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: Presentation sisters Page 1 of 2

Writers Week 2023

Éamon ÓMurchú took this photo of the bridge to Listowel Racecourse in December 2021


Beautiful door on Courthouse Road


Grave of the Presentation Sisters in St. Michael’s Graveyard

The last time I posted the nuns’ headstones I omitted one. It was missed. So for the sake of accuracy I’m putting them all together here now. Sisters who have died since 2013 have been buried “with their own people”. May they all rest in peace.


Coming to Listowel Writers’ Week 2023

The future of Irish writing is in safe hands. Sarah Gilmartin is one of the new generation of Irish writers and novelists.

On Friday, June 2 2023 in Listowel you can hear Gilmartin discuss her novel with Una Mannion and Elaine Feeney.


In Tralee

Tralee’s Pikeman

These are two of the inscriptions on the plinth of the statue


My Weekend Visitors

Listowel looking beautiful in the sunshine As I welcomed the Kildare branch of the family.


Important Donation to Kerry Writers Museum

Fr Anthony Gaughan is one of Listowel’s most prolific and respected writers. On April 24 2023 he donated all his awards to be displayed in Kerry Writers’ Museum.

Not all of the board of the Writers’ Museum could attend the hand over of this generous donation. Those present were Seán McCarthy, David Browne, Cara Trant, Fr. Gaughan, Jimmy Deenihan, Gabriel Fitzmaurice, Bernie Carmody and James Kenny pictured with the awards.


Millenium Arch, Listowel’s Millenium Arch and Pres. sisters headstones

We’re Still Racing here in Lovely Listowel


Millenium Arch 2015


The Small Square


Thade Gowran…the next generation

This is me with some of Thade Gowran’s descendants in John B.’s during the summer. They all had such a good time that they found themselves connected to the homeland when they returned home. Fran, Thade’s granddaughter, sent me some photos from the family album and she wrote a little poem.

Fran at the plaque to her grandfather in Abbeyfeale

Lost property

Dear Listowel, excuse my writing, there’s a question I must ask

It seems I left my heart some place, when I visited you last

And back in England now, well yes, sure yes it’s all quite quaint

But the buzzing, loving hive of life, I’m afraid it just quite ain’t

I’m a dis-connected jigsaw piece, sharp edges rendered round

Your soft communal laughter’s mute, yet lingers all around

And though I seek connection here, I feel it’s not the same,

I’m dice un-cubed, cards now marked, impassive for this game

So please Listowel, take a peep, your magic’s lovely still

The welcome charm, Gaelic lilt and that stoical Irish will

To soldier on with cheerful strength, thinking of each other

Were these skills seen and loved and kept from a magic Irish Mother?

So my English blockade barriers fell, so much, my heart flew out

And it nestled tight amongst my folks, of that there is no doubt

My folks were walking down your streets, they’d chatter when they stopped

I heard them in your gentle laughs and helpfulness in shops

Yet I can cope with leaving you, my heart will fill again

As you’ve fortified a love for life with much more yet to gain

I hope you keep your lovely ways, to lose them would be sad

My heart is found, now I think on it, from the best time I ever had.

Yes I can cope with leaving you, my life here’s full again.

A man I love and family, and the best of lovely friends

My labours lift me daily, and great work to be done

And finding time, be just fine, fun with a young grandson.

So I thank you Listowel, for lovely days and nights that linger still

And I thank you for reminding me of that magic Irish will

And thankful of a heritage that links me back your way

And I’ll sing your songs and speak your words as I go through my English day

Fran Blyth – daughter of Hannah Teresa Bardsley (nee Flaherty) August 1925 – April 2003


Presentation Sisters, Listowel, Burial Plot

These are the names of all the sisters who served in Listowel and whose remains are buried in St. Michael’s graveyard.



I posted a photo yesterday of these pretty houses on Church St. Since I took yesterday’s snap they have got even prettier. No, not by the addition of the Kerry flag but by the gorgeous front doors. Lovely job!


