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

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Winners and Losers

Listowel Town Square in March 2024

Tennis Winners

Bobby Cogan and his Lakewood Division 2 team who won their Winter League match at the weekend.

Friendship Celebrated

Make new friends

But keep the old

The new ones are like silver

But the old ones are like gold

Peggy O’Shea, Mary Cogan, Margo Anglim and Assumpta O’Sullivan, friends for 50 years, meeting up for a regular catch up in March 2024 .

Pres. Yearbook 1988

An Obituary

I spotted this obituary in this week’s Kerry’s Eye. I never met Jim Costelloe but he is a man I feel I know through his book. He wrote about Asdee in the 1940s and 50s, a world very familiar to me from my own childhood.

I’ve featured many of his stories in his lovely chatty writing style on here in the past. I’ll have to revisit them again now.

Rest in Peace, Jim Costelloe

A Fact

from Woman’s Weekly


Changes in January 2024

Upper Church Street

Church Street Mural

This is Upper Church Street these days. The Olive Stack mural of John B. Keane and Bryan MacMahon, the street’s most famous literary figures, has been removed for repairs and refurbishment.

Daisy Boo Barista

Another change about to take place on Church Street. This popular coffee shop is closing.

A Riddle

a brain teaser for you…

Answer at the bottom of page

Stain Glass Windows

Photos: John Pierse R.I.P.

These lovely windows were removed from the convent chapel after it was closed forever. I think the account of where they went is held in the Presentation sisters archive in The Nano Nagle Centre in Cork.

From the Archives

Kerry Sentinel, Saturday, 15 April, 1893;


The above football match was played on Sunday last in a field close to the Lartigue Railway Station. It will be remembered that the teams played on a former occasion, and after the expiration of an hour and a half the match was declared a draw. Consequently a great deal of public interest was centred on Sunday’s proceedings. Upwards of 300 persons congregated to witness the play, which was of a very lively character as both teams were well matched. At the call of time, the play stood—Guhard

l goal and 2 points) Ballyconroy—2 goals and 2 points Mr. J. Langford acted as timekeeper, and Mr. P. Kennelly as referee. Particular mention should be made of Michael O’Brien, who by his activity, constantly averted the danger which threatened his goal posts.

A Fact

Applesauce was the first food eaten in space by an American astronaut.


P.S. Answer; Tuesday


In Listowel Town Park as you start your journey on The Greenway.

Sheehys of Main Street

John, Martin and Michael Sheehy were my first internet friends. There would be no Listowel Connection today without John’s encouragement and fostering of my early forays into online information spreading.

All three of these very bright charming men emigrated to the U.S. and prospered there. They kept Listowel in their hearts always and revelled in news from “home”. I think of them whenever I pass their commemorative seat in Listowel Town Park. They would be so pleased to know that we now have this little community connecting emigrants with home.


Road maintenance applications as reported in Tralee Mercury, Wednesday, 03 February, 1836

 1 Maurice Connor and Richard Bunnion, to keep in repair for 7 years 802 perches of the Road from Tralee to the Cashion Ferry and Listowel between the Bridge of Moybella and the East bounds of Glowrie contracted for by Michael Grady, Securities James Kissane and William Collins at 4.5d per and by the year for

 2 Michael and Robert Cox to keep in repair for 7 years 1356 perches of the Road from the Cashion Ferry to Ballylongford between the cross of Curraghdarrag and the Church of Ahavallin contracted for by Michael Cox, Securities Robert and Philip Cox at 4d per, and by the year for £22 12s 0d.

 3 William Perryman and Thomas James, to keep in repair for 7 years 1302 perches of the road from the Sea at Ballybunion to Ballylongford between the Chapel of Glonmacore and the cross of Curraghdarrag,  contracted for by William Perryman Securities John Lawor and Cornelius Cahill at 4d per and by the year for £21 14s 0d ‘

 4 James and Edmond Slack, to keep in repair for 7 years 1114 perches of the Road from Tralee and the Cashion Ferry to Tarbert between Edmond Stacks house at Litter and Farranstack, contracted for, by James Stack, Securities Patrick M’Elligott  and James Flahavan at 4d per and by the year °

 5 Timothy Molony and Maurice Connor to keep in repair for 7 years 495 perches of the Road from Tralee and the Cashion Ferry to Ballylongford between Mrs. Tracys house at Gunsboro and Mrs, Forhan’s house at Kilgarvan Contracted to by Maurice Connor Securities, Samuel Raymond and  William Raymond, at 5d per. and by the year.

