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: Padraig O’Connor

blackbird, The Rattoo Swan, Government difficulties in 1927 and a better photo of the Dan Keane Variety Show cast

Photo: Chris Grayson


Swans Return

This is Bridget O’Connor’s beautiful picture of Mammy swan with her brood of 2015. Earlier this month the same swan and her husband returned to the exact same spot to build their nest. 

Anyone who knows anything about swans knows that they value their privacy and independence so Bridget kept well back to take her first photo of the returned swans.

Then came the biblical deluge of April 10 2016 and all her friends were worried for Mammy swan as the water rose around her nest threatening to swamp it. Mammy swan became agitated, toing and froing from the nest. Two local friends of the swan staged a quick intervention while she was on one of her wanderings and, using pitchforks, raised the nest to a higher spot. Thankfully, the swans accepted the new higher location and they have now returned to hatch their eggs in their beloved nesting spot.

Don’t go near them. I’ll keep you updated.


Deja Vu all over again

Back in 1927, Ireland was in a similar pickle to today’s shaky political situation.

The Irish general election of June 1927 was held on 9 June 1927. The newly elected members of the 5th Dáil assembled at Leinster House on 23 June when the new President of the Executive Council and Executive Council of theIrish Free State were appointed.

The election saw the establishment of Fianna Fáil as a participant in the Dáil, taking most of the support and many of the members of the abstentionist Anti-Treaty Sinn Féin. The impact of this shift was to remove Cumann na nGaedheal‘s working majority among TDs attending, making the Dáil short-lived. (Wikipedia)

Irish Independent Saturday, 27
August, 1927; Page: 10


The news of the decisive dual
victory of the Government in the Dublin by-elections caused great jubilation
amongst all Government supporters in Tralee. The announcement of the Dail
dissolution and such an early General Election, while creating general surprise,
came as a veritable bombshell to the Opponents of the Government, says the ”
Irish Independent” correspondent. President Cosgrave’s decision has the
unanimous approval of all his supporters there as well as of merchants,
traders, farmers, and all others having a stake in the country. The lead given
by Dublin is taken as ominous, and the belief here is that it will be fairly
generally followed throughout the Saorstat at the General Election. The chances
of Fianna Fail are being freely canvassed, and while many of their supporters
are confident of doing better this time owing to the party having entered the
Dail, the extreme section of followers, confined mainly to the younger
idealists. are so disgusted with the taking of the oath that a big number of these
young voters who worked so hard for the party last June will take no part
whatever in the coming election.


Supporters of the Government are
convinced of a sweeping victory on this occasion. ” If the Government don’t
sweep the country this time,” said one prominent Tralee gentleman, ” God help
the country; but the people have got so sick of political wrangling now that
they will put an end to it for ever.”

An influential member of the
Farmers’ Union Party heartily welcomed the early General Election. His only
regret is that it will not give sufficient time to the farmers to meet and
throw in their lot with the Government party, which they so loyally stood by in
the recent crisis. Their duty, however, he said, was to stand by the Government


Picturesque streetscape on Bridge Road

Hill Top, Bridge Road, Listowel April 2016


The Whole Picture

Betty Stack has sent us the full picture of that cast from the Dan Keane Show in the mid seventies.

Here is the list of names, all except one man,

From back;  Kieran Kelliher,Patrick Flaherty, Seán Ahern, Timmy Leahy, Seán Broderick, Liam Tarrant, P.J. Ryan, Jerry Nolan, …….  ……, Gerard Buckley, Michael Dowling Christy Stack, 

Muriel Dowling, Geraldine Dowling, Kathleen O’Connor, Betty Stack, Maureen Dowling, Honor O’Connor,  Mary RyanPaudie Keane, Timmy Brosnan, Peggy Sweeney, Philomena Dillon and Dan Keane


What a week!

Last week started out for your blogger with a lovely family birthday.

Then was marred by the illness and hospitalization of a beloved grandchild.

The week ended with a feast of great things in North Kerry; Women in Media in Ballybunion, A Hen Night Epiphany in St. John’s, and a celebration to mark Brendan Kennelly’s 80th birthday.

