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 Page 1 of 5


This is the lovely new Christmas light garland for 2022. It celebrates Listowel’s literary heritage.

Listowel Writers’ Week opens a new chapter in Listowel’s literary history in 2023 as the festival welcomes its new curator.

Stephen Connelly comes with a hugely impressive cv. I wish him all the best in his new role and I look forward to seeing what he has in store for us in June.


New Kid on the Block

My Cork family has a new dog. You may remember that their beloved Helios passed away a while back. They felt it was time to take another dog to their hearts. Reggie is a sweet tempered lurcher. Molly has welcomed him to the extended family.

Reggie had a rough start in life and was homeless for a while before being rescued. Housetraining and lead training are in hand.


Times Past

Mary Nolan sent us this photo of the cast of Presentation Secondary School’s 1979 operetta, Lilac Time


Christmas Jumper Day

Our local Vincent’s shop has a great selection of toys, clothes and bric a brac at rock bottom prices. If you are finding it hard to make ends meet this Christmas, drop in on Thursday or Friday and you could have your family decked out and all your presents sorted for next to nothing.

And this shop has the nicest shop volunteers as well.



Searching for Photos of a Stokes ancestor

Gus Stokes has been in touch. He found the below story on Listowel Connection from 2012.

Back Row L.toR.Tom Costello, Danny Lane, Bill J. Kirby, Sean Stokes, John MacNamara (agri instructor), Chris Goulding, Patsy O’Sullivan, William Stack, Tim Buckley, John Collins, Toddy O’Sullivan
Middle: Paddy Finucane(cut out of photo),_________ James Murray, John Broderick, Paddy Carroll, John O’Keeffe, Dan Molyneaux, Tim MacMahon,Paddy Maher, John Joe Galvin,Tom O’Sullivan, Vincent Brennan,Jerh Galvin, Liam McElligott, Dick Stokes, Maurice Stack
Front: Paddy Drummond, Dan J. Moloney,———–,————, Canon P. O’Sullivan, Jerry Moyles (C.A.O. Kerry) Bob Fitzgerald, ———–, Tom Sheehan
This is a photograph of Vincent’s photograph. He has all the names except 3 and 2 of them are not local and may have been instructors on the course. The photo has both students and teachers in it and was taken in the old VEC school on Church St.

Here is Gus’ email;

Looking for Jack Stokes Dirrha photos and wondering if he could be found in this photo

I am his grandson but sadly I was 10 years too late to find my birth mother or any living relatives with photos of my family and I would be over joyed to see any photos of my mother who was born c1935 and went to Presentation Convent but I was unable to get any joy when I visited the school but I found my mother has a daughter who is delightful but only had  Collection photo that came as quite a shock !

Any help would be greatly appreciated and I will continue to search your wonderful website and maybe you were at the Library lecture on local fables?

I hope to get back to Listowel sometime in the next few months 

Best wishes for the Holidays 

Gus Stokes


Where to go in Summer 2022

Photo by Jillian Harris

This photograph by Jillian, a member of Mallow Camera Club is part of a collaboration between the club and Kanturk Community Hospital in 2017.



When I stopped in Glenflesk recently I called to their lovely church to say a prayer.


Visit a Heritage Site on the first Wednesday

On the first Wednesday of each month, many OPW Heritage Sites offer Free Admission to independent/individual visitors and families. A list of participating sites appears on the OPW website, and details of each can be found at the relevant link.

Tickets will be allocated on a first come, first served basis and online booking will not be available. Normal conditions of admission apply.
Visitors may experience delays at some of our busier sites and are advised to arrive early. If allocated a time, visitors are asked to arrive promptly. There is no guarantee that visitors who miss their allocated time-slot can be accommodated later. Children must be supervised at all times.

Access to some sites is by guided tour only. Car-parking may be limited at some sites and patrons are requested to respect the facilities and other car park users.

The full list of sites is at the following link

Heritage Ireland


Post Boxes

A few subjects crop up here regularly. One of them is post boxes. I’m terrified that these pieces of street furniture are doomed. If they are underused, and they are, cost cutting measures at An Post will surely see them condemned.

Whatever about the newer ones that are ugly, I’d hate see the old ones that have been there since we were a colony removed from our streets.

