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

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A Drunken Wall

Church Street, Listowel in November 2021


John B. Keane’s Sive

To mark the 50th anniversary of the first performance of Sive, The Listowel Players produced a souvenir programme to go with their production of the play. They included a page from the original programme.

Margaret Ward, who played the first Sive when she was only a schoolgirl remembers an eventful rehearsal.

Lovely memories from Nora Relihan


Martin Chute, Master Signwriter

Martin stopped for a short chat with a friend as he finished the sign on Griffin Butchers on William Street, Listowel


Did you Know?

Listowel once had a structure called The Drunken Wall. It was located at the end of the footpath on the Neodata side (or Town Park side for those who don’t remember Neodata) of Bridge Road. It was a wall built across the footpath preventing you going any further. It was built to prevent intoxicated pedestrians from walking into the river which is about 100 yards from that point. The idea was that as soon as you hit the wall, you could go no further and you knew it was time to cross over to the other path which would lead you over the bridge.


We’re having a Christmas Market

and we’re turning on the festive lights.

Photo; on social media


Listowel, Painting, Some Schoolgirls and International Storytelling Comes to Listowel

Listowel Big Bridge by Éamon ÓMurchú


Back to Normal

The uniforms are on again as schools reopen after a very disrupted 18 months.


Fact Stranger than Fiction

In 1951 the village of Cong, Co. Mayo delayed the rural electrification scheme so it could provide the setting for The Quiet Man starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. (Irish Examiner)


The Changing Face of Listowel

This house on Church Street is getting a facelift.

The walls have been stripped back to the blocks


Carroll’s is being painted

Painters taking a well earned rest


Pres. Primary school Second Class

Margaret Dillon provided all the names for her second class classmates.

Back Row L – R
Eileen O’Connor, Eleanor?Leahy, Nora Barry, Babe Murphy, Terry Buckley, Eileen Brazil, Patsy Browne.
2nd row,  from top, L- R Sheila Murphy, Eileen Corridan, Helen O’Quigley, Doreen Canty, Noreen O’Hanlon, Delia Walsh, Mary Walsh, Eileen Barrett,  Philomena Horgan, Joan Rowan, Eileen Donoghue.
3row , from top. L-R Carmel Gorman, Eileen Relihan, Marie Canty Connell, Nora Hanrahan, Brenda Dillon,  Margaret Dillon, Marie Moloney, Noreen O’Connor, Jeanie Hartnett.
Front row , L-R Marie Curtin, Kathleen Enright, Eileen Roche, Kathleen Corridan, Christine Keane, Kathleen Sheehy,Joan O’Brien, Frankie Chute.


News from Kerry Writers’ Museum

Listowel International
Storytelling Festival 2021
We are delighted to announce that Listowel International Storytelling Festival returns in-person to Listowel from September 17th to 19th.  Now in its 3rd year the festival will feature a packed programme of events including storytelling sessions & workshops, story & history walks, music sessions and children’s storytelling. We are especially thrilled to have acclaimed storyteller Maria Gillen as our Artistic Director for the festival.

Our full programme will be available soon, but follow our Social Media pages or visit for updates on special guests and events.

Due to ongoing Covid-19 restrictions our total audience capacity is limited.


Molly, a Hare and a Master Signwriter at work

Golodcrest in Dromin by Paddy Fitzgibbon


Update on Molly

Still the king of the castle but sheltering from the heat.


The Blessed Well in Kilshenane

From Closing the Circle, an anthology of the poems of John McGrath


I met a hare along the road today,

Tall as a greyhound.

He hopped towards me,


hopped again,

stopped to listen

to my freewheel click,

then turned and loped away.

I gazed in grateful awe

as with each simple spring

the distance grew between us,

marvelled how his quiet grace

belied his hidden power.

Then with one bound

he cleared a ditch

and disappeared from view

leaving me to wonder.


Dancing in the 1970s

Those were the days.


Church Street Tattoo

Our local tattooist was taking the opportunity in a lull in business to paint his door jamb.

He had a cancellation due to his client getting sunburnt.


Master at Work

Martin Chute sign writing in the old fashioned way at Sheahan’s, Upper William Street on Saturday July 24 2021.

Martin was so focussed on his work, he wasn’t even aware I was photographing him. This man is the best at what he does. Listowel is blessed to have him working on our shopfronts.


End of the Handball story

Listowel Presbytery with two church spires in the background



On Church Street I met Martin Chute who was planning his sign for Lizzy’s Little Kitchen and with him is Mr. O’Mahoney who is opening his tattoo shop soon. Martin is doing that sign too.

A few days later I observed that the sign was done. Cool!

Lizzy’s is a great addition to Church Street The paintwork and colours are perfect and the sign is everything a sign should be, artistic, clear, well proportioned, uncluttered and tasteful. Well done all.


