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

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1988, NKRO Week of Welcomes, Behans

Pope Benedict’s resignation


Some interesting snippets unearthed by Jer.

Pope says  he has felt his vigour has diminish in him in recent months.

Feb 11th 2013; feast Our Lady of Lourdes marks the church’s annual World Day of the Sick… in the Vatican, this is Independence Day: the anniversary of the 1929 Lateran Pacts which made the Holy See a sovereign city-state, the pontiff is its ruler.

April 29, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI visited the tomb of Pope  St. Celestine V (1215-1296). In Aquila, Italy After a brief prayer, he left his pallium, on top of Celestine’s tomb! Celestine was last Pope to resign.


More from 1988

An ad. for The Listowel Arms in the same magazine


The Gathering 2013

NKRO are planning a great Week of Welcomes from August 2 to August 8 2013. TG4 is going to do a documentary programme covering the festival and following 2 people who come back to reconnect with the land of their ancestors.

If you are reading this in a far clime and are planning to come home this year, the first week in August would be a great time to make your trip.

If you are reading this and you live closer to your roots, the Week of Welcomes would be a great time to come home. If anyone is planning a mini gathering event let us know and we will be happy to welcome you to NKRO organized events.

Watch the webpage for updates


Mail car Galway 1895

Mail bike  Listowel 2013


Behan’s The Horseshoe is making a bit of an effort for Valentine’s Day


Work at the boys school is nearing completion.

This was the schoolyard on Friday.

And on Saturday, tarmac was being poured….lovely job!


Go raibh míle maith agat to  Julia Galvin…the first to update her cv from 1988

Since then I became a Biology teacher lost my mobility regained my mobility became a novelty sports afficianada/ a charity fundraiser / an elf in Lapland and for my efforts a Dame!
It’s been a great life so far….

Week of Welcomes 2013

 N.B.  August 2 2013

If you are planning on coming to Listowel or indeed to anywhere in North Kerry in 2013, August 2 is the time to start your holiday. 

If you are interested in looking up your Irish ancestors, NKRO’s Ger Greaney and his team will help you trace your Irish roots.

If you just want to see how your ancestors lived, the games they played, the music they listened to then next year’s Week of Welcomes will give you a taste of all that.

Names in the Kennedy family tree include Fitzgerald,
Hannon, Hassett, Hickey, Kennedy, Linnehan, Cox, Field, Murphy, Noonan, Sheehy,


And did you know that this man had Irish connections?

Guevara’s daughter recently made a week-long trip to Ireland.

Argentinian born Cuban revolutionary icon, also known as Ernesto Guevara Lynch,
was killed leading a guerilla campaign in Bolivia in 1965.

daughter, Dr Aleida Guevara March, 
visited Ireland with Che’s wife, Aleida March. Dr Guevara is a
pediatrician who works at the William Solder Paediatric Hospital in Havana.

her visit, she was promoting the English version of a new book, Remembering
Che: My Life With Che Guevara, written by her mother.

Guevara attended the All Ireland Senior Hurling Final in Croke Park on Sunday
— her Lynch family background is rooted in Galway so will have been
disappointed with the result. She was the guest of Dr David Hickey on a visit
to Beaumont Hospital.

Come and join us in August 2013. You’d never know who we might discover among the branches of your tree.


No, we can’t trace either of these two legends back to North Kerry. But we are working on someone equally famous. Watch this space.


Maeve Binchy R.I.P. and bog walking in Lyreacrompane

Some of the vistors to the Week of Welcomes joined the Dan Paddy Andy folk for a trip to a traditional Irish bog to do a spot of turf cutting. 

Dan Paddy Andy, the matchmaker
Joe shows Ger how to use a sleán
Bill tries his hand at turf cutting.
Turbary bank

walking in the bog
folk in the marquee take shelter, a cuppa and a dance


The following obituary was sent to me by Julie in Oz. It appeared last week in the main Sydney newspaper, The Sydney Herald. Maeve’s books were very popular in Australia.

Maeve Binchy was a publishing phenomenon whose best-selling, gently humorous novels and short stories typically explored events in small-town Ireland in the 1950s and 1960s.

