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: MacMahon House

The last of 2014 Corpus Christi procession photos and some beautiful paintwork on Church Street

Today is July 4th.  Have a great day all my American followers!

The stars and stripes are flying outside St. John’s.


Liam Murphy and family

Liam, on the far left,  is pictured with his sister, Catherine (Kath) brother Tom and sister Mary. The photo was taken in 2012. The story of Liam’s emigration is a happy one. He loves Kerry and in particular his native Lyre but he made a good life for himself in the U.S. and he now loves both of his homes. The land of opportunity gave him a good job, a home and family. Now, in his retirement, he returns often to visit his family and renew old acquaintances.

 Happy Independence Day, Liam!


Corpus Christi procession 2014


Church Street Looking good

Lovely, absolutely lovely!


In Gerry O’Carroll remembers his father who played his part in WW1

02 JULY 2014 12:00 AM

LAST Saturday marked the 100th anniversary
of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo.

The shooting led, of course, to World War
i, a conflict which drew in millions of people around the world.

Among them was a young man from Listowel,
Co Kerry, named James O’Carroll. He was my father.

He was one of thousands of young Irishmen
who answered John Redmond’s call to join the British Army and fight for the
freedom of small nations.

My dad was just 16 when he left north
Kerry for London in 1916. There he joined the Royal Engineers and, after four
months of basic training, was sent to the Western Front.

He fought in France and later in Belgium.
Like thousands of his fellow countrymen he endured the horrors and hardships of
the Great War – the mud, the blood, the daily terror and struggle for survival.

In early 1918, having survived two years
of that living hell, he was seriously wounded during an over-the-top attack in

He was shot through the shoulder and,
following a mustard gas attack, lay blinded and choking in a shell-hole for ten
hours before he was rescued.

My father was taken to hospital and
recovered from the wound. Alas he suffered lifelong effects to his lungs from
the gas attack.

James O’Carroll remained in France with
his regiment until the Armistice in 1918 and was demobbed the following year,
after which he returned to Listowel.

My dad’s experiences in France and Belgium
left him a changed man. In later years he became a committed pacifist.


He also went on to raise a family of 15,
living in the soldiers’ houses in Listowel, a terrace built by a trust for
wounded veterans of the War.

Growing up In the staunchly Republican
heartland of north Kerry I always had the feeling that the houses were looked
on by many people as a curious anomaly.

Perhaps one of the reasons for this was
that our family would sell the poppy each November, not a common practice in
the town.

Sadly my dad, like many other veterans,
was seen by many not as a person who fought for freedom, but instead as someone
tainted by treason, for taking ‘the King’s shilling’.

Likewise no monuments were erected to my
dad’s many Irish pals who never came home.

Only now, at last, are they being properly
recognised. It’s taken a century but I’m glad to see it.

I’m sure my dear departed father would be

McCarthy’s Bar and Horan’s cat

This McCarthy’s Bar in Finuge and below is the great write up it got during the summer.

McCarthy’s Finuge Sunday World July 27 2013

ALL of the troops simply love their annual trip to
the Kingdom of Kerry, but the Young Commando was full of complaints this time
around as he wondered why we chose the hottest day of the year to embark on a three-hour
journey down south.

“Because there’s nowhere better in the world than
Kerry in the summer sunshine,” the Old Commando told him. After almost a 300km
journey from HQ, we arrived in Listowel, but the old boy wasn’t content to stop
(despite the unbearable heat) and informed our designated driver to keep going
along the N69.

What he had failed to inform the rest of us was he
had just spotted a signpost for the tiny village of Finuge, just 5km south of
Listowel, and was eager to check it out. We all knew why. Football. What else?

Finuge is the home of the great Kerry workhorse and
fashion guru, Paul Galvin. The Old Commando has long been an admirer of the
feisty half-forward and as he said himself:

“It’s always nice to visit new places.”

This was indeed a first for the troops and we soon
arrived in the remote village of Finuge in north County Kerry. There wasn’t
much to see, with the exception of the crossroads and the football pitch, but
all we wanted was a pub. 

McCarthy’s bar was the destination for our first
pit-stop and we were immediately impressed by the bright, blue-and-red
exterior. It was in fantastic condition and the flowers and hanging baskets add
that little bit extra. 

A friendly middle-aged barmaid served us without
delay, but she didn’t speak with a Kerry brogue. We didn’t like to ask, but we
think she may have been English. 

Either way, she was very polite and engaged the
troops in plenty of banter.

The pints of plain at €4 were reasonably priced and
quite tasty, while the Young Commando opted for mid-strength Guinness, but we
figure that was just to save 20c.

There are two TVs, a dartboard, a jukebox, a gaming
machine and a pool table laid on for the punters, but none were in use during
our stay as the all-male clientele were analysing the Kingdom’s latest
Munster triumph over fierce rivals Cork.

The red brick and stone fireplace, complete with a
solid-fuel stove, was very attractive, but thankfully there was no need for it
to be lit on this occasion. 

As in every Kerry pub, there are a vast amount of
photographs paying homage to the many great Kerry teams and, God knows, they’ve
had enough of them.

The Old Commando riled some locals when he told
them their ageing side won’t live with Jim Gavin’s young guns!

Only time will tell, but everyone knows you write
Kerry off at your peril. 

One photo that really stands out is of local
hero Paul Galvin receiving the 1,000th All Star award in 2004.

Pub Spy took it upon himself to inspect the loos
and they were spotless. There is one cubicle, a stainless steel urinal, a soap
dispenser and hot water provided. 

It’s amazing how few pubs provide hot water for
customers when it seems like such a basic requirement. McCarthy’s bar is a
brilliant pub and we were tempted to stay all day and night. 

After having such a great time we felt bad leaving,
but we will certainly make it our business to return someday. 

The Old Commando said we’ll bring Sam along for the

McCarthy’s bar, Finuge, Co. Kerry



A pint of plain is yer only man! 


This self catering accommodation in Church St. is in the house that was once the home of Bryan MacMahon. Hence the new name MacMahon House.


 In Print has closed its doors and relocated the business to Listowel Printing Works.


Tomorrow night Friday September 13  in The Listowel Arms, Billy Keane will launch his long awaited second novel. Be there or miss out on a great night.


This weekend, the Horgan Clan are gathered in Lisselton and the Quilters are in Lixnaw.


This cute little fellow was enjoying life yesterday in the window of Tadhg Horan’s Vetinerary Centre in The Square. His name is Tripod. He walks on three legs.

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