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: New York

St. Patrick’s Day 2022 Continued

St. Patrick’s Day mass in St. Mary’s Listowel as legendary Listowel dancing master, Jimmy Hickey, dances before the altar with two of his star former pupils, Jonathan Kelliher and Patrick Brosnan.


Meanwhile in New York

The New York Kerryman were out in force, joined this year by a Listowel Kerryman, Jimmy Moloney, Mayor of County Kerry.

Denis Hegarty sent us some pictures. That’s Denis back in his usual spot proudly carrying the banner of The Kerrymen’s association.


People I met at the Parade


A Puzzle

Is this the flag of Palastine?

Why is it flying in Ballybunion on St. Patrick’s Day?

Very strange?


Some Placenames

Triopal…a bundle of rushes

Billeragh, Biolarach…A Place with cress

Ballygrennane, Baile an Ghrianain…the sunny homestead

Ennismore, Inis Mór, The big peninsula

Bedford, Ath an Turais, A ford on the way to the holy well


A Poem from Joe Fahy


Culture to Cain, the importance of label
In expressing social status.
Economic power, its Everest, from the steppingstone
It’s foundation, the rock of exploitation.
It’s superiority, its status,
Who pays for the products on the table?
It’s resources from third world locations.
Mixed by and through manipulation,
Political in essence
The priesthood of power,
Political domination,
Economic exploitation,
Social and Cultural
Our menus,
From first world T.V. stations
Emphasis on ‘having.’
Children forever grieving,
Totalitarian values at the
Crucifix of consumption.
The two thieves of much
And more, on either side-
Twin towers of greed.
But resurrection is guaranteed-
The first of the Nazarenes’
Abel, in our era.
Remember apartheid,
Our contemporary Roman Era.
That fella of the sixties,
Nelson Mandela.
Romero in the eighties,
Ignacio Ella Curia in the nineties,
The new Holy Land Cuscatlán,
Meaning, ‘land of Rivers and Jewels’
El Salvador, our Saviour.


New York, Ballybunion, Red Cross and Turf

January 2018 in Midtown Manhattan

The temperature was -12 when Danny O’Connor, formerly of Gurtinard, took this photo.


Old Ballybunion

The Ladies’ Beach back in the day.


 Listowel Red Cross in the 1960s. Does anyone recognise anyone?


Turf Then and Now

These are stooks of turf standing drying in the bog fadó.

This is the scene in the bog at the end of summer as the turf is saved and ready to be bagged and brought home.

Machine cup turf drying in the bog.

Sods of machine turf.


My Own Micko Story

Dave O’Sullivan found this in The Kerryman archive from 1981

For those who don’t remember the controversy, it concerned commercial sponsorship of county . teams.

Kerry was one of the first counties to accept endorsements and to do media ads.

The reference to stripes is to the famous Adidas three stripes logo. 

The Mulvihill was Liam Mulvihill the then director general of the GAA.

Robert O’Shea’s New York, Listowel Castle Visit and Kissane Photo Exhibition

Visitors in Listowel Town Square in Summer 2017


At Listowel Castle with my granddaughters

If you have children to entertain, a tour of the castle is the ideal way to pass away an afternoon. The tour is free. The tour guides are excellent. This lovely lady gave us the ladybird version of the tour and patiently answered all the little ones’ questions.

One of the benefits of the tour is the the great vantage point for overlooking the town.  From the castle steps and from the windows you can see over the countryside, the river Feale and the town Square.  You’d never know who you’d see.

Another benefit is that you get to meet some lovely fellow tourists.


More of Robert O’Shea’s Photos

Robert O’Shea, formerly of Charles Street and now of New York sent us these. The first ones were taken on the roof of the building where Robert works and the others are of The Edgar Allan Poe Cottage.


The Kissanes are gathering

Eily Walshe is an avid family historian. Following on from her comprehensive history of her own Kissane line in photos and story, she has now traced her cousins’ Kissane line and she has put together a book and a comprehensive photo gallery and timeline.

All of this will be revealed this  evening in St. John’s

This is what Eily says :

An August Treat at St. John’s Theatre!

All photos are in black and white and mostly pre 1960. Some have been taken before 1900 and are of normal family events and celebrations. They say “a picture tells a thousand words”!! Well we have 92 pictures in total on view from 11th August for a full three weeks!

Hunting, Orphan Girls, farmer poverty, Navillus and Sandy

To celebrate the start of the hunting season, I am posting this really unusual photograph of the Waterford Hunt on the Villierstown ferry in 1928.


An update on the fascinating story of the Irish Orphan Girls  comes from Kay Caball. Kay is making a study of the Listowel girls and where they went and she can elaborate on what Karen Semken wrote.

“The Margaret Stack that Karen mentions was from Ennistymon and her picture (attached) is included in the splendid new book – Atlas of the Great Irish Famine.   The Listowel Stacks were Margaret Stack of Kiltomey, who is listed to travel on the Thomas Arbuthnot in the Minutes of Board of  Guardians 11 September 1849 but she is not listed as having arrived on the Thomas Arbuthnot.   There is also a Mary Stack, Kilmore  listed to travel on the Tippoo Saib –  Minutes of Listowel Board of Guardians 7th March 1850 and she is also listed on arrivals on 29th July 1850, her parents are listed as both dead.”

