I know I can’t remember much, 

Not too sure about this place

But I don’t feel so worried, 

When I see a smiling face.

If I’m ever feeling frightened,

‘You might see it in a frown’,

Come and sit beside me

And in time I’ll settle down.

Help me to be myself,

The best that I can be.

Remember who you’re looking at, 

The one and only…………ME.


Remembering Christopher Hennessy…A Short Life Well Lived


Positive Ageing

Joe OMuircheartaigh posted (on Twitter) these photos of his uncle, the legend that is Micheál Ó Muiurcheartaigh, abseiling in Dún Síon, west Kerry

Alternative Fashion at Listowel Races 2018, Georgian postbox and Loving lovely Listowel

The sea, oh the sea 

The Inbhear Scéine Sub Aqua Club had a very sad mission on Oct 1 2018 as they were tasked to recover wreckage of the boat which bore three men to their death in the treacherous waters off our coast. They took this stunning picture on the day as the mission drew to a sad close.


A Georgian Postbox in Cork

This postbox on College Road Cork will be a familiar sight to so many UCC students who pass it every day.

 It is located across the road from Cliffords at a really busy junction with Highfield Avenue.

It’s looking a bit the worse for wear.  I hope An Post won’t see fit to dispense with these very important pieces of street furniture which are such a visible reminder of our country’s history. 

And the new postboxes are ugly, plain and functional.


Alternative Fashion Event at Listowel Races, Saturday Sept 15 2018

The business of racing was going on for a seventh day when we gathered into the tent for the best side show of Raceweek, Listowel Tidy Town Committee’s Vintage Fashion Event. This event encourages ladies and gents to raid granny’s wardrobe, go into the chest in the attic or just visit the charity shops and put together a vintage outfit by repurposing or recycling garments to give them a new lease of life. The rules allow you to buy in vintage shops as well but the others are more interesting and cheaper options.

I met Norella and Anna at the parade ring but they were on their way to the tent for the vintage show.

 These two beautifully turned out ladies were among the first I met.

Mary Hanlon loves this event too and she was looking forward to the style.

On the podium prizes were being presented to winning owners and trainers.

A special presentation was made to Maeve O’Brien as she retired after many years as nurse to the jockeys.

In a touching gesture, a group of jockeys came from the weigh room to make her a presentation on behalf of the jockeys.


Listowel, Ireland’s Tidiest Town 2018

On the day of our great win and again on the following day I went mad with the camera. Here are a few more I took on the Gurtinard Walk on a beautiful sunny Tuesday afternoon.

It’s lovely to see young and not so young Listowel people out enjoying our lovely town.


An Anonymous Poem to The O’Rahilly

(from Kerry’s Fighting Story)


Stories You’ll Love

I have discovered a great website where Irish people tell their stories. You will see lots of familiar faces and hear lots of familiar voices and the stories are great. AND you can add your own if you so wish.
People of Ireland

Listowel, Ireland’s Tidiest Town 2018, Spoilt Rotten, Dancing in INEC and more photos from Listowel Races 2018

The last of the 2018 butterflies


The Day after Listowel’s Big Tidy Town Win

The sun was shining so I took the camera and off I went. Here are a few of today’s snaps from Ireland’s tidiest town

 In the Square I met some tourists and I dragooned them into posing on the Tidy Town seat. They knew about our win  and they had just arrived in town and were beginning to explore.

Our community fruit and nut garden was looking smashing.

Nearly warm enough for a picnic, if one had a picnic.

This is a tad worrying. This apple tree is in bud…in September!

This man who had come to pick up the branches of a fallen tree posed for me with these lovely roses.

He helped out this granny on a mission to collect conkers for her Cork grandchildren.


Jack McKenna at 100

Family, friends, McKenna’s retired and present staff, historians and  admirers came to the Kerry Writers’ Centre in Listowel Town Square on Sept 19 for the launch of Spoil Rotten, the memoir of a local business man, pioneer and philanthropist who has reached the age of 100.

Did you know that this man gave the site for the restored Lartigue railway AND he gave €250,000 to set up the Lartigue Museum?  In keeping with this spirit of generosity to his native town, his family took on themselves all the publishing costs of his memoir with all the profits from the sale of the book going to Áras Mhuire, the local retirement home.

 On the night of the launch Jack McKenna  signed copies of the book and even took the microphone to thank us all for coming and to wonder what he had done to deserve such a turn out.

