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Tag: Listowel Writers’ Week 2015 Page 1 of 5

New Chair of Listowel Writers Week and The last photos from Ladies day 2015

Stag in Killarney National Park       (Jim McSweeney)


Elizabeth Dunn, Newly elected Chairperson of Listowel Writers’ Week

The reason that this essay is accompanied by a photo of both Liz and Jim Dunn is because Jim, through his work on the Athea mural is well known to my blog followers. Liz is his talented and hard working wife. In taking on the role of Chairperson of Writers’ Week, Liz is cementing her love of Ireland and her love of literature as she (and Jim) continue to contribute to the cultural life of their adopted home.

Who is Liz Dunne?

Here is the answer in her own words

Seventeen years
ago Jim and I were house hunting for our retirement home in France. We had
taken our daughters on holiday there on a regular basis and the lifestyle,
language and culture appealed to us greatly; as did the slim possibility of
meeting past pupils from our former lives as teachers.

Today, I sit at
my desk being congratulated on my election as Chairperson of Listowel Writers’
Week for 2016. How on earth did THAT happen?

My background is
that of teaching; my first and only choice of career (apart from a brief desire
to be a ballet dancer or vet).

In search of
‘free’ accommodation, I took posts in independent schools in the U.K. As many
such schools provide boarding facilities for their pupils, most of my teaching
posts involved being ‘in loco parentis’ and residential. As a result, I lived a
kind of ‘Downton Abbey’ existence in many beautiful locations with gardeners,
handymen, cooks, cleaners, matrons and assistant staff. The only downside,
forgive the pun, was that my accommodation was ’ in lieu’ of the very demanding
job of looking after the children morning, noon and night on both weekdays and
at weekends. This of course involved annual agonising over dormitory
arrangements, staff rotas, evening and weekend activities and the inevitable
mountain of paperwork now involved. I could regale you with tales of my charges
and their many adventures but in this day and age I have to protect the
innocent (and the not so innocent) and I can’t afford to be sued!! I did toy
with the idea of creating a board game to enlighten those who think working in
a ’posh’ school is a wheeze, nothing could be further from the truth but I
loved it.

As the thought of
retirement loomed, Jim and I realised that our ‘Downton Abbey’ style of
accommodation was drawing to a close and that, never having owned a house, it
was time to start house hunting in France. Friends who had already purchased a
home here encouraged us to visit Ireland before we disappeared to France for

We docked at
Rosslare on a grim February evening with a grumpy teenager and little idea of
where we actually were; not helped by the weather conditions that meant we
couldn’t actually see where we were!

Jim suffered
Guinness poisoning on the first night and the weather (like the teenager’s
mood) showed little improvement over the long weekend. On our last day we
ventured into Abbeyfeale and casually looked into the window of Jerry Flynn,
saw a cottage, went to look at it, fell in love, put in an offer, had the offer
rejected, realised we were dealing with a different currency so upped the offer
and won ownership of our ’forever’ home (I did all this whilst Jim still
suffered. It wasn’t until three months later that he actually set foot inside
the house!)

In 2009 with both
of us facing yet another mountain of paperwork and stress as we each faced yet
another school inspection, we decided enough was enough and decided to retire
to Ireland permanently.

Going from a very
busy life to the quiet of the Irish countryside was marvellous for us both but
it wasn’t long before I needed an outlet. We had left family behind in the UK
and our beloved daughters had both moved to Switzerland. I needed to be needed.

Suffice to say
that the annual invitation for volunteers by Listowel Writers’ Week that
October tempted me, filled the void and the rest, as they say, is history.


Ladies Day at Listowel 2015

The style at Listowel Races on Ladies Day 2015 was such that I had to drip feed it in here over time. Here are a few last photos I took later on on the day.

It is in the nature of a day at the races, that one wanders about mixing and mingling with different sets of friends. Inevitable that means that I have taken some people more than once in different combinations. It does not denote any favoritism on my part.


The late Garda Kennelly of Moyvane

A few weeks ago I told you about the tragic drowning while on duty of  Garda Michael Kennelly of Knochanure in 1934.

Garda Michael Kennelly is featured in the
‘Gardai 1930’ photo, seated extreme left. He hailed from Newtownsandes
(now Moyvane) Co. Kerry and lived in Aillebrack with his wife Alice
McHale-Kennelly. He was killed ‘on duty’ in January 1934 when he and
his colleague Sergeant Forde, were returning to Maam Garda Station
after escorting a female patient to Ballinasloe Mental Hospital. On
driving through Galway the hackney car in which they were travelling
left the road and entered the River Corrib at Woodquay. Garda Kennelly
was drowned along with the others in the car.    (Clifden 2000)


Newly refurbished and ramped Plaza


Listowel’s newest shopkeeper

In the centre of this photo is Katie Heaton, flanked by her grandmother and father. Katie opened her new shop, Kerry Wool, in Main Street Listowel on Monday October 12 2015. The shop will sell knitting and sewing supplies as well as hand knit garments. In opening this shop, Katie is following in the footsteps of her grandmother, who has years of experience in the knitting yarn and craft business.

