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: Mike Flahive

Remembering dead soldiers, a U.S. visitor and Listowel Food Fair 2018 and Young Adult Book fest 2018

Painting: Sharon O’Sullivan shared on Facebook


Remembering Dead Soldiers

Church of Ireland folk were way better than us Catholics at centralising their war dead in their churches. Even though we held the same belief that there was something holy about giving your life for your country, we tended not to celebrate the war dead in our churches but in public monuments and memorials.

 In St. Mary’s in Killarney

 in Macroom, Co. Cork


A frequent Visitor Returns with family

Conor and Samantha with Mike Flahive of Bromore when they visited the cliff walk.

Patty and John Faley love Listowel and North Kerry and they visit often. On this visit they were accompanied by their son, Conor and his girlfriend, Samantha. 

The Florida visitors suffered a bit in our cold weather but all in all the holiday was a success and here are the photographs to prove it.

 They stayed in MacMahon House and Patty took this photo from the window.

 Listowel Castle

Main Street

St. John’s


Listowel Food Fair 2018

A highlight of the annual food fair is the Food Trail. The word is out that this is a super gig and on Saturday Nov. 10 2018 so many of us showed up for the trail that we had to split into two groups and take two trails. My trail went to Jumbos, John B. Keane’s and Lizzy’s Little Kitchen. Both trails started in The Listowel Arms.

Lots of local ladies enjoyed the food trail.

Patrice set us all off to  great start at The Listowel Arms.

In Jumbo’s Damien served us some delicious burgers. He buys his poultry from Larry Buckley so very few food miles here.

The lighting in John B.’s wasn’t great for photographs but the food and the craic were mighty. Now John B.’s is not a place known for its food but for Listowel Food Fair 2018 Billy enlisted the services of local chef, David Mulvihill, so, ironically, in a premises not known for food we got some of the best food of the trail. While we munched, Billy entertained us with his “Atin House” story. Such was the generosity of our host that everyone in the pub, regardless of whether they were on the food trail or not, was treated to some delicious Leah’s black pudding on apple purée.  Then we washed it all down with some delicious craft beers….all part of the deal,

Like last year’s trip to Mike the Pies, the pub stop proved to be the surprise hit of the day.

It was no surprise that Lizzy Lyons served us up some delicious fare in he little kitchen restaurant. Rice pudding is her family’s comfort food of choice for generations.

She also served us Bailey’s hot chocolate. This was new to me but I’ll definitely be having it again.

Here is Lizzy after a hard day slaving in her restaurant on Saturday Nov. 10 2018.

Here is Lizzy later on the same day. She is all dressed up for the Gala dinner at which she received a well deserved local food hero award.


Older Adults at Young Adult Bookfest 2018

Writers Week helpers, Jim Dunn, Eilish Wren, Sinead Mc Donnell and Maria McGrath

Ensuring the day ran smoothly were Bernie Carmody, Eilish Wren, Catherine Moylan, Mike Lynch and Rhona Tarrant.

Above Listowel and below Tralee teachers

Brendan at School (in Kilconly), St. Mary’s Listowel, Heather Ale and Limerick hurling

Dandy Lodge in Listowel Town Park, August 2018


Brendan at School

The school scenes for Brendan of Ireland were shot in Kilconly school.  Michael Greaney who played Brendan, went to school in Rathea.

Kilconly was most likely chosen as a location for the photos as it was a new school and would look good in the photos.

Mike Flahive who is the boy with the shock of black hair seated in front of “Brendan” in the photo remembers the occasion well. Brendan arrived with the photographer and an entourage and Brendan was put sitting in the midst of the local children. Frank remembers that the photographer, Wolfgang Suschitzky, was accompanied, during his time in Kerry by a very famous actress, Eithne Dunne. Maybe she was to give acting tips to the participants in the staging of the story for the camera.

The hurling game in front of the school is another story altogether. The visitors brought the bag of hurleys and the sliotar with them. There was no hurling in Kilconly back then. They gave the boys the hurleys, a quick lesson in how to hold them and away they went. The girls are well back from the action, sitting in benches outside the school. Michael Flahive remembers the game being called off after about 10 minutes for health and safety reasons. There were genuine fears that someone could be maimed.  No helmets, shin guards or gum shields in those days!

Brendan is pictured making a donkey out of “modelling clay” i.e. marla which was the brown Play Doh/ plasticine we all had as a nod to craft  in Primary school in the 1950s and 60s. Notice the clean new desk with the brass lid on the inkwell shined to perfection.

The book was translated into several European languages


Our Beautiful Church all decked out for a Wedding

You’ll have to agree it’s beautiful.


