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: Revival 2019

Bunclody and The Lartigue Experience, New Maps and Revival 2019

Róisín taking a photograph in the wildflower garden in Ballincollig Regional Park.


Bunclody, Co Wexford

“Oh, were I at the Moss House where the birds do increase

At the foot of Mount Leinster or some silent place

By the streams of Bunclody where all pleasures do meet

And all I would ask is one kiss from you sweet.”

The streams of Bunclody actually flow down the middle of the street. Cliona and I had a lovely trip to this beautiful picturesque village.

They still have working phoneboxes.

Who fears to speak of ’98?  They still remember their history in this fair town.

I took the below photos in the lovely church which is at the heart of the town.

The church interior was cool and airy on a very warm Sunday. It is beautifully appointed in the modern style.

The Stations of the Cross

The adoration chapel

Our Lady’s Altar

This crucifixion window is rather unusual in it’s depiction of the Good Friday

This is the view from the church door


Today’s Fun Fact

from The Second Book of General Ignorance

Vision is by far the most important of the human senses. 30% of our brain’s activity is used up processing visual information. Smell, the directional aid used by most mammals, accounts for only 1%. Birds, however, are as visually dependant as we are. But birds have one huge navigational advantage over us. It’s called ‘magnetoception’ i.e. the ability to plug in to the Earth’s magnetic field. We may once have had this gift too but we’ve lost the ability to use it.


The Lartigue Monorail Museum

Every Listowel person should take a trip on The Lartigue. I loved my trip last week and I learned so much Listowel history.

The whole station was looking in tip top condition with colourful flowers everywhere.

These were three of our volunteer rail workers on the Wednesday we visited.

It was a busy day on the train.

We all got a chance to climb into the driver’s section and we got to toot the horn. Our driver, Michael Guerin, offered to take everyone’s photo .

There is a saying that has survived from the days when the original Lartigue travelled between Listowel and Ballybunion. When the train reached a bit of a hill, first class passengers were asked to get out and walk and third class passengers were asked to get out and push.  In the case of the replica Lartigue in August 2019 it was the volunteer workers who had to get out and push. And there is quite a bit of pushing involved as there is a complicated system of to-ing and fro-ing at turntables to get the locomotive facing in the other direction.


New Signage

Kerry County Council has installed these lovely new maps by local artist. Amy Sheehy.


Revival 2019

The weather was not so kind to Revival on the Saturday night but the concert goers didn’t mind a bit. The Coronas, Delerentos, Thanks Brother and Hermitage Green lifted the clouds over The Square and everyone had a ball.

Early Sunday morning in The Square and everything nearly back to normal.

William Street, Sunday morning Aug 11 2019


Meanwhile in Killorglin

Puck Fair is in full swing.

Photos by Chris Grayson

Ungardening, Lough Boora, Walking in Circles and The Lartigue

Róisín in The wildflower meadow in Ballincollig Regional Park

Ungardening is the new craze…..happy days! You just sow the seeds and let Nature take its course. No need to mow or weed or thin or dead head or any of that backbreaking gardening that people have been doing for ages. If Capability Brown were alive today he’d be ungardening.


Lough Boora Visit

During a recent visit to the Kildare branch of my family, I spent a lovely morning in Lough Boora. This visitor centre is located just outside Tullamore. It used to be a Bord na Mona bog. It is now a cycleway/walkway, sculpture park, wildlife reserve and biodiversity area. It’s well worth a visit if you are ever in the midlands.

These trees are thousands of years old. When they drained the bog, there they were, growing just like this.

Don O’Boyle is the sculptor who made this beautiful and practical bog oak bridge.

This sculpture installation is the Sky train. The local people called This bog train a sky train because when it ran through the bog it appeared to go up to the sky.

Everywhere around there is a mixture of the natural and the man made.

A  crow rests on a heap of discarded stones.

This sculpture represents the four provinces of Ireland.

This one is a kind of optical illusion. The logs appear to go all the way through until you look round the side and see that there is a seat inside a very narrow doorway…ingenious.

