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: Little Lilac Studio

Ballybunion. Little Lilac Studio, April 2019 Horse Fair, the public loo in 2019

Ballybunion in March 2019 photographed by Bridget O’Connor


The Last Project

I have sadly delivered the last Little Lilac Studio project to my grandchildren


Listowel’s Public Convenience

Listowel’s public toilet on Market Street has some state of the art features that are meant to make it attractive to patrons.

It is wheelchair friendly. It costs 25cents to spend a penny. It has instructions in several languages including Braille. For hearing impaired people there are audio instructions.


Wells and Place Names from Dúchas School Folklore Collection

There is a well situated in Mrs. David Dillon’s farm. At this day the well goes by the name of Tobair na Giolláin. The people say the English of it is the well of the flies. At first the well was situated near a hedge in the field but one morning a woman rinsed clothes in it and when the people came to the well it was dried up but it sprang up about four perches from the place. The people are still taking water out of it but the old people always said it was a blessed well.

Collector- Martin Connelly,Address, Kilteean, Co. Kerry. From Drom Muirinn School

Informant, Mrs K. Quilter


The name is still used by the local inhabitants and probably means the Glen of the Quern. It is beside this glen the “brittlen” woman used to be heard.

In the farm of Pat Trant Jnr, Behins, there was a blessed well. This was known to the older people as Tobar Uí Leidhin. There was an old midwife living in Behins named Moll Barry. One May morning she went to the well for a can of water. She had hardly reached the well when she was lifted off the ground and the next place she found herself was below at the monument in Lixnaw, spirited away by the good people.

Beside the well there was a graveyard. A glen beside it is still known as Gleann Dóighte.

Beside our house is a place called Pike, on the main road between Listowel and Castleisland. Old Ned Prendiville use to say that there were two gates here and everybody who passed the way with cattle or cars had to pay a toll of a halfpenny. There was also a pound there. There is a Dispensary at Pike. In this building was the old National school whose first teacher was John O’Connor. O’Connor was not long there when he had to flee the country owing to his connection with the Fenians. Then came my Grandfather old Master Lynch who taught there for six years and who opened the school at Rathea in 1875.

My Grandfather was a native of Knockanure. He used to tell stories about a woman name Joan Grogan of Knockanure. This woman used to be “out” with the good people. One night they were on their way to Castleisland to decide whether a girl there name Brosnan was to be taken away or not. On their way they called in to my grandfather’s aunt the wife of Michéal Ruadh Kirby of Behins and took her snuff box as a joke. Micéal Ruad’s wife met her a few days after at the big fair in Listowel (13th May). Joan asked her did she miss her snuff box on such a morning and she said she did. Micheal Ruadh’s wife told her she heard them laughing in the kitchen that night.

Maureen Lynch

M’athair Muiris Ó Loingsig O.S a d’innis an méid sin dom. Rathea Listowel.

Little Lilac Studio, The Lartigue, Tarbert,Beale long ago

Darkness falls over Ballybunion playground in July 2017


Being a Tourist

When you live in Kerry people like to visit you in summer. I find it frees me up to be a tourist. I drop everything and take to the tourist trail; with my guests. Regular readers will be familiar with the places I love. One of these is Listowel’s Lilac Studio.

My little ones love to indulge their creative impulses. They have many useful and decorative creations at home, souvenirs of happy days in this lovely little studio.

On this visit we ran into some really artistic little girls who were making memories with their very artistic granddad.


We’re on the Train

Another favourite spot to take my visitors is the Lartigue.

All aboard! Tony Behan was the volunteer guard on the afternoon of our visit.


Tarbert Bridewell

The girls struck the same pose as the prisoner in the yard.

They briefly shared a cell with Mary McCarthy and they felt her pain as she and her infant were condemned to deportation for the crime of stealing cabbage to feed her starving children.

The children were horrified by the punishments doled out in the bridewell in years gone by.

These are my three little visitors as we set out down the ferry road in a mission to visit of fairies.


Blessing of the Boats in Beale

Once upon a time the blessing of the boats in Beale was an important ceremony in the lives of the boatmen. Liam O’Hainnín and his family photographed this blessing and he shared these photos recently on Facebook


A Change at Jerome Murphy’s Corner

Regions I.T. and computer shop has relocated here from Church Street.

