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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Tag: Presentation Secondary School ListowelPage 1 of 10
I met Pierce Walsh of John R.’s last week as he was setting out his outdoor dining on another sunny Listowel day in summer 2022.
John R.s has been part and parcel of Listowel life for long before I came to town.
The late John R. ran a thriving business. His Christmas hams, puddings and cakes were legendary. He also had a regular clientele for his bar business.
Pierce, the next generation, had a new progressive vision for the business he took over from his father. Over the years he has built and expanded the catering and take away aspects of the business as well as the well stocked delicatessen and off licence.
He added a new offering for the visitor in his beautifully furnished and equipped holiday apartments and rooms.
The business is thriving so Pierce has picked a good time to step back and enjoy the fruits of his hard work.
He tells me that he is in no hurry to go so he will be serving us for a good while yet.
An Old Book
I was anxious to get my hands on a copy of Hostage to Fortune by Joseph O’Connor. This Joseph lived in Listowel as a young boy before his family moved to Dingle and he tells a few stories told to him by his grandfather Wilmot, a blacksmith in Church Street. These stories include an eviction in 1863 and the official opening of The Lartigue.
The helpful folk in Listowel Library got me a copy to borrow. If you’re a member of the library (it’s free) this book is well worth a read.
It was published by The Kerryman in 1983
The book still has the old library card in it. It had been taken out of circulation but kept safely.
A Few more Irishisms
Ronan Moore fills us in on a few Irish conversation fillers that might baffle a visitor.
Pres. Yearbook 2009
Having your artwork featured on the yearbook cover was a huge honour for a senior Art student. It often pointed the way to a future career in some artistic field or other. This is Jane Kissane’s cover for 2009 2010.
Because it was so long since we had been out at an in -person event, Catherine Moylan, on Opening Night asked us to introduce ourselves to the people sitting next to us. I was sitting beside these lovely ladies who , like myself, have worked at the chalk face.
My Trip to Cork
The Cork branch of my family are very sport orientated. On my recent trip, for the first time since she was a teenager, I watched Anne play a tennis match She was taking part in an open competition in Sundays Well.
Sunday’s Well is a bit more posh and aware of its history than her own club, Lakewood. Lakewood is the old John A Woods Sports and leisure Club. No boating here but soccer and pitch and putt as well as tennis.
Anne and her partner, Kevin won their match, beating the top seeds. I took the photo after their tough match when Anne was not looking her most rested!
Poor Cora sustained an ankle injury at her soccer academy and is hobbling in a boot for a while.
From Pres. Yearbook 1991
You Have to Laugh
This lady bought a robotic lawnmower. It is scheduled to mow the lawn at a given time every day, hail, rain or shine. She took pity on it on the first wet day.
David Kissane Remembers happy days in St. Michael’s.
David Kissane pictured recently after he had won a silver medal in the British Masters 3K walk in Derby.
Thoughts of one of the Class of ’72 in St Michael’s, Listowel
By David Kissane
It all happened on the way to the toilet. An outdoor toilet. Well it was 1972 in an out-of-the-way place on a North Kerry hill. It was one of those early May mornings. Crisp air on my face as I went out the back door. A look up at the hill to the north to say hallo to the spring of my life. So far. A promising sky. Hedges of fuchsia with baby blossoms between the hill and me. Blackbirds and thrushes and robins making their music all around. A cow lowing in Neleen Brennan’s field to the left with Ballybunion clearly outlined against the shining Atlantic Ocean to the west. Down the hill to the south, the world and St Michael’s College were waiting.
My mother had turned on the radio as I went out the door and the words of Cat Stevens wafted out of our Pye radio into the Lacca air after me:
“Morning has broken
Like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken
Like the first bird
Praise for the singing
Praise for the morning
Praise for the springing
Fresh from the word…”
And fifty years later on, this very week I am still awed by the song. I didn’t know at the time that it was a hymn published in 1931 and adorned later by a traditional Scottish air. That May morning it chased me out and tackled the brain and heart. It was to become for me the anthem of 1972. The year of our Leaving Cert in St Michael’s College, Listowel.
Come walk in my shoes for a few paragraphs and recall your own last days of Leaving Cert. See what your journey back will do for you.