  6 Thomas Lynch and Denis Harty, to keep in repair for 7 years 1863 perches of the road from Listowel to the sea at Ballybunion and Kilconlie, between the cross of Moybella and the bridge of Bromore, contracted for by Ambrose Gallivan, security Thomas Lynch and Roger Harty at 5.5d per, and by the year for.

7 Garret Stack and Michael Mulvihil, to keep in repair for 7 year’s 1145 perches of the road from the sea at Ballybunion to Ballylongford and Tarbert, between the cross of Lahanes and Garret Stack’s house at Tullihinel, contracted for by Michael Kissane, securities Richard Kissane and Thomas Collins at 3.5d per and by the year for

8 John Fitzmaurice and Thomas Scanlan, to keep in repair for 7 years 844 perches of the road from Tarbert to Abbeyfeale, between the cross of Tarmons and the pipers cross near Newtownsandes, contracted for by John Fitzmaurice, securities Thomas Scanlon and Maurice Walsh at 7d per and by the year for,

9 Thomas Mangan and Daniel Loonie, to keep in repair for 7 years 680 perches of the road from Tralee and the Cashion Ferry to Ballylongford  between the cross of Leamsahane, and the west bounds  of the warren of Beale, contracted for by John Kennelly, securities Thomas O’Connor and Thomas Mangan at 4d per and by the year for.

10 Wm  Connor and John Horgan to keep in repair tor 7 years 1716 perches of the road from Listowel to the sea at Ballybunion, between the cross of Scortleigh and the bridge of Ballyloughron, contracted for by Wm. Connor, securities George Hewson and Gerald M’Elligott at 9d per and by the year for

11 Wm. Brunskill and John Hanlon to keep in repair for 7 years 410 perches of the road from Tarbert to the harbour of Tarbert, between Mrs. Hamilton’s house and Patrick Moore’s house both in Tarbert, contracted for by Wm. Brunskill, securities John Fitzmaurice  and John Hanlon at 7d per, and by the year for. .

Some more old Convent Photos

These are from an envelope of photos given to me years ago by the late John Pierse.

Big Changes at Charlie’s

This iconic premises situated just opposite Páirc Mhic Shithigh is undergoing major rebranding since it became O’Flynn’s Centra.

Lovely friendly local shop

A Fact

Belly button lint is made up of clothing fibres, hair and dead skin cells.

(Who knew? and did we want to know?)


A Panto, A Rally, A Popular Recitation and a Farewell

Killarney on January 6 2024

Listowel Pantomimę 1974

David O’Sullivan found the date and a Kerryman account of Hansel and Gretel.

Kerryman, January 11 1974

Some more Convent Pictures

Some photos of the congregation at the the last mass in the convent chapel in August 2007.

Photos were taken by the late John Pierse.

May those no longer with us rest in peace.

Another great Robert Service Poem ideal for Recitation

The following poem was memorised and recited by many young men over the years.

The Shooting of Dan McGrew


A bunch of the boys were whooping it up in the Malamute saloon;

The kid that handles the music-box was hitting a jag-time tune;

Back of the bar, in a solo game, sat Dangerous Dan McGrew,

And watching his luck was his light-o’-love, the lady that’s known as Lou.

When out of the night, which was fifty below, and into the din and the glare,

There stumbled a miner fresh from the creeks, dog-dirty, and loaded for bear.

He looked like a man with a foot in the grave and scarcely the strength of a louse,

Yet he tilted a poke of dust on the bar, and he called for drinks for the house.

There was none could place the stranger’s face, though we searched ourselves for a clue;

But we drank his health, and the last to drink was Dangerous Dan McGrew.

There’s men that somehow just grip your eyes, and hold them hard like a spell;

And such was he, and he looked to me like a man who had lived in hell;

With a face most hair, and the dreary stare of a dog whose day is done,

As he watered the green stuff in his glass, and the drops fell one by one.

Then I got to figgering who he was, and wondering what he’d do,

And I turned my head — and there watching him was the lady that’s known as Lou.

His eyes went rubbering round the room, and he seemed in a kind of daze,

Till at last that old piano fell in the way of his wandering gaze.

The rag-time kid was having a drink; there was no one else on the stool,

So the stranger stumbles across the room, and flops down there like a fool.

In a buckskin shirt that was glazed with dirt he sat, and I saw him sway;

Then he clutched the keys with his talon hands — my God! but that man could play.

Were you ever out in the Great Alone, when the moon was awful clear,

And the icy mountains hemmed you in with a silence you most could hear;

With only the howl of a timber wolf, and you camped there in the cold,

A half-dead thing in a stark, dead world, clean mad for the muck called gold;

While high overhead, green, yellow and red, the North Lights swept in bars? —

Then you’ve a hunch what the music meant. . . hunger and night and the stars.