The apple did not fall far from the tree

Sign at John B.’s yesterday


Up The Kingdom

Giant Kerrry Jersey suspended from a crane over New York

Nun’s Grave, Lusitania, school folklore and The Kingdom County Fair 2015

Lovely capture of windmills and gathering clouds over North Kerry by Johnny Joy of  

Finuge Freewheelers


Gravestones Restored

I was in St. Michael’s Graveyard on Sunday May 3 2015. I was absolutely thrilled to see that the headstones which were smashed in the storm of February 2014 have been replaced. The gentleman in my photo is Jim Buckley from Behins and he told me that when he is in the graveyard tending to his family grave he pops by and removes any litter or weeds from the nuns’ plot. Isn’t that kind?

 The grave plot looks lovely now.

This is one of the smashed headstones in March 2014


Luisitania Remembered

These  photographs from the National Library Collection are part of exhibition of photographs currently on display in Cobh. They depict two scenes from the  Cork town in May 2015. The middle picture is of local men digging graves for the 145 victims of the sinking who were never identified or named and below is their funeral procession.

It is generally agreed that this atrocity was utterly avoidable and a similar result, i.e; jolting the U.S. into the war  and recruiting at home could have been achieved without so much loss of innocent lives.

The Lusitania was a British passenger ship but it was also carrying munitions so the German UBoats torpedoed it as a legitimate target. Almost 1,200 lives were lost, some of them US citizens. Cobh opened its doors to the shocked and dazed survivors and the story of the rescue and recovery mission is etched into the folk memory of people of the towns of Queenstown, now Cobh, Coutmacsharry and other villages along the south coast forever. Bodies were washed up all along the south coast and westwards as far as Mayo.


Schools Folklore from 1937

Do you remember how I went to the Tralee Archive to read some of the submissions to the Folklore Commission’s school’s project in 1937. Now I have great news for you. You don’t have to go to Tralee. It’s all on line Here


Kingdom County Fair 2015

This event in Tralee on Sunday May 10 2015 was a complete wash out. I braved the deluge to photograph my niece’s lovely horse, Sonny Bill, who was having his first outing to a show. He did really well, considering the conditions, pelting rain, colorful umbrellas all round and one man even led 2 dogs by the ring. Sonny Bill watched everything, took notice of all these new sights but stayed calm and looked regal. He will go places yet!

My poor camera!

 The handsome, Sonny Bill enjoying his first big day in the spotlight.

His supporters braving the downpour to watch him.

One of the most nerve racking parts for the owner is the element of the judging where the judge rides your horse. He has to canter and trot in response to the judges prompt. Sonny Bill did really well on his first go.  He thoroughly enjoyed his day out. On now to Bandon next week. His season is launched and he will go on now to success in more shows throughout the summer.


More photos here from The Kingdom County Fair 2015

San Sebastian remembered and snow in Listowel in 2010

Back to Basque

Well, it seems that the world and his mother has been to San Sebastian. Since I wrote about my encounter with the fur clad inhabitants of this fair town, many of my blog followers have contacted me to tell me of their visit to this most beautiful of ancient towns.

I think that many people seem to have combined a trip here with a visit to Lourdes. This  would account for many people with a Listowel connection being familiar with this part of Pays Basque.

I heard a story of a nun and her sister who were propositioned on the beach by two lovely Spanish heart throbs. Explanations in poor French and even poorer Spanish were met with the equivalent of “All the Irish girls pretend they are nuns.”

Cathy Dunne set me straight about the housing situation in the region. Apparently, young Spanish people are no longer happy to live in high rise apartments and there is much new building of houses. These houses are very expensive.

The best story of all comes from Kay Caball (Moloney, when she visited San Sebastian).

“It was the first foreign holiday I was ever on – when I was 21 and Anne Crowley came with me.  We were the two biggest country eejits you ever came across.  

We took the plane to Lourdes as there were no package or other hols then.  I suppose Michael Kennelly must have arranged the flight.  We never went next or near the Grotto!  We just stayed the night and took off on a rattly train to San Sebastian.   

We had ‘full board’ in the hotel and after our evening dinner we were served with a plate of cherries and a bowl of water.  We hadn’t a clue what the bowl of water was for but after some discussion we decided it was for spitting the cherry stones into.   So in the most ladylike fashion that we could muster, we took to aiming our cherries from our mouths to the bowl.  There would be a big splash.  The funny thing was that each night more and more waiters seemed to be forming up at the service door to watch the performance.  

