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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Barbara’s Road Trip

In Marley Park; Éamon ÓMurchú


A Kerry Connection

Jim and Liz Dunn with their niece Rosie on Rosie’s wedding day.

Jim and Liz are huge supporters of the Arts in Kerry.

At the wedding, Liz read Gabriel Fitzmaurice’s Just to be Beside You is Enough during the ceremony.


This story is Pants


A First for Listowel Connection… A Guest Blogger

Barbara Kissane is an Irish American lady. She loves Ireland, the birth home of her parents and she has visited often.

This year her Irish holiday was a bit different. I asked her to give us an account of her trip and I will share her story of her Irish summer with you over the next few days.

When 2022 rolled around, I had no intentions of travelling to Europe this summer due to the covid restrictions.   In March, the restrictions were lifted and still no intention of traveling to Europe.  On April 12th, a mass shooting happened on the NYC subway.  The next morning, I booked my vacation on Aer Lingus for three weeks because I knew it was going to be a hot summer so I had to get out of NYC!  I hardly ride the subways!!  I had gotten an amazing deal for under $1,000 for 3 weeks.  

Our parents instilled in us a love of Ireland at an early age.   My father was from Kerry and my mother’s parents were from Mayo.   Ireland is in our blood!   We are  a large Irish/American family of 8 and we grew up in The Bronx, mostly an Irish neighborhood with lots of Kerrymen surrounding us.   I have been to Ireland the most out of my 8 siblings because I traveled with my parents a lot.

Originally for this trip, I was traveling with a friend and we were going to rent a car and travel all around Ireland for 2 weeks.  Then my friend had to back out at the last minute.   With that, my plans changed too.   I have driven Ireland by myself in 2017 and loved every minute of it.  I didn’t feel like doing it this time around.   I found a tour company called, The Royal Irish Tours and the tour dates fit perfectly for my trip.

It was totally last minute.   I would highly recommend them!   We covered a lot of ground in 10 days.   Yes, ten days and I survived being on a coach bus for ten days.  

More tomorrow….


The Boys (of 1972) are Back in Town

Jim Fitzmaurice has been in touch.

Listen up if you belong to the St. Michael’s Class of 1972.

Here is Jim’s email:

“We are organising a reunion of the Leaving Cert Class of 72 on 17th Sept. In Christys bar the Square

At 7pm. There are many we have no contact details for so a bit of publicity is needed.

Jim Fitzmaurice, Bunagara Listowel and Arklow.


A Fact

In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries doctors prescribed tobacco to treat a variety of ailments. These included, headache, toothache, arthritis and bad breath.


looking Forward to Writers’ Week

Upper William Street in march 2022


Ballinagare, Ballyduff

Photo: Moss Joe Browne


Some More from St. Patrick’s Day in Listowel


Listowel Writers’ Week

I called in to the Writers’ Week office last week. I was delighted to see a familiar face. My good friend, Liz Dunn, was looking after the shop.

The office has had a facelift. The welcome was as warm as ever. As usual there was time for a chat in the midst of the work of organising this year’s “live” festival.

Listowel Writers’ Week 2022 will run from June 1 to June 5.


Old Posters

While on my way to the Writers’ Week office, I spotted these in Kerry Writers’ Museum.


Hay time, a reunion and Poetry Town

Listowel Community Centre in 2021


In the Meadow

Photo from the internet

This photograph will bring back memories to many of you. The four men are almost certainly neighbours because haymaking required manpower and that’s when comharing came into its own. You helped the neighbours in their meadow and they came and helped you in yours.

Fine weather was extremely important when you had “hay down”. This is the time when the hay is mown and lying flat in the meadow. It is at its most vulnerable. Heavy rain at this juncture meant the hay was drenched and had to be tossed and turned to try to dry it. Wet hay would rot and sour and the cows would refuse to eat it.

Two days of sunny weather after the hay was mown was ideal as on the first day the hay could be turned and raked into rows and on the second day the wynds could be made. Once the hay was in wynds, the farmer could relax as even if it rained then it would run off the cock of hay without damaging it.



I hadn’t seen my friend, Liz Dunn since the first lockdown. Ansence makes the heart grow fonder but I’m glad to be reunited.


Nature Takes its Course in 2021

Crabs (at Carrigafoyle)

By John McGrath

By Carrigafoyle I found them on the shore,

catastrophe of crabs at Shannonside,

a hundred thousand corpses, maybe more,

abandoned high and dry by ebbing tide.

So small and white like pebbles by the sea,

I wondered what disaster had ensued,

what plague or poison shaped this tragedy

that wrought misfortune of such magnitude.

No massacre, I learned, but nature’s ways.

