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: Nancy Kelly

Castleisland, Dublin phone boxes and lights in Listowel’s Childers’ Park

Deirdre Lyons took this photo recently in The Garden of Europe. Isn’t it beautiful?



Last week I had occasion to pass a few hours in Castleisland. It is a really interesting town. I sometimes feel that Castleisland people are closer to their rural roots than other Kerry people. I overheard these gems on the street;

” Let me tell you now while I’ve a holt of you…..”

“75? She is in her eye. She’s 85 and she looks every day of it.”

This great likeness of Con Houlihan, one of Castleisland’s most famous sons, stands in the town centre.

This premises is currently idle.

A native of Castleisland informed me that this landmark is called The Fountain. This confirms my belief that people are different in this town. To me this is a pump. I can’t see anything that makes this column a fountain but if Castle Island people want to call it a fountain who am I to differ?

A reminder of Castleisland’s dark history


Phoneboxes on Connell Bridge, Dublin in the 1970s

Photo: Stair na hEireann on Facebook


Lighting our Way through the park

If, like me, you were walking in the park on Thursday March 23 2017, you might have wondered why all the lovely lights that are such a great addition to the park in recent years were still on in mid morning. Wonder no more. On my way through the park I met Conor Moriarty whom I knew would be a likely man to know the answer. He did. It was he who had turned them on in order to identify which ones were faulty. They are all now in full working order.


A Wedding Video from 1962

Wedding of Tommy Murphy and Olivia Featherstone

Paul Murphy sent me this great old video to share. Here is his accompanying email:

My mother was manager of the Arms, hired by Joe Locke, got married in Dublin because she knew people up there.

Listowel people in the video include my Dad’s sisters, Mossie Walsh down the square, with his wife Kats who still lives there, other Walshs, the guy sitting next to the old lady is I think Stephen Stack, the  pharmacist, where The Gentlemen’s Barber is now.

The old lady is my Gran Aunt Ciss Perryman from Beale who ran Mountain View in Ballybunion up until the 80’s. Also from Ballybunion is my uncle Paddy Dowling, who is doing the toasting, his daughter mames was well known in Ballybunion, who died tragically in a freak accident a few years ago. Feel free to ask any questions.


In London on Friday last 

Nancy and Derry Kelly, both from Listowel, celebrated 50 years of happy marriage.


Wedding with Fireworks

John Kelliher just happened to be in The  Square on Saturday April 1 2017. He just happened to have his camera with him so he got a shot or two of the firework display which was put on to celebrate a local wedding.


Don’t Forget

Family, Lily’s and a few more from December 11 in The Square

Well done, Ballydonoghue, North Kerry Champions 2016

(photo: John Kelliher)


Kindness at Christmas 2016

Nancy Kelly’s eyesight is failing but she loves the internet. She also loves to surprise people with an unexpected phoncall, card or greeting. She loves Listowel and Ballybunion and she truly appreciates those of us who bring her images and news from her home in North Kerry. 

Above is the lovely surprise her new internet friend, Mario Perez, created for her on the beach at Ballybunion.


Blackbird in the town park in December 2016.


Family Events at Christmas

I had a ceremony of Light, Christmas Concerts and a end of term drama show on my most recent trip to Cork.

My girlies in the Church of Christ our Light, Ballincollig for Róisín’s Ceremony of Light.

Cora was the very best sheep in her Seó na Nollag at Gaelscoil Uí Riiordáin

Killian played carols at the concert for residents in Rosenalee Nursing Home.

Róisín was an urchin in her drama class’ end of term show.


Another New Business Opens in Charles Street


A Pizza and an Elf walked into the Square

A few more photos from Dec 11 2016 in the square for the Coca Cola trucks event


What I’m Reading and What I’m Listening to

While I’m reading Pat Given’s poems I have this lovely album playing in the background. It features all of the artists who appeared on this season’s Late Late Show and all the proceeds go to St. Vincent de Paul.


Christmas Day Swim

Ballybunion Sea and Cliff Rescue will be organising their usual swim on Christmas Day. If you don’t feel brave enough to take the plunge you could drop by and contribute to their bucket collection. They do great work.

O’Connell’s Avenue folk, A Sad Poem and The Square in summer

Photo Memories of O’Connells’ Avenue

Maria Sham grew up in O’Connell’s Avenue. Her father was Timmy Canty who worked in the creamery. Maria has fond memories of her old home, her family and neighbours in Listowel. She rooted out a few old photos.

This is a Listowel group on an outing in Killarney. Maria thinks that the man was a driver from Malone’s on Church St. Maria is sitting on the grass with the ribbon in her hair .

The others are:

Left to R, Nan Canty, Maria’s grandmother, Betty Clancy, Molly Cooperager,  Driver for Malones Church St,  Maria’s aunty Sarah Clancy, Joan Dillon they had a barber shop in the Small Square, Maria and Conny Clancy

Mam Dad uncle Peter and neighbour Jack Hurley; R.I.P all

Friends and neighbours in O’Connell’s Avenue.

Maria writes:  I am going to name what I can.   

Back Row left to R , Mrs Mary Galvin and Paddy Galvin,Tadhg Murphy with the fork,  Mrs Murphy, Elly Nolan, man on right home from UK,  Derick Woods,

next row my Mother, Birdie Canty,next to her woman with dark hair Nan Murphy, children boy on left Andy Hayes, Sheila O’Connor with arm around her sister Marie, Kay Galvin, next is Taig Murphy’s Daughter cant remember the name, then a Flaherty, Breda Woods hollidaying from UK, in the pram might be Mars Fitzmaurice, Junie Canty my Brother,  Noleen Reidy, little boy is Hayes cant remember the first name, lovely Neighbours



Do you remember my Christmas card story from December 22 2015?

