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 Vintage Wireless Museum

The Owens of Ballyhorgan, Bibiana Foran and A Wireless Museum

Victorian Post box

This victorian post box in beautiful condition is in the railway station in Thurles. Isn’t it so much nicer than our modern rusting functional boxes?


Harriet Owen …A History

This is Harriet Owen who has family roots in Lixnaw with Paul Kennelly at a recent family reunion and celebration in Sheahan’s Cottage in Finuge.

Here in a nutshell is Harriet’s family connection to North Kerry

Harriet Owen

In 1750 William Owen (Miller) came from Wales to Rathdowney with his wife, Rebecca and three children. These were Rowland who married Isabella Scissons, They had no children, Robert married Sarah Hely and they had 8 children and Rebecca Owen.

The 7thchild of Robert and Sarah was John Hely Owen (1793-1870). He married Frances Smith in 1827. They had 6 children.

Henry Amyrald Smith Owe, son of John and Frances married Maria Frances gentleman in 1874. They lived in Ballyhorgan, Lixnaw. In 1860 Maria’s father  was instrumental in bringing the first bank to Listowel, The National Bank. Until then the nearest bank was in Limerick. Henry and Maria had 2 sons, John Hely Owen and Henry George Owen.

John Hely Owen (1877- 1952) married Lurline Ellis (known as Kitty) of Glenashone near Abbeyfeale. Her father, Richard Whateley Ellis was singer with  Carl Rosa Opera Company. The Ellis’ can trace their lineage back to Thomas Ellis of Co. Monaghan in the time of James the second. John Hely and Kitty lived at Ballyhorgan in the house known as The Cottage which had been built by old Goodman Gentleman as a dower house. They later moved to Glenashrone, formerly an Ellis house. When this house was burned during the civil war in 1922, the family moved back to Ballyhorgan. They had 5 children. The eldest, Henry Robert Owen sold the house and farm at Ballyhorgan in 1952.

Henry George Owen (1879-1955) married Olive Margaret Jane Eva Eager in 1910. When he married he moved to Aghatrohis, Bedford near Listowel. His wife Olive was the daughter of Major Oliver Stokes Eager, an army surgeon who served in the Ashanti War of 1873/74. The Eagwers were an old Kerry family The first Irish Eager , Robert was granted land in Queen’s County in the reign of Charles the First. His son, Alexander sold it and settled at Ballymalis, Co Kerry in 1667. The Stokes family had also lived in Kerry for many generations, being descended from The Knights of Kerry.

John Hely Owen and Frances Smith Owen’s granddaughter Frances Ayres married Sir Thomas Myles in 1888. He was a distinguished Dublin surgeon. As surgeon on duty, he attended Lord Cavendish and Mr. Burke in the Phoenix Park. He was an active supporter of Charles Steward Parnell’s Protestant Home Rule party. He owned a yacht, Cholah. In 1914 he was recruited along with Erskine Childers and Conor O’Brien to help in the importation of guns for the Irish Volunteers. Childers landed his part of the consignment from The Asgard at Howth on July 26 1914. A week later Myes’s cargo which consisted of 600 Mauser and 20,000 rounds of ammunition was landed by the Cholah in Kilcoole, Co. Wicklow. From 1900 to 1902 he was President of The Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland and was knighted on completion of his term of office. He was honorary surgeon in Ireland to King George V and during World War 1 he was consulting surgeon to HM Forces in Ireland. For this he was made a C.B.


Who was this lady?

I’m only a little bit wiser as to who this lady was and I have found no-one yet to tell me what the os in her name is all about. Could it be Oide Scoile? Was she a teacher?

Bibiana was a member of the Board of Guardians. They were originally in charge of the workhouse but their roles expanded to include all issues relating to Health and Welfare and it is here that this lady came into her own.

Bibiana from Ballyahill was the wife of a local well -to -do merchant, Jeremiah Foran. She was a friend of Lady Aberdeen and she was very supportive of this lady’s Health Train initiative. This was like a travelling clinic that went round the country advising on women’s health.

Bibiana also initiated school meals and she backed the purchase of a field close to the town for the purpose of putting up a sanatorium.


