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: Neodata

Remembering Neodata

Feale Monument, Listowel Town Square in November 2022


Remember Neodata?

This is a photo taken before the demolition of the prefab.

Neodata was long gone by then.

In 2016 Liz Galvin sent us this photo of Neodata staff. It brought back happy memories for many then. I hope it will again.


Poem of the Year

Catherine, Martin, Simone and Paula in Dublin for An Post Irish Book Awards on November 23 2022.

Listowel Writers’ Week sponsors the poetry competition at this event.

These were the very talented short listed poets.

……and the winner i………s Martina Dalton.

Here is her poem. (By the way, it was the one I voted for.)


Scalloped leaves entrap a sprig of white


Silk-wound stems repeat themselves

like vows, around a missing throat.

Hexagons of net, like they’ve been honed

by microscopic bees.

A circle smudged in pink,

where confetti must have caught.

Trapped forever in the past.

Where the bodice meets the skirt,

a row of tiny beads join hands.

Lace stretched to bursting round a heart.

A row of sixteen satin covered discs,

miss their counterparts, wait eagerly

to slip each lined up loop.

Pronovias of Barcelona, stitched in gold.

Double edged the snow white hem,

stained now, where it hit the floor.

The buttons at the cuff

never needing to be opened,

so small my hands had been.

A satin band now torn,

where I wound it tightly round my wrist

for our first dance.

Held up to the light, the net in pleats

forms ghostly ribs, delicate

against the plain white cotton of my bed.

Like it’s being lifted from a photograph

I hold it by its shoulders.

Fold it from the outside in.

White pencilled squiggles gather messy

on the floor. Each wrinkle of the train,

like tip of tide on sand.

Perfume, catches in my throat.

The overwhelming scent,

of Celebration, Love in white,

Faded rose.

Published – Irish Independent/New Irish Writing – 30th July 2022


Christmas Times

I never heard of that custom. According to Tomás O Murchadh it was observed across the border in Abbeyfeale.


Big Day for Listowel Gardaí


Another Christmas Craft Fair


Then and Now



Croc an Óir, Neo Data, Listowel, Junior Griffin, G.A.A. stilesman and another book launch

Mike Enright’s Stunning View from Cnoc an Óir


Two Neodata Weddings

Photos kindly shared by Liz Galvin

The bride and groom are Joan and Tom O’Connell

In the photo are Margaret Browne, Marion Tierney, Helen Linnane, Mary Moloney, Mary Scanlon, Sheila Hannafin, Mary Sheehy, Caroline Wee R.I.P. , Mary Kelly, Valerie Collins and Liz Galvin

Margaret Moore, Noreen McAuliffe, Kathleen Houlihan, Liz Galvin, Mary Normoyle, Betty Flaherty, Maureen O’Mahony, Mary Moloney, Magella McCarthy and Noreen Keane.


A Gem from the Folklore commission’s archive of Children’s Stories

A Local Hero

The best hurler the oldest people ever
remember was James Moriarty.He lived somewhere around Kilconly. One Saturday he
and his wife removed to the border of the County of Cork. After going to bed
that night his wife said it was better for him to be there than to be going to
the “Moneens.” The moneens are in Flahives farm, Bromore. “What
is in the Moneens”asked the man. The woman told him that she had received
a letter that he should go and attend the hurling match which was to be held
there. He made up his mind to go and jumping out of bed he went off to Bromore.
When the ball was thrown up he was the first man that struck it and after
striking the ball he leaped thirty three feet. There is a mark to this day on
the place where he jumped. The place is pointed out above at Dan Flahive’s
field of Bog

Nora Griffin vi

Beale, Ballybunion

June 24th 1938

Information from people at home.


Junior Griffin’s Trials and Tribulations at the turnstile on big Match Days

Do you remember the old metal Hogan stand which began life in Croke Park and was later relocated to Limerick when the present Hogan Stand was built? The entrance to this was by a staircase in the middle of the stand where a stile was placed on the ground.

The then Munster secretary, the late Seán McCarthy put me working that stile on many occasions.

I remember once being approached by the great Micheál O Hehir, who, showed me his own pass. He asked me would it be possible to let in his wife and family on this pass.

Could I even have contemplated saying NO to the voice of the GAA? I can still see the cherub faced youth in short trousers who was with him. He is now a famous commentator himself.

