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: Schools Folklore collection

Glenteenassig, Europe on William St. and Listowel Primary Care Centre and Knockane


Photo Credit:  Gosia Wysocka on This is Kerry


Clounmacon GAA


Polish Restaurant

Sometimes I regret not putting dates on photos. Listowel people will recognise this as Lower William Street and the premises that is now Lizzy’s little Kitchen. For a short time this restaurant was a Polish restaurant called Europe.


Entrance to new Primary Care Centre


Hidden Treasure

This is from the Dúchas folklore schools collection. I’m including the original manuscript because the handwriting is so beautiful.

This is what it says in case you are finding it hard to read. Cnochán is Knockane.

There is a hill in the townland of Listowel and it is called the Cnocán. This is a fairly large hill and it covers about two acres of ground. It is composed of a mixture of sand and clay. It is supposed to have been drawn in bags by the Danes. The hill is situated midway between two Rivers – the Feale and the Gale and according to local legend the Danes drew the sand from both rivers on their backs. At the south end of this hill which is about twenty feet high there is a beautiful well continually overflowing with clear water and which never runs dry even in the most prolonged periods of drought. But the most remarkable thing about this hill, is that it was raised up in the middle of a flat boggy plain and was supposed to command a view of the River Feale and the River Gale.

B. Holyoake
Listowel, Co. Kerry
Michael Holyoake
Listowel, Co. Kerry

M.S. Busking Day, Roadworks and Entertainment in summer 2018

Photo; Graham Davies


North Kerry M.S. Society Busking Day

The North Kerry branch of the Multiple Sclerosis Society had three blessings on their busking day for 2018. They had  a great group of hard working volunteers, they had some brilliant musicians and they were blessed with the weather.


Roadworks are still a feature of our Lives in Listowel 

Workmen temporarily removed the John B. Keane Road sign while they placed  the pipes.

Traffic is heavy in town these days too,


Musicians at the Friday Market

On the Friday I was in The Square there was a much increased number of stalls  and some talented young musicians creating a great atmosphere.


Living Literature at The Seanchaí

I met Angeline O’Donnell in character for her Living Literature performance in The Seanchaí


From 1938 Schools Folklore Collection

Han Savage of Lisselton  had a story about William Diggin. Mr. Rice from Moybella had several men digging potatoes. He promised a quarter of tobacco to the man who would produce the biggest potato. William Diggin was one of the men digging the spuds. He dug a big potato and cut it in half. Then he got another potato and quartered it and he tied the two potatoes together with string to make one enormous potato. He won the quarter of tabacco.


Lartigue Friends Reunited

In a marquee in the sunshine on June 2 2018 this group of Lartigue theatre friends met up and reminisced.


A Food Hub for Listowel?

I met this delegation in Tralee yesterday., June 19 2018 as they were readying their pitch to Kerry County Council for a food hub in Listowel.

Listowel Writers Week 2018 Opening Night, Roadworks, Revival, Folklore and an old photo

During this recent warm spell, the Beal dolphins came in really close to the shore and Ita Hannon got this photo.


People at Opening Night Writers’ Week

I took up my position st the door of the Listowel Arms and I snapped these lovely people on the way in to the festival’s opening event.

As you can see I am automatically drawn to local people or people with a Listowel Connection. If you see anyone here who you know is not a blog follower will you alert them.

(more tomorrow)


We Still have roadworks Disruptions

Listowel people have had a lot of disruption to put up with as natural gas is brought to Listowel. Road works begin at 7a.m. and finish at 8.00p.m. and we won’t mention the odd disruption to water supply due to burst mains.

It will be all worth it in the end.

I just hope that the Tidy Town judges will understand because the local committee is doing every thing it can to keep the town as clean and tidy and presentable as possible while the work is ongoing.



Book early as ticket numbers are limited. Listowel’s great music festival is back for another year.


From the Archives

The following is taken from the great folklore collection of 1937/38 when local children throughout Ireland collected lore from their older family and neighbours. We are lucky in Listowel that we had Bryan MacMahon on board with this project. Bryan was a great collector of folklore himself and he well understood the importance of remembering and preserving folk memories.

1. Baskets

One boy wrote about a woman called Madge Shine who lived in The Red Cottages, Cahirdown. Madge used to make baskets from hazel. She used to place the hazel twigs over the fire to soften before weaving them into baskets.

