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 listowelconnection@gmail.com

Tag: Pat Murphy

Woodford Pottery, Listowel Races 2019, Progress on The Greenway and North Kerry success at The Ploughing

Hands of a Master Craftsman


 Pat Murphy throwing a pot at his Woodford Pottery Studio in Sept 2019

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Saturday at The Races


Saturday September 14th 2019 was a gloriously sunny day on the island. The big screens were in place to show the All Ireland Football replay between Kerry and Dublin and the Tidy Towns inspired fashion event was taking place.

 The judges were out and about mingling with the racegoers in vintage gear. In my photo the judge is in white and the lady on the far left was chosen as the winner. The rules said that your outfit had to be genuinely vintage and to have been upcycled by you. You had to wear a headpiece. This elegant lady fulfilled all these requirements.

The lovely ladies from Oonagh Hartnett’s were offering us sweets, some timely advice on sun protection, a squirt of perfume and entry into a raffle.

Another judge checking out the vintage of this lady’s garments.

 My lovely former neighbour, Anne Leneghan, came second in this smashing suit which someone else had worn to a son’s wedding. Anne had up-styled it with pearls from a broken pearl necklace and she had pinned down the lapels with a pair of pearl earrings. She was wearing her 90 year old mother’s going away hat and her lace gloves.

The always stylish Betty Stack with her daughter Maria and their friend, Anne Leneghan.

 Noelle and her friends were studying form when I interrupted them.

Gemma and Mairead Regan gave me a tip they got “from some fellow on the way in”. It won.

 Rose Wall was accompanied by her handsome son.

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Good News on the Greenway

This is the report from the council meeting:

A dedicated team in Kerry County Council is to be appointed to progress two greenway projects to completion.

The status of the North Kerry Greenway was discussed at the monthly meeting of the Listowel Municipal District.

Councillor Mike Kennelly called for all resources to be put in place to get the multi-million-euro greenway from Listowel to the Limerick border over the line.

The Fine Gael councillor pointed to bureaucracy with Government departments with such projects.

Listowel MD Manager, Joan McCarthy told Cllr Kennelly that nobody is dragging their heels on the project adding that it is protection of public funds and not bureaucracy.

Kerry County Council says a senior engineer has been appointed to oversee both the North Kerry Greenway and the Tralee to Fenit Greenway; a team will be appointed shortly to progress both projects.

Work on the north Kerry project is expected to begin later this year and will take 18 months to complete.


Regards,


Michael Guerin, Listowel


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Upcoming Events


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The Ploughing



Photo: Radio Kerry



Daniel Burke from Causeway and Derek O’Driscoll from Ballyheigue, who both claimed an All-Ireland title at this year’s Ploughing Championships



I’ve never been to “The Ploughing” but I’m told it’s possible to spend days there without seeing a plough or a ploughman. It’s a place for shopping, socialising, entertainment and education. I was delighted to see that these young men have got back to what it’s all about, celebrating the skill and art of ploughing.

My visit to Woodford Pottery

 Photo; Chris Grayson

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Old Ballybunion


This photo was from The Kerryman May 1969

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Pottering about in North Kerry at Easter 2018



The above three mugs were all made in Listowel by Pat Murphy of  Woodford Pottery

The blue one is my favourite. The white one is a work in progress. Pat is experimenting with different shapes and sizes of mug. He is planning on adding a plainer “everyday” mug to his more stylish range. It won’t be white like this but will have a colour outside and for those customers for whom this is important, a white interior.

I usually meet Pat at craft fairs and he has been inviting me to visit his workshop and shop at Woodford for some time now. I made the long promised visit at Easter 2018 accompanied by  my young visitors.

Woodford Pottery is a one man operation. This one man produces a wide range of very beautiful and practical items of tableware and one-off pieces such as bowls, lamps and vases and an adorable Christmas crib.

Like so many North Kerry artists, Pat is a blow-in, a cliamhain isteach. I never fail to marvel at how life in rural North Kerry and West Limerick is so enriched by these very talented people who chance to end up here.

Pat is a Wexford man who began his career as a potter at Kiltrae. You can see that early influence in the practicality of his pieces. In my humble opinion, Woodford Pottery outshines Kiltrae in terms of style, beauty, usefulness and price.