At the top table were Jimmy Deenihan whose Kerry Literary Trust published the book and who is a friend and admirer of Jack McKenna, Jack’s daughter, Louise, who brought the whole project to fruition, continuing on a labour of love set in train by her late mother, and Fr. Anthony Gaughan who was the guest of honour who launched the book.

This book is an important piece of the jigsaw of Listowel’s history.


Learning from A Master

This photo was shared on Facebook by Scoil Realta na Maidine. These little boys are taking their first  lessons in Irish dancing from Jimmy Hickey.

Among them maybe there is a Justin Walsh or a Patrick O’Mahoney. Both these men are former pupils of Jimmy’s and both have gone on to dance on the world stage.

As part of an ongoing project to produce a film documenting Jimmy Hickey’s life in dancing, Jimmy went to the INEC to see his former pupil, Patrick O’Mahoney dance the lead role in Riverdance.

Before the show, Jimmy got to show Patrick and some of the troupe a step or two and both Patrick and Jimmy were delighted to dance together on the INEC stage.

Jimmy and Patrick dance together on the INEC stage, Killarney in September 2018

Jimmy teaches Patrick a few steps.

Members of the troupe, who were watching in the wings, join in for a lesson as well.

Patrick thanks his former teacher for dropping in to see him. There is a mutual respect between these two men, both masters of the dance .

 The Colour and the Winners at Ladies Day 2018

Waiting for the results of the best dressed competition

The judges, Aoibhinn Garrihy and Marietta Doran, interviewed one another for a bit first.

Then it rained.

David Moran, Kerry footballer, picked the best dressed grooms.  This lovely lad came second and the  groom below won. He wore a suit he had bought for a wedding and very smart he looked too.

This lady came second in a dress her family didn’t like but the judges loved. Her hat is by Aoife Hannon. I thought I was being a very clever photographer by photographing her face and keeping the full shot in someone’s mobile phone in the picture. Didn’t quite work.

I was too far away from the stage to get a full length shot of this second runner up but her hat was gorgeous .

And the winner is…..

And her prize is …€3000 and this car for a year.

This is the winner from the back. I didn’t actually get a good photo of her because I didn’t think she would win. That’s all I know about fashion!

Meanwhile the business of racing went on, Presentations were made in the parade ring, People watched the horses and the men had a chat.

Miss Ryan, Daniel O’Connell in Abbeyfeale and More from Listowel Races 2018

It’s Official. Listowel is Ireland’s Best Town 2018

It’s been a massive community effort led by a brilliant Tidy Town Committee.

I have rarely seen people so proud of their town as Listowel people are.

Listowel is a beautiful town to call your native place and it’s a beautiful town to blow in to.

We are so blessed!

Here are a few photos to celebrate our big win in the Super Valu Tidy Towns Competition 2018


Do You Remember Miss Ryan?

One of my roving reporters ran into this lady on a trip to Galway. This is what he says about  her.

Miss Ryan of Waterford taught art in Listowel. Remembers well Mr Drummond, Mr Fitzgerald, Mary B’s Hotel. Miss Moloney, Matt Mooney. She had also copper work, very much like Tony O’Callaghan’s work, but had no name for its maker.


 From Echoes of Abbeyfeale

A letter written by Daniel O’Connell in January 1836 to Mr. Leahy, The Square, Abbeyfeale reads as follows: 

I will be at your house about two o’clock on Sunday – have four horses ready for me by twoo’clock – take care that the drivers have mass. I will not arrive until after last mass and will not allow any man to drive me who miss mass. 

Truly Yours
Daniel O’Connell 

On November 4th1 836, Daniel O’Connell had the services of a driver and four horses from Abbeyfeale to Newcastle. The four horses were Jack and Major, Nancy and Grey. O’Connell paid one pound and eight shillings for this service. His driver was paid seven shillings. We
are indebted to the owner of Leahy’s Inn for meticulous book-keeping. He was Mr. David D. Leahy, son to Daniel Leahy. In 1832, at Leahy’s Inn a gentleman got dinner for one shilling; lodging for one shilling; breakfast for one shilling and two pence; livery for two shillings and sixpence; oats and feed for horse eight pence; for the weary traveller a glass of punch cost two shillings.


Friday Sept 14 2018

 Style and more from The Island

This is the colourful scene outside the Budweiser tent as the beautiful ladies wait for the tap on the shoulder to say you are in the top 10.

Fashion is a top to toe thing.

