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: Saint Vincent de Paul

Signs of the Times, Old Cures and Memory of a Night Out in Glin Castle

St. John’s in May 2020


Won’t be Too Many Tourists in Summer 2020


Signs of the Times we Live In

Because businesses had to close down very hastily in March 2020 in accordance with the government guidelines, Listowel shopowners had to bid a very abrupt farewell to their customers. I am going to bring you a selection of the closure notices displayed in local windows.

I warn you in advance that I found it hard to take photographs through glass.

Listowel Library

Aras an Phiarsaigh behind a wild meadow.

Vincent de Paul shop

Sheahan’s is open with social distancing measures in place.

Royal China


I posted this last week and it struck a chord with many people. Nicholas Leonard contacted me to remind us that Zam-Buk was another staple in Irish mothers’ medicine cabinets. I had never heard of it but apparently it’s enjoying a moment recently due to the pandemic. We used to have pink antiseptic ointment in our house.

My mother’s remedy for a stye in a child’s eye was to rub it with your “fasting spit”. I thought this was an old wife’s tale but Nicholas told me that it’s a well known cure. Google it.

Nicholas says;  The fasting spit is a very ancient remedy for eye problems- the Jews were believers in using fasting spittle for eye maladies, so much so that they considered it a medicine which came under the prohibition of providing medicinal aid on the Sabbath- unless in cases of peril. Our Lord also used spittle to good effect in healing a blind man- though it may be me more proper to say it was not the spittle, but the Lord’s touch that caused the miracle.

Nicholas also shared another “cure” with us.

The cure for warts that a school-mate gave me was as follows: get ten ivy leaves; throw one away(!) rub the remaining nine leaves on the wart(s) and then bury them where no-one would walk on them. After a certain number of days the wart(s) would disappear. I did not believe it would work, but did as I was instructed. I buried the nine used leaves on the top of a high ditch, under a thorn hedge. I then forgot all about  the matter. After a week, I noticed that the warts had gone! Being a direct descendant of Doubting Thomas, I figured that the warts were probably due to fall off in any case, though I had them for a long time. I never had warts again.

Health warning: Neither Nicholas nor I is a  doctor so we are telling you these things for their entertainment value only.


A Winter Night with the Knight

Some Presentation Secondary School teachers on a night out in Glin castle a good few years ago.

R.I.P Sr. Nuala and the Knight of Glin


Out and About with Camera in May 2020

I met David and Eileen O’Shaughnessey on Upper Church Street.

St Johns, Dreaming Animals, St. Vincent de Paul shop and Anna Guerin in Brown Thomas

St. John’s Listowel, July 2019


Today’s Fun Fact from The Second Book of General Ignorance

The animal who dreams most is the duck billed platypus, one of the oldest of all mammals. 

How do we know?

Answer; The dream state is known as REM, Rapid Eye Movements. Eugene Aserinsky discovered this in Chicago in 1952. He studied the brain activity of 20 sleeping people. He found that when the subjects eyes were moving rapidly, their brain activity was so vigorous that they should have been awake. Waking them from REM sleep led to vivid recall, This doesn’t happen when their eyes were still.

Animals most at threat from predators dream least. Platypuses sleep so deeply that you could raid their lair and they would never wake.

Dolphins don’t sleep at all. One half of their body goes to sleep at a time while the other half is fully awake, including one eye. They don’t have REM at all


Second Time Around

This is one of my favourite shops with my all time favourite shop assistants. It is open on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 11.00 a.m. It has everything; friendly staff, friendly customers, great bargains and it is always full of surprises. I love it!

Kay Landy, Marie MacAulliffe and Eileen O’Sullivan were manning the shop when I called last week.


Corner Stones

Last week I told you about this stone that Pat O’Shea had spotted in Cork and we discovered that these stones or bollards were put at junctions in order to prevent horse carriages rolling over the nearby wall and wearing it away. Well, would you believe such stones were right under my nose all along? On my morning walk with my canine house guest last week I discovered two such junctions in Listowel town square, one at the road that goes to the river by the castle and the other very nearby at the entrance to stables by The SeanchI.

More on these, including their right name tomorrow….


Anna Guerin’s Dualist Collection in Brown Thomas

Can you imagine the thrill of seeing your designs in Brown Thomas window? Anna Guerin of Listowel has that experience these days every time she passes Brown Thomas. Her beautiful Donegal tweed The Dualist collection is getting rave reviews and is selling well.

“Anna Guerin’ s debut fashion brand The Dualist weaves exquisite

Irish textiles and peerless tailoring into a sustainably made

collection of Donegal tweed coats, ” writes Elaine Prendeville in The Sunday Business Post.

Anna is passionate about the ethical side of her business. Below is part of her interview with The Sunday Business Post.

“Guerin concedes that all is not rosy in the fashion industry.”

“I’ve seen how desperate workers’ conditions can be with

my own eyes,” she says, “so it was imperative for me that

when I did establish my first brand, that kindness would

be one of its pillars.”

Before preparing The Dualist for launch, Guerin com-

pleted an MA in business, graduating top of her class. Her

research explored the value of authenticity and sustain-

ability in Donegal tweed, a examine at PhD level.

“Unlike Scotland’s Harris tweed, there is no legal protec-

tion for the production of Donegal tweed,” she says. “It can

be produced in China and bear the Donegal name. It seems

crazy to me that a product synonymous with our national

cultural identity is unprotected, despite the evidence that

it has been produced in Donegal for at least 800 years.”

The designer believes academic research could

support a bid for protected status for the native


For now, she’s preserving the traditional in the best way

possible: by making it relevant and desirable to the modem

audience. The result is the definition of slow fashion, and it’s all the better looking for it.”

Well done, Anna, a Listowel young lady doing us all proud.


Run/Walk in Aid of Stack’s Mountain House Project

A word from the organisers:

Planning for this project began a few years back. We have secured planning and preparations are now well advanced to convert the first Lyreacrompane Schoolhouse into a Heritage House for the Stacks Mountains.  The schoolhouse stands on the old ‘Butter Road’ that ran from outside Listowel to the Cork Butter Exchange.  We are continuing our fundraising endeavours for the development and to this end the Dan Paddy Andy Festival committee have kindly chosen our project to receive the proceeds of their annual run which takes place during the festival. We’d appreciate any support we can get and if anyone has a query on it please contact me at

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