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: Maeve Moloney

Raceweek, milk churns and memories of Races past

Chris Grayson


Revellers in Listowel during a bygone Race Week

Daly’s was where The Risin’ Sun is now.


Sentimental attachment to milk churns

Dear Mary, 

To add to your milk tank stories, I am attaching a few pictures of milk tanks I brought back from Listowel years ago, painted green to match my front door, and they have travelled with me ever since to my homes in Virginia, Maryland, Arizona, North Carolina, and currently, South Carolina. Jack Scannall delivered milk to us at Skehenerin and always added a “supp” for the cat. As always, thanks for the Listowel Connection. 

MAEVE MOLONEY KOCH, Columbia, South Carolina 


Memories, Memories

Whether it’s milk churns or pictures, so many things remind us of home.

Here is a letter I got from Bernie Bardsley

 I would like to share a painting I did in 2004 of my mother, Hannah Theresa Bardsley (Grand daughter of Thade Gowran )and my son James Bardsley when he was a baby
He is a strapping 33 year old now
I haven’t painted in a while, but when I do I always sign it Barnaby, ( Another Story some other time, I hope your readers enjoy my painting, maybe inspiring me to paint again.
Bernadette Bardsley


Ballyduff and Ballincollig Friends at the Races on Sunday

The weather was a bit cold and blustery but it’s great to be outdoors and in good company.


Article in Image

In case you missed this great essay about Listowel Races in

The essay was written by one of our own with insider knowledge, Eadaein O’Connell.

Galway may have the hype, but the Listowel Races has the heart

Don’t be surprised if you hear a Listowel expat say they would rather come home for the week of the races than for Christmas. As a child, my parents would take me to the marketotherwise known as the amusementsduring the festival, and on the drive home I would turn to look at the outline of the town behind me as we drove away. All I could see was the sparkle of the funfair rides and I’d think to myself “wow, it can’t get any better than this”.  Side note: years later I discovered alcohol and the races became a whole different level of awe-inspiring.

For one solemn week in September, the town of Listowel illuminates. The land of John B. Keane becomes flooded with the racing elite, and Gypsy Kathleen parks up in The Square to tell fortunes to the unfortunate as punters try to grapple with lost money and dreams. A week on the racecourse, or ‘The Island’ as the locals call it, can ruin a person in the best possible way. They travel in spades from far-flung places like Tarbert to get a taste of the equestrian dream.  In its 160thyear, the Listowel Races is a pure horse racing adrenaline rush. It was my childhood, my teenage years and now my adult chapters. There is a magic in the town that you won’t find anywhere else. Galway may have the hype, but Listowel has the heart.

As a native, I know the tips and tricks to survive the week. You’ll need feeding because the days are long and treacherous and the walk to the Island is a marathon in itself. Be sure to eat your first meal before midday. The Grape and Grain on Church street is like being wrapped up in a warm hug. You’re always sure to be welcomed with a smile and banter from its patrons Martina and Pauchie. Martina makes all her food with a dash of tender love and care and Pauchie is the man to go to for a tip for a horse. The Horseshoe Bar and Restaurant and Eabha Jones are two delicious and warm choices post races and if you are feeling Italian inclined, make your way to Casa Mia’s and order the Chicken Milanese. This is so much of a Listowel delicacy you’d swear we invented it.

Before you descend onto ‘The Island’, saying a prayer for the sins you may commit during the week is a respectable choice. The Church is placed alongside the castle entrance so you are in particular luck. The racecourse is the holy land. No negativity will touch you there. Even though you may be considerably poorer by the end of the day, you will quickly find yourself in the middle of a bad episode of Strictly Come Dancing in Captain Christy’s stand and all will be forgotten. The McElligots Honda Ladies Day is always a winner and this year the best-dressed lady will walk away with a new Honda Civic and €3000. The festivities on the course last into the early hours, so stay for as long as your liver allows.

And on your way out, never forget to buy two Toblerones for a fiver.

Navigate the pubs of Listowel with absolute precision. Start the day in Mike the Pies at the top of the town. A Joe Dolan impersonator makes an appearance each year, and is so good he could transport you back to Mullingar. Then make your way to John B. Keane’s for the history and a chat with his son Billy. My family and I have forced a singing session here many times, so if you feel a sudden urge to warble your way through ‘Caledonia’ or ‘Lovely Listowel’ do not fight it. I’m sure Billy won’t mind.

Then to Jet Carroll’s which is the pub equivalent of Cheltenham. Here you will be offered one of three things; a horse, marriage or a farm in Ballylongford. Finally, Christy’s pub in the square is a place where many romances have started and subsequently failed. There are guaranteed laughs, live music and a barbeque. If you happen to lose a loved companion on your travels, check the back of Christy’s. It’s common to overhear, “You’ve lost your friend? Have you checked Christy’s?” The friend is usually exhumed from the smoking area after trying to romance a lovely girl from Limerick. At the end of the night, you have two choices; The Listowel Arms Hotel to witness the population of the town in action, or Mermaids Nightclub if you’re feeling brave.

