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: Mario Goetze

World Cup Winner 2014: the listowel connection and Namir Karim of Iraq and Kerry

We knew him when he was only a lad

Mario Goetze who scored the winning goal for Germany in the 2014 World Cup final played in Listowel in 2008 in an under-16 international against Ireland.

You read about his Listowel connection right here first in April 2013.


From Iraq to Kerry with love

This is your blogger with my friend, Namir Karim. The photograph was taken in Craftshop na Méar in Church St. 

Namir has 2 businesses in town, Scribes and the craftshop and I can attest from personal experience that he is one of the kindest and most generous people you will meet in a day’s walk.

This is Namir with his lovely daughter, Rosa, who manages the craftshop. Rosa is blessed with a beautiful singing voice and her parents’ outgoing and cheerful personality. Namir also has a son, Peter who is destined to go places in this life. I’ll write about him at a future date.

This is why Namir is in the news. On Ryan Tubridy’s show on 2FM on the 10th July 2014 (you can listen back on the RTE Player) Namir told his fascinating story. With Namir and Ryan in the photo is Namir’s wife, Kay.


Namir’s story in brief

 There are very few Iraqi people in Ireland.  But Namir is well used to belonging to a minority.  He comes from one of the few Christian families in his native Iraq. As he told Ryan, Iraq has about 20 different religious sects in all. We are familiar with the majority Shia and their enemies, the Sunni, but there are several smaller faiths as well, including a very small scattering of Christians.

Namir was doing his compulsory military service in 1991 when all hell broke loose in his troubled country. Iraq, under Sadam Hussein, invaded Kuwait. The U.S. entered the war. Namir along with his fellow soldiers were given a week’s leave in exchange for a donation of a pint of blood. Iraq was expecting massive amounts of casualties and so was stockpiling blood. During his week’s leave, Namir fled with his family to the north of the country and to relative safety.

A year earlier Namir had met the love of his life, an Irish nurse called Kay Carr from Ballydonoghue. Namir’s mother had suffered a stroke and was in hospital in Bagdad. The family heard of an Irish hospital/hospice  which had a very good reputation and they were anxious to move their very ill mother there. This hospital was staffed entirely by Irish nurses. While his mother was here, Kay and Namir met and fell in love. Namir described Kay as ‘the most caring person in that hospital”. The lovers had to be careful as any association between a soldier and a foreigner would be treated with suspicion.

To cut a long story short, Kay returned to Kerry. Her contract had ended and she was free to leave. She and Namir vowed to meet again when the war was over.

When the war ended in September 1991, Kay could not believe her ears when she got a phone call from a very relieved and now free Namir.  Kay had heard nothing from him since she left Iraq and she feared that he was killed in conflict. She was overwhelmed with relief to hear that he was alive and still in love with her and willing to come to Ireland and make a new life with  her.

Namir remembers that the film Not Without my Daughter was showing in all the cinemas at the time. This did not paint the best picture of an Iraqi son in law.

The Carrs however welcomed Namir into their family. Kay and Namir married and started a family of their own.  Namir’s first business was a a shop at Fealesbridge. Since then he has had a succession of different businesses. Now he enjoys his time in Scribes and Craftshop na Méar. He is very much part of the Kerry community now.

Namir’s Iraqi family were into different kinds of craft and Namir, when he takes a break from the café, loves to make candles, paint pictures and to try his hand at new crafts. He is in his element in Craftshop na Méar or chatting to the Knitwits knitting group in Scribes. His beloved late mother was a knitter.

Namir Karim is a lovely man with a great back story. Ryan Tubridy said he thought that there was the makings of a book or a film in the story.

What about George Clooney to play Namir?


Listowel Heritage Trail

These signs are popping up around town. They are signposts for Listowel’s Heritage Trail, a walking tour of the town with stops at various landmarks. You can collect your map in The Seanchaí and off you go. Number 4 is St. Michael’s Graveyard.


The Boomtown Rats in the 1970s  (Eric Luke)


An Utterly confusing road sign

Kenmare  (Photo; Irish Central)

Mario Goetze, God’s Acre, Turf cutting and a trip down Memory Lane

We knew him when he was only a lad.

This is a photo of Shane Murray(Ireland) and Mario Goetze(Germany) taken in Listowel in 2008.

This is the same Mario now aged 20 in his Borussia Dortmund colours. He is in the news because he practically single handedly beat the great Real Madrid on Weds. last.


Last Wednesday night in St. John’s we were treated to a rare glimpse into Listowel in times past, as seen through the lenses of John Lynch and Jack McKenna.

John McKenna played some apt tunes on the the piano as we watched footage never before seen in a public setting in Listowel.

Jack McKenna has been recording life in his native town since the 1940s. He recorded the FCA in the Square as they drilled in preparation for invasion in the 1940s. He recorded Seamus Wilmot’s funeral, Dick Pierse’s wonder horse, the Feale under ice and a frosty Sunday morning in the Square in the 1950s. 

These are just some of the gems we watched on Weds. night.

The feeling was one of attending an old black and white silent movie, but one set in a familiar location. It was a privilege to watch these old movies in the company of the film makers.

I took a few photos of attendees on the night

Claire and Bernie Carmody

Liz and Marie McAulliffe

Jim Sheahan and John Lynch
Sue and Jack McKenna with Sue Taylor
Veronica Corridan and friend


Dick Carmody took a great interest in the posts about An Teampall Bán. He shares this poem with us which he wrote earlier this year . The poem is about God’s Acre, a burial ground of unmarked graves in Ballybeggan, Tralee. This graveyard dates back to The Famine and times of other tragic sufferings.


Acre bids me enter through the well trodden stile of crafted limestone

handiwork separating the living from the dead, the busy from the rested

repose the remains of the unmentioned, unlisted and oft forgotten

distant times of want, denial and inhumanity they came here for final rest

they sometimes sought it out, cold refuge against an even colder neglect

faltering steps taken to meet their Maker in the soft embrace of Mother Earth

Or in
make-shift carts a final journey shared from workhouse or roadside refuge

over limestone paths by souls rehearsing their own inevitable last journey.

our own time of plenty and opportunity we still seek out this relic from the

inside from a world speeding by, we each find our own personal recess

to repose the burdens of our living with the memories of those deceased

Stations, the Grotto, the Altar and the Cross all give us comfort on our way

we are relieved, comforted and renewed by this sanctuary to our dead

surely chose his Acre wisely, its great value not being of our choice
or making.

Carmody                                    January,


Lovely photo of men cutting turf on a raised bank, one sleánsman and one catcher  carrying on an age old tradition.


I took this photo a few years ago at the unveiling of the John B. sculpture in the Garden of Europe. Billy Keane is surrounded by a bevy of local beauties.


This was the only photo I could find on the internet of Miriam O’Callaghan accepting the inaurgual Mary Cummins award for outstanding achievement by an Irish woman working in the media. It was presented at the First Women in the Media event held in Ballybunion last weekend. The event was a great success by all accounts.

The Bog2Beach challenge was a great success as well. If I come across any photos in my research or if someone would like to send me some of photos of either event I’d love to share them.


Yesterday I went to Kerry Parents and Friends Garden Fete. Here is alittle video I made and I’ll post some photos during the week.

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