Little Lilac Studio, Mountcollins and boys from O’Connell’s Avenue

Bill Power, Cork Camera Club for The Rebel Cup competition.


Little Lilac Studio

My girls love a trip to The Little Lilac Studio. This visit they decided to paint some unicorns.

Aisling did a foam creation, which is very different from painting. She loved working with the foam and she was thrilled to hear that it didn’t have to be fired in the kiln so she was able to take it home.

Little Cora at work on her work of art.

 Róisín decided to paint in the eyes first.



If you ever travel to Cork on the Rockchapel road you will notice this church just off the road on your left. It is the chapel at Mouncollins. One day recently I decided to take a slight detour and have a look inside.

This headstone was very unusual and very sad.

The church is small and very well kept. As with many rural churches some of the money for construction and furnishing came from the U.S. The windows are simple with just a smattering of stained glass.


Robert Halkett of Listowel

This picture has appeared on the internet of Robert Halkett, looking every inch the rock star.


O’Connell’s Avenue Boys

Noel Roche posted this old one on Facebook.  Sorry, no names

T.F. O’Sullivan, Enterprise Town Expo and a Memento of the Roadworks

Robin photographed by Chris Grayson


The First History of the GAA…..the Listowel Connection

Mark Holan writes a very interesting internet blog. A recent post which spiked my interest was all about T.F. O’Sullivan of Listowel who wrote the first history of the GAA.  This man seems to be largely forgotten except for Vincent Carmody’s references to him in his historical walking tour of the town when he points out where he was born and mentions his fame as the first to record the history of the GAA.

Below is the text of the blogpost. If you go to Mark’s site, you will also be able to see a photos of the book’s cover.

“A journalist’s book about
the early decades of the Gaelic Athletic Association this year quietly reached
the 100th anniversary of its publication. T.F. O’Sullivan’s Story of
the GAA
was based on an earlier series of newspaper articles.

The book’s 1916
publication has been lost amid all the attention to the same-year Easter
Rising. Even the 1916 entry of the special 1913-1923 centenary
section of the GAA’s website overlooks the book, written by one of its own
members. You can read the organization’s 28 May 1916 official statement after the uprising.

Michael Cronin of the International
Centre for Sports History and Culture at De Montfort University, Leicester,
England, briefly noted O’Sullivan’s book in a larger essay on “Historians and the
Making of Irish Nationalist Identity in the Gaelic Athletic Association.”

O’Sullivan was a GAA
official and the book presents a highly simplistic notion of the Association’s
past beginning with the seven pioneers who met in Thurles in 1884 to reawaken
the Gaelic nation through sport and taking the narrative up to 1916 by
recounting details of major personalities, decisions taken by the Central
Council and recording the results of matches.

Although there is no
explicit mention of the Easter Rising as such an inclusion would have meant
that the book would not be approved by military censors, there is an implicit
celebration of the Rising as those GAA men who took part are included in the
list of GAA personalities.

Although not a widely
researched history, as it is more of a contemporary account, O’Sullivan’s book
is important as it sets out an accepted chronology that is rarely challenged by
subsequent authors. This chronology, while celebrating the games of the Gael,
primarily revolves around the role of the GAA in reawakening the national

O’Sullivan’s book does
receive several mentions in The GAA & Revolution in Ireland 1913-1923,
edited by Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh, a 2015 commemorative publication specially
commissioned by the GAA.

O’Sullivan was a Kerryman,
born in Listowel, according to a short History Ireland bio. He wrote for the
Freeman’s Journal.”


Saturday November 26 2016 in Listowel Community Centre

As part of BOI’s enterprise town initiative, we got to see a number of local clubs and charities in the community centre. Below are some of the people I photographed on the day.

Members of Listowel Tidy Town’s Committee cut the ribbon to perform the official opening.

Dawn Thomas had a beautiful display of crafts, all handmade by herself. Dawn’s work is for sale in Craftshop na Méar and at local craft fairs.

Denis O’Carroll of Fealegood Productions was there.

