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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Teach Siamsa Finuge, Presentation Convent and an artistic old post box

Bridge Road, Listowel, through the Millennium Arch in March 2020


The sod was turned for the building of Teach Siamsa in Finuge in 1974

Photo shared on Facebook by Siamsa Tíre


Presentation Convent Listowel 2007

Presentation Convent Listowel

by the late Tim Griffin 2007

Below is just a snippet of a long article by Tim Griffin R.I.P which he wrote following the closure of the local convent which was so dear to him.

As with all big houses of the 18th and 19th centuries, Listowel  Convent had a well in the yard. Up to quite recently, an electric pump was pumping water from that well. It also had a Laundry and a Drying Yard for the clothes lines. There was a big garden and a bountiful orchard. There was a cow-stall and cows, which had to be fed and hand-milked. Extra feed, such as hay, straw, turnips, mangels and potatoes, often had to be bought for them in the Market Yard. 

A number of Domestic Staff were also employed, e.g., carers, cooks, cleaners, nurses, and maids. Richard Mackessy from Glounaphuca would have been one of the first gardeners and farmhands there and his son, Richard (Dick), took over from him and was there until the late 1980s. As the schools got bigger, the cattle had to be sold off. Timmie Walsh worked at the Convent, as a gardener and maintenance person, up to the mid-1990s.

The Convent Sisters used to do visitations to the local hospitals and they recited the Rosary in the nearby funeral home at removals.

Visitors were always made welcome and were provided with refreshments. There was one group of visitors that always called to the Convent – they were, of course, the “Knights of the Road” or more commonly referred to as tramps. Some of them were decent people who had fallen on hard times. One of them I knew was from Wexford, a real gentleman, who told me he would “start his rounds” in early March and finish again in late October. Convents were always in his itinerary as well as B&Bs where he would have been known over the years. A pot of tea and a plate of sandwiches were always forthcoming at the Convent and were graciously received. He told me that the allocation of the Free Travel Pass had made life much easier for him. I have not seen him in the last few years but then don’t we forget the ceaseless toll of time.

The Presentation Convent has ceased to exist in Listowel but Presentation Sisters will still be working in Listowel, continuing the work initiated by their Foundress many years earlier. After being in Listowel for 163 years, it is very sad to see the Convent go. Over that period of time, the Presentation Sisters have made a wonderful contribution to Listowel and its hinterland. The people of North Kerry owe them an enormous debt of gratitude.


A Double Post-box

Someone who knows how much I love old postboxes sent me this card recently. Isn’t it lovely?


Owen MacMahon needs your help

I have gone through all the Drama Group programmes since 1944, 

a task long put on the long finger.

However, I am missing the following
1961 -Autumn Fire – produced by John O’ Flaherty
1966- Two on a String – produced by Ml Whelan
1967 – a Letter from a General – produced by J O’Flaherty
1970 – The Couple Beggar – produced Bill Kearney

Would you be able to put on a plea on your blog in due course? 

I’ve no doubt there must be copies around somewhere. 

It would be great to a complete collection.

Thanks Owen.

Bridge Road, Listowel children, A Christmas Stccking in the 1940s and a Fire at The Races in 1959

Millenium Arch and Bridge Road


The Good Old Days?

From Patrick O’Sullivan’s A Year in Kerry


Listowel Children

These are children  (and a few adults including Michael Dowling R.I.P. )  photographed by John Lynch at parades in 2003 and years after to 2007


Christmas Lights in Dublin

 When I was in the Big Smoke to see the Haunting Soldier they already had their Christmas lights up even though it was only mid November.

And in Listowel

On Saturday Dec 1 2018, Listowel Tidy Town Committee switched on the very colourful lights on Listowel’s Christmas tree.  (Photo; North Pole Express 2018)


Fire in the Stands

Do you remember this from 1959?

Photo from The Kerryman

Sign at Millenium Arch, MBC, Community Orchard and Tom Doodle men named

A lovely spot in Listowel Town Square


Promoting their Business

As I was photographing the Tidy Towns seat, I spotted my friends, Briain and Deirdre and staff of MBC taking their own photograph outside their town centre premises.


Newly repainted sign

The sign at the Millenium Arch now looks all spruced up.


Community Fruit and Herb Garden

Our trees have beautiful apples ripening.

These are the herbs and wildflowers for humans and insects.

Herbs for all

They are not ripe yet but these apples look good enough to eat.

I think these might be the nut trees.


