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

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The Frances and Sonny Show

Áras an Phiarsaigh in April 2024

Great Show in The Glen

Friday, April 12 2024 was a special day for our own Frances Kennedy. She and I were back on our home turf of North Cork in The Glen Theatre, Banteer. Frances was performing and I was in the audience.

The show was a Frances Kennedy and Sonny Egan special. Frances looked ever so glamorous and Sonny was his usual understated self.

Didn’t I capture him well on a borrowed phone from my seat in the second row?

It was a big night for Frances. She was celebrating a roundy birthday. And it was forty years to the day since she met Patsy. Frances and Patsy met on her first day in Listowel, which was also her twentieth birthday. Meeting Patsy put paid to her plans to emigrate to the U.S., she told us. Thank you, Patsy.

Sonny and Frances sang, danced, played and told stories to the delight of the appreciative audience. The highlight of the night was a rare duet from Patsy and Frances.

It was a great night’s entertainment from two very versatile, talented performers.

Maureen Sweeney

I told you last week that An Post was commemorating Maureen Flavin Sweeney with a postmark.

Eleanor Belcher sent us this obituary from The London Times.

From Pres Yearbook 04/05


Luckily horses love mud, almost as much as pigs do. Fields are saturated these times but these two boyos were delighted to be allowed to play outdoors for the first time without their coats.

As he frolicked around the field, kicking up mud in all directions, it was hard to believe that Henry is 24 years old.

These best buds love a bit of mutual grooming.

A Fact

In 1914 in Brussels the first non direct blood transfusion was performed by Dr. Albert Hustin.


Celebrations and Commiserations

In Childers’ Park in Summer 2023



Clíona McKenna on Church Street with her balloon from Sweet Times for her friend’s birthday.

When did balloons become a thing?

Nowadays you can’t have any celebration without balloons. It’s not just children’s parties, every party must have balloons, helium filled balloons that is.

Time was when you had to have cake or it wasn’t a proper celebration. Forget cake. Buy balloons.


Sonny Egan

This is Sonny with his cup for adult storytelling, which he won for the fourth time at Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann 2023 in Mullingar

There has never been anyone before quite like Sonny Egan. He is not just a champion storyteller, he is a musician, a singer, a podcaster, an actor and an expert on many subjects. He is generous with his talents and for years opened his door to everyone in his famous rambling house.

Congratulations on the well deserved win.


A Poem from Kanturk

Sometimes people read these posts years after they were written so I have to give you a bit of context again for the sake of those who come here via Google. Kanturk is my hometown and I spent a bit of time there recently and I loved the poems on the trees in O’Brien Street Park for Kanturk Arts Festival.

I love this one.

I was in this lovely O’Brien Street Park at 12 noon and the Angelus was tolling from the nearby church. The Angelus bell tolled the tune of The Bells of the Angelus. This is a hymn I learned in a Kanturk classroom over half a century ago. Memories, memories!


Enough Said

Beidh lá eile ag an bPaorach.



This is the very last time I’ll put up this picture. Thank you, Mary Horgan for all the pleasure it has given so many old girls.

Noreen Holly can name them all.

Noreen wrote to us from the U.S.A.

…I left Listowel in 1986 but it never left me.

I listen to all of the matches on Radio Kerry.  I was still home for most of the Kerry Ladies Glory Days. I remember Annette O’Connor, Matilda Mc Donagh and Nora O’Donoghue from O’Connell’s Avenue won All-Ireland medals with the Kerry Ladies before I left. I hope that the ladies do the job tomorrow. I will be listening with a heart bursting with pride and passion and will wear the Kerry jersey. Radio Kerry is my Sunday treat!

The photo that Muireann contributed names to was my class in primary school, all of whom I remember.  I am almost sure that it was Third Class which would make it 1970. I remember all of our teachers too! – Sr. Consolata, Babies Class, Sr. Clare High Infants, Sr. Bernadette First Class, Sr. Pierre, Second Class, Sr. Therese Third Class which Mrs. Enright took over at some stage during the year, Sr. Ronan, Sr. Kieran Fifth Class, Sr. Carmel Sixth Class that Grace O’Sullivan took over during the year. They were great days and I  have great memories of being in this class. I met up with Ann Lynch and Gerardine O’Connor in May. Gerardine flew in from England to visit Ann in New York and they came out to my place.  We hadn’t seen each other in donkey’s years but were great buddies while at school. we reminisced about school as if were back in that big two-story building on Convent Street with windows that were always getting stuck!