The Lartigue, Pride of Place and a date for the diary

Lovely Listowel

Dr. Halketts on Church St. is getting a lovely paint job done.

Scoil Realt na Maidine decked out in Kerrys’ green and gold


A Journey on The Lartigue in 2015

When I was in The Lartigue Museum on Sept 1 I met two lovely railway enthusiasts. This lovely friendly couple were from Canada and they, like so many visitors to the museum, had come to Listowel especially to ride on this unique train. They were full of admiration and praise and they thoroughly enjoyed their train journey and couldn’t wait to tell them all at home about their adventure.

 They posed on the running board for a photo.

Two local visitors shared the journey with us.

The locomotive has to be turned manually.

 The visitors were intrigued by this procedure.

Now the front is the back and vise versa so the guard had to bring a lateen to the rear of the train.

Every citizen of Listowel should take a ride on the Lartigue. It is a trip back in time, full of history and romance.


Last Photos from Pride of Place 2015

Listowel’s love affair with Racing was recognized in this welcoming display.

Tech Space was showing what one can do with computers.

Máire and Liz were manning the Writers’ Week display. They presented a gift of words to the judges.

World champion dancer, Seán Slemon waiting his turn to entertain the judges

The best of Irish step dancing was on display.

The judges chatted to everyone and took an interest in every exhibit.

Maire Logue, Jimmy Moloney, Liz Dunne and Mary Hanlon at The Seanchaí

The judges were interested and appreciative.

Mary Anne O’Connor, chair of Listowel Active Retirement Group, Cara Trant of Kerry Literary and Heritage Centre, Maire Logue, Festival Manager, Listowel Writers’ Week, Joan Byrne, Listowel Tidy Towns and Liz Dunne, Vice Chairperson Listowel Writers’ Week.

Eddie Moylan of Listowel Vintage Wireless Museum shows some of his artifacts to the judges who had never seen a gramophone horn in real life before.

One final Dance an Doras and they were away to see some Living Literature upstairs.


Slack Day, Sept 15 2015

Jerry Hannon took this photo of Pat Healy and Berkie Browne enjoying a rare day off during Listowel Race Week . It’s business as usual for this pair again tomorrow, Weds Sept 16 2015.


Friday Night is Culture Night

A walking tour of Listowel and summer fun with the next generation.

What a pleasant way to spend a summer evening in Listowel! The committee of Listowel Writers week took a walking tour of the town with the acknowledged authority on the history and people of Listowel town, Vincent Carmody. Here we are on the steps of The Seanchaí as we set off. I’m behind the camera.

 Máire Logue is one of the hard working administrators of the festival so she never gets to enjoy any of the events. She was delighted to have the opportunity to take one of the very popular walks with Vincent Carmody.

 Here Vincent is telling us about Bertha Beatty.

 We are outside the house that once belonged to Dr. Dillon, father of the great female aviator.

Time to tell us about Tom Doodle and the great rally held in The Small Square.

 We are across the road from Galvins and Vincent is telling us about shop names and the lovely mosaic work discovered during renovations.

 You’d never know who you’d run into on the streets of Listowel.  Tom Hickey was in town to play The Gallant John Joe in St. John’s.

Vincent always keeps faith with a man who contributed much to the town but who is now largely forgotten, Robert Cuthbertson. Bob , as he was known, was the printer who printed many of Bryan MacMahons’ ballads. He was the recipient of extraordinary generosity from a Listowel woman who allowed him to live rent free for over 50 years in her house in William Street.

Poor Bob suffered from that most destructive of diseases, alcoholism, and he died in penury. Vincent remembers his funeral as the first he attended in the protestant church. The local schoolboys were encouraged by Bryan MacMahon to attend to pay respect to an adopted son of Listowel.

Here Vincent told us about another classical scholar and and teacher who is also largely forgotten in his native town.

some of the appreciative audience.


Family in Kerry Summer 2015

These are my grandchildren on their way to Summer Camp in Listowel Community Centre:

Verdict: Brilliant.

The old games are the best. I suppose Hangman is now electronic but in our house we have an intermediate version; not pen and paper but not on a screen either.

winner alright!

Remember Róisín?  She is still in love with comics. Beano is her favourite.


Calling all Clounmacon People

Live Aid, Listowel, Ballybunion and Moyvane and some film news

Today is July 13 2015. Thirty years ago  in 1985 on this day two very significant
events took place. One had world significance, the other just changed my small
world forever.

July 13 1985 is now known as Live Aid Day.

