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 listowelconnection@gmail.com

Tag: Norma Foley

Listowel and Ballybunion

Vincent Higgins, Mallow Camera Club. He captioned it Take no Notice

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Old Listowel

This very old image of the Square was shared on line by Dave Curran.

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Stained Glass and Moya

All roads led to Ballybunion on the weekend of May 31 to June 2.

I was in St. John’s for this.

Fr. Hannafin introduced us to 5 of the windows in St. John’s that are rarely seen.

This is the view from the gallery. Behind me as I took this photo are the windows which were the subject of our talk.

The gallery is reached by a narrow dark spiral staircase which has to be used going up and going down. I can see why it is not open to the public.

The saints depicted on the windows all have a connection with Munster in general and North Kerry in particular. They are St. Brendan, St. Ita, St. John the Evangelist, St. Senan and St. Brigid.

The windows are absolutely beautiful. It’s a pity they are hidden away up there.

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A Star Attraction

I’ve got my ticket for Donie and Malachy at Listowel Writers’ Week 2022 but they are selling fast. Wouldn’t it be great if something important turned up and John King, CNN’s chief national correspondent, had to talk to Donie while he is in Listowel.

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Road Works

Listowel Credit Union were in a prime location to take this picture of the recent roadworks on their doorstep.

It looks like Roadworks are a constant in Listowel as this picture from 1986 shared on Facebook by Mike Hannon proves.

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On Saturday May 7 2022 in Kerry Writers’ Museum, Minister Norma Foley launched a exhibition of memorabilia of Kerry’s Amateur Dramatic history.

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Liam O’Connor, Opening Night LWW 2019, Harnett reunion and Brona Chocolates

Listowel Town Square in Summer 2019




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Liam O’Connor at Writers’ Week 2019

Liam O’Connor is the very definition of a virtuoso musician and he brought his A game to Listowel on Opening Night 2019. He had the audience in the palm of his hand as he ‘worked the room” and set the scene for a great night.

Liam had many many fans in the audience. I took photos of a few of them.

Liam grew up not far from me in North Cork and he cut his teeth playing with his father in the family band. It was lovely to see Liam following in his late dad’s footsteps as he was joined on the stage by his daughter and son.

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Some More People snapped on May 29 2019



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Calling all Harnetts


HARNETT REUNION: 

Carina Prendeville is currently working on their magazine and is looking for family pictures, stories, histories.  You can contact her on harnettreunion2019@gmail.com 

 A full programme organised for our visitors but it is also open to anyone to join.  Free admission on Friday, July 12 to the Genealogy workshops and the Patie Boy Historical Collection in the Devon Inn.  Tickets for the variety concert in Tournafulla on Friday, July 12 will be available on the door. Brian Harnett Tenor has confirmed that he will be performing.  Tickets for the Gala banquet and bus tour available from Batt Harnett or Ann Lyons. There will be genealogy, bus tours, a concert, a gala banquet and a memorial Mass, all at different venues around West Limerick/North Kerry.

The event is open to everybody.

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North Kerry Chocolate…Brona


I have met these chocolatiers at several fairs. Here is their story.


Brona Chocolate is produced on the banks of the river Feale in North Kerry which is in the beautiful south-west corner of Ireland. We are a family-run artisan chocolate producer dedicated to producing the highest quality chocolate products from the best available ingredients.

My wife Noreen and our three highly skilled team of tasters Tadhg, Harry and Brona, after whom the business is named, all help out.  We use as much local produce and as many local suppliers as possible.


The idea for Brona Chocolate initiated from running our shop, Mr Duffy’s Traditional Sweetshop in Tralee. Though we were stocking Irish chocolate (and there are many brilliant Irish chocolatiers) we felt that nobody was producing a large range of bars such as we were having to import from the UK and Europe. So began an incredible journey into research and training.

Little did I know that chocolate is the most complex compound known to science with over 1500 identified flavour components (compared to 500 in wine).

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So Sad




When they were students together at UCC and for their 50 years of happy marriage, Anne and Jimmy Moloney were inseparable. Sadly they passed away less than a year apart.

I took this photo at Writers Week in 2013

Guím leaba i measc na naomh dóibh beirt, mo chairde agus mo chomarsanna.

William Street, Nolan’s, an overdue library book and more from the 2019 Parade

William Street, Listowel

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Pat Nolan’s, Charles St.

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St. Patrick’s Day 2019



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A Patient Dog at Lidl, Listowel



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Caught on Camera


I was snapped taking a penalty against Elmo. Thank you Listowel Celtic!

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It was Roses Roses all the way






Denis Hegarty was having a whale of a time in New York on St. Patrick’s Day posing with mayors, Roses, gardaí and all

Mr. OShea and Tara who has family in Tralee

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Truth is often Stranger than Fiction



Local media this week were all agog about the return to the public library of a book that was overdue by 50 years.

Like all good stories this one is not without an ironic twist. The book was a biography of Andrew Carnegie, the founder of the trust that funded Listowel’s and other libraries around the world. Our library used to be known as The Carnegie Free Library and thanks to funding by the Carnegie trust the library service was free for years and years. Maybe the borrower thought that the books were free too.

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Meanwhile in Rattoo on March 17 2019




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Just a Thought



My last week’s Thoughts from Radio Kerry are at the link below.

Just a Thought

Dingle, Gaelscoil Uí Riordain, more from Ladies Day 2017 and Celebrating 100 years of Irish people in Kenya

Dingle by Chris Grayson

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From an 1899 Newspaper


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The School around the Corner



My granddaughters attend Gaelscoil Uí Riordáin in Ballincollig


Although it is a brand new school it is at capacity already.

My little girlies are lucky in that they live within walking distance of the school.

Other little pupils cycle.

There is a scheme whereby when a new school is built the contractor has to set aside a “percentage for art”. Gaelscoil Uí Ríordáin used this money very inventively. They commissioned senior pupils to draw scenes associated with Ballincollig. The children’s pictures, which featured the old gunpowder mills, the river, the castle (a deCogan stronghold), the school which started life in an old supermarket, the GAA and, of course Sean ÓRiordáin  after whom the school is named. The artwork was transferred to tiles and these in the form of a river flow along the wall by the entrance.  Below are just a few of these tiles.

Children leaving behind the old building for their new school building.

Tho old army barracks with cannon.

The road race at Carrigrohane

The castle, games and the countryside. 

I could spend hours looking at this work of art and every time something new stands out for me.

The school has a vegetable flower and herb garden, which is looked after by the pupils.



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Old Friends

Old pals, Murt McAulliffe and Jimmy Hannon meet for a coffee at The Flying Saucer.

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Style from Ladies Day, Sept. 15 2017

This Galway couple bagged the Best Dressed Couple prize

While the best dressed finalists were assembling in the parade ring the business of racing was continuing around them.

I noticed that the young men were all beautifully turned out. This man was at work but still managed to look dapper.

Anne and Patrick Brosnan met up with some Brosnan and O’Connor relations


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100 Years of Irish Kenya Relations



I am lucky to know the chairperson of the Irish Kenya Society. He is Jack O’Regan formerly of Ballyheigue and now living, working and raising a family in Kenya.

On September 22 2017, Culture Night, Go Kerry and Jack organised a night of celebration of a very different part of our unique culture…. our reaching out to other nations and the influence Irish people have had in far flung corners of the world.

The M.C. for the evening was Michael O’Donnell

The event was attended by the Kenyan ambassador to Ireland, Mr. Richard Opembe.

In her role as Mayor of Tralee, Norma Foley welcomed the ambassador and reminded us all of some of the outstanding contributions of Irish people to Kenya. Many of Kenya’s leaders were educated by Irish nuns and the Medical Missionaries of Mary (The Flying Nuns) contributed greatly to improving healthcare in this African country.

The ambassador was presented with the Freedom of Tralee. Norma told him that he now had the right to graze his sheep in the town park whenever he likes. In his speech the ambassador told Norma that he actually is the proud owner of 4 sheep.

Jack told us a bit about the work of the Irish Kenya Society. He brought 20 Kenyan people with him to Kerry for this event and to celebrate his birthday. They had spent the previous week as tourists visiting Dublin, Blarney, Killarney and other places.

The story of the Irish contribution to Kenya was told on banners, which are now on display in The Ashe Memorial Hall, Tralee. I was interested in the story of Edel Quinn. She was born in Kanturk, lived for a short while in Tralee and worked and died in Kenya.

I apologise for the very poor quality of this photo. It’s a picture of some of the Kenyan visitors.

Gilian Wharton Slattery, Norma Foley, Richard Opembe, Grace O’Donnell, Joan O’Regan and Jack O’Regan

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A 10th Gold Medal for Lovely Listowel




Listowel Tidy Towns posted this photo of the hard working volunteers and their supporters who went to Dublin yesterday, Sept. 25 2017 hoping for good news.

They got it in the form of another 10th gold medal and an improvement of 4 marks over last year. A huge congratulations is due to Julie and all the gang. You did Listowel proud, as always.

Well done too to our neighbours who all did very well too. Killarney and Tralee retained their gold medals and Ballybunion, after a massive effort this year improved their standing.

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