This is the sender, Nancy Kelly, formerly of O’Connell’s Avenue and now living in England.

Nancy is legally blind but she loves the internet and particularly Facebook. She likes nothing better than to travel down memory lane to her childhood in Listowel.


This lovely little poem I came across lately will bring a tear to your eye

Father’s Day   by Leo

Now he had pneumonia,

“Old man’s friend,” said the neighbours.

It was time to go. His doctor insisted,

So did his three daughters.

They hunted out his best clothes-

The previous year’s Christmas presents

He hadn’t worn since they’d bought them

Preferring the bunched up woolens

And suit waistcoats. Now he was decked-

Looking more washed out then snow-

In loose fawn gansey and pink shirt,

Standing for the last time at his door,

Quivering into his walking stick,

The door he’d passed through for forty years

Through which he’d carried shopping bags

And coal and schoolbags and medals and girls.

He saw the hospital up on the hill.

It didn’t have the big extension

Those times he’d visited. His daughters stood

Unrelenting in the room behind him.

The ambulance drew up, the attendant got out,

Opening the door on high hinges,

Lowering the trolley, and he heard

“This one is his house, this is.”

He drew himself up, his mouth forming

Words, his shadow growing thinner,

Slicing the sunlight on the hall floor. “I’m not,”

He said, “leaving here on a stretcher.”


Listowel Town Square

I took this photo in summer. St. John’s is in the background and between the two leafy trees is Tony O’Callaghan’s Feale sculpture.


Notices from the Parish Newsletter

talk on effective communication with children
and teenagers will be given by David Coleman at Listowel Family Resource Centre
on Thursday. February 11 from 7-8,30pm. Booking – 10 euro per
family/student/carer/guardian and 15 euro per professional person. Further details from (068) 23584. Names are
currently being taken for a new five-week course entitled ‘Parenting when separated’
commences at Listowel Family Resource Centre on February 22 at 7pm

30min Taster Classes
on Monday 18th Jan. Spinning 7.00pm
and 7.30pm, Kettlebells 8.00and 8.30pm. Nutrition Workshops with Kerry Senior Team
Nutritionist Kevin Beasley
starts 7.00pm Monday 25th
January. FREE for members. €10 non-members. Massive gym Membership Sale…WAS
€360 NOW ONLY AN AMAZING €277 Special Offer on Fitness Classes…Buy 7 and get 1

those who have had a Stroke Meet the last Friday of each month  from 11.15
am  to 1.15 pm in  Baile Mhuire Day Care
Centre, Caherslee Tralee Kerry. Various activities ; For  further info
contact  087 3586451.


Name the Stars

I posted this yesterday because of the David Bowie connection. I didn’t know who all the others were but ,in response to a request, I looked them up on the internet and here are the names;

Bob Geldof’s wedding to Paula Yates in 1986. Back row, from left: Johnnie Fingers, Garry Roberts, Tony Hadley, John Taylor, Simon le Bon, Martin Kemp, George Michael, Gary Kemp, Simon Crowe, Steve Norman, Aled Jones. Seated, from left, Midge Ure, John Keeble, Paula Yates, Bob Geldof and David Bowie

A Christmas Card, Xtravision is Closing and some properties for sale

Our  crib looks lovely in The Square.


A Story of a Christmas Card in the digital age

This card made my day.

Here is the back story.

The card was sent to me by a lovely lady called Nancy Kelly. Nancy grew up in O’Connell’s Avenue but she has lived in London for many years now. She loves to keep in touch with home through Listowel Connection. She enjoys the photographs and the stories and even though her eyesight is poor now, she made the effort to write me a card to say thanks.

Now here is the extraordinary part. Nancy is my digital friend. We have never met and have never corresponded except on Facebook. So Nancy did not know my address. This is what she did.

Wasn’t that so thoughtful of her?

Betty passed the card to me but she wasn’t too good at explaining to me who this lovely lady was. On the day I collected the card from Betty, I met my good friend, Dolores O’Connor, in The Flying Saucer. 

I showed Dolores my lovely card, told her the story and I asked her if she knew Nancy.

I think what happened next is called synchronicity.

Would you believe this; Dolores now lives in the house where Nancy once lived.

Since getting the card, I have mentioned Nancy to several Listowel friends. Nancy’s family, the Murphys is remembered well by Listowel people.

I met Martin Griffin in Tralee.  He is a real life as well as a digital friend of Nancy’s. He too got a Christmas card which set a challenge for the postal service.

Junior remembers Nancy well and he asked me to convey his best wishes to her.

Nancy’s card forged an uplifting warm Listowel connection for us all.

So, in case you were thinking of cutting back on the cards, don’t. A card can mean a lot.


Some of the manyListowel Cards available locally


Closing Down

With the advent of Netflix, Pandora etc. business has dried up for DVD rental shops. Xtra Vision on Market St. is closing down.


One Down, Two to Go

The old schoolhouse in Dromerin has been sold.

The below two are on the market


In Bank of Ireland

The bank ran a Christmas card competition for primary school pupils. The winners are displayed in the bank


New Kid on the Block on Charles Street

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