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 listowelconnection@gmail.com

Tag: St. John’s Page 1 of 9

Aspects of Listowel

Listowel’s Twin Spires, November 2021
Newly restored St. John’s
Beautifully restored stain glass window and stonework

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A Listowel Fact

Listowel’s Garden of Europe was originally a extensive quarry. It later became the town landfill site. Finally Listowel Rotary Club transitioned it into The Garden of Europe with a section for each country in the European Union.

The Holocaust Memorial occupies a central place in the garden. It serves as reminder of the awful atrocities perpetrated during Hitler’s reign.

The memorial is made of railway sleepers, reminding us of the railways in Europe that transported so many innocent people to a horrific life and, for some, death in concentration camps. The sleepers are surrounded by chains, representing the shackles of captivity.

I am grateful to the farseeing rotarians who left Listowel this reminder of Europe’s darkest days. May we never forget.

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Christmas, a Time for posting mail

Pillar box in Listowel in December 2021

These three stylised ones are on Christmas cards. Even though fewer and fewer Christmas cards are posted each year, the postbox still remains a very strong symbol of Christmas.

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That Time before Time Began

Cyril Kelly remembers happy carefree days “fishing” in The Feale and lazing in the sun in those summers before Time began.

I love this one.

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Listowel, Facts and Photos

St. John’s Theatre, November 2021

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A Listowel Fact

St. Michael’s College used to be as fever hospital. In the 1940s and 50s it had a massive reputation for the teaching of Latin and Greek. A remarkable number of St. Michael’s past pupils have achieved international eminence.

Hard to believe but the first team game that was played in the college was cricket.

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That was Then; This is Now

Another premises looking for a new tenant. The first photo dates back to 2007.

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How Much is….?

A Listowel pooch in a room with a view.

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Today’s Long Read

Cyril Kelly tells us about the trials and tribulations of an altar boy in November. They were all boys before Vatican 2. No altar servers then.

Cyril brings 1950s Listowel vividly to life in this beautifully crafted essay.

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That was Then; This is Now

A then and now picture with a difference…new principal of Presentation Secondary School, Listowel, Katherina Broderick pictured with former principal, Sr. Consolata Bracken in St. Mary’s Listowel on Presentation Day, November 21 2021

(photo shared on school’s Facebook page)

Katherina is the first past pupil to be appointed principal. I wish her every good luck in her new role.

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A Poem, School Milk and a Night in St. John’s

The Big Bridge, Listowel in October 2021

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The Pebble

Remember Liz Chute’s story that inspired a Bryan MacMahon short story?

It also inspired a poem by Listowel born poet, Noel Roche.

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Halloween 2021

This year Halloween seems to be a bit low key. We seem to be skipping straight to Christmas. Maybe it’s time to abandon the Trick or Treating and fireworks and return to remembering instead our dead loved ones and visiting family graves instead.

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School Lunches!

Photo from Vanishing Ireland website

Did you bring milk to school in a Chef Sauce or YR bottle? If you did you’ll probably be about my age and you’ll be cringing in horror at this sight. No matter how much you washed and scoured, getting the smell of sauce or salad cream out of one of these bottles was impossible.

Don’t even mention breakages! These bottles were glass and broke easily. I remember the first Thermos flasks and their innards broke easily too.

Schooldays were the best days of our lives?

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Ballylongford in 1910

1910 Main Street, Ballylongford, Co.Kerry.

L to R John Thomas Carrig Sr. John Thomas Carrig Jr. M Mahoney, ? Dalton, The Kelly sisters.

Thanks to Geraldine Brassil for photo and information.

Ballylongford Snaps on Facebook shared this image and caption

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A Very Different theatrical Experience

There was something for everyone in the audience in St. John’s on Saturday night. We all got a taste of ” one he made earlier”.

Manchán Magan was our entertainer for the evening. Dressed in a tailored tweed trousers, grandfather style shirt and what looked to me like homemade pampooties, he told us in Irish and English about the connectedness of everything, about history, etymology and our close connection with the fairy world, all while baking a sourdough loaf and churning some butter.

