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 listowelconnection@gmail.com

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Something old, Something New

The Square, Listowel in August 2022

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Brother and Horses

In Bettyville, Kanturk

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Weight Gain

Here is a laugh for today’s young people. Once upon a time, not a hundred years ago for I remember it well, you had to pay to weigh yourself. Scales like these stood in the pharmacy and you put a penny in the slot to operate the weighing scales.

People didn’t have bathroom scales. Many people didn’t have bathrooms. These scales offered a public service. This one appeared recently in a post in my Kanturk Memories group. It stood not in a pharmacy but in a diner style café. The owners , the O’Sullivan family, had returned from the USA and had brought all kinds of new ideas to Kanturk. Their café had banquette seating in booths just like in the movies, it had a juke box and this weighing scales.

When we went to the city; Cork, we loved to weigh ourselves in Woolworths because their scales gave you a little card with your weight on it. Would we want it now?

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Time Flies

These two young men walking with their Nana in Gurtinard last weekend are the same two boys I snapped on Church Street on a visit to Nana in another lifetime. They are Killian and Sean Cogan from Cork. I am the Nana.

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It was Roses, Roses all the way

Our girl is off on her tour around the country and by all accounts, she is wowing them wherever she goes.

I put my money where my mouth is but by the time I got there Edaein was already installed as the favourite. 😍 🤩 🥳

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Revival, the Reunion

It used to be the Races, now it’s Revival. One visitor described Friday evening at Revival as 1000 people in a carpark standing and chatting with old friends and 500 people upfront attending a concert.

Among the former were Seán, Valeria, Richard and Elaine.

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It’s still Heritage Week 2022

You’ve got two more chances to see Bliain dar Saol in Kerry Writers Museum. It’s on today, Tuesday Aug. 16 2022 and Wednesday Aug. 17 2022. Both showings are at 2.30 pm.

I snapped these two local heroes yesterday August 15 2022 on their way to mass.

John Lynch has preserved lots and lots of Listowel memories on film. He made Bliain dar Saol in collaboration with John Pierse. It records a year in Listowel fifty years ago.

Pat Walsh served us well in McKenna’s for years. He was also one of the men who worked so hard to keep the Pitch and Putt course in perfect condition.

Men like these are the salt of the earth.

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Asdee, West Clare Railway and Memories of a Book Launch






Lower Church Street Listowel in January 2020



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Asdee from the air




I found this photo on the lovely Asdee website



Asdee Village 





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On This Day


Today is January 27. On this very day in 1885 Charles Stewart Parnell turned the first sod for the West Clare Railway.

You may talk of Columbus’s sailing

Across the Atlantical sea

But he never tried to go railing

From Ennis as far as Kilkee.

The train ran from Kilkee to Moyasta and from there the traveller could go  west to Kilrush.It was the last operating narrow gauge passenger railway in the country . It closed in1961.

The train was notoriously unreliable. Percy French who wrote the famous satire about the line sued The West Clare Railway for loss of earning because he arrived  four and a half hours late for an engagement in Kilkee on August 10 1896. He won £10 plus costs.

The Railway appealed the case and lost. French arrived one hour late for the appeal and he explained to the judge that he came on the West Clare Railway.  In the course of his submission in the case French famously said

“If you want to go to Kilkee

You must go there by sea.”

At the same court on the day of French’s appeal Mary Anne Butler from Limerick sued the railway alleging that she had been attacked by a malevolent donkey on the platform at Ennis.

If you’re not familiar with the Percy French song here are a few verses.

Are ye right there, Michael, are ye right ?

Do ye think that you can get the fire to light ?

Oh, an hour you’ll require

For the turf it might be drier

Well it might now, Michael, so it might

Are you right there, Michael, are ye right ?

Do you think that we’ll be there before it’s light ?”

It all depends on whether

The old engine holds together

And it might now, Michael, so it might, so it might

And it might, now, Michael, so it might

( information from On This Day Vol. 2 by Myles Dungan)

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Generosity in Lyre



Garda Sgt Jim Foley Tralee, a trustee of The Irish Pilgrimage Trust accepts a cheque for €1,910 proceeds of the hampers raffle at Christmas. Hampers sponsored by Lyreacrompane Community Development. €955 raised through your generosity and matched by Lyreacrompane Community Development.

Photo and caption from Lyreacrompane Community Development on Facebook

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Memories of  great Night

On October 19th 2019 we launched A Minute of Your Time in St. John’s Listowel. Lots of friends came and we had a mighty night. Breda Ferris took the photos.


Helen Bambury and her husband, Aidan

Alice Moylan and my nephew, William Ahern

Barbara Walshe

Betty and Maria Stack

Billy Keane

My son, Bobby and his wife, Carine

Robert Beasley

Brenda Enright

Bridie O’Rourke

Canon Declan O’Connor

Caroline Reynolds

Catherine Moylan



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Revival 2020 Planning Meeting




I spotted Aiden and Gerry in Thew Horseshoe last week planning another super music festival.

