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 Tidy Towns Page 1 of 10

Writers’ Week Opening Night 2022

Simple Snaps by Sharon


Celebrating 50 years of Kerry in Kerry

Kerry chief executive, Edmond Scanlon with Minister Norma Foley at the 50 year celebration.

It’s 50 years since the “12 Apostles” led by Denis Brosnan came to Listowel to set up a dairy enterprise.

From that little acorn a mighty oak has surely grown.

Denis Brosnan with Catherine Moylan at the celebrations.

Some local people representing local supporters were also invited to the do.


Meanwhile in the U.K. More Celebrations

While we were going to the races or to plays, book launches or lectures on the June bank holiday weekend 2022, our friends and relatives across the pond were in party mode.

Everyone was baking buns for the street party. You’ve heard them called queen cakes. These are queen- to- be cakes, I suppose.

Artist: Eleanor Tomlinson’

The hit image of the celebration was the queen sloping off home hand in hand with Paddington after their marmalade tea party.

Wait ’til I get you home.

There is always one! In a buttoned up family where rules of behaviour are tight and restrictive, it was lovely to see the naughty behaviour of Prince Louis “showing them up” on their big day.

In case we were in any doubt, his mother is a saint.


Opening Night Listowel Writers’ Week 2022

Éamon and Nora ÓMurchú
Writers’ Week volunteers
Linda Galvin greeted the guests with some jazz

Joan and Rose couldn’t resist the pull of the music and they broke into a little impromptu jive.


+Eileen Worts R.I.P.+

Eileen passed away peacefully on June 9 2022. She slipped away from us quietly but Eileen had made her mark in life and she leaves many memories. She will not be forgotten.

This is my favourite photo of Eileen. She is in Halo with her dear daughter, Elaine.

Eileen was a dedicated Listowel woman but above all else, her family came first,

Here she is having a chat with her brother, Charlie.

Eileen was always ready to stop and chat. It was a joy to meet her on her stroll around town.

I snapped her having a chat with Martin Chute as he took time out from sign writing.

We all know Eileen as a dedicated member of Listowel Tidy Town Committee. But do you know that Eileen was volunteering to look after Listowel even before Tidy Towns?

This picture is from a an organisation that predated Tidy Towns. It was called TABLE…Towards a Better Listowel Everyday. Eileen is helping Ned O’Sullivan to plant a tree in Feale Drive in 1994.

One of Eileen’s proudest moments was Listowel winning the overall prize for Ireland’s Tidiest Town in 2018.

In 2019 Eileen and her fellow Tidy Towners welcomed President Michael D. Higgins to Listowel.

In 2016, when Listowel was Ireland’s Tidiest Small Town, Eileen was there at the unveiling of the lovely commemorative seat.

Eileen was not just there for the glory days. Here she is helping out with the annual recycling event at Listowel Harvest Festival of Racing.

Despite failing health, Eileen Worts rolled up her sleeves and joined her friends, Breda and Jackie to do some of the hard work.

May the sod rest lightly on her gentle soul.

I hope this little poem is a small comfort to Elaine and those who loved Eileen in life.


1956 Advertisement, The Land and an Old Pres. Photo

Photo: Breda Ferris


From Shannonside Annual of 1956


Once a Tidy Towner……

Breda McGrath is not fond of having her photo taken. So she didn’t pose but I snapped her doing her level best to make sure we win that gold medal again. Breda is just one of the many volunteers who work round the clock keeping Listowel looking beautiful.


A Very Strange Happening in 1842

Boston Pilot 9 July 1842

The Wandering Quakers. These silly fanatics arrived in Listowel from this town on Tuesday evening last, and formed their encampment in the extensive area in the rear of one of the houses in the square, under the shelter of which they sat in pious silence the greater part of the next day in expectation of obtaining followers, or at least hearers, and of being internally moved by the spirit to preach, sing or pray. Finding, however, after a great trial of their patience that, all their expectations were in vain, they rose and retired to Adam’s Hotel where they did justice to the good things of this carnal world, making atonement in the flesh for all that was wanting in the spirit. The next day the holy’ tribe set out on their peregrinations, after having excited the surprise and laughter of the good folks of Listowel. — Kerry Examiner.


