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: Marie Nelligan Shaw Page 1 of 2

Listowel Hospital, Emmy Award for Journalist and a piece of Leitrim history

Tree at the gate of Listowel Hospital


In the Grounds of Listowel Hospital

Áras Mhuire retirement home

Senan House

Hospital chapel


Prize winning Journalist with a Listowel Connection

The man in the middle receiving his Emmy award is multi media journalist Malachy Browne from Broadford, Co. Limerick. 

His Listowel Connection? 

He is the son of David Browne, Director and former chair of Listowel Writers’ Week.

Why is he famous?

Malachy and his team were presented with the prestigious award exactly one year to the day after the massacre took place in which 58 people attending a concert were gunned down and slain. Called 10 Minutes, 12 Gunfire Bursts, 30 Videos, Mapping the Las Vegas Massacre, the film won the Outstanding New Approaches: Current News award.

It is an investigation which tracks the timeline of the shootings, using mobile phone footage and CCTV footage and puts viewers right at the heart of the rampage,  knowing how it felt with nowhere to go to escape.

Malachy was the senior producer on the documentary film along with Drew Jordan, Nicole Fineman and Chris Cirillo. He has been with the New York Times since 2016.” 

Limerick Leader

This Limerick man (with a Listowel Connection) is working at the cutting edge of  multi media technology journalism. We will be hearing more of him.


The Bad Old Days

People who have recently seen the film Black 47 will be familiar with this type of very poor dwelling. This image and the story that follows is from a great Facebook page on Irish folklore and history.


From the National Folkore Collection as by Stephen McGann of Drumlara, Co Leitrim,

“Soon after the ordination of the new parish priest Lord Leitrim increased his father’s rent because he said he was able to pay a higher rent when he could educate his family. The priest’s father died in 1865. Soon after his death Lord Leitrim was passing through Drumgirla and met cattle wandering on the road. He dismounted and drove the cattle into the widow’s yard. He called her out and asked him if the cattle belonged to her. She had to admit they did and she had to pay the penalty of an increase in rent. In a few years later he heard that she had carried out improvements on her place…She foolishly admitted. ‘I have got no improvements made except some wallpaper for the walls and a new window put in where it was absolutely necessary’ Lord Leitrim laughed scornfully and said, ‘papering walls, a woman who can afford to paper walls can afford to pay a higher rent.”

(From National Folklore Collection under the heading of “Lord Leitrim)

Note how in this case the victim is a widow and the wide range of ingenious excuses which Lord Leitrim used to increase the rent. This tale may have grown in the telling but the fact that it does refer to an exact date and an exact placename may indicate that there is a lot of truth to it. Scholars have judged that Lord Leitrim’s rents were not that high in comparison to those of neighbouring landlords but the main problem may have been that he tended to raise them in a very arbitrary manner. The picture below shows a cottage outside Mohill co Leitrim in 1889, not untypical of the poverty of the smaller tenants.


A Lifelong friendship that began in Charles’ Street, Listowel

These ladies are old friends, Marie on the left and Doreen on the right. They are pictured here on the occasion of Doreen’s eightieth birthday last weekend.

Marie is Marie Nelligan and Doreen is Doreen Stack and their friendship began over 70 years ago in Charles Street Listowel. Emigration took both ladies far away from their native Listowel but they still today live within walking distance of each other in New Jersey.

Thank you ,Marie for the photo and Happy Birthday, Doreen.


Edwardian Post Box

Wrong E……The post box at Convent Cross is Edwardian and not Elizabethan as I said. 

Thank you, Tom Walsh, for the correction.

Preparing for Christmas 2017, Marie Shaw and a Wedding in Germany and Painted Ladies in John B.s

Two St. Johns’

St. John’s Tralee

St. John’s Listowel


Looking Forward to Christmas 2017

Great things are planned for Listowel at Christmas 2017

Local elves have been at work preparing a surprise for us all. The polar express will bring Santa into town this year and he and Mrs. Claus will meet North Kerry Children at the Lartigue Museum.