When I was in Dublin recently I took this photo near Stephen’s Green.


Sitting on two Chairs at once

“We are delighted to announce that Catherine Moylan was voted in as the new Chair of the Board after David Brown stepped down from his position. Catherine Moylan is also Chair of the Festival for Listowel Writers’ Week. “

This recent statement from Listowel Writers’ Week may have confused you. “Surely she was already the chair,” you may have thought.

Up to now the chair of the Board of Directors of Writers’ Week and the chair of the festival have been two separate honorary roles. With the election of Catherine to the chair of the Board, these two posts have come closer in that they are now held by one person. 

I wish Catherine the best of luck in her new role. I can’t wait for the first live festival in 2 years and seeing all our old friends back in town.


Listowel Primary Centre, Writers’ Week in 1983 and Evictions in 1881

Listowel Primary Care Centre in February 2020

The Primary Care Centre looks finished, landscaping done and all.


Listowel Writers’ Week Committee 1983

In Writers Week we’re looking back at 50 festivals and the people who helped run them. Here is the 1983 committee. Apologies to the two ladies whose names I can’t remember.

Front Row: Kieran Moloney, Helen Kenny,  ? , Gabriel Fitzmaurice, Marjorie Long, Maurice Lonergan, Maureen Beasley

Back: Margaret Reidy, ? Mairead Pierse, Louise Griffin. Madeleine O’Sullivan, Michael O’Connor, Mary McGillicuddy, Joe Murphy, Nora Relihan,Anne Kennedy Truscott (née O’Rourke), Mary Cogan (hidden) Noreen Buckley and Padraig Kelly


Evictions in North Kerry in 1881

Kerry Sentinel 06.05.1881, page 3 (Edited Version)

Important Meeting of Lord Ormaithwaite’s Tenantry in the parishes of, Listowel, Ballydonoghue, Newtownsandes, Lixnaw, Irremore and Ballybunion were at a meeting in the Land League Rooms in Listowel. They decided that 25% over Griffith’s valuation was a fair rent. Mr George Sandes the landlords agent refused the offer and offered an abatement of 15%, he agreed to meet Lord Ormaithwaite and let them know his reply in a few days.

The cases of the eviction in Gunsboro of Broder and Kissane, who were uncharitable put out on the road at the end of their working life, had the sympathy of all tenants.

Priests in attendance Rev. M O’Connor , P.P. Ballybunion; Rev James Burke, P.P. Newtownsandes, Rev James Casey C C. Listowel; Rev F Cremin, C.C. Lixnaw; Rev. M. Godley, C.C. Ballybunion; Rev F. Carmody, C.C. Newtownsandes, and the rev B. Scanlon, C.C. Duagh.

Priest of the Listowel Deanery held meeting and deplored the evictions on the property of Mr. Gunn Mahony and absentee, a dying man, father of large family was flung on the roadside without any shelter. North Kerry was tranquil, but it is with horror they contemplate the future, if  the evictions of law abiding and industrious people, continues.

Meeting of influential Listowel people, about the water supply, £1,000 spent on works, at present quite useless, they are going to the Board of Guardians to complain.


River Feale in stormy February 2020

Spirit of Christmas 2019, Remembering the Fallen, YABF2019 and an old class photo

Rose Wall of Listowel Business and Community Alliance addressing the huge crowd in the Square for the launch of The Spirit of Christmas 2019 last weekend.


Remembering the Fallen

Blog followers greatly appreciated the tributes paid to the war dead of Listowel on Remembrance Sunday.

Here is an email that is representative of many:

Great to see local people commemorating local people who gave their lives for world safety. It was a futile war in which innumerable lives were gambled with and lost  by callous authorities, but all wars in all ages are based on the same, savage slaughter of those who have nothing to lose but their very lives. Ireland’s Troubles are no different. The Generals, the armchair ones, or those official ones,  hiding at the rear of the front-line troops, and the political top-dogs, always survive and prosper on the blood of the private soldier. Even terrorist groups in our own recent episode of Troubles had a code that leaders of their ‘enemy’ forces were not targetted or slain! Which is why so many such leaders ended up safe and sound in well-paid governments, be it in the early 20s or in the 1990s.

All the common soldier has is the love and respect of his own kind. 

