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Tag: Rose of Tralee Page 1 of 3

Writers and Lambs

This is Lisa Egan’s photograph. Lisa is a member of Mallow Camera Club and this lovely capture is one of the photos the club donated to Kanturk Community Hospital.


Easter 2022, God and Mammon

St. Mary’s church window

Some Listowel shop windows


Look who’s Coming to Writers’ Week

Two Irish journalists making names for themselves in the U.S. are coming to town. They will tell us about what they know best, disinformation, fake news and the role of the media.

Both men are to the forefront of reporting on the 2020 U.S. presidential election and the assault on the Capitol which followed.

Donie works for CNN and Malachy for The New York Times.


Olivia Buckley’s Reminiscence of a Big Event in her Life

Fom an article in Pres. Secondary School Yearbook 2003


Valais Blacknose Sheep

These are the sweetest, most photogenic sheep. They are very rare. These two boys are Jimmy and Joey and they have just arrived to Kennedy’s Pet Farm. They may be the only two in The Kingdom. I can’t wait to see them.


Shirley Valentine

On my recent birthday celebration trip to Dublin, I was taken to The Gaiety to see Shirley Valentine.

Look where I joined the queue. I felt at home.

This Shirley Valentine was from Cork but she was just as entertaining as her Liverpudlian counterpart.

There is a touch of old world luxury about The Gaiety. It was lovely to be back there again.


Knotweed, A Hard Raceweek in 1890 and A Blow- in with an interesting Story to Tell

Lovely but deadly! This is Japanese Knotweed. If you see it anywhere, please give it a very wide berth. I am afraid it is flourishing all too widely this year and we will have a big job to rid ourselves of it. Dont cut it or touch it or under any circumstances do anything to propagate it. Don’t even try to kill it. It’s a job for experts.


Things were Rough in 1890


Down Memory Lane

Talk of Lena Mullally and bag of chips after the pictures prompted a few emails.

Jim McMahon wrote:

Mary , it was nice to hear that Lena Mullally was not forgotten. She was one of a number of larger than life wonderful women in Church street in the 40’S and 50’s .A whole essay could be written about her but that’s for another day. For now sufficient to say she brightened our young lives. 

Liz Chute was also in touch.

Séan McCarthy referred to my mother, Betty Chute’s café as Betty’s Emporium , where that individual would have bought his two bags of chips .

She  was a woman before her time and was a successful business woman in Listowel long before it was known of in Ireland.


From Waterford to North Kerry…A Rose’s Story

Orla’s Afternoon Tea in a Box

When I asked Orla Cusack Walsh to tell me the story of how she came to relocate to Kerry, she told me that it all started when she was selected as the Waterford Rose in 1998.

Orla with 2018 Waterford Rose, Kirsten Mate Maher

At the Festival of Kerry in 1998

Orla tells the story best in her own words.

In 1998 I had the privilege of representing my beautiful county, Waterford, at the Rose of Tralee Festival. It was my first trip to Kerry as an adult and I was not disappointed. As the garda escort led us along the old road into Tralee, the excitement was electric. What followed was a week of incredible memories, new friends and eventually a husband, two children and 3 dogs! 

Orla and family


In 2002 I returned to the festival with Texas ’98 Rose, Caroline Wilson. During that trip I met my now husband, Kerry man, Liam Walsh. 


Liam had been an escort the previous two years and had been asked back to cover for a day and a night that year. We chatted and met later at the various events and later we joined the former Roses and Escorts for a sing song and a catch up. I sang Katie that night. (It is clear that the song and the name are special to Orla) Caroline and I left in the early hours and hopped into a taxi.

Recent photo of Orla and Liam

A week later Liam called me to wish me a Happy Birthday. He had asked a friend for my number! Months later he told me he had followed me out to ask for my number, but I was gone. I knew early on that he was the man I would marry. He is a gentleman, kind and caring. The rest, as they say, is history. 

The happy couple on their wedding day

We were engaged the following August and we married in June 2005 in St Mary’s Church, Ballygunner, Waterford. It was important to me to marry there as I laid my bouquet on my brother’s grave after the ceremony. It meant we were all there. The sun shone and we celebrated well into the early hours. 

Katie and her Grandparents on her First Holy Communion day


I moved to Lisselton in 2005 and we worked on our home. In January 2008 we welcomed our daughter, Katie, and in May 2010 our son, Dylan. 

Katie, like Liam, plays the bodhrán. She also plays football with Listowel Emmets and rugby with Listowel RFC. Dylan sings and has been part of the Kerry School of music Junior Choir, Listowel. Dylan also plays rugby with Listowel RFC and does Taekwondo with Master O’Mahony in Listowel. 