I am a principal of a primary school in Madison, New Jersey and I always tell the children that the best memories are made in primary school. I know that mine were!

Here goes with the names in the photo:

Back Row left to right.

Norma Doyle, Kate Kennelly, Joan Dore, Alice Dennehy, Avril O’Driscoll, Me Fein Noreen Holly, Noreen Canavan, Helen Daly, Mairead Hourigan, Dana Mulvihill, Christina O’Driscoll,  Mary Lynch, Muireann Moloney, Ann Gammell

Middle Row Left to Right

Caroline Barrett, Marie O’Halloran,  Margaret Faulkner, Eleanor Costello, Ann Kennelly, Mary Daly, Eleanor Brown, Margaret Stack,  Ann Lynch, Annette O’Gorman, Mary Dillon, Phyllis O’Mahoney

Front Row Left to Right

Kathleen Kelliher, Mary Cantillon, Anne Marie O’Donoghue, Gerardine O’Connor, Marie Greaney, Helen Heaphy, Eilish O’Neill, Breda O’Neill, Nell O’Sullivan, Audrey Sheehy, Margaret mc Donagh, Pat Mulligan, Joan Kelliher, Mary Heaphy

Thank you Sr. Noreen. If anyone would like to write to Sr. Noreen I have an email address and a land address. I won’t be putting them on here but if you contact me I’ll put you in touch.


A Fact

A rat can last longer without water than a camel can.


Family Communion and Some More people I met at Writers’ Week

This is a photo from a Lyreacrompane website of children in Lyre school fadó fadó. I thought people might like to be identifying themselves or others.


Róisín’s Communion

Communions are not what they used to be. My lovely granddaughter made her First Holy Communion in Ballincollig, Co. Cork on Saturday May 27 2017.

She was chosen to sing the responsorial psalm with a tall boy.

She looked sweet and demure and took the whole sacrament part very seriously….and then

Siobhán of Siobhán’s Designer Cakes in Iremore made her unconventional cake featuring her favourite comic character.

The communion loot included fidget spinners, book tokens, Monster High dolls and a Rubix cube

And, of course, some dosh.

We had a communion penata. If you’re not familiar with this communion tradition, it is a hoot. Everyone was on a sugar high after it released it’s bounty of sweets. Then it was time for some Communion Day trampolining with her best friend, Orla.


More People I met in The Listowel Arms at Writers’ Week 2017

Anne and Liam Dillon and visitors

These men were debriefing after the mornings walk.

Eileen Greaney was having a cuppa and a chat.

Some Listowel and Moyvane people were meeting up with old friends.

These lovely folk were starting a singing session and it was only 12.00 noon.

Tom Doodle and other Listowel Characters and U. S. Success or John Daniel Guiney

These four men were our entertainers on Vincent Carmody’s morning walk on June 1 2017 as part of Listowel Writers’ Week 2017. They are John Looney, Seán Moriarty, Vincent Carmody and Sonny Egan.

Our starting point as usual was the hotel. Here our young soundman, John, met up with some English visitors, the Hewitts with a different Hannon connection. These people have fallen in love with Listowel and are now frequent visitors.

Mark Hewitt is a member of a rock band and he  brought the band with him on this visit. One of their number has just written a book whose title I love. It’s called;

Rock, Paper, Slippers.

Sonny came in character as the bellman or town crier.

Rose Wall greeted us and saw us on our way.

And we’re off.

First stop was the home of the O’Rahilly family …arguably the brainiest family in Ireland at one time.

Then on to The Small Square and tales of Tom Sommers and other local characters.

Vincent had an appreciative audience despite the cold and intermittent rain.

Then out from the Freezer’s pub came none other than Tom Doodle. Click HERE to hear the story from Vincent Carmody.

Doodle distributed his election literature and canvassed for votes promising among other unlikely actions to  give leprechauns the vote and to give free treatment for sore heads.

Use your noodle

Vote for Doodle

Doodle on the ball

Next stop the dáil.

Doodle ran into an old friend, Paddy Fitzgibbon, and posed for a photo with him.

Then on to William Street and tales of D.C. Hennessey and another cry from the bellman.

We admired the Horseshoe Bar and Vincent pointed out the plasterwork of Pat MacAulliffe and the detail on the wall for which he had used bicycle bells as moulds.

At Galvin’s Vincent pointed out the beautiful mosaic name  over the door.

We mosied on to Market Street and on to the home of Cathy Buckley in Upper William Street.

We had another rhyme from the bellman  and the sad story  of Bob Cuthbertson.

