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: Seanchaí

Halloween, a New Shop and Eamon Kelly’s Suit

Halloween 2021 at Scoil Realta na Maidine, Listowel


Halloween, Irish or American Style

I loved this column in Monday’s Irish Examiner. Enjoy!


Sheeple is a derogatory term to describe people who are docile and easily led. It is often used by people who oppose mandatory vaccine certs or any other government imposed restrictions that they disagree with.

“Do your own research” is a slogan used by people who are anti vaccine. Basically they are saying distrust the science and find like minded people on the internet.


Stylish New Shop on Market Street

Rose and Crowm, Market Street, Listowel


This poem will take you back to the bad old days.


Eamon Kelly, Seanchaí

Some of us who were lucky enough to hear and enjoy The Seanchaí in our youth. Mattie Lennon tells us something about the man who was the consummate Irish storyteller

Brendan O’Shea (O’Sheas Tailoring, Lower Gardiner Street, Dublin) told me the following story:

At the end of September 2001, Eamon Kelly brought a suit in to Brendan for some alterations. The suit was fifteen years old. Prior to one of his trips to America, Eamon had it made by another Dublin tailor who left the jacket minus an inside pocket and the trousers without belt-loops or a back-pocket. Now, Eamon, the perfectionist, asked his fellow-Kerryman to rectify the sartorial omissions, which he did.

When Eamon died on 24th October 2001, he had left detailed instructions with his wife, Maura, about the funeral arrangements and which suit he wanted to be laid out in. Yes, you’ve guessed it!

Did the man who wrote so lovingly of Con-the-tailor, who made his first Communion suit, and who had portrayed an unforgettable tailor in “The Tailor and Ansty” want to somehow, bring the work of a Kerry tailor out of this world with him? I don’t know. And neither does Brendan O’Shea.

As his coffin left the church, the Congregation gave a round of applause. The show was over and this time there was no encore. The final curtain had fallen on a one-man show, performed by a man of many parts. Actor, storyteller and writer, loving husband, devoted father and great Kerryman.

Shortly before his death, while lecturing North American Literature and Theatre students in the art of storytelling, he said: “My journeying is over. If the humour takes me, I may appear in some Alhambra, where angels with folded wings will sit in the stalls, applaud politely and maybe come round after and say;’ that was great’ “.

As he walked into that great Rambling House in the sky, can’t you imagine the opening line?: “Ye’re glad I came”.


Savannah McCarthy, International defender

Photo; The WLN Show
Photo: The WLN Show

Savannah McCarthy of Listowel is establishing herself as a regular in the starting XI for the Irish Ladies Football team.


A Fact

The Lion King or The Lion Queen

In the time between Disney’s 1994 version of The Lion King and its 2019 remake the world’s population of lions had halved.

Zoologist, Craig Parker, of the lion research centre at the University of Minnesota told National Geographic that lion societies are matrilineal. The lionesses rule the pride while the males come and go. It would have been Sarabi who hand over her dominion to Nala, Simba’s mate.


Craftfair in The Seanchaí, racing commemtators and Ballydonoghue Magazine

Rermember Me?

(Photo Gilliam Wharton Slattery on What’s on in Kerry)

Christie Hennessey passed away in December 2007.


Craftfair at The Seanchaí on Sunday December 6 2015

When I was in The Square at 10.30 Cookarama were just arriving and setting up their stall.

One os Santa’s elves was at the door, greeting the families who came to partake in the Lapland experience.

The Crafty Bookworm, Maria Leahy was the first stall holder I met.

Mary Mooney was doing a spot of Christmas shopping.

Dawn Thomas brought her grandson, Noah to help her out.

lillian of Lillian’s Bookart had some really unusual pieces on display. They would sure be a talking point in anyone’s Christmas display.

Ruth O’Quigley couldn’t resist the beautiful tapestry cards.

Pat Murphy of Woodford Pottery is planning to build a new studio in 2016.

Ella O’Sullivan had some beautiful hand made items on her stall.

These sweet treats looked mouthwateringly good.

Noreen Buckley was pondering which Minion to purchase from Kelly.

Cookarama were doing a steady trade. I can recommend their lemon drizzle cake.

The show must go on. Seanchaí staff were kept busy as well.

Canon Declan helpfully posed behind the counter for me.


That was Then

This is Now

Jerry Hannon with his inspirational mentor, racing commentator, Des Scahill pictured recently at the HRI Award ceremony where Des was honored for his contribution to the industry.


