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 Page 2 of 6

Alternative Fashion Event 2018, A Sunday Morning walk in Ballybunion and a West Cork postbox


More Alternative Fashion Listowel Races 2018

On the Saturday of Listowel Races, The Tidy Town Committee in conjunction with Listowel Race Committee and with prizes sponsored by local traders, hold a marvellous upcycle restyle event. This event is growing in popularity year on year and now we have people preparing their outfits for months in advance.

I met Niamh Kenny and her mother Bridie in the tent. Niamh was wearing the Caroline Leahy creation that her mother had got made for Niamh’s communion. Niamh accessorised it with a borrowed hat which was adorned with feathers from the milliner’s grandmother’s hat. Niamh’s earrings were customised from vintage Chanel buttons she picked up in Paris.

Orlagh Winters is chatting to Anne Leneghan about her outfit. Anne volunteers in a charity shop and the lady who donated this told her that she wore it on her honeymoon 65 years ago. Anne wore it beautifully with a vintage fur stole hat and bag, all from charity shops.

The audience was riveted as much by the stories as the style.

This lady was a runner up in the competition. Her story was that her ensemble was a tribute to aunts. The various pieces of her outfit were inherited from different aunts and she put them all together beautifully. It looks to me like our grandmothers wore a lot of brown, beige and other muted colours.

Orlagh’s modern silver boots were in sharp contrast with the sensible, comfortable brogues of the contestant.

Andrea Thornton is one of those ladies who love to wear vintage clothes every day. She told us that her pupils are often fascinated to see what she will wear to class on any day.

Anna was resplendent in a vintage black outfit.


Sunday Morning in Ballybunion

On a beautiful crisp autumn Sunday morning, Sept. 23 2018 I took my camera to Ballybunion.

The Garda station was looking spruce.

They have decided against replacing the metal golf ball, stolen by vandals, on the statue of U.S. president, Bill Clinton.

For the art lover, Ballybunion has some unique and fascinating artistic touches .


Another Georgian postbox

Neil Brosnan spotted this one in Pearson’s Bridge in west Cork

Young Scene, Cycling in Ireland in Edwardian Times and an old Race card

In Listowel Town Park August 2018


William Street Facelift

This huge premises now looks resplendant.


Hospital shop

I posted a photo of this house a while back. Marie Shaw tells me that it used to be the home of the Horgan family. At one time they ran a shop from the front window. People visiting patients in the hospital could buy sweets or drinks to bring with them to the hospital.


Trials of Cycling in Ireland in the early 1900s

Source; Patrick O’Sullivan, A Year in Kerry


Listowel Racecards have Changed a Lot

Junior Griffin showed me a card from 1964 side by side with one from last year.

The Races was a three day meeting in 1964 and the race card cost one shilling.


Looking Forward to my Favourite Event at Listowel Races

Athea, Listowel Races Supporters’ Club and Throw me Down Something

Ita Hannon took this great picture of a heron in Beale


Lisselton protest

I came across this photo online with the caption “Lisselton Protest” Does anyone know the story?


Beautiful Athea

Athea village is just over the border in Limerick. It is nearer to Listowel than most Kerry towns. When I visited last week it was en fete in celebration of limerick’s All Ireland Hurling victory.

One of the really attractive features of this lovely village is the superb artwork celebrating local legends in the village’s two murals. It’s been a busy year for the muralist so I wasn’t expecting too much when I called.

I was disappointed to see both murals under wraps.

The day I was in Athea was the day that Pope Francis was visiting Ireland, August 25 2018. I was entertained to see that Athea’s footbridge is dedicated to another pope.

Athea is a great centre of music and athletics. It obviously has both a soccer and a G.A. A. club.

The spacious community centre dedicated to local hero, Con Colbert, is the centre of social activities nowadays. 

Once upon a time boys met girls across the road in the Riverside Ballroom.

Some businesses have closed but the overall impression the visitor gets is of a vibrant proud community.


A Great Deal for those who love Listowel Races


Throw me Down Something

Junior Griffin took these photos at the bridge during Listowel Harvest Festival a few years ago.

