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: Lizzie’s Little Kitchen

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.

Lizzy’s Little Kitchen, Races 2016 and jostle stones in Kanturk

Lizzy Meets  a fan 

My sister in law is a great cook and an even better baker. She loves all cookery programmes but she especially loves Lizzy Lyons on a Sunday morning. When she and her two friends visited Listowel recently one of the highlights of the trip was  lunch in Lizzy’s Little Kitchen. It did not disappoint and getting to talk to the lady herself was the icing on the cake.


Races Story from The Archives

David Looby, The Wexford People in David Looby is a journalist with The Wexford People. The photo and the essay below recount his experience of his trip “home’ for the recent Listowel Races 2016:

I’ve lately joined the ranks of the school drop parents.

You know the sleepwalking types who are half-human, half school bags and lunch boxes. The ones that look immaculate on the first day, but revert to tracksuits and bearded, red eyed grumps by day two (the men that is!).

My daughter couldn’t wait to get started and barely looked over her shoulder at The Good Woman and I as we left her behind with her wonderful teacher and all her new classmates. 

I had a week off last week and, owing to some convenient amnesia and force of habit, imagined a week of leisure, down at the Listowel Races catching up with friends from my primary schoolgoing days, throwing back pints. 

The holiday got off to a rocky start as I picked up a dose, followed by The Little Fella getting a fever. My plans were falling apart as I came to terms with the reality that I was tied to school drop off and pick up duties every day, along with toilet training and night ‘lifts’ to the toilet. Undaunted, Tuesday saw me arrive at the heart of zen-like peace in the South East, St Mullins, from where I jogged to the second lock gates and continued walking until the third lock but couldn’t make it as far as Graiguenamanagh as I had to be back from the school pick-up (and I was shattered). I drank in the sweeping views under a milk white sky, taking my time on my way back. 

Wednesday was a doctor’s appointment for The Little Fella, followed by a morning enjoying the cafe life of Wexford with him, during which I picked up a new book before going home and lapping up the sunshine. Thursday was a walk from Slade to Hook Lighthouse and CD shopping.

Determined to get away at the weekend I hatched a plan to visit friends in Dublin, my first trip to the city in three years would be amazing, I told myself, only to discover via Whatsapp that said friends were heading to Kerry. 

With a daunting list of work to do around the house ahead of our children’s birthday party this weekend, I started to feel the walls closing in around me. The holiday was half way over and drinks needed to be organised to cap it all off, but where?

For years I’ve been trying to get back to Listowel for the races. Every year growing up in Listowel, the races and Fleadh Cheoil meant a week off school and the arrival of ‘the bazaar’ in town, along with a colourful host of characters, enjoying marathon sessions. Back then the town was buzzing and there was a wonderful atmosphere as you crossed the bridge over the River Feale to the racecourse, to the lilting sound of ‘throw me down something’ from Travellers who enjoyed the good fortune of (some) punters. 

Such sounds could not be heard over the thunderous Feale river on Saturday when, accompanied by my financial turf adviser, (my Dad), I returned to the race track on a glorious Autumn day. My tactic of backing horses with fun, quirky names was abandoned on the advice of my father so I went with ‘good’ each way prospects, all of whom came nowhere. After the races we walked the streets of the lovely north kerry town stopping into the institution that is The Shebeen pub, where people were relaxing in the great company of its owners, chatting about this year’s festival, which had a record crowd for Ladies Day on Friday. I returned to Wexford on Sunday night exhausted after a great escape (and a few too many) in Kerry.

Wexford People


Jostling in Kanturk

A loyal blog follower was visiting my hometown of Kanturk and he photographed a few jostle stones for us.

The stones were in a laneway leading to the back of the old RIC barracks, later a Garda station and now a furniture and carpet shop.

Horses and carriages would have gone down this lane to get to stables at the back of the barracks. These stables were later used as cells for prisoners.

Mid Term Break with na cailíní and Healyracing on Nationwide


Ita Hannon is a super photographer. This is her picture of Portmagee last week.


Mid Term Break

My little granddaughters made a welcome trip to The Kingdom during their spring break. If you have grandchildren who come to visit, enjoy them while they are small. All too soon they become busy with their own activities and there is less time for Kerry visits.

Aisling, Cora and Róisín are growing up fast.

When they are in Nana’s house they do Nana type activities like knitting and baking.

Aisling loved my old beater. She thought it was much better than a whisk for making pancakes. The above picture is of Aisling making pancakes for Shrove Tuesday and when she returned home she made her parents cupcakes for Valentine’s Day. (picture below)


Healyracing on telly

I have a cohort of Listowel people who have always welcomed me to Listowel and treated me like one of their own. They have shared stories and photographs with me and extended extraordinary kindnesses to me when I felt in need of “local” family. One of the first among these was the late Liam Healy. We shared a love of charity shops. While in search of a rare or beautiful pen, Liam would always take time to chat. He was a great man for stories, none more fascinating than his own life story, which was filled with tragedy but also with hope and success which came with making the most of talent and hard work.

