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

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A Poet , a Writer and some Stained Glass

Church Street in April 2023


A Powerful Poem

This short poem is full of the pain of being forced by circumstances to live in a country that is not your motherland.

“The past is a hole in the chest….”


Women in Sport

“I’ll eat my O’Neill’s shorts if this book is not nominated for Sports’ Book of the Year.” Ray Darcy.

On Friday June 3, in Listowel this very articulate young sportswoman/writer will be part of a great discussion on the place of women in sport. Eimear is GAA royalty, grandfather a president and father and a clatter of cousins successful county players.

In her book she deals with the humiliation of being left on the bench, the need for make up and straightened hair on the playing field, the negative image of competitive girls as opposed to the lauding of these traits in boys.

I have a personal interest in this Writers’ Week event which will be facilitated by our own local sportswriter, Emma Larkin and will feature trampolining champion, Rebecca Perry.

My sports mad granddaughter Aisling, who did her TY work experience in Listowel Writers’ Week, will be allowed to introduce this event.

Aisling made her Writers Week debut many years ago, being “fired” out of a cannon.


Call Cards

Cards brought back as souvenirs from foreign trips.


St. John’s, Tralee

St. John’s Tralee is a magnificent church, full of nooks and crannies, altars and shrines and exceptional stained glass windows.

This is a modern window telling the story of the prodigal son.

As well as this modern one there are many traditional windows.


The Playboy of the Western World

Can you spot me with my great friends and former colleagues Bridget O’Connor and Sr. Consolata behind two rows of current Presentation Secondary Listowel staff in St. John’s Theatre on May 4th for the TY production of The Playboy.

These are the happy girls on stage at the end of a very successful evening.

Under the guidance of drama coach and director, Margaret O’Sullivan, this cast and crew breathed vibrant new life into Synge’s dated play. They played music, sang and danced and milked every bit of comedy out of a drama set in an Ireland long forgotten by the time they were born. The play was a triumph. Well done all.


A Fact

Remember Concorde? Due to time zones crossed, if you flew by Concorde from London to New York you could arrive two hours before you leave.



Bridge Road in February 2023


In Athea

I don’t think I’ve been in Athea since Covid. It was high time I visited my favourite outdoor art gallery. Last time I was there Jim Dunn, artist/muralist had a cover erected so that he could work in all weathers. That was gone and I could see the work in progress in all its splendour.

The forge mural is across the road from the church.

The morning was sunny and the standard for the hanging baskets was casting its shadow on the doctor.

The blacksmith/farrier is a new addition. Isn’t that such a kindly face? The anvil awaits another day.

I love all the men in the artwork.

I love all the horses too.

While I was there I met two lovely real men who stopped for a chat and posed for a photo.


The Optical Suite

Lower William Street, February 2023


A Very Sad Relic of 1950s Ireland

When “many young men of twenty” said goodbye to Ireland forever.

This was donated by Eileen Fahey to John Creedon’s National Treasures.

Here is what she wrote;

“A Catholic Handbook. This little booklet measuring 9cm x 11.5cm, which cost sixpence highlights a very different Ireland. Published in 1954, the handbook was drawn up because “economic difficulties especially the scarcity of work in counties like Mayo, Kerry and Galway have caused boys and girls to leave homes in Ireland and seek a living in the land across the water.” When I took up my first teaching post in Roscommon in 1974, it was part of the library in the school. I was given the responsibility to sort out the school library and when I found this document, I decided to keep it because it speaks volumes about Ireland at a certain period in time. You wouldn’t know whether to laugh or cry reading it but when I first read it, I recognised its historical value. In many ways, it was sad that it was a reference book in a school library where many students would have emigrated from. It gives insight into the loneliness, isolation, and fear of emigration in the 1950s. On arrival in England, the book advises that one of the first things you should do is look up the local parish priest.”


Fact of the Day

Actor and film star, Jack Lemmon was born in 1925… a lift.

His mother was playing Bridge and was engrossed in a particularly good game, so good that even though she realised that birth was imminent she refused to leave the table until the last minute.

History doesn’t tell us if she won the game.


Some Aspects of Listowel in Summer 2020

Some Images from Town

The Square through the gate of the Intreo office.


Brendan Mahony is working hard. His shop  is open for business.


I wonder how soon is soon.


Danny’s and Bailey and Co.  are closed but Danny is available online.

Don’t be without a tasty fish for tea.

Morkan’s will be open in Phase 2.



Church Street

Woulfe’s and Perfect Pairs will take your order on line and both shops are open for a few hours for collection.

After a few weeks of closure, Eason is open.

These two kind caring signs are at The Hair Lounge.





Early Morning walker

I met John Pierse taking an early morning constitutional on Sunday May 31 2020. John is always really the most interesting man you could run into to on Listowel’s streets. He has a brain full of various interesting facts.

