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: St. Jean de Luz

St. Jean de Luz 2015 and Ballyduff in 1970

A Nun and A Church

Listowel; February 26 2015


A Sin of Omission

When I was telling you all about St. Jean de Luz, didn’t I forget its real claim to fame. Louis XIV was married in the church in St. Jean. He married a local lady.

This is the bricked up doorway where louis entered with his bride. He ordered that it be closed up so that no one else could go through it after him. Did you ever hear the like?

The whole story is here, in French.

The church itself is very dark and gloomy. They’d more want to open a few doors than closing them up.


St. Jean de Luz is also now famous for seriously good cakes

This is the shop. My mouth is watering at the sight.



Photo taken at Walshs bar Ballyduff 1970, including members of the Ballyduff Tug o War team 

Tomas Sheehy, Pat O’Carroll, John Sugrue, John Nagle, Micky Guerin, Joan Walsh,,John Walsh,Tom Joe O’Carroll, John Patrick O’Sullivan, Nicholas Browne, P Mulvihill, Micnael Fealy,Tom Dalton, Pat Dillane, Pat Walsh

( Photo and caption from Martin Browne )


Mike the Pies

Denis Carroll took this photo at Mike the Pies Comedy Club


Date for the diary


The Life
& Times of J.D. Bourchier


Michael Foley,

Lecturer in
Journalism, DCU


Seanchaí –
Kerry Writers’ Museum

24 The
Square, Listowel

Tuesday March
3rd at 7.30 pm

When the County Limerick
born journalist, James David Bourchier (1850-1920) died in Sofia Bulgaria in
1920 one leading newspaper declared on its front page: ‘Our Bourchier is dead’.
When news of his death became widely known in Sofia a crowd gathered outside
the Grand Hotel Bulgarie, where his two rooms had been the nearest thing to
permanent home for the previous 30 years. It was an indication of his standing
in his adopted country that his funeral service took place at the Alexander
Nevski Memorial Church, a stunning monument of neo-Byzantine architecture that
commemorates the Russian soldiers who died in the fight for Bulgarian freedom
in 1877. According to the British Ambassador, Sir Arthur Peel, he lay in state
and the King laid a wreath.  The lecture
will explore the fascinating life story of Bourchier from his early life in
Bruff to the Balkans.

Tel. (068) 22212/57927

Home and Away; Listowel and Ciboure and post office relocation

My Holidays!

I thought you’d never ask! Nobody did so I’m going to tell you about my holidays anyway.

Zero interest! Just scroll down and there are a few then and now Listowel shop pictures to browse.

My son and his family have relocated to France for a year. They live in this house in Ciboure in the Basque country close to the Spanish border.

They live directly across the road from Villa Leihorra, a world famous art deco building which attracts much interest in summer. It was closed to visitors when I was there.

Because they live on top of a hill they have some fantastic views of the sea on one side and St. Jean de Luz, the nearby town, on the other.

Because they live on a hill, you have to climb in order to access their house.

The steepest part is their driveway.

This is the alternative pedestrian route home from town. Surprisingly, it is easier than the hill.

Ciboure is a holiday/retirement town.  65% of the population is retired. When I visited in January it was  in hibernation. Come summer the place comes alive. It is black with people. I think I prefer the winter quiet.

Apart from tourism, local people make their living from fishing. A bridge joins Ciboure to St. Jean de Luz. From the bridge I saw many many pleasure boats and a few small fishing vessels. Squid is a local delicacy.

There was a Basque festival, Bxinxo ( Basque for Vincent) in full swing.

They had the Ciboure equivalent of The Market in the town square. Killian is trying out one of the 50 ways to lose your money.


Then and Now


One Misty Moisty Morning ……in February 2015

Signs of Spring

Listowel Pitch and Putt Course in the fog

This new path is going in down by the river and gives access to the picnic  area.

“All the stores were closed and shuttered, all the streets were dark and bare….”


Not Long Now

New sacristan, James O’Carroll and WW1 and grandchildren in France

Film Crew at work in Ballybunion yesterday

(photo: The Mixing Bowl on Facebook)


Then and now

Dare I say it?

I prefer the old one


Ballybunion Road road works

A footpath is being made all the way from Convent Cross to the girls’ primary school. The buildings you see on the left belong to the secondary school. This measure, when completed, should make the walk to school a lot safer for some girls.


Our new sacristan

This is St. Mary’s new sacristan pictured with Canon Declan O’Connor at a recent wedding. She is Helen Moylan, a counsellor, a nurse, a super volunteer, a carer, a wonderful cook, a singer, the best and most generous neighbour and an all round good egg. In case you haven’t guessed it already, she is also my great friend, trusted confidante and best buddy. I wish her many happy years in her new post.


Two  WW1 stories from Kerrys’ Eye



Reality Bites

Sean and Killian Cogan, my two lovely boys, head out for their first day in French school. There is no uniform but Killian chose to go with the comfort of the familiar; his school tshirt from Scoil Barra in Ballincollig.

A whole new world opens for them in this French classroom with their new teacher.

Bon chance, mes petits!

Don’t forget to follow their adventure on their blog

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