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: Owen MacMahon Page 1 of 3

March 17 2022

St. Patrick’s Day, William Street


Vehicles in the Parade


Some Listowel People in Far Flung Places for the Saint’s Day


Another Ballybunion Puzzle

This lovely little spot by the playground used to have tables and benches for the children placed there by Ballybunion Tidy Towns.


People at the Listowel Parade


A Poem from Anne Mulcahy

The River

For Hannah, my Friend

My friend is a Traveller and I am a Country-Buffer  –

 she has left an imprint on me like a fossil, 

zig zag incisions that mould the hardest rock,

 planting themselves – living forever.

The delicate sprig of friendship has blossomed 

became a mountain with flowing spring waters.

The shared moments caught for us a time of no divide,

a silver net catching the Salmon Boyne- 

– like a sparkling clear river – our friendship swelled

 – each flow equal to the next –

 our laughter shattered the thin vail that hovers –

between prejudice and unity – 

between the –  I’ll accept you –  on my terms, fallacy 

 Prejudice acts as a lever to elevate our inferior selves

 to heights of dizzy disillusion –

Society feeding the layered segmentation segregation – 

like ladders – steps of insanity to clouds of fanaticism –

no one wants the bottom rung! 

Instead we cling foolishly to the middle ground,  

shouting –I’m good today –  I’m better than you!.

Refusing to be fossils in Rivers of friendship.


Ladies’ Day at Listowel Races

Friday was always a day I loved to be on The Island. Sadly I won’t be there this year. So I’m going to relive happier times before we ever heard of Covid.

I am going to bring you a few photos of local people enjoying themselves in Septembers past.

Bishop Ray Browne came one year in the company of a some members of our parish council.

Collette and Seamus Stack are regulars at the races.

Simon and Lilly O’Flynn

Helen Kenny, Joan Kenny and Helen’s sister, Maisie

Sarah and Monica Quille with Madeleine O’Sullivan and Eilish Wren

Billy and Ursula O’Conor with Judy and Owen MacMahon

Maura Carmody and family

Noelle Hegarty and Bridie O’Rourke

Joan and Orla O’Connor

My friends John and Bridget O’Connor

Eileen Worts and Joe Broderick


Sights I hope to see again in September 2022

Pat Power and his marionettes outside Footprints

Traveller children in The Feale calling “Throw me down something.”

Race cards will cost a bit more than €3

Youngsters dressed up to the nines doing what youngsters do.

My friends Maria and Anne and maybe even a man with a daft hat.

Famous people like Jerry Hannon and Dáithí ÓSé

Interesting headwear

More famous people

Vintage Day.


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

Listowel Town Square in Summer 2019


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.


Some More People snapped on May 29 2019


Calling all Harnetts


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

 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.


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).


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.

Santa, Carol Singing and the launch of A Book and cd of Kerry Songs of the Revolution

A Christmas Photo from 2016


Carol Singing

Photo: Scoil Realt na Maidine

Boys entertaining shoppers at Garvey’s Super Valu Listowel last week.


A Story that tells how Times have changed in a Picture

Extra public phonebooks being installed in Dublin for the Eucharistic Congress of 1932

“All’s changed, changed utterly”


Their Memory Will Endure

On Saturday evening, December 15 2018, I attended another launch of an extraordinary Kerry book. This is a project compiled by Gabriel Fitzmaurice and Pádraig Ó Concubhair.  We got a book and a cd for €20 . In the book and on the cd we have songs commemorating events of the wars in Kerry from 1916 to 1924. This was a particularly violent divisive and bloody time in our county’s history, a period that is not much talked of nowadays, probably because of the very bitter rifts that occurred in communities and even in families

Here are some of the people who attended the launch which was done by Dr. Declan Downey.

 Gabriel was kept busy signing books. Padraig couldn’t be present.

Vincent Carmody, David Browne and Gabriel Fitzmaurice

As you can see there were many well known faces among the attendance.

Karen Trench is one of the singers featured on the cd.

David Browne introduced Declan Downey who officially launched the package.

This man rendered his ballad in a mellow mature voice.

Gabriel Fitzmaurice is himself a well known balladeer. For this project he took on the mantle of that great collector of Kerry ballads, Bryan MacMahon.


A Nebraska Parish with  a Listowel Connection

We’re a bit late with this one but it’s worth celebrating.

St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church in Omaha celebrated 100 years in 2017. Marie Neligan alerted me to the connection with her Listowel family.

“Founded in 1917 as a mission of St. Patrick Parish in Elkhorn, the parish’s first pastor, Father David Neligan, celebrated St. John’s first Mass on Christmas in its original church – a former Baptist church, purchased and moved to the parish site by an early parishioner, John Zeis Sr.” 

