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: NCBI shop Listowel


Listowel Town Square in May 2022



I posted this picture yesterday and I wondered why there were so few boys in the class. Vincent Carmody solved the mystery.

There were always junior (locally called Babies) classes in both the boys and girls schools in Listowel. There was a custom for boys who lived in O’Connell’s Avenue or other houses near the convent or for boys who had an association with the convent to go there up to First Communion class.

I presumed that the full class of communion boys must have been in the new school. Not so. Éamon ÓMurchú remembers boys communion classes in the old school and in The Carnegie.

Everyone agrees that Quirkes of Church St. was the place to go for the best after communion breakfast.


Lovely Listowel

This Church Street shop has very elaborate and unusual embellishments on the first storey.


St. Vincent de Paul Society Honours Hannah

Listowel St. Vincent de Paul Society recently honoured one of its most treasured members, Hannah Mulvihill.


Illuminated Parchment Presentation

This photo was shared by Mike Hannon on Facebook. I recognise the occasion. It is the handover during race week 1958 of an illuminated work of art to the directors of Listowel Race Company.

The picture being presented is the work of Bryan MacMahon and Michael O’Connor.

Jer Kennelly found a great clip online that explains the work of an illuminator.

Bishop Barron

It is well worthwhile to watch this to appreciate the genius that was Listowel’s Michael O’Connor.

I am looking forward to developments at Kerry Writers’ Museum which will see O’Connor’s work displayed for us all to see. Many examples of the great artist’s work have been promised by their owners, often his family members, to the museum as soon as it has a place to conserve and display them.

Example of a Michael O’Connor illuminated letter


Betty Remembered at The Races

In memory of Betty McGrath, her good friend, Larry Buckley, has organised a race at this weekend’s race meeting. The race will be run on Sunday June 5 2022, Ladies Day

In The Lingerie Room, Elaine is a is also remembering. Her window display remembers Betty, a queen of style.


New on Church Street

I checked out their website. I think it is a kind of government recruitment agency. This is what the website says;

“Get the tailored support you need Turas Nua is delivering the JobPath programme to help long-term unemployed people get the support they need to move into suitable, sustainable employment….”


NCBI Window Display

NCBI Listowel is getting behind Writers’ Week with this apt window display.


Mary O’Halloran was pictured at Navan recently.

Mary is a frequent visitor to Listowel Races where she is always one of the best turned out ladies on the course.

Mary is living with Motor Neurone Disease.

I can’t give her the 2 page spread Charlie Bird got in last Sunday’s Independent. But I can tell you that I greatly admire Mary and all the other people with MND who are quietly getting on with life.


Shop windows, Flowers at the Courthouse, Christmas Customs and A Christmas Craft Fair

Listowel Castle December 2019


Some Lovely Shopwindows

Listowel shopkeepers make a great effort with their window displays always.

Cheryl’s lovely crochet crib figures are on the NCBI window.


McKenna’s Winter Wonderland


Work at Listowel Courthouse courtyard

They look like flowerbeds in the making.


Christmas Cleaning from the Dúchas collection

The first job always seemed to be the cleaning and painting.

Christmas Customs

It is an old custom to clean up the house the week before Christmas, to white wash it and paint all the furniture. All the old people like to go to Tralee for the Christmas.

On St. Stephen’s day boys flock together and go around with the wren. They dress up in various kinds of clothes and get a dead wren and a bit of holly. They go from house to house and sing and play and dance. The people of the house give them some money and sometimes give them drink.

The old people put up holly around the windows and mantles for Christmas. On the Eve of each holiday candles are lighted through out the Christmas.


Christmas is a merry time for young and old. Five days before Christmas the people go to a town or village for their Christmas supplies.

The first sign of Christmas is the houses are whitewashed and the places cleaned. On Christmas Eve the candles


Mike’s Murals

Mike O’Donnell’s own photo of himself painting the old Kerryman masthead over the door of The Kerryman building


Listowel Tree 2019


Christmas Craft Fair

I never got round to posting these last week. This was the Christmas Craft Fair in Kerry Writers’ Museum with some lovely things to buy.

The heavenly Elle Marie ODwyer is a new face at Listowel craft fairs. I love her new song, Christmas by the Lee. Have a listen.

Our local historian, Vincent Carmody was there with his chronicles of old Listowel and old Newcastlewest

Anne and Katie’s snowmen and candy canes were very popular.

