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: My Silver River Feale.

Writers’ Week, Dan Keane and Maureen Beasley and a return to the sky garden

Three of Listowel’s great unsung heroes of The Arts; Jet Stack R.I.P., Maureen BeasleyR.I.P. and Jimmy Hickey. These three have played their parts in preserving folk traditions in music, verse and dance and have all done North Kerry and its literary heritage a great service.

Another of the great stalwarts of the North Kerry literary tradition is Dan Keane. He has left us a legacy of poems, ballads and stories and some great memories.

This poem by Dan is a tribute to his friend, Jet Stack:

Mr. Garrett Stack 

If you are out to learn dancing

Take a tip from me,

Go through Listowel and Greenville

Until you reach Scartlea,

Go all the way to Scartlea Cross

Then count two houses back,

There you will find the maestro

That’s Mr. Garrett Stack.

That is his Baptismal title

But he’s never used it yet,

He is no way sanctimonious

He is always known as “Jet”,

He will make you very welcome

With tea and home cooked ham,

And if he is scarce in sugar,

He will give you plenty jam.

He will quickly come to dancing,

It will only take a while,

To show you reels and figures,

In every kind of style,

He will show you steps and polkas,

Like jewels from days of yore,

And he will even demonstrate

He is tasty on the floor.

Now if you ever doubt me

I have witnesses to prove,

That even first class dancers,

He can tutor and improve,

He is not the slightest selfish,

His glory’s greatest crown,

Is his patriotic willingness,

To hand his dancing down.

He is also a musician

And in case you might not know it,

He is good at prose and poetry

A writer and a poet.

He is witty and good humoured,

And a joke he’s good to crack,

So don’t forget three cheers for “Jet”,

That’s Mr. Garrett Stack.

By Dan Keane

I think the lines “His glory’s greatest crown is his patriotic willingness to hand his dancing down.” sum up what Writers’ Week is all about….handing on the torch to the next generation of writers. Who knows? a future John B. or Bryan might be in our midst here on the streets of Listowel this week.


Another old photo from Writers’ Week of times gone by


Mardyke Garden

Do you remember that I went to Fitzgerald’s Park last week to view the Diarmuid Gavin sky garden? This garden cost over a million euros. Well, it took just one week for the children of Cork to wreck it.

Children taking turns climbing on the giant stainless steel spheres.

The plants in this section never stood a chance.

These paths through the garden were lined with blue stepping stones last week.

Yet again, the café couldn’t cope with demand.

The lovely rose beds of old are gone. The colorful roses are replaced by dull drab green plants.

Dead and damaged plants abound.

Dotted throughout the park are lovely gems, like this Oisín Kelly dancer.

In defense of Cork’s children let me say that there was no sign to say that this garden was to be looked at and admired, not treated like a playground. Those big silver sphere’s are far too tempting and they do look like the sort of thing you might see in a playground. I don’t know if the garden can be saved and replanted.  As it stands, it’s a disaster.


D Day is near…. Saturday May 31 2014

Eileen Moylan of Claddagh will launch her beautiful creation in Craftshop na Méar at 7.00 p.m.

Listowel Writers Week and some photos from Árd Cúram sod turning ceremony

From Kids’ Programme to 

The National Children’s Literary Festival 2014

This is the Writers’Week Children’s Fancy Dress Parade in 1991. Mary Robinson performed the official opening of Listowel Writers’ Week and the theme of the parade was Mná na hEireann.

That was then; this is now.

The Children’s programme at Writers Week has grown and matured into The National Children’s Literary Festival.

A programme of readings, workshops, Treasure Hunt, Teddy Bear’s Picnic, Baby Boogie, Puppet Show, Science Experiments and so much more is on offer.

Just one of the many exciting events is taking place in Craftshop na Méar on Saturday morning May 31st. at 11.30 a.m.

Sarah Murphy is a Ballina born, Cork based teacher and art therapist. She has just written her first book, What if?

The premise behind What if? is that it provides a fun way for a parent to introduce personal safety topics to young children.

The workshop is for parents and children and aims at helping them explore topics like

What if a stranger offers me sweets?

What if my ball ran on to the road?

The workshop is free but booking is necessary as places are limited. Ring Nuala on 068 21074.


Ard Čúram sod turning ceremony May 16 3014

Micheál ÓSuilleabháin

Marie and Mike Moriarty

Ring of Kerry cyclists with Mayor of Listowel Jimmy Moloney

Canon Declan O’Connor blessed the site

Isobel MacDonagh with some Listowel older people who avail of the day care service

Finbarr Mawe, a driving force behind the project

 Olive and Roibeard Pierse

Tom Pierse


Busy Weekend ahead

 Local and European elections Friday May 23

M.S. Busking Day  May 23 2014


Ta Dah!