Listowel Vintage Wireless Museum

Eddie Moylan, collector, restorer, curator, owner and guide at Listowel Vintage Wireless Museum is a Corkman. He has made his home in Listowel and he fits right in with this town’s great respect for artefacts from a bygone era. No town deserves Heritage Town status more than Listowel.

In his privately owned museum, Eddie has collected a mind blowing array of wireless, gramaphone and broadcasting memorabilia. Eddie is often visited by radio enthusiasts and people with a love for the old sounds and the old voices. He very kindly gave my visitors a tour recently and they were mightily impressed.

Breeda used to work in the post office and she remembered well the old radio licence.

Glin Castle Plant Sale, Ballybunion, Bryan MacMahon and A Wireless Museum Visit

Mandarin Duck

Photo; Poshey Ahern for Irish Wildlife Trust Photography Competition


Plant Sale at Glin Castle

On Sunday May 12 2019 people got a rare chance to wander around the grounds of Glin Castle. Some people did come for the plants.

Elizabeth Brosnan shared the photos on Facebook.



Here are a few random photos of Ballybunion. I think they are self explanatory.


Church Street Mural

I pass the Church Street/Ashe Street mural almost every day and only last week I actually read this quotation from Bryan MacMahon;

“I harboured the absurd notion of motivating a small town in Ireland, a speck on the map, to become a centre of the imagination.”

That is just what Listowel has become, a centre of the imagination. We will see evidence of that next week when the 49th Listowel Writers’ Week swings into life. Joseph O’Connor will open proceedings on Wedneday evening, May 29 2019. Musical entertainment will be provided by Liam O’Connor. Our own Danny Hannon will be presented with a well deserved lifetime achievement in the Arts award. This will only be the start of what promises to be a hectic few days.


Limerick and Clare Radio Club

Eddie Moylan ( far left) gave Limerick and Clare Radio Club members a tour of his vintage wireless museum on Saturday last. They were very impressed.


Listowel Writers’ Week

These people were here last year. Look out for them this year.

A Friday Miscellaney

I was in the cinema last night. I saw Thaddeus O’Sullivan’s brilliant Stella Days with Martin Sheen in the main role. I was back in the 1950’s of my childhood. It was a moving, beautifully executed film. A must see.

Before the main film, Kieran showed a short film of The Listowel Vintage Wireless Museum, beautifully captured and edited by Rory Kirby. It was difficult to go indoors on such a balmy night but it was an effort that was well rewarded.

Kieran Gleeson of Listowel Classic Cinema with Rory Kirby, filmmaker and Eddie, Mary and Catherine Moylan of Listowel Vintage Wireless Museum.


New Spotlight May 25 1967. The Irish model with him is Liz Stack. Any Listowel connection, I wonder?


In the interests of clearing my backlog of random pictures from the internet, here is that photo of the “art” installation at Brown Thomas, Dublin last week.



Jim Henson, creator of The Muppets is 22 years dead.


Now to some more relevant photos.

1961 in Solengen, Germany; Michael McElligott, P.J. Shaughnessey, John O’Connell

 John Enright R.I.P. at the back


Today I spoke to Weeshie Fogarty on behalf of NKRO. He is going to do his “In conversation with….” programme with us on July 11. Note that in your diaries although I will remind you again.

Weeshie gave me an early preview of his forthcoming autobiography. Remember you heard about it first on listowelconnection!


The book is gone to press, Collins Presss and hopefully will be ready for a September launch.

It includes an account of : 38 years working in a hospital starting in 1962


Growing up on the side of a street in Killarney, New St

Round the world with Kerry in 1970

A new life in the media and winning an All Ireland PPI award as Sports Broadcasterof the Year

and 70 photographs of Weeshie’s life experiences. 

I predict it will be a bestseller.


Ah! the good old days


The fine weather had me out and about in town yesterday. Here are some photos I took.

Jim Beasley was off to Cork to welcome home a new granddaughter.

Ever friendly, Nicky and Peter O’Loughlin recognized their old teacher, Jim Cogan and posed for a photo. The reason for their trip home from Australia, where they now live,  was not a happy one. They came home to visit their dad who is ill in hospital. We wish him well.

End of an era as The Man’s Shop is being rebranded. It will soon open as the Sue Ryder Thrift shop.


Finally a big apology to two friends of Listowel.

Theresa and Kate are not mother and daughter. They are sisters. Sorry girls!

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