Katie is in 6th Class in Killocrim NS and Dylan is in 4th class. We are incredibly proud of them and all their achievements. 

In 2011 I took redundancy and became a stay at home mum for a time. Liam built his business, St David’s Poultry Services, over the years and in May 2019 moved into a purpose built unit designed by local architect, Petra Walsh. Michael O’Muircheartaigh cut the ribbon at the official opening in August, 2019 and 3 weeks later Liam won a well deserved award for his fantastic work in the industry. All his hard work, dedication, and time away from us had paid off. 


My qualifications and training are in the culinary and retail areas. I started baking professionally again in 2011 and eventually attended markets and food fairs.

I pottered along for a few years and slowly built my business, Orla’s Country Kitchen and Ballydonoghue Cookery School. A few weeks after Liam won his award, I too won an award at the Listowel Food Fair 2019 for my smokey bacon quiche. 

It was all coming together.

During the lockdown earlier in 2020, Katie and Dylan did cooking videos on Facebook and every week we donated 60 cake slices to Buds Ballyduff Meals on Wheels Service . 

We kept this going until July and plan to start again once a month from October. 


Today my business is growing from strength to strength. My Afternoon Tea in a box is a success and with Christmas just around the corner, biscuit cake Christmas puddings are on the way!

As I write, I feel blessed, as I look back on the years since 1998. The memories of the Rose of Tralee and the reason I now live in Kerry. I’ll always be incredibly proud to be from Waterford and will always feel privileged to have represented my beautiful county. I will always be a “blow in” and I’m fine with that, as there’s nothing like being a blow in, in the beautiful Kingdom!

 When she had told me her story I realised that Orla is, at heart, a family woman. I had asked her for her story and she told me more about her family than she did about herself. 

The Rose of Tralee committee are always at pains to point out that it is not like other beauty pageants. The Roses are chosen to embody the best of what it is to be Irish. Orla is an excellent example of all that the festival stands for. 

She is a true beauty; a Rose inside and out.


Blasket Donkeys and the Current State of Presentation Convent, Listowel and Kissane Clan Gathering

Gymnasts in The Square


Athea Mural Update

Do you remember I told you that the figure that the artist, Jim Dunn had added to his mural was a well known local man. The stethoscope protruding from his pocket now gives the game away, it’s Athea’s very popular  G.P.


Blasket Donkeys

Chris Grayson took these interesting photos of Blasket Island Donkeys.

The very hairy one looks like a different breed. Or is he just very old and no longer losing his winter coat?

I read somewhere that the island people used to only keep female donkeys. If they had both sexes the males would get frisky and might fall off the cliffs and into the sea so they had to bring the mares to the mainland for the mating pourposes.


Snapped in Listowel

I ran into Tralee people, Seán Lyons and his lovely daughter. Maeve, recently.


Update on the Convent

Whenever I’m in the vicinity, I take the opportunity to document the slow decline into ruin of Presentation Convent, Listowel.

I took these photos on August 1 2017. They speak for themselves.


Kissane Clan Gathering

You’ve seen the photos, now help them celebrate family.

The planned gathering will open with a gala banquet on Friday evening August 18 2017.

Tickets (€50) are available at Listowel Arms Hotel reception. All Kissane of Kilcox descendants won’t want to miss this one. Anyone with an interest in this family is welcome to the banquet.

On Saturday August 19th, proceedings move to The Thatch in Lisselton for the launch of “Descendants of John the Elder”, a hard back book including over 90 photographs. This promises to be a great night of family history and reminiscence. The launch will be followed by a night of music and craic with family, friends and neighbours.

A highlight of the weekend will be the Walk and Talk with Eily Walsh. I’m reproducing here Eily’s guidelines for those Kissanes planning to attend the walk. This is one for the descendants.

On Saturday Afternoon
19th at 3.p.m. and, again on Sunday Morning 20th August  at 12.30 p.m. The Thatch will also be the
Gathering Point for the “Walk and Talk” to be held in Kilcox throughout the
weekend. (Weather permitting) We expect tickets for these walks to sell very
quickly. There are only 25 places MAX for each walk.  Your name will be held on a Booking list and
your ticket may be collected at the Thatch Bar a half hour before the walk
starts. The Thatch will be the Gathering Point for the Walk, and we will drive
in convoy to the two adjoining Kilcox Farms (Scralom Entrance) where the “Walk
and Talk” will start. There will be ample parking for up to 20 cars. Tickets
are 10 euro each. The walk is very easy and will last approx. 75 minutes.
Suitable footwear or flat shoes are advisable. Please bring a jacket as you
will be on exposed ground  – whether the
sun shines or not. The walk itself is flat and easy, and suitable for all ages
with only a slight incline at the end. There are wonderful panoramic views so be
sure and bring the camera! 