Frances O’Keeffe is the best knitter and knitting designer I know. Her cupcake dolls are a new addition to her range and they’re gorgeous. I also love this Rhode Island Red hen tea cozy.

This lady had beautiful large or small Christmas arrangements.

Election Posters, A Ration Book, Moyvane Men and a Doodle Frolic

Imogen in Ballybunion February 8 2016

Photo: Mike Enright


I Knew It

Election Posters on Charles Street and everywhere. Now we have a new candidate, Danny Healy Rae, we can expect even more canvassing and postering.


WW2 Ration book

(Photo and text by Vincent Carmody)

Ration books were issued to people during the war years ( the emergency) and some years later. Rationing food and other goods was required to overcome the shortages of imports into the country. I have spoken to people, born in the late 1930’s, who were amazed when they saw banana’s for the first time in the early 1950s. 
The ration book photographed was issued to my cousin, Johnny Buckley, he of 26 William Street, in 1948.



Photo and text: Vincent Carmody

The group photo is from the very early 1959’s, this was taken outside Kennelly’s Cloth Hall, and includes, all true Poundlaners, the aforementioned, Johnny Buckley, John Kennelly, Joe O’Sullivan, Matt Kennelly, Maurice Kennelly and Tommy Sheahan.

The centre of our youthful universe.


Some Moyvane Men

At a GAA social in Moyvane.


More Doodle Mania

They left the talk on how to lay a table and behave at social functions until a bit late in the day.


A Change on Church Street

NCBI have moved up the street from their old location in Bunyans to the premises that used to be Mac Aulliffe’s Gift Shop.

NCBI 10th anniversary in Listowel; 1955 communion boys

The NCBI charity shop which used to be called Mrs. Quins celebrated 10 years in town with a one day half price sale, a raffle and an in-shop all day party on Friday last. I bring you some photographs of the hard working staff who pulled out all the stops to make Friday a great day for their customers. Well done girls. You brought a bit of cheer to an otherwise dull and rainy day.


Joanne Dillon brings us a link to a good news story from the U.S.


Paudie Carey wrote to me about this photo

This is what Paudie wrote;

“I just noticed the Holy communion picture on your Blog. My uncle (Paudie Carey, after whom I was named), is in the centre. I have marked up a picture to point him out. He emigrated to Australia circa 1970, married a girl from Dublin and had one girl (named Nora after my grandmother). He was killed at the age of 23 when he fell from the construction of a bridge on the Hopkins river. He was a strong swimmer (learned in the river Feale), but drowned as he wore heavy boots and a tool belt. His body was not found for about 3 weeks.  The hardest thing for my grandparents at the time, is they never got to bury their son; no such thing as bringing home bodies back then or flying relatives out. Communication was bad at the time, only a handful of phones in Listowel. Guard Healy (neighbour) was asked to call toto tell my grandparents of his death but refused as he did not have the heart. I was my mother who got the hard task. Just goes to show how communication has changed the world. “

What a sad sad story! I’m grateful to Paudie for sharing the story with us. Maybe people reading this will remember the older Paudie who looked so sweet and dapper on his communion day in 1955.

 May he rest in peace.


Another photo taken at the Ballydonoghue Magazine launch

Noreen, Gerard and Dan Neville with their old teacher, Joseph Linnane


The unveiling of the Paddy Finucane plaque;  video from Jer.


This link should lead you to a Pathé clip of the GPO 1938 in an ad advising people to post early for Christmas. Listening to that voice I am transported back to the cinema of my childhood.


Páidí ÓSé;  a life in pictures here


Don’t bother reading this next bit if the variations in font size lately have not bothered you.

( Apologies to the people who care about style and consistency in format;  Recently you will have noticed that text is often too big or too small and the formatting is all uneven. I have eventually discovered why this is happening despite my best efforts to tidy it up.

 Blogger offers me a choice of text sizes, smallest, small, normal, large and largest. I always choose normal but recently normal can be either tiny or huge rather than normal. This happens because I have cut and pasted someone else’s text and Blogger takes “normal” from there.

To cut a long story short, I will try cutting and pasting contributions into Word and formatting there before cutting and pasting again. That should eliminate the annoying variations in text size that have been the bane of my life in the past week. Thank you for your patience. No body has mentioned it to me so I’m delighted that my readers value substance over style.)

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