Friday Market, Commemorative Seats, Ard Churan Concert and Revival 2019 line up

Ballybunion Sunset 2019



Photo; Jason at Ballybunion Prints Beach

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Music in The Square at the Friday market

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Commemorative Seats in Listowel Town Park


Donating a seat seems to have replaced planting a tree as a means of remembering a lost loved one. Here are the two new seats in the park.




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Ard Churam Concert


On Thursday May 30 we were treated to a great night of music by the people behind Ard Churam fundraising.

Photo; Ger Holland, official Writers’ Week photographer

The undisputed stars on the night were the members of the Ard Churam choir and their coach, soprano Mary Culloty O’Sullivan. Cyril Kelly took us down memory lane and reality television star, Fr. Ray Kelly sang songs from his album. The concert was a great success and helped greatly in raising funds for the planned dementia care day centre.

Mairead Slemon and Rachel Guerin congratulate Aine Guerin on a great night’s work.

Mary and Peter  McGrath were enjoying the music.

 Vourneen Kissane and Margaret Reidy were there too.

Sr. Consolata met her old friend, Jackie McGillicuddy who was singing with the choir.

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Courthouse Plaza






Courthouse Road leads to a lovely plaza area with three public buildings surrounding asome newly planted raised beds.

This is the back of Áras an Phiarsaigh.

Áras an Phiarsaigh

Listowel Courthouse



Listowel branch of Kerry Library

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Revival 2019




Saturdays’ headline act, The Coronas has been confirmed. This promises to the best Revival yet. Tickets are selling out quickly .


Big Maggie in New York in 1983, Ballylongford, Revival and a Rose comes to town

Revival 2017 Remembered



On Saturday evening August 12 2017 Revival rocked The Square Listowel. Below is Denis Carroll’s great capture of the colour and atmosphere of the event.


I was in The Square with my young visitors to get a flavour of the great night.

The Blizzards were on stage.

The stage was erected by this firm.

I met friends, Mirian Ahern and Karen Kennelly in town for the big night. In fact I met so many past pupils that I felt I was back in the classroom.

A wedding was in full swing in The Listowel Arms. The happy couple came outside to sample the vibe.

Old friends, Maurice Kelliher and Dominick Scanlon were enjoying the concert.



























Ballylongford, Shannonside Home of Poets and Artists


This photo of the annual graveyard mass at Lislaughtin Abbey was posted on Facebook by Ballylongford Snaps

That site also has these lovely pictures of artistic wrought iron work on gates on the road to Carrig Island

The artist is Mick Rea



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John B. Keane’s Big Maggie in New York in 1983


I was delighted to get this email from Marie Neligan Shaw.

Hi Mary,

Was cleaning out some bookshelves today and came across a Play Bill for the NY production of John B. Keane’s play Big Maggie at the Douglas Fairbank’s  theatre in 1983. I was at the play and the after party with John B. and Mary. It contains a letter from the then mayor of NY Ed Koch welcoming John B. And his play to theatre row. Was wondering if this was something you might like to include in your blog. If interested just let me know and I will mail it to you.

Regards,

Marie

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Do you remember the O’Donoghues of Tanavalla?



If you remember them or if you would just like to meet the Florida Rose, there will be a meet and greet reception for Elizabeth and her family in The Listowel Arms on Wednesday evening next, August 23 2017.

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Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann 2017




Musicians and singers of Listowel Folk Group performed Garry MacMahon’s Aifreann na Ríochta at the fleadh in Ennis on Sunday.

Revival; August 13 2016

Revival…..Before the Concert in Listowel Town Square

The brave men behind the Revival Music festival took a big risk. It was a big undertaking involving massive organisation but they pulled it off. Above are just some of the lads involved.

I visited the Square early to see what it was all about. The place was bustling with people putting it all in place.

Tickets were selling like hot cakes to the fair weather fans who waited until the last minute in case it rained.

It looked a bit like Heineken were sponsoring the square.

A sign told us that the whole town was lending support to the venture.

Ellish Stack, Listowel’s queen of social media marketing was having a look round and taking a few snaps to publicise the event.

This man needed a bit of help to park his crepe van. There was plenty of muscle on hand to get things set up.

The bar was already commissioned and serving.

The teacher in me was a bit upset by the typo but I’m not above making a few myself so I’m saying nothing.

No poking allowed here.  Umbrellas to be left at the entrance.

As Billy Keane is wont to say, “Liquid in: liquid out”. This inevitability was catered for as well.

A few musicians were warming up on the stage.

I met Maura MacConnell and her grandchildren who were not going, her daughter Claire who was, and Tríona Diggins who was undecided.

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The Square during The Festival



Later when I returned to town the concert was in full flow. The Stunning were rocking Listowel Town Square.

Security was tight at the entrance as ticket holders were arriving.

The Stunning were on stage.

I met these two making their way across The Square with their tickets at the ready.

Those listening from outside the fence took any vantage position they could.

Some people had to work.

Some lovely local ladies on their way to hear The Riptide Movement.

I met Noreen and Kay, who were, like myself, out to see what it was all about.

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Meanwhile on the Inishowen Peninsula




Tena and Rochelle Griffin were taking part in the Shore to Summit Challenge. They ran four marathons in four days. What a feat! Well done ladies!

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