Keep an eye out for updates on this page;  North Pole Express


Marie Shaw remembers her Christmas in Listowel in the 1950s


A Wedding in Germany with a Listowel Connection

This is Mary Sobieralski of Listowel pictured with her son Mark on the morning of his wedding.

Mary loves Listowel where she spent her youth and happy years of retirement with her late husband, Wolf. But Mary’s smile is broadest when she is in the company of her lovely sons and their families in Germany. This photo of Mary’s family was taken later on on the day of Mark’s wedding.


A Most unusual fundraiser in John B.s (text and photos by Mattie Lennon)

Mattie Lennon sends us this account of a great night in John B. Keane’s Bar, Listowel.

Billy Keane and Mattie Lennon in John B.s


By Mattie Lennon.

Good painters imitate nature. (Cervantes.)

Hard to argue with that but some painters  tell the story of the most poignant aspects of nature.

   John B. Keane’s pub in Listowel has been home to ventures various and unusual in the past half century but on Thursday 12th October there was a new departure.   There are two body-painting events organised (for Dublin and Cork) during November, by  Bare-to-Care,  to raise awareness of breast cancer.  Ken Hughes and Eimear Tierney came to Billy Keane with an idea for a publicity event; breast painting!  Three brave women volunteered to bare all.  Ann-Marie Quigley who travelled from Portrush,  Bex Tolan originally from Donegal  and Siobhan Heapes from Cork all had had serious health issues.  All three women spoke honestly and openly about their   terrible experiences.   Anna had a double mastectomy and her partner, Jade, died from ovarian cancer in 2008.  Bex won’t ever be able to have children because of previous painful medical conditions and Siobhan Heapes had breast and ovarian cancer.

  Billy Keane is an established author and one of our great Irish journalists.  His writing, about his own life, has, in my opinion, saved lives.  With Billy the devilment is always close to the surface and while Ken Hughes was the event organiser Billy opened proceedings on the night with, “I want to make a clean breast of this.” 

   Three artists, Stephanie Power, Ruth McMorrow and Ciara Patricia Langan, in the words of Billy Keane,”Formed a bond with the human canvasses.”      

   Tennyson wrote of how,” . . .blind and naked ignorance delivers crawling judgements unashamed . . ”  

    “Naked” and “ignorance” were side by side in John B’s on 12th October; One couple got up and left. The female said to Billy, “What would your mother  and father think of this? They are turning in their graves. “  I know what Billy’s parents, who both died of cancer,  would think.  They would think that thank God they had reared a son who is doing something to highlight that dreadful disease.  There was certainly no whirring sound in Listowel cemetery that night .  John B. and Mary were not spinning in their graves.  And Billy Keane was too well reared   to reply to such an ignorant comment.

    Bare to Care Dare will take place in Cork on Saturday November 11th and in Dublin on Saturday November 18th. Hundreds of women will come together to celebrate their bodies, their breasts and above all to support each other. To tell their own cancer survival stories. To be proud and celebrate their new post mastectomy or reconstructed breasts. To lighten their spirits while going through treatment right now. To tick something off their bucket list. To laugh and have fun, to share and to support. Those that have lost loved ones to cancer will bare all in memory, to show their thanks to the support the Irish Cancer Society give every day to thousands of women all over the country.

   Eimear Tierney, Spokesperson   told me, “From our perspective, we were thrilled that Billy agreed to get on board with the charity and publicize our campaign. We were elated when he suggested a promotional event in John B’s. It’s hard to describe the atmosphere and spirit of giving and camaraderie that Billy created that night. Not only did he manage to raise awareness and promote the campaign, he and the guest performers  captured the whole ethos of Bare to Care. The volunteer canvasses were made to feel brave, beautiful and vital by every person that attended the event. He promoted our Bare to Care events as planned but he also provided a safe space for the girls to share their stories and celebrate their womanhood and survival.   We are in awe of Bill’s talent and generosity and we couldn’t possibly have found a more worthy and appropriate advocate for what we are trying to achieve with these events. We hope that it has inspired women to be brave and register for one of our two events.” (Eimear may be contacted at;

 Anna-Marie had an eagle painted on her front but not everyone knew.  One woman asked, “Where did she get that beautiful top with the eagle on it?”  Of course she was in Kerry so the answer came like a shot, “Penney’s.”  Where would you get it.