Look out for Pat at future craft fairs or give him a ring at his studio in Woodford.  You can also message him on Facebook where you can also see some of his wares.

Woodford Pottery

If you are in the market for a unique local gift, look no further. Tell him I sent you.

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They Stretched in Never Ending Line



Beside St. John’s in Ballybunion

Christmas Craft Fair, some photos, a poem and a sugar tax in 1901

May you have a happy, safe and thankful Thanksgiving all U.S. friends of Listowel



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Christmas is coming

And the goose is getting fat,

Please put a penny in the old man’s hat

If you haven’t got a penny

A ha’penny will do

If you haven’t got a ha’penny

God bless you.

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Sive Revival




In a week that saw Mickey McConnell’s Lidl and Aldi exceed 6 million views, John B’s ‘Sive’ launched in John B’s bar in the Gaiety Theatre. 

The Druid Production will run from the 26th Jan to the 3rd of March 2018

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Today’s November poem from Irish Stories of Love and Hope is from Rita Ann Higgins.

Our Mothers Die on
Days Like This

Rita Anne
Higgins  (Irish Stories of Loss and Hope)

Where there isn’t
a puff

And the walk from
the bus stop

To the front door

Isn’t worth the
longed-for

Out-of-the-question
cup of sweet tea

She can never have

Because doctor
do-little-or-nothing

Told her face to
face

It was the sugar
or the clay

The choice was
hers.

The choice was no
choice

He knew it, she
knew it.

When the heavy
bill on the hall floor

With the final
notice reminded her

Once and for all
she must turn out the lights,

Her Angelus bell
rang and rang.

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Photos from a Craft fair


I was at a craft fair in The Seanchaí, Listowel on Sunday November 12 2017. I photographed some of the lovely fare on offer.

Stephen Pearce, Louis Mulcahy, Nicholas Mosse and a slew of others have made their fortune as potters with a distinctive style. In Listowel we have our very own local potter with a beautiful product and a distinctive style.

Pat Murphy’s Woodford Pottery is based in Woodford, Listowel. His pieces are available in black,  dark blue and green. They make an ideal present for anyone who loves Listowel and likes to have a piece of home close by at all times.

AND by comparison with the big names mentioned above they are very reasonably priced. Pat is a one man operation so he obviously doesn’t produce huge quantities. My advice is get to him before the world discovers him.

Woodford Pottery

Beautiful hand knitter nativity by Ella O’Sullivan

Eileen O’Sullivan makes these and other ceramic pieces to order.

Listowel’s best knitter and tea cosy designer is Frances O’Keeffe.  Her charming creations are still available at Craftshop na Méar and at local craft fairs.  

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A Sugar Tax…..in 1901!



My friend, Nicholas wrote us the following;

” I came across this little piece in the British Parliamentary Papers. It concerns a sugar tax proposed in c1901. The fuller debate is fascinating as it goes into the ramifications of all types of sugar and associated products- honey  seems to have been exempt from the intended tax.


Extracted from The Debate on the proposed Sugar Tax in the House of Commons on 29th April 1901:

‘… MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)

said that as an Irish Member he desired to enter his protest against this tax because it pressed severely upon the poorest classes of the population. He had listened with amazement to the doctrine laid down by the Hon. Baronet opposite, who said that he welcomed this tax because it would tend to discourage the unwholesome custom of using jam and marmalade and sugar, instead of porridge and milk.


‘In many parts of the country the poor people could not get milk. The working classes of Ireland were unable to give milk to their children because they could not afford it, and consequently they had to fall back upon jam and marmalade. There was no more necessary food than sugar for young children if they could not get plenty of milk and butter. Milk contained a good deal of sugar, and if they could not get the natural sugar contained in milk they were driven to buy sugar, and to supply it in that shape. 


A tax upon sugar was a tax upon one of the prime necessities of life, and that was a departure from the traditional policy of this country for the last fifty years, which was to remove all taxes from all the necessary articles of food. If they agreed to tax sugar he could not see why they should not tax corn…’ 



I think O tempora O mores! is appropriate in the light of the current sugar tax proposals, and the complete change in  Irish nutritional circumstances and health standards.” 





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New Windows for the Gardaí




Maybe they are getting the fancy new ones with the Garda logo in them

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