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: Molly Page 1 of 9

A Trip to Ballincollig

Listowel Garda Styatio in Sept. 2023


Keeping an Eye on Things

Molly at home


Celebrating 40

Gaelscoil Uí Riordáin in Ballincollig is celebrating 40 years since its humble beginnings in an old supermarket. The school has has the same principal, Gabriel ÓCathasaigh, since its inception.

It is part of the contract for new school buildings that the contractor set aside a percentage for art. The art project funded from this percentage is Abhainn an Feasa, the Salon river in ceramic tiles depicting stories along the river and its banks.

Cora is in 6th class. She posed for me with some of the magnificent artwork on display when I visited.

The significance of the robin harks back to the poet from whom the school takes its name. Seán ÓRiordáin’s famous anthology is titled Eirbeall Spideoige. (The Robin’s Tail)

The reason Cora was out of uniform was because she had just returned from playing a Sciath na Scol football game. This is a very competitive school league in hurling and football. Gaelscoil Uí Riordáin is defending its titles in both disciplines. They would dearly love to celebrate their 40th with wins.


My Annual Leave

It’s race week. Those of us of a certain vintage never work during race week. I’m hoping to go to the island with my houseguests and If I do I’ll take a few photos for you.

Wish me luck!


Goodbye Molly

The Harp and Lion in July 2023


On the Greenway

Molly and I ventured on a short walk on the greenway

Im sure that young people and technologically literate people find this most useful.

Molly looking back on her last glimpse of The Kingdom for a while.

I was reminded of Coleridge’s lines

Like one, that on a lonesome road
Doth walk in fear and dread,
And having once turned round walks on,
And turns no more his head;
Because he knows, a frightful fiend
Doth close behind him tread.

Happily reunited with Cora.


Building the Ark

St Swithin has brought us biblical rainfall. Lets hope not for for 40 days though.

River Feale on July 15 2023


Seeking your help

Jeff and Lois Mathews from Delaware with Vincent Carmody in Listowel in May 2023.

Vincent is helping Lois and Jeff to piece together aspects of their search for Lois’ Irish ancestors.

One piece of the puzzle lies in Ballylongford. There was a fire in the presbytery in St. Michael’s Church in the 1980s when Fr. Ferris was P.P. and many of the records were lost. (Incidentally it was the late Garda Jerry McCabe, who died so tragically later in Adare, who rescued Fr. Ferris from the fire).

Here is the paragraph from Lois’ letter.

“I have one more shameless request, Mary. Do you by chance know the parish secretary at St. Michael’s Church in Ballylongford? In May, we stopped at the church hoping to get some key questions answered, but the parish secretary was on holiday. The kind priest, Fr. Hussey (sp?) suggested I write to the parish and pose my questions. I sent an email to, but have not received a reply. That is the parish where my great-grandfather in Pittsburgh (John Stack b: 1866 d: 1938) was baptized. I am trying to find out what happened to his parents, Michael Stack & Margaret Donohue.  I am even more curious about them now that I read about the civil strife in Ballylongford. “

Any help with this would be greatly appreciated.



I met these two lovely Kilkenny ladies last week. I told them I’d put them in my blog. I hope you are continuing to enjoy your holiday, in spite of the weather.


A Most Unusual Wedding Dress

(Thanks to Dave O’Sullivan for finding this)

When Stephen Rynne came to town on July 6th. he brought with him his mother’s wedding dress and the papal blessing illuminated by Michael O’Connor which was his present to them on the occasion of their wedding in 1967.

The dress is beautifully embellished with celtic embroidery and the Papal Blessing scroll is a beautiful piece of Michael O’Connor artwork

Aideen Rynne with her wedding dress in Listowel on July 6 2023

And some detail from the dress and train:


Today and Yesterday

Garden of Europe July 2023


Writers’ Week 1974

This is a long shot but worth having a go.

Wolfgang Mertens kept the list of participants who attended Bryan MacMahon’s short story writing workshop at Writers Week 1974.

Does anyone know any one on this list? I’d love to hear any memories or stories from that time.

