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 Writers Week 2016 Page 1 of 2

Bridge Road in the forties, BOI Expo and Ballylongford remembered

Switching on the The Christmas Lights Event in Listowel Town Square Dec. 4 2016


Mike Enright’s photos of North Kerry, Late and Early

Sunset at Cnoc an Óir

Morning in Ballybunion


The Feale at The Racecourse Bridge

I went in search of the egret who lives here. He was not at home that day.


Bridge Road Pals

A very young Junior Griffins is surrounded by  ladies in this lovely old Bridge Road photo from the forties.

With him are Michael Behan, Seán OBrien, Bert Griffin and Rory Callagy. Junior tells me that Rory left Bridge Rd. in 1945.

The ladies with Junior are Maureen Moloney and ……….


Some shots from Listowel Community Centre at the Enterprise Town Night on November 25 2016

Liz McAulliffe had a great display.

John R.’s had a display of Christmas and everyday fare.

Institute of Technology Tralee

Muddy Paws brought along a satisfied canine customer.

Convent School Band were entertaining.

My friends at the Writers’ Week stand were offering chocolates and Christmas presents. They were also selling their absolutely beautiful journals. Buy one for €15 from the Writers Week office and you will find it will inspire you to write.


Ballylongford Memories

(photo: Forur Genealogy on Facebook)

Mike Horgan and Martin Heaphy, Well Road, Ballylongford buying and selling chickens from a Kantoher Truck in Ballylongford.


What I’m Reading

I took this photo in Garvey’s Super Valu as the gang from Aras Mhuire were promoting their great book. It’s called Striking a Chord. It costs €10 and it’s available in Scribes of Church Street.

I’m reading it in snatches and it’s absolutely lovely.

I am going to reproduce just one piece of writing here because it will resonate with many people. There is lots more like this in the book.

Tea Break

By Mary McElligott

At bedtime I would wash her.

Oh how she hated that.

I’d distract her as best I

Cajole with idle chat.

She’s tell me she was washed

From head to toe that day,

And what did I think I was

Sure she’d soon be washed

And how bad it was for her

To keep wetting it with

I’d reassure her and say who
I was.

“You, you’re not my daughter!”

With washing done

She would relax, happy to be

I’d be happy too, my task

God, sometimes her words were

I knew she couldn’t help it

As dementia took its toll,

But I often thought of Jesus,

As her feet went in that

I am Jeus as I gently soap

Her legs up to the knees.

I am Jesus as I speak kind

And put her mind at ease.

I am Jesus as I dry her feet

And rub in scented lotion.

I am Jesus as I ease her

And bring calm to her

Each night when she goes to

She offers up her prayers

“Jack and Jill went up the

I’d hear her from the stairs.

Dementia has changed her,

Yet she still can make me

Now I’m off to have a cup of

I’ll check her in a while.


To cheer us up after the Road Works…..

The big trucks will roll into town next weekend.

‘Holidays’ Are Coming” is the iconic jingle of Coca Cola’s great Christmas trucks ad campaign. Now thanks to Damien O’Mahony of Jumbo’s and Love Listowel the trucks are going to stop in Listowel next Sunday, December 11th.

The trucks will make 10 stops in all on their journey around Ireland, eight of these were pre selected and the final two were decided on the merits of a pitch made by members of the public.

Damien pitched on behalf of Listowel and below is the picture of him on the phone receiving the great news. Listowel is chosen.

So what will happen?

According to the Coca Cola website:  “At each stop, the public will have an opportunity to take a souvenir photo with the Coca-Cola Christmas Truck. People will have a chance to experience a virtual sleigh ride through the forest and to play Ice Block Jenga. The Dublin Gospel Choir will perform at each of the stops on the Tour to add to the festive spirit.”


Phew! We’re back to normal traffic flow

They came down at noon on December 3 2016.

Barriers packed for removal

Uncoupling the barriers at McKenna’s

Fixing the last manhole cover in place

Garden of Europe in Listowel and an Eistedfodd in Wales.

The Garden of Europe ,Autumn 2016

This new tree has been planted to replace the one below which was uprooted in the storm of 2014.

Isn’t it beautiful!


Jimmy Hickey; The Early Days

Jimmy Hickey’s dancing teacher was Liam Dineen.

Who was Liam Dineen?

Liam Dineen was born in Ballyduff, the second eldest of eight boys. Both of his parents died when he was very young. He was a keen Irish dancer. In the early 1930s he emigrated to Australia. While there he worked hard but still found time to teach Irish dancing. After four or five years he returned to the family pub in Ballyduff and he set to studying Irish dancing in earnest. His teacher was the great Jerry Molyneaux.