Eabha Joan’s Restaurant was there on Friday and Saturday.

Edel O’Connor of JK Sports made a sale to Sheelagh Dillon of BOI.

Eileen O’Sullivan is a multi talented crafter. Eileen’s ceramics and knits are available at Craftshop na Méar.

Lorraine O’Hanlon runs Listowel’s very successful play therapy business called Anam Saor.

Sand in Our Boots is a History of Beale GAA Club.

The Lixnaw area has a new Facebook page from Pride of the Parish

Christina was minding the Little Lilac Studio stall.

Imelda was taking Tom on a trip down memory lane at the Comhaltas stand.

Croí is Lyreacrompane’s Gym


Humans of Listowel

Matt Mooney and John McGrath share an interest in writing.


Party at Áras Mhuire

If you have family or friends at Áras Mhuire they invite you to join them for their Residents’ Christmas party


We’ll Remember the Road Works


Listowel Badminton Club held their annual Christmas Party in John B.Keanes  on Friday Night last and on the night the presentation of Club Person of the Year Award took place.  This Award was first inaugurated in 1987 and this year’s very popular recipient was Norma Leane for her commitment and dedication to the Juvenile section of the Club.  Norma works closely with coach Roly Chute who himself was one of the recipients of the Award in 1993.  Norma is seen here with Club Chairman, James Sheahan on the left and President/Secretary John (Junior) Griffin on the right. 

Trees, Little Lilac Studio and Listowel ESB 1958

Santa Claus is Coming to Town… and I met himself and the Missus

Saturday November 26 in Listowel Community Centre with the Clauses of The Seanchaí


Refurbishment Underway at Listowel Community Centre

The diggers moving in

 The work is going on at the pitches side of the centre. It will include accessible changing rooms and storage space for all the equipment which is currently in unsightly containers. The long term plans include a café and enhanced gym.


Beautiful Trees in Listowel Town Park


Rugby Training

It is heartening to see so many young boys and girls out training on a Saturday Morning.


Little Lilac Studio

If you have children to entertain, be it a birthday party or just children at a loose end, this is the place to take them. The Little Lilac Studio in Listowel’s Main Street was where I took my grandchildren during Halloween. They all loved the experience and they created a personalised bowl and plate each. These items of tableware are now in daily use at home in Cork.

We ran into Gabrielle McGrath and friends who were doing a special project. They were making and decorating bowls. Like us they were all loving the studio .


Humans of Listowel

I met Nancy, Mary and Maura in one of my favourite haunts. These ladies are three of the lovely volunteers in the St. Vincent de Paul Second Time Around Shop. It opens on Thursdays and Fridays from 11.00 until 5.00 at Upper William Street.


Listowel ESB staff 1958

This is a combined effort. Jer Kennelly found the Kerryman photo. Vincent Carmody provided the names and the context.


from left, George Brooks, ( Contracts man, afterwards transferred to Dublin) Jerry O O’Keeffe, (Charles Street), Walter Doyle,Greenville and now Meadowlands, Tralee, Clare O Connor, 108 Church Street, Brendan Stack, Ballybunion, Jackie Buckley, 22 Upper William Street


on left, man down from Dublin, on the right, Tony Walsh, Tralee.

The new E.S. B. offices were located at the corner of Church Street and Colbert Street. The refurbished building was originally the home of the Cain family, locally known as,  ‘Cains of the Bridewell’, due to the fact that the house was built on the ground where an earlier Bridewell had stood. One of those Cain’s had also been employed as ‘a Jail-keeper’ .

The window reflection shows the houses across the road, above the archway, Nurse O Donavans, where she had a little private nursing home. Many of the town’s children first saw the light of day here. Sadness also darkened the door. when on a summer day in the early nineteen fifties, a young Dublin boy, Gabriel Cummins, nephew of Nurse Donavans, who was spending his summer holidays in Listowel,  was drowned accidentally while swimming with friends in the Corporal’s, one of the favoured swimming locations on the river, which was located at the back of where the present Kerry Co-Op is built.

Below the Archway, was the public house, known as the Bon-Ton, home of Eamon Tarrant, This house was once the meeting place of the Young Irelanders.


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