There was never any mistaking that the most important people in Liam’s life were his family. He was enormously proud of all of them and there was no man more delighted to have them all around him and involved in the business he grew from humble beginnings in Listowel.

I am delighted that Liam’s memory is going to be kept alive with a Nationwide programme on tomorrow evening, February 21 at 7.00p.m. on RTE 1.


A Specialist for everything

Do you remember when we had a jack of all trades mechanic who could do everything your car might need to be done to it?


Listowel’s Lizzie Lyons on TV3

Lizzie of Lizzie’s Little Kitchen, Listowel, is forging a career for herself as a TV chef. Her easy relaxed style and clear instructions are endearing her to her Sunday morning TV audience. She has a great future ahead of her in the cooking business.

Bridge Road , Knitwits, November Remembrance and Listowel Half Marathon

November 2017

Its not nearly as bad as Thomas Hood makes out in his poem

No sun – no moon! 

No morn – no noon – 

No dawn – no dusk – no proper time of day. 

No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease, 

No comfortable feel in any member – 

No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees, 

No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds! – 


Thomas Hood

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Bridge Road is Changing

Recently Bridge Road has become a traffic headache for many people who live there or who have to drive through Listowel at certain times of the day.

This is soon to change with work to begin on the enlarging of the entrance to the town park. At present if a car is on the way out the car entering the park has to wait. This is causing traffic to back up on Bridge Road.

Another cause of concern on Bridge Rd is the entrance to the housing estate which is located opposite the entrance to the park.

Plans are afoot to improve this junction as well.


Still Knitting and Nattering

Our knitting group meets in Scribes on Church Street on Tuesdays and Saturdays at 11.00a.m.

 New members are always welcome.


Simon Delaney in Lizzie’s

Photo; Lizzie’s Little Kitchen

Simon Delaney of TV3 and now more famous as the writer of a cookbook was in town to open the Food fair. He called in to his friend Lizzie and her husband in her workplace.


Listowel’s Half Marathon 11/11/2017

Every Saturday morning a group of fitness conscious individuals meet in Listowel Town Park for the weekly park run.

On Saturday last, some of the more experienced among them joined serious runners for Listowel’s annual half marathon.  The race was run in atrocious weather conditions.

This photo was taken by super photographer, Chris Grayson. People who follow my blog regularly will be familiar with Chris’ great photographs. There is much more to Chris than beautiful photographs. Chris is a dedicated marathon runner and on Saturday in Listowel he was doing a job of pacing for the athletes. That is him below in the middle; Number 61

These are Chris’ photos of the participants’ medal


Lest we Forget

Every November Listowel remembers its war dead at a special mass and ceremony. These former soldiers with their flags were proud to stand for my photo outside St. Mary’s Listowel before the mass on November 12 2017


Every Picture Tells a Story

Who cares about the weather when you are happy? John Stack took this great photo and here is the caption he put with it on Facebook.

Darren O’Connor, Captain Ballydonoghue receiving the cup from Johnny Stack, Chairman North Kerry Football Board after defeating Moyvane in the final of the Kieran Corridan Intermediate Cup Final Sponsored South Of Ireland Waste Management played in Ballylongford on Saturday. 

(P.S. Saturday, Nov. 11 2017 was one of the wettest  days in North Kerry in a long time.)

Three new businesses, Thade Gowran remembered and an upcoming Music Festival

Three New Businesses Open Their Doors

This colourful shop is located at No. 3 Main Street. In  it,  you can customise a cup or plate with birth, marriage, Fathers’ Day or other details or just bring home your very own souvenir of your visit to Listowel.

Lizzie’s Little Kitchen on William Street opened on June 17 2016. This is the Listowel outlet of a food emporium which is very popular in Ballybunion and at the Friday Market in Listowel.

Jimmy Deenihan’s constituency office premises is now Purtill Solicitors.


Trade Gowran’s Descendants

Bernadette Beardsley sent this photo . She and all of Thade’s descendants are proud of their Irish heritage.

“Hello My name is Bernadette Bardsley you recently published an article about my Great Grandfather Thade  Gowran who was my mothers  Hannah Teresa Flaherty’s Grandfather My mother was featured in the article as was my Father who was an Englishman Warren Paul Bardsley, also featured my sister Fran Blyth and her three children my nieces and Nephews Michael, Sean Chamberlain and her daughter Alexis Johnstone.

Thade’s  Decendents from his Granddaughter are many, and many of us have his love of Poetry including myself, I sing like my Great Grandfather and play an Instrument, I was also born in the same month of May, his Great Grandson Anthony Warren Bardsley is very talented in Poetry and has a Book Published, Kathleen Johnson is also gifted with writing, also his Great Granddaughter, of course many of us have children too, so the spirit of Thade  carries on to a fourth Generation .”


Expect Delays

Vital repair work on both sides of the Big Bridge is causing some delays to traffic recently as a stop go system is in operation.


A Saturday Night in Listowel Town Square like no other

Some big names booked for Listowel for August 13 next.

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