Sunday August 20th will see the gathered Kissane clan in Coolahan’s of Tarbert at 2.30p.m. for an afternoon of music and “sheer joy”.

Family gathered for the gathering weekend will be anxious to visit the Kissane tombs in Killeheny. The two tombs will be marked with an identifying marker for the weekend. Ballybunion church will also be open to visitors.


We are Family

The Kissane family of Kilcox in North Kerry has spread far and wide. There are branches of the family in the U.S. and Australia and representatives of all of this scattered clan are coming home to Kerry this weekend for this great celebration of family.

I was privileged to be in St. John’s on Saturday Aug 11 2017 as the exhibition of family photographs to accompany the Kissane Gathering was launched by Eamon OMurchú. Eamon is justly proud of his Kissane ancestors. As a photographer, he knows the importance of family photographs and their role in family history. If you are in Listowel, call in to St. John’s to see this important collection of Kissane family history and memorabilia.

The collection was curated by Eily Walsh (here on left of Eamon ÓMurchú). Eily has invested hours and hours of time and effort into collecting the photographs and researching the family history. This weekend gathering and book are all due to her tireless work.

Keelin Kissane of Kerry and Dublin with Barbara Kissane of New York. The ladies are standing in front of a photograph of Barbara’s parents on their wedding day.

Barbara’s dad, Pats Kissane, was the first president of the New York Kerryman’s Association. Keelin is the current chairperson of the Dublin Kerryman’s Association.


Our Very Own Disney Princess

I met this lovely Rose in The Kingdom Greyhound Stadium last night. She is Elizabeth Marine, the Florida Rose.

She is mighty proud of her Listowel connection. She feels that her presence here is in honour of her grandfather, Tom O’Donoghue of Tannavalla who left Listowel for Pittsburg with a heart full of hope and a head full of dreams. He made a success of his life in the land of the brave and the home of the free. He never forgot his Kerry roots and he steeped his family in Irish traditions and Irish culture. He loved Irish music, song and dance and above all he was passionate about Gaelic football. He, himself was a handy footballer with the Six Crosses team.

Elizabeth, his granddaughter, is a singer and dancer. I don’t know about the Gaelic football. Her cousins look after that tradition. She is in Tralee with her mother and her sister. Her dad had to stay behind in Florida to look after her severely disabled brother.

If you run into The Roses this week, be sure to single out the Florida Rose. Tell her you are from Listowel and she will be delighted to meet you.

Tralee at Easter 2017, Hay making in the 50s and Ballybunion’s Men’s Loo

Vincent Higgins of Mallow Camera Club took this for their People at Work project.


Tralee Town Park on Easter Sunday 2017

This couple is my daughter Clíona and her fiancé, Seán. They are not in Tralee town park as you probably guessed but in Listowel Town Square.

At Easter time Clíona was in Kerry without Seán. When  we went to Tralee with the girlies, her nieces,  I asked her to pose with the the statue that commemorates the love story behind the song, The Rose of Tralee.

This the memorial to another tragic Rose who died too young.

Meanwhile the girleens were climbing things and swinging out of things and conspiring to give their poor grandmother heart failure.


Tackling the Horse and Making (Saving) the Hay

(from Jim Costelloe’s Asdee…..)

I can recall the parts of the horses’
tackling that the youth of today have probably never heard of.; I refer to the
winkers, the collar and the hames, the straddle and the brichin. There was a
harness strap, a backband, the kicking trace (for breaking in young animals)
the traveller on the shafts of the cart, the rider and the lynchpin for keeping
the wheels on the axle. I remember the spokes and the fellas of the wheels with
the bands. Then there were the rails ( known as creels in other parts of the
country) and the guards which extended over the cart wheels. The hay was cut
with a pair of horses and a mowing machine. We had a high wheeled Pierce, a low
wheeled Pierce and a Bamford. The hay was turned by hand using two prong pikes.
It was raked into rows using a raker and gathered into wynds using a slide. The
meadows were clean raked after making the wynds which were sometimes tied with
súgáns. Hay making in those days was heavy work.


Ballybunion at Evening

The men’s public toilets in Bllybunion are an eyesore and a prominent eyesore at that.

I was glad to see this sign seeking planning permission to demolish it and to replace it with a modern facility.

I was even more glad to spot that the new loo is to be accessible to all. These steep steps to access a vital amenity have no place in today’s Ireland.

The Square, some shops and an illustrious citizen is honoured in 1886

The Square is looking particularly beautiful these days.


A Change of colour for O’Connor’s

O’Connor’s in Market Street looks completely different with its new paint job. Refurbishment work to the interior of the shop is also underway.