Listowel chippers are like an apparition at the end of the night. Mama Mia’s has the best chips in Munster and the chicken and coleslaw in Jumbo’s are Michelin star worthy. My advice is to choose both. You will make friends for life, find romance or an afterparty in both restaurants. And as they say, you only live once.

You see, Listowel is the town that raised us and the races will forever run through the veins of its locals. We will always return. And I promise if you make the trip, you will never want it to end. Because you will find yourself sitting in the town square, missing your shoes, with a fistful of Mama Mia’s chips in one hand and a Jumbos’s chicken breast in the other, and you’ll think to yourself, “wow, it can’t get any better than this”.

Morning Walk with Vincent Carmody June 2 2017 and Maeve Moloney, an Irish woman in South Carolina

A Few More Photos from Where they Lived and where they lie


A Letter from America

Maeve Moloney wrote:

Dear Mary,

 I want to thank you again for your hard work in compiling and publishing the Listowel Connection. On May 9 you published a 1954 photo of my class sent to you by Delia Walsh’s sister. I want to keep my long-ago friend, Delia, informed so I am attaching a few pictures of me at my Columbia, South Carolina, USA, home which I share with my husband, Robert. Our son, Paul, his wife, Susan, and our two grandchildren — a boy, age 14, and a girl, age 11, live nearby. Our other son, Robert, lives halfway across the USA in Kansas City, Missouri. The attached pictures show that I remain a faithful daughter of Listowel and Ireland — whether it be my flags in my front yard, my decorated shed and image of St. Patrick in my backyard, or my Irish-green auto with Irish decals and monogrammed license plate. 

Listowel,Ballybunion and Banteer and a memory of neighbours long ago

(photo; T.J. Mac Sweeney)


Rainy morning in Listowel Town Square , December 2015


Banteer, Co Cork

It’s not just a train station you pass through on the way to Kerry.

Banteer is a lovely little cross roads village in North Cork. It’s most striking feature is it’s picturesque church .

There is a big car dealership at the crossroads and beside it is this ingenious mural made from decorated car hub caps.


Happy Times 

photo: Ita Hannon

This looks like partytime in Ballybunion. Ita is not sure of the occasion. These are the people she can identify. On the far left nearest the camera is Kit Ahern. Jackie Hourigan is the man in the grey suit. Molly Miller is sitting in the front right and behind her is Jackies wife.


Switching on the Christmas Lights 2015

The Square was thronged.

Billy Keane introduced Santa and Mrs Claus.

Denis Carroll recorded it all.

This duo kept us all well entertained.

Kelly O’Sullivan, one of the organizers of it all with Billy Keane M.C.

Jennifer Scanlon, another of the organizers took a moment to pose with her family.

Elizabeth Lyons of Lizzie’s Little Kitchen brought her family to enjoy the fun.

Spar Express sponsored treats and balloons for all the children.


Ancient tree in Bridge Road

I often wonder, as I pass this tree, just when was it planted. Isn’t it magnificent? If only he who planted it could see it now.


Photo evokes a Response in South Carolina

Last week I posted this photo on Listowel Connection.

As they say on Facebook…..”and then this happened”

From Maeve Moloney Koch in Columbia, South Carolina came this email;

“Dear Mary,  I was surprised and happy to see Christy on today’s Listowel Connection. I am attaching a picture I found of that same Christy drawing home the turf from the bog sometime during the 1950s. Christy is on the left driving. Dennis Horrigan, R.I.P., is on the right. We lived a few houses over the road towards Bolton’s Cross.”

From far away and long ago Maeve Moloney says Hi to her former neighbour, Christy Brennan.

Paddy Drury remembered and St. Patrick’s day in South Carolina; The Listowel Connection

The Times they are a changin'”

The clocks went forward one hour at the weekend. We have always used this phrase but it struck me on Sunday that it is now true. I woke up on Sunday morning to find that all the clocks in my house had adjusted themselves to the changed time. They had “gone” forward literally. The twice yearly ritual of going round the house and manually resetting the clocks will be another story to tell the grandchildren. Woe betide you if you forgot to reset the time on the video recorder!


Paddy Drury

A poet and wit who is remembered in many of the best Listowel stories and anecdotes is the late Paddy Drury. One Sunday recently, my good friends, Anne and Liam Dillon invited me to lunch, and, to complete a very pleasant afternoon, they took me to see Paddy Drury’s resting place in Knockanure graveyard.

His grave lies within the walls of the old Knockanure church.

The graveyard is an old but very well maintained one in an absolutely beautiful rural location.

The late Dan Keane  wrote a poem to Drury and here it is for you:

Drury’s Ghost       Dan Keane

Down Farran by the old

One night I took a stroll

As bright aurora’s crimson

Flashed upward from the pole.

From the red wine of

To the dead I drank a toast,

Then what appeared beside me

But Paddy Drury’s ghost.