On Sunday he told me that in the years between 1841 nd 1851, 18000 people died in North Kerry. John is the acknowledged expert on The Famine in North Kerry.


Church Street Mural

Charlie Nolan has recorded and edited a lovely video of the unveiling of this mural by Olive Stack and paid for by the Church Street Traders. The unveiling took place on Nov. 15 1998. It’s a lovely souvenir but sad to see so many of the old stock of the town now no longer with us. The mural is a lovely addition to our streetscape. Church Street traders can be proud of their legacy.

Mural unveiling

Listowel in Lockdown, Moonlighting and Bewleys of Grafton Street

Bank Holiday Monday, May 4 2020

Photos: Tom Fitzgerald


Moonlighting in the 19th Century

Kerry Evening Post 1813-1917, Saturday, January 17, 1885

MOONLIGHTING North Kerry, Intimidating farmers near Listowel; Three labourers named Cornelius Hunt, John Connor, and John Drury, residing at Knockanure within four miles of Listowel were arrested at about half past one o’clock on Tuesday morning by Constable Brazil of the Lissaniskia police proection post, under the curfew clause of the Crimes Act and conveyed to Listowel at four a.m. under a strong escort. The parties were also charged by Messrs Daniel McElligott, Denis Dee, and William Moore with having used intimidatory language towards them, for having each taken portions of a farm from which a man named Cornelius O’Connor had been evicted for non-payment of rent by Mr T W Sandes, of Sallowglin.

Story from Cathleen Muvihill on Glin Historical Society on Facebook


Better in Black and White

 This is a photo of Johnny Clifford posted by Ballybunion Photographic Club


Bewley’s Harry Clarke Windows


Can you help, please?

Jon Riley sent the following email.

I  am looking into my family history and trying to find out about the family of a Joseph P O’Carroll from Listowel. I know he was born in 1943 and may have married and lived in Leicester, England in the early 1960’s and may have moved to Leeds in 1965/66.

If you know  of anyone who may have any information I would be extremely grateful.

Thank you

Jon Riley


Another One Bites the Dust

Ah! Pity!

Brent Geese, Craftshop na Méar, Hosiery Explained and a Magpie Drops in for a Take away

Brent Geese at Sunset in Beale

Ita Hannon


John Kelliher’s Drone Photos


Craftshop na Méar

Tom Fitzgerald took this photo of the Listowel Writers Week gang at  a craftshop Christmas event;

Mary Cogan,  Una Hayes, Eilish Wren, Bernie Carmody, Seán Lyons, Maureen Connolly and Masiréad Sharry

The late Eileen Hannon with Danny and Noreen O’Connell at the same event.


Deja Vu

Noel Roche


Hose and Half Hose

The question of hosiery came up last week when we were discussing Duhallow Knitwear and how it was always referred to in my home town as The Hosiery.

Our friend, Nicholas, did a bit of research on the internet and this is what he found.

I  believe it all started with mens’ wear – (late 13c., “covering of woven cloth or leather for the lower part of the leg, with or without feet,” from late Old English ‘hosa’ “covering for the leg”) and developed into basically everything that covered the leg from the knee to the ankle. 

At first, the hoses on the two legs were separate pieces of material- a solution was necessary to preserve modesty, so a cloth codpiece was invented to cover the gap in material.  this was amended to metal to cope with  a certain vulnerability to injury. In the 400s,  following a widespread outbreak of what we would now call (to spare blushes) a ‘social disease,’ the codpiece was essential to cover the effects and visible signs  of the disease and the manifold ‘medicines’ applied to combat it. I believe Gucci revived the codpiece in modern times as a fashion statement rather, I suppose, than as a ‘nod’ to the more indelicate associations.  And it was an unexpected motif in the Spring 2020 menswear collection by American designer Thom Browne, shown in Paris in 2019. Like everything else connected with male vanity, it is believed that codpieces were much aggrandized and exaggerated in size by some…. Henry the V111 was one who did this, as depicted in Holbien Junior’s portrait. I presume Kings, depending on male heirs to keep the line going, would at least, have to appear capable of doing so (or be prepared to behead his Queens and kick out the Pope).  

There is a contemporary male-worn item commonly used contact sports, and in ballet: the ‘jockstrap.’  

It is time to call a halt on this somewhat  distasteful topic. It may not all be suitable for your Blog. In any case, you have the final editorial call and you may disregard any or all of the above as you wish.


Piazza Express

During lockdown we are all taking time to observe Nature all around us. Part of that observation for a photographer is also capturing the moment in a snap.

Tom Fitzgerald was fascinated by this magpie who swopped down to take away the remains of his piazza.


The Confirmation Class of 2020

When the story of the Coronavirus pandemic of 2020 is told these boys will be saying, “I remember it well. It was the year I was to make my Confirmation but….”

Photo: Scoil Realta na Maidine

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