An Early Craft Beer

Source: A Year in Kerry by Patrick O’Sullivan


Luimneach Abú

Heartiest congratulations to all my Limerick friends, neighbours, family and blog followers. You knocked it out of the park, lads

More of my Photos of Graham Norton’s Audience and an incident at the convent school in 1887

Bromore on National Media

Mike Flahive shared this photo of himself, his wife, Eilish and piper, Danny Houlihan with Cian McCormack of RTE

Rte reporter Cian McCormack is cycling along The Wild Atlantic Way. Yesterday Wednesday June 21 2017 he cycled through Tarbert where he visited the Bridewell and spoke to Joan Murphy about problems common to Tarbert and other struggling small towns. She mentioned rural broadband and lack of public transport as two of the problems besetting small towns up and down the country. Cian passed by the crooked cross and called in to Kennelly’s. Alan told him how Ballylongford had gone from a thriving village with each street fielding its own team in the street league to a place that now has to join with nearby village to make up one minor team. There is no new child enrolled in the local National School for the next school year.

Then Cian cycled along his merry way to Ballybunion and he talked to two people who are trying to do something about the decline. Local historian and 7 times all Ireland champion piper, Danny Houlihan and local farmer and entrepreneur, Mike Flahive, told him about their tourism offering.

The Bromore Cliff Walk is well worth a visit and you will get to meet Bart, “the friendliest horse in Ireland.”


People I photographed on their way in to Graham Norton, Listowel Writers Week 2017


Manchester Guardian Nov 2 1887

A few days ago I featured a letter to the Manchester Post concerning the inability of Listowel girls to sing God Save the Queen. The letter writer was reacting to the following story in The Manchester Guardian of November 2 1887.    (Paddy Keane did the research on this one)

Notes on Listowel

(from our special correspondent)

” There is in Listowel a great convent school where (the number is illegible) girls are being educated by the nuns. The peculiarity of such a school is that the lower and the middle classes are  mixed together in a way which would be impossible in England. With some English friends I went over the whole school.

We went into the big schoolroom and there we heard the girls read and I must say that for justness of intonation and clearness of expression I have never heard such good reading in any English school. They read out of Goldsmith’s Deserted Village and I noticed that the girl who was reading substituted Ireland for England in the line

“A time there was ere England’s griefs began.

When every rood of ground maintained its man.”

Lastly we had recitations and singing. A row of girls recited some patriotic lines, wearing the while a green flag. Their glowing eyes and their excited gestures showed how much they felt their words. After they had sung to us we asked if they could sing God save Ireland. There was no doubt as to the response. The sister in charge of the music instantly sat down at the piano and struck into the melody. The girls sang as if they wanted to lift themselves off the ground. When they had finished and were all aglow with excitement, we asked for one verse of God Save the Queen. Nobody knew it and it was clear that nobody cared to sing it. “They will sing it at some future time.” gently said the Mother Superior.”

Christmas 2015 and some Kerry diaspora scattered across the globe

Christmas Day Swim in Ballybunion 2015

(photo; Ballybunion Prints)

 Grace Flahive and her father, Mike Flahive. Christmas Day 2015 was Grace’s 24th Christmas Day swim for Ballybunion Sea & Cliff  Rescue and Mike’s 30th.


Theresa Flavin was in Listowel for the holidays


The Listowel Diaspora in Oz

The following greeting came from Brian Grant in Australia;

“Merry Xmas from the descendants of Ellen Wilson of Listowel who came to Australia on the Thomas Arbuthnot (Earl Grey scheme) and John Brick of Listowel who came by here by other means. They married on the Victorian Goldfields.

35 degree Celsius here on Xmas day in Mitcham in the Eastern Suburbs of Melbourne.

My Grandson Archer, Daughter Cassie, Me, Son Chris, Daughter Madeline and Son Kieran with youngest Son Lachlan absent.” 


An Irish Retirement in Springfield, Massachussetts

They are the stereotypical children of Irish emigrants to the U.S.  Michael Carney and Brendan and his sister, Mary O’Halloran are retiring from the police force after 32 years service.

Michael Carney is the son of the last native of the Blasket Islands to pass away. Michael Carney, senior who died last year, was born on the island in 1920 and retained a lifelong grá for An Blascaod Mhór. It was the tragic death of his younger brother without priest or doctor to attend him that was the final straw that precipitated the evacuation of the remote and inhospitable island where generations had eked out a meagre living.

Michael senior left the island and went first to Dublin and from there to Springfield in Massachussetts where he became a part of the very strong Irish diaspora, many with west Kerry roots. 

Brendan and Mary O’Halloran

Michael Carney


Do you know the muffin man?

This photograph from the internet is of a muffin man in London in the 1920s. I don’t know if he lived around the corner .


Santa in Listowel in the 1950s

Noel Roche posted this photo on his Facebook page. Noel is on the right. He was visiting Santa (who is wearing a mask) in Listowel in 1950s. Noel thinks that the other boy’s name is Barry O’Brien from Market Street.

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