At length I uttered, “Drury

What brings your spirit back?

Is there anything you’re
needing? “

He answered, “Not a whack!”


“But the friends I loved are

And the scene is not the

There’s a dozen homesteads

Down along my own Bog Lane.

How I loved each thatched
white cottage

When their silent signals

Like a fleet of ships in

Belching out their morning

“I’ve met all the friends in

Drurys, Dores, the Nolans,

Fiddler Creed and Dancing

With his legs as loose a

Tade and Jim and Dick ,the

Dan the Bucko from the Lane,

I’d a pint in Peter’s parlour

With my old friend, Daniel


“I have toiled with many

When the grub was really bad.

I’d never live for ninety

But for the teeth I had.

But the frame was getting

And the teeth were getting

So I found my stimulation

In the stuff I couldn’t chew.


So I said, “You are in Heaven

And what more can mortals

Do you know you’ll soon be

With a headstone o’er your

He betrayed no foolish

Gave a jovial exclamation

In the quaint old Drury

“Hope ‘twont raise my

“ Let the human fad be

It will do no harm there

And some pilgrim might, in

For the Drurys say a prayer.

Otherwise, above my ashes

I’ve no asset to my soul

And if Drury still was living

They’d begrudge him draw the

The poem is a very long one so I have edited it a bit but I kept the references to Drury’s neighbours in Bog Lane, the reference to his legendary grumbling about bad grub, his capacity for drink and the fact that his headstone was paid for my monies raised by his friends, among them  John B. Keane.


St. Patrick’s Day in South Carolina

This is Maeve Moloney Koch taking part in her local St. Patrick’s parade in Columbia, South Carolina, USA. Maeve is carrying a Kerry flag.

Maeve with her local congressman, Joe Wilson


If you live or have ever lived with an Irish Mammy this will give you a good laugh:

Football Supporters, Ballybunion and Maeve Moloney of Listowel and South Carolina

Ballybunion Sea Angling took this extraordinary photo of the sky over Ballybunion on Tuesday morning last, Oct 15 2013.


John Stack took this and lots of photos of the Tommy Madden Tournament and they are all available  from


Ballybunion in the 1950s complete with changing huts. Does anyone remember them there on the shoreline? I certainly don’t.


This fossil found in Ballybunion is 300 million years old. Ballybunion Sea Angling posted this photo of it on his Facebook page.


Maeve Moloney contacted me from South Carolina. She hails from Skehenerin. Maeve remembers Listowel with fondness and she has sent me some photos and a brief biography to let people know how she has fared since she left Listowel.

“I am the daughter of Mary Murphy and Jimmy (The Chum) Moloney.
My father was the dental technician for the Enrights when the father and then
his son had a dental practice in the Square for many years. There were six of
us children, all of whom had to emigrate to the U.S.A. Best known in Listowel
is my younger brother Tim (Teddy) who played with the Bunny Dalton Showband
before coming to America where he has been very successful with his own band
and his ownership of The Dublin Pub on Long Island. He visits Listowel
frequently. Among his very good friends in Listowel is Danny Hannon, the
bookseller. I and my husband, Robert, a now-retired U.S. Government lawyer,
have lived over the years in New York City, Washington D.C., Phoenix, Arizona,
and now we live in retirement in Columbia, South Carolina, where one of our
sons, Paul, also a lawyer, lives with his wife and two children. We have one
other child, Robert — yet another lawyer — who currently resides in Kansas
and has one son, Seamus. I’ve had a few careers myself. I was an interior
designer in Washington for many years and then, until a few years ago, ran an
Irish import business, mainly online. We were last in Listowel about 7 years
ago and are planning a trip with the whole family, including the three
grandchildren, for a year or two from now.”

Captions to the photos are clockwise beginning with the upper left.      

1)Maeve footing the turf, 1960;

2)William St., Ash Wednesday, 1984;

3)Taking It Easy, Standing on a Corner in Winslow, Arizona,

 4)Advertising on a Saguaro cactus outside my home in Arizona, 1997.

1)Ballybunion, 2007;

2)Washington DC, family picture, 1987;

3)James Joyce & Maeve, O’Connell St., 2007;

4)My Dad & his friend, The Pecker Dunne, 1980s.  


1)Maeve at the Castle, 1960;

2)With US Congressman Joe Wilson on Maeve’s left, St. Patrick’s
Day Parade, Columbia, South Carolina, 2013;

3) At the newly dedicated Irish Memorial Park, Charleston, South
Carolina, in memory of 17th, 18th, & 19th Century Irish settlers in South
Carolina, note the raised granite map of Ireland, 2013;

 4) In my azalea garden
with my Yorkshire terrier, Maeveen, named after me.


Ballybunion Sea Angling posted this lovely photo from late evening in October 2013 in Ballybunion.


Next week I’ll tell you all about my experience of The parish mission.


 Meanwhile over on  The Listowel Thread someone is trying to organise  a group to play board games in The Listowel Arms on  Wednesday evenings.

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