Later that morning I would cycle down the steep hill past Neleen Brennan’s house that once housed a World War 1 soldier who was blown to pieces in an orchard in France after only a fortnight of the war, past Ned Kennelly’s on my right and then down the lethal Fahas bends, where I had once lost control of a bike and spent a week picking furze bush thorns out of bodily nooks and crannies, past Roger Kissane’s house, turn left at the “bridge” over a small stream that drained a hillside and over to Gunn’s Cross and right turn down Gunn’s Hill, past my old primary school on the left, 1815 steeple and graveyard on the right and on to Lisselton Cross. Two morning miles that I had covered out and back for five years of my second-level schooling. Then on board the yellow school bus after a short chatty wait in Jeremiah Behan’s shop door and off then the long route to Listowel, Convent girls, College boys and Vocational School boys and girls coming on board at various stops. Gerard Neville from Inch would join me in the seat as he had done for years. Down the narrow road to Dromerin and Jerry Riordan and neighbours would join the bus near his parents’ shop. Over the River Gale then and eventually to our destinations.
Walk up town to the college. Check out the Convent girls going the opposite way. Say hallo to the Tech students on the left. See who was coming out of Roly Chute’s shop on the corner. Chat and news from the newsicians. Turn right into the college lawn with the budding apple trees in front of the three-storey building. One storey underground. In the door. Up the marble stairs. Sit down. Open books. Leaving Cert a month away. The year of our lives.
I was completely behind the times on this one. I have just discovered that a friend of mine commissioned such a picture for his fiancee for her birthday.
The picture was done by Van Woof. Isn’t it cute?
If you are stuck for a present anytime soon, here’s an idea.
Browsing through the Newspapers Online
A friend of this blog found these;
THE ST. PAUL GLOBE SUNDAY NOVEMBER 20, 1898
FIVE OF THE MOST SINGULAR RAILWAYS IN THE WORLD
There Is a “single-line railway” now working In Ireland.
The Listowel & Ballybunion railway sounds like the Invention of some mad humourist;
but such a place as Ballybunion really exists. It is a very popular seaside resort in the southwest of Ireland. The distance between this point and the other terminus at Listowel is ten miles, and there is one Intermediate station—that of Lisselton. The system on which this railway is worked is called the Lartigue single rail elevated railway, and was the invention of a French engineer.
This single rail line, it should be explained at once, is not a single track railway, but actually has only one rail for trains to run on. This rail is supported on iron trestle work at the height of three feet three inches from the ground, and the locomotive and carriages are actually balanced on it.
18 Feb 1986
Nyack NY Journal News 1986 01759_1.pdf
By WILLIAM DEMAREST
A retired New York City police officer from Haverstraw has been named Grand Marshal of the Pearl River St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which is to be sponsored by the Ancient Order of Hibernians of Rockland County.
John Scanlon, 57, will lead the celebration of Irish-American heritage down Central Avenue in Pearl River on Sunday, March 23. Honoured three times for bravery during his 25-year career with the New York Police Department, Scanlon is the treasurer of Division One of the AOH in North Rockland. “He has been a dedicated and faithful member and can always be relied upon to get the job done,” said Thomas Keyy, an AOH Division One spokesman, of Scanlon’s selection as grand marshal. A resident of the village of Haverstraw, Scanlon was born in Lisselton, County Kerry in Ireland, where he was educated in local schools. He is a graduate of St. Michael College in Listowel. County Kerry, where he was a classmate of popular Irish playwright John B. Keane.
Before moving to the United States in 1949, Scanlon was a farmer. He served in the U.S. Army from 1950 to 1952 in Korea. Soon after his discharge from the Army, Scanlon joined the NYPD, finally retiring in January 1985.
The father of five children, Scanlon is the husband of the former Mary Browne, and they have three grandchildren. He works in the security department of St. Agatha’s Home in Nanuet.
People I Met
I met this lovely couple on the street on Saturday April 30 2022. They were in town for a wedding the day before.
They are from Rossmore in Co. Cork. and they were looking for John B. Keane’s pub. They weren’t in need of a drink. They just wanted to see the place where Sive and so many of the playwright’s famous plays were written.
The name Rossmore may not be familiar to you but for lovers of amateur drama it is the location for a very popular drama festival. Year after year one of the entrants is a John B. Keane play. This year it was Sive.
Pres. Yearbook 1983
Chorus lines were recruited and our gallant first and
+Niall Stack R.I.P.+
I took this photograph a few years ago at Writers’ Week Opening Night. Niall had just met up with his friend Anthony Gaughan.
Niall Stack Passed away on April 29 2022. May he rest in peace.