The 1965 Guide to Listowel

Aileen Skimson sent us this guide. Here are a few more extracts


Names from John Keane

L to R: Derry Tatten, Joe Walsh, an other, one of the Healys from Greenville, Gulliver Stack, Jimmy Moore, Tommy Murphy, Willie O’Connor and John B. Keane

Lartigue Theatre, Jim Dunn’s Mural in The Square and an old play

Listowel Town Square, June 21 2018


Many Hands Make Light Work

Jim and Liz Dunn work well as a team. But I don’t think Liz would really claim to be an artist. To illustrate that this was a project in which anyone can have a go Liz took up a brush and coloured in a bit.

From the wife of an artist to the mother of an artist, Helen Moylan chanced her arm at painting in a section. She did a good job too.

In between interruptions/assistance, Jim took the opportunity to advance his project a bit.

 Next up was Seán Comerford. Seán displayed an amazing (to me anyone) aptitude for this kind of thing. He is actually a quite good artist.


Listowel’s Millennium Arch in 2018


Friends’ Meeting

Summer in Kerry is a great time for meeting up with old friends


From the John Hannon Archive

The late Eleanor Moore and Mark Walsh

Seán Moriarty

The play was in The Lartigue. Seán told me that he remembers a matinee dress rehearsal for children to iron out any glitches in the production. At one stage Seán’s character tells Getta Grogan’s character that he would like a brandy. As she is pouring the drink, he overhears one child saying to another, “She is giving him whiskey and he asked for brandy.”

Seán also remembers Mark Walsh’s character is shot. In rehearsal they just made a gunshot noise but in this final dress rehearsal, they had a genuine sound effect and Sean says he saw the fear in Mark’s eyes as he feared that the very real looking gun was an actual loaded firearm.

Happy days in the old Lartigue.


Opening Soon

At 53 Church Street


His Dream Job for a Genial Listowel Young Man

Story and picture from Mark Boylan of Racing Post

A familiar voice will greet racegoers in the post-Dessie Scahill commentary era with Jerry Hannon set to become Ireland’s primary racecourse commentator.

Scahill will depart from the commentary box on July 26 following an end to his contract with the Association of Irish Racecourses (Air).

Hannon said: “My dream has become a reality. I’m very grateful to the association for recognising the hard yards and sacrifices made over an 18-year period to get to this point.

“It’s on days like these that my late dad and the late Liam Healy are very much in my thoughts.”

The 37-year-old, who began his commentary career in pony racing in 1999, said of Scahill’s influence: “He’s been an inspiration of mine and I wish him all the best for his retirement.”

Paddy Walsh, chief executive of Air, said of the decision: “The model we have operated off in the past has been with one full-time worker for the association who looks after most of the commentaries and that has historically been Dessie. Jerry has been absorbing that role over the past number of years and he will now take over that function.”

Scahill’s retirement and Hannon’s increased role will lead to opportunities for new faces to join the commentary roster, according to Walsh, with Gary O’Brien expected to feature on the schedule, although plans have yet to be finalised.

Walsh added: “We have a panel of commentators to choose from when we have double meetings, holidays and other events. Peter O’Hehir and Richard Pugh have been members of the panel for a long number of years and they will continue to fulfil roles with us. We hope to be adding another couple of names to that group.

Saturday will mark Scahill’s final commentary of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby and the 69-year-old said that although he felt he could have continued on a reduced schedule he had no complaints about the decision.

Walsh said: “I can’t get into the details of arrangements we have with Dessie or any of our other employees but all I can tell you is that arrangements for Dessie’s retirement were all done in full consultation – and agreement – with himself.

“I’d like to wish him all the best on his future as he’s been a great contributor to us for a long time, giving us great service.”

Arch, National Treasures, an Alice Taylor poem and Chutes’ Stores

Bridge Road through the arch, October 2017


I Remember, I Remember

From Facebook


National Treasures

If you have kept something as a souvenir of a different time in Ireland, now is the time to share it with the nation. RTE have initiated this great project to collect images of stuff that tell us something about who we are and what life was like in Ireland in the twentieth century. Mostly what they want is stuff that was valued or treasured in our lifetime but mostly now has no value whatsoever except as a reminder of something that defined us. Here are few examples;

John F. Kennedy and his wife Jackie were our golden couple in the 1960s. They were our very own Charles and Diana and the Kardashians all rolled into one. Many homes had their image somewhere on show. This wall plate was typical. Note the closeness of the couple, man slightly overshadowing his good looking young wife, all square jawed and squeaky clean. The  Irishness of his lineage is emphasised in the shamrock shaped cut outs in the ribbon plate.

This was a milk formula that was very popular in the Ireland of my youth. Every home had one of these tins for keeping odds and ends in. We had one for saved bits of twine. Mothers would run a mile now if they saw Full Cream baby food. As for the image of the baby in the oversized crown….words fail me.

Remember saving stamps? They featured an acorn and the selling point was, Be a squirrel and save up your pennies as the squirrel saves nuts for a time of want.


Poem by Alice Taylor


Refurbishment underway here

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