Working at that turnstile gave me an opportunity to meet hurling legends like Christy Ring, Mick Macassey, John Keane, Jack Lynch, Jackie Power, John Doyle and many more.

The well known press personnel of that time who used to attend matches and would pass throught my style were the late John D. Hickey (Irish Independent), Mick Dunne (Irish Press) and Paddy Downey (Irish Times).

Hickey, I thought, was a wonderful writer and I felt that his report on the 1953 Kerry Louth semi final was a classic. I still savour the headline” 


We had frightening days at matches. A Cork Tipperary hurling final in Limerick (late sixties or early seventies) drew a record attendance.

We were on duty at the terrace stiles at the Cahirdavin end and at one stage you had a crowd outside the stiles trying to gain admission aand a people inside trying to get out. It was all cash in those days. We were advised to close down and to await the Gardaí. Suddenly the crowd outside starting climbing the wall, and walking on the corrugated iron over our heads. A beam snapped and we thought the whole lot was coming down on top of us.

At that time people were roaring and, I believe, many had gone berserk.

It was time to go. We covered our satchels containing many thousands of pounds between all the stiles. Firstly, though the MAOR badges came off.

It would have been suicide if these were seen. We got out on the main road and eventually made it to safety – but it was pretty frightening.

We had another scary encounter at the same stiles for a Cork Waterford match.

Just inside the stiles a row erupted between rival supporters. Bottles started flying and some came through and broke on the iron stiles. We had to close the inner doors because of flying glass. It was dreadful while it lasted but the Gardaí came and sorted out the troublemakers.

The Munster Hurling Final of 1977 will live in my memory for different reasons. Played on the 10th of July in Thurles between Cork and Clare it drew an attendance of 44,586 Which included the president and the Taoiseach.

Our gates were closed  before half time and I remember handing in a gate of close to £3,000 all neatly folded with very little coin. 

We viewed most of the second half from what is now the old stand.

Late in the second half, Clare were awarded a side line ball which was to be taken by Mick Moroney. The Clare man raised his hurley to take his cut- but he couldn’t take his stroke!

At that moment there was a stampede of blue down the sideline. Close on 30 Gardaí rushed down the line, some outside the line and some inside.

We hadn’t a clue what it was about. It was only on our way home that we heard on the car radio that armed raiders had got away with the takings to the tune 

of £ 24, 579. 

More on that day later. 

During the eighties, Munster were invited to send stilemen to Croke Park and we went for several years. It was a great honour to work for the GAA headquarters and we worked there for both football and hurling semi finals and finals.

What Kerryman can forget 1982? I was on duty on the Hogan Stand stiles and luckily, was finished early and was able to view most of the senior final.

After THAT goal and the final whistle, wwe made our way to the car. One of our party, the late Jotty Holly had left the match with 5 minutes remining and was waiting at the car with a beaming smile on his face. 

“Wasn’t it great to see the five in a row win,” said Jotty. I realized thet Jotty did not know the bitter truth and told him we were pipped in the final minute. No way would he believe me. 

It wasn’t until the car radio was turned on that the message sunk home. I never saw a switch from a smile to utter disbelief so fast.

Unfortunately, 1983 saw Kerry suffer the same late fate at Páirc Uí Caoimh. My memory of that day revolves around the atrocious morning. I was in position at my stile at 11.00a.m. and can place looking out at the lightening flashing through the heavens. 

The claps of thunder seemed to echo and reecho through the tunnel. It was eerie.


Humans of Listowel

I met Charlie Nolan and a friend on an early morning walk in the wood.


Best Loved Poems Launch

Best Loved Poems is a lovely new anthology of best loved poems from the south of Ireland. The poems are chosen by Gabriel Fitzmaurice and accompanied by photographs by John Reidy. The book was launched in Woulfe’s bookshop on Saturday 19 November 2016. On hand to help with the launch were Danny Hannon and members of the Lartigue Drama Group who read some of the poems which are included in the book. 

Gabriel signing

Maura MacConnell and Brendan Kennelly

Danny Hannon introduces some of the readers

Neodata, Ballybunion’s Nine Daughters’ Hole and Glin long ago

Listowel Town Square in November 2016


Neodata Remembered

( photos from Liz Galvin)

Front L to R. : Kathleen ? , Maria Carmody, Kay Fitzell,  Kay Hannon, Margaret Kelliher and Mary Jones

Second Row; Mike McMahon, Mary Burns, Liz Galvin,  Magella Flaherty,  Bridie Fallely,  Mary Normoyle, Betty Flaherty, Mary Moloney and Pat Ryan R.I.P.