If you are not interested in any of these things you are in for a lean few days on Listowel connection as I intend telling you all about my adventures, complete with pictures.


The Ones to Watch

Padraig O’Connor of Ballyduff is on the far right. He is pictured here with his UCC team who were honoured in Cork for their participation in an international business competition in Canada.

Left to right; Brenda Nestor, JMUCC Coach with the 2016 Cork University Business School team: Jess Griffin, Julian Hoare, Klara Sarkovska and Padraig O’Connor being recognised for their participation in the John Molson University Case Study Competition 2016.

Harvest Festival 1971, Canvassing in General Election 2016 and planning for the tourist season

Nature’s Songster

Ita Hannon’s Beale robin


Harvest Festival 1971

Kerryman  Saturday, 09 October, 1971; Page: 24; Listowel

THE fast pace of Listowel Race Week is over for another months and now
It is possible to see things in their proper perspective and in so
doing pride of place must be deservedly given to the Ballybunion Girls
Pipe Band It’s contribution to the festive spirit of the occasion was
considerable. The quality and rhythm of their martial tunes as they
paraded gracefully through the town was o say the least most

FINIS— Originality was the key note on Sunday the concluding day of
Listowel Race Week festivities, when a galaxy of our local stars
brought into the homes of a weary footed public a delightfully
entertaining variety show which had been recorded earlier in the week
by Radio Eireann.

Dr John Walshe chairman of the Harvest  Festival Committee opened the
show with an interesting history of the Pattern Day in Listowel, which
had its roots back 150 years ago. Larry Gogan was an excellent

One of the Dowling sisters gave a fine rendering of a very suitable
timed song entitled. “The Blackbird of Avondale”. Mrs Nora Relihan as
an artist of considerable achievement, needs no introduction to the
people of Listowel, had them “literally in Stitches” with a poem
entitled “cowdung” while dealing at some length with its rich
potential. And then came the irrepressible John B who sang the side
splitting number ”Matt Flavin You’re the Man”, accompanied by Phil
Flavin on the bodhrain. A number of other items brought the programme
to a close


Are you 85 years or older and living in rural Kerry?

If the answer is yes or if you know someone who answers yes to these two questions, a man called John Hastings has a proposition for you


Hello, I am looking to meet with men
who are aged 85 years or over to talk about their daily life in rural Ireland.

This involves:

Three meetings with me so
I can learn more about your everyday activities.

We will meet in a quiet,
comfortable location wherever you wish.

Your involvement is
confidential and this will be explained fully to you before deciding to take
part or not.

If this study interests
you please leave your contact details below. I will ring you to tell you more
about the study. Thanks.

Name: _________________________________________

Phone number:

This study has been reviewed by, and
received ethical clearance from the Clinical Research Ethics Committee
associated with University College Cork.

Contact details:

John Hastings,

University College Cork.

021- 4205308.


Canvassing the knitting vote

I was in Scribes with my fellow Knitwits on Saturday last when John Brassil and his election team called to canvass our votes.


Passing on the Smiles

Scoil Realt na Maidine, Listowel, February 2016


Festival Workshops

Photo: Tralee Today

Pictured in Main Street Listowel are Joan McCarthy Head of Tourism, Kerry County Council, with Damien Stack, Eilish Wren, Cara Trant and Máire Logue. They were gathered to promote a Kerry Festivals and Events Workshop. 


Planning for Fleadh Cheoil na Mumhan

photos; Facebook


A Listowel Man in Abu Dhabi

Third from left in this picture (which I sourced on Facebook) is Tadhg Flahive, formerly of Church Street, Listowel.

The occasion of the photo was an interview with RTE radio presenter Damien O’Reilly. Damien was in the Middle East to record a show about Irish food, business and culture for Country Wide. The show featuring Tadhg and others from Abu Dhabi na Fianna GAA club was broadcast on Saturday last February 20 1016. You will be able to catch it on the RTE radio 1 player.