I think we must have been back home when we copped on that it was a finger bowl.”


Lunchtime in San Sebastian

It was January 25th 2015 when I visited and the weather was what the weather folk call “bracing” but everyone was eating and drinking outdoors.  We patronized the Irish bar. The only thing Irish about it was the name and the fact that they served Guinness and Murphy. Our waiter had never been to Ireland and the owner wasn’t Irish either. The prices were a bit Irish though. We had to pay extra to drink outdoors!

When we went into the old town for our grub I was shocked at the sight of so many people happily eating tapas standing at outdoor tables. These really are hardy people. I can understand the need for fur coats.

Because they had an ancient with them, my family sought out an indoor restaurant, (pictured below). Those things hanging from the ceiling are hams. (Does anyone remember yella bacon?)

It was a lovely restaurant with the owners’  three generations of one family conversing with their customers in French, Spanish, Basque and English.


Le chapeau Basque

Most men, especially older men in this region wear a form of beret called le chapeau Basque. They usually wear black for everyday wear and red for festivals.

Basque music involves much drumming and their flute is always played with one hand.


Warehouse to Risin Sun


Snow in town in 2010

Snow in 2010

Sisters at the unveiling of the statue in 2010


Fr. Pat Moore

Fr Pat Moore and Mary Fagan of Horizons.

The whole diocese of Kerry but particularly the parish of Duagh is in shock following the news that their popular parish priest is suffering from a serious illness. Below is a post from Maine Valley blog

Masses will be
offered at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Lyreacrompane and at St. Brigid’s
Parish Church in Duagh this Tuesday evening, February 24 at 7-30pm for the
return to full health of the hugely popular PP Fr. Pat Moore.

Fr. Jack O’Donnell will
be the celebrant in Lyre and Fr. Tom McMahon and Fr. Paul Dillon will be the
concelebrants in Duagh. The masses are expected to attract huge crowds
from all corners of the joint parishes of Duagh and Lyre and well beyond.

The announcement of Fr.
Moore’s recent illness has shocked his parishioners and messages of support
have been pouring in from all directions for the Asdee native.

In a blog on the site, Fr. Moore wrote the following on Saturday.

“Today I got word of my
PET scan appointment in Cork University Hospital next week. I am very
aware and held by the Great Wall of support, prayer, good wishes and practical
help around me that leaves me wanting for nothing.

The shock of getting
the news on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes isn’t stuck into me, thankfully.
The place I need to move to is Trust – trust in doctors and their care, and
trust in he God who is making his presence felt in a very real way around me.

Aine Ford prayed with
me that I may experience Christ’s compassionate gaze in an even more
intimate way during these days of uncertainty.”

A small sample of the
messages to Fr. Moore from friends and parishioners: 

“Fr. Pat, as we both travel on a
journey, a journey full of love compassion and caring, the people we meet on
our journey they are angels without wings. They are all interested in us as
individuals not as a patient, but the greatest challenge in front of us as our
journey moves along is to trust in our Lord. For us to realise that this
journey has been planed by him and he alone knows the destination, let our
faith in him be our companion on our journey, we need no more,”
– Bernard Collins.

“Father Moore to let
you know your in our thoughts and prayers. Wishing you all the best and hoping
you’ll be back soon. The parish isn’t the same without you.”

“We are in a daze since we learned
the news. This has put everything into perspective for us. Please God with all
our prayers you will be back to full health in a short time. miss the fun, the
jokes, the support and the company, so don’t stay away too long. Thinking of
you and talk to you soon please God.”


Ballydonoghue Legion of Mary 1930, Storm Darwin 2014, Aoife Hannon wins Kerry Milliner of the `Year

Some more storm damage

My friend, Joan Kenny, pointed out to me that when I was taking my stroll through the graveyard I missed the destruction that was done to the burial plot of The Presentation Sisters.

Roofs took a bit of a battering as well and roofers are busy these days.


You win some; you lose some


Ballydonoghue Legion of Mary 1930

 (photo; Jer Kennelly)


1940’s manual for employers


Apparently we have seen the last of this guy. This image will no longer be used in Birds Eye’s ads


We have a winner!

Milliner of the Year at The Kerry Fashion Awards is Aoife Hannon of Signatures, Lstowel

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