Somewhere beneath the wild Atlantic swells

these tiny creatures shed their carapace,

together they cast off their outgrown shells

and then, on cue, the mating games begin,

those age-old ecstasies of skin on skin.


Listowel has been chosen as one of Ireland’s Poetry towns.

Here is what it says on the website;

“The people and communities of each Poetry Town will celebrate poetry in their everyday lives and surroundings, create communal experiences, and celebrate the pride, strength and diversity of each town. Watch this space for more, including the announcement of each town’s Poet Laureate in mid-August, and upcoming details on events. Poetry Town is an initiative of Poetry Ireland in partnership with Local Authority Arts Offices and is made possible with funding from the Arts Council of Ireland’s Open Call funding, and is also supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.”

I’ll keep you posted.

Street Names Saga Drags on in the 70s and its daisies and dandelions everywhere in 2019 and Friends in The Áras

Signs of Summer in Upper william Street

The circus is in town. The ice cream cones are out. It must be summer.



We have all learned that we have to allow the daisies, dandelions and other wildflowers to grow and flourish as they play an important role in the natural world. Listowel is doing its bit.


Listowel Street names

It would appear that the MacMahon family preferred Ashe Street to Church Street as their address.  Ashe Street is an English translation of the Irish Sráid an Aghasaigh

Many people to this day use Patrick Street instead of William Street Upper, even though that plebiscite was defeated. 

Colbert St. was changed by agreement from Bridewell Lane although I dont know why it is Street in English and Road in Irish.

To this day the naming of places proves controversial. We wont mention the Ballybunion/ Ballybunnion or the Moyvane/Newtownsandes debate. As for Dingle, An Daingean or Daingean Uí Chúis….


Friends in High Places

Áras an Uachtaráin….the Listowel Connection

The Kerry Association in Dublin presented their Arts award for 2019 to Pauline Bewick. The presentation was made by Uachtarán na hEireann, Michael D. Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin.

Jim and Elizabeth Dunn of Athea and Listowel, as friends of Pauline’s, “were (according to Liz) humbled to be invited and honoured to attend”.

1975 Cinderella, Spectators at the tennis and Listowel Writers Week Literary Evenings.

Robin in The National Park photographed by Chris Grayson


Listowel Tennis in the 1980s

Watching a tennis game are Denis O’Rourke (standing) and the late Paudie Finnegan (seated).

Miriam Croghan and Jacintha Egan

Photos; Danny Gordon


1975 Panto

This old newspaper clip of some of the cast of Cinderella in 1975 brought back many many happy memories.

One sad fact I was reminded of is that Mary Dooley who played Cinderella was tragically killed in a Road Traffic Accident a few years after this happy time leaving behind a young husband and family.

At the other end of the scale another blog follower told me that there is a video of this panto somewhere and the drag show at the intermission is hilarious.

If you have real photos or would like to pen a few memories, there is an audience out there hungry to relive those happy busy winter days in 1970s  Listowel.


Listowel Writers’ Week Literary Evenings

You are still in time to catch the last of these tonight. This partnership between Writers’ Week and The Rose Hotel Tralee has added a whole new dimension to the festival and brought in a whole new local audience.

Because these soirees were free it was an ideal opportunity to sample a literary event and maybe find that it wasn’t quite so literary after all but warm, welcoming and accessible. The interviewers and guests have all done an excellent job, the venue is intimate and elegant and all in all this is a super venture and must be repeated.

On Weds January 23rd I went to hear Deirdre Walsh interview Carmel Harrington and came away eager to read the book. It was a lovely evening.

Mark, on behalf of The Rose Hotel, did the welcoming.

The inimitable Seán Lyons, on behalf of Writers’ Week, did the introducing.

Deirdre Walsh did the interviewing.

Here is the best selling author of seven novels with some of her Kerry friends, Mark Sullivan, Máire Logue, Liz and Jin Dunn and Deirdre Walsh (seated)

Posing with our books are Seán Lyons, Mary Cogan, Joan O’Regan and Mairead Costelloe.

Just like at Writers’ Week people queued to have books signed.

Just for a night, Liz forgot about Marie Kondo and the pleasures of decluttering. Anyway, this one sparked joy.

I missed the next one which was the very popular Tomi Riechenthal.

Tonight it’s the last in the series, the spoken word poet, Stephen James Smith. Should be a good one.

This series has been a resounding success. Thanks are due to Seán Lyons and Mark Sullivan for dreaming it up and to Listowel Writers’ Week  for organising another great project.  I think I can safely predict that this venture will be repeated.


Big Night in Store for The Dublin Kerry Crowd

Everyone is welcome

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