And hunger not of the belly kind, that’s banished with bacon and beans,

But the gnawing hunger of lonely men for a home and all that it means;

For a fireside far from the cares that are, four walls and a roof above;

But oh! so cramful of cosy joy, and crowned with a woman’s love —

A woman dearer than all the world, and true as Heaven is true —

(God! how ghastly she looks through her rouge, — the lady that’s known as Lou.)

Then on a sudden the music changed, so soft that you scarce could hear;

But you felt that your life had been looted clean of all that it once held dear;

That someone had stolen the woman you loved; that her love was a devil’s lie;

That your guts were gone, and the best for you was to crawl away and die.

‘Twas the crowning cry of a heart’s despair, and it thrilled you through and through —

“I guess I’ll make it a spread misere”, said Dangerous Dan McGrew.

The music almost died away … then it burst like a pent-up flood;

And it seemed to say, “Repay, repay,” and my eyes were blind with blood.

The thought came back of an ancient wrong, and it stung like a frozen lash,

And the lust awoke to kill, to kill … then the music stopped with a crash,

And the stranger turned, and his eyes they burned in a most peculiar way;

In a buckskin shirt that was glazed with dirt he sat, and I saw him sway;

Then his lips went in in a kind of grin, and he spoke, and his voice was calm,

And “Boys,” says he, “you don’t know me, and none of you care a damn;

But I want to state, and my words are straight, and I’ll bet my poke they’re true,

That one of you is a hound of hell. . .and that one is Dan McGrew.”

Then I ducked my head, and the lights went out, and two guns blazed in the dark,

And a woman screamed, and the lights went up, and two men lay stiff and stark.

Pitched on his head, and pumped full of lead, was Dangerous Dan McGrew,

While the man from the creeks lay clutched to the breast of the lady that’s known as Lou.

These are the simple facts of the case, and I guess I ought to know.

They say that the stranger was crazed with “hooch,” and I’m not denying it’s so.

I’m not so wise as the lawyer guys, but strictly between us two —

The woman that kissed him and — pinched his poke — was the lady that’s known as Lou.

World Class Motor Racing coming to our Doorstep

This photo was released by Motorsport Ireland as Tralee was announced as one of the three Irish hubs selected to host FIA World Rally Championship for 2025 to 2027.

It’s a huge boost for the region and we should all benefit.

We’re All Off to Dublin in the ……Black and Amber

Scoil Realta na Maidine shared this photo of their boys sporting their Emmetts colours ahead of the all Ireland club final in Croke Park on Sunday.

A Fact

75% of artificial vanilla produced in the world is used for ice cream and as a flavouring for chocolate.


January Blues

Detail from mural on Flesk Cycleway, Killarney, January 6 2024

This magnificent mural celebrates the flora and fauna of the surrounding countryside. It is the work of artist Curtis Hilton assisted by Magda Karol.

Panto Time

Once upon a time pantomimes were a feature of January in Listowel. I dont have a year for this one but the names of the cast give a bit of a clue.

May all of those local people who brightened lives with this, and who are since gone too their eternal reward, rest in peace

Kanturk Postboxes

Christmas is a time for connecting with the family. Here I am in Kanturk with some of my brother’s gang and some of mine.

My sister in law took me for a bit of a spin to check out a few postboxes.

Thank you to Susan Hickey for alerting me to this one at the entrance to St. Patrick’s place. It dates from the era of George V. His rule ran from 1910 to 1936.

This one at Glenlohane has the royal cypher sheared off. This type of vandalism was rife during The Troubles. This box is no longer in use.

This one in Castlemagner is actually in use, although in need of a little TLC.

It is the An Post replacement for this Edward VII one in the wall nearby.

Edward the 7th was king from 1901 to 1910.

The Convent

While doing a bit of a clearcut I came upon an envelope of photographs which the late John Pierse gave me years ago. I am not sure if he took all the photos himself of if some are the work of his friend, the late Timmy Griffin.

Old Friends

Danny O’Connor sent us this.

Hello Mary ,

When I lived abroadI always looked forward to meeting the late great Danny Hannon for coffee or sometimes lunch in the Listowel Arms on my visits home .

Danny truly loved Listowel and everything about it and the conversation was always flowing . 

This photo was taken on Dec. 27th 2018 at the Listowel Arms Hotel . 

(I am seated 2nd to left ). 

Unfortunately some of the people in the photo are no longer with us . 

RIP (  Danny Hannon , Pat Scanlon and Frank Greaney ) . 

Kind Regards ,

Danny O’ Connor 

Gurtinard Listowel . 

A Fact is named after the number googol, a one followed by 100 zeros.


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