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: Páidí ÓSé

Church Street Long ago, Women in Media 2018, and Redmond O’Hanlon’s true identity revealed

Photo: Chriostóir Grayson


Church Street in the Rare Old Times

Denis Quille sent us this old photo of Church Street. Notice the thatched house, second building on the left of picture. That is where Lawlees is now.


Women in Media 2018

I told you a while back that I was at this great event and then I forgot all about it until now. This year as ever there were some great discussions. I particularly benefited from a discussion on bullying, cyberbullying and sexting Sinead Burke, a very able and impressive little person and James Kavanagh, a Snapchat, Instagram influencer were two of the star turns.

I met lots of Listowel people whose photos I took and I hope they will forgive me that I forgot about them until now.

 These ladies are not actually from Listowel. They are Limerick ladies  with Rachael English but they love Listowel.


The Good Wine ‘Til Last

The very last event of the WinM conference was not on any programme. It was like a little extra treat for people like me who stayed until Sunday and it was on the theme A Picture Paints a Thousand Words. Along with Jerry Kennelly and Michelle Coper Galvin were some of the movers and shakers in Irish photo journalism and they showed us some of the best of newspaper photos of the past while

There I am in exalted company, your humble photographer rubbing shoulders with some of the best.

Below are some of the photos they showed us. I took photographs of the monitor so the quality is not great. Most of the photos you will have seen before as they are prizewinners and have been singled out as the best of their genre.

I am truly in awe of these masters of their craft.


Who was Redmond O’Hanlon?

Do you remember last week I brought you an essay on a stranger’s attempts at grappling with Kerry idiom? That stranger from The North was none other than local man, Luaí ÓMurchú.

Vincent Carmody informed me that Redmond O’Hanlon was the pen name adopted by Luaí in his essay writing. Luaí’s son Eamon, at my reques,t filled us in on a few details, e.g. 

Who was Luaí ÓMurchú?

Who was Redmond O’Hanlon?

Luaí Ó Murchú

Luaí Ó Murchú was reared in South Armagh, but spent most of his life in Listowel, Co Kerry.  He was born on 30 May 1909 in Netownhamilton.  He was educated in Ballymoyer School (where his father was Principal Teacher), St. Mary’s College Dundalk, and Salesian College Pallaskenry. He was a playing member of St. Killian’s Football Club between 1928 and 1940, winning an Armagh J.F.C. medal in 1940; during that time he served as Club Secretary and reperesentative at County Meetings; he was a member of the Armagh team which won the Ulster J.F.C. in 1929, and registrar of Armagh County Committee in 1933.  

He joined the Civil Service in 1934, his employment eventually taking him to Listowel, Co Kerry, in 1946, where he played a prominent part in the founding and development of Writers’ Week, Listowel.  He was a founder member and first Chairman of Listowel Writers’ Week. (1971-


 A writer and broadcaster in both Irish and English, South Armagh has provided the background to much of his creative work.  Many of his stories have been broadcast on BBC Radio and Radio Éireann. Other stories have appeared in The Irish Press and in various publcations. Over the years he contributed numerous articles and reviews to newspapers and periodicals including Inniuand Comhar.  Much of his writing in English was under the pen-name Redmond O’Hanlon. He published the history of his local football club “St. Killian’s G.A.C. Whitecross” in 1996, and his collection of short storties “Journey Home” was published in 1997. He died in 1999.

“He adopted the pen-name of Redmond O’Hanlon.  Redmond O’Hanlon was a 17th century Irish Raparee who was born in 1640 at the foot of Slieve Gullion, a mountain which could be seen from my father’s home-place in Whitecross, Co Armagh.”    Eamon ÓMurchú

Count Redmond O’Hanlon (1640–1681) was a “rapparee” or guerrilla-outlaw. He is often referred to as Ireland’s answer to Robin Hood. Although born in impoverished circumstances, he was a descendant of the last O’Hanlon chieftain who was Lord of Airgíalla and Master of Tandragee Castle. O’Hanlon lands and property was confiscated when he was alledged to have been present at a fatal argument. He took to the hills around Slieve Gullion and became an outlaw, or rapparee. Many other Gaelic Irishmen flocked to his banner.

Like many dispossessed members of the Gaelic gentry, Count O’Hanlon forced the Anglo-Irish landowners and Ulster Scots merchants to pay for insurance against theft. Travellers under his protection were provided with a written pass, which was to be shown to anyone trying to rob them. Those who disregarded the Count O’Hanlon’s passes or rustled from livestock herds under his protection were forced to return the stolen merchandise, then fined, and finally murdered if they persisted.

On 25 April 1681, Count Redmond O’Hanlon was fatally shot near Hilltown, County Down. According to popular account, he was murdered while sleeping.