This photo was taken at one of the annual banquets in Limerick. Long service was rewarded with a special pin. Liz Galvin had a gold one which has since been mislaid.

I bet someone reading this has one yet.

Back: Sheila Leahy, Noreen McAuliffe, Marion Tierney, Mary O’Connor, Rose Casey, Sheila Hannifin, Liz Galvin.

Front is Helen Linnane, Margaret Slattery, Noreen McMahon, Patricia O’Carroll, Mary Ann Harriett and Maria Stack.

Betty Brassil, Kathleen Houlihan and Maura White

Noreen MacMahon and Marian Tierney


Junior’s rumination on the life of a stiles man at GAA Matches      (part two)

I have been involved at stiles since the mid fifties. I was going to say  ‘doing the stiles’,  but that phrase could be taken out of context, couldn’t it?

How many can remember the old entrance to Austin Stack’s Park with its beautiful façade which was situated on the Boherbee Road?  At that time there was no John Joe Sheehy Road.

The main gate with its two pillars which had the name of the 1891 All Ireland Hurling team on  one and the first winning football team of 1903 on the other. There were four stiles on either side of the gate which at the left was adjoined to Sports Field Lodge. This was the home of the field caretaker, the late Paddy Gannon-Flynn and his wife Mai.

It was in their abode that the day’s takings were counted. I often wondered what were the lovely lady’s thoughts when her home was invaded Sunday after Sunday by up to a dozen men counting money.

Sewing and needlework had to be discarded from the table as the money was thrown everywhere.

The opening of The Pavilion in July 1967 changed all that. The money was then counted there. We do miss the welcome cup of tea, especially in the winter months.

One month in Tralee comes to mind. It was the Railway Cup semi final- Munster versus Ulster in the early sixties. There were three stiles put in place at the old gate which is now the Horan end. I was placed in the centre. My colleague that day was a man who was a candidate in the impending local elections.  My friend canvassed everyone who went in. All I could hear was, “Hello Paddy- Hello Mick, don’t forget me- do the best you  can.”

The crowd was huge. The Railway Cup had a wonderful following in those days.

Nearing match time, the surge was too much and my stile was capsized, with money thrown everywhere. Not only did some people get in free but some people got paid to get in by grabbing coins from the ground.

I was on my knees, trying to bag my money and all  I could hear in the backround was, “ Wisha Johnny, how are you? Do the best you can for me next week.” And so on.

I often thought since, that if the European elections were held in those days, my friend would be a certainty. I honestly believe he shook as many Ulster hands that day as Kerry hands.

My abiding memory of the match is the wonderful display by the late John Dowling, who, to me, was one of the most whole hearted Kerry footballers.


Glin in the 1920s

These fabulous photos have come to light recently and are posted on the internet. The shop is Actons.


The Nine Daughters Hole

This fantastic picture of Ballybunion’s Nine Daughters’ Hole was taken by Richard Creagh. He researched the history of the name of this blow hole and posted it on his Facebook page and I present it here for your delight.

Cave of the Nine Daughters

Back in the time of the Vikings Ireland must have been a fairly rough place to be living. For over 200 years Viking raiders from Norway and Denmark made regular attacks on Irish settlements, taking what they wanted away with them and leaving a trail of destruction behind. Eventually the Vikings even settled here, presumably to have Irish bases from which to make further attacks into the country. The bastards! Many placenames in Ireland have a Scandinavian origin that we still use today, like Smerwick (Smjǫr-vík – butter harbour) and Wexford (Veisa-fjǫrðr – muddy fjord).

This cave near Ballybunion is known as the Cave of the Nine Sisters, or Daughters even. There’s a story that during a Viking raid a local Chieftan, presumably having accepted the battle was lost, threw his nine daughters into this cave through the hole in the ceiling, for fear of losing them to the Vikings. Many Irish women were taken as slaves by the raiders, and this Chieftan obviously didn’t like the idea. I don’t know if his daughters had any say in the matter.

