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 Town Park Page 1 of 4

Jerry Kennelly Remembers

The Square, Listowel October 2022


Jerry Kennelly’s Memories

From Shannonside Annual 1959

Shannonside Annual printed some of Jerry Kennelly’s reminiscences in 1959.

Jerry claimed that he was known by every man, woman and child in Listowel and district.

I hope this print isn’t too small. I firmly believe our ancestors had great eyesight. Old newspapers and magazines all seem to have tiny print size. This old man tells a first person account of life in Listowel in bygone days…. e.g.”the time of Bonaparte.”


In The Park

1916 Commemorative garden

Lane between Park and Bridge Road


De Valera and the Jews

Further to my Michael O’Connor story of Friday last, I went on an internet search for a forest in Israel and Jewish people in Ireland.

I found this picture of the Nobel prize winning physicist, Edwin Schrodinger on the internet. He was probably the most illustrious (and controversial) Jewish person who Dev. invited to Ireland.

Dev had two great passions, Celtic Studies and Maths. He set up the Institute for Advanced Studies and invited Shrodinger, then a renowned theoretical physicist, to be part of it. The invitation was timely as Schrodinger, an Austrian Jew, was facing expulsion or worse. He came to Ireland in 1939 and spent 17 happy years here.

I don’t pretend to understand any of his wave mechanics stuff. All I get from “Schrodinger’s Cat” is that a cat can be alive and dead at the same time.

Schrodinger took out Irish citizenship in 1948.



Friday Market, Commemorative Seats, Ard Churan Concert and Revival 2019 line up

Ballybunion Sunset 2019

Photo; Jason at Ballybunion Prints Beach


Music in The Square at the Friday market


Commemorative Seats in Listowel Town Park

Donating a seat seems to have replaced planting a tree as a means of remembering a lost loved one. Here are the two new seats in the park.


Ard Churam Concert

On Thursday May 30 we were treated to a great night of music by the people behind Ard Churam fundraising.

Photo; Ger Holland, official Writers’ Week photographer

The undisputed stars on the night were the members of the Ard Churam choir and their coach, soprano Mary Culloty O’Sullivan. Cyril Kelly took us down memory lane and reality television star, Fr. Ray Kelly sang songs from his album. The concert was a great success and helped greatly in raising funds for the planned dementia care day centre.

Mairead Slemon and Rachel Guerin congratulate Aine Guerin on a great night’s work.

Mary and Peter  McGrath were enjoying the music.

 Vourneen Kissane and Margaret Reidy were there too.

Sr. Consolata met her old friend, Jackie McGillicuddy who was singing with the choir.


Courthouse Plaza

Courthouse Road leads to a lovely plaza area with three public buildings surrounding asome newly planted raised beds.

This is the back of Áras an Phiarsaigh.

Áras an Phiarsaigh

Listowel Courthouse

Listowel branch of Kerry Library


Revival 2019

Saturdays’ headline act, The Coronas has been confirmed. This promises to the best Revival yet. Tickets are selling out quickly .

A Walk in The Park, a prodigious walker and memories of the fleadh

Gurtinard Wood and Childers’ Park

The Council staff have been busy tidying up the place after Christmas and our lovely town is living up the title of Ireland’s Tidiest Town.

St. Michael’s Graveyard

This seat with its poignant message is situated within sight of the new gym where young people are busy exercising and living their best lives. But we never know….  “people who have left us before their time’ is often a euphemism for “died by suicide”.


Martin Enright was Some Walker

Great Walker: – (from Dúchas, the national folklore collection)
Martin Enright of Knockanure who died in 1924 aged about 76 years walked to Dingle fair once. On his way he passed Gleann-a-ngalt. While admiring some trees on the road side he saw a branch which would make a very nice scythe tree. He cut it and hid it until he would be returning home. He then went to the fair, and bought some cattle. As he was returning he forgot his scythe tree until he was about nine miles beyond the spot where it was hidden. He turned back and found it and came home with his treasure early next morning.
Collector Thomas Leahy-Age 14
Informant, William Keane, Age 64, Occupation- Labourer, Address, Lissaniska, Co. Kerry.


