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: Mary Cogan

And the winner is………

Photo of a Happy Man

Kieran Moloney of Listowel Tidy Towns Committee with the Best Small Town Trophy which has only once before been won by any town on two occasions.

John Kelliher’s marvellous image of our beloved small town.


Listowel Tidy Towns Vintage Day 2016…. My Part in it

This is the line up of finalists in Listowel Tidy Towns Vintage, Upcycle and Recycle’s Fashion event at Listowel Races 2016.

The competition was judged by Orlagh Winters and a representative from An Taisce. The lady in red on the far left was the winner. Niamh Kenny, second from right came third and Helen Culhane on the far right was a finalist

But the lady in blue is the cailín in whom I had a special interest. She is Mary Moylan and she was wearing the suit I wore as a “going away outfit” on my wedding day in July 1975.

This is me going away. You can see my bouquet in my hand as I was about to throw it, as per age old tradition, to the unmarried girls who were guests at the wedding. The photo was taken outside the Deerpark Hotel in Charleville. That is the back of my late mother’s head in the foreground.

This is an old ad for Dorene. My dress and jacket were made by Dorene.

It was purchased in Todds of Limerick.  (photos from the internet)

You will agree that the outfit withstood the ravages of time better than its owner.

I am known in my family as a hoarder but my brother claims that keeping a suit that doesn’t fit me for over 40 years is a step too far even for me.

Mary with her sister, Alice.

Mary with her friend, Aoife, who provided the hat to complete the look. Mary’s jewellery was her grandmothers and her bag was originally her mother’s.

Kieran Moloney of Listowel Tidy Town’s chatting to one of the sponsors.

Mary won a hamper of goodies and a voucher for a Listowel shop. Listowel business people are really supportive of this competition and the prizes were substantial.

(Mary looked after me well too)

As well as the beautiful bouquet, she treated me to a delicious dinner which she cooked herself.

I’ll be rummaging in back of the wardrobe again for next year!

Mary’s interview with Orlagh Winters is here;

Mary Moylan interviewed by Orlagh Winters


Only in the USA.

Regardless of who wins the presidential election this November, we will witness history being made.

If Hillary Clinton wins the U.S. presidential election, it will be the first time in history that two U.S. presidents have slept with each other!

If Donald Trump wins the U.S. presidential election, it will be the first time in history that a billionaire moves into public housing vacated by a black family.


This sign is proudly displayed on my Mayo neighbour’s wall. I hope he has something to cheer about very soon.

The Races…the first photos

Races 2016

 The sun has set over Listowel Races 2016 and I’m slowly getting back to normal after all the excitement. I went to The Island on 5 of the seven days and I have some great stories to tell, so call back here during the week and you might find something interesting to amuse you.

My betting was less than a resounding success. I usually back horses who bear the names of people I know and love. Seanie was a typical bet……no joy!

I met Listowel’s Joe Broderick on Wednesday and he told me that he was going all out to win the vintage fashion competition on Saturday. He had his outfit. he told me and he had his story (the story is an important part of this competition). Proof of the pudding is in the eating as his victory on Saturday shows.

I’ll let you know the whole story one day soon. My photo shows Joe making his way through a throng of admirers in the Guinness tent after the best interview of the day on Saturday September 17 2016.

The lovely Mary O’Halloran had a beautiful outfit for every day she went racing. Isn’t her saddle hat just smashing? This lady with her friends, Maria and Anne, caught the eye of Tralee Today’s photographer. Anne and Maria had great stories and outfits on Saturday too. Watch this space!

Photo: Tralee Today


What is the story here? This is a wedding invitation from 1975……the full story and the Listowel Connection later in the week….

Ballylongford Hooley, Friends at Marty Sheehy’s Funeral and Convent Cross

Celebration of Brendan Kennelly in Ballylongford

On August 21 2015, after the unveiling of the bust to Brendan Kennelly in the grounds of Ballylongford church, assembled family and friends milled around for a while and then repaired to the hall for the hooley. Local poets read from the works of Brendan Kennelly, Noel O’Grady sang a beautiful version of Home Sweet Home and then the great man, himself read a poem inspired by his daughter when she was three. It must have been the greatest thrill of the night for Doodle Kennelly, to hear her father dedicate a poem to her in his native Ballylongford on such a special night.

Some of the many Kennellys who were in Ballylongford for the big occasion pose with the bust.

The next generation

Some of the large attendance at the unveiling of the plaque to Brendan Kennelly.

Anne Dillon met up with Mary Barry and family and John Coolahan.

The Maddens and Breda Carmody were there.

Paddy McElligott and John Keane

Helen Lane and Breda Ferris checking to see how the photo looked.

Rebecca O’Carroll posed with the work of artist, Jarlath Daly, Tipperary born sculptor in bronze.

When we transferred to the hall Noel O’Grady regaled us with Home Sweet Home, a poignant and fitting welcome for Brendan Kennelly.

Professor John Coolahan read from the work of Brendan Kennelly.

Noel King read as did Mary Lavery Carrig (picture below)

Ann Egan is a protegee of Kennelly’s and she lavished praise on him as a mentor and teacher.

Paddy MacElligott brought Moloney to life as only he can. His antics and delivery were a great hit with his audience especially the poet himself.

 Gabriel Fitzmaurice read and sang.