“Karen says ‘Mary Griffin arrived on the Thomas Arbuthnot, not the Tippoo Saib’    Karen is mixed up there and I don’t blame her as she may not be familiar with our geography and also the girls were not great at the reading or writing and when they told the Australian officials where they came from, it often made absolutely no sense with their Kerry accents.   I have the arrival sheets for both sets of Ships.  The Mary Griffin who arrived on the Thomas Arbuthnot was from Dingle. A ‘Mary Griffin‘ was chosen to go on the Tippoo Saib by the Inspector and is listed as such in the minutes of the Board of Guardians.  There is also a Bridget Griffin listed on the same sheet.  None of these names have addresses at that point.  When the Tippoo Saib arrived there was no sign of any Mary Griffin and Bridget Griffin is listed as being from ‘Stow’.    So it would be very hard for Karen to understand – if you say it yourself Mary, in Kerry speak -“Shtow” in other words is Listowel!”


More from our correspondent from The London Standard of 1880

“Once he got
to Cahirciveen, the correspondent travelled with Father Brosnan PP, and saw the
poverty that existed in the locality. 
Father Brosnan contended that Poor Law relief was of no value to them,
as it stripped them of a portion of their independence and dignity.

It was a
Fair Day on the day of his arrival at Cahirciveen, and Fr Brosnan took the
opportunity to introduce him to many of the local farmers in attendance at the
fair.  Their issues were mostly to do
with fairness of rentals (rents bearing no relationship to the actual valuation
of the land), penalty raises of rent for land improvements, and the need for security
of tenure for their farms.  Having
listened to a few case histories, a farmer piped up: “Me case, your reverence,
happened 16 years ago”, to which Fr Brosnan replied “Ah get out with you.  We can’t listen to stories 16 years back”.

conclusion was that many Kerry tenants were rack-rented, particularly on
estates held by middlemen (and most particularly those under Trinity
College).  The indebtedness of tenant
farmers had a knock-on effect on the local economy, through debt owed to
shopkeepers and other providers.

He also
pointed to the good work being done of some estates to promote good farm
husbandry, and the development of diverse kitchen gardens, particularly on the
estates of Lords Lansdowne and Kenmare. 
This was a theme he expanded on in a second article, in the Evening Post
on 27 November 1880, with particular reference to improvements wrought by
landlords such as William T Crosbie (Ardfert) and Pierce Mahony (Dromore).  The landlord view had been that a great many
of the problems faced in relation to land tenure were related to the nature of
subdivision of plots of land to unsustainably low acreages.”

Much of this will find a resonance with us today, particularly in the knock -on effect of farmer poverty with shopkeepers, vets etc.  suffering this very same scourge in present times.


Good news for Listowel cyclists

A new bike shop is about to open in the premises where the Polish shop traded up to recently.


This sign on Jim Halpin’s door was giving folks a  chuckle at the weekend.


There are many with a Listowel connection who work for this huge New York construction company. This is a photo of the relief tent they have constructed where they provide food and shelter for people made homeless by the superstorm, Sandy.

St. Patrick’s Day in other places

After that flurry of activity over the weekend I am now returning to my normal pace of one post per day. I have lots of photos which I took over the weekend and I will share some of them in due course. But today I am sharing with you some stuff that people were kind enough to send us.

Our friend, Joanne Dillon was at the New York parade and she sent us this Smilebox of photos

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Thank you Joanne.


I am posting Ed. O’Connor’s email in its entirety

For those from Listowel who may have connections to western Massachusetts, particularly Holyoke, check out the following site for reports of yesterday’s St. Patrick’s Day parade in Holyoke….just for information, Holyoke was once called Ireland’s Parish….it is a small city of about 40,000 souls which dramatically increases in size during parade weekend….they crown a colleen who wins a trip to Ireland as part of the prize…

Although Boston, New York and Chicago are much larger cities, the Holyoke parade is impressive especially if the weather is good as it was yesterday…..there can be up to half a million folks who watch the parade and the organizers always have a large number of floats and marching bands…

Check out

Enjoyed watching your parade….

Ed O’Connor

Ed. is a good friend of listowelconnection and NKRO and he is coming to our festival this summer.


I’m glad so many people are enjoying the video clips of the Tea Dance. It was a great success. Kay O’Leary, the driving force behind the venture has sent me some photos and I took a few as well on Saturday. I’ll share them with you during the week.

Meanwhile an old photo from a bygone St. Patrick’s Day; Dublin 1939

I found the photo on the internet. The writing is indecipherable. I don’t really know what is going on with those planes.


Very sad news breaking from Melbourne this morning. Jim Stynes, who blazed a trail for young Irishmen like our own Seán Whyte and Tadhg Kennelly has passed away at the age of 45. He is being awarded a state funeral, such was his status in his adopted city.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasal dílis.

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