From the time she had her first success, aged 43, with Light A Penny Candle (1982), which remained in the top-10 charts for 53 weeks, Binchy turned out an unbroken stream of doorstopping bestsellers centred on such ordinary events as a wedding anniversary or the building of a hotel. They sold in their millions and were translated into more than 30 languages. In a survey of Ireland’s 100 bestsellers in the 20th century compiled in 1998, Binchy took first, third and fourth places, with seven of her books in the top 100. Her work also spawned two Hollywood films, Circle Of Friends and Tara Road.

Maeve Binchy was born on May 28, 1940 at Dalkey, south of Dublin. She attended a nearby convent school and, although she grew to 182 centimetres tall and was always overweight, recalled her childhood as, “secure, safe and happy”.

She went to University College, Dublin, when she was only 16 and afterwards became a history teacher in a girls’ school, which she loved. At 23 she lost her religious faith on a trip to Israel after being distinctly unimpressed by the “venue” for the Last Supper – a small cave. In 1968 she broke into journalism as a columnist for The Irish Times, though she admitted later that she never had the killer instinct to be a good reporter. After her parents’ deaths she moved to Dublin.

In 1971, Binchy met the children’s writer Gordon Snell, who was working in London. After a year flying to see each other at weekends she moved there and they married in 1977. She began to write stories in the evenings to keep herself occupied and after two books of short stories, tackled her first novel. In 1983, Light A Penny Candle sold for £52,000 ($77,475 today) – the largest sum paid for a first novel up to then. From then on Binchy wrote bestseller after bestseller, rattling off her books between 7am and 2pm and only writing one draft. When Scarlet Feather came out in 2000, Binchy announced that it would be her last book. Despite her promise that she would not be like Frank Sinatra “with lots of farewell concerts”, she soon came out of retirement because of demand from her fans, penning five further novels.

In 1996, weighing 114 kilograms, she lost 36 kilograms in six months on a drastic diet. She later suffered from heart problems which rendered her virtually housebound.

Binchy was refreshingly honest about being one of Britain’s richest women: “I used to think if I was very rich I’d be Mother Teresa and give it all away but of course, when you get it you don’t.” Nonetheless, Binchy gave generously to good causes. Maeve Binchy is survived by Gordon.


And well done to you too!

NKRO, a visiting emigrant and some posters

After all that war and sadness I’m going to try to keep today’s post a bit more up beat.

This is the NKRO gang plus a few friends who have just completed their genealogy workshops with Lorna and David from UL. The lecturers are the 2 seated in front. If you want a bit of help with that North Kerry branch of the family tree, now would be a good time to ask while they are all fired with enthusiasm.

Everyone in NKRO extends a huge Céad míle fáilte to our first confirmed guests for our Week of Welcomes. Ed. and Margaret O’Connor of Massachusetts confirmed their booking as soon as our Paypal button went live on the website. Thank you,  Ed. See you in August.


Look who I met on my travels!

Carmel and Róisín Gornell were at mass on Monday morning. Róisín is on a visit home from her new home in Canada.


Some posters I spotted in town

The first event sounds like a hoot. You are more likely to find me at the second one though.


Doesn’t this raise your spirits…       a peacock in flight


Don’t forget Saturday night in Herbert’s Bar Kilflynn for the best in trad.

NKRO website launch

Here we are, members of the committee of NKRO on Friday night last at the launch of our website

We had a great turnout on the night and we were thrilled with the success of our first official function.

Onwards and upwards from here.

Minister for Arts Heritage and the Gaeltacht did the honours

The all Ireland Scór instumental music champions entertained us.

And the great and the good were there. Here are a few photos I took on the night


Now onto something borrowed.

A lovely man called Michael Healy shared this treasure with us on Saturday.

These Listowel men were obviously on an outing to Killarney. In front on the left is Moss Kelliher (Lofty’s dad) next to him is a man called Buckley, standing behind is a Daly man from Ballybunion, the jarvey, Willie Barthishell at the back right and we don’t know who the man on the front right is but maybe someone will recognize him.


Another man with treasured photos on Saturday was John Pierse. Here are two to whet your appetite for more.

Dr. Johnny Walshe chats to Seamus Wilmot.

Babe Jo Wilmot and Marie Keane Stack dressed for some jape or other.

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