Dominican Church, Tralee

This is the corner stone on this magnificent edifice. Below is what it says about it on the Dominican website.

The builder is named as Mr Arthur Crosbie and the cost at about £6000. The cornerstone of the building was laid on 15th August 1866, the Feast of the Assumption, by Mrs Anne Jeffers, wife of the Benefactor.


In Gurtinard Wood

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same….

Robert Frost


End of an Era

Junior finishes his story for us;

By the 1970s a new generation of handball lovers had come on the scene. Some of these that Junior remembers are Denny O’Connor, Eddie and Mike Broderick, Charlie Nolan, Tony Stack, Jer Loughnane, Con Gorman, Tony O’Neill, Jimmy Canty. There were many more in this new cohort too. The building of the Community Centre in the mid 1980s drew away from the old alley and handball ceased to be played there.

The new centre had an enclosed 40ft. by 20 ft. court. This was used by handballers but with no club structure it never really took off. Then the community centre courts became squash and racketball courts before they were eventually utilised for other purposes.

By 2008 Junior Griffin was the only surviving trustee of the old handball club. No committee had been formed for years. Junior took advice from former members and from solicitors. He decided to sign over the alley ground, which was purchased by the handball committee in 1962 to the safe keeping of Listowel Town Council. One proviso in the deal was that if ever a handball club was formed in the future, the council would facilitate that club in building a new handball alley.

We are very grateful to Junior for preserving and sharing all of this valuable information about the story of handball in Listowel.


Many handballers spoke to Caoimhe Coburn Gray for her Coiscéim project. If you are interested in handball at all, especially if, like Michael Enright, it was a big part of your life, you will love reading and hearing handball stories from around the country. You will be struck by the similarities, e.g. Sunday was the big day. Nobody taught you how to play handball. You observed and learned. Rivalries developed into life long friendships.

“Now we’ve two buildings in Ireland that are vernacular to Ireland you will not find them anywhere else – the round tower and the handball alley!”

Here is the link to the marvellous Coiscéim project

Handball Memories, in your own words


Signwriting, Market Yard 1902, Election in 1910 and EPA Cormac en route to the U.S.

Martin Chute, Master Signwriter, painting the gate at Number 21


From the Garden of Contemplation 



Market Yard Listowel 1902


Nomination of Election Candidates in 1910

Kerryman  Saturday, January 29, 1910


At one o’clock on Friday Mr. Redmond Roche, Sub-Sheriff, accompanied by his legal assessor, Mr. D. Roche, solr., Castleisland, sat in the magistrates’ room of the courthouse, Listowel, for the purpose of receiving nominations for the Parliamentary representation of North Kerry. 

At five minutes after one, Mr. T. Neville Stack, accompanied by Mr. Patk. Browne, P.L.G., arrived at the Courthouse, when a number of nomination papers were handed in. In the paper relied upon, Mr Stack, who was described as a newspaper proprietor and journalist, of Kerry House, 46 Auriol Road, West Kensington, London, W., was proposal by Gerald Leahy Stack, J.P., chemist, Market St., seconded by Edward James Stack, J.P., draper, William Street, the assenters being Cors. Mulvihill, William St.; John Faley, do.; Wm. Dillon, do.; Joseph Broderick, do.; Patk Browne, do.; D. J. Larkin, Main St.; John Broderick, Church St.; Edward McGrath, William Street. 

Ml Flavin arrived a half hour later accompanied by  Messrs P. Trant, J.P., M.C.C; J. M. Woulfe, R.D.C ; J. Kennelly, R.D.C; M. J. Nolan, J.P., V.C.  CoC, and others. In the paper on which he relied, Mr. Flavin was described as a merchant, Rock-st., Tralee  and he was proposed by the Very Rev. Thos. Canon Davis, P.P., V.F., and seconded by Edward Moran, drapery and boot emporium, Market Street, Listowel. The assenters were Michael O’Connor, U.D.C., Market St.; Patk. Scanlan, do.; Michael Dowling, do.; Timothy O’Sullivan, do.; Joseph O’Donoghue, do.; Geo Enright, Convent St.; Patk. Hayes, U.D.C., Church St.; T. P. O’Connor, Market Street. 

There was no commotion whatever, but whilst addressing a meeting in the Market after his nomination Mr Stack met with a great deal of interruption.


A Horse Picture

Somebody told me lately that she misses the horse pictures. The reason I don’t post them any more is because I dont get home anymore to take them. My Kanturk family sent me this one. He is Cormac. He was born on my grandniece’s birthday and she was given the honour/task of naming him. She called him after a boy in her class. Children!

He was to be my niece’s next hunter but he grew too big. He was being trained in a Limerick yard when, by a series of amazing chances, an American lady who loves Irish draught horses saw a video of him on Facebook. Even though he wasn’t actually for sale, she bought him and he is now on his way to his new home in New York.

Isn’t he a beauty?

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