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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Ballybunion Sea and Cliff Rescue, Shannonside Annual and a Limerick

Éamon ÓMurchú in Dingle peninsula


Ballybunion Sea and Cliff Rescue

Some lovely photos of a training exercise posted online by Jason O’Doherty


Shannonside Annual

For a few years in the 1950s a highlight of the year for local people was the Shannonside Annual, packed with excellent articles and poems.

Here is the Foreward to the first edition in 1956


The Beginning of The Next Listowel Characters Mural

And the finished artwork

Cormac and Louise of Mack Signs posed for me at the end of their week of long days and evenings of hard work on the latest Listowel Characters mural; August 14 2021.

I like it. It has a kind of old fashioned feel to it.


A Monday Verse

There was a young lady of Niger

Who rode on the back of a tiger; 

They came back from the ride

With the lady inside

And a smile on the face of the tiger

Edward Lear


Outdoor Dining, Knitting, a Mural and a Limerick

Bridge to Listowel Racecourse


Outdoor Living in Summer 2021

Flanagans of Church Street with a well co ordinated outdoor on the pavement seating area.


Some Premises getting an upgrade


Knitting is having a Moment

An English newspaper caption writer came up with the best one for this. Olympics 2020 when Tom Daley came out…as a knitter.

He may have won a gold medal for diving but he has won even more plaudits for his knitting. While waiting between dives, Daley chilled out by knitting himself a cardigan.

We were ahead of the curve in our family. Here I am eleven years ago teaching Killian, aged 4, to knit.


A Laugh

There once was a man of Bengal

Who was asked to a fancy dress ball;

He murmured “I’ll risk it-

And go as a biscuit.”

But a dog ate him up in the hall.



Update on the Mural

The latest mural in the Listowel Characters project is on Mill Lane. The quotation is from Maurice Walsh. The final piece of the quotation seems to me to say that Kerry is a small place too.

I returned later yesterday and this is how it looks now.

The artists, Mack Signs, were putting the finishing touches to the letters.

“and you can put your finger on the village and the river, if you are able.” I’m still puzzling it out.

You can see the remains of the doodle grid. That will all be covered up in the end.

This gives you an idea of the scale of the mural in situ.


Doon, a Walrus and a Poem of Few words about a Word

Photo: Éamon ÓMurchú in Corcha Dhuibhne


A Church in Ballybunion

The old church at Doon
Doon church now, photo shared by Cathleen Mulvihill


Advertisements from Shannonside Annual 1956


A word

A word is dead

When it is said

Some say.

I say 

It just begins to live

That day

Emily Dickinson


Where’s Wally

Photo; Paddy Tubbritt

This walrus first made his appearance in Kerry in 2020. Since then he’s been on his holidays around Wales and Europe. He has recently returned to Waterford. While he is very sociable, lolling on piers and climbing into boats, people are reminded that he is a wild creature and should be approached with caution.


New Mural on Mill Lane

This whole Listowel Characters project is a great learning experience for us all. I am going to pass on to you what I learned today about the modern art of the muralist.

The blank canvas is the side wall of Kay’s Children’s Shop

This artwork is on a large scale so it needs a cherry picker to reach to upper part.

This is one of the first jobs, decanting and mixing the paint.

This morning, August 11 2021, the work has begun. The frame is done and the artist is doing the doodle grid.

This is a close up of a portion of the doodle grid. Traditionally muralists drew their picture on graph paper and then scaled it up to a corresponding grid on the big canvas/wall.

Modern muralists paint a doodle grid, sometimes called a lazy grid. The doodle can be anything. Some artists use numbers or letters. Our man had a bit of fun, using names, declarations of love and a blatant dig at the locals anxious about the football semi final against Tyrone.

Then he takes a picture of the doodles. Using his doodle app he can superimpose the picture he wants to paint on to the doodle picture. We then uses the underlying doodle as a guide to what to paint where on the wall.

If my description is a bit puzzling, Google “Doodle Grid” and you will find lots of Youtube tutorials on how to do it. Fascinating!!!!


