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Tag: Listowel Writers’ Week 2019 Page 1 of 3

New York Kerry tean 1926, Covid 19, Writers Week 2019, Finuge and A Song

Statue of Schiller in Listowel’s Garden of Europe in April 2020


Football in New York in 1926

Tom Fitzgerald sent us this great photo of the New York Kerry football team in 1926. His uncle is third from the right in the second row. People may know some of the other players.


Strange times indeed!


If Only!

Mary Fagan holds the microphone for Clíona McKenna during the Saturday morning walk at Listowel Writers Week 2019. Just about now I should be contacting my able assistants and putting this year’s Walk together.


Sheahan’s Cottage, Finuge

A Phoenix from the ashes, Sheehan’s cottage was rebuilt following the devastating fire.

Photo; John Kelliher


Hope in Troubled Times

Mattie Lennon with The Seanchaí, Eamon Kelly

There’s a Brightness

As a child I remember small farmers
Being depressed at some times of the year,
With climatic conditions uncertain
Turning hopes of their harvest to fear.
Whenever they cursed the bad weather
As the elements failed to rescind
My father, with wisdom, would tell them:
“There’s a brightness at the butt of the wind”.

When teenage ambitions got twisted:
My identity crisis would loom.
Rejection and fantasy   mingled,
Resulting in pictures of doom.
Then………the Power of Good to the rescue
To counter each negative trend.
My thoughts would somehow be diverted
To that brightness at the butt of the wind.

When the weather of life it looks hopeless;
And dark clouds with disaster seem twinned,
Remember that God will send sunshine.
There’s a brightness at the butt of the wind.                 

When the storms of anguish are beating
And I’m lashed by the gales of defeat
When the forecast of life holds no promise
It’s still not the time to retreat
A fresh glow appears in my vision
Like a night sky by bright stars sequined.
Then I know then I haven’t forgotten
That brightness at the butt of the wind 

At last when I’ll see the horizon
And that mist (self-deception) has cleared
I’ll ponder the journey before me
And confront all the things that I’ve feared,
Expecting a turbulent crossing
As the Clergy point out that I’ve sinned
But knowing that Salvation is certain
By the brightness at the butt of the wind


(c) Mattie Lennon 2005


Old Papers

Damien Stack found this from 1941 when the carnival was in town.

Nora Moriarty’s Lace, People at Opening Night LWW 2019 and Cheese and Wine in Newbridge

Listowel Town Square in Summer 2019


Nora Moriarty’s Lace

Tadhg and the Moriarty family spared no expense in mounting the beautiful display of Nora’s beautiful lacework at Listowel Writers’ Week 2019.

The room was decorated with floral displays. The lace pieces were beautifully mounted, framed and lit.

Wine and food was in plentiful supply at the opening.

A beautiful catalogue of the pieces had a photo of a particularly lovely and appropriate lace piece on the cover.

 A huge crowd of family, friends and Writers’ Week visitors admired the work and were left in awe at the magnificence of the pieces. We all marvelled that such a talented lady could have lived in  our midst and we were unaware of the beautiful work that was being produced in Luachra Road.

Writers’ Week chair, Catherine Moylan visited the exhibition. She is with Eugene Moriarty, international cyclist.

On Sunday when I called  in again I met Tadhg and Eugene as well as Sr. Una Harman and Gerald O’Carroll


Listowel Writers’ Week; The early days

`Because the late Nora Moriarty was the first secretary of Writers’ Week they included a photo of the 1971 committee with her lacework exhibition.


A Few more from Opening Night LWW 2019


Cheese and Wine in Newbridge

I had a great night recently at a cheese and wine tasting event in The Wine Buff in Newbridge.

Every cheese (they were all Irish) had its own story. I loved the story behind Fifteen Fields. This cheese is made from the milk of Eamonn Lonergan’s cows in Knockanore (not to be confused with our Knockanure) and it is only produced from May to October because it is only made when the cows are out in the fifteen fields. It is a cheddar and it’s delicious.

Lost in Lace, The Ball Alley and Royal Ascot

Photo: Chris Grayson


Lost in Lace

This was one of the loveliest of the exhibitions that was on view during Writers’ Week 2019. The exhibition was opened by Madeleine O’Sullivan in The Seanchaí on Thursday May 30 2019.

The lace pieces on display were all the work of local lacemaker, Nora Moriarty. Nora, who passed away in 2018, was a native of Listowel. She lived in Church Street before her marriage to Tadhg Moriarty. When Nora retired from teaching she pursued her dream of a life in craftwork, particularly lace making.  She studied at Mallow College of Design and Tailoring. She received a City and Guilds Diploma in Dress Design. Carrickmacross lace was her passion and she became a member of the Guild of Irish Lacemakers.

Mary Shields from that guild told us a bit about lace in general and Carrickmacross lace in particular. Two of the characteristics of this lace are its scalloped edge and its shower of hail design. Nora was a master craftswoman and took great pains over design and execution of her lace projects. She produced a huge body of lacework in her lifetime. On display were dresses that could be worn from the cradle (a Christening gown), a wedding dress and many handkerchiefs and presentation pieces.

