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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in Cork and Listowel

Lees Solicitors, Church Street in March 2023


St. Patrick’s Day 2023

Stewarding, policing and commentating are important jobs on the day of the parade.

Some of the participants in the 2023 parade

Convent marching band


Card Game in the Pitch and Putt Clubhouse

(Photos by Tom O’Halloran R.I.P.)

Card playing was enjoyed by members of Listowel Pitch and putt club.

In Tom O’Halloran’s photo Denis O’Donovan R.I.P., Con Whelan, Jerry Brick, Brendan Kenny, Bill Hartnett R.I.P. and Peggy Brick.


Reggie’s Guide to Social Climbing

I enjoy Reggie from The Blackrock Road on Facebook so my family knew I’d enjoy him live. We saw him in his one man show in The Everyman in Cork. It was a great laugh, a snob’s guide to “bettering yourself”.


Cork Murals

I was early for the show in The Everyman so I explored a bit nearby. These lovely murals were done during the pandemic.


Upper William Street

Bernard O’Connell once shared this old photo on his Facebook page. Bernard grew up on this street in the house with the TV aerial. The two donkeys on the way home from the creamery are probably waiting for their owners to pick up a few messages in the nearby shops. The railings and wall lead to the railway bridge that used to be over that part of the street.

It is interesting to note that the houses in this historic part of town are still very much the same today as they were back in the 1970s.


Ten Years Ago

The late great Mary Keane officially opened Craftshop na Méar ten years ago. The lovely little craft shop traded on Church Street for seven happy years thanks to Namir Karim.


Planning for Easter?


Knockanure Vintage ,Mr. Kebab, photos from a drone and Mary John B. R.I.P.

Knockanure Vintage Run

Knockanure hosted an array of vintage cars, tractors and motor bikes last weekend. Elizabeth Brosnan was there with her camera. Look at her photos by clicking below;

Elizabeth Brosnan Knockanure


New Business in Church St.


Boys and their Toys

When I was out and about with my grandsons on Saturday last we ran into Brendan Landy of Landyphoto down by the river. He was trying out his new drone. Have you seen the beautiful aerial shots on his window lately? These were taken from the air by a drone. Brendan is a great fan of this type of photography and he made it all look easy.

His smart phone, connected to 4G, is mounted on a control, a bit like a game controller with an aerial and joysticks. From here Brendan steers the drone like a pilot.

This is the drone on the ground. It is amazingly small and light. It has propellers on each corner and a camera underneath. This camera, Brendan told me is better than any TV camera.

Brendan rose the drone into the air over the river. On his screen we could see the panorama that the camera had in its sights. It is about the size of a big bird and it is a little noisy.

We all looked up in awe as the drone hovered over The Feale.

My boys were fascinated.

Watch out for some spectacular photos of Listowel in Landyphoto window in the near future. They make a super present for anyone who likes to keep in touch with Listowel.


+ Mary Keane R.I.P. +

Another of the “old stock”  gone to her eternal reward.

 I took this photo in August 2005 when we ran into Mary Keane on Market Street. Her genial smiling presence will be missed from Listowel’s streets. May she rest in peace.

Cows in the Square in 1970s Listowel, Claire’s Squares in San Francisco and a dowry in Kenya in 2015

Sunset in Ballybunion

(Photo; Ballybunion Prints)

The Maharees

( photo: Brenda Enright)


Cows in The Square in the 1970s

Two more photos from a different era from Anne Wixted

“Martin Daly’s cows. These photos were taken on the Bridge Road in 1978 and show the late Martin Daly on his bike, driving his cows back down the Dog Track Road (now the Lodge etc.) after milking. The stone wall on the left hand side of the photo has been demolished now, and the Lodge itself has been relocated in to the Town Park.”


Daithi, The Listowel Connection

Daithí ÓSé shares a joke with the 2014 Rose of Tralee. (photo: John Kelliher)

This is a less dapper Daithí, chatting to Pat Healy and some TG4 colleagues at Listowel Races a few years back.


Do you recognize anyone here?