Operation Transformation Saturday Walk

Garvey’s Super Valu posted this photo on Facebook of some of the participants in the Saturday walk


Memories of Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann in Listowel

For  a few years in the 1970s Listowel played host to the biggest musical festival in Ireland. These few photos from Junior Griffin will give you an idea of the crowds that used to hit town in those days.

The park was converted into an impromptu campsite. Happy days!

Cherry Blossom Time the park, The Lartigue commemorated and Living History in Bridge Road

This lovely tree grows in  Listowel Pitch and Putt course in the town’s park.

What a great amenity this park is. The people of Listowel are truly blessed.


Listowel’s Lartigue Railway is celebrating 130 years since it First Ran

To coincide with Listowel History Festival, the good people of Lartigue Museum held a remembrance ceremony to commemorate 130 years since this unique train first ran between Listowel and Ballybunion. Steve Kelly was the official photographer and these lovely photos and lots more are available to purchase from him.

 Some of the volunteers with Jimmy Deenihan. Jimmy has always held this project dear and has supported it in every way he can, including donating the proceeds of his memoir.

Local historian, Michael Guerin, who spearheaded the effort to preserve everything to do with The Lartigue and the mainline railway in Listowel.  He played a huge part in the restoration project and making sure that this valuable part of Listowel’s history is never forgotten.

The beautifully constructed replica locomotive and carriages. A trip on this train should be on every Listowel person’s bucket list.

As part of the commemoration, the local writing group read some of their compositions. Mary McElligott very kindly shared her poem with us.


Closing my eyes to the whistle,

A door, bangs towards the back,

My train’s moving off slowly,

To a tune, yes a clickety clack.

It’s five o clock in the morning,

I dream as I sit half asleep,

I start to think of all travellers,

Worldwide, as they smile or they weep.

People travel for reasons,

After weekends, returning for work,

Commuting, often long journeys,

From Tralee, Belfast or Cork.

People travel for reasons,

To Dublin ‘Up for that test’,

No one suspects that they’re worried,

As they hold that fear in their chest.

On trains, before, people chatted,

Some people talking nonstop.

Now they’re all on their I Phones,

Or clicking away, on laptops.

Ear phones are strung from both ears,

As music, goes direct to the brain.

Sadly, I can’t change their channel,

As I suffer their ‘beat’ on my train.

I continue to doze and reflect,

On the men who laid all these tracks,

Of lives lost stretching our travels,

Duffy’s Cut and those graves with no marks.

As Amtrak worked near Philadelphia,

They unearthed a history untold,

Irish workers off on their travels,

What happened, a story unfolds?

It is thought, their conditions were dreadful,

As they slaved and starved and got sick,

Cholera swept through the encampment,

Halting them there, on that trip.

Buried, their deaths unreported,

Their families, in Ireland not knowing,

Tracks lead away from their graveside,

As the wheels of that train kept on going.

I can remember Tubrid School as a child,

The tracks ran directly out back.

C.I.E. ran a train for the races

Oh the excitement to see a train on that track.

Listowel, didn’t have trains anymore,

Obsolete, long replaced by a bus

But that week, that journey re enacted,

Oh the style, all the glamour and fuss.

I reflect and remember the stories,

Of the Lartigue and how people would go

To Ballybunnion, their ‘city’ stopover

And how uphill, their train went so slow.

People would get out to push then,

To give the old engine some help.

When passengers returned to their seating,

I can imagine how they must have felt.

Two calves were put in a side car,

Required to balance one cow,

 The calves travelling back, separated,

Or if together, offset by a sow.

Great thought went into each journey,

As it hung, in the balance that way.

Just think of the fun for those travellers,

But sure that was all back in the day.

Oh to fly Ryan Air to Dublin,

We’d be there in the blink of an eye,

Fasten seat belts on for the landing,

Not near Millstreet, ready to cry.

I decline an offer for coffee,

As catering, pass through the car.

I keep onto my money for Dublin,

Sure at this stage it’s not very far.

Once more I reflect on a journey,

Where trains travel into a hole,

Clipped under carriage for safety,

Transporting to all of us, coal.

But one image I have are those journeys,

Those travellers that never came back,

Packed into those trucks in huge numbers,

To a tune, yes a clickety clack.