Source: The Catholic Voice

Fr. David was born in Listowel. He was Marie’s uncle. Here is what she told me about him;

The first pastor at this church Fr, David Neligan, born and raised in Listowel said the first mass at this church when it opened on Christmas Day 1917. David was my uncle and was ordained at All Hallows’ on June 23rd 1912 and assigned to Omaha, Nebraska. He was buried there at the tender age of 33.

Placenames from Dúchas collection, a 1994 quilt for charity and The Haunting Soldier in Dublin

In Gurtinard Wood I was thrilled to see a little bird at home. No bats about though.


Duagh from the Dúchas collection

Photo; Caoimhín Ó Danachair


Place Names

Informant, Mrs K. Quilter

Collector-Maureen Lynch- Informant- Muiris Ó Loinsig


The name is still used by the local inhabitants and probably means the Glen of the Quern. It is beside this glen the “brittlen” woman used to be heard.

In the farm of Pat Trant Jnr, Behins, there was a blessed well. This was known to the older people as Tobar Uí Leidhin. There was an old midwife living in Behins named Moll Barry. One May morning she went to the well for a can of water. She had hardly reached the well when she was lifted off the ground and the next place she found herself was below at the monument in Lixnaw, spirited away by the good people.

Beside the well there was a graveyard. A glen beside it is still known as Gleann Dóighte.

Beside our house is a place called Pike, on the main road between Listowel and Castleisland. Old Ned Prendiville use to say that there were two gates here and everybody who passed the way with cattle or cars had to pay a toll of a halfpenny. There was also a pound there. 

There is a Dispensary at Pike. In this building was the old National school whose first teacher was John O’Connor. O’Connor was not long there when he had to flee the country owing to his connection with the Fenians. Then came my Grandfather old Master Lynch who taught there for six years and who opened the school at Rathea in 1875.

My Grandfather was a native of Knockanure. He used to tell stories about a woman name Joan Grogan of Knockanure. This woman used to be “out” with the good people. One night they were on their way to Castleisland to decide whether a girl there named Brosnan was to be taken away or not. On their way they called in to my grandfather’s aunt the wife of Michéal Ruadh Kirby of Behins and took her snuff box as a joke. Micéal Ruad’s wife met her a few days after at the big fair in Listowel (13th May). Joan asked her did she miss her snuff box on such a morning and she said she did. Micheal Ruadh’s wife told her she heard them laughing in the kitchen that night.

Maureen Lynch

M’athair Muiris Ó Loingsig O.S a d’innis an méid sin dom. Rathea Listowel.


Kerryman 1994

Does anyone know where this is now? Does anyone remember it, the making of it or the handing over of it?


The Haunting Soldier

I went to Dublin to see The Haunting Soldier and I was mightily impressed.

This art installation commemorates all the soldiers who served and suffered in the Great War . The artist was invited to bring the creation to Dublin to remind us of the tens of thousands of Irishmen who soldiered in WW1. Many of them were killed or received life changing injuries.

The statue is forged entirely from scrap metal, bits and pieces of nuts, bolts, cogs, springs, horse shoes, chains etc., etc.

My two friends, Assumpta and Peggy, posed with two people with a Listowel connection who were also in St. Stephen’s Green to see the Soldier.


Ard Churam Concert in St. Mary’s, Listowel

A super variety concert with the very best of music, singing and recitation was enjoyed by a packed church in Listowel on Friday evening, November 23th. 2018

Owen MacMahon was our host for the evening. No better man for the job. He entertained us with anecdotes, jokes and poems as he provided continuity between the acts.

Finbar Mawe welcomed us on behalf of Ard Churam. He told us about the ambitious plan to build a dementia unit, following the success of Ard Churam which is soon to be working six days per week.

Karen Trench’s Silver River Feale was a highlight of a show full of highlights. We also heard Seán Ahern, Kim Healy, the excellent Ballydonoghue Comhaltas group as well as a group from Listowel Comhaltas and a junior choir from The Kerry School of Music.

It was a night for meeting old friends.

The Ard Churam choir were the stars of the show. They were a credit to their musical director, Mary Culloty O’Sullivan. Mary, a world class soprano.  also sang for us . Heavenly!

Mike Moriarty said a few words on behalf of Ard Churam.

John Kelliher who did a great job of photographing the proceedings has posted a video of the performances on Youtube

Ard Churam Concent in St. Marys

It comes in at the end of Owen’s joke so I’ll fill you in. The wife of the great Seanchaí, Eamon Kelly once said that he wore his hat at all times only taking it off in the church and in bed. “And he slept in both places.” she said.

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