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 Visual Arts Week 2018

Convent street, Listowel Visual Arts Week 2018, Cruinniú na nÓg

Photographer’s Heaven, Cnoc an Óir

Photograph of Pixie O’Gorman by Mike Enright


Lofty’s Corner

Once upon a time this was a great hang out as the students alighting from or waiting for school buses bought and consumed their supplies.

This is Horan’s. it used to be a private house and then a blind shop.

Convent Street Listowel


Visual Arts Week 2018 Community Art in The Square

My friend, Junior Griffin, himself a handy artist, was taking a go at painting the collaborative work on the Saturday of Listowel Arts Week 2018.

The sun was shining and people who were passing by were invited to paint a little of a four part canvas soon to be assembled as an artwork.

The event was run as part of Cruinniú na nÓg so there were many youngsters only too willing to have a go.

Cruinniú na nÓg was happening in The Seanchaí and St. John’s.


Evening in Ballybunion


I’m Dogsitting

My house guest  this week is Molly. She is having a Kerry holiday. Yesterday I took her to a well known Listowel landmark and she was suitably impressed.

Lartigue Theatre, Jim Dunn’s Mural in The Square and an old play

Listowel Town Square, June 21 2018


Many Hands Make Light Work

Jim and Liz Dunn work well as a team. But I don’t think Liz would really claim to be an artist. To illustrate that this was a project in which anyone can have a go Liz took up a brush and coloured in a bit.

From the wife of an artist to the mother of an artist, Helen Moylan chanced her arm at painting in a section. She did a good job too.

In between interruptions/assistance, Jim took the opportunity to advance his project a bit.

 Next up was Seán Comerford. Seán displayed an amazing (to me anyone) aptitude for this kind of thing. He is actually a quite good artist.


Listowel’s Millennium Arch in 2018


Friends’ Meeting

Summer in Kerry is a great time for meeting up with old friends


From the John Hannon Archive

The late Eleanor Moore and Mark Walsh

Seán Moriarty

The play was in The Lartigue. Seán told me that he remembers a matinee dress rehearsal for children to iron out any glitches in the production. At one stage Seán’s character tells Getta Grogan’s character that he would like a brandy. As she is pouring the drink, he overhears one child saying to another, “She is giving him whiskey and he asked for brandy.”

Seán also remembers Mark Walsh’s character is shot. In rehearsal they just made a gunshot noise but in this final dress rehearsal, they had a genuine sound effect and Sean says he saw the fear in Mark’s eyes as he feared that the very real looking gun was an actual loaded firearm.

Happy days in the old Lartigue.


Opening Soon

At 53 Church Street


His Dream Job for a Genial Listowel Young Man

Story and picture from Mark Boylan of Racing Post

A familiar voice will greet racegoers in the post-Dessie Scahill commentary era with Jerry Hannon set to become Ireland’s primary racecourse commentator.

Scahill will depart from the commentary box on July 26 following an end to his contract with the Association of Irish Racecourses (Air).

Hannon said: “My dream has become a reality. I’m very grateful to the association for recognising the hard yards and sacrifices made over an 18-year period to get to this point.

“It’s on days like these that my late dad and the late Liam Healy are very much in my thoughts.”

The 37-year-old, who began his commentary career in pony racing in 1999, said of Scahill’s influence: “He’s been an inspiration of mine and I wish him all the best for his retirement.”

Paddy Walsh, chief executive of Air, said of the decision: “The model we have operated off in the past has been with one full-time worker for the association who looks after most of the commentaries and that has historically been Dessie. Jerry has been absorbing that role over the past number of years and he will now take over that function.”

Scahill’s retirement and Hannon’s increased role will lead to opportunities for new faces to join the commentary roster, according to Walsh, with Gary O’Brien expected to feature on the schedule, although plans have yet to be finalised.

Walsh added: “We have a panel of commentators to choose from when we have double meetings, holidays and other events. Peter O’Hehir and Richard Pugh have been members of the panel for a long number of years and they will continue to fulfil roles with us. We hope to be adding another couple of names to that group.

Saturday will mark Scahill’s final commentary of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby and the 69-year-old said that although he felt he could have continued on a reduced schedule he had no complaints about the decision.