Listowel is to be highly commended for not abandoning the true heroes of war – those who gave all – even their life –  for no personal gain, but a grave.

Rudyard Kipling, for all his faults, got it right in his famous poem, ‘Tommy’; a verse of which is as follows:

But it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Chuck him out, the brute!”

    But he’s a “Hero of ‘is country” when the guns begin to shoot;

    Well’ it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ anything you please;

    But’ Tommy ain’t no bleedin’ fool—you bet that Tommy sees! 



Second Class Pupils in Listowel Convent Primary School

This old photograph was shared on Facebook. I don’t have a year or names.


Last few Photos from the Young Adult Bookfest 2019

Catherine, Madeleine and Bernard

Listowel Writers’ Week volunteers, Elma, Joanna and Liz with one of the star turns, Bernard Casey

Declan Coyle of The Green Platform fame posed with The Base staff and Liz Dunn of Listowel Writers’ Week

Selling Stephanie’s merchandise were Sinéad and Maria of Listowel Writers’ Week

Shane Casey of The Young Offenders with Seán Lyons of Listowel Writers’ Week

Lunch break

Listowel Food Fair 2019, Ballyeigh a Sculpture from Fear na Coillte and Early Morning at YABF 2019

Listowel Food Fair Sunday Fair in The Listowel Arms

Sunday November 10 2019. You could start the day with some delicious crepes.

When I reached the ballroom there was already a big crowd gathered.

This lovely lad offered me samples of Brona chocolates from an array of flavours that made choosing very difficult. They were delicious.

I remembered this man and his lovely wares from last year. He had some absolutely beautiful churches and farm scenes.

Pat Murphy of Woodford Pottery is constantly adding to his range of practical and stylish pottery. His beautiful stable at Bethlehem is still my favourite.

These Glin girls had some lovely animal pictures and jewellery .

Healthy food products like Kefir were on offer.

Orla sold out all of her delicious confectionery. They say we eat with our eyes. This display was as artistic as it it was mouth watering.

Doughnuts seem to be really popular recently.

This stall was selling cute and unusual ornaments.

This man won a prize for his vegan honey. Someone who knows told me that vegans don’t eat anything that dies. This honey was not made by bees.


Shillelaghs at Ballyeigh

(photo and text from Facebook)

Faction fighting in Ballybunion

Did you know that the shillelagh, or Irish blackthorn walking stick, was actually a murderous weapon used in highly structured, regularly scheduled fights (called faction fights) between families, gangs, communities, and tribes, in which people – both men and women – fought to the death? Faction fighting was a phenomenon unique to 19th century Ireland. Factions were armies of country people, numbering hundreds or even thousands, armed with shillelaghs, stones, and, occasionally, with swords and guns. Their battle grounds were fair greens, market places, race courses and frequently streets of towns and villages. Many people were killed and scores wounded in the most famous encounters.

One of the most memorable faction fights took place on June 24, 1834, at Ballyeigh Strand, near Ballybunion, on the Feast Day of St. John the Baptist. This Holy Day traditionally served to commemorate the occurrence of the longest day of the year. Over 3,000 people, including the Coolens, Lawlors, Blacks and Mulvihills, went up against each other, and when the skirmish was over, 200 lay dead.

Anything could set off a faction fight; conflicts over non-payment of dowries, fights over succession to property, long-standing grudges or simple pushing and shoving at a previous fair.

Faction fighting was first reported in 1805 in County Tipperary. Coincidentally, the last recorded faction fight was also in County Tipperary, in a place called Cappawhite, in 1887.


What a craftsman!

Will Fogarty, Fear na Coillte, sculpted this hiker using chainsaws for the Rhododendron Walking Festival  in Tipperary. This 8ft. tall man is carved from locally sourced oak.

What a talent!


Young Adult Bookfest 2019

Close to 1,000 second level students flocked to Listowel Community Centre yesterday for Listowel Writers’ Week annual young adult event. Here are my first few photos of the day.

Early morning Listowel Pitch and Putt course November 14 2019

Catherine Moylan, chair of Listowel Writers’ Week is one of the first to arrive

John Kelliher making his way to the centre

The hall is being prepared.

In the carpark, Liz, Rose and Jim are directing traffic. A great day is about to begin.

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