Nun in India, Jellyfish and the Blue Bag

Eamon ÓMurchú in Skerries



This photograph was taken by Martin Moore in Fermoyle. It is the most jellyfish I have seen on one beach so far this summer. There are lots of them on all our beaches, including Ballybunion. I’m told they are not the stinging kind. But I wouldn’t take my chances.


A Listowel Connection?

Can anyone tell us if this lady was an aunt of the late Canon Leahy of Listowel?

Advocate, Melbourne, Sat 4 Sep 1909


Again the Daughters of the Cross have to record the loss of one of their Sisters, who died at Anand on Sunday, 18th July, after an illness of only a few hours. Sister Agnes Mary was born in Kerry, Ireland, in April, 1865, and joined the congregation at Liege in October, 1884.Two years later she arrived in India, and since that time worked with the greatest earnestness in the convents at Karachi, Igatpuri, Bandra, Panchgani, Dadar, and finally at Anand, of which house she was made Superioress in December, 1908. In the first week of July, cholera broke out in that locality, and some of the orphan children confided to the care of the Sisters; contracted the disease. A few cases proved fatal. However, on Sunday last it was hoped that the epidemic had ceased, an intimation to that effect

having been written by the Superioress herself, little thinking that she would be the next chosen victim. Sister Agnes Mary saw without fear death approaching, and was perfectly calm and resigned to God’s holy will. During the years she spent in India, and in whatever house she laboured, she was ever a subject of the greatest edification to her Sisters in religion and to all with whom She came in contact. Her happy disposition endeared her to everyone, and her loss will be keenly felt. Quietly and religiously she spent her days, and one may truly say: “She went about doing good.” Her death was a fit crowning to her life—a victim to duty, she has fallen at her post.

R.I.P.—Bombay “Examiner.”


Church Street Art

It looks like this mural may soon be on the move. I hope they find a suitable new home for it not too far from the homes of the two Church Street natives it so fittingly commemorates.


The Blue Bag

Once upon a time, but not so long ago I don’t remember it, Laundry washing was done by hand in a big tub. Clothes were washed with soap and rubbed on a washboard until clean. Washing was almost always done on a Monday.

For some unfathonable reason, tablecloths, sheets and other big items of household linen were white. Natural white linen and cotton are prone to yellowing, particularly if left exposed to sunlight.

There were no tumble dryers in those days so the washed laundry was hung to dry on an outdoor clothesline.

Enter the blue bag. This was a little muslin bag containing a cube of Reckitts Blue. This whitener/bleach was put into the water for the final rinse and it kept the whites “whiter than white”.


Nice Gesture from An Post

This is the nearest post box to the Portland Row home of our Olympic champion Kellie Harrington. An Post spray painted it gold in her honour with a message of congratulations as well.


Some Aspects of Listowel in Summer 2020

Some Images from Town

The Square through the gate of the Intreo office.


Brendan Mahony is working hard. His shop  is open for business.


I wonder how soon is soon.


Danny’s and Bailey and Co.  are closed but Danny is available online.

Don’t be without a tasty fish for tea.

Morkan’s will be open in Phase 2.



Church Street

Woulfe’s and Perfect Pairs will take your order on line and both shops are open for a few hours for collection.

After a few weeks of closure, Eason is open.

These two kind caring signs are at The Hair Lounge.





Early Morning walker

I met John Pierse taking an early morning constitutional on Sunday May 31 2020. John is always really the most interesting man you could run into to on Listowel’s streets. He has a brain full of various interesting facts.

On Sunday he told me that in the years between 1841 nd 1851, 18000 people died in North Kerry. John is the acknowledged expert on The Famine in North Kerry.


Church Street Mural

Charlie Nolan has recorded and edited a lovely video of the unveiling of this mural by Olive Stack and paid for by the Church Street Traders. The unveiling took place on Nov. 15 1998. It’s a lovely souvenir but sad to see so many of the old stock of the town now no longer with us. The mural is a lovely addition to our streetscape. Church Street traders can be proud of their legacy.

Mural unveiling

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