Short Story Workshop, Writers’ Week, Listowel 1974

Director; Bryan MacMahon

Workshop Committee:

Mrs. Peggy Walsh, Mrs Eileen Fitzgibbon, Miss Oonagh O’Shea


Mrs. Eileen Kissane, Lisselton, Co. Kerry

Mr. M.F. OHolohan,  Drumcondra, Co. Dublin

Mr. Tim Cronin, Roscommon

Mrs. Sheila Gleeson, Limerick

Mr. Thomas Gormley,  Foxrock, Dublin

Mr. John Phelan, Fountainstown, Co. Cork

Miss Nora O’Sullivan, Brighton, England

Mr. J.J. King, Virginia, Co. Cavan

Miss Mary O’Sullivan, Ranelagh, Co. Dublin

Mrs. Joan McEvoy, Kiliney, Co. Dublin

Mr. Patrick W. Smyth, Tralee, Co. Kerry

Mrs Anita Mertens, West Germany

Mr. Wolfgang Mertens, West Germany

Mrs. Madeleine J. Beckett, Dundreum, Dublin

Mr. Walter Hayes, Droghedas Co. Louth

Mrs. M. Coffey, Newbridge, Co. Kildare

Mrs. Susan Poole McGraw, New York


Listowel Fuchsia Centre

Some more photos from the official opening of the Fuchsia Centre on Friday July 7 2023.

Brenda O’Halloran with local ladies including Mary Pierse, Marie Moriarty and Beatrice Hayes

Denis O’Rourke and Robert Bunyan

John Kelliher and Church of Ireland Canon Joe Hardy

Helen Moylan and Mike Laffan

Robert and Olive Pierse

Micheál Martin, Norma Foley, Tom Pierse and Mike Kennelly

Helen Moylan, Mary Lynch and Mary Cogan


A Dog and a Photograph

Upper William Street on July 8 2023

Listowel Tidy Towns have planted a beautiful display of flowers atop this wall.

Look at Molly doing everything to get in the picture.


A Date for the Diary


A Fact

The word mortgage comes from the French. It means death contract.


Holidays 2023

Holocaust Memorial, Garden of Europe, July 2023


Flavins Window

July 2023


Well Clamped Turf

Turfshed in Ferbane, Co. Offaly Photo from the internet


Should Old Acquaintance….

My friend, Phil and I, visited Boherbue. She now lives in Dublin and hadn’t visited her old home for some time. Phil has no family left in Boherbue now and has lost touch with her old school friends. My sister in law Breeda is from Boherbue so we planned to meet Breeda there to hear some of the old stories. In my photo, Maureen Ahern, her old neighbour, is next to Phil and Breeda and I are across the table.

Boherbue is much changed since the twentieth century. The lovely café where we met was one such welcome change serving delicious food and with super friendly staff.

Phil attended secondary school in Mrs. Kerrisk’s in Boherbue. There were 5 girls in her Leaving Cert class. The boys went to the tech in Kanturk. One of the 5 girls has passed away and almost incredibly the other 3 all turned up in the café while we were there. Above with Phil is Noreen OConnell, a lady full of local information and history.


Listowel Arms Now and Then

Apart from the colour very little has changed in 20 years.


Martin Chute, Master Signwriter

It’s done and it’s absolutely beautiful.


Holidays 2023

My boys were at Longitude. They are very independent now that they each have a part time job for the summer.

The Kildare branch were at The Derby.

Darby family still fraternising with Olaf and other Disney characters in the sweltering 36 degrees in Orlando.

Meanwhile back at the ranch….


Remembering The Famine

Horse chestnuts ripening nicely in the sun and rain of summer 2023


Famine in The Lane, Kiskeam

The Lane in 2023

Extracts from Kiskeam by Fr. John ORiordáin


Social History

We’ve had an email from Sarah Moore with some invaluable guidelines for anyone going about recording the reminiscences of an older person

Hi Mary,

I was just wondering if you were still updating We’ve just created a great guide to help people interview their elderly family members for genealogical research, and how to get the best experience and understanding from those interviews. You can see it here:

If it would be useful to your readers, we’d love to be included on your page!

Thank you,

Sarah Moore

Marketing Specialist


Molly in The Garden of Europe


A Thought


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