Preparing for Summer in Town

Joni Mitchell sang “It’s comin’ on Christmas, They’re cutting’ down trees….”  

Well, Christmas is well gone and they’re pruning trees in The Square, Listowel in preparation for new growth and abundant foliage come summer 2016.

 It can’t come a day too soon.


Meanwhile in Montreal…

Padraig O’Connor (in the centre with glasses) is a young man already making waves in the world of marketing. He is a final year Commerce student at UCC and this week he is in Canada as part of a team of 4 who are taking part in an international business competition for undergraduates.

Padraig is the son of John and Bridget O’Connor, of Bishopscourt, Ballyduff. 

Definitely one to watch!

Rut in Killarney National Park, County Show and a rising star in the world of Digital Marketing

Rutting Season

The spectacle of The Rut in Killarney National Park has attracted photographers from far and near. It is an extremely sensitive and dangerous time to be around deer so I stayed well clear of it. The photographs below are from excellent photographers with powerful zoom lenses who photographed the deer from a safe distance.

The stags look magnificent with their imposing antlers. I was watching Country File last week and I learned that, in the U.K. they sedate the stags and saw off their antlers in the interests of the health and safety of the stags and the hinds. It looks awful but we, the viewers, were assured that there was no pain involved and the antlers grow back.

I also learned that all that bellowing is not so much to warn off other stags as to summon the hinds and announce that the buck is ready for action.

(Ita Hannon)

(Jim MacSweeney)

(Tom Healy)

(Timothy John MacSweeney)


The County of Kerry Agricultural Show 1901

Extract from an account in The Kerry Sentinel Sept 7 1901

Horses’ Judges—Major Kiggel and Mr J Evans.

 Cattle Judges—Messrs W Roberts and W M’Donald. 

Judges of Kerries—Messrs J Butler and H M’Clure. 

Judge of Butter—Mr R Gibson. 

Judge of Honey—M W Boxwell, Patrickswell, Co Limerick. 

The County of Kerry Agricultural Show was
held in Listowel on Tuesday, and taking all circumstances into
consideration must be regarded as a successful exhibition. The weather
was favourable, and the attendance of the public, particularly in the
evening, was extremely large. All the arrangements were well attended
to and left very little to be desired. 

Mr M W M’Elligott, hon sec,
with the capable assistance of Mr E J Gleeson, was responsible for the
management and  discharged his duties in a highly satisfactory manner.
The same observation applies to the other officials, all of whom
appeared to give general satisfaction. 

With regard to the exhibits,
the entries in the horse section were large, and some of the animals
were of an excellent class, while numbers were not up to the mark. The
entries in the cattle department were not so large, but the quality of
the exhibits showed an improvement on last year. The sheep entered
were fairly good, and the pigs exhibited, though not large in number,
were of a particularly good class. The butter section afforded some
first class exhibits, the fowl and honey departments very little
interest was taken though some of the exhibits were of a good quality.

Of the exhibitors Messrs Philip Healy, G Mullins, and J F Shea were
most successful. Mr Healy won a number of prizes, while Mr Mullins bull
Silver Beam, retained his title as champion of the county for three
years in succession. Mr Shea , Glenbeigh got first prize for his
handsome black filly, Biddy, and would have been awarded first prize
for his bay gelding, Tommy, in the remount class but for the fact that
he was disqualified for being ” docked ” They are both by his own
horse, Hampton Moor, a sire that is sure to make his mark. The filly
should distinguish herself in the hunting field or between the flags.

Mr J J Galvin, Listowel, offered a number of special prizes for which
there was keen competition. The number of industrial exhibits in
connection with the Show, though not numerous, were interesting.
Messrs McKenna and Kennelly, Listowel, and M MCowen, Tralee, had an
imposing display of agricultural machinery, while the Derrymore Tweed
Mills were also well represented, and their exhibits attracted
considerable attention.


One to Watch

In the centre in this photograph is Padraig O’Connor of Ballyduff. He is pictured adding another accolade to his impressive cv. Last weekend he was in Dublin to collect his award in the Marketing and Commerce category of the Irish Blog Awards.