I’ll leave the last word to Billy Keane, “  I learned a lot over the last few weeks. There is so much going on in women’s  bodies.  We need a national conversation, education and more  bare, brave ladies.” 

   Billy insists that the pole in the centre of the bar is there to support the roof and there will be no pole-dancing in the future!

 There was no turning in graves

Dandy Lodge, a Strange Meeting and Marie Nelligan remembers The Races

Halloween 2017


Dandy Lodge in October 2017

 The Dandy Lodge is the oldest house in Listowel. It originally stood on The Bridge Road until it  was moved stone by stone into the park.


When Real Life is Stranger than Fiction

This is me in Bishopstown Library in Cork. With me is Ciara Crotty. Ciara is an artist and I had just purchased the piece she is holding.

Here are the three artists who were exhibiting their work in the library. They are all amateurs and they met when they all did a teaching course in art therapy. All three now work as art therapists. The reason I was at the opening of their show was because I know the artist on the far left, Sarah Murphy.

I know Sarah because she is a friend of my friend and former neighbour, Mary Salmon, who is on the right of this picture.

The art work on display was interesting and varied. I was particularly taken by Ciara’s work. She takes an old bottle, drills a small hole in it for a string of little led lights, and then  paints a picture on it. They looked appealing and different. I chose my favourite, well actually my second favourite. My favourite was sold.  I had to leave the piece behind until today which is the last day of the exhibition.

When I came home, I googled Ciara, as you do.

I nearly fell off the chair when I saw that Ciara is originally from Kanturk.  AND   then I realised that Ciara’s aunt was my mother’s bridesmaid.

Is ait an mac an saol. Life is full of surprises.


Marie Nelligan Remembers The Races and Christmas 


Upper William Street


Park and Stride

Last week pupils of Presentation Secondary School took to shank’s mare for the trip to school. Walking to school is becoming a fashionable option. In my day it was a necessity for many pupils.


Just a Thought

My last week’s “Thoughts” are on the Diocese of Kerry website now.

Minutes with Mary

An Old Church, a New Shop, and Some more 1950s Reminiscences

Listowel in October 2017


New Business on the Way to The Square


Reflections in the Sand


Listowel in the 1950s as Marie Nelligan Remembers it


The Way we Were

Marguerite Wixted took these photos in 1995, in the days before the hotel creeper covered the facade completely

The late Kevin O’Donovan outside his shop in Upper William Street at Halloween in 1995


Michael Tea

My sister in law is visiting her son and his family in the U.S. She brought him a reminder of home….a Michael Tea cosy.


A Few Activities for your Calendar


Well, that’s Gas

Remember my photo of the digger at work in the old Neodata carpark. It transpires that it is part of the work for the laying of the gas pipeline. This is how the scene looked yesterday.

Listowel in Autumn, Marie Nelligan remembers growing up in Listowel in the 1950s and Park Run

This building in Listowel Town Square was the home of The National Bank. Then it housed the Social Welfare Office and the office of NEKD. Now it is The Butler Centre.


Autumn by The Feale


Marie Nelligan Shaw Remembers

I asked Marie if she had any recollections of growing up in Listowel and here is what she wrote;

First instalment


A Fine for Littering

Isn’t this a kind of strange amount of a fine? I took the photo on the path between St. Michael’s graveyard and the pitch and putt course.


Park Run

I was heading for the park one Saturday recently when I spotted that the weekly Saturday Park Run was in progress. I was just too late to snap Jimmy Deenihan. That’s him on the right of my photo.

This initiative aimed at keeping the country healthy is a great success.


Halloween is Approaching

Time to remember our dead

Ní imithe uainn atá siad, ach imithe romhainn

( not gone from us, gone before us)

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