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 2017

More of Graham Norton’s Audience and a short history of Listowel education.

Graham Norton in The Community Centre for Listowel Writers Week 2017

June 3 2017

The evening was cold and windy so people look a bit windswept and muffled.


Education in Listowel

The Presentation nuns came to Listowel in May 1844. They have been involved in Listowel education, particularly of girls every since. The Sisters of Mercy came to Listowel in 1883 and began working in the workhouse hospital. This house became a TB hospital in 1984 and a geriatric hospital in 1972. It is now a step down hospital for local people who are discharged from Kerry University Hospital. It also has a dedicated hospice suite.

The first national school for boys opened in 1936 and was replaced in 1960 by Scoileanna Realta na Maidine. St. Michael’s College opened as a second diocesan college on January 20th 1879.

(source; Fr. Kieran O’Shea’s The Diocese of Kerry)

Graham Norton in Listowel and Lyre children named

Graham Norton in Listowel

The Graham Norton Interview at Listowel Writers Week 2017 was the big ticket item. I took lots of photos of the local audience as they arrived. Some people I know, some I don’t know,  and some I should know and dont, so I’m giving them to you with no names. You’ll know yourselves and your friends anyway.


Lyreacrompane schoolchildren

Kay O’Leary of  Lyreacrompane has been on to me about the above photo.

Here is what she wrote;

Hi Mary,

Just seen the photo on your page.  When we held the school reunion some years back we included this photo in the collection of photos we displayed on the day.  We did our best to source the names for each photo but this (below) was the best we could do for this photo.  Maybe some of your fans could provide the missing names.

We enjoy receiving and looking at ‘ Listowel connection’. Kay

Lyreacrompane National School 1950’s

Back Row:           Chris Lyons, Jo Hickey, unknown, unknown, Anne Quille, Mary Ahern, Mary Jo Ahern, unknown, Norrie O’Connell, Bridie Hickey, Unknown.

Middle Row:      unknown, Maureen Murphy, unknown, Mary Rose Doran, Bridie Dillon Angela Sommers, Catherine Canty, Eileen Keane, Margaret Archer, 

                             unknown, Joan O’Donoghue, unknown, unknown, unknown, unknown.

Front Row:          Eileen Murphy, Sheila Hickey, Esther Ahern, Kate Nolan, Mary Anne Joyce, unknown, unknown, unknown, unknown, Marie Doran,  unknown, Kay Doran, unknown, unknown, Breda Nolan, Mary O’Sullivan, Mary Quille, unknown, Mary Murphy, unknown,

                               Helen Joyce, unknown, unknown, unknown, unknown, Martina Cotter, unknown.

Tom Doodle and other Listowel Characters and U. S. Success or John Daniel Guiney

These four men were our entertainers on Vincent Carmody’s morning walk on June 1 2017 as part of Listowel Writers’ Week 2017. They are John Looney, Seán Moriarty, Vincent Carmody and Sonny Egan.

Our starting point as usual was the hotel. Here our young soundman, John, met up with some English visitors, the Hewitts with a different Hannon connection. These people have fallen in love with Listowel and are now frequent visitors.

Mark Hewitt is a member of a rock band and he  brought the band with him on this visit. One of their number has just written a book whose title I love. It’s called;

Rock, Paper, Slippers.

Sonny came in character as the bellman or town crier.

Rose Wall greeted us and saw us on our way.

And we’re off.

First stop was the home of the O’Rahilly family …arguably the brainiest family in Ireland at one time.

Then on to The Small Square and tales of Tom Sommers and other local characters.

Vincent had an appreciative audience despite the cold and intermittent rain.

Then out from the Freezer’s pub came none other than Tom Doodle. Click HERE to hear the story from Vincent Carmody.

Doodle distributed his election literature and canvassed for votes promising among other unlikely actions to  give leprechauns the vote and to give free treatment for sore heads.

Use your noodle

Vote for Doodle

Doodle on the ball

Next stop the dáil.

Doodle ran into an old friend, Paddy Fitzgibbon, and posed for a photo with him.

Then on to William Street and tales of D.C. Hennessey and another cry from the bellman.

We admired the Horseshoe Bar and Vincent pointed out the plasterwork of Pat MacAulliffe and the detail on the wall for which he had used bicycle bells as moulds.

At Galvin’s Vincent pointed out the beautiful mosaic name  over the door.

We mosied on to Market Street and on to the home of Cathy Buckley in Upper William Street.

We had another rhyme from the bellman  and the sad story  of Bob Cuthbertson.

We paused at the corner of William Street and Charles Street and Vincent pointed out to us a strange Listowel phenomenon. The Irish version of the street names is not a translation of the English names. The English street names were given by Lord Listowel who called the streets after his sons, William and Charles. in 1966 a wave of nationalism swept through Listowel and a plebiscite was held to change the street names to the names of the signatories of the Proclamation of 1916.

Changing the name of a street has all sorts of implications, particularly for businesses who have to change their business address. The outcome was a hung vote so what was decided in the end was that each street would have 2 names, one in Irish and one in English and they are totally unrelated to one another. So, for instance, Charles Street is, in Irish, Connolly Street/ Sráid Uí Chonghaile.

The bellman stopped us again and Vincent pointed out the detail in the plasterwork of The Emporium, one of the finest examples of the work of Pat MacAulliffe.


