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: Santa Claus

Wren boys continued, a Christmas poem, the Clauses of The Seanchaí and people at the Coca Cola truck event

Abbey at Rattoo photographed a few years ago by Padraig O’Connor


A Very Sad Seasonal poem from Seán McCarthy


Wren boys in North Kerry by Wm. Molyneaux as reported in The Shannonside Annuals in the 1950s

Part 2

He (The Man from the BBC) asked me then what way we used to dress in the Wren boys. I told him we used dress in green and gold or any colour. I told him we had a Wren Cross (which we had in them days) and we had the Wren Cross painted in green and gold and we often took out two wrens in the morning and brought them back alive and restored them to liberty. I told him when we go in to a farmer’s house that we’d say those words to the farmer-the farmer’s houses where we’d expect to get a good reach the captain of the Wrenboys would address the man of the house by saying these words:

The man of the house is a very good men

And it was to him we brought the wran,

Wishing you a happy Christmas and a merry New Year

If you give us the price of a gallon of beer,

We’d continue on until we go to the next house-which was the landlady’s house. The captain addressed the landlady in these words

the wran, the wran, the king of all birds-

St Stephen’s Day she was cought in the furze;

although she be little, her family being great,

Rise up, landlady, and give us a trate;

Up with the kittle and down with the pan

We’ll thank your subscription to bury the Wren!

That’s the way the captain would address if he went into a big farmer’s house or into a landlady’s house.

(more tomorrow)



John (Junior) Griffn and Billy Keane at the launch of Billy’s novel some years ago.


The Seanchaí Claus family at the BOI Enterprise Town expo

Joe’s been a good boy.


Gala Christmas Sunday in Town

Eoin Enright’s photo gives a good idea of the scene in The Square as the light was fading on Sunday December 11 2016.

Here are some people I met at the Coca Cola truck on Sunday December 11 2016

Trees, Little Lilac Studio and Listowel ESB 1958

Santa Claus is Coming to Town… and I met himself and the Missus

Saturday November 26 in Listowel Community Centre with the Clauses of The Seanchaí


Refurbishment Underway at Listowel Community Centre

The diggers moving in

 The work is going on at the pitches side of the centre. It will include accessible changing rooms and storage space for all the equipment which is currently in unsightly containers. The long term plans include a café and enhanced gym.


Beautiful Trees in Listowel Town Park


Rugby Training

It is heartening to see so many young boys and girls out training on a Saturday Morning.


Little Lilac Studio

If you have children to entertain, be it a birthday party or just children at a loose end, this is the place to take them. The Little Lilac Studio in Listowel’s Main Street was where I took my grandchildren during Halloween. They all loved the experience and they created a personalised bowl and plate each. These items of tableware are now in daily use at home in Cork.

We ran into Gabrielle McGrath and friends who were doing a special project. They were making and decorating bowls. Like us they were all loving the studio .


Humans of Listowel

I met Nancy, Mary and Maura in one of my favourite haunts. These ladies are three of the lovely volunteers in the St. Vincent de Paul Second Time Around Shop. It opens on Thursdays and Fridays from 11.00 until 5.00 at Upper William Street.


Listowel ESB staff 1958

This is a combined effort. Jer Kennelly found the Kerryman photo. Vincent Carmody provided the names and the context.


from left, George Brooks, ( Contracts man, afterwards transferred to Dublin) Jerry O O’Keeffe, (Charles Street), Walter Doyle,Greenville and now Meadowlands, Tralee, Clare O Connor, 108 Church Street, Brendan Stack, Ballybunion, Jackie Buckley, 22 Upper William Street


on left, man down from Dublin, on the right, Tony Walsh, Tralee.

The new E.S. B. offices were located at the corner of Church Street and Colbert Street. The refurbished building was originally the home of the Cain family, locally known as,  ‘Cains of the Bridewell’, due to the fact that the house was built on the ground where an earlier Bridewell had stood. One of those Cain’s had also been employed as ‘a Jail-keeper’ .

The window reflection shows the houses across the road, above the archway, Nurse O Donavans, where she had a little private nursing home. Many of the town’s children first saw the light of day here. Sadness also darkened the door. when on a summer day in the early nineteen fifties, a young Dublin boy, Gabriel Cummins, nephew of Nurse Donavans, who was spending his summer holidays in Listowel,  was drowned accidentally while swimming with friends in the Corporal’s, one of the favoured swimming locations on the river, which was located at the back of where the present Kerry Co-Op is built.

Below the Archway, was the public house, known as the Bon-Ton, home of Eamon Tarrant, This house was once the meeting place of the Young Irelanders.


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