The final say was left to the great man himself. He may have declined physically but he has lost none of his charm or his ability to hold an audience in thrall.

Noel O’Grady and Gabriel Fitzmaurice lead the audience in a Ballylongford version of Sé Ár Laoch ….A great way to end a great night.


Upper William Street

The finished job at The Saddle Bar….lovely!


Friends Reunited

Mary Sobieralski, Seamus Browne, Tony Dillon, Jimmy Griffin, Miriam Kiely, Batt Hannon and Jimmy Quigley


Back to School Time

These are the days when I love being retired. So much has changed in education in general and in my old school that it’s hard to believe it’s only 5 years since I soldiered there.


No Limbs, No Limits

I met Joanne O’Riordan at Kanturk Arts Festival 2014, where she was the special guest. This special young lady has been honored once again. This time she is The Outstanding Young Person of the Year 2015 and she will travel to Japan to receive her award.

Joanne was born with a rare condition, Total Amelia. This means she has no arms or legs. This has never stood in Joanne’s way. Her own feisty, bubbly, positive personality and the massive support of her family have bought Joanne to a place where she is the best known disability campaigner in Ireland, a much sought after motivational speaker and now a world leader of young people.

The title of her brother’s film about her is certainly apt.

No Limbs, No Limits


The Secret’s Out

In her article in Saturday’s Irish Examiner, Darina Allen reveals Mary John B.’s secret recipe for Listowel Races’ famous meat pies

Meat Pies

Buíochas; Thanks

A very heartfelt thank you to everyone who contacted me since Jim’s death. I greatly appreciate your kind words and I especially appreciate the sentiments of people who only know me through the blog and who have never contacted me before. Knowing that so many people are thinking of me and praying for me has been a small consolation to me at this very sad time in my life.

I intend getting back to blogging in September. In the meantime, I’m sharing with you a link to the programme Mary Fagan did with me on Radio Kerry. I have had such a good reaction to the interview that I thought you might like to hear it before it disappears from the Diocese of Kerry website.

If anyone has any material suitable for inclusion on this blog,  I’ll be delighted to receive it .  I’d love to include photographs of events I missed over the summer.

I’m looking forward to reconnecting with you all very soon.

A Year of Happy Blogging

On Sept 25 2011, I started this blog. NKRO had just been set up. I said that I
would do a blog until the website was up and running. Once started, the blog
took on a life of its own and here I am, one year later, still at it.

The first post was short. It addressed what was happening in
town on the day.

 I never intended to
blog every day but, as the community of followers and collaborators grew, I
soon realized that putting something up every weekday was a possibility. I
decided on a mix of the modern and the old. I realized that there was an appetite out there for news
from home ( Home= Listowel) and for stories of Listowel in the old days.

Recently I have taken to adding the odd quirky photo or
amusing story. These titbits are usually sourced on the internet.

Kind people send me stories, poems and photos. Others send
encouraging emails. Still more meet me on the street and tell me how much they
were enjoying the blog. It all helps to
keep the show going.

Nowadays I take my camera everywhere with me. I am
constantly on the lookout for any stories with a Listowel connection. I know
that there is lots more material out there. If you are reading this and you
have something you would like to share, I would be most grateful for any help.

A big big thank you from us all in the Listowelconnection
community to all the people who helped me this year.

Now a few facts for you:

To date I have posted 313 posts.

The most popular post is “Nunday and Writers’ Week” followed closely by “Nunday Through a

“ Jonathan Sexton and his gran, Brenda Sexton of Listowel”
is the third in order of popularity.

The most popular posts in the past week are “I know the
Kerry Rose” and “It was Roses Roses all the way….”

The most commented on picture is Tom Fitzgerald’s one of The
Listowel Marching Band of the 1980s.

The most popular video clip is Noreen and John O’Connell
leading off the dancing in The Listowel Arms at NKRO’s St. Patrick’s Day Tea

People who read my blog are located in countries as far
apart as Australia and Canada. Palau with a population of 20,000 is the most
unusual country to visit listowelconnection.

My audience is divided half and half between Ireland and the
rest of the world.

A constant source of surprise is a steady cohort of regular followers from Russia.

Audience figures  now range
from 200 to 300 per day and are usually highest on Mondays.

The highest one day total was 458 unique pageviews.

I have been contacted by journalists and  TV and radio

The most interesting contact was from Ben Naylor who is
posting the Gleasure letters here:

Among the best
stories are tales of the Races long ago, St. Patrick’s Hall, the Crowley family
of Greenlawn and the handball alley.

Some of the most interesting people are Kathy Buckley of
William St., The Mc Elligott family of William St., Bridget Ryan from Listowel workhouse, The Gleasure family from The
Square, Horgans in Pittsburg And Colin O’Donoghue, Lacrosse player.

The most colorful character with a Listowel connection is
Prince Monolulu.

The most surprising celebrity connection was Canon Declan
O’Connor P.P. and the family of John F. Kennedy.

The most unusual item was Horan’s missing cat. Puisín was
never found.

“To copy from one source is plagiarism, to copy from several
is research.” 

Research for listowelconnection brings me into contact with
many interesting people, reading lots of interesting material and trawling
through many many webpages. So far I have enjoyed all of my “work”. listowelconnection has brought my life in a whole new direction and so far its all good.

Happy anniversary, listowelconnection.

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