This sculpture is made from old pieces of scrapped machines. I thought it was a dragon but it is actually a skimming stone.

I have given you just a small taste of Lough Boora. It’s a great place, very peaceful and energising.


Today’s Fun Fact

from The Second Book of General Ignorance

People who are lost, walk, not in straight lines, but in circles. A scientific experiment in 2009 proved that people, when deprived of visual clues, walk round in circles. Volunteers were set down in a particularly empty part of the Sahara. When the sun or moon was out, they walked in straight lines but as soon as they were left in complete darkness they walked round in circles. Another group of volunteers were blindfolded and they too walked round in circles, the diameter of the circle being smaller, at about 20 metres. 

The research proved that people have no instinctive sense of direction. We rely on visual clues.


The Lartigue

I visited The Lartigue for the first time this year last week. I was in luck because it was Michael Guerin’s day for volunteering. Michael is really really knowledgeable about the history of The Lartigue so I’ll be telling you more in future posts.


When You live in the Literary Capital of Ireland

even ordinary things become rhymes.

Mike Moriarty tells me that the local boys had a rhyme for this:

Post no bills

Play no balls

Kiss no girls

Behind these walls.


Revival 2019

Revival 2019 was a resounding success. People who know more about these things than I know (that wouldn’t be hard!) tell me that it was the best run festival they were ever at. They are still marvelling at the “real” toilets.

I joined the happy crew of local people and children outside the fence on Friday night. We enjoyed a great free concert.

Everyone loved Sharon Shannon. She kept the whole show going on Friday. People who came indifferent left as firm fans.

Whether whistling, singing, or telling yarns, Finbarr Furey was brilliant. His set went down a treat and he genuinely loved being back in Listowel where he won his first Fleadh Cheoil prize on the uileann pipes many moons ago

Mundy and Sinead O’Connor were on past my bedtime but I’m told they were well received as well.

Turf, Peas, Hopscotch and Revival 2019

An old advertising sign at a pub in Kildare


Stockpiling Turf

I found this picture on the Bord na Mona Living History page. It shows BnaM workers covering the pile of turf. The practice of covering the stockpile started in 1961 after the damage done by Storm Debbie.


Peas in a Pod

Raymond O’Sullivan is a great one to follow on Facebook. He is full of interesting information. The following photo and text is his.

Shelling peas for the dinner, thinking about old ways: does anyone believe in marriage divination/prediction anymore? Does this age old custom/superstition still survive in the rational and pragmatic 21st century? Invariably practiced by young girls, you know what I mean, getting the ring in the barm brack at Hallowe’en, putting a piece of wedding cake under your pillow to dream of your future husband, eating a salted herring at bedtime for a similar result, plucking an even ash leaf and reciting certain verses and hundreds more. If a young girl finds 9 peas in a pod the next single male she meets will be her future husband, or, at least, have the same initials.

It depends on the strain of peas, but the average seems to be 6-7 peas to the pod. 9-pea pods are not all that unusual though, and, if it were not for sexism and ageism, I might be Sultan of a handy harem before the year is out. A word of warning to any young lady contemplating a raid on my garden in search of a 9-pea pod, the first single male you meet will probably be a very disgruntled and grumpy old gardener.

I (your blogger) grew up not far from the Erin Foods factory in Mallow. In summertime during the pea harvest, lorries piled high with pea vines passed by our house several times a day. If two lorries passed at our gate, they were forced to pull in close to the roadside in order to pass safely. Invariably the overhanging branches of our trees would dislodge some of the vines and we, children, loved to retrieve these before they fell to the ground and were rolled over by traffic. I can still taste the delicious raw peas.  Happy days!


Hopping in for a Cuppa

Bitesize ias a busy friendly cafe in Ballincollig, Co Cork. it always has a saying to make you smile on its sandwich board and invariable a bowl of water for the pooches. Now that the children are off school it has a hopscotch grid at the door. Here is my granddaughter, Róisín, hopping in for a milk shake.


