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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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

Listowel from John Kelliher’s Drone, A Poem from Noel Roche, 1992 panto in Pres. and Speed Cameras

Swans at Rattoo

Photo: Bridget O’Connor


Listowel in Lockdown

Drone photos from John Kelliher


HMS Pinafore 1992

Presentation Secondary School, Listowel operetta


Another Poem from Noel Roche

This poem needs no words of introduction or explanation. Noel says it best in his own words. And remember he is 40 years sober this year.


Bet You didn’t know this

The speed camera was invented to speed cars up not slow them down. A Dutch rally driver and engineer called Gatsonides wanted to take corners faster. His first device was 2 strips across the road. The first strip started a stop watch. The second stopped it. Then he thought of adding a camera so he not only had a record of the vehicle’s speed, he also had a picture of the car. He could see how much extra speed he could squeeze out of a corner by approaching it along a different line.

His invention was called the Gatsometer and speed cameras are often still referred to as Gatsos. He realised its application in the detection of speeding offences when he replaced the pressure sensitive strips with a radar beam.

Of course the Listowel connection is our own Irish GoSafe speed camera network has its headquarters in Listowel.


“Oh, lest the world should task you to recite….”

Ursula Stack sent us this Covid fact.

Dame Judi Dench has tasked herself with learning all of Shakespeare’s 154 sonnets during Covid 19 lockdown


From Isolation -Inspiration

Thank you, Nan Bailey for the heads up on this marvellous resource.

This is an initiative of the Irish Embassy in London.

From Isolation – Inspiration involves a series of short videos posted on the Embassy social media channels which feature individual Irish artists currently in domestic isolation performing their art – a musician, singer, poet, novelist, actor etc. The videos are filmed by the artist in their home or garden and are designed to inspire and bring solace and cheer in these testing times.

Access the recordings    HERE


A (very late) Message from Listowel Celtic PRO

Our own Barbara Mulvihill is nominated for the Best Actress Award in the Kevin Rowe Events Oskars.  She is raising money for St. James hospital.

If you want to vote for Barbara here is the link.

Best Actress at Kevin Rowe Events Oskars

Martin McCarthy is up for Best Actor. He is raising money for the Mercy Hospital Foundation.

A vote costs €1

NNB Voting closes this evening at 5.00

Christmas at The Listowel Arms, A Poem, Mike the Pies shopfront update and A Book Launch

Listowel in December 2019


The Listowel Arms at Christmas 2019

It’s all red and green in The Listowel Arms this Christmas. The atmosphere is warm and welcoming. It’s just another gem in our lovely Christmassy town.


Kerryman of the Year

 by Noel Roche of Chicago and Listowel

To my brother, Tom, who makes me proud

He was born in 1945 on the third day of July

Another child for Dick and Madge, a little baby boy.

Rumour has it he was late, they thought he wouldn’t come at all.

When he finally did come out, he was soloing a ball.

Just like all the other boys, he always loved to play.

It seemed he was a natural when it came to GAA.

His heroes were the Kerry teams, those men so big and bold.

His dreams were that someday he would wear the green and gold.

And wear the green and gold he did in 1963.

He won an All Ireland medal and became a hero to me.

Soon he moved to England and left Kerry behind.

“Twas his body that left Kerry, Kerry would not leave his mind.

Tom can talk of anything under the heavenly sky

But when he talks of Kerry he has a twinkle in his eye.

If you want Tom to help, all you have to do

Is throw in the word Kerry and he will be there for you.

How much does he love Kerry?  To him its not a game

Tom has got a daughter and Kerry is her name.

And now I’m here tonight to cheer

As they name my brother Tom, Kerryman of the Year.

There is no better man and I will tell you why

When it comes to Kerry, Tom is do or die.

And if you cut him open this sight you would behold

There is no red inside his veins. His blood runs green and gold.


Mike the Pies

Mike the Pies shopfront is still a work in progress.

Here is where Martin is at but there’s lots more to do. It will be mighty.

Martin Chute, signwriter, at Mike the Pies on Saturday December 14 2019.


Launch of The Very Best of Billy Keane

A book launch is a lovely family time. It’s a time to make the people who love you proud. There was a lot of love in the room of The Listowel Arms Hotel on Sunday Dec. 15 2019.

Launching the book were Gabriel Fitzmaurice and Jerry Kennelly, here with Billy’s able assistants, John Keane and Billy O’Flynn.

Billy chatting to his William Street neighbour, Catherine.

Liz and Jim Dunn were buying a few Christmas presents.

Laura Shine read one of the newspaper columns from The Very Best of Billy Keane.

Old friends turned up to support Billy.

Fellow author, Emma Larkin, took time out from the St. Seanan’s celebrations to lend support.

Proud family, Elaine, John and Anne listen as Gabriel reads from The Very Best of Billy Keane.


Another New Barber on Church Street


Lunch in Lizzie’s

We are so lucky in Listowel to have so many excellent cafés and restaurants. For a festive lunchtime treat there is no better food and value available anywhere than in Lizzie’ s of William Street.

Helen Moylan, Celebrity chef Lizzie Lyons, Miriam Kiely, exiled in Dublin but constantly drawn “home” to Listowel and your blogger, Mary Cogan.

I had the Christmas pie of buttermilk-brined turkey and ham topped with puff pastry, followed by the flourless chocolate and almond dessert;  delicious food and great company on a gloomy wet Listowel afternoon.

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