These three beautiful girls could have bagged the three young racers prizes but the lady in the middle had no hat and that’s a requirement. As it was, her two friends caught the judges eye and were rewarded.

Some local men were a day late for the best dressed man competition but they posed with some local beauties anyway.

Those pheasant feathers are surely the work of our best known local milliner.

Good friends, Máire and Keelin were catching up and having a look at the fashion at the same time.

Oh, the stress!

Maud and Eleanor, like myself, chose a ringside seat.

Cliona caught up with her former teacher.

The O’Halloran family were enjoying a return to one of the haunts of their youth. Marie, on the far right, told me that she enjoys Listowel Connection in Sydney.

I was delighted to photograph these, my local friends. 

Bridget came from County Limerick for the day.


Vincent Carmody Sheds Some Light on another photo

I don’t think the photo was taken outside Buckley’s ( It was known as Nora Lynch’s). Sheamus Buckley would have been the photographer.The window is not right for Buckleys, they had a sectioned window, similar to what is there today, with a bar across the front for protection. It may have been Mary Ann Relihans’ or else a bar downtown.


This witty letter writer to The Irish Times seems to have got it right 

St. Michael’s Graveyard, Listowel and photos from Listowel Races Ladies’ Day 2018

Ballybunion by Deirdre Lyons

Deirdre Lyons of Abbeyfeale is a super photographer. This photo has been chosen as on of the top 20 finalists in the FBD Insurance calendar competition.


Celtic Crosses in St. Michael’s Graveyard, Listowel


Old tombs and graves in Listowel


Listowel Races, Ladies Day 2018

This year the arrangements for the tagging and the judging were different. The judges mingled among ladies milling around the old haunt near the parade ring and then they went to this bar and gazebo. If you got the coveted pink wristband you were in the running and you could enter the Holy of Holies, a.k.a the Budweiser bar tent. There, you awaited the tap on the shoulder to tell you you had made the top 10. For most that tap never came but they proudly wore their pink wristbands, marking them as people the judges thought stylish.

My  gorgeous Writers’ Week friends, Madeleine and Eilish, chose monochrome.

 This lady won the prize for the most iconic outfit. I think that means timelessly stylish.

She certainly met that criteria. She made her own hat.

 Paul and John were enjoying it all.

Mary O’Halloran is always beautiful. She loves the races and she loves dressing up for Ladies’ Day.

These three know a thing or two about fashion.

The judges had a hard job. The place was so full of stylish outfits that you could miss one right under your nose.

Niamh Kenny gets her pink wristband from Aoibhin Garrihy. I think the chat was as much about motherhood as about style.

Anne Leneghan and Maria Stack love this day and they both looked beautiful.


To Vincent Carmody the Final Word on the Doodle Photo

 Margaret Dillon, who has a great memory for faces and names, wrote the following;

Hi Mary,

I’m going to take a stab at the Doodle party names.

“2nd from left standing Peter Moloney , Charles st., Sean Grogan,my sister Sheila thinks the next person with his hand to his tie is our uncle Jackie Sharry, he was certainly involved in the caper , Curley Keane- Stack, O’Neill??from Ballygologue?, Tommy Murphy William St, Matt Kennelly, Chuck Roche, Bottom right Dan Lou Sweeney, Up Church st., Middle front Finbarr Mc Auliffe?? Church St.

Vincent Carmody writes:

It was taken in a back room at the rere of William Keane-Stacks chemist shop. The occasion was a Doodle Frolic, one of the early get togethers of the Doodle Executive.

In front are, Derry Tatten, Finbar McAuliffe and Dan Lou Sweeney.

Standing, John Joe Daly, Plunket Moloney, Sean Grogan, Dinny Carroll, Curly Stack, Michael (Gulliver) Stack, Michael Carey, Tom O’Connell and Timmy Shanahan.

Back, ? Guerin, John B Keane, Tommy Murphy, Danny Kelliher, John Kennelly and John (Chuck) Roche. 


D Day for our great Tidy Towners

The very best of luck to the Julie, Mary and all the Tidy Town workers. Whatever the outcome in The Helix, Listowel is a credit to you. Everyone who visits praises your work. We are so lucky to have such dedicated people making sure our lovely town always looks its best


What’s in store

Between the Races, Culture Night, an important book launch and my trip to Cork I have lots and lots of photos to share with you over the next while. Jimmy Hickey and Mike Moriarty also sent me some great photos of interesting events in their lives.  So if I have taken your photo and there is no sign of it here, please be patient. It might take a while.

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