Ar Scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine

(People live in the shelter of one another)

Our president, Michael D. Higgins is a master of finding the right words to suit the occasion. He was brilliant on his state visit to Britain and he is brilliant again as he visits the U.S.

He was at his eloquent best when visiting Berkeley. I swelled with pride in him as he thanked the people who had helped our traumatized and injured young people after the balcony collapse earlier this year.

This is part of what he said, “In the blink of an eye, these young, talented and bright students – most of whom were thousands of miles from home – and their families and friends suddenly needed the compassion and intensive support of those where they found themselves, people who turned out not to be strangers but great friends,” 

“You did not fail them. Your actions gave such powerful definition to the term ‘hospitality’.”

Well said.

Listowel Military Tattoo 2015 and Listowel Food Fair 2015

Listowel Military Tattoo 2015

It was Saturday afternoon, May 2 2015 and we were all in the square for the best bit (in my opinion), i.e. the parade of veterans and soldiers, the laying of wreaths and the flypast. It is a lovely dignified, solemn ceremony and organized with a precision that does the local organizers proud.

This is the local Army Reservists’ flag party.

The Wixted and Nolan families were out in force at every event of the weekend.

Clíona Cogan and our Kildare visitors for the weekend, Seán, Mary and Tony McKenna from Newbridge.

The dignitaries in place before the wreath laying.

All day we had real soldiers and men dressed up as soldiers meeting and mingling. I got this great photo of a real vicar meeting and mingling with a pretend vicar.

These two happy gentlemen told me that they were “catching up”.

The Bunyans were there to enjoy the parade.

( If I took your photo at the weekend and it hasn’t appeared here yet, don’t despair. I still have loads to get through yet.)


Looking forward to Listowel Food Fair

No sooner is one festival over than we are thinking of the next one. The next one for Listowel is the great Writers’ Week. I’ll talk about that next week. Today I want to entice you to Listowel for The Food Fair, to be held this year at the earlier time of June 18 to June 21 2015.

This lady is the late Kathy Buckley of William St. She is pictured in the grounds of The White House in Washington. She was cook to three presidents. Listowel Food Fair have decided to honor her at this year’s festival.

This is a promotional photo of some of the organizing committee, Aoife Hannon, Asya O’Callaghan, Mary Coleman and Audrey Galvin.

We are so lucky in Listowel to have great chefs and great restaurants.

This year’s festival will be opened by Paolo Tullio and as well as the usual competitions and tastings will feature  the first ever All Ireland Craft Beer Competition. There will be a food trail and enhanced Farmers’ Market as well as demonstrations and tastings.


Devastating O’Connell Street, Limerick fire of 1959

On Tuesday, 25 August 1959, at 11am, a fire was noticed and reported in Todd’s building.  Todds and the neighbouring buildings was quickly evacuated. By 12:30 the entire block was a blazing inferno. The cause was a fuse box in the basement of the drapery store which had burst from the wall.

The story in pictures;   O’Connell Street Fire


Friday Clean up

Listowel Tidy Towns posted this picture of the girls from Pres. Secondary School. Listowel with their teacher, Margaret Daly, on their weekly clean up around the town


Progress at Lidl


First Holy Communion in Ballydonoghue

Lovely souvenir photographs from John Kelliher


Something for the weekend

If you are an active person over the age of 50 you must head to Killarney on Sunday or Monday. There are over 80 stalls and you can investigate anything from how to research your family tree to  investing your pension nest egg.


Student Business “Oscar” for Young Ballyduff Man

In the Mansion House in Dublin last night, May 7 2015,  Pádraig O’ Connor of Ballyduff was presented with his award for An Post Smart Student Marketing Campaign of the Year by Paul Cooke of the Sunday Business Post.

Pádraig is currently studying in Pace University in New York, He returned for a short visit home to accept his prize.

Padraig with his very proud parents, John and Bridget.  This is a young North Kerry man with a very bright future ahead of him. Well done, my friend!

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