Dineen’s pub became the meeting place for master and pupil and, it seems, the more liquid refreshment that was consumed the more steps that were passed on to the receptive Liam.

 Soon the student became the master.

It was to this master in his dancing school in Forge Lane, Listowel that Jimmy Hickey headed out with his sixpence clutched tightly in his fist on that first Saturday. Little did he realise that he was embarking on a course that would change his life.

Liam Dineen was the finest dancing teacher of his day. He loved the dance and he enjoyed teaching. He grew to love his star pupil and he took him to concerts, feiseanna and every traditional gathering they could get to. He entered Jimmy in competitions, local, Munster and All Ireland.

“As a hard task master, he expected me to win. As a good student I obliged!” recalls Jimmy.

Having won several local competitions, it was time  for Jimmy to take his place in a national competition. He did this in the O hUigín  Cup competition in Ballyheigue. Jimmy went on to win this competition three times, the first time when he was only 15 years old and dancing against senior dancers with much more experience of competition.

The master was justifiably proud of his pupil and Jimmy recalls dancing in every pub in Ballyheigue, Ballyduff and Listowel on the way home. The cup was filled and emptied in every one.

Jimmy comes from a family of shoemakers. He learned the trade from his father and this was the path laid out for him. Jimmy had other ideas. He had to make a choice between shoe repairs and dance teaching. The choice was an easy one.

Dancing has brought Jimmy a lifetime of enjoyment, fun, travel, shows, concerts, competitions, TV appearances and international festivals.

This is Jimmy Hickey’s troupe of musicians and dancers who represented Ireland at the Welsh Eistedfodd in Llangollen.

Back Row; Marion O’Connell, Kathleen McCarthy, Phil O’Connell, Seán Murphy, Mary Murphy R.I.P., Ted Kenny, Kathleen Nola, Mary Doyle, R.I.P., Brina Keane, John Stack, Jean Lynch and Jimmy Hickey

Middle; Dan O’Connell, Philomena McCarthy, Doreen Galvin, Elaine Nolan, Mary Hartnett, Maria O’Donovan, Bob Downey,

Front: Mary Lynch, Trish Lynch and Kate Downey


Humans of Listowel

Today’s humans are friends, Rose (Guiney) Treacy and Colette (Keane) Stack. I interrupted them as they were having a cuppa and a chat in Lizzy’s Little Kitchen


Poem of the Year 2016

This year is the first year that Listowel Writers’ Week is sponsoring a competition at The Bord Gais Book Awards. The short listed poems are all here

Listowel Writers’ Week Poem of the Year 2016

Read them and then go to the Bord Gais Book of the Year site and vote for your favourite and you could win €100 in book tokens.

Book of the Year Vote Page

My favourite is Patagonia by Emma McKervey

Emma McKervey is from Co Down and studied at Dartington College of Arts. Her work has been published in Ireland and internationally.

I have read there is a tribe living in the mountains

and lakes of Patagonia who can barely count beyond five,

yet have a language so precise there is a word for;

the curious experience of unexpectedly discovering

something spherical and precious in your mouth,

formed perhaps by grit finding its way into the shellfish

(such as an oyster) you have just eaten.

Or something like that.  I identify with this conceptual position.

And as I listen to my children debate on the train

as to which is the greater – googolplex or infinity –

whilst knowing they still struggle with their 4 times table,

I can’t help but reflect that maybe we should be

on a small canoe at great altitude, trailing

our semantic home spun nets behind instead.


Road Works, Upper William Street, October 2016


Settle a Bet

Does anyone know when the one way system was introduced to Listowel, 1980, ’81 or 82′?

Listowel’s Jimmy Hickey, Dancer and Dancing Teacher

St. John’s in Listowel Town Square in October 2016

The roadworks are on schedule and seem to be causing a minimum of disruption.


Jimmy Hickey; His early success as a dancer

This fine display of trophies speak of Jimmy Hickey’s great success as a dance teacher.

Before he became a dancing teacher, Jimmy was one of the most successful dancers of his day.

I spent a great morning with
Jimmy Hickey, dancer, choreographer and cultural ambassador for Ireland. Jimmy
has a great story to tell and no better man to tell it. He told me how his lifetime of involvement with Irish Dancing began.

Jimmy was first introduced to
dancing while a schoolboy in the old boys’ national school in Listowel. Bryan
MacMahon who was a great champion of Irish traditions, in song, music, dancing
and folklore invited the local dancing master, Liam Dineen, to come into the
school to teach the boys. The arrangement didn’t last very long but it was long
enough for Jimmy to be bitten by the dancing bug. His mother saw his obvious
talent and his enthusiasm for the dance so she sent him to dancing lessons in
Liam Dineen’s hall in Church Street on Saturdays. This was the start of Jimmy’s
long and successful career in Irish dancing. He went from one success to another
locally and nationally. And he is still going strong today.

