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: Showbands

A Visit to the Lartigue Experience, Volunteers at the St. Vincent de Paul shop and Caddying in Ballybunion

My grandsons posed for me on the comfortable Tidy Town seat in Listowel Town Square

on July 17 2017


Showband Stars Named

Yesterday I posted Joe Harringtons photo of some of the greats of the show band era. I posted Joe’s caption as he had it on Facebook.

Joe Dolan, Dickie Rock, Brendan Boyer, Derek Dean, Brendan O’ Brien(Dixies), Butch Moore,  Tom Dunphy, Larry Cunningham. Can’t place the other 3. 

Then Tommy O’Flahety came to the rescue. He wrote the following

Hi Mary. Great stuff on your page. The three missing names on the Showband picture are Art Supple of the Victors, next to Joe Dolan, and Declan Ryan of The Arrivals in front of Butch Moore and Tony Keeling of The Graduates to his left.


Deserted Kerry homestead

Chris Grayson is fascinated by old deserted houses. He took these photos somewhere in Kerry. They evoke another era when the house was cosy and warm.


A Visit to the Lartigue Monorail Museum

My grandsons were with me on their Kerry holiday as I visited this superb Listowel visitor attraction. If you have visitors, old or young, to entertain, be sure to fit in a trip here. It is excellent, a piece of history and a unique experience to be enjoyed by everyone.

We visited on a Tuesday and that is my friend, Junior Griffin’s day for volunteering. He had read my blog in the morning and it had brought back memories of Cleeves toffees and the good old days of his childhood when handball, the sweet shop and the pictures were the centre of his world. I recorded a snippet of his tale.

Junior Griffin at The Lartigue


The name Lartigue is not that rare in the Bordeaux region of France. There is even a Chateau. The late Bert Griffin brought back two bottle of this vintage and donated them to the museum.

It’s not just tourists who take a trip. I met a past pupil of mine with her lovely young family at the door.

This family were not local. Junior is the kind of unofficial photographer.

The whole affair s very leisurely for us the visitors. It looked like hard work for the volunteers, especially John McAulliffe who was  turning the train on the turntable.

Junior took our photo. Killian hooted the horn.

Killian is on the bridge where one crosses to the other side of the train.

This is us with the locomotive in the background

These are all our travelling companions on July 18 2017


St. Vincent de Paul Volunteers

On our way home down William Street we met my good friends who volunteer in the Second Time Around shop preparing for their summer sale.

The ladies in pink are Kay Landy, Hannah Mulvihill, Eileen O’Sullivan and Catherine O’Driscoll


The Barefoot Caddy

Forget The Barefoot Contessa. Once upon a time Ballybunion had its own barefoot caddy.

Photo shared on Twitter by Ballybunion Golf Club.


Pat Leane, sporting hero, Showbands and a Trip to Youghal, Co. Cork

Great capture by Timothy John MacSweeney


A Little known Irish Sporting Hero

I heard about the man above when I visited the Lartigue Monorail recently. Junior Griffin alerted me to the exploits of this little known (in Kerry anyway) sporting great.

Helen Lyons who was volunteering on the day I visited, told me the story.

This is Helen Lyons at the visitors desk in The Lartigue Museum.  Pat Leane, Olympic athlete, is her uncle, her mother’s brother. He is still alive and well in Australia.

I asked Helen for the story and a photo. She was as good as her word.

Here is what she wrote to accompany the photo of her uncle, Pat, in his Olympic blazer.

“Pat Leane represented Australia in the Olympic Games at Helsinki, Finland in 1952 and Melbourne, Australia in 1956.  He competed in the decathlon (10 events – 100 metres, long jump, shot put, high jump, 400 metres, 110 metres hurdles, discus throw, pole vault, javelin throw and 1500 metres).  

He held the position of best long jumper and high jumper in Australia for many years.

He is Mum’s (Nellie) brother and his parents emigrated from Finuge in the 1920’s.  He lives in Melbourne.

In an Australian newspaper article he was asked because of his Irish heritage “if he would be a world beater at the good old game of hurling, he replied with a grin “that’s one game at which I would draw the line”

So Pat is first generation Irish, and a hugely successful athlete in his native Australia. If his parents had remained in Finuge we would be naming roads and roundabouts after him.


Remembering Stars of the Showband Era

Joe Harrington is a great lover of country music. He shared this photo on Facebook. Our combined memories still leave three of these heroes unnamed;

Dolan, Dickie Rock, Brendan Boyer, Derek Dean, Brendan O’ Brien(Dixies), Butch
Moore,  Tom Dunphy, Larry Cunningham.
Can’t place the other 3. 


Youghal, Co. Cork

This is my friend Aileen (Hayes) Scanlon at the top of the clock tower in Youghal.

This is me on the street with the clock tower in the background.

This is the view from the top.

The old clock tower has stood in Youghal since 1777.  It is now restored as a visitor attraction. I’d recommend a visit if you are anywhere nearby.

Youghal was once a prosperous port town  and this room showed us all the goods that were traded through here. The tour guide, Shirley, was really good and kept us all engaged all the time.

The gatehouse was originally used a s prison. The fairly primitive conditions were replicated for us. Overcrowding, hunger, smelly living conditions with lice and vermin in abundance were the prisoners’ lot.

At every level there are great view down over  Youghal’s main street. The clock tower gate divided the town into the poorer east quarter and the richer merchant west side.

On the next floor was a working replica of the clock. It was fascinating.

The family whose job it was to look after the clock lived on the next floor and we got a good insight into their cramped and very poor living conditions. There is still a man alive in Youghal who was born into the last family to live in the tower. He spoke to us on video recalling the harsh overcrowded conditions of his childhood. He now realises that he is part of history and he is proud to have lived there.

Ah, the famous washboard. I just had to take a snap. (There was no prohibition on photo taking, which was welcome.)

This extraordinary cooker runs on gas. You take off the oven to reveal the cooking rings underneath.

This is a cobbler’s last. People did a bit of their own shoe repairing once upon a time.

I was fascinated with the view down over the houses. Next week I’ll share with you some more of the artefacts we saw in the tower.

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