Most old stories are rooted in truth, however extravagant they may seem after centuries of embellishment. It’s been known for awhile now that Iceland was settled by Scandinavians. Genetic markers have revealed that the majority of the first women settlers were of Celtic origin, while most of the men have roots in Northern Europe. So there may well be some truth to the story of this cave, because the Norsemen were certainly taking women away with them. I’ve been to Iceland twice and the women there are generally pretty good looking. They can thank us.

I made this picture on a kayaking trip in June of 2014. I have another one from further back in the cave that doesn’t show the skylight, but is one of my all time favourites. This one somehow went unnoticed until a few weeks ago when I was asked to make a print of another picture from the same day. It’s nowhere near being technically perfect, and if I had the same opportunity now I know I’d make a much better photograph. It can be hard to concentrate fully on photography when you’re sitting in a sea kayak in a small dark cave and the swell is constantly moving you around, but all the same I should have done better. But it’ll do for Facebook.

The caves here are a kayaking paradise. The colours in the rock are vivid and varied and when the sun is shining the eerie emerald light that’s reflected off the sea casts a glow on the cliffs. A lot of the caves are connected by arches and most stand in shallow water, so the sand beneath gives the sea a tropical look. At least when it’s calm. Just outside this cave is Scalp na Druide (The Starling’s Cave) where you can see great wheeling flocks of the birds settling down to roost in the evenings. There is a walking path past the cliffs that I’m sure everybody in Ballybunion knows about. If you’ve never been you should go.

Big thanks to Geoff Magee of Dolphinwatch Carrigaholt and Michael Flahive of Bromore Cliffs for telling me these stories. They enhance the experience of being in these places so much. And I haven’t even started on the geology of the area….


What I’m Reading

Shortest Day Longest Night is an anthology of short stories and poems to celebrate the solstice. A Listowel man, Neil Brosnan’s  love story with a feline twist is one of the many pieces of fiction included. This a great book for a quick read. I’m enjoying it.


What? What? What?

Something is happening here. A concrete plinth has appeared in this island across from the hotel.

Sorry folks, I have no idea.


A Very Proud Nana

Please allow me a moment’s indulgence. My lovely grandaughter, Aisling, won silver at the National Women’s Artistic Gymnastics competition in UL on Saturday for her floor routine. She was competing in the Grade 3 Under 9 competition.

 Her very proud Nana  (me) uploaded it to Youtube.

Aisling’s Floor Routine

Ballybunion at Night, Life on the turnstile, Neodata Remembered, a return to school and a Book Launch

Spooky Photos of Ballybunion during in the early morning on the nights of the Super Moon

photos by Mike Enright


Memories, Memories

Liz Galvin, who worked in Neodata, has very kindly opened her photograph album to us. Here are some of her photos from the good old days in the Bridge Road.

The girls relax during a break from typing

If you see yourself here or if you see someone you know be sure to share a memory.

Noreen Mc Mahon Mary O’Connor Sheila Hanafin and Liz Galvin.


The Life and Times of a G.A.A. Stilesman   a.ka. Junior Griffin

The Talk at the
Turnstiles  John Griffin’s article, written for the souvenir programme of the County Final in 1999 and published in The Irish
World (London)

December 3 and December 10

Quite rightly, the players on
duty in today’s eagerly awaited  county
final will be the chief focus of attention as they do battle for that coveted
county championship medal.

Perhaps decisions by the
referee or by his umpires or linemen at some stage in the game will also give
rise to comment.

But have you ever given thought
to the function of the  man who more than
likely,  will be the first official you
will encounter at today’s final- The Man Behind The Wire.

The whole structure of our
games has changed a lot over the past 30 years. Facilities for boith players
and spectators have improved tremendously with the whole country now dotted
with some wonderful stadia.

Finance, of course, is a fact
of life in the GAA and whilst sponsorship is much welcomed and needed, the most
important contributions come from you, the patron, by your attendance at our

Hence the role of the
stilesman. The work of the stilesman is not as easy as some may think and, indeed it carries a lot of responsibility. I look on the stilesmen as the
front line troops of the GAA.

The abuse hurled at referees
often hits the headlines but it pales into insignificance at times with what
the stilesmen have to endure. I know stilesmen who have been hit, kicked and
even spat at. Indeed my own shinbone bore the brunt of many a well placed kick
on more then one occasion.

Definitely some people have a
Jekyll and Hyde personality when they go to a match. If the entrance fee is
considered dear- blame the stilesman.!