Walsh said: “I can’t get into the details of arrangements we have with Dessie or any of our other employees but all I can tell you is that arrangements for Dessie’s retirement were all done in full consultation – and agreement – with himself.

“I’d like to wish him all the best on his future as he’s been a great contributor to us for a long time, giving us great service.”

Moloney’s. A Letter from Listowel in 1897, Gurtinard Wood and Art in The Square for Listowel Visual Arts Week 2018

Baby deer photo by Chris Grayson


Moloney’s Garage, Market Street

Moloney’s of Listowel had the Ford dealership when many Irish people and particularly Munster people drove a Ford. Ford had an assembly plant in Cork.

Same building today


A Letter from Kerry

This story is brought to us by Deborah Cronin. This is what she wrote;

My great grandfather, John J. Fitzmaurice, was from Listowel.  He was born in 1861 to James Fitzmaurice and Mary Dee.  John J. went to Chicago where he became a police officer and Detective. Eventually John married Deborah McAuliffe of Croughcroneen.   I am attaching a letter from James to son John written in 1897 that I thought you might find interesting.  Also attached are photos of John J. & Deborah.

It tells of a reliance on tillage farming, oats and potato harvest are of concern and there is also that blind faith in God to provide despite the evidence that there are hard times ahead. There seems to be a bit of trouble with a Mrs. Stack but it’s not too clear what that is.


Gurtinard Wood

The walk through the woods is leafy and inviting these days.


Listowel Visual Arts Week 2018

Listowel Visual Arts Week is a great addition to the plethora of festivals now taking place in Listowel. For one week, everywhere we looked there was Art on display. The festival was blessed with glorious sunshine and doubly blessed with generous artists and art collectors who shared their talents and treasures with us.

Readers of this blog will be familiar with the work of Athea based artist, Jim Dunn. He is responsible for the two enviable murals depicting Athea people and Athea life that adorn the village.

During Listowel Visual Arts Week, not only did we get to see Jim’s work, we also saw Jim at work. We saw how he does it and we even got an opportunity to “help” him create a masterpiece.

Jim paints with his right hand and in his left he holds a maul stick as an aid to keeping his hand steady.

You may recognise the local amateur artist painting a piece of the artwork.

I took these photos on day one. The painting went on for three days. So I’ll bring you more tomorrow.

Listowel Town Square, Tim Danaher, Open Air theatre and Listowel Visual Arts Week 2018

Photo; Graham Davies


In Listowel Town Square

This piece of street furniture which we Listowel people use as a seat is actually an important piece of sculpture.

In 1998 when the reconfiguration of Listowel Town Square was completed this area was dedicated to Listowel and North Kerry’s writers. It is located outside the house where a local man, Tim Danaher, grew up.

RTÉ Radio producer Tim Danaher, in the control room at the station’s Henry Street studios, in August 1973. He was present for the recording of the RTÉ Radio serial ‘Glenmalin Park’, which he was producing at the time. 

Tim Danaher joined RTÉ’s sound effects department in the 1950s, becoming a radio producer in the mid-1960s. He was the founder of Listowel Writers’ Week. He died in 1995 at the age of 71.  (From the RTE Library)

Tim Danaher’s vinyl recording of The Gift of Ink along with his early contributions to Listowel Writers’ Week are part of his legacy to his native town. The Gift of Ink takes it’s title from Bryan MacMahon. The recording itself features contributions from all the great literary characters of Listowel in the early part of the twentieth century.

The piece of street furniture is designed to look like a quill pen and an inkwell, the seat part being the quill and the circle the inkwell. Around the rim of the “inkwell” are quotations from some of the local literary greats.


A Doctor in Spite of Himself

Photo; John Hannon Archive

There is an extraordinary story behind this scene in Listowel Town Square. We are not sure of the date but probably early 70s.

Danny Hannon of The Listowel Players was the first artistic director of Writers’ Week. He was forever thinking up challenging, innovative or plain daft ways of presenting drama to the people. This is one of his most daring dramatic presentations.

Danny told me the story when I met him with his friends, Jed and Joe in The Listowel Arms.

Danny loves this Moliére play. He was only the the second in Ireland to produce it. The first was the Trinity Players.

