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 listowelconnection@gmail.com

Tag: Mike O’Donnell Page 1 of 4

Tralee Artist, Folklore and My Neighbour is The New Mayor of Kerry

People have been wondering about Molly. I’m glad to report that I met her in Cork recently and she was in great form. She has loved lockdown with her family at home all the time and lots and lots of attention.

I told her her Listowel admirers were asking.

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Tralee Artist, Mike O’Donnell

Last week I found myself in a part of Tralee that I am not familiar with. I’m sorry I should have noted the name of the area. I was delighted to see the work of one of my favourite muralist’s adorning the walls. The pictures are fabulous but I have no idea what exactly they depict. Looks like Famine times and a few extra unrelated images.

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Bíonn Siúlach Scéalach

I am old enough to remember when homeless men walked the roads, travelling from parish to parish in search of seasonal work. They often called asking if they could sleep in the hay barn for the night. It was unlucky to refuse such a request but my poor mother, who was a widow, never slept a wink if there was a man sleeping in the barn. She was in dread fear he would smoke and burn the barn, hay and all down.

This is what I found in the school’s folklore collection about these spailpíní.

Beggars seldom stay in the same house more than one night unless when the next day is bad. They always have their own food which they collected during the day but sometimes the people of the house give them their supper and breakfast. They also give them a bag of straw to sleep on for the night. Tinkers usually travel in families but the poor travellers go singly or in twos.

About five or six years ago a poor travelling woman stayed at our house for three days and she used to tell us a good deal of funny stories every night.
The best known travelling folk in my locality are as follows:- Paddy Flynn, Bob Landers, Jimmy O’Leary, the O’Briens, Mrs Fitzgerald and they come the most frequently to my locality.

These travellers usually come at Easter and Christmas and before the Pattern and Listowel races.

COLLECTOR James Maher

Gender male

Address Knockaunacurraheen, Co. Kerry

INFORMANT Mrs Sheehy

Gender female

Age 75

Address Ballintogher, Co. Kerry

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Bridge Road

These businesses are on opposite sides of Bridge Road as you approach town from the Tralee side.

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On This Day, June 30 1922

(information from a book, On this Day by Myles Dungan of RTE)

June 30 1922 was the day that future genealogists’ and family researchers’ hearts were well and truly broken. On that fateful day, the biggest explosion ever seen in Dublin destroyed records of Irish administrations from the 13th to the 19th centuries. Earlier damage had already been done during World War 1 with the pulping of census returns for 1861, ’71, ’81 and “ 91.

What was lost in the explosion of 1922?

Census returns for the years 1921, 31, 41, and ’51

One thousand Church of Ireland parish registers

Wills and deeds and land transactions

Court Reports

Military Records

Was this explosion an accident?

Sadly, no.

The public records office was housed in The Four Courts in Dublin. 

On April 14 1922, anti treaty rebels under Rory O’Connor occupied this building.

Pro treaty forces of the Free State government under Michael Collins attempted to dislodge them.

On June 30th the rebels in The Four Courts, now under Ernie O’Malley, surrendered.

The arsenal of ammunition and explosives the rebels had stored in The Four Courts was torched and thus was lost a millennium of official Irish records.

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Jimmy Moloney, Mayor of Kerry

Jimmy Moloney was installed as Mayor of Kerry yesterday. Here he is with his two aunts, Kay Caball and Eila Moriarty.

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Ballinagare, St. Patrick’s Day, The Square in 2005 and some Memories and another Covid Cartoon

Ballinagare near Ballyduff in May 2020

Photo; Bridget O’Connor

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Football Memories from 1959



The late Michael Sheehy grew up in Main Street, one of a family of very talented brothers. He sent us this a few years before he died. I’m sharing it again now, especially for the cocooners.

I remember the town league as if it was yesterday. What great games between the different streets!

I remember playing with The Ashes around 1960 and the Ashes winning. I still have the medal but it says 1957 which would have made me 12.

We had guys like the McMahons, Toddy Enright, Junior & Bert Griffin, Frank Murray etc.  What great times they were just to have the bragging rights for a year.   Now as I think of the places that made up the “Ashes” I doubt if you could field a team. How sad it is. Now as I think in the Small Square the only person to live there over the last many years was Mrs. Scully.r.i.p. Everyone else closed their business and lives somewhere else.

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An Old St. Patrick’s Day Parade


Don’t know the year. If you recognise yourself let me know.

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Troubled times



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The Square 2005



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Old Railway Bridge on Ballybunion Road in May 2020




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Mike O’Donnell at his Most Incisive

Mike captioned this “Boris paints coffins blue in support of healthcare workers” . The tide has turned against the British government which is now presiding over Europe’s most catastrophic Covid 19 pandemic tragedy.

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Darkness into Light 2020



The usual big walk through darkened towns did not go ahead this year but many still found a way of “walking” into the light.

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Thunderstorm in Lyreacrompane



Story and pictures from Joe Harrington on Facebook.



Saturday May 10 2020 was the hottest day so far this year.

Joe Harrington recorded record high temperatures at his glasshouse in Lyre.

Then this happened.

Lightening hit the power pole in The Glen  near the old schoolhouse.

Within the hour help was at hand.  ESB Networks removed the damaged pole and erected a new one.

Power was restored to this little piece of Heaven in The Kingdom.

Cocooning, St Patricks Day 2001 and the Roche family and an American take-away in China


NEWKD William Street, Listowel

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Women in Media 2016


This is the time of year when, under normal circumstances,  I would be looking forward to WiM in Ballybunion.

Claire Hickey, Keelin Kissane and Anne Darby in Kilcooley’s in 2016



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When this is all over…..