Redmond O’Hanlon (Sung by Tommy Makem)

There was a man lived in the north, a hero brave and bold
Who robbed the wealthy landlords of their silver and their gold
He gave the money to the poor, to pay their rent and fee
For Count Redmond O’Hanlon was a gallant rapparee

Then hurrah for Count O’Hanlon
Redmond O’Hanlon
Hurrah for Count O’Hanlon
The gallant rapparee

He had a noble big, black horse that was his joy and pride
A brace of loaded pistols, he carried by his side
He roamed the hills and valleys with a spirit wild and free
Count Redmond O’Hanlon, the gallant rapparee


‘Twas high upon Slieve Gullion that he used to ply his trade
And Squire Johnson from the fews, this handsome offer made
He said “I’ll give four hundred pounds to hang him from a tree”
But, not a man in all the land would sell the rapparee


They sent the soldiers after him to try and bring him back
O’Hanlon only laughed at them upon the mountain track
And while the soldiers slept that night among the mountain gorse
He stole their guns and rode away upon his noble horse


‘Twas back in 1681 that Count O’Hanlon died
And still along Slieve Gullion’s slopes, they speak of him with pride
And anyone will tell you from Rathfriland to Forkhill
That in the silence of the night, you’ll hear him riding still



+    R. I.P. Margaret Broderick  +

Margaret Broderick passed away suddenly on Thursday last. She was, up to her last moments, full of live. She was fun loving, lively and the heart and soul of any party. She will be greatly missed by her bereft family and by her many close friends. She is a huge loss to Listowel Writers’ Week.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam uasal.

I took this photo in Listowel Town Square on St. Patrick’s Day 2018. Margaret is with two people who were very dear to her, her husband, Fin, and her great friend, Madeleine O’Sullivan. They are on their way home from the mass in Irish that was broadcast on RTE.

Margaret was talking away to me as I was taking the picture. She was full of praise for the beautiful music and singing of Listowel’s folk group. Many of those same singers and musicians sang those same songs for her funeral mass on May 7 2018.

Margaret would have loved her own funeral. Her beloved family played their parts to perfection. She would have been so proud.

Her clearly broken hearted Fin held it together to pay tribute to his lovely wife and to thank everyone who had tried in vain to ease the pain of losing Margaret.

Guím leaba in measc na naomh di.


I’m back!

A very happy 2014 to all with a listowelconnection. It’s been a peaceful but stormy season in the kingdom.

This is one of Mike Enright’s final pictures of Ballybunion for 2013.

Behold the huge crowd who turned out for the Christmas Day swim a free days earlier.


Suggestion for a New Year resolution by the Vigilence Committee, Dublin 1912


The largest Aran Island in the 1950’s, little changed today


Lovely picture of a young Páidí Ó Sé, R.I.P.


Age old tradition

Tramore, St. Stephen’s Day 1926

Duhallows gather in Castlemagner on St. Stephen’s Day 2013

Páidí ÓSé, Michael Holland and street scenes

I wish all my readers a very happy and a peaceful Christmas and a hope that 2013 will be good to us all. I wish to thank most sincerely everyone who helped and encouraged me during the year. Listowel connection is now a community and its success is due to all the people who send me stuff. I hope that our community will grow and prosper in the New Year and that even more people will share their photos, poems and stories with us all.


O Christmas Lights

O Christmas Lights from Ireland’s

How gently gleams thy glow

Like stars above Judean hills,

In Bethlehem long ago, 

Where angels sang and shepherds

O’erpowered by wondering awe,

As Mary in a manger laid

Her Babe on stable straw

This verse is from a poem by the late Michael Holland of Ballybunion. I came across Michael’s poetry by chance. Many people in Listowel will remember him from his work with Kerry County Council and later in Listowel Community College. Michael was a man of deep faith. If you remember him this Christmas, please say a little prayer for his soul.


Paddypower is getting a new sign.

This busker is getting into the spirit of the season.

Weds. Dec 19: I don’t know what the two on the roof were doing. The men with the tractor were straightening the sign.

The Square


In Tralee one day recently Jer recorded this really good singer busking on the street.

He is well worth a listen.


Well done to whoever is responsible for the front cover of last week’s Kerryman.

Some lovely tributes in both English and Gaeilge too inside.


This is Paul Galvin’s tribute to Páidí ÓSé from Paul’s website

Páidí. Mar focal scoir.

17, 2012

short months ago I went west towards Gaeltacht Chorca Dhuibhne. Weeks spent in
Ceann Trá and Baile ‘n Fheirtéaraigh as a youngster left me with a fluency of
our native tongue and an affinity for the parishes that preserve and promote it
that hasn’t left me since. There’s a wildness about the place and its people
that I love.

was lucky to spend a few hours in Paidi’s company talking football and music
and photography and then more football. He was a cultured man and he
appreciated his own culture more than any other. Whilst I never knew Paidi as
well as someone like Eamon Fitz I always admired and respected him. I loved his
company and his stories often had me rolling with laughter. The more I laughed
the more Paidi enjoyed it. The O Se’s are like that.
We spoke about writers
too. Con Houlihan and Aengus Fanning came and went. We sat and listened to some
of John Spillane’s music. I remember Paidi being surprised that I knew some of
John’s songs. He spoke of his pride in Eamon Fitz in his new position. The two
share a special bond. Paidi trusted Eamon, Eamon delivered as Eamon does. He
spoke of his pride in Páidí Óg.