Unknowing, they travelled for days,

With children often lost in the crowd,

Tracks leading into cold stations,

Soldiers, shouting out loud.

Their Religion marked them for travelling,

Tracks lead right through the gates

But St Peter wasn’t there waiting,

No Satan stood with his mates.

Auschwitz, Sobibor and Belsen,

Some of the names that we know,

Thousands and thousands of people,

Across Europe, all on the go.

Why did this ever happen,

How could one man pull along,

All his people and thousands of soldier?

How could they all get it so wrong?

As trains travel all the world over,

We hope that never again,

Will the horrors of history be repeated,

For wars that no one will win.

I think back to a time and I smile,

My son on his knees by the door,

Thomas the Tank running on batteries,

His tracks laid all over the floor.

How safe he was ‘on his travels’,

His world at home with his mom.

Why did those years go so quickly?

In a flash, life has moved on.

Our lives start off as a journey,

We roll on, keeping on track.

We may get derailed at some junctions

But the trick is to never look back.

We hope that we travel on safely,

With a ticket to get through the gate,

So book early online and then you’ll be fine

As tomorrow it may be too late.


Living History at Listowel Military Festival

On Bridge Road on Sunday May 6 2018, the flags flew and the sentry boxes were up.

 These three were manning the gate.

This is the last year that the Listowel Spitfire will be in Listowel before it travels to a more permanent home in a museum.

Dan Shine, an old FCA man, brought his grandchildren to see history exhibits.

These are some of the reenactors who were there.


Pres Girls 1950/51

 We’re still looking for old photos and memories of Presentation Secondary School.  Please hand them into the school or send them by email or post. The forthcoming publication will only be as good as you make it.

Listowel Town Park, Old Ballybunion and a quaintly different Abbeyfeale shop

The Last of the Daffodils


A Walk in the Park

This walk is in Gurtinard beside The Garden of Europe and down to the Feale and the Big Bridge.


Gasworks are Ongoing


The Bord na Móna Tapestry

Photo and text from Bord na Móna Living History

In 1979 then Bord na Móna Managing Director, Lewis Rhatigan, commissioned Louis le Brocquy to produce a tapestry to celebrate what was then felt to be the midpoint of Bord na Móna’s life span.

The eight square metre tapestry was finished in 1980 and le Brocquy reduced it to a simple theme which showed the energy derived from the turf itself which is expressed in the sun like form in the centre and the colour scheme representing the gradual transition from bogs to pastureland. All over this are the masses of people traversing the time and space of this journey. That is how Le Brocquy described it himself.

When it was unveiled in our former Head Office in Dublin, Rhatigan asked one of our porters what he thought of it. He said it looked like souls trapped in purgatory. Today it hangs in the lobby of our head office building in Newbridge.

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Old Ballybunion

Photo and caption by John Keane on Facebook

“It’s the remains of my grandfather’s house at the bottom of the glen. It burnt down. This picture was taken in June 1929. The gable of the wall is all that’s left. You can still see bits of the floor in the old car park.”


A Shop in Abbeyfeale

Every time I pass this shop, Greyhound and Pet World in Abbetfeale I am fascinated by the display on the forecourt.

It is all about Irish and particularly rural Irish values, Catholic saints, animals, leprechauns and gnomes, Disney characters, children, birdhouses etc. etc. I love it!


Special Day at the Lartigue Museum

May 5 2018

A special  commemoration event will take place at the Lartigue Monorail Museum from 

1-2pm this Saturday May 5th to acknowledge the 130th anniversary of the opening of the Lartigue Railway in 1888. 

The event will include a brief overview of the history of the Lartigue Railway System, the reason why it was used in North Kerry and a demonstration of how it worked. The Railway has become a very important part of world monorail history and has entered into the realms of railway folklore.  

Over 4,000 tourists  from all over the world visited the project in 2017 and were very happy with the experience. The committee is  confident that there will be a further increase in visitor numbers this year.   


Another Accolade for Listowel

Listowel Writers’ Week won the prize for best Irish Festival at last night’s Irish Hospitality Awards. Liz Dunn and Eilish Wren collected the prize.

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