This is the beautiful Silver River Feale piece designed in Macroom by Listowel born silversmith, Eileen Moylan and made in her Claddagh Design Workshop.

Orders are now being taken in Craftshop na Méar for the following pieces from the range;

Sterling Silver Pendant on 18′ chain………€85

Sterling Silver Bracelet on 7′ chain………….€75

Sterling Silver  cuff links………….€130

Sterling Silver Tie/ Lapel pin………..€60

All of the items come in a beautiful presentation box.

We will have a small supply available on the night of the launch which we will sell to people who attend. These handmade pieces take a while to produce so order now to avoid disappointment.

My Silver River Feale, Dromclough, St. Mary’s and Fungie

My Silver River Feale

“My heart tonight is lonely for my sireland,

Though many miles of ocean lie between,

My heart tonight is home again in Ireland

Upon thy banks, my silver River Feale.”

The words of Bryan MacMahon are the inspiration behind a beautiful piece of jewellery soon to be unveiled in Craftshop na Méar.

This is Eileen Moylan of Claddagh Designs pictured at her work bench in Macroom.

This is a sneak preview of her Listowel piece, My Silver River Feale which will be launched in Craftshop na Méar, Listowel on Saturday May 31 2014 as part of Listowel Writers’ Week fringe. The solid silver hallmarked piece will be available as a pendant, bracelet or cuff links. The design shows St. John’s, Listowel Castle and The Bridge over The Feale.

If you love Listowel you will want one of these.

Everyone is welcome to the launch. Standing room is limited. We will have to close the doors when the shop is full so come early and browse some of the lovely crafts in the shop. We plan to have a little music, a few nibbles and a video showing how the silver piece was designed and crafted. Owen MacMahon, son of the author of My Silver River Feale will be the guest of honour on the night,

May 31 2014 at 7.00 p.m.


A newspaper picture of the opening of Dromclough National School


St. Mary’s in Listowel Square is due to close its doors for refurbishment for the months of June and July 2014. Daily masses will be celebrated in St. John’s and Sunday Mass in St. Michael’s College.

Below are some photos of the lovely interior of our parish church.


Fungie the Dingle dolphin

Two more recent action shots from his friends at Fungie Forever


Nano Nagle award

Eileen Keane, Acting Vice Principal, Clodagh Kissane with her Nano Nagle Award and Elaine Kinsella who presented the awards on Awards Day at Presentation Secondary School, Listowel


Joan Mulvihill sings, emigration, Duagh Griffins and the storm of Feb 12

A taster of what is in store for listeners to Radio Kerry on Saturday Feb. 22 2014 in Frank Lewis’ Saturday Supplement from Listowel at 9.00a.m.

Lovely singer

The man who wrote the lovely song; Bryan MacMahon


Ireland’s most iconic DJ, Larry Gogan, is scaling back to weekend broadcasting.


Set dancing in Chicago (photo from the Facebook page of the Francis O’Neill Club)


I found this photo on Inside History Magazine. It is an Australian publication. I don’t know where the stone stands.

It refers to emigration and roughly translated says, As far as this spot came the friends and relatives of the person going abroad. Here they parted. This is the Bridge of Tears.

So sad that many of those who parted here never saw one another again.


Irene Breen from Abbeyfeale is researching her family tree and she needs help with something on the Griffin side of her family. Below is what she posted on the genealogy forum.

“I was told at some stage within the past year that a newspaper article was written in the early/mid 1930s about James Griffin of Knockalougha, Duagh and his remaining siblings at the time. These were possibly Daveen Griffin and his sister Peg Nash who would have been in their 80s/90s by then-hence the article. I know it’s a really long shot but it would be great if anyone has info that could help me locate this. It’s more likely that a clipping was sent over to emigrants and was treasured by them and this post may jog someone’s memory. Fingers crossed!”

I tried Mike Lynch, the county archivist but without an exact date or even an idea of which newspaper, the task is too great. Mike tells me that there were several Kerry newspapers in those years.


Always Take the Weather with You

We have had some horrendous weather in these parts of late and Wednesday last, Feb. 12 2014 has to be one of the stormiest days I have ever witnessed. My lovely niece came to rescue me and take me home with her. I took a few photos of the destruction wrought by the storm on my way to North Cork.

Road to Abbeyfeale completely blocked

at the bridge

 fallen trees on the Tralee road

Millenium Arch destroyed

 Debris strewn along the Tralee Road

This tree fell into a field taking a large section of ditch with it

I woke next morning to frost and snow

I’m putting in here two video clips of storm damage in The Cows Lawn sent to me by Marie Moriarty. I haven’t done this before so if it doesn’t work, sorry!

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