Further back Market Street a new Ladies clothes shop has opened. Even though the sign over the door hadn’t been painted when I photographed it, I am reliably informed it’s to be called Blossom.

Meanwhile back on Church Street………..

I am presuming that this name sign is temporary and that this shop facade will be restored to its former glory when this shop eventually opens.


Something old

Kerry Sentinel  Tuesday, October 05, 1886



Last night a large and influential public meeting of the inhabitants
of the town was held in the Town Commissioners Room, for the purpose of
presenting an address to Mr. M. J. Flavin, on the occasion of his departure from
his native town, to Bismark Dacota, America. It may be mentioned that Mr.
Flavin while acting hon. secretary to the Listowel Branch of the Irish National
League, gained for himself the goodwill and confidence of every member of that
body, and I may state that this good feeling was not confined to the National
League, for even persons whose principals were entirely antagonistic to those
held by members of that organisation  hold him in the highest estimation,
and gave him credit for the honesty of his convictions. In fact Mr. Flavin’s
upright and straightforward action since the first day he identified himself
with the National Cause, for which he worked untiringly, was recognized by
every person, and now redounds immortally to his credit.

Amongst those present were — Messrs
P. D. Griffin, J. Enright, T.C. ; J. P. Enright, J. Tracy, T.C. ; M. Kirby,
T.C. ; P. Hennessy, M. Hannan, J. Tackaberry, J. O’Sullivan, T Collins, J. A.
O’Sullivan, D. Loughnane, P. J Houlihan, D. Lyons, J. H. O’Sullivan, J. J. Keane,
J. W. Canty, V.S. ; C. Moran, N Scollard, T.C. ; T . Keane, J. J. Dillane, J.
Horgan, and T. Brosnan.

On Mr. M. J. Flavin entering the
room he was received with loud applause.

On the motion of Mr. P. D. Griffin,
which was seconded by Mr. P. J. Houlihan, the chair was taken by Mr. J. Troy,
T.C. The Chairman said, he supposed they were all aware what they were
assembled for ; they were there for the purpose of presenting Mr, Flavin with
an address, and to wish him success in his voyage across the Atlantic (hear,
hear). It was needless for him to tell those present what Mr. Flavin did for
the National Cause, as they were all perfectly aware of his efficiency while he
was acting as honorary secretary to the local branch of the Irish National
League (hear, hear). He had done everything and earned nothing by it (hear,

Mr. Scollard, T.C.—We are only sorry he is parting from us at such an
early day.

Mr. Griffin—Gentlemen, it gives me
great pleasure to be called upon to read this address to Mr. Flavin, and I
believe it is very few young men of his age ever deserved better the good wishes
of his fellow-townsmen than Mr. Flavin (hear, hear).

The following is the address :—

undersigned inhabitants of this town, and members of the Irish National League,
are of opinion that we would be shirking the duty that should devolve upon all
lovers of justice and impartiality if we were to allow the occasion of your
departure from amongst us without testifying to the high esteem in which you
have been justly held by your fellow-townsmen, and we are perfectly satisfied
we can speak for the county also on this occasion. 

For years while honorary
secretary to our branch of the Irish National League you have discharged the
duties of your office with an amount of impartiality and tact, that gained for
you that favour even of your opponents in politics. Fully alive to the onerous
duties often imposed on you, it appeared no trouble to you to cope with the
most trying difficulties in connection with your position. In your private as
well as in your commercial capacity you were kind and courteous, always ready
to act a friend and give kind advice. On the whole we believe you fully worthy
of this, the only means we have of our recognition of your worth in the past. 

 Wishing you a hearty God speed in your journey to the far West, where we hope
your future undertakings will be crowned with all the success and happiness
which make life dear, we beg to subscribe ourselves faithfully and truly

[Here followed the names of
subscribers which were too numerous for publication].

Mr. M. J. Flavin—Mr. Chairman, and
gentlemen, I return you my sincere thanks for the high honor which you have
conferred upon me (hear, hear and you’re worthy of it). I may tell you that
this came quite unexpectedly on me, and I can’t express in words to you the
feeling of pleasure with which I accept your address, and I shall ever remember
the kindness of the people of Listowel towards me. In my position as secretary
of the Listowel Branch of the National League, I always found the people
willing to act on my instructions. I shall in the future whether I stay in
America – or at home remember the kindness of the people of Listowel, and I
shall esteem the address which you have been so good to present me with, more
than anything else that could be placed in my hands. 

Loud cheers were then raised, and
repeated for Mr. Flavin, after which the meeting terminated.

Mr. Flavin on leaving next morning
by the eight o’clock train was played to the railway station by the National
Brass Band, and a large concourse of people who cheered, him loudly.


The answer is Kathleen Watkins. What is the question?

(from this week’s Kerry’s Eye)

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