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: Pioneers

Some old photos; this time with names, and a few new ones to amuse you.

Winter Robin by Timothy John MacSweeney


Elizabeth O’Carroll Chute wrote to me about this photo:

“Tim  Kennellys  father is man on left . Girl with sunglasses , Frankie Chute who lives in California . 

Next to her girl with long hair could be Kennelly . Her parents had a very busy hardware store in small square next to present shoe shop . I believe the nun is Sr Austin , one of my favourites. 

The man with the grey hair could be Mr Reagan but that’s a long shot . And that is most definitely Norella with her mum . “

The funny thing is is that the one person we were both sure of was Norella and we are both wrong, for it is not the good lady at all but her younger brother. Apologies to Norella and to Eoin.

P.S. I think the woman on the far right with glasses is the late Mrs. Kirby of Convent St.


This is what Junior Griffin wrote to me about this old photo:

“Back row;

Can’t make out the 1st side face but the 2nd is Sean O’Sullivan of Market St.;Andy Molyneaux, Listowel; Not sure of the next, then partly hidden, Bill O’Sullivan, Clounmacon, Murt Galvin, Killarney (County Board Treas;) Cormac O’Leary, Moyvane, then I feel Tadhg Prendeville, Castleisland, (County Board Treas.)

Front Row;

Dan Kiely Tarbert (possibly North Kerry Chairman at that time, Maybe 1969 or a bit later; Gerald McKenna, Ballyduff; Johnny Walsh, Ballylongford and possibly Jackie Lyne, Killarney”


The year is 1992 and it’s Christy Walshe winning the bartenders’ race. Tom Fitzgerald found the old photo. He found this next one too. It’s Joe O’Mahoney in another heat of the same race in 1992.


Turf cutting during the war

In Ireland, while war raged in Europe, turf was the main fuel and to meet the increased demand, men were recruited from all over the country and were housed in hostels and camps in Kildare. The work was very hard, living conditions were fairly spartan but there was good money to be made in a time of rationing and poverty.

This is the bill of fare for the Christmas festivities in the Turf Development Board’s hostel in Newbridge in 1945. Many of the men did not go home for Christmas as they would have worked on Dec. 24 and would be back to work again on the 27th. There were no women in the camps.

This shocking photo shows one of these men in ragged clothes cutting sod turf in his bare feet. Men were paid for the amount of turf they cut.  There was no hourly rate.

Bank of turf in Phoenix Park during WW2

(information from Bord na Mona Heartland)

GAA Social, Pioneer Walk and Talented Craftspeople

Amazing talent for crafts emerging in Listowel

People passing Betty McGrath’s florists recently can’t have helped but notice the beautiful crochet angels and delicately crafted nativities on display in the window. They are the work of the lady on the right of this picture. I photographed her with  with the staff of Betty McGrath’s.

The lady’s name is Zsuzsanna Misik, known as Susan in Ireland and she comes from Hungary. The Bethlehems,, as she calls them are made from corn on the cob. She tells me that they will last for several years. They are absolutely beautiful.

Susan is learning English but she already knowswords such as  beautiful, gorgeous and brilliant as they are words she hears often.


A youthful Dan Kiely at a GAA social in Moyvane or Knockanure.

Another photo Jer. rooted out of that  Pioneer walk for Gorta in the eighties. Could that ever be Norella with her late mother?


All the way from Canada comes clarification on this one. Francis is the FIFTH generation of Chute painters.


True tale of derring do…

Limerick General Advertiser

24 June 1808

  On Monday last, a fool-hardy fellow named MOORE, a slater by trade, undertook for the trifling wager of a gallon of porter, to ascend to the Ball on the Spire of St, Patrick’s Steeple, Dublin, which a late storm had thrown from its perpendicular direction.  After passing to the upper scaffolding, which did not approach to within twelve feet of the terrific point of his destination, he clambered up by his hands and knees, and placed himself astride on the apex of the Spire that had been thrown into a horizontal position.  In this tremendous state of peril, he had continued but a few seconds, when to the horror of the astonished spectators, the whole gave way, and with the Ball, and about one ton of the fractured stone-work, the unfortunate man was precipitated in a moment from a height of 200 feet; his weight carried him thro’ three stages, when his cloaths became entangled, and exhibited him suspended between heaven and earth.  Merciful Providence, however, and his own exertions, enabling him to seize some of the scaffolding, and he succeeded in regaining a safe footing.  He came down through the Church and was carried off by by [sic] the crowd, toenjoy the triumph of a Gallon of Porter, won at such a tremendous risque.  The Ball broke throu’ to the fourth scaffold, and the stone work fell in St. Patrick’s Close, without further injury than tearing up the pavement, into which it sunk upwards of 3 feet.


This photo captures the atmosphere in Craftshop na Méar. Maureen Connolly sits crocheting while our new mascot, Dinny sits in his aran sweater by the range.

On Monday Dec. 16 2013 the craftshop hosted its first Cois Tine Event. Among the storytellers, poets, singers and dancer Alice Taylor was the star turn. She happened to be in town for a reading in Woulfe’s and she very kindly dropped in to the craftshop.

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