Ballydonoghue Parish Magazine 2015

This annual publication is always a great read and this year is no exception. Make sure to buy yours as soon as possible before they sell out. It’s a great read.

 photo; John Stack

Every year they give prizes to young and old for creative writing and photography. This year my friend, Bridget O’Connor won second prize for her photo of a swan and cygnets at Ballyduff. In the picture with Bridget are Breda Canty (winner) and Elaine Nolan (runner up)


Ballybunion and Béal

Early morning in Ballybunion photographed by Ballybunion Prints

Béal photographed by Ita Hannon

Santa Claus is coming to town

When I entered The Square with my camera this was the first sign that something was up. John Chute was warming up the crowd for the family fun day in town.

The firemen were lined up, the engines gleaming, ready for a parade.

By St. John’s excited little ones were posing for a photo.

At The Seanchaí children were eagerly waiting for an audience with the man himself.

 Everywhere I looked there was another Santa, elf or helper.

These two helpers took a minute to pose before they returned to handing out goody bags.


Entering in style, Santa came up the Bridge Road, on a sleigh drawn by two magnificent white horses.

Waving and carolling Santa led the parade around the town, returning to the Square via Church St.

I called it a day as everyone went on to The Square for a disco.

Great day in town. Well done everyone!!!

Our time has come

Do you all recognise this timepiece? It hangs outside Mai Fitz’s on William Street. It should not be today’s picture because I should have thought of taking a photo at our meeting on Monday night. I was so excited by the sight of the huge attendance that I forgot to fish out the camera and record the occasion. Apologies. Kerry’s Eye did take a photo or two so I’ll see if they will share.

The meeting was a great success.The over capacity crowd was very enthusiastic and ready for the challenge of preserving our history.

I’ll outline the format of the night for those who couldn’t make it. Ger Greaney, our hard working chairman, introduced the project and gave a bit of the background to its beginnings. Cara Trant then gave a presentation on the pilot project in Loughrea. She showed us all that it could be done. We can learn from any mistakes our Galway pioneers made and we can build on the model they have outlined for the work.

 Ger was next up. He had diligently traced the history of one lesser known but mildly famous Listowel family. He was greatly helped in this research by all the hard work that had been done and is now shared on line by Robert Corridan. This family is the Stack family, formerly of 53 Church St. Michael Stack is a state senator for Philadelphia but his family originated in Listowel, Co. Kerry. Seven of the children from this family alone emigrated to the U.S. and have all done well in their adopted homes. Ger traced this family using on line records and he painted a fantastic picture for us of what could be done. Of course it will not be so easy to trace people less in the public eye.

It never ceases to fascinate me what can be found online. Only yesterday I found a marriage record for my great grandfather from 1839. This record had been kindly uploaded by another member of my extended family who was researching through church records for another ancestor.

Back to Monday night. With everyone fired with enthusiasm for looking back, we came to the highlight of the night, Vincent Carmody’s slide show of pictures of North Kerry. Vincent presented to us a varied and interesting insight into North Kerry in the past. We saw a beached plane on Beale strand and what looked like half of North Kerry under its wing. We saw a photo of a fleet of naval warships sailing up the Shannon estuary. This sparked one of the audience to recount his mother’s memories of the same sailors on a paper chase training exercise. He told us that the sailors had stayed in Tarbert for 6 months and had assimilated well into the local community. I heard on the radio yesterday that our own Irish soldiers are likewise bonding with the people of Tibnin today. We marvelled at progress as we saw a picture of the first car to be registered in Limerick as well as one of Mrs. Raymond in full regalia heading to town in her ass and cart. Many people in the audience recognised friends and relations, and in one or two cases themselves, in the photos.

A lively question and answer session ensued. Everyone agreed that it was a very enjoyable night. The next question is, Where to from here? All suggestions will be brought to the attention of the committee.

BTW I have not forgotten the bandsroom. Vincent is on it and will give me something to post on it shortly.

Will this Seanchaí have a new story to tell?

This is where the public meeting of North Kerrry Reaching Out will take place on tomorrow evening at 8.00 p.m. If the word on the street is anything to go by we should have a good attendance. There is a huge interest locally in researching the family tree.

Hopefully we will attract some very talented people and in no time at all we will have our website up and running. Then we can get down to the task of getting the news and the folklore of North Kerry on line. Ideally every village should have its own website.  Moyvane is the shining example of best practice in this regard.

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