The agony and the ecstasy of lockdown in Mike O’Donnell’s incisive cartoons.

Hi Granny


Below is a link to the very best lockdown poem, in my opinion.


This Will all End


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Knockanure in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade 2001

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The Road to Recovery


Noel Roche grew up  in O’Connell’s Ave., Listowel.

This photograph was taken at a family reunion in 1970. Three of the Roche children died in infancy and this is the clan as it was in 1970. Sadly they have lost a few more siblings since.

Noel gave me the names;

Front left to right. Dolores, Eileen, Peg, Jacqueline, Val and Dolly. 

middle l to r; John, Noel, Paddy, Jim, Mike and David. 

back l to r; Dick, Eamonn and Tom. 

Dolly was the oldest. I’m the youngest

Noel is a recovering alcoholic. He is proud to say that he will be 40 years sober this year. He used poetry as one of the tools to help him through the hard process of rehabilitation. I hope that hearing his story may help others who are struggling at a time that is hard for everyone but especially hard for anyone in the grip of addiction.




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A Covid Fact




In China a McDonalds delivery includes temp. check of food preparer, packer and delivery driver.

(Source; Greg McDonough on Listowel Covid 19)

More cartoons, The Joys of Being Cocooned, a poem and a fact

Millenium Arch and Bridge Road, Listowel in March 2020

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Love in a Time of Pestilence


“Let us live that they may say of us, when things were at their worst, we were at our best.”

I have to take a minute today to thank all the people who have been so nice to me in my cocoon.

 I have the very best neighbours in the world.

As well as doing my shopping, I get the newspaper delivered to my door, a care package for my birthday, a bottle of wine when my cellar was running low and I feared wine may not qualify as essential supplies, and a surprise lunch from Lizzie’s Little Kitchen. This is in addition to the usual jobs the Moylan family do for me, like mowing my lawn, spraying my weeds and providing

over -the- wall chats.

My pharmacist, Oonagh Hartnett made a special delivery of my medication.

I was blown away by this gesture from my friends, Liz and Jim Dunn.

Below is my present from my beloved goddaughter, Elizabeth Ahern. The inscription on the lovely Eileen Moylan bracelet says “Storms make the oak grow deeper roots.”

The oak is the symbol of the Ahern clan, my birth family.

I have become an expert on many social media platforms like Zoom, Hangouts and Houseparty. I video conference with my family and friends on these. My children ring me every day. I have never talked to them so much since they were children and lived with me. I play Pictionary with Cliona on  Houseparty and  I’ve even joined a quiz with Orla Kennelly and her friends. I’ve been to a Zoom birthday party.

I may yet make a TikTok!

The postman has brought me some gems to treasure.

One of the pleasant side effects of this lockdown is the daily contact with my family and friends. My phone has never rung so often.

Photos keep me abreast of what is happening with my family.

My daughter in law, Carine, is making me some facemarks.

I’m baking the recipes my friends share on Facebook. Thank you, Maria Sham, for this one.

I didn’t get to taste this one my sister in law made for Easter.

I’m reading and puzzling.

I light a candle for the front line soldiers and victims of this deadly virus.

Of course I am very grateful to all the blog followers who have offered me thanks and encouragement. I am especially thankful to everyone who is helping me out with content.

I know it’s not over yet, not by a long way, but I’m registering my thanks at this juncture.

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A Picture Paints…….

Mike captioned this one Escape from the Nursing Home

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 A Covid Rhyme


Today we have a new poet on the block. This is Daniel Murphy’s Banjaxed Limerick.

Banjaxed Limerick #19

There once was a Canon named Caoimhin

Who, wanting no Face Masks in Heaven,

Announced that ’Due to Viral Strife

Not Coviding thy Neighbor’s Wife  

Is now our Commandment Eleven.’



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I Know for a Fact


The French company Bich changed its name to Bic to stop people in English speaking countries calling it Bitch.


A poem, Covid 19, Duhallow Knitwear and an old Áras Mhuire photo

Lower William Street in 2016

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A Timely Poem


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Duhallow Knitwear, a Listowel Connection

I included this old advertisement last week. It prompted Mike Moriarty, whose family ran Moriarty’s on William Street for years to tell us his memories of Duhallow and the Sheehan family.


                 My parents would have done business with Duhallow down through the years. I still have vivid memories of their rep, Tim Vaughan. The brand was very highly rated by our customers. Once a year we would visit the factory with our parents, This was at a point of the year when they would be selling “seconds”. Now you would be hard pressed to find a flaw in these garments but the regular customers to our shop could not get enough of them.

                  There was a strong personal bond between the owner, John Sheehan, and the retailers. We would have been entertained in his house. Indeed, when my brother, Ned, died John Sheehan, although quite frail, made his way to Listowel to the funeral. Later, when John himself passed away I was in Kanturk to represent the family at the wake in his house.

Rgds.,

Mike Moriarty.

P.S. “Hose” was/is simply socks. Eventually I guess it referred to knitwear generally.

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Áras Mhuire

I took this at a birthday party in Áras Mhuire a few years ago.

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More of Mike O’Donnell’s Covid Cartoons

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Old Neighbours, New Neighbours

Patrick Godfrey who has family  roots in Charles Street shared this photo of Mrs Moloney and Mrs Stack with us.

Marie Nelligan Shaw saw this photo of her old Charles Street neighbours and sent us this photo.

This is Mrs. Stack’s daughter, Doreen, celebrating her 80th birthday last year. Doreen and Marie are now neighbours in New York.

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It’s a Fact


Rounded corners on electronic devices have been patented by Apple. 

(From Facts to make your Jaw Drop)

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