“Live Aidwas a dual-venue concert
held on 13 July 1985. The event was organised by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure to raise funds
for relief of the ongoing Ethiopian famine.
Billed as the “global jukebox”, the event was held simultaneously at Wembley Stadium
in London, England, United
Kingdom (attended by 72,000 people) and John F. Kennedy
in Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania, United States (attended by about 100,000 people). On the same day, concerts
inspired by the initiative happened in other countries, such as Australia and Germany. It was one of the
largest-scale satellite link-ups and television broadcasts of all time: an
estimated global audience of 1.9 billion, across 150 nations, watched the live
broadcast.”    Wikipedia

Meanwhile back in Ireland I was in a Cork maternity hospital
giving birth to my baby. She was eleven weeks premature and only two and a half

Never was the difference between the first and third world so
evident to me. Babies like mine were not even being treated in Ethiopia. They
had no hope. Every effort was being put into the healthy ones.

In Cork my little scrap of humanity was placed in an incubator
with her own nurse whose only task was to look after Clíona round the clock.

Today Clíona is thirty.

 Happy birthday, my baby.

“Where are you goin’ my little one, little one?

Where are you goin’ my baby, my own?

Turn around and you’re two

Turn around and you’re four

Turn around and you’re a young girl

Going out of the door.”

The words of the late Val Doonican’s song say everything about how fast
30 years have flown.


Some Random Listowel Buildings in Summer 2015

This premises on Market St. used to be Mary B.’s. The dining part has had various Chinese restaurants over the years and now it is Nanjing Listowel. The licensed premises has changed hands a few times too. It is now Brosnan’s Bar and has recently been refurbished.

O’Connor’s Pharmacy on Market St. is one of the prettiest shopfronts in town.

This building on Main St. used to be Chute’s Bar. In the heyday of the Celtic Tiger this was one of the busiest bars in town. It is now slowly undergoing a change of use and has been recently painted.

The Star and Garter on Church St. is another business that has recently undergone a change of ownership. It is now the bar to go to for craft beer, I’m told.

Next door to The Star and Garter is the New Kingdom, a popular bar with a popular and generous host.

 This is now that stretch of Church Street looks today. The shop at the end is the old Coco, now relocated to William St.

 This is the new look Listowel Garden Centre, well set back from the road with its own parking area.

Changes Hair and Beauty is a thriving business in a very pretty building on Upper Church St.

This is the side view of Listowel Credit Union and the lane beside it on a day when it was, very unusually, free of parked cars. This is directly across the road from Changes.


Ballybunion 2015

McMunns have added this outdoor eating area on the cliff top.


In Athea 

photo: Athea Tidy Towns


Calling Moyvane People

“Historical Walk around Moyvane.

Who remembers Mary Walshe’s Dance
Hall that was once in Moyvane? Did you know it was once possible to get a suit
made without leaving the village with a choice of two tailors? Join us for a
historical walk around the village on Friday, July 17 at 7.00pm. Learn about
all the businesses that once thrived in the village like bakeries, butchers,
harness makers, and the legendary characters who ran them.

The walk led by Gabriel
Fitzmaurice will start at the site of Horan’s forge on the Tarbert Road.
Refreshments will be provided in Brosnan’s bar afterwards where the
conversation can continue. All are welcome to attend.

We will notify people on thisFacebook page if the walk has to be cancelled due to weather.”  (From the internet)


Who he?

This young man’s name is Mark Noonan. 


He has just won awards all round him in Berlin and Galway for his film, “You’re Ugly Too”.


He has a Listowel connection.

Tell me.

Mark is an up and coming film writer and director. He is the nephew of Helen Moylan and Tess Noonan of Listowel.

While I’m on the subject of films, don’t forget that the great Song of the Sea is in cinemas now.

Will Collins, who scripted Song of the Sea was in Listowel for this year’s Writers Week. He is pictured above with Máire Logue.

Last of my photographs of Graham Norton’s audience and some novel fundraisers this summer.

Audience Makes its way to Graham Norton Gig, Writers’ Week 2015

As the evening wore on, the rain got heavier and heavier but, as you can see, it failed to dampen the good spirits of the audience. It was a Listowel night to remember.


Bill and Hillary, then and now

Two photos from the internet of the Clintons, one taken in their student days and the other taken last week as Hillary begins her campaign for the White House.


Charity Begins at Home

Elizabeth Brosnan took this photo in Knockanure. The pink silage wrap is an initiative by Dairygold to raise awareness of breast cancer. They give a small donation to a breast cancer charity for every bale of pink wrap bought.

Photo: Dairygold website


Jim Quinlan in Ballybunion taking part in The Big Blue Box challenge

Read all about this St. Vincent de Paul in association with Bank of Ireland event HERE


Meanwhile in Tralee

Tralee Rotary Club member, our own Graham Borley, organized a Poker Run on Sunday June 28.

What is a Poker Run?

Answer: Bikers (in this case motorcyclists) travel to five different locations. At each stop, each biker cuts the deck of cards and gets a card. At the end of the run each biker is holding five cards and the person with the best poker hand wins.

It was all good fun and the money raised all went to a great charity,  World Water Works for the purchase of Water Survival Boxes. These boxes with vital supplies are shipped to disaster zones by the charity. Each box contains enough to keep a family of 4 going for 4 months. The boxes are distributed in conjunction with agencies like Red Cross, Oxfam and Save the Children.

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