Danny planned to put it on en plein air during Writers’ Week. Damien Stack went to Kerry Co Op and borrowed 100 palettes. They purchased a few planks of plywood in a nearby hardware shop and thus the stage was constructed. The hotel lent 100 chairs for the audience and Danny was ready to go. Because it was outdoors, there were a few innovations Danny was willing to try. One character rode up on a bicycle and another arrived by ass and cart.

The prompter had a tough time. Even though she was sitting in the front row there were times she had to shout to be heard above the noise of the traffic. Some of the thespians remember it with great fondness. Cliff Gore and Mike Moriarty were in it. Jackie McGillicuddy was there too as were the late Maurice Geale and Jetta Grogan

If any of you remembers it I’d love to hear from you.


Listowel Visual Arts Week 2018

One of the highlights of the festival is the event that took place on June 2018 in Allos.

The task that was set for the artists was to paint a portrait of our great singer songwriter journalist Mickey McConnell.

They were doing marvellous work while enjoying a serenade from the model.

These are the works in progress.

When I called in the artists were taking a refreshment break.

The model and his wife were relaxing between sittings.

Morning Walk in Writers’ Week 2018, Craftshop na Méar and Listowel Visual Arts Week 2018

Feeding Time photo by Graham Davies


My Walking Tour of the Square during Writers’ Week 2018

Ger Holland’s photo tells its own tale. I was totally overwhelmed by the number of people who turned up at 9.30 a.m. on Saturday June 2 2018 to take the walking tour of Listowel Town Square with me.

At the door of The Listowel Arms I met Dave O’Sullivan, Paddy McElligott, Cliona McKenna and Mary Fagan, four of my able assistants.

 Mary was getting into character as Mena in Sive as she met Thomasheen  Seán Rua, the matchmaker, played by David O’Sullivan.

“Matchmaker, matchmaker make me a match, find me a find, catch me a catch….”

Local historians, Michael Moore, Liam Grimes and Vincent Carmody were taking the tour.

Clíona’s parents in law, Mary and Tony McKenna, great supporters of Writers’ Week, were looking forward to a leisurely walk in the early morning sunshine and to maybe learning a thing or two about Listowel and Listowel people.

Musician and singer, Mary Moylan and Mike Moriarty, singer and historian, two more of my able assistants, were ready for the off.

I mounted the podium, aka the Tidy Town’s seat, and the tour began.

Paddy and Mike Lynch did a great job on Goodbye to the White Horse Inn.

On the steps of Listowel Castle we had history, songs and drama.

At Gurtenard House we had more history, more songs, an anecdote or three. Eamon ÓMurchu was hastily press ganged into being an able assistant but acquitted himself like the trouper he is.

We stopped at the beautifully restored Butler Centre, where Antoinette Butler told us what happens nowadays in this historic edifice.

We finished up our walk on another stage in the Town Square where we all sang a few verses of Lovely Listowel by Bryan MacMahon.

The morning walk was a great success, thanks to all the hard work put in by everyone involved.

Most of these photos were taken by able assistants, Tony McKenna, Breda Ferris and  Elizabeth Brosnan.

Follow the link below for some of the highlights of the walk recorded by Charlie Nolan;

Saturday Morning Walk 2018


O’Connor’s Pharmacy with weighing Scales

Photo: John Hannon


My Time in 53 Church Street Remembered

As 53 Church St. prepares to reopen as a barbers’ I’m looking back at the early days of Craftshop na Méar.

Namir Karim opens the door to Craftshop na Méar

Namir gets a weaving lesson

Some of the early crafters

Crafters with the late Dan Green who was

 a great supporter of the shop in its early days. At the far right in the picture is Miriam Kiely who knew 53 Church Street as her family home.


First Ever Listowel Visual Arts Week

It’s Visual Arts Week and the shopkeepers of Listowel are getting behind Olive Stack in her new venture.

Then in the Square, local artist, Jim Dunn is showing us how. He is crafting a beautiful celtic style mural before our very eyes. He worked on it for hours and hours today and he’ll be back tomorrow.

He has to work through all the distractions, people chatting to him, photographing him and having a go at helping him.

Will you look at the state of his hands? And let me tell you he is an exceptionally neat worker.

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