Great weekend of Music in Store

Tralee in the sixties, Rebel Abbey, 2 Day Revival 2019 and Listowel, A Printer’s Legacy

The Gap of Dunloe

Photo: Chris Grayson


Christmas Shopping in Tralee in the sixties

Photo: Historical Tralee and surrounding areas


Maureen Flavin of Knocknagoshel and Black Sod

Remember Billy McSweeney’s great story of the Kerry lady who married the son of the Blacksod Lighthouse keeper and found herself playing a vital role in the timing of the DDay landings. Well didn’t a loyal blog follower know all about Maureen and he sent us this.

This is Maureen in a wedding photo from 1946

Maureen’s mother was a Mulvihill . The Mulvihill family was also famous. Ned Mulvihill bred a greyhound called Rebel Abbey who won all round him.


Listowel, Get Ready to Rock in 2019


Leonard, Listowel Mill Owner; Villain or Saint

The next instalment in the debate;

Hi, Mary,

 Interesting debate opening up. I don’t think any heavy work was done by inmates in the workhouses- they were in poor shape, weakened and poorly fed- certainly not enough work to enrich anyone.  More importantly, able-bodied persons were liable to the rigours of the law if they attempted to get into the workhouses! Auxiliary Workhouses in premises privately owned were  rented by the Board of Guardians and they ran the show after that. I have never come across a privately owned and operated workhouse. I don’t see many certain ‘facts’ on either side of the current debate.  TF Culhane  wrote about Maurice Leonard being ‘remembered’ as having given the barrels of flour; he was not recalling that as his own personal memory. The Folklore Commission relied on stories and memories also. Using ‘recalls’ is no worse that using ‘Keane reported…’ as ‘reported’ has the following meaning:  “give a spoken or written account of something that one has observed, heard, done, or investigated.”  ‘Folklore’ hardy meets this qualification. The reference to TF Culhane’s thoughts are included in the North Kerry Literary Trust, Listowel, excellent 2007 edition of  the book, “Kerry Memories”- this is steeped in Listowel Connections spanning generations. This book is painstakingly thorough in relation to what it includes. Pádraig de Brún and Jimmy Deenihan were instrumental in this publication. It is well-worth a read by anyone connected with Listowel. Bets or speculation and political points are not of much use at this remove. I was a bit doubtful of the number,  ‘six thousand barrels’ as that would be an enormous amount of wheat for the Listowel area in those pestilential days. Perhaps the local memory  was a bit defective in both cases in debate? And there are those who would claim that all such wheat would have been exported in any case to England, while the local people starved. I agree that a factual and disinterested  assessment of the ‘Listowel wheat or barrels of flour’ conundrum is required.  I am sure there will be many well-qualified and  willing to take in on.




People at a Book Launch

Seán Kelly, Nora Sheahan, Peggy Hilliard, Lilly Nolan and Vincent Carmody in The Listowel Arms on December 9 2018 at the launch of Listowel , A Printer’s Legacy.

Vincent Carmody with Jimmy Deenihan

Historians and politicians at the launch.

Maurice O’Mahoney gets in a quick read before the crowd gathers.


Christmas 2018 in Listowel

Another great idea from Christmas in Listowel 

The Listowel Treasure Train

Join us on a magical trail around Listowel’s beautiful shop window displays on the Listowel Treasure Train.

Each of the 14 participating shops have a Little Green Train displayed somewhere in their window. Can you find them all? 

The Runaway Red Train
Our Runaway Red Train has a mind of its own and moves from window to window.

Each day we will post a photo of the Runaway Red Train’s new location, as well as the day’s prize on the Christmas in Listowel Facebook Page. Simply tell us where the Red Train is, to be in with a chance of winning one of our amazing prizes every day.

The prizes will be displayed in Galvin’s Window and available for collection at the end of the competition after Saturday 22nd December.

Follow us at “Christmas in Listowel” on Facebook to take part in this fun game.

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