If there are no programmes
available- blame the stilesman! The festival of Kerry Sunday was a nightmare.
For many years, County semi finals were held on that Sunday and traffic and
parking was chaotic. Did people make allowance for delays/ Yerra- no! Sure
we’ll blame the stiles man!


1916 Commemorative Garden in Listowel Town Park

The box hedge has been planted and the heathers are in. It’s looking beautiful. I hope the surrounding hedge does not grow too tall and cut off the lovely view we have of it currently.


Like Old Times

Today is Presentation Day, a kind of Irish equivalent of Founder’s Day. In the good old days all Presentation schools closed on November 21, the pupils got a holiday and the sisters celebrated in their convents. Then the school year was standardised and everyone had to take the same school holidays. So the day was celebrated during the school day.

This year in Presentation Secondary School, Listowel, all the retired staff were invited back for a little get together. Here I am among my old school colleagues as we reminisced and reconnected. I think we were all delighted to hear that it is planned to make it an annual event.


A Book Launch to Cap all Book Launches 

On November 18 2016, John Kelliher was among the many photographers and videographers recording for posterity the biggest book launch the Listowel Arms has ever seen and it has seen a good few. The outpouring of goodwill and support for one of our own as he made his first big public appearance since his tamall grappling with serious illness was uplifting to behold. The ballroom was heaving and there were hundreds more waiting to get in.

Fr. Pat was surrounded by friends helping him to celebrate this great night. The success of the book was never in any doubt. The event in the hotel was more a show of support and affection and  a rejoicing that a beloved priest had dodged another bullet.

Many of his friends were on hand to entertain us as well.

Sonny Egan opened the evening’s entertainment.

Jer Barrett, well used to being behind the camera, was recording the event for social media.

Joe Costello, Fr. Pat’s great friend and supported sang his song.

This was our super M.C.

The highlight of the proceedings was a duet of Ballybunion Town from the above two.

Mary Fagan sent me the following great memories of the night to share with you.

River Feale, Fr. Kieran O’Shea and the Demolition of the old Neodata Building

By The Banks of The Feale


A Memory

The late Fr. Kieran O’Shea from Bridge Road was ordained a priest on June 18 1961. Junior Griffin treasures this photo of his good friend giving him his blessing on that day. Apart from family, Junior and John B. Keane were the only two Listowel friends that Kieran invited to share his day. Junior appreciated very much the honour of being asked.

One of those ordained on that day was Bill Murphy who went on to be bishop of Kerry. There were 72 priests ordained on June 18 1961.


Neodata is Demolished

This was the old Neodata building. For a while it was home to Kerry County Council offices. Now it has been demolished and we are being consulted as to what we would like to see in its place.

The tinsel among the rubble suggests that once there might have been Christmas cheer in these offices. Any one like to share a few memories?

All that was left after the demolition was this pile of steel. And even that was being cleared away on Sunday November 13 2016


No Panto this Year

Oh yes, there is.

Oh NO, there’s not.  Pity!


Saturday’s Food Trail

This weekend November 12 and 13th Listowel’s annual food fair was in full swing. It was a great success with huge crowds at the various events. On Saturday there was a food trail around the hotel and restaurants of Listowel with free samples everywhere. We were late joining the posse so we missed the hotel but we went to the next stop which was Gapos. There was some lovely Armenian food and wine and the big crowd of samplers enjoyed a feast.

`Then it was across the road to Lizzy’s Little Kitchen where Lizzy, herself had soup and savouries ready and waiting for us. If you know Lizzy’s you’ll know that space is tight at the best of times. On Saturday it was full to overflowing.

Since my merry band included a babe in a pushchair and a tired toddler, we decided to call it a day, resolving to do it all again next year.

My visitors thoroughly enjoyed their visit to Listowel on the day of the  food fair. They’ll be back.


John R.’s pop up restaurant at Listowel Food Fair

On Saturday evening, when the babe and toddler and their parents had gone home we joined a discerning group of diners to enjoy a delicious dinner at John R.’s This restaurant was for one night only and was booked out almost as soon as it was announced. Emer and Paula were among the lucky few to get a booking . We enjoyed a great value varied menu accompanied by one of Pierce’s good wines.

My dining companions were my daughter and her fiancé. They thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The Walsh family pulled out all the stops to give us a lovely meal in  intimate and cozy surroundings.

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