Photo by Éamon ÓMurchú of farm implements at Newbridge House

The Land

John McGrath

I stand in fields where my forefathers stood once

And feel the dreams of those who’ve gone before me.

I tramp through damp and half-remembered pastures,

The folds and features of the land that bore me

All around.  Above the sound of lark’s song,

Below the spring of earth beneath my feet,

The green and gold of April in the hedgerow,

The purple haze where sky and heather meet.

Where mighty men have thought to mark their passing

The furze creeps back to mock the spade and plough,

Those futile epitaphs of generations

In Folk Museums condemned to moulder now.

Where men have raised a fence or tilled a furrow

The land, as if to scorn their simple gains,

Erases each proud trace until tomorrow.

The men have gone; the land alone remains.


A Passover Meal in Pres. Listowel

I could guess a few names but I’d probably be wrong so I’m hoping someone will help us out.


Tidy Town Prizegiving, Sacred Heart Picture and Break in in The Square

Tidy Town Prizegiving in Listowel Family Resource Centre

Winners of the art competitions


It’s a while since I’ve seen one but when I was growing up every kitchen had one and on it was written the birth dates of all the children. It had a designated lamp, called a Sacred Heart lamp burning constantly beneath it.


First Glances at The Book

My friends in Knitwits were among the first to see A Minute of Your Time.

Knitting is only one of the many crafts that Rosie can turn her hand to. She made this lovely Halloween Witch House which Bigita is admiring.

I gave my friends, Mary Frances and Nancy in the Vincent de Paul shop an early viewing as well.

A Minute of Your Time


Listowel Sign Writer at Work in Tralee

I spotted Martin Chute on his scaffold painting a sign at the vet’s in Tralee


Break in At Harnett’s Pharmacy

This is how it looks now. 

Earlier yesterday October 22 2019 this was the scene in The Square.

It was so sad that in our lovely peaceful town thieves had struck during the hours of darkness and in an attempt to rob the shop had completely trashed it.

Two other shops were also targeted by the thieves but it was in Harnetts that they did the most damage.

Vintage Day at Listowel Races 2019, Killarney Jostle Stones and Culture Night 2019

All over for another year

My lovely boys gone back home after a few days in Kerry.


Vintage Recycle Upcycle Day at Listowel Races 2019

The tent was full. There were some lovely outfits on show. The mens’ competition seems to have attracted many more entries this year.

The organising committee on behalf od Listowel Tidy Towns were busy interviewing the entrants and hearing their stories.

The winner (on right )and first runner up


Enjoying the Races and the Sunshine

Agnes and Jimmy were enjoying the Saturday race meeting.

An unusual and tragic event at the races. This is so sad for the owners and all associated with this poor horse.


Jostle Stones Again

They have them in Killarney too. I’m getting a great thrill out of my blog followers spotting these for us around the country.


Church Street Girls in 1958

Miriam Kiely has been in touch with the last name.

Eileen Sheridan sent us this photo and she had all the names except one. Here is the caption as Eileen had it;

It is summer 1958 and these are the girls

Front row Ann Gleeson

Mary Keane,  Noreen Scanlon, Noreen McSweeney, Geraldine Flaherty

Angela Breen, Eileen Guerin, ? ,Kathleen Kenny

Maisie McSweeney, Eileen Scanlon

Miriam thinks that the girl between Eileen and Kathleen is Bride Given, who lived with her family in the Garda Station.


Culture Night 2019

Listowel had lots of music and singing on Friday September 20th. Ard Churam choir and the local Comhaltas musicians were all playing their part.

I was in the Small Square giving out free poems on behalf of Writers’ Week. 

It’s a sign of the times that  some people couldn’t believe they were free and were reluctant to take them at first.

Then there was the other little issue of being mistaken for a Jehovah’s Witness.

Two scenarios I had nor envisaged when I volunteered for the job.