He won the O’Hagan cup which
was a National competition and he also won the Munster Belt, in a competition
in which he, as a juvenile, had to compete against senior and far more
experienced dancers.

He counts among the
highlights of his dancing career, appearances on BBC, on RTE, in the National
Concert Hall, on countless foreign TV stations and the greatest glory of all bringing
international honour to Listowel with appearances at the Harmonie festival of
culture in Germany on three occasions. I’ll tell you more about these foreign trips in the next few days.

Jimmy with his Munster Belt

Jimmy with the O’Hagan cup.


Early Morning in The Square

St. Marys’

St. John’s

This distinction was awarded to our town in 2002 but I dont know for what. The award stands in the Square near the Feale sculpture.


News from Writers Week

Listowel Writers’ Week is this year sponsoring a prize for Poem of the Year at the Bord Gais Book awards. Here are some of the short listed poets. Jane Clarke, Andrew Soye & Michael Shanks Naghten with Liz Dunn, chairperson of Listowel Writers’ Week .

The poems are HERE


Eight Gary MacMahon Singing Festival

The annual Abbeyfeale festival was held last week. Below is Sonny Egan’s performance of

Kerry Long Ago

A Few Success Stories and The Euros

Summer Came and Went while I was away

Ballybunion on the June Bank Holiday Weekend was like a throwback to the good old days. (Photo; Ballybunion Prints Beach)

Listowel Writers’ Week 2016 was a great success. (Photo LWW)


A Few Success stories while I was on my break

Professor Rob Landers, formerly Listowel, now Chief Clinical
Director South/South West Hospital Group had the Honour  of delivering the
Conferring Address at UCC Medical Conferring. He is pictured congratulating Hons. Graduate Darragh Enright, Glin, grandson of the late Tom
& Eileen O’ Halloran, Bridge Road.

 Included also is Dr. Zelie Gaffney Daly,
Newmarket , Co. Cork and Darragh’s Mam, Brenda. Darragh expects to take up a
position shortly in one of the Dublin hospitals. Prof. Landers inspiring address
to the graduates offered words of encouragement and support as they enter a
difficult and challenging work environment in the health service. A double
Listowel connection on this auspicious occasion!


Meanwhile on the Agricultural Show Circuit

 No sooner were they home than the horsey crowd were off to the show. Sonny Bill won all round him in Clonakilty. My brother and his daughter are holding the two cups he won. I don’t think that horse could look more proud if he tried. His very able rider is Joanna Jones.


We’ve all Gone Football Crazy

Spotted in a shop window in Market Street, Listowel on the Monday of the Ireland Sweden game.

In Athea Co. Limerick  (photo from Athea Village site on Facebook)

The fans who are in France are doing us proud too.


Who’d be a football manager?

According to Dough McLeod, the three greatest football managers of all time were Jock Stein, Jock Stein and Jock Stein, so maybe it is worthwhile to listen to what Jock Stein has to say about what makes a good manager;

 “The secret to being a good manager is to keep the six players who hate you away from the five who are undecided.”

Parade of veterans April 30 2016 and a Few More photos from Kennelly at 80

Sunset at Beal, April 2016

Photo: Ita Hannon


Scribes says Goodbye to Abraham Nur

Abraham with his boss and good friend, Namir Karim, on Abraham’s last day in Scribes of Church Street . April 30 2016

Abraham posed for a last photograph with the knitting group on Saturday.

Abraham has been the chef in Scribes for some years now. He is like a second son to Namir who not only gave him a job, but a place to live as well. Abraham’s happy cheerful presence will be sorely missed in Scribes, as well, of course, as his delicious dishes. 

He now moves on to the next phase of his life in The Brehon in Killarney. Best of luck, Abraham.


Veteran’s Parade and Wreath Laying Ceremony at Listowel Military Tattoo 2016

The most solemn and moving part of the Military Weekend for me happens on Saturday with the march down Church Street of the veterans and the placing of commemorative treats at the memorial stone outside St. Johns.


Kennelly at 80

As part of The Seanchaí and Listowel Writers’ Week tribute to Brendan Kennelly on the occasion of his 80th birthday, a celebratory concert was held in The Listowel Arms.

Mark Patrick Hedderman

Jimmy Deenihan

Barrett’s from Ballylonford and Ballincollig

Noel O’ Grady   (singing Mo Ghile Mear)

Elizabeth Dunne, Chair of Listowel Writers’ Week (reading Brendan Kennely’s Hope)

Mary Kennelly

Christy Kenneally chilling with Jimmy Deenihan

Page 1 of 2

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén