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: Michael O’Connor Page 1 of 5

Keeping Listowel Lovely

This is the recently released special edition Brona chocolate bar. It costs €4. I haven’t tasted it yet but it comes from a good stable.

Please, Please, Don’t do this

On Wednesday morning, June 5 2024 I met two of the hardest working Tidy Town volunteers. They had been out since early morning, washing and sweeping and generally keeping our lovely town lovely.

Breda was scraping and hacking trying to remove a poster that had been stuck on to the litter bin. Tidy Town judges don’t like posters on bins or poles. The worst part of this postering is that whoever stuck the posters used some kind of superglue which cannot be removed by the usual solvents.

If you want to draw attention to your cause, please do not glue posters anywhere. Think of Breda. Think of the local hard working Tidy Town volunteers. Think of Listowel. Think of the environment.

Just don’t do it!

Selling Listowel

On my way home from morning mass where I was besieging Heaven on behalf of my 3 grandchildren doing state exams, I ran into Rose Wall of Listowel Chamber Alliance.

Rose was doing a bit of research for a big marketing day they have planned for later on this month. This group do as great job of marketing Listowel.

Lego Lartigue

Image and text from Lartigue Monorail and Museum on Facebook

Lego & Railway enthusiast Trevor Leen brought along his Lego built replica of the Lartigue Monorail to the Lartigue Museum.

Trevor said “I recreated the Lartigue Monorail over the course of a few weeks using reference photos from the original and modern day engine. Two carriages were built to give it a train to pull along with a step car to cross the rail. I’ve always had a love for railways and the Lartigue Monorail has always been an interest of mine as it is unique and had a bold experimental take on railways in years gone by.” 

Michael O’Connor, Celtic Art Illuminator

Ahead of the International Day of Celtic Art tomorrow, here is a little resumé I did a while ago of Michael O’Connor.

Michael O’Connor,: His Art

A Fact

In 2004 a woman in the US bought a lock of Neil Armstrong’s hair for $3,000

Art and Literature

Civic Plaza, Listowel in June 2024


Cashell Solicitors, I’m told

I Love Listowel Library

The library has to be the best free facility in town, lovely building, lovely staff, well stocked shelves and always a surprise in store.

Today’s surprise; Colm Tóibín’s latest book had no waiting list. I have it for 10 days. Yippee!

Last week when I was in the library I met these lovely people who were on a mission of appreciation to one of their favourite places.

They are the Pathways Level 3 learners from Kerry College, Listowel Campus. The course co ordinator is Rena Liston.

Holding the plant they brought as a thank you to library staff is Maria and fellow librarian, Susan, is in front.

All is Slowly Being Revealed

The pages my friends are reading are the first proofs of my new book. It will be called Moments of Reflection. Just now it is in the capable hands of Paul Shannon at Listowel Printing Works. He is doing a splendid job.

It will be a while yet, but I’ll keep you posted.

2 Day International Day of Celtic Art

The International Day of Celtic Art 2024 is actually 2 days. Coming from a town where Writers’ Week is 4 days we can hardly quibble with that.

I think I may have had the link wrong yesterday so here again is the link for registration.


I think it’s all free. They didn’t ask me for any money anyway.

The lady in the above photo is Susan Corr, Ireland’s leading conservator. I took this photo of Susan in The Brendan Kennelly room in Listowel Writers’ Museum on the day she returned the Michael O’Connor pieces after conservation.

This is not the piece in the picture. It’s another of O’Connor’s magnificent letters.

Here is the schedule for the 2 days this weekend.

June 2024

Sat Jun 812:00pm – 1:00pm 

ZOOM SUPPORT1:00pm – 1:20pm 

— WELCOME & INTRODUCTIONS —1:20pm – 1:40pm 

Donncha MacGabhan (How long did it take to make the Book of Kells?)1:40pm – 2:00pm 

Catherine Crowe (Celtic Art and Enameling)2:00pm – 2:20pm 

Stephen Walker (Naming Knots; challenging symbolism and meaning in the marketing of modern Celtic art)2:20pm – 2:40pm 

— BREAK —2:40pm – 3:00pm 

Ruth Black (Celtic Ecclesiastical Embroideries)3:00pm – 3:20pm 

Stephen Rynne (Celtic Art Podcast Discussion & Launch) 3:20pm – 3:40pm 

Steven Lawes (Fibonacci Celtica)3:40pm – 4:00pm 

Hamish Douglas Burgess (Creating a Celtic art whisky label – an interesting story with many twists and turns.)4:00pm – 4:20pm 

— WRAP-UP —Sun Jun 94:00pm – 5:00pm 

ZOOM SUPPORT5:00pm – 5:20pm 

— WELCOME & INTRODUCTIONS —5:20pm – 5:40pm 

Alix Sandra Huntley-Speirs (Finding the Music in Celtic Art: The Journey to Findlaystone)5:40pm – 6:00pm 

Jeff Fitzpatrick Adams (Irish Celtic Illuminations)6:00pm – 6:20pm 

Aidan Breen (Chasing Early Irish Saints & Celtic Bangles)6:20pm – 6:40pm 

— BREAK —6:40pm – 7:00pm 

Susan Corr (Conservation of Michael O’Connor artwork) 7:00pm – 7:20pm 

Stephen Rynne (Listowel, The World Capital of Modern Celtic Art)

7:20pm – 7:40pm 

David MacGovern (Monakie Rock Art)7:40pm – 8:00pm 

Nicola Dixon8:00pm – 8:20pm 


Susan Corr, as you can see, will talk about her conservation work on Sunday at 7.00 pm

Stephen will give his not to be missed presentation about Listowel on Sunday at 7.20

A Fact

Running hell for leather, the first woman to record a sub 5 minute mile was Diane Leather. The British runner recorded this time in 1954


Listowel, World Centre of Modern Celtic Art

June 2024

Listowel Centre Stage at the Day of Celebration of Celtic Art

International Day of Celtic ArtIDCA Online Conference

SPEAKER: Stephen Rynne

TOPIC: Celtic Arts Podcast Discussion & Launch

TOPIC: Listowel, The World Capital of Modern Celtic Art

Stephen lives in the West of Ireland where he raises his three children after being widowed in 2012. He has an Honours BSc. from Oxford Brookes University in England and he has been caring for his son who has Epidermolysis Bullosa and Autism since his birth.

In 2019 he discovered, fell in love and picked up all he can to do with the Celtic Arts, in particular Modern Celtic Art from the late 1800s onward. Having spent years discovering the joys of Celtic Art he has decided to put his discoveries to good use in a podcast called ‘Celtic Arts Podcast’ that launches at the International Day of Celtic Art Conference, 2024



EVENT CALENDAR {According to your own time zone}:


These presentations by Stephen are well worth attending. We are lucky in that they are now available in a livestream online.

Michael O’Connor formerly of No. 24 The Square Listowel is, without doubt, Listowel’s greatest visual artist. Some of his work is displayed in Kerry Writers’ Museum, his former home.

Stephen in his presentation to this year’s international conference will present the work, not only of O’Connor, but also the incomparable work of Listowel artists like Pat Mc Aulliffe and the inimitable Paddy Fitzgibbon.

There is nothing remotely like this anywhere in the world. Listowel is grateful to Stephen for bringing world attention to this under appreciated genius.

Opening Night LWW 2024

Here are a few photos I took on May 29 2024

Matt and Mary are regulars at Arts events in town, particularly if such events are as Gaeilge and involve two of Matt’s passions, music and poetry.

Dick is another amateur poet. Eileen and Dick discovered a connection with me through this blog recently. I posted a picture of Castlemagner church. Dick recognised the beautiful exposed stonework of a church he and Eileen had seen when they attended a wedding in the late 1960s. Fact is often stranger than fiction. Eileen is a great friend of one of my Kanturk cousins and she and Dick attended the wedding of Julie O’Callaghan, who was Eileen’s pal in nurse training, to the late Flor Sullivan (Tourist).

There really are only three degrees of separation.

Friends, Ena, Jean and Áine

Mary Frances and Helena

Jim and Mrs. MacMahon

Con, Catherine and Seán were there to enjoy the occasion.

A Poem

Brian Bilston is an extraordinary poet. He hits the nail on the head every time.

A Fact

Laughing 100 times is equal to 15 minutes of exercise on a stationary bicycle.


Summertime is Visitor Time

What a difference a week makes; St John’s under cloudy skies in June 2023


Corpus Christi Processions

This year the feast of Corpus Christi fell on June 8. The tradition is to hold a processsion preceeded by this year’s first communicants on a weekend near the date.

Listowel procession photo from Listowel Girl’s Primary Facebook page

Athea parade photos by Bridie Murphy


In Kerry Writers’ Museum

Even a short visit to Listowel gives time to take in some of our lovely visitor attractions.

Last week I accompanied Phil to Kerry Writers’ Museum.

Our visitor centre in the square used to be called The Seanchaí. A statue of Eamonn Kelly, Seanchaí, greets visitors at the foot of the stairs.

Phil enjoyed the John B. Keane room. She remembered attending his plays and always enjoying his writing.

I was anxious to show her the Michael O’Connor corner. The beautiful pieces look marvellous under the light in their climate controlled cabinets.

When you look closely at the above details on the St. Patrick’s Breastplate scroll you will be amazed at the intricate detail achieved by this super talented local artist. I hope many many Listowel people visit the exhibition this summer. You will be amazed.


Varying Shades of Dolly

Brendan O’Sullivan rocking the denim and stetson look

Most people accessorised with a guitar, this man brought a skateboard

I met Phil adding a few sparkles to her outfit

If your footwear was too undollylike, people in the Costume Fixing marwquee had plenty of high heels to cowboy boots available.

Jimmy Deenihan as you have never seen him before.

The queue moved along slowly but in good form. Everyone had to be photographed and braceleted for the record.


Meanwhile in Ballybunion

Ballybunion Golf Club annual captains’ weekend was a huge success raising funds for seven local charities.


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