Nora’s son, Eugene told us of the family’s pride in his mother’s work. He drew our attention to some of the pieces that told the story of Nora’s involvement with local organisations. She was the first honorary secretary of Listowel Writers’ Week and she belonged to three different drama groups. She was a member of the Listowel Singers and the church choir. Members of all of these groups testified to Nora’s generosity in making logos, pin cushions and keyrings for them.

I brought my friends to view the exhibition on Saturday. Friends and neighbours of the late Nora helped the Moriarty family to mind the displays. When we visited, Joan and P.J. Kenny were the caretakers.

Many friends of Nora’s came to the launch of the exhibition.


The Ball Alley

This is how the ball alley looks today.

This is how John Fitzgerald remembers good times in The Alley


Listowel well represented at Royal Ascot 2019

Edaein O’Connell wearing a stunning Aoife Hannon creation at Royal Ascot this week.

Photos from Aoife Hannon on Facebook

Catherine Moylan, Opening Night Listowel Writers Week 2019 and Listowel Business and Community Alliance

Catherine Moylan, Chair of Listowel Writers’ Week 2019

I have known Catherine Moylan since she was knee high to a grasshopper and it came as no surprise to me that this young lady, who has broken through many a glass ceiling in her career so far, is making an excellent job of what is probably her biggest gig to date, chairing Ireland’s premier literary festival.

Former chair, Mike Lynch gives the new chair a twirl just to calm the nerves before the big opening speech for Listowel Writers’ Week, May 29 2019.

Catherine gave a well crafted, well delivered  and very well received keynote address. She told us how special she felt to have grown up in Listowel where Writers’ Week was a constant every year, where Bryan MacMahon read the children a story at her friend’s birthday party and John B. Keane was someone you could meet any day on the street. She hit the nail on the head when she identified the USP that makes Listowel Writers’ Week so different to other literary festivals. The key ingredient is Listowel and it’s people.

Look at the front row of the audience she addressed undaunted.

In the audience were parents, Helen and Eddie, looking a bit nervous but massively proud.


Pictures from Listowel Town Square on May 29 2019

Politicians, musicians, poets, clergy, businessmen and women, old friends and new were there.


Listowel Business and Community Alliance

Rose Wall has replaced Stephen Stack at the helm of Listowel Business and Community Alliance. She is pictured here with Paul O’Connor and Maeve Queally.

Maeve of Some Studio was giving a morning talk to the local business community on the concept and importance of branding.


David Twomey

Some people know David better as an athlete, but I first met David when he was starting out on his gardening and landscaping career. He is one of the people responsible for the planted environment in our lovely town. When I took this photo last week he was getting Listowel ready for the Entente Florale judging.

Opening night 2019, the Primus Stove and Bressie

More Photos of People on Opening Night, Listowel Writers Week 2019


The Primus Stove

Photo; Google images

If you’re as old as me you will have had one of these in your house. The primus was a little paraffin cooking stove that was invaluable for boiling a kettle of water or, in our case, boiling a batch of jam. I rarely eat jam any more but in the summers of my childhood, fruit picking and jam making took up a lot of our time in summer. Gooseberries and black currants were plentiful and in August we had the blackberries and apples. No food miles involved. The sugar was made down the road from us in Mallow from sugar beet grown locally.

One of the big merits of the Primus was its portability. The jam could be boiled outdoors and so we were spared the torment of a steam filled kitchen. Of course there had to be an exclusion zone around the stove where no child dared to enter for fear of a fate worst than death, being scalded with boiling jam. As soon as we saw the saucer with the spoonful of jammy mixture being put on to the window to cool, we knew that the process was nearing an end. If a skin formed on the jam, it was set and ready to be potted. Glass jars were recycled year after year. These were warming in the oven of the range and lables were written with date and identity of jam.

“Oh for the touch of a vanished hand and the sound of a voice that is stilled.”

Freshly made jam spread on a doorstep of home made brown bread…no taste since has ever come near.

I learned the following from an article by Claire McCormick in Ireland’s Own

Frans Wilhelm Lindavist developed the Primus Stove in 1892. He was a factory mechanic in Stockholm, Sweden. The idea was based on the blowtorch. Instead of blowing the flame outwards, it directed the flame in a constant stream upwards.

To light the primus, you first filled the little brass container which sat on three legs with paraffin. Most shops sold paraffin when I was young. Paraffin heaters were common. The brass tank had a pump that was used to fuel the flame. You had to fill the little cup in the burner with methylated sprit and you lit this and allowed it to heat up. Then you pumped like Billy-o to get it going until it lit up with a constant blue flame.  Once lit, the stove would burn for hours.


Bressie at The National Children’s Literary Festival

One of the most popular people at this year’s Writers’ Week was Niall Breslin. He has written a book on mental health for children and he was interviewed by Niall MacMonagle for the adult festival. He was in Listowel to promote his book and to do signings. Bressie was the epitome of kindness to all the children and adult fans. Realising that many of the children did not have the money with them to buy his book, he took time to sign his free bookmarks and to chat to every child as if he was his best customer.

My sequence of pictures shows, young fan, Seán Leahy who borrowed his mom’s phone to get a selfie with Bressie. Seán was not an experienced selfie taker so Bressie took the time to help him to figure out how to do it and then posed for yet another photograph.

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