It was an extraordinary evening’s entertainment brought to us by an extraordinary man. Manchán’s depth of knowledge and infectious enthusiasm for his subjects are a sight to witness.

After the show, he chatted, signed books and shared his sourdough starter and his delicious bread and butter.

It was my first night back in St. John’s since Covid.

What a show to return to!

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Believe it or Believe it Not

Once Gillette recalled 87,000 disposable razors because, thanks to a manufacturing error, they posed a cutting hazard.

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Lovely Listowel, A Pharmacy on the Move and Repairs to St. John’s Steeple

“Oh, would some Power the giftie gie us

To see ourselves as others see us….”

Éamon ÓMurchú was home in Listowel and he took a few photos with his phone. The photos show us Listowel as it is these days, lovely as always but undergoing change. This one shows the unchanging River Feale in all its magnificence.

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Different Times

In June 1950 Fine Gael T.D. Captain Patrick Giles told the Dáil that “only big swanks with money to burn” could buy tomatoes. (Irish Examiner)

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On the Move

Broderick’s Pharmacy is relocating to Market Street.

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Kathy Hochul is New York governor

John Anthony Hegarty sent the picture and Kay Caball provides the story of the Kerry connection. Below is the link to Kay’s account of the governor’s Cournane/ Courtney ancestors. It is well worth a read.

Kerry Ancestors/ N.Y. Governor

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Scaffolding Everywhere

The scaffold at St. John’s has reached the top of the spire.

Máire tells us that the clock face is down for repair.

This reminded me of a story Junior Griffin told me.

Here is is again.

John Griffin of Bridge Road was the local expert watch repairer. Archdeacon Wallace approached him to ask if he would repair the St. John’s clock.

St. John’s was then a functioning protestant church.

In the 1940s it was forbidden for a Catholic to enter a Protestant church. Mending the clock, however, would not involve entering the church as there was no access to the clock from the church. To solve this problem John Griffin constructed a kind of primitive cherry picker. This contraption was a kind of cage that he would enter on the ground and using pulleys and ropes he would hoist himself up to the clock in order to access the movement of the clock.

John Griffin of Bridge Road, Junior’s dad

Junior’s mother was worried sick that some harm might come to her husband in this makeshift hoist so she sent Bert and Junior to the Catholic church to light candles and to pray that no harm would come to their dad.

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A Sobering Fact

In April 1954 Michael Manning was the last person to be executed by the state. He was convicted of murdering a nurse, Catherine Cooper.

(Irish Examiner)

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We’re all Mayo Supporters now

Éamon ÓMurchú took this photo on his Wild Atlantic Way trip.

I think we’ll be seeing a few posters like this in Kerry now.

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St. John’s, an Ad. and Lord Listowel’s contribution to Catholic candidates in 1841

Skerries by Éamon ÓMurchú

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Repairs at St. Johns in July 2021

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Fancy Dress Parade, circa 1953

Margaret Dillon identified the three girls on the far right of Luaí ÓMurchú s photo. They are Colette Guerin, Marie Power and Beata Keane. Margaret is almost certain. Margaret herself is in the photo too.

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An Listowel ad. from 1956

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Appeal for Old Newspapers

This is a call out to people who have old newspapers that they would be willing to drop in to the Veterinary Centre, No. 3 The Square. Sheila tells me that they got a great response last time I asked blog followers to bring them some old newspapers for bedding for small animals in the clinic. They are running low again so could you help.

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Politics and Religion in 1841

Boston Pilot, 24 July 1841

Catholics of London have formed themselves into a body under this designation. The object of the former is to resist and repel the attacks that, are made upon them ; and of the latter to secure the return of such members to parliament as are favourable to them. The Registration Society also undertakes to pledge every candidate to secure freedom of admission to Catholic priests to attend the inmates of workhouses and prisons. Lord Listowel has subscribed £2OO towards the election expenses of Messrs. Browne and O’Connell for Kerry, against Mr. Blennerhasset.

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