struck me how sharp he was regarding the game. He said two things to me about
my own game that only a really sharp football man would notice. He put me
thinking I must admit but then Páidí had a wit that could put anyone thinking.
He could provoke, but then leaders must.
 Those things will remain private of
course because some things mean more when you keep them to yourself. Whilst I
never soldiered much under him as a player I remember PO’s team talks vividly.
They were more than team talks really, they were a call to arms that you had to
answer and everyone answered the call for Paidi. His teams played football like
he did. With passion and purpose and all the skills. Anyway there are men better
placed than me to talk about his qualities as a manager.

As a
man I was drawn to him. He had courage and charisma and I’m glad of those few
hours we spent now. If Kerry football has a foundation then the four O Sé’s are
the cornerstones upon which it is built. Páidí passing won’t change that only
re-inforce it. Great men are an even greater loss I guess. We’ll shoulder this
one together. Páidí, I’ll take your words with me as I go. The wild west won’t
be the same without you.


I got an email from Barry O’Halloran with his own Páidí memory:

“For Listowel people this must be one of the most liked photos of Paidi –taken immediately after the 1997 All Ireland Final with Stephen Stack.

Stephen gave an exhibition of corner back play that day to win his second All Ireland medal after a gap of eleven years. 

Kerry won 0-13 to 1-7.  Paidi was manager of course.

I grabbed the photo from the website – 1 of 67 Paidi photos.

As a footnote,  A few minutes later Stephen gave a brilliant sideline interview to Marty Morrissey,  which he opened by sending his best wishes to his god-mother (Eileen O Halloran – my mother) who was in her last few weeks of fighting cancer. Stephen brought Sam McGuire to her bedside 2 days later).”

(R.I.P. Eileen and Páidí)


Listowel’s second annual Christmas parade video

I should have the fireworks display video for you after the holidays


I am going to take a holiday from blogging until after the New Year. See you all in 2013.

P.S. I had intended stopping today but I have so many photos that I will schedule a few of them to post on December 26th. Then I will definitely take a break.

Christmas 2012

Le coinnle na n-aingeal

Tá an spéir amuigh breactha.

Tá fiacal an tseacha sa ghaoth on gcnoc

Adaigh an tine is thigh chun na leapan

Lúifidh mac Dé insan tigh seo anocht.


Listowel parish choir’s carol concert 2012 here;


There are many songs written and sung about a spontaneous temporary Christmas truce in the trenches of the Great War in 1915. This is a link to a moving compilation of images, put together by Alan Starkie and accompanied by the singing of Mike Harding. This will draw  tears  from many.


Jim Halpin paid his own tribute to Páidí ÓSé


Christmas in town

The Mermaids’ Christmas window

Santa in Garvey’s

The cinema extension, almost completed.

Gardaí on the beat on Upper Church Street.


This is a Bord na Mona Christmas card from the 1940’s.

Some of the men who worked on the bogs in the midlands in the 40’s did not get to go home for Christmas and it was customary to have a party for them.

 Here the porter is being poured into mugs  from what looks seriously like a milk bucket…….Some party! No wonder the men don’t look too happy.

Will you take a look at their Christmas dinner?

I sourced these photos onóna-Heartland/180733458639655

You should visit the page yourself for a description of some fascinating Christmas customs. Thank you, Tony, for a great webpage!


Sr. Eilís at the secondary school has researched  the name of every nun who lived in Listowel from 1844 to the present day and she has recorded all the names in a handcrafted collage in the shape of an oaktree, the symbol of the Presentation order. This is a new and inventive way to remind today’s pupils of the contribution of all of these women to education in Listowel.


Don’t forget the fireworks tomorrow night  in The Square at 5.00 p.m.


News is just coming in of the passing of Pecker Dunne. Listen to him here:


And now a little Christmas toast from Kay Forristal

Here’s to you and yours and theirs and mine
May good-health and cheer be yours this Christmastime.

May the years ahead blessings herald
And swiftly bring into our world
Fortune that will favour you and yours
And theirs and mine especially at Christmastime.

Now I take my leave and say
God bless you and yours and theirs and mine
Fond thoughts to our loved ones in heaven
 This Blessed Season, Christmastime.

Kay Forristal (c)

Old photos and Jedward

Dolly Parton in Páidí O’Sé’s in 1990

Kate Kearney’s Cottage Killarney in 1900

Photo from Jer Kennelly Nonie O’Flaherty at age 100

John O’Connell, Tony Rohr and Colm Meaney on the set of P.J. Dillon’s Most Important

On the subject of local films don’t forget Stella Days and Listowel’s own Vintage Wireless Museum in the cinema tonight at 8.15


Then and Now

Remember these: another pair of Eurovision brothers. They came 9th.

Can we do better ?  Jedward bring the phrase ‘giving it sox” to a new level.

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