Listowel Writers Week 2018 Opening Night, Roadworks, Revival, Folklore and an old photo

During this recent warm spell, the Beal dolphins came in really close to the shore and Ita Hannon got this photo.


People at Opening Night Writers’ Week

I took up my position st the door of the Listowel Arms and I snapped these lovely people on the way in to the festival’s opening event.

As you can see I am automatically drawn to local people or people with a Listowel Connection. If you see anyone here who you know is not a blog follower will you alert them.

(more tomorrow)


We Still have roadworks Disruptions

Listowel people have had a lot of disruption to put up with as natural gas is brought to Listowel. Road works begin at 7a.m. and finish at 8.00p.m. and we won’t mention the odd disruption to water supply due to burst mains.

It will be all worth it in the end.

I just hope that the Tidy Town judges will understand because the local committee is doing every thing it can to keep the town as clean and tidy and presentable as possible while the work is ongoing.



Book early as ticket numbers are limited. Listowel’s great music festival is back for another year.


From the Archives

The following is taken from the great folklore collection of 1937/38 when local children throughout Ireland collected lore from their older family and neighbours. We are lucky in Listowel that we had Bryan MacMahon on board with this project. Bryan was a great collector of folklore himself and he well understood the importance of remembering and preserving folk memories.

1. Baskets

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.

Sciath is the word in Irish for shield. We are familiar with it now in the title Sciath na Scol. So I’m guessing that the sciath refered to are flat baskets.

Another local man, Martin Sheehy, made ‘sgiaths” from “scallops” 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.”

Bill Barrett of Beal made baskets from sedge which he used to harvest from the sandhills in Ballybunion. He also made hats and babies cradles. He also made “gads” for flails for threshing.


This is how Listowel Races looked up to the 1970s  before all of the public were moved to the stand area. There used to be a cheaper option of attending The Races in the centre of the field on the inside of the racetrack. This option had bookies and a few carnival stalls and but no shelter.


Job for an artist?

Job description

We currently have full time position for a **Sandwich Artist** in our store on Market St, Listowel Co. Kerry. Sandwich Artists have a positive outlook, thrive in a busy work environment and are keen to learn the art of great sandwich making. You will work well as part of a team, making delicious sandwiches to customer requirements. You will be responsible for serving customers, following health and safety procedures, and keeping the store clean.

The job will involve evening and weekend work so applicants must be fully flexible.

The job is going in Subway, by the way

Ballybunion, A Horse Train to Listowel Races and an Elegy to John B.


A Few Ballybunion snaps

The good work of the local Tidy Town Committee is everywhere to be seen.

Recent storms have snapped off this sign.

It’s an ill wind…. Looking for treasure among the flotsam thrown up by storm Brian.


In 1899 they had a Horse Train

Kay Caball found this marvellous old poster online. Weren’t The Races very late in the year back then?


A Song written in tribute to John B. Keane on hearing of his passing in 2002


By Mattie Lennon.


Before you went you told us not to

On that sad night.

“Let the show go on” you
said and then “goodbye”.

We shouldn’t question why you had to

Before you went you told us not to cry

As Writer’s Week had opened,

For it’s thirty-second year,

Where poet and peasant mingle

To absorb Listowel’s  good cheer.

A cloud crossed hill and valley

From Carnsore to Malin Head,

As news went ’round our island

“The great John. B. is dead”


He who walked with King and beggar

Will lift his pen no more,

To bring out the hidden Ireland

Like no one did before.

He banished inhibitions

To put insight in their stead.

The world stage is brighter

But The “Kingdom’s King” is

The dialogue of two Bococs

Is known in every town.

Now the Ivy Bridge links Broadway

To the hills of Renagown.

While men of twenty emigrate

And Sharon’s Grave is read,

Or a Chastitute ‘s forlorn

His memory won’t be dead.


They stepped out from the pages

Of The Man From Clare and Sive

To walk behind his coffin

Each character alive.

His Soul, with One-Way Ticket

To The Highest House has sped,

And this world has lost a genius;

The great John. B. is dead.


   © Mattie Lennon 2002. (Put to music by
John Hoban.)



How they used to Build a GatePost 

I took the photos on The Sive Walk.

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