Sciath is the word in Irish for shield. We are familiar with it now in the title Sciath na Scol. So I’m guessing that the sciath refered to are flat baskets.

Another local man, Martin Sheehy, made ‘sgiaths” from “scallops” According to Michael O’Brien of Ashe Street who recorded the story, “he bended the sticks in and through one another until he had his sgiaths made.”

Bill Barrett of Beal made baskets from sedge which he used to harvest from the sandhills in Ballybunion. He also made hats and babies cradles. He also made “gads” for flails for threshing.


This is how Listowel Races looked up to the 1970s  before all of the public were moved to the stand area. There used to be a cheaper option of attending The Races in the centre of the field on the inside of the racetrack. This option had bookies and a few carnival stalls and but no shelter.


Job for an artist?

Job description

We currently have full time position for a **Sandwich Artist** in our store on Market St, Listowel Co. Kerry. Sandwich Artists have a positive outlook, thrive in a busy work environment and are keen to learn the art of great sandwich making. You will work well as part of a team, making delicious sandwiches to customer requirements. You will be responsible for serving customers, following health and safety procedures, and keeping the store clean.

The job will involve evening and weekend work so applicants must be fully flexible.

The job is going in Subway, by the way

Trees, Walking to School and some trees in Listowel Town Park

Caragh Lake

Photo by Chris Grayson


Local Marriage Customs

Marriages in the Good Old Days as recounted by Lillie O’Connor of Kanturk in the school’s folklore collection.

Lillie remembers match making and straw boys, two aspects of the wedding that have fallen into disuse.

She says that the matchmaker was called “The Gander”. Does anyone know was this a nickname for every matchmaker or was it a specific man in the Kanturk area?


The Wood and the Trees

Have you noticed how so many place names in Listowel  have tree names, words like grove or wood in their title. There are some really lovely old trees in town and the Listowel Tidy Town’s committee is busy adding new ones.

A casualty of the recent storms.


To School Through the Streets

Do you remember I posted this photo last week of secondary school girls walking to school. Well it opened memory’s floodgates for some blog followers. Kay Caball remembers walking to school, walking home for her dinner and walking back again all in a 30 minute lunch break.

Many people of a certain age remember cycling miles to school, if they lived in the country and were not lucky enough to have relatives in town who would keep them for the week. Boarding with families in town was quite common as well. Many pupils stayed with families in town during the school week and went home only at the weekends. This was a less expensive option than boarding school. Better off families sent their teenagers to boarding schools and often these did not allow pupils home until the end of term.


Climate Change…Transition Kerry is addressing the problem

If you are interested in finding out what we can do about this urgent global problem, this just might be the place for you next Saturday.

MacMahon Tree, Field names in Beale in 1938

Rutting Season  2016 in Killarney National Park

(photos; Jim MacSweeney)


A Kind Gesture

There are many trees in the town park and in The Garden of Europe commemorating people who made a contribution to Listowel. The MacMahon tree continues to make a contribution even after those who nurtured it have passed on. This bay tree grew in the MacMahon garden in Church Street and now provides bay leaves for any one who wants to take one. Bay leaves are added to stews and stocks and add flavour to any dish. They can also be used as a garnish.

You can find it if you enter the garden by this entrance from the path beside the town park. Look out for the stone marker which has been damaged, at the foot of the tree. Be careful not to eat the leaves of many other tree as they may be poisonous.


The Gold Corner is to be a Pharmacy 


That Time of Year again

The Races are over. It’s time to turn our minds to Christmas and the making of the Christmas cake. This traditional cholesterol fest needs time to mature.

Nigel Slater says it well:

“You may wonder what a
modern cook is doing icing a Christmas cake. Surely the commercial ones are
good enough? The simple truth is that I enjoy it: the mixing of the great pile
of fruit and nuts, booze and spices, the smell of the glorious thing baking in
the oven, the tactile joy of smoothing the marzipan into place and the
silliness of playing with a bowl of icing. OK, so there’s nothing remotely hip
or cool about an iced fruit cake, but I get a buzz from the whole business. I
can’t help it. I guess cake making is my Prozac.”


Field name in Beale in 1938

I wonder if those field names are still in use today.

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