We paused at the corner of William Street and Charles Street and Vincent pointed out to us a strange Listowel phenomenon. The Irish version of the street names is not a translation of the English names. The English street names were given by Lord Listowel who called the streets after his sons, William and Charles. in 1966 a wave of nationalism swept through Listowel and a plebiscite was held to change the street names to the names of the signatories of the Proclamation of 1916.

Changing the name of a street has all sorts of implications, particularly for businesses who have to change their business address. The outcome was a hung vote so what was decided in the end was that each street would have 2 names, one in Irish and one in English and they are totally unrelated to one another. So, for instance, Charles Street is, in Irish, Connolly Street/ Sráid Uí Chonghaile.

The bellman stopped us again and Vincent pointed out the detail in the plasterwork of The Emporium, one of the finest examples of the work of Pat MacAulliffe.


Success in the U.S. for Listowel Golfer

(Photo and text from Newsday on the internet)

John Daniel Guiney with Long
Island Golf Association president Marty Winkelman, left, and tournament
director John McGrath after he won the Long Island Open at 4 under par with a
final round of two-under 68 at Westhampton Country Club on June 8, 2017. Photo
Credit: Long Island Golf Association

Westhampton Country Club’s waterfront winds, slick greens, tall
fescue and Old World bunkers presented a different, disorienting challenge to
just about all of Long Island’s top golfers. To John Daniel Guiney, those
elements represented something else entirely. He is from Ballybunion, Ireland
and he felt right at home.

Big time. Coming up that 18th hole, it’s like you’re in Britain
or something, like you’re playing on a links golf course. It’s just a great
setting,” Guiney, a first-year PGA apprentice at Piping Rock Club, said after
he won the Long Island Open at 4 under par with a final round of two-under 68.
He beat Poxabogue teaching pro Rob Corcoran (67) by two shots in the 54-hole
championship while no one else beat par.

It took patience and resourcefulness —
hallmark demands of links golf — to take the $9,000 first prize on the vintage
Seth Raynor layout. The check and the whole week made the 32-year-old winner
even happier that he entered the tournament at the last minute and that he
moved to Long Island a few months ago.

Guiney played college
golf at Rollins, then remained in Florida to play minitours. He became friends
with peers such as Keegan Bradley and Jim Renner, caddied for the latter on the
PGA Tour, then pursued his own pro golf career in Europe for four years

“I ended up quitting tournament golf for the last year and a
half. I kind of ran out of money,” he said. “That happens. I was like what am I
going to do? I have an economics background but I don’t want to do that. I want
to stay in golf.”

What he did was place a call to an old friend from Ballybunion,
Piping Rock head pro Sean Quinlivan, who offered him the apprentice spot.
Guiney (pronounced GUY-knee) does a lot of caddying and works in the pro shop
two days a week, he said, “Just learning the ropes.” At Quinlivan’s suggestion,
he signed up for a Long Island Open qualifier just before the deadline. “And lo
and behold, here we are,” he said.

 He was only one shot ahead of Corcoran after the latter eagled
the par-5 14th hole. Quiney, playing in the final twosome with Tam O’Shanter
head pro Mark Brown, hooked his tee shot on 14 into high grass. He punched out
into a terrible lie (“It looked like it was in a deer hoof print,” he said) but
then hit to within 15 feet and made birdie. He followed with another birdie on
15 and finished with three pars.

“Very steady, very patient,” Brown said of the champion. “He’s
got a good all-around game. Very good, I’d say.”

Ballybunion Tidy Towns and more from Fr. Pat Moore’s ceremony on the beach

Bogna Kuleszewich in Ballyduff


Ballybunion at Evening

One fine evening last week I took a walk along the cliff overlooking Ballybunion beach.

This seat is close to the Kingdom of God on a lovely evening like this.

The view from the seat

The sun was setting.

Lovely May flowers with the old Mercy convent in the distance

On my way to the beach on the Glen Road I spotted this. Looks like a fairy door.

Dog owners have to clean up after their animal. Horse owners should too.

Ballybunion Tidy Towns do great work and they deserve the support of the local community

The artwork on their recycling area looks good.


May 11 2017 on the beach 

An unplanned duet by Eileen Barrett and Paddy McElligott of the song You’re Never Alone is HERE

Dana Mulrooney treated us to a perfect rendition of Around the Chapel Gates in Cooraclare

Paddy Mac Elligott sang Guy Clarke’s I wish I was in Austin

The sun set behind the cliff on a near perfect evening, remembering a live well lived.

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