Success in the U.S. for Listowel Golfer

(Photo and text from Newsday on the internet)

John Daniel Guiney with Long
Island Golf Association president Marty Winkelman, left, and tournament
director John McGrath after he won the Long Island Open at 4 under par with a
final round of two-under 68 at Westhampton Country Club on June 8, 2017. Photo
Credit: Long Island Golf Association

Westhampton Country Club’s waterfront winds, slick greens, tall
fescue and Old World bunkers presented a different, disorienting challenge to
just about all of Long Island’s top golfers. To John Daniel Guiney, those
elements represented something else entirely. He is from Ballybunion, Ireland
and he felt right at home.

Big time. Coming up that 18th hole, it’s like you’re in Britain
or something, like you’re playing on a links golf course. It’s just a great
setting,” Guiney, a first-year PGA apprentice at Piping Rock Club, said after
he won the Long Island Open at 4 under par with a final round of two-under 68.
He beat Poxabogue teaching pro Rob Corcoran (67) by two shots in the 54-hole
championship while no one else beat par.

It took patience and resourcefulness —
hallmark demands of links golf — to take the $9,000 first prize on the vintage
Seth Raynor layout. The check and the whole week made the 32-year-old winner
even happier that he entered the tournament at the last minute and that he
moved to Long Island a few months ago.

Guiney played college
golf at Rollins, then remained in Florida to play minitours. He became friends
with peers such as Keegan Bradley and Jim Renner, caddied for the latter on the
PGA Tour, then pursued his own pro golf career in Europe for four years

“I ended up quitting tournament golf for the last year and a
half. I kind of ran out of money,” he said. “That happens. I was like what am I
going to do? I have an economics background but I don’t want to do that. I want
to stay in golf.”

What he did was place a call to an old friend from Ballybunion,
Piping Rock head pro Sean Quinlivan, who offered him the apprentice spot.
Guiney (pronounced GUY-knee) does a lot of caddying and works in the pro shop
two days a week, he said, “Just learning the ropes.” At Quinlivan’s suggestion,
he signed up for a Long Island Open qualifier just before the deadline. “And lo
and behold, here we are,” he said.

 He was only one shot ahead of Corcoran after the latter eagled
the par-5 14th hole. Quiney, playing in the final twosome with Tam O’Shanter
head pro Mark Brown, hooked his tee shot on 14 into high grass. He punched out
into a terrible lie (“It looked like it was in a deer hoof print,” he said) but
then hit to within 15 feet and made birdie. He followed with another birdie on
15 and finished with three pars.

“Very steady, very patient,” Brown said of the champion. “He’s
got a good all-around game. Very good, I’d say.”

Listowel Writers Week, Opening Night 2017

People at Opening Night, Writers’ Week 2017

Rose McGinty is a writer who attended Writers’ Week. Her wonderful blog is Here

Here is what Rose writes about opening night

“All of Listowel was out last night for the opening ceremony of the Writer’s Week. No other literary festival that I have attended over the years feels as loved by its own town as this. It’s family, pure and simple.”

If you had any doubt of the truth of her statement look at my photos, taken on Opening Night 2017.  I stood outside the Listowel Arms as people filed across The Square to partake in the great night.

From the door of the hotel Maire Logue one of the two brilliant festival managers emerged accompanied by Elizabeth Dunn, Chairperson of Listowel Writers’ Week, and Colm Tóibín, president  and the V.I.P. guest Richard Ford who was due to officially open the 2017 festival. As they reacted to the music, they broke into an impromptu waltz .

But they reined in the giddiness and composed themselves to greet the night’s special guest who was to receive this year’s lifetime achievement award.

Local people were continuing to arrive in droves as the great man’s car pulled up and Liz greeted her guest.

Richard Ford and Colm Tóibín shared a joke as they waited to greet Brendan.

Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose….Brendan Kennelly is waylaid by a lady.

The four are now in place and ready to pose for the “real” photographer.

Brendan’s daughter, Doodle arrives.

Stars of opening night, two giants of Irish literature, right here among us in lovely Listowel.

We stood back in awe and gaped and photographed.

Brendan headed indoors to his big gig as family arrived in numbers to support him.

( I have more photos from opening night for you tomorrow.)

Phew! I survived Listowel Writers Week 2017

That’s me risking life an limb up on a ledge taking photographs during one of the many great events during Listowel Writers Week that I covered for you. Jer Kennelly took the photo.


What a weekend!

Whit weekend for Listowel people and visitors was hectic. Here are a few snaps of what was going on.

On the racecourse Eilish Stack was organising her marvellously successful Ladies day. The winner is second from left.   (photo: John Kelliher)

These four ladies were in Dublin to participate in the Ladies mini marathon.

This is EPA Conor Murray, the next Sonny Bill from my family’s stable in Kanturk. He participated in his first show at the weekend and despite his inexperience and “greenness” he came fifth. Hopes are very high for this one…cautiously optimistic is the term.

 Look where I was, half in half out of my hi vis steward’s vest posing with the star attraction, Graham Norton before his show in Listowel Community Centre. (photo: Máire Logue)

Look closely and you will spot me and Clíona in the front row at Sophie Hannah in The Listowel Arms on Sunday.   (photo: Ger Holland)


Opening Night LWW 2017

I’ll start at the beginning with some photos from opening night May 31 2017

Above is just a small selection of the varied people who attended the first night.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén