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: Oneday

Hospice Coffee Morning, Green, Ballybunion and Oneday in St. Johns’

On Culture Night, Sept 20 2019, Listowel Writers’ Week had a novel ideas. We distributed poems on cards to passers by.

One of the poems was called Green by John McAuliffe and it was a brilliant poem about a golf lesson in Ballybunion. The golfer was as green as the fairway and finding the green was the task in hand.


There’s the flag. Now,

have you a line?

Don’t look up. Head 

down. Pine cone, broom,

the tee, the rough, wind,

the grip, the lesson,

Cliff House, no-one’s beach,

Nuns’ Beach.

Loop Head, concentrate,

or it could go anywhere,

Titleist, the pockmarked moon,

The Bunker, the Leithreas,

the seaweed bath, the transmitter,

the Hotel, asylum -seekers,

the castle, the slots, last

and not to be found,

the Tinteán, the house built on sand,

and closer to the tee,

remember the line,

the graveyard, forget

the westerlies,

the playground, the pool,

presidential bronze, grooved steel,

the straight long undulating road,

America level, God above,

the Atlantic, the Atlantic,

and the verge where  I live,

planting my feet squarely.

Now, swing.

Follow through.

Try again.

With all the distraction I think that lesson may not have gone well.


Ladies Day 2019

Here are a few more images from the Island on the Friday of Raceweek 2019


Kerry Hospice Coffee Morning

There was a great attendance at the fundraising coffee morning in The Listowel Arms on Thursday Sept 19 2019. The sunshine made taking photographs a bit difficult but I’m not complaining.

(more tomorrow)


Oneday, Today, Any day

I went to see this unusual play in St. John’s on Thursday last. It was very thought provoking. The play was about stories from the newspapers on a specific day, March 13 2012.

As I watched Shane Connolly’s energetic, energy sapping performance, contrasted with Richard Walsh’s relaxed casual director on stage role, I was struck by the similarity to today’s news.

Occupy were sitting in in Galway in 2012. Seven years on the farmers were camped at the gates of the meat plants and students were marching in an effort to alert us to the reality of climate change.   Huge salaries paid to TV hosts are again making news and outraging people. Civil wars are raging everywhere, politics and money dominate news in the US, in Ireland people are losing their homes, people are being murdered by strangers they meet online and on the day I was at the play a horrific accidental murder had happened as a man in a remote rural area was driven to violence by the fear of a thief in the night. All of this mirrors what was happening on one day in 2012.  And then there is the universal truth that everywhere people are driven to madness by the trauma of war or by fanaticism for sport.

“Young Willie McBride, it all happened again, and again, and again and again and again,”

This is a three man show, all three onstage at all times. The space is dominated by the performer and when he is quiet while the director calmly tells  a story, we are constantly aware that he is hovering in the background ready to spring into life to animate another news story. All the time the percussionist is marking time, heightening and lowering the tempo as the news stories unfold.

If you missed it in Listowel and you see that it on somewhere, go.

Máire Logue, artistic director, St. John’s, Richard Walsh, writer director Oneday, Joe Murphy, former artistic director of St. John’s and me, Mary Cogan.

Richard Walsh with me and his parents, Eily and Johnny

The ensemble relaxing over a pint in Christy’s at the  after show party.

Monica Garner, A Strange Souvenir of the Papal Visit and some of the colour of Listowel Races 2019

Raceweek 2019

Huge crowd on Wednesday for The Kerry National

 There were all kinds of modes of transport employed for The Races. I went to the course on shanks mare.

You could run into local people and famous people on The Island.

Speaking of transport, apparently, in other nearby countries, you can customise your numberplate to make any kind of statement about yourself.



This is NOT fake news. This award wining play is coming to St. John’s on next Thursday , Sept 19 2019 at 8.00p.m.

Richard Walsh is from Ballybunion. Come out and support one of our own.

Nominated for Best Performance & Best Production, Dublin Fringe 2018

Do you believe everything you read in the news? Are you a sceptic? A conspiracy theorist? Gullible? Did you come down in the last shower? 

When there are more than 3 million articles written about the events of any single day worldwide, how do we begin to know which of them to trust? And should we challenge authority? Can doing so lead us closer to the truth, or farther away?Join a performer, a drummer, and a writer as they attempt to uncover the real events of one day that were reported in the local, national and international news. 

If knowledge is power, then why do we now, with more access than ever before to information, feel less in control? Oneday is a high energy performance that playfully examines our unraveling and chaotic relationship with the news. 


Does Anyone remember the Mackessy family?

Monica Garner has been in touch and I’m hoping someone can help her with photos or stories of her parents and grandparents.

I love reading the emails that you produce, they bring back happy memories for me too, even though I have lived in England nearly all my life, I’m now 66 years old.

My Mum was Mary Mackessy before she married my Dad John Ryan in Listowel in 1951.  Dad was from Tipperary

I can always remember going on holidays to visit my grandparents Michael and Catherine Mackessy , they lived in a small house on Convent Street just across the river from the racecourse.  My Grandmothers name was Catherine Patt before she married and went on to have 8 children although sadly 3 of them died.  

My Mum, Mary was the eldest and  worked at the convent until she married, then moved to live in England with my Dad. Then came Josie who worked in the offices of the local haberdashery shop. After marring Andrew Hartnett they also  moved to England and settled here until my uncle died at a young age.  Josie then moved back to Listowel and lived in Charles Street with her 4 children.

The next sibling was Christie who lived with his parents and worked as a carpenter making the wooden traps that went behind the pony and traps.  He worked in a large shed in the garden overlooking the river – such happy memories.   Richard was the next child (known as Dick).  He worked at the Covent and became the head gardener after his Father died. He always lived in the family house on Convent Street, having never married.

The youngest child was Margaret (known as Peg) she went on to marry Sean Kirby, also from Listowel.  They moved to England and had 2 children.  Eventually they moved back surprise, surprise  to Listowel where they opened a bed & breakfast on Convent Street, living there until they passed away.

My grandad worked at the convent and was the head gardener until my uncle (Dick) took over after his death.  My grandmother worked at the convent as a cook.  I can also remember an uncle (John Martin) who lived opposite my grandparents, I think he was the brother of Michael, my grandfather.  I can also remember an Aunt Alice (O’Conner) who lived in O’Connell Road/Avenue.

While typing this it has brought back so many happy childhood memories.  

My daughter is composing a family tree for my Grandsons and it would be great if anyone can give me anymore information about these wonderful people.


Believe or Believe it Not

“Papal Visit Loo Seat. This is a memento of Pope John Paul ll’s visit to the Phoenix Park in September, 1979. The week before the big day, we went with my father to see how the preparations were going. The new Papal Cross was impressive but as teenagers we were far more intrigued with the construction of rows and rows of long drop toilets by teams of carpenters. No portaloos back then! Oval shapes were cut at regular intervals from plywood benches large enough for a bottom, but not so large as to lose a small child. Plywood walls were erected to form cubicles and doors were added later. We took home this oval cut out and it has been used ever since as a breadboard or pot stand, not lavished with care but well used and certainly a family treasure. On the day of the papal mass in 1979, we revisited the toilets. The queues were massive, but we were very relieved with the facilities.”

Thanks to Helen Bacon

Like this post? Well you will love the National Treasures book!!! Order it now by by visiting:



This is me receiving the final draft of my new book from Paul Shannon at Listowel Printing Works.

My new book you ask?

Yes, it’s called A Minute of Your Time and it’s a collection of my reflections as broadcast in the Just a Thought slot on Radio Kerry. The reflections are accompanied by photographs.

It’s a lovely full colour hard back book which will be launched in St. John’s, Listowel on Saturday October 19 2019. You are all welcome.

If you can’t get to St. John’s you can pre-order it by contacting me at

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