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: North Kerry Tyre Centre

Tralee Artist, Folklore and My Neighbour is The New Mayor of Kerry

People have been wondering about Molly. I’m glad to report that I met her in Cork recently and she was in great form. She has loved lockdown with her family at home all the time and lots and lots of attention.

I told her her Listowel admirers were asking.


Tralee Artist, Mike O’Donnell

Last week I found myself in a part of Tralee that I am not familiar with. I’m sorry I should have noted the name of the area. I was delighted to see the work of one of my favourite muralist’s adorning the walls. The pictures are fabulous but I have no idea what exactly they depict. Looks like Famine times and a few extra unrelated images.


Bíonn Siúlach Scéalach

I am old enough to remember when homeless men walked the roads, travelling from parish to parish in search of seasonal work. They often called asking if they could sleep in the hay barn for the night. It was unlucky to refuse such a request but my poor mother, who was a widow, never slept a wink if there was a man sleeping in the barn. She was in dread fear he would smoke and burn the barn, hay and all down.

This is what I found in the school’s folklore collection about these spailpíní.

Beggars seldom stay in the same house more than one night unless when the next day is bad. They always have their own food which they collected during the day but sometimes the people of the house give them their supper and breakfast. They also give them a bag of straw to sleep on for the night. Tinkers usually travel in families but the poor travellers go singly or in twos.

About five or six years ago a poor travelling woman stayed at our house for three days and she used to tell us a good deal of funny stories every night.
The best known travelling folk in my locality are as follows:- Paddy Flynn, Bob Landers, Jimmy O’Leary, the O’Briens, Mrs Fitzgerald and they come the most frequently to my locality.

These travellers usually come at Easter and Christmas and before the Pattern and Listowel races.


Gender male

Address Knockaunacurraheen, Co. Kerry


Gender female

Age 75

Address Ballintogher, Co. Kerry


Bridge Road

These businesses are on opposite sides of Bridge Road as you approach town from the Tralee side.


On This Day, June 30 1922

(information from a book, On this Day by Myles Dungan of RTE)

June 30 1922 was the day that future genealogists’ and family researchers’ hearts were well and truly broken. On that fateful day, the biggest explosion ever seen in Dublin destroyed records of Irish administrations from the 13th to the 19th centuries. Earlier damage had already been done during World War 1 with the pulping of census returns for 1861, ’71, ’81 and “ 91.

What was lost in the explosion of 1922?

Census returns for the years 1921, 31, 41, and ’51

One thousand Church of Ireland parish registers

Wills and deeds and land transactions

Court Reports

Military Records

Was this explosion an accident?

Sadly, no.

The public records office was housed in The Four Courts in Dublin. 

On April 14 1922, anti treaty rebels under Rory O’Connor occupied this building.

Pro treaty forces of the Free State government under Michael Collins attempted to dislodge them.

On June 30th the rebels in The Four Courts, now under Ernie O’Malley, surrendered.

The arsenal of ammunition and explosives the rebels had stored in The Four Courts was torched and thus was lost a millennium of official Irish records.


Jimmy Moloney, Mayor of Kerry

Jimmy Moloney was installed as Mayor of Kerry yesterday. Here he is with his two aunts, Kay Caball and Eila Moriarty.


Easter Garden at St. Mary’s, Pillar Postboxes and a circus tent blows down in Listowel in 1862

(Photo; Chris Grayson )


Easter Garden in St. Mary’s Listowel

For the past few years Martha Woulfe has been creating a beautiful Easter garden in the sanctuary at St. Mary’s. This year’s, 2016, is her best yet.


Postboxes revisited

Michael O’Sullivan wrote to me on the subject of the local postboxes. He reminded me that the one pictured below is over 100 years old because it is an Edward V11 and he died in 1910.  Michael writes “The last Victorian box I heard about was in Knockanure up to about ten years ago but is not there now.”

( I wonder what happened to it.)

The above box is in Bray, Co. Wicklow. It is a Penfold design and there were only 150 of this design in Ireland


A Circus Tent Blows down leading to a court case in 1862

 Monday, 01 December, 1862; (From the archives of The Irish Examiner)


John Davit v. Thomas Hogini. This was an action to recover £19 6s,
stated to be due to the plaintiff on a contract entered into with the
defendant. The plaintiff is a band master, and contracted to supply
the defendant who owns a circus  with a band of six performers and a
big drum—seven in all—for the sum of £9  13s. a-week. He now sued for
a fortnights salary.

The plaintiff, examined, stated that be had been some time with the
defendant and was paid his salary up to the 8th Nov. From the 8th to
24th however, he got nothing. He produced his letter of engagement
which was written by Mrs Hogini, the defendant’s wife. He was still in the
defendant’s employment, and had been paid regularly since the 21th Nov.

In reply to Mr. Blake, the witness stated that there were no
performances during the fortnight for which he was now suing. The
defendant’s tent was blown down while they were performing in Listowel
and they did not perform again until the defendant opened a circus in
Cork. He did not, therefore, give the defendant a single ” blast” for
the £19 6s. Mrs. Hogini had promised to pay him. 

He was not
disemployed for the fortnight, from the 8th to 24th, by Mr Hogini for
his engagement, was for the whole of the winter season. For the
defence, Mr. Blake examined Mr. Hogini, who deposed that all the
company were disemployed after the accident at Listowel, as they had
no place to perform in. When they were coming into Cork together he
recommended Davis to give concerts, and said that he would help him.
Davis did not come near him for a week, and he did not know what Davis
did during that time. His Worship asked who had to pay the bandsmen
during the fortnight they were idle. ” Davis said that he had. His
Worship said he should give a decree for the amount claimed, payable
at the rate of £1 a week. Agent for plaintiff—Mr. M. J. Collins. For
defendant—Mr J C Blake.



John Kelliher scanned this photograph from one of his old negatives.


Annual Clean up Under Way

The photo below was taken at 8.00 a.m. on Saturday morning last as most of us were still in bed. It shows local volunteers heading out on the clean up. They collected 100 bags of litter from the approach roads to town.

Photo: Listowel Tidy Towns


One Listowel man was out early on Saturday morning April 2 2016, doing his bit to keep Listowel tidy.

St. Patrick’s Day, More Badminton and Daffodil Day

St. Patrick’s Day

In 1940 Palm Sunday and St Patrick’s Day fell on
the same day. Junior Griffin remembers wearing a shamrock and a piece of palm in his
lapel. This phenomenon occurred in 1799 and won’t happen again
until 2391, so Junior is a first person witness to a historic occurrence.  


Ita Hannon found these great old postcards


Badminton in the sixties and seventies

(The story of Listowel Badminton Club continued)

The Kerry Badminton Association was formed
in Tralee on Nov.4th 1936   In
the recorded minutes Listowel apologised for their absence and stated they
could not play league that season. 

The second season saw Listowel being the
only outside club represented with six Tralee clubs and that A.G.M. held on
November 19th 1937 saw Listowel represented by M./s Stack and

 Other Listowel names mentioned in the County
minutes in the late forties and early fifties were J.O’Brien, M.Galvin and

The next phase of Listowel Badminton seems
to be the nucleus of the present club. The Boys’ National School built their
new assembly hall, known as Halla Realta Na Maidne in 1961 and now Halla Briain Mhic Mhathúna, and the trio of Mary
Keane, Jimmy Harris and Jim Coady got together and decided to re-form the
Badminton Club. Early members were Rose Molyneaux, Toni Walsh, Fred Daly, Chris
O’Brien and Mercedes Galvin.

It is worth recording that on the very
first page of the earliest minute book to hand gives details of the Annual
General Meeting of 1966. Some details as follows;

The Annual General Meeting of the Listowel Badminton
Club was held at Halla Realta Na Maidne on Monday October 3rd 1966.

The following members were present; Mrs. Hilda
O’Donnell, the Misses N.O’Callaghan, M.Brennan, M.Malone, A.Scully, M.Harty,
P.Ryan and M.Kennedy and Messer’s J. Carmody, J.Griffin, B.Quill, J.
McGillicuddy, J.Keane, D. Gibbons, J. Guerin and the hon. sec. Ml. Hennigan..
In the absence of the chairman, Mr. J.Harris (who arrived later), Mr. Gibbons
took the chair. The following officers’ and committee were elected for the
coming year;  Chairman; Mr. John Keane;
Vice-do; Mrs Hilda O’Donnell, Hon. Sec. Mr. Jnr. Griffin, Hon. Treasurer, Miss
Pat Ryan.

Committee; Miss A. Scully, Miss N.O’Callaghan, Miss M.
Harty, Mr. D.O’Sullivan, Mr. D. Gibbons, Mr. J. McGillicuddy. The outgoing
Chairman, Mr. J.Harris and the outgoing Hon. Secretary, Mr. Ml. Hennigan did
not seek re-election

Those years of the sixties and the
seventies saw the club go from strength to strength with solid workers like
Hilda O’Donnell, who became vice-chairperson of the County Board, Sheila
Hennigan, Mary Crowley, Thelma McAuliffe, Marjorie Morkan, Patricia Hickey,
Jackie McGillicuddy, Ml. Hennigan, John Hanley, Roly Chute, John Kenny, John
Keane and Junior Griffin to the fore.

After a few years in the school hall play
transferred to the Plaza Cinema which became home to the club for many years
and indeed some of the best days of club activities centred around that single
court in the Plaza.

The mid sixties saw the club enter teams
for the County Leagues and the members compete in the County Championships.

Listowel contested their first ever County
League final on March 18th 1967 when they took on Castleisland in
the Minor League final. Despite a brave show, it was Castleisland who captured
the spoils, winning by 5 games to 3.

The Listowel team on the night was; Ladies,
Ann Hartnett, Bernie Costello, Carol Broderick, Maura Brennan; Men, John Keane,
Junior Griffin, David Gibbons, Billy Galvin. 

first honours to come to the club did come later, in the month of April in 1967
with the winning of what was then called the minor mens double championship by
the pairing of John Keane and Junior Griffin.

This pair won the junior mens double title
two years later.  Indeed the former won
the senior singles title in 1970 and the men’s senior doubles title in 1973 with
a Tralee partner.

(John Junior Griffin)


Daffodil Day March 11 2016

Bishop Ray hit town on the same day, March 11 2016

I found this photo of the male confirmandi on the internet. I failed to find the girls.


New Business on The Bridge Road

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