(photo: Limerick Life)

“Interesting old photo from around 1930 most likely taken in Limerick. The woman in the back row on the far right is my aunt Rita Jones (nee Walsh), the photo was taken before she married. She lived in Wickham St and he parish was St Michael’s but she preferred to attend Mass at the Dominicans nearby. This may be related to St Michael’s or the Dominicans. I don’t know what the event or occasion is? There may be people who recognise their granny or great granny in this pic, or may know what it is or where it is.”

The sash seems to say to me Children of Mary or  Sodality of Our Lady. Can any Limerick lady (or gentleman) shed any light on this?


Success in the U.S.

Claire Keane

I don’t know if this lady has a Listowel or even a Kerry connection but her name is a Kerry one. This what Women Mean Business in the US has to say about her;

“As a 12-year-old schoolgirl, Claire Keane’s home-made caramel squares sold out as soon as she brought them into the classroom.

So it’s no surprise that these days, she’s not only the owner of a thriving bakery in the USA but has also landed a partnership with ice-cream giant Häagen-Dazs, which has seen her chocolate-caramelised-oat ice-cream go on sale in thousands of supermarkets across that continent.

These days she’s a recognised artisan food producer with her own award-winning bakery, Clairesquares – but in fact, food was actually the last thing on Keane’s mind when she first decided to go into business.

The 39-year-old UCC graduate from Cork’s leafy Model Farm Road holds a Master’s Degree in Environmental Science from UCD. She started her working life in the environmental department of Fingal County Council while still in her early twenties.

However, in 1999, Claire decided to take off to funky San Francisco, where she worked with an environmental consultancy firm for nearly four years.
 On a visit back to Ireland she re-discovered her love of baking which she’d inherited from her mother Kitty: 
“I re-visited my mother’s recipe for caramel squares, and did a lot from Darina Allen’s books as well. “I re-discovered my old passion for baking – when I was at school in Mount Mercy in Cork I used to sell my caramel squares to my classmates. They sold out every time I brought them in!”

On her return to the States, Claire decided that it was time to get serious. 
It was 2003 and she was facing the big 3-0: 
“I was turning thirty and needed to do something with my life. I’d always wanted to start a business,” she says, adding that one of her top ideas at the time was a company selling gift baskets. 
“Baking was the last thing on the list!”

(Text Áilín Quinlan)

You can read the rest of the article by clicking on the link above and if you find yourself lucky enough to be in the San Francisco area look out for Claire’s Squares.


Meanwhile in Kitale

Over in Kenya, Jack O’Regan from Ballyheigue is still trying to negotiate this dowry business in time for his wedding to Yolanda in September. As part of the deal, Jack has to provide a dowry of livestock to the satisfaction of the Chakava elders. Read all about this part of proceedings HERE

Sounds like he could do with the help of a modern day Dan Paddy Andy.

Buying the cows involved singing and dancing as well as tough talking.

You’ll be glad to hear it all ended well and the wedding is on track.


Among the many heartfelt tributes to Mary Keane R.I.P was the respectful silent tribute of her funeral procession through the town. It is a credit to the Keane family that they allowed the their very personal grief take its place  side by side with the town’s need to publicly grieve a very well loved first lady.

Mary Keane’s funeral procession

Ring of North Kerry Cycle 2015 and Listowel in 1978 and two new artists in town

(From the internet)


Lovely Listowel

This is Jesse Barry at Changes Listowel doing his bit for Listowel Tidy Towns


Ring of North Kerry Cycle

This great event took place on the first weekend in August 2015. A huge crowd turned up to cycle through the beautiful countryside of North Kerry. Ger Roche took some lovely photographs. I’m just putting up a few here but he took lots and lots and you can contact him by clicking the above link if you would like to buy a souvenir of the day.

This is the main man behind al this great venture, Johnny Joy of Finuge Freewheelers.

The scene at the start

This event was very well run. There were pit stops along the way manned by volunteers with refreshments for all.

Some cyclists ploughed a lone furrow.

Some stopped along the way to admire the scenery or the cattle.

Some more rode as a peleton.

Doesn’t the North Kerry countryside look absolutely beautiful in August?

There were more refreshments at the finish for the leg weary cyclists.

Duagh Sports Centre snapped this one of Jimmy Deenihan.


Listowel in Times Past

Anne Wixted had a rummage around in her old photos and she has sent us these treasures.

Mass time in The Square 1978

“The first photo is of cars parked in The Square while people attend 12.15 pm mass. It was taken from a first floor window in the Castle Inn Guest House in June 1978. The Hartnett family owned and ran the Guest House at that time. ” 

Army trucks in The Square 1978

“This photo was also taken from the first floor of the Castle Inn Guest House in June 1978. It shows Army Trucks in the Square in front of the old National Bank. Also notice the hearse parked in the bottom left hand corner of the photo, as well as the old style school bus and Massey Fergusson Tractor on the right of the photo.”

Mamie O’Donnell Gunn on her way home from the creamery in June 1978;

“This photo is of the late Mamie O’Donnell Gunn, who was married to the Bodhran maker Davie Gunn of Ardydonaghanin the Parish of Duagh. Mamie would go to the creamery in Listowel every day on her donkey and cart. And on her way home she would do some shopping in the Square. This photo was taken in front of Lynch’s shop in 1978.”

(photos and captions: Anne Wixted)


Excitement in The Small Square

This is Emily from Charlotte, North Carolina in the U.S. She is currently in residence in Olive Stack’s gallery in Main Street. She is in love with Listowel and she is blogging her love Here

Emily and her friend, Kerry are putting their time in Listowel to good use.  Here is Emily’s portrait of Olive Stack and above is her portrait of Joe Murphy which was the work in progress the day I met her. I saw a few other familiar faces among the pictures dotted all around the gallery. It looks like this is going to be a very busy and productive visit.


Rose of Tralee 2015

John Kelliher was at the Rose parade on Saturday and he took some great photos, as usual. Click on his name above to view them all.


+ Mary Keane R.I.P.+

(Photo: Irish Independent)

Billy Keane wrote one of his finest, most moving pieces of writing in tribute to the mother who meant so much to him.

Billy Keane’s tribute to Mary Keane

Garden of Europe and some medieval fighting

Garden of Europe; Garden of Remembrance

Taking a break from the battlefield at the May weekend, I and my visitors took a walk to the park via The Garden of Europe.

This lovely tree is at the entrance to St. Michael’s Graveyard.

This lovely carpet of wild garlic is to the right of the path beside the Garden of Europe

Rhododendrons in bloom, lovely!

This bench was just not up to the task. Fragile and vulnerable, it broke like the young people it commemorates when the stresses of this life became too much. Maybe we should leave it thus!

This is Listowel’s Holocaust memorial. It stands to remind us of the worst atrocities of WW2. The wooden sleepers remind us of the railway carriages that took the doomed to concentration camps and the iron and chains stand for their captivity. In the distance we can just see the bust of Schiller, a gift to Listowel from the German people. Schiller represents for Germany a far better time. His most famous composition is Ode to Joy.


Kieran Moloney of the organizing committee of Listowel Military Tattoo with Ger. Greaney of Forurgenealogy and Sean Costin of the US in The Square, Listowel for the wreath laying ceremony.

A few tired ‘soldiers’ took a breather at the castle.


Wild Boar Productions

One of the unexpected fringe events at the Military Weekend was a display of medieval fighting by Kanturk’s Wild Boar Productions, a theatre and entertainment group from my home town.

 This is Michael O’Sullivan in full medieval costume ready to take on all comers.

A bit of a schemozzle here

This little girl was up for the fight.

With a little help, she slew the foe.

Encouraged by the onlookers, she sealed victory by placing a foot on her slain opponent.

This actor gave a display of archery.

 Another local warrior tried his hand at it.

 This lad took it all way too seriously and seemed out to inflict maximum damage.

Homeward bound


The Star and Garter was , as usual, good for a laugh


Meanwhile in the U.S.

photo: Irish American Heritage Centre

Pupils from The Trinity Academy of Irish Dance performed for president Michael D. and Sabina Higgins in Chicago this week


Read all about a new suitor for the hand of Mary Keane here

Billy Keane at his witty best!


Be sure to buy The Irish Independent on Friday. It will contain a souvenir supplement all about Listowel Writers’ Week. Those two lovely girls on the cover are my grandchildren.

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