Marie, Catherine  and Éilish were my fellow poetry distributors

One of the poems which was chosen by Writers’ Week literary adviser and poet, John McAulliffe was called Corner Boys. This time it was not John B. Keane writing about this urban phenomenon but Bryan MacMahon.

MacMahon’s Corner Boys were ex soldiers mostly. They had seen awful things and glorious things

…”the sun behind a minaret….`

I sympathised with them as I too stood stood on Main Street.

“Here the lonesome Kerry winds

Shriek up along draughty streets,

And how around the corner 

Where the corner boys are growing grey

Dreaming of sunny skies.

Lovely Listowel

Lovely Listowel, My Home Town

Every emigrant knows that you can have two homes. It is no disloyalty to the place where you were born to love your now home, the place where you were welcomed and made to feel at home and part of the community, the place where you raised your family, where you worked and lived and made so many friends. 

For me, Kanturk was my first home and I give it my love and loyalty always. Listowel is my home now. It is the town that took me to its heart, welcomed me and made me feel at home. It is where I have lived, worked and loved for nearly a quarter of a century in the midst of a generous community that nurtured and took care of me and mine. It is where I now feel most at home.

I was never more proud of my town than I was yesterday, July 25 2019 when the Entente Florale adjudicators came to town.

We rolled out the red carpet, we baked the cake, we painted, clipped and washed and the lovely Tidy Town folk picked up every last bit of litter.

Whenever we have important visitors coming to our homes it is usual to do a bit of tidying before they arrive. This might consist of pushing the newspapers under the cushions, hoovering like a mad thing and putting everything untidy under cover. This was not what happened in Listowel yesterday as the finishing tidying was being done for our VIP guests. I was in town with my camera and today I am devoting my whole blogpost to images of my beautiful second home; beautiful, beautiful Listowel in July 2019.

Flower boxes, hanging baskets and window boxes appeared in places where we weren’t even aware there was a ledge or a window.

Then the shops came on board and business people arranged window displays with symbols of the participating countries

The local Tidy Towners were out in force on the morning of Judgement Day.

The judges were given a whistle stop tour of a list of pre agreed venues. They gave nothing away, made no comment or appeared to enjoy or be impressed by the display Listowel put on for them. They are impartial judges after all.

I went around slack jawed with my camera in obvious awe at what was on display. I am only giving you a small taste of the showcase Listowel people gave our lovely town on July 25 2019.

The Garden of Europe with its new planting looked its best ever.

By the river there was some plain air painting going on.

The Square was buzzing. Ballydonoghue Comhaltas was putting on a concert. John Stack’s set dancers who were still celebrating their Fleadh Cheoil success at the weekend danced a set and Katie MacNamara’s musicians played.  Heavenly!

Visitors from Dubai were delighted they hit town on just the right day.

The proud mammies and supporters were holding the coats.

Brian Mulvihill, home with his family from the Caymen Islands was enjoying the spectacle.

As I approached the Small Square I ran into the judges and entourage. I ignored them in case they thought I was trying to influence their decision in any way. There was a mini market going on here with lots of local crafters and producers displaying their wares.

Kissane Candles and the Olive Stack Gallery had a display.

Breda, the less camera shy of the two “Dawn Raiders” who head out at the crack of dawn every morning to pick up litter, was admiring Woodford Pottery display.

Mon’s Porter cake sold out everything she brought.

You could buy Kefir, a hat, some veg for the dinner or organic seaweed cosmetics in the Small Square in Listowel yesterday.

The Tidy Towers posed for a quick pic.

Everywhere a Tidy Towner

Local ladies dressed in the native costumes of the seven participating countries. I’m told that Olive Stack and her mother made the costumes. What an achievement!

The very best of traditional music  by the very best musicians

 appreciative audience enjoying the sunshine the music and the craic

Hard working Listowel people taking a welleparned rest

I went to The Listowel Arms where the red carpet was out metaphorically and literally.

Lots of floral displays here (and mirrors)

Some American visitors were enjoying a taste of Listowel at the Tidy Town seat